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Apple’s iBooks court monitor stays in place, but there’s a catch

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 Apples iBooks court monitor stays in place, but theres a catch

Apple’s been [#protected_0#] court-appointed antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, put in place last summer to oversee the company’s efforts to comply with a ruling against it in the e-book price fixing case. Looks like they’re going to have to get used to him, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The order Monday by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals favored the Justice Department, which had pushed for the monitor, but Apple didn’t walk away empty handed.

The panel of judges defined Mr. Bromwich’s duties in narrow terms: The former Justice Department inspector general is authorized to request interviews and documents from the company only to ensure that Apple has policies in place to prevent future antitrust violations and that senior executives and board members understand them.

So while Apple doesn’t shake Bromwich entirely, he doesn’t have the latitude that he had going into this process. Apple’s lawyers claimed that Bromwich had been exceeding his authority.

What do you think? Is Apple guilty, as Judge Denise Kote ruled? Or was the fix in against Apple from the start because of Amazon’s dominance in e-books? Let me know in the comments.

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Sports Schedules v2.0 – All your sports schedules in one place

Wexford, Pennsylvania – AppFinch LLC is proud to announce Sports Schedules 2.0 for iOS, now available free in the App Store for casual and serious sports fans alike. Sports Schedules App keeps you up-to-date with all your teams’ schedules in one place and provides the most intuitive view into your favorite sports team’s schedules.

Are you a sports fan but work and life keep causing you to miss the games? Never miss a game again! Sports Schedules keeps all your teams’ schedules in one place and will notify you when a game is coming on. Now you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your favorite teams!

FeedMyApp says: “Sports Schedule manages to de-stress your sports watching leaving you free to park your butt on the couch in plenty of time to catch your team play”

Features:
* Week-at-a-glance dashboard
* Notifications when you have a game coming up
* Full schedule for your team
* Choose only the teams you are interested in
* Constantly updated schedules
* Ticket purchasing
* Purchase team apparel
* Theme and colors change to reflect the upcoming game

Recent updates:
* Sports Schedules has been updated to look great under iOS 7 and higher

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later
* 4.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Sports Schedules 2.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Sports category.

Sports Schedules 2.0
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AppFinch LLC is a mobile app developer and systems integrator specializing in delivery/distribution of data to thousands of mobile application installations. Copyright (C) 2014 AppFinch LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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T-Mobile ‘Uncarrier 3.0′ event will take place on October 9th

t-mobile-phase-3

Not terribly long ago, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere promised that the third phase in the company’s uncarrier strategy would arrive in the fall of 2013. Today Legere fulfills his promise as T-Mobile has announced a special “Uncarrier 3.0” event, which will take place on October 9th.

The upcoming event will kick of in New York this Wednesday, complete with a guest appearance from Shakira, who will perform at a “special event” at Bryant Park. While we don’t know for sure what all the announcement will bring, we have a feeling it will be big – at least judging by the impact caused by phase 1 and phase 2 of the uncarrier initiative.

As you likely already know, phase one saw the death of long-term contracts and phone subsidies for T-Mobile customers. The second phase introduced T-Mobile’s JUMP early upgrade program, which has since been imitated by the other three major U.S. carriers.

Here’s to hoping that phase three stirs the pot even further! Regardless of what the news brings, we’ll be here to cover it, so be sure to check back for more details on October 9th.

What do you think of T-Mobiles’ recent uncarrier strategy, have you been impressed or not? What do you hope to see from phase three?

Android Authority

One place where Android and Windows Phones have the iPhone beat: Wi-Fi Calling

 One place where Android and Windows Phones have the iPhone beat: Wi Fi Calling

In most respects, I’ve been really happy with T-Mobile since I switched in April. I pay much less for service through T-Mobile than I did through either AT&T or Verizon, and on the odd occasion I’ve had to contact their customer service (only twice so far), I’ve been left feeling better than I did any time I ever had to contact their competitors. However, T-Mobile shares one flaw with those other services: their coverage sucks inside my house. That’s why I want Wi-Fi Calling. It’s a feature that T-Mobile has on several of its Android and Windows Phone handsets, but it isn’t available on the iPhone. At least not yet.

The case for Wi-Fi Calling

I live in an area well outside the city where cell tower coverage can be spotty. Most of the time, driving around, it’s not a big deal, but when you get to the entrance to my subdivision, geography and distance from towers makes it tough for cell signals to penetrate. It’s no different with any of the “big four” carriers – they all stink in my neighborhood.

When I was an AT&T customer, it got so bad that AT&T ended up sending me a “Micro-Cell” – a small cell base station that connected to my cable modem, routing calls over the Internet instead of relying on a cell tower. In my house I had four full bars of coverage. It was great. But AT&T is expensive. And their customer service has left me wanting on more than one occasion.

But that’s only for AT&T. And it also requires extra hardware to attach to your cable modem. Also, my Micro-Cell was finicky. I had to reset it a few times. And doing so required me to log in to AT&T’s web site. It was just a lot of work.

T-Mobile used to offer a similar product called the Cel-Fi. They’ve suspended that program, but Cel-Fi still sells them direct for 5.

How it works

T-Mobile has gone a different direction. Instead, they’ve embraced a technology called UMA, or Unlicensed Mobile Access. The principal is the same: your voice and data are transmitted over a broadband connection, creating a “virtual” GSM connection over the Internet, through your cable modem. The difference is that you’re not relying on a small base station to do it. It’s working through software alone.

This also helps shore up one of the single biggest issues with T-Mobile in general – the radio frequencies its towers use aren’t great at permeating solid structures like buildings. At least, they’re not as good as the radio frequency spectrum licensed to AT&T. So it helps them shore up coverage where you might be in a building that has a Wi-Fi hotspot you can use.

It’s a nifty trick. And through T-Mobile, it’s a feature the company calls “Wi-Fi Calling.” If you stop into a T-Mobile store or a mall kiosk, you’ll find that several of the Android phones, BlackBerrys (while they remain) and even the Nokia Windows Phones on display, all support the feature. The iPhone still doesn’t. It’s not just T-Mobile, either – Apple simply hasn’t activated a UMA feature on the iPhone, anywhere.

UMA isn’t something that’s unique to T-Mobile. Orange uses it in the UK. It’s used elsewhere also. It’s not widespread, but it’s not totally uncommon, either.

But why not FaceTime or Skype?

There is certainly no shortage of ways to initiate voice communication over IP using the iPhone. Skype is one obvious way; FaceTime Audio works too. There are other VoIP apps you can download as well.

But they’re all fundamentally different than UMA, because none of them – with the exception of FaceTime, and even then, only for other FaceTime users – are linked with your handset phone number.

Wi-Fi Calling is, and it’s seamless. If you’re on a Wi-Fi network, you can make or receive a call. Your handset is just as useful indoors as it is outdoors. It just works.

So why doesn’t Apple support UMA on the iPhone?

I’d love to know the answer to that question. To the best of my knowledge, Apple’s never stated its opinion on UMA one way or the other. I’m unaware of any particular security issues that would make an iPhone running UMA susceptible to problems.

T-Mobile is the only carrier in the U.S. that supports UMA, and Apple’s relationship with T-Mobile is still fairly new. And while the iPhone has made a positive contribution to T-Mobile’s subscriber base, T-Mobile is still the smallest of any of the “big four,” so I suspect their influence with Apple is still fairly minor.

In all likelihood, Apple hasn’t added Wi-Fi Calling to the iPhone simply because it really doesn’t need to in order to sell the iPhone. Apple’s not in the habit of making a lot of carrier-specific concessions.

Regardless, Wi-Fi Calling is a truly useful feature, and it’s something that helps the iPhone’s competitors differentiate themselves. For those of us who have decided to go with T-Mobile because of cost savings, fast LTE or simply because they’re not who we were doing business with before, Wi-Fi Calling would be a fantastic feature. I hope Apple allows it on the iPhone.

In the interim, I’m getting used to it being pretty quiet around the house. Though I do have to spend a lot of time responding to voicemails when I leave.

Maybe I’m being myopic by expecting Apple to make up for a shortcoming in my carrier’s coverage area. But this problem isn’t unique to my carrier, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of us suffer from crappy cell service either at home or at work – wouldn’t it be nice to have four full bars wherever you have a decent Wi-Fi signal?

Are you a T-Mobile or Orange customer? Do you think UMA is something the iPhone should have? Or am I being unrealistic expecting my iPhone to work where I need it to? Sound off in the comments – I want to hear from you.

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High School Physics Teachers’ App Earns Place in Apple Stores Nationwide

Highland Park, Illinois – Apple has its eye on Step2Step Physics. With back-to-school time underway, the computer giant is featuring Step2Step Physics – Mechanics on in-store iPads around the country. The app, created by four high school physics teachers, is designed to walk a beginning physics student through classical physics problems, addressing common misconceptions and fixing student errors. It is also one of seven “Applying Physics” apps currently featured on iTunes.

Step2Step Physics has an interesting story. In the spring of 2012, one of the teachers learned that his physics students would receive iPads in the coming school year. Not finding an app that his students needed, he taught himself to program. In August, 2012, he and his fellow teachers released “Step2Step Physics – Mechanics” for iPad, their first app. In the subsequent months the team produced two more iOS apps, an interactive iBook, a popular iTunes U course, a revolutionary new quizzing system, countless web apps for their students, and a company, Nerd Island Studios, LLC.

iPads are changing these teachers’ classrooms in dramatic ways. Step2Step has been a substantial part of this change, with the students using Step2Step scoring higher on certain questions than the students without it. With the app, students can take better responsibility for their own understanding. They “know what to do when they don’t know”, and this makes a huge difference.

“Step2Step Physics – Mechanics” Features:
* 38 question types covering topics in Newtonian mechanics, the first semester of a typical high school or college algebra-based physics course
* Intelligent feedback on each step, tailored to specific incorrect answers
* Multiple user accounts on each device, with progress tracked independently
* Can be used by a single user, or as part of a 1:1 classroom environment

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 6.0 or later
* Size: 46.5 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Step2Step Physics – Mechanics 1.5 is currently .99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category.

Nerd Island Studios
Step2Step Physics – Mechanics 1.5
Screenshot
App Icon

Located in Highland Park, Illinois, Nerd Island Studios, LLC was founded in 2012 by a team of four physics teachers to develop software to help their students learn. Everyone at Nerd Island Studios, LLC is a practicing teacher first and a developer second. Copyright (C) 2012-2013 Nerd Island Studios, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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View All Your Social Media In One Place with Socialblend for iOS

Portland, Oregon – Founded in 2008 to provide top quality mobile applications, Fling Soft today is thrilled to announce the availability of Socialblend for the iPhone and iPod touch. Socialblend provides a single unified view into all of your social media services including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

Socialblend is a free application for the iPhone and iPod touch that was built out of a need felt by its own development team, friends, and family. “I found myself waking up everyday and opening 3 to 4 different apps to interact with my connection’s photos and then I realized I wasn’t the only one”, says Mike Dewey, Fling Soft’s Head of Creative. “We started concepting and realized that unifying these services led to this very visual discovery of media you might have otherwise missed. Its simplicity is really what makes the concept so powerful.”

Socialblend allows you to connect your social services and then displays your media from these services in a single simple timeline view. You can tap to enlarge a photo and pinch to zoom or if its a video simply tap the play button to start watching. Within the timeline you can double tap to like photos and videos and touching the Like or Comment icons will allow you to read additional comments or post your own comment. These actions are then posted directly back to those services without any additional steps. Also, using an icon in the top left you can call a slide-out where you can selectively choose which services you would like to see, allowing you to fully customize the timeline.

Socialblend is also rapidly adding new services. “We are already working on additional filtering features and on the services side we will quickly be adding Flickr, Vimeo, and more” says Jay Mantri, Fling Soft’s Head of Business. “Our goal is to allow users to interact with as much of their social world as possible from a single location, we have almost 20 different services in our roadmap”.

More than just being a simple seamless user experience, Socialblend is really a unified social media platform built on multiple levels of API integration with all the various services in market. “We feel we have developed a foundation for unifying users’ social media and we can only grow it from here”, says Jeremy Krall, Fling Soft’s Head of Technology. “This first iteration has many of the everyday features user’s expect such as Liking and Commenting, but we are already beginning to create layers that will allow even greater unification and powerful interactive filters for various services.”

Launch Contest:
To celebrate the launch of Socialblend, the team is giving away an iPad Mini to one lucky user! Simply visit us online and then download the app, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter. In 30 days, we will select a lucky winner to receive a free iPad Mini!

About Socialblend:
Socialblend allows you to manage all of your social media from a single unified timeline. Users can like and comment directly on their media just like they do currently and it posts directly back to the corresponding service. Simply connect the services you would like to use and Socialblend does the rest.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch and iPad
* Requires iOS 6.0 or later
* 4.3 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Socialblend 1.0.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Social Networking category.

Socialblend 1.0.1
Download From iTunes
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Screenshot
App Icon

Fling Soft was started in 2008 to build top quality mobile and connected device applications. Fling Soft is based in Portland, Oregon and Santa Monica, California. Copyright (C) 2008-2013 Fling Soft. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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Google Glass facial recognition apps not allowed until “strong privacy protections” are in place

Google Glass

Posting on its Project Glass Google+ page, Google revealed that it won’t allow Google Glass apps that use facial recognition features for the time being, as long as “strong privacy protections” aren’t in place.

The news is not unsurprising considering the on-going privacy-related debate we’re witnessing in connection with Google Glass. Even at Google I/O, the company tried to address such privacy concerns for the wearable gadget that can take easily take pictures and record videos, as some people including the U.S. Congress are afraid of the potentially malicious uses of Glass that could affect one’s privacy.

In its short message, available below, Google did not elaborate on what “strong privacy protections” would be, and how they’re supposed to work when it comes to facial recognition features. We’re certainly going to find out more details about it in the near future, suffice to say that for now Google will not officially approve any apps that make use of the technology.

Before Google I/O, Eric Schmidt did comment on Glass a couple of times, agreeing that the talking to Glass may be strange, and saying that at first Google will have to pay close attention to Glass apps approval and etiquette.

Here’s Google’s full message related to facial recognition and privacy:

When we started the Explorer Program nearly a year ago our goal was simple: we wanted to make people active participants in shaping the future of this technology ahead of a broader consumer launch. We’ve been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.

We’ve learned a lot from you in just a few weeks and we’ll continue to learn more as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead.

Let’s here it from potential Glass buyers, what are your thoughts on Google Glass so far?

    




Android Authority

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Get ready, Google I/O registration will take place on March 13 [Update]

Google IO Credit: jolieodell/Flickr

Update: It seems somebody at Google has been confused today – the registration page is now live again, visit it here.

Google has put up a registration page for Google I/O today, but then took it down without any explanation. Still, some users managed to grab screenshots, so we now know when registration for the event will open.

Google I/O is the Android event of the year, an occasion for developers, enthusiasts, and journalists to get close to the technology they are likely to geek out over the next year.

For many, like my colleague Nate Swanner, attending Google I/O is nothing short of a dream come true. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Google is known to hand over generous swag packs to attendants. It’s no wonder therefore that tickets for Google I/O tend to sell out in hours.

google io registration

According to screenshots posted by 9to5 Google, the registration for Google I/O 2013 will start on March 13, at 7AM PDT. It’s not clear why Google took down the page, but if you’re dying to register for the event, at least you know when to prepare your wallet.

Android Authority

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Sweden has the world’s fastest 4G LTE network, US lagging behind at eighth place

LTE OpenSignal bandwidth tests

According to a study conducted by UK based network testing firm OpenSignal, Sweden was the first country to introduce an LTE network. Sweden was ranked first place with having the world’s fastest LTE network coming in at 22.1Mbps. The study pointed out that the US was the second country to introduce an LTE network, but is placed eighth in terms of bandwidth provided coming in at a measly 9.6Mbps.

OpenSignal found that LTE networks in Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Germany, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong all performed better than the US. Tech publication GigaOM mentions that the reason for this could be that most operators in the world were able to acquire 40MHz spectrum.

Operators like Verizon and AT&T in the US could only acquire 20MHz spectrum, which is half the rest of the world is using. In fact, carriers like MetroPCS and Sprint are working with a mere 10MHz spectrum. This means that AT&T and Verizon have half the potential bandwidth other carriers around the world has. This also means that Sprint and MetroPCS are using half of what Verizon and Sprint uses, which means potential bandwidth is even slower with these carriers.

That sort of explains why the US is lagging behind. It is important to note that Sweden does not have as much LTE coverage as the US does though. Although some would argue that that does not matter, hence the saying “quality over quantity.”

Android Authority

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