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International iPhone rollouts reach far beyond China

Despite the fact that Apple has only announced the iPhone 4’s launch in China this coming weekend, a new report suggests the handset will launch in no less than 13 additional countries by September 26. According to a 9 to 5 Mac report and subsequent comments from international readers, the iPhone 4 will launch in the following countries between September 22 and September 26: Argentina, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Macendonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. It is possible that other countries will see the iPhone 4 launch during the same time period; if you live in an area not listed above and know of an impending launch, please share details in the comments section of this article.

Update: A separate report claims the iPhone 4 will also launch in South Africa tomorrow, September 22.

Update x2: GTA Teleguam has announced that it will launch the iPhone 4 in Guam on September 24.

Apple brings Voice Memos icon from iPod nano to iOS 4.2

Following a redesign of the Voice Memos icon for the sixth-generation iPod nano, Apple has unexpectedly changed the Voice Memos icon for iOS 4.2 devices including the iPhone and iPod touch. The new icon discards the previous photo-realistic style microphone for a simpler symbol-on-gradient treatment that more closely matches the Phone, Messages, and iPod applications, an unusual step backward in icon design given that other applications received more detailed icons when Apple introduced the iPad, as well as Retina Display-bearing iPhone and iPod touch devices. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in November.

iPhone 4 to launch in China on September 25

Apple has announced that it will launch the iPhone 4 in China on September 25. According to the release, the device will be available in Apple’s retail stores beginning at 8:00 a.m., including the new Apple Store Hong Kong Plaza in Shanghai and the new Apple Store Xidan Joy City in Beijing opening on the same day. In Apple’s stores, the iPhone 4 will be available without a contract for CNY4,999 (roughly $744) for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 (~$893) for the 32GB model, while China Unicom will offer the phone with a new two year contract. Strangely, Apple’s off-contract prices are cheaper than Unicom’s pre-order pricing for the iPhone 4 as reported by the Wall Street Journal; it is unclear whether the prior report was inaccurate or if China Unicom is including an extra value for the higher prices.

AirPlay to allow streaming from apps to Apple TV, more?

AirPlay, Apple’s revamped version of AirTunes meant for streaming audio, video, and photos to compatible devices, may also allow for streaming of content from third-party applications, according to a new report. Citing testing done by a reader using the first iOS 4.2 beta, Mac Rumors reports that every application that uses the standard iOS audio/video playback interface now shows an AirPlay button for streaming. While the second-generation Apple TV, the only AirPlay device announced so far to accept video and photo streams in addition to audio, has yet to be released, a reader was successfully able to stream audio to an Airport Express from the following applications: Safari, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, iPod, BBC News, and MLB At Bat, suggesting that third-party apps may be able to stream video as well as audio to compatible devices. Notably, the software is still in beta, and as such the feature could be removed and/or tweaked prior to iOS 4.2’s public release.

EA releases The Sims 3 Ambitions

Electronic Arts has released its latest games in The Sims franchise for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions expands upon the features and scenarios offered in the earlier two Sims titles allowing players to turn their Sims’ hobbies into professions, build homes and businesses and even have babies. In The Sims 3 Ambitions, players can now develop their Sims along a variety of career paths such as firefighter, rock star, artist, teacher and more, with career-focused goals and locations in the game. The game also includes an improved build mode allowing players to resize, add and delete rooms, floors, walls and doors from their homes in addition to also building business and workplaces such as bistros, night clubs and preschools. The Sims 3 Ambitions also adds the much-requested ability for Sims to have babies in the game and interact with them by feeding them, playing with them, and putting them to bed and watching them grow into Sim toddlers. Players can choose to begin the game as a new character or import their favorite Sims from the original Sims 3 and The Sims 3 World Adventures for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions is available from the App Store for $5.

iOS 4.2 features improved YouTube, CoreMIDI support

A number of new features and improvements have been discovered in the first beta version of iOS 4.2. AppleInsider reports that the software features an updated YouTube application with like and dislike buttons, as well as support for the CoreMIDI framework, which could enable iOS devices to interface with MIDI instruments via an adapter. Also new in 4.2 are restrictions allowing users to prevent the deletion of App Store applications and prevent changes to accounts in the Mail application, iTunes links in the iPad’s Videos app, and a dedicated FaceTime button at the top of all messaging sessions. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 in November.

Street Fighter IV update adds new characters

Capcom has released an update to its acclaimed Street Fighter IV for iPhone and iPod touch devices. First released earlier this year, Street Fighter IV is an iOS optimized version of the popular console game with the same visual style and artwork and a user interface specifically redesigned for the touchscreen. The iOS version initially included eight classic characters from the game, with Cammy added as a ninth character in a subsequent update later in the spring. This most recent free update adds E. Honda and C. Viper-Ryu to the game, bringing the total number of playable characters from the Street Fighter franchise up to 11. The update also adds a new costume for Chun-Li that can be purchased from within the app. Street Fighter IV is available from the App Store for $10; the update is free for current users.

China Unicom launches iPhone 4 pre-orders

China Unicom is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the handset is priced between 5,880 yuan to 6,999 yuan (roughly $874 to $1,040), in line with what the carrier charged for the iPhone 3GS when it launched in China last October. The report states that sales have picked up after a slow start, but are still hampered by China Unicom’s exclusivity. Citing a surveys of young Chinese mobile subscribers by CMR, the report claims that potential Chinese iPhone users are reluctant to switch to China Unicom due to perceptions of poor service quality, the lengthy required contracts, and because they don’t want to relinquish their China Mobile phone numbers. Analysts estimate that millions of Chinese customers are instead using gray market iPhones without 3G service on China Mobile; Apple also sells the iPhone 3GS unlocked in its Chinese stores.

ComScore: Apple, RIM lose market share to Android

According to the latest data from comScore, both Apple and BlackBerry-maker RIM lost U.S. smartphone market share to Android during the three months ending in July 2010. First place RIM went from an average share of 41.1% in the three months ending in April to 39.3% in the three months ending in July, a -1.8% change, while Apple’s share of the market went from 25.1% to 23.8%, or a drop of 1.3%, over the same time period. Android, meanwhile, went from an average of 12% of the market in the three months ending in April to 17% in the three months ending in July, a gain of 5%. ComScore’s numbers represent total U.S. smartphone subscribers ages 13 and up.

Apple announces AirPrint wireless printing for iOS 4.2

Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of AirPrint wireless printing for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to members of its iOS Developer Program, and that the new feature will be part of iOS 4.2 when it is released publicly in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need for additional drivers or software. Supported printers include HP Photosmart, Officejet, Officejet Pro and LaserJet Pro series ePrint models, as well as printers shared through a Mac or a PC. Notably, Apple claims that printing will only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet lists the second-generation iPod touch as compatible, while omitting the iPhone 3G.

“AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS—no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.”

“We’re pleased to work with Apple to bring Apple’s AirPrint to our fall lineup of ePrint printers in time for the holiday shopping season,” said Vyomesh Joshi, HP executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group. “Making it easy for our customers to print anytime, anywhere, is a key priority for HP. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch customers are going to love how easy it is to print using our new range of ePrint printers, creating high-quality printed pages in an instant.”

Apple releases iOS 4.2 Beta for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch

Apple has released its first beta version of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Announced by Apple earlier this month and slated for a November release, iOS 4.2 will bring several new features to Apple’s mobile device OS, including AirPlay streaming, AirPrint wireless printing, and the ability to import .ics files directly into Calendar as new events, and will bring the iPad’s software feature set into parity with the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s iOS 4.2 Beta for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now as a free download for paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Apple acquisition tied to iOS 4.1 HDR capability?

A currently unconfirmed Apple acquisition may have played a part in the company’s addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to its iOS 4.1 feature set. Eric Slivka of Mac Rumors reports that Apple may have purchased UK-based company imsense to gain its expertise in dealing with HDR processing. Imsense, known for its “eye-fidelity” near-instantaneous Dynamic Range Correction software algorithms, was purchased by “an undisclosed trade buyer in July 2010,” according to a note on the website of Braveheart Ventures, which backed imsense. The report goes on to note that nearly all of imsense’s web presence, including its website and Facebook and Twitter accounts, has been removed since its acquisition, and its iOS application imphoto has disappeared from the App Store. Finally, imsense Director of Engineering Alexis Gatt left the company in July 2010, only to become a senior engineer at Apple.

T-Mobile capable iPhone rumor reemerges

According to comments made by an executive vice president of Canada’s Quebecor, which today launched a new mobile service through its Vidéotron brand, Apple is building an iPhone compatible with the 3G network operated by T-Mobile USA. Engadget Mobile reports that the exec said Apple is in the process of manufacturing an AWS-compliant iPhone, and to “expect an announcement in the coming months” regarding the device’s launch on Vidéotron. Notably, both Vidéotron and T-Mobile USA offer 3G service over AWS, which uses the 1700 and 2100 MHz bands. The current iPhone 4 supports 3G service on the 2100 MHz band but not the 1700. This is the second time this week a T-Mobile USA-compatible iPhone has been mentioned in the press; Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson recently tweeted that a T-Mobile manager “casually mentioned to [him] that they’re going to get the iPhone 3GS (but not 4, oddly) later this year.” [via AppleInsider]

Apple confirms Sept. 30 end for iPhone 4 Case Program

Apple has posted a notice on its iPhone 4 Case Program page confirming that the program will end on September 30, while leaving the door open for free Bumper giveaways to customers most affected/upset by their iPhone 4’s antenna problems. “We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought,” says the message at the top of the dedicated Case Program page. “A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the company’s iPhone 4 antenna media event that the company would re-evaluate the Case Program as the proposed September 30 deadline approached. [via Mac Rumors]

OTA Notes sync missing on iPhone 3G, iPod touch 2G under iOS 4.1

In its effort to improve the performance iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch—the oldest and not coincidentally slowest devices supported by the new OS—Apple has removed the ability to sync Notes over-the-air for those devices in iOS 4.1. Geek.com points to an Apple Support Document that confirms the feature is no longer available on the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G, and suggests that users who saw their Notes disappear after the update simply re-sync with iTunes, checking the boxes for syncing notes and for replacing the Notes information on the device, to restore their data. In addition to OTA Notes syncing, TUAW points out that Spotlight no longer searches through MMS messages on the iPhone 3G under iOS 4.1, likely another change made to improve performance on the older model.

iOS 4.1 causing in-car USB playback problems?

According to reports in an Apple Discussions thread and in a separate but similar thread on the PriusChat forums, a number of iPhone and iPod touch users are suffering from in-car USB audio playback issues after the installation of iOS 4.1. Affected users report hearing “scratching” or “crackling” noises when playing back music from an iOS 4.1 device over a vehicle’s built-in USB interface, with one Ford Fusion owner likening the effect to listening to a “scratched CD.” The problem does not appear to be limited to any one brand or major manufacturer, and several users have noted that audio playback via the headphone port or Bluetooth works fine. Notably, one user claims that unpairing his Bluetooth connection allowed audio to play over USB without issue, suggesting the problem may be related to having Bluetooth on and or paired while attempting playback. [Thanks, Doug]

Documents to Go 4.0 adds new UI, full keyboard support

DataViz has released a new update to its Documents To Go Premium Office Suite for iOS devices. Documents to Go is a universal app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files on their devices. iPad and iOS 4 users can open documents in Documents to Go from the built-in Mail and Safari apps as well as any third-party app that supports iOS file sharing as well as transferring documents over Wi-Fi, USB via iTunes or from online services such as Dropbox and Google Docs. Version 4.0 delivers an updated and more intuitive user interface for navigating and editing documents including improvements for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Display as well as full support for external Bluetooth keyboards on iPad and modern iOS 4 devices including arrow keys and other keyboard shortcuts. The new version also provides significant speed improvements, the ability to freeze spreadsheet panes and extensive paragraph formatting options for Word documents such as indent, strike through and bullet styles. Documents To Go Premium 4.0 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later; it is available from the App Store for $17 and is a free update for current users.

TweetAgora 2.0 update brings Cadmus integration

KainosAgora has released an update to TweetAgora, its advanced filtering app designed to provide users with more valuable content from their Twitter feeds. TweetAgora 2.0 introduces integration with Cadmus, a real-time service that analyses and prioritizes content in users’ Twitter streams. The Cadmus integration in TweetAgora allows users to view their Twitter feed sorted by relevance over the past 24 hours based on factors such as number of replies, number of retweets, times favorited, popularity and more, allowing users to get a quick overview of the best content in their stream without having to sift through hundreds of tweets. TweetAgora can also now provide personalized trending topics generated from only those people the user is following and check out only what their followers have said on those topics. Users can also view a filtered timeline of all of the replies that have been received for a specific tweet and use the Questions Asked link on user profile pages to see a filtered list of interrogative tweets from a specific user. The new version also provides a new look and feel with a new colour scheme, adds pull-to-refresh for mentions and direct messages across multiple accounts and provides several performance improvements that should be particularly noticeable for users of older iOS device models. TweetAgora 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version allows users to filter up to three keywords and three people, create up to three Agoras and load up to 150 tweets in a timeline. Users can upgrade to the paid version for $5 via in-app purchase to remove these limitations and add support for multiple accounts and filtering of tweets from third-party services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Blip.FM.

Adobe resumes development of Packager for Flash

Following yesterday’s statement by Apple that it was “relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code,” Adobe has announced that it has resumed development of its Packager feature for Flash, which allows developers to export Flash applications as native iOS apps. Apple’s decision has “direct implications for Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, a feature in the Flash Professional CS5 authoring tool,” the company said in a blog post. “This feature was created to enable Flash developers to quickly and easily deliver applications for iOS devices. The feature is available for developers to use today in Flash Professional CS5, and we will now resume development work on this feature for future releases. This is great news for developers and we’re hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store.” Adobe went on to point out that Apple decision doesn’t change its stance on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices.

G5 Entertainment releases Virtual City for iPhone and iPod touch

G5 Entertainment has released the full version of Virtual City, its city building game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Released last month as a free lite version, Virtual City allows players to construct their own city, developing it into anything from a suburban utopia to a bustling metropolis. To accomplish this, players must build houses, setup industrial buildings, create mass-transit systems and entertain their city’s residents with parks, cinemas, stadiums and events. Players must also manage production chains to transport goods and services to the areas that require them, trade with neighbouring cities and look after planning and providing city services such as health care, public safety, waste collection and recycling in order to keep their city’s residents happy and healthy. In progressing through the game, players must balance time, income, environmental factors, population and happiness in order to succeed, while dealing with various political and economic crises and natural disasters. Virtual City supports high-resolution Retina Display graphics on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G and provides 50 levels in five different geographic settings, 18 mission scenarios, over 50 types of buildings and 25 types of goods to transport and trade. Players can also earn special achievements and unlock special upgrades and additional buildings as they progress through the game. Virtual City is available from the App Store for $3.

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