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Mobile Technology News, July 6, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

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  • Apple Stores to Sell Square Stand Point-of-Sale System [iOS Blog]
    Apple Retail Stores will begin offering Square’s iPad-based point-of-sale system, Square Stand, on July 9, reports 9to5Mac.

    First introduced in May, the Square Stand is a cash register replacement that features both a secure iPad stand and an integrated card reader. It is also able to support additional peripherals like a receipt printer, kitchen printer, cash drawer, and barcode scanners.

    squarestand.png
    Unfortunately, the Square Stand is only able to function with iPads that use a 30-pin dock connector, making it compatible with the iPad 2 and the third generation iPad.

    Apple is expected to begin offering the Square Stand at a number of retail stores on Tuesday, July 9, and it will retail for $299.

        

  • Instagram Updated with Landscape Support, Cinema Stabilization for Front-Facing Camera [iOS Blog]
    instagram-150x150Instagram has been updated to version 4.0.2, adding a couple of small but important improvements.

    The app now supports both photo and video recording in landscape mode, and anti-shake reduction for video capture has been included for the iPhone’s front facing camera.

    What’s New in Version 4.0.2
    – Take photos or record video holding the Instagram camera in landscape orientation
    – Support for Cinema using front-facing cameras
    – Many other improvements and bug fixes

    Cinema was first added in late June, after Instagram debuted Instagram Video. It is Instagram’s unique version of image stabilization that is designed to cut down on motion blur. Previously, it was limited to the back-facing camera, but will now work with both of the iPhone cameras.

    Instagram is a free app that can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]

        

  • James Cameron Laments 3D Summer Blockbusters
    Part of James Cameron’s duties as King of the World? Calling out movies that were unnecessarily released in 3D. The "Avatar" director has been on…
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    The UK government’s roll-out of “superfast” broadband to rural areas is about two years behind its original schedule, an official audit has found.
  • Apple Patent Details Flexible Battery Shape for Future Devices
    An Apple patent application published yesterday (via Patently Apple) by the United States Patent and Trademark office details the creation of a flexible battery shape, suggesting that the company is exploring solutions for future products that may take on a unique shape, such as the rumored iWatch.

    The patent, which was filed in December of 2011, covers a flexible battery pack that consists of several different cells connected through a laminate layer, designed to “allow the battery to be shaped to fit a form factor of the electronic device.”

    flexiblebattery

    Electronic devices are ubiquitous in society and can be found in everything from portable cell phones to wristwatches. Many of these electronic devices require some type of portable power source. Many of these electronic devices also have unique form factors. Because of this, the portable power source of any one electronic device may not fit within any other electronic device.

    Furthermore, these unique form factors often require flexible battery arrangements, whereas conventional battery packs are often too rigid to flexibly conform to these form factors. For example, lithium-ion batteries, such as lithium polymer battery cells, are quite rigid and bending them repeatedly may cause damage to the battery cells and battery failure. As a result of attempting to accommodate inflexible battery packs, the packaging of portable electronic devices may not be optimally sized.

    Apple’s patent also suggests that a flexible battery pack could have certain cells removed to incorporate thermoelectric coolers, flashes, or a camera, allowing the battery to fit more snugly into a small space. The company points out that an isolated flexible cell arrangement increases device reliability as well, preventing multiple connected cells from failing at once due to environmental factors like moisture or dust.

    According to Apple, its flexible battery solution could be used in a number of devices, including “wristwatches, calculators, laptop computers, tablet computers, and/or music players.”

    A patent application published in March and a job listing in April suggested that Apple was researching iPhones constructed with flexible wraparound displays, and such designs would likely incorporate the flexible battery detailed in yesterday’s patent.

    Apple’s much rumored “iWatch” could also take advantage of a flexible battery, as a February patent revealed that the company was experimenting with a potential wraparound touch-sensitive display.

    In recent weeks, Apple has filed for a number of trademarks on the iWatch name around the world. According to rumors, Apple has 100 product designers working on the watch, which is likely to launch in 2014.

        

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    Close-up 3D images of how roots grow in transparent polymer soil can help researchers monitor how plants are faring and develop better crops

        

  • The Apple iBook store is in dire need of a medical category
    The Apple iBook store is in dire need of a medical category
  • BBC to suspend 3D programming
    The BBC is to suspend 3D programming indefinitely due to a “lack of public appetite” for the technology.
  • Leading Japanese Carrier NTT DoCoMo Losing Customers as iPhone Deal Remains Elusive
    Reuters reports on difficulties being faced by NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier with 60 million customers, as it has yet to reach a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone. The major hurdle to a deal has been DoCoMo’s insistence on allowing its own services to be preloaded on devices it carries.

    It is paying heavily for that obstinacy – with a net 3.2 million users jumping ship to its two domestic rivals over the last 4-1/2 years – but is determined to protect the walled garden of services it has built around its own smartphones.

    “We’re trying to develop a lifestyle system,” NTT DoCoMo CEO Kaoru Kato told Reuters in an interview this week.

    The report notes that while DoCoMo pioneered a number of smartphone services, those services have been surpassed in popularity and ease of use by third-party offerings. Combining that reduced consumer reliance on DoCoMo’s own services with Apple’s equally obstinate position that carriers can not preload apps and services on the iPhone may leave DoCoMo in an increasingly difficult position with its customers.

    DoCoMo appears to be banking on iPhone saturation at rival carriers Softbank and KDDI to force Apple to relent as it seeks to drive further sales growth of the popular device, but DoCoMo’s list of demands, which also includes carrier branding on handsets themselves, clashes so strongly with Apple’s philosophy for the iPhone that an imminent deal appears unlikely.

    ntt_docomo_logo
    Little appears to have changed in the stalemate between Apple and DoCoMo, as a November 2011 report highlighted many of the same sticking points. And with the iPhone continuing to lead the Japanese smartphone market even without DoCoMo on board, it appears that Apple may be able to continue negotiating from a position of strength.

    Still, Samsung’s dramatic rise in most of the rest of the world has enabled it to surpass the iPhone in many markets, and Apple may be feeling some pressure to make its best effort to ensure that a similar scenario does not play out in Japan.

        

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