H2O Audio has introduced its iFR Sport Combo case for the iPhone. The iFR Sport Combo is a weather and element resistant made form durable polycarbonate, and features a unique flip, swivel and stow case lid that provides complete access to all iPhone menu functions. The case also includes a quick-fit sport armband with a dual D-ring design that “comfortably fits all arm sizes under or over jackets and coats,” and also provides built-in cord management. “Apple’s new iPhone has set a new standard in mobile communications. Its multi-function format has people wanting to take their phone with them literally everywhere they go, which can present significant risks to the units,” said Kristian Rauhala, CEO of H2O Audio. “We recognized the need to have impact and element resistant protection for iPhones and have designed a completely new product that ensures secure protection covering everyday use as well as trips to the ski slopes or jogs in the rain.” The H2O Audio iFR Sport Combo for iPhone is available now and sells for $40.
Apple plans to roll out TV shows on the iTunes Store in Canada this week, according to an Ars Technica report. Citing unnamed sources, the report claims that Apple plans to quietly begin adding shows to the store, possibly as early as today, with an official launch and announcement expected on Wednesday, provided things go as planned. Content from CBC, CTV, and several U.S. networks is expected to be available at launch, with NHL games being mentioned as possibility for the future. Apple has yet to comment on the story.
Apple has officially raised its sales limit on iPhones from two- to five-per-person. In October, Apple imposed a two-per-person sales limit on the iPhone in hopes of discouraging customers from reselling the phones, and to help reduce strains on inventory heading into the holiday shopping season. The sales limit was raised in both the U.S. and U.K., however, cash-only iPhone sales are still prohibited.
Blue Raven Technology has introduced its new Maestro 2020 and Maestro 2040 Bluetooth iPod Speaker Systems. The Maestro 2020 and 2040 share a common design of two magnetically-shielded speakers in separate housings, with built-in Bluetooth technology. The 2020 offers 20 watts of digital audio power and the 2040 provides 40 watts, both in the Bluetooth and the regular models. Frequency response is also slightly improved on the 2040 model. Other features include an auxiliary input, an included remote, and an optional sub-woofer. For those seeking a non-Bluetooth solution, both models are available with an integrated iPod Dock instead of Bluetooth, for a reduced price. The Blue Raven Maestro 2020 and 2040 are available in black, white or red; the Bluetooth 2020 sells for $200, the Dock version for $170, the Bluetooth 2040 for $300, and the Dock 2040 for $230.
Despite its lack of Exchange support, push email (other than Yahoo!), and 3G wireless, the iPhone is gaining ground in the business world, according to a Reuters report. Recently, software maker SAP announced that it will introduce a version of its upcoming customer relationship management software for the iPhone before releasing versions for Blackberry phones and Palm devices. “It’s fun,” Mike de la Cruz, senior VP with SAP, said. “It’s so popular.” According to Bob Stutz, SAP senior vice president in charge of developing customer relationship management software, the reason for the move was internal demand for the software, with SAP’s salespeople saying that the iPhone was easier to use. “This isn’t necessarily iPhone deployment by way of the IT department, but it’s by people who really want to use this device and IT is responding in a really positive way,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with market research firm Jupiter Research.
According to the article, the iPhone still faces challenges in the business market, mainly due to its lack of corporate push email support and its virtual keyboard. These challenges can be overcome, the article suggests, by adding support for Microsoft’s Exchange server, as well as adding tactile feedback to the phone’s keyboard. “What really made the iPod take off was when they made it compatible with Windows. So if they made the iPhone compatible with Windows e-mail, meaning Outlook, that would really make sales take off,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research. “If they get those pieces together, it would make iPhone a much stronger competitor.”
Contour Design has introduced its Showcase nano v3 and Showcase touch cases for the iPod nano (with video) and iPod touch. The cases are made from shock absorbing rubber and clear polycarbonate, offering dual-layer protection. Other features include a hinged door, a hinged Dock Connector port protector, a removable, multi-position belt clip, a press-through hold switch cover on the touch model, and a play-through Click Wheel protector on the nano v3. “The Showcase is our flagship case, and we wanted these to perfectly complement the newest iPods,” said Mike Jackle of Contour Design. “These Showcases take our designs and features to the next level, using the dual layers of rubber and polycarbonate in ways we never have before.” The Contour Showcase nano v3 and Showcase touch are available now and sell for $30 and $35, respectively.
SmugMug, a photo and video sharing website, has launched several new features, including video playback support on the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as iPod-formatted video downloads. The company now offers dynamic resizing of photos, a feature it calls “SmugMungous,” which allows for easier viewing on devices with different resolutions and screen sizes, such as the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition, SmugMug is now accepting high definition 720p video uploads, which are automatically encoded in three sizes — Web, iPod/DVD, and HiDef — for different viewing situations. Also new is the ability to export your video collections as iTunes-friendly video podcasts, as well as a update to the service’s iPhone/iPod touch interface that allows users to browse and playback videos through Quicktime. [via TechCrunch]
Next month, separate trade shows in Las Vegas (CES) and San Francisco (Macworld Expo) will serve as the unveiling grounds for the latest and greatest iPod and iPhone accessories, software, and services. As always, iLounge will be covering the announcements as they happen, and issuing our annual Best of Show Awards to the cream of the crop.
In order to help additional companies participate in our awards, we are publishing our eligibility guidelines—previously e-mailed to vendors on our subscription list—at the Additional Details and Comments link below. Our submission deadline is December 28, 2007, and our bright line rule is that “only newly announced products that are being demonstrated in working form at a booth at the 2008 CES and/or 2008 Macworld Expo are eligible for consideration. Products announced or released prior to CES are not eligible.” Read on for further details.
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Several retailers in the Sim Lim Square shopping center in Singapore, as well as some local online outlets, have ceased sales of unlocked iPhones following legal threats from Apple. According to The Straits Times, retailers in the area say that Apple threatened in an email to pursue legal action against them should they continue to sell illegally unlocked iPhones, which could make them liable for penalties of up to $1000 for each phone sold. “For a couple of tens of dollars, it’s not worth breaching the law for,” said one online retailer, who told the paper that the email was a factor in its decision to stop reselling the devices. Despite a check of 12 electronics and cellphone retailers in Sim Lim that saw not one openly offering the iPhone, a single store did indicate that the device could be “brought in” for interested customers.
Incoming O2 chief Matthew Key has said that iPhone sales are currently in line with expectations and that in time, three out of four iPhone buyers will be new O2 customers, coming from other networks. “Over time, three out of four customers of the iPhone will be new O2 customers, because you can only get the iPhone by becoming a customer of O2,” Key told reporters in London. Key, who is set to take over as CEO of O2 when Peter Erskine steps down at the beginning of 2008, declined to reveal exact iPhone sales figures. Key also suggested that the good relationship between O2 and Apple might speed up the product’s arrival in Spain, most likely as Telefonica as the carrier.
A newly-published Apple patent application covering “techniques for providing input to interactive and multitasking applications” also hints at the possibility of games for the iPhone and iPod touch. The patent describes a multi-touch control scheme that would present users with two applications at once: one being the game itself, the second being some other type of application. Specific regions on the screen would be assigned to each application, allowing the user to control both depending on what part of the screen they touch. The patent specifically mentions a “game input area” and a “game scene,” and also mentions how the technology might be used for in-game control: “Input can be provided in a simple and more intuitive manner by effectively allowing the user to interact with the input area in a way that mimics or approximates a desired action (e.g., moving a ball or bat around by inputting a rotational movement). Examples of such interaction include positional, directional (e.g., rotational), press or pressure input (or movement) which can easily be provided by a thumb or a finger, for example, on a touch screen.” Despite the seemingly direct mentions of multi-touch gaming found in the patent, it is still uncertain whether Apple will leverage this technology to offer games on the iPhone and iPod touch. [via Infinite Loop]
Tunewear has announced that it is now shipping its new Prie TouchStand case for the iPod touch. The TouchStand is a black leather case with a flip cover that folds back to allow access to the touch’s screen and home button, and features a magnetic closure, included Tunefilm protective film, and a unique clip that can be rotated into seven different positions, and can also be set in a fixed, open position converting the case into a viewing stand. The Tunewear Prie TouchStand for iPod touch is available now and sells for $30.
Extended Access has introduced the BudCase, an earphone case designed to attach to a key ring. Made of neoprene, the BudCase offers an inner pocket for securing a pair of earphones inside the case, a velcro closure for easy access, and a simple clip for attaching to a key ring, purse, bag, etc. “After getting frustrated with not being able to listen to the music on my iPhone because I would always forget to bring my ear buds, it inspired me,” said Chris Dawson, CEO of Extended Access. “Now whenever I want to listen to my iPhone, I simply pull out my keys and presto! My ear buds are ready to go!” The BudCase is compatible with most earphones, including those included with the iPhone and iPod, and is available now in four colors for $15.
Samsung, one of Apple’s main iPod component suppliers, has announced that it will unveil two new parts designed for “mobile consumer devices” in January, coinciding with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. First is the world’s first 1.3-inch hard drive, a size that is smaller than the 1.8” drives found in current iPod classic models; second is its 32 Gbit (4GB) NAND memory chip, which will not only increase the capacity of portable devices, but feature improvements to make it twice as fast as previous models. It is unknown if the new 1.3-inch drive will appear in a future iPod model, however, as Samsung is one of Apple’s main NAND memory vendors, it is highly likely that the new 32 Gbit NAND modules will appear in higher-capacity, flash-based iPods, iPhones, and/or Macintosh computers sometime next year.
SwitchEasy has announced the immediate availability of its new Capsule and VisionClip for iPhone, CapsuleTouch and CapsuleTouch UltraBlack for iPod touch, and Silicon Biscuits for iPod nano (with video). The Capsule for iPhone is a two-piece, slide-together hard polycarbonate case that features a built-in case lock and includes colored, non-adhesive screen protectors, a matching Dock Connector protector, a matching headphone adapter, a video stand, and a Universal Dock Adapter allowing users to dock the iPhone while still in its case. It sells for $30. The CapsuleTouch and CapsuleTouch UltraBlack for iPod touch offer similar designs and accessories, save for the addition of Ultra Jet Black tinted screen film, which is included with the UltraBlack Special Edition CapsuleTouch. The standard CapsuleTouch sells for $25, while the UltraBlack edition runs $27. The VisionClip is a clip-on holster designed to be used with an iPhone inside a Capsule case. It offers a 180 degree rotating belt clip and a unique window designed to allow users to see the time and incoming call information when the iPhone is positioned in the case face-down. It sells for $15. Finally, Silicon Biscuits for iPod nano (with video) are made from high-quality silicone and feature a playful, biscuit-inspired design, a Lexan polycarbonate screen guard, and an included Dock Connector protector. Available in six different colors, Silicon Biscuits for iPod nano sell for $10 each.
CoverCase has introduced its new CoverCase and Slip Hard Leather Cases for iPhone, as well as its Leather CoverCase for iPod touch. The Leather CoverCase for iPod touch and iPhone as a hand-stitched leather case featuring cut-outs for access to all controls and ports, a flip-up screen cover, suede lining, and an included screen protector. The Leather CoverCase for iPhone comes with a removable belt clip and sells for $20, while the iPod touch model features an integrated, leather-covered belt clip and sells for $15. The Slip Hard Leather Case for iPhone is a handcrafted sleeve-style case made from Napa leather with a rigid insert, featuring suede lining and a special stitching designed not to scratch the device. It sells for $15. All three cases are available now.
Boomwave has announced its new Bearaphim and Diablo Spectrum cases for the iPod nano (with video), and its Diablo case for iPod classic. Bearaphim cases for the iPod nano sport a design that mixes teddy bear-like ears and angel-style wings in one of three colors — red, black, or pink. Diablo Spectrum cases are also available in red, black, or pink, and feature ornamental “horns” and a matching tail. The Diablo case for iPod classic features a similar design, and is available in black or white. All three cases are made from high grade silicone, offer access to the iPod’s controls and ports, and include both a screen protector and a neck strap with an aluminum hook. Boomwave Bearaphim and Diablo Spectrum cases for the iPod nano (with video) sell for $16 each, while the Diablo for iPod classic retails for $20; all three are available now.
Nokia has introduced its Comes With Music program, which enables users to purchase a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to “millions of tracks” from Universal Music Group. “We set out to create the music experience that people are telling us they are looking for - all the music they want in the form of unlimited downloads to their mobile device and PC,” said Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Multimedia for Nokia.
The New York Police Department is handing out iPods filled with subject matter including criminal procedure, New York State Penal Law, warrants, ethics and community policing to academy recruits to allow them to listen to and watch coursework on the subway. “Now a recruit can watch a class on ‘search and seizure’ while going home on the subway,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement.
V-Moda has announced the addition of five colors to its Vibe Duo, Vibe, and Bass Freq earphone lines. Vibe Duo is now available in new Chrome and Gunmetal Rouge, the Vibe in new Midnight Blue, and the Bass Freq collection in Jaded and Rouge to match the new green and (PRODUCT) Red Special Edition iPod nano and shuffle.
Google has announced its list of the fastest-rising search terms in the US in 2007, with the iPhone topping the list. “iPhone, of course, is a word very few people typed in a search box in 2006,” said Marissa Mayer of Google. “It didn’t exist.” The iPhone also topped Google’s list of the fastest-rising global search terms.
Mediafour has announced its Holiday Prize Pack giveaway. From now through the end of December, purchasers of the company’s MacDrive 7, XPlay 2, or Media Boss software will be eligible to win one of three prize packs, each specific to the application purchased. Appropriately, the Xplay 2 prize pack includes an iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and an iPod shuffle.
Google has announced the release of a new iPhone web application that integrates the company’s services, such as search, Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and more, into a single, iPhone and iPod touch-friendly interface. Google says that the new application takes advantage of browser technologies like AJAX that allow for Gmail and Google Maps on the desktop, stating, “In supporting these advances in web technology, the iPhone’s Safari browser not only delivers an excellent mobile Internet experience; it enabled our product and engineering teams to create an optimal Google experience on a mobile device.” To access the new application, simply visit google.com on an iPhone or iPod touch.
Apple has quietly donated more than 100 iPods to students in the Poway school district, near San Diego, CA, who lost their homes during the October wildfires. Poway resident Steve Boyack asked Apple for the donation, thinking about the high school students who were affected. “The idea came up because of our experience in the past, helping with fire relief,” said Boyack. “It seemed like the high school kids were being left out. Having four boys, I thought what would be nice for the kids, and I thought iPods are an accessory most kids like and can’t live without.” Boyack said that Apple now plans to expand the program to the entire county, and that it didn’t want any publicity. “It was strictly from the heart and just wanting to help,” he said.