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Amazon Instant Video app finally adds search function

On August 1, Amazon launched an iPad app , Amazon Instant Video , so Amazon Prime members could enjoy watching movies on their favorite tablet. There was just one glitch, however: there was no search function. Today’s update fixes that. Now you’ll find a search icon in the lower right corner, which will open up a search field that will suggest titles as you type. You can sort results by Prime videos, or all videos. Results can’t be sorted, but when you tap on an item you’ll either be able to watch it (if you’re a Prime member, more often than not) or save it to your Watchlist for videos unavailable via iPad. Search isn’t perfect, however. A search for James Cameron brought up Vanilla Sky, which is directed by Cameron Crowe. So it seems Amazon still has some work to do. The updated app also features a tweaked navigation bar and several squashed bugs. The old version would display a smattering of movies, with no way to search for a favorite actor, for example. That was a real oversight for a service that offers 120,000 movies. I’m glad Amazon has added search, and look forward to better filtering in the future. Amazon Instant Video app finally adds search function originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Amazon Instant Video app finally adds search function

Tabü tablet poüch harnesses the power of memory foam, umlauts

If you watched TUAW TV Live this last Wednesday , you’ll know that I made jest of the name of what is actually a pretty cool product — the Tabü tablet poüch — because of the proliferation of umlauts on the product packaging. At least that’s what I think the product is called; the Kickstarter project from whence it sprang seems to eliminate the umlauts. But ignoring the existence or nonexistence of a pair of dots, this US$39.99 product has achieved its Kickstarter funding and will be shipping soon. Design and Functionality The Tabu (I’m dropping the umlauts for brevity) tablet pouch reminds me of the little plastic pencil pouches that we had in elementary school when I was but a child back in the 60s. One side was made of a translucent plastic material so you could look at the contents of the pouch without having to unzip it. Scale that pencil pouch up to iPad size and you have the general idea of the tablet pouch. It too has a clear plastic pouch on one side, so you can pop in your iPad accessories (stylus, Camera Connection Kit, AC adapter, etc…) and see at a glance if you’ve forgotten any goodies. But a translucent plastic pouch isn’t going to protect your iPad, is it? No, that’s where the other half of the Tabu tablet pouch comes in handy. It’s a thin, but extremely well-protected pouch with a magnetic closure at one end and walls made of memory foam. Gallery: Tabu Tablet Pouch “Isn’t that the stuff they make beds out of?”, you ask. Yes. Yes, it is. But don’t worry, this thing is really thin; it’s not a thick bed-like hunk of memory foam. You won’t even be able to use the tablet pouch as a pillow as a result, but for your iPad, that thin layer of memory foam is just enough to keep it really safe. Tabu did some testing with a piece of non-tempered, non-strengthened glass panel (much more fragile than an iPad) in the tablet pouch, and it survived repeated drops. The inside of the tablet pouch is lined with microfiber to clean dust and fingerprints off of your iPad screen when you’re popping it into or pulling it out of the pouch. The exterior is made of water resistant polyurethane fiber in either light blue or gray, which is definitely a plus if you’re running through the rain with your iPad. I can see using the Tabu tablet pouch as either a standalone iPad protector or used in conjunction with a backpack or larger bag. It doesn’t take up all that much volume, but really provides an extra bunch of protection for your favorite tablet. Conclusion Hey, it’s funded, but if you want to get that glow of accomplishment that comes with knowing that you backed a winner, you can still get in on the Kickstarter project at the $25 or higher levels. The Tabu tablet pouch is a deceptively simple, but surprisingly functional piece of iPad protection that’s lightweight and downright skinny. Pros Very lightweight Water resistant Excellent drop protection from the memory foam pads Translucent accessory pocket makes it easy to make sure you’ve brought everything with you Magnetic closure keeps the iPad pouch snugged up Cons $39.99 regular price tag seems a bit high considering the bill of materials Who is it for? Anyone looking for thin, lightweight protection for an iPad that just happens to let you carry other accessories at the same time. Tabü tablet poüch harnesses the power of memory foam, umlauts originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Tabü tablet poüch harnesses the power of memory foam, umlauts

Considering the iPad mini as a developer

I give up. An ” iPad mini ” seems to be a good possibility despite my protestations. Many Apple watchers expect to see a small iPad being announced sometime Fall-ish. Although I’m somewhat convinced that I’ve wandered into a figment of John Martellaro’s imagination , it’s worth thinking through the possibilities. Resolution and Aspect When considering the possibility of a longer, thinner iPhone 5 (the “new” iPhone) and an iPad mini, a developer’s mind wanders towards resolution and aspect issues. Between iPhones and iPads and Retina displays, I’m regularly creating multiple megabytes of basic art in order to serve all possible platforms. Isn’t it time for Apple to start re-imagining art support so we can slim down some of these bundles? Enumerating each device and Retina support gets old. I currently create four icons (iPhone, iPhone Retina, iPad, iPad Retina) and 6 launch screens for my apps as iPads use separate portrait and landscape launch art, all customizable through Xcode. Like many others, I gave the Eagle-Giraffe hack a try — it lets you adjust the simulator’s resolution to arbitrary values — and immediately started wondering what kind of new iOS artwork I’d have to supply. If the two new devices launch as anticipated, that’s at least two new launch screen resolutions to take into account: Default~Phone5@2x (if the aspect ratio is to be respected, with a Retina display) and Default ~iPadMini (possibly with Retina, adding an @2x to the name, and possibly requiring orientation-specific art) or whatever. Trying to guess the new names, etc, isn’t always obvious. Then there’s the issue with application layout. I feel fairly confident that developers, who have been through this once before at the iPad launch, can adapt their apps to new aspect ratios, but there’s a big cost of human labor and QA to doing so. Interfaces that live naturally in a 4:6 (640 by 960, or 320 by 480) aspect screen might struggle in a 9:16 without some major re-thinking, or at least some careful work in Interface Builder (The iPad uses a 4:3 aspect). Basic Design Challenges There’s also basic design challenges. Designing for tablets is not, as we have long since discovered, the same as designing for mobile phones. iOS uses different paradigms for presenting information. Tablets need fewer space-folding tools like navigation controllers and tab bars than their smaller brothers. Their extra pixels offers greater nuance for creating view paradigms, and the overall interaction space welcomes multiple hands — including from more than one user at a time. Moving from the current iPad to a smaller version means these accommodations might need re-addressing. Will a smaller tablet belong more naturally to the iPhone family or to the proper iPad family? How much space does it take to support popovers (not much — I’d love to see them properly on the iPhone) or split view controllers (perhaps more than 7 inches might offer)? I’ve tried imagining where UIKit might need to go for a “between sizes” device, and how the Human Interface Guidelines might need to adapt. Having spent time in the Android 7″ world (I have a Kindle Fire — great device for when I need to keep my iPad safe), I’ve worked with the form factor as a user, although not as a developer. Many apps make the transition well — especially those that already thrive on smaller devices. Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja games are far more fun to use on 7″ than on a standard iPhone. Reading, typing, and surfing are also improved. These are hardly surprising — a bigger screen better matches their requirements. The drawbacks come in more expansive apps that push back the other direction. Apps that try to introduce multiple interaction zones (the “tablet” experience) don’t seem to have enough room on a 7″ screen. Vendors like Dropbox seem to have realized this and styled their Android apps more on the iPhone experience than the superior iPad experience. Expectations and Best Guesses For all these reasons, I’m tending to think of the iPad mini as requiring an enhanced iPhone app design paradigm than a degraded tablet one — and, yeah, I know that’s basically heresy. I believe that iPad-specific development (like split view controllers and popovers) will be supported but that most developers will use these to enhance more-iPhone-like development. In other words, I’m not expecting all too many two-user-hand games specific to the platform the way the iPad currently supports that modality. At the same time I can see developers taking a breather and growing their existing iPhone screens with all their navigation controllers, table views, and so forth, to the new larger screen. I’m not sure an iPad mini would need a separate full-screen and part-screen modal presentation, to give an example of an iPad-specific adaptation, but it would be a weaker platform without popovers. In the end, I guess I’m saying that the in-between-device would hybridize both development approaches, even if I see it skewing towards the smaller family. Considering the iPad mini as a developer originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Considering the iPad mini as a developer

EPL Holdings sues Apple over playback tech in QuickTime, iPhone

According to a report on Patently Apple , Apple is facing yet another patent lawsuit . This latest suit was filed by EPL Holdings, LLC and accuses Apple of infringing on two patents governing audio and video playback. EPL, formerly Enounce, claims company founder Donald J. Hejna Jr. met with Tony Fadell, the former senior Vice President of Apple’s iPod division, in January, 2002. The two sides discussed EPL’s playback technology, which lets users speed up and slow down tracks. EPL entered into a four-year non-disclosure agreement with Apple and shared information about its technology with the Cupertino company. After seeing the technology, Apple allegedly offered $50,000 to license one of EPL’s patents. EPL declined Apple’s offer because it believed the amount was too low. EPL alleges Apple went ahead and used the technology in its iPads, iPhone and Quicktime without EPL’s consent or knowledge. “Apple took these actions with blatant knowledge and disregard for the legal rights of Enounce,” claims EPL in its lawsuit. EPL is seeking a jury trial and is asking that Apple pay for damages, costs, expenses and any associated interest. The company also wants Apple to pay for all legal fees and any other relief the court believes is appropriate. You can read the full complaint on PriorSmart.com . EPL Holdings sues Apple over playback tech in QuickTime, iPhone originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion gripe list

To be sure, I think OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is the best OS Apple has ever released. It feels like a completed version of what Mac OS X 10.7 Lion should have been. It’s fast, it’s clean, it melds some iOS concepts to OS X and, for the most part, it just works . That being said, no OS is entirely perfect and there are some gripes my colleagues an I have about Mountain Lion. We’ve compiled them into the list below. Now, most of these gripes are minor and they’ll probably be corrected in future updates like 10.8.1 — at least, we hope so. After reading through the list (which may grow) feel free to add your own gripes in the comments. And please, don’t let this list of minor gripes put you off the OS. It really is the best one Apple has ever released. Mail Wobbly scroll on external monitor. No “Reply to sender.” Signature sticks when changing accounts (Exchange only). Calendar Accepts invitations in the top calendar, not the default Exchange calendar (and not the account that received them). Displays menubar Mirroring only. Notification Center @metion tweets don’t show from people you don’t follow. Notification Center/Mail Clicking on an email message in Notification Center should take you to that specific email’s inbox in Mail, NOT the universal inbox for all your different email accounts. Safari Under Safari> Preferences> Passwords the list of websites and your usernames should probably be hidden until you enter your administrator password. The passwords are already hidden by default but it seems like a security problem when anybody using your computer could see what websites you go to and what your usernames for the websites are. Knowing your usernames gives them one less thing to hack. Not to mention it tells people exactly which sites they should target you at since they know you’re a member of the sites by looking in Safari’s preferences. Safari JavaScript bugs render some websites unusable. Loss of RSS button in Safari means users have to jump through several hoops to subscribe to feeds. They also have to spend money to buy Reeder for Mac (or another RSS reader). Stock Widget You can no longer rearrange the order of stocks. Stocks don’t sync with Stocks app on iOS devices (they never did, but they should ). General: Numerous graphical “tearing” issues throughout the OS on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Most prevalent in TextEdit and Mail. “Open Recent” has disappeared from opening dialog splash box in many apps, most notably iWork apps. No “share” button in TextEdit. “Save As…” behaviour is completely contrary to how it worked pre-Lion. MacBook Pro with Retina Display has serious wake-from-sleep issues. Requires hard reboot more than 50% of the time. 3rd party apps: Microsoft Office apps refuse to hide. Sandboxing (or something else) seems to be preventing the iStat Menus Dashboard widget from delivering data on CPU processes. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion gripe list originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion gripe list

Exogear’s Exovolt Plus: The stackable external battery pack arrives

There are a ton of external battery packs for iPhones and iPads. I remember the good old days when it seemed like the only packs available were little blobs that you’d plug into the bottom of an iPhone to keep it going for a few more hours. Now everybody and their brother-in-law has an external battery pack in their line, so it’s nice to see one that’s completely different from the rest of the pack. It’s the Exogear Exovolt Plus , which has the distinction of being a stackable battery pack. Read on — we’re going to give away some goodies to one lucky TUAW reader. Design and Functionality The Exovolt Plus comes in two models: the main battery (US$89.95) and sub batteries (US$49.95 each). To power your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad, you need at least one main battery. It has a micro-USB port for charging and a full-sized USB port to charge up your devices. There’s also a power button and four white LEDs that give you the relative charge level of the stack of batteries. The sub batteries are slightly thinner, don’t have the ports, but do have a small socket on one top corner that contacts a male connector on the bottom of the main battery. The sub batteries also have one of those male connectors on the bottom, so you can stack as many of them as you want to to create a tower of power. Gallery: Exogear Exovolt Stackable Battery Pack The Exovolt units are white, about 3-3/4″ square, and have rounded corners. The bottom sides are blue, and there are small latches on the sub batteries to insure a solid connection to the main battery or other sub batteries. To make sure that your stack ‘o power is safe to be around, Exogear built in double circuit protection, overheat protection, short-circuit protection, and an automatic input/output control. The main battery package comes with a carry pouch, micro-USB and Dock Connector cables, and a simple user manual. How much capacity do these things have? Each Exovolt Plus battery has a capacity of 5,200 mAh, and stacking ten of them would give you an astounding 52,000 mAh of energy for keeping your iPad going when the zombie apocalypse starts. Of course, that would put you back a whopping $539.50, but you’d have bragging rights… In fact, nowhere on the Exogear website or in the limited documentation that comes with the Exovolt Plus did I see anything about a limit on how many of these things you can stack. Doing a little math and knowing that the main battery is 1.5 cm thick and the sub batteries are 1.2 cm thick (and assuming that the plastic would stand the weight of a huge column of batteries, which it wouldn’t), you could equal the height of the Burj Khalifa (829.84 meters or 82984 cm) by stacking approximately 69,153 of these things at a cost of around $3,454,282. That thin tower would supply 359,595,600 mAh for your iPad movie watching marathon. In all seriousness, though, the Exovolt batteries are well-built and a stack of these guys would get you through a lot. Conclusion The Exovolt Plus battery pack system is a unique, but pricey, way to make sure that you have power to spare for your electronic devices. The ability to stack the batteries for extra capacity is brilliant. Pros Nicely designed and built Stackable design expands capacity as you need it Cons Expensive; by comparison, Satechi’s 5,200 mAh battery pack is only $39.99, and their 10,000 mAh model is only $59.99 Who is it for? Someone who needs a lot of power to go, and has the bucks to buy a lot of these stackable packs Giveaway We’re giving away a pair of Exovolt Plus battery packs — one main battery, one sub battery — and a sweet Tabu tablet pouch to one lucky TUAW reader. Here are the rules for the giveaway: Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before August 21, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time. You may enter only once. One winner will be selected and will receive one Exogear Exovolt Plus main battery valued at $89.95, one Exogear Exovolt Plus sub battery valued at $49.95, and a Tabu tablet pouch valued at $39.95. Click here for complete Official Rules. Loading… Exogear’s Exovolt Plus: The stackable external battery pack arrives originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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WSJ shares more details on Apple TV

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal leaked information about upcoming changes to the Apple TV. A follow-up report added details that suggest Apple may be working on a set-top television box with cloud-based DVR functions. It’s a concept that is very similar to a design described in a recent Apple patent . The Apple TV would let viewers watch their favorite TV show at any time via a DVR that stores the TV shows in the cloud. It may also have a familiar icon-based interface that’ll be easier to use than current DVR’s, which are often confusing and clunky. Not surprisingly, the Apple TV could serve up content to iPhones and iPads and may also include social media features. Though this all sounds enticing, there’s a chance it won’t come to fruition. As we pointed out yesterday , the company’s biggest hurdle won’t be manufacturing the hardware, but getting the cable companies to ink a content deal. WSJ shares more details on Apple TV originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 09:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Friday Favorite: Desktop Tidy

Part of my blogging workflow uses Skitch for screenshots. As a result, I wind up with images all over my desktop at the end of the day like, well, a messy desktop after a busy day. If you find yourself with files constantly cluttering your desktop as well, check out Desktop Tidy on the Mac App Store . It’ll hide those files clogging up your workspace at intervals you set, from every few seconds to every few days. But wait, there’s more! Desktop Tidy includes a ton of customization features. Sure, it stashes your files away in your Library folder where Spotlight won’t index them (and Finder likes to hide the Library folder by default these days), but that’s part of the beauty of the app. Using the menu bar, you’ll easily see what files were sent over, make them come back, or search and organize them on the fly. Here’s a neat trick: Ctrl-clicking an item in the menu will restore it to your desktop. There are filters for filetypes which will allow you to easily spot the files you may typically save to the desktop. In my case these are image files, and Desktop Tidy comes already configured to show a filter of images, easily accessed from the menu bar. In a way, this is easier than mucking about on the desktop itself. Yes there are other tools and ways to do this, but I think Tidy gives the user a ton of options and ease of use for a decent price (currently US$4.99). Check out Desktop Tidy if you just can’t stand having all those files littering your desktop, no matter how tiny you make them. Friday Favorite: Desktop Tidy originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Timeline depicts history of iPhone, iPod and iPad sales

Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone, a small iPad and possibly new iPods at an event on September 12 . If you are feeling nostalgic about Apple’s mobile and music devices, you can take a walk down memory lane with Everyi’s Ultimate iTimeline . The web-based timeline shows the launch date and life span of every iPod, iPad and iPhone model. You can see when the devices launched by year and click on a device to pull up details about it. There’s also a filtering function which will let you narrow your view based on model name and a highlighting feature that’ll let you color-code the devices in the timeline. When you are done exploring Apple’s mobile device portfolio, you can check out EveryMac’s Ultimate timeline for Macs . Both timelines are formatted for Safari on a 13-inch display with 1280×800 resolution. Timeline depicts history of iPhone, iPod and iPad sales originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Timeline depicts history of iPhone, iPod and iPad sales

SMS sender spoofing possible on iOS, what you need to know

There’s a big security story blowing through the leaves today, and it affects your iPhone. Uncovered by iPhone hacker Pod2G , the issue involves SMS spoofing and shows up in every version of iOS for the iPhone — and it’s in the current beta of iOS 6. What is this security problem? Some details follow, and Pod2G shares additional detail on his post as well. Essentially someone could send you a text that appears to be from a trusted source, when in fact the response will be routed to someone else’s device. If you thought a text came from your bank, for instance, you could be tricked into handing over sensitive data. While it’s not something particularly simple to do (you’ll need to set up an SMS gateway), I will say the consequences of spoofing SMS can be dire, as courts have used SMS messages as evidence. Harassment by messaging is a real crime, and messaging can be a violation of restraining orders . So aside from the social engineering risk (getting your password by someone pretending to be an authority), the legal consequences could be very real as well. I spoke with security expert Seth Bromberger, a principal at NCI Security . He noted that while Apple can fix this on their end, the inherent issues with SMS authentication are beyond their scope to fix permanently. Nevertheless, here are some steps Apple, the industry at large and law enforcement could take, according to Bromberger: Apple should display the originating number, not trust what the sender has said was the originating number (or at least alert if reply-to != original). The carriers should ensure that “forging” (I’m using this word but it’s not really forgery — all the person is doing is setting a reply-to that differs from the originating number, apparently in full conformance with the protocol) the originating number is detected (Note: not prevented — there are legitimate uses for this feature). This may ultimately require protocol changes, but for the majority of the cases, it seems to me a simple ingress check would suffice. (Again, this may have other implications for mass-SMS services like those used during emergency notification, though). Law enforcement and the judicial system should not rely on the presence of a text message as evidence of a particular activity. They’re now exposed (at least on Apple devices) as being as forgeable as unsigned email. I agree with Seth, and hope that Apple will evaluate how it handles SMS going forward. I also hope law enforcement and carriers take these ideas to heart. SMS sender spoofing possible on iOS, what you need to know originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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SMS sender spoofing possible on iOS, what you need to know