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iPhone app category poll ends, iTunes poll begins

With nearly 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our latest iLounge poll — “Which category of iPhone applications do you consider to be the most important?” — has ended. Readers could pick from entertainment/games, photography/creative apps, productivity/business, travel/location utilities, news/reference, music apps, lifestyle/social networking software, or could say they didn’t own an iPhone or iPod touch.

Though they stumbled from an early lead with 30% or more of the vote, entertainment and games remained the most popular category, getting one quarter of the vote (25%), followed closely by productivity and business apps with 24 % of the vote. 18% of readers voted for travel and location utilities or music apps, with both categories receiving 9% of the vote, followed by news and reference apps with 7%, lifestyle and social networking apps with 6%. Photography and other creative apps were the least popular, getting 3% of the vote. Finally, 17% of respondents said they didn’t own an iPhone or iPod touch.

The new poll focuses on the next version of iTunes. We’d like to know: What possible feature/improvement would you most like to see? Would you like to see more DRM-free tracks on the iTunes Store, or perhaps an iTunes subscription service? Would you like a way to separate iPod and iPhone syncing from the main application, a digital book download service, or maybe speed, or other improvements? Or do you like iTunes the way it is? Our latest poll, “What possible feature/improvement would you most like to see in the next version of iTunes?” 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!

OtterBox releases iPhone 3G Defender Case

OtterBox has released its new Defender Case for the iPhone 3G. The Defender uses three separate pieces to protect the iPhone: a clear polycarbonate screen protector offering chemical and abrasion protection, a hard polycarbonate “skeleton” that surrounds the device, and silicone skin that wraps around the skeleton, absorbing bumps and shock. The OtterBox iPhone 3G Defender Case also includes a ClipStand holster and is available now in black for $50.

Case-mate rolls out Vroom for iPhone 3G

Case-mate has introduced its new Vroom case for the iPhone 3G. Available in black only, Vroom is a form-fitting rubber case featuring a tire tread pattern on the back of the case, as well as open access to all ports and controls. The Case-mate Vroom for iPhone 3G is available now and sells for $15.

Belkin says ‘JoyPod’ iPhone gaming controller a hoax

An image appearing on a number of websites this weekend, supposedly showing a new Belkin game controller for the iPhone called the “JoyPod,” is in fact a hoax, iLounge has learned. Following publication of the image, iLounge contacted Belkin to confirm the product’s validity, and was told that “[t]he ‘JoyPod’ is not a Belkin product, but simply a false rumor,” and that the company has “no plans to release such a product.” As previously noted by iLounge, the iPhone OS does not allow third-party applications to access the iPhone or iPod touch’s Dock Connector port for wired accessories such as joypads or keyboards, though this could change in the future should Apple update the OS to permit further accessory support.

Apple sends out invites for Sept. 9 special event

Apple has begun sending out notices to various members of the media inviting them to a special event on September 9, one week from today. The invitation, entitled “Let’s Rock,” looks like an iPod Now Playing screen, with the album art replaced by one of Apple’s common silhouette iPod dancers, and the track information replaced by the event details. The “Let’s Rock” event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco, and is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. iLounge will be on hand at the event to provide coverage.

Shure debuts SE102MPA, new family of headsets

Shure has introduced its new SE102MPA Sound Isolating Mobile Headset, along with a new family of MPA-bundled headsets. The SE102MPA features Shure’s Dynamic MicroSpeakers, an MPA modular microphone/control cord attachment offering a low-profile VoicePort microphone and a button for call and music playback control, and an included zipper-less drawstring pouch and three pairs of soft flex sound isolating sleeves. Shure’s SE102MPA will sell for around $100. In addition, the company also announced its SE110MPA, SE210MPA, SE310MPA, SE420MPA and SE530MPA bundles, all of which include the MPA modular microphone attachment, and will be priced from $130-$470. Shure’s new line of MPA-bundled Sound Isolating Mobile Headsets will be available later this month.

SwitchEasy intros CapsuleNeo for iPhone 3G

SwitchEasy has introduced its new CapsuleNeo case for the iPhone 3G. Like the company’s earlier CapsuleRebel, the CapsuleNeo uses two separate materials to protect the device: a TactileThin silicone membrane and a GE Lexan polycarbonate H-Frame that features a patent-pending 7-point locking system to attach securely to the phone. Other features include tactile covers for the volume and power buttons and open access to the screen, camera, headphone jack, and Dock port. Included with the case are two TactileThin protectors, two anti-static screen protectors, a Universal Dock adapter, a video stand, protectors for the Dock connector and headphone jack, a microfiber wipe, and a squeegee for screen film application. The SwitchEasy CapsuleNeo for iPhone 3G is available now in white or black and sells for $30. For more information on the SwitchEasy CapsuleNeo, see our First Look article.

O2 Pay & Go iPhone 3G coming Sept. 16

O2 in the United Kingdom has announced that it will begin offering the iPhone 3G to Pay & Go pre-pay customers on September 16. The 8GB iPhone 3G for Pay & Go will be available for £350 (~$625) and the 16GB model for £400 ($715), both of which will include one full year of unlimited data and Wi-Fi throughout the UK. At the end of the 12 months users can continue to receive unlimited browsing and Wi-Fi for £10 (~$18) per month. Unfortunately, Pay & Go customers will not be able to use the iPhone’s Visual Voicemail feature or call merging. In June, O2 revealed its expected pricing for Pay & Go iPhone 3G units, and had both models selling for between £40 and £50 less, but with only 6 months of included data and Wi-Fi.

Mix: MegaFon, China Mobile, Snow Patrol, iPod fridge

Russian mobile carrier MegaFon has announced that it will begin selling the iPhone 3G in Russia later this year, becoming the second carrier in the country to do so. Last week Vimpelcom announced that it too will begin selling the device later this year; prior reports had suggested that all three of the major Russian carriers — Vimpelcom, MegaFon, and MTS — would offer the device.

Negotiations between Apple and China Mobile have reached the “final stages,” according to Chinese state media. The two companies are likely to conclude the talks soon, the 21 Century Business Herald reported, citing unnamed sources. Following the appearance of that report, China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou made a statement regarding the negotiations. He said, “Both Mr. Steve Jobs and myself hope the Apple iPhone can enter China as soon as possible. We are discussing this issue, but we haven’t got an agreement.” [via Apple 2.0]

Northern Irish rock band Snow Patrol plans to release an interactive album booklet for A Hundred Million Suns on the iPhone and iPod touch ahead of the album’s release next month. It is currently unclear whether the booklet, which will include extra content like artwork and lyrics, will be a web-based application or be available through the App Store. “It will be an interactive element; a digital booklet that will take you into the videos and content,” said Polydor product manager Liz Goodwin. “For fans it will be a real must-have, and the fact that they are the first band to do this gives us an additional angle for exposure.”

Appliance maker Gorenje has signed an agreement with Apple to use their technology in building a new Made for iPod-certified refrigerator/freezer. Made for use with the iPod touch, the fridge has a front-mounted iPod dock and built-in speakers for playback that also charges the iPod while connected. In addition, the company has created the iPhone and iPod touch-optimized iGorenje portal, which allows the user to browse and view recipes in either text or video format, and can also work in conjunction with other Gorenje appliances to control tasks like cooking (tap the “Start” button on a recipe to make the oven turn on and go to the correct temperature and settings) and laundry.

iPod nano 4G case spotted at trade expo

A new range of third-party cases labeled “for iPod nano 4G” were discovered at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany over the weekend. The cases, made by Hama, are considerably taller than they are wide, matching the general dimensions for the iPod nano 4G that we first reported on in July. Interestingly, a similar situation developed last year with the third-generation iPod nano, as Uniea began promoting and selling cases for the device before it had been officially announced by Apple.

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