Earlier today at its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote address, Apple displayed a slide from its presentation listing many under-the-radar features and improvements the company has made to iOS 8. One of them was Wi-Fi calling, which allows users to make regular phone calls over Wi-Fi rather than a cellular network.
Soon after the event, T-Mobile took to its corporate blog to announce that it would support Wi-Fi calling on its network.
One of the best things about T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling is that it’s so simple to use. You don’t need to activate anything or download a special app. Just connect to any available Wi-Fi network, check that Wi-Fi Calling is turned on on your capable smartphone, and make a call (or send a text, email, etc.) as you normally would. That’s it.
Wi-Fi calling allows networks to ease strain on its bandwidth and potentially speed up the network for other things. It also allows users to experience higher quality calls, to preserve both minutes and data and is a smaller drain on battery life during calls.
iOS 8 is available to developers now and launches for the public in the fall.
Canadian firm Wi-LAN today lost an ongoing lawsuit against Apple over two patents related to CDMA, HSPA, Wi-Fi and LTE technologies. First filed in 2011, the lawsuit claimed that Apple infringed on Wi-LAN patents RE37,802 (CDMA/HSPA) and 5,282,222 (LTE/Wi-Fi).
Wi-LAN, a company focusing solely on licensing its intellectual property, was attempting to win $248 million from Apple. Following the loss, Wi-LAN will get no money, but the company has won settlements from Alcatel-Lucent, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, HTC, Novatel Wireless, and Sierra Wireless over the same patent portfolio.
The company has issued a statement on the loss, stating that it is reviewing its options going forward.
Trial proceedings involving the remaining defendant, Apple, Inc., began on October 15, 2013. Today, the jury trial determined that U.S. Patent No RE37,802 was not infringed and claims 1 and 10 were found invalid.
WiLAN is disappointed with the jury’s decision and is currently reviewing its options with trial counsel, McKool Smith. WiLAN does not believe previous license agreements signed related to the patents are negatively impacted by this decision.
Wi-LAN has filed multiple lawsuits against Apple, including one in 2010 over Bluetooth technology and several additional lawsuits in 2012 over LTE and HSPA technologies.
Video game company Blizzard Entertainment has launched Blizzard WCS for iOS, an app made specifically for tracking the progress of the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS). The app allows users the ability to watch live streams of WCS matches as well as archived videos with AirPlay capability, and also features content that spotlights individual players and eSports news.
The Blizzard WCS app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad is the perfect tool for eSports fans to keep up with all the exciting action of the StarCraft II World Championship Series. This app allows you to view live WCS matches and videos on demand (VODs), check results of prior matches, read eSports news, watch exclusive videos, and more!
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty originally launched on the Mac in 2010, and its expansion, StarCraft II: Heart of The Swarm launched this past March. Blizzard WCS is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
Alongside its iPhone media event earlier this week, Apple quietly introduced new “space gray” versions of its iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, replacing the black models of those devices with the new color.
Australian Ben Pasternak has now posted a brief video offering a first look at the new color option for the iPod nano. The video shows the front and rear of the device, with the anodized color of the device appearing lighter than the outgoing “Black/Slate” option. The anodized matte finish also helps minimize fingerprints that can be highly visible on more reflective surfaces seen in some of Apple’s other products.
Earlier this week, Apple announced that the new iPhone 5s would also be sporting the new Space Gray color, similarly replacing the black/slate color offered on the iPhone 5. All of the iPod models with the new color option are currently available, with the iPhone 5s set to go on sale next Friday, September 20.
Social networking apps have climbed nine places year-on-year in the App Annie rankings of monthly revenues (via The Next Web), moving from 12th place last January to third place in January 2013.
As of January 2013, the Social Networking category ranked third in monthly revenues, behind only Games and Productivity in the iOS App Store. And that’s up 87% compared to January 2012 monthly revenues, representing 3% of total iOS App Store revenue. Its growth is impressive and nowhere near its ceiling.
The study data shows that the messaging and dating apps are registering as the most significant revenue generators among social networking apps, with LINE, WhatsApp Messenger, and Zoosk leading the way in various countries.
Notably, Apple’s Find My Friends made a climb from 17th place to 2nd in downloads, while Facebook Messenger overtook the main Facebook app to take first place. App Annie attributes the rise of Find My Friends to the App Store splash screen introduced in iOS 6 that encourages users to download several free apps from Apple, including Find My Friends.
As is true for many aspects of Apple’s business, China was one of the fastest-growing markets for social networking apps, with the United States and China now combining to account for half of all social networking downloads worldwide.
An iOS developer has made an app to sync the Philips Hue iOS-controlled LED light bulbs with music.
The $2.99 Ambify pulls tracks from the music library on an iPhone or iPad and plays them while simultaneously controlling the colors and brightness of the Philips Hue lights, creating a rave-like atmosphere with blinking multi-colored light bulbs synced to the music.
Ambify – the Hue enabled jukebox turns music into light using Philips Hue Smart Bulbs.
Being the first of it’s kind, Ambify combines the simplicity of a jukebox with the endless new possibilities offered by Philips’ Hue System.
It’s a s simple as starting the app, selecting your lamps and choosing a playlist.
Ambify then applies our nifty algorithms to analyse and visualise your music in real-time using the lamps you’ve previously selected.
Ambify for iPhone and iPad is available for $2.99 on the App Store. [Direct Link]
Google today released its location discovery app Field Trip for the iPhone. Previously an Android app released in the fall, Field Trip is designed to direct users to local points of interest.
The app runs in the background and uses Bluetooth or a popup notification to alert users when there are “cool, hidden, and unique things” nearby. Field Trip offers information on landmarks and historical facts along with recommendations on the best places to eat and shop.
Discover thousands of interesting places/experiences that fall under the following categories: Architecture, Historic Places & Events, Lifestyle, Offers & Deals, Food Drinks & Fun, Movie Locations, Outdoor Art and Obscure Places of Interest around you.
Choose from three different modes to set frequency of Field Trip notifications. See “Field Trip” worthy places around you on a map, by tapping on cards in map view to pull up enthralling points of interest around you
Go on a Field Trip while you drive. Field Trip can detect when you’re driving and automatically “talk” about interesting places and experience around you.
Came across an amazing story or restaurant? Mark it as a favorite to easily come back to it at any point.
Capture the memory of a special place, by sharing a wondrous discovery through email and social networks such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook.
Wondering where the gem that you recently discovered is? Find your discovered field trip cards in the “recent” section.
Field Trip utilizes information from partnerships with Thrillist, the Food Network, Zagat, Arcadia, Atlas Obscura, Daily Secret and pulls in information from sites like Cool Hunting WeHeart and Remodelista to offer a wide range of recommendations and suggestions.
Field Trip for the iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
Former Apple Ad Man Says Apple Considered Calling the iPhone the ‘TriPod’, ‘TelePod’, ‘Mobi’, or ‘iPad’ [iOS Blog]
Former Apple advertising lead Ken Segall was at an event for the University of Arizona’s Department of Marketing tonight and in giving the latest version of his “Insanely Simple” talk revealed some of the names Apple considered for its smartphone before settling on “iPhone”, reports 9to5Mac.
The proposed names included “TelePod,” “Mobi,” “TriPod” and “iPad.” Segall also presented the name “MicroMac” to his audience, but insisted that it was not under consideration and that he wanted to gauge their thoughts on the name. In past versions of the talk, Segall has presented “PocketMac” as the outlier option that was not actually considered.
Segall went on to explain the thought process of the names:
– TelePod: Segall said Apple considered this name because it sounded like a “futuristic twist” on the word “telephone.” The “Pod” part obviously came about from the success of the iPod.
– Mobi: This name was in consideration not only because it was a creative take on the word “mobile,” but that it also had personality, Segall said.
– TriPod: When Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone, he famously referred to it as three devices in one: an iPod, an Internet device and a phone. This name likely had an impact on that presentation and represents the three “legs” that the iPhone was built on.
– iPad: This eventually became the name of Apple’s tablet line, but Segall said it was under consideration for the company’s smartphone product as well. Steve Jobs did confirm that Apple had been working on a tablet before it started working on a phone, and that the tablet had internally been codenamed “Safari Pad.”
Of course, Apple eventually settled on the name “iPhone”. At the time, Cisco actually held the U.S. trademark for iPhone for a line of VoIP handsets, but the two companies eventually reached a trademark agreement over the name.
Previously a Flash game, Hundreds has been ported to iOS with great success, incorporating intuitive multi-touch controls.
The idea is to tap a series of circles on the screen. With each tap, the number on the circle increases, until it reaches 100. As they grow, circles turn red, and if they collide, the game will end. Each level incorporates new challenges and gameplay elements. From the App Store description:
Simple in concept, deep in design, Hundreds is a puzzle game that requires quick fingers and deep thinking.
The goal of Hundreds: Grow at least 100 points between the circles in each puzzle. Circles turn red and volatile while being grown and if they collide, it’s game over. It’s that easy.
So far, Hundreds has received rave reviews from our sister site Touch Arcade and Kotaku, which has already named it 2013′s potential Game of the Year.
Hundreds can be downloaded from the App Store for $2.99. [Direct Link]
LG and AU Optronics Once Again Named as Display Suppliers for ‘iPad Mini’ Coming in October [iOS Blog]
Bloomberg reports that LG Display and AU Optronics will serve as suppliers for the 7.85-inch display destined for Apple’s forthcoming “iPad mini”. The publication specifically claims that the device will be released in October.
The orders will mark the first time AUO, a maker of panels for Apple’s MacBooks and Sony Corp. TVs, is supplying screens for Apple handheld devices.
Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. Sharp Corp. may make panels for the device in the future and will not be an initial supplier, three of the people said.
The report also cites TPK and Foxconn subsidiary Yeh Chang Technology as handling the lamination coating for the display.
Interestingly, claims of LG and AU Optronics serving as suppliers for the iPad mini display can be traced all the way back to October 2011, when Taiwan’s United Daily News claimed that the two companies had been sending samples to Apple. The Wall Street Journal reiterated the claim in February of this year.