Belkin has introduced the new TuneBase FM, the company’s combination iPod mount, charger, and FM transmitter, which is now equipped with ClearScan technology. With the push of a button, ClearScan automatically finds the clearest frequency on which to play your music. Other features include line-out for connecting to direct audio inputs and cassette adapters, a “pro” setting that optimizes audio and boosts volume, multiple cradles to fit any docking iPod including the recently released iPod classic, iPod touch, and third-generation iPod nano, and a flexible neck for easy repositioning of the iPod. The new Belkin TuneBase FM will be available in mid-October and will sell for $90.
Creative has introduced its Aurvana X-Fi Noise-Canceling Headphones, the first noise-canceling headphones to feature the company’s X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio technologies. The Creative X-Fi Crystallizer utilizes algorithms to make any digital audio sound better by intelligently and selectively restoring the highs and lows that were lost during MP3 or other compression, while Creative X-Fi CMSS-3D provides virtual surround sound. Users can independently select noise cancellation, X-Fi Crystalizer, CMSS-3D and volume with on-headphone controls. Creative claims the Aurvana X-Fi reduce up to 90 percent of ambient noise, and can run with all technologies on for up to nine hours from two AAA batteries; the Aurvana X-Fi can also function without power. Other features include memory foam pads, 40mm Neodymium drivers, oxygen-free copper cables, gold-plated connectors, included airline adapter, hard carrying case, and an iPhone-compatible 5-foot extension cable. The Creative Aurvana X-Fi Noise-Canceling Headphones are available now from Amazon, will be available from InMotion and Creative later this month, and sell for $300.
Following the release of the new third-generation iPod nano and iPod classic, Apple today re-released past iPod games Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man, and Sudoku in software versions that are simultaneously compatible with the two new iPod models and the prior fifth-generation iPod. Each of the games remains available for $4.99 from the iTunes Store, with the iPod Games section of the Store now segregated into a portion with nano-compatible games, and those compatible only with the fifth-generation iPod.
Fifteen titles, notably including Mahjong, Musica, and Cubis 2, have yet to be converted into cross-compatible versions. iLounge has requested comment from Apple on whether prior buyers of iPod Games will be able to receive versions that work on the new iPods.
At its “Mum is no longer the word” press event today, Apple revealed details of the iPhone’s UK introduction. The company announced that O2 will be the device’s exclusive carrier in the UK, when it makes its debut on November 9. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can’t wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it.” Matthew Key, CEO, O2 UK, said, “The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we’re thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK.”
The iPhone will be sold exclusively in the UK through Apple’s retail and online stores, O2 and The Carphone Warehouse retail stores, and will be available as an EDGE-based 8GB model for £269 (inc. VAT). It will also require an 18 month contract with O2. O2 will offer three different tariffs for the phone, starting at £35 a month for 200 minutes and 200 SMS messages, and going up to £55 a month for 1200 minutes and 500 SMS. All three tariffs include unlimited data, visual voicemail, and unlimited access at any of The Cloud’s 7500 UK Wi-Fi hotspots. iPhone activation will require an internet connection, an iTunes Store account or major credit card, and the latest version of iTunes.
Apple today released iTunes 7.4.2, the latest update to the company’s jukebox software, and the second update since iTunes 7.4 was introduced on September 5th. According to Apple’s release notes, “iTunes 7.4.2 addresses an issue with creating ringtones using iTunes Plus song purchases and includes bug fixes to improve stability and performance.” iTunes 7.4.2 for Mac and PC is available as a free download through Apple’s Software Update utility or from the company’s website.
iFixit has posted a teardown of the iPod touch. Of note in the teardown article is the iPod touch’s battery, the volume of which is 81 percent that of the iPhone, and the fact that the display can be separated from the glass, allowing for more simple repairs.
iPopmybaby (formerly iPodmybaby) has introduced its new iPhone/iPod touch-styled one piece baby outfit. The design, printed on the front, features iPhone-like icons representing various baby activities such as “Nap,” “Eat,” and “Crawl.” The iPhone Baby one piece outfit sells for $18.
Laptop Magazine has posted a panel discussion with executives from Helio, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung concerning the iPhone. Topics covered include the group’s iPhone likes and dislikes, as well as questions regarding the viability of touch screen technology, and the need for convergence.
A post from Apple discussion forums member “drvelocity” claims that the black level issues with some iPod touch displays are caused by a problem with the anti-reflective coating, which suggests the problem is indeed a manufacturing defect, as opposed to a software-based problem. [via Infinite Loop]
Macally has announced the release of its BTCUP, an iPod accessory that combines a cup holder, FM transmitter, and Bluetooth hands-free device. It features a backlit LCD display for selecting radio stations at night, auto-switching between iPod and phone modes when users receive an incoming call, and the ability to charge the iPod when docked. Andrew Saldana, vice president of sales and marketing for Macally, said, “iPod users can now comfortably listen to their favorite iPod tunes through the FM car stereo receiver while also having the benefit of hands-free functionality for their Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones.” The Macally BTCUP is compatible with third- through fifth-generation iPods, first- through third-generation iPod nanos, and the iPod classic, and is available now for $120. In addition, Macally plans to offer a BTCUP for iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Kensington has introduced its latest FM transmitters for the iPod. The LiquidFM and LiquidFM Deluxe for iPod feature ClearFM technology, the ability to charge the iPod while it plays, three station presets for instant tuning to any FM station (88.1-107.9), an on/off switch to avoid car battery drain, and an enhanced custom digital LCD screen for easier viewing. The LiquidFM Deluxe adds QuickSeek technology to quickly find the clearest station, and the ability to display song and artist information on your car stereo using RDS technology. The LiquidFM and LiquidFM Deluxe FM Transmitters for all Click Wheel-enabled, Dock-connecting iPods are available for pre-order now, sell for $80 and $100 respectively, and will be in stores later this month.
Marware has introduced its first cases for the new iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano. The Sportsuit Relay and Sportsuit Runabout for third-generation iPod nano are armband-style active cases that feature a clear plastic cover for the nano’s screen and Click Wheel, and include a wristband for wearing the iPod like a watch, and a adjustable extension piece for wearing the case like an armband. The Sportsuit Relay adds room for the Nike + iPod Sport Kit receiver, as well as a protective Nike sensor pouch for use on non-Nike+ running shoes. The Marware Sportsuit Relay and Sportsuit Runabout for 3G iPod nano are available now and sell for $30 and $20, respectively. The Sportsuit Convertible offers the same clear plastic cover as the Relay and Runabout, but includes a removable belt clip, handstrap, and an armband, all of which use the Multidapt clip system for easy conversion. Other features include access to the hold button, Click Wheel, headphone port, and Dock connector, and orca-skin neoprene construction. It is available now and sells for $30. The Sportsuit Sleeve for 3G nano features a 2mm neoprene exterior, a stretch orca-skin front pocket for earphones, and a removable mini clip on the back. It is available now and sells $20.
The Sport Grip for third generation iPod nano and iPod classic are silicone cases featuring side grips, access to the hold button, Click Wheel, headphone port, and Dock connector. Both include protective film for the iPods’ displays and Click Wheels and are available now; the Sport Grip for 3G nano sells for $10, the iPod classic model sells for $15. In addition, Marware’s previous Sidewinder ($30), Sportsuit Sleeve ($20), and Trail Vue for 5G iPod ($30) are all compatible with the iPod classic.
The iPhone Dev Team has released anySIM, a GUI-based iPhone application that allows users to unlock the iPhone for use with any SIM card. The app simply needs to be copied on to the phone and executed — it is fully automatic, and therefore makes unlocking a much easier process for those users who lacked the technical experience to take advantage of previously released, more challenging unlocking methods. anySIM is available as a free download from the iPhone Dev Team’s website.
Apple has released an updated version of the iPod software, version 1.0.1, for the third-generation iPod nano and iPod classic. The release’s notes are limited, but the update appears to be a routine “bug fix” release. iPod software version 1.0.1 for iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano is available now through the devices’ “Sync” tab in iTunes.
Sennheiser has introduced its latest in-ear earphones, which join the company’s Classic, Street, and Style lines. The CX 400 and 500 join the Classic line, and both include a pouch, cord winder, cable clip, and ear adapters. The CX 400 feature a short cord, extension cable, and sell for $100. The CX 500 feature a wider frequency response, special flange ear adapters for a better seal, and will be available in glossy black, glossy white, or titanium for $130. The CX 55 Street features boosted low-frequency response, a reflective blue casing, an angled arm to help with cord routing, and will include ear fittings and a pouch for $80. Finally, the CX 95 Style features a metallic look, balanced sound, a short cord, extension cable, comes with a hard-shell case and ear adapters, and will sell for $140. All four models will be available later this month; continue reading for more photos of the new earphones.
As next week’s Apple UK special event nears, separate reports have surfaced linking rumored European carriers to the iPhone. Reuters reports that Deutsche Telekom has clinched a deal to offer the iPhone in Germany through its T-Mobile unit, while MarketWatch has a report from Spanish news agency Efe that claims Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica SA acknowledged it is in talks with Apple over the right to sell the device in Spain. Finally, Gizmodo reports that their sources have confirmed the iPhone’s UK introduction for next week’s event, and that the phone will be offered by O2.
Scott Woolley, reporting for Forbes, has posted a scathing piece on the Apple TV titled “The iFlop.” Woolley points to Apple’s unwillingness to share sales data about the device, as well as recent contract disputes between the company and video content providers as partial reasons why he considers the device a failure.
Palm, Inc. shareholders have approved the partial sale of the company to a private equity firm. Along with the sale, Jonathan Rubinstein, former head of Apple’s iPod division, will join the company as executive board chairman, while former Apple CFO Fred Anderson will join Rubinstein on the company’s board.
Following a statement earlier this week that his company has a “perfectly good relationship” with Apple, News Corp. President and COO Peter Chernin told the UK’s Royal Television Society convention that the relationship was “pretty limited” and that he expects upcoming negotiations between the two companies to be “dicey and contentious.”
An image appearing during the early iPhone owner credit process has revealed iPhone firmware version 1.1.1, along with two extra menu options in Settings. The image, which appears on the second page of the process, below where users enter their phone number and iPhone serial number, is meant to show customers how to find their iPhone serial number. In the Settings menu, under General, appear options for “Home Button” and “International” which are not found on current (version 1.0.2) iPhone firmware, and the final screen in the image shows the “Version” as 1.1.1, build 3B13. As of this writing, the image is still viewable on Apple’s site; a screen capture of the image appears below. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: The “About” screen shown below also points to new modem firmware, v.04.02.04_G. Current iPhone modem firmware is listed as 03.14.08_G. TUAW has reported that recent SIM unlocking methods rely on patching the modem firmware, thus version 1.1.1 of the iPhone firmware, if/when released, may break current iPhone unlocking methods.
Apple has posted details of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ promised $100 Apple Store credit for early iPhone owners. The program is for customers who own a qualifying iPhone purchased prior to August 22, 2007, and who haven’t yet received any compensation from Apple or AT&T. To receive a credit, which can’t be used on iTunes — only at Apple retail or online stores, or Apple Telesales — users need to Identify their iPhone by entering their phone number and iPhone serial number. Apple then sends an SMS text message to the iPhone containing an access code to redeem the $100 credit. Again, users need to enter their phone number and this access code to generate the $100 electronic store credit. Users must activate their iPhone before submitting their claim; customers must submit their claims by November 30, 2007.
A number of iPod classic owners, a majority of whom purchased the 160GB model, are experiencing random crashes and lockups, which appear to be linked to album art. iLounge forum member Justin Horne has posted two videos documenting the problem on YouTube, and in posts on Apple’s Discussion boards has said that Apple is aware of the problem, and is working on a fix. In the meantime, a workaround is available: simply disable all album artwork and resync.
A new 16GB iPod touch purchased by blogger Peter Allen appears to have shipped from the factory with a test program installed, instead of the standard iPod touch interface. Screenshots show several rows of icons, some with checkmarks, some with red x’s, and some with no added iconography. In particular, icons are present for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Battery, Accelerometer, Buttons, Speaker, Touch, Serial Number (whose icon is, playfully, a box of Cheerios cereal), Ambient Light, Headphones, and Temperature.
In addition to our unboxing and comparison photos, iLounge has posted a series of comparison videos enabling you to see the iPhone and iPod touch alongside one another. The following videos are available:
iPod touch versus iPhone Interface Comparison: See the iPod touch and iPhone interfaces running next to each other—everything minus music/video playback, Safari, and iTunes.
iPod touch versus iPhone Safari Loading, Body Comparison: See both devices side-by-side loading pages from Apple.com, then physically compared to one another, then loading YouTube.
iPod touch iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store: See the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store being accessed briefly from the iPhone.
iPod touch and iPhone Music and Video Playback: See how both devices play music and video content, including the iPod touch’s new double Home button click feature, which brings volume and track controls to the screen even if it’s in Hold mode or in the midst of another application.
The iPod touch is now available at some Apple Stores, and iLounge’s unboxing and iPod/iPhone comparison photos of the device have appeared on photo-sharing site flickr. The iPod touch comes in a black box, similar to the iPhone’s, and features a photo of the device’s “Now Playing” screen, with album art from artist Corinne Bailey Rae, on the top. Inside the box, and shown in our photos, is a simple clear plastic stand that can be attached to iPod touch’s side to prop it up for widescreen video viewing. While the iPhone’s first screen shows users a picture of the Earth, and states “Activate Phone” before the first sync, the iPod touch shows a picture of an iPod cord, with an arrow above it pointing to iTunes’ icon.
In addition to the photos, iLounge has posted a brief video of the iPod touch in action on YouTube. It is unclear how many Apple Stores have received shipments of the device.
Updated: Readers report that iPod touch units are now available in limited supplies in stores throughout the East and West Coasts, as well as the Midwest. One suburban Chicago store already has units on display for hands-on testing.
mStation has announced the redesigned mophie Wraptor case for iPhone, iPod classic, iPod touch, and third-generation iPod nanos. The mophie Wraptor combines a scratch-resistant polycarbonate shock-resistant outer shell with a pop-up soft rubber cord wrap for earphone cord management. The cord wrap pops up to allow users to wrap up their earphone cords, then folds down to secure and hide the earphones. The mophie Wraptor for iPod nano, classic, touch and iPhone will be available in October, and will sell for $30. Continue reading for more photos of the new mophie Wraptor.