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‘jOBS’ biopic set for Sundance premiere

The Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, “jOBS,” will premiere in Park City, Utah at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 27 as the independent festival’s closing night film. A short synopsis notes “the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life” will be chronicled in “jOBS.” A promotional photo released shows Kutcher replicating the pose of a young Jobs.

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Also starring Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Modine, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, “jOBS” is directed by Joshua Michael Stern. It is not to be confused with the script Aaron Sorkin is writing about Jobs for a different film that Sorkin says will only consist of three scenes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

iTunes Store beginning rollout in Russia, Turkey

Following reports of an iTunes-centric event to be held tomorrow in Moscow, users in Russia are reporting seeing the iTunes Store going live. Similar reports are coming out of Turkey, another country where Apple’s digital content has yet to be made available for purchase. It is unclear as of yet what content is available in these countries or if it is appearing elsewhere in the region. Presumably official details will be announced by Apple at tomorrow’s event. [via MacRumors]

Updated Dec. 4: Apple has announced the launch of the iTunes Store in 56 countries today, including Russia, Turkey, India, and South Africa. A full list of countries was not released by Apple, though the press release noted that “movies are available today in Russia, Turkey, India, and Indonesia, and will be available in select additional countries.”

Apple releases iOS 6.1 beta 3 to developers

Apple has seeded developers with a third beta version of iOS 6.1. The update is available to registered iOS developers as an over-the-air software update via the Settings app, however as of this writing it is not yet available on the main developer site. It is unclear what changes may be contained in the release, however past releases reportedly focused on internal improvements to the Map Kit framework for third-party apps. [via 9to5Mac]

Tony Fadell: Apple’s iPod, iPhone history is “revisionist”

Tony Fadell, former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, and widely credited as the “father of the iPod,” says Apple’s own mythology of the iPod being built as a knowing precursor to the iPhone is “revisionist history.” In an interview with The Telegraph, Fadell claims Apple was mainly focused on the Macintosh at the time, as what came to be the iPod team spent “the day job” building the Macintosh. He says Apple is a “visionary company” that enabled the success of the iPod, but “there was no vision of taking everything to a world of iPhones and iPads.”

“We built the iPod in weeks,” Fadell says. “It had to be what I thought it was going to be because there wasn’t time for endless refinements.” Fadell is now founder and CEO of Nest.

News Corp. to shutter The Daily on Dec. 15

The Daily will cease publication on Dec. 15, according to AllThingsD. News Corp.‘s attempt at an iPad-based daily newspaper existed as an app, and lasted less than two years following a high-profile debut event in New York City that Apple participated in. News Corp. said that “Technology and other assists from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into” the New York Post — about 120 employees work for The Daily. News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a press release, “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term.” iLounge’s review of The Daily noted major problems with both the user interface and content, mentioning that “[p]recious little in The Daily is written to appeal to college-educated people, and in the first two editions, a surprising amount of it had been written or edited into a mush of junk.”

iPhone 5 to debut in 50+ countries in December

Apple has announced the iPhone 5 will debut in South Korea on Friday, Dec. 7, as more than 50 additional countries will get the device in December. Most notably, the iPhone 5 will debut in Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, and other countries on Dec. 14, coinciding with the previously-announced Chinese debut on that date. It will also arrive in Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela on December 14.

The phone will arrive in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and Vietnam on Dec. 21, along with Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St.Vincent & the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Uganda. These will be in addition to the 47 countries where the iPhone 5 is already available.

Moscow event could be Russian iTunes launch

Apple will be hosting an invitation-only event in Moscow Tuesday, according to an email obtained by TechCrunch, and it’s possible the event could be the long-awaited launch of iTunes in Russia. A recent report from Russian news service RIA Novosti claims the iTunes launch was “delayed indefinitely” after rumors the service would debut on Nov. 20. Russia could be a major market for Apple, as the country doesn’t have major smartphone penetration as of yet, and Android devices are currently more popular; piracy has long been a problem in the country, however. Negotiations with music labels for store rights have allegedly held up the iTunes launch.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, last chance for November giveaways

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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Also, this is your last chance to enter our November giveaways for a Geneva Sound System Gold Model S Speaker, iBattz Mojo Battstation Tough Dual Pro battery packs, uNu Ecopak Battery Cases, and the Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 and Signature Stylus. All four giveaways will end tonight—November 30, 2012—at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Last day for iLounge November giveaways

Four iLounge giveaways end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific tonight—now’s your last chance to enter giveaways for a Geneva Sound System Gold Model S Speaker, iBattz Mojo Battstation Tough Dual Pro battery packs, uNu Ecopak Battery Cases, and the Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 and Signature Stylus. Click the individual links to fill out the forms for each giveaway. Good luck!

Apple mandates tests before carriers get LTE on iPhone 5

Although the iPhone 5 ships by default with 4G/LTE cellular capabilities, Apple only lets mobile operators use the LTE functionality if the carrier passes Apple’s own tests for LTE performance, according to Telecoms.com. A Swisscom spokesperson said, “Apple only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network.” Unless the tests are passed, an operator is limited to 3G network access. The Apple testing may have been in response to international regulatory attention drawn by the third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G, which was renamed to “Wi-Fi + Cellular” after complaints that the device was not universally achieving 4G/LTE speeds. Apple has not commented on the matter as of yet.

iTunes gift cards: Variable prices, Starbucks, iTunes 11

Apple is introducing new denomination-free iTunes retail gift cards that allow customers to purchase iTunes credit ranging from $15 to $500, 9to5Mac reports. Unlike past iTunes gift cards that were pre-printed with $15, $25, $50, or $100 denominations, the new cards rely on the store’s cashier to put the desired amount on the card; a few stores could begin stocking the cards today.

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Starbucks has announced a split digital gift card in conjunction with Apple, the Starbucks iTunes (RED) eGift basket. A $30 purchase gets two eGifts — $15 to Starbucks and $15 to iTunes. For every gift sold, Starbucks and iTunes will contribute 5 percent of the purchase price to the Global Fund, which is working to eradicate AIDS in Africa.

In another piece of iTunes gift card news, iTunes 11 now allows gift cards to be redeemed using your computer’s camera. When pressing the “Redeem” button in the iTunes Store, the camera can snap a photo, and iTunes will automatically read the code from the back of the gift card, so the user doesn’t have to enter it manually.

Apple announces Chinese iPhone 5, new iPad releases

Confirming speculation, Apple has officially announced that the iPhone 5 will be released on Dec. 14 in China, after recently receiving network access approval in China. Notably, no carrier details were announced in the press release, which mentions that sales in China will be restricted to online orders, pre-reserved units at physical Apple Stores, and through select Apple Authorized Resellers—most likely a response to overwhelming and unruly crowds that formed for the prior iPhone launch in China. The company also announced that the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad will become available for sale in China on Dec. 7.

JayBird debuts BlueBuds X Bluetooth earphones

JayBird has announced BlueBuds X ($170), a new pair of sport Bluetooth earphones. BlueBuds X are secure-fit, micro-sized earphones, offering eight hours of battery playtime. Listeners benefit from in-ear white noise reduction and Shift, a “custom implementation of the native Bluetooth SBC codec,” a feature that JayBird claims will enable BlueBuds X to rival top-notch wired headphones for purity and sound.

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The X-Fit option allows users to wear BlueBuds X over or under ears. Voice prompting, a microphone for calls, and integrated controls are also notable features. BlueBuds X comes with three pairs of ear tips and ear cushions, a standard micro USB cable for charging, and a carrying case. It is available now in black or white.

Geneva debuts WorldRadio Bluetooth + FM receiver

Known for its iconic clean speaker designs, Geneva has announced a substantially new product called WorldRadio ($300), an audio system with a Bluetooth receiver and digital FM tuner. WorldRadio is Geneva’s take on the classic world receiver, a radio that can receive FM, long- and shortwave radio signals — it can receive FM as well as streaming Internet radio stations from any Bluetooth device. The European DAB+ version can receive digital radio stations, as well.

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Featuring an amplifier and full-range loudspeaker, WorldRadio uses a rechargeable battery that offers six hours of music playback. A digital color display with touch controls and alarm clock are also notable features, as is a 3.5 mm input for other audio sources. Geneva WorldRadio will be available in December, in metallic finishes of silver, red, or black.

Report: Apple to sell unlocked iPhone 5 tonight

Apple will sell an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 through its online store, possibly as soon as 9 p.m. tonight, according to a 9to5Mac report. The price range is likely to be $649, $749, and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively. Apple’s retail stores will also sell the unlocked iPhone 5 soon, as the devices have started to arrive at stores. Also noted in the report is an expansion of the Apple Store Personal Pickup program, as customers will be able to reserve devices at any time.

Updated Nov. 30: Apple is now offering the unlocked iPhone 5 at its online store. It only works on GSM networks, such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The current limit is two per customer, and shipping time is currently one week, same as all iPhone 5s.

Griffin debuts first third-party Lightning cables

Griffin Technology has announced the first standalone third-party charge/sync Lightning cables. Four cables have been introduced, including the 4’ coiled USB to Lightning Cable ($25), which provides a slightly longer alternative to Apple’s official Lightning to USB Cable, as well as the 3 meter USB to Lightning Cable ($30), which is nearly 10 feet long.

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Also announced were the 3’ USB to Lightning Cable ($19), and 2’ USB to Lightning Cable ($17), both sold at roughly the same price as Apple’s version. The cables will be available from Griffin directly on the first week of December.

Apple releases new Remote 3.0 iOS app

Alongside iTunes 11, Apple has released a new version of the Remote iOS app for iTunes. Remote version 3.0 is redesigned, featuring an iPad interface that more closely resembles the look of iTunes 11, plus a more powerful search feature that delivers real-time results as you type.

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Up Next, which offers a simpler way of seeing the next songs in a playlist, is included, as is an Expanded view that shows all songs on an album. The app is also optimized for the iPhone 5. Remote 3.0 also features new icons for both itself and connected iTunes libraries, now with gray accents rather than black ones.

Software update 5.1.1 released for Apple TV

Alongside iTunes 11 and an updated iOS Remote app, Apple today released Apple TV software version 5.1.1 for the second- and third- generation streaming media boxes.

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It initially appears that this update is for compatibility purposes only. As with all Apple TV software, version 5.1.1 can be downloaded directly from the Apple TV’s Settings > General menu.

iTunes 11 officially released

Apple has officially released iTunes 11. The new iTunes features a simplified player, redesigned Store, and new iCloud features. A considerably redesigned interface focuses on edge-to-edge designs for albums, movies, and TV shows in the iTunes library, and personal recommendations are available when users click In the Store, which has similarly been simplified visually. Purchases in iCloud now appear inside your iTunes library, and can be played directly from iCloud or downloaded as a copy to sync to a device or play offline. Playback syncing is also a possibility with iCloud, which remembers where you left off in a movie or TV show; iTunes will now continue playing right where you left off, no matter what device you use.

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iTunes 11 features Up Next, a simple way to see which songs are playing next. Up Next enables users to reorder, add, or skip songs at any point. The new, smaller MiniPlayer includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes searching easier. Apple is also boasting improved search within iTunes, as instant results from your library pop up as you type in the search field.  For Mac, iTunes 11 is being updated through the Mac App Store, an iTunes first. Expect some initial downloading time to be followed by behind-the-scenes hard drive grinding as your library is updated in the background after installation.

Notably, the Mac requirements for iTunes 11 are a computer with an Intel Core processor and 512MB of RAM, OS X version 10.6.8 or later, 400MB of available disk space, and a broadband Internet connection; Safari is no longer listed as a required item for iTunes. Windows system requirements are a PC with a 1 GHz Intel or AMD processor and 512 MB of RAM, Windows XP SP2/Vista/7/8, 400 MB of available disk space, and a broadband Internet connection, up from 250MB required for the prior PC version.

Apple exploring next-gen wireless charging

A new patent application from Apple reveals the company’s interest in a smarter approach to wireless charging, as the application outlines charging low-power devices from a near-field magnetic resonant (MFMR) power supply. A few watts of electricity could be transferred wirelessly from a NFMR power source, operating about a meter away from the receiving device rather than making physical contact. The filing notes that “a realistic and practical approach to wireless transferring useable amounts of power over distances suitable for limited applications can be realized.”

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More than one device could be charged using this technology, as peripheral devices — “when tuned to the appropriate frequency” — could join a circuit to draw power from the NFMR power supply. A dongle could also be used as a range extender. Considering the current watt limitations, it’s possible such a technology could be useful for charging an Pod, iPhone, or possibly even an iPad mini, but likely not a full-sized iPad — at least not for a full-speed charge. However, the fact that charging could take place without the need for wired connections would make this a very viable alternative solution to current chargers. [via Apple Insider]

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