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iSkin rolls out Fuze case for iPhone

iSkin has begun shipping its Fuze case for iPhone. Originally announced in January, the Fuze blends dual layer impact-resistant polycarbonate with a shock absorbing soft inner liner for added protection. The Fuse allows for full screen, sensor, port and antenna access, and also features an integrated flexible Dock Connector cover, a rubberized outer finish for enhanced grip, and compatibility with iSkin’s revoClip. The iSkin Fuze for iPhone is available now and sells for $40.

Australian retailers receive sealed boxes from Apple

According to a report from Australian Apple enthusiast site MacTalk, a number of Australian resellers have received sealed packages from Apple, which are not to be opened until Tuesday June 10 — the same day (in Australia) as Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Little more is known about the smallish boxes, which are labeled “Subject to terms of NDA: Do not open until Tuesday June 10th 2008.” MacTalk’s sources believe that the packages contain next-generation iPhones, to be used for promotional purposes prior to the handset’s launch in Australia. [via Mac Rumors]

iToner update brings iPhone 1.1.4 support

Ambrosia Software has released iToner 1.0.7, the latest update to its iPhone ringtone creation software. iToner lets users easily transfer their own MP3, AAC, WAVE, and AIFF audio files to the iPhone as custom ringtones. New in iToner 1.0.7 is support for iPhone OS X 1.1.4 and a fix for an iTunes compatibility issue, along with other bug fixes and improvements. iToner requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later and sells for $15; a free trial download is also available.

Apple creates executive iPhone software position

Apple last week made several executive changes to the company, including creating a new position related to iPhone software. AppleInsider reports that Scott Forstall, who previously held the position of vice president of iPhone software, was promoted to Senior Vice President of iPhone Software, a new position that will have Forstall reporting directly to CEO Steve Jobs. Prior to the iPhone, Forstall held the position of Vice President of Platform Experience and was responsible for several releases of Mac OS X. He also played a major role during Apple’s iPhone Software Roadmap event. Along with Forstall’s promotion, the company also named Bob Mansfield Senior Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering.

WWDC starts Monday with live coverage on iLounge

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference begins Monday in San Francisco, and iLounge will be on-site to provide coverage. We will be providing live coverage of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address, which is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. An announcement regarding the next-generation iPhone, while not guaranteed, is certainly expected during the speech. As we have done in the past, will take you to our streamlined special event page starting an hour or so before the event.

Telefónica’s Movistar to be sole iPhone carrier in Spain

Telefónica’s Movistar unit will be the sole carrier of the iPhone in Spain, according to Spanish press. Thomson Financial reports that the phone may be sold for under 100 euros with a contract of two to three years. The report also states the next-gen iPhone will offer a video camera and GPS, but this is likely unconfirmed speculation rather than fact. Yesterday, Telefónica confirmed that has reached an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Spain “later this year.”

O2 planning iPhone upgrades, pay-as-you-go service

O2 is planning a series of promotions to boost sales of the next iPhone in the United Kingdom, according to Macworld UK. Citing unnamed sources, the report states that the device will cost £100 with an 18-month contract, or £269 contract-free for pay-as-you-go users. The new iPhone may be offered free to customers who sign up for the most expensive tariff, which is currently £75 per month, and may be offered as a free upgrade for existing iPhone customers who are willing to extend their contract by another 18 months.

Klipsch intros Image X5 in-ear headphones

Klipsch has introduced its Image X5 in-ear headphones, the second model in the company’s Image line. 2mm in diameter larger than the Image—today renamed Image X10—which Klipsch bills as “the world’s smallest, lightest full-range in-ear earphone design,” the X5’s larger size makes them easier and slightly less expensive to manufacture. The X5s feature balanced full-range armature drivers with a tuned bass-reflex system, electroplated aluminum housings, 50-inch vinyl cables, and flexible black “tails” which serve to reduce cable stress and minimize cable noise. Like the X10, the X5 uses soft, oval Contour Ear Gels to isolate noise and increase bass response; the company claims the X5 has a superior top end with more forward voicing compared to the X10. Included with the X5 are five different-sized ear gels, including both single and double flange designs, a carrying case, airplane adaptor, and an ear gel cleaning tool. The Klipsch Image X5 in-ear headphones sell for $250 and will be available later this month.

iLounge wants your iPhone development news

This year’s Worldwide Developer Conference marks the first time native iPhone developers will have a chance to introduce their games and applications to the world, and we’re excited to see what you talented folks have come up with. If you or your company has an application coming out soon, we’d love to hear about it. Just send your pre-announcement or post-announcement news to us via news at ilounge dot com and we’ll be sure to check it out.

Apple launches movie offerings on the iTunes Store in the U.K. and Canada

As expected, Apple has launched movie sales and rentals on the iTunes Store in both the United Kingdom and Canada. In the U.K., over 700 movies from film studios including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Sony Pictures, and Lionsgate UK are available, with titles available for purchase on the same day as their DVD release. Over 100 films are available to rent in high definition on an Apple TV, as well. The films cost £6.99 for library title purchases and £10.99 for new releases, while iTunes Movie Rentals are £2.49 for library title rentals and £3.49 for new releases, with high definition versions priced at one pound more. iTunes Movie Rentals in the U.K. offer users 48 hours to finish watching the movie after they start it, although 30 day limitation on starting the movie remains the same as the US terms.

“We’re kicking off movies on the iTunes Store in the UK with over 700 films for purchase and rent,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We think customers in the UK are going to love being able to enjoy their favorite movies on their iPod, iPhone or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV.”

In Canada, over 1200 films from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Studios, MGM, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and Maple Pictures are available for rent or purchase, and like the U.K., titles will become available for purchase the same day as their DVD release. The films sell at CAN$9.99 for catalog title purchases, CAN$14.99 for recent releases and CAN$19.99 for new releases. iTunes Movie Rentals are CAN$3.99 for library titles and CAN$4.99 for new releases, with high definition rental versions cost one dollar more. Over 200 titles are currently available in HD through Apple TV in Canada, and Canadian iTunes rentals share the 48-hour viewing window of those from the U.K.

“Canadians have made iTunes the most popular place to find and buy music and TV shows online,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We’re thrilled to give iTunes customers access to over 1,200 movies from major studios to rent or purchase, whether to enjoy at home on their widescreen TV with Apple TV or on-the-go on their iPod.”

SoftBank to carry iPhone in Japan

In a major but brief announcement, Japan’s SoftBank Mobile (formerly Vodafone) has disclosed that it will offer the iPhone in Japan. According to a brief press release, the company said it “has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone to Japan later this year.” According to Reuters, SoftBank spokesman Fumihiro Ito could not provide further details on the deal, such as a release date or whether the company would be the exclusive carrier in Japan. A report placed SoftBank and Apple in a mobile phone partnership as early as May 2006, when a Japanese newspaper reported that the companies were working together to build a cell phone with iPod-like features and high-speed web connectivity. Also of interest is SoftBank’s reference to the name “iPhone,” which due to trademark concerns has remained uncertain as the product’s name in Japan.

Telefónica confirms Spanish iPhone deal

Telefónica has confirmed that it will offer the iPhone in Spain, two days after evidence of the deal appeared on its mobile unit website. The company’s press release (PDF link) states simply, “Telefónica has signed an agreement with Apple to sell iPhone in Spain. The iPhone will be launched later this year.” Earlier this week, a promotional page was discovered on the website of the company’s mobile unit, Movistar. The page originally provided a form to sign up to receive more information on the iPhone when it became available, but the form was quickly removed.

Photo of the Week: iPod touch in Wisconsin

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows an iPod touch against the clouds in Wisconsin. 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!

XtremeMac explains Luna X2 delay, adds iPhone support

Following several delays and correspondingly angry reader comments, XtremeMac today confirmed the revised shipping date for its Luna X2 iPod clock radio and announced the addition of iPhone compatibility to the system. In a note to iLounge, XtremeMac President and CEO Gary Bart explained, “We apologize for the delays with Luna X2. These delays are the result of factors outside of our control. We have taken advantage of the time delay to also incorporate iPhone compatibility into Luna X2, so that we can deliver the product with even more value than originally planned. Luna X2 will definitely go into production in July and will be available from XtremeMac and our retail partners by the beginning of August. XtremeMac wants to deliver only the very best products to market and assure that our customers are truly satisfied with their purchase. We understand customers’ frustrations with pre-ordering products that are viewed ahead of actual shipping. Sometimes, complex products take longer than anticipated to complete. XtremeMac certainly appreciates everyone’s patience.”

Mix: iClooly, Radiohead, iTunes Festival, Phoenix

RockridgeSound has introduced its iClooly stand for the iPod touch. While the stand is depicted as featuring a design inspired by Apple’s current line of iMac computers, with an aluminum base, matte black back, and a rotating holster for the touch, the stand does not appear to provide complete access to the iPod’s headphone port, making its practicality a question mark. The RockridgeSound iClooly stand for iPod touch will sell for ¥4,980 (about $47) when it goes on sale June 7. [via Engadget]

English rock band Radiohead, one of the biggest remaining holdouts from the iTunes Store, has had its complete back catalog of albums, songs, and music videos added to the store. The entire catalog, save for the band’s debut album “Pablo Honey,” is available in the DRM-free iTunes Plus format.

Apple has announced its iTunes Live: London Festival ‘08, a month-long music event to be held at London’s KOKO in July. As with last year’s iTunes Festival: London, each of the performances will be recorded and made available for sale on iTunes. Notable performers scheduled for this year’s festival include Death Cab for Cutie, CSS, James Blunt, and N*E*R*D. [via Macworld UK]

The University of Arizona has added video and animation relating to the Phoenix Mars Mission to iTunes U. The programs range from around a minute to nearly fifty minutes length, and include media related to the landing and launch of Phoenix, as well as talks from various speakers.

iHome announces iH69, iH70 iPod computer speakers

Following their debut in The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4, iHome has officially announced its iH69 and iH70 computer speakers for iPod. Both the iH69 and iH70 feature two separate computer speakers, one with a built-in iPod dock that can charge, play, and sync all dock-connecting iPod models without the need for separate wires or a standalone dock. The iH69 and iH70 feature high-fidelity Reson8 speaker chambers, a computer port, sync switch, volume controls and a headphone jack. The iH70 adds higher wattage producing speakers and a full functioning remote control. Evan Stein, Vice President of Marketing with iHome, said, “The new iH69 and iH70 are a perfect marriage of sound and design, and with their charging and sync capabilities, they are the ideal, all-in-one speaker solutions for the Mac or PC that will consolidate space and bring iHome’s advanced sound technology from audio speakers to computer speakers.” The iHome iH69 and iH70 will be available soon and will sell for $100 and $130, respectively.

Mac education promo offers free iPod touch or nano

Apple has launched its new Back to School promotion, offering a rebate of up to $299 towards the purchase of an iPod with the purchase of a qualifying Mac system. To receive the rebate, education customers must buy a new Mac (Mac Mini and 17” iMac excluded) and an iPod touch or iPod nano (video) on the same order. Customers will receive a rebate of $299 with the purchase of an iPod touch, making the 8GB model free and substantially discounting 16GB and 32GB models; alternately, the customer may receive a $199 rebate with the purchase of an 8GB iPod nano. The promotion runs from June 3 to September 15; for more information, see Apple’s official terms and conditions.

Electronic Arts releases Monopoly for iPod

Electronic Arts has released its Monopoly game for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod classic, and iPod nano (video). Based on the popular board game, Monopoly features the classic board and pieces, animated player tokens, property cards, customizable game rules, both single and multiplayer modes, and adjustable play levels. Monopoly is now available on the iTunes Store for $4.99. For more information on Monopoly, read our First Look article.

Apple pulls out of Apple Expo 2008

Apple will not be exhibiting at Apple Expo in Paris, France, scheduled for September 17-20, according to Macgeneration (Translated link). Earlier show floor plans for the event showed a designated area for Apple, but the area is now listed as “reserved.” Confirmation of Apple’s move is expected to be provided by Reed Exhibitions France, the organizer of the show, later this week. Once the world’s largest Apple trade show, the Expo is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, although the future of the show has remained questionable for years because of Apple’s absence. In recent years, Apple has scaled back its participation in the show, and has not held a keynote presentation at the event since Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller introduced the iMac G5 during his 2004 address. A limited question and answer session was held in 2005 with Apple executives.

Etymotic hf5, other new audio add-ons debut in Free iPod + iPhone Book 4

Noted earphone designer Etymotic opens the The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4‘s latest Sneak Peeks section with the world premiere of its new hf5 Earphones—at $149, the company’s most aggressively-priced ER-4-drived in-canal earphones to date. Also shown for the first time are Scosche’s soundSCREEN rotating speaker for iPod and tuneSTREAM Bluetooth 2.1 audio accessories, iHome’s iH69 and iH70 hybrid computer and iPod speakers, the Griffin iTrip Auto SE, the Capdase Quartet USB Power Adapter which boasts four USB charging ports, the SendStation PocketDock Line Out Mini USB, the Griffin Simplifi combination iPod dock and memory card reader, the Scosche showTIME AV cable, and the Monster iCarCharger 200. If you haven’t done so already, download The Free iPod + iPhone Book 4 for more information on these and other new iPod and iPhone accessories.

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