Monthly Archives: February 2012

New Photo App Pxl Turns Your Ordinary Photos Into Abstract Art Masterpieces

There is certainly no shortage of Photography apps in the iOS store that promise to do magical things to your snapshots. Users can turn their photos into vintage looking pictures via Instagram, transform faces into comic book art with Halftone, or do weird things with Percolator, but this latest app is a bit different from all the rest. Pxl is a new app available for iPhone and iPad that transforms pictures into cool pieces of abstract art.

Users of Pxl can import photos from their iOS Photo Library and apply the tweaks and touches that turn photos into crazy works of contemporary art. The app comes with a couple different modes. You can “artfully distort” your photos using cubes, triangles, rectangles, circles, and other odd polygons. Most styles can be adjusted to change the thickness of the objects replicating the photo. Resolution can also be changed by pinching the image. If you get tired of trying to figure out a weird way to edit your image there’s a feature that always users to simply shake their device to produce a random abstract image.

Once an image as been distorted to the artist’s content, it can be saved to the photo library or shared via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Unfortunately, due to technical conditions, the resolution of the images is only supported up to 640×960 on the iPhone and 768×1024 on the iPad, so you’re probably not going to be able to print large copies of your abstractions and display them in an art gallery, but the app is pretty neat. Pxl is currently on sale for $0.99

 

 

[via iBlog iOS]

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MLB.com At Bat 2012 hits the App Store for iPhone and iPad with new pricing scheme

Click to view slideshow.

As we mentioned last month, MLB.com At Bat 2012 launched today for iOS as a free download with in-app subscription purchases for $14.99 (or $2.99/month) which gives you audio.  If you want video, there is a separate $120 price that includes the cost of the app. Confusing? A little…

The #1 sports app of all-time and Hall of Fame inductee for iPhone, iPad and Macworld, MLB.com At Bat, returns with live Spring Training baseball from the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. MLB.com At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball.

At Bat 12 Subscription Options:
● One-time annual fee of $14.99 for the entire 2012 season, Spring Training through the World Series (same price as 2011).
● Monthly recurring fee of $2.99.
● MLB.TV Premium subscribers receive At Bat 12 for free.

At Bat 12 Features for Spring Training: (Additional features and functionality will be released in an update before Opening Day).

● Access your MLB.TV Premium subscription to watch live video of about 150 Spring Training games
● Listen to available radio broadcasts of Spring Training games
● Follow batter-by-batter action for every Spring Training game
● Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and player stats for every team
● Customize At Bat’s home screen to feature your designated favorite team (iPhone only)
● Enhanced video library archive, searchable by player, team or keyword (iPhone only)

Access At Bat 12 for the entire 2012 season for a one-time repurchase of $14.99 or subscribe for $2.99 per month, you will we be automatically billed $2.99 through iTunes every 30 days until you cancel your subscription. Your subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period. You subscription can be managed and the auto-renewal may be turned off by going to the iTunes Account Settings after purchase. No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period.

MLB At bat is now ready for Download (free).



Windows 8 Consumer Preview out of the gate: Demoed on 82-inch touchscreen supporting 10 simultaneous users

Microsoft issued the Windows 8 Consumer Preview today for everyone to download and try. Demonstrating the operating system’s ability to scale from the smartphone screen all the way to high-end PCs and beyond, the Redmond, Wash.-headquartered software giant showcased Windows 8 on a monstrous 82-inch display that is capable of detecting up to 100 simultaneous touch events or 10 simultaneous users.

Unfortunately, AnandTech, which reported the story, does not have a video online yet. However, I think it is safe to take Microsoft’s word. Now, if the operating system only ran Apple’s Keynote, the ninja PC-plus-Windows 8 combo coupled with a huge projector-based display would make for an impressive keynote rig.

By the way, we would love to hear impressions from our tech-savvy readers that have managed to dual-boot Windows 8 Consumer Preview alongside OS X using Boot Camp (go here for the FAQ detailing system requirements).

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview product demonstration video is right below the fold.

As you know, Microsoft is betting the farm on Windows 8, a long-awaited upgrade to the Windows ecosystem succeeding the successful Windows 7 release that put Microsoft back on track after the Vista fiasco. The company opted for a single Windows version that supports various form factors from the tiny smartphone screens to tablets, to netbooks and notebooks, and to desktop PCs and high-performing specialized systems. Windows 8 also includes the Metro user interface with tiles—now the default replacement for the decades-old Windows desktop metaphor.

It still runs old Windows programs on the familiar desktop, but it also has new, touch-optimized apps written with web technologies. In addition, Windows 8 includes the curated Microsoft Store to distribute signed third-party software optimized for touch input. Microsoft’s strategy is in stark contrast to Apple, which maintains separate desktop and mobile operating systems, although both share the same core features and technologies. With the Lion release last year, it became clear Apple would bring some of the most popular iOS features to Mac OS X—now re-branded as OS X. The trend is continuing with OS X 10.7 Mountain Lion due for a summer release.

Mountain Lion brings more of the iPad to the Mac, including features like iPad-ified Notes and Reminders apps, as well as the new Messages app that replaced iChat with iMessage support, and AirPlay Mirroring, Notification Center and more. This gradual but notable iOS-notification has led some to speculate that iOS and OS X will eventually merge into a unified operating system spanning Apple’s Mac computers and mobile devices. If true, such an operating system would theoretically pave the way for the rumored ARM-based MacBooks.



Apple ‘Stalling’ in Replenishing Reseller Stocks of Apple TV as Shortages Hit Apple Retail

While shortages of the Apple TV at numerous high-profile resellers have been documented for weeks and part numbers indicating an update alongside the iPad 3 next week have been revealed, AppleInsider now notes that Apple has specifically been stalling in delivering promised shipments of the device to resellers.
For three consecutive weeks, the Cupertino-based company has failed to make good on its promissory to restock indirect channel partners with fresh inventory of the existing $99 Apple TV product, say people familiar with matter.

Instead, partners and channel members have seen Apple push back deliveries each consecutive week by one additional week -- a practice that almost always foreshadows a formal discontinuation of a product ahead of new models.
Even Apple's own stores are beginning to see shortages of the device as Apple draws down supplies ahead of the refresh. While the company's online store is still reflecting an "in stock" status, those customers opting for the in-store pickup option will find that many Apple retail stores are currently out of stock.


For those locations currently out of stock of the Apple TV, the company can still ship orders to the stores for pickup, but even those shipments are starting to see extended timeframes. While U.S. stores east of the Mississippi could generally have an Apple TV ordered today available for pickup by March 3, delays increase moving farther west across the country. Stores in the middle of the country are showing availability on March 6, while those in the Southwest and Southern California are citing March 7 availability and those in the Pacific Northwest down to the Bay Area can't promise availability until March 8.

Apple's iPad 3 media event is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 7, and it appears that the updated Apple TV set-top box will be making an appearance at that time.


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What We Expect From Apple’s iPad 3 Announcement Next Week [Rumor Roundup]

Apple has officially confirmed that an iPad event is set to take place on Wednesday, March 7th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. “We have something you really want to see. And touch,” teases the press invitation.

Months and months of rampant speculation and conspiracy stories have built up to next week’s event, and no one really knows what Apple has planned, other than a new iPad. The Retina display is widely expected to make its way to Apple’s tablet. Will it even be called the iPad 3? Will it be offered at a new price point? Let’s take a look at the rumors and examine what we think we know.

Retina Display

If there’s anything we know about Apple’s next-gen tablet, it’s that it will rock a sexy Retina display. What does that mean, exactly? The iPad 3′s display would be double the linear resolution of the original iPad, up from 1024×768 to a whopping 2048×1536. For context, that’s more pixels than most Macs can handle.

MacRumors got its hands on what it believes to be an iPad 3 display and examined the thing under a microscope. Park leaks and a mountainous stack of corroborations from other publications have agreed that a Retina display is headed to the iPad next week.

Faster Hardware

Apple has been expected to bring its A6 chip with a quad-core processor to the iPad 3, but there’s been some discrepancies in recent reports about what exactly will power the upcoming tablet. Apple has always introduced its new iOS devices in tandem with an updated processor, and history would put the iPad 3 on track for the A6.

A Chinese forum recently posted a photo of an alleged iPad 3 logic board that put a new spin on the rumors. The photo revealed a ‘A5X’ Apple processor and proposed that the A6 wouldn’t be making its way to the iPad 3 after all. While the chip could be an incremental update for the iPad 3, it could also indicate another product altogether. iOS 5 beta code and publications like iMore and Bloomberg suggest that Apple’s next-gen processor will be quad-core, but The Verge says it will only be dual-core. 9to5Mac claims that Apple is actually working on the A5X and A6 chips simultaneously, with the quad-core A6 belonging to the iPad 3 and the dual-core A5X possibly debuting inside a new Apple TV.

Better Cameras

We haven’t heard a lot in this particular part of the rumor mill, but leaked iPad 3 parts do reveal that the device’s camera sensor will be larger. Considering how awful the iPad 2′s cameras are, it would be a crying shame for Apple to not improve them this time around. It would also make little sense for a Retina display-equipped tablet to not have higher-res cameras for FaceTime. It’s typical for Apple to increase the camera quality in its devices with each new generation.

4G LTE

Despite little supply chain evidence, The Wall Street Journal believes that the iPad 3 will feature 4G LTE network support. The theory is that Apple will use the iPad to test 4G with the carriers in anticipation for the sixth-generation iPhone. According to the WSJ, the iPad 3 will be able to switch between 4G and 3G data speeds based on network coverage. Boy Genius Report also found evidence for LTE recently via a debugging tool that was allegedly ran on a prototype iPad 3. The feature would assumedly be available on both AT&T and Verizon in the United States. Coincidentally, Qualcomm recently introduced LTE chips that require less power consumption and switch between 3G and 4G frequencies.

Similar Form Factor

Based on a slew of part leaks and reports, the iPad 3 will look nearly identical to its predecessor. iLounge editor in chief Jeremy Horwitz claims to have seen the shell in person, saying, “I’d show you a picture, but there’s honestly nothing to be seen. Think iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S: this device so resembles the iPad 2 that differences are only obvious when they’re placed next to each other. From the back, you could walk past this new iPad on display and have no idea that anything had changed.”

The iPad 3 will have a 9.7-inch screen and probably be about a millimeter thicker than the iPad 2. Chinese blog Apple.pro has apparently compared the two tablet frames and concluded that the iPad 3 will be 9.50mm thick. The iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick.

If you’d like a more comprehensive look at the device’s exterior, we have an exclusive gallery of leaked images for your perusal.

Siri

This one is a little far-fetched, but there’s a change that Siri will make its way to the iPad 3. Despite the fact that Siri can run on the iPhone 4 and other iOS devices just fine, reports have said that Siri only works well on the iPhone 4S because of noise-canceling technology in the A5 processor. Apple could include the necessary hardware to make the iPad 3 Siri-approved. We found direct references to Siri in the iOS 5.1 beta on the iPad, so there’s a definite chance we’ll see the digital assistant make its tablet debut next week.

Pricing And Availability

It’s widely assumed that the next-gen iPad will start at $499 like its predecessors, although a rumor from China has suggested that the starting iPad 3 model will cost $80 more than its iPad 2 counterpart.

When Apple introduced the iPad 2 last year, it kept offering the original iPad for $399 for a limited time. Something along the same lines is likely to happen this time around as well. Dropping the iPad 2′s price by a couple hundred dollars would trigger a lot of impulse buys and create a cheaper option for those that aren’t captivated by the Retina display.

Photos of iPad 3 shipments arriving around the world have surfaced, so Apple is expected to start selling one to two weeks after the announcement. There’s been no word on if there will be pre-orders, but it’s certainly possible.

iOS 5.1

Rumors have suggested that iOS 5.1 is set to drop on Friday, March 9th. There’s a change that Apple will release the developer GM the day of the announcement on Wednesday followed by a public release two days later. The new iPad will definitely ship with 5.1, so expect to have the new software on your other devices before you’re able to pick up an iPad 3. Expect the release to fix all the security flaws certain iOS apps have highlighted over the last few weeks. There may be a few other surprises too.

Apple TV

Apple is also expected to unveil a new Apple TV alongside the iPad 3. It won’t be the mythical television Jobs envisioned, but an upgraded version of the current set-top box. 1080p video, Bluetooth 4.0, and the A5X processor are all expected features.

iPad Mini?

The Wall Street Journal recently stirred this particular part of the rumor mill again with a report saying that Apple is prototyping a smaller, 8-inch iPad alongside the iPad 3. The rumored device would be cheaper than the flagship iPad and assumedly take on products like the Kindle Fire. Many arguments have been made for why such a device will exist, but we’re skeptical of any such announcement happening next week.

Miscellaneous

Other rumors suggest that Microsoft may debut Office for iPad, but we also find that to be far-fetched. Some have suggested that we’ll see something like Aperture for iPad, which would make sense for a Retina display iPad. There have been whispers that Apple will lose the 30-pin dock connector in favor of something more modern, but there’s no telling if such a change will happen this year.

Bottom line: The iPad 3 is going to be awesome. We’ll let you know when you can get in line to buy.

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Thinner MacBook Pro Models in 13-Inch and 15-Inch Sizes Coming in April?

In addition to its report today about a potential 14-inch MacBook Air, DigiTimes also claims that Apple is expected to launch its thinner MacBook Pro models perhaps as soon as April. The report is a bit inconsistent in describing the timing, initially stating that the debut would be in April "at the soonest" while later simply mentioning that they are expected in April.


The report specifies that the redesigned models will include 13-inch and 15-inch models, but there is no word on the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Previous reports have indicated that the redesigned 17-inch model could appear slightly later than the smaller models, similar to Apple's rollout of the unibody MacBook Pro in late 2008 and early 2009.
Apple is expected to launch new MacBook Pro notebooks with an even thinner and lighter design than existing models in April, at the soonest. [...]

Apple is expected to launch upgraded 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros in April with initial shipments estimated to reach 900,000 units.
The report also addresses claims of delays in mass availability of Intel's Ivy Bridge chips, suggesting that Apple could gain an advantage over its competitors looking to release ultrabooks, as Intel's ultra-low voltage chips destined for those machines may not arrive until June.

Chip availability for revamped MacBook Pro models is a bit uncertain, as Intel has not specifically addressed the timeline for quad-core mobile processors such as those found in the current 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro. Dual-core processors such as those found in the smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro do seem to have been pushed back a bit, although it is possible that Apple could squeeze a quad-core Ivy Bridge chip into the 13-inch MacBook Pro as Intel is releasing a chip with a somewhat lower 35-watt thermal design requirement.

Even with potential delays in mass availability of new chips, Apple has on occasion received preferential treatment from Intel, a relationship that could give Apple greater access to limited initial supplies of new Ivy Bridge chips.


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uTest Compares User Satisfaction Between Android And iOS Apps [Infograph]


Ever find yourself alone in your positive review of an app? Maybe you think the price of a mobile game is too high while others think it’s a steal. User satisfaction in the mobile ecosystem is quite a roller coaster of information and emotion. That’s why uTest, a software testing company, decided to crawl hundreds of thousands of apps and user reviews to see just how happy or unhappy users of the top two mobile operating systems were with their app experience. uTest has laid out this information in a nifty little infograph showing user satisfaction across Android and iOS with side-by-comparisons of the two. Check it out and tell us what you think.

Source: uTest Blog via Droid-Life

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