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Griffin RoadTrip receives iPhone, iPhone 3G certification

Griffin Technology has announced that it is now shipping a revised version of its RoadTrip with SmartScan combination car charger, mount, and FM transmitter that is certified for use with the iPhone and iPhone 3G. RoadTrip includes interchangeable, model-specific cradles for iPhone or iPod to securely mount the device on a flexible steel neck, and features the ability to play music from the device while charging, a built-in FM transmitter with RDS technology and SmartScan for automatically finding open station frequencies, a line output, and an integrated display for tuning. Griffin’s RoadTrip with SmartScan for iPhone is available now and sells for $100.

Compete: iPhone users more likely to install applications

According to the results of a survey contained in Compete’s latest Smartphone Intelligence report, iPhone users are far more likely to have downloaded and installed third-party applications than users of other smartphones. The survey, conducted during October and November and consisting of 940 respondents, found that 34% of smartphone users have not added an application to their devices, compared to just 7% of iPhone users. In addition, 72% of iPhone users said they had installed five or more applications, compared to only 23% of other smartphone users; more than a third of iPhone users (34%) said they had installed more than 15 applications.

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Apple updates iPhone SDK for OS 2.2

Coinciding with the release of iPhone Software 2.2 for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch, Apple has released an updated version of its iPhone Software Development Kit for the new software. Listed as build 9M2621, the updated SDK weighs in at 1.56GB and requires Mac OS X 10.5.5. iPhone SDK for iPhone OS 2.2 is available now as a free download for registered developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Mix: Tweetie, Puzzle Quest, OrbLive, iTunes credit woes

Atebits has released Tweetie, its new Twitter application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Tweetie lets users handle multiple Twitter accounts, view timeline, replies, direct messages and favorites, browse friends and followers, post new tweets and retweet, reply directly to tweets and send direct messages, picture uploading, view Twitter trends, perform custom searches, and more. Tweetie is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.

TransGaming has revealed that its upcoming game Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is currently in the approval process. Based on the game of the same name released for portable and console systems over the last year, the iPhone and iPod touch title will feature new story lines, new characters and new conquests, along with a revamped interface optimized for the devices’ touch screens. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is expected to be released via the App Store next month, and will sell for $10.

Orb Networks has announced its new OrbLive streaming media application for the iPhone and iPod touch. OrbLive uses Wi-Fi or cellular network connections to let users access music, videos, photos, and, if their PC is properly equipped, webcams and live TV directly from their iPhone or iPod touch. The application requires the Orb application to be installed on the user’s Windows PC for the OrbLive client to work; the company says a version of the application is coming soon for Mac and Linux computers. OrbLive is available now from the App Store and sells for $10; a limited free trial version is also available.

A number of iTunes users are reporting problems using their existing iTunes credits for purchases on the iTunes Store following installation of iTunes 8.0.2. Users who have credit in their iTunes accounts from gift cards, certificates, or vouchers, have reported getting the following message when attempting to make a purchase following installation and acceptance of the new iTunes Store policies: “Due to a problem with the iTunes Store, your store credit balance is temporarily unavailable for use in purchasing music; you may continue purchasing using a different method of payment.” It is unclear when Apple will have the problem fixed.

iPod touch Software 2.2 out, lacks Maps enhancements

In addition to the release of iPhone Software 2.2 for iPhone and iPhone 3G, Apple has released the “iPhone 2.2 Software Update for iPod touch,” containing a comparatively shorter list of improvements. Notably absent in Apple’s changelog are references to improvements to the Maps application, which on the iPhone and iPhone 3G has gained Google Street View, transit information, and walking directions. Here is what Apple lists as improvements to the iPod touch version of the software:

Secure WPA Wi-Fi network connection issues have been fixed.
E-mail fetching problems have been resolved.
Wide HTML e-mail formatting has been improved.
Auto-correcting keyboard can be turned on or off.
Safari is more stable and performs better.
Podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes application.
Pressing Home button from any Home screen returns you to the first Home screen.

The iPod touch version of the iPhone Software 2.2 is available now as a 277.7MB download from iTunes 8.0.2 by selecting your iPod touch under Devices and clicking on the Check for Update/Update button. It is free for users with earlier 2.x iPhone Software.

iPhone Software 2.2 out: Google Street View, Podcasts

Early this morning, following the release of iTunes 8.0.2, Apple released iPhone Software 2.2 as a free download for iPhone and iPhone 3G users. Here is a partial list of new features contained in the update, according to Apple.

Fewer call connection failures and mid-call drops.
Improved Visual Voicemail sound quality.
Google Street View has been added to maps.
Public transit information and walking directions.
Dropped pins display addresses.
Current location can be shared via e-mail.
E-mail fetching problems have been resolved.
Wide HTML e-mail formatting has been improved.
Auto-correcting keyboard can be turned on or off.
Safari is more stable and performs better.


Podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes app, both on cellular (!) and Wi-Fi.
Pressing Home button from any Home screen returns you to the first Home screen.

Other features are included, as well. Version 2.2 is available by selecting your iPhone or iPhone 3G from the Devices list in iTunes version 8.0.2, and hitting the Check for Update/Update button.

Apple releases iTunes 8.0.2

Apple has released iTunes 8.0.2, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to the release notes, the update addresses a quality issue creating MP3s on some computers, fixes a connectivity issue with the iTunes Store when using some internet proxies with Mac OS X, and improves accessibility with VoiceOver. iTunes 8.0.2 is available now as a free download from or via Apple’s Software Update utility.

DLO ships HomeDock HD for iPod

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters has announced that it is now shipping its HomeDock HD entertainment dock for iPod. The HomeDock HD features an integrated iPod dock offering video upscaling to 1080i or 720p and an optical digital audio output, component video and RCA audio outputs, an auxiliary audio input, an included RF remote, and an on-TV interface featuring album art in an icon-based visual flow format. The DLO HomeDock HD is available now and sells for $250.

Apple patent points to iPhone, iPod status indicators

A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is developing a new system of status indicators for its iPod and iPhone devices. The patent describes a system in which the main backlight of the device sports a semi-transparent area, allowing a low-power, secondary backlight to show through, displaying simple icons to show whether the iPod is playing music, indicate new email or voicemail, missed calls, and so on. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.

MMS coming to iPhone via re-branded Mobispine app

Following a report from MacWorld Sweden (Translated Link) claiming that iPhone carrier Telia would soon offer a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) application for its iPhone customers, mobile services company Mobispine has announced that it is developing a native MMS application for the iPhone. According to a posting on the company’s blog, Mobispine will sell a specially-branded version of its MMS application to operators, who in turn will make it available to users via the App Store. It is currently unclear whether Mobispine will be able to receive approval from Apple for the MMS application.

Mix: Softbank, Frenzic, Goldstriker, Zune Marketplace

Softbank Chief Strategy Officer Tetsuzo Matsumoto recently said that the company is “happy” with its current situation regarding the iPhone 3G, despite reports of slower-than-expected sales. “We introduced the iPhone without any big market trial, so the initial package had some problems,” Matsumoto told Dow Jones Newswire at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress. Citing research from MM Research Institute, Newswire reports that Apple sold about 200,000 iPhones in Japan in the first two months, but has seen falling demand, leading analysts to speculate that total sales are unlikely to reach 500,000, or around half of what Apple expected. Despite these figures, Matsumoto said iPhone users have been downloading data at ten times the rate of other phones, adding, “as new applications are being introduced, the attraction of the handset is increasing daily. So we are pretty happy about the present situation.”

The Iconfactory and ARTIS Software have announced the release of their game Frenzic for the iPhone and iPod touch. Frenzic is a puzzle-based game in which players attempt to move colored pie pieces from a central circle to surrounding circles; the outer circles are removed from the board as they are filled. Features include location-awareness to compare the player’s scores with those of nearby players or players across the globe, and integration with the website, which offers friend tracking, stats, and more. Frenzic is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

Goldstriker has introduced three new precious stone-bezeled iPhone 3Gs (pictured). Available in black and white diamonds, ruby and white diamond, or white diamonds, each is a 16GB model and fully unlocked for compatibility with most GSM providers. The three new models are available now and sell for £3,595 (roughly $5,370), £3,095 (~$4,625), and £4,095 (~$6,120), respectively.

Microsoft has announced changes to its Zune Pass music subscription model, establishing a new value-conscious purchasing alternative to the iTunes Store. The new $15 Pass gives users on-demand access to millions of tracks from all four major labels and independents, then lets them keep 10 DRM-free tracks per month to add to their permanent collection, effectively reducing the monthly rental cost to only $5.

Westone rolls out Westone 3 triple-driver earphones

Westone Music Products has introduced its new Westone 3 triple-driver in-ear headphones. The 3 features three balanced armature drivers and a three-way crossover network for improved sound, braided cables, and a frequency response of 20 Hz - 18 kHz. Each pair will include a fit kit with ten different styles of eartips to ensure a proper, comfortable fit, a soft zippered carrying pouch, a 1/8” to 1/4” plug adapter, and an inline volume control module. The Westone 3 will be available on November 28 and will sell for $399.

Apple releases Apple TV Software 2.3

Apple has released Apple TV Software 2.3, the latest update to its set-top box. According to the release notes, the update adds the ability to stream music from the Apple TV to Airport Express speakers or other Apple TV units on the same network, to learn other remote controls’ commands and use them in addition to the Apple Remote, and to see playlists in iTunes that contain movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music videos. It also adds support for volume control in music. Apple TV Software 2.3 is available now via the Update Software selection in the General Settings menu.

Puzzle MMORPG Aurora Feint II shown for iPhone, iPod touch

Now operating under the corporate name Aurora Feint Inc., developers Danielle Cassley and Jason Citron have unveiled Aurora Feint II: The Arena for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the original RPG-slash-block-matching game Aurora Feint: The Beginning, the new game is described as an asynchronous massively multi-player RPG, which promises to let users play against “ghosts” of other players that persist in the game even when the ghost’s player is not actually using his/her device. According to the company, playing against a ghost is “exactly” like playing in real-time against a real player, with real-time interaction between challenger and ghost. Other new features in the game include a world newsfeed, which is a continuous stream of real-time events happening in the game that appears as a ticker on the bottom of the screen. Tapping on an event in the ticker takes the player to an area called the Tavern, where players can conduct “asynchronous” chat with other players in the world, propose duels, share strategies and compete for leader board rankings. Each player will also get a wall where other players can leave comments and challenges and suggestions, which in turn become events in the Tavern.

In addition, the game offers all the functionality of the company’s first title, Aurora Feint: The Beginning, including characters, role playing, and skill-based progression in a single player environment. The Arena will be the second in a series of three products the company intends to build around the theme of Aurora Feint, a girl whose coma takes her through a dream world and series of casual puzzle based challenges aided by player characters. Aurora Feint II: The Arena will initially be priced at $8, going up to $10 after the holidays, and is expected to be available on the App Store on Friday, pending Apple’s update schedule.

Apple talks with holdout labels on DRM-free music

Apple is in discussions with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG in hopes of offering DRM-free music from the labels on the iTunes Store, according to a new report. Citing two anonymous music industry sources, CNet reports that the talks are still preliminary, and although no deals have been finalized, one source suggests at least one of the three holdouts is close to an agreement. Apple first began offering DRM-free music, dubbed “iTunes Plus,” from label EMI last May. Over the following months, EMI, along with the other three major labels, began offering their music in a DRM-free format to rival music stores, such as those run by Amazon and Wal-Mart; offering DRM-free music from all four labels would bring the iTunes Store back into parity with these other services.

GenevaLab launches GenevaSound Home Theater

GenevaLab has announced its new GenevaSound Home Theater, a combination theater sound system and TV stand. The Home Theater, available in black or white, features 2.1 surround sound with EmbracingSound DSP technology, an all-digital 700-Watt amplifier, seven speaker drivers including a 12-inch subwoofer, an integrated iPod/iPhone dock, a radio receiver, a CD player, and interior space for components such as a cable box, DVD/Blu-ray player, game console, or Apple TV. The GenevaSound Home Theater is available now and sells for $3999, including white glove in-home delivery and setup.

ReCover debuts Revive cases for iPod nano 4G, touch 2G

ReCover, formerly known as Imoeba World, has introduced its new Revive cases for the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch. Made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), a recyclable copolymer that combines plastic and rubber, both cases feature open access to all ports and controls and ReCover logo art. In addition, both cases come in packaging made from 100% renewable plastic and 90% recycled paper. A portion of all proceeds to Earth911, the US’s leading source for environmental information, and the company has also partnered with tree-planting movement SeedTree, committing to plant one tree for every ReCover case purchased. ReCover’s Revive cases for the iPod nano 4G and iPod touch 2G are available now in black or clear and sell for $25.

Report: Wal-Mart to sell iPhone 3G starting December 28

Wal-Mart will begin offering the iPhone 3G at select Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations on December 28, according to a supposed internal company memo posted online. The Boy Genius Report, which previously suggested the retailer would begin offering Apple’s handset on November 15, has posted the alleged leak, which states: “We are pleased to announce that Wal-Mart has reached agreement with Apple to offer iPhone 3G in Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart-managed Sam’s Club* Connection Centers nationwide beginning December 28, 2008.  AT&T will support Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club with the activation process for iPhone 3G.”

Hitachi Maxell unveils Noise Canceling iPod headphones in Japan

Hitachi Maxell Japan has announced (Translated Link) its HP-NC20.IPs Noise Canceling Headphones for iPod. These unique in-ear headphones offer active noise canceling without external power by connecting to the iPod’s Dock Connector port, reducing noise by 20dB. The headphones, which come in black, feature a volume slider on the Dock Connector plug, and because they are powered by the iPod itself, cut the iPod’s playback time by about half to two-thirds. Hitachi Maxell’s HP-NC20.IPs Noise Canceling Headphones for iPod will be released on December 12; pricing has yet to be announced.

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