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Mix: QuickTours, Connect, USA Today, Survey

Apple has added three new QuickTours to the Technology section of the iPhone’s mini-site. The new videos, which help explain features like Multi-touch, OS X, and the iPhone’s sensors, use 3D views of the device to illustrate its capabilities.

Sony will soon be closing its Connect online music and video service, according to a report. Around 20 jobs are being phased out as a result, the remaining group will be devoted to the Playstation platform.

USA Today, continuing its 25th anniversary celebration, has placed iPod+iTunes sixth in its list of the Top 25 Music Milestones from the last 25 years. File-sharing service Napster was number one.

A new survey done by Seattle-based analyst firm M:Metrics shows that more than 19 million US subscribers and almost 7 million UK subscribers have “strong interest” in buying an iPhone. The results, taken from samples of 11,060 and 5,293 respectively, equate to 9% of the US market and 16% of the UK market.

iPhoneChat offers IM on iPhone

A new, web-based Instant Messaging application for iPhone has appeared online. iPhoneChat is from the same people that posted the first web-based iPhone-specific application, iPhoneDigg. iPhoneChat allows users to log in to their AOL IM account, see their buddy list, and features support for multiple conversations — although right at the moment, opening more than four chats at once “gets unruly.” The app currently works in Firefox and Safari, but not IE.

Apple upgrades iPhone battery, adds anti-scratch glass

Apple has announced that the iPhone will offer up to eight hours of talk time, six hours of internet use, seven hours of video playback, 24 hours of audio playback and 250 hours of standby time using its internal battery. These numbers represent a significant improvement over original estimates. Apple also announced that the entire top surface of the iPhone, including the 3.5-inch screen, has been upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass for better scratch resistance and visual clarity.

“With 8 hours of talk time, and 24 hours of audio playback, iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”

Contour Design unveils iSee for iPhone

Contour Design has announced the release of its iSee for iPhone. The clear case offers protection for the iPhone while maintaining the device’s aesthetic. The case also offers easy insertion and removal of the phone, full access to all control surfaces, and also includes a holster that can hold the iPhone face in or out, in both horizontal and vertical positions. The iSee for iPhone will be available the last week of June, and will sell for $30.

Apple Bluetooth Headset earns FCC approval

The Apple Bluetooth Headset has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission. As with the approval of the iPhone, the documents available on the FCC’s website offer little in the way of new information, but they do signal that Apple should be in position to offer the accessory for a currently unknown price when the iPhone launches on June 29.

Pacific Rim intros iShield for iPhone

Pacific Rim Technologies has introduced its iShield for iPhone. The synthetic leather case features an integrated hard shell to protect against drops, cut-outs for the camera and side buttons, and includes a removable belt clip. It also provides access to the device’s home button, screen, and earpiece. The iShield for iPhone comes in black, red, or white and will sell for $35. It will be available June 27.

iPodweek + Forums: iTunes Bug, CD Rips, and Fun Chats

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What’s new in the iLounge Discussion Forums this week? In “They replaced it!”, a reader tells how Apple quickly replaced his second-generation shuffle after he couldn’t transfer MP3 files to it—and then discovered that the problem was due to a bug in iTunes 7.2. If you’ve been getting an error message that your iPod can’t play certain music, don’t junk the iPod; read this discussion in our iPod shuffle Forum.

Still trying to figure out the smartest way to rip music to your iPod? Our Digital Audio Formats Forum has plenty of discussions that will help you make a good choice, but this discussion is packed with good, practical advice. Users seem to have settled on 192Kbps files, either in AAC or MP3 format, while others think 128Kbps AACs are plenty good for normal listening. What do you think?

In the Board Games sub-forum of our popular forum The Lounge, you’ll always find a random, non-iPod discussion worth reading. In The Post for Stuff You Just Wanna Tell People, an 108-page discussion that’s been going on since early 2004, readers have been posting about everything from playing Halo and Counter Strike to their favorite TV series and computer programs. Most readers post just a sentence or two about what they’re doing or what they think about someone else’s posts. Add yours and see what your fellow iLoungers think.

Nokia board member: Euro, Asian phones make iPhone ‘look pedestrian’

Speaking on the issue of sideloading, or the process of filling devices such as the iPhone using a computer instead of directly over the internet, Nokia board member Daniel Hesse claimed that the iPhone “will be big in the U.S., but not anywhere else.” “In Europe and Asia there are all those phenomenal phones out there that make the iPhone look pedestrian,” he continued. He did however support the iPhone’s use of sideloading, stating that it “will be absolutely crucial” for transferring multimedia files to mobile devices. “I think no matter how fast the wireless networks get here, the computer is always faster,” he stated. Hesse is also the CEO of Embarq, a company that provides local phone and broadband services in several markets, including Las Vegas and central Florida.

Unofficial iPhone New York ad appears

An unofficial iPhone commercial based in New York City has debuted on the website The spot, available in sixty and thirty second versions, shows people of varying ethnicities and dialects talking about iPhone features in their native tounges, with translation provided by subtitles. A casting call for the spot was posted on Craigslist back in April, and called for “people of diverse ethnic backgrounds discussing different functions and attributes of the unreleased phone in their native tongue while participating in everyday activities.” The ad, dubbed “iPhone New York,” was directed by Alec Sutherland and features the song “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John.

iPhone pre-launch demand strong

A survey of 100 AT&T Wireless stores — 57 corporate owned, 43 franchisee owned — has shown strong pre-launch demand for the iPhone. The survey, conducted by The Channel Checkers, also showed that 37 percent of the stores reported “pre-order lists,” while 55 percent reported waiting lists. “We continue to believe that employees are creating pre-order and waiting lists to lock-in iPhone customers and as a result, to lock-in sales commissions for themselves,” claims the report. An earlier internal AT&T document stated there would be no pre-sales of the iPhone.

New McCartney iTunes commercial debuts

Apple has posted a new TV ad online featuring Sir Paul McCartney singing “Dance Tonight” from his new album Memory Almost Full. The spot features pastel backgrounds with a non-silhouetted McCartney singing and dancing along a traditional English street. The new spot makes no mention of the upcoming iPhone.

iTunes replaces Sony on Yahoo Music Japan

Yahoo Japan has replaced the Sony-affiliated Mora download service with the iTunes Store as the default music service on Yahoo Music Japan. A prominent link to iTunes is now displayed in the menu bar of the site, offering one-click access to the download service. Prior to today, Yahoo Japan had relied solely on the Mora service, which is run by LabelGate Co. Ltd., an affiliate of Sony. Access to Mora is still available through Yahoo Japan, but users must set the service as the preferred music store — the iTunes links appear by default. Yahoo Japan is the most popular portal service in the country with an estimated monthly reach of around 40 million people. [via MacDailyNews]

Philips intros new iPod-ready audio systems

Philips has introduced several new iPod-ready audio systems, as well as a new standalone dock with a two-way RF remote. The Philips BTM-630 one-piece music system features an MP3-CD player and burner, an integrated iPod Dock and Bluetooth capability, and a USB port and SD/MMC slot. The BTM-628 packs similar features (minus the CD burning) but comes as a three-piece system, and includes a Bluetooth-equipped iPod dock for easy placement and control. It sells for $200. imageThe HA-300 is a clock radio with integrated iPod/GoGear that is priced at $80. The MCM-740D is a one-piece stereo with iPod dock, MP3/WMA-CD player, and USB port; it carries a price of $200. Finally, the SJM3151 stand-alone iPod dock features a two-way ZigBee RF remote with a LCD screen that displays the iPod’s menu. Pricing information for the BTM-630 and SJM3151 was unavailable; the products are expected in stores this fall. [via Engadget]

iPhone to launch 6:00 p.m., ‘local time’

The iPhone will launch June 29, at 6:00 p.m. local time, according to a Mac Rumors report. The report claims that a memo sent by AT&T has confirmed the rolling launch, stating, “The iPhone will go on sale on at AT&T retail stores June 29 at 6 p.m. local time in each market.” During his keynote address at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentioned that the phone would launch at 6:00 p.m., but did not give further clarification. If true, this means that customers in the Eastern Time Zone will be able to purchase the new handset a full three hours before their counterparts on the West Coast.

Supply expert on iPhone: ‘Undoubtedly there will be shortages’

Speaking about the iPhone and its supply chain challenges, Simon Croom, Ph.D., executive director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego, has said to prepare for shortages. In an email to writer Russell Shaw, Croom wrote, “Launching any product, especially one so hyped, means that the main task is ensuring sufficient supplies are available across the US market on launch. Undoubtedly there will be shortages, service issues and challenges for call centers set upto support users.” Croom continued, stating “Depending on reliability of the product, there may also be a rapid ramp up in returns and warranty claims. Using a global supply chain will likely cause more of a problem 4 – 8 weeks into the ‘first season’ of the launch.”

Mix: Kensington, 7digital, Atlantis, Wilburys

Kensington has introduced a new line of power adapters that feature USB Power Ports, which can then be used with various mobile devices, including the iPod, by using the correct Kensington USB Power Tip. Power Tips will be in June and sell for $15. The compatible power adapters range in price from $10 to $140, and will also be available in June.

UK-based digital music service 7digital has launched a new online storage system called Digital Locker, which users can access globally. The service, which was the first to offer EMI’s DRM-free catalog, claims the upgraded service will “take on iTunes.”

A photo taken aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis shows a fourth-generation iPod velcroed to a cabin wall.

A portion of the long out of print catalog of the Traveling Wilburys was added to the iTunes Store today. The album Traveling Wilburys Collection, which includes a 25 minute documentary, was added, as well as two singles and a free video preview of the documentary. The Traveling Wilburys were a super-group created by George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan.

First iPhone Web Apps Appear

Less than two full days after Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone would work with third-party Web 2.0 applications, the first iPhone web apps have appeared. One, created by David Cann, is an iPhone interface for popular social content site Digg. The interface appears within a mockup image of the iPhone, and lets users “flick” to scroll up and down. Another app, OneTrip Shopping, is a grocery list program built by Neven Mrgan that allows users to sort through various types of food and sundry items, and add them to an editable list. As we reported yesterday, developer reaction to the announcement of Web-based third party apps for iPhone has been mixed.

Apple bringing iTunes to Bebo?

Apple is ready to announce a deal to embed a version of the iTunes Store into the Bebo social networking site, according to a Financial Times report. The report claims that beginning today, the service’s 8.8 million users in the UK and Ireland will be able to buy music from the profile of any musician who has both a Bebo profile and music on iTunes. Bebo has 500,000 musicians registered on the site, a number that includes both established acts and unknown bands. The deal would mark the first time Apple has offered an embedded version of iTunes on a social networking site.

Apple, AT&T send out ‘Get Ready’ iPhone email

Apple and AT&T have sent out a mass email with recommended preparation steps for the iPhone. The subject of the announcement reads “Get Ready. iPhone is coming June 29,” while the body lists suggestions for both PC and Mac users on how to get ready for the iPhone. These tips are broken down by sections, “Contacts,” “Calendar,” “Email,” “Photos,” “Music and Video,” and “iTunes Account.” Each section includes a brief description on how it works on the iPhone, and then an explanation of how customers can prepare. Of particular interest, the “iTunes Account” section reveals that an iTunes account will be required to set up the iPhone. Keep reading to see a summary of Apple’s suggestions.

Apple announces iTunes Festival London

imageApple has announced the first iTunes Festival, which will take place in London, England on July 1 through July 31. The festival’s website describes it as “a radical new concept that brings together world-class bands, intimate live performances and the best in digital technology.” Tickets will be free, but will be given away by Apple in pairs, with only 150 sets available for each show. Well-known acts such as Mika, Travis, Groove Armada, and Amy Winehouse will perform at the festival, being held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. For fans unable to secure tickets, every performance will be made available on iTunes. [via MacWorld UK]

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