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Case-mate intros Clear Armor film for iPod, iPhone

Case-mate has introduced its new Clear Armor line of protective film for the iPod classic, iPod touch, iPhone, and other handheld electronic devices. Clear Armor is made from high-quality 3M Scotchgard Protection Film, completely covers the front and back of the iPod or iPhone, and is engineered to prevent damage upon removal. Case-mate Clear Armor is available for 80GB and 160GB iPod classic models, iPod touch, and the iPhone, and sells for $20.

SuperSync iTunes library tool updated to version 2.4

SuperSync, a iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 2.4. SuperSync lets users synchronize their music libraries between multiple computers over the internet. The latest version adds a dozen new features, including a new look for the user interface, support for .m4r ringtone files and Ogg Vorbis audio files, the ability to copy user-generated metadata such as volume adjustment, grouping, EQ settings, ratings, played counts and beats-per-minute, and an advanced iPod reader to aid in the downloading of music, video, and playlist content from an iPod. SuperSync 2.4 is available now for Mac OS X and Windows, and is priced at $29 for a 2-machine license. A demo version is also available.

Exhaustive Apple iPhone patent application appears

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has posted an extremely detailed Apple patent application pertaining to the iPhone. With Apple CEO Steve Jobs listed prominently among the patent’s inventors, the 371-page document details nearly every aspect of the iPhone’s graphical user interface, and mentions a variety of applications and features that have yet to appear in any iPhone model or software. Included in those are GPS functionality and applications for video conferencing, instant messaging, blogging, and a digital video camera app. While it is possible that some or all of the currently unused features could appear in a future model of the iPhone or in a software update, their appearance in the patent filing serves only as an example of Apple’s research in those areas.

Get Early Access to The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4, Now

On June 2, iLounge will officially release The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4, the massive follow-up to our million-plus-downloaded Free iPod Book 3. We are extremely excited to share the Book with you, as our fourth edition is the biggest and best yet—packed with cool new iPod and iPhone gear, user-requested tutorials, next-generation iPhone contest winners, and a couple of life-changing announcements from iLounge’s editors! As always, The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4 is completely free of charge, and designed to be a one-stop guide to all things iPod, iPhone, iTunes, and Apple TV.

Since our download servers are always rocked by early downloaders from across the world, we wanted to give loyal iLounge readers a head start on downloading the Book. Using this iLounge Library link, iLounge readers will be able to get the Book this weekend—hopefully before the servers start to slow down. Click on the link, use the “subscribe” button, and iTunes will be ready to automatically receive the Book as soon as it’s released. We’ll post an small update here on June 1 to let you know the Book is available in the Library, and afterwards, we’ll have the bigger traditional download page available as well.

For those familiar with our past publications, the advance version of the Book will be in two-page-wide, magazine-style format. A one-page-wide, smaller screen-optimized version will be available on June 2. More details will follow soon!

Updated: The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4 is available now for subscribers through the iTunes link above. Enjoy!

Griffin PowerDock Charging Station for iPod, iPhone now available

Griffin has announced that its PowerDock 2 Charging Station for the iPod and iPhone is now available. The PowerDock 2 features a brushed aluminum design and dual charging bays with the ability to charge any combination of two iPhone or iPod models at a time. The upcoming PowerDock 4 will offer four charging bays, and will allow for charging of up to four devices. Both include six Universal Dock Adapters for iPhone and iPod models that charge via USB. “PowerDock received overwhelming kudos at Macworld Expo this year and has been a much anticipated product since its introduction,” said Paul Griffin, founder of Griffin Technology. “PowerDock is the perfect solution for iPod and iPhone enthusiasts, as well as families with multiple devices.” The Griffin PowerDock 2 sells for $50 and is now available through Apple, and will soon be available on Griffin’s website; the PowerDock 4 will be available in July for $70.

Apple seeks patents on wireless applications

Several new Apple patent applications published online this week outline the company’s research into different applications implemented with wireless technologies. The first, titled “Wireless communication out of range indication,” describes a system by which the user is notified that he or she is nearly out of range of a wireless network, and given an estimated amount of time before their device will be out of range. The filing covers a range of wireless standards, including FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, IR, and others.

The second filing, titled “Location discovery using Bluetooth,” deals with a system by which users of a Bluetooth-enabled device would be able to locate a separate external Bluetooth device by transmitting a signal which enables the external device to guide the user to its location. One of the more obvious possible implementations of this technology would be a “headset finder” function for the iPhone or a future Bluetooth-enabled iPod.

Finally, a broad patent filing simply titled “Media Player System” describes a method for wirelessly connecting a main media player system, via a wireless-enabled docking station or built-in wireless functionality, to one or more other media devices capable of receiving media items. According to the filing, “the transmitter is configured to at least transmit a continuous music feed to one or more personal tuning devices that each include a receiver capable of receiving information from the transmitter over the wireless connection.” The filing goes on to describe a myriad of possible connections and transfer options, noting that “the wireless communication link may correspond to FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, UWB (ultra wide band), IR (infrared), magnetic link (induction) and/or the like.” As with all Apple patents, these filings do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in these areas.

Harman Kardon debuts Bridge II iPod docking station

Harman Kardon has announced its new The Bridge II docking station for iPod and iPhone. The Bridge II connects a compatible iPod or iPhone to a Bridge-ready Harman Kardon a/v component, offering capabilities such as audio and video playback through a home entertainment system, on-screen iPod menu display, remote-control operation, and charging. When used with the newly-announced AVR-354 receiver, The Bridge II enables control of the iPod for music, image, and video playback, with iPod menu information visible on the TV screen and on the receiver’s front panel. Other models compatible with The Bridge II include the DMC 1000, AVR 47 Series, AVR 146, AVR 45 Series, AVR 40 Series and the HK 3490. Harman Kardon’s The Bridge II docking station for iPod and iPhone will be available in early summer and will sell for $129; it will also be included with the AVR 354 receiver.

PDO rolls out Sporteer armbands for iPod, iPhone

PDO has launched its new Sporteer line of armbands for the iPod classic, iPod nano (video), iPod touch, and iPhone. Each Sporteer armband is made from soft neoprene and features a slim design, a clear full-frontal protector that allows for navigation using the touch screen or Click Wheel, reflective material for night time safety, and an adjustable strap. In addition, the Sporteer for iPod nano also offers compatibility with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. The PDO Sporteer Armbands for iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone are available now and sell for $25 each.

Apple to launch movie downloads, rentals in U.K. and Canada

Apple is set to announce a deal to begin selling and renting movies through the iTunes Store in both the United Kingdom and Canada, according to a Times report. Citing studio sources, the article says that Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century Fox are all on board for the deal, which is expected to cover both countries. According to the report, pricing for downloads will be comparable to DVD pricing, while rental pricing will be comparable to the prices of traditional movie rentals. In addition to the four major studios, both Lionsgate and MGM are said to be party to the deal, leaving only Universal Studios and Sony Pictures out of the agreement. During his reveal of iTunes Movie Rentals in January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said he was “dying” to expand the service internationally, adding that it would happen later this year.

Hutchison Telecom to carry iPhone in Hong Kong, Macau

Hutchison Telecommunications has announced that it has signed an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Hong Kong and Macau later this year. Further details were not given. Hutchison operates 3G networks in both Hong Kong and Macau under the 3 brand, and had 2.5 million total customers and about 1.15 million 3G customers in Hong Kong as of the end of March.

Griffin ships iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan

Griffin Technology has announced it is now shipping its iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan FM transmitter for the iPod and iPhone. Originally announced in January, the iTrip AutoPilot features music playback controls on the charging stem, RDS technology to show song information on RDS-enabled car radio displays, the SmartScan feature that automatically finds the three best FM frequencies, and a high-contrast OLED screen. In addition, it also charges the attached iPod or iPhone, and features a three-stage light ring on the stem to indicate charging status. The Griffin iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan is available now and sells for $100. For more information on the iTrip AutoPilot, read our First Look article.

TV shows appear on French iTunes Store [updated]

A number of TV shows are beginning to appear on the French iTunes Store, suggesting Apple is nearing an official rollout of the offerings. Currently, shows from ABC Studios, ARTE, Dargaud TV, Dupuis TV, France 2, MTV, and TF1 Vision are available, with pricing ranging from 1.49€ to 2.49€. The TV show listings can be accessed via a direct link, or by searching the French store for individual program names such as “Lost” or “South Park.” [via MacGeneration]

Update: Apple has made an official announcement regarding the TV programming, revealing that pricing varies between 1.49€ and 2.49€ an episode, and that programming from the Disney Channel will be coming soon to the French iTunes Store.

“iTunes is the number one digital music store in France and we’re off to a great start with TV shows,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We’re thrilled to launch with over 25 programs and 450 episodes available on the iTunes Store in France.”

Mac OS X 10.5.3 adds iPhone-to-Google Contacts sync

The latest version of Mac OS X, version 10.5.3, adds the ability for iPhone users to sync their Address Book with Google Contacts. According to the Official Google Mac Blog, a new Address Book preference option appears after the installation of 10.5.3, allowing a user to enter his or her Google account name and password, after which the contacts will automatically update every time the iPhone is synchronized. It is presently unclear why the feature has been added, however, Apple included Yahoo! Address Book compatibility when it opted to include Yahoo!‘s mail service with the iPhone last year. [via Infinite Loop]

Apple releases sixth update to iPhone SDK

Apple has released the sixth beta version of its iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). The new beta, labeled build 9M2192 beta 6, requires Mac OS X 10.5.3, the latest update to the Mac operating system which was released earlier today. The updated SDK, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.19GB download. Complete release notes are available here.

GHSkinz intros iPhone, iPod touch skins

Guitar and peripheral skins manufacturer GHSkinz has launched its new line of decorative skins for the iPhone and iPod touch. Each skin features full color graphics, laminated and printed on removable vinyl. The skins cover both the front and the back of the iPhone or iPod touch, and are available in a variety of designs. Each iPhone skin also includes a matching background wallpaper image. GHSkinz for iPhone and iPod touch are available now and sell for $5.49 and $5.29 each, respectively.

Analyst: Apple increases Q2 iPod orders

Apple has increased its build orders for the majority of the iPod family in its second quarter (ending June), according to one analyst. Craig Berger, analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said in a note to clients that his latest checks on Apple’s supply chain show iPod orders up 15 percent since his last check in March, leading him to project 35 percent iPod order growth quarter-over-quarter. “We see greater shuffle, classic, and nano builds slightly offset by fewer touch builds, with greater shuffle builds accounting for most of the increased iPod builds,” said Berger. His checks also show iPhone build orders to be down less than 10 percent compared to March, however, Berger expects that iPhone orders to increase by as much as 250 percent to 3 million units going forward, as 3G iPhone production ramps up. “Apple’s June, September, and December total 3G order fell by 500,000 units versus our prior checks to 11 million units, although our contacts still say Apple will likely reduce this forecast over time,” he said. “This suggests Apple could sell 11 million iPhones in total in 2008, including its March actual shipments.”

Photo of the Week: iPod in Rivera, Uruguay

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows an iPod classic resting in Rivera, Uruguay. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures with your iPod or iPhone, and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!

KPN in talks to carry iPhone in Netherlands

Dutch telecom operator KPN has confirmed that it is in talks with Apple over the rights to sell the iPhone in the Netherlands. “KPN was approached by Apple about selling the iPhone on the Dutch market and, of course, the company is interested,” said a KPN spokesperson. The company declined to comment on how long the two companies have been in talks. Interestingly, KPN CEO Ad Scheepbouwer previously called the iPhone “a pretty useless phone,” only to later admit that the company would be “more than happy” to sell the device.

Mix: aTV Flash, iFund, Solar patent, Orange upgrade

Apple Core has begun offering its aTV Flash, a USB flash drive accessory for the Apple TV that allows users to easily hack the set-top box. The drive connects to the Apple TV’s USB port, and automatically installs a variety of software including a Safari-based web browser and a RSS feed reader, and adds support for a variety of unsupported video codecs like DivX, Xvid, and AVI. The aTV Flash is said to be warranty-safe, and retails for $70, including one year of software updates.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has revealed the first two companies being funded by its $100 million iFund. Pelago, the first company to receive funding from the iFund, is working on a location-based service called Whrrl, which uses the mapping capabilities of the iPhone and other smartphones to offer up information about local restaurants, shops, events, and other points of interest. The other company, iControl, is working on a home automation app that would give iPhone users remote control over air conditioners, lighting, window shades, and more. Announced at Apple’s iPhone Software Roadmap event in January, the iFund consists of $100 million in funds set aside for investment in companies developing applications for the iPhone.

A new Apple patent filing suggests the company is exploring the integration of solar cells into its portable devices. Titled “Solar cells on portable devices,” the patent describes several different methods of building the cells into the devices, including having the cells glued into a stack of transparent or semi-transparent materials, allowing even the device’s screen to serve as a solar surface. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.

Some French iPhone owners are claiming to have been contacted by Orange regarding a possible upgrade path to an upgraded model. Several readers of French site PC INpact claim to have been called by Orange, and offered a trade-in deal that would leave them paying 50 Euros for the new phone, or a “generous” discount should they choose not to trade-in their handset. Orange has yet to issue a statement regarding the matter; no trade-in programs have yet been announced by any of the iPhone’s official carriers.

TeliaSonera to offer iPhone in Nordic, Baltic markets

TeliaSonera has announced that it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in Nordic and Baltic markets. According to the company, it will offer the phone in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia “later this year.” As in other recent iPhone carrier announcements, no further release details or model specifications were provided. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to make an announcement regarding future iPhone roll outs during his WWDC keynote address on June 9.

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