Deutsche Telekom, the German parent company of T-Mobile, said over the weekend that it had signed up 70,000 iPhone customers since the device’s launch in Germany on November 9, 2007. “The iPhone is by far the most sold multimedia device in T-Mobile’s portfolio,” said Philipp Humm, head of T-Mobile Germany, in an interview published on T-Mobile’s in-house Internet web site. Earlier this month, the iPhone’s French carrier, Orange, said that it sold more than 70,000 iPhones in the first month of availability; Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during his keynote address on Jan. 15 that the company has sold more than four million iPhones worldwide.
Amazon has announced it will begin an international rollout of its Amazon MP3 DRM-free MP3 digital music store sometime in 2008. Recently, the company announced the addition of music from Sony BMG to Amazon MP3, making it the first digital music store to offer DRM-free songs from all four of the major music labels. “We have received thousands of e-mails from Amazon customers around the world asking us when we will make Amazon MP3 available outside of the U.S. They can’t wait to choose from the biggest selection of high-quality, low-priced DRM-free MP3 music downloads which play on virtually any music device they own today or will own in the future,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President of Digital Music. “We are excited to tell those customers today that Amazon MP3 is going international this year.” Amazon did not disclose a specific launch timeline for its individual international sites.
A new Apple patent application recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office suggests that the company may be planning to introduce illuminated touch pads in future iPod models. Patent application 20080018617, titled “Illuminated touch pad,” describes an “illuminated input device” comprised of “an object sensing mechanism capable of sensing a user input over an input surface; and a visual feedback system configured to illuminate the input surface in association with a user input.”
Sierra Sound has announced availability of an updated version of its iN Studio 5.0 Smart Speakers featuring an Apple Authentication Chip, allowing for video-out functionality when using the latest model iPods — specifically, the iPod classic, iPod nano (with video), and iPod touch. “The concept of a Smart Speaker includes providing the features and functionality necessary to fully enjoy the capabilities of the Apple iPod. By quickly integrating the authentication chip into our product line we have shown our true commitment to being a made for iPod partner and iPod owners that want the most from their digital music players,” said Lamar Green, President of Sierra Sound.
A new web application for iPhone and iPod touch, iHaloStats, allows Halo 3 players access to their game statistics, including service record, medals, weapon use, and rank history, from their portable device. To access the application, visit iHaloStats.com from an iPhone or iPod touch.
FRED has introduced a new set of desktop speakers inspired by the original-design iPod earphones. The 500XL speakers are supposedly 500 times the size of the original iPod earbuds in volume, and feature a built-in amplifier, as well as the ability to run off battery, AC, or USB power. Pricing is not yet available. [via Ars]
GizMac has introduced two new cases for the iPod nano (with video). The Aluminate is a hybrid case for iPod nano made from a combination of aluminum and polycarbonate. The front of the case is thin, colored aluminum, while the back is clear polycarbonate. Features include built-in screen and Click Wheel protection, and an included lanyard and carabiner clip. The DuraSport is a silicone case for the iPod nano featuring Click Wheel protection, a clear plastic face shield for screen protection, side grips, and an included lanyard, carabiner, and armband with velcro closure. “GizMac is quickly expanding our product lines to offer a wider variety of iPod accessories” explained Ken Vitto, Marketing Director for GizMac Accessories. “The Aluminate and DuraSport iPod Nano cases bring more choices to our customers.” The GizMac Aluminate and DuraSport cases for iPod nano will be available in two-packs with attachments, and will sell for $30 when they become available in early February.
Since last week’s release of new 1.1.3 software for the iPhone and iPod touch, a number of users, including iLounge editors, have experienced serious problems when trying to update the devices. In some cases, the update appears to have been completed successfully, but renders the devices inoperable, leaving them stuck in recovery mode. When an attempt is made to restore the devices, one of several dialog boxes (pictured below) pops up and says the device can not be restored due to an unknown error.
In addition to user-submitted complaints and questions, many reports of similar problems and errors have appeared on Apple Support’s discussion boards. Some users have been able to recover the iPods or iPhones after deleting and re-installing iTunes or past software update files, but other users have tried these methods without success, finding no alternative but to return the non-functioning units to Apple. Many of the messages are more frantic than this one, left by SinclairZX81: “My iPhone is now permanently stuck in ‘recovery mode.’ Restore fails with unknown error (9). Help.”
It is worth noting that our editors have experienced problems updating both iPod touch and iPhone hardware that has never been jailbroken or otherwise altered; one iPhone that failed to update on its first attempt succeeded on a subsequent attempt, but an iPod touch has remained incapable of being restored despite multiple attempts on different computers. Apple has yet to respond to iLounge’s request for comment on the issue.
Tunewear has announced that its Prie Ambassador case for iPhone is now available in four new color combinations. The Ambassador is made from leather, and features white contrast stitching, a magnetic side latch, a slim card holder, and an integrated Tunewear removable metal hook. It also offers full access to all ports and controls, and comes with a Tunefilm clear screen protector. The Tunewear Prie Ambassador for iPhone is now available in traditional black with white stitching, black with red stitching, gold, gold with white stitching, and silver, and sells for $60.
A software-based jailbreak update for iPhone software version 1.1.3 has been released. Jailbreaking an iPhone makes it possible for unathorized, third-party applications to be installed on the iPhone. This new jailbreak requires that the user have a previously-jailbroken iPhone running software version 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 with Installer.app installed and a Windows computer. According to reports, unlocked phones appear to remain unlocked following the jailbreak/update; however, this new jailbreak method will not unlock an iPhone — it will only update a previously jailbroken unit to version 1.1.3.
Update: Following the initial release of the iPhone 1.1.3 jailbreak software, the group responsible for most of the software’s development claimed that the software had been released against its wishes, and ejected the member responsible for the early release. iPhone Dev Team member Jonathan Zdziarski has posted an update on the situation, explaining that the initial release by former member Nate True “included both files belonging to Apple and patches which contain copyrighted information by Apple, making his personal release illegal and unethical.” The iPhone Dev Team has since released its official 1.1.3 jailbreak, which functions on both the iPhone and iPod touch, and is performed on the device itself. In addition, another jailbreak application, iJailBreak, has been released in both a computer-based form (iJailBreak), and in a device-centered form (iJailBreakMobile) which allows users of jailbroken iPhone and iPod touch units running firmware 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 to update their devices using Installer.app.
Alesis, has introduced three new iPod-compatible audio products, including a new PA system and two new recording devices. The TransActive Mobile is a portable PA system with an integrated iPod Dock. It features features a rechargeable 12-hour battery, aluminum construction, a high-efficiency amplifier, the ability to use music from the iPod as a backing track for attached instruments, and four inputs for connecting microphones, electric or bass guitars, keyboards or CD/MP3 players. TransActive Mobile also includes a professional-quality microphone, and is available now for $599.
The Alesis iMultiMix 16 USB is a tabletop mixer and recorder that features 100 28–bit digital effects, a built–in limiter, and an integrated iPod dock with control wheel transport controls for direct–to–iPod recording. Other features include iPod playback w/mixing capability, four high-gain mic/line preamps, 48V phantom power, 16-Bit / 44.1kHz and 48kHz recording to computer, two guitar mic/line inputs, aux sends and returns, and a 3-band per channel EQ with high/low shelving and mid band pass/reject. The iMultiMix 16 USB includes Steinberg Cubase LE 4 recording software, and will be available in Q2 for $799.
Finally, the Alesis MultiPort is a compact standalone recorder for the iPod. It features built-in level meters, headphone monitoring, integrated iPod controls, balanced inputs, 1/4” stereo outputs, and phantom power. It can also playback from the iPod while recording, and is compatible with iPod classic, fifth-generation iPods, and second- and third-generation iPod nanos. The Alesis MultiPort will also be available in Q2; pricing has yet to be determined.
Based upon figures released by Apple and its iPhone partner companies, then analyzed by iLounge, up to 35% of iPhones sold to date may have been purchased with the intent to unlock. According to Apple, slightly over 3.7 million of the handsets were sold in 2007, while its primary service partner AT&T today announced that it ended the year with “just at or slightly under 2 million iPhone customers.” Additionally, though the phone’s European carriers O2, Orange, and T-Mobile have not released official iPhone sales figures, estimates place their unit sales at or below the low end of their targets, suggesting that cumulative European sales now total 300,000-400,000, for a liberal estimate of 2.4 million.
Even if all of these customers kept their iPhones locked to these carriers, this number would leave around 1.3 million iPhones unaccounted for—approximately 35% of total iPhone sales in 2007. Although it is possible that a large number of customers who received the devices over the holidays might not have activated them by the end of the year, the number would not likely push the overall percentage below 33%, or one-third of all iPhones sold during the year. In addition, not all iPhones sold in Europe were sold locked, as both Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany offered unlocked versions of the phone, albeit at much higher prices than their locked counterparts. It is presently unknown as to how many of the officially unlocked phones were sold.
To date, Apple has been unable to supply a concrete metric on how many handsets were being sold with intent to unlock. However, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, speaking during the company’s Q1 Financial Results Conference Call, said that the company believed the number to be “significant.”
Apple has added new TV shows and video offerings to the UK iTunes Store, including several video shorts of the stop motion animation duo Wallace and Gromit, and episodes of eight different Warner Bros. TV shows, including Friends, Wonder Woman, V: The Complete Series, Babylon 5, West Wing, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Martin. The episodes are priced at £1.89 each and are available now. [via TUAW]
Apple has lowered its projected second quarter shipments of the iPhone from two million units to around 1-1.2 million units, according to a new report. Citing sources at Apple’s handset component suppliers in Taiwan, China’s Economic Daily News reports that sales of the iPhone in Europe have been lower than expected, leading Apple to reduce its shipping estimates for its fiscal second quarter. Reporting its first quarter financial results earlier this week, Apple revealed that it sold 2.315 million iPhones in the quarter; it gave no specific unit guidance on expected second quarter iPhone sales or shipments, except to state that it remains “very confident” in its ability to hit its goal of 10 million units sold by the end of 2008.
Despite reports that IBM planned to introduce a version of its Lotus Notes e-mail client for the iPhone this week at the Lotusphere conference, the company says it is not ready to release the software. “It’s not something that (is) ready to go out and market or launch,” an IBM spokesperson said. The software is expected to allow iPhone users access to the full range of Notes tools, including e-mail, calendars and databases.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs once again took only $1 in salary from the company in 2007, a tradition dating back to the co-founder’s return in 1997. Jobs did gain $14.6 million on paper over the year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, by exercising stock options that were about to expire. According to Apple’s proxy report, Jobs has accumulated around 5.5 million shares Apple stock in the last ten years, worth an estimated $730 million.
Handmark has launched Pocket Express Travel, a new web application for iPhone. Pocket Express Travel for the iPhone and iPod Touch gives users on-the-go access to accurate airline schedules and flight statuses, detailed hotel information and books from Hotels.com, dozens of click-to-call travel numbers for airlines, rental car agencies, and more, a 24/7 round-the-clock travel reservations service, automatic conversions for 164 global currencies, and exclusive travel commentaries. To access the service, visit pocketexpress.com from an iPhone or iPod touch.
Shana Logic has introduced its new Squid iPhone Case. The slim, sleeve-style case is handmade from red vinyl and features red side stitching and a distressed pattern that reveals a squid design, which carries from the front to the rear of the case. The Shana Logic Squid iPhone Case is available for pre-order now for $25 and is expected to begin shipping on February 6.
Case-mate has announced several new cases, including a Gold & Diamond case for the iPhone and Carbon Fiber Leather cases for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic. The Gold & Diamond iPhone Case is handcrafted with 42 diamonds totaling 3.5 karats set in 18K gold, embedded in a gold carbon fiber leather case. The case is an open-face design, offering full access to the iPhone’s touch screen and home button, as well as the headphone jack, volume and sleep/wake buttons, and ring/silent switch. The case also includes full face screen protection, and utilizes an interior impact resistant plastic shell. The Case-mate Gold & Diamond iPhone Case is available for pre-order now and sells for $20,000.
Case-mate’s line of Carbon Fiber Leather cases for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic feature impact resistant molded shells, wrapped in black carbon fiber leather, included screen protection, open-face designs and cut-out access to all controls. The iPhone version of the case also includes a matching holster with ratcheting belt clip. Case-mate Carbon Fiber Leather Cases for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic are available for pre-order now and sell for $90, $50, and $50, respectively.
Great design often appears inevitable. It’s not. Virtually every great product is the result of dozens of half-formed ideas, intentional choices, and plenty of prototypes. What better illustrations of this than the iPod and iPhone, products that had been done before by other companies, but were polished by Apple’s designers into museum-class works of art?
iPod fans have proved willing to pay a premium for great design, but over the last couple of years, things have changed: 9 out of every 10 iPod products is a boring clone of something that came before. It’s almost impossible to find real standouts with so much garbage to sift through.
So today, we’re launching iDesign, a series of feature articles that will begin by spotlighting the key design features of a strikingly unique product or family of products, initially without any involvement from the creators or vendors. We pick the items worthy of spotlighting fully on merit, with nothing else as a consideration; you’ll see each article at the same time as the designers do. Then, if possible, we’ll publish a second part to each article—an interview with the people behind the design. In this way, we hope to reward impressive products and designers, rather than focusing as much on the junk out there.
Our first subject: V-Moda’s Vibe earphones, which for the last year have used eye-grabbing metal shells to create some of the most fashionable listening devices available anywhere in the world. Click here for the inaugural edition of iDesign: the Art of V-Moda’s Vibe Earphones.
Maximo Products has introduced two new headsets for the iPhone: the iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset, and the iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset. The iP-HS1 is an earbud-style iPhone-compatible headset that features a lightweight alloy metal body, an in-line condenser mic, an in-line soft-touch button for phone and music control, and high-fidelity stereo earphones. The iP-HS2 is an in-ear-style iPhone compatible headset that also features a lightweight alloy metal body, an in-line condenser mic, an in-line soft-touch button for phone and music control, as well as high-fidelity, in-ear isolating earphones, and three included sets of eartips. The Maximo iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset and iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset both include carrying pouches, and are available now for $70 each.
Blogger and noted iPhone hacker Nate True has gotten to examine the latest iPhone software, version 1.1.3, on a deeper level, and found it to be “ready for official installable applications.” According to True, the iPhone’s home screen application, SpringBoard, no longer needs modification to show extra applications in the /Applications folder. In addition, all applications now run as the user “mobile” instead of root, and preferences are now stored in /var/mobile rather than in /var/root. In Mac OS X and most UNIX variants, running applications as the root user can be a security risk; running apps as a lesser user creates a sort of sandbox for the applications that keeps them from accessing certain parts of the operating system, including system-level files. True also claims that the developer frameworks have undergone many changes, perhaps to “make it easier for official SDK developers to make programs,” and that the SpringBoard app appears to have gained widget support, via a class called SBWidgetApplication which manages the package location and icon. Apple has said that an official SDK for the iPhone and iPod touch will be released in February.
Bird Electron has introduced its EZ17-B Recycling Speaker for iPod. The EZ17-B is a speaker panel featuring two speakers that is designed to sit flush inside the open end of iPod nano or iPod shuffle packaging. The speaker does not require an external power source, and connects to the iPod via a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Bird-Electron EZ17-B Recycling Speaker for iPod is available now and sells for $40. [via TUAW]
During Apple’s Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Apple COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its music-related products, which accounted for 50% of the company’s total revenue in the first fiscal quarter. The average sale price of the iPod during the quarter was $181, up 17 percent year-over-year, largely due to the launch of the iPod touch, which the execs enthusiastically described as a success. More specifically, the iPod touch was described as a product that “has the potential to grow the iPod beyond being just a music player, into the first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform for all kinds of new mobile applications.” Although iPod unit sales were flat year-over-year in the U.S., the company saw the highest revenue growth for iPod in a year, thanks to the iPod touch, which was also a “big hit” in Japan. iPod market share was roughly flat compared with a year ago according to numbers from NPD, but was up internationally.
The Apple TV and iPhone accounted for $1.44 billion in deferred revenue, and total iPhone revenue booked during the quarter came to $241 million. Apple said that although it saw no evidence of the iPhone cannibalizing iPod sales in the UK, France, or Germany, it did admit that the phone “could have been a factor” in the relatively small year-over-year iPod unit growth in the U.S. Additionally, it said that a “significant” amount of iPhones were sold during the quarter with the intent to unlock, but that it doesn’t have a precise number, and considers it “indicative of very strong interest in iPhone globally.” Finally, the company reiterated its intentions to expand the iPhone to more European markets and to Asia in 2008, and that it remains “very confident” in its ability to hit the goal of 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008.
Reporting its first quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 22.1 million iPods during the holiday quarter — a 5 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year, and a new single-quarter record for iPod sales. It also sold 2.315 million iPhones in the quarter, bringing the total number of units sold up to around 3.7 million. The company posted revenue of $9.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share in Q1 2007. These results best analysts’ predictions, which called for revenue of $9.5 billion and earnings of $1.5 billion, or $1.62 per share. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 27% over the year-ago quarter, and up 34% from Q4 2007, to $808 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories.
“We’re thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks.”
“Apple’s revenue grew 35 percent year-over-year to $9.6 billion, an increase of almost $2.5 billion over the previous December quarter’s record-breaking results,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Our strong results produced cash flow from operations of over $2.7 billion during the quarter, yielding an ending cash balance of over $18.4 billion. Looking ahead to the second quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $6.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $.94.”
Apple will report its results for the first fiscal quarter 2008 later this afternoon, and will also offer a webcast of the conference call discussing the results that will begin at 5pm ET.
Travelocity has announced the launch of its new web application for iPhone and iPod touch users. The application allows users to manage their itineraries by getting up-to-the-minute information on flight status, TSA security point wait times, local weather, maps, traffic and airport driving directions. To access the new web app, visit iphone.travelocity.com on an iPhone or iPod touch.
Conice has introduced a new 6x optical zoom attachment for the iPhone (pictured). The lens attaches to the phone via an included clear protective case, weighs 4.69 ounces, and is avialable now for $15. [via Mobile Magazine]
iPodPortugal has announced a change in format, from an iPod-related blog to an iPod-related forum. The site has moved all previous postings to the forum, and has also added new sections where visitors can discuss “music, movies, [the] Mac world, and just chill-out.” The new iPodPortugal can be found at ipodportugal.com/forum.