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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Boomwave intros Kruz cases for iPhone 3G

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Boomwave has introduced its new Kruz cases for the iPhone 3G. Each Kruz case offers open access to all the iPhone 3G’s ports and controls, and includes a screen protector. Kruz ABS cases feature hard shell protection with a faux leather exterior, and come in white, red, or black, each with a unique design on the rear shell. Kruz ABS cases for iPhone 3G sell for $24 each. Also available are Kruz SC cases, which are made from cowhide leather, and feature an embossed design on the back side and a dual hook for attaching to a bag, strap, or belt loop. Boomwave’s Kruz SC cases are available in black with either red or white stitching, and sell for $28. Both styles are available now.

Quest for the Best iPhone App Contest winners announced

iLounge is pleased to announce the winners of our Quest for the Best iPhone App Contest, which gave developers the opportunity to spotlight new iPhone and iPod touch software in three separate categories: Games, Business/Productivity/Professional, and “Just Plain Cool.” We selected three winners, one per category; each will receive a Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin iPod Speaker System (retail value: $599), provided by B&W, along with a $100 Apple Store Gift Card courtesy of iLounge. Continue reading to see the contest winners.

iPodweek coming later today; Vote on stability poll

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The latest edition of iPodweek, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, is coming later today. iPodweek is a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, 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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In addition, our latest poll — “What do you think of the App Store so far?” —has ended, with nearly 3,200 votes from iLounge readers. Choices ranged between great to poor.

Response was overwhelmingly positive, with 67% of readers calling the new store either “Good” (40%) or “Great” (27%). Only 7% of readers felt the store has gotten off to a “poor” start, while 15% described it as “okay,” and 11% said they either didn’t own an iPhone or iPod touch, or didn’t care about the App Store. Thanks for your responses!

Our new poll focuses on the Apple’s recent single-day software releases of iTunes 7.7, iPhone Software 2.0, and Apple TV Software 2.1. Given the wide range of problems Apple had around the time of these releases, we’d like to know how they are working for you. Are all three exhibiting problems, just a couple, or just one? Or are all three releases working fine for you? The new poll, “Are you having stability problems with iTunes 7.7, iPhone OS 2.0, or Apple TV 2.1?” lets you answer that question. As always, the iLounge Poll is on the left hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!

Apple seeds iPhone OS 2.1 to devs, adds GPS, audio features

Apple has begun seeding a beta version of iPhone Software 2.1 to select developers, alongside an updated version of the iPhone SDK. Gear Live reports that the new software includes new Location Services features such as direction and speed tracking; it also appears to add a number of new functions for audio conversion and handling, as well as rudimentary support for push notifications for third-party applications.

AT&T pushing direct fulfillment orders ahead of store restocking

In an update to its website’s iPhone 3G press area, AT&T has revealed that it is currently using all its iPhone 3G supply to complete direct fulfillment orders, and will begin restocking its stores as soon as possible. “As we receive new inventory from Apple, we are shipping it out immediately to fill customers’ orders. We hope to begin re-stocking our stores as soon as we can, but first priority goes to those customers who purchased through direct fulfillment,” the company said. The page also states that as of July 23, “direct fulfillment customers are receiving their iPhone 3G, on average, 13 or 14 days following purchase.”

iPhone 3G unit-to-unit screen differences revealed

Confirming earlier reports of significant screen quality variations between both iPhones and iPhone 3Gs, as well as different iPhone 3G units, iLounge Editor Jesse Hollington has released a new series of photographs showing differences between an original iPhone and two separate iPhone 3Gs, one an 8GB model, the other a 16GB model. All three devices are running the latest version of OS X iPhone, 2.0 (5A347), and have been set on the same maximum brightness level.

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In the photographs, which have the original iPhone on top, the 8GB iPhone 3G model is shown to have a noticeably darker screen than the 16GB unit, as well as a considerably more shallow viewing angle. “Using a standard 360° measurement,” Hollington found, “where 0° is viewing in standard portrait mode, the most noticeable ‘negative black’ effects actually occur from about 110° through 270°, give or take.” The same effect “also seems to exist on the new 16GB,” continued Hollington, “although not nearly as pronounced, and almost only visible at the 135° point.” Consequently, the 8GB unit is more difficult to see on off-center angles, which can impact the performance of video, game, and photo features.

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Adding to the confusion, Hollington explains that while “the 16GB seems to have a greater range of brightness on both ends of the screen, getting a bit darker than the 8GB when turned all the way down,” it also seems too bright at its maximum: “it made my standard wallpaper look washed out when I first set it up.” For this reason, it is unclear at this point whether the screen differences represent a defect in one unit, both units, or merely a substantial variation in screen performance deemed acceptable by Apple’s factories. It should also be noted that although the 16GB model shown here appears better overall, as its brightness can be toned down to an acceptable level, it is likely that different 8GB and 16GB units use different screens, making it impossible for a buyer to know without testing a given unit whether its screen is good, bad, or somewhere in-between.

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Reports last year of post-release changes to iPhone and iPod touch screens spread across Apple’s and iLounge’s discussion forums, with some users watching serial number updates on a week-by-week basis, hoping that Apple assembly line changes would result in improved screen quality. While some users reported eventually getting devices with “good” screens that did not invert their blacks at certain viewing angles, others did not, and Apple never fully explained the problem.

Mix: Simpsons iPods, iPhone security, 3G availability, Stanford

  • July 24, 2008

The Simpsons Shop is currently offering a range of Limited Edition iPods featuring artwork from the long-running cartoon laser etched on the players’ backs. Each of the players are numbered and are limited to a run of 2,000. Three different designs are available on nearly every current-generation iPod, with prices ranging from $89 for a Limited Edition 1GB iPod shuffle to $599 for an etched 32GB iPod touch.

Browser security researcher Aviv Raff claims to have found a vulnerability in the iPhone and iPod touch’s Mail and Safari applications which affect users of both 1.1.4 and 2.0 Software. Raff writes, “By creating a specially crafted URL, and sending it via an email, an attacker can convince the user that the spoofed URL, showed in the mail application, is from a trusted domain (e.g. Bank, PayPal, Social Networks, etc.). When clicking on the URL, the Safari browser will be opened. The spoofed URL, showed in the address bar of the Safari browser, will still be viewed by the victim as if it is of a trusted domain.” Raff has reported the vulnerabilities to Apple, which has acknowledged the problem with Mail, and is “still investigating” the issue in Safari. In addition, Raff claims the Mail application is also “spammable,” but does not go into further detail regarding the vulnerability.

Blogger Chris Barnes has put together a handy iPhone 3G availability guide that uses Apple’s own availability file to provide stock information throughout the day. Unlike Apple’s own availability checker, which is only available between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., Barnes’ page is available at all times, and is updated once every 15 minutes, while Apple updates its own availability file throughout the course of the day. In addition, the page also offers quick stats about the availability of iPhone 3G models nationwide. [via DF]

Update: Following the publication of this article, Apple has changed the values in its availability file to “null,” removing the information needed for the availability guide to function.

According to its course schedule for the Autumn term of 2008-2009, Stanford University will be offering a course on “iPhone Application Programming.” No other information about the class is yet available, however, given Apple’s strict developer NDA, which presently prohibits discussion of certain confidential development information, some current iPhone developers are questioning whether Apple will tell the university to cancel the class. [via TUAW]

Apple posts three new iPhone 3G TV ads

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Apple has posted three new television ads for the iPhone 3G. All three of the new ads highlight different features of the iPhone 3G, displaying the phone in front of a plain white background. “Everyone” focuses on the phone’s Safari, Mail, and Maps applications, while touting the device’s “twice as fast” speeds and lower initial pricing. “Unslow” attempts to answer the question “So what exactly is 3G?” by again touting “twice as fast” speeds, while showing the advantages of the speed improvements in various iPhone applications. Finally, “Work Friendly” focuses on the new push Enterprise support found in iPhone Software 2.0, with examples of email, contacts, and calendar information arriving on-the-fly to a user’s phone. All three ads are now available for viewing on Apple’s website.

AT&T: iPhone 3G launch sales ‘nearly double’ original

In a release announcing its second fiscal quarter financial results, exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T revealed that launch period sales of the iPhone 3G were “nearly double” that of the original iPhone, while pointing to the device as an example of advanced communications. “In the first 12 days following launch, sales of the iPhone 3G were nearly double levels achieved in AT&T’s 2007 iPhone launch,” the company said. Speaking about the communications industry’s shift towards advanced mobile services encompassing voice, data, and video, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said, “The Apple iPhone 3G is a dramatic example of this transformation. In the days following our exclusive U.S. launch of this new device, powered by the nation’s fastest 3G wireless network, customer response has been everything we had anticipated and more. This strengthens our wireless business, and it reinforces our positive view of the opportunities ahead for AT&T and the industry.”

PDair offers leather, aluminum, silicone cases for iPhone 3G

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PDair has introduced a wide variety of cases for the iPhone 3G. In leather, the company is offering two vertical flip-style cases — one with a snap closure and one without — in both standard and crocodile-textured leathers, and in a variety of colors. Both flip cases feature open access to ports and controls, and contrast stitching. The Flip Type case with snap closure sells for $28 with standard leather and $32 with crocodile patterned leather, while the non-snap model sells for $35 in normal leather and $38 in crocodile patterned leather. In addition, both horizontal and vertical pouch-style leather cases are available, with the vertical model available in both normal and crocodile patterned leather, with or without a belt clip, while the horizontal pouch is available in both normal and crocodile patterned leather, and features a magnetic closure and included belt clip. Both the Vertical and Horizontal Pouch cases sell for $28 for the standard leather models and $32 in crocodile patterned leather.

imageOther PDair leather cases include the Book Type for iPhone 3G, which offers 2 card slots inside the lid, a magnetic closure, open access to all ports and controls, and contrast stitching, and the Sleeve Type case, which features a built-in plastic screen protector, a 360 degree rotating belt clip, and open access to all ports and controls. PDair’s Book Type and Sleeve Type cases are available in both standard and crocodile patterned leather, and sell for $28 for the standard model and $32 for the patterned leather model. The company’s Aluminum Metal Case for iPhone 3G is made from anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, and features a neck strap, a removable rotating belt clip, neoprene inner lining, open access to all ports and controls, and a flip-open design. Available in black or silver, it sells for $28. The Crystal Case for iPhone 3G is a clear plastic case offering open access to all ports and controls, and a snap-together design. It sells for $15.

PDair’s Silicone Case for iPhone 3G is a form-fitting case made from durable silicone and features open access to all ports and controls. It is available in six different colors and sells for $15. Finally, the company is offering an Ultra Clear Screen Protector and a standard Screen Protector for iPhone 3G, which sell for $12 and $8, respectively. PDair’s complete line of accessories and cases for the iPhone 3G is available now.

SwitchEasy announces CapsuleRebel for iPhone 3G

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SwitchEasy has announced its new CapsuleRebel case for the iPhone 3G. The CapsuleRebel is a hybrid case featuring a inner layer made of Adaptive Dynamic Soft Polymer (ADSP), a material which is stronger and more UV resistant than silicone, yet soft enough to protect the finish of the iPhone 3G. A Lexan polycarbonate “UltraFrame” attaches to the outside of the ADSP shell, covering over 60 percent of the case with the impact-resistant frame. The CapsuleRebel also features tactile covers for the device’s buttons, and comes with two anti-static screen guards, a microfiber cleaning wipe, a Universal Dock Adapter, a video dock stand, and a Dock Connector protector. Available in black or white, the SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel for iPhone 3G is available now and sells for $25.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in the Bahamas

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an original iPhone on the shores of Cat Island in the Bahamas. 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!

Proporta debuts Playback Pack, Ted Baker cases

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Proporta has introduced two new lines of iPod cases: the Playback Pack case for iPod classic and iPod nano (with video), and the Ted Baker Leather Case for iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (with video). Made from hard clear polycarbonate plastic, the Playback Pack case is designed to resemble a cassette tape case, and features openings for access to ports and controls. In addition, it also offers a flip-top lid that doubles as a stand for video viewing. The Proporta Playback Pack for iPod classic and iPod nano (with video) sells for $29. Designed by Ted Baker for Proporta, the company’s Ted Baker Leather Cases feature a styled leather exterior with a flip-up lid, a snap closure, access to the device’s controls when the top is open, and cutouts for access to other ports and controls. Available in a variety of colors, the Proporta Ted Baker Leather Case for iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPod nano (with video) is available now and sells for $50.

iSkin rolls out DuoBand for iPod nano 3G

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iSkin has announced its new DuoBand Armband+Protector for the iPod nano (with video). The DuoBand consists of an armband paired with a hybrid iPod nano case featuring a soft silicone layer with a two-tone ViSOR polycarbonate and aluminum overlay that offers clear screen protection as well as added protection from impact and scratches. The DuoBand’s breathable, moisture-resistant armband is fully adjustable and features a slide-in holder with silicone backing for comfort that allows the user to easily attach and remove the iPod case as needed. iSkin’s DuoBand for the iPod nano (with video) is available now in red/metallic or black/carbon and sells for $40.

Last chance to enter our iPhone App Contest

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iLounge’s Quest for the Best iPhone App Contest ends tomorrow night, so if you haven’t yet submitted your app, this is your last chance. In the contest, iLounge and Bowers & Wilkins are giving away three of B&W’s Zeppelin speaker systems to our three favorite native iPhone applications. To enter the contest, simply submit your application to our Application Gallery, which will highlight new iPhone software with individual listings and information for each application. One winner will be picked from each of three categories: Games, Business/Professional, and Just Plain Cool, with each winner receiving their own Zeppelin system plus a $100 Apple Store Gift Card. Entries will be accepted until 11:59PM Pacific Time tomorrow night, and only official, App Store-ready applications will be considered, with the winners being announced on July 25. Good luck!

Speck PixelSkin for iPhone 3G now available

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Speck Products has announced that its PixelSkin case for the iPhone 3G is now available in North America, Europe, and Australia. Announced in June, the case is made from lightweight, form-fitting rubber, and offers slightly thicker corners for extra bump and drop protection, as well as a textured tile pattern for added grip. The case also offers access to all ports, controls, and sensors, and the front features a raised ridge detail to help protect the iPhone 3G’s screen when it is placed face down. Speck Product’s PixelSkin for iPhone 3G is available in shades of black, white, purple, pink, yellow, blue, and green, and sells for $25.

Grantwood unveils Tuneband for iPhone, iPhone 3G

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Grantwood Technology has announced the release of its new Tuneband for iPhone and iPhone 3G. The Tuneband is an armband case that secures the iPhone to the user’s arm during exercise, while allowing for full access to the device’s screen, controls, and ports. It consists of a flexible Velcro armband strap designed to accommodate both small and large arms, a silicon case to hold the iPhone or iPhone 3G, and a low-tack, cut-and-peel screen protector. Grantwood Technology’s Tuneband for iPhone and iPhone 3G is available now and sells for $13.

Notes from Apple’s Q3 2008 Conference Call

In its third-quarter 2008 Quarterly Results Conference Call, Apple Inc. executives CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its music-related products, which accounted for 33% of the company’s total revenue growth in the third fiscal quarter. iPod sales grew 10 percent in the U.S. during the quarter, and 15 percent internationally. The iTunes Movie Rental service now offers over 2200 films — 450 in HD — and the App Store is up to 25 million downloads and 900 applications, with 20 percent free to download, and 90 percent priced at less than $10.

Both Cook and Oppenheimer repeatedly made reference to a future product transition, expected to take place in the September quarter, which will bring down the company’s average margin to 31.5 percent; the pair also said Apple would be “delivering state-of-the-art new products at prices our competitors can’t match.” It was not revealed whether the product transition in question will be iPod or Mac related. Speaking on iPhone production capability and recent sellouts, Cook said that the company was shipping units as fast as it can, adding that “[w]e are confident enough about the production ramp that we will be launching in about 20 additional countries on August 22,” bringing the total number of countries where the iPhone is available to over 40, a number which Apple has stated will grow to at least 70 by the end of the year.

Apple sells 11.01 million iPods during Q3

Reporting its third quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 11.011 million iPods during the quarter — a 12 percent increase in units and seven percent revenue growth compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, it sold 717,000 iPhones in the quarter despite limited stock, compared to 270,000 in Q3 2007. The company posted revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share in Q3 2007.

Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 35% over last year’s quarter and down slightly from the second quarter of 2008, to $819 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. Following plans it outlined in its Q2 2008 Conference Call, Apple is deferring all iPhone revenue until after the launch date of iPhone Software 2.0, which was released after the quarter’s end.

“We’re proud to report the best June quarter for both revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new record for Mac sales, we think we have a real winner with our new iPhone 3G, and we’re busy finishing several more wonderful new products to launch in the coming months.”

“We’re extremely pleased with the growth of our business and the generation of almost $5.4 billion in cash in the first three quarters of fiscal 2008,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $7.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.00.”

iStyles intros Skins for iPhone 3G

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iStyles has introduced its new line of Skins for the iPhone 3G. Skins feature high resolution full-color designs printed with UV resistant inks on premium grade adhesive-backed cast vinyl,  which is covered with a clear protective layer for added durability. The Skins use a patented repositionable and removable adhesive backing for easy placement and residue-free removal. Each Skin comes in a two-piece set that includes coverage for both the front and rear of the iPhone 3G, and also includes a special download code for free matching background wallpaper. iStyles Skins for iPhone 3G are available in a variety of designs and sell for $7 each.

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