Gamila has introduced its Mila Bikini Skins cases and Art Jackets for the first- and second-generation iPod nano, fifth-generation iPod, and iPod classic. Mila Bikini Skin cases are made from a stretchable polyurethane material, and feature a design that wraps over the top and bottom of the iPod, leaving the middle mostly exposed. The cases also feature two “connection points” for attaching other accessories like the included lanyard, car clip, or headphone reel. Mila Art Jackets are designed to complement the Bikini Skins by allowing the cases to “snap” onto the inside of the jacket, providing extra protection. The Art Jackets also come in a variety of colors with different artwork and designs on the exterior. Gamila Mila Bikini Skins sell for $15 each, Mila Art Jackets sell for $15 each, or $25 for a Jacket and Bikini Skin; all are available now.
Orange, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in France, has announced that it sold 30,000 of the devices in the first five days of availability. According to the carrier, 48 percent of iPhone sales lead to a new Orange line subscription, and 80 percent of customers sign up for an “Orange for iPhone” plan at the same time. Orange sells the iPhone for 399 euros with a two-year contract, or 749 euros unlocked. “This is a very good score, especially as one in two iPhone purchases is accompanied by a new Orange line subscription”, said Louis-Pierre Wenes, Executive Director in charge of France operations. “This confirms that the iPhone will make an active contribution to the acquisition of new customers”, he added.
DLO has introduced an updated version of its TuneStik FM Transmitter for iPod. The TuneStik consists of a FM transmitter that connects to the iPod’s Dock Connector, and a RF remote control designed to clip onto a car’s steering wheel. The updated version of TuneStik offers a display on the remote control that allows users to see and change FM frequencies more easily. In addition, the TuneStik also features a pass-through Dock Connector on the bottom of the FM transmitter to allow for connection of other iPod accessories. “With the new and improved TuneStik, we’ve taken an incredibly unique product and made it even better, ” said Andrew Green, vice president of marketing at DLO. “TuneStik gives you both a wireless FM transmitter as well as an RF remote control. And the added display screen enables users to change frequencies without taking their hands off the wheel.” The updated DLO TuneStik with remote is available now and sells for $60.
According to the latest browser marketshare report from Net Applications, the iPhone and iPod touch have attained a .1 percent share of browser usage, besting Microsoft’s Windows CE platform, which has a .06 percent share of the market. Microsoft has been selling Windows CE devices since 1996, and according to Gartner shipped more than three million of the devices in Q1 2007. According to Computerworld, if the iPhone maintains this rate of growth, it could be the third largest computing platform “by the end of next year.” Separately, the iPhone holds a .09 percent share of browser usage, while the iPod touch represents .01 percent of the market.
PDO has announced the immediate availability of its Flipp Leather Case for iPod classic and iPod touch. The Flipp Leather Case is designed with a protective flip-back front cover with magnetic closure, and “uses rigid construction to protect the edges and bottom corners” on the iPod classic model. Both cases feature cut-out access to all ports and controls, integrated metal belt clips, and include screen protectors. The PDO Flipp Leather Case for iPod touch and the PDO Flipp Leather Case for iPod classic are both available now and sell for $30 each.
Inspired by the popular Brain Age for Nintendo DS, Gameloft S.A. today released Brain Challenge as an iPod Game for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod nano (video) and iPod classic. The $4.99 title includes 20 mini-games designed to provide “brain activity maintenance,” spread throughout Visual, Memory, Logic, Math, and Focus challenges, which can be randomly presented in 15 minute doses of five games for three minutes each.
Apple and Twentieth Century Fox are working on a deal to offer the studio’s new releases and back titles through iTunes beginning early next year, according to a New York Times report. The report, citing Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield, states that Apple has relented and has agreed to a higher wholesale price (estimated to be around $15) for movies. The report also states that pressure from Amazon, which also sells downloads from Fox and other studios, may have effected Apple’s decision. According to the article, the studios are also hoping to create “premium” versions of DVDs that include an iPod-formatted copy of the movie. Twentieth Century Fox recently tried something similar with the DVD release of “Live Free or Die Hard,” which includes a digital copy of the movie protected with Microsoft’s Plays For Sure DRM.
A German court has ruled that T-Mobile can make customers who buy the iPhone take out a T-Mobile contract as well and may continue to offer the device with a locked SIM card. This ruling comes two weeks after rival Vodafone obtained a preliminary injunction against T-Mobile prohibiting the carrier from selling iPhones that are locked to its network, leading T-Mobile to offer unlocked iPhones for 999 euros. It is unknown whether T-Mobile will continue sales of unlocked phones following the ruling.
mStation has introduced its new mophie-branded Juice Pack extended battery for iPhone. The Juice Pack is a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, set in a holster-style iPhone case with a pass-through Dock Connector on the bottom for connecting other accessories while the Juice Pack is in use. According to mStation, the Juice Pack offers iPhone owners up to 250 hours of standby time, up to 24 hours of audio playback, eight hours of talk time, seven hours of video playback, and up to six hours of internet use. The mStation mophie Juice Pack extended battery for iPhone is available for pre-order now for $100; it is expected to begin shipping Dec. 21.
New York-based Klausner Technologies has filed suit against Apple and AT&T over the iPhone’s Visual Voicemail feature, claiming patent infringement and seeking $360 million in damages and future royalties. In a statement, Klausner said it believes the iPhone “violates Klausner’s intellectual-property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve voice messages via the iPhone’s inbox display.” The company also claims that founder Judah Klausner was “the inventor of the PDA and electronic organizer.” Klausner Technologies has previously filed similar patent-infringement suits against Comcast, Cablevision, and eBay’s Skype VoIP service.
As expected, NBC Universal has pulled its lineup of TV shows from the iTunes Store, including popular offerings such as The Office and Scrubs. In August, NBC announced that it would not renew its contract with Apple to sell its television shows on the iTunes Store; the contract expired over the weekend. Some shows airing on NBC but produced by other studios remain, such as Chuck, which is produced by Warner Bros. According to Apple, NBC provided iTunes with three of its ten top-selling shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.
Ten One has introduced the Pogo Stylus, a new pointing tool designed for use with the iPhone and iPod touch. Made from lightweight aluminum alloy with an anodized finish, the Pogo features a tip made from high-tech material that is “precision-formed to the perfect size” for the devices’ on-screen keyboard keys. Ten One also claims that the stylus helps keep the screen “scratch- and smudge-free.” The stylus includes a clip designed to snap around the iPhone or iPod touch, holding the stylus securely on one side of the device. The Ten One Pogo Stylus for iPhone and iPod touch is available now in black, silver, or gunmetal, and sells for $25.
Blue Raven has introduced its new Mail-In Service and Repair Kits for the iPod and iPhone. The Kits are designed to offer a flat-rate for iPod and iPhone service and repairs so consumers know the cost up front. Each kit includes a pre-paid shipping label and a box to mail the product to Blue Raven for repair; the company is promising a three-day turnaround on repairs, and will return the device by way of a two-day freight service. In addition, both iPod and iPhone service includes a free battery replacement. “This service greatly simplifies the iPod/iPhone repair process, making it incredibly easy and fast for consumers to repair out-of-warranty iPods and iPhones,” said Blue Raven’s President Glen Kashgegian. “Blue Raven has been repairing MP3 players, including iPods, since they were first launched, and have the most experience with repairs and spare parts. This service covers everything, short of user abuse, to provide the consumer with essentially a like-new iPod for much less time and money than the alternatives.” Three different versions of the Mail-in Service and Repair Kits will be offered, including the iPod Service and Repair Kit for $130, the factory iPod Replacement Battery Kit for $60, and the iPhone Cracked Screen Repair Kit for $130. The iPod repair kits are available now at national retailers; the iPhone kit will be available in January.
Apple’s most recent software update for the iPod nano and iPod classic, version 1.0.3, has surreptitiously added additional features to the devices’ TV out functionality. Once the software has been installed, the four-option Video Settings menu becomes a five-option list, with prior option Fullscreen On/Off being replaced by TV Screen Standard/Widescreen and Fit to Screen On/Off. The new features are intended to help the iPods output TV-ready video that is properly formatted for the type of display that’s connected, however, your results may vary depending on your TV and its settings.
Once the video is playing, version 1.0.3 restores a feature found in fifth-generation iPods but heretofore not in the iPod classic and iPod nano: an on-screen display (OSD) of your current location in the movie’s timeline, along with a pause indicator. These displays look different and a little more like iTunes’ own video playback scrubber than before; they are accompanied by a battery indicator. Larger images of the new menus and OSD can be found by clicking on the article’s title above, or the pictures and comments link below. The 1.0.3 iPod classic and iPod nano software can be downloaded using the Check for Update feature of iTunes. [Thanks, Lauren!]