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Parallels Mobile adds iOS 5 support, fixes scrolling issues

Parallels has updated Parallels Mobile, its iOS remote control app for Macs running Parallels Desktop, adding iOS 5 and third-generation iPad compatibility and several UI improvements. Parallels Mobile allows users to control both the host Mac and any Parallels virtual machines running on it remotely from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The updated version fixes problems with scrolling on both Windows and Mac, allowing a two-finger gesture to be used to scroll properly within windows, particularly for Lion users. Support for international keyboard layouts is now available when working in Mac applications and and Mac sign-on screens have been re-designed to simplify the connection process. Parallels Mobile is available from the App Store for a limited time price of $5.

Bang & Olufsen debuts Beoplay A3 system for iPad

Bang & Olufsen has debuted its new Beoplay A3 speaker system for the iPad. Triangular in shape, the A3 extends past the bottom and top of the iPad, and serves as both a speaker system and stand for the device. It features three 1/2” tweeters—two of which are active at any time, based on orientation—plus a two-inch woofer, a built-in battery with 5 hours of playback life, ABS plastic and aluminum construction, and an integrated dock connector. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A3 system is compatible with all iPad models and is priced at £449, or roughly $730.

Crucial enters iOS accessory market with PoP Video

Micron/Crucial has entered the iOS accessory market with its new PoP Video projector. Designed specifically for use with an iPhone or iPod touch, the PoP Video is a pocket-sized projector with a built-in Dock Connector on top. Measuring roughly half an inch think, the PoP Video offers 960x540 resolution, and features a built-in rechargeable battery good for two hours of playtime, the ability to charge fully in about four hours over Micro-USB, and compatibility with the companion PoP Video app. Micron/Crucial’s new PoP Video projector is available for pre-order now for $99; a release date has yet to be announced. [via Cnet]

The Ritz-Carlton releases official iPhone app

Luxury hotel chain The Ritz-Carlton has released an official free app for the iPhone, providing reservation, local guide, and concierge features for all of its worldwide hotels and resorts. Like other hotel apps, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app allows users to make, view and edit upcoming reservations at any of the hotel’s locations, browse hotel information along with photo galleries and amenities, and view interactive maps and directions. Additionally, users can access or enroll in a Ritz-Carlton Rewards account, receive special offers while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, learn about events at the hotel, and receive recommendations and tips for nearby attractions, dining, entertainment and more.

In a novel touch, the Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app also integrates the company’s Foursquare World Concierge service. Launched last spring, this service provides information and recommendations via Foursquare, posted and curated by The Ritz-Carlton’s famous concierge service. Location services integration allows the application to determine when a guest has arrived at a Ritz-Carlton location, then provide appropriate destination and landmark tips assembled by The Ritz-Carlton Concierge team. In addition, the app provides access to exclusive Presidential Tips and other information that can be accessed by using the iPhone camera to scan QR codes located throughout the hotels and resorts; for example at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin, guests can enjoy a digital scavenger hunt led by QR codes and clues at each stop. The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app is available from the App Store as a free download.

Rock Band for iOS to stop working on May 31st?

RockBandAide reports that Electronic Arts’ Rock Band for the iPhone and iPod touch will be shutting down at the end of this month. Originally released in October 2009, the original Rock Band has not seen an update since November 2010, shortly before the release of the Rock Band Reloaded sequel, suggesting that EA was placing its focus on the newer version. A mobile adaptation of the popular console game, Rock Band included 32 songs with the option to purchase additional premium tracks via in-app purchase for $1 each, allowing players to invest considerably more money in the game beyond the original $5 purchase price.

Players now see a message upon launching the app indicating that “Rock Band will no longer be playable on your device” after May 31st. EA’s own Service Updates page does indicate that “Connected features” for a number of products will be discontinued on May 28, 2012, including “Rock Band for Android, iPhone, Palm and feature phones,” but makes no reference to the usability of the game in general. Rock Band for iOS does not require an online connection to play, however the message stating that it will “no longer be playable” suggests that the game will be disabled entirely rather than merely losing access to its online features such as music purchases and leaderboards. While there do not appear to be any technical reasons that would require the game to stop working entirely, it has been speculated that the expiry of licensing agreements for music within the app may be a factor.

Notably, the original Rock Band remains on sale on the App Store for $5 with nothing in its description suggesting an impending shutdown of the game or even any aspect of its online components. [via Touch Arcade]

Kanex ATV Pro solves Apple TV to VGA dilemma

Kanex has announced its new ATV Pro AirPlay Mirroring adapter for VGA projectors. The ATV Pro is a small, black, breakout box-style adapter that plugs into the Apple TV’s HDMI port and offers a female VGA port and a 3.5mm audio output jack on the other end, allowing users to connect the Apple TV to legacy VGA projectors. It supports resolutions of 480i up to 1080p with a refresh rate of 50/60Hz, and requires no extra software to function. Kanex’ ATV Pro AirPlay Mirroring adapter for VGA projectors is available now and sells for $59.

Third-gen iPad shipping times improve to 3-5 days

Apple has once again dropped its estimated shipping wait time for new orders of the third-generation iPad. According to a brief check of Apple’s online store, the estimated wait for all models—including both black and white variants of either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 4G models, across all capacities—is just 3-5 days, down from 5-7 business days. As has been the case in the past, the changes appear to apply only to the US and Canadian stores, as quick checks of several international Apple stores show that the device is still listed with a 1-2 week wait in most other countries.

Apple updates iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie

Apple has released minor updates to its iLife apps for iOS with a number of small enhancements, bug fixes and stability improvements. iPhoto 1.0.1 adds the ability to copy the URL of an iCloud-published photo journal to the clipboard using a Copy Link button and addresses an issue related to duplicate photos appearing in photos view. GarageBand 1.2.1 fixes an issue with crashing or missing songs when sharing to iCloud, resolves login issues with SoundCloud and Facebook accounts in addition to addressing other minor performance and stability issues. iMovie 1.3.1 adds the ability to access Help when editing projects in the iPad version and resolves an issue where incorrect frames were sometimes shown when splitting clips.

Vonage Mobile gets updated, provides free calls on Mothers Day

Vonage has updated its Vonage Mobile calling app adding new sharing features and making calling rate information more easily accessible. Vonage Mobile allows iOS device users to place free voice-over-IP calls to other Vonage Mobile app users and make calls directly to landline phone numbers for low, per-minute rates with up to 3,000 minutes per month of free calls to phone numbers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for a limited time. Vonage is also offering a special Mothers Day Promotion for Vonage Mobile app users with free calls to landlines in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Colombia between May 10th and May 13th.

The latest version of the Vonage Mobile app now includes the ability to share photos and location information directly from the app and view per-minute calling rates for any contact in the user’s address book based on their phone number and/or location. Remaining credit is also now conveniently displayed above the address book to allow users to quickly reference it in context with the displayed calling rates. The update also provides performance improvements for text messaging and general bug fixes. Vonage Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download. Calls to International and some domestic U.S. and Canadian numbers may require credit to be purchased via in-app purchase.

Hex intros Vision Plastic Watch Band for iPod nano 6G

Hex has introduced its new Vision Plastic Watch Band for the sixth-generation iPod nano. Arriving in red, black, white, pink, and blue, the band features a reinforced clip-in, clip-out plastic mounting plate and a color-matching custom silicone strap with ABS buckle, while offering full access to all of the nano’s ports and controls. Hex’s Vision Plastic Watch Band for the sixth-generation iPod nano is available now and sells for $25.

Ballistic ships Lifestyle Smooth case for iPhone 4/4S

Ballistic has announced that it is now shipping its Lifestyle (LS) Smooth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Made from TPU materials, the LS Smooth features push-through coverage for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, open access to all other ports, controls, and cameras, and four included sets of interchangeable bumpers that sit on the corners to help protect the phone from shock. Ballistic’s LS Smooth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $30.

IDC: Samsung passes Apple for Q1 smartphone lead

Samsung passed Apple in the first quarter of 2012 to become the world’s top smartphone maker, according to the latest data from IDC. Samsung’s Q1 shipments of 42.2 million smartphones were good for 29.1 percent of the market, compared to Apple, which accounted for 24.2 percent of the market with shipments of 35.1 million units. Notably, no other manufacturer accounted for more as much as 10 percent of the market. Overall, Apple was the world’s third-largest mobile phone maker in Q1 with 8.8 percent of the market, behind both Samsung and Nokia, and ahead of ZTE and LG.

Jawbone launches Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker

Nearly six months after iLounge first reported on its existence, Jawbone has officially launched its Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker system. Features include improved audio over the original, with dual passive bass radiators, a built-in battery good for up to 15 hours of playback, a built-in microphone for hands-free calling, LiveAudio audio processing technology, and a design that’s very similar to the original Jambox. Jawbone’s Big Jambox speaker is available for pre-order now in red, white, or graphite, and is expected to ship May 15 for $300.

Skype 4.0 improves stability, accessibility

Skype has released version 4.0 of its iOS apps, focused on accessibility and stability improvements. The new version of Skype allows users to move their own video preview window during a video call and the iPhone/iPod touch version includes an updated design for the contacts and messages view and a new sign-in screen. Skype will also now automatically restart if it unexpectedly shuts down for whatever reason, and the update includes a number of other stability improvements and bug fixes. iPhone and iPad versions are available separately from the App Store as free downloads: Skype for the iPhone and iPod touch requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S or fourth-generation iPod touch; Skype for iPad is compatible with any iPad model. A device with a front-facing camera is required for video calling, and both versions require iOS 4.3 or later.

Avid Studio adds UI improvements, new transitions

Professional grade iPad video editing app Avid Studio has been updated with improvements for voiceover recording, user interface enhancements and fourteen new transition effects. Avid Studio 1.1 now allows users to record voiceovers directly to the timeline, create titles that span across multiple lines, and more easily separate audio tracks from video clips. New finger swipe gestures have also been added for frame-by-frame and 10-by-10 frame navigation along with simplified entering of mark-in and mark-out points, and the precision trimmer has been redesigned with enhanced functionality. The update also address several stability issues on all iPad models. Avid Studio 1.1 requires iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

PlaceTagger adds iCloud sync, iPad support

Return7 has released a major update to PlaceTagger adding support for the iPad and for synchronization of location data via iCloud. PlaceTagger allows iOS devices to be used for recording location data while taking photos with a digital camera; recorded data can then be added to the photos as geo-tags during import using a companion desktop application.

With PlaceTagger 2.0, users can now synchronize location data between devices using iCloud rather than requiring a direct USB connection; a $5 Mac app, sold separately on the Mac App Store, provides geotagging of photos during import. Alternatively, users can geotagging photos imported directly to the iPad using the Apple Camera Connection Kit. GPX track export is also available for geotagging with any third-party application supporting the GPX format. The new version also sports an entirely new user interface with an integrated map view for displaying location data and improvements to the GPS recording precision. PlaceTagger 2.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5, or as a free update for users of an earlier version. The companion Mac app is available separately from the Mac App Store for $5.

iTunes Match rolls out to several new countries

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Apple is in the process of rolling out its iTunes Match service in a number of new countries. 9to5Mac reports that users in Italy, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, and Austria can now sign up for the service, although they have yet to be added to Apple’s official list of countries in which the service is available. Launched in the U.S. in November, iTunes Match is a $25/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices.

Apple hires Yahoo! exec for iAd team

Apple has hired Jessica Jensen, a former executive at Yahoo!, to its iAd team, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, AllThingsD reports that Jensen will work for recently-hired iAd head Todd Teresi. At Yahoo!, Jensen was in charge of the women’s site Shine, as well as its lifestyles and health content businesses.

Apple considered iPhone with hardware keyboard

In an interview with The Verge, former Apple executive and current Nest CEO Tony Fadell made several comments regarding the development of the iPhone. According to Fadell, Apple seriously considered building an iPhone with a hardware keyboard. Fadell claimed that Apple actually built three types of iPhones during its development—an iPod + phone, an iPhone, and what he referred to as the “next-generation” iPhone, which ended up being the original shipping version of the device. He also said that he was skeptical of the virtual keyboard at first, but that he felt a full screen was ideal, noting that the small screen of the iPod + phone prototype was an issue. The Verge has posted a brief summary of Fadell’s comments, which can be seen by following the link above.

Apple, Samsung to meet in late may

Apple and Samsung are set to meet for court-overseen talks in late May. AllThingsD reports that the companies will meet in San Francisco on May 21-22, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and general counsel Bruce Sewell expected to attend. The talks will be overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, and will be focused on resolving the numerous patent disputes between the two companies. As noted in our prior report, the court can obligate the two companies to meet and talk, but cannot force a settlement.

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