Nokia HERE Maps now available for iOS devices

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Nov 202012

Apple Maps got some competition in the App Store today and it’s not from Google. It comes instead from Nokia’s Here Maps app which is now available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (iOS 4.3 or later).

HERE Maps helps you feel like a local anywhere you go. See where you are, search and discover nearby places, and get a feel for the place. Collect places to remember or for later discovery. Explore new destinations and know instantly how to get there on foot, by car or on public transport. HERE Maps is based on the world-class NAVTEQ mapping data used in 90% of in-car navigation systems in the world.

Nokia HERENokia HERE

Among the features that Nokia HERE Maps offers are:

  • Map views – Pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view or satellite view
  • Save map areas & wander without data coverage
  • In selected countries, access community maps created and updated by users
  • Search with history and suggestions
  • Share places with just a tap, including the location and how to get there, over SMS, email, or social networks
  • Organize places you love into Collections
  • Sync with – Access your Collections anywhere
  • Step-by-Step voice-guided walk navigation
  • Walk navigation through pedestrian routes, parks, alleyways, and more
  • Public transportation and driving directions

Nokia HERE Maps is available in the Apple App store as a free download.

Next-generation iPad and iPhone coming mid-2013?

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Nov 192012

AppleRumours last week suggested that Apple would launch its next iPhone smartphone (the iPhone 5S?) and iPad tablet as early as the first half of 2013. These gained steam today with a report by Digitimes that “market observers” expected many of Apple’s component suppliers to see rising component orders starting in late Q1, suggesting that Apple could unveil its next-generation iPad and iPhone devices as early as mid-2013.

The report suggests that Apple could be looking to accelerate its release cycles. It launched the iPhone 5 in September and the fourth-generation iPad in October along with the new iPad mini [product information]. The faster releases may help it better compete against competitors such as Samsung which refresh their device lineups more often. It may also simply be looking to spread out its release schedule instead of having a very busy fall release cycle this past September and October.

The report sheds no light on what we can expect to see with the new iPhone or iPad. If Apple is working on the iPhone 5S, it may be a very similar device with only a number of relatively minor component upgrades.

The report also indicates that both contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) are now on Apple’s list of suppliers.

If nothing else, the iPhone and iPad rumours were not dormant for long!

Read more: Digitimes

Apple to launch iPhone 5S in mid-2013?

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Nov 122012

AppleApple may launch a new iPhone model as soon as early next year. According to the Chinese-language China Times, Apple will introduce a new iPhone along with a new iPad, and Apple TV device sometime in the first half of the year. The iPhone 5S could launch first and be followed by a new iPad about a quarter later.

Production of the iPhone 5S could start sometime in December with initial runs of between 50,000 and 100,000 units. Volume production would then follow sometime in Q1 2013.

Little is known about the iPhone 5S but if Apple follows past naming patterns, the new S model will come with a number of small component upgrades but will sport the same design as the Apple iPhone 5.

Production challenges of its current iPhone 5 and iPads appears to be the reason that Apple is accelerating the certification and deployment of new devices.

Read more: Digitimes and China Times (in Chinese) [Google translation]

Weekend fun: Angry Birds Star Wars now available

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Nov 092012

In case you missed it, Rovio yesterday released Angry Birds Star Wars. Over 80 levels, the Rebel Birds will battle against the evil Imperial Pigs across a number of settings including Tattoine and the Pig Star using a number of Star Wars-inspired capabilities such as light sabers and blasters.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a group of desperate rebel birds faced off against a galactic menace: the Empire’s evil Pigtroopers!

Rebel birds, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Imperial Pigs. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the PIG STAR, and are racing to deliver the plans to the Rebel Birds. Now they need your help!

Angry Birds Star Wars

If there were concerns that the Angry Birds franchise was getting tired, the latest installment topped the US iOS App Store chart within 2.5 hours of its release.

Angry Birds Star Wars is available for a number of platforms including:

May the birds be with you!

Rovio shows off more Angry Birds Star Wars gameplay

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Nov 052012

Rovio today released a second video (first video) showing off the gameplay of its upcoming Angry Birds Star Wars game. Not only have our favourite birds been turned into Star Wars characters but they also have their abilities. Red Angry Bird Skywalker wields a mean lightsaber and Yellow Bird Solo is quite handy with his blaster. Even R2-D2 is there!

Angry Birds Star Wars will be out on November 8, but until then, watch this gameplay trailer and scream “OH MY GOODNESS!!!!” to yourself in the mirror. Repeatedly.

Gameplay combines elements from both the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds games. Different levels will take you to places like Tattooine and the Death Star.

Angry Birds Star Wars will launch on November 8,th for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

May the birds be with you!

Read more: Rovio [via YouTube]

Android makes inroads in tablet market in Q3 2012

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Nov 052012

The tablet market continued to show strong growth in Q3 2012. Shipments reached 27.8 million units, a 49.5% growth over the same quarter a year ago and 6.7% over Q2 2012. Apple continued to dominate despite slowing sales (tied in part to anticipation for the iPad mini). Android made strong gains thanks in large part to Samsung and ASUS.

“After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC. “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini’s relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”

Here are the full numbers:

Vendor 3Q12 Shipments 3Q12 Market Share 3Q11 Shipments 3Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Apple 14.0 50.4% 11.1 59.7% 26.1%
Samsung 5.1 18.4% 1.2 6.5% 325.0% 2.5 9.0% NA NA NA
ASUS 2.4 8.6% 0.7 3.8% 242.9%
Lenovo 0.4 1.4% 0.2 1.1% 100%
Others 3.3 12.2% 5.4 28.9% -38.9%
All vendors 27.8 100.0% 18.6 100.0% 49.5%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, November 5, 2012 (preliminary data)

The next few quarters will be interesting to watch. Apple has now launched its iPad mini (and fourth-generation iPad) and tablets powered by Microsoft’s new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems are also now hitting the market.

Read more: IDC

Apple sells 3 million new iPads in first three days

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Nov 052012

Apple iPad miniApple began selling both the iPad 4 and iPad mini this past Friday. Not surprisingly, their debut weekend was strong with three million iPads being sold over the past three days. A breakout of how many iPad minis were sold was not provided though.

“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We’re working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”

Interestingly, Apple found itself in the rare position of being “practically sold out of iPad minis” rather than fully sold out as it more traditionally has been with other product launches. Was demand more muted than it expected or was it able to get more supply out in time for the launch?

One thing is for sure: Apple can claim yet another successful product launch!

Read more: Apple

Android takes 75% share of smartphone market in Q3 2012

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Nov 032012

Google Android
According to the latest numbers from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Google Android shipped on an incredible three out of every four smartphones in Q3 2012. Year-over-year shipments increased 91.5% to account for 136 million units out of the toal 181.1 million smartphones shipped in the quarter.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

Apple iOS was a distant second but still recorded an impressive 57.3% year-over-year growth despite being represented by only three models. The only other OS to show growth was the combination of Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile with the former driving the majority of that growth. With a promising lineup, it will be interesting to see if Windows Phone 8 can help Microsoft increase its market share further.

Here are the complete numbers:

Operating System 3Q12 Shipment Volumes 3Q12 Market Share 3Q11 Shipment Volumes 3Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Android 136.0 75.0% 71.0 57.5% 91.5%
iOS 26.9 14.9% 17.1 13.8% 57.3%
BlackBerry 7.7 4.3% 11.8 9.5% -34.7%
Symbian 4.1 2.3% 18.1 14.6% -77.3%
Windows Phone 7 / Windows Mobile 3.6 2.0% 1.5 1.2% 140%
Linux 2.8 1.5% 4.1 3.3% -31.7%
Others 0.0 0.0% 0.1 0.1% -100%
Totals 181.1 100.0% 123.7 100.0% 46.4%
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012

It remains clear that this is still a two horse race with Microsoft and RIM with its upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS to fight it out for third.

Read more: IDC

Apple releases iOS 6.0.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

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Nov 012012

AppleApple today released iOS 6.0.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It is a maintenance release addressing a number of bugs. According to the changelog, it fixes the following:

  • Fixes a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air.
  • Fixes a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause camera flash to not go off.
  • Improves reliability of iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation) when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks.
  • Resolves an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances.
  • Consolidated the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match.
  • Fixes a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen.
  • Fixes a bug affecting Exchange meetings.

Because of the OTA update bug, iPhone 5 users will need to download the new Software Updater in order to then download iOS 6.0.1.

Apple iOS 6.1, a more significant update, is expected to follow after the holidays.

Read more: AppleInsider

Video: First look at Angry Birds Star Wars gameplay

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Oct 302012

Rovio today released a short video that gives us our first glimpse at what we can expect in Angry Birds Star Wars.

Say hello to Luke and Leia! Red Bird and Pink Bird have gotten an epic transformation with all new powers and settings. Grab your Lightsaber and get ready for an intergalactic adventure through iconic locations like Tatooine, the Death Star, and beyond!

Angry Birds Star Wars will launch on November 8th for iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

Read more: Rovio

Weekend fun: Grand Theft Auto III on sale and Vice City coming soon to Android and iOS

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Oct 282012

Can you believe that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is ten years old? Rockstar Games, the studio behind the game, marked its 10th birthday on Friday by announcing that they will be releasing an Anniversary Edition of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for select iOS and Android devices later this fall.

This upcoming version will bring the full experience to mobile devices, featuring native high-resolution graphics and several enhancements unique to the iOS and Android platforms. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead including a list of compatible iOS and Android devices.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Rockstar will also release a series of commemorative assets, including never-before-seen artwork and a brand new anniversary trailer highlighting some of the most iconic scenes and music from the game. A number of collectable promotional items will also be available through its online store and online giveaways.

It is also marking the event by selling the year older Grand Theft Auto III for only CA$0.99 on the Google Play Store and Apple Store for a limited time.

Read more: Rockstar Games, Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Oct 242012

Square today announced that it has launched in Canada, marking its first expansion outside of the U.S. It offers a mobile credit card payment solution that consists of the free Mobile Card Reader and Square Register app. With the reader plugged into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, anyone can now safely and securely accept credit card payments.

“We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive,” said Alyssa Cutright, VP of International for Square. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”

Square mobile card reader

Square charges a flat transaction fee of 2.75% per swipe (for Visa and MasterCard), with no hidden fees. Funds from swiped payments are typically available the next business day.

Square is not the first company to offer such a solution in Canada. For example, both Intuit and Moneris offer similar solutions.

Read more: Square

Apple announces fourth generation iPad with faster A6X processor

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Oct 232012

Apple iPadAlong with the new iPad mini, Apple unveiled its fourth generation iPad. It features a number of upgrades over its predecessor, including a faster A6X processor which promises “up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip.” Other improvements include LTE connectivity, a FaceTime HD camera, improved wireless connectivity, and a new Lightning Dock.

Like the iPad mini, the new fourth-generation iPad will be available on November 2nd. It will sell for CA/US$499 for the 16GB model, CA/US$599 for the 32GB model and CA/US$699 for the 64GB model. Wi-Fi + Cellular models are CA/US$130 more.

Read more: Apple

Apple announces iPad mini tablet

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Oct 232012

Apple iPad miniAs expected, Apple today unveiled the iPad mini, the smaller sibling to the iPad. Featuring a 7.9-inch display, it is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad.

“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”

Apple iPad mini specifications:

  • Processor: Dual-core A5
  • Operating system: Apple iOS 6
  • Cellular connectivity (Wi-Fi model): None
  • Cellular connectivity (A1454): LTE/HSPA+/EDGE
  • Cellular connectivity (A1455): LTE/HSPA+/CDMA EV-DO/EDGE
  • Other connectivity: GPS/GLONASS (on cellular models), 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS XGA (1024×768)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory:
  • Storage: 16, 32, or 64GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector
  • Battery:
  • Dimensions / weight: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 millimeters / 308 grams
  • Colours: Black & slate or White & silver

The iPad mini will go on sale on November 2nd. Wi-Fi models will sell for CA/US$329 (16GB), CA/US$429 (32GB), and CA/US$529 (64GB). The iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will follow “a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models.” It will sell for CA/US$459 (16GB), CA/US$559 (32GB), and CA/US$659 (64GB). Pre-orders begin on October 26th.

Read more: Apple

Apple to stream today’s event via Apple TV (Updated)

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Oct 232012

AppleIf you own an Apple TV, you will be able to watch a live stream of the event the company is holding today. A new application called “Apple Events” has been added. Clicking on it gives users a message asking them “tune in at 10 a.m. PT on October 23 to watch this event live.”

Apple is widely expected to announce the iPad mini tablet at today’s event. It could also announce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and a refresh to its Mac Mini.

We will have all the details of today’s event later today so stay tuned.

Update: Better news: Apple will stream the event to iOS and Mac devices (Safari 4 or later on Mac OS X v10.6 or later; Safari on iOS 4.2 or later required). Non-Apple devices appear to be out of luck though.

Read more: Apple and CNET