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Graham Spencer – 642 posts on MacStories

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Oct
5
2012

Apple has put together a short video to remember Steve Jobs, who passed away one year ago today. The video is a montage of pictures of Steve throughout his life, many of which show him holding the key milestone products in Apple’s history from the iMac to the iPod and iPhone. It’s narrated with audio from Steve Jobs speaking at various events throughout his life about Apple, its products and its culture.

The video is simply played when you navigate to Apple.com and once it concludes, there is a a short, sombre letter from Tim Cook, remembering and paying tribute to Steve.

A message from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.

One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originate from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privelage and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road. It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.

Tim

Apple has just posted on its website a letter from Tim Cook to Apple’s customers, apologizing for not delivering the best experience with its new iOS 6 Maps. In the letter, prominently link to from the front page of Apple.com,  Cook describes how Apple “strives” to make products the “deliver the best experience possible“, but that the new Maps app has fallen short of this standard, frustrating millions of customers.

He re-emphasises the previous Apple statement on Maps, by saying that as time goes on and more people use Maps (there have already been nearly half a billion location searches), that the Maps app will get better. But in the mean time, Cook suggests that users try alternative map apps, and actually names some third-party apps available in the App Store such as “Bing, MapQuest and Waze” or alternatively to use “use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app”. Whilst that is certainly far from ideal, it’s quite extraordinary to see Cook actively name and recommend third party mapping solutions.

Cook explains that since they first shipped the original iPhone, they’ve been wanting to add new features such as “turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps“. Cook claims that they had to create a new version “from the ground-up” to achieve these – there is no mention of Google’s role in the letter.

Tim Cook’s full letter to customers:

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

Bad Piggies, the latest game from Rovio, is now available for download on iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac. This latest Rovio game is a twist on the infamous Angry Birds series in which you now control the pigs and must pilot them safely to the bird eggs. Unlike the simple mechanic featured in Angry Birds in which you simply slingshot the birds into the pigs and their structures, Bad Piggies requires you to make “the ultimate flying machine” and steer them through the levels.

With more than 60 levels, and free updates coming up, you have hours and hours of pig-crashing, exploding, and flying fun! Get three stars on every level to unlock 30 more puzzles! HINT: Sometimes you need to play the level several times to achieve all the objectives — try building a new device or steering in a different way to earn all the stars!

The game currently features 60 levels, with another 30 unlockable by getting three-stars on levels and will, like Angry Birds, receive free updates that add levels. There’s also 4 sandbox levels in which you can really have fun with making some awesome flying contraptions with various fans, wings, motors, balloons and other objects. If you’re interested in reading a review, check out this one by Polygon’s Chris Plante:

Bad Piggies’ levels aren’t nearly as fast as Angry Birds. They require attention and patience as the pig slowly travels from one end to the other. Unlike Angry Birds, it’s not as easy to play on a subway or during a coffee break. The main game is a fine distraction, something to do with your hands while watching sitcoms or talking on the phone.

Download links:

Jump the break to watch the Bad Piggies trailer.

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Apple has just issued a press release announcing that the iPhone 5 has sold more than five million units in its first three days of sales after launching on Friday in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. Apple previously revealed that in the first 24 hours pre-orders of the iPhone 5 topped two million.

“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”

Apple also announced in the press release that since iOS 6 launched mid-last week, over 100 million iOS devices are now running iOS 6. The latest iOS release removed Google Maps in favour of Apple’s own mapping app which has been receiving strong criticism, a new Passbook app, Facebook integration and a bounty of other more minor new features and adjustments. Our own Federico reviewed iOS 6 and you can find all our iOS 6 coverage here.

The second ’round’ of the iPhone 5 launch will occur this Friday on September 28th, going on sale in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.


Jump the break for the full press release from Apple.

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Sep
21
2012

Great iPhone 5 Wallpapers

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One downside of Apple changing the size of the display on the new iPhone is that all your iPhone wallpapers no longer fit properly without being stretched. Whilst Apple has included some new default wallpapers and made them all in the new iPhone 5 resolution, sometimes you just want a bit more choice. Thankfully quite a few people have already done the work to recreate their wallpapers for the new 1136 x 640 resolution of the iPhone 5. We had a bit of a search and found these collections and individual wallpapers that you might enjoy.

Collections

Individual Wallpapers

If you’ve made some iPhone 5 wallpapers or know of some other great ones we missed, let us know by tweeting us at @macstoriesnet.

Mail, Phone and Safari have all been around since the original iPhone launched in 2007. They all have seen subtle changes here and there over the years and in iOS 6 that trend continues but with the addition of some really neat new features.

The big new thing for Mail is VIPs which gives you more control over how you deal with your inbox and who you pay most attention to — but there’s also the addition of the pull to refresh gesture and the ability to add images directly to a new message. Phone gets two really useful and practical features: the ability to reject a call and then quickly reply to them or set a reminder to call back, and the new “Do Not Disturb” feature. Finally, the core of what made the iPhone a ‘smartphone’ in the early days, Safari, gets a new full-screen landscape mode, the ability to sync tabs across devices, upload photos and videos, and offline mode for Reading List.

To get the full overview of these new features and some neat tips, jump after the break.

More iOS 6 coverage here.

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On Friday, workers put up the traditional event banners on the Yerba Buena building in which Apple is holding its special media event next Wednesday. You can have a look at the banners here, but as an eagle-eyed reader of MacRumors realised, it seems as if Apple made the poster by stretching various app icons vertically. Another one of MacRumor’s readers, roosternugget, put together a little graphic to indicate which apps were most likely used (see below). It’s pretty clever by Apple’s designers to stretch iPhone app icons vertically and use it as the event poster, given we expect the iPhone 5 itself to feature a vertically larger (or “stretched) display. If you recall, Apple also had fun with the media event invitation which subtly features a shadow with the number “5″ coming down from the number 12.

With this knowledge, I decided to open Photoshop and do my best to recreate the event poster. Now it certainly isn’t a perfect recreation but I’ve done my best and it comes close to the banner featured in a photo below. I’ve created multiple versions with and without the Apple logo and for various screen resolutions so that you can use it as a wallpaper, including the following:

  • [16:10] 2880 x 1800 - aka. Retina MacBook Pro
  • [16:9] 2880 x 1620
  • [5:4] 1280 x 1024
  • iPhone 4/4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad (Retina)

Download the wallpapers (.zip archive)

Direct links for iOS devices:

Sep
2
2012

August 2012 In Review

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August has been the lull between July’s Mountain Lion release and September’s inevitable iPhone announcement. But that’s not to say it was a quiet month – it certainly wasn’t. On the news front, we saw Apple and Amazon reacting to Mat Honan’s ‘epic hacking’, the first Mountain Lion update, internal promotions at Apple and of course – the verdict in the Apple v. Samsung trial. August also saw big Pixelmator, Things, Instagram, Drafts and Buzz Contacts app updates amongst a bunch of other updates and new release apps. Finally, in the stories department, we wrote up a bunch of how-to’s and I talked about the rise of third party services and fall of Google in iOS. Be sure to stay tuned this September, it’s going to be a big month.

You can review past ‘Month In Review’ posts here.

The Highlights

 

Everything Else

 

For those of you who weren’t able to go to the ‘One More Thing’ conference back in May, the full sessions have been put together in video format and are now available for $49. It includes sessions from both days and for every one of the 17 iOS developers that spoke at the conference, including Raphael Schaad of Flipboard, Shaun Inman, Justin Williams of Second Gear, Loren Brichter of Atebits, Neven Mrgan of Panic and a whole slew of other, excellent, speakers:

  • Winter Wong – Quoord Systems
  • Lee Armtrong – Pinkfroot
  • Julian Lepinski – Debacle Software
  • Matt Rix – Magicule
  • Adam Kirk – Mysterious Trousers
  • Igor Pušenjak – Lima Sky
  • Kepa Auwae – Rocketcat Games
  • Dave Howell – Avatron Software
  • Karl von Randow – Tap Tap Tap
  • Layton Duncan – Polar Bear Farm
  • Jeff Broderick
  • Sebastiaan de With – Double Twist

For everyone who told us they wished they could come to the conference but couldn’t make it – this is for you. We’re making the full videos from both days of the One More Thing 2012 Conference available for download! It’s only $49, and you can come back to watch or download the videos again at any time up until the next conference. They’re all 720p, H.264 and encoded for most iOS devices.

If you want a taste of what the conference was like, the Q&A session of the main conference is also available for free.