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Mix: Yamaha, Remote, Dual Dock, Germany

Yamaha has released its YDS-11SL iPod Dock for select Yamaha AV Products. The Made for iPod-certified YDS-11SL features a Universal Dock that lets users connect the iPod to certain Yamaha products, allowing for on-screen navigation on some models, iPod charging, and the ability to control the iPod from the product’s remote control. It is available now for $100.

A new feature has been discovered in Apple’s Remote application for iPhone and iPod touch. When the application is open and connected to an Apple TV, anytime the user needs to enter information using the on-screen keyboard, a keyboard also appears in the Remote application, allowing the user to quickly enter information using the iPhone or iPod touch. [via DF]

A first-generation iPhone owner has successfully modified a Dual Dock for iPhone and the iPhone Bluetooth Headset for compatibility with the iPhone 3G. According to a rough translation, the user said, “I was lucky to get an iPhone 3G 16 GB last Thursday. As I could not find any dock for the iPhone 3G, I took my Dremel and decided to modify the dock shipping with the Bluetooth iPhone headset. Once polished, it looks like brand new and clean, and this is a substantial money saving[s].”

Apple “totally underestimated” demand for the iPhone 3G in Germany, according to a report in German magazine Focus. Citing an unnamed Apple manager, the report says that T-Mobile expected to receive 40,000 iPhone 3Gs from Apple for the July 11 launch, but less than half that number actually reached shops. The report suggests that it may take until early October until shops in Germany are restocked.

Motorola sues current Apple exec over non-compete agreement

Motorola has filed suit against a former executive for allegedly violating a no-compete agreement and threatening to reveal its trade secrets by taking a job with Apple as vice president of global iPhone sales. According to the suit, Michael Fenger accepted “millions of dollars in cash, restricted stock units, and stock options” in exchange for agreeing not to join a competitor for two years following his departure from Motorola. The suit also states that Fenger hired away two high-level Motorola employees who have knowledge of the company’s trade secrets and customer relationships. Fenger, who oversaw mobile devices in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for Motorola, joined Apple less than a month after leaving Motorola, said the lawsuit. Motorola is asking the court to stop Fenger from working for Apple for two years and to bar him from soliciting or hiring Motorola employees or disclosing Motorola’s confidential information, and is also demanding damages and repayment of stock options given to Fenger in exchange for the non-compete agreement.

PDO ships TopSkin for iPhone 3G, reveals cases, chargers

PDO has announced that it is now shipping the TopSkin for iPhone 3G, and has also introduced its new High Performance Series cables and PowerUP car and wall chargers for iPod and iPhone. Announced in June, the TopSkin is a form-fitting silicone case featuring a play-through design that covers the power, volume, and home buttons in a slim layer of silicone, while cut-outs allow for access to the iPhone’s screen, camera, ring/vibrate switch, speakers, and microphone. The device’s Dock Connector and headphone jack are covered by flaps that can be opened for access and protect the ports when not in use. In addition, the TopSkin features a micro texture grip on all four sides, and includes a slim-profile belt clip and a full frontal screen protector. It sells for $20.

PDO’s High Performance Series cables include the Audio Auxiliary Cable and RCA Stereo Audio Cable. Both cables measure six feet in length and feature black chrome finished connectors with gold-plated contacts. The 3.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Auxiliary Cable allows the user to connect his/her iPod or iPhone to a car’s auxiliary input jack, while the 3.5mm to RCA Stereo Audio Cable allows connection of an iPod or iPhone to a traditional stereo speaker system. Both cables are compatible with all iPod and iPhone models, and will be available at the end of the month for $20 each. Finally, PDO’s PowerUP Wall Charger and PowerUp Car Charger for iPod and iPhone enable charging of the devices at home and in the car, respectively. The PowerUP Wall Charger features dual USB charging ports for charging two iPods/iPhones at once, and comes with a USB Dock Connector charging cable. The PowerUP Car Charger features an indicator light to show charging status and an integrated coiled Dock Connector cable. Both chargers will be available in early August for $20 each.

AT&T page lists free Wi-Fi for iPhone users (again) [updated]

A new page found on AT&T’s website suggests the company may finally be ready to begin offering free Wi-Fi access to iPhone users at its hotspots nationwide. AT&T’s Wi-Fi Access page now states, “we are proud to offer iPhone customers free access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot network with more than 17,000 hotspots, including Starbucks.” The company’s iPhone 3G service plan page has yet to be updated with a mention of the service. In April, free Wi-Fi access was briefly offered to iPhone users at a select number of AT&T hotspots, but the service was quickly removed, with no announcement from the company. In May, the company added text to its iPhone web site stating that free Wi-Fi access was now part of all iPhone service plans, only to remove it shortly thereafter. AT&T has yet to make an official announcement regarding the service.

Update: Following the publication of this news, AT&T removed the page from its website. A screenshot of the original text appears below.

DirectVoxx Muso offers voice control of iPod

DirectVoxx has introduced its muso Voice Control for iPod. The muso is a small dock-connecting accessory that allows users to access their music with natural voice commands. According to the company, the device “synchronizes with the user’s iTunes library directly on first use and requires no training to understand requests such as ‘Play me some Led Zeppelin,’ ‘How about some Rolling Stones,’ ‘Gimme jazz’ or ‘Go to My Broadway Tunes playlist.’” With current support for a wide variety of English phrases, DirectVoxx says non-English multilingual support is coming in 2009. The device is self-powered by an internal rechargeable battery offering ten hours of use under “normal operating conditions.” It includes a sync/charge cable and a remote control, and will be available for the iPod nano in December for $159, with a future iPod/iPhone compatible model planned for release “as soon as possible.”

iPhone 3G supply snapshot: 61% of Apple Stores sold out

A week after its troubled launch, the iPhone 3G remains a hard-to-find item in the U.S., with nearly all of AT&T’s company-owned stores sold out. According to checks made earlier this morning by iLounge, Apple’s online iPhone 3G availability page shows approximately 61% of the company’s 187 retail stores sold out of iPhone 3G. 57 stores (30%) show availability of at least one iPhone 3G model, while only 15 stores (8%) report stock of all three models. Out of the 57 stores with at least one model in stock, 22 were located in New York and California, with 7 out of the 15 stores showing availability of all three models coming from those two states. This gives NY and CA a disproportionately high percentage (40%) of stores with stock remaining. While Apple is understood to be making shipments to its stores on an almost daily basis, it remains to be seen when iPhone 3G availability will again be widespread.

Additionally, AT&T stores contacted by iLounge have reported extremely limited availability of iPhone hardware, with one store claiming that a grievance has been filed against Apple for restricting shipments. The store noted that it had received a total of only 20 iPhones to offer to more than 100 lined-up customers, with only 5 of each 16GB model to sell. Meanwhile, the store noted that Apple Stores have been stocked with hundreds if not thousands of units.

iLounge launches redesigned iLounge Mobile for iPhone, iPod touch

imageiLounge is pleased to announce the re-launch of our iLounge Mobile portal, optimized for efficient access to iLounge’s broad spectrum of content from any iPhone or iPod touch, now with a fresh new look and exciting new features.

iLounge Mobile offers full access to iLounge’s News, Reviews, First Looks, Articles, and Backstage entries, Web App and Company directories, and also offers iPhone-formatted versions of our award-winning Library of free iPod and iTunes books.

Out shopping for a product? You can now search our database of thousands of accessory reviews, or sort them by rating to see best-in-class products, all right from your iPhone or iPod touch.

imageIf you need to contact a company for more information about a product, simply browse our comprehensive industry directory to find the company you need, then tap on the number to place a call using your iPhone.

These are just a couple of highlights from our new iLounge Mobile portal, which can be accessed now at

For easiest access, be sure to add iLounge Mobile to your home screen! Enjoy!

Samson Audio unveils StudioDock 3i iPod-docking monitors

Samson Audio has introduced its StudioDock 3i Active USB Monitors with built-in iPod dock. The StudioDock 3i features a USB port on the back that can be used to connect the iPod to a computer for charging and syncing, and the port can alternately be used to stream digital audio from an USB-equipped audio source. The monitors incorporate a magnetically-shielded 3.25-inch copolymer woofer and a 1.25-inch silk dome tweeter for extended range, as well as a bass reflex vented cabinet design and an internal 30-watt amplifier. Other features include a front-mounted 3.5mm auxiliary input, headphone jack, and volume controls, RCA input on the rear panel, passive crossovers, and Solid Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) construction. Samson Audio’s StudioDock 3i system is available now and sells for $149.

Incipio debuts iPhone 3G case lineup

Incipio has announced its new line of accessories for the iPhone 3G. The Silicrylic is a 2-part case combining a hard polycarbonate exterior with a shock-absorbing silicone case. It offers access to all ports and controls, and includes a screen protector and cleaning cloth. Available in a variety of colors, it sells for $25. Incipio’s Orion is a simple sleeve-style case for the iPhone 3G that offers a soft interior lining and the company’s EasyReach system for easier removal of the device. Available in seven different colors, it sells for $20. The Executive OVRMLD is a rigid, form-fitting case with microsuede lining. It offers access to all ports and controls, and is available in white, black, or olive green for $30.

imageIncipio’s Premium Leather Fitted Case is an open-faced protector featuring a low-profile metal belt clip, a top button closure, and access to all ports and controls. It includes a screen protector and cleaning cloth, and sells for $25. A hand numbered Limited Edition Raw Leather version is also available in two colors for $60. The dermaSHOT for iPhone 3G is a high density silicone case with anti-static coating that offers open access to all ports and controls and includes a screen protector, cleaning cloth, and video stand. It is available in a variety of colors for $20. The Black Bond Street Leather Case for iPhone 3G is a horizontal holster-style case that features a built-in belt clip, a leather exterior with microsuede lining, and a magnetic closure for the lid. It sells for $25. Finally, the ECO|Case Eco Friendly Organic Canvas Case for iPhone 3G is a vertical sleeve-style case made with environmentally friendly materials. It offers a single-piece design, side openings for easy removal of the phone, and a soft interior lining. It sells for $20. All of Incipio’s iPhone 3G accessories are available now.

ezGear ships ezSkin Plus for iPhone 3G

ezGear has announced that it is now shipping its ezSkin Plus case for iPhone 3G. Announced in June, the ezSkin Plus is a form-fitting silicone case that covers nearly all of the iPhone’s exterior save for the screen, ringer switch, Dock Connector, and headphone port. It employs the company’s ezButton feature to allow for easier pushing of the buttons while protecting them in additional silicone. The ezSkin Plus for iPhone 3G will include a static screen protector and a spring loaded belt clip, and is available now in white, black, or blue for $23.

Sega, Electronic Arts talk iPhone gaming

Speaking in interviews at the annual E3 trade show, representatives from both Sega and Electronic Arts have spoken out about gaming on the iPhone. In a video interview with gaming blog Kotaku, Sega of America president Simon Jeffery made several comments about the iPhone gaming market, and the device’s processing power. Jeffery said Sega was “deliriously happy” with the response to Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone, adding that “[o]ur relationship with Apple is such that they talked to us really early about their iPhone gaming plans, so we could get the whole accelerometer stuff working on Super Monkey Ball quite early on.” Asked if there is a big enough user base for Sega to put a lot of emphasis on developing iPhone games, he said, “we’re going to have a pretty substantial iPhone development effort, yeah. We think that the iPhone is everything the N-Gage wasn’t, as a gaming device.” He added, “[w]hy people play those crappy games on their mobile phones, I’ll never understand. I’ll never understand it, personally. The iPhone changes that, completely. You’re playing Dreamcast-quality games on this tiny little device[.]”

The comparison to the Dreamcast led to another statement that the iPhone is “right there” with the discontinued Sega console in terms of power, with Jeffery calling it “pretty impressive.” When asked if the company would then be looking to bring over a lot of Dreamcast games to the iPhone, Jeffery said, “We’re looking pretty sensibly at what we can do on the iPhone that works and resonates with the market. We’re really happy with Super Monkey Ball, and it totally proves that our IP-owned properties resonate with that casual gaming demographic. So looking back towards some of the Dreamcast content makes a ton of sense.” Finally, he revealed that the company has quite a few games in development for the iPhone right now, including what he described as some “very cool stuff.”

In a separate interview, an unnamed EA developer said the iPhone was in between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP in terms of power, but closer to the PSP. The developer added, however, that the accelerometer needs assistance to function as a gaming control device. “Think of it as a loose analog stick…you get lots of random data.” Game developers therefore need to create smoothing algorithms to interpret the data into movement info.

PDO intros CarFM transmitter + charger for iPod, iPhone

PDO has introduced its new CarFM combination car mount, FM transmitter, and charger for the iPod and iPhone. CarFM features an adjustable iPod and iPhone mount attached to a flexible gooseneck extension that plugs into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter to provide power to the transmitter and attached device. It also features the ability to tune in any FM frequency between 88.1 and 107.9 MHz, four “Quick Select” FM frequencies of 88.1, 94.1, 100.1, and 106.1 MHz, adjustable arms to hold the iPod or iPhone even when in a case, the ability to function as a hands-free device for the iPhone via a 3.5mm audio cable, a USB port for charging a second USB device, and silicone padding on the mount for a secure grip. It is compatible with fourth- and fifth-generation iPods, all iPod nano models, the iPod classic, iPod touch, iPhone, and iPhone 3G, and will be available later this month for $50.

Macally rolls out slew of iPhone 3G cases

Macally has introduced its upcoming line of cases and screen protectors for the iPhone 3G. The mCase is a slip-on, hard shell leather case for iPhone 3G. It offers a “slip-up” loading design that allows for easier docking of the phone, as well as access to all controls and ports, micro-suede inner lining, and an included screen protector. It sells for $20. The Metro is a 1mm thick, snap-on protective cover for iPhone 3G made from ABS plastic. It features ribs on its sides and back for added grip, offers access to all ports and controls, comes with a screen protector, and is available in black or white for $20. Available in white or black, Macally’s Bella case for iPhone 3G blends a stitch-seamed Nappa leather front with a high-density back panel and a microsuede interior lining. It includes a dark brushed metal carabiner, lanyard, and screen protector, and sells for $20.

imageMade from non-slip silicone, the mSuit is a form-fitting case for iPhone 3G offering a ribbed surface on its side and back for extra grip, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector. It sells for $13. The mClip for iPhone 3G is a holster-style case with a built-in dual-purpose belt clip/adjustable horizontal stand. It features corner clips for a secure hold, a rubberized surface for scratch reduction, and dual release tabs for easy removal of the device. It is priced at $20. The IceCase for iPhone 3G is a clear hard plastic case that features a removable bottom for easy docking, open access to all ports and connectors, and a removable belt clip that doubles as a stand for watching movies. It will sell for $20. Finally, Macally’s Mirror Finish and Privacy Screen Protective Overlays for iPhone 3G offer protection for the device’s glass front and offer a mirrored finish when the screen is turned off or a narrower viewing angle for added privacy, respectively. Both sell for $10.

iSuppli estimates materials cost of $174 for iPhone 3G [updated]

Market research firm iSuppli’s Teardown Analysis Service has taken apart the iPhone 3G and has issued a preliminary estimate of $174.33 for the cost of materials and manufacturing of the 8GB iPhone 3G, compared to its estimate of $227 for the original 8GB iPhone. iSuppli found several chips from Infineon AG in the phone, including the HSDPA/WCDMA/EDGE baseband chip, an RF transceiver and a GPS solution, along with a Samsung ARM processor, Toshiba flash memory, three power amplifier modules from TriQuint Semiconductor, a Marvell Wi-Fi chip, a Bluetooth solution from Cambridge Silicon Radio, and more. The company notes that in addition to the its estimated bill of materials and manufacturing cost, Apple is also spending an estimated $50 on intellectual property royalties for each iPhone 3G shipped. [via BusinessWeek]

Update: Semiconductor Insights has provided iLounge with an image of the new Wolfson Micro audio codec chip found in the new iPhone 3G. During our testing of the new iPhone, which you can find details of in our comprehensive review, we found the audio from this new chip, labeled WM618OC, to sound extremely similar to the Cirrus Logic part used in the iPod classic.

Apple offers special pricing on refurb 8, 16GB iPod touch

Apple is currently offering special pricing on certified refurbished 8GB and 16GB iPod touch units. Listed as having the current software release, the refurbished 8GB model, which previously sold for $249, is now being offered for $199, while refurbished 16GB models are now priced at $299. Refurbished 32GB units sell for $429.

Strong euro ends need for iTunes UK price cuts

Apple has canceled its plans to lower the price of songs on the iTunes Store in the United Kingdom due to exchange rate changes. In January, Apple said it would lower the prices it charges for music on its UK iTunes Store to match the already standardized pricing on iTunes across Europe within six months. Songs cost 79p in the UK and 0.99 euros elsewhere in Europe; at the time of the announcement, that was equal to only 74p. Since then, however, the euro’s value has risen and 0.99 euros is now equal to 79p. “The announcement was that we would match the UK price to that of other lower priced European countries,” an Apple spokesman told BBC News. “This is no longer necessary as exchange rates have effectively done it for us.” The spokesman could not say what would happen should the exchange rate change again, but noted that Apple wants to keep the pan-European prices “standardized.”

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in Germany

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. 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!

AB Sutton intros Simple Slip for iPhone 3G

Luxury leather goods maker AB Sutton has introduced its Simple Slip case for iPhone 3G. The Simple Slip is made from kidskin leather with soft silk interior lining. The case comes in two styles — with and without a wrist strap — and customers may also add a silk monogram to the outside of the case. In addition, the Simple Slip features a cable tuck for headphone organization, and dual openings in the bottom of the case for the speaker and microphone. The AB Sutton Simple Slip case for iPhone 3G is available now in a large variety of colors and with a multitude of different silk linings. It sells for $88 without a strap, $108 with a strap; adding a monogram or design to the leather exterior adds $20 to the price.

Apple releases iPod touch firmware 1.1.5

Apple has released firmware version 1.1.5 for the iPod touch. The new software is meant as an update for iPod touch users who choose not to purchase the $9.99 iPhone 2.0 Software Update for the iPod touch. According to Mac Rumors, early reports indicate that the firmware provides no new features, but may improve the speed and stability of existing applications. iPod touch firmware 1.1.5 is available now as a free update through iTunes.

Japan to abandon push for iPod copyright fee

Japanese officials have said they will stop pushing for a tax that would have allowed about 1 percent to 3 percent of the price of portable media players such as the iPod to go to recording companies, songwriters and artists. Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs had hoped to submit legislation to Parliament as early as this fall, but recent talks of the panel studying the proposal failed to reach any agreement amid strong criticism from electronics companies. “At this point, there is virtually no hope for getting the legislation passed,” said agency official Masafumi Kiyota. Kiyota added that the panel has agreed to continue the discussion, although no date has been set.

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