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NLU Products launches TatSkinz decorative protectors

NLU Products, makers of the popular BodyGuardz clear protectors for iPod and iPhone, has announced TatSkinz, a new line of decorative protectors for the iPhone and iPod. TatSkinz are made up of a thin, repositionable sticker featuring original designs from a number of artists, and will offer a level of protection similar to that of the company’s BodyGuardz protective skins. Each TatSkin features a clear protective coating over the design to ensure that both the device and the artwork is protected from scratches, and will allow covered devices to fit into docks and cases. TatSkins will be packaged as two-part sets with one front skin and one rear skin, and are now available for the first-generation iPhone, iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (video) for $15 a set.

TIM reveals iPhone 3G rates, pricing for Italy

Telecom Italia Mobile has revealed (Translated link) its subscription plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G in Italy. Like many other international iPhone carriers, TIM will price the iPhone 3G based on which monthly plan the customer chooses. Macity reports the company will offer five different plans, ranging in price from €30 (~$47) to €200 (~$315) a month. The iPhone starter plan (€30) will offer 1GB of data, and no built-in voice minutes or texts — they will run €15 cents each. For €50 (~$79) a month, the iPhone 250 plan will offer the same 1GB of data, 250 minutes, 100 SMS messages, while the iPhone 600 plan, which runs €80 (~$126) a month, will offer 600 minutes, 200 SMS, and 1GB of data. The iPhone 900 plan is priced at €110 (~$173) a month and includes 900 minutes, 900 texts, and 1GB of data, while the iPhone unlimited plan will run €200 (~$315) a month and will include 5000 minutes, 1500 SMS, and 5GB of data. The iPhone 3G hardware will be priced at €199 (~$313) for the 8GB model and €269 (~$423) for the 16GB with the starter plan, €189 (~$298) and €259 (~$408) with the 250 plan, €149 (~$235) and €219 (~$345) with the 600 plan, and €99 (~$156) and €169 (~$266) with the 900 plan. The 8GB model will be free with the unlimited plan, while the 16GB model will cost €69 (~$109). It is unclear how long the associated contract will last. TIM previously announced that it will sell non-subsidized iPhone 3G units to pre-paid customers for €499 (~$786) for the 8GB model and €569 (~$896) for the 16GB model.

In a separate report, Macity claims (Translated link) that early Italian iPhone sales will require at-home activation through iTunes, as the carriers’ retail stores are not currently equipped to handle in-store activation. Both TIM and Vodafone will reportedly offer in-store activation on the iPhone 3G at the customer’s request as soon as their retail outlets are capable of doing so.

Stylz intros cases for iPhone 3G

Stylz has introduced its first cases for the iPhone 3G. The Body Armor for iPhone 3G is a hard polycarbonate case that features a built-in, touch-through clear screen protector. Other features include a snap-together design, open access to the iPhone’s headphone jack, volume and sleep/wake buttons, silent/ring switch, camera, and Dock Connector, and openings for the speaker and microphone. Available with a black, white, or clear back, all Body Armor cases will feature black front lining around the clear screen area. Stylz Dual Sleeve for iPhone 3G is a smooth, form-fitting two-tone silicone case offering direct access to all ports, buttons, and controls. Like the Body Armor case, all Dual Screen cases will feature a black front surface and will come in graphite (grey), white, and ruby (red). In addition, the Dual Screen for iPhone 3G will include a screen protector and cleaning cloth. Both cases are expected to be available soon; pricing has yet to be announced.

Canadian iPhone 3G displays revealed

Two in-store iPhone 3G displays for Canadian stores have been revealed in pictures from the displays’ installation manuals. The iPhone 3G will be displayed in Rogers Wireless and Fido retail outlets either on a white, iPhone 3G-specific pedestal display, or in a more traditional tabletop circular white base. The manuals also feature the first real-world pictures of the iPhone 3G Dock, which was previously spotted on Apple’s website. The new Dock features less plastic on the sides and front of the recessed docking well than the original iPhone Dock, and also features slightly different speaker and microphone holes to correspond with the new bottom design of the iPhone 3G.

iPhone 3G queue forms in NYC, display details emerge

The first iPhone 3G line formed over the weekend outside Apple’s flagship retail store on 5th Avenue in New York City. This same store, known for its glass cube entryway, was the location of the first line for the original iPhone last June. The first five people in line are part of an environmental activist group and are hoping to use their places in line to gain publicity for their cause.

In addition, large, full-window iPhone 3G displays have begun arriving at Apple retail stores. Similar to the in-store displays for the first-generation iPhone, the new fixtures consist of a display which resembles a giant iPhone 3G, running a demo of the phone’s software in front of a cardboard backdrop.

Segway CTO to become VP of Product Design at Apple

According to a report on the SegwayChat forums, Doug Field, Segway’s Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Design and Engineering, is leaving the company to accept a position as Apple’s Vice President of Product Design. At Segway, Field and his team were wholly responsible for the development of the Segway Personal Transporter as well as all the research and development of future Segway products. Curiously, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was highly critical of the Segway’s early design, which was created largely by Field and his colleague Scott Waters. [via Engadget]

O2 briefly opens, closes iPhone 3G pre-orders [updated]

O2 in the United Kingdom briefly began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 3G on its website this morning, before stopping the sales minutes after they began. Customers who pre-registered their interest in the new handset through O2’s website were told this morning that the iPhone 3G was available for pre-order online, only to be referred to a customer service line after filling out a form. The Register reports that reader Carol Dew called the number, “only to be advised that they couldn’t take telephone orders until Friday, and they were very sorry for the inconvenience, but they had 2000 other people just like me calling them this morning, and their managers had advised them that the site was overwhelmed. Because they didn’t anticipate the demand. But when I asked how many iPhones were in stock, since I was afraid they’d run out before I could order mine, I was told that they’d asked customers to ‘register their interest’ on the website (did that; hence getting the text this morning). And that every time someone registered their interest, they ordered in an iPhone for them. Yet they didn’t anticipate today’s demand.” Interestingly, O2’s pre-order announcement indicated that orders would be delivered by courier on July 11, raising questions as to whether the handsets would have arrived unbricked and activated, or whether Apple has plans to allow at-home unbricking and activation in some countries.

Update: O2 has updated its iPhone 3G page with a message that says, “Due to huge demand for the iPhone 3G, we’re currently out of stock online. Come back on 10 July for more information.” [via MDN]

Apple posts original iPhone to iPhone 3G upgrade how-to

Apple has posted a new support article explaining how users can replace their original first-generation iPhone with an iPhone 3G using the same carrier. The article, titled “How to replace an original iPhone with an iPhone 3G,” says, “If you follow these steps to backup your original iPhone first, and then restore the backup to your iPhone 3G, your saved SMS messages, email accounts, photos, notes, and other personal settings will be present on your iPhone 3G.” According to the six-step process, US-based iPhone customers will not need to swap the SIM cards from the original to the iPhone 3G, while users in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and France can use their original SIM with the new handset. Apple will launch the iPhone 3G in multiple countries worldwide on July 11.

Happy 4th of July, U.S. Readers!

Happy Fourth of July, U.S. readers! As iLounge’s U.S.-based editors are celebrating today’s Independence Day holiday, iLounge is publishing today on a limited schedule. We will return after the holiday with plenty more iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and iTunes news, reviews, and tutorials.

In addition to new stories today from iLounge editors outside the United States, we urge you to check out the Quest for the Best iPhone App Contest and Mophie Juice Pack Giveaway pages. Each contest offers you a chance to win cool prizes: iPhone developers can win $599 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker systems, and anyone can win one of 10 $99 Mophie Juice Pack batteries for iPhone or iPod touch. Submit your entries today!

German iPhone early adopters angered by upgrade penalty

A new German T-Mobile iPhone upgrade policy has angered some first-generation iPhone owners, according to a new report. The company has announced that first-gen iPhone users looking to upgrade to the iPhone 3G will be forced to pay a €15 ($24) penalty for each month left on the prior iPhone’s contract, despite the fact that many paid the full €399 ($626) amount for the phone last year. In addition, reports German site (Translated link), there may also be a “port charge” added on to the penalty. AT&T in the United States has announced that it will allow current iPhone users to upgrade to the iPhone 3G at subsidized $199-$299 pricing, partially because the original iPhone was not sold with a subsidy. In Germany, however, T-Mobile began offering first-generation iPhones in April for as little as €99 with a 24-month contract, creating a situation where some iPhone users paid full price for the handset, while some did in fact receive the phone at a subsidized price. [via MacNN]

DoCoMo still interested in offering iPhone

Ryuji Yamada, president of Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, recently suggested that the company is still interested in making a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone in Japan alongside previously announced Japanese carrier SoftBank. “It’s common sense that Apple wants to sell as many iPhones worldwide as possible and to customize it would be difficult,” Yamada, said in an interview. “Our stance on the iPhone remains flexible.” DoCoMo, which has been in negotiations with Apple to carry the iPhone, “hasn’t given up yet,” according to a statement made by Yamada on June 23. SoftBank will launch the iPhone 3G in Japan on July 11.

Telia revises iPhone service plans for Sweden

Following complaints from potential customers regarding the voice, text, and data limits on its previously announced iPhone 3G service plans, Swedish iPhone carrier Telia has revised its service offerings for the soon to be released handset. Instead of modifying the plans for the iPhone 3G, the carrier has chosen to allow users to pick from its existing plans for other mobile phones, then add a 199 SEK (roughly $33) unlimited data option. It remains to be seen whether other international iPhone carriers facing public scrutiny over their service plan pricing, such as Rogers in Canada, will follow suit and modify their plans to meet customer demand.

Apple patents outline further multi-touch research

A number of Apple patent applications focusing on multi-touch research have been recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Mac Rumors notes that a majority of the applications protect research done by Wayne Westerman, the former cofounder of Fingerworks. One of the applications, titled “Gesture Learning,” outlines methods to teach more advanced multi-finger gestures to users through the use of visible feedback and interactive games that help users learn the movements. Another application titled “Multi-event Input System” describes the use of both a finger and a second, non-capacitive surface, such as a fingernail or other tapping instrument, to control advanced operations such as text selection, copy/paste, and other secondary functionality. This system would rely on a next-generation touchscreen capable of sensing different types of input. Interestingly, several of the illustrations accompanying the second patent show an iPod classic-like scroll wheel-equipped device with a small antenna protruding out the top. 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.

Optus reveals iPhone 3G plans, pricing

Optus, one of three Australian iPhone carriers, has revealed its plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G. Unlike most other carriers, Optus is offering the iPhone 3G to subscribers on a monthly payment basis, in lieu of taking one large upfront payment for the handset. The company will offer the iPhone 3G with two different lines of contract service plans. The company’s ‘yes’ Cap Plans offer a set amount of data, a credit amount used towards calls and texts which is much higher than the minimum monthly payment, and a national Call Rate of A$0.47 to A$0.35, depending on which Cap Plan the customer selects. Likewise, the monthly payment the customer must pay towards the cost of the iPhone 3G hardware varies based on the plan selected. All texts up to 160 characters cost A$0.25, which is taken out of the credit amount included with the plan. In addition, all ‘yes’ Cap Plans include voicemail, free 20 minutes calls to other Optus GSM mobiles in Australia from 8pm to midnight 7 nights a week, and free 5 minute calls to numbers on the same account.

Google launches Google Talk for iPhone

Google has released a new web-based version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. Google Talk for iPhone requires the application to be open in the Safari browser in order to receive instant messages. When a user navigates away to another browser window or application, his/her status is automatically changed to “unavailable,” and the session will be restarted when the page is reopened. To access Google Talk for iPhone and iPod touch, simply navigate to from the device.

Apple sets deadline for App Store launch submissions

Apple has sent out an email to paid iPhone developers encouraging them to get their applications submitted by July 7 for inclusion on the App Store on launch day. The email, received by World of Apple, states: “To ensure your application can be considered for the exciting launch of the App Store, submit your application by 12 PM PDT, on July 7, 2008. We will continue to accept applications after this time, however your application may not be available until after the launch of the App Store.” The App Store is expected to open for business alongside the release of iPhone Software 2.0 and the iPhone 3G on July 11.

Vaja debuts cases for iPhone 3G

Vaja has announced its first cases for the upcoming iPhone 3G. The iVolution Top and iVolution SP leather cases both feature a flip-down cover, which blocks access to the iPhone’s Dock Connector but offers protection for the screen when closed, and offer open access to the phone’s camera and headphone jack. The iVolution Top is available in solid colors and starts at $75, while the iVolution SP offers a decorative stripe down the center of the case’s front flap, and starts at $85. The classic Retro Slim Bag is a sleeve-style case which offers access to the phone’s ring/silent switch, sleep/wake button, and headphone jack, and features a stitched leather stripe on the left side. It starts at $45. Finally, the classic Pouch is a solid color leather case featuring a fold-over top flap and a snap closure. It starts at $65.

Apple contacts BusinessWeek writer over iPhone 3G article

Following a posting yesterday expressing confusion and disappointment over AT&T’s iPhone 3G plans and pricing, and its decision to charge separately for SMS text messaging, BusinessWeek writer Arik Hesseldahl was contacted by Apple regarding the article. Hesseldahl writes, “So Apple called today, a little annoyed with my portrayal yesterday of AT&T’s iPhone pricing.” Hesseldahl defends his position on the non-inclusion of SMS messaging, saying, “Is this a mistake on AT&Ts part? I certainly think so.” He goes on to suggest that the extra charges for messaging will lead to greater adoption of native and web-based instant messaging solutions, while noting that AT&T is not alone in its need to streamline its wireless pricing plans to make them easier to understand and more convenient for consumers.

PurpleTalk launches advertising service for iPhone devs

PurpleTalk, a new iPhone developer tools and services company, has announced the launch of AdShare, a new free advertising service for iPhone developers. AdShare will use a brief splash-screen promotion embedded into a iPhone application to cross-promote different apps and raise awareness for those applications. Each time a developer displays an ad for a separate developer, they receive credit for one advertisement of their App, which will be promoted by another developer. The service will also provide analytic services which will allow developers to track the usage statistics of their applications.

Sridhar Muppidi, PurpleTalk’s Founder and CEO, said, “This service offers non-intrusive ads which do not affect the user’s application experience, since our AdShare banners use only 30 % of the splash screen, while the rest promotes the application owner’s brand.” Vince Mundy, CEO for iPhone gaming application development company commented, “PurpleTalk’s AdShare service will allow us to promote our games directly to end users.  We expect that it might help us to acquire as many as two or three times more customers. The value is in differentiation and increased exposure.”

Apple, Jobs, execs re-sued for fraud [updated]

Apple, Inc., CEO Steve Jobs, and a number of company executives have been re-accused of fraud in a new lawsuit filed in California last week. Along with former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, former General Counsel Nancy Heinen, and board members William V. Campbell, Millard S. Drexler, Arthur D. Levinson and Jerome P. York, Jobs and Apple are accused of knowingly defrauding shareholders with stock option backdating, a scandal which resulted in federal U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges against Anderson and Heinen, but no prosecution of Jobs. The civil complaint claims all the named parties were aware of the illegal nature of the backdating, stating: “The defendants knew that options were not granted on the dates that were disclosed to shareholders and falsified the company’s records to create the appearance of illegality, and thus bear direct responsibility for their actions.” [via Macworld UK]

Updated: The new filing, by plaintiffs Martin Vogel and Kenneth Mahoney, is a re-initiation of a previous attempt at a class action lawsuit against Apple, Jobs, and the company’s executives and directors. Vogel’s prior suit, known as Vogel v. Jobs et al., was previously dismissed with prejudice, and awaiting the filing of an amended consolidated class action complaint.

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