Having previously released the game Bomberman for iPod nano, classic, and 5G owners, Japanese video game developer Hudson Soft has opened a free iPhone and iPod touch gaming site featuring a handful of simple games and downloadable movies. Titled “Do the Hudson!!,” the site features 15 different games, including poker, blackjack, and a variety of memory- and math-based challenges. Several of the games feature Hudson’s best-known characters Bomberman and Bonk. Based in Japan, the site is accessible from any iPhone or iPod touch worldwide at touch.hudson.co.jp.
Only three days are left in iLounge’s Design the Next iPhone, Win the Next iPhone Contest, so if you haven’t yet entered, this is your chance. To enter the contest, simply submit a brand-new artistic rendition (minimum 1600px wide) of what you think the next iPhone should look like. iLounge’s editors will pick six top concepts from the pool of valid entries, three of which will receive Apple’s next-generation iPhone, while three runners-up will each receive a $100 iTunes Store Gift Card.
Submissions run through May 25 (this Sunday), with winners to be announced in The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4, on June 1. For more information or for official rules, please visit the official contest page. Good luck!
Sunglass maker Oakley has introduced its new iPhone case, its first for the Apple handset. According to the company, the case is made from molded Unobtainium rubber, and features open access to the iPhone’s screen, camera, home button, and all other ports and controls, the ability to stand on its side for video viewing, and deep ridges on the sides and back for added grip. Available exclusively in black, the Oakley iPhone Case sells for $30.
Several TV programs from Sony Pictures Television have been added to the iTunes Store in the United Kingdom. Like the HBO programs recently added to the store, the new Sony shows vary in price, suggesting that Apple is moving away from its standardized TV show pricing in an effort to draw more studios to the service. Available programs include the animated “Spider-Man” and “Jackie Chan Adventures,” “NewsRadio,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” and “Damages.” “Spider-Man,” “Jackie Chan,” and “NewsRadio” sell for £1.19 per episode, while episodes of “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Damages” sell for £1.49 each. [via Macworld UK]
Belkin has released the Rotating Charger for iPhone and iPod. The charger consists of a oblong white power brick with a receptacle plate that allows the main body of the charger to be rotated at different angles to accommodate other cords and/or tight spaces. Packed with a white iPhone/iPod charging cable and a separate 3.5” charging cable for the iPod shuffle, the Belkin Rotating Charger for iPhone and iPod is available now at Target stores and sells for $25. An upcoming version, the Dual Rotating Charger, will sell for $30 and include twin USB ports for connection to included USB/mini-USB cables and an iPod shuffle charger, or a self-supplied Apple USB cable.
Rogue Amoeba has released Airfoil 3.2, the latest update to its Airport Express streaming audio utility for Mac OS X. Airfoil allows users to send audio from any application to an Airport Express or Apple TV, and can also send audio to multiple AirTunes units simultaneously. New in version 3.2 is improved support for the 802.11n Airport Express, including full password support and better synchronization, as well as support for remote control of iTunes or QuickTime Player when transmitted via AirFoil. Users can control the applications using the Apple Remote through an Apple TV, or the Keyspan Express Remote through an Airport Express. Airfoil 3.2 is available now and is a free update for Airfoil 3 users; a full license runs $25.
Sonic Impact has quietly begun to ship its i-F5 portable speaker system for iPod. The i-F5 is a black zip-closed system featuring a built-in iPod dock, two 1.5” drivers and two 1.5” passive radiators, Maxxbass for improved bass performance, auxiliary input, rechargeable Ni-H batteries offering 8 hours of playback, and an included remote control. Unlike many other speaker systems, i-F5 trims back its power consumption and maximum power when it’s running off of batteries, dropping from 4 Watts down to 3 Watts for extended run time. The i-F5 is currently available online from Dr. Bott and sells for $150.
France Telecom CFO Gervais Pellissier has confirmed its Orange unit will keep exclusivity over the next iPhone in France, according to a Reuters report. “It will remain an exclusive contract in France,” Pellissier told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms summit in Paris. He declined to comment on when the next iPhone might be launched, or if any of Apple’s first-generation exclusivity deals would be re-negotiated for the launch of the new handset. Earlier in the week, T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan confirmed that the iPhone would remain a T-Mobile exclusive in Germany. Orange has announced plans to offer the iPhone across countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa later this year.
The latest beta of iPhone Software 2.0 released to a enterprise partners suggests Apple is working on adding geotagging support to the iPhone’s Camera application. Geotagging adds location-specific metadata such as city and state or latitude and longitude coordinates to media files so they can later be processed, sorted, and referenced by location. AppleInsider reports that people familiar with the release, labeled build 5A292g, say location-aware applications such as Maps and Camera now ask for user permission to identify their current position. In addition, a new toggle found in the iPhone’s General Settings menu appears to allow users to enable/disable Location Services on a system-wide basis. Despite the appearance of these new location services, it appears that location metadata is not yet being embedded in new photos taken with the iPhone’s camera; the specific details of what metadata is included may yield clues as to whether the geotagging is based on currently vague iPhone location detection, more precise GPS functionality, or either, depending on the iPhone model.
Myxer, a site offering free, advertising-supported mobile content, has added the ability to download iPhone-formatted ringtones to its service. To access the ringtones, users can visit myxer.com, browse the available content, and use the “Download for iPhone” link to download any tone to their PC or Mac desktop. The iPhone ringtones are already in the required .m4r format, so they can be added straight to iTunes following the download, and can then be synced to the iPhone. “The iPhone is part of today’s new mobile economy and like Myxer, it’s helping to change the landscape of today’s mobile environment,” said Myk Willis, CEO, Myxer. “We’re delighted to invite iPhone users to expand their mobile content choices through open access to Myxer’s catalog and broad array of mobile content delivery services.”
Mophie has introduced its new Ratchet, a combination case and belt clip holster for the iPod classic, iPod nano (video), iPod touch, and iPhone. Each Ratchet includes a 360-degree swiveling belt clip with a secure spring loaded clip that can be turned to a variety of angles. The Ratchet for iPod nano and iPod classic also includes a Base Case, a silicone case that offers access to all ports and controls, and is designed to be used in conjunction with the Ratchet belt clip. The Mophie Ratchet is available now and sells for $18 (iPod nano), $20 (iPod classic), or $30 (iPhone and iPod touch). [via Gadget Lab]
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone on the trail to Angels Landing at Zion National Park in Utah. 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!
Elgato Systems has released Turbo.264 version 1.3, a free update to its USB video encoder hardware. The Elgato Turbo.264 is a Mac-only H.264 video encoder that accelerates video exports to iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV formats. New in version 1.3 is support for DVD chapter markers, which are merged into chapter markers readable by video-enabled iPods, the iPhone, and the Apple TV, and support for Dolby Digital pass through on Apple TV video exports. In addition, the software update offers numerous improvements and bug fixes. Turbo.264 version 1.3 is available now as a free download from Elgato’s website. For more information on the Turbo.264 hardware, read our full review.
AT&T now has refurbished 8GB and 16GB model iPhones back in stock, after a brief sellout last week. The phones come complete with a one-year warranty, free shipping, and all the standard iPhone pack-ins, including a dock, USB power adapter, stereo headset, and more. The 8GB model sells for $249, while the 16GB model runs $349. The refurbished phones are available while supplies last and are limited to one per customer, per household. [via TUAW]
AT&T has announced that it will complete its rollout of High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) technology in its current 3G markets by the end of June, and will use the technology in all future deployments as it expands its 3G coverage to more markets by the end of the year. HSUPA technology will offer users uplink speeds between 500 and 800 Kbps, complementing existing High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology, which offers download speeds of up to 1.4 Mbps. [via RedEye]
The BBC has revealed that its BBC iPlayer reached 1.4 million average weekly users in April, up from 1.1 million in March. Notably, three percent of those were iPhone or iPod touch users, suggesting that an average of 42,000 iPhone and iPod touch users accessed the site weekly in April. The service is limited to iPhone and iPod touch users based in the U.K.
A new survey by Rubicon Consulting shows that nearly half (47%) of iPhone users changed carriers in order to use the device, and on average pay $19 more per month for cellular service after the purchase of the iPhone. “The numbers are big enough that clearly this thing is profitable for AT&T,” Michael Mace, a principal at Rubicon, told the New York Times. “The big financial leverage is on the people who switch carriers. It’s not like you have to add new cell towers for them; they’re almost all profit. And those people are hard to come by, because you have to switch them off somebody else’s network.”
Speck Products is now offering all its first-generation iPhone accessories for 50% off. The discount includes the ToughSkin, SeeThru, Holster Pro, SkinPro, TransPort, ArmorSkin, Classic, and Runner cases. In addition, using the code “speck75” at checkout adds another 25% percent discount to the already half-off items. Offer end date unknown. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in.]
Users of iTunes are the targets of a new phishing scam, according to e-mail security vendor Proofpoint. Computerworld reports that users began receiving spam messages yesterday informing them that they must correct a problem with their iTunes account. The enclosed link leads to a site posing as an iTunes billing update page where users are asked for information including their credit card number, security code, Social Security number, and mother’s maiden name. “We’ve gotten used to seeing the usual companies and brands attacked,” said Andrew Lochart, an executive with Proofpoint, “like PayPal, eBay and Citibank. But we’ve never seen Apple as the target.” Lochart said the campaign is likely a result of Apple’s growth, adding, “It’s probably indicative that the bad guys see Apple’s online presence as large enough to be a target. It’s part and parcel of the success that Apple has enjoyed lately.”
Lochart also said the identity thieves possibly aimed the attack at iTunes users due to the service’s youth-skewing demographics. “I wonder if the bad guys are thinking that [iTunes users] are younger than those for some of the other phished sites, like banks and eBay,” he said. “The way that teenagers and young adults use the Internet, they show a certain level of trust or openness when they post their name and age and school on MySpace.” Despite the threat, the scammers have “actually done a pretty poor job,” said Lochart, as the URL is clearly not part of an official Apple domain.
The Rural Cellular Association plans to file a petition with the FCC calling for an investigation into exclusivity deals used by large wireless providers to secure rights to carry certain cellular phones. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group represents about 80 small and rural wireless companies, most with fewer than 500,000 customers. Using the iPhone as an example, the complaint states that most Vermont residents, as well as those in rural areas of 15 other states, can’t use Apple’s handset because AT&T offers only roaming coverage in those areas, and other carriers which do offer service can’t sell the iPhone. CITA spokesperson Joseph Farren argues that “When you look at the number of handsets available in the U.S. compared to Europe we’re far ahead,” adding that since consumers have so many choices, there is no need for an FCC ban on exclusive deals. [via CNET]
Apple has begun airing a new iPod + iTunes TV ad. The new spot features the English rock band Coldplay playing the song “Viva La Vida” off the upcoming album of the same name. Expanding on Apple’s traditional silhouette-style, the new ad features the band lit with a slight silhouette effect in front of a dark background with brightly-colored effects. The ad is now available for viewing at apple.com/itunes.
KennettNet Software has announced Music Rescue 4.0, the latest upgrade to the popular iPod recovery tool. Music Rescue 4.0 adds new features such as QuickRecover, a way to easily rebuild an iTunes library, support for the iPhone and iPod touch, a revamped user interface, Smart Playlist support, an improved media player, and faster, smoother copying. Following a complete rewrite for both Mac and PC, version 4.0 is currently in the final stages of development. The company is now seeking beta testers, and has offered any reader who’d like to help test Music Rescue 4.0 a discount coupon worth 50% off the price of the new version. In addition, users who purchase Music Rescue 3.x (which sells for £10) now will get a free upgrade to version 4.0 when it is released by the end of June.
Speaking at the Reuters Technology, Media, and Telecoms Summit in Paris, T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan said that he expects the iPhone to remain exclusive to T-Mobile in Germany. “We have a very good relationship with Apple…at least in Germany it is exclusive, and we expect it to remain as such,” Akhavan said, adding, “If and when there is a 3G iPhone we expect to have it exclusively in Germany as well.” T-Mobile has been the device’s carrier in both Germany and Austria, however, last week Orange announced an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Austria alongside T-Mobile, raising questions about the company’s exclusivity arrangements.