iNews Review

iOS Updates Address Location Database Controversy, USB Keyboard for Mac and iPhone, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.05.10

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.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

The Competition

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

iOS Updates Address Location Database Controversy

There has been a lot of controversy over the iPhone maintaining a location database for 10 months. Although Apple has assured us that the data is only used to determine your location more quickly than GPS and that it cannot track individuals, the fact that this data is not encrypted is cause for concern.

See Fuss Over iPhone User-Tracking Information a Tempest in a Teapot for more on this subject.

With iOS updates released last week, the cache is much smaller and no longer backed up to your Mac or PC when you sync to iTunes. Also, the entire cache is wiped if you disable Location Services.

iOS 4.3.3 Software Update for GSM iPhones, iPad, and iPod touch

The iOS 4.3.3 Software Update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including:

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off

This update is available via iTunes.

System Requirements

  • Mac or PC computer with USB 2.0 port
  • iTunes 10.1 or later (10.2 recommended)

Products compatible with this software update:

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

iOS 4.2.8 Software Update for CDMA iPhone

iOS 4.2.8 Software Update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including:

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off

Products compatible with this software update: iPhone 4 (CDMA model)

System Requirements: iPhone 4 (CDMA model)

'Perfect iPad Companion' Coming from Seagate

The Register's Chris Mellor reports that Seagate says it's going to announce a somewhat mysterious "perfect companion" for iPads and other tablets later this month.

While Seagate is keeping its cards close to its chest while coyly teasing speculators, given the company's product focus it is a reasonable deduction that the "perfect companion" will be a storage drive of some sort, perhaps an iPad-supporting addition to Seagate's GoFlex external drive family. However, Mellor cautions that he can't see the app providing drag-and-drop file transfer from iPad to external drive media, because there's no file/folder view of resources on the iPad.

Publisher's note: I can think of no better iPad/iPhone/iPod touch companion than a portable backup device that doesn't require a Mac or PC running iTunes to back up your apps, files, and preferences. We should know soon what Seagate has planned. dk

Americans Unwilling to Pay for Online News

AppScout says:

"Bad news, New York Times: A recent Adweek/Harris Poll found that 80 percent of people said they wouldn't be willing to pay anything to read a daily newspaper's content online. Apparently Americans have gotten the taste of 'free' and they like it."

E-readers Slowly Eating into Market for Printed Books

Cult of Mac's Ed Sutherland identifies more signs that the pad may be overtaking paper as the preferred way readers get their literary fix, citing a survey by iSuppli predicting that e-books will grow at an annual rate of more than 40% between 2010 and 2014 while traditional printed book sales are predicted to fall 5% during the same interval.

iPad Changing the Way We Search?

iPad CTO's bfrench says that a #1 Google result is much less significant in the touchscreen environment. In fact, the top spot gets only 20% of overall Google traffic - still by far the biggest chunk, but lower than the 34% that the #1 spot gets for overall desktop traffic.

Create an Apple ID in iTunes Account without a Credit Card

Lifehacker's Matthew Rogers notes that people often get confused when they go to create an Apple ID in iTunes, only to find that a credit card is required to proceed. However, there is a workaround.

What To Do When Your iPhone Falls in the Drink

MacNewsWorld's Jesse Herman warns that if you take your smartphone with you everywhere you go, you may one day find yourself rescuing it from a puddle or fishing it out of the bottom of a pool - but don't panic. While water damage is a bad thing, if you take the right steps - either on your own or by turning it over to a trusted professional - your phone, iPod, or tablet can likely be repaired.

The Competition

Will Your Next Tablet Be Amazon Branded?

DigiTimes' Yenting Chen and Joseph Tsai report that Taiwan-based notebook maker and longtime Apple subcontractor (since the second generation WallStreet PowerBook in 1988) Quanta Computer has recently received OEM orders from Amazon for a new tablet PC, according to sources from upstream component makers

The article says that Quanta is expected to start shipping as soon as the second half of 2011, and that in addition to Amazon, Quanta is currently also the tablet PC OEM partner of RIM and Sony - and also hopes to land orders from the Lenovo for its second-generation LePad.

DigiTimes says that while Amazon's Kindle still sells well in North America and Europe, it's been unable to break through elsewhere, and Amazon wants a tablet PC to boost sales of its software and content resources - and to challenge Apple's iPad 2.

Since Amazon has no OS of its own, the Amazon tablet will presumably use some species of Android.

Barnes & Noble Planning May 24 Launch of New E-reader iPad Competitor

AppleInsider's Josh Ong reports:

"Bookseller Barnes & Noble revealed in an SEC filing Wednesday that the company plans to announce a new e-reader device on May 24th, creating yet another competitor to Apple's iPad."

Only Minor Differences Between Motorola Xoom and Acer Iconia Tab

CrunchGear's Matt Burns compares Motorola's Xoom and Acer's Iconia Tab, both Android Honeycomb based tablets. He says they are indistinguishable from each other save for a few minor specification differences and a more substantial price difference - $150.

The main distinctions are:

  • Iconia Tab comes with more quality apps
  • Xoom feels higher-end but not as nice
  • Iconia has a working microSD card slot and USB port
  • Xoom supports more media formats

Apps & Services

Free Life Mobile Updated for iPad

Life Mobile for iPadPR: Life for iPad is a spectacular experience: Life's legendary photo collection at a never-before-seen resolution. Download the free app to explore Life's vast archives, up-to-the-minute news photos, and special features not available anywhere else.

  • View high definition (HD) photo galleries featuring this enormous collection of professional, endless fascinating, and historically significant photography.
  • Immerse yourself in the map-based Life Explorer view that allows you to find photos based on where they were taken.
  • "Email", "Facebook", and "Twitter" buttons allow you to easily send Life photos to friends or post them to your favorite social networks.
  • Take millions of high-resolution photos with you everywhere you go.
  • Travel through this app by swiping side-to-side or using the interactive filmstrip mode.

Life Mobile for iPadVisit Life.com: Life.com is the largest collection of professional and archival photography available online, providing users with access to a visual cascade of news, celebrities, travel, and classic photography. Combining more than 10 million contemporary and archival photographs, and featuring galleries curated with Life.com's unique point-of-view, Life.com is the online consumer destination to see the world in pictures. Life also has iPhone, Wallpaper apps, and the first illustrated book on the iPad.

New in Version 1.1

  • New user-enabled functionality matches your location to relevant galleries on Life Explorer
  • Added in-app links to Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and EULA
  • Added Skip This Ad button for advertisements

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later

Free

There is also a version for the iPhone and iPod touch.

MoleskineMoleskine Free Moleskine Note Taking and Sketching App

PR: The official Moleskine App for iPhone and iPad allows you to express your creativity through text, images and sketches. Pick a classic Moleskine notebook paper style, create a new thought and start to type or draw choosing amongst different colors and sizes. Once you are done with your thought, you can store it on your device and make edits whenever you want.

Don't forget to map your thought by adding a geo-tag and share it with your friends via the most popular social networks or email.

Think, type, and draw. Giving shape to what's in your mind has never been so easy.

Features:

  • MoleskinePick a Moleskine notebook paper style: plain, ruled, squared
  • Write and edit a text note
  • Sketching tool
  • Insert and play with your personal images
  • Catalogue as many memories as you want with a full range of categories
  • Play with images provided by Moleskine
  • Geo-tag each note created and create a virtual map of your memories
  • Share your notes with friends through email or social networks

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later

Free

SizeMyBike 2.0: Free Bike Fitting App

PR: SizeMyBike.com has released SizeMyBike 2.0 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. SizeMyBike is the first iPhone bike fitting app. Essential to choose the right bike size and improve your position!

Define your morphology with six body measures, and SizeMyBike will compute the optimal geometry of your road bike or your mountain bike. Getting the correct fit on your bike is an important step to prevent pain and injury, increase comfort, and achieve your best performance.

This new update is a major one, incorporating a number of new features and improvements:

  • Fit your road bike as you ride: comfort or performance
  • Fit your MTB as you ride: Xcountry or All Mountain
  • Road bike: computation of the top tube length and the stem length
  • MTB: computation of the saddle setback and the crank length
  • Multiple user management
  • Export results to PDF file

"We are proud and excited to propose a new kind of bike fitting based on cycling multiple disciplines. Don't ride your bike as the fitting but fit your bike as you ride! We know that Tim Cook is a cycling enthusiast. We hope that he will like the app", says the dev team. "Need to share the fitting with Bike Shop or team mates? Email your bike measurements well fitted by SizeMyBike."

The new release also features new branding and an enhanced design.

This major update to SizeMyBike is available for free in the App Store for app's owners.

Device Requirements:

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

SizeMyBike 2.0 is $4.99 and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Sports category. Promo codes are available for qualified reviewers.

Beautiful Israel Brings Holy Land Vistas to iPhone and iPad

Beautiful Israel appPR: Davka Corporation announces the release of Beautiful Israel 1.0, a collection of 125 vibrant, high-quality wallpaper images highlighting the natural beauty and magnificence of the Holy Land. Stunning mountain vistas, lush wildflowers, rushing streams, ripening fruits - all are shown in this spectacular collection of extraordinary photos.

Israel is a country of varied geography, including four different geographical zones and a range of climates, and Beautiful Israel covers it all, from the snowcapped mountains of the north to the desert majesty of southern Israel. Beautiful Israel captures the natural beauty of mountains, valleys, desert, and woodland, as well as its rich variety of plants and produce. Of particular note are the images of species that have been grown there since Biblical times, such as olives, pomegranates, grapes and wheat, as well as numerous varieties of wildflowers, all shown in brilliant color.

Beautiful Israel brings the awe-inspiring magnificence of the Holy Land to your iOS device. Users can browse through the entire collection of HD photographs or view images by specific region. All of the images are included in the app itself, and no additional downloads are required. The images used in Beautiful Israel are the work of award-winning photographer Yehoshua Halevi.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 3.2 or later (iOS 4.0 Tested)
  • 259 MB

Beautiful Israel 1.0 is $2.99 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category.

OCRKit: The Simple and Streamlined OCR Solution for Mac and iPhone

PR: ExactCODE GmbH have released the next updates of the Mac version of OCRKit as well as the relating equivalent OCRKit Mobile for iPhone. ExactCODE continues commitment to the development and research of advanced recognition and digital image processing. The update vastly improves OCR recognition, accuracy and stability and improves layout recognition as well as the output of special characters to PDF and RTF. The Mac OS X version includes several user interface improvements.

OCRKit is the OCR engine of the award-winning ExactScan Pro. ExactScan Pro is popular for being a modern and easy to use Mac OS X scanning solution with built-in drivers for over 200 document scanners. ExactCODE continues to provide automated and intelligent document processing solutions for Mac OS X.

New in OCRKit 1.7:

  • Added new OCR language, Finnish
  • Improved OCR, especially for certain colorized material and camera photos
  • Improved layout recognition for RTF output
  • Improved user-interface

Key Features of OCRKit 1.7

  • OCR engine supports 25 Languages
  • Searchable PDF
  • Multipage documents
  • Advanced layout recognition for RTF, HTML and TXT files
  • 8 Import formats
  • 4 Output formats
  • AppleScript support
  • Several user-interface translations

New in OCRKit Mobile 2.1

  • Vastly Improved OCR Recognition, Accuracy and Stability
  • Added new OCR language, Finnish

Key Features of OCRKit Mobile 2.1

  • OCR Engine supports 25 Languages
  • Editable history
  • Editable recognized text with copy & paste functionality
  • Processes images from the camera or photo library
  • Supports iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

OCRKit 1.7 is available for $59.90/49,90EUR.

OCRKit Mobile 2.1 is on sale for $4.99/3,99EUR in the iTunes Store.

Availability of the updates in iTunes depends on Apple's approval and may be delayed a few days.

Accessories

WOW-Keys Full-Size QWERTY Keyboard a Perfect Bridge Between iPhone and Mac

Wow-KeysPR: CompuExpert, a division of Digital Interactive Systems Corp., has announced the Wow-Keys, a full-size QWERTY keyboard for the iPhone that also serves as a docking device for syncing and charging. Created by Omnio Technologies, the Wow-Keys provides the ideal bridge between your iPhone and PC or Mac computer.

12 iPhone hotkeys"The iPhone is portable and powerful, but entering or extracting a lot of data can be awkward and time-consuming," says said CompuExpert's president Ammar Adra. "The Wow-Keys gives your smartphone access to the power and multitasking capabilities of the computer, and lets your computer take advantage of many of the cool iPhone apps."

With its laptop-style soft keys, the Wow-Keys allows you to input text comfortably and efficiently into your iPhone, or input commands from the iPhone to the computer via the touchpad. Swap between modes quickly with the touch of a button, and execute common tasks via 12 iPhone hotkeys.

Wow-Keys

The Wow-Keys charges your device via USB, and also syncs with iTunes. The keyboard can also be used with an iPod, and it supports Windows, Mac and iOS 4.x operating systems.

The Wow-Keys is expected to be available at retail on May 24, 2011 at a suggested price of $99.99.

Publisher's note: There is no indication on the website or PDF data sheet whether this is a USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 device. dk

SD/SDHC/TF/MS/M2 Card Reader for iPad

PR: This Connection Kit will make uploading pictures to your iPad easy. It comes with slots for TF, SD (SDHC), MS, M2, and three additional USB ports as a USB hub.

SD/SDHC/TF/MS/M2 Card Reader for iPadFeatures:

  • Made uploading pictures (from DCIM folder) to your iPad easy.
  • Support most Memory Cards in the market
  • As a USB Hub for connecting keyboards or Camera (DC)

This accessory is suitable for (compatible with):

  • Made uploading pictures (from DCIM folder) to your iPad easy.
  • Supports most Memory Cards in the market
  • As a USB Hub for connecting keyboards or Camera (DC)

Package Contents:

  • SD/SDHC/TF/MS/M2 Card Reader for iPad x 1
  • USB Power cable x 1

Notes:

  • Requires the Camera, Memory Cards to have a DCIM folder for iPad to read.
  • Requires external Power supplies, there will be a power cable included but no included power adapter

$38.99

Caze Polka Dot Case for White iPhone 4

PR: Polka dots fashion has been around for many years and once again it is returning as a hot trend for Spring/Summer 2011. Polka dots are one of those prints that will never go out of fashion, and Caze has announced their colorful a Spring/Summer 2011 iPhone case collection. Caze created some head turning polka dot style cases with matching home button stickers for iPhone 4. Along with polka dots, animal prints including Leopard and Zebra are also highlight of its Spring/Summer iPhone case collection.

Caze Duetto Polka Dot Case for White iPhoneAfter ten months of delays, Apple finally released the long-awaited White iPhone 4. Caze is just in time to launch its new case collection for this new phone. The collection includes two sets of products: Duetto case-back Polka Dot and Duetto case-back Zebra & Leopard. Caze Spring/Summer 2011 collection features a changeable back plate structure and a matching home button sticker.

The Duetto case-back Polka Dot offers a black background with white polka dots back plate and a hot pink background with white dots back plate while the Duetto case-back Zebra & Leopard features a Leopard back plate and a Zebra back plate. To make the dressed iPhone more outstanding, each set provides a home button sticker that matches with the style of the back plates.

The case is a bit raised to protect your screen from further scratches when laid on a flat surface. Each package comes with a bumper and two back plates and a home button sticker printed in fashionable Polka dots or zebra stripes and leopard spots. To ensure all-around protection, the package also comes with a free screen protection kit (front & back films) for added shield.

If you love polka dots and animal print designs and looking for stylist case for your new white iPhone 4, then you might want to consider Caze 2011 Spring/Summer collection. You can order now at iPhoneCaze official website.

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