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Apple: Orange to be exclusive iPhone carrier in France

Apple and Orange have announced that Orange will be the exclusive French carrier of the iPhone, which will make its French debut on Thursday, November 29. The 8GB iPhone will sell for 399€, or roughly $567, and will be sold in France through Orange’s online and direct retail stores. Details of available service plans have not yet been released.

“We are excited to partner with Orange and bring iPhone to France in time for the holidays,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone is an amazing product and we hope mobile users in France will love it as much as we do.”

“The iPhone is a marvelous product and will change how people think about mobile. I’m delighted that it is launching in France through Orange, and I’m sure that our customers share my excitement. Our partnership with Apple is a natural fit because we are two global brands who share the same values of simplicity and innovation. It’s going to be a very merry Christmas for Orange customers all over the country!” said Didier Lombard, CEO, France Telecom.

This announcement comes less than a week after Apple stated that it had no set date for the phone’s launch in France, and confirms a statement made by Lombard that the launch would take place “during November”.

Noreve intros Tradition B leather case for iPod touch

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Noreve has introduced its Tradition B leather case for the iPod touch. The case features a handcrafted leather exterior, cut-out access to the headphone jack, Dock Connector, screen, and more, a padded design, a magnetic closure, and interior lining embossed with the Noreve logo. Available in one of fifteen differently-colored leathers, the Noreve Tradition B leather case for iPod touch will sell for 40€, or around $56, when it is released on October 29.

iPhone draws in Treo, T-Mobile users

Initial iPhone buyers were ten times more likely than other new phone buyers to have previously owned a Treo, and three times more likely to have owned a T-Mobile branded phone (such as the Sidekick), according to a new report from The NPD Group. NPD surveyed more than 13,000 consumers to collect data for its iPhone Report, which aims to provide insight into how the iPhone is affecting mobile phone sales in the U.S. In contrast to the Treo and Sidekick, iPhone buyers were no more likely than the average buyer to have previously owned a Blackberry. In addition, consumers who switched carriers were three times more likely to switch from Alltel or T-Mobile than from other carriers.

“The iPhone’s Internet and media capabilities have resonated with consumers—especially those who previously owned Treos and Sidekicks,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. “Its advanced operating system makes it competitive with smartphones for many tasks, while its sleek design and lack of expandability is reminiscent of fashion phones.”

Greenpeace report on iPhone leads to lawsuit

Greenpeace has posted a new report [PDF Link] claiming that the iPhone contains hazardous substances, and findings in the report have led to a lawsuit against Apple. According to research performed by Greenpeace’s Research Laboratories in the UK, the iPhone contains toxic brominated compounds (indicating the presence of brominated flame retardants (BFRs)) and hazardous PVC. “Apple missed a key opportunity when it rolled out the iPhone in June. There is no reason why the iPhone could not have been made without toxins like vinyl plastics and brominated flame retardants as Nokia is already doing,” said Rick Hind of Greenpeace.

Afterwards, The Center for Environmental Health announced that it is suing Apple based on research found in the Greenpeace report. According to the Center, California’s Proposition 65 law states that products exposing consumers to phthalates or other chemicals known to be reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning label. The iPhone does not. “In general what we try to do is encourage the manufacturers through a negotiated settlement to reduce the use of these chemicals,” said Caroline Cox, spokeswoman for the Center for Environmental Health. “That would be our goal with Apple.”

In May, Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned an update, “A Greener Apple”, focusing on Apple’s environmental efforts, in which he said: “Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs in its products by the end of 2008.” [via MacWorld]

Mix: Canada, Zeppelin, T3, Popular Mechanics

  • October 15, 2007

A trademark dispute between Apple and Comwave Telecom over the name “iPhone” could delay the phone’s release in Canada, according to a Sympatico report. Comwave markets a line of VoIP services and products under the name iPhone. Apple previously reached an agreement with Cisco in the U.S. to share rights to the “iPhone” name; Cisco, like Comwave, offers VoIP products under the name iPhone.

Legendary rock group Led Zeppelin has announced that they will offer their music online starting November 13, and that it will be available from “all online music retailers.” “We are pleased that the complete Led Zeppelin catalogue will now be available digitally,” said guitarist Jimmy Page. “The addition of the digital option will better enable fans to obtain their music in whichever manner they prefer.”

T3 Magazine crowned the iPod “Best Gadget of all Time” at its recent Gadget Awards ceremony. Overall, Apple came away with six awards, including “Best Commuter Gadget” and “Best Music Gadget” for the iPod, and “Best Download Service” for iTunes.

Popular Mechanics has included the Apple iPhone as one of its “Top 10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007”, joining other devices such as Samsung’s Solid State Drive, the Microsoft Surface entertainment table, and the LG Super Blu Player, which plays both Blu Ray and HD-DVD discs.

$0.99 DRM-free tracks appear on iTunes [updated]

The iTunes Store is currently offering select DRM-free iTunes Plus songs for $0.99, 30 cents less than the standard price of $1.29. Music from Flight of the Conchords and The Perishers are among the $0.99 iTunes Plus offerings. At the moment, it is unclear whether this lower price is indicative of a move by Apple to reduce the price on all iTunes Plus tracks, bringing them closer to the pricing offered by the newly-launched Amazon MP3 store. iLounge has contacted Apple about this issue and will update this article if we receive any additional information. [via MDN]

Update: Apple has confirmed that it is reducing the price on all iTunes Plus tracks to $0.99.

iPod touch ‘jailbreak’ apps released

  • October 15, 2007
  • iPod,

Two new applications provide a graphical user interface for “jailbreaking” the iPod touch. iJailBreak for Intel-based Mac systems and touchFree for Windows both allow iPod touch owners to “jailbreak” their units, paving the way for installation of a variety of third-party native applications, as well as hacks such as calendar editing and Apple-approved apps such as Mail and Maps. Apple does not support installation of third-party applications on the iPhone or iPod touch.

Firmware hack brings new interface to iPod 5G

  • October 15, 2007
  • iPod,

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A new firmware hack aims to bring the new split-screen interface of the iPod classic and iPod nano (with video) to the fifth-generation iPod. The hack, which works on both 5 and 5.5G iPods, is unsupported by Apple, and several Digg users claim that the hack “bricked” their iPods. Installation of the firmware requires iPodWizard 1.3.7, a Windows-only iPod utility. While the hack aims to add iPod classic-like functionality to older iPods, it has been speculated that differences in internal components between the models may prohibit older iPods from running new features such as Cover Flow. [via iFun.de]

Dot.Tunes offers iTunes library streaming to iPhone, iPod touch

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Dot.Tunes, a media library streaming application for Mac OS X and Windows, has announced plug-ins for the iPhone and iPod touch. These plug-ins allow Dot.Tunes users to access and stream media from their iTunes libraries to their iPhone or iPod touch over the internet, through a customized interface. Dot.Tunes version 4 is a free download; the iPhone and iPod touch plug-ins sell for $20 each. Also, for a limited time, Dot.Tunes is offering a 25% discount to iLounge visitors. For a demonstration of the software, visit dottunes.net.

Mix: Handbrake, Weather Channel, iSkin, PodWare

  • October 12, 2007

Open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter Handbrake has been updated to version 0.9.1. The new version includes performance enhancements, interface improvements, and various bug fixes. It is available now as a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

The Weather Channel has launched a new web application optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new application delivers current conditions, hourly and 10-day forecasts, and maps. It can be accessed by visiting www.weather.com/iphone from an iPhone or iPod touch.

iSkin has announced that its Cerulean X1 earphones now include an iPhone-compatible earphone adapter. The Cerulean X1 earphones sell for $99; iSkin will sell the Earphone Adapter separately for $13.

PodWare is now offering men’s and women’s t-shirts featuring integrated pockets for the iPod nano and first-generation iPod shuffle. The shirts, which sell for $26, also feature holes for routing headphones through the shirt.

XtremeMac unveils new cases for iPod touch, classic, nano 3G, iPhone

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XtremeMac has introduced its new TuffWrap Plus line of silicone protective cases for the iPod nano (with video), iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPhone. TuffWrap Plus cases for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPod classic include a removable belt clip that doubles as a kickstand, and include built-in protection for switches, a protective door for the dock connector and side ridges for increased grip. The iPod nano versions include a removable hard plastic screen protector and a carabiner. In addition, all TuffWrap Plus cases include TuffShield screen and click wheel protectors. TuffWrap Plus for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic sell for $30, TuffWrap Plus for iPod nano sells for $25. The company also announced TuffWrap and TuffShield accessories for all four devices, which will sell for $15 to $20. All three case lines are available for pre-order now from XtremeMac’s website; cases should begin appearing in stores in the coming weeks.

iPodweek coming later today, still time to sign up

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Later today iLounge will be sending out the latest edition of iPodweek, our weekly newsletter recapping recent news, announcements, articles, reviews, and more. In addition to a summary of articles we’ve published, iPodweek also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There is still time to sign up for this week’s installment, so if you’d like to receive iPodweek, and be eligible for future newsletter-specific giveaways and deals, simply use the form below to submit your email address.

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Universal gathering allies to take on iTunes

Universal Music Group chief Doug Morris is gathering support from other labels, including Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, in hopes to build a subscription-based iTunes competitor, reports BusinessWeek. The service, which is among several under consideration, would be called Total Music, and would tie a $5-per-month subscription fee to the price of compatible players. Unlike current subscription plans, this business model would allow consumers to pay just once for the player, and have unlimited music for the life of the device. It is estimated that this plan would add about $90 to the price of any Total Music device. “If the object is to wrest control of the market from Steve Jobs,” says Gartner analyst Mike McGuire, “this is a credible way to try it.”

Speck rolls out ToughSkin for iPod nano (with video)

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Speck Products has announced that its ToughSkin for iPod nano (with video) is now available and shipping. ToughSkin for iPod nano is a rubberized case featuring a rugged design with oversized corners for extra protection and offering access to the Click Wheel, headphone jack, Dock Connector, and hold switch. Speck ToughSkin for iPod nano (with video) includes a hard plastic screen protector and is available now in clear or black for $25.

Apple launches official iPhone, iPod touch Web apps directory

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Apple has launched an official directory of third-party web applications designed for use on the iPhone and iPod touch. This list of applications is broken down into categories such as “Entertainment”, “News”, “Productivity”, “Social Networking”, and more. Featured applications include Facebook, Digg’s iPhone Application, ESPN PodCenter, and others. In addition to the directory, which can be found at apple.com/webapps/, Apple is also offering an RSS feed of the most recent additions to the directory. Other links on the page lead to a feedback page, an explanation of web applications and how to use them, and information on how to create and submit your own web application. Somewhat strangely, the directory does not appear to have been optimized for viewing on an iPhone or iPod touch.

Apple & AT&T sued over iPhone

The law firms of Folkenflik & McGerity and Hoffman & Lazear have filed a $1.2 billion class action suit on behalf of iPhone owners against Apple and AT&T Mobility (AT&T’s cellular unit) in US District Court. The case, Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello v. Apple, Inc., AT&T Mobility, LLC., claims that the companies’ agreements to restrict iPhone users to using only the AT&T cellular network for voice and data, and to restrict users to using only applications from Apple, run afoul of Federal antitrust laws, California antitrust laws, and California unfair trade practice laws. The suit goes on to say that Apple and AT&T are liable for “computer trespass”, based on the recent 1.1.1 iPhone software release, which disabled many SIM unlocks, third-party software, and left some users’ phones inoperable. The suit claims these changes were not technically required for the new features Apple was offering in the update.

“There is little question that Apple and AT&T have misused Apple’s programs to improperly coerce consumers to buy only AT&T voice and data services and only Apple programs. That is unlawful under both Federal and state laws, and any terms in Apple’s and AT&T’s contracts to the contrary are also unlawful and unenforceable,” said Max Folkenflik, one of the attorneys on the case. “Apple and AT&T have no more right or technological justification for forcing iPhone users to use only AT&T service and Apple applications than Ford would to force car owners to use only Ford batteries or tires, or than the maker of your television has to force you to watch only Fox or CBS.”

The suit calls for compensatory damages of $200 million, which are trebled according to law to $600 million, as well as for punitive damages of $600 million, and for injunctions prohibiting the alleged unlawful conduct and voiding the unlawful contract terms. More information, including a complete copy of the class action complaint, is available on the lawsuit’s website, appleclassaction.net.

iSuppli tears down iPod classic, labels it ‘stopgap’

  • October 11, 2007
  • iPod,

Apple has taken a backwards-looking approach to functionality and technology with the iPod classic, according iSuppli Corp.‘s Teardown Analysis service. As the only remaining hard-disk based iPod, lacking advanced features such as Wi-Fi and a touch screen, the classic’s feature set suggests stopgap measures that iSuppli believes may limit the product’s longevity and success. “Apple’s continuation of the iPod model without adding new features suggests a stopgap measure necessitated by lack of time to develop an HDD-based touch iPod,” said Chris Crotty, senior analyst, consumer electronics, for iSuppli. “Apple may not have had time to develop an HDD-based touch-screen iPod before the 2007 holiday season.”

iSuppli’s teardown led to estimated materials costs of $127 for the 80GB classic model, and $190 for the 160GB version, with $78 and $140, respectively, going towards the hard drive. These estimates do not include added expenses such as research and development, software costs, manufacturing, and marketing; however, the 80GB model’s estimated cost is 11.2 percent lower than that of the previous 30GB model, despite the increase in storage. iSuppli has suggested that Apple is able to offer these higher capacities while increasing margins thanks to the classic’s interior design, which iSuppli claims is “essentially the same as the existing flagship iPod, with a few changes in parts and component suppliers.” The market analysis group suggests that Apple will ship 3.1 million classic units in 2007, and 3.5 million in 2008.

GelaSkins updates line for iPod classic, nano, touch

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GelaSkins has announced its new line of GelaSkins for iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and iPod touch. GelaSkins are protective, decorative stickers that cover the front and back of the iPod nano (with video) and iPod classic, and the back of the iPod touch. GelaSkins for iPod touch include matching downloadable wallpapers for the screen, while the skins for the iPod classic and nano cover the Click Wheel and include a screen protector. GelaSkins for the iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and iPod touch are available now in a wide variety of designs and sell for $15 each.

iPhone, iPod touch v1.1.1 jailbreak posted, unbricking method offered

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A new “jailbreak” process, allowing for installation of third-party software on both iPhone and iPod touch units running software v1.1.1 and first discovered by members of the iPhone Dev Team, has been confirmed by Engadget and has been posted online. While the process is still very technical, and not ready for widespread use, it does represent a large technical hurdle overcome, particularly in the case of the iPod touch, which up until now has been unable to run any third-party native software. It has been confirmed that the iPhone’s Mail and Maps applications, along with other third-party applications, are now running on the iPod touch.

Alongside these developments, iPhoneSimFree, makers of a commercial iPhone unlocking solution, have announced an unlock solution for phones running software v1.1.1, as well as an “unbricking” process for iPhone owners who saw their previously unlocked devices rendered inoperable by the 1.1.1 software update. It is worth noting that the solutions being offered by iPhoneSimFree rely on the same TIFF exploit used in the new “jailbreak” process; this exploit, found in MobileSafari, also poses a security risk, and as such is likely to be “fixed” by Apple in a future software update.

Apple: No set date for French iPhone launch

Apple has told Thompson Financial News that while the iPhone is scheduled to launch in Germany and the UK on Nov. 9, it has “not announced any other country launch dates in Europe.” This statement follows remarks made by France Telecom CEO Didier Lombard that the group has signed a contract with Apple to make Orange the distributor of the iPhone in France and that the device’s French launch would take place “during November.” Prior to this, several press reports had appeared claiming there was a dispute impeding contract talks; also, it was reported that a French law calling for sales of both a locked and unlocked version of the iPhone might pose a challenge for negotiators.

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