iBikeConsole is a new bicycle mount for first-, second-, and third-generation iPod nano models. It features a weather-proof housing for the device with shock-absorbing lining and attaches to a bike using a CrossLoc Universal tool-free mounting bracket. In addition, the iBikeConsole includes two Wireless Key Pads which attach to the bike’s handlebars to allow for control of the nano while it’s in the protective housing. The iBikeConsole is available now and sells for $76.
Vimpelcom, one of three Russian carriers to recently announce agreements with Apple to sell the iPhone, will not subsidize the device when it goes on sales this year. “We are in principle considering no subsidies for the time being as Russian law does not allow locking mobile phones,” Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov said in an interview. Izosimov added that the company is eager to begin sales of the iPhone. “The earlier we start working with it, the better we will be prepared. It is not technologies that will change, but the business model,” Izosimov said. “Our research shows that when the iPhone falls into the hands of a customer, the use of data services increases by four to five times.”
Vers Audio has announced that it is now offering its 2X hand crafted sound system for iPod in bamboo. Originally introduced last year, the 2X features a real wood cabinet, 2 15-watt full range speakers, a built-in iPod dock, audio-in and -out, a 14 function remote control, dual rear ports for improved bass response, and a removable front grill. The Vers Audio 2X sound system for iPod will be available in Bamboo starting in October, and sells for $179. For more information on the Vers Audio 2X, see our full-length review.
Update x2: iLounge editors have spotted several people in Barbarian Group t-shirts outside the event, lending credence to prior rumors that the company’s popular Magnetosphere iTunes visualizer may appear in a new version of iTunes. In addition, they note that the crowd outside the event is extremely light, with Apple employees currently outnumbering non-Apple attendees.
Update: iLounge editors are now on-site in preparation for today’s event. We will be updating our Flickr page with more photos from event, and will be switching over to our streamlined event page at approximately 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
iLounge will be on-site at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to provide live coverage of Apple’s “Let’s Rock” special event. Apple is widely expected to announce new iPods at the event, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time tomorrow. As we have done in the past, iLounge.com will take you to our streamlined special event page starting an hour or so before the event.
Apple has begun on-site preparations for tomorrow’s “Let’s Rock” special event. The event, scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, is being held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. According to Cult of Mac, the building has already been covered on one side by a large silhouette iPod poster matching the image seen on the event invitation, and Apple security guards have been spotted watching over each of the center’s doors. iLounge will be providing live coverage of the event.
Published today, a report by EETimes traces numerous iPod and iPhone hardware problems to a lack of “attention to the basics” of product design, including “component placement, sealing, USB protection and connector quality, along with batteries and LCDs.” The report spotlights the findings of Rapid Repair, a company specializing in media device repairs, as it has worked through problems with both iPod and iPhone models over the past five years. Amongst the highlights:
* The use of polymer batteries rather than lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries would lead to fewer leakages, while laminated glass is a superior option to both crackable glass and scratchable plastic for covering displays. Fifty percent of the failures Rapid Repair encounters are LCD- or battery-related, with after-market batteries causing more problems than the ones installed initially in the devices.
* Connectors, including headphone jacks and internal sockets for screens and other parts, fail or disconnect over time; internal disconnections can lead to expensive repairs just to reconnect cables. Apple’s contract manufacturers, including Foxconn, may be responsible for choosing the less impressive parts that cause problems.
* According to the company, “many USB power modules fail” in iPods, and units also stop working due to “poorly designed after-market car chargers, liquid intrusion, and hard-drive failures” caused by dropping.
The report recommends the use of superior connectors, recessed displays, and better protection for both the display and storage media, noting that hard drives will continue to remain viable for five years due to improvements in capacity and physical size.
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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Memorex is set to launch two new iPod accessories, the SingStand microphone speaker system and the miniMove portable boombox. The SingStand is a uniquely designed accessory that lets users sing along to music stored on iPods, with an area to place the iPod directly underneath the microphone mount and speakers built into the stand’s base. Other features include a 3.5mm input jack for the iPod, voice control, an echo effect, dual microphone inputs, and input jacks for other musical instruments. It is priced at $70. The miniMove portable boombox is a purse-shaped system with an iPod dock below the handle and a digital FM radio. Available in silver, black or pink, it sells for $50. Availability information for the SingStand and miniMove has yet to be announced.
For the first time ever, Apple is emailing Click Wheel iPod users who purchased Spore Origins to notify them of an updated version, which is automatically added to the user’s iTunes Store download queue. The email reads, “The iPod Click Wheel game “Spore Origins” you recently purchased may not function properly on your iPod nano (3rd generation), iPod classic, or iPod (5th generation). We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase, so we have placed an updated version of “Spore Origins” in your download queue.” Spore Origins was pulled from the iTunes Store shortly after its release due to a bug that caused the game to lock up on iPod classic and some fifth-generation iPod models; the game has since been updated and is once again available on the iTunes Store.
Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s largest cellular operator, has become the country’s third carrier to announce that it has reached an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Russia. “Sales of iPhones in Russia will start this year,” the company said in a statement. Rival carriers MegaFon and Vimpelcom have also announced they will begin sales of the handset later this year.
A third lawsuit has been filed against Apple and AT&T accusing the companies of misrepresenting iPhone 3G speeds and network performance and failing to disclose “defective” third-party apps on the App Store. Relying in part on Internet reports as proof, plaintiff Eulardi Tanseco claims that Apple and AT&T violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, its Uniform Commercial Code and the terms of its contract by knowingly advertising service they couldn’t maintain. The suit is seeking class action status, and is asking for both compensation and punitive damages.
Tunewear has introduced a variety of new cases for the iPhone 3G. Icewear for iPhone 3G is a form-fitting clear case made from high-density silicone, and features ribbed sides for added grip and open access to all ports and controls. It sells for $25. Tuneshell for iPhone 3G is a clear, snap-on hard polycarbonate case featuring a smooth surface and open access to all ports and controls. It is priced at $25. Tuneshell Plus for iPhone 3G is another clear snap-on hard polycarbonate case, featuring a thickness of only 0.4mm and open access to all ports and controls. It sells for $30.
Tunewear’s Prie Ambassador for iPhone 3G is a open-face leather case with open access to all ports and controls and a removable metal clip. Available in black with either red or white stitching, gold, gold/white, or silver, it sells for $60. Leathershell for iPhone 3G is a form-fitting open-face leather case featuring a smooth texture, white contrast stitching, and open access to all ports and controls. It sells for $30. Finally, Tunefilm for iPhone 3G is a clear protective screen film and will be included with select cases such as the Prie Ambassador and Icewear for iPhone 3G. Separately, it sells for $15. All of Tunewear’s new products for the iPhone 3G are available now.
Electronic Arts has announced that Spore Origins for the iPhone will be available later this month, and has also announced a slate of games currently in development for the iPhone platform. In Spore Origins, users create and control their own virtual life form, growing from a single-cell organism into a more complex being as the game progresses. The iPhone version of the game will feature two game modes and 35 levels, as well as the Creature Editor, which lets the user customize their creature’s texture, shape and body parts to improve offense, defense, perception and movement. In addition, EA announced that Yahtzee Adventures, EA Mini Golf, Lemonade Tycoon, Mahjong, Monopoly: Here & Now The World Edition, Sim City, Tiger Woods 09, Need for Speed Undercover, and The Sims 3 are all in development for the iPhone and iPod touch; release and pricing information has yet to be announced.
Update: Spore Origins is now available on the App Store for $10.
Master Lock has introduced its new iCage Locking Skins for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod classic, and second- and third-generation iPod nano. Each iCage includes three full body thermoplastic iWraps for scratch protection, a metal sled to hold the iPod, a three-digit combination lock, and a cable. Users are expected to secure the iPod inside the sled and then wrap the cable around a fixed object and back onto the lock. Master Lock’s iCage for fifth-generation iPod and iPod classic will sell for $20, while the second- and third-generation iPod nano model will sell for $15. All of iCage models are expected to be available later this month.
Apple has rejected a new app called Pull My Finger, not on the grounds that it was potentially offensive, but instead for its “limited utility.” MacRumors reports that the developer was informed by Apple that the “application is of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community, and will not be published to the App Store.” Apple went on to suggest that the developer could distribute the app to friends and family via Ad Hoc methods. The developer has posted a demonstration video of the app to YouTube.
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo remains interested in offering the iPhone, according to a statement from a company executive. “It’s not that we’ve given up. We just want the right condition to sell it,” said Hiroshi Matsui, senior executive vice president of NTT DoCoMo. Last December, the carrier confirmed it was in talks with Apple to carry the iPhone; rival carrier SoftBank launched the iPhone 3G in Japan on July 11.
A page on its company website has revealed that Turkcell plans to begin selling the iPhone 3G in Turkey on September 26. The carrier announced in August that it would offer the iPhone 3G in Turkey later this year; details on pricing and plan offerings have yet to be announced.
I-Play and iWin have announced that Jewel Quest II is now available for the iPhone and iPod touch. Continuing the Jewel Quest franchise, the tile-matching puzzle game features over 50 new puzzles, a new storyline, and new game mechanics optimized for the iPhone OS platform. Jewel Quest II is available now on the App Store and sells for $9.
Etón has introduced its new Porsche Design P’9121 Table Top Stereo System with Dock for iPod. The P’9121 is XM Radio-ready and features a high-performance AM/FM/Shortwave radio, an extruded aluminum body, an OLED display, a metal remote control, three front-mounted 1.5-inch full range drivers and a rear-facing 3-inch active subwoofer, an auxiliary input, and a separate iPod Dock, which connects to the main unit via a 9-pin connector. The Porsche Design P’9121 by Etón is available now and sells for $600.
Sharp has announced its new CD-DK89*N mini audio shelf system with built-in iPod Dock. The new system features 250 watts powering a two-way speaker system, X-Bass, a five-disc CD changer with MP3 and WMA compatibility, a digital AM/FM tuner with 40 presets, auxiliary input, and a dual cassette deck. Available in two models, the black CD-DK890N and the silver CD-DK891N, the Sharp mini audio shelf system sells for $200.
Confirming details first reported by iLounge in July, apparent dimensional drawings for both the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch have appeared, suggesting that the devices will have familiar measurements but with interesting new shapes and features.
Images of the supposed new iPod nano show a device that measures 90.75mm tall by 38.75mm wide by 6.08mm deep, compared to the second-generation nano’s measurements of 90mm by 40mm by 6.5mm. These numbers suggest that the device will be the thinnest and narrowest iPod nano yet released, though almost inperceptibly so, while also just a hint taller than the original and second-generation models. An oval-like body shape will be similar to, but apparently more pronounced than the one on the second-generation nano. Notably, the images seem to extinguish a concern that the device’s screen would be curved to match its shape; the metal body will give way to a plastic-covered screen that is as flat as prior-generation screens.
The second-generation iPod touch is depicted as having a shape similar to the iPhone 3G, masking increases in both the height and thickness by using a more tapered enclosure. This device is shown as measuring 111mm tall by 61.8mm wide and 8.4mm deep, versus the original iPod touch’s 110mm height, 61.8mm width, and 8mm depth, and the iPhone 3G’s 115.5mm, 62.1mm, and 12.3mm measurements. What appears to be an antenna enclosure is shown on its rear top left, with the same headphone port and Dock Connector port arrangement at its bottom. Notably, the drawings show what appear to be volume controls on the left side, addressing a key concern of iPod touch users; the added thickness might be attributable to changes in the battery.
As always, advance reports on Apple products may or may not prove entirely accurate, and should be treated as speculation until confirmed by the company. In any case, we’ll have more on the new iPod nano and iPod touch in the days to come.
Apple and carrier partner AT&T have been sued on the ground that they have knowingly oversold the iPhone 3G, resulting in reduced network performance in places where many iPhone 3Gs are in use at once. The complaint, filed in a San Diego court by iPhone customer William Gillis, relies primarily on various Internet reports from the last two months, which state that initial (pre-software 2.0.2) iPhone 3G network power demands, combined with the “high volume” of iPhone 3G sales, have resulted in reduced 3G speeds and in some cases inability to use the 3G network. The complaint also states that Apple provides no warning of possible issues on the product’s packaging. A disclaimer “points out to them to ask questions, to further investigate, or [for companies] to simply disclose complete and accurate information about the product,” the lawsuit reads. “This is especially true in the case of the speed and performance of an expensive [device]; an important feature in any electronics device purchase.” Gillis is seeking class action status for the suit so that any affected AT&T subscriber in California could receive compensation. The suit calls for both Apple and AT&T to pay restitution as well as punitive damages.
iSkin has introduced its new solo bodyguard for iPhone 3G. The solo is a new form-fitting protector for the iPhone 3G, featuring integrated volume and power button protection, unobstructed access to all ports and controls, and a high-gloss finish with a non-slip grip surface. In addition, the case includes a touch compatible clear screen film protector. The iSkin solo for iPhone 3G is available now in black, white, translucent red, or translucent blue, and sells for $30.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G at the Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. 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!
Based on a 2002 arcade machine, Namco’s Star Trigon has been released for Click Wheel iPods as the latest $5 iPod game. You control a character who hops from dot-shaped planet to planet with button presses, forming lines and eventually triangular Trigon shapes with each movement. When the lines encapsulate one of the character’s Uchujin friends, who are free-floating in space between the planets, you rescue them. Power ups extend the life of the lines you form, increase your speed, and enable you to keep playing longer; there are 79 different stages spread across four difficulty levels. Star Trigon was originally developed by the same team responsible for the popular Mr. Driller puzzle titles.