With the arrival of the iPhone 5 and its legacy-wrecking Lightning port, this holiday season is likely to be the last that heavily features the now-obsolete dock connector. Two products caught in the wrong turn of history are Edifier’s new pair of iOS device docks for home and on the go. If you need a “big” sound in a modest package, then the Esiena Bluetooth offers 3-inch full-range drivers and a class D digital amplifier — and it’s also packing Auxiliary, USB, SD card inputs and a digital FM radio. If you’re more the adventuring type, then the portable Bric Bluetooth offers 2.75-inch full range drivers and the same class D amplifier in addition to a traveling pouch to keep the hardware safe on your travels. The Esiena will set you back $300 and the Bric a slender $100, with both arriving in the US and Canada from today.
Cupertino’s newest hardware may have us purring, but Apple hasn’t left those of us with existing hardware out in the cold. iOS 6 should be appearing as an available update right now, or at least very shortly — depending on how taxed those servers get. It’ll be compatible with every iPhone since the 3GS, iPod touch 4G / 5G and this-and-last-year’s vintage of the iPad. Given the inexorable march of technology, some of the newer features won’t work on the older devices, but you can use our compatability checker to determine what new things you’ll be able to do in the next few hours.
We’ve had notes from our tipsters that the update is arriving a few minutes early (with photographic proof above), but so far we’ve had nothing here.
It’s obvious that the iPhone 5 is the star of today’s show, but Apple’s not letting its iPod line go untouched. The newest iPod touch takes a note from the newfangled display on its cellular sibling, bringing a vaster panel (the same 4-inch, 1,136 x 640 one found on the new iPhone). At 88 grams and just 6.1mm thick, it’s also shockingly thin and light — of course, the anodized aluminum backing makes it feel like a premium piece of kit. Premium, as in, right up there with the iPhone. In a world where Apple’s seeing its iPod sales sink quarter after quarter due to self-cannibalization from the iPad and iPhone, it’s interesting (but appreciated) to see so much effort placed on the new iPod touch.
The introduction of the dual-core A5 chip (that’s dual-core on the CPU and the graphics side) is a huge boon for the touch. Apple’s claiming a 7x improvement in graphics, and given that this thing is claiming such a huge swath of the mobile gaming market, it’s pretty much a necessity. Indeed, our interactions with the device were notably faster than on the prior touch. We didn’t exactly have 40 hours here to test the audio playback claims (in fact, we didn’t even have eight to test the claims on video), but you can bet that’ll be a huge selling point.
There’s no visual overhaul as it just did yesterday with Facebook Messages, but Facebook has now announced an update for its iOS app that promises some fairly big improvements of its own. According to the company, the app was “rebuilt from the ground up,” and is now twice as fast as the previous version. That includes a faster opening of the app itself, smoother and faster scrolling, and photos that are said to load “instantly” — changes that are largely due to a switch from the old HTML5 code to iOS’ native programming language. Unfortunately, we’re not able to test those claims ourselves just yet, but Facebook says that the update (version 5.0) will be available later today.
Update: The app is now available to download from the App Store, and it does indeed appear to be quite a bit speedier.
Apple has announced that its Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield, will retire and over the course of the next few months transfer his role to Dan Riccio. Mansfield is credited with leading the Mac engineering team since 2005 and took on a more visible role as an exec during the reshuffling in 2008. He’s also mentioned as leading iPhone and iPod engineering since 2010 (when he took over the role from Mark Papermaster in a move curiously timed around those antenna troubles) and the iPad since it began. He’d been with Apple since 1999 when it acquired his previous employer, Raycer Graphics, and most recently popped up on our radar earlier this year while integrating another acquisition, flash memory maker Anobit. If you’d like to get familiar with his replacement, Dan Riccio is currently vice president of iPad hardware engineering. Check the press release after the break for a few more details on both individuals, there’s no word on Mansfield’s post-retirement plans.
The wait between iOS 6′s unveiling and its planned fall release just got a little bit shorter, as Apple has just pushed out beta 2. If you’re in the developer crowd that can try it out, don’t expect any revelations: the primarily focus is on the bug fixes that nudge the software closer to a final release. As in past years, multiple additional betas are expected between now and the time the iOS 6 is ready to come to the general public, so there’s likely still lots of room left for Apple to polish the release to a shine. Those paid up on their developer accounts can grab the update through the usual means and see just how much luster has been added since WWDC.
Let’s say you’ve just landed on home soil and happened to meet a charming partner during your stay abroad — yet your unrequited love is separated by a nasty language barrier. Sure, it didn’t seem to matter in the moment, but now that you’ve moved onto — you know — communication, you could use a bit of an assist. Thankfully, the folks at MyLanguage seem to have a worthwhile solution with the new Vocre 2.0 app for iOS. The software allows two individuals to engage in video chats in their native tongues, and the app removes the language barrier by providing translations (both text and spoken) on-the-fly. While Vocre 2.0 is currently in private beta, it’ll debut as a free, ad-supported application. Further, users may take advantage of paid, premium services that include on-demand human translation. You can follow a similar story of two young lovers in a video after the break. Think it’ll work out for ‘em?
If you’ve ever downloaded an app from iTunes then congratulations, you are a part of history. Just a few minutes ago Apple notched its 25 billionth download, thanking all involved for getting there, and of course (like it did for 10 billion, and 1 billion), gifting the lucky individual who crossed the line with another $10k gift card. Not sure what you would buy with $10,000 in App Store bucks? That’s ok, since you probably don’t have it, but don’t forget — our official Engadget and Distro apps are free, and will love you back all the same. Remember way back in 2008 when all this was fresh and new? Relive the iPhone SDK press conference via our liveblog right here.
As expected, Microsoft has made its new and improved Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone available to coincide with the latest Xbox dashboard update — what’s not so expected is the iOS app that also rolled out today. Dubbed My Xbox Live, the iOS app (optimized for both iPhone and iPad) is expectedly a bit more limited than its Windows Phone counterpart, but it will let you read and send messages, edit your profile and update your avatar, manage your friend list, and keep an eye on your achievements (and those of your friends). The new Windows Phone app, on the other hand, brings with it a decidedly more integrated experience, including the ability to search for games, music and movies available through Xbox Live, and view second screen information while you’re using your console. Hit the appropriate source link below to download the app of your choice.
Eric Schmidt was addressing the crowd at Le Web in Paris and recounted a tale when an Android user asked why apps were often written for iOS first, and then ported over to Google’s OS. His response? “My prediction is that six months from now, you’ll say the opposite.” After the uncomfortable silence had died down, he added that Android’s “open” model meant the company had volume on its side — and volume is what he feels will attract developers. He added that Ice Cream Sandwich would redress Android’s device fragmentation and the sheer number of hardware makers would ensure that 2012 would be Google’s year. At which point, everyone in the audience probably went back to their iPadsto read Twitter.
Of all the enhancements to discover in Apple’s iOS 5 upgrade, it seems that an unforeseen monster may have snuck its way into the release. We’re now reading through a handful of user complaints about losing WiFi after taking the plunge, with most replies mentioning intermittent connectivity and / or a significant loss in signal strength. The issue remains unconfirmed by Apple, but it appears to span across a number of devices, including the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS, along with the iPad (and possibly, the iPod Touch). By troubleshooting, one user was able to resolve the problem by reverting to iOS 4.3, then cause it to manifest — once again — by upgrading to iOS 5. The recent iOS 5.0.1 update certainly hasn’t fixed the matter, either. Could these reports be an unfortunate series of unrelated events, or is there something larger at play? Sound off about your experience with WiFi and iOS 5 in the comments below.
Get ready to fire up iTunes and plug in that iOS device, because Apple’s just released iOS 5.0.1. The release notes are identical to the two beta releases, which include fixing bugs relating to battery life and document syncing, while also re-enabling app switching gestures that developers previously had access to on the original iPad. And for those down under, voice recognition has apparently been improved when dictating with an Aussie accent. Those not interested in the 790MB download from iTunes, can look for a 44.6MB delta — including only the changes — from their device Settings. You’ll find photographic evidence of the latter after the break.
While the iPhone 4S takes the headlines with its dual antennas and upgraded processor, we also have a new white iPod touch joining the family. Pricing for the “#1 portable game player” (Apple’s words, with some numbers to back them up) still starts at $199 for the 8GB version, going up $399 for a 64GB. All will be available in black or white October 12th. There’s no hardware changes to speak of, so hopefully all those sweet iOS 5 upgrades are enough to hold you. Check out the full details in our live blog or in the press release, conveniently available after the break.