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Apple posts three new iPhone ads

  • March 31, 2008

Apple has posted three new iPhone advertisements on its website, including one which was featured in this evening’s broadcast of “CSI: Miami.” Alongside “Bet,” which focuses on the device’s Internet features under the premise of winning a bet, is “Music Store,” which shows off the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store’s music browsing, previewing, purchasing, and downloading features while the narrator speaks about doing the same activities in a traditional brick-and-mortar music store. Finally, “Brilliant” focuses on the iPhone’s Google Maps application, highlighting the location feature, in concert with the directions feature. All three commercials are now available for viewing at apple.com/iphone.

Hot News: It’s April Fools’ Day

Welcome to iLounge—we’re still here! Every year, pranksters use April 1 as an opportunity to disseminate fake news stories, press releases, and reviews. Some people (including certain iLounge editors) enjoy the spirit of April Fools’ Day; others (we’re looking right at you, U.K. editor Bob) don’t.

Rather than trying to fool readers, we decided to use today as an opportunity to parody Apple.com’s “Hot News” page, a collection of links to Apple’s favorite stories about its own products. Often packed with syrupy praise and breathless tales of heroic Apple computers and programs, the real page was almost funny enough to just copy and paste, but we wanted to do a little something more. If you missed it, here’s our version of Hot News. We hope you enjoyed it.

Mix: Unity, Marathon, Apple brand

  • March 31, 2008

3D game development tool provider Unity Technologies has announced the company will support game development for the iPhone. “With iPhone support, Unity is poised to become the single source for game developers who want to create best-of-breed, 3D-quality games that can be easily and quickly ported to all platforms, including consoles, devices, PC/Mac, and now, the iPhone,” said David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. The company has also created a beta program for iPhone developers that will “provide hands-on support to drive 3D content creation and deployment of mobile games.”

The IAAF Road Running Commission, the world’s governing body for marathons, is considering a ban on iPods during competition, citing insurance and safety concerns. USA Track & Field, the sport’s state-side governing body, has already issued a similar ban; however, David Bedford, the race director of the London Marathon who also sits on the commission, said “It’s a rule that will not be picked up in this country. It is completely unenforceable.”

A new survey conducted by online magazine brandchannel.com found the Apple brand topping several lists. The iPod maker was the top response out of people asked “Which brand inspires you the most,” “What brand can you not live without,” “What brand is most likely to revolutionize the branding industry in the next five years,” and other similar questions. The survey was conducted among nearly 2000 brandchannel readers in 107 different countries, 74 percent of which work in the marketing industry. [via Scientific American]

U.K.‘s Telegraph: iLounge amongst ‘101 most useful websites’

British newspaper the Daily Telegraph has named iLounge in a new list of “The 101 most useful websites.” iLounge appears as the third site on the list, and is cited for its “hints, tips, and troubleshooting for your iPod and associated software.” The list, which covers categories such as technology, entertainment, advice, house and home, shopping, and more, also points to useful sites such as Google, the BBC iPlayer, the Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia, social news site Digg, and gadget blog Engadget.

Apple TV 2.0.1 woes blamed on 5GHz wireless issue

A number of Apple TV users are reporting wireless connection issues that appear to be related to 5GHz 802.11n networks following the installation of the 2.0.1 update. User reports indicate that after installing the 2.0.1 software, the Apple TV has trouble staying connected to some wireless networks, repeatedly dropping its connection after a short time. According to an Apple support discussion thread, the problem seems to be related to some 5GHz 802.11n networks; switching to a 2.4GHz network or simply turning off the “Use wide channels” option of Apple’s Airport Extreme Base Station appears to alleviate the problem.

Apple TV 2.0.1 software update appears [updated]

Without any accompanying description, Apple has released version 2.0.1 of the Apple TV software, available as a free download from the device’s General settings menu under Update Software. Launched in February, version 2.0 of Apple TV’s software—also known as Apple TV Take 2—added substantial functionality to the device, including a new menuing system, Internet-based photo browsing, and support for high-definition and standard-definition movie rentals, but has been subject to random lockups and crashes. It is unclear whether version 2.0.1 includes anything beyond bug fixes.

Update: In addition to a new Genres sorting sub-menu for the My Movies menu option, allowing you to more quickly navigate a long list of movies via categorization, a list of additional version 2.0.1 changes appears in the Comments section below.

 

Mix: iPhone Canada, Teens, Theft, Promo Savings

  • March 28, 2008

Apple has filed for trademark protection for “iPhone” in Canada through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The filing, #1377036, was formalized on December 28, 2007.

According to a new study, despite the fact that a majority of teens realize the dangers listening to loud music pose to their hearing, most see no reason to listen to their music at a lower volume. Lead researcher Ineke Vogel said in an interview, “we strongly recommend parents to inform their children and to discuss with their children the use of MP3 players and the potential long- term, irreversible consequences for hearing capacity.” [via Engadget]

Two Apple Retail employees have been arrested after stealing 332 iPhones from the store to resell for their own profit. The pair are being charged with felony theft, with the hardware they stole being worth approximately $132,468.

Tunewear is offering iLounge readers a 20% discount on anything on its website from now until April 12, 2008. To receive the discount, enter the code “iLoungespring” on the Shopping Cart page. Griffin Technology is offering refurbished Evolve wireless speakers for $250, a $50 savings off of standard retail prices. The company notes that these Evolves are in like new condition.

FlyTunes expands Internet radio offerings

FlyTunes, a free mobile Internet radio service with a dedicated streaming interface for the iPhone and iPod touch, has announced it has expanded its offerings to over 160 channels that cover “all genres of music, as well as talk, sports, and local weather.” Music channels added to the service include top rated Radio Paradise, SmoothJazz.com, RauteMusik.fm, and 53 music channels from 181.fm. In the talk category, FlyTunes has added NPR, TheScore.com, and local weather in the top 15 U.S. markets. Launched in January, FlyTunes claims to have signed up “hundreds of thousands” of iPhone and iPod touch users, with the average user listening for eight hours every month. “We’re quite proud that FlyTunes has been so well accepted by iPhone users,” said Sam Abadir, FlyTunes CEO. “In the near future, we’re going to continue to sweeten the experience by adding more great content, new features like time shifting and station personalization, and support for other internet-enabled mobile devices.” FlyTunes is available as a free service for Mac and PC users, as well as for the iPhone and iPod touch. The service is available at flytunes.fm.

Hon Hai contracted for advanced iPhone

Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has been awarded an exclusive contract to build a more advanced version of the iPhone, Dow Jones reports. A source familiar with the situation said Hon Hai would be the exclusive contract manufacturer for the new phone, which may well be the 3G-capable version of the iPhone, expected to launch later this year. A Hon Hai official confirmed that the company was in talks with Apple to supply a “more advanced version” of the iPhone, but declined to provide further details. Apple declined to comment on the story.

iPhone to launch in Mexico in June?

The iPhone may be launching in Mexico, and possibly some South American countries, in June, according to a report from major Mexican newspaper El Universal. Citing sources within Apple, as well as conversations with Apple Support, the paper reports [Translated link] that the handset will arrive in June on Telcel in Mexico, and may also launch around the same time in other unspecified South American countries. According to the report, the phone may be priced around 33% higher than it is in the United States, meaning that a 16GB iPhone would sell for around 7,400 pesos. Apple has yet to officially announce any iPhone roll-outs for the region. [via MDN]

Apple releases updated iPhone SDK with Interface Builder [updated]

Apple has released an updated version of its iPhone Software Development Kit that now includes Interface Builder, the company’s tool for designing the interface of iPhone applications. The new release, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.36GB download, and is listed as build 9A2151. It remains unclear what other changes may be present in the new release; we will update this story with any new information we discover.

Update: Following installation of the updated SDK, two folders, formerly listed as Aspen.platform and AspenSimulator.platform, have been changed to iPhoneOS.platform and iPhoneSimulator.platform, respectively. As the folder title would suggest, the iPhone OS simulator formerly known as Aspen Simulator is now called iPhone Simulator, and is a later build (40) than the previous version. In addition, the version of the iPhone OS listed in the simulator has been changed, from v1.2 (5A147p) to 2.0 (5A225c), most likely to reduce confusion. A new version of Xcode is also included in the new version of the SDK, with updated component versions, and a new start screen which lets the user choose between iPhone resources and Mac OS X resources. As expected, the new version of Interface Builder lets the user choose to build Cocoa Touch interfaces (pictured).

DLO unveils Jam Jackets for iPod touch, nano

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has unveiled its Jam Jacket with MultiClip for iPod touch and Jam Jacket with Etched Design for iPod nano. The Jam Jacket with MultiClip is a silicone case for the iPod touch featuring a unique clip on the back that doubles as a stand and cord manager. Other features include a non-slip rubber texture for added grip, open access to the Dock Connector and headphone ports and Sleep/Wake button, and an included Surface Shield screen protector. Jam Jacket Design is a silicone case for iPod nano featuring an eagle etched onto the back of the black case. Other features include open access to the headphone jack, hold switch, Dock Connector, and screen, as well as a built-in Click Wheel cover. The DLO Jam Jacket with MultiClip for iPod touch and Jam Jacket Design for iPod nano are available now and sell for $20 each; for more information on the cases read our reviews (Jam Jacket MultiClip/Jam Jacket Design).

Sling pursuing SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone

Sling Media is currently examining its options for development of a version of its SlingPlayer Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, according to statements made to iLounge. Dave Zatz of Sling Media told iLounge in an email, “We were definitely one of those 100,000 who downloaded the iPhone SDK, which we’re currently evaluating. We know it’s a hot platform and we’ll see what our options are.” Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian has previously said that he had spoken with Apple about the possibility of streaming to the iPhone, stating the company “would love to support” the platform. The company has also previously confirmed that it is working on making its streaming products compatible with the Apple TV.

Apple patents iTunes, iPhone/iPod-based fitness system

A series of recently published Apple patent filings suggest that the company has developed a considerable digital fitness program for iTunes and touchscreen digital media devices, offering fitness training exercises, performance metrics, and a single integrated control screen with workout information and audio navigation. Originally discovered by AppleInsider, the filings, titled “Integrated sensors for tracking performance metrics,” “Dynamically adaptive scheduling system,” “Rewards systems,” and “Systems and methods for facilitating group activities,” describe a software- and hardware-based fitness system that includes sensors for motion and biometrics, a rewards program, and a system for facilitating group activities in which users can challenge others to match their workout performance. Using iTunes as a starting point, Apple’s system would begin with a computer-based user interview, allowing users to enter current health statistics, list any current medical conditions and/or medications they may be taking, set health goals, and so forth. Following the completion of the interview, the user is presented with suggested exercises, which can be synced to an iPhone or iPod, guiding the user through each exercise. Rewards can also be distributed to users based on individual performance data relative to a larger group’s data.

The date of the filings—March 27, 2007—suggests that Apple has been working on iTunes and touchscreen-based iPod exercise interface expansions for well over a year, preceding the iPod touch’s announcement and release by roughly six months. As with all patent filings, however, these do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area.

Audio chip maker Wolfson dropped from 2008 iPods

  • March 27, 2008
  • iPod,

Wolfson Microelectronics, provider of audio chips for the majority of iPods dating back to the original 2001 model, has been passed over as a supplier for third-quarter 2008 editions of the iPod nano and iPod touch, according to Reuters. Previously omitted from the iPod classic, which has generally been praised for an impressively low noise floor, as well as the first-generation iPod shuffle, which Apple previously acknowledged as the family’s best bass performer, Wolfson’s audio chips have nonetheless remained key components in other iPod models, including full-sized iPods, iPod minis, and iPod nanos, as well as the iPhone. These Wolfson-powered models have earned respect for their neutral presentation of audio, as well as criticism for weaknesses in bass extension and noise levels. Apple is believed to have used a relabeled Cirrus Logic audio chip for the iPod classic, and a SigmaTel part for the first-generation iPod shuffle, with both Cirrus and long-time Apple supplier Samsung vying for roles in future iPod audio hardware.

Report: Amazon now #2 digital music retailer

Amazon’s MP3 store has become the number two digital music retailer, according to USA Today. The newspaper’s report claims that much of Amazon’s success is attributable to cooperation from the four major record labels, all of which gave Amazon permission to sell their music without DRM, while some have denied Apple the same opportunity. Apple has stated that it hoped to offer 50% of its catalog in DRM-free format by the end of last year, but failed to meet the number. “The labels think Apple has too much influence,” said Phil Leigh, an analyst at Inside Digital Media. Ted Cohen, former EMI executive and managing partner of the Tag Strategic consulting firm, said Amazon’s store “removed some of the stranglehold iTunes had on the market.” iTunes currently offers 2 million songs available without DRM, according to the report, while Amazon offers roughly 4.5 million DRM-free tracks. Despite the labels’ prior claims that DRM-free music sales would encourage piracy, the new offerings do not appear to be hurting online music sales, which are up 26% so far this year, according to Neilsen SoundScan. Pete Baltaxe, director of digital music with Amazon, said “Songs sold without DRM, at high quality, with album art, that’s the best way to get people to buy music instead of stealing it.”

PDASmart debuts battery upgrade for 30GB iPod 5G

PDASmart has introduced its new internal iPod battery upgrade for the 30GB fifth-generation iPod which the company claims extends playing time to 45 hours for audio and 24 hours for video. The upgrade consists of a 2200mah battery, a new rear casing that offers extra room for the battery and makes the thickness of the 30GB model closer to that of the 60/80GB model, and all the tools and parts needed for user installation. “After hearing customers complain about the performance of their battery, we decided to move forward with the development of the 2200mah 5th Generation 30gb Video iPod to help customers gain the playing time they deserve,” said Trey Mattox, CEO of Optimistic Enterprises. PDASmart also offers a mail-in upgrade program, along with other iPod repair services. The PDASmart 2200mah battery upgrade for the 30GB fifth-generation iPod is available now for $75, or $85 for mail-in service.

Sumajin intros Gloss Case for iPhone

Sumajin has introduced its Gloss Clear Case for iPhone, a clear polycarbonate case offered in six different colors. The Gloss Case features a two-piece snap-together design, with a series of linear grooves on the back cover for added grip. It offers open access to the headphone port, sleep/wake button, ringer/silent switch, volume buttons, camera, screen, home button, and Dock Connector port; a screen protector is included. The Sumajin Gloss Clear Case for iPhone is available now in clear, black, blue, red, green, and pink, and sells for $21.

Kaplan re-releases 2008 SAT Prep titles for 2007 iPods

  • March 26, 2008
  • iPod,

Updating three titles previously available only for fifth-generation iPods, Kaplan and Apple today re-released the 2008 versions of SAT Prep Reading, SAT Prep Writing, and SAT Prep Math in a downloadable format compatible with the iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano. Though sold through the iPod Games section of the iTunes Store, the titles are actually not games, bur rather educational software designed to help high school students prepare for the well-known U.S. college admissions examination, offering tutorial, quiz, and tip modes described in our First Looks above. The Kaplan 2008 SAT Prep programs sell for $5 each, and leave only six iPod Game section downloads unconverted for the iPod classic and iPod nano.

 

Apple receives patent for iPod scroll wheel

  • March 25, 2008
  • iPod,

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent granted to Apple, Inc. which broadly covers the iPod’s use of a touch-sensitive scrolling surface for accessing media in combination with on-screen and possibly audio scrolling cues. Titled “Touch pad for handheld device” and originally filed in 2006, U.S. Patent 7,348,967 describes a handheld music player that “includes a controller disposed inside the housing and configured to acquire motion information from the touch pad assembly and to control various features of the music player based on motion information provided by the touch pad assembly. The features include at least moving the visual indicator through the list of songs. The direction and speed of the movement of the visual indicator is based at least in part on the direction and speed of the finger sliding across the planar touch surface of the touch pad assembly.” The associated images (pictured) show an early (first- or second-generation) iPod, with a touch wheel and separate control buttons for selection, track forward/backward, play, and pause. As explained, the patent could conceivably cover certain post-iPod touch-based media players, such as recent Microsoft Zunes. [via MacNN]

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