Intuit has announced the launch of its QuickBooks Online web application for the iPhone and iPod touch. QuickBooks Online for the iPhone lets users view balance sheet and profit & loss reports, bank account and credit card balances, vendor, customer, and employee lists, accounts receivable and payable, and QuickBooks Online contact information, which works with the iPhone to make calls, create emails, and look up addresses using the Maps application. Intuit’s QuickBooks Online for the iPhone and iPod touch is available to all QuickBooks Online users at accounting.quickbooks.com/m; QuickBooks Online accounts start at $10 per month.
Electronic Arts has released its Spore Origins game for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod classic, and iPod nano (video). Previously shown during Apple events as an iPhone and iPod touch game, Spore Origins lets users create and control their own virtual life form, growing from a single-cell organism into a more complex being as the game progresses. Features include four games modes, 18 levels, and six unique worlds, and the ability to import spores from the iPod for use on the Sporepedia website. Electronic Arts’ Spore Origins is available now on the iTunes Store and sells for $5.
Kensignton has introduced its new Car Charger for iPhone and iPod. The new accessory is “Works With iPhone” certified, and includes a cigarette lighter adapter with a USB port and a USB-to-Dock Connector cable; users can attach separate cables for charging other USB devices. The Kensington Car Charger for iPhone and iPod is available now and sells for $20.
iLuv has announced its new iMM173 Dual Dock Alarm Clock for the iPhone and iPod. Featuring “Works With iPhone” certification for both the original and 3G iPhone models, the iMM173 offers two built-in Universal Docks, giving users the ability to charge two iPods or one iPod and one iPhone at once, and the ability to choose and play media from either device. Other features include a LCD display with a 10-level dimmer control, 5W x 2 power output with treble and bass controls, jAura soundcell technology, an auxiliary input, daylight savings time switch, a digital FM tuner, presets for eight radio stations, an included remote control, and dual alarm clock functionality offering the ability wake to the iPhone or iPod, FM radio or buzzer. Priced at $130, the iLuv iMM173 Dual Dock Alarm Clock will be available in early September.
T-Mobile has announced that it has sold more than 120,000 iPhone 3Gs since the device went on sale July 11. “Our (sales) expectations were surpassed,” said Deutsche Telekom chief Hamid Akhavan, noting that it has sold 75,000 units in Germany alone. T-Mobile also offers the iPhone in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Croatia.
In response to recent reports of iPhone 3G reception problems, Swedish newspaper The Gothenburg Post had the device’s antenna tested against those of the Sony Ericsson P1 and Nokia N73. The test, performed by Bluetest, a company that produces cellular testing chambers, showed that while the P1 and N73 were better at receiving and sending signals, respectively, the differences between them were small, suggesting that the iPhone 3G’s antenna is not to blame for current reception difficulties. “The values are completely normal,” said Magnus Franzén, an antenna engineer with an M.Sc. in Engineering Physics.
Wired has posted the results of its informal iPhone 3G speed survey, which found that 3G connection speeds varied by region. European T-Mobile users reported the fastest speeds, averaging 1,882 Kbps, followed by Rogers and Fido in Canada, with an average of 1,330 Kbps. AT&T in the U.S., Telstra, Telia, and Softbank tied for third, with average download speeds of roughly 990 Kpbs. More than 2,600 users participated in the survey.
Popular Mechanics has posted an interesting DIY article explaining how to build an waterproof iPod video boombox. Cobbled together from a variety of products, the final solution includes parts from a Memorex iFlip video player, an Apple composite video cable, a watertight hard camera case, and a set of portable speakers.
Apple has released three new television ads for the iPhone 3G. All three ads, “Lonely Planet,” “Cro Mag,” and “Vicinity,” highlight the process of launching, browsing, and purchasing from the App Store, each using a different application displayed on the phone in front of a plain white background, but using the same narration. “Lonely Planet” highlights the Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook, “Cro Mag” features Pangea Software’s Cro-Mag Rally, and “Vicinity” spotlights ActiveGuru’s app of the same name. All three ads are now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
iLounge is pleased to announce the iDuo Dock Giveaway. iLounge and Atech Flash Technology are giving away 50 iDuo Docks with built-in multi-format memory card readers. To enter, simply fill out and submit the entry form. The contest ends on September 18 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time; for official rules and more info, visit the official contest page. Good luck!
Substantially breaking with prior tradition, which saw little publicity for point releases of its software, Apple has today taken active steps to promote version 2.0.2 iPhone Software, posting a new web page dedicated to the recent iPhone Software 2.0.2 update, an iTunes Store link, and a SMS text message to notify users of the release. The web page offers step-by-step instructions on how to update an iPhone to the most recent software, accompanied by related screenshots, while the text message reads: “An important software update for iPhone 3G has been available on iTunes since this past Monday. To get it, simply synch your iPhone 3G with iTunes and click the ‘Check For Update’ button.” It is unclear whether the announcements are related to an MSNBC article from earlier this week calling for better notification of iPhone and iPod touch software updates, or whether they are a response to legal threats relating to poor iPhone 3G performance, which Apple claims that the 2.0.2 software fixes.
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Orange, one of two carriers of the iPhone 3G in Poland and the country’s largest mobile operator, has admitted to paying actors to stand in line for the handset in order to attract customers. “We have these fake queues at front of 20 stores around the country to drum up interest in the iPhone,” an Orange spokesman said. Rival carrier Era’s stores had no lines for the phone, which went on sale in Poland and twenty other countries today.
Apple is planning to build between 40 and 45 million iPhone 3Gs between now and August 2009, according to a BusinessWeek report. Citing a person familiar with the company’s plans, the report says that Apple boosted its production plans — they had expected to build 30 million in 12 months — due to stronger than expected initial sales. To be able to reach that number, the article suggests, Apple will need to continue its international rollout, avoid component supply constraints, and address performance complaints. Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf adds that the company will also need to work on cutting down the time it takes to purchase and activate the phone. “The physical process of activating the phone is the bottleneck,” Wolf says.
Sony has unveiled two new audio systems for the iPod, one offering multi-room wireless audio, the other dual iPod docks for DJ-style mixing. The Sony S-AIRPLAY system employs Sony’s S-Air technology to wirelessly transmit audio from the system’s main docking station to separate S-Air wireless speakers. The system includes one docking station, which features a built-in iPod dock, an AM/FM tuner, a dual source to allow one speaker to listen to radio while the other listens to audio from the iPod, and composite A/V outputs. The wireless speakers, two of which are included in the system, and up to 10 of which can be used simultaneously, offer remote control capability for the iPod’s music controls, sleep timers and alarm clock functionality. The Sony S-AIRPLAY audio system is available for pre-order now and will begin shipping in September for $400.
Sony’s XROSS FADE is a DJ-style shelf system for iPod offering dual iPod docks, a cross-fader with monitor cue and a built-in two-channel mixer. Other features include 450 watts of total power output, a pair of two-way bass reflex speakers, a dual 7-inch subwoofer enclosure, a CD player, an AM/FM tuner, a line-in jack for other audio sources, scroll wheel mechanisms for iPod navigation, a USB recording function to save mixing sessions in MP3 format, and a beat blend feature that adds a layer of pre-programmed percussion, drum sounds and loops over the mix. Part of the Sony’s Muteki series, the XROSS FADE is now available for pre-order and will be available in September for around $500.
Takeshi Natsuno, developer of Japan’s first Internet cell phone service, i-mode, has praised the iPhone in an interview with the AP, saying that his country’s cellular manufacturers could “never” produce such a device. “This is a great device,” Natsuno said while holding his iPhone 3G. “This kind of device cannot be produced by Japanese manufacturers. Never.” Natsuno, who left Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo three months ago, described current Japanese cellular executives as conservative, and lacking the creative sensibilities of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “They have to take a risk,” he said. “To do that, clear direction, clear vision, clear leadership are necessary.” Although Natsuno is obviously enthusiastic about the iPhone’s ease of use and multi-touch interface, he admits to carrying a DoCoMo handset as well, because the iPhone lacks some Japan-centric features such as wallet phone capability.
Audi has announced the release of a new iPhone game and an iPhone-optimized website as a promotion for its upcoming 2009 model A4 car. Audi A4 Driving Challenge, available as a free download from the App Store, is an overhead-view racing title that uses accelerometer- and screen-based controls to let the user drive the new A4 through a series of five progressively more challenging courses. Alongside the game, Audi has also launched an iPhone-formatted website for the A4, offering users content on the A4, specialized videos, wallpapers, an exterior color customizer, and a dealer locator.
Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Apple have reached an agreement on the sale of iPhones in Russia, according to a Reuters report. Citing an anonymous market source, the report states that retail sales of the phone will begin in October. “MTS has made an agreement with Apple on the sale of iPhones,” the source said. “Sales are likely to begin in October.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs has previously said that he expected a Russian carrier agreement to “happen later this year,” and MTS has confirmed that it has held talks with Apple about offering the iPhone. It is currently unknown whether the agreement would be exclusive.
Update: Russian newspaper Vedomosti is reporting (Translated link) that two other major Russian carriers, Vimpelcom and MegaFon, have also signed agreements with Apple to offer the iPhone 3G. The report claims that both Vimpelcom and Megafon have each agreed to sell 1.5 million iPhones in the next two years, while MTS is said to be committed to selling one million of the devices over three years.
Bose has introduced its new SoundDock Series II digital music system for the iPod and iPhone. As Bose’s first “Works With iPhone” certified system, the SoundDock Series II features a new auxiliary input, and a body that more closely resembles the company’s SoundDock Portable system, measuring 6 5/8” high by 12” wide and 6 1/2” deep. An included infrared remote offers control of the system and basic iPod and iPhone functions, including playlist navigation. The Bose SoundDock Series II will be available in Gloss Black for $299 starting in early September. The company’s original SoundDock system is now priced at $229.
Apple has been sued for failure to live up to its iPhone 3G performance claims. Plaintiff Jessica Alena Smith filed a federal lawsuit against the company in U.S. District Court in Alabama, alleging that despite Apple’s claims that the device is “twice as fast,” it is slower than advertised and prone to dropping calls. “Apple sold these devices on the promise that they were twice as fast as the pre-existing phones and that they would function suitably, or properly, on the 3G network. But, thus far, Apple and the phone have failed to deliver on this promise,” said Jonathan Kudulis, an attorney with the Trimmier Law Firm that is representing Smith. In her filing, Smith seeks class action certification to represent additional iPhone 3G purchasers.
Casio has announced two new pocket-sized digital cameras which record iTunes-compatible H.264 video. The EX-Z300 and EX-Z250 also offer 4x optical zoom lenses, 10.1 and 9.1 megapixel sensors, and will be available in October for $300 and $250, respectively. For more information on Casio’s iTunes-compatible cameras, see our review of the Casio Exilim EX-S10.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that some users attempting to access the iTunes Store from locations in China are being blocked by the country’s government-run firewall. The report suggests that the blockage may have been related to Olympic athletes downloading and listening to the pro-Tibet album Songs for Tibet, which was made available on the iTunes Store three days prior to the start of the games. However, it is against the iTunes Store’s sales policy to “use or attempt to use the iTunes Store from outside of the available territory.”
Apple did try to improve 3G performance with iPhone Software 2.0.2, according to a new report from USA Today. Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock told the paper, “[t]he software update improves communication with 3G networks,” although some users have reported decreased reception and other problems after installing the update.
A Mac Rumors forum member has reportedly found a number of photos on his new iPhone from inside the factory in which it was made. UK-based Mark claims that one of the four pictures found on the phone was set as the background once he activated the device. This is at least the second report of an iPhone user finding photos from inside the factory on his/her new phone.
Both Vodafone in India and SingTel in Singapore have announced their pricing for the iPhone 3G, which will launch in both countries on August 22. Vodafone will charge Rs 31,000 (~$709) for the 8GB iPhone 3G and Rs 36,100 (~$826) for 16GB models. Customers who pre-registered for the iPhone 3G with Vodafone will be able to visit a select Vodafone Store on August 20 or 21 and confirm their booking by paying Rs 10000 as a deposit. The customer will then be given an appointment date on the 22, at which they can pay the remaining balance, receive their phone, and get a full demonstration. iPhone-specific service rates and pricing have yet to be announced; however, initial reports suggest that the high hardware prices will likely keep most potential Indian users from being able to afford the device in the first place.
SingTel will offer the phone on a tiered pricing scale, with prices for the 8GB model ranging from free to S$348 (~$247), and the 16GB models priced between free and S$508 (~$361). Three iFlexi plans will be offered with the handset, priced between S$56 (~$40) and S$205 (~$145) per month and including between 1GB and 3GB of bundled data per month. For more information on SingTel’s pricing and service plans, visit the carrier’s iPhone page.
Update: Bharti Airtel has also announced its pricing for the iPhone 3G in India, and will offer the handest for the same prices as Vodafone: Rs 31,000 for the 8GB model and Rs 36,100 for 16GB models.
According to another supposed email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a concerned customer, Apple is aware of the problem with third-party iPhone and iPod touch applications crashing, and is working on a fix for the next firmware update. “This is a known iPhone bug that is being fixed in the next software update in September,” Jobs allegedly said in the email to an AppleInsider reader. Since the release of iPhone Software 2.0, and continuing through the releases of 2.0.1 and 2.0.2, iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch owners have reported problems with third-party applications failing to load, and simply returning the user to the home screen. The report speculates that the problem may stem from improperly set permissions.