Secret’s app is ostensibly meant for office gossip and getting transgressions out of your system, but it has also been abused by bullies wanting to intimidate and shame others. Well, one Brazilian judge is fed up with that misuse — enough so that he’s ordering Apple and Google to remove Secret not just from their respective local app stores, but from people’s devices. Microsoft also has to yank Cryptic, an equivalent Windows Phone app. If the companies don’t take action within 10 days, they face fines of 20,000 Reals ($8,876) per day. That’s a drop in the bucket given their massive revenue streams, but it’s reasonable to say that they’d rather not pay that much just to keep one title available in one country.
The request is certainly feasible. All three companies have removed apps from their stores, and they can technically pull or block software installed on gadgets. However, that last measure is primarily used as a last resort, such as in the event of a malware outbreak; Apple, Google and Microsoft might be reluctant to act unless they have no choice. Whether or not they’re stuck isn’t clear. Brazil’s Constitution bars anonymous attacks that don’t let you defend yourself, but there are arguments both that the data isn’t truly anonymous (Secret knows the culprits) and that the ban hurts freedom of expression. Don’t be shocked if one or more tech firms contest the ruling.
Source: Estadao (translated)
Remember that Nikkei report that said Nintendo was eyeballing mobile devices? The one that Nintendo immediately denied? It might be true after all — sort of. The Pokémon Company has confirmed that the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online will be available as an iPad app later this year. The app, a digital update of the 1996 trading card game of the same name, was spotted by Twitter user Josh Wittenkeller at a Play! Pokémon event. Nikkei’s original report suggested that Nintendo was planning to use mini-games on smart devices to lure gamers to its console products, and this definitely seems like a step in that direction.
That said, try not to get too excited: The Pokémon Company may be a wholly owned subsidiary of Nintendo, but its operations pertain exclusively to its namesake product line. Moreover, the iPad app is merely a port of a game already available for free on the Pokémon website — Nintendo is definitely dipping its toe in water, but this doesn’t mean we’re going to see Mario on mobile any time soon. Still, investors have been nagging Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to experiment with mobile apps for some time; if The Pokémon Company’s foray into the space is a success, he could be swayed.
[Image Credit: Josh Wittenkeller]
Apple is set to launch not only new iPhones and a possible wearable soon, but also a new line of iPads, according to Bloomberg. Its sources told it that a full-sized, 9.7-inch iPad is now being mass-produced for a launch near the end of the quarter, and that a 7.9-inch iPad mini will arrive a few months later. If the rumor pans out, it wouldn’t be too mind-blowing: after all, the iPhone 5s was launched last year on September 10th, with the iPad Air and mini coming a bit more than a month later. However, one interesting new tidbit did emerge: the new iPads will have an anti-reflection screen, a big change from past models. That would make sense if Apple used either anti-glare Sapphire displays or Gorilla Glass — as Corning is working on less reflective (and anti-bacterial) displays too.
The rumor mill has pegged the launch of the iPhone 6 for September 9th, almost exactly a year after the last model. That event could be chockablock, given that both a 4.7- and 5.5-inch model are expected, so a separate iPad launch event would make sense. A smartwatch is also rumored to be coming in October, possibly at the same time as one or both iPads. That would mean a pretty busy couple of months for Apple, but keep in mind that it’s all still utter speculation at this point.
So much for fighting to the bitter end — Apple and Samsung have just announced an agreement that will see them end all patent lawsuits against each other outside of the US. For those not keeping score, that means they’re dropping cases in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and (phew!) the UK. The two tech companies aren’t automatically buddy-buddy after this, however. Besides continuing their existing American cases, they aren’t pursuing any licensing deals or other pacts that would avoid trouble in the future. Still, if you’ve been hoping that Apple and Samsung would finally make nice and focus on beating each other in the marketplace instead of the courtroom, you’re much closer to getting your wish.
Ever since the FAA decided to be more flexible about personal electronic devices on planes, things have changed quite a bit. Now, as an effort to make things even better for travelers, Delta has rolled out a new initiative called Delta Studio, which focuses on adding more in-flight entertainment options to its fleet. As part of this, the Atlanta-based airline revamped the Fly Delta app for iPad, and it now lets passengers use it to stream movies, TV shows and other media — in addition to the destination info and interactive live-map view features that were already there. Delta Studio is free for Economy Comfort, First Class and international flyers; those on Economy, meanwhile, will also have access to stuff at no charge, but most of the decent content (like newly released films) is going to cost extra. Not surprisingly, you have to wait to reach 10,000 feet before streaming anything, since it does require an in-flight WiFi connection. Still, that’s something you should be used to by now.
Source: Fly Delta (App Store)
Like it or not, school is fast approaching. However, Microsoft thinks it can make the fall semester a little more bearable with big updates to OneNote on both iOS and the Mac. Both apps now let you attach files to your notes; you can include audio recordings from a lecture to add some context to what you wrote, for example. If you add a PDF printout, you can also jot down annotations.
There’s more than just attachment support in this upgrade, as you might expect, and some of the improvements are meant as much for the corporate crowd as students. You can now open and edit OneDrive for Business notebooks, and it’s possible to both lock and unlock password-protected sections if you don’t want everyone peeping your content. Other updates let you shuffle the order of pages in a notebook, and (on the Mac) share them as email. The refinements probably won’t improve your grades if you’re headed to class in the next several weeks, but they may help you make sense of hastily-written notes when you’re studying for a big exam.
Source: OneNote Blog
Spotify’s latest iOS app update rolls out today and adds a new equalizer to playback functionality. “A lot of our users have been asking for a built-in equalizer for a while now and it’s currently one of our most requested features on iOS,” says Sten Garmark, VP for Product at Spotify. The update also folds the Discover function into the Browse tab on iPhones and adds a redesigned Artist page to the iPad iteration, featuring musicians’ latest releases and… merchandise. Android users have been able to add third-party equalizers to music playback on dedicated music apps for years, although there’s no word from Spotify as to when these new feature will hit Google’s mobile OS. We’re hoping that equalizer will help even out music playback — even if you’re only packing underwhelming in-box buds.
Source: Spotify (iTunes)
During today’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.
Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.
In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted “significant innovation can be brought to the iPad”, stating “[Apple] plans on doing that” and that the tablet category as a whole is still “in its infancy.” Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor.
The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger “iPad Pro” which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple’s plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.
There’s soon going to be a glut of custom keyboards for iOS 8, many of which will have word suggestions in multiple languages. However, they might not be as well-versed as KeyPoint Technologies’ upcoming Adaptxt for iOS. Besides supporting over 100 languages, the keyboard touts 30 dictionaries targeted at specific industries; it shouldn’t be flummoxed when you’re chatting with your accountant or lawyer. It will also be aware of both your location and the apps you’re running, so word predictions should change when you go on vacation or check out a favorite social network. KeyPoint is only taking sign-ups for a beta test at this stage — not surprising, since iOS 8 isn’t out yet — but it’s already promising that Adaptxt will be free on iPads and iPhones alike.