Alleged iPad Air 2 Front Panel with Integrated Display Shown in New Photos

Following the leak of an alleged iPhone 6 front panel earlier this week, the iPad is now getting its turn with a pair of photos showing what is said to be a front panel for the next-generation iPad Air, shared by Dutch site One More Thing [Google Translate]. Notably, the part appears to include an integrated display in contrast to the separate panel and display parts used on the current model. A move to an integrated front panel/display would reduce overall thickness, potentially allowing Apple to further slim down the iPad Air or make room for other components such as a slightly larger battery.

ipad_air_2_panel_back
MacRumors spoke with iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens, who noted that the assembly could indeed be legitimate and use a manufacturing process similar to that seen on the Retina MacBook Pro. The move to an integrated panel/display would increase repair costs, but ease of repair has not been a particularly major focus for Apple and the company already uses an integrated display on the iPhone.

ipad_air_2_panel_front
The next-generation iPad Air is expected to launch later this year, with notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicting that upgraded iPad Air and Retina iPad mini models will debut in the third quarter of this year and adopt the Touch ID system introduced on the iPhone 5s last year.

(Thanks, Rogier!)


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Analysts Predict Q2 2014 Decline in iPad Sales, Slight Increase in iPhone Sales

Sales of Apple's iPad and iPhone remained strong during the holiday season with record quarterly sales reported in Q1 2014. Analyst predictions for Apple's second quarter of its fiscal year suggest iPhone sales may rise slightly, while iPad sales may decline slightly, reports Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog.

ipad-sales-quarterly
The consensus estimate from 21 Wall Street professionals and 13 amateur analysts predict iPad sales of 19.3 million, a 0.7 percent decline in Q2 2014. This is a significant change from Q2 2013, which saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase.
The consensus estimate, at 19.3 million, would represent a 0.7% decline, with the pros slightly more optimistic (at 19.4 million) than the amateurs (19.2 million). Dragging down the amateur numbers is the 15 million estimate submitted by the Braeburn Group's Matt Lew. Tugging in the other direction is Horace Dediu's 21.8 million. One represents a year-over-year decline of 23%, the other an increase of 12%.
This dip in sales may only be temporary as Apple is expected to launch updated models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display later this year, and may launch a larger-screen iPad Pro sometime in future after production issues are solved.

Apple will announce its earnings for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2014 on Wednesday, April 23. The earnings release is posted just after 4:30 PM ET following the close of regular stock trading, and the conference call is scheduled to follow at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.


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Loom Jumps Ship to Dropbox, Flickr Reboots Mobile Apps (Yes, Again)

Loom + Dropbox

The cloud photo storage sands shifted this week as one popular option regrouped under the ever-expanding wing of Dropbox, while the granddaddy of them all tries again to make another go of mobile.

Cloud-based photo service Loom announced Thursday that it's packing its bags and joining forces with Dropbox, closing up shop on enrolling new users and giving existing customers one more month to enjoy the service.

Loom customers are encouraged to move their data over to Carousel, the new Dropbox app for iPhone and Android the cloud storage giant recently debuted. On the good news front, switching to Carousel will give free Loom users an equivalent storage bump on the Dropbox side, while paid users will be able to use their quota for the next year, at which point they'll have to pony up for Dropbox storage.

"We know this is a big deal," Loom wrote on its blog. "This decision was made with great care. We have worked hard on our product and feel that our vision aligns perfectly with Dropbox’s vision for Carousel."

Speaking of aligning visions, Yahoo took yet another stab at getting mobile right on Thursday with the debut of Flickr 3.0 for iPhone and Android. The new version is a complete reimagining of the venerable photo service, which appears to be adopting more of an Instagram look and feel than the previous version.

The new iPhone app includes 14 live filters that work will full-resolution photos as well as up to 30 seconds of HD video. Flickr has also beefed up the app's search and discovery features, and photos can now be easily shared right to Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook as well.

Curiously, the Flickr iOS app is still not a native build for the iPad, which has become something of a glaring oversight with the passage of time. Otherwise, the refreshed design seems worthy of a download, especially when Flickr serves up 1TB of free cloud storage for all, which the company claims is enough space for more than half a million photos.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

Overnight Recap: Eyefi Cloud, Pixelmator 3.2 Tease, Fire TV Update, Nodes 2

Eyefi Cloud

Good Friday has arrived, and that means Easter can't be far behind. While the kids wait patiently for the Easter Bunny to hop onto the scene, we've assembled our own virtual Easter egg basket of news from the last 24 hours or so that you won't want to miss before heading into the holiday weekend... so let's dig in and kick things off, shall we?

Eyefi Cloud Takes Wireless SD Card to Next Level

Thursday was chock full of news regarding cloud storage for photos, and among them was the launch of Eyefi Cloud, a new unlimited service that works in conjunction with the company's Eyefi Mobi wireless SD cards and free apps. Shutterbugs can now snap photos from either a digital camera, smartphone or tablet and wirelessly sync it to Eyefi Cloud instead of having to connect to a desktop computer. Eyefi Mobi SD cards start at $49 for 8GB, which includes a three-month membership to Eyefi Cloud, with 12-month memberships starting at $49 for unlimited photos. Existing Eyefi Mobi customers can also receive three months free access just by installing the updated app.

Pixelmator Teases 3.2 Sandstone Update, Cuts Sale Price to $14.99

The Pixelmator Blog announced Thursday that a major new 3.2 version codenamed "Sandstone" is on the way that introduces an all-new Repair tool. "We’ve used the latest breakthrough technologies that enable you to remove dust, blemishes and entire objects from your images with an unsurpassed level of precision and quality," the blog post explains about the "soon-to-be-released" free update. If you don't yet own Pixelmator, there's no better time to buy the popular Mac image editing app, especially now that it's half price at only $14.99 from the Mac App Store.

Amazon Announces Trio of New Fire TV Voice Search Partners

Yeah, Fire TV has a pretty neat trick with unified voice search on the remote control, but it's severely handicapped by lack of support from content providers other than Amazon and VEVO. This summer, that will start to change with the announcement Thursday that Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime will be added to the voice search ranks by integrating their complete catalogs into the feature. Amazon also teases that more services and games are on the way, along with a new Prime browse mode which makes it easier to discover the free stuff you're already paying $99 per year for.

Gmail Now Makes It Easy to Send Auto Backup Photos

Looking for a way to tap into all of those Auto Backup photos you've been diligently pushing to Google+? The Official Gmail Blog unveiled a great new option this week that allows Gmail users to insert photos straight from Auto Backup uploads with the click of a button — and that includes entire albums, for the more organized types. Better yet, images can be resized while composing messages, just by intuitively dragging on any corner or choosing default Small, Best Fit or Original Size options.

FxFactory Launches Nodes 2 Motion Graphics Plugin

The fine folks at FxFactory are making some noise this month with Nodes 2, a big update to the popular motion graphics tool which has been used to create imagery for Hollywood productions ranging from The Avengers to Planet of the Apes. The $299 plugin allows artists to generate 3D models and link text and images to each node in the structure, with full control over how they are connected and animated. Available from After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro (with new support for FCPX) or Motion, Nodes 2 includes more than 100 presets, and can import existing 3D models for a full range of creative options. FxFactory offers a free trial version, and Nodes 2 can be purchased online or straight from the company's Mac software.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

New iPhone 6 Renderings Based on Recent Info Show Design Changes

After showing off a concept for a sapphire-glass backed “iPhone Air” earlier this month, French Apple website Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] and graphic designer Martin Hajek have teamed up once again to create a set renders for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and accompanying cases in a variety of colors, which are based on leaked schematics posted by Japanese magazine MacFan and the dimensions of an alleged case that surfaced earlier this week.

iphone_6_hajek4_1
The renderings depict the iPhone 6 as a thin device with rounded corners, with the power button located along the upper right side of the device and rectangular volume controls similar to that of the fifth-generation iPod touch. The case rendered to compliment the phone also contains cutouts for each new design change, along with holes for the camera, flash, and Apple logo on the rear.

iphone_6_hajek4_3
Notably, a bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is also rendered alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 4-inch iPhone 5s, retaining the same design properties as the 4.7-inch version. Apple is expected to launch both sizes of the iPhone 6 in the near future, however reports have indicated the 4.7-inch version will launch first this fall as the company will likely delay the launch of the 5.5-inch version due to production issues.

iphone_6_hajek4_2
Along with a larger display, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner design, new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an upgraded camera in the form of optical image stabilization. Apple is also reportedly negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.



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Dropbox acquires Loom and other news from April 17, 2014

Dropbox is continuing to swallow up other companies, this time acquiring photo storage site Loom. Loom emerged as an alternative to EverPix after its demise in late 2013, and I gave it a try for a few months. A review for TUAW was in my queue when...

Facebook Rolls Out Optional 'Nearby Friends' Feature for iOS App

Taking a cue from social networking services like Foursquare and Apple's own Find My Friends, Facebook has started releasing a new service for its iOS app that will announce when your friends are in the general area. It's called Nearby Friends, it's optional, and it's meant to facilitate impromptu group activities and social events.

In Facebook's words, "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward."

Facebook gets a lot of attention for its privacy policies, and so it's perhaps not surprising that the announcement takes special care to emphasize that Nearby Friends is entirely an opt-in feature. In other words, you'll need to turn the feature on for it to work, so you won't need to worry about it pinging your location to members of your friends list unless you want it to.

As a bonus, you can apparently choose which friends will receive the notifications, which comes in handy if there's only one or two people who are welcome to look you up at any time. The feature will slowly be extended to users of both the iOS and Android apps in the US "over the coming weeks." There's currently no indication as to when or if international users will have access to the feature.

Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Concept Images Suggest How Apps Might Look on 'iPhone 6' in Light of Rumors

It's all but a given now that the next iPhone will come in two larger screen sizes, but that extra real estate raises the important question of how Apple plans to handle the resolution. As a user named "Pi is exactly 3" on The Verge's Apple forums notes (via Cult of Mac), it'll likely remain the same if past history proves anything.

Pi's reasoning seems sound. During the similar jump in screen size from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, for example, Apple maintained the existing resolution of 326 pixels per inch in an effort to avoid the pixel fragmentation seen in Android-compatible smartphones as new screen boast even higher resolutions. To accommodate the shift, Apple simply maintained the dimensions of the former apps for developers on the new iPhone 5 until they updated them, but surrounded them with black pixels.

There's a strong chance that Apple will do the same for the "iPhone 6." The Verge reader quoted a recent report from famed analyst Ming Chi-Kuo of KGI Securities, Inc. (via MacRumors), which stated that the new 4.7-inch screen would boast a 1334x750 Retina display with a the same pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. In addition, Pi created mockups (above and below) to demonstrate how this would work in practice.

The main challenge with such an approach is that it means Apple will retain the same Retina resolution it's used for years while competing smartphones continue to push their resolutions to ever more impressive limits. Of course, the bigger question is whether all those extra pixels actually matter as they're near impossible to see with the naked eye with the current resolution. Sticking with the current resolution, on the other hand, would allow Apple to maintain visual uniformity for its apps across several years' worth of iPhone models regardless of the age of the apps themselves.

Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

New iOS Game Releases This Week: April 17, 2014

Each week brings a barrage of new games for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it can be difficult to pick out of the cream of the crop by looking at a mass of icons and titles. Luckily, we're tuned in to the most notable releases, and we'll be presenting a small stack of them with this column. Every single week, you'll find a diverse array of free and paid games across a variety of genres, and we'll highlight the unique aspects of each, as well as anything that seems like it might be a barrier to enjoyment.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the biggest release this week, following its Mac version by just a few weeks, though Hitman Go, Unpossible, and Yomi are also standout options, along with a handful of potential others we’ve highlighted. And Gameloft’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game is still supposed to launch anytime now, but it’s not yet on the App Store as of this writing—so maybe it’ll pop up later on. Be sure to keep an eye out for full reviews of some of these titles in the coming days, and then check back next Thursday for an all-new list of notable games to consider.

The TUAW Daily Update Podcast for April 17, 2014

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FaceTime Not Working for Many iOS 6 Users

Apple's FaceTime appears to be malfunctioning for iPhone and iPad users with devices running iOS 6, according to multiple tips received by MacRumors as well as a MacRumors forum post and a thread on the Apple Support Communities.

It appears that users who are running iOS 6 are unable to place or receive FaceTime calls, with reports of problems dating back to yesterday. Devices running iOS 7 appear to be functioning as normal, and Apple's System Status page is not reporting any outages.

facetime
One user mentioned being able to FaceTime with a device running iOS 6.1.6, while a device with iOS 6.0.1 was not able to access the service. Another has reported that Mac users running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion may also be experiencing problems with FaceTime.

Users who have had issues have contacted Apple Support and several Apple representatives have recommended an update to iOS 7 to fix the problem. It is likely the iOS 6 FaceTime outage is only temporary, however, and will presumably not necessitate an update to iOS 7.


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Ergotron WorkFit-P Sit-Stand workstation: Get on your feet!

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Daily Deals for April 17, 2014, featuring Name Your Own Price B2B Designer Bundle

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Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Review

Family Guy made its name on TV by being simultaneously derivative and edgy; it riffed on The Simpsons’ formula of an animated nuclear family with a drunken, lovingly-dumb father, but its gags went further or weirder. And it did it well. So you might have reason for thinking that Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff—which takes its cues from The Simpsons: Tapped Out—might also push boundaries and poke fun at conventions. You’d be sadly mistaken. The Quest for Stuff is a shallow, money-grubbing, cynical, and downright boring freemium city builder with few redeeming qualities.

On the positive side, great care has clearly gone into the graphics, with all the little visual details replicated on even minor characters and buildings. It’s chock full of the same sharp dialog you know and love (or hate) from the show—albeit mostly without voice acting. Many jokes are recycled from the series, but there are plenty of original (and funny) ones that self-consciously reference the senselessness of your experience and the minutiae of previous episodes. The game hits its high point before you even start playing, though, delivering a delightful animated opening in which Family Guy gets canceled again and Peter fights the Giant Chicken (revealed to be the president of Fox) in a battle that destroys the entire town.

Your job is to rebuild Quahog, a feat made challenging not through difficulty but rather suffocating timers that drag progress to a standstill. You don’t play The Quest for Stuff so much as periodically jump in and tap stuff for 30 seconds to bank money and experience, and put Peter’s friends and family to work on new quests/activities. That's all done so that you may eventually rebuild a new section of the town or unlock new characters, costumes, and quests—ready to repeat ad infinitum.

What’s worse are the minuscule amounts of money and experience most buildings produce on a rolling basis—some as often as every minute, others over a few hours. These resources halt production entirely until you tap to reset them. It’s a slog to get anywhere without splashing the cash, whether you’ve played for five minutes or several hours, and it’s simply not worth the trouble to wade through the crap for well-written speech bubbles and quest descriptions.

The bottom line. No amount of fan service or witty writing can save Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff from mediocrity born of leaden pacing and shameless freemium money-grubbing.

Review Synopsis

Company: 

TinyCo, Inc

Contact: 

Price: 

Free

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later

Positives: 

Great introductory cutscene. Witty, humorous writing. Graphics capture the finer details of Quahog.

Negatives: 

Takes an eternity to rebuild the town. Not much to do. Limited voice work. Designed and balanced to suck money out of you. As with the show, some dialogue oversteps the mark between edgy and offensive.

Score: 
1.5 Lame