Top AppAdvice News & Apps Of The Past Week

The white iPhone arrived, as rumors continued about the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, as T-Mobile looked to join the iPhone 5 party, AT&T begged regulators to accept its bid for the fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier. Don’t have an iPad 2 yet? You won’t find one in New York City, but maybe a certain Congressman will sell you their iDevice, since they believe it is behind America’s current economic woes. Or, you can now use an iPhone app to find a new iPad.

Plus, TweetDeck might be gobbled up by Twitter, as Dr. Brown once against went Back To The Future.

And finally, is Apple now officially Big Brother, by tracking our every move?

These stories and more made news during the last week.

Cloud News

Warner Music Arrives In Apple’s Cloud City

As reported yesterday, Apple’s North Carolina data center has completed testing and lies in wait as record companies eagerly hammer out last-minute licensing deals for streaming, cloud-based music distribution. Warner Music Group, the recording industry’s third-largest company, is the latest to agree to terms with the computing giant.

Though Amazon was first to introduce such a program with its aptly-titled Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, those services went live without any major label support and don’t currently offer iOS compatibility. Since Apple’s latest earnings report pegged the active iOS user base at nearly 200 million, a lot of people felt (and still feel) hung out to dry.

Meanwhile, as Google’s own innovation and roll-out in this department seems to have stalled considerably (leading to rumors of a partnership with Spotify), Apple is all set to change the way we listen to music. Again.

Where’s My Free MobileMe?

Nearly two months ago, we began hearing rumors Apple’s MobileMe service would be revamped and become a free product. In fact, one promising report indicated the change would happen sometime in April. Unfortunately, with just ten days remaining in the month, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

MobileMe, which serves as an email, calendar and photo service, costs $99 for a one-year subscription. We and others, however, had heard Apple was expected to change the service to include “digital lockers” for storing music, photos, and videos in a “cloud.” And with it, the service was going to be free.

Industry News

New iPhone Tracking Controversy Is Debated, Could Be Simple Bug

More information has been uncovered about Apple’s file, which apparently tracks our every move. For privacy advocates, it is probably very good news. It appears that the file was never supposed to track our every move forever, and because of this, the problem should eventually be solved. This news/rumor was first discussed by John Gruber at Daring Fireball. However, is this the end of the story?

T-Mobile USA Ready To Release A5-based iPhone

BGR today broke an exciting story (that has since been supplemented with more digging by 9 to 5 Mac) about an upgraded iPhone model currently in testing for T-Mobile USA. The latter part makes sense, as AT&T recently purchased said company from Deutsche Telekom and made public statements about its own potentially tenuous future; but the “upgraded” part is of no little intrigue.

You see, the unit being tested is outfitted with the iPad 2′s custom A5 chip. Most analysts assumed any new iPhone for 2011 would be rocking that silicon, but that’s not the point. The point is that the unit looks nigh identical to the current iPhone 4: same screen-size, same form factor, same physical home button. Additionally, the handset is rumored to be very similar to dev-units already in use by larger app makers.

AT&T: We Weren’t Ready For iPhone, Might Not Be Ready For Future

AT&T admitted its network wasn’t ready for the iPhone when it debuted. This admission, first uncovered by Business Insider, is part of a new public filing AT&T made as it seeks support in its bid for T-Mobile.

The filing states:

A smartphone generates 24 times the mobile data traffic of a conventional wireless phone, and the explosively popular iPad and similar tablet devices can generate traffic comparable to or even greater than a smartphone. AT&T’s mobile data volumes surged by a staggering 8,000% from 2007 to 2010, and as a result, AT&T faces network capacity constraints more severe than those of any other wireless provider.

White iPhone 4 Makes Landfall On American Shores

Yesterday, the tech community was inundated with the seeming substantiation of rumors that Europe is set to receive the white iPhone 4 next week on Wednesday, April 27. We covered that report here and are excited to update the American launch forecast: next week on Wednesday, April 27. That’s right, we’re getting the great white model on the very same day! Certainly, this jibes with Apple’s tradition of debuting all devices on its home turf. Had this been an altogether new product, the US would’ve likely received it well ahead of any other country. But we at AppAdvice are all for international harmony, so the more the merrier!

Best Buy inventories are showing expected allotments of about 10 units each, with no word on capacity splits. European interest has shown that the 32 GB handset is probably more sought-after than its 16 GB counterpart, but we won’t know for sure until initial sales numbers come through. So far, only GSM AT&T models are confirmed, but we expect Verizon’s CDMA units to be immediately available.

Amazon Announces Kindle Library Lending: Supports Kindle For iOS

Amazon has just announced Kindle Library Lending – a new feature that allows Kindle users to borrow e-books from over 11,000 libraries in the U.S.

Kindle owners and users of the free smart phone app – which is currently available for iOS, BlackBerry OS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 – will be able to take advantage of Kindle Library Lending. And what’s more, Amazon is improving its Whispersync technology to make annotating borrowed e-books possible. As outlined in a press release, which hit the Web earlier today:

“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine [Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle] continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

Moving On, iPad 3 Rumors Begin To Surface

Many would-be iPad 2 buyers are still trying to find a place to buy their tablets, but that hasn’t stopped the quiet flow of iPad 3 rumors. The latest comes from South Korean web portal Daum, which suggests the next iPad will come with a 2Ghz dual-core Samsung-CPU.

Actually, the report quotes an unnamed “high-ranking official” that states Samsung is expected to release a smart phone with the CPU mentioned previously.

Verizon CFO: Apple Working On Universally Compatible iPhone 5

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo announced that he believes the next-generation iPhone will be a universally compatible model for distribution around the globe. This news came as Verizon announced its first quarter earnings.

Right now, the iPhone 4 is available in GSM (AT&T) and CDMA (Verizon) versions. According to Shammo, the iPhone 5 will be capable of roaming on all of the GSM wireless networks throughout the world.

Apple Is Bad For Environment, Relies On “Polluting Coal Power” – Report

Greenpeace, the non-governmental environmental organization, is accusing Apple of being the worst tech companies in the world, in terms of its influence on the environment. Specially, the organization targets Apple’s so called “dirty data” centers, like the one built in Maiden, North Carolina.

The report, which is available here, was highlighted by The Guardian.

The report looks at tech companies and their reliance on coal. Apple ranked dead last, with Greenpeace claiming 54.5 percent of its energy is obtained by the use of coal. This is followed by Facebook (53.2 percent), IBM (51.6 percent), HP (49.4 percent) , and Twitter (42.5 percent).

Six Weeks Later, iPad 2 “Resellers” Remain Outside Apple Retail Stores

According to news first reported in The New York Times, iPad 2 resellers are still camping out around New York Apple Retail Stores, nearly six weeks after the tablet’s debut. These resellers, reportedly from China, buy the iDevice and then sell them in the U.S. for a profit or ship them back to where they were made.

While earlier reports focused on the resellers outside Apple’s famed Fifth Avenue store, the latest comes from its SoHo store.

Twitter In Talks To Buy TweetDeck – WSJ

Twitter is expected to purchase TweetDeck for around $50 million, according to news first reported by The Wall Street Journal. If the deal goes through, it would give Twitter one of the better known add-on programs for the micro-blogging service.

U.K.-based TweetDeck, which offers software for the Mac and PC, as well as apps for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, is one of the most popular Twitter programs. It allows Twitter users to organize content, track tweets, and better manage topics, all at the same time through the use of different screens.

Unconfirmed: App Store Rankings Get A Much Needed Overhaul

Has Apple changed the way it calculates the top apps in the App Store? Could they be including more weight to review ratings and active usage data? This might be the case according to a report by Inside Mobile Apps.

It has largely been assumed Apple used only download numbers to determine an app’s place in the store’s rankings. However, according to the report, Apple is putting new “weights on top of download numbers to determine top apps.”

The iPad Is Killing U.S. Jobs – Congressman (Video)

The iPad has been called many things, but not a job killer until now. According to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. the best-selling tablet is behind America’s current economic woes, in news first reported by 9 To 5 Mac.

Jackson, who represents the second district in Illinois, recently took to the floor of the U.S. House to carp about the iPad. He stated U.S. jobs were being lost because people have no reason to visit a Borders Books or Barnes & Noble, because you can now download a book on your iDevice instead.

Apple Reveals New ‘Apple Support Communities’

Apple has redesigned its Apple Discussions Board. The rebranded Apple Support Communities is more intuitive and brings a user a much more personalized experience when looking for answers about Apple products. It also includes a new social networking aspect to the site, which may or may not appeal to the average visitor.

To join the Apple Support Communities, users must first sign in using their Apple ID. From there, two tabs take center stage. The first, appropriately called “All Content,” is the site’s default page. The second is called “Your View” and offers a more customized experience.

App News

An iPhone App That Helps You Find An iPad 2

Tired of trying to find an iPad 2 six weeks after its launch? Now, a new iPhone/iPod touch app makes finding a second-generation tablet as easy as typing a few numbers into your iDevice.

Created by D.L. Orton, the FindOne app has one purpose in mind: to help you find a place to buy an iPad 2. Limited to checking current inventories at Target and Walmart stores, the app looks for iPad 2 models according to zip codes.

Noir Gives Amateur Photographers Another Reason To Think They Are Pros

Noir Photo by Red Giant Software is a photo manipulation app that specializes in focusing light on specific areas of your photos. It is a universal app and supports up to four megapixel picture output.

There are low end photo apps and then there are high end photo apps. Noir is the latter. Then again, there are feature packed apps such as Camera+ and then there are more focused apps. Again, Noir is the latter.

Back To The Future Ep 2 HD Released For iPad

The second episode and sequel to the point-and-click adventure game, Back to the Future Ep 2 HD is finally released for the iPad. Adventure fans have been awaiting this iPad outing with excitement as the Mac and PC versions have already had three episodes released.

If you are unfamiliar with the series, they are basically a continuation and reimagining of the hit feature films of the 80s. The games have new plot elements that weren’t in the films, but they take place in the same universe and among the same characters.

Real Racing 2 HD 1080p Video-Out Update Is Now Available

As promised, Firemint has released an update to their acclaimed racing simulation title for iPad, Real Racing 2 HD, that adds a 1080p HD output capability for those running the game on an iPad 2. Along with providing gaming console-level graphics, Real Racing 2 HD v1.1 brings along some improvements to the overall experience.

Top AppAdvice News & Apps Of The Past Week is published each Sunday, and is a wrap-up of some of the stories we felt were interesting during the last week.