Apple sends out October 23rd event invitations

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Oct 162012

Apple has begun to send out invitations to its next event. As usual, the invitation reveals little but is widely expected to be the event at which Apple will unveil its iPad mini. With the tagline “We’ve got a little more to show you,” it seems like a good bet.

Apple October 23rd event invitation

The Apple iPad mini has been the topic of rumours for months. It should be out for the busy holiday season.

The event will take place in California at 1000 PT (1300 ET). Stay tuned – We’ll have all the details for you.

Read more: The Verge

Apple to unveil iPad mini at October 23 event?

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Oct 122012

AppleOctober 10th came and went without the expected Apple invitations, putting into question an October 17th event. Speculation suggests that production issues may have caused Apple to push the launch back. It now appears that if the event was in fact delayed, it will not be for long. Citing “people familiar with Apple’s plans,” AllThingsD reports that the event will take place on Tuesday October 23rd.

The report does not provide further details but suggests that the event will be held at Apple’s own Town Hall Auditorium (located on its main campus) where it has already unveiled a number of products including the iPhone 4S.

It remains unclear when the iPad mini will actually launch. If a similar schedule is followed as for the iPhone 5, pre-orders could start later that week with a launch to follow in early November.

Read more: AllThingsD

Angry Birds Star Wars coming to Android and iOS on November 8th

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Oct 082012

Angry Birds and Star Wars are joining forces! Rovio today announced a new partnership with Lucasfilm that will see them “combine all the fun of the classic Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space with the characters, stories and settings of the epic space fantasy, Star Wars.” Get ready for Angry Birds Star Wars! Red Bird Luke Skywalker, Han Solo Yellow Bird, and the rest of the gang take on the Empire of the Pigs.

Angry Birds Star Wars
Click for a larger version

“This is the best Angry Birds game we’ve ever done. It’s the best parts of Angry Birds with all new cutting-edge gameplay set in in a galaxy far, far away,” said Peter Vesterbacka, the Mighty Eagle and CMO of Rovio. “As a big Star Wars fan myself, I’m really excited about this new universe. The Force is definitely strong with this one.”

The launch of the game will be accompanied by a merchandising push offering everything from Halloween costumes and apparel to action figures and collectible plush toys.

The game will be available on iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, Windows Phone and Windows 8. While the game will launch on November 8th, retailers will start carrying related merchandise on October 28th.

Read more: Rovio

Apple to announce iPad mini on October 17th?

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Oct 012012

AppleEven before Apple failed to announce the iPad mini at its September 12th event, rumours had suggested that the smaller iPad sibling would get its own event in October. We may now have some dates for that event. According to a major Apple investor who says he’s heard it from “multiple sources,” Apple will begin to send out invitations on October 10th with the event likely scheduled for a week later on October 17th.

If the recent iPhone 5 launch schedule is an indication, the iPad mini would go up for pre-orders on October 19th with the launch taking place as soon as a week later (October 26th) or the first week in November.

Fortune’s source is only sure of the October 10th date. We’ll have to see then what the other dates look like, assuming that the rumour is true in the first place.

The smaller 7.85-inch iPad mini will likely sport Apple’s new Lightning connector and thinner bezels.

Read more: Fortune (Source: BGR)

Weekend fun: Rovio’s Bad Piggies now available for Android and iOS

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Sep 282012

Rovio yesterday released Bad Piggies, its first Angry Birds spinoff. This time, the Pigs are the protagonists in a game that combines elements of both the Angry Bird franchise and Amazing Alex.

The Bad Piggies are after the eggs again — but as usual, nothing is going according to plan! Can you create the ultimate flying machine and steer them safely to their destination? Those tricky pigs have a few objects they can use, but they need your help to turn these into the perfect transportation!

The game features 60 levels with an additional 30 to be unlocked by three-starring levels. There is even an “ultra-special, ultra-secret, ultra-difficult sandbox level.” Over 30 objects, including motors, wings, and bottle rockets, can be used to create driving and flying machines.

Bad Piggies is free for Android devices in both standard and HD versions and CA$0.99 for iOS devices. In-app payments will get you the help of the Mechanic Pig who will build your vehicles if you get stuck.

Read more: Google Play (Standard), Google Play (HD), and iTunes

MTS, NorthernTel and SaskTel launch Apple iPhone 5 today

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Sep 282012

Apple iPhone 5The Apple iPhone 5 launched last week in Canada with the Big Three national carriers and their flanker brands. Today, it’s the turn of three regional carriers to launch it. Apple’s latest smartphone is now also available from NorthernTel, MTS and SaskTel.

As expected, prices are in line with those of other carriers: The 16GB model starts at CA$179, the 32GB at CA$279, and the 64GB for CA$379, all with three-year contracts.

Interestingly, MTS lists the LTE-enabled Apple iPhone 5 as compatible with its HSPA+ network despite having launched its LTE network this week.

Read more: MTS, NorthernTel, and SaskTel

Apple CEO apologizes for Maps app issues and suggests alternatives

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Sep 282012

AppleApple’s new Maps app has been widely criticized since its launch in iOS 6 due to inaccuracies and bugs. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has now published an open letter in which he recognizes that its new mapping application does not live up to the usual standards associated with Apple:

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

Cook added that Apple is “doing everything we can to make Maps better.” He also took the unusual step of suggesting other options that users could look into:

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Kudos to Apple for the frank response to this issue…

Read more: Apple

Apple iPhone 5 sales top 5 million in debut weekend

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Sep 242012

Apple iPhone 5Apple today announced that it had sold over 5 million iPhone 5 smartphones over its debut weekend. It went on sale on Friday morning with the usual customer lineups.

“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”

Apple’s iPhone 5 debut weekend surpassed that of the iPhone 4S which saw sales of 4 million devices about a year ago. Its pre-orders had already surpassed those of the iPhone 4S a week earlier.

Apple also announced that more than than 100 million iOS devices have already been updated with iOS 6. That amounts to roughly 25% of all iOS devices sold to date.

Read more: Apple

Motorola pokes fun at Apple Maps in latest ad

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Sep 222012

That Apple will improve its new iOS 6 Maps app over time is not in question. But until it does, its competitors will see its current troubles as one of the few chinks in Apple’s armour. Case in point is Motorola’s latest ad:

Looking for 315 E 15th in Manhattan? Google Maps on DROID RAZR M will get you there & not #iLost in Brooklyn.

Motorola iLost RAZR M ad
Click for a larger version

Mapping software is now a standard feature on smartphones. For the first time in what seems like a long time, Apple has given its competitors something that they can use to sway buyers from one device to another. It will not be enough on its own it but could could be that little bit extra needed to tip more than one decision away from Apple.

Food for thought: Is it time to coin the term ‘MapsGate’ to describe Apple’s latest public relations nightmare?

Read more: Motorola [via Google+]

Apple rolls out iPhone 5 ads

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Sep 222012

Along with yesterday’s iPhone 5 launch, Apple has launched a series of new ads focusing on its latest smartphone. Three of the four videos focus on the new features introduced while the last focuses on Apple’s new EarPods.

The tone of the ads is a bit less serious than previous Apple ads.

Do you like the new ads?

Read more: Apple

iOS 6 Google Maps app in the works?

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Sep 212012

Google MapsThere may be hope for iOS 6 users struggling with Apple’s new Maps app. UK’s The Guardian reports that Google is working on a new Google Maps app to replace the one that Apple removed in the latest version of its mobile operating system. The report is light on details but Google will presumably repackage it as an iOS 6-compatible app and submit it to the App Store for users to download if they so wish.

Google Maps was not the only Google application Apple removed from iOS 6. Also gone is the YouTube app but it a new version now available in the App Store for the iPhone (with an iPad version coming a bit later). It makes sense that Google would take the same route with its ampping application.

Until Google Maps is available in the App Store, users can still use Google Maps in their browsers.

The report provides no timeline as to when the new app might be ready. But a rumour that Google had already submitted the app for approval and that Apple had yet to approve it appears to be incorrect. The very reliable The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple, had a simple comment on this bit of news: “Nope.”

iOS 6 is the first version of iOS not to feature Google Maps preinstalled.

Read more: The Guardian and The Loop

Apple responds to mounting complaints about iOS 6 Maps app

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Sep 202012

One of the new features in iOS 6 is not generating the usual level of praise that meets major iOS updates. In fact, Apple’s Maps application is turning into an embarrassment for the company as users report a litany of issues with the new app. As an example, here is Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport:

Toronto Airport in iOS 6 Maps
Click for a larger version

While users may have forgiven that some features are unavailable (such as transit-based directions) in this first version, it’s quite another matter when major landmarks go missing, search results are widely inaccurate, and fly-over maps present abstract interpretations. Even more unfortunate is that Apple replaced Google Maps with its new app.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller today provided the following statement to AllThingsD:

“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

Apple probably should have stuck a ‘beta’ label on its app for now or simply kept it away from customers’ iPhones until it’s ready. Instead, it is now left with a public relations mess.

While Apple is “working hard” to improve its Maps app, have a look at some of its more humorous errors at The Amazing iOS 6 Maps.

Read more: AllThingsD

Video compares Apple iPad mini to larger iPad

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Sep 192012

Apple may not have announced its iPad mini yet but full-scale models are now on sale in China for about USD$16. GizChina has gotten their hands on one and have put together the following video overview of the upcoming tablet:

The video and picture below includes quick size comparisons to the iPhone 4S and iPad to give us a better sense of the size of the 7.85-inch iPad mini.

Rumoured iPad mini compared to iPad and iPhone 4S

Models such as this one are supposed to allow accessory makers to prepare their products. As such, they should be accurate reproductions of the device’s physical size and characteristics even if they don’t work.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPad mini at an event in October.

Read more: GizChina (Source: BGR)

Reminder: Apple iOS 6 upgrade available today

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Sep 192012

AppleJust a friendly reminder that today is the day that Apple releases the iOS 6 upgrade for the following devices:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPad 2
  • new iPad
  • 4t generation iPod touch

The update is not available. We’ll update this post as soon as it does become available.

Devices not on the list above will not support iOS 6.

Update: The upgrade is now available through iTunes. Users currently running iOS 5 or later will also be able to do the update over the air.

Read more: Apple

Apple leads smartphone and tablet markets in Canada

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Sep 172012

Apple iPhone 4SThe latest Ipsos Reid’s Mobil-ology report, which looks at smartphone, tablet and eReader usage in Canada, has found Apple as the top brand for both smartphones and tablets. The manufacturer accounted for 29% of smartphones and 42% of tablets in August 2012. Holding down second place is none other than Canada’s own Research In Motion. Its smartphones still hold 27% of the market while the PlayBook holds a 19% share. But both are facing fast growing competition from Android.

“In terms of Smartphones, the big story in this wave of Mobil-ology is the success of devices using an Android operating system,” says Mary Beth Barbour, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. “While Apple’s iPhone continues to make steady gains, Smartphones using the Android OS have been living up to the buzz making the most ground in the wake of RIM’s losses.”

In fact, Android is now the dominant mobile operating system in Canada, accounting for 36% of smartphones. This is a 10% increase since January 2011. Android tablets are also showing signs of growth with Samsung, Acer and ASUS Android tablets now accounting for 28% of this market. Samsung in particular has been growing quickly. Both its smartphone and tablet shares have doubled since January 2011 to 18% and 9% respectively.

Overall, the report found that smartphones penetration stood at 40% in August, up from 23% in January 2011. Tablet penetration grew 3% to 15% during the same period.

Read more: Ipsos Reid (Source: Mobile Syrup)