Apple Weekly News Roundup: Accolades, iPad Refresh and More

Last Thursday, brand consulting firm Interbrand released its annual list of the world's most valuable brands, and for the second consecutive year, Apple topped it. The list valued the Apple brand at $118.9 billion, 21% more than it was valued last year. With a value of $107.4 billion, fellow tech giant Google was the only other brand to be valued over $100 billion. Coca Cola, IBM and Microsoft rounded out the top five.

Apple iPad Event 2014

Apple also received some noteworthy praise in the form of a letter from billionaire investor Carl Icahn to CEO Tim Cook. Titled "Sale: Apple Shares at Half Price," the note urges Apple to buy back more of its shares at a faster pace. Icahn believes Apple shares are currently trading at about half their value. By his estimates, Apple shares should currently be worth $203 a share.

Add a Decline Call Button to iOS

Incoming call controls can be modified on jailbroken iOS devices with the tweak Cou. Once installed, Cou changes the steps required to decline an incoming call. Instead of a "slide to answer" slider, the user is presented with two individual buttons, Decline and Accept.

iOS 7 jailbreak Cou

Tapping Decline will have the same effect as pressing the power button twice, which declines the call. This can make it faster and easier to decline a call, however the buttons can also be accidentally pressed more easily. Cou provides a toggle to enable or disable the tweak entirely.

New iOS Apps, Games and JB Tweaks of the Week: Words with Friends Turns Five and More

There were a lot of big app updates this week as developers caught up with iOS 8. Zynga's Words with Friends not only received a redesign for its fifth birthday, but it is also now called New Words with Friends. The popular word game now features a flatter interface and Solo Mode, which allows users to play alone without an internet connection. Temple Run 2 was updated with NFL players starting with Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Temple Run 2 with both Kaepernick and Wilson is now available for free on the App Store. Be sure to check out all of this week's noteworthy app updates at the bottom of this post.

New iOS Apps and Games October 2014

This week also saw a lot of big game announcements including trailers for Marvel Contest of Champions, Kingdom Rush Origins, Tilt to Live: Gauntlet's Revenge and Dead Mage Studio's Epic of Kings. You can watch all of these trailers at the bottom of this post.

One quick PSA, Apple is closing the date loophole in iOS 8.1 that allows users to install emulators like GBA4iOS. You can read more about the problem here.

Record Breaking Accessory Sales Follow iPhone 6 Launch

According to a report released by the NPD Group earlier today, Apple has sold more accessories during the two weeks following the iPhone 6 launch than in the same period after any other iPhone launch.

iPhone 6 launch spurs record breaking accessory sales

The Group's Weekly Tracking Service showed record breaking sales of $249 million, which amounts to a 43% increase over the two weeks prior to the launch. By comparison, the iPhone 5s and 5c launch generated $195 million in mobile phone accessory sales, about 17% greater than the two weeks leading up to their launch date.

Halloween App(s) of the Week: Zombie Highway Trilogy

Zombie Highway 2 is now available for free on the App Store. The Zombie Highway trilogy is a series of survival / endless runner-like games, including the spin-off Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed, where players must survive a drive on zombie infested highways.

Zombie Highway

What makes Zombie Highway unique is while most racing games discourage hitting obstacles, players are encouraged to sideswipe overturned cars and barricades to scrape off zombies clinging to the sides of their car. Players can also run over slower zombies and use various weapons to blow them away, but ammo is limited and the best defense is smashing into things. However, you can only sideswipe obstacles, hitting them head-on will end the game. Only grazing obstacles isn't that easy when you have two to three zombies rocking your vehicle back and forth making it harder to control.

Carl Icahn: Apple Stock is "Dramatically Undervalued"

In a note to Apple CEO Tim Cook today, billionaire investor Carl Icahn revealed that Icahn Enterprises believes Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock is currently trading at about half of what it is worth. In order to remedy this, the note basically urges Cook to convince the Board of Directors to buy back more stock at a faster pace.

Icahn urges Apple to buy back more stock, faster

According to the note (which is titled "Sale: Apple Shares at Half Price," and posted on Icahn's site, Shareholder's Square Table), Icahn Enterprises' projected growth for Apple in FY 2016 and FY 2017 "more than adequately justifies using a P/E multiple of 19x our FY 2015 forecast, which along with net cash values Apple at $203 per share

Kingdom Rush Origins Teaser Trailer

Ironhide Game Studio has released the first teaser trailer for Kingdom Rush Origins -- the prequel to Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers. The video doesn't reveal anything about the gameplay of Origins, but it does promise it is "coming soon"!

Kingdom Rush is a popular franchise of tower defense games set in medieval times. The first title was released as a free flash game on July 28, 2011 before being ported to iOS and Android devices. The sequel, Kingdom Rush Frontiers, was released to iOS devices on June 6, 2013. Ironhide has released several free updates for both games, including a Halloween-themed level, before capping them off with an Endless Mode on July 31, 2014.

Apple iPad Refresh Coming October 16th

Apple today sent out invitations to select members of the press for an event being held at the company's Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, California on Thursday, October 16th at 10:00am Pacific / 1pm Eastern. The invitations read: “It’s been way too long".

Apple iPad Event 2014

Apple is expected to give OS X Yosemite one last preview before releasing it to the public and unveil its new iPad lineup at the October keynote. The new iPad lineup will most likely include a second-generation iPad Air and rumored 12.9-inch tablet dubbed the "iPad Pro" by the press. It is still unknown if Apple will announce a third-generation iPad mini, or discontinue the 7-inch tablet and replace it with its larger phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus.

Square’s Cash App Adds Bluetooth Payment Option

Square has added yet another way for users of their Cash app to make simple mobile payments. Version 2.1 of the app allows users to locate other users nearby and send them cash over Bluetooth. Here's how it works according to the press release: "With Cash for iOS 8, customers can now choose to make themselves visible to anyone in the same space as them, or just to friends. The app can detect other Cash customers within 250 feet of the sender or recipient - making payments quick and convenient. The app update for iOS 8 also includes the ability to swipe a push notification to approve and reject a payment request."

Square Cash

Cash is a free app for Apple devices which allows users to send or request money from anyone using an email, phone number or Bluetooth. The app can be used to split dinner bills, to remind your friend that he lost that $10 bet and so on. Money received through Cash is deposited directly to your bank account within 1-2 business days, depending on your bank.

How to Animate iOS Home Screen Icons

iMaker is a customizable jailbreak tweak that will animate app icons directly on the iOS home screen. Animations and special effects can be assigned to bring attention to apps with new notifications, or apps that were recently opened or updated. While iMaker costs $1.99 there is a free version with limited features dubbed iMaker Lite.

iOS 7 jailbreak animate home screen icons

Once installed, iMaker settings include options for 7 different animation styles. Flips, Hand Stand, Large Jitter and Twister are just some of the eye-catching animations available. In fact, when these are running, it's nearly impossible to miss the animated icons.

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