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Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me transfer music into iOS iTunes

Dear Aunt TUAW,

In the "Post-PC" era, is there a way to get an audio file, such as one stored on Dropbox, onto an iPad? Is a tethered transfer of audio from iTunes the only solution?

Your loving nephew,

Chris R.

Dear Chris,

In a word, no. iTunes maintains its own asset library system that isn't generally accessible (except for reading) to developers. Third-party apps can browse the unit's iTunes music library and choose tracks and play them back (and, even access the data directly if they need to). But there's no way for them to modify the library itself by adding new tracks.

Although apps like Dropbox can use the documents sharing API to open files in conforming apps, the onboard music app does not comply with this. It does not appear as a possibility in the "Open In" menus for m4a, mp3, and other audio data.

Basically this all goes down to digital rights. There have been numerous projects over the years to reverse engineer the iTunes library format and modify it, especially on Mac and Windows, but these projects fall outside of the normal terms and use of iTunes and the onboard iOS app.

You'd think that in the "Post-PC" era, Apple would know this and allow you to bring third party tracks like those from Amazon into the iTunes system sans computer -- but we're apparently not quite as "Post-PC" as one might imagine, yet.


Auntie T.

TUAW - The Unofficial Apple WeblogDear Aunt TUAW: Help me transfer music into iOS iTunes originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 23 Feb 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nova Launcher Officially Out Of Beta – Comes To The Android Market In Free and Paid Version

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After 15 betas, the popular Ice Cream Sandwich homescreen replacement, Nova Launcher, has successfully made its way to version 1.0 and is now officially available to everyone in the Android Market. Highly customizable with a focus on performance, Nova Launcher provides users with that stock Android 4.0 feel, while giving them all the extra features they crave in a launcher replacement.  The free version of Nova Launcher includes all the standard features you should need.

Nova Launcher

  • Custom Grid – Configure the rows and columns to fit all your app and widget needs.
  • Scrollable Dock – Keep all your favorite apps on the dock, with up to 7 icons per page and up to 3 pages.
  • Scroll Effects – Enjoy eye candy when scrolling your desktop and drawer. Effects include Cube and Cardstack and more for Prime users.
  • Infinite Scroll – Never be far from your favorite page, loop through your desktop continuously.
  • Folder Icons – You can chose a background, preview style or even replace the whole icon.
  • Backup/Restore – Export your settings and layout before a wipe to quickly get back up and running.
  • Custom Icons – Change the icons of app shortcuts on your desktop to images from ADW Icon packs or from your Gallery

Nova Launcher 1.0 also brings with it a paid premium version dubbed “Nova Launcher Prime,” that unlocks extra features inside Nova Launcher.

Nova Launcher Prime

  • Gestures – Quickly start Nova Actions or Apps from gestures on the desktop, such as pinching, swiping or two-finger swiping.
  • Hide Apps – Keep a clutter free drawer by hiding never used apps.
  • Dock Swipes – Get more use out of your dock apps by setting swipe-actions
  • Additional Scroll Effects
With improved and fine-tuned gestures, customizable folder backgrounds and icons, it’s no wonder so many lucky Android 4.0+ users chose Nova Launcher as their go-to homescreen replacement. The free version of Nova Launcher can be found right now in the Android Market as well as the enhanced Nova Launcher Prime for $4. If you prefer to purchase the paid version using Paypal, you can also do so via the developer’s all new Nova Launcher website here.

[Nova Launcher | Nova Launcher Prime]


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Obama Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights announced and detailed

One month and three days after Consumer Watchdog called President Obama to endorse “Do Not Track” and online privacy legislation during his State of the Union address, the President has proposed a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The White House has called upon Congress to pass legislation that will allow the FTC Federal Trade Commission as well as state attorney generals to support and enforce the framework of this bill. This bill will act as a guard for consumers rights, allowing consumers to say when, if, and how their personal information is both collected and used online.

This bill will also require businesses to be as transparent as possible about their data use practices as well, pushing businesses to further assure consumers that they’ve either not used their data at all or, if they have, that it’s appropriately secured. According to Justin Brookman speaking with Information Week, the director for the non-profit civil liberties group Center for Democracy and Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy, the White House has been working on a bill – or a collection of laws that’s now become this bill – for quite some time now:

“They’ve been working on this for a couple of years now. The biggest change is that they recognize that there should be legislation to make this happen, and that was our main criticism of the proposal before–that there may not be enough stick to get industry to the table without a law to make them follow certain rules.” – Brookman

This bill also addresses the “Do Not Track” legislation called upon by Consumer Watchdog last month. In the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights announcement today, it was noted that the Digital Advertising Alliance has “reversed its opposition” to having the Do Not Track feature in browsers. The DAA has also noted that it is hoping to reach “related agreements” with browser developers by the end of the year – on what we must assume is more privacy options given to the user as a matter of fact-ly.

One thing you should note about this bill is that it does not protect against a lack of common sense. Consumers “pre-existing” relationships with groups such as Google and Facebook with their “+1″ and “like” buttons are certainly going to continue to be tracked simply because it’s the consumer that is opting in to the tracking. You can put guard rails up along the side of a road, but there’s always the possibility that you’re driving so erratically that you flip over the side anyway – and down the track hole you go!

You can have a full look at the announcements made by the White House today at WhiteHouse.Gov and note that this is not the first we’ve heard of such laws across the USA this week. Check out the timeline below for more privacy notes – especially the one from yesterday dropped in California – it’s a doozy!

Obama Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights announced and detailed is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Samsung Galaxy S II shipments hit 20 million in 9 months

The Samsung sales team must be popping bottles of champagne tonight as the Samsung Galaxy S II has been announced to have sold 20 million units since the line’s launch in May. This number matches the sales of the original Galaxy S, this making the total number of “Galaxy” devices well past 40 million putting a reasonable dent in the 300 million Android devices in the world at the moment total. Samsung, as I’m sure you’re aware, is more than confident that they’re going to continue to do well through 2012.

This week’s announcement of the 20 million mark comes after quite a few different variations of the Galaxy S II have been announced and released throughout the USA and abroad, including but not limited to the AT&T Galaxy S II, the longest name in the book Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, and the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II. There’s also an X variant, an LTE version, and of course the Pink version announced very recently as well. There’s so many Galaxy S II device out there right now it’ll make your head spin.

There’s also a next generation to be excited about – the Galaxy S III. We’ve heard only great things about this next step in the most popular Android-based smartphone line on earth, including but not limited to a higher definition screen, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and the next generation of Samsung Exynos processors with four CPU cores. The launch of the GSIII is likely to take place right at a time when Apple is looking to start the march to the iPhone 5 – the war continues!

BONUS just to remind you how awesome this line of devices has been thus far, take a look back at our own Chris Davies unboxing of this device in a rally car. You’re gonna love it!

Samsung Galaxy S II shipments hit 20 million in 9 months is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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ASUS Transformer 2 with double pixel resolution teased for MWC

A video has just been released this week by ASUS for the Mobile World Congress 2012 release of a brand new tablet with “twice the detail, twice the fun.” We must assume, of course, that this is not the same tablet we saw at CES 2012 in the Transformer Prime 700 series, instead we’re banking on the idea that it’s an upgrade for the original Transformer – this being less expensive and slightly less powerful than the Prime for more reasons than one. This would play into ASUS’ plan for a two-tiered system of tablets where one is a premium model and the other is for the slightly more average consumer.

If you take a peek at the video, you’ll see that it’s quite obvious what ASUS is pushing here, a brand new tablet (or just an upgrade, again,) with twice the amount of pixels on the screen. Twice, that is, compared to the device which must already have been released. So what we’ve got going here is a tablet almost certainly – but possibly something smaller with the same sized display.

So there’s still the possibility that this advertisement is for the ASUS Padfone as well, as there’s a smartphone that plugs into a tablet, twice the pixels for twice the fun. Have a peek at the timeline below to see all the possibilities in both revealed and unrevealed (leaked or teased) items ASUS has presented thus far. We’ll see you at Mobile World Congress 2012!

ASUS Transformer 2 with double pixel resolution teased for MWC is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Apple slim keyboard tech could make Air-thick MacBook Pro

Apple has developed an ultra-slim keyboard design that would allow future MacBook Pro notebooks and others to be even thinner, delivering a layout both tactile enough to suit typists and compact enough for Apple’s own design ambitions. Described in a patent application for a “Single Support Lever Keyboard Mechanism” the keyboard is “a thin profile peripheral input device that is both efficient and aesthetically pleasing” Apple writes, as well as opening up new aesthetic possibilities, such as keycaps made from silicone, wood, stone, glass or even polished meteorite.

“The keyboard includes a key cap that can be formed of a variety of materials in the form of a flat slab. The key cap is attached to one end of a support lever that supports it from underneath. In one embodiment, the support lever is formed of a rigid material and is pivotally coupled with a substrate on the other end. In another embodiment, the support lever is formed of a flexible material and is fixedly attached to the substrate on the other end. The portion of the support lever that is attached to the key cap is positioned over a metal dome that can be deformed to activate the switch circuitry of the membrane on printed circuit board underneath the dome” Apple patent application

Existing laptop keyboards such as the current-gen MacBook Pro and MacBook Air use scissor-switch keys, with two supports and a keycap that depresses onto a rubber dome. By switching to a single-support lever design, Apple could bypass contact between the keycap and the underlying dome and electronics, as well as avoid the necessity for complex molding on the underside of the cap to clip to the scissor-switch hardware.

Apple would also use metallic domes rather than the traditional rubber ones, which would provide the desired “bounce-back” feel to suit typists, even with much-reduced travel. Some of Apple’s designs would have just 0.2-0.5mm of travel, compared to 1.5-2mm for scissor-switch or 3.5-4mm for standard dome-switch keys; the metallic domes would even allow for tactile feedback with just 0.1-0.2mm travel.

“The skilled artisan will appreciate that it is desirable to make the keyboard (and computing device) thinner, but users still want the tactile feel to which users are accustomed. It is desirable for the keys to have some “bounce-back” or “snappy” feel. As can be appreciated by the skilled artisan, substantially flat keyboards, such as membrane keyboards, do not provide the tactile feel that is desirable for a keyboard. Similarly, simply reducing the travel of a typical rubber dome scissor-switch keyboard also reduces the tactile or “snappy” feel that a conventional dome-switch keyboard provides” Apple patent application

With a 0.5-1mm thick keycap, that would still make for a significantly thinner keyboard assembly, and thus allow Apple to shave valuable space off of the key tray. “One advantage of the invention is that a low-travel keyboard yet may be provided for a thin-profile computing device” Apple writes, “without compromising the tactile feel of the keyboard.”

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is looking to follow the success of the MacBook Air with a significantly redesigned MacBook Pro. As well as removing the optical drive and minimizing the ports on offer, Apple is expected to switch solely to solid-state drives.


[via AppleInsider]

Apple slim keyboard tech could make Air-thick MacBook Pro is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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AT&T Digital Life home automation revealed and detailed

This week the folks at AT&T are coming on strong with a home automation solution for not only the US market, but the rest of the world as well. Targeting international service providers with their own unique platform for remote monitoring and automation, AT&T is letting the world know that they’ve got exactly the solution anyone might want for keeping an eye on their home outside the home with their own smart devices and wired computers. This solution is set to entice not only end users, but providers who will aim to rebrand the service for their own and offer up multiple forms of home automation for their customers.

While this service is currently being shown off to providers outside the current AT&T family right this second, it’s interesting to see what they’ve got in mind for the user looking to get in to the world of monitoring their home remotely. They’re showing off your ability to send out alerts, check detectors throughout your home, and watch your home with remote cameras. As Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of Digital Life for AT&T Mobility notes:

“With Digital Life, service providers will have the ability to arm their subscribers with technology to stay connected to what matters most to them in a simple, convenient, secure, and customizable way.” – Petersen

Have a peek at the basic way in which AT&T is showing off this service here, and note that they’ll be bringing out the big guns at Mobile World Congress 2012 this whole next week in Spain. We’ll be there too – follow the whole show through our [MWC 2012 portal] and don’t miss a bit of the action!

AT&T Digital Life home automation revealed and detailed is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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T-Mobile USA: 10 LTE devices in 2013 plus 4G iPhone support

T-Mobile USA will have ten LTE devices up for sale by the end of 2013, the carrier’s chief technical officer has revealed, with 4G service across 50 markets as well as for the iPhone. Speaking on T-Mobile’s so-called “Challenger Strategy” conference call today, CTO Neville Ray described how the carrier would juggle its spectrum holdings to better server a new breed of high-speed hardware. Interestingly, the carrier also seems to be paving the way for 4G iPhone support.

“Our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone” Ray said, though did not clarify whether it was the current HSPA+ iPhone 4S he was referring to, or the much-speculated iPhone 5 with LTE support. Still, it seems likely that the reference was to T-Mobile USA shifting to offer HSPA+ on the 1900MHz band, increasing compatibility with HSPA+ devices used on AT&T’s network.

According to Ray, T-Mobile USA’s LTE on the 10MHz spectrum will support up to 72Mbps, at least theoretically. The carrier is also pushing the envelope in base station design, using antennas that are integrated with radios in their towers. As well as leaving room for LTE, the shifting use of spectrum will mean that 1900MHz HSPA+ will jump in power by around 16-percent.

Whether T-Mobile will be able to sufficiently court Apple with the promise of HSPA+ compatibility remains to be seen. At present, unlocked iPhones deliver a mere EDGE experience on the carrier’s network, and T-Mobile blamed defections for the iPhone 4S in Q4 2011 for its underwhelming financial results.

T-Mobile USA: 10 LTE devices in 2013 plus 4G iPhone support is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Apple speaks in post-Nightline aftermath

Apple and Foxconn’s behind-the-scenes efforts to conclusively end criticisms over labor treatment look unlikely to stop speculation, with a supposed open letter from former workers renewing calls for closer scrutiny. Supply chain staff purportedly injured while using n-hexane to clean iPhone screens have published an open letter to consumers, Tom’s Hardware reports, hoping pressure from Apple’s target audience will not only secure them compensation but spur a change in working practices. However, Apple has already ceased the use of n-hexane, according to the company’s 2011 supplier responsibility report [pdf link].

“We need your help to send a message to Apple before their shareholder meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23rd” the open letter, supposedly penned by  Guo Rui-Qiang and Jia Jing-Chuan, requests. ”We want to see a strict corporate social responsibility and reform of the audit system to prevent similar tragedies in the future. He will listen to you as current or potential consumers.”

It’s unclear to what extent the Fair Labor Association audits will satisfy the ex-workers’ demands. The investigations into Foxconn – which Apple is paying for, and which will subsequently look at fellow suppliers Pegatron and Quanta – will result in monthly supplier working condition reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised, though there have been accusations that factories had hidden underage staff, among other rule infractions, when the FLA is on-site.

As for the warts-and-all Nightline visit to Foxconn, all Apple, Foxconn and the Fair Labor Association have taken issue with are some minor calculations and date problems. Apple says one worker’s suggestions that she deburrs 6,000 Apple logos on iPads each day actually doubles the amount likely to be handled, ABC reports, with 6,000 instead the figure two daily shifts would be expected to complete. Meanwhile Foxconn commented on pay levels, though a somewhat obscure tax issue rather than making any further statement on its supposed willingness to increase wages if Apple demanded it.

Finally, the FLA moved to counter suggestions that Apple sought membership as a response to original criticisms over factory conditions. The discussions began in April 2007 but stalled in March 2008. We then resumed them in April 2009 and decided to do a small pilot survey so that Apple could get an idea of how our tools might add value to their program” FLA president Auret van Heerden said. ”That pilot led to a second activity that I believe contributed to the decision to join the FLA at the end of 2011. I, of course, cannot speak for Apple but I do believe that the decision to join was probably taken some months before (and therefore well before) the New York Times articles.”

Apple speaks in post-Nightline aftermath is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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LG’s MWC big guns: Seven Android Torrent

Most manufacturers wait until a major show like Mobile World Congress to show off their latest and greatest. HTC is jumping the gun a little with a press conference the day before, likely showing off their new flagship. But LG just couldn’t wait to show us a gaggle of its latest and greatest, all officially debuted this week and escorted by smiling models. Just to save you some time in the hubbub next week, here’s all the new LG phones we know of – so far.

LG Optimus 4X HD – this is LG’s big iron, a flagship device set to replace the Optimus LTE currently on sale in markets around the world. Formerly known as the “X3″, the Optimus 4X HD will come with a massive 4.7-inch display using LG’s IPS LCD technology, at a now-standard superphone resolution of 1280×720. Underneath the hood you get Nvidia’s latest quad-core Tegra 3 processor with th new 4-PLUS-1 core architecture. Other charms include Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HDMI-out via MHL.

LG Optimus VuLG’s answer to fellow Korean manufacturer Samsung’s oversized Galaxy Note. The 5.0-inch IPS screen has an unusual (for Android) 4:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1024×768. A 1.5ghz dual-core Snapdragon compliments 32GB of internal storage, an 8MP camera, a digital TV tuner and a large 2080mAh battery. The Vu runs Gingerbread at launch, but LG is already promising an Ice Cream Sandwich update within three months. Unlike the other phones in this list, the Vu already has a launch date: early March in South Korea.

LG Optimus L3 - the low-end of LG’s newest lineup, the L3 still manages to turn heads with styling borrowed from the PRADA line of smartphones. The 3.2-inch device has squared-off lines and a faux leather texture hanging out on the back, but users will have to make due with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and LG’s custom user interface. More detailed specs on the L3 (and the rest of the L-series ) are lacking.

LG Optimus L5 - a significant bump up from the L3, the L5 gets a mid-range 4.0-inch screen and runs Ice Cream Sandwich at launch. That probably means a faster processor and more RAM, though of course those numbers haven’t been revealed yet. THe PRADA styling remains present, with sharp edges and a thin bezel.

LG Optimus L7 - the big daddy of the L-series gets a 4.3-inch screen (that would have seemed large indeed, about two years ago) and Ice Cream Sandwich to boot. Detailed specifications are nowhere to be found, but it shares a 1500mAh battery with the L5, and likely most of its internal components to boot. With three popular screen sizes, the L-series is covering a lot of bases for LG.

LG Optimus LTE TagLG hadn’t shown a lot of interest in near-field communication before now, but they’re jumping in in a way with the Optimus LTE Tag. The phone gets high-end specs like a 4.3-inch IPS screen, a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor and NFC capability. The latter is used with a series of NFC stickers included in the package, to be placed at the various spots where you use your phone the most. LG offers a CAR sticker that instantly put the phone into a navigation-friendly mode, but using the included app you can define your own stickers and behavior patterns.

LG Optimus 3D Cube/3D Max - the successor to the Optimus 3D from last year. This iteration gets a bigger 4.3-inch screen, faster 1.2Ghz dual-core processor and has an upgraded 5MP camera and 8GB of internal storage. Gingerbread is the order of the day at launch, but LG is promising an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade soon. Of course it uses the 3D lenticular screen and dual-cameras to get the full 3D effect without glasses.

All of these phones should make an appearance at Mobile World Congress, and we’ll be on hand in Barcelona to check them out. While LG has kept it all Android so far, we’re also expecting a reveal of the Windows Phone 7-based Fantasy/Miracle. Be sure to keep an eye on our MWC 2012 portal for breaking news.

LG’s MWC big guns: Seven Android Torrent is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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