Myvu Corporation has announced that it is now shipping its new Myvu Crystal and Myvu Shades video eyewear. Both new viewers feature Kopin’s CyberDisplay technology, offering the highest pixel density and the sharpest resolution for its size, a rechargeable battery with up to 10 hours of viewing time for Shades and up to four hours of viewing time for Crystal, and earbuds from Ultimate Ears. Myvu Crystal also offers VGA quality resolution and a 35% increase in the field of view over previous Myvu models, and sells for $300.
In a partnership with INNO Design, renowned designer Young Kim worked on the Myvu Shades, giving them a unique glance-down sunglass-inspired design that allows viewers to keep aware of their surroundings. Shades also offers 320x240 resolution, and sells for $200. “The market for mobile content is exploding, yet the small screen dilemma remains,” said Kip Kokinakis, president and CEO of Myvu Corporation. “Myvu Crystal and Shades solve this problem by offering a lightweight portable media viewer that lets consumers watch their favorite videos anywhere on Myvu’s vivid virtual and full-sized screen.” For more information on the eyewear, read our review of the Myvu Crystal and Myvu Shades.
RichardSolo, the new company by The Sharper Image founder Richard Thalheimer, has introduced its new Backup Battery for iPhone/iPod. The compact battery connects to the iPod and iPhone via 30-pin connector, and features a lightweight black aluminum case with LED status lights. According to the company, the 1200 mAh lithium-ion battery can take hundreds of charges and can provide up to double the usage time of the iPhone or iPod’s built-in battery. Other features include automatic on/off charging technology to prevent overcharging, a mini-USB port for charging both the Backup Battery and the device at the same time, an included retractable USB charging cable and AC wall charger, and Made for iPod and Works with iPhone certification. “I’ve spent my entire career researching electronics and discovering the best new gadgets,” said Thalheimer. “I’ve never been more excited about a new product. Not only does it look great, but it also functions intuitively and quickly to charge an iPhone on the go. Most importantly, it is the most powerful pocket-sized unit you can buy.” The RichardSolo Backup Battery for iPhone/iPod is available now and sells for $50.
Napster has launched the world’s biggest DRM-free MP3 download store with a catalog of more than 6 million songs. Most of the songs available on the store sell for $0.99 each, with most albums selling for $9.95. “We’re now moving from under the DRM cloud,” said Chris Gorog, Napster chief executive. “Now consumers can use Napster with any device.” The move makes Napster the latest high-profile DRM-free music download store to have the blessing of the major labels, which Reuters says have been hoping to use the services to lessen Apple’s dominant position in the industry. Despite the success of the download-to-own model, Napster will still support its subscription service, which it believes will grow as people become more aware of it. Said Gorog, “We believe ultimately that consumers will be moving to an unlimited music model.”
iStik, Inc. has announced that it is now accepting pre-orders for its iStik case for the iPod nano (with video). Designed as an alternative to athletic armbands, the iStik is a hard clear case that utilizes magnets to secure its back to an included separate panel, allowing the user to stick the nano directly onto his/her clothing or bag. The company claims the magnets are safe for use with the nano, but cautions against use with a pacemaker or placement near a traditional hard drive. The iStik case for iPod nano (with video) is scheduled for release on June 1 and sells for $25.
Telefónica’s Movistar has reportedly reached an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in Spain. According to a report by technology blog Sevenclick, Telefónica executive José Santos Esteras confirmed at the Professional Communications Congress that the company has an exclusive contract to offer the iPhone in Spain. Daniel Pujol of Orange added that the exclusivity is limited to three or six months. Telefónica Europe CEO Matthew Key recently stated the Telefónica Group would make a joint announcement with Apple in the “coming weeks.” [via AppleInsider]
Maclove has introduced Face off for iPhone, a new line of decorative, protective coverings and matching wallpaper backgrounds. The Face off combines a clear, transparent screen protector with decorative designs that cover the rest of the iPhone’s face. A separate graphic-covered sheet is supplied for rear coverage; both the front and back pieces can easily be removed and reapplied. Based in China, Maclove is currently seeking Western distribution for its products.
V-moda has begun offering its Vibe in-ear earphones in “blush,” a new metallic pink color with silver accents. Like other Vibe headphones, the blush model features a metal housing, a v-masque dynamic driver, and an iPhone-compatible, gold-plated 3.5mm headphone plug. Three different sizes of silicone ear fittings are included in both clear and black, along with a leather carrying pouch and a modawrap cable manager. The V-moda Vibe blush earphones are available now and sell for $101.
Apple is in negotiations with the major music labels to try and expand the variety of mobile music offerings available to iPhone users ahead of the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. The New York Times, citing anonymous label executives, says that Apple is looking to expand its inventory of available ringtones, and is also hoping to begin offering ringback tones. Discussions concerning Apple’s ability to sell songs from the iTunes Store over the cellular broadband (3G) network are also ongoing, with the music labels arguing that they should be paid more for over-the-air downloads than for a standard purchase made over the Internet. Apple is said to be hoping for a quick end to the negotiations so it can announce the new offerings alongside the next iPhone. As one label executive said, “They want a big launch in June.”
ezGear has introduced its new Video Cable for new iPods, featuring compatibility with the iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano (video), and iPhone. The Video Cable for new iPods contains an Apple Authentication chip, which is required to activate the video-out feature on late 2007 model iPods and iPhone. The cable itself features a Dock Connector on one end, and standard RCA composite video and audio plugs at the other. In addition, the RCA end of the cable also offers a female USB plug for charging the iPod while the Video Cable is connected. The ezGear Video Cable for new iPods is available now and sells for $40.
iLounge’s Design the Next iPhone, Win the Next iPhone Contest will only be open for another nine days, so if you haven’t yet entered, now 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 (a week from 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!
The latest edition of iPodweek, our weekly newsletter covering all things iPod, iPhone, iTunes, and Apple TV, is coming later today. iPodweek is a summary of the top news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published over the past week, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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Ecamm Network has released PhoneView 2.0 for iPhone, a Mac-only companion application for the iPhone. Formerly called MegaPhone (and iPhoneDrive before that), the application gives iPhone and iPod touch users access to iTunes media, photos, notes, contacts, SMS messages, and call history data stored on their device. It also opens the devices for data storage and file transfer purposes, and allows users to add notes to the devices’ Notes application by dragging text files in most popular formats into the PhoneView browser. New to version 2.0 is the ability to search, access to the contact list, and automatic backup of SMS and call history data. “With PhoneView’s Notes features, the iPhone Notepad gets a whole lot more useful,” says Ken Aspeslagh, Ecamm Network’s iPhone specialist. “Not only can you retrieve iPhone Notes by simply dragging them out of PhoneView, you can actually drag in text files for reading and editing on the go.” PhoneView requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and sells for $19.95; a free 7-day demo version is also available.
Best Buy is currently selling the Lucky Brand speaker system for iPods, a special edition of Sonic Impact’s iP22 Portable Speakers. The Lucky Brand system offers a built-in iPod Dock, and an integrated carrying case with a zippered closure and a unique Asian-influenced design inspired by Lucky’s men’s and women’s clothing on the fabric outer shell. Other features include a strap for portability, 24-hour battery life and an included power adapter for charging, and an integrated amplifier. The Sonic Impact Lucky Brand iP22 Portable Speakers for iPod are available from Best Buy and sell for $100.
In a case that outlines the legal strategy that will be used against companies that create iPod accessories without joining Apple’s Made for iPod program, the company has filed suit against Atico International over a series of patent and trademark infringements relating to the latter’s iPod accessories. Apple is claiming infringement of a patent on remote controls, infringement on the design patents for its Universal Dock well, as well as three Dock Adapters, and trademark violations relating to the Made for iPod, iPod mark, and iPod image trademarks. Apple has also alleged that Atico is unfairly competing with Apple in violation of federal law based on its use of Apple’s trademarks, falsely suggesting that its products are associated with Apple. Some of Atico’s products are being sold at Walgreens under the Living Solutions brand; offerings include an AM/FM Alarm Clock Radio with iPod Dock, a Portable Boom Box with iPod Dock, and the JBL On Stage-styled Portable Speaker with iPod Dock. Apple’s complete filing is available here.
Orange, the iPhone’s carrier in France, today announced a new agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in a host of other countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Specific countries include Austria, where T-Mobile Germany already offers the handset, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the company’s African markets. According to the announcement, Orange will begin offering the iPhone in these countries “later this year.”
Singapore Airlines has announced that it is now offering iPod and iPhone connectivity on select all-Business Class Airbus A340-500 flights. The system allows passengers to enjoy content from their iPod or iPhone through the aircraft’s KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system, which features a 15.4-inch widescreen monitor for every seat, as well as active noise-cancellation headphones. In addition, the system—which connects to the devices via a standard 30-pin connector—will offer in-seat charging, and will allow users to hear announcements and instructions made by the crew and pilots even while content is being played. The service is currently limited to flights between New York and Singapore, and will be added to flights between Los Angeles and Singapore in August.
“Customers on our all-business class Airbus A340-500 flights now have an incredible way to enjoy their own iPod and iPhone music and video on the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system,” said Yap Kim Wah, Senior Vice-President Product & Services, for Singapore Airlines. “This is yet another example of our philosophy of creating customer satisfaction by providing an enhanced sense of choice and control.”
“The iPod is the world’s most popular digital music player and iPhone is a revolutionary mobile device, and they have become essential for millions of travelers,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod & iPhone Product Marketing. “Singapore Airlines’ customers can now enjoy their music, TV shows and movies on their iPod and iPhone through the in-flight entertainment system.”
An Apple patent application published this week suggests the company is working on multiple wireless applications for its personal media devices. The patent describes a method for the wireless notification and downloading of new podcasts, and multiple instances of location or site-based wireless applications. Site-based applications would be handled by local short-range wireless protocols, such as Wi-Fi, and would provide location-specific information and capabilities. The filing covers both wireless applications and dock-based information transfers, and covers a broad swath of possible uses.
“For example, if the merchant is a restaurant, the merchant may provide a menu to the personal media device and the user may place an order on his or her media device by selecting items on the menu,” the patent states. Likewise, a movie theater could list currently running films and times, and allow the user to purchase tickets with the device, or an attraction such as a zoo or museum could offer up relevant content — like information on a particular artist or animal — when the user enters a certain area. Another example covers larger tourist attractions: “Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a tourist attraction (e.g., a museum or zoo). Local content may include, for example, audio podcasts, maps, event schedule, advertisements, general information, graphics (e.g., animal pictures), and any other suitable information. Because tourist attractions can be relatively large (e.g., Disney World) and children often frequent such places, parents may be concerned of a child’s whereabouts if not directly within their sight. Assuming the parent and child both have a media device, and the tourist attraction or other large area (e.g., city) has a distributed network, a location program may be executed to determine the location of the child’s media device.” As with all patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann has said the company’s T-Mobile Germany has so far sold more than 100,000 iPhones in the country. The company last reported sales of 70,000 iPhones at the end of January, meaning around 30,000 units have been sold from February on. Hamid Akhavan, Deutsche Telekom’s board member at T-Mobile, had previously told Dow Jones Newswires that sales figures for the iPhone were “in line” with expectations, and that the recent price drop had spurred sales. In April, T-Mobile Germany began offering 8GB iPhones at reduced prices when purchased with a 24-month contract, bringing the price of the handset down to as little as €99.
Aliph has introduced its new Jawbone Bluetooth Headset, the first substantial update to its award-winning original Jawbone. The new Jawbone is 50 percent smaller than the original, and like its predecessor it features military-grade noise elimination technology called NoiseAssassin. According to Aliph, the technology, originally developed for DARPA, provides the Jawbone with ten times the voice clarity of competing headsets. Other features of the new Jawbone include touch controls, a textured shield inspired by noise abatement surfaces, faster processing to help eliminate noise bursts, and a new fast-charge battery that charges up to 80 percent capacity in just over half an hour. The new headset weighs 10 grams, provides over four hours of talk time and over eight days of standby time, supports Bluetooth 1.1, 1.2, and 2.0, and includes three differently-sized earbuds, four earhoops (two leather, two slim), and a magnetic USB cable and wall charger. The new Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset is available now in matte black and will soon be available in silver and rose gold, and sells for $130.
According to screenshots (Front view/Rear view) posted by well-known French video games publication JeuxFrance, the iPod will make an appearance as an equippable item in the upcoming Konami game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The screenshots from the highly-anticipated game show a white 30GB fifth-generation iPod, complete with iPod markings and trademark identifiers. Developed by acclaimed producer Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid 4 will be released worldwide for the PlayStation 3 console on June 12.
Coincidentally, a parody of the Apple iPhone, and indeed the company itself, appears in the recently-released Grand Theft Auto IV. A webpage for a company called “Fruit” appears in the game, encouraging its customers to “Think Fruit.” Towards the bottom of the page, an advertisement for the new “iFruit Phone” appears, with the following description: “No buttons. No reception. No storage capacity. All ego.” The phone itself resembles the real iPhone, save for its banana-like curved body.