Apple updates 12 Days of Christmas app for the 2012 holiday season

European fans have grown accustomed to Apple’s holiday promotion called 12 Days of Christmas because they can count on a free download every day in a period following Christmas and until early-January. It’s not just apps, Apple usually gives away songs, books and music videos as well.

A dedicated app is crucial to the promotion and today the company has updated the 12 Days of Christmas app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad with gifts for the 2012 holiday season. Download it now to get your free gift starting with December 26, the day after Christmas. The only downside: the promotion is valid outside of the United States only…

Apple writes in release notes accompanying the download:
You and your friends can download a fantastic selection of songs, music videos, apps, books and TV episodes for free. Each download will only be available for 24 hours. Get our 12 Days of Christmas app to make sure you don’t miss out.

You can download the app from the UK App Store right here for free. (Canadian Link)

The app requests permission to send push notifications so it’d be wise to hit the OK button because otherwise you won’t be alerted of new freebies each day.

Sparrow updated with iPhone 5 & Passbook Support

After Apple rejected Sparrow’s iPhone 5 update earlier in the month, critics cried foul and commentators happily pointed out Apple was attempting to derail the popular email client for iOS devices and Macs. There was little hope left for new features after Google acquired Sparrow in June. Plus, the search giant acknowledged as much when it said the Sparrow team would move to Google’s Mountain View offices to work on new Gmail features. It’s a welcome sign, then, that a new version of Sparrow just surfaced on the App Store. Though short of features, it does bring out two major nice-to-haves: support for the iPhone 5′s taller display and Passbook integration

Support for Passbook, a new stock app in iOS 6, allows Sparrow to send .pkpass files to the Passbook app. These small files are embedded in confirmation email messages when buying tickets, boarding passes, loyalty cards and other items Passbook understands.

Apart from the iPhone 5 and Passbook support, changelog makes no mention of other tweaks.

If you don’t have it, Sparrow will run you £1.99 (three bucks) on the App Store.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

iPad mini – Everything You Need To Know

It’s finally here, folks! Apple has just announced the all-new iPad mini at their event today on their own campus. It’s (mostly) exactly what the technology blogosphere was expecting: a smaller iPad 2. Check out all the basic specifications, pricing and availability after the jump!

The iPad mini gets its name from its noticeably smaller display which is 7.9-inches. Its resolution matches that of the iPad 2, at 1024 x 768 giving a pixel density of 163ppi which, by today’s standards, is rather shabby.

The iPad mini is accompanied by two cameras, one at the front which supports FaceTime HD, and a 5-megapixel iSight Camera at the back which shoots video at 1080p.

Yes, the same rear-facing camera found in the latest generation iPad. In short; you don’t just get a smaller iPad, you also get an amazing camera which you can carry around with you most of the times.

Lightning Connector
As you might expect, the 30-pin connector is a long gone story and the iPad mini comes with Apple’s brand-new Lightning connector which made its debut with the iPhone 5, fifth-gen iPod touch and the seventh-gen iPod nano.

Besides the reduced display size, the overall dimensions of the device have also been scaled down: It is slimmer and will, most definitely, have an appropriately reduced weight. Weighs in at just 0.68lbs, this thing is really, really light as far as we can tell. The device is just 7.2mm thick, and is dubbed as being thinner than a pencil. I guess we’ll buy that notion.

Processor/Battery life
With 10-hours of battery life, Apple hasn’t made any sort of sacrifice! And we really mean that. The iPad mini is powered an A5 processor, the one found inside the iPad 2.

iPad mini comes in Apple’s usual selection of colors: black and white. There are three storage configurations – 16GB (£269/$329) / 32GB (£349/$429) / 64GB (£429/$529) – and two configurations based on connectivity – Wi-Fi only and LTE (add $130).

This is considerably more expensive than other Android-based tablets that start at $159 / $199, but that’s not unexpected coming from a company like Apple which charges a heavy premium for its devices. At least this is lower than the revised iPad 2 which cost $399.

Smart Cover
The iPad mini will be complimented with the iPad mini Smart Cover, the same cover which we’ve already seen on the iPad 2 and the current generation iPad, except that it’s smaller. The available colors are dark gray, pink, blue, green, light gray and our favorite; red.

Siri is a part of the iPad mini now, as well. Making its debut on the iPhone 4S, then making its way onto the third-gen iPad, then the iPhone 5 and iPod touch. Siri has found a new home; the iPad mini.

The iPad mini will be in stores in selected countries on November 2nd, with a wider availability rolled out in stages. Online pre-ordering start on Friday; we’ll inform you when it goes live so stay tuned!

Combine the smaller display with slimmer, lighter design, lower price and you have a tablet that goes head to head with the likes of the popular Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The next few months will be very interesting as we will see how not just consumers, but also how Google and Amazon will respond to it.

And oh, every app which works on the larger iPad works flawlessly on the iPad mini. Hence, the devs can rest assured that their apps can get into the hands of many at launch.


Apple unveils iPad mini + Shocks everyone with iPad 4

Apple has unexpectedly revealed a fourth generation iPad, called, well the iPad 4.

Featuring an upgraded A6X CPU, Apple claims the iPad 4’s new processor will double both the CPU performance and the graphics performance of the previous A5X CPU used in the third generation new iPad.

Though the shell is the same size as its predecessor, the iPad 4 is more energy efficient, boasting 10 hours of continuous battery life.

Apple has also included its new Lightning port, a Retina Display and two times as fast Wi-Fi as previous iPad models, while the camera has also been tweaked for a better performance.

Apple has also announced the iPad 4 will be LTE compatible, and noticeably in the background of Apple’s San Jose presentation was the Everything Everywhere logo, suggesting the UK will be able to enjoy faster network speeds when the iPad 4 arrives here in Blighty.

A Wi-Fi only 16GB version of the iPad 4 will cost you $499 (£313), while a Wi-Fi and cellular version 16GB version will set you back $629 (£395). Both variants are available in black and white.

Apple has introduced an iPad Mini. The new pencil-thin (7.2mm) iPad mini comes a mere half-year after the third generation iPad was introduced. Apple says it is as light as a pad of paper.

All software that runs on iPad runs on Mini, though it is borne of a separate design, said Apple’s Phil Schiller.

Display area on the iPad Mini is a third larger than that on its Android competitors, Schiller said, and 50 percent larger than Android for surfing Web. With Wi-Fi configuration, It will be priced at £269. ($329)

Pre-order yours starting October 26. Or buy the Wi-Fi model at your favourite Apple Retail Store starting at 8:00 a.m. on November 2. Wi-Fi + Cellular models available late November.

Will the iPad 3 drop in price now they showed off the 4th Gen? Who knows.

What do you think of the iPad Mini and the iPad 4? Will you be buying the Mini or the 4th gen or both? Let us know in the comments below!

Google has an iOS 6 Maps app – awaiting approval.

If you are missing Google Maps after updating to iOS 6 over the past 24 hours, good news may be just around the corner. As previously rumored, The Guardian suggested this afternoon that the folks at Google built a separate Maps app for iOS 6. The report further added that it will “appear in time,” to which well-known developer Steve Stroughton-Smith seemingly confirmed with a “Yep.”

The same sources say that Google is preparing a Google Maps app for iOS6, which will appear in time. No official statement has been made and there will inevitably be questions over whether Apple will approve it in the App Store. (Apple might not, on the basis that it “competes with existing functionality”, but would invite a further backlash if it did.)

Separately, we’ve heard Google has been building separate versions of a iOS Google Maps app for quite a while that goes back years. Additionally, we’ve learned an updated iOS 6 version of the Google has been submitted to Apple. It is awaiting approval, however, and that could take some time. It took a year for Apple to approve Google Voice, for instance, and Apple could technically likewise claim Google Maps “duplicates a native service” even though there are quite a few mapping apps already in the App Store (like Google Earth). Last month, it looked as if Apple were putting an update to Google Voice that featured Siri-like functionality through purgatory.

Over the past 24 hours, Apple’s Maps application has received a ton of negative feed back from the press and some users. Sure, Apple’s Maps has great functionality like turn-by-turn navigation, Siri integration, and more, but many have found Apple Maps to be sub-par without key mapping data (that Google once brought to iOS). The Guardian claimed the folks at Google are enjoying the bad press thrown at Apple:

Google, I hear from roundabout sources, is enjoying the bad press Apple is suffering. It would be surprising if its mappers could resist some schadenfreude, since they are very proud of their work; having it rejected wholesale must be galling.

TechCrunch says that Google hopes to have the app approved in the next few months:
Debunking the diabolical theory that Google will take as long as it likes to release its Maps App, in an effort to convert people to Android, I’ve got a source telling me that the Google Maps team is taking this as a crisitunity, doubling down on staff, lining up the team and resources to have a standalone iOS app in the App store “before Christmas.”


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