Apple Bytes #3: News Round Up on July 20th

This week: Low cost Total Film & Comic Heroes magazines for iPad, Apple rumours, Dark Knight apps!

Okay, so first things first, as this is time sensitive: to mark the release of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, magazines ‘Comic Heroes’ & ‘Total Films’ have their iPad issues at £0.69 / $0.99 each for this weekend only. And that includes the current issues. These can be bought directly using the  ‘Comic Heroes’ & ‘Total Films’ apps which link through to the NewsStand icon. Also ‘SFX’ magazine have reduced all their regular (not ‘Collection’)  issues to £2.99 each – check out the Zinio App if you don’t already have it.

And speaking of the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, there’s a bunch of apps available on the App Store, including a couple freebies. Just type in Dark Knight on the search field, and you’ll see a handful of goodies from 70p to £5 including action games, trivia quizzes, and ‘TDKR: Gotham’s Most Wanted, which is a free-of-charge camera app that superimposes Bat, Cat & Bane masks onto your face. In iBooks you’ll also find the unofficial book…

Apple are upping the ante by allowing car manufacturers to not only add an iDock, but also integrate the ‘Siri’ functionality into their vehicles, by adding a button on the steering wheel.

Big rumour: Apple could launch 7 inch iPad in the autumn… It’s rumoured that Apple are asking its CEMs (contract equipment manufacturers – chiefly FoxConn) to tool up for this, and have been buying 7″ glass. I don’t know how to call this one… On the one hand it will take the fight straight to Amazon Kindle Fire and the newly launched Google Nexus, as well as kill of the BlackBerry PlayBook once and for all. On the other hand, if it comes in at around $299 (£200), it will threaten to eat away at the customer base for $500 9.7 inch iPads. Although, when you’re Apple and you’ve got more cash in the bank than the US Treasury ($100 Bn – I kid you not!), this is not a bad strategy to finally kill of all your competitors in one blow…

Apple to announce Apple TV App Store This Year – not that the little black box isn’t great at just £99, but it has been sorely missing an App Store of its own. I’ll be getting the new 1080p box shortly, and will review it on Apple Bytes then.

Apple are rumoured to be working on a stylus for its touchscreen devices, dubbed ‘iPen’. It’s a bit of a departure, as then tend to let their partners build (and therefore take the risk) on all the ‘lifestyle’ add-ons. However, it has filed patents covering a stylus with haptic technology (tactile vibration feedback), which could in theory, allow a user to feel such sensations as brush strokes. Alternatively, the iPen could use optical technology to mimic relative movement – i.e. you could ‘trace’ the stylus over a picture (or even an object) and reproduce it as an editable (3D?) image on the iPad.

Finally,  it was revealed back in March that Apple was planning to build a $304 million campus expansion in Austin, Texas that would create some 3,600 jobs, doubling their Texas workforce. Apple is now one step closer to completing its plan thanks to the purchase of three tracts of land adjacent to their current Austin campus, which houses the customer support, sales and accounting teams.  Apple has pledged that it will pay an average salary of $35,000 for the bottom 10% of its Texas employees, and a minimum of $11-per-hour for contractors. I wonder if I send my sons as janitors for the summer, will they get a good staff discount on all Apple products…?

Reporter: SilverFox

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