Friday, 30 March 2012

iOS 5.1 confirms that Apple is working on a 4G capable iPhone

Now that Apple has finally ventured into 4G territory with the new iPad, it’s inevitable that the next iPhone will follow suit, right? If the latest rumors hold any weight, it sure would seem that way.
While we think it’s a no brainer that we’ll see 4G LTE in the next iPhone, we’ve received a tip that makes us feel a lot better about the possibility.
The following information definitely confirms that Apple is working on a 4G capable iPhone. This new evidence, along with the successful launch of the new iPad, makes us feel 99.999% sure that the new iPhone will feature 4G capability. Full details inside…
As stated, our tipster exclusively provided us with screenshots and detailed information fromiOS 5.1. To get this information he used iFile on a jailbroken iOS 5.1 install from an iPhone 4. We were able to replicate this and grab the same exact information on our iPhone 4. We were also able to get the same data from an iPod touch. We’re assuming that these strings exist on all 5.1 IPSW’s.
These particular strings are new to iOS 5.1. We have confirmed that they do not reside oniOS 5.0.1.
The screenshots we received indicate 4G connectivity. Needless to say we were initially skeptical, because after all, the new iPad has 4G LTE, which would explain the presence of text strings like the following:
“FOUR_G_GROUP_FOOTER_TEXT” = “Using LTE loads data faster.”;
“FOUR_G_SWITCH” = “Enable LTE”;
These files can be found within the following directory:
  • /System/Library/PreferenceBundles/MobileDataSettings.bundle/
The files are:
  • /DataSettings.plist
  • /English.lproj/DataSettings.strings
For example, here is a screenshot of our Verizon LTE equipped iPad. Notice the exact same wording from the text strings above:
Okay, so this is nothing to get excited about, right? These text strings are there because the new iPad uses those settings in the Cellular Data panel in the Settings app.
Not so fast. While it’s true that these settings are found on LTE equipped iPads, the rabbit hole goes a bit deeper. Our tipster provided us with further, more convincing evidence of an upcoming 4G capable phone device.
Notice some of the text strings contained within:
“4G_ON_CALL_CANCEL” = “Cancel”;
“4G_ON_CALL_OK_DISABLE” = “Disable”;
“4G_ON_CALL_OK_ENABLE” = “Enable”;
“4G_ON_CALL_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_CALL_WARNING_ENABLE” = “Enabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to enable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_FACETIME_4G_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G will end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_FACETIME_WIFI_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G may end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_TEXT” = “Using 4G loads data faster, but may decrease battery life.”;
This file can be found here:
  • var/stash/Applications/Preferences.app/English.lproj/Network.strings
These strings go beyond the ambiguous ones contained in the initial screenshots. These strings are definitely indicative of 4G presence on a phone device. Notice 4G_ON_CALL_OK_ENABLE, 4G_ON_FACETIME_4G_WARNING_DISABLE, and “Disabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”
Not only will we be seeing 4G capabilities on future iPhones, but there’s also the possibility that we could see FaceTime finally make itself available (officially) over cellular connections. Considering that 4G connectivity is much more akin to Wi-Fi connections when compared to 3G, we’d say Apple would be more on board than they were with 3G. The final decision likely rests with the carriers, as evident from the lack of 4G FaceTime support on the new iPad.
Now compare the above screenshots and data with screenshots of the same file from my iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0.1. As you can clearly see, those strings don’t exist on the older 5.0.1 firmware.
This file can be found here:
  • var/stash/Applications/Preferences.app/English.lproj/Network.strings
This is pretty convincing. In fact, we’d be downright shocked if the next iPhone didn’t include 4G LTE connectivity.
Look at the evidence: the new iPad successfully launched with 4G LTE to much praise. AT&T is continuing to flesh out its LTE Network. More and more rumors are stating that Apple is investigating 4G LTE chipsets for the next iPhone. And now this.
Save your pennies ladies and gentlemen; Apple’s next iPhone is leaving the cellular network technology that it’s been using ever since the iPhone 3G’s debut way back in July of 2008.
This is extremely good news for iPhone users, because as we’ve demonstrated, 4G LTE is lightyears ahead of 3G from a speed perspective.
Are you excited about this news?
Special thanks to our tipster, Krishna Sagar, who tipped us exclusively. He’s an amateur hacker from India and happens to be the developer of Cydia tweaks like Jailbreak FAQ for SiriAwesome Facts for Siri, IP Tracker, and more.

Apple researching iSight cameras with 3D imaging and facial gestures recognition

According to a patent filing that surfaced today in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database, Apple is researching a much-improved camera for mobile devices that could recreate 3D models of scanned objects as well as capture gestures and facial expressions. It works with both stills and video and employs one or more dedicated cameras to capture 3D objects.
The system is based on new depth-detection sensors, such as LIDAR, RADAR and laser, that create stereo disparity maps in 3D imagery. With the ability to both capture and recreate 3D images, this killer imaging system could elevate the already powerful imaging capabilities of the five-megapixel iSight camera on the new iPad and its eight-megapixel counterpart found on the iPhone 4S.
Can we have this on the iPhone 5, please?
Patently Apple provides a nice overview of facial gestures:
The three-dimensional imaging apparatus may be used for recognizing facial gestures. Facial gestures may include, but are not limited to, smiling, grimacing, frowning, winking, and so on and so forth. In one embodiment, this may be accomplished by detecting the orientation of various facial muscles using surface geometry data, such as the mouth, eyes, nose, forehead, cheeks, and so on, and correlating the detected orientations with various gestures.
A previous patent filing from December 2011 similarly outlines facial recognition features on portable devices.
As for 3D imaging, one of the proposed depth-detection techniques includes a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor that emits laser pulses. The LIDAR sensor then picks the pulses reflected from objects to calculate the distance by measuring the time delay between transmission of a laser pulse and the detection of the reflected signal.
It’d be capable of capturing oneself’s representation in a three-dimensional space via a Photo Booth-like interface, depicted at the bottom. Once captured, a 3D image of your face could be used for your three-dimensional avatar, Apple says.
More complex scenarios are discussed as well, including this:
In another related embodiment, multiple photographs or video may be taken while the image sensing device is moved relative to the object, and used to construct a three-dimensional model of the objects within the captured image(s). For example, a user may take video of a home while walking through the home and the image sensing device could use the calculated depth and surface detail information to create a three-dimensional model of the home. The depth and surface detail information of multiple photographs or video stills may then be matched to construct a seamless composite three-dimensional model that combines the surface detail and depth from each of the photos or video.
Apple credits engineers Brett Bilbrey, David Simon, Rich DeVaul, Mushtag Sarwar, Michael Culbert and David Gere with the invention. To get more information on this patent filing, type in an ID number 20120075432 into the USPTO search engine.

Patent drawing courtesy of AppleInsider.
I like how Apple isn’t standing still and continues pursuing advanced imaging techniques. We’ve come a long way since the original iPhone and its sub-par camera.
Now we have iOS gadgets that capture 1080p video at thirty frames per second and high-quality stills. Apple isn’t just using off-the-shelf CMOS sensors, they’re improving them with own solutions such as customized optics with a fifth lens and real-time processing to detect faces and stabilize video.
Sure, other phone cameras have those features as well – I’m just observing that the iPhone no longer has a crappy camera. It’s also interesting that Apple appears to be really interested in 3D imaging, as this patent filing proves.
I’m wondering whether those camera- and imaging-related patents could mean an Apple-branded digital camera down the road? After all, Apple did re-brand itself as a consumer electronics powerhouse.
Surely widening their product portfolio and branching out into digital cameras at some point won’t hurt.

Does the new iPad pack in enough oomph for native Retina gaming?

AnandTech on Wednesday posted their review of the new iPad. Per usual, the 21-page article goes into every aspect of the device in excruciating detail. The most interesting takeaway includes an in-depth analysis concerning the gizmo’s graphical prowess and how the enhanced A5X chip stacks up in high-resolution games against the iPad 2 and latest crop of Android tablets powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 silicon.
For starters, the publication portrays the A5X as “an absolute beast” of an system-on-a-chip. But, its power comes at a price because – as it is implemented in the new iPad – the A5X“under load consumes more power than an entire iPhone 4S”.
We kinda knew that, so just how fast is its quad-core GPU and can we expect jaw-dropping Retina games running natively in all their 2,048-by-1,536 pixel glory and – most importantly – at satisfactory frame rates?
Well, according to authors Vivek Gowri and Anand Lal Shimpiwho who know these things inside out, the A5X shows “a roughly 2x increase in triangle and fill rates” in GPU benchmarks at the 1,024-by-768 resolution of iPad 2. As a result, the new iPad delivers roughly twice the performance of its predecessor. Again, at the iPad 2′s 1,024-by-768 pixel resolution.
In many ways in the A5X is a very conservative design, while in others it’s absolutely pushing the limits of what had been previously done in a tablet.
This 2x speed increase draws from the four GPU units inside the A5X chip versus two on the A5 silicon inside the iPad 2. Note that both chips are based on the PowerVR SGX 543 GPU design from Imaginaton Technologies, the only differentiator being twice the GPU cores and the improved memory bandwidth.
Since we’re still on a 45nm LP process, GPU clocks haven’t increased so we’re looking at a pure doubling of virtually all GPU resources.
Now, the caveats…
You won’t notice this speed gain much in most iPad games updated for the Retina resolution, such as Shadowgun and Grand Theft Auto 3. The reason being, they resort to a trickery involving rendering the scene at 1,024-by-768 and upscaling images to the 2,048-by-1,536 resolution, using antialiasing to smooth out the pixels.
The end result is a nice-looking game on the new iPad’s Retina display that’s really being rendered at the iPad 2′s resolution.
When it comes to gaming at the new iPad’s native Retina resolution, frame rates “can drop to well below” what the iPad 2 delivers. Why? Because the two times speed gain offered by the quad-core GPU doesn’t offset the four times pixel count increase of the Retina display.
It’s because of this drop in performance at the iPad’s native resolution that we won’t see many (if any at all), visually taxing games run at anywhere near 2048 x 1536.
The conclusion:
The bigger takeaway is that with the 543MP4 and a quad-channel LP-DDR2 interface, it is possible to run a 3D game at 2048 x 1536 and deliver playable frame rates. It won’t be the prettiest game around, but it’s definitely possible.
“Playable frame rates” may be sufficient for casual games, but likely won’t cut it for 3D shooters and other graphics-intensive titles.
And the fact that both the new and “old” iPad run the same dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU with NEON SIMD accelerator from ARM Holdings isn’t helping either.
“With no change on the CPU side, CPU performance remains identical to the iPad 2″, the publication explains. That’s why the new iPad is slower when reading magazines.
While gaming at the native Retina resolution is feasible on the new iPad, it all comes down to frame rates and developers’ ability to really push the A5X chip to its extremes.
The aforementioned caveats probably won’t affect a few triple-As from the biggest developers with the most resources. I’m talking about so-called system sellers, such as the upcoming Infinity Blade Dungeons from Epic Games.
My sources in the graphics industry convince me that a handful of cherry-picked developers enjoy preferential treatment because Apple is fond of positioning iOS gadgets as portable gaming consoles, among other things.
Disappointed? Do you still think the new iPad has enough horsepower to drive graphics-intensive games natively at the Retina display resolution and at frame rates matching or exceeding those on iPad 2?

Apple become Japan’s top consumer brand, for the first time

As Apple’s influence across industries continues to grow, so does its reputation among consumers the world over. The latest example is Japan, the country infamous for its fickle consumer and, at times, odd expectations with everyday gadgets (at least by Western standards).
A new study puts Apple as the top consumer brand in Japan – and for the first time, too. The achievement echoes a sentiment shared in a survey earlier this week, saying that half of all households in the United States now own at least one Apple product.
According to Nikkei, a large media corporation in Japan, an annual brand evaluation survey of consumers by Nikkei BP Consulting Inc. conducted online over November and December of last year had the Cupertino, California-headquartered gadget designer score 90.5 points out of 100 for total brand power.
Apple catapulted from 11th last year. Its iPad tablet computer and two other key products also made the list for the top-40 brands. In a survey of businesspeople, the U.S. technology giant took second behind Toyota Motor Corp.
Overall brand power scores were calculated based on the responses of some 52,000 people aged 18 and older and targeted a thousand consumer brands.
Sample size is certainly large enough – after all, 52,000 people can’t be wrong.
In years past, we’ve seen Apple re-inventing itself as a consumer electronics powerhouse with a lineup of iOS devices.
The process began at the 2007 iPhone introduction, when Steve Jobs wrapped up the MacWorld keynote by announcing that Apple was dropping “Computer” from its name, becoming only “Apple, Inc.”.
Jobs remarked the name change reflects Apple’s broadened product lineup that now includes computers, but also cell phones, set-top boxes, music players and wireless appliances, to name a few.
And at the 2010 iPad introduction, Jobs took it even further by calling Apple the largest mobile devices company in the world, by revenue.
He said:
iPods are mobile devices. iPhones are mobile devices, too. And most of the Macs that we ship are notebooks, they’re also mobile devices. Apple is a mobile devices company – that’s what we do.  
And with a full-blown TV set reportedly on the horizon for a 2013 release and other consumer electronics products likely on their roadmap (can you say digital cameras), I think Apple is well on its way to becoming the Sony of the 21st century.
Or has the company already achieved this status?

Black SMS provides Privacy for your Messages

With security and privacy very much at the front of everyone’s minds these days, the possibility of having your private SMS messages read is something that will send a shiver down the spine of plenty of people, especially if you are sharing sensitive information.
A new iPhone app plays to those fears, while also providing a workable solution that, as far as we can tell, isn’t going to be as annoying as you might first think.
Black SMS is not an iMessage or SMS app replacement, and in fact, it could be used with email or any other encrypted text. What it does do is allow users to type text into the app and then have it encrypted, ready for decryption on the other end…
The whole process isn’t as long-winded as it sounds. Create a password and type a message into Black SMS. Copy and paste the result into an email or SMS and hit send. The receiving party then does the opposite – copy the received text and paste it into Black SMS. After entering the password, the text is decrypted. Simple.
The app itself costs ₨50.44 and if you’re the kind of person that likes to ensure correspondence remains private, then you’ll want to check Black SMS out sooner rather than later.

SwitcherLand : Review

Looking for a free way to invoke your App Switcher in landscape mode? If so, then check out this brand new jailbreak tweak entitled SwitcherLand.
Not only does it allow you to open the App Switcher in landscape mode, but it also allows you to lock your device orientation in landscape as well.
Take a look at our full video walkthrough inside…
Again, SwitcherLand is a free tweak available for iOS 5 devices. If this sounds good to you, then head over to Cydia’s BigBoss repo where you can download it right now.

AppUpdateNotifier - Review

First there was CydiaBulletin, and then there was the dead on arrival Aptdate. These jailbreak tweaks were conceptualized and/or created to provide notifications whenever an app or tweak had a pending updated waiting in Cydia.
Due to traffic concerns, it’s unlikely that either of these tweaks will ever see the light of day. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of the situation unless the developers can come up with a way that won’t put too much stress on the repo servers.
But what about the App Store? This sort of functionality would be useful for pending App Store updates as well, would it not? Thankfully, someone was listening.
Check out our video walkthrough of AppUpdateNotifier, a jailbreak tweak that provides banner notifications when updates are waiting in the App Store…
Once installed, AppUpdateNotifier can be setup to query the App Store at specific time intervals. For those of you who are impatient, you can force a query via a handy Notification Center widget.
If AppUpdateNotifier senses that updates are waiting, you will receive a banner notification telling you which apps are waiting for updates, along with their version numbers.
Tapping on the banner notification will take you directly to the app in question on the App Store.
AppUpdateNotifier works well, and I was very pleased with how it performed during my tests. For ₨75.91 you may deem this tweak worth purchasing if you wish to keep better tabs on your App Store updates.

Why you won’t see ‘pull-to-refresh’ function in native iOS apps anytime soon

Users have been calling for Apple to implement the popular ‘pull-to-refresh’ feature into Mail and other native iOS apps for quite some time now. The function, which is found inTweetbot and several other third-party applications, allows you to refresh the on-screen information by pulling down on the app’s UI.
But judging by this report from designer Dustin Curtis, we won’t be seeing the easy refresh option integrated into native iOS apps anytime soon. Why? Well apparently Twitter owns the patent to it…
Curtis points out that the pull-to-refresh function is covered in a patent entitled “User Interface Mechanics,” which lists former Tweetie developer Loren Brichter as an inventor. And since Twitter purchased Tweetie two years ago, ipso facto, Twitter owns the patent.
Here’s the part of the filing that really matters:
“Then, based on the scroll command, a scrollable refresh trigger may be displayed. Subsequently, the scrollable list of content items may be refreshed in response to determining, based on the scroll command, that the scrollable refresh trigger has been activated.”
Perhaps nobody understands the dangers of using the patents and intellectual property of others without permission better than Apple, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this is what has been holding the company back from using pull-to-refresh in their own products.
But here’s hoping that Apple figures out some way to license the invention, because it would really improve the user experience of native iOS apps like Mail and Safari (without having to jailbreak). Heck even the Stocks app would benefit from it.

‘SendAny’ and ‘ReceiveAny’ now available on Cydia

SendAny and ReceiveAny are two jailbreak tweaks that work in harmony to let you send and receive unsupported files via iMessage.
Be sure to take a look at our full walkthrough for more information on how these two tweaks work together to make iMessage much more useful for sending files.
ReceiveAny is a free download, while SendAny will set you back ₨101.38 Both can be acquired via Cydia’s BigBoss repo.

Get a better understanding of your iPhone’s signal strength with Bars

Has your iPhone’s signal strength indicator ever lied to you? Perhaps it showed that you had poor cell phone reception, but you were still able to make perfectly clear phone calls. Or vice versa?
Well, if you’re losing faith in the 5 little bars that sit in the top left hand corner of your handset, you may want to check out Bars. The new jailbreak tweak promises to give you a more accurate reading of your iPhone’s cell service…
Bars developer, phoenix3200, describes the tweak as a signal indicator replacement for your iPhone that “lets you see more about your signal strength, without having to decode what its RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) is.”
Installing the package is as simple as it gets, and there’s no settings to mess with or customize. After your handset re-springs, the utility takes effect. I noticed that after I installed it, the end signal bar was only half full instead of full-sized.
I suppose this tweak could come in handy for folks who are in areas with varying degrees of signal strength, but I don’t think I’ll have much use for it since I am constantly connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Nevertheless, if you want to try out Bars for yourself, it’s available in Cydia, in the BigBoss repo, for free.
What do you think of Bars?

What Batterygate? The new iPad lasts 25+ hours when hotspotting

When used as a personal hotspot only over Verizon’s 4G cellular connection, the new iPad gets more than 25 hours of run time, AnandTech found out in their battery life testing published this morning. This is better than your average MiFi device by at least a factor of five. Matter of fact, it gets exactly an hour less in hotspotting tests compared to WiFi benchmarks, which falls in line with Apple’sofficial specs.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime beats Apple’s third-generation tablet when hotspotting in Normal, Balanced and Power Saving profiles. With that in mind, the ability to use your iPad as a personal Verizon hotspot for more than 25 hours is certainly welcome news in a string of negative reports alleging issues with the tablet’s much-improved 42.5Wh battery.
Author Anand Lal Shimpi writes:
If you have an iPad on Verizon’s LTE network and use it as a personal hotspot (not currently possible on the AT&T version), it will last you roughly 25.3 hours on a single charge. Obviously that’s with the display turned off, but with a 42.5Wh battery driving Qualcomm’s MDM9600you get tons of life out of the new iPad as a personal hotspot.
If you’re one of the fans concerned about the iPad’s battery woes and appreciate AnandTech’s exhaustive technical reviews, you should also check out theiranalysis of the Retina Display on the new iPad.
As for Heatgate and the emerging Batterygate, let it be known that not everyone agrees with screaming headlines depicting the device running burning hot in one’s hands.

Image courtesy of iFixit
Sure, it gets warmer when you crank up the brightness level to 100 percent, but people are finding in their own tests that it runs cooler than some Android tablets (as always, not everyone agrees).
More on this in the below chart, courtesy of PCWorld.

If  you’re really eager to get to the bottom of this overcharging thing, I suggest a nice article by MacWorld UK that lays out everything you need to know about charging your iOS devices. Apple also has nice resources on the subject on theirwebsite.
It is my hope that we all can soon put this so-called scandal behind us and move on. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I definitely get this feeling that ever since the so-called Antennagate scandal erupted – and it was an issue, no question about it – bloodthirsty media is adamant to make teething problems with new Apple products look bigger than they really are.
Jonathan Mann put it best in the iPhone Antenna Song:
The media loves a failure
In a string of success
The facts won’t ever matter
If they can make bigger messes.
I think that pretty much nails it, wouldn’t you agree?
Page 2 of 2

That entry-level data plan you signed up for to go along your brand spanking new iPad? It’s obsolete, thanks to the device’s 4G LTE networking that allows for speeds easily exceeding your home broadband connection. As a result, folks planning on enjoying 4G speeds on the go may likely blow past through their monthly allowance in a couple days. Your mileage may wary, of course, depending on your mobile usage habits.
Here in the U.S., entry-level data plans for iPad begin at ₨764.17 or ₨1,528.35 a month,depending on your carrier. AT&T’s entry-level 250MB plan will set you back ₨763.66 a month, with 2GB/5GB plans costing ₨1,528.35/₨2,547.24 a month. Rival Verizon Wireless is offering 2GB/5GB/10GB tiers priced at ₨1,528.35/₨2,547.24/₨4,075.59 a month.
But even five gigabytes a month is conceivable insufficient when you stream high-definition movies and television shows to your device over 4G LTE networks, upload big photos to your social networks or edit and upload full HD movies to YouTube, etc. The Wall Street Journal has the full story (subscription required)…
According to the publication, once customer was able to burn through his 2GB cap just by way of wirelessly streaming March Madness games during a two-day period.
Two hours of college basketball—which he viewed mounted to his car dashboard and live at tournament games—had burned through his monthly wireless data allotment of two gigabytes.
This hardly comes as a surprise given 4G LTE download speeds are anywhere between 10-20 times greater than a typical 3G HSPA+ connection enjoyed on your iPhone. It could be argued that neither Apple nor carriers are doing much to educate average consumers of the intricacies behind cellular data management.
Another layer to this problem is the Retina display that packs a million more pixels than an HDTV. Coupled with fast 4G LTE data speeds, this means users are likely to stream 1080p video to their iPads, increasing their data usage.
And we all know your carrier will happily impose a surcharge for data traffic outside your monthly data cap. The Journal explains:
Verizon estimates that streaming it over an LTE connection runs through 650 megabytes an hour. That’s double the amount of data used streaming the same video over a 3G link, because the fatter pipe lets more data through. On top of that, the new iPad’s sharper screen will encourage some users to view videos in high-definition, which uses 2 gigabytes an hour on a 4G connection, according to Verizon.
The report has it that Apple and carriers could partly mitigate the issue by having developers pay for data their apps consume on cellular networks as this traffic wouldn’t count against the user’s allowance. Until some sort of an industry-wide agreement is reached, users are left to figure out their cellular data consumption on their own.
Unfortunately, the most recent version of iOS is lacking basic controls to manage data consumption on the go. Wouldn’t it be nice if iOS gained finely-tuned data management akin to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, allowing people to set warning limits, per-app data quota and more?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

App Activation Audio: Launch Apps with Sounds and Vibration

To be honest, I have no idea why anyone would want sound effects to trigger every time they launched an app, but I’m sure someone out there has been longing for such a feature.
App Activation Audio is a jailbreak tweak that does just that — it is able to output one of about 20 sound effects every time you open an app.
Check out our video walkthrough of App Activation Audio straight ahead…
As I alluded to, I think such a feature is silly for two reasons: #1 It’s annoying to hear a sound every time you launch an app. #2 It has to be a battery drainer.
With that in mind, I do like App Activation Audio’s multilayered sound effects. Indeed, some of the sound effects included have multiple layers so that they output a different effect each time you launch an app. Check out our video for an example, it’s actually pretty cool.
But that one redeeming factor just isn’t enough to warrant paying $1.99 in my book. Even if it was free I couldn’t see myself using such a tweak. I’m not saying it’s horrible; it works very well, but it isn’t something I find to be practical at any level.

New iPad still doesn’t allow FaceTime calls over LTE

Even though it’s been around for a couple of years now, FaceTime has really struggled to gain massive user adoption. Mac and iOS owners just aren’t using it as much as you think they would for a free, no-hassle video-calling service.
One of the main reasons for its stumbles is the fact that iOS devices have not been able to make FaceTime calls outside of Wi-Fi networks (unless you’re jailbroken obviously). And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change with the new iPad
Having received an early review unit, the folks over at The Verge have confirmed that the new iPad is still not able to make FaceTime calls over a cellular connection — despite its blazing-fast LTE radio. You might be wondering why Apple would continue to overlook such a feature, but we’re guessing it has a lot more to do with the carriers.
Dieter Bohn of The Verge recalls this comment by Steve Jobs at the iPhone 4 event in 2010: ”FaceTime’s going to be Wi-Fi only in 2010. We need to work a little bit with the cellular providers to get ready for the future, so we’re Wi-Fi only in 2010.”
So why are carriers call blocking FaceTime? Well for one, it would add significant stress to their networks. And two, what would stop customers from dropping their minutes on their cellular plans down to the bare minimum and just start using FaceTime more?
Obviously, there is a still a chance that Apple and cell phone providers will come to an agreement in the near future. But we’re not going to hold our breath.

1080p Apple TV: Reviewed

The latest set-top box out of Cupertino is set to land in customers’ households tomorrow, however, a few reviews of the new Apple TV are coming our way this evening. Publications have gotten the chance to review the new Apple TV, which features 1080p capabilities powered by a single-core A5 processor, and also features an updated UI.
Here’s what people are saying:
This year’s Apple TV is a strange little device. Nearly everything it did before, it now does better — it streams 1080p content, is easier than ever to navigate, and remains one of the simplest devices to set up and use that we’ve seen. But when I reviewed the 2010 Apple TV, my biggest concerns were all about the content: the available content on a device like the Boxee Box or the Roku positively dwarfed the Apple TV. That’s still true, though the iTunes integration with Netflix is a solid sign that Apple’s thinking the right way.
The interface is very easy to navigate and use. Like an iOS device, you just navigate to the section you want and select it — it opens and you’re ready to go.
I also like the fact that, for Netflix’s at least, when you launch the section you can setup a new account and have it charged directly to your Apple ID. That’s very convenient. All of my bills and charges in one place.
At $99 the Apple TV is a no-brainer for any home entertainment system.
At $99, the third-generation Apple TV continues to be as excellent a value as the previous model—and now it supports higher-quality video too. That’s a good thing. For those with the previous generation, however, the decision to upgrade comes down to whether the difference in quality between two high-definition formats is important (and noticeable) enough to you.