Sennheiser has announced it will show its new MM50 iPhone headset this week during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The MM50 iPhone is a wired stereo headset that features an in-line microphone. Further details, such as pricing and release information, have yet to be announced. In addition to the MM50, Sennheiser also introduced several new Bluetooth products, including the MM 200, a Bluetooth stereo headset, the BW 900, a wireless office headset with a 100-meter range, the VMX 100, a Bluetooth headset featuring VoiceMax dual-microphone technology, and the FLX 70, which features FlexFit technology and an in-ear speaker design.
There’s still time to enter the PDO 50 Cases Giveaway, in which fifty of PDO’s TopSkin silicone cases will be awarded 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 to view the official rules, please visit the official giveaway page. The PDO 50 Cases Giveaway will run until February 29. Good luck!
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has introduced its Portable Speakers for iPhone. The compact speaker system is shielded from TDMA interference, and connects to the iPhone via the handset’s headphone jack, making it compatible with a wide range of alternate audio sources, including every model of iPod. Other features include two compact speakers which snap into the base for greater portability, a rotating, removable stand, and the ability to act as a speaker phone when a connected iPhone receives a call. The speakers are powered by either AAA batteries or by the included AC adapter, and the speaker base features a recessed area for cord storage and management. The DLO Portable Speakers for iPhone are available now and sell for $50.
Thinking of purchasing a pink third-generation iPod nano? If you’ve been wondering how the Valentine’s Day-ready iPod stacks up visually to its second-generation predecessor, we have some pictures you’ll want to see.
Like the other third-generation iPod nanos, the new pink nano is less vibrantly colored than its predecessor, but by contrast with the radically dimmed blue, green, and red shades, the difference is small. This year’s pink is still pretty intense, as you can see in the photos inside this article, and doesn’t clash visually with previously released pink iPod accessories. Just like the other colored nanos, it’s available solely in an 8GB capacity for $199.
Updated: By reader request, we’ve added additional photos of the new pink nano compared with earlier iPod nano and shuffle colors.
ZappTek has announced the release of iPDA 4.1, the latest version of its iPod companion software for Mac. iPDA can transfer Word, PDF, Apple Pages, RTF or text documents to the iPod for portable viewing, and can also download RSS feeds, weather forecasts, driving directions and news headlines directly to the iPod. In addition, it supports the transfer of information from Entourage, Stickies, Mail, Address Book and iCal to the iPod. iPDA 4.1 adds support for Entourage 2008, allows both Gmail and local mail messages to be on the iPod simultaneously, and also includes a number of bug fixes. iPDA 4.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 of later, and sells for $20.
GizMac has announced that it is now shipping its Titan Clear iPhone case in smoke and pink colors. The Titan Clear is made from clear polycarbonate, and features built-in vertical and horizontal kickstands, an included thin film screen protector, as well as a rotating belt clip holster. Previously only available in clear, the case is now available in smoke, a form of black, and pink; both colors change slightly in different lighting conditions due to the transparent nature of the cases. “GizMac displayed the new Titan Clear iPhone case colors at MacWorld this year,” explained Ken Vitto, Marketing Director for GizMac Accessories, “The MacWorld attendees were excited about the familiar, yet different coloration we have developed for these iPhone cases.” The new smoke and pink models of GizMac’s Titan Clear iPhone case are available now and sell for $35.
Apple has released its new “The Great Thing” iPhone TV commercial, which like the ads released earlier this week, focuses on the device’s internet capabilities. In the 30-second spot, the narrator asks, “What’s so great about having the internet in your pocket?” The ad then shows the user viewing a trail map for a winter resort, a Zagat restaurant listing, and using the jetBlue airways website, while the narrator explains, “Well, then you can see the trail map while you’re on the mountain… find a good place to eat in town when you’re hungry… and change your flight when you’re just not ready to go home. That’s what’s so great.” The ad is currently available for viewing on Apple.com.
Results of the latest ChangeWave consumer cell phone survey suggest that “record numbers” of consumers are abandoning their basic cell phones for more advanced, feature-rich models. The January survey of 4,182 consumers showed Apple and Research In Motion to be the major beneficiaries of this shift, with the iPhone the top choice among respondents planning to purchase a new cell phone in the next six months. 17% of those respondents listed the iPhone as their top choice, while BlackBerry phones from RIM were the top choice of 15% of the group. In addition, the iPhone continues to lead in customer satisfaction, with 72% of respondents who use the iPhone reporting they are “very satisfied” with the device. Phones from RIM finished second in this category as well, with 55% of BlackBerry owners reporting high satisfaction.
French internet provider Iliad has announced that subscribers to its Free brand using jailbroken iPhones (and iPod touch units with a VoIP microphone attached) can make unlimited calls to French fixed, land-line numbers. Free is offering complete instructions for the calling process, which involves installing Siphon, a SIP-VoIP application developed by Touchmods, on its website. As Free was the first company to donate an iPhone to the Touchmods team, the application is currently locked to Free’s service; however, the Touchmods team has said that the SIP-VoIP application will be available in an open version at a later date.
FolioLink, an online portfolio service for photographers, artists and creative design professionals, has announced a new version of its service that automatically optimizes clients’ online portfolios for the iPhone and iPod touch interface. According to the company, all FolioLink Flash templates automatically morph into a compatible version for iPhone and iPod touch users, allowing visitors using the devices to navigate using taps, drags, and pinches. Commercial and artistic photographer Matt Hoyle said, “FolioLink is a great service for professional photographers and with the latest service update I now have the advantage of reaching people who access my site on an iPhone. As a professional photographer, my images are my livelihood, and FolioLink has made organizing, presenting and updating my images easy and widely accessible.” FolioLink accounts start at $239/yr.
Louis-Pierre Wenes, the head of Orange France, has announced that it had sold around 90,000 iPhones by the end of January. Previously, the French mobile provider revealed that it sold more than 70,000 iPhones in the first month of availability, from Nov. 29 - Dec. 29, 2007. Wenes also said half of iPhone purchasers are new Orange France customers.
Benoit Scheen, chief executive of Mobistar, Belgium’s second-biggest mobile operator, has said that his company could make a deal this year to offer the iPhone in the country. Scheen cautiously added that there was no guarantee of a deal, as Belgium was not a priority for Apple.
The chief executive of Dutch telecom operator KPN recently made some confusing remarks regarding the iPhone. “I had one and I thought it was a pretty useless phone, to be quite honest,” said Ad Scheepbouwer, CEO of KPN. “The battery ran out in no time. I didn’t like the touch screen.” However, Scheepbouwer also said KPN would be “more than happy” to sell the device, adding, “We have half the market in the Netherlands and we hope we will be the party of choice.”
Progio Mobile has announced a new web application featuring its exercise and training programs, optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new application will allow Progio users to purchase and view workout and exercise programs from their device. “Progio is the next best thing to having a live trainer or coach when working out,” said Dirk Bartels, CEO, Progio Mobile. “Users benefit from having training programs developed by fitness experts without the cost of a personal trainer.” To access the service, visit mobile.progio.com from an iPhone or iPod touch.
Tide has launched a contest in connection with its “My Talking Stain” advertisement, which aired during the Super Bowl. Among the list of prizes available in the contest is one of 34 Tide-branded iPods, which photos suggest are third-generation iPod nanos. Last year, Tide offered a previous-generation, Tide-branded iPod nano and a $50 iTunes gift card as a prize in a separate promotion. To enter the current contest, visit mytalkingstain.com.
AT&T has announced plans for a major expansion of its 3G wireless broadband coverage in 2008. The plans include expanding service to more than 80 unspecified new cities, as well as an enhancement in upload speeds provided by an upgrade to High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) technology. The planned expansion is expected to deliver 3G services to nearly 350 leading U.S. markets by the end of 2008, including all of the top 100 U.S. cities. A list of cities currently supporting 3G can be found here; the 3G initiative will include the roll out of more than 1,500 additional cell sites nationwide. “Fast wireless broadband is the foundation for a whole range of new and emerging applications that our customers are adopting, including everything from social networking to sending live video and large business files,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO for AT&T’s wireless unit. “With these aggressive initiatives, we’re expanding the scope and the speed of our 3G capabilities, connecting people with their world and enabling more customers to do more with their wireless devices, wherever they may be.” Although not directly mentioned in the announcement, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has previously said that a 3G-capable iPhone model will be released this year.
A number of iPhone users upgrading from older 4GB or 8GB units to the new 16GB model have been presented with conflicting information regarding whether or not their AT&T contracts are being extended, and whether they should attempt to use their prior iPhone SIM cards in the new model. A discussion thread on Apple’s support site outlines the problems, with an Apple employee admitting to not having a concrete answer. “Use the SIM from your current iPhone,” said Apple employee Nathan C., before editing his post to say “My apologies these steps may not work. You may need to activate it with the new SIM choosing the option to ‘replace’ an existing phone on your account.” Another user claims that an AT&T sales agent said that the original 2-year plan would end as soon as he activated the new iPhone, and that a new 2-year contract would be initiated. iLounge has contacted AT&T for clarification on the issue, and will be updating this story once we receive a response.
Update: Mark Siegel, Executive Director of Media and Analyst Relations with AT&T, told iLounge in an email, “If you upgrade from an 8 to a 16 GB iPhone, you sign a new contract. However, we automatically backdate it to the starting point of your contract on the 8 GB phone.” He added that the company “will make every effort to ensure that our reps provide customers with the correct information,” and clarified that customers should activate the SIM card that comes with the new model.
DoCoMo Chief Financial Officer Masayuki Hirata has said talks with Apple to sell the iPhone in Japan are currently focused on technological issues and profit sharing. “The handset is easy to use and can open new markets, which makes this an interesting proposition,” Hirata said in an interview. “We are in continuous contact with the company, but the specifics are still in the future.” The first challenge of bringing the iPhone to DoCoMo is the difference in cellular technologies. While the iPhone uses older, more widely-used GSM technology, DoCoMo’s network uses W-CDMA technology. “The global GSM market is measured in hundreds of millions of users, compared with 50 million W-CDMA subscribers in Japan,” Hirata said. “It’s unlikely they will launch iPhone in Japan exclusively for DoCoMo.” In addition, Hirata also said that DoCoMo needs time to evaluate Apple’s profit sharing model. Traditionally, Japanese service providers buy handsets directly form the manufacturers and sell them as their own. Previously, rival Japanese carriers KDDI and Softbank have both been said to be in talks with Apple over the iPhone.
SwitchEasy has introduced new color options for its Capsule and VisionClip for iPhone cases. Now available in Military Green and Valentine’s Pink, Capsule for iPhone is a two-piece, slide-together hard polycarbonate case that features a built-in case lock and includes a static screen guard, 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. VisionClip for iPhone 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, and is now available in Military Green. Both accessories are available now, and sell for $30 and $15, respectively.
Apple has released two new TV commercials for the iPhone focusing on the device’s internet capabilities. The first, “Facebook,” talks about how you can check on your Facebook account from the iPhone, while demonstrating the social networking site’s iPhone and iPod touch interface. The second new advertisement, “Cars,” shows how the iPhone’s internet access can come in useful when dealing with a car salesman. Both are filmed in the style of Apple’s original series of iPhone ads, with the device being used against a black background, while an unseen narrator speaks above the song “Perfect Timing” by Orba Squara. Both ads are available for viewing on Apple.com.
According to the latest data from Canalys, Apple was the third-largest manufacturer in the global “converged smart mobile device” market, which encompasses smart phones and wireless handhelds, in the fourth quarter of 2007. The research and analysis group estimates that Apple took a 6.5% share of the global market, trailing only Nokia, which had a 52.9% share, and Research In Motion, which accounted for 11.4% of the market. “When you consider that it launched part way through the year, with limited operator and country coverage, and essentially just one product, Apple has shown very clearly that it can make a difference and has sent a wakeup call to the market leaders,” said Pete Cunningham, Canalys senior analyst. “What it must demonstrate now is that it can build a sustainable business in the converged device space, expanding its coverage and product portfolio. It will also need to ensure that the exclusive relationships that got it so far so quickly do not prove to be a limit on what it can achieve.”
In the US, Canalys estimates that Apple took a 28% share of the converged device market in Q4 2007, behind only RIM’s 41%, and greater than all Windows Mobile device vendors’ shares combined. However, Cunningham believes Apple will need to expand its product line and continue innovating if it wishes to hold, or improve upon, its current position. “Apple’s innovation in its mobile phone user interface has prompted a lot of design activity among competitors. We saw the beginnings of that in 2007, but we will see a lot more in 2008 as other smart phone vendors try to catch up and then get back in front,” Cunningham said. “Experience shows that a vendor with only one smart phone design, no matter how good that design is, will soon struggle. A broad, continually refreshed portfolio is needed to retain and grow share in this dynamic market. This race is a marathon, but you pretty much have to sprint every lap.”
Incase has introduced its new 2-in-1 Wall & Car Charger for iPod and iPhone. According to Incase, it is the first 2-in-1 iPod and iPhone charger that is both AV and DC compatible. Designed for both wall and car sockets, the charger has a main body with a car adapter on one end, and hideaway wall socket prongs on the side. A 5ft. iPod Dock-connecting cable comes out the back, next to the LED power indicator. In addition, the 2-in-1 is also AC compatible with worldwide voltage capacities, and DC compatible with 12V and 24V power supplies. The Incase 2-in-1 Wall & Car Charger for iPod and iPhone sells for $40 and will be available at Apple retail stores and from the Apple Store online later this month.
MediaFour has announced the release of XPlay 3, the latest version of its iPod utility software for Windows. Announced in November, XPlay 3 offers many new features and improvements, including the ability to copy music, playlists, pictures and video to and from an iPod, the ability to use an iPod with Windows Explorer, Media Player and Media Center, lost song recovery, automatic conversion of unprotected WMA files, and the ability to auto-sync music and pictures from Windows Media Player. Also, XPlay 3 works with both Mac and Windows iPods, and allows Mac iPods to work with iTunes for Windows. XPlay 3 is available now and runs $30 for a single license, or $40 for a two computer license. Previous owners of XPlay can upgrade to the new version for $15 ($25 for 2-pack upgrade).