Since the debut of the iPhone, everyone from competing smartphone makers to Web developers has wanted to copy its onscreen aesthetics. But developer Marco Arment argues that the forthcoming iOS 7 leverages Apple’s hardware in such a way as to make it tough to copy. Specifically, he notes that since much of iOS 7’s interface is dependent on the powerful graphics processors and high-resolution screens in iOS devices, it will be difficult to imitate on competing platforms with weaker specs.
Starting with iOS 7, Apple will finally allow children under age 13 to access its online educational services.
With Google Reader shutting down after 1 July 2013, Josh Centers takes a look at the alternatives that have sprung up to replace it. We report on the best of the lot, and which third-party RSS clients will still be viable after the shutdown.
Fixes compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. (Free, 106 MB)
Fixes even more critical vulnerabilities and removes Apple’s Java plug-in in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. (Free, 64.01 MB for 2013-004 and 69.48 MB for Update 16) en
Gizmodo reports that many owners of the new 2013 MacBook Air are complaining of lost Wi-Fi connectivity, requiring a reboot to reestablish the connection. The issue is reportedly worse when the MacBook Air is on a desk, which might indicate a hardware issue. So, if you’re thinking of buying a new MacBook Air for its significantly improved battery life, perhaps hold off until more is known about this Wi-Fi issue.
The Verge has a compelling account of the barriers HBO had to hurdle to get its content on the Apple TV. One was technical, including efficient encoding of the entire HBO library and writing the software, which was made possible by a new HBO development center in Seattle. The other was political — cable companies are distrustful of online distribution and set-top boxes.
Pre-paid cell phone users rejoice! The iPhone 5 is finally headed to Virgin Mobile on 28 June 2013. Virgin Mobile, which runs on the Sprint network, will be selling the 16 GB iPhone 5 for the unsubsidized price of $549.99 at RadioShack and other participating retailers. The iPhone 5 will be compatible with Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk plan, which starts at $35 for 300 minutes of talk, unlimited texting, and unlimited data (throttled to 256 Kbps or lower after 2.5 GB of monthly usage), with a $5 monthly discount for customers who enable automatic payments.
Badland is a dark, gorgeous running puzzler for iOS that breaks new ground in mobile gaming.
Refines the Twitter client’s interface to make viewing content easier. (Free, 1.4 MB)
Gains the capability to upload files and match against the contents of files, along with user interface improvements and bug fixes. ($28 new, free update, 7.5 MB)
Apple has updated its puckish Apple TV to add a bevy of new content options. Josh Centers offers an overview of what’s now available.
AT&T is pushing out an update to iPhone 4S and 5 owners to enable the government alerts feature that was introduced in iOS 6, a capability that has been available to Verizon customers since September 2012. The alerts are part of the FCC’s CMAS (Commercial Mobile Telephone Alerts) initiative, and include severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts for abducted children, and Presidential alerts. All but the Presidential alerts can be disabled in settings, and none of the alerts count against data or messaging limits.
Peter Kirn, a musician, inventor, and teacher writing for Create Digital Music, has penned a treatise on how the forthcoming Mac Pro will affect musicians and audio pros. It’s a lengthy read, but worthwhile for anyone in the field. Much of his examination revolves around the new Mac Pro’s lack of interior expansion. While many pros will be disappointed at the lack of PCI slots, Kirn argues, “…if you want to take the material you worked out in the studio and bring it on the road with you, you can unplug a Thunderbolt accessory and use it with your laptop. It’s hard not to see that as a very good thing.”
Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper and The Magazine, is arguing for the end of the “top” lists in the App Store: top paid apps, top free apps, and top grossing apps. His reasoning is that those lists simply help top sellers stay on top, as many people rely entirely on the lists for app discovery. Also, he argues that the lists encourage cheap, shallow apps, and says that the system itself is easy to game. More human curation would help, as would better search and discovery within the App Store.