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Photo of the Week: iPod at Easter Island

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows a fifth-generation iPod near a moai statue on Easter Island. 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!

Apple blames iPod nano fires on faulty battery

Following new reports of first-generation iPod nanos catching fire in Japan, Apple has released a statement on the matter, blaming the issue on faulty batteries and promising a replacement for any customers experiencing battery overheating. The statement reads: “Apple has determined that in very rare cases batteries in first generation iPod nanos sold between September 2005 and December 2006 can overheat causing failure and deformation of the iPod nano. Apple has received very few reports of such incidents (less than 0.001 percent of first generation iPod nano units), which have been traced back to a single battery supplier. There have been no reports of serious injuries or property damage, and no reports of incidents for any other iPod nano model. Any first generation iPod nano customers who have experienced their battery overheating should contact AppleCare for a replacement. Any other customers who have concerns about their first generation iPod nano battery should also contact AppleCare.” In March, Japan launched an investigation into a possible battery defect in the same iPod nano model after earlier reports of battery overheating issues.

Nike+ iPhone app images appear online [updated]

A gallery of screenshots (Translated Link) supposedly from the upcoming Nike+ application for iPhone and iPod touch has appeared on a French iPhone blog. The screenshots show the main menu screen, a Google Maps view called “Find Your Way,” and individual pages for goal progress monitoring and management, workout management and status, and more. A Nike spokesperson said in April that the company was planning to expand its Nike+ program to include the iPhone and iPod touch. It is unknown whether the new app will require the current Nike+iPod Sport Kit or a new peripheral, or whether it will leverage the devices’ built-in accelerometers. [via Ubergizmo]

Update: AppleInsider has posted claims that “people familiar with Nike+ initiative” say the images are not authentic. Instead, the report claims the screenshots are “believed to be the product of a third party or individual developer who conceptualized a semi-functional application.” Without official word from Nike, the status of the screenshots is unclear; iLounge has requested comment from Nike and will update this article as appropriate.

Mix: iTunes TV Shows, Jobs, iPhone 3G zoom, iTabi, Kenya

Programming from the Smithsonian Channel, DIY Network and WE tv has been added to the iTunes Store. Initial offerings from the Smithsonian Channel include “Stories from the Vaults,” “Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25,” “Day of the Kamikaze,” and “Nature Tech,” DIY shows currently available include “Indoors Out,” and “Yard Crashers,” while WE tv’s offerings include “High School Confidential,” and “Bridezillas.” Individual shows from all three networks sell for $1.99 each.

A Mac Rumors reader claims to have received an email response from Apple CEO Steve Jobs regarding the ongoing iPhone 3G reception problems. According to the report, Jobs, who is known to personally respond to customer emails on occasion, said, “We are working on some bugs which affect around 2% of the iPhones shipped, and hope to have a software update soon.” Apple released an update to the iPhone Software yesterday evening, but initial reports indicate that it does not fix the problem.

Brando has released its Mobile Phone Telescope for iPhone 3G, a 6x zoom lens that attaches to the phone via a clear plastic case. The Mobile Phone Telescope also includes a neckstrap, and sells for $20.

Mercury Software has introduced its iTabi case for the iPhone 3G, iPod touch, and iPod classic. Handcrafted in Japan, the pouch-style fabric case offers a front pouch for storing headphones or other small items, nylon interior padding, and two straps — one short and one adjustable shoulder-length strap. Available in a variety of designs, it sells for $20.

Telkom Kenya will begin offering the iPhone in Kenya next month under the Orange brand, according to a new report. The carrier, in which Orange parent France Telecom owns a majority stake, is currently undergoing a transition that will see its mobile offerings marketed under the Orange brand. Njeri Rionge, chief commercial and marketing officer with Telkom Kenya, said sales of the iPhone will begin once the Orange service is rolled out.

Apple adds 60 days to MobileMe extension

Apple has sent out an email to MobileMe members announcing a 60-day extension to their subscriptions, which will be added to previously announced 30-day extensions. The email reads: “We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users’ patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60 day extension. This is in addition to the one month extension most subscribers have already received. We are working very hard to make MobileMe a great service we can all be proud of. We know that MobileMe’s launch has not been our finest hour, and we truly appreciate your patience as we turn this around.” The extension applies to all MobileMe subscribers whose account was active as of midnight Pacific Time, August 19.

Apple releases iPhone Software 2.0.2 [updated]

Apple has released iPhone Software 2.0.2, the latest update to the iPhone and iPod touch software. As with software version 2.0.1, Apple describes the new software as containing simply “bug fixes.” It is currently unclear whether this update will address the reception problems currently being experienced by some iPhone 3G users. The download is 248.7MB in size for the iPhone 3G and 241.9MB for the iPhone, and is available now for the iPhone, the iPhone 3G, and iPod touch units running software version 2.0 or later through the update feature in iTunes.

Update: The “Update All” button has been removed from the mobile App Store’s Update section.

H2O Audio rolls out Surge in-ear waterproof earphones

H2O Audio has introduced its new Surge Bass Amplified Waterproof Headphones. Acoustically engineered for greater clarity and bass and waterproof to 12 feet, Surge features an in-ear design, 8mm neodymium drivers, and a MotionFlex connector for cord strain relief. Each pair also includes five sets of sound-isolating, watertight earplugs for an individual fit and proper seal, and a H2O Audio carrying case. H2O Audio’s Surge Bass Amplified Waterproof Headphones are available now and sell for $60.

Turkcell to offer iPhone 3G in Turkey

Turkcell, Turkey’s largest wireless provider with 35.4 million customers, has announced that it will begin offering the iPhone 3G in Turkey later this year. Vodafone previously announced that it will offer the iPhone in Turkey, making Turkcell Apple’s second carrier partner for the country. Turkcell said the iPhone will be available to both subscription and prepaid customers, but did not provide a release date or pricing information.

Speck ships SeeThru for iPhone 3G

Speck Products has announced that it is now shipping its SeeThru case for the iPhone 3G. Originally announced in June, SeeThru for iPhone 3G is a hard shell case with built-in rubberized side strips for extra grip and a specially designed bottom that slides off for docking and conveniently doubles as a horizontal stand. It also offers full access to all ports and controls. Speck’s SeeThru case for the iPhone 3G is available now in purple, pink, red, clear, or black, and sells for $30. For more information on the SeeThru for iPhone 3G, check out our First Look article.

Push notification pulled from latest iPhone OS beta

iPhone Software 2.1 beta 4 has been released to select iPhone developers, surprisingly stripped of the push notification service support seen in earlier beta releases of 2.1. According to Apple, the feature — designed to let applications such as instant messaging services continue to provide updates even when not active — has been pulled “for further development.” Apple has previously said the feature would be ready by September; it is unclear whether its removal is indicative of a delay.

Boston Acoustics debuts iDS2 all-in-one speaker

Following up on its impressive Horizon Duo-i dual alarm clock radio for iPods, Boston Acoustics has announced the release of iDS2 ($180), a slightly less expensive and smaller version. iDS2 continues to include dual 3.5” speakers, a 60-Watt amplifier, composite video output, USB and audio inputs, plus an Infrared remote control, as well as offering user-customizable colored metal front grilles that attach to a glossy white or black cabinet; however, it has been stripped of its predecessor’s bright LCD screen, clock radio functionality, and bass/treble controls. iDS2 is available now through the company’s online store.

Apple Fall product poll ends, iPhone app category poll begins

With over 3,300 votes from iLounge readers, our latest iLounge poll — “Which one possible Fall 2008 Apple product has the best chance of winning your dollars?” — has ended. Readers were given a variety of options, including current-styled but upgraded iPods, a dramatically different iPod or iPhone, a new Mac, current offerings, or not buying anything.

A large number of our readers (29%) said they would only buy an iPod or iPhone if Apple released a dramatically different version in time for the holidays, followed closely by readers who were most interested in purchasing a new Mac (25%). 19% of readers said they would consider buying a current-styled iPod if all Apple changed was the storage capacity, while 3% wanted to see changes in battery life, and only 2% said they would buy a current-styled iPod is all Apple changed was the color scheme or other cosmetics. Finally, 17% of readers said they were satisfied with Apple’s current offerings but weren’t planning on buying anything, and only 5% said they were satisfied with the current options and were planning to make a purchase.

The new poll focuses on the iPhone and iPod touch App Store. We’d like to know: Which category of applications do you feel is most important? Are you most concerned with entertainment and games? Business or productivity apps? Lifestyle/social networking? Photography or other creative apps? Perhaps news and reference apps, travel and other location-aware apps, or music apps? Or do you not own an iPhone or iPod touch? Our latest poll, “Which category of iPhone applications do you consider to be the most important?” lets you answer that question. As always, the iLounge Poll is on the left hand column of the main home page. Cast your vote today!

Latest edition of iPodweek newsletter coming later today

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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BoxOffice re-released on App Store as Now Playing

BoxOffice, a popular movie listing search and browsing application, has been re-released on the App Store under the name Now Playing. Apple previously pulled the application from the store, without giving the developer “any notification that they were doing it, or what their justification was for removing it.” The developer’s Google Code page has been updated to reflect the name change, but it remains unclear why the app was removed, or why its name was changed. Now Playing is currently available as a free download from the App Store.

Speakal intros iPig speaker system

Speakal has introduced its iPig speaker system for iPod. iPig, as the name suggests, is designed to resemble a pig, and features an integrated iPod Dock, 5 speakers, including a 4-inch subwoofer, powered by a built-in 25-watt amplifier, adjustable bass control, indicator lights built into the system’s “mouth,” and an RF remote control. Available now in white, yellow, or pink, the Speakal iPig sells for $140.

Apple to fix iPhone 3G reception issues via software?

Apple is planning on issuing a fix for current iPhone 3G reception problems through a software update rather than a physical recall, according to a BusinessWeek report. Citing two anonymous but “well-placed” sources, the article claims the problems are being caused by glitches related to a communications chip made by Infineon, corroborating an earlier statement from Nomura analyst Richard Windsor. One BusinessWeek source suggests that the glitches are solely caused by the Infineon chip, which the article notes is fairly new and is yet untested in high volumes. Another source claims those problems may be also be linked to overly-agressive 3G bandwidth demands, saying that Apple programmed the Infineon chip to demand a more powerful 3G signal than the iPhone really requires, causing the phone to decide that there is insufficient power available, and switch to the slower (EDGE) network. According to the report, the problem appears to be increased in areas where there are more active 3G devices than AT&T and Apple had planned for. Neither Apple nor Infineon has yet made a statement regarding reception issues with the iPhone 3G.

Apple adds movies to iTunes Store in Australia and NZ

Apple has announced that movies from major film studios are now available for both rental and purchase on the iTunes Store in Australia and New Zealand. Over 700 films from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Sony Pictures Television International and Lionsgate are now available, and new release titles will be available for purchase on the same day as their DVD release. Pricing in Australia starts at A$9.99 (~$8.77) for catalog title purchases, A$17.99 (~$15.79) for recent releases and A$24.99 (~$21.95) for new releases. Rentals are priced at A$3.99 (~$3.50) for library title rentals and A$5.99 (~$5.26) for new releases, with high definition versions costing one dollar more. In New Zealand, pricing starts at NZ$9.99 (~$7.00) for catalog title purchases, NZ$17.99 (~$12.70) for recent releases and NZ$24.99 (~$17.60) for new releases. Rentals are priced at NZ$4.99 (~$3.50) for library title rentals and NZ$6.99 (~$5) for new releases, with high definition versions costing one dollar more.

“Movie fans in Australia and New Zealand can choose from a great selection of over 700 films for purchase and rent on the iTunes Store,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “iTunes provides an incredibly easy and fun way for people to discover and enjoy movies, and has quickly become the world’s most popular online movie store with customers renting and purchasing over 50,000 movies everyday.”

Logitech to acquire Ultimate Ears

Logitech has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Ultimate Ears for $34 million in cash. According to the announcement, the acquisition will allow Logitech to “expand its portfolio of digital audio products, providing more options for portable music listening.” “Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business,” said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and CEO. “Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech’s success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create innovative products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits—whether they are listening to music, gaming, watching a video or otherwise enjoying their digital lifestyle. We look forward to using our worldwide distribution network and operational efficiencies to help more people discover this superior listening experience.” The acquisition is expected to close in August.

Memorex debuts two clock radios for iPod

Memorex has introduced two new clock radios for iPod, the Mi4014 iWakeUp, and the Mi4019 Alarm Clock Radio for iPod. The iWakeUp Mi4014 offers an integrated iPod dock, and features 2.75-inch speakers, dual alarms with the option of waking to the iPod, radio, or alarm, a backlit LCD display, a digital AM/FM radio, snooze function, battery backup, a line-in jack for connecting other audio sources, and an included remote control. It is available now and sells for $70. The Mi4019 Alarm Clock Radio for iPod also offers an integrated iPod Dock, and features a digital FM radio, battery backup, a line-in jack, and the ability to wake to the iPod, radio, or alarm. It is available in pink/white, black, and white/silver models, and sells for $40.

‘The iTunes Download’ to debut this weekend

Premiere Radio Networks has announced the launch of “The iTunes Download,” a new three-hour weekend countdown show hosted by iTunes Director of Music Programming Alex Luke. In addition to playing a selection of the 30 most downloaded songs from iTunes, the show will feature interviews with high-profile artists, celebrity playlists, and iMixes. President of Premiere Radio Networks Charlie Rahilly said, “Being the first radio company to do a national show with iTunes demonstrates our desire and ability to explore unprecedented ways to reach, entertain and involve listeners.” “The iTunes charts have become the first indicator, each week, of what millions of music fans are buying,” said Luke. “Radio is where more music buyers first hear what they want to buy and iTunes is the place they go to do it—now we’re connecting the two.” “The iTunes Download” will debut this weekend on Top 40 radio stations nationwide, and will air on Saturdays or Sundays.

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