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Last chance to enter the Speck SeeThru Case Giveaway

If you haven’t already, now is your last chance to enter the SeeThru Case Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for January, 50 lucky readers will win either an iPhone 3G SeeThru Case or an iPod nano 4G SeeThru Case from Speck Products. To enter, simply fill out and submit the brief form on the giveaway page — entries will be accepted until January 31 at 11:59 Pacific Time. Good luck!

iSkin debuts solo FX for iPhone 3G

iSkin has introduced the solo FX, its latest protective case for the iPhone 3G. Like the previously-released solo for iPhone 3G, the solo FX is a form-fitting case, featuring integrated volume and power button protection, an embossed design pattern for added visual interest, unobstructed access to all ports and controls, and a high-gloss finish with a non-slip grip surface. In addition, the case includes a mirror-finish screen film protector. The solo FX for iPhone 3G is available now in translucent blue, red, green, and orange, and sells for $33.

O’Reilly releases iPhone SDK Appplication Development

O’Reilly Media has released iPhone SDK Application Development by Johnathan Zdziarski, the publisher’s latest book on iPhone development. The book explains how to design user interface elements with Interface Builder and the UI Kit framework, create application controls, build and manage layers and transformations using Core Graphics and Quartz Core, mix and play sound files, handle network programming, use Core Location, and more. Designed to benefit both beginner and experienced developers, iPhone SDK Application Development is available now for $35 in print, or $28 in PDF format.

iPodweek coming soon, Take the iPhone stability poll

iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in iPod, iPhone, iTunes and Apple TV news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out later today. In addition to rounding up the week’s top stories, iPodweek also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive iPodweek, there’s still time to register and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address.

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Also, don’t forget to register your vote in this week’s iLounge Poll. We’d like to know which crashes more often—your iPhone/iPod touch, or your computer? Our latest poll, “Which crashes more often, your computer or your iPhone/iPod touch?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand section of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

App Mix: Distant Shore, Nomina, Grocery IQ, RepairPal

The Blimp Pilots, developer of early App Store success Koi Pond, has released its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch, Distant Shore. The app puts users in a setting of an endless beach, on which they can walk, finding and reading messages in bottles from other users around the world. Users can also write their own messages to be put inside bottles and cast out to sea for other users to discover. Other features include 3-D graphics and soothing ambient sound effects. Distant Shore is available now and sells for $1.

Outspring has released its Nomina application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Nomina allows entrepreneurs and business people to enter a potential brand name and quickly search multiple sources to see if the name is available for use. Once a name is entered, the app searches for available second-level domains, optionally checking another 25 international domains, and also searches the U.S Patent & Trademark Office for identical trademarks, as well as The Library of Congress, Google, Thomas Guide, Dun & Bradstreet, Reuters News Service, and the U.S. Yellow Pages database. Search times range from under a minute on EDGE to as little as 10 seconds over WiFi or 3G. Once completed, the app presents the search results in a graphic report indicating the availability of the name; these reports can then be emailed, and are also saved for reference in a recent searches list. Nomina is available now from the App Store and sells for $15.

Independent iPhone developer Free State Labs has announced that its top-selling lifestyle application Grocery IQ has been acquired by The app comes preloaded with more than 130,000 items commonly found in supermarkets across America, allowing users to organize their personal shopping lists by store, aisle, buying history, favorites, as well as customizing item sizes. Version 2 of Grocery IQ, planned for a February release, will match shopper’s grocery lists with coupons, and provide multiple ways for consumers to redeem the coupons from their handset. The free upgrade will also allow users to download layouts of nearby supermarkets based on ZIP code and organize their shopping list by store layout to save time shopping. Grocery IQ v.1.0.4 is available now from the App Store for $1; version 2 will be a free upgrade for all existing users.

RepairPal has released its iPhone and iPod touch application of the same name. RepairPal lets users receive free car repair estimates right on their device, and offers a comprehensive repair shop directory—including the ability to use GPS to search for local shops, one-touch access to most automobile manufacturer helplines, and local tow truck or roadside assistance lookup. RepairPal is available as a free download from the App Store.

Apple planning premium games section for App Store?

Apple may be planning to open a $20-and-up premium games section on the App Store, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, PocketGamer is reporting that the section will be open to only a restricted number of large developers and publishers, rather than the broad acceptance afforded by other areas of the store. Apple and potentially included publishers EA Mobile and Gameloft refused to comment on the matter; the report speculates that the move could be announce at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, or at a special iPhone or gaming event. Developers have previously expressed concern over the abundance of $1 apps on the store’s Top 100 lists, leading at least one to try a hybrid paid/donation revenue model to boost sales.

Firmware points to next-generation iPhone model

Evidence of a next-generation iPhone model has been found in the latest version of the iPhone’s firmware. Mac Rumors notes that a string in the USBDeviceConfiguration.plist file contains information for a device labeled “iPhone2,1,” while the original iPhone carried the designation “iPhone 1,1” and the iPhone 3G was labeled “iPhone 1,2.” For comparison, the first-generation iPod touch was labeled “iPod 1,1” while the second-generation model is labeled “iPod 2,1” due to its significant hardware differences such as volume buttons, an internal speaker, and integrated Nike+iPod support. The existence of a next-generation iPhone is further supported by the appearance of a device labeled “iPhone 2,1” appearing in a developer’s PinchMedia ad serving reports, suggesting that Apple is currently testing the device for a near-term release.

iTunes now offering track-by-track iTunes Plus upgrades

Apple is now allowing iTunes Store customers to upgrade previously-purchased DRM-encoded tracks to the higher-quality, DRM-free iTunes Plus format on a track-by-track basis. Up until now, users were forced to upgrade on an all-or-nothing basis, angering some users with larger iTunes Store-purchased music libraries, who were faced with upgrade costs in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. U.S.-based users may upgrade individual songs for $0.30 a piece, with varying prices for users in other countries.

CEA fills 2010 CES iLounge Pavilion in 3 days, quadruples size [Updated]

Thanks to an overwhelming response from the iPod and iPhone community, the Consumer Electronics Association and iLounge are pleased to announce a dramatic expansion of the iLounge Pavilion at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). According to CEA, the original space allocated for the Pavilion was completely sold within three days after the announcement, leading to a substantial waiting list. In order to accommodate continued interest from iPod, iPhone, and even Mac vendors, CEA has quadrupled the pavilion’s size, creating a massive presence for Apple accessory, software, and service providers on the 2010 CES show floor. Vendors interested in exhibiting at the 2010 International CES should contact Tira Gordon ([email protected]) immediately for additional information.

Update: CEA has issued its official press release announcing the record-breaking response and pavilion expansion.


SolLight intros SoliCharger Solar-powered iPhone charger

SolLight has introduced its new SoliCharger, a new solar-powered charger the the iPhone and some iPods. The bottom-connecting lithium-ion battery pack features a solar panel on one side for charging, but can also be charged via a standard iPhone USB cable or 12V iPod/iPhone car charger, providing up to a 50% charge for the iPhone. It also features a pass-through 30-pin port, LED charging status lights, and the ability to charge some other iPod models—due to the design, some wider iPods will not fit in the device. The SolLight SoliCharger is available now and sells for $40.

Mix: Refurb nanos, AT&T Q4, Papermaster, Payback

Apple has begun to offer refurbished units of the fourth-generation iPod nano through its online store. Available in both 8GB and 16GB capacities, the players are available in limited colors—six for the 8GB models and eight for the 16GB units. The players carry a one-year limited warranty and sell for $129 and $169, respectively.

Reporting its fourth-quarter financial results, U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T announced that it activated 1.9 million iPhone 3Gs during the quarter, bringing its total to 4.3 million for the second half of the year. It added that approximately 40 percent of iPhone activations were for customers new to AT&T, and that the phone continues to deliver subscribers offering higher average monthly revenue than the company’s contract subscriber average.

Incoming Apple iPod/iPhone hardware chief Mark Papermaster will have to have to check with former employer IBM before disclosing any information he suspects may be confidential to IBM, according to a new report. InformationWeek states that the arrangement is part of Papermaster’s settlement with IBM, and that IBM will be the final decider on such matters. IBM’s determination “shall be final and binding and not subject to review in any way,” wrote Judge Kenneth Karas in his consent order. Papermaster will begin work at Apple April 24.

Apex Designs has released Payback, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A clone of the popular action game Grand Theft Auto, Payback features a full soundtrack with both speech and music, HDR lighting, eleven cities to explore, a wide arsenal of weaponry, dozens of vehicles, and an automatic save system. Payback is available now from the App Store and sells for $7.

iPhone SDK updated for iPhone OS 2.2.1

Apple has released its iPhone SDK for iPhone OS 2.2.1. Weighing in at 1.75 GB and listed as build 9M2621a, the new SDK requires Mac OS X 10.5.5, and includes new, optional GCC and LLVM compilers, an updated project assistant, a simplified toolbar, and additional security enhancements. The iPhone SDK for iPhone OS 2.2.1 is available now to registered iPhone developers via Apple’s iPhone Dev Center.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Italy

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. 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!

Mix: Game Awards, Japanese app tax, Air Photo, RSS Player

The finalists for the Second Annual Independent Game Festival have been released, with iPhone/iPod touch games dominating the Mobile category. Subatomic Studios’ Fieldrunners and Mobigame’s Edge lead the group with three nominations apiece, with other nominees including Igloo Games’ Dizzy Bee, The Iconfactory’s Frenzic, and Sykhronics Entertainment’s Smiles. The awards will be handed out during the Independent Games Festival, to be held March 23-27 in San Francisco. [via TUAW]

Some iPhone application developers have recently discovered that they weren’t getting the full amount of revenue expected from sales of their apps in Japan due to an issue with Japanese taxes. An Ecamm Network employee has written about the problem, revealing that 20% of revenue from its Japanese sales was missing. Upon contacting Apple, the company explained that “There is a 20% withholding tax in Japan until the Japanese tax authorities have accepted your tax exemption forms. This can take 90 days or longer. … They were required at the contract setup time in iTunes Connect. If you haven’t completed these and sent them in, you must or you should not have been paid.” It appears as if the link to the forms is buried in fine print on the tax forms web page, causing some developers to skip over the necessary documents.

Sudobility has released its Air Photo application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Air Photo allows users to print photos directly from the devices to any printer connected to a Windows PC or Mac running the free Air Photo Server software. The software works over a Wi-Fi connection, and features auto-rotation, scaling options, and compatibility with “all printers.” Air Photo is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.

Almerica, developer of the previously-rejected iPhone app Podcaster, has released RSS Player, a new podcast downloading and listening application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Described by the developer as Podcaster’s younger sibling, RSS Player lets users download or stream podcasts directly to their device, including the downloading of podcasts larger than 10MB over 3G networks. The application lacks Podcaster’s built-in search directory, however, and its acceptance provokes questions as to Apple’s original motives in rejecting the app. Podcaster was denied App Store publication by Apple in September, before Apple added the ability to download podcasts to the iPhone and iPod touch versions of the iTunes Store, for “duplicating iTunes functionality.” It is unclear whether RSS Player’s acceptance is due to the name change, its lack of a directory, a change in Apple’s policies regarding such applications, or a combination thereof. RSS Player is available now and sells for $2.

Papermaster starts April 24 as Apple iPod/iPhone hardware chief

Following months of litigation, Mark Papermaster, Apple’s new senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, will begin work on April 24. The company announced Papermaster as a replacement for outgoing iPod division senior vp Tony Fadell in November, only to have a U.S. District Court Judge order Papermaster to “immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc” less than a week later, due to a non-compete agreement he signed with previous employer IBM. According to Apple’s statement, the litigation between Papermaster and IBM “has been resolved,” adding that he will report directly to CEO Steve Jobs, despite his current medical absence.

Apple releases Software 2.2.1 for iPhone, iPod touch

Apple has released its iPhone Software 2.2.1 Update for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, first-, and second-generation iPod touch. According to Apple, the iPhone update offers “bug fixes and improvements,” including improved stability for Safari, and a fix for an issue where some images saved from Mail didn’t display correctly in the Camera Roll. The iPod touch update also fixes an issue that caused some Apple Lossless files to skip during playback. iPhone Software 2.2.1 is available now through the Update feature in iTunes.

Apple posts two new iPhone 3G ads [Updated]

Apple has posted two new iPhone 3G television ads online. Both new ads, “Read” and “Fix,” repeat the phrase “There’s an app for that” while highlighting various third-party iPhone applications. “Read” highlights restaurant resource and review app Yelp, medical imaging app OsiriX, and the book reading app Classics, while “Fix” focuses on taxi-finding app Rocket Taxi, tip calculator Tipulator, and the accelerometer-based leveling tool MultiLevel. Both commercials are available for viewing now on Apple’s website.

Update: Apple has posted a third iPhone 3G ad, “Check.” Similar in format to “Read” and “Fix,” “Check” features the ski and snowboard condition app SnowReports, the nutritional and diet helper app Lose It!, and the car park reminder app G-Park. It too is available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Apple awarded comprehensive iPhone multi-touch patent

Apple has been awarded a United States patent covering the iPhone and its multi-touch interface. Patent no. 7,479,949, titled “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics,” details nearly every aspect of the iPhone’s graphical user interface across its 350+ pages. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is listed prominently among the patent’s inventors; the patent also gives Apple extra leverage in fighting off companies which copy iPhone features, as COO Tim Cook alluded to in last week’s Q1 2009 Conference Call. Given the breadth of the patent, however, it’s unclear how successful Apple will be in protecting specific aspects of the iPhone interface; the patent does not necessarily cover every single element disclosed therein.

Accessory poll ends, iPhone/iPod touch crash poll begins

With over 2,200 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Should iLounge bother to cover junky, half-baked accessories, like this one?” has ended. Readers were given choices including no, get rid of all junky accessories, no, except for the especially stupid/amusing ones, and yes, I want to know everything that’s out there, good or bad.

A large majority of readers—65%—said to get rid of the junky accessories, with 16% saying they’d like to see them disappear altogether, while nearly half (49%) said to get rid of them save for the especially stupid or amusing ones, which should be spotlighted solely for their stupidity or amusement factor. 35% of readers said to keep covering all accessories, for the sake of covering as many products as possible, both good and bad. Thanks for all your responses—as we continue to tweak our coverage moving forward, we will certainly take your opinions into account.

Our new poll focuses on iPhone and iPod touch stability. We’d like to know which crashes more often—your iPhone/iPod touch, or your computer? Our latest poll, “Which crashes more often, your computer or your iPhone/iPod touch?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand section of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

Mark/Space intros Fliq Tasks for iPhone and iPod touch

Mark/Space has released its new Fliq Tasks application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Fliq Tasks allows users to create, edit, categorize, prioritize, sort, search and share their tasks and to do lists directly from their device. Tasks can be shared over a Wi-Fi network with other Fliq users on the iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, or Windows. Fliq Tasks is a free download from the App Store; Fliq for the Mac or Windows sells for $20. The original Fliq contacts and photo application for iPhone and iPod touch is also available as a free download.

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