iNews Review

iOS 4.3 Introduced with Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4, Flash Sort of Coming to iOS, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.03.14

This has been a huge news week for iOS devices - so big that we've made the decision to divide the iNews Review into separate editions, one specifically for the iPad and this one for news and press releases that are not specific to the iPad.

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apple Introduces iOS 4.3 with Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4

PR: Update Includes Faster Safari Performance, iTunes Home Sharing, AirPlay Improvements & New Personal Hotspot

SAN FRANCISCO - March 2, 2011 - Apple today introduced iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world's most advanced mobile operating system. New features in iOS 4.3 include faster Safari mobile browsing performance with the Nitro JavaScript engine; iTunes Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay; the choice of using the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute the audio; and the Personal Hotspot feature for sharing an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over WiFi.

"With more than 160 million iOS devices worldwide, including over 100 million iPhones, the growth of the iOS platform has been unprecedented," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iOS 4.3 adds even more features to the world's most advanced mobile operating system, across three blockbuster devices - iPad, iPhone and iPod touch - providing an ecosystem that offers customers an incredibly rich experience and developers unlimited opportunities."

The Safari mobile browsing experience gets even better with iOS 4.3. The Nitro JavaScript engine that Apple pioneered on the desktop is now built into WebKit, the technology at the heart of Safari, and more than doubles the performance of JavaScript execution using just-in-time compilation. With the Nitro JavaScript engine, Safari provides an even better mobile browser experience working faster to support the interactivity of complex sites you visit on a daily basis.

New iTunes Home Sharing allows iOS 4.3 users to play music, movies and TV shows on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch from their iTunes library on a Mac or PC over a local WiFi network. With a simple tap you can enjoy all the media in your iTunes library wherever you are in your home. You can stream a movie from your Mac in one room to your iPad in another or stream an iTunes mix to your iPod touch from the office to the kitchen. With Home Sharing on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch you've got your entire iTunes library in your hands wherever you are in your home.

iOS 4.3 includes enhancements to AirPlay, the breakthrough wireless technology that allows users to stream music, photos and video to Apple TV. With iOS 4.3 you can stream additional content including video from third party apps and web sites, videos from the Photos app and previews from the iTunes app to your TV.1 AirPlay also allows you to bring photos to life on the TV screen by using one of the stunning new slideshow transitions, or shoot a video on your iPad 2, iPhone or iPod touch and stream it directly from the Photos app to Apple TV.

The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets you bring WiFi with you anywhere you go, by allowing you to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to five devices in a combination of up to three WiFi, three Bluetooth and one USB device.2 Joining a Personal Hotspot is easy and once the feature is enabled a status bar displays how many devices are currently connected. Every connection is password protected and when not in use Personal Hotspot turns itself off to save battery life.

More than 10 billion apps have been downloaded from the revolutionary App Store - and more than 350,000 apps are available, including more than 65,000 native iPad apps, to consumers in 90 countries. Users of the more than 160 million iOS devices around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

iOS 4.3 will be available to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users as a free software update on Friday, March 11. iOS 4.3 is compatible with iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), plus third and fourth generation iPod touch. For more information please visit apple.com.

This update is now available via iTunes.

  1. AirPlay video requires second generation Apple TV running the latest software.
  2. Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.

Apple Releases iOS 4.3 Software Update

PR: The iOS 4.3 Software Update contains new features and improvements, including the following:

  • Personal Hotspot (Requires iPhone 4 with tethering data plan): Share iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 WiFi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB)
  • iTunes Home Sharing: Play music, movies and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2)
  • New AirPlay features:
    • - Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party apps and websites on Apple TV
    • Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV
  • Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine
  • HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter: View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display
  • Ping features
    • Push notifications for comments and follow requests
    • Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen
    • Parental controls
  • New Settings
    • Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert
    • iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects
  • Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode
  • Bug fixes

System Requirements:

  • Personal Hotspot requires iPhone 4 with tethering data plan
  • New AirPlay features requires Apple TV (2nd generation) running software version 4.2 or later
  • HD Video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter requires iPhone 4, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation)

Products compatible with this software update:

  • iPhone 4 (GSM model)
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPad
  • iPod touch (4th generation)
  • iPod touch (3rd generation)

This update is available via iTunes.

Random House Makes Entire US Catalog of 17,000 Ebooks Available on Apple's iBookstore

PR: iBookstore Now Features More than 2,500 Publishers, Including All Six Major Trade Publishers

SAN FRANCISCO - March 2, 2011- Apple today announced that Random House, Inc., the largest trade book publisher in the US, has made its full catalog of 17,000 ebooks available on Apple's iBookstore, including bestsellers by Stieg Larsson, John Grisham, Dan Brown, Danielle Steel, Laura Hillenbrand, Cormac McCarthy, Lee Child and many more of the world's preeminent authors. Starting today, customers can preorder upcoming releases from Random House including Lisa Gardner's "Love You More," Suze Orman's "The Money Class" and Jean Auel's "The Land of Painted Caves." With the addition of Random House, the iBookstore now offers ebooks from all six major trade publishers and thousands of independent publishers.

"We are delighted that Apple's iBookstore now will be carrying Random House's US ebooks for the first time," said Markus Dohle, Random House's Chairman and CEO. "And we look forward to bringing our 17,000 ebooks to Apple customers."

"We're thrilled to offer Random House on the iBookstore," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "iBookstore customers have already downloaded more than 100 million books in less than one year, and we think they'll love being able to choose from Random House's incredible selection of titles to enjoy on their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch."

iBookstore customers can choose from a wide selection of illustrated and video-enhanced books that look incredible on iPad, including Jay-Z's memoir "Decoded" and Bing West's "The Wrong War"; best-selling children's series such as Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones; and cookbooks by Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, and the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Random House, Inc. comprises more than 80 adult and children's US publishing imprints including Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday, Crown, Pantheon Books, Vintage, Ballantine and Bantam.

The iBookstore, included in Apple's free iBooks app, is the best way to browse, buy and read books on your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. iBookstore offers ebooks from more than 2,500 publishers in more than 20 categories, including Mysteries & Thrillers, Biographies & Memoirs, Cookbooks, Children's & Teen, Humor, Romance, Business and Travel.

This update is available via iTunes.

19% of Drivers Admit to Using the Internet While Driving

PR: Results from an online survey conducted by State Farm shows an alarming number of drivers who use the Web while driving.

In November 2010, State Farm conducted a small "pulse check" to dig deeper into the growing use of smartphones among drivers. Survey respondents consisted of 912 drivers who met the following criteria: had a valid driver's license, reported driving at least one hour per week, and owned a smart phone.

Of these drivers, 19% admitted to using the Internet while driving. The top five Web-based activities they engage in are:

  • Finding/reading driving directions,
  • Reading email,
  • Looking up/referencing specific information of immediate interest,
  • Looking at/reading social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.),
  • Composing/sending email.

Most respondents who said they use the Internet while driving reported that they engage in these activities when stopped at a stop light or stopped in heavy traffic. They also commonly said they access the Internet when driving alone, during daylight hours, or on long drives on the interstate.

Approximately 40% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. Considering the growth of smartphone use among young adults and the risk of crashes associated with phone use while driving, State Farm will conduct an in-depth and comprehensive study to learn more about smart phone use among young drivers.

"We are very interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving," says Cindy Garretson, Director of Auto Technology Research at State Farm. "We are working to prevent crashes and save lives, and this research takes us one step closer to understanding the driver distractions that affect everyone on our roadways."

Why should you think twice before using your cell phone while driving? "Studies show that driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four times greater risk of a crash," says Janet Froetsher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, quoted in a State Farm LearningCenter blog. Each year, it's estimated to cause:

  • 636,000 crashes
  • 330,000 injuries
  • 12,000 major injuries
  • 2,600 deaths
  • and $43 billion in damages

States and local jurisdictions are responding to the dangers with a variety of new laws. Cell phone use by novice drivers is restricted in many states. Some states and all Canadian provinces by the end of 2011 will have banned handheld cell phone use altogether. Some states have banned texting. Learn which cell phone driving laws apply in your state:

When Talking Absolutely Can't Wait

  • Always use a handsfree device.
  • Pull over to make calls. Even handsfree talking can be distracting. So move safely out of traffic and make your call while parked.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
  • Use voice-activated controls when talking is absolutely necessary (although studies have shown that your risk of crashing or hitting something or someone is still 4x higher even when using a handsfree device behind the wheel)

Texting

There's no reason to sugarcoat it - texting while driving is a BAD idea. REALLY BAD. A recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) shows that texting while driving makes you 23.2 times likelier to be involved in a crash or near crash. That's why many states have passed laws partially or completely banning texting while driving, and are likely to follow.

As of February 2011

  • A jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a handheld cellphone is in place in 9 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Utah has named the offense careless driving. Under the Utah law, no one commits an offense when speaking on a cellphone unless they are also committing some other moving violation other than speeding.
  • Local jurisdictions may or may not need specific state statutory authority to ban cellphones or text messaging. Several of the many localities that have enacted restrictions on cellphone use include: Oahu, HI; Chicago, IL; Brookline, MA; Detroit, MI; Santa Fe, NM; Brooklyn, North Olmstead, and Walton Hills, OH; Conshohocken, Lebanon, and West Conshohocken, PA; Waupaca County, WI; and Cheyenne, WY.
  • The use of all cellphones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
  • The use of all cellphones by novice drivers is restricted in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in 8 states (Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in 2 states (Oklahoma and Texas).

State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the US and is also a leading insurer in Canada.

Flash (Sort of) Coming to iOS Devices

Tech Radar's Gary Marshall says:

"If you were one of the people who just loved Apple's spat with Adobe over Flash support - or rather, Flash non-support, because Apple won't let it onto iOS devices - then we've got bad news for you.

"Flash is coming to the iPhone, the iPad and the iPad 2. IN YOUR FACE, FLASH HATERS!

"Okay, it's a bit more complicated than that. Steve Jobs hasn't changed his mind, and iOS hasn't got a secret Enable Flash switch. What's changed is at Adobe's end. Its new Wallaby tool takes a Flash file and turns it into HTML5, which means it'll work quite happily in Mobile Safari."

Apps & Services

Textforce 2.0 for iPhone and iPad: Major Update for Cloud Text Editor

PR: Domo Apps, the developers of Textforce, have released their latest update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users. The application is an extremely helpful, feature-packed text editor that takes users to the cloud. Textforce makes it fast and easy to seamlessly work interchangeably between iPhone, iPad and a PC, and to sync with Dropbox. There is an astounding number of editing tools and this latest major update adds Find/Edit function support, as well as easy, intuitive cursor moving.

For anyone who works with creating or editing documents, Textforce is the answer to a prayer. This text editor is not only packed to the rim with features that make editing and syncing a seamless experience; it allows users to work interchangeably between their iDevices and desktop computer.

That means that a user can create a document on their iPad, edit it on their iPhone then polish it up on their computer. Or the other way around, it doesn't matter which device is used because the application makes everything available for cloud computing. Documents are stored online, so users have access to them from anywhere at anytime. When an Internet connection is not available, there is an Offline Mode that still permits document work to be done.

Textforce not only comes with its own set of impressive tools (see features list) but it also allows users to sync smoothly with the Dropbox online storage site. There, users are able to edit and store their text files, with all data automatically saved instantly as they work. A free Dropbox account can be created through the Textforce app. Users are also able to open .txt files in Evernote and GoodReader.

This is just a partial list of the features offered in Textforce:

  • Easy, intuitive interface
  • Takes users to the cloud
  • Allows seamless linking to and working with Dropbox
  • Create free Dropbox account from Textforce
  • Allows interchangeable access between iPhone, iPad, PC
  • Open .txt files in Evernote or GoodReader
  • Supports text editing
  • Smooth, intuitive cursor movement on iPhone and iPad
  • Regular expression search and replacement
  • Displays character count
  • TextExpander allows insertion of predefined snippets
  • Supports character encoding; open files in Windows
  • View, edit and sync automatically when online
  • Work in Offline Mode
  • Bookmark and History functions for easy file retrieval
  • Auto save while editing data
  • Copy/email and copy/move text
  • Change settings
  • Find/replace support
  • Latest version includes File Move and Save As functions
  • On sale for only $1.99 until March 15, 2011; $3.99 thereafter

Impressive Textforce features seem to go on forever. Still, Domo Apps developers have added even more value in this latest update by introducing Find/Edit function support, as well as easy, intuitive cursor moving on the iPhone and iPad.

Until March 15th, Domo Apps is offering Textforce at two dollars off the regular price. The app can be downloaded for $1.99 but only until the 15th. After that, it returns to its regular selling price of $3.99.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
  • Requires iOS 4.0 or later
  • 2.1 MB

Textforce 2.0 is $1.99 until March 15, 2011 and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. Promo codes are available for qualified reviewers. Please specify the website or blog you represent when making your request.

Protection

Mini-mal Launches pic.me iPhone 4 Case

PR: Mini-mal, a cellphone case developer known for their compact multifunctional iPhone cases, has launched a preorder funding campaign for the iPhone 4 pic.me case on Kickstarter.com .

pic.me iPhone 4 CaseThe "pic.me" case is an iPhone 4 case with an integrated arm that allows for the multi-angle positioning of the iPhone in both the traditional "viewing mode" as well as the "video recording mode". The case adds the ability to take iPhone videos and photos without the need for a tripod.

When not in use the arm folds away completely, leaving the user with a traditionally designed protective iPhone case. The case caters towards a wide range of iPhone users; from those that utilize their phones for recording videos and taking photos, to those that are looking for a compact case that allows the iPhone to stand in multiple angles. The new case is designed to fit both the Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4s.

pic.me iPhone 4 CaseWe are very excited about the Kickstarter campaign and hope that we can garner enough support to make this case a reality. We believe the pic.me case is perfect for the everyday iPhone user who is looking for a sleek protective case, but would also like the added benefit having a multi-angle viewing and/or video recording stand when necessary. Its a great complement to the iPhone 4's many capabilities and features, including the HD camera, and high-res screen, spokesperson Joey Chun said.

The arm on the "pic.me" case can rotate over 270° and lock into 19 different positions.

Atomic Industries Releases the New Hybrid Composite iPhone 4 Case for Verizon and AT&T

Hybrid Composite iPhone 4 CasePR: Atomic has designed a styling new bumper style case for the new iPhone 4 that is made of CNC machined Billet Aluminum combined with a Graphite, Carbon & Delrin space age material that enhances the style of the iPhone 4 while creating a better protective grip. The ALL NEW new Hybrid Composite case by Atomic is signal, GPS, and data friendly unlike all aluminum cases while retaining the similar techno-sexy style.

Hybrid Composite iPhone 4 CaseThe Lake Tahoe based company was challenged to produce a bumper style case that helps with Apples original antenna band death grip issue. Shankar, industrial designer and VP of Atomic says he was compelled to create a solution to this media propagated issue while retaining a classy, elegant style.

"Most cases degrade signal to some extent, while all aluminum cases kill it," Shankar comments. "By creating this Hybrid Composite case, Atomic has addressed the demand of the aluminum look while using space age composite material to help signal penetration. Most users actually see an improvement of signal after the case is on. The case only weighs 15 grams so it feels as if there is no case on. The case is available in a matte black or matte white composite frame coupled with a CNC machined aircraft grade aluminum cap. The aluminum part is electroplated in a choice of 10 different colors."

Hybrid Composite iPhone 4 CaseThe Hybrid Composite case will hit major electronics stores nationwide soon, but can also be purchased on their website.

The price of such an advanced case for the iPhone 4 does not come cheap. Expect to pay almost $80.00 for this case and add more if you want a true carbon fiber back plate for you carbon fiber fanatics. Verizon iPhone 4, as well as AT&T iPhone 4 users have thousands of cases to chose from, but if you want to retain or enhance the style of the iPhone 4, not worrying about signal or GPS issues, the Atomic Hybrid Composite Case is one to consider.

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