SoftBank realizes big income growth behind iPhone

Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank should be pretty happy with Apple today. The company has grabbed 40 percent of the market for Apple's newest phones according to its end of quarter statement as reported by AppleInsider.

Rival NTT DoCoMo was the last of the Japanese mobile carriers to get the iPhone, and lost more than 66,000 customers after it ran out of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Frustrated customers had no choice but to leave NTT DoCoMo and head to competitors SoftBank or KDDI.

The iPhone now has more than 30 percent of the Japanese smartphone market. SoftBank has been selling the iPhone since 2008, and this latest quarter its profits jumped 84 percent. SoftBank also controls US carrier Sprint as a result of an acquisition in July.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Nomorerack Raises $40M In Series B Financing To Build Depth Across Its Biggest Categories

Less than one year after completing a $12 million Series A round, the multi-category retailer Nomorerack has raised $40 million in Series B financing led by Oak Investment Partners and HTV Industries. Although the company launched as a flash sales site in 2010, Nomorerack has since transitioned to position itself as an online retailer that offers deep discounts across the board in numerous categories.

The financing will go toward customer acquisition and building out the depth of its top categories, which include jewelry, apparel, electronics, home and lifestyle.

“At the end of the day, when we advertise on [sites like] MSN, the broader we are, the more appealing we are,” CEO Deepak Agarwal said.

The company did $9 million in revenue in 2011, north of $100 million in 2012, and is now on track to do close to $300 million, Agarwal said. It’s profitable, and about 70 percent of sales are repeat purchases from consumers. They are currently seeing around 5 million monthly unique visitors to the site.

The site started off featuring sets of nine items that would stay live for 24 hours before they were swapped out for another batch. Today, there are more than 3,000 deals available at any given time, curated by a 16-person buying team, many of which are live for months at a time. How long any given product remains available on the site is determined by an algorithm on the backend that takes into account revenue and sales volume.

“It started out as a daily deal and then over time has evolved to have deep breadth and depth. A lot of products do not get removed from the site. Whereas before, when we launched, they would only last for 24 hours.”

The site is able to offer discounts to consumers by buying directly from manufacturers and disrupting the typical retail pricing chain.

Agarwal said that while Nomorerack is taking market share away from brick-and-mortar stores like TJ Maxx, Target and Walmart, their consumers are shopping on similar sites like eBay and Amazon.

The site recently launched a full-scale jewelry boutique, a mechanism for building depth that they would like to apply to apparel and home, as well. The manufacturing chains for apparel and jewelry are especially ripe for disruption, Agarwal said, as there is a particularly high discrepancy between the manufacture cost and retail price of both. It’s not dissimilar to the recent push Amazon has made in the fashion category.

Home, the site’s biggest category, currently accounts for 30 percent of sales dollars, with electronics coming in second and fashion in third.

Acquiring customers is the company’s biggest expense, Agarwal said. The team is largely based on display advertising, with about 80 percent of marketing dollars going in that direction. That means advertising on sites like AOL, Yahoo, Facebook and Google, as well as running national television commercials, which Agarwal described as an effective driver for them.

Image: Flickr

via TechCrunch

Circle Raises $9M Series A From Accel And General Catalyst To Make Bitcoins Mainstream

Circle Internet Financial has launched with $9M of Series A funding to increase mainstream adoption of digital currencies like Bitcoin by providing a payment platform for consumers and merchants. Investors include Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners.

All three invested in Circle founder Jeremy Allaire’s previous startup Brightcove, an online video platform that went public in 2012.

Circle is a payment platform that wants to make it easy for businesses and consumers to use Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Despite its association with Deep Web black market Silk Road, as well as concerns over its stability, more consumers and companies are beginning to show interest in Bitcoins because they can facilitate online payments at lower costs and with greater security and privacy than existing electronic payment methods.

For consumers, Circle says it is building a secure platform that will protect consumer privacy. For businesses and charities, it will provide tools and services that enable them to accept digital currency payments with no transaction fees. One potential draw for enterprise users is avoiding the fees and risks of fraud and chargebacks associated with credit cards.

Circle Internet Financial

Circle’s Series A is one of the largest–if not the largest–amounts of funding secured so far by a digital currency startup. Other Bitcoin-based companies that have recently landed significant investment include Coinbase, which raised a $5 million Series A led by Union Square Ventures, and BitPay, which has received about $2.5 million to date from Founders Fund and various angel investors.

Other startups that have recently launched to take advantage of the increasing interest in Bitcoin include London-based Bitcoin exchange Coinfloor; music jukebox hack Beatcoin; micropayment platform BitWall; and whitelabel exchange Buttercoin.

In order for companies like Circle to be successful, however, they will have to allay concerns about regulatory issues. As Shakil Khan, founder of Bitcoin news Web site CoinDesk, pointed out last week during a Disrupt Berlin panel, average customers want to see some kind of regulation before they adopt Bitcoin. On the other hand, there are potential opportunities for digital currency companies around the world. For example, China’s government is beginning to show interest in Bitcoins (and a division of Chinese Internet giant Baidu recently started accepting Bitcoin payments).

Circle is based in Boston, with international operations headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, as a money transmitter and is seeking state licenses. John Beccia, the former chief regulatory counsel for the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C., will also serve as Circle’s general counsel and chief compliance officer.

Allaire also co-founded of Allaire Corporation, creators of Web development language ColdFusion. Allaire Corp. was acquired by Macromedia in 2001, where Allaire became CTO and helped oversee the creation of a Flash-based application platform.

“Bitcoin and digital currency represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of the Internet and global commerce,” said Alliare in a statement. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to make payments easier, more secure and less costly for consumers and businesses. Digital currency can dramatically reduce the friction and costs currently experienced in the world by merchants and consumers.”

Jim Breyer, Partner at Accel Partners, will join Circle’s board of directors, as well as David Orfao of General Catalyst Partners.

“The dramatic global growth in mobile, social and online commerce is creating the need and potential for a real global digital currency. With Jeremy’s vision for Circle and track record as an Internet pioneer, the opportunity here is to potentially build a significant global company,” said Breyer.

via TechCrunch

Runtastic Releases Scary, Exciting “Story Running” To Encourage Your Ploddings

Runtastic, an Austrian running start-up with an aim of hitting the Polars and Nikes of the world where it counts has released something its calling “Story Running,” essentially an app that tracks your run and replays an audio story that becomes more exciting as you approach the high points of an interval run.

There have been a few of these already, most notably Zombies Run! and, unless you’re ensconced in a long audiobook they do add a bit of aural pleasure to the long slog of keeping ourselves out of an early grave. There are a number of genres including “Fantasy,” “Adventure,” and “Travel.”

Runtastic also announced the Libra scale, a BMI, bone mass, muscle mass, and BMR/AMR calculating scale that connects to an iOS device to track your weight and important statistics. It costs 129 Euro and will be available in November.

via TechCrunch

Here’s how you can build a fire breathing Jack-O-Lantern with an Arduino and a Glade sprayer

For those of you into pumpkin carving one-upmanship, Rick Osgood’s fire-breathing jack-o-lantern hack using an Arduino and a Glade sprayer should heat things up. Just remember to exercise caution if you try this at home, or you might find yourself lacking in the eyebrow department.

Related: Pumpkin Zombie [through Google Glass] and 24 GoPros + Fire Breathing = Scorchingly Cool (Video)

via The Next Web

Google says no KitKat for Galaxy Nexus

When Google introduced Android 4.4 (KitKat) earlier today, it stressed the importance of fast performance on older devices. It seems odd, then, that this Spanish Google Support page uncovered by Engadget, explicitly says that Google’s two-year-old Galaxy Nexus will not receive an update to Android 4.4.

According to the page, last year’s Nexus 4 smartphone and the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets will all be receiving an update to KitKat in the coming weeks. Right below that is a section dedicated to the Galaxy Nexus, which says the phone will not be upgraded.

This seems to contradict the goal Google outlined earlier today, to help reduce Android fragmentation by making KitKat available on older devices. To that end, KitKat only requires 512MB of RAM to run. The Galaxy Nexus, by comparison, features 1GB of RAM and a dual-core TI processor, which should make it more than capable of running the software, so it’s unclear why it won’t be upgraded.

The Galaxy Nexus had a nice two-year run, but for those that are still using it, this is surely disappointing news to hear.

via Gigaom

Square Market is attracting sellers that have never taken a Reader payment

Square Market launched as a means for Square’s small business sellers to quickly establish and online storefront and easily promote their goods with social media tools, but Market is showing signs of evolving into an independent online marketplace, competing with the likes of Etsy and Fab.

According to Ajit Varma, who heads up Market for Square, 20 percent of Square’s 500,000 listed merchants have never used its payments hardware, Reader and Stand – they’re solely selling and marketing online. The distinction between selling and marketing is important because only about 50,000 Market merchants are actually selling their goods online.

Square Market home screenshot

Instead, most Square merchants Market to establish an online and mobile presence – a place to display their goods, services and pricing. For instance, neighborhood grocery stores are using Market to list their beer inventories and current prices with the aim of attracting locals to its store. Most of those retailers use Square payments technology at the physical point of sale, but as Varma pointed out, an increasing number are not. They’re only using Square online, some for e-commerce (Square is charging the same 2.75 percent transaction fee as it does for a Reader swipe) but others merely as a marketing tool.

Since Square doesn’t charge merchants to set up shop and list items in Market, it isn’t collecting any online revenue from the most of these merchants, so why bother with Market at all? A lot of it has to do with Square’s philosophy of taking the complexity of payment transactions and designing simple yet well-designed commerce products that all relate to one another – a philosophy that Square CEO Jack Dorsey will discuss in more detail at Gigaom’s Roadmap conference next week.

SquareStand_Swipe_300dpi Varma explained that as Square’s core merchant base expands from small mobile business owners working in the field to larger retail businesses such as stores and restaurants, the company has had to expand its portfolio of commerce tools. That was the logic behind Stand, which is Square’s more sophisticated counter-top payments terminal. And that’s the same logic behind Market, Varma said, except extending beyond the physical point of sale onto the internet.

“Square is growing [to support] these larger merchants,” Varma said. “A lot of these larger merchants don’t know how to participate in the online economy.”

While many sellers might have their own webpages or a Facebook profile, most of them haven’t invested that much into web development. Market not only gives them the tools to set up simple yet artfully designed online storefronts in the PC browser, but also on the mobile browser, which is becoming increasingly important. More than 40 percent of Market’s traffic is coming from mobile devices, Varma said.

Market also gives them social media tools to promote their goods – for instance product cards to highlight a sale item in a Twitter feed. As with all of its Square’s merchant products, Market links back Square’s central dashboard, allowing businesses to manage their inventories and pricing across both online and physical stores. Meanwhile its analytics engine helps retailers identify both overall and in-store trends, which in turn can be tied back to Square’s social marketing tools.

Different businesses use a combination of different transaction methods, so the idea is to let them tailor their commerce model using Square’s different products. For instance both a boutique store and a custom furniture maker might use Stand or Reader to process in-store transactions, but only the boutique would use Market for sales. The furniture maker would just use Market as way to display and promote its ottomans and divans online. Conversely a retailer that deals solely online would have plenty of use of Market, but little use for its hardware.

Square benefits from Market because it’s generating more transactions, either directly or indirectly. While Market helps generate more transactions for Square’s existing merchants, Varma said, it’s also broadening its appeal among different types of sellers and putting many more buyers in front of those merchants. Varma’s last point is particularly telling: Half of all payments processed so far on Market have come consumers who have never made a Square payment before.

via Gigaom

Sorry, would-be Walt Mossbergs, but the day of the great mass-media technology critic is over

The world of mainstream technology reviews has undergone a major shakeup in the past few weeks, with legendary columnist Walt Mossberg cutting his ties to the Wall Street Journal after almost half a century, and David Pogue leaving the New York Times for Yahoo. As a result of these changes, Matt Buchanan of the New Yorker wonders in a recent piece who the “next great technology critic” will be, the one who will assume the mantle left by these two giants, and how their job will have to change as a result.

I think the premise of the piece is missing something, however: namely, a sense of how much the media world has changed since Walt and David started — and how much the tech market in particular has fragmented and evolved. Rather than any single source taking over the mantle, I think it’s more likely that no one will, or rather than many people will assume parts of it.

The media market has splintered into niches

Image 1 for post Walt Mossberg: please stop writing mobile tech reviews( 2006-07-20 20:31:20)

As Buchanan notes in his piece, Mossberg has stood astride the North American technology media like a colossus for decades. His reviews of software like Windows 95 and devices like the iMac or iPhone were guaranteed to move markets, and to move units for retailers as well — and as a result he got almost unprecedented access to tech leaders like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Now he is moving on to help run All Things Digital, the company he formed in partnership with Kara Swisher that has severed ties with the Journal (and may have to get a new name). Pogue hasn’t been around quite as long, but he also wielded incredible influence via the NYT for a couple of decades, especially when it came to consumer-level hardware. Between the two of them, Mossberg and Pogue dominated the tech-reviewing scene.

Over the past decade, however, the whole concept of “mass media” has imploded like a star collapsing in on itself, to the point where media theorists like Tom Standage of The Economist and researcher Lee Humphreys argue that a market in which mass-media publications broadcast to a largely un-differentiated audience was a historical anomaly. Thanks to the democratization of information, what we have now are a series of specialized niches, each with its own Mossberg.

For some, a blog like Boy Genius Report might satisfy their need for breaking news, while Daring Fireball might cater to a desire for inside information, and Boing Boing might appeal to those who want to put tech in a broader cultural context. Others are going to look to a site like Wirecutter for insight — the kind that the ailing Consumer Reports used to provide — or to someone like our own Kevin Tofel, who does compelling hands-on reviews from the point of view of a regular husband and father who just happens to love technology.

Let a thousand technology critics bloom

Old TVs

The New Yorker piece acknowledges that the technology market has changed, arguing that anyone who wants to assume the title of “next great technology critic” will have to look at the field not from the point of view of a gadget reviewer — obsessed with bits or bytes — but from the point of view of the user as part of society, and of technology as deserving of thoughtful critcism, the same way art or music is.

“it needs to be deeper, and different, than what Pogue and Mossberg did. There can be beauty in aluminum, glass, and polycarbonate; art in the design of software; and elegance in coding. Or ugliness and chaos. These are rarely, if ever, meaningfully captured in newspaper technology criticism”

This is undoubtedly true — technology is much more mainstream and deserves to be treated that way. But I still think Buchanan’s piece is based on the faulty premise that there will be one or two giants who will lead everyone to the promised land of tech reviewing (and while we’re at it, we might even be able to find some that aren’t just the usual gang of old white guys).

The point is that looking for the next Walt Mossberg is like looking for the next Walter Cronkite: he’s never going to appear because the market dynamics in which that person emerged and came to hold that position simply don’t exist any more. That’s not to say there won’t be prominent tech writers, because there will — in fact, there are probably more of them than there have ever been, covering tech from as broad a range of perspectives as possible.

And isn’t that better than just one or two mainstream-media superstars? The embarrassment of riches we currently have in tech may not be as easy for product managers or PR departments to navigate, but I would argue that technology users and consumers are ultimately better off.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Shutterstock / Dario Lo Presti

via Gigaom

App icons don't have to suck

The days of skeuomorphic icons are gone and in their place are clean, flat icons designs that, in theory, offer an attractive and modern feel. But when the desire for something simple comes at the cost of relevance, icons take a turn for the worse.

Instead of overly elaborate and detailed icons that produced a busy and cluttered feel, the App Store is now overrun with icons that mean absolutely nothing and only serve to harm the appeal of the apps and confuse potential customers.

To help illustrate this, I grabbed a handful of these too-vague-for-their-own-good icons and tossed them into our TUAW team chatroom. I asked what, if anything, each icon tells the user about the app itself -- or, if nothing else, simply what the graphic resembles.

To be clear: This is in no way a commentary on the quality of the apps themselves (and indeed some of these are extremely popular and well-liked) but simply a call for developers to put some more thought into the most public face of their own products.

What is it?

  • A charging utility

  • An app about Alton Brown's bow tie

  • A soundboard with nothing but Gomer Pyle saying "Shazam!"

What it actually is: Prompts, an app to help writers find inspiration.

What is it?

  • A fingerpainting app, but with only one color choice

  • A Smurf penis

  • A blue tampon applicator

What it actually is: Vesper, a note-taking and archiving app.

What is it?

  • A how-to-make popsicles app (seriously, the fact that it's not this is a crime)

  • Wild mushroom locator and index

  • A ghost with diarrhea

What it actually is: Fancy, a crowd-sourced shopping app with a social twist. And no, it doesn't tell you how to make popsicles.

What is it?

  • A digital pregnancy test

  • A calculator... obviously

  • "The Green Cross" for horrible people who don't like the Red Cross

What it actually is: Gneo, a productivity app.

What is it?

  • A bacteria guide app

  • A camera app that gives everyone in the photo green chickenpox

  • A Yoshi ovulation tracking app

What it actually is: thredUP, a clothing marketplace for women, kids and teens.

What is it?

  • An app that tells you when it's near sunset if you're on a cruise ship

  • An orange juice review aggregator

  • An app that lists all the words that rhyme with orange

What it actually is: Level Money, a budgeting app.

See what I mean?

I get it; Creating a nice icon without an established brand logo to draw from isn't easy, but I promise you it can be done. Here are a few fantastic examples of app icons that are not only clean and attractive, but also offer a hint as to what the app actually does.

What it is: Chefs Feed, a restaurant guide curated by actual chefs.

What it is: Elixr, a social network and rating service for drink lovers.

What it is: The Converted, an easy-to-use unit conversion tool.

See the difference? Now please, put some more effort into your app's most important symbol before the App Store is filled with icons that are nothing more than simple gradients. Oh god, it's happening already.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily iPhone App: Wolfify turns your lovely face into canine evil

Wolves don't smile and you shouldn't smile when you are using Wolfify from Apptly, which also produces the popular Stacheify and Oldify. As its name implies, Wolfify allows you to turn yourself into a werewolf.

The app uses the front-facing camera to snap a photo of your face or you can grab a selfie from your camera roll. Special effects added by the app turn your facial features into one horrible-looking wolf that growls and sneers. The app cleverly adds a makeup layer, teeth and sounds to turn your beautiful face into a sneering snout filled with evil. You can turn into a full werewolf, but you have to wait until a real full moon or buy an in-app allotment of potions to transform early,

There are a handful of different wolf effects. Some are free, and some require you to invite friends or share on Facebook in order to unlock them. When you are done with your wolfen photo, you can export it to the camera roll, share it social networks, email it to friends or upload a video of your growling to Youtube.

Wolfify is available for free from the iOS App Store. It's harmless and fun for Halloween, so why not download it and check it out.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple's per-employee revenue is "off the charts"

If there's one thing Apple is not in need of, it's cash in its bank account. It's hardly a secret Apple is a moneymaking machine, enjoying margins that other hardware manufacturers can only dream of.

During Apple's most recent quarter, the company posted revenue of $37.5 billion, marking a new Q4 record in the process.

When you begin breaking down Apple's staggering quarterly revenue across various metrics, a lot of fun and interesting factoids emerge. For instance, Apple during the last quarter generated $13 million in revenue every single hour.

ISI's Brian Marshall also did some Apple revenue math and deduced that Apple's revenue per employee is a whopping $2.13 million. Note that the breakdown only includes full-time-equivalent employees.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Each individual Touch ID sensor will only work on one phone

When Apple first revealed the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, it was accompanied by a long and detailed explanation of how and where your fingerprint data is stored on the device -- in a special area on the iPhone 5s's A7 chip. But as iMore has discovered, locking your print details away in a dark corner of the processor isn't the only advanced hardware security measure that Apple has taken. It now appears that each Touch ID sensor is paired to its host device and won't respond if used elsewhere.

After being contacted by a third party iPhone repair and modification company that was having an issue getting a replacement Touch ID sensor working on a new iPhone 5s, iMore did some testing. They discovered that each Touch ID sensor, though appearing identical on the outside, will only work with the phone it came with from the factory, suggesting an additional security layer that Apple decided to not to disclose.

But why pair the hardware components in such a way? Well, hackers are crafty, and while Apple insists that the fingerprint data is stored in a way that couldn't be reverse-engineered, if someone could tap into the conversation between the Touch ID and the A7 chip (possibly by spoofing the digital appearance of the Touch ID sensor) that information could be vulnerable. The chances that an individual could pull off such a feat is unlikely on its own, but by tying the sensor itself to one specific device makes it exponentially more difficult.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

SoundTracking Launches Updated App With New ‘Discover' Section For Trending Music

Music-focused social network SoundTracking released a new version of its smartphone app today, one that co-founder and CEO Steve Jang said will make the app useful beyond “hardcore music lovers.”

We’re also hearing that SoundTracking has reached an agreement with Sprint, with SoundTracking being preloaded or featured on certain Sprint Android phones starting next spring. However, Jang declined to comment on any potential partnership, so hopefully we’ll know more about that soon.

Anyway, back to the updated app. There’s a new design with features like larger photos and brighter colors, but the most interesting addition is probably a Discover section, which is basically a new take on finding music through Soundtracking.

Previously, people discover music based on what was shared by the users they followed. With the new section, you can find music in a way that’s not subject to the randomness of who you follow and when you checked your newsfeed. There’s a song of the day chosen by the SoundTracking team (something the company was already experimenting with via email, and which got a positive response), hashtag-based search, and charts of general trending music and music nearby.

Jang said he plans to go further in this direction with more charts focusing on different types of music.

The obvious comparison seems to be Twitter #Music, an app that recommends music based on what people are tweeting. Jang suggested that social networks in general have moved toward personalized recommendations that less reliant on timelines and on who you follow. On the other hand, a recent report suggested that usage of the #Music app has declined and that Twitter may shut it down. The problem in that case, Jang suggested, is that people wanted that experience in Twitter itself, not in a separate app.

Jang added that 14 million tweets, Facebook status updates, Instagram pictures, Foursquare check ins, emails, and SMS messages are sent each day from SoundTracking. Users have created a total of 40 million music moments, which have been shared more than 6 billion times and viewed 530 million times within the company’s mobile and web apps.

“The stats reflect that we continue to create a product that’s’ really great for expression, sharing, and outbound messaging,” he said. “I think our work on the Discover section and charts and personalized is really going to address the other side. … Now we need to help people who love music that are little bit more passive, more of viewing and listening type.”

” So we can expect more “lean back” type experiences to come in the future.

via TechCrunch

Daily Update for October 31, 2013

It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.

You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.

No Flash? Click here to listen.

Subscribe via RSS


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Google updates Play services with Mobile Ads, geofencing, Google+, and API improvements, but drops Froyo support

In addition to the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat, Google today also updated Google Play Services to version 4.0. The new release includes the Google Mobile Ads SDK, and also makes improvements to geofencing, Google+, and Google Wallet Instant Buy APIs.

More importantly, Google Play Services 4.0 drops support for Android 2.2 (Froyo). Google notes that over 97 percent of devices that use Google Play are now running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher, so killing off Froyo makes sense.

Google says the move allows it to offer Android developers more powerful APIs “in the future.” At the same time, these new APIs will not be available on devices running Android 2.2.

While Google Play services 4.0 is slowly rolling out to Android devices around the world, developers can download the latest Google Play services SDK right now. Google is hoping to give them a head start in developing with the new APIs using the new Android 4.4 (KitKat) emulator.

The new Google Mobile Ads SDK in Google Play services helps provide “seamless improvements” to end users. That means bug fixes are pushed automatically to users without developers having to do anything.

Google says the Maps and Geofencing APIs that launched in Google Play services 3.1 have been updated to improve overall battery efficiency and responsiveness. The Maps API further enhances map customization features, letting developers specify marker opacity, fade-in effects, visibility of 3D buildings, and change ground overlay images.

Apps that use Google+ Sign-In will be updated with a simplified sign-in consent dialog. Google Wallet Instant Buy APIs are now available to everyone (within a sandbox) with a simplified API that streamlines the buy-flow and reduces integration time.

Last but not least, the update contains a new anonymous identifier for advertising purposes (to be used in place of Android ID). That’s for developers; users have gained new settings to reset this identifier or opt out of interest-based ads for Google Play apps.

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/Getty Images

via The Next Web

Firefox 26 beta is out: Click to Play plugins by default, Firefox OS App Manager, and Home redesigned on Android

Following the release of Firefox 25 just two days ago, Mozilla today announced updates to its Firefox Beta channel, which is now on version 26, on desktop as well as Android. The former has Click to Play plugins and the Firefox OS App Manager, while the latter has gained a new Home design.


Let’s take a look at the new desktop beta first, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest addition is undoubtedly the Click to Play revamp, which affects all versions of all plugins, except the latest release of Flash. The company won’t say why it is exempting Adobe’s plugin, but it’s most likely because users expect their videos to play automatically (and advertisers expect their ads to load automatically).

In short, it means Firefox beta only loads third-party plugins when users click to interact with the plugin. Currently, Firefox automatically loads any plugin requested by a website, unless Mozilla has blocked it for security reasons (which it has for old versions of Java, Silverlight, and Flash).

In the beta browser, when a site tries to use a plugin, the user will be able to choose whether to enable the plugin on that site. Firefox will only load it when you take the action of clicking to make it play. Alternatively, you can also configure Click to Play so that it always runs plugins on a particular website.

Firefox OS App Manager, meanwhile, is a new developer tool designed to help developers build Firefox OS apps, either in the Simulator or on a connected device. They can test, deploy, and debug HTML5 Web apps directly from Firefox.

For more details on what else is new in Firefox beta, here are the release notes:

  • NEW: All plug-ins, with the exception of recent Flash plug-ins, are defaulted to ‘click to play’.

  • NEW: Password manager now supports script-generated password fields.

  • NEW: Updates can now be performed by Windows users without write permissions to Firefox install directory (requires Mozilla Maintenance Service).

  • NEW: Support for H.264 on Linux if the appropriate gstreamer plug-ins are installed.

  • CHANGED: Support for MP3 decoding on Windows XP, completing MP3 support across Windows OS versions.

  • CHANGED: CSP implementation now supports multiple policies, including the case of both an enforced and Report-Only policy, per the spec.

  • DEVELOPER: Social API now supports Social Bookmarking for multiple providers through its SocialMarks functionality (see MDN docs).

  • DEVELOPER: There is no longer a prompt when websites use appcache.

  • DEVELOPER: Support for the CSS image orientation property.

  • DEVELOPER: New App Manager allows you to deploy and debug HTML5 webapps on Firefox OS phones and the Firefox OS Simulator.

  • DEVELOPER: IndexedDB can now be used as a “optimistic” storage area so it doesn’t require any prompts and data is stored in a pool with LRU eviction policy, in short temporary storage.

  • FIXED: When displaying a standalone image, Firefox matches the EXIF orientation information contained within the JPEG image


  • FIXED: Improved page load times due to no longer decoding images that aren’t visible


  • FIXED: AudioToolbox MP3 backend for OSX



The biggest change on Android is the redesigned startup screen. The new start page, called Home, gives users quick and easy access to their browsing data, including top sites, history, bookmarks, Reading List, and search.

Home is displayed in a simple set of swipeable panels which provide a much more fluid way to browse the Web. It’s the first thing a user sees when starting a new browsing session, opening a new tab, or tapping on the URL bar.

Home phones 730x852 Firefox 26 beta is out: Click to Play plugins by default, Firefox OS App Manager, and Home redesigned on Android

Firefox Beta for Android also includes new search engines: Bing and Yahoo in the United States, Canada, and France. You can change your search provider from the Menu under “search settings.”

Firefox beta for Android has the following release notes:

  • NEW: Updated about:home interface with Top Sites thumbnails, and ability to pin tabs to home page.

  • NEW: Password manager now supports script-generated password fields.

  • CHANGED: Performance improvements on some Nvidia devices.

  • CHANGED: CSP implementation now supports multiple policies, including the case of both an enforced and Report-Only policy, per the spec.

  • DEVELOPER: There is no longer a prompt when websites use appcache.

  • DEVELOPER: Support for the CSS image orientation property.

  • DEVELOPER: IndexedDB can now be used as a “optimistic” storage area so it doesn’t require any prompts and data is stored in a pool with LRU eviction policy, in short temporary storage.

  • FIXED: When displaying a standalone image, Firefox matches the EXIF orientation information contained within the JPEG image


  • FIXED: Improved page load times due to no longer decoding images that aren’t visible


  • FIXED: In some cases, the clip set on the page doesn’t update when the addressbar hides


  • FIXED: Invalid position:fixed rendering


Mozilla is planning to release Firefox 26 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android in early December. We’ll keep you posted.

Top Image Credit: T. Al Nakib

via The Next Web

FAA: airline passengers may use electronic devices during all phases of flight

We all know the drill. You're on a plane before take-off, checking your email or perhaps watching a movie on your Mac, iOS or Android device. Before you know it, the captain announces that all electronic devices need to be shut off before take-off. You grudgingly comply.

Thankfully, that drill will soon be a thing of the past.

The FAA announced today that it will allow passengers to use electronic devices throughout the entirety of a flight, from take-off to landing. The only prohibited activity will be making calls.

The FAA has already begun supplying airlines with implementation guidelines and believes that most airlines will have the new rule in effect by the end of the year.

In a press release announcing the change, the FAA noted that their decision was based on "input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry."

"We believe today's decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer's increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the press release.

In reaching their decision, the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee determined that commercial airplanes, by and large, can handle radio interference from personal electronic devices. The press release does note, however, that exceptions may be made during "rare instances of low-visibility."

As for which airlines will be first to adopt the new rule, Delta has already submitted its plan of compliance to the FAA while JetBlue has indicated that will begin the process soon.

All in all, the FAA decision should make flying just a tad more bearable.

As a final note, bear in mind that the new FAA guidelines only apply to flights at altitudes over 10,000 feet.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Strategy Analytics: Android smartphone shipments up to 81.3% in Q3 2013, iOS down to 13.4%, Windows Phone at 4.1%

Global smartphone shipments reached 251.4 million units in Q3 2013, up 45 percent from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012. Breaking those numbers down, Google’s Android secured a whopping 81.3 percent global share, Apple’s iOS fell to 13.4 percent, and Windows Phone took third with 4.1 percent.

The majority of growth came from robust demand for Android and Windows Phone models in developed and developing markets, notably Europe and Asia. Here’s the full breakdown for annual growth:

sa smartphones q3 2013 730x223 Strategy Analytics: Android smartphone shipments up to 81.3% in Q3 2013, iOS down to 13.4%, Windows Phone at 4.1%

The latest figures are from Strategy Analytics, which noted Google’s Android hit a new high mainly at the expense of BlackBerry and iOS. Microsoft’s Windows Phone managed to double its share, letting it grab the title of “the world’s fastest growing major smartphone platform.”

Android’s worldwide domination in smartphone shipments has hit a new peak in that four out of every five devices run Google’s operating system. BlackBerry lost the most as a result, as its global smartphone share dipped from 4 percent to 1 percent in the past year. Apple also lost some ground to Android, which Strategy Analytics says is due to “limited presence at the lower end of the smartphone market.”

On the other hand, the analytics firm noted Android will have a difficult time taking further shipments from Apple in the near-term. This is because the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have just been announced, and the former is proving popular enough that expectations are high for Apple regaining volumes worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2013.

During Q3 2013, Microsoft shipped more than 10 million smartphones worldwide in a single quarter for the first time ever (up 178 percent year-over-year). This allowed it to double its global smartphone share from 2 percent to 4 percent in the past year.

Microsoft’s growth is almost entirely due to Nokia, a division of which it is acquiring next year, and its Lumia portfolio across Europe, Asia, and the US. Nevertheless, Strategy Analytics notes Microsoft is still at a low level of share worldwide and is struggling to gain serious traction in several major markets like Japan, South Korea, and Africa.

The fourth quarter of 2013 will likely be one of the most interesting ones to watch yet. Will Google and Microsoft be able to keep growing their respective shares despite Apple’s new devices?

Top Image Credit: Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Images

via The Next Web

Facebook’s cross-platform SDK for Unity comes out of beta, lets users share game screenshots with friends

Facebook today announced its Software Development Kit (SDK) for Unity has come out of beta. The company says it has made its SDK even easier to integrate with cross-platform games.

More specifically, Facebook has added new features to help developers grow their games. Cross-platform development is now easier thanks to unified function and return call values across all supported platforms and increased compatibility for apps using multiple plugins.

851546 534984263256589 1883088266 n 730x330 Facebooks cross platform SDK for Unity comes out of beta, lets users share game screenshots with friends

Furthermore, SDK for Unity has been updated with the latest features of Facebook’s Android and iOS SDKs, including support for app events that help developers measure the effectiveness of their mobile app ads. Support for deep linking, which takes users directly from social stories to a customized destination in a game, has also been improved.

That’s all the news for developers. Gamers will be happy to know the updated SDK makes it simple for games to let users share screenshots with their friends. Once developers start implementing this, expect to see a flood of screenshots showing up on your News Feed.

Facebook first launched its SDK for Unity back in August. Two months is pretty quick to take the SDK out of beta, which suggests the company is seeing solid results so far.

Facebook says its games team is focused on “bringing high quality games to Facebook users” and one way it is hoping to achieve this is to help developers provide social experiences in 3D games. The company is pushing Unity developers to download and start integrating its SDK today on Android, iOS, and Facebook canvas. It is also taking feedback on (use the tag “facebook-unity-sdk”) on Stack Overflow.

See also – Facebook unveils the top rated games of 2012: SongPop leads, six Zynga games in top 25 and Never mind Zynga: Facebook claims its last three months of game revenue are a record

Top Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

via The Next Web

Top tips for business travel the geek way

As writers for an international blog we travel a lot. We hold our conferences in Amsterdam, Sau Paulo and New York now but have also held smaller events in lots of countries across Europe and South America. We’ve seen our fair share of airports and hotels and have our own little tricks and tips for geek traveling.

(Disclaimer: I happen to be a Mac user so some of the tips are more useful for Apple users than non-Apple users. Sorry about that).

socket Top tips for business travel the geek wayWhen I travel I bring a laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. Every device has a charger that needs to be plugged in somewhere. You can buy the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit, but that is expensive and has a bunch of adapters you will likely never use.

Years ago I started collecting these little thingies you can attach to your power adapters. I got a few British ones, about 5 US ones and a bunch of European ones. Now when I travel somewhere I find out what power sockets are used for that country and then replace all my adapters with the right add-on.

Another smart option is to bring a basic 5-Outlet Power Bar Strip Splitter with you with just one international converter. That way you can keep your local power sockets attached and use just one plug. Many hotel rooms only have one power socket near the bed, so this is a very efficient way to connect all your devices, and not worry about finding a converter for every device you carry.

If you end up forgetting your adapters (it happened to me) just go and talk to the hotel reception. Ask them to check the ‘Lost & Found’ basket if they don’t keep an extra adapter behind the desk. A lot of travelers forget theirs (it happened to me) when they leave the room, so usually they have a whole basket filled with these things somewhere.

The other thing I always bring is an ethernet cable. If you have a newer MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, you might need an extra Thunderbolt adapter, so get one of those too. Some hotels offer free wired networking and paid WiFi, so then an ethernet cable comes in handy. I’ve also had instances where the WiFi was down but the network still worked.

If I’m traveling longer I bring my own Airport Express station which I can connect to any network and then use to set up my own WiFi network. This is handy for hotels that have ethernet but no (or bad) WiFi network in your room. I name the network ‘’ for some extra guerrilla marketing.

These days the better hotels all offer a large LCD TV in your room. So far I have always been able to reach the back of these things and attach my own Apple TV via an HDMI cable. In the US, you can also order a Google Chromecast which is even cheaper and works just as well for streaming.

Image credit: Alliance/Shutterstock

via The Next Web

My Opera forum, blogging platform, and email to shut down on March 1, 2014

Opera today announced it is shutting down My Opera on March 1, 2014. The whole service is going away, including the forum, blogging platform, and email components.

My Opera started as a support forum in 2001, but then in 2006 it grew into a full-fledged community site that let users do everything from writing blog posts to sharing photos. Opera says social media and blogging sites have since popped up with “more and better features than we could possibly maintain.”

Opera is thus giving its users four months to move to new services and to back up their blogs and photos. You can preserve all your content with two simple steps:

  • Export your blog. The output file should work with WordPress, Squarespace, Typepad, Movable Type, Drupal, and many other weblog-hosting sites.

  • Download all of your content. Opera has a guide to walk you through the steps.

As for My Opera email, Opera suggests users sign up for a new provider and forward the emails they want to save. You can set up an auto-reply in your My Opera email to inform your contacts of your new email address.

This quick FAQ explains a bit more:

What about the desktop blog?

It will be continued at

What about the Opera Link web interface?

It will be hosted from and you can log in with your My Opera account details to get access to your synchronized content.

Will this affect other Opera services such as

No, you can still log in with your My Opera account and access your addons, review and comment.

What happens with my comments?

Your comments will also be included when you export your blog post.

What about the forums?

Our forums will be moved to later. The most important threads will be moved there and you can still use your My Opera account to log in and continue the discussion. In other words: Your My Opera account is now your new Opera account that you can use for all Opera services and products.

In short, Opera is killing a lot of features here. The company hopes users will transition to alternatives but also keep using its other services where possible. That’s a tough message to send.

via The Next Web

Google’s Nexus 5 ships today: 4.95-inch display, Android 4.4 KitKat, 16GB for $349 and 32GB for $399

Google today announced the LG-manufactured Nexus 5, available in 16GB ($349) and 32GB ($399) flavors. The smartphone is the first device to ship with Android 4.4 (KitKat) and goes on sale today.

The device is launching unlocked and without a contract on Google Play in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, and Korea today. Google says it is “coming soon” to India, with more countries to follow. It will also be available soon at Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy, and RadioShack.

The Nexus 5 comes with a 4.95-inch display, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and features a 1920×1080 resolution (445 ppi). It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM.

The smartphone has a front-facing 1.3MP camera and a rear-facing 8MP camera. Google also touts that the advanced new lens captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots.

The rear camera features optical image stabilization (OIS), so shaky hands and blurry pictures are a thing of the past. Lastly, the new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot.

Nexus 5 Leaked Press Render Google Server 01 730x602 Googles Nexus 5 ships today: 4.95 inch display, Android 4.4 KitKat, 16GB for $349 and 32GB for $399

Google calls it “the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made.” It features 4G LTE as well as “ultra fast wifi.” The rest is much like you’d expect: ceramic power and volume buttons, microUSB, SlimPort-enabled, a 3.5mm stereo audio jack, and dual microphones.

On paper, the Nexus 5 looks like a solid device that should keep up with most flagship Android devices currently available. As with all Nexus devices, the fact that it ships with the latest version of Android, and will get the newest releases as soon as they’re available, is a big advantage. We’ll reserve further judgment, however, until we can get our hands on the latest and greatest smartphone from Google.

Top Image Credit: Google

via The Next Web

Tracking OS X's evolution to Mavericks

Remember Cheetah? Or Puma? Or Snow Leopard? If you are a Mac user, you likely have fond memories of these different versions of OS X. If you want to take a walk down memory lane, then you should check out iMore, which has an interesting piece on OS X and its evolution to Mavericks.

iMore starts with the radical jump from Mac OS 9 to OS X, when Apple adopted a UNIX foundation for its desktop OS. The company originally released new versions of OS X on a yearly basis, until it hit OS X 10.3 Panther. At this point, Apple moved to a biannual upgrade cycle.

Somewhere in the middle of these desktop upgrades, Apple switched from its PowerPC architecture to Intel-based hardware. It was smooth sailing as the company made this transition during those Leopard and Snow Leopard years.

When Mountain Lion debuted in 2012, Apple kickstarted its yearly upgrade cycle and used its last cat breed for its desktop OS. Now we have OS X 10.9 Mavericks, a name taken from a popular California surfing location. Apple added a lot in this latest version of OS X, improving memory and battery performance and bringing OS X and iOS closer together via iCloud.

You can read more about the path to OS X Mavericks in the iMore article.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Original 3G iPad owners get eligibility claim forms for proposed settlement

Apple (Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the new iPad during an event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul S

Yesterday, those who had ordered an original 3G-enabled iPad on or before June 7, 2010, received an email outlining the details of a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit. As you may recall, AT&T offered unlimited iPad data plans when the tablet first appeared in 2010, but quickly pulled those plans. Some customers may have purchased iPads based on the "come-on" of unlimited data at a set rate, warranting the damages that have been set by the courts.

According to the email, those who are members of the class are eligible for a one-time US$40 payment from Apple as well as "other benefits from AT&T," which amounts to a discounted data plan. The claim can be submitted online by using an embedded link and a special claim number assigned to each member of the class, and the claim must be made by February 3, 2014.

If you purchased a 3G iPad in those early days and didn't receive a claim form, you can request one by calling a toll-free phone number listed on the form. Many thanks to TUAW reader Dan M. for forwarding his copy of the settlement email to us (click the press release button below to read).

$40 payment from Apple and discounted data benefit plan from AT&T under class action settlements

Click here or go to to file your claim using

your Personal Claim Number

Your Personal Claim Number is

If you purchased more than one eligible iPad 3G, you will receive a separate e-mail with a separate Personal Claim Number for each iPad. You must submit a separate claim form for each iPad using the separate Personal Claim Number.

If you purchased or ordered an iPad with WiFi + 3G on or before June 7, 2010, you could be entitled to $40 from Apple, and other benefits from AT&T, under class action settlements

The Court authorized this notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer. You are not being sued.

This notice may affect your legal rights. Please read it carefully.

You may be entitled to a $40 payment from Apple, and other benefits from AT&T, under two settlements that have been reached in class action lawsuits titled In re Apple and AT&T iPad Unlimited Data Plan Litigation. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California authorized this notice. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the settlements so that the benefits may be provided.


You're an "Apple Class Member" if you are a United States resident who purchased or ordered an iPad 3G in the United States on or before June 7, 2010. You're an "AT&T Subclass Member" if you also did not sign up for any AT&T data plan for that iPad at any time.


The lawsuits claimed that iPad 3G purchasers were not provided with access to an "unlimited" data plan in the manner originally advertised by Apple and AT&T. Apple and AT&T deny all allegations and are entering into these settlements to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The settlements are not an admission of wrongdoing.


Apple will provide a $40 payment to all Apple Class Members who submit a valid Claim Form. AT&T will provide a "Data Plan Benefit" to AT&T Subclass Members who did not sign up for an AT&T 3G data plan for their iPad at any time and who submit a valid Claim Form. The Data Plan Benefit provides an AT&T 5GB iPad data plan for $30/month for up to one year, which is a $20/month discount from the current monthly rate; if the monthly rate of the 5GB iPad data plan changes, a discount of $20/month will still be provided.


You must submit a valid Claim Form by February 3, 2014. The Claim Form will require you to affirm that the ability to switch in and out of the "unlimited" data plan was a factor in your decision to purchase an iPad 3G.

You can submit a Claim Form online by following this link and using the Personal Claim Number above. You may also request a Claim Form by calling 1-800-248-1504. You may submit claims for the Cash Benefit, the Data Plan Benefit, or both. Only eligible persons will receive benefits.


You must submit your Claim Form on or before February 3, 2014, or you will lose your right to obtain these benefits. If you wish to receive a reminder notice before the deadline, click here or go to


If you don't want to make a claim and you don't want to be legally bound by the settlement with Apple, the settlement with AT&T, or both settlements, you must send a written request postmarked no later than December 20, 2013. If you don't timely exclude yourself, you will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, the defendant in that settlement about the legal claims in this case and will be bound by any judgment. If you exclude yourself, you will not be eligible to receive benefits under that settlement.

If you do not exclude yourself, you may object to one or both of the settlements or Class Counsel's fee application. Objections must be received by December 20, 2013. The detailed notice (available by calling 1800-248-1504 or going to describes how to exclude yourself or object. The Court will hold a hearing in this case (In re Apple and AT&T iPad Unlimited Data Plan Litigation, Case No. 5:10-02553-RMW) on February 7, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. to consider whether to approve (1) the settlements; (2) attorneys' fees and expenses for Class Counsel of up to $1,750,000; and (3) service awards of up to $1,000 for each of the five class representatives who represented the class in this case. You may appear at the hearing, but you don't have to. To obtain a detailed notice and Claim Form, or to review Class Counsel's fee application once it is filed, go to or call toll free 1-800-248-1504.


The Court has appointed Class Counsel to represent the Class. The law firms appointed as Class Counsel are listed in the detailed notice, available by calling 1-800-248-1504 or at You may hire your own attorney, but you will have to pay that attorney.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-248-1504.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily Deals for October 31, 2013, featuring the Hans "Guitar" Solo T-Shirt

It's time to save some of that hard-earned cash with our Daily Deals, featuring exclusive TUAW Deals, a handy list from Dealnews and our own hand-picked iOS and OS X selections.

TUAW's Daily Deals

The Hans "Guitar" Solo T-Shirt [On sale for $15.99, down from $30]


If your goal is to become the biggest rock star the galaxy has ever seen (assuming Kanye doesn't claim the title first – but he may have already beat you to it), then pay homage to the original guitar "Solo"-ist with this face-melting t-shirt.

Save 46% on The Hans "Guitar" Solo T-Shirt at TUAW Deals. Valid for one (1) Mens Small (see sizing chart above) Hans Guitar Solo t-shirt<. Please note: This promotion is available to USA customers ONLY. Price includes free shipping!

Deals from Dealnews

  • MacMall: [Apple Computers] MacMall Apple Launch Sale: Up to $900 off Macs, iPads, storage, more

  • Other World Computing: [Apple Computers] Used Macs and iPads at OWC from $239 + free shipping

  • VM Innovations: [Headphones] Sennheiser Headphones at VM Innovations from $20 + free shipping

  • Other World Computing: [Serial ATA Drive Enclosures] Open-Box SATA HDD Enclosures at Other World Computing from $4 + $4 s&h

  • [iPhone Cases] OtterBox Defender Case with Holster for iPhone 5 for $15 + free shipping

  • MegaMacs: [Notebook Accessories] Apple 85W Magsafe Power Adapter for MacBook Pro for $49 + free shipping

  • MegaMacs: [Notebook Accessories] Apple 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter for $49 + free shipping

  • eBay: [TV Antennas & Receivers] TaoTronics Rotating Outdoor HDTV Antenna for $36 + free shipping

  • World Market: [Computer Desks] Metal Edge Laptop Desk for $60 + $11 s&h

  • JCPenney: [iPad Accessories] Dodocase Classic Case for iPad for $22 + $8 s&h

  • Target: [Photo Services] 50 4x6" digital photo prints for free at Target stores

  • StackSocial: [Mac Software] cf/x alpha 2.0 Image Composition Editor for Mac downloads for $49

iOS Software Discounts

  • Trouserheart [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $1.99, down from $2.99] Get up from the throne and defeat Blockolds, Tentacles, Derp Knights, Jelly Cubes, and other peculiar adversaries! The King needs his pants back!

  • King Oddball [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $1.99, down from $2.99] Blow up tanks! Crash helicopters! Squash puny humans! Collapse structures! Hurl boulders until nothing remains!

  • Grim Joggers [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $1.99, down from $2.99] Lead a group of fifteen joggers as far as possible before each of them faces a gruesome end in this superbly original endless runner

  • Little Luca [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $2.99] Help collect the missing stars in this addictively fun physics-based game.

  • Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad [iPad; Category: Games; On sale for $0.99, down from $4.99] Sid Meier's Pirates! is an exciting high-seas adventure that allows buccaneers to helm one of 27 fully customizable ships as they descend upon unsuspecting ports of call to amass a motley crew of seafaring bandits.

  • NBA 2K14 [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $2.99, down from $7.99] NBA 2K14 is the latest installment of the world&#39;s biggest and best NBA video game franchise.

  • Figure [iOS Universal; Category: Music; Now free, down from $0.99] Figure is the fun music-making app for instant inspiration. Apple App of the week.

OS X Software Discounts

  • Macpaw Apps [OS X; Category: Utilities; 25% off] Macpaw is offering a 25% discount on all its apps from Oct 30th to November 1st. Apply the discount when you use the "PUMPKIN13" coupon code during check out. Discounts apply to CleanMyMac 2 ($39.95 -> $29.96), Gemini ($9.99 -> $6.99), MacHider ($9.99 -> $7.49) and Ensoul Contacts ($9.99 -> $7.49).

  • Fantastical [OS X; Category: Productivity; On sale for $14.99, down from $19.99] Presenting the calendar app you'll actually enjoy using. Type in that you have "Lunch with John on Friday at 1pm" and Fantastical will schedule it.

  • Radia - Pandora Mini Player [OS X; Category: Music; Now free, down from $4.99] Listen to Pandora radio right from menu bar. Both free and paid accounts are supported.

  • Level Crossing [OS X; Category: Games; Now free, down from $2.99] Level Crossing is an educative and funny game for adult and children.

  • LIMBO [OS X; Category: Games; On sale for $4.99, down from $9.99] Uncertain of his sister's fate, a boy enters LIMBO.

  • Window Tidy [OS X; Category: Utilities; Now free, down from $7.99] The process of dragging and resizing these windows manually is very fiddly and time consuming. And then when you're done, you've got to move them all back! Step in Window Tidy.

  • Desktop Tidy [OS X; Category: Utilities; Now free, down from $4.99] The Desktop is a convenient and easily accessed location for saving files, but its difficult to prevent clutter building up. Desktop Tidy can help.

  • CollageIt 3 Pro [OS X; Category: Photography & Video; Now free, down from $9.99] CollageIt Pro is an easy-to-use and automatic app that helps you create eye-catching photo collages on Mac OS X.

  • Appy Fridays [OS X; Category: Various; $10.99] Spend $11.99 and get OS X apps including Snapheal, Timer and PDF to Word with OCR. in the Essential Bundle. The offer is valid till October 31, 2013.

Other Deals

NextWorth [10% extra on your next iPad Trade-in] Use the special offer code "TUAW" the next time you are trading in an iPad with NextWorth to receive an extra 10% on the trade-in value. Deal ends November 11.

iBackFlip [Up to 50% off select cases] iBackFlip is offering up to 50% off its Somersault Reg and Somersault Slim bags. The iBackFlip Somersault is now $49.95, while the Somersault Slim for $39.95. Sale ends November 3rd.

Note: All prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly. TUAW is not responsible for third-party deals and cannot guarantee availability or quality of any particular product at a specific price.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple asks developers not to use gold iPhone 5s in marketing materials

If you take a look at promotional materials for various apps these days, you'll notice something very interesting -- none of the photos show an app running on a gold iPhone 5s. MacRumors is reporting that Apple is now asking developers to use only certain colors of devices when producing photos and videos for marketing purposes.

In the App Store Marketing Guidelines, Apple provides a number of product images with blank display areas where developers paste their screenshots for marketing purposes. At this time, the product colors are limited to the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini only showing up in silver and space gray; the iPhone 5c in blue and white; and the iPod touch in blue and space gray.

You'll notice that the gold iPhone 5s isn't included in that list, and that's just for static images. If developers wish to use devices in custom photography and video, they not need to get approval from Apple, but they're told exactly what they can feature in their imagery -- "Feature only the most current Apple products in the following finishes or colors: iPhone 5s in silver or space gray, iPhone 5c in white or blue, iPad Air in silver or space gray, and iPad mini in silver or space gray."

Eric Slivka at MacRumors posits that "Apple prefers to keep focus on the distinctive color to itself," using the gold model in much of its own TV and print advertising. The ban on developers using the gold iPhone 5s in promotional materials could be a way to keep demand for the model in check until the company is able to boost production.


via TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog