There’s been a lot of flirting going on in recent months between Apple and Facebook. In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook told a group of investors that Facebook was “the one company that is closest to being like Apple”. Last week, Apple did a big App Store promotion for Facebook’s new Camera app, and clearly knew about it well beforehand. Then, of course, there were Cook’s comments at the D10 conference earlier this week. ”Facebook is a great company.” “And the relationship is solid.” Not to mention the ever-provocative ”stay tuned.” Now the two sides appear on the brink of formalizing the relationship. After much speculation, Facebook integration will indeed be baked into the latest version of iOS, we’ve learned. Following Cook’s most recent comments, there was much speculation about this finally happening. After all, Facebook integration did appear in an unreleased build of iOS 4 a couple years ago. But much like the Facebook/Ping integration, this fell by the wayside and Apple instead went with Twitter as the main third-party authentication and sharing service in iOS 5. To be clear, Twitter will still very much be a part of the new iOS (presumably named “iOS 6″ and codenamed “ Sundance “), and that company will be holding sessions at WWDC to chat more about the continued partnership (including the integration into the forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion ). But Facebook integration will be very important for iOS — tons of apps use Facebook for sign-ups and authentication (many use Facebook as the only way to do this, to the dismay of some). Apple was undoubtedly watching this activity and realized that it was time to formally bring Facebook on board. This is also a huge win for Facebook, which until now has relied on the sort of clunky Single Sign On technique in iOS where you click a connect button in an app and get fast-app-switched into the Facebook app to authorize permissions. Once you do this, you’re fast-app-switched back into the original app. Other apps still use the old HTML pop-up for Facebook authentication. Needless to say, Facebook being built right into iOS will provide a more seamless way to handle this — see the Twitter integration for an example of how it should work now — or Facebook’s clever cross-app way of doing it. It’s important to note that Apple being Apple, something could change in the next week and a half (see again: Facebook/Ping). But as of right now, Facebook is a go in iOS “Sundance”. One thing still being hammered out according to our sources is exactly how sharing will work. Sharing is the other big part of the iOS/Twitter integration, and will be important for iOS/Facebook integration as well. But Facebook is significantly more complicated than Twitter in that there are all kinds of permissions for what you can post where and who can see what. And Open Graph adds another layer of complexity to all of this. My guess is that Apple will keep things simple with at least the initial Facebook/iOS integration. Beyond authentication, there will probably be a Facebook button in the existing share screen which will allow you to share something to your Facebook Wall. I doubt there will be much done with Open Graph and auto-sharing, but I could be wrong. It remains an open question as to how a Facebook iOS SDK might play with the existing Facebook SDKs if an app still does want access to more robust sharing features. All of this is the reason Apple previews iOS to developers before releasing it. One Apple product that won’t be graced with Facebook’s presence just yet: OS X Mountain Lion. Again, Twitter integration is coming, but Apple is going to take the Facebook integration one step at a time — which means iOS, for now. Also not coming anytime soon/probably ever: Google+/iOS integration. Just wanted to make that clear.
Archive for June 1st, 2012
Well, it’s about time. Many of us were absolutely floored by the iCache Geode mobile wallet when it first appeared back in April, and now the company has announced that the hotly-awaited accessory is now available for $199 . In case you missed it the first time around, the iCache Geode is an iPhone case with a particularly wonderful twist — in addition to just wrapping a protective layer of plastic around your phone, it also sports a rewritable magstripe card on its rear end. Once the corresponding app has been installed on an iPhone 4/4S, users can store their credit card information on their smartphones and write it onto the so-called GeoCard. That one card can effectively become any credit card you own whenever you need it, eliminating the need to schlep all that plastic around. What’s more, there’s a small e-ink display also mounted on the back of the Geode which displays the barcodes for loyalty cards that have been stored in the app. To tie it all together, a small fingerprint reader sits just south of the iPhone’s home button, ensuring secure access to your digital funds. iCache founder (and Oracle alum) Jon Ramaci has been working with his team to create the Geode mobile wallet for the past three years, and it seems like their efforts have paid off. Their Geode Kickstarter campaign garnered $352,918 in funding, absolutely demolishing their original goal of $50,000. Though their Kickstarter campaign officially wrapped up back in April, that doesn’t mean the team has been resting on their laurels. They’ve been busy getting their manufacturing processes squared away — last time Ramaci and I spoke, he mentioned all of the production would take place in the United States — and responding to customer requests for more colorful cases and a way to carry around ID cards. In short, these past few months have been busy but fruitful — they even took home a few E-Tech Awards from CTIA 2012. This is quite the milestone for the iCache team, but if recent reports are any indication, they’ll have to keep on their toes. Two of the major recurring rumors about Apple’s forthcoming iPhone deal with substantial hardware changes — specifically a much longer body and a redesigned dock connector — that would render this particular $199 purchase useless. Ramaci is no stranger to these reports though, and mentioned to me that the company would do what it could to help their customers out if a dramatic redesign actually came to be. He noted that the company was mulling over offering existing users a 50% rebate on a redesigned Geode if the current model won’t fit the new iPhone, but for now we’ll have to wait and see what Apple has up their considerable sleeves.
In one of the truly bizarre incidents we’ve seen out of the e-book publishing world, a translation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace for Barnes & Noble’s Nook platform has replaced all mentions of the word “kindled” with “Nookd.” It appears to be a case of Ctrl-F gone wrong. An astute reader named Philip broke the story on his blog , noting that his reading of the classic was interrupted by the sentence “It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern…” The blogger noticed more and more uses of the word “Nookd,” leading him to examine a paper copy to find a more accurate translation that used the word “kindled” instead. The best explanation, we think, comes from a commenter on the blog, who says “This obviously wasn’t done by Barnes & Noble, but by the publisher who submitted the book to Barnes & Noble. They created a Kindle version of this public domain book first, realized they used ‘Kindle’ somewhere in their submission, and did a quick find-and-replace to change ‘Kindle’ to ‘Nook’—never once thinking it would affect the book’s text rather than just whatever they put in the title page.” Read more | Comments
The fact that modern smartphones still actually make voice calls may well come as a surprise to many users happy to use their mobile devices as pocket-sized computers. Carriers, on the other hand, seem content to keep the “phone” in smartphone. AT&T’s Randall Stephenson told an investor conference this week that he sees a time in which carriers offer up data-only options for subscribers — a time that may well come in the next two years or so. The CEO said he’d, “be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don’t see people in the market place with data-only plans.” It’s hardly an announcement, but it certainly comes from a guy who knows a thing or two about where the industry is headed. AT&T CEO predicts data-only plans within two years originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 01 Jun 2012 12:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | Yahoo! | Email this | Comments
Illustration by Aurich Lawson It’s officially June, and hopefully you know what that means. Yes, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in just a week and a half, but June also marks the month when Apple’s MobileMe service (previously called .Mac, and before that, iTools) will finally go dark. That’s right: Apple is finalizing its transition over to yet another version of its online services, iCloud, and whatever’s left of MobileMe will be left behind. Even if you’re already using iCloud after transitioning your account over from MobileMe, certain parts of MobileMe simply aren’t available as part of iCloud. This is why it’s important to make sure you grab all your remaining data, back it up, and potentially port it over to a new service. MobileMe will go dark on June 30, 2012. That’s less than a month away at this point, so what are you waiting for? Here are four things you should check up on and back up before that day rolls around. Read more | Comments
The powers at the ETSI just released the specifications for a new SIM format. This card, the fourth form factor or the 4FF, is 40% smaller than the current micro-SIM card. It looks very similar to traditional SIM cards with a rectangle design and a notched corner. It’s just smaller at 12.3mm by 8.mm with the same thickness as the current cards. Even with the smaller size, these cards will be packaged in a way that will make them compatible with existing SIM hardware. Even though the ETSI didn’t come out and say it, as The Next Web points out , this card seems to match up with the design Apple proposed. If true, this flies in the face of other industry giants, Nokia and Motorola, who previously argued against Apple’s design, citing that several issues with the smaller SIM card including that it would not be friendly with mobile hardware. At this point it doesn’t matter. The ETSI has ruled and the 4FF will eventually be rolled out industry wide.
Sharp announced earlier this year that it was starting to crank out LCD panels based on new indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) technology and now it’s ready to show some off at the Society for Information Display show in Boston. Currently sized for phones and tablets, the first prototypes include a pair of LCDs, one a 4.9-inch 720×1280 display, and the other coming at 6.1-inches with a resolution of 2560×1600. As an example of what will be possible further down the line, it also has a pair of OLED panels, one 13.5-inch 3840×2160 QFHD panel based on White OLEDs with RGB color filters (similar to the LG HDTV recently introduced ), and a flexible 3.4-inch 540×960 screen (shown above). According to Sharp the new tech means screens with higher resolutions, lower power consumption, narrower bezels and higher performance touch screens because it enables even smaller thin-film transistors than the ones currently in use. The Associated Press reports it expects to apply the upgrade to production lines in this fiscal year, for now you can hit the source link for a few diagrams and examples of crystalline structures or check the gallery for pics of the other displays. Gallery: Sharp IGZO LCD and OLED prototypes Sharp shows off IGZO LCD and OLEDs including a 13.5-inch QFHD screen originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 01 Jun 2012 03:55:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | Sharp | Email this | Comments
The new account is unlikely to alter Iran’s view of the US, seen here in a mural on the old US embassy in Tehran David Holt In 2011, the US government rolled out its ” International Strategy for Cyberspace ,” which reminded us that “interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders.” An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus —and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target. The article is adapted from journalist David Sanger’s forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power , and it confirms that both the US and Israeli governments developed and deployed Stuxnet. The goal of the worm was to break Iranian nuclear centrifuge equipment by issuing specific commands to the industrial control hardware responsible for their spin rate. By doing so, both governments hoped to set back the Iranian research program—and the US hoped to keep Israel from launching a pre-emptive military attack. The code was only supposed to work within Iran’s Natanz refining facility, which was air-gapped from outside networks and thus difficult to penetrate. But computers and memory cards could be carried between the public Internet and the private Natanz network, and a preliminary bit of “beacon” code was used to map out all the network connections within the plant and report them back to the NSA. Read more | Comments
We’ve potentially seen a lot of the next iPhone’s exterior ; it may be the interior’s time for a shakedown, as an unusually detailed rumor out of 9to5 Mac has claimed scads more about the processor and iOS 6. Going by the tips, the 2012 design would use an S5L8950X, a processor with unknown specs but likely a step ahead of what we’ve seen in the iPhone 4S (8940X) and new iPad (8945X). There would likewise be a new spin on the PowerVR SGX543 graphics from the iPad as well as 1GB of RAM — which doesn’t sound like much next to a 2GB Galaxy S III , but stands to produce a similar speed boost for a lightweight platform like iOS. As for iOS 6 itself, the software is supposedly using underlying code newer than recent OS X Mountain Lion builds and is dumping Google Maps , as some have claimed ever since iPhoto for iOS made that step in the spring. The new Maps app (possibly pictured here) is said to be rough, but the OS as a whole could be coming along so swimmingly that Apple might have no trouble shipping on time. As always, we’re skeptical when so much detail is in flux. The rumor still jives with much more tangible behavior from Apple, such as its experimentation with 32-nanometer processors and a tendency for Apple to refine the chip from the current year’s iPad for the iPhone months later. We may know the accuracy soon enough: more leaks are promised in the next two weeks, including an “entirely new iOS app.” Rumors give 2012 iPhone shiny new chip, 1GB of RAM, mystery iOS app originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 31 May 2012 17:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | 9to5 Mac | Email this | Comments
We sure hope you like surprises, because we’ve got a good one for you. It seems as if MSI wasn’t quite pleased with the killer graphics on its feature-loaded GT70 laptop and decided to give it a quick boost. Earlier today, the outfit announced its fresh gaming machine will now ship with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 675M GPU instead of that already powerful GTX 670M found in our review unit . MSI says the change was driven by the company’s beliefs that “exceptional performance starts with outstanding components,” and, needless to say, we’re certain you’d agree. In case you’ve yet to grab one of these for yourself, you can do so at the source below. Continue reading MSI GT70 gaming laptop kindly updated with GeForce GTX 675M graphics MSI GT70 gaming laptop kindly updated with GeForce GTX 675M graphics originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 31 May 2012 18:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | MSI | Email this | Comments