Apple released the first beta version of the new iOS 4.3 operating system to developers earlier this month. Now, although there is no word as yet from Apple regarding the official launch date for the new platform, it is getting increasingly evident that the company may soon launch the new iOS to customers. The app review staff at Cupertino is learned to have started approving app updates that support iOS 4.3 features. StreamToMe, a media streaming iPhone application has recently released a new version that brings “Support for AirPlay video (requires iOS 4.3)”.
Verizon would be launching a CDMA variant of iPhone 4 from February that will include features like personal mobile hotspot. The iOS 4.3 launch is expected to happen earlier than that in order to bring similar features to existing iPhone subscribers. Are you looking forward to this release? We will update you as and when that happens.
Those of you who have jailbroken your iPhone or iPod Touch may have inevitably used the Cydia app store to browse and install one of those applications not available on the Apple App Store. Now Jay Freeman, the developer of Cydia has released a new version of his app store that will make it easy for users to easily reinstall previously purchased applications using the ‘Manage Account‘ feature.
The new feature is extremely useful for users who have upgraded their handset to a new iOS firmware or for users who have upgraded to a new handset altogether. Jay Freeman has also indicated that yet another Cydia update is on the cards and that this new version should come with features to rate and comment on apps besides backing up the installed jailbreak apps.
This is a rumor that you must take with loads of skepticism. Folks at a popular podcast show have claimed that Apple could be working on integrating its popular iTunes service with its Safari web browser in a bid to spike up the market share of the latter.
According to the source, the company may have already thwarted its plans to build cloud-based iTunes service that would be accessible from any browser. Instead, the new plans will make Safari the only browser that could load the music service. The source further adds,
“Moving iTunes organizational side-bar into Safari isn’t a monumental task. Safari would skyrocket in use as a result of integrating the software titles together.”
The news-quote appears dubious not just because of the untrusted source. It’s also because Apple might not be hedging its iTunes market share in its bid to improve Safari’s market share. Although iTunes is a pretty popular application, the software is pretty bulky and might not be ideally suited for use as an internet browsing application – something that would require it to be pretty lightweight.
In any case, this is a very interesting rumor and we look forward to such a move sometime down the line. An announcement in this regard is expected around the iPod Touch media event in September. That’s a long time from now and hopefully, we will hear a lot more in this regard by then.
If you have been enjoying the free music downloads on Nokia Ovi Music unlimited, here is some bad news. The Finland based company has decided to pull the plug on unlimited free music in as many as 27 countries. The Nokia Ovi Music Unlimited service was launched in 2008 in partnership with popular music labels like Vivendi, EMI, Warner Music Group and Sony, and was seen as a viable alternative to Apple’s iTunes.
While not much information has been revealed about the reason for discontinuation, the company has noted that lack of interest in music tied with DRM is one of the primary reasons. DRM-free tracks will continue to be sold in all 38 countries Nokia Ovi is available on.
There is however a silver lining here if you are from India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey or South Africa. Nokia Ovi users in India, China and Indonesia will continue to enjoy 12 month free music subscription while those in Brazil, Turkey and South Africa will enjoy six months’ subscription.
If you are a user in one of the countries where the service has been plugged, do note that existing tracks will continue to be available. It is the newer tracks that you will be unable to download.
Yahoo has announced an update to their Flickr for iPhone app that brings support to the retina display screen that is available with the latest generation of iPhone. This means that the new version 1.3 of Flickr iPhone app will now render images compatible to the 960×640 pixel resolution of the iPhone 4 display. You will recall that the newly launched iPod Touch too comes with a retina display and there are speculations – though unconfirmed – that iPad 2 could feature this high resolution display.
Apart from support for retina display, the new Flickr iPhone app update also preserves EXIF data (date, time and geo-data) across all photos. Users can now upload photos in batches of five. Besides, the new update also enhances social sharing functions making it easy for users to share pictures via Twitter using the Flic.kr URL shortener.
The app is free to download and can be accessed by visiting this iTunes link.
Mozilla may be releasing the next major update to Firefox by the end of February. This has been revealed in a note sent from Mozilla team member Damon to fellow developers at Mozilla. In the note, Damon writes,
“We have to reach Release Candidate status as quickly as possible, ideally finishing the hard blockers by the beginning of February and shipping final before the end of February. We’ll need your help to balance these targets against the need to build a high quality product.”
While this may come as a sigh of relief for Firefox fans who have been awaiting this release, do note that the release date appears to be optimistic at the moment. As Damon reveals, the team traditionally completes work on 100 blockers in six weeks time. With work on close to 160 blockers still remaining, we will have to wait and see if the Mozilla developer team completes work on all of this by the end of next month.
Have you ever felt the need to ask for directions in a foreign country where nobody speaks in your tongue? Google has just introduced an interesting new ‘Conversation Mode‘ on their Translate app for Android that will make such conversations simple.
Using the conversation mode, users can speak in their native tongue that will then be translated and read out aloud in the chosen language. The app will further take voice inputs from the person you are speaking with and translate it back in your native tongue.
The feature is still in the alpha mode and only available with English-Spanish mode for the moment. However, expect all the bugs and the number of supported languages to increase soon enough.
Apart from being used as an ‘interpreter‘, this feature also has several other use-cases. Writes one commenter on the Google blog,
“This could be an awesome tool for deaf people. As someone who is deaf and speaks/lipreads, I’ve long dreamed of having a handheld device that would convert all spoken conversations around me into text.
I just tried this in English to English mode with one person, and it worked! The only issue is that it’s not continuous; you have to keep hitting the “reply” button to keep the conversation going.”
For those of you who have been working with the iPhone Dev Team in their beta testing of the new untethered jailbreak solution, you must be aware of some issues that prevented Skype from working correctly with Redsn0w untethered jailbreak. The Dev team has now released a new beta software – the sixth such release – that apparently fixes these Skype issues.
Users who already have a jailbroken iPhone running the beta 5 version can run the latest version directly over this version. These users have to “run beta6 and deselect every checkbox”. The Dev team has acknowledged a few other bugs that are still present on the beta test version – primarily with the Wi-Fi Sync app crashing the JB Monte process. We expect these issues to be sorted out in the next release.
Also, the Dev team has pointed out that a Windows version shall be released “only if we can make it less painful“. No time frame has been given for the completion of this.
The iPhone Dev Team has released a new untethered jailbreak solution for beta testers. The new download comes with a couple of improvements. Firstly, Bluetooth – which was disabled in the jailbreak software until now, has now been enabled. Also, the Dev Team has noted that any sandbox related issues must be fixed in the new version.
While this version is closer to a public release (you may recall that the Dev team had indicated that if beta 4 goes well, the next version could be a public release), it is still advisable to go ahead with this download only if you have already tested the older beta versions. Interestingly, a basic version of Redsn0w for Windows too is apparently available although the Dev Team points out that this version is very slow at this point. A test release should be out when the Dev Team manages to speed this up.
After rolling out group video calling to consumer clients on desktop and mobile platforms, Skype has now rolled out the feature to the Business version of the VoIP service. The new feature will allow 3 to 10 business users to connect via Skype to engage in video conferencing. The Business version of Skype lets enterprise administrators to deploy Skype to employees besides turning on or off the various features that Skype comes with. The group video calling feature is available on Skype Business accounts at a price of $8.99 per user per month. Long term subscription plans also come at a discounted price.
Skype has also revealed a few other interesting details in their media report. They note that 37% of Skype users have used the service for a business purpose at least once. Also, 41.5% of Skype minutes in the second half of 2010 was consumed by group video calling. Quite clearly, Skype sees a lot of promise in this new feature in 2011.