Apple’s iPhone event round-up. Everything you need to know.

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Tim Cook and company rocked today’s keynote. As expected, the iPhone 5s was announced with a new processor, fingerprint sensor and motion chip alongside the new cost-conscious and brightly-colored iPhone 5c.

Craig Frederhigi spent some time on Jony Ive’s upcoming iOS 7, running through the main features, most of which we’d heard back at WWDC in June, including Control Center, Search anywhere, more textured ringtones and the like.

The two new models of iPhone were the focus of today’s event. CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone business was getting so big they decided to replace the iPhone 5 with two new models. The iPhone 5c looks to aim directly at kids and perhaps budget-conscious consumers with bright colors and the ability to purchase contrasting soft rubber cases. The iPhone 5s is a tour-de-force of new technology, including the much-anticipated fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, and the new A7 and M7 chips.

The keynote was even more densely packed with info, of course, so we’ve broken everything down into tasty, bite-size nuggets of information so you can get essentials of what happened today without having to read 30,000,000 different blog posts.

Here’s everything that Apple announced at today’s keynote:

iOS 7

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Availability:

  • Coming September 18th
  • Available to developers today
  • Compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th gen)

iWork:

  • Free for all new iOS devices
  • Best-selling mobile productivity apps
  • iPhoto, iMovie also included for free

Features:

  • All of the features announced in June at WWDC
  • Siri can search tweets, Wikipedia, inline web & photo search
  • New more textured ringtones, improved system alert sounds
  • New “share sheet” to share stuff via Twitter or email
  • iTunes Radio – 200 new features

iPhone 5c

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  • All the tech of the iPhone 5, but more fun, more colorful
  • Green, white, blue, pink, yellow
  • Entire back and sides made from one part, no seams or joins
  • Hard-coated polycarbonate, steel reinforced, acts as antenna
  • 4 inch retina display, integrated touch layer
  • 8 megapixel camera, A6 processor, slightly larger battery
  • New FaceTime HD camera, larger pixels, improved backside illumination, FaceTime audio
  • More LTE bands than any other smartphone – dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Custom cases—”soft silicon rubber” that lets you see the original color underneath
  • $99 for 16 GB, $199 for 32GB on a two year contract
  • $29 for cases
  • Pre-orders start Friday, in stores September 20th

iPhone 5s

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  • Will come in Space Grey, Gold, Silver
  • High grade aluminum with chamfered edges
  • Brand new system on a chip–A7–64 bit chip (first ever on a smartphone), will still run older 32-bit apps
  • Desktop-class architecture, 2x general purpose registers. Over one billion transistors.
  • Seamless developer transition
  • Graphics 56x as fast as the iPhone 5, 2 times as fast speed, 40x times as fast CPU
  • 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE browsing, 8 hours of 3g browsing
  • $199 for 16G, 32G is $299, 64G is $399
  • Arsenic free, mercury free, BFR free, PVC free, highly recyclable
  • M7 coprocessor for health and fitness
  • On sale Sept 20th in US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom
  • 100 countries and 270 carriers by the end of the year

iPhone 5s Camera

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  • 5 element, Apple designed lens
  • 15% larger active area on sensor
  • Bigger pixels – 1.5 microns
  • Sets white balance, dynamic local tone map, autofocus with 15 zones
  • Takes multiple photos and picks the best
  • True tonal flash – combines both flashes for the best color balance
  • Auto image stabilization
  • HD video – 120 fps, slow motion, 720p
  • 28-megapixel panorama, adjust exposure automatically as you pan

Touch ID

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  • A key you have with you everywhere you go
  • Capacitive sensor
  • 170 microns
  • 500 ppi resolution
  • Sub-epidermal skin layer recognition
  • 360˚ readability
  • Built right into the home button
  • Laser cut sapphire crystal, stainless steel detection ring, touch ID sensor, tactile switch
  • Can use it to authenticate with iTunes Store
  • Can recognize multiple fingerprints
  • Fingerprints never available to other software, uploaded to Apple’s servers, or backed up to iCloud

Gaming

Infinity Blade III demo onstage

  • Play as one of two characters
  • Big areas to explore – three times the original IB in each of the areas
  • 5 times faster than iPhone 5
  • Took Epic 2 hours to port to 64-bit
  • Serious lens flare
  • Demo is real time, nary a lag or stutter

 

[Via]

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WSJ Confirms iPhone 5S Fingerprint Sensor On Eve Of Apple Event

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The iPhone 5S has already been expected to feature a fingerprint sensor for months, and now The Wall Street Journal has corroborated the rumor less than 24 hours ahead of Apple’s planned unveiling of the device tomorrow. (2 a.m 1 A.M on the 11th Sept Malaysian time).

“People familiar with the matter said last week that Apple will include a fingerprint scanner on the more expensive of two iPhones it is expected to unveil Tuesday,” according to the Journal. The second iPhone is rumored to be the iPhone 5C, a lower-cost, multi-colored iPhone 5 with a plastic back.

Apple purchased a company called AuthenTec last year that specialized in biometric security, and a patent was recently filed by Apple that details the company’s designs for a reader built into a button. It’s believed that the 5S will feature a redesigned home button with a ring around the edge that will act as a capacitive scanner.

Part of the Journal’s report notes that, “at least one new smartphone running Google Inc.’s Android operating system to be released this year will include a similar fingerprint sensor” as well.

Stay tuned for more about the event and the new iPhone 5S and 5C.

[Via]

Get your liveblog of Apple iPhone Event 2013 here

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Apple’s iPhone event is happening in a fer hours time (2 a.m 1 A.M Malaysian time, 11th Sept 2013). We are anticipating the event to be as awesome as always!

Apple’s making some huge changes to iOS this year, so what are the chances that the iPhone will undergo a similar transition? Based on what we’ve been hearing, the likelihood is pretty high; Tim Cook, Sir Jony Ive and the rest of the crew may show off not one but two new iPhone models for the very first time. We’re expecting to see both a 5S and a colorful 5C, but we’re still in the dark on when they’ll arrive, how much they cost and where they’ll be available. There’s always potential for a top-secret product nobody was anticipating, too.

Follow the live blog here!

Stay tuned for more!

Almost Half Of Top iPad Apps Are Unavailable Or Unoptimized For Android Tablets

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Almost half of the top 50 apps on iPad are unavailable or have not been optimized for competing devices that run Google’s Android operating system. That’s according to a new report from Canalys, which believes Google should be doing more to encourage top developers to build high-quality tablet apps for its platform.

The data from Canalys shows that 30% of the top 50 iPad apps weren’t available at all on Android-powered tablets, while another 18% were there but they were not optimized for larger displays — they were simply smartphone apps that were automatically scaled up to fit a tablet screen.

That means just 52% of top iPad apps were also available on Android tablets.

“Quite simply, building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date,” said Tim Shepherd, Canalys Senior Analyst.

“That there are over 375,000 apps in the Apple App Store that are designed with iPad users in mind, versus just a fraction of this – in the low tens of thousands – available through Google Play, underscores this point.”

Canalys does expect this to change as Android-powered tablets become more popular, but it still believes that “Google needs to do more to encourage greater numbers of developers to invest in delivering high-quality Android tablet apps quickly.”

If it doesn’t, the search giant runs the risk of “disappointing consumers with weak app experiences in the short term.”

Of course, one of the issues with Android, which can sometimes drive developers away from the platform, is piracy. Google’s “open” approach means it’s too easy for users to download and install apps from other sources without paying for them.

Back in July, we wrote about a game called Gentlemen! that had attracted over 6,000 players on Android during its first few weeks on Google Play. That’s an impressive number of players, until you consider that only 50 actually paid for the game, while the rest downloaded it illegally.

As a result of this, many developers choose to avoid Android altogether, while other must find different ways of finding revenue — such as ads. Of the 52% of top iPad apps also available on Google Play, six were titles that were paid on iOS, but were free and ad-supported on Android.

Canalys analyst Daniel Matte points out that while these titles may be free, they “typically deliver a poorer and often more limited user experience, sometimes taking a considerable toll on device battery life and often subjecting users to unskippable [sic] videos or other unpopular intrusions.”

With Google seeing lots of demand for the new Nexus 7, and Android tablets now commanding a larger market share than the iPad, it’s never been more important for it to put more focus on tablet apps.

Canalys believes it can do this by increasing the revenue potential of Google Play, and by changing the Play Store to “ensure more rigorously managed, high-quality, optimized experiences are highlighted, to the benefit of consumers, and to reward those developers who invest the time and resources in building them with improved discoverability.”

[Via, Source]

Plant vs Zombie 2: Awesomely addictive. [Review]

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PopCap has finally gotten around to releasing the new zombie game that everyone and their grandmother has been waiting for — Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time.

Plants vs Zombies 2 by PopCap
Category: iOS Games
Price: Free

It’s been three long years since we were swept away with the original Plants vs Zombies, but we’re happy to say that Plants vs Zombies 2  is just as fun and addictive as ever, if not more so. Yes, you still plant sunflowers, harvest sun, and then use that to get more plants to destroy armies of zombies. But even though the gameplay is still the same, the adventure is more fun than ever.

What’s New

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Once again players are joined by Crazy Dave from the first game, except now he has a time-traveling RV that can transport you to three different time periods on his Time-Space Taco Map: Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, and Wild West. To advance to new time periods, though, players have to collect stars by beating levels and accomplishing objectives.

Each time period comes with over 20 levels full of new zombies to destroy, which would be fun enough as is, but this go around, players will have to repeat levels later with new puzzles to gain more stars and unlock new areas of the map. Some of the levels have to be replayed three times, with each new attempt bringing new objectives to earn stars.

You can also go back and replay levels to find keys that unlock new branches of your map as well, leaving players with even more gameplay than the original. With so many levels to beat, you’d think that dropping plants on a board for hours on end would get boring, but PopCap has done a great job of mixing gameplay up by including new mini-games.

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To help you defend your home in the crazy new worlds, Crazy Dave gives you a new power-up, called Plant Food, that the zombies drop and can be dragged over to one of your plants to activate its temporary super-powers. You can also save up to 3 bottles of plant food to use whenever you’re facing a big wave.

Coins play a different role in the worlds of Plants vs Zombies 2 than they did in the original. Rather than being used to unlock plants, the new game comes with three power-ups that can be purchased in the heat of battle using coins, granting the player phenomenal cosmic powers long enough wipe the board clean.

The new power-ups include Power Pinch, Power Toss, and Power Zap, which can be activated at the price of 800, 1000, and 1200 coins, depending on which power you want. All three are incredibly powerful and incredibly pricey, but you can usually beat levels without them.

Along with the big  new gameplay features, PopCap tossed in a few smaller features that make conquering PvZ2 a delight. Now the game syncs your progress through GameCenter so you can beat a few levels on your iPhone, and then pick up right where you left off on your iPad. They’ve also included slots for five different player profiles, so your spouse or kids can play on your device too and progress at their own pace without messing up your game.

Free-to-play

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When PopCap made the announcement that Plants vs Zombies 2 would be ‘free-to-play’, a lot of PvZ fans were worried the game would try to squeeze every dollar it could from you to open up content, but that’s not at all the case here.

Yes, you can buy coins, plants, upgrades and other bundles that will make the game easier for you, but none of them are worth it. You can beat the entire game without spending a penny, and you unlock different plants and upgrades along the way.

Ads do pop up every so often after beating a level, but nothing obtrusive that ruins gameplay. The only reason to spend money in PvZ2 is if you’re nostalgic for some of the plants from the original, or you just need a mountain of coins to dominate a level with your super powers because you’re too lazy to beat it the regular way.

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Product Name: Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time
The Good: Gameplay is just as fun and easy to pick up as the original, but new power-ups and plant food add a new dimension. New plants are even more entertaining and badass. Lots of depth and challenging puzzles that will keep players engaged for hours.
The Bad: In-app purchases are always a bummer, but PvZ2 pulls it off as well as can be expected.
The Verdict:  Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time is a solid sequel to the original hit. Rather than departing from the original, PopCap kept with what works best and upped the ante, with bigger worlds, better plants, and some phenomenal cosmic powers that make for one of the best games of the year.

Download it not in Apple App Store for free!

[Via]

Big iOS Titles Go Free As App Store Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

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As the App Store’s fifth anniversary approaches, a whole host of developers have begun makes some of their most popular apps and games for iOS completely free. Some of the titles included in the sale are Infinity Blade II, Disney’s Where’s My Water?, and Traktor DJ, which is usually priced at $20.Big iOS Titles Go Free As App Store Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

It’s unclear whether the giveaways are to celebrate the App Store’s birthday, or whether the timing is just a coincidence. The Verge was first to spot the changes, and they note that none of the titles on sale have ever gone free before.

So this isn’t just your average App Store sale where the likes of EA and Gameloft make all of their older titles super cheap in an effort to boost sales. Some of the most popular iOS titles are included, such as gems like Tiny Wings and Day One, a wonderful app that makes keeping a journal super simple.

Here’s a full list of the titles that have gone free so far:

Apple hasn’t mentioned the freebies yet, and none of the apps acknowledge the reductions in their descriptions, so we can’t confirm why they’re been made free yet. But this week marks the App Store’s fifth birthday, and it certainly appears that this is part of the celebration.

If that is the case, we’d expect to see many more titles reduced in the coming days.

If you spot any other apps and games that have been made free this week, let us know in the comments section below.

[Via]