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Gameloft releases Naval Battle, Chess & Backgammon iPod games

  • February 5, 2008
  • iPod

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Gameloft S.A. has released two new games for the iPod nano (with video), iPod classic, and fifth-generation iPod. Naval Battle: Mission Commander is a Battleship-style strategy game in which the player positions his/her ships on a grid, and then hunts square-by-square for enemy ships on a similar grid. The game features five original game modes including standard rules and a campaign mode with 18 missions, eight modern high-tech ships with different map sizes and destructive surroundings, and a multiplayer mode. Chess & Backgammon Classics is a two-games-in-one package that includes both classic games. The interface allows users to play both games on either a 2-D or 3-D rendition of the gaming board, with further playing surface customization afforded by different themed skins. The games also feature full help and tutorial systems, as well as move coaching. Gameloft S.A.‘s Naval Battle: Mission Commander and Chess & Backgammon Classics are available now through the iTunes Store and sell for $5 a piece. For more information on Naval Battle or Chess & Backgammon, check out our First Looks articles.

Apple launches 16GB iPhone, 32GB iPod touch [updated]

Apple today announced the release of two new iPhone and iPod touch models, each with double the storage capacity of the previous top-end models. The iPhone now comes in a new 16GB model for $499 (£329 UK), which will be sold alongside the $399 8GB model. Similarly, the iPod touch is now available in a 32GB model for $499 (£329 UK), joining the 16GB model for $399 and the 8GB model for $299. “For some users, there’s never enough memory,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod and iPhone Product Marketing. “Now people can enjoy even more of their music, photos and videos on the most revolutionary mobile phone and best Wi-Fi mobile device in the world.” Both the 16GB iPhone and the 32GB iPod touch are available now.

Update: Our friends at iFun.de report that the 32GB iPod touch is available in Germany for 459€, while the 16GB iPhone will sell for about 499€.

Grace Digital unveils iPod tube amplifier

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Grace Digital has announced its new Lars & Ivan line of high-end audio products, including a new tube amplifier for the iPod. The Hybrid PA-40Ti is a “high performance integrated iPod tube amplifier,” which features a built-in iPod Dock, a four channel input selector, volume control, stereo headphone output, subwoofer output, a remote control, and “high quality” speaker wire connectors. The unit also features a USB port for iPod syncing, as well as video output and the ability to charge the iPod. Output power is rated at 40W RMS. “Most products in this category are either extremely expensive, lack design appeal, or provide poor audio performance,” said Greg Fadul, Grace Digital’s Chief Marketing Officer. “At $449.99 MSRP, the Hybrid Amplifier model 40PaTi offers high end audio performance, unique design and build quality at an affordable price.” To complement the Hybrid amplifier, the company launched two new speaker sets. The Bobo speakers are bookshelf-sized speakers featuring an acrylic front frame and aluminum stand. They will sell for $300/pair, while the Cube S speakers will sell for $500 a pair. The new Lars & Ivan offerings will be available in mid-March.

iPod Access 4.2 adds iPod touch support

Findley Designs has released iPod Access v4.2, the latest version of its iPod music and video transfer application. iPod Access allows users to browse and copy music and audio files from an iPod or iPhone back to the computer or to an external hard drive. New features in version 4.2 include support for the iPod touch, a new iPhone and iPod touch engine, improved iTunes duplicate checking, and improved playlist cloning. Findley Designs iPod Access v4.2 is available now for both Windows and Mac, and sells for $20.

Mix: Wal-Mart, Google, Semi, iPhoneSender

  • February 4, 2008

Wal-Mart’s head of digital media, Kevin Swint, has left the retail giant, and will join Apple this week as head of the company’s international movies and TV efforts. Wal-Mart recently closed its online movie download service, while Apple in January announced intentions to expand its iTunes Movie Rentals service internationally in 2008.

Despite the company’s intentions to build its own cell phone software platform, Google co-president Sergey Brin spoke of his personal experiences using the iPhone during a recent earnings-related conference call. “I was at a conference in Switzerland,” Brin said. “I was able to find a really small hotel, then switch over to the satellite view on my phone to figure out I needed to take a funicular to get up there. It was a really amazing experience.”

iPhone user Mike Beauchamp has posted pictures of his phone, after it was run-over by a semi truck, to photo-sharing site Flickr. In the comments, Beauchamp tells the story of how the phone came to end up on the highway, and his delight in discovering that it was still functional. “As I picked it up and cradled it gently in my hands, I saw the screen displaying my caller ID—the screen still worked! I slid my finger gently over the answer slide and paused as I held the tattered and torn device to my ear—my heart must have skipped a beat when I heard my mom’s voice at the other end of the phone—the phone still worked,” Beauchamp wrote.

Design is Fuel has announced iPhoneSender, a new web browser add-on that allows users of Safari and Firefox to send addresses from their desktop computer to the iPhone via email. The addresses appear as Google Maps links, allowing the user to immediately access the address from the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s Maps application. “While we love the iPhone and its Google Maps application, we still found ourselves printing directions from Google when in a hurry. Why? Because there wasn’t a fast way to get that address and map to our iPhones,” says David DeMember of Design is Fuel. “So we developed iPhoneSender, a model of simplicity.” iPhoneSender is available as a free download from iphonesender.com, and works on both PCs and Macs.

iPhone browser market share on the rise

According to the latest browser market share data from Net Applications, the iPhone gained market share in both December ‘07 and January ‘08. The iPhone had a .12% share of the market in December, compared to a .09% share in November. Its share of the market rose to .17% during the final two days of December, and data shows it had a .13% share of the browser market in January. The iPod touch has also seen its share of the market rise, from .01% in November to .02% in December, and claiming .04% of the market in January. Together, the iPhone and iPod touch accounted for a .17% share of the browser market in January. In addition, Net Applications also investigated the proliferation of the iPhone outside countries where it has seen an official release, and found it to have a presence “in almost every country on Earth.” Net Applications’ data comes from the browsers of “site visitors to its on-demand network of live stats customers,” and is compiled from “approximately 160 million visitors per month.”

iPod production being cut?

  • February 4, 2008
  • iPod

Based on recent checks in Asia, Banc of America has said it believes iPod production is being cut, while iPhone production orders remain volatile. According to the firm, iPod March quarter production numbers appear to have been noticeably reduced, down between 10-20 percent from early January, and down 30 percent or more from early December. The group believes these new figures suggest that Apple may see a 5-10 percent decline in iPod unit sales year-over-year, compared to the company’s forecast for five percent growth year over year, for the March quarter. Banc of America also said that its recent checks indicate that iPhone production has bounced back, following heavy production cuts in December and early January.

PDO giving away 50 iPod, iPhone cases

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PDO is giving away fifty of its TopSkin silicone cases to lucky iLounge readers. Each winner will receive one case in the color of their choice. Eligible prizes include TopSkin cases for iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, fifth-generation iPod, first-, second-, and third-generation iPod nano, and second-generation iPod shuffle. In addition, each case (except for the shuffle model) will include a screen protector, wrist strap, and removable swivel belt clip. To enter the contest, or for official rules, please visit the giveaway page. Good Luck!

iPodweek coming later today

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iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out to our email subscribers later today. In addition to rounding up the week’s top stories, iPodweek also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive iPodweek, there’s still time to register and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address.


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iPhoneDrive 1.4 offers SMS, photo access

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Ecamm Network has released iPhoneDrive 1.4, the latest version of its file management and backup utility for Mac. iPhoneDrive enables iPhone and iPod touch owners to use the devices’ unused storage as they would a disk drive, and also allows access to certain files for backup purposes. New features in version 1.4 include the ability to access and backup call history, SMS messages, and camera photos, as well as the ability to play music stored on the iPhone or iPod touch. IPhoneDrive 1.4 requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later and iTunes 7.3 or later, and sells for $20.

O2 offers ‘bolt ons’ for iPhone plans

O2 is now offering “Bolt Ons” for its iPhone customers. The extras, all of which are priced at £7.50 per month and are meant to supplement existing coverage, include unlimited O2-to-O2 calls, unlimited anytime texts, unlimited weekend calls, unlimited fixed line calls, and an extra 200 anytime minutes. A note on the O2 site says “All our unlimited Bolt Ons are subject to an excessive usage policy.” In addition, the company is also offering “Discount Country” plans for £3 a month, which allow for lower call and text rates to the selected area. Discounts are available for the USA and Canada (9p/min), Australia or New Zealand (14p/min), South Africa, Turkey, India, Pakistan or Bangladesh (28p/min), and China (43p/min). Finally, the company is offering the My Europe Extra add-on, which allows customers to “receive calls for free and make calls to the UK and other included European countries for 25p/min” when traveling in Europe or Spain. My Europe Extra runs £10 per month, while the same coverage in Spain, which is listed separately, runs £5 per month.

FDA: iPods unlikely to interfere with pacemakers

  • February 1, 2008
  • iPod

Contrary to a study presented last May, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration study shows that iPods, and other portable media players, are unlikely to cause cardiac implantable pacemakers to malfunction. FDA researcher Howard Bassen and colleagues tested a variety of iPods, and found they did not produce enough of an electromagnetic field to interfere with installed pacemakers. The researchers used a saline-filled bag to simulate the human body, a coil sensor to pick up electromagnetic emissions, and tested four different iPod models: both a fourth- and fifth-generation iPod, an iPod nano, and an iPod shuffle. “We measured magnetic field emissions with a 3-coil sensor placed within 1 cm (half an inch) of the surface of the player. Highly localized fields were observed (only existing in a one square cm area),” the researchers wrote in a report published in the journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine. “Based on the observations of our in-vitro study we conclude that no interference effects can occur in pacemakers exposed to the iPods we tested.”

Tunewear intros Tuneshell cases for iPod touch, classic, nano 3G

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Tunewear has introduced its new line of Tuneshell hard polycarbonate cases for the iPod touch, iPod classic, and iPod nano (with video). The three models of Tuneshell for iPod nano — Tuneshell, Tuneshell Mirror, and Tuneshell BlackBack — all feature full screen protection, while allowing open access to all ports and controls. The previously announced Tuneshell for iPod nano is made from clear polycarbonate, and includes a lanyard. Tuneshell Mirror features a mirrored front and a matte finished black back plate with built-in clip; Tuneshell BlackBack features the same clip-enabled back, while offering a clear face. Tuneshell for iPod touch is made from clear polycarbonate, offers full access to all ports and controls, including the touch screen, and features holes on the back for attachment of a user-supplied lanyard. Finally, the Tuneshell for iPod classic is available in two sizes to fit both 80GB and 160GB models, is made from clear polycarbonate, and offers built-in screen protection and open access to all ports and controls. Tuneshell for iPod touch, iPod classic, and Tuneshell BlackBack for iPod nano all sell for $25. The standard Tuneshell for iPod nano sells for $20, while Tuneshell Mirror sells for $26. All five cases are available now.

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