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Apple posts Black Friday deals

  • November 28, 2008
  • Deals,

As it announced earlier in the week, Apple has begun offering discounts on a number of different products in a today-only one day sale. The company is offering $11.00 off all iPod nanos, bringing the price of the 8GB model to $138, and the price of the 16GB to $188. The company is also offering a $21 discount on all iPod classics and second-generation iPod touches. Both 40GB and 160GB Apple TV models are discounted by $21, and discounts are also available on the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, Airport Express, iPhone 3G Dock, iPhone Bluetooth Headset, and many other third-party products. The sale will run through midnight tonight.

ezGear offers 20% discount to iLounge readers

  • November 27, 2008
  • Deals,

Accessory maker ezGear launched its November Sales Event offering iLounge readers 20% off all purchases. Use coupon code iLounge  at checkout. Offer valid through end of November.

Atomic Floyd launches TwistJax AcousticSteel earphones

Atomic Floyd, a new U.K.-based premium headphone and earphone maker, has introduced its new TwistJax AcousticSteel in-ear earphones. The TwistJax earphones feature a unique Twist 2 Fit system that allows the user to rotate the portion of the earphone that enters the ear canal for a better fit, and are made from Acoustic Steel, a special injection molded metal that is heat treated in order to create thinner walls, maximizing the volume of the acoustic chamber for improved sound. In addition to the TwistJax, the company also plans to offer full range of headphones, including the AirJax, AirDrum, HiDefJax, and HiDefDrum. The Atomic Floyd TwistJax earphones will be available in December; pricing has yet to be announced.

Mix: Google voice search, EA previews, Speck sale, PDO discount, QuickTime

  • November 26, 2008

Google has admitted to using undocumented application programming interfaces, or APIs, in its latest version of Google Mobile App, breaking App Store rules. The APIs in question allows the application to use the proximity sensors to prompt for a voice search. Developers are only supposed to use published APIs in their applications, as unpublished APIs often change with different versions of the software, in some cases “breaking” applications that rely upon them for key features. It’s unclear whether Apple knew about the situation before approving the application.

Electronic Arts has announced that it will be holding public previews of its upcoming iPhone and iPod touch titles Need for Speed Undercover and SimCity at select Apple retail stores in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. According to the company, the events will give users a chance to “test drive” the games before launch. The previews will be held on Dec. 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the Apple Store in SOHO, NYC, Dec. 13 at 2:00 p.m. at the Third Street Promenade Apple Store in Santa Monica, CA, Dec. 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Apple Store on Stockton Street in San Francisco, and on Dec. 20 at 2:00 p.m. at the Apple Store on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL.

Speck has launched its holiday sale which will run now through the end of the year. During the sale, the company will be offering a 75% discount on all previous-generation iPod cases, discounts of between 25% and 75% on previous-generation iPhone cases, and 50% off on black, clear and purple SeeThru hard shell cases, black and white PixelSkin cases and the ToughSkin for iPhone 3G.

PDO is offering a 30% discount over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Beginning tomorrow and running through December 1, customers can enter the coupon code TG835 to receive 30% off their order. In addition, the company is offering free shipping on all orders, and is selling all older model iPod and iPhone cases for $5 or less.

Following complaints from users of Apple’s new MacBook computers who found themselves unable to play certain iTunes Store-purchased videos due to the new laptops’ use of HDCP, or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, Apple has released QuickTime 7.5.7, providing a partial fix for the problem. According to the release notes, the update “addresses an issue where some standard definition purchases from the iTunes Store do not play on some external displays.” (Emphasis ours.) High-definition content, however, remains unplayable on non-HDCP compliant displays. QuickTime 7.5.7 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility, or as a download from apple.com/quicktime/.

 

ShadesCases releases Shades for iPod nano 4G, touch 2G

ShadesCases has released its new Shades for the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch. Made from 100% polyurethane, the cases offer full access to all ports and controls, and are designed to be compatible with most iPod accessories. Available in a wide range of colors, Shades for iPod nano 4G and iPod touch 2G sell for $15 and $17, respectively. In addition, the company has announced its upcoming holiday sale, during which the company will offer discounts of 40%-50% on all cases. The sale will run from November 28 to December 5.

Griffin intros Component, Composite video cables for iPod

Griffin Technology has introduced its new Component Video Cable and Composite Video Cable for iPod. Both cables connect to the iPod via a Dock Connector plug, and feature a high-quality shielded copper core, as well as an integrated USB plug for use with the included PowerBlock AC wall charger to supply the device with power. In addition, both cables offer color-coded RCA connectors with molded-in strain relief. Griffin Technology’s Component Video Cables and Composite Video Cables for iPod are compatible with the first- and second-generation iPod touch, iPod classic, and third- and fourth-generation iPod nano, and are available now for $50 each.

V-Moda updates Vibe II mic for iPhone, MacBook sound

Following publication of our review of the new fashion-forward stereo headset Vibe II, which noted issues with the unit’s integrated microphone, V-Moda has announced the release of an improved version. According to the company, though the first microphone was designed primarily to enhance voice intelligibility for iPhone 3G phone calls, a new microphone has been chosen to improve performance under additional usage scenarios, including iPhone 3G voice recording, VoIP, and other third-party applications, as well as with the latest Apple MacBook computers.

 

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All Vibe II headsets made after November 25, 2008 will contain the new microphone, as well as the prior model’s iPhone-, late 2008 iPod-, and late 2008 MacBook-compatible play/track control button, sport earhooks, and unique stainless steel earbuds. Pricing will remain at the same $128 level. Photos of the new Vibe II in Nero black have been added to our comprehensive review here.

A.B. Sutton debuts cases for iPod classic, nano 4G, touch 2G

A. B. Sutton has introduced its new Slip cases for the iPod classic and iPod nano 4G and Simple Slip cases for the iPod classic, nano 4G, and touch 2G. The Slip case for iPod classic and iPod nano 4G is a play-through style leather case, featuring open access to all ports and controls and silk interior lining. Available in both solid and monogram styles, the Slip cases start at $88 for the iPod nano version and $128 for the iPod classic. The company’s Simple Slip cases are pouch-style leather cases, offering silk lining and a horizontal band on the front for holding earphones. Available for the iPod nano 4G, iPod classic, and iPod touch 2G, they sell for $58 and up for the nano and $88 and up for the classic and touch. Finally, the company has begun to separately sell its felt slips, which are usually included as a courtesy for customers who order a leather case as a temporary protective measure while their case is being made, for all current iPod and iPhone models. The iPod felt slips are available in a variety of silk exteriors and sell for $28, while the iPhone felt slips are available in black felt only, and sell for $18.

Mix: Beatles + iTunes, Apple price matching, Boxee, TiVo Mobile

  • November 25, 2008

Sir Paul McCartney has said that talks to make the Beatles’ catalog available on iTunes have stalled. “The last word I got back was it’s stalled at the whole moment, the whole process,” McCartney said. “I really hope it will happen because I think it should.” He added, “It’s between EMI and the Beatles, I think.” A spokeswoman for EMI echoed the former Beatle’s statement, saying, “We have been working hard to secure agreement with Apple Corps. to make the Beatles’ legendary recording catalog available to fans in digital form. Unfortunately the various parties involved have been unable to reach agreement but we really hope everyone can make progress soon.”

In a change to store policy, Apple has given its retail store employees the authority to match competitors’ prices, according to a new report. ifoAppleStore notes that the new policy does include some restrictions, including the need for the customer to supply proof of the competitor’s pricing. In addition, it appears the company will be offering a special iPhone 3G gift card in hopes of boosting holiday sales. It is unknown whether Apple will be making an official announcement regarding the new policy.

Boxee, software that expands the capabilities of an Apple TV, has been updated for Apple TV Software 2.3. The software, which is neither supported nor condoned by Apple, gives users an alternative interface for accessing non-DRM media stored on their networks, along with the ability to access a variety of audio and video programming via Internet radio, streaming sites such as Hulu, and other channels. Boxee is available as a free download.

TiVo has launched TiVo Mobile, a new mobile phone-optimized web site that allows both subscribers and non-subscribers to browse, search, and discover television shows directly from devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch. The site, accessible from m.tivo.com, also allows subscribers to schedule recordings on their Series 2 or Series 3 boxes on the go.

iPod age poll ends, missing iPhone feature poll begins

With more than 4,000 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll — “How long has it been since you bought your earliest iPod/iPhone?” — has ended. Readers were able to choose from lengths of time varying between 7 years and less than a year, with a separate option for readers that don’t own an iPod or iPhone.

Many respondents were long-time iPod users: more than a third of respondents said that they’ve owned an iPod for four years or more. Specifically, 9% said they purchased the original iPod seven years ago, 8% said they got their first iPod six years ago, and 18% said they’ve owned an iPod for five years. The largest number of readers — 19% — said they purchased their first iPod four years ago, while another 14% said they’ve owned an iPod for three years. The number of users who said they’ve owned an iPod or iPhone for one or two years was equal, with each receiving 6% of the vote, while 15% of readers said they’ve owned one of the devices for less than a year, and 4% said they don’t own an iPod or iPhone. (Yes, we’re also surprised.) Thanks for your responses!

Our new poll focuses on the iPhone. We’d like to know what feature currently missing from the device you’d most like to see added. Is copy & paste on your wishlist, or perhaps MMS messaging? Or maybe you’d like it to record video, or wirelessly sync with iTunes? Maybe Adobe Flash is most important to you, or perhaps A2DP stereo Bluetooth, or some other feature? The latest iLounge poll, “Which missing iPhone feature would you most like to see implemented?” lets you answer that question. As always, the iLounge Poll is on the left hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!

iTunes adds early links to DRM-free music from holdout labels

New links found on the iTunes Store suggest that Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG may finally begin offering DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks through the service. Most notably, users have begun seeing tracks from the three labels appearing in the “Upgrade My Library” area of the store, which offers users a one-click option to upgrade past DRMed iTunes Store purchases to higher quality, DRM-free iTunes Plus versions. As shown in the screenshot, some of the recordings are appearing in this area without pricing or links to purchase, suggesting that Apple may be considering alternative pricing for these new DRM-free tracks, or may perhaps be looking to move all music on the store to a DRM-free format, effectively doing away with the iTunes Plus moniker and lowering prices for currently-offered iTunes Plus tracks to match those of normal songs. A report from last week suggested Apple was in talks with the three labels in hopes of offering DRM-free versions of their songs on the Store, but the talks were said to be in the preliminary stages. Apple has yet to comment on the matter.

Reports: 3G slowdowns, battery problems with iPhone 2.2

A number of iPhone users on Apple’s discussion boards are reporting problems with 3G network speeds and battery life issues following the installation of Software 2.2. Interestingly, while the battery life issues seem to be widespread in terms of geographic area, the majority of users complaining of slow 3G speeds are concentrated in the Orange Country area of Southern California, suggesting the problem may stem from an issue with that area’s network. For users experiencing the 3G slowdown, reports indicate that while they see full or close to full 3G coverage, and calls work fine, data connections are apparently extremely slow, being described by one user as “slower than EDGE.”

Meanwhile, a separate group of users complaining of greatly reduced battery life are reporting standby times of less than 10 hours, but not all users appear to be experiencing the problem. In addition, a user claiming to be an iPhone developer has responded in a separate 2.2 battery life thread, claiming that the problem may be related to an issue with Safari, in which the iPhone fails to properly close its network connection upon exit, causing the device to physically heat up, and also leading to reduced battery life. In this instance, both the developer and other users claim that quitting Safari by holding down the home button has successfully restored their battery life.

Apple announces Black Friday shopping event

  • November 25, 2008
  • Deals,

Apple has posted a promotional image on its Online Store advertising a one-day shopping event on the day after Thanksgiving, commonly known in the retail world as “Black Friday.” The image, which shows a large number one made up of graphic representations of various Apple products, reads: “Come back to the Apple Online Store the day after Thanksgiving for a special one-day-only holiday shopping event. You’ll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas.” Exact details of the event, such as applicable products and pricing, have yet to be revealed; in addition, it is unclear whether Apple will be offering the same or similar discounts in its retail stores, as well.

 

DRO Concepts rolls out Carbon Fiber iPhone 3G Case

DRO Concepts has introduced its new Carbon Fiber iPhone 3G Case. Made with four layers of material, the case — which comes in both Carbon Fiber and Texalium (an aluminum-coated fiberglass) — is lined with neoprene for added protection, and features a scratch resistant high gloss finish, open access to all ports and controls, and an included anti-static screen guard and polishing cloth. The DRO Concepts Carbon Fiber iPhone 3G Case is available now and sells for $85.

[Editor’s Note: Comments on this news story have been closed due to comment fraud. We strongly urge readers not to do business with companies that post or encourage the posting of fake comments to stories about their products.]

Rivet teams with Vaja, unveils three cases for iPhone 3G

As part of a new partnership with Vaja which will see it exchange ideas and product knowledge with the Argentina-based luxury leather brand, Rivet International has decided to expand its case and bag offerings, starting with three new cases for the iPhone 3G. The Hard Leather Case is a form-fitting case featuring a rigid plastic shell, leather exterior, soft interior lining, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector. It is available in black or red and is priced at $30. The Boneless Silicone Case is a form-fitting silicone case offering integrated covers for the Home, volume, and sleep/wake buttons, full access to all other ports and controls, Rivet graphics on the rear of the case, and an included screen protector. It sells for $20. Finally, the Touchable Crystal Case is a clear hard shell acrylic case featuring open access to all ports and controls and an integrated touch-thru hard screen protector. It sells for $25.

Mix: Paid App Store reviews, BdEmailer OK?, Handbrake, Tetralite

  • November 24, 2008

According to a screenshot from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site, iPhone developer Casual Game Network attempted to pay iPhone and iPod touch users for leaving positive, 5-star reviews on the App Store for its game SantaLive 2008. In the listing, the developer offered to pay users $4 to download and then rate the $2 application, leaving them with $2 profit. When contacted regarding the offer, company CEO Adam Majewski, who is listed as the “requestor” on the Turk page, said “I can’t speak to the marketing efforts being done. There’s numerous being done by people in my organization, and I don’t know the day-to-day aspects ... so I can’t speak to that specific approach [on Mechanical Turk].”

Apple has approved a third-party email client for the iPhone and iPod touch called BdEmailer, contradicting earlier rejections due to duplication of existing functionality. BdEmailer is a widescreen email application, allowing users to take advantage of the iPhone OS’ larger landscape keyboard for typing email messages. Apple previously rejected the email client MailWrangler, which used the OS’ built-in WebKit view to check multiple Gmail accounts without needing to sign in/out multiple times, because it “duplicates the functionality of the built-in iPhone application Mail without providing sufficient differentiation or added functionality, which will lead to user confusion.” BeEmailer, unlike MailWrangler, does not allow users to check email, however, and only functions as a composer/sender application. [via Engadget]

Handbrake, a popular open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter, has been updated to version 0.9.3. New features include the ability to convert a wide range of video formats, improved video quality and audio/video synchronization, more control over multiple audio tracks, new, better organized presets, and more. Handbrake 0.9.3 is available as a free download for Macs running OS X 10.5 or later, PCs running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, and Linux.

Ansemond has released Tetratile, a new puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In the game, players must line up 4 tiles in a row, a column or on a diagonal. Unlike most other tile games, in which new tiles fall from the top of the board, tiles in Tetratile are inserted from the right or bottom, moving an entire row or column and making the placement of each tile more challenging. The game offers three difficulty levels, a two-player mode, and the ability to save the current board on exit, letting the player resume the game later. Tetratile is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.

iFrogz launches first visually customizable earphones

iFrogz has expanded its Earpollution line of audio accessories with three user-customizable styles of headphones and earphones. NervePipes and Fallout are over-the-ear headphones, each offering 40mm drivers, a frequency response of 30Hz to 20KHz, and 1.2 meter cords. Users may customize five different pieces of NervePipes, including the headband, sidepieces, hinges, speakers, and ear cushions, while the Fallout-style headphones offer similar customizability, save for the hinges. The Hype earphones offer customizable base and rim parts, and all three styles can be customized with artwork as well. iFrogz customizable NervePipe, Fallout, and Hype headphones and earphones are available for order now and sell for $35, $35, and $20, respectively.

Marware intros Nuance for iPod nano 4G

Marware has introduced its Nuance case for the fourth-generation iPod nano. The slim leather case features a built-in clear screen and Click Wheel protector, a removable carrying strap, open access to the headphone jack and Dock Connector, and an included lanyard, film protector, and cleaning cloth. The Marware Nuance for iPod nano 4G is now available for pre-order in black, blue, pink, or yellow, and sells for $25.

Gary Bart, ex-XtremeMac CEO, leaves Imation for ‘new project’

Gary Bart, former CEO and founder of iPod and iPhone accessory developer XtremeMac, has resigned as his position as Executive Director of XtremeMac’s acquiring company Imation. “I am working on a new project and I will continue to be directly involved in the iPod/iPhone market,” Bart told iLounge in an email, adding, “When I have specifics to share, you will be among the first to know.” XtremeMac began the year by winning a Best of Show award for its Luna X2 alarm clock radio for iPod, only to see the product delayed numerous times, with the entire company eventually being sold to Imation at the end of June. Though XtremeMac was cited by iLounge for its increasingly impressive industrial designs, readers have expressed dismay that the acquired company’s announced 2008 products have never materialized.

iPod touch 2G faster than previous model, iPhones?

Despite the fact that all of Apple’s iPhone OS devices use similar ARM processors, the second-generation iPod touch has been revealed as the fastest model thanks to a boost in speed from 412MHz to 532MHz. Thomas Fessler, CEO of Handheld Games Corp, has said that the performance of its TouchSports Tennis game is noticeably different across models, with the second-generation iPod touch being the fastest “by far.” Speaking with Touch Arcade, Fessler said, “Our first step to increase fps performance was to introduce hardware dependent levels of detail. Where we can easily display two 1500 polygon tennis players with 32 bones each on the iPod touch 2G and maintain fast and fluid game play, the original iPod touch just chokes, and in some instances so do the iPhones. To speed up the touch, we reduced the players to 800 polygons in farther away moments of gameplay, and are now using 1000 polygon models for close ups, bringing the original iPod touch game play performance level close to that of the iPhone 3G.” As Apple has not disclosed differences between the hardware in its pocket devices, it remains to be seen whether performance variations such as this will remain tappable by developers after future software updates.

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