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Mix: Stanford, 3G MicroCell, iLife ‘09, Cocktails+

  • January 26, 2009

Students of Stanford University’s iPhone Application Programming class have posted a new website showcasing their final projects, while the University itself has posted materials from the class online. Among the student-created apps are a motion-based music game, Craigslist app, English-Chinese dictionary, and a webpage downloading app, while materials from the class include both lecture notes in PDF format as well as sample code. [via Ars Technica]

AT&T has unveiled the webpage for its upcoming 3G MicroCell service and hardware. The 3G MicroCell acts like a personal mini cell tower, connecting to AT&T’s network via the user’s existing broadband Internet service offering improved signal performance for both voice and data for up to four users. The device will require its own service plan; pricing has yet to be announced.

Apple has announced that iLife ‘09, the latest version of its digital media suite, will be available beginning tomorrow. The suite includes an updated version of photo-management application iPhoto which offers the ability to export slideshows to the iPhone and iPod touch and a new “Places” feature automatically imports photo location data from iPhone pictures, as well as a new dedicated section for iPhone ringtones in GarageBand ‘09. iLife ‘09 is priced at $79.

Skorpiostech has announced that its Cocktails drink recipe database application for the iPhone and iPod touch has been renamed Cocktails+ and updated to version 1.5. New in the updated version is an expanded Contemporary Masters recipe section with recipes from Dale Degroff and Gonçalo De Souza Monteiro and a dedicated tab, an ingredient reference, and an assortment of new recipes. Cocktails+ 1.5 is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.

iPodweek newsletter coming later today

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iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out to our email subscribers 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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Lawsuit reveals Apple secretly changed nano in December 2005

Apple has agreed to a $22 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit regarding scratches on the first-generation iPod nano. The case, which dates back to October 2005, alleged that first-gen nano screens “scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen on the nanos unreadable, and violating state consumer protection statutes… and causing Plaintiff class members to incur loss of use and monetary damages.” Apple denied the claims, suggesting that users were subjecting the nanos to unusual forms of abrasion, but quietly made two changes, only one of which was known to the public. In addition to adding cheap sleeve-like cases to the nanos, the settlement reveals that Apple began selling “coated” iPod nano units in December 2005; some, but not all, units sold during this time received the coating. As a consequence, units with some iPod nanos were more susceptible to scratching than others, and the settlement provides differing remedies for different users.

According to the terms of the settlement, customers who did not receive slip cases with their nanos may be entitled to a cash payment of $25, while users who did receive the cases may be entitled to a $15 payment. Those with the scratch protection appear to be entitled to nothing. Of the three different first-generation units we tested in the settlement web site’s serial number verifier, one 4GB model was deemed eligible, while two 1GB units were not. The $22.5 million also includes attorneys’ fees of $4.5 million and litigation expenses of up to $200,000. A judge still needs to sign off on the terms of the settlement; a hearing on the matter has been scheduled for April 28.

iLounge announces Speck SeeThru Case Giveaway

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iLounge is pleased to announce the Speck SeeThru Case Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for January. In this month’s giveaway, 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 — the giveaway will end on January 31 at 11:59 Pacific Time. Good luck!

Incipio LAB cases launch for iPhone 3G

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Initially shown during Macworld Expo, Incipio’s LAB series cases for the iPhone 3G are now available. A 2009 Best of Show Award Finalist, the LAB series is a line of four differently-designed cases, which began as an interdisciplinary art experiment, with the designs originating on paper before making their way onto the backs of the cases in the form of molded, highly distinctive rubber. Each case offers button covers for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, open access to the headphone jack, Dock Connector, camera, and ring/silent switch, and full access to the iPhone’s face, including the screen and Home button. Available in metallic (Eagle), Tribal, Superhero, and Camelot designs, Incipio’s LAB series cases for the iPhone 3G are available now and sell for $20 each.

App developer tests hybrid paid/donation revenue model

iPhone developer App Cubby has begun what it calls a pricing “experiment” in which it will sell all its iPhone and iPod touch applications for a flat price of $1 each, letting users who find their utility to be worthy of more money make a donation towards future app development. The company’s products, Gas Cubby, Health Cubby, and Trip Cubby previously sold for $5, $5, and $10, respectively. App Cubby founder David Barnard told iLounge, “the challenges of selling in the App Store have continued to frustrate me and foil my best efforts. So I’ve decided to try a little experiment.”

Barnard has previously discussed the issue of pricing on the company’s blog, stating that developers are “frustrated that artificial market forces are driving down the price of apps, which in turn drives down the perceived value of the products we have invested significant time and money to create. Marketing can help, but it’s throwing good money after bad if the market discourages charging a fair price for an app.” The new revenue model appears to circumvent Apple’s pricing policies, which only allow for pricing on a dollar-by-dollar basis, and require developers interested in offering demo versions of their applications to create separate listings in the App Store, which they can distribute as free downloads. However, the subject of whether developers can solicit donations outside of the purchase price for a given piece of software appears to be a gray area.

Browser-based App Store clone appears on web

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A new website has appeared which offers browser-based access to the App Store, allowing users to browse applications without the need to launch iTunes. Powered by Google App Engine and hosted at app-store.appspot.com, the App Store website lets users access Top 100 lists, every category of application, and even the majority of the iTunes Store for music, TV shows, and movies, although that isn’t its primary focus. While other sites exist that list every app available on the App Store, complete with descriptions taken from the store, this is the first time a site has mirrored both the design and content of the iTunes Store, raising doubts as to whether Apple will allow the site to stay operational. [via Lifehacker]

Jays rolls out s-Jays in-ear earphones

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Jays has introduced its new s-Jays in-ear earphones. The s-Jays are the company’s first earphones to utilize the Siren, a tubeless, round balanced armature that delivers more bass than those used by Jays in the past and a frequency response of 20Hz - 20,000 Hz. Other features include a PVC-coated cord, a gold-plated 3.5mm plug, and sound isolation. Included with the s-Jays are five pairs of silicone rubber sleeves, a pair of foam sleeves, four pairs of canal filters, a 90cm extension cable, a stereo splitter, an airline stereo adapter, and a carrying case. Jays’ s-Jays earphones are available now in black or white and sell for £60, or roughly $84.

OtterBox expands Strength line with Defender for iPod nano 4G

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OtterBox has expanded its line of Pink Strength cases with a special release of its Defender Series case for the fourth-generation iPod nano. As with past Strength cases, 10% of the purchase price of the Defender nano 4G will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The case features a unique three-layer design consisting of a thin clear membrane to protect the screen and Click Wheel, a hi-impact Polycarbonate skeleton, and an outer layer of silicone to provide added bump and shock protection. It also offers access to the Dock Connector, hold switch, and headphone jack via silicone plugs, and has a built-in stand for watching movies and videos. The OtterBox Defender Strength case for the iPod nano 4G is available now and sells for $30.

Live updates from Apple Q1 2009 Conference Call

During the company’s Q1 2009 Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments during the call relating to the company’s iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV businesses. According to Oppenheimer, customers love the sleek design and colors of the fourth-generation iPod nano. He also said the feature set and App Store have helped iPod touch establish as gaming, entertainment, and communications platform. According to the latest data from the NPD Group, iPod MP3 player marketshare is over 70% in the U.S., and gained in international markets as well, with marketshare of over 70% in the U.K. and Australia, over 60% in Japan, and over 50% in Canada.

The December quarter was the biggest ever for the iTunes Store, including the highest sales ever for Christmas day and week. Although the company had already reached its goal of selling 10 million iPhones in calendar 2008, Oppenheimer reiterated the fact, with Q1 sales pushing the total up to 13.7 million units. The phone was selling in over 70 countries by the end of the quarter, and recorded iPhone revenue was $1.25 billion for the quarter, compared with just $241 million in Q1 2008. Finally, the executives revealed that Apple TV unit sales were up almost 3x from the year-ago quarter, although the company still considers the product a hobby.

The complete record of our live coverage is below.

Apple Q1 2009: 22.7 million iPods, 4.4 million iPhones

Reporting its first quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold a record 22.7 million iPods during the holiday quarter — a 3 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. It also sold 4.363 million iPhones in the quarter, an 88 percent increase year-over-year, but down from 6.89 million units in the prior quarter. The company posted revenue of $10.17 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.61 billion, or $1.78 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share in Q1 2008. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 25% over the year-ago quarter, and up 22% from Q4 2008, to $1.011 billion total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. International sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Even in these economically challenging times, we are incredibly pleased to report our best quarterly revenue and earnings in Apple history—surpassing $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time ever,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

“Our outstanding results generated over $3.6 billion in cash during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.6 billion to $8 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.90 to $1.00.”

PhoneSuit unveils Mili Power Pack for iPhone [updated]

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PhoneSuit has introduced its new Mili Power Pack for iPhone. The Mili, like the Mophie Juice Pack, slides onto the phone from the bottom, leaving the top and front exposed while covering most of the device’s back side. Compatible with both the iPhone and iPhone 3G, the Mili features an 1800 mAh battery, along with a mini-UB port for recharging and a full-size USB port for charging other accessories. The company claims the battery provides 350 hours of standby time, 6 hours of talk time or Internet use over 3G, 12 hours of talk time on EDGE, and 7 hours of Internet use over Wi-Fi, as well as 28 hours of audio playback or 8 hours of video playback. The PhoneSuit Mili Power Pack for iPhone will be available in six colors for $80; ordering will begin January 23.

Updated Feb. 19, 2009 PhoneSuit has announced that all Mili Power Pack units purchased from Feb. 19 forward will include a higher-capacity, 2000 mAh battery. The price for the Mili will remain $80, and the product’s packaging will be updated to reflect the change.

CES 2010 to Gather iPod, iPhone Developers at iLounge Pavilion

Working together on behalf of the iPod and iPhone community, iLounge and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) today announced the historic official launch of the iLounge Pavilion, the first unified pavilion area for iPod and iPhone products to be offered at an International Consumer Electronics Show. Debuting at the 2010 CES, this pavilion will for the first time give iPod and iPhone vendors their own dedicated, prominent stage at the world’s largest trade show for consumer technology.

Click on the title of this story to continue reading.

Mix: Air Guitar, Rick Rocketson, Candy Wars, Lil Jon

  • January 21, 2009

Inedible Software has released Air Guitar, a new motion-based music app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Started by two Stanford University students, Inedible’s Air Guitar began as a final project for the school’s iPhone Application Programming class. The app displays an onscreen fretboard, letting the user physically strum to create music, with the ability to tilt for whammy bar effects. Users can strum harder to play louder, pick from preset progressions or customize their own, and choose between guitar or bass. Air Guitar is available now and sells for $2.

Liquid Air Lab has released Rick Rocketson Pro, a run ‘n’ jump-style platformer for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game features graphics similar to those found on 16-bit consoles, and offers users 14 levels to explore. Players must use their lazerblasters, as well as grenades and health and ammunition packages to fight enemies such as space hedgehogs and evil space pirates. Rick Rocketson Pro sells for $2 on the App Store; a Free preview version is also available.

Catamount Software has released Prohibition 3: Candy Wars, a turn-based strategy game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Candy Wars is actually a re-skinned version of the company’s Prohibition 2: The Dope Wars, which was rejected by Apple and was itself a remake of the DOS game DrugWars. In Candy Wars, users play a candy dealer in the year 2040, selling and distributing treats such as sugar sticks, brownies, and rock candy during an age of candy prohibition. Prohibition 3: Candy Wars is available now for $1.

Gabe Jacobs Productions has released Lil Jon: The Soundboard for iPhone OS devices. The app offers buttons for playing a variety of the rapper’s catchphrases, including two of Dave Chappelle’s impressions—“What!?” and “Okay!” 16 different audio clips in all are included. Lil Jon: The Soundboard is available now and sells for $1.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Florida

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone in front of Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom park near Orlando, Florida. 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!

BulletFlight app uses iPhone to aid rifle accuracy

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Runaway Technology has released BulletFlight, a new application for the iPhone and iPod touch that helps gun users take more accurate shots. Users can input current weather conditions and distance, while the accelerometer measures angles to the target, providing detailed solutions up to 2000 meters. The app uses environmental calculations based on the Sierra Bullets model, features built-in profiles for the M110 semi-automatic rifle, the 14.5-inch SR16 rifle, and KAC PDW rifles, and allows the user to modify those profiles, as well as add new ones. In addition, it provides the number of clicks one needs to change the scope by for the current range and wind speed, instead of outputting information in a table format like other ballistic computer apps. BulletFlight is available now for the iPhone and iPod touch and sells for $12. [via Telegraph]

Ridax debuts smaller iPod/iPhone Charge Converter

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Ridax has debuted its new Small Charge Converter for the iPod and iPhone. Ridax was the first company to market with a converter to allow older FireWire-charging accessories to charge the iPhone 3G, and subsequently the fourth-generation iPod nano and second-generation iPod touch. It says the new converter lacks the mini-USB port found on its original, larger converter design, which measures 35mm x 32mm x 14mm compared to the new design’s 40mm x 18mm x 11mm. The company also notes that many Pioneer and Mini Cooper systems remain incompatible with these models for charging purposes, even with an adapter. The Ridax Small Charge Converter is available now for $30; owners of the large model wishing to trade-in may do so for $7.

Editor’s Note: Ridax posted an anonymous comment to this story to try and make readers believe that its “converter is priced too low,” and “for sure should cost more than double that.” As a consequence, Ridax has been banned for violating our policies on astroturfing, and we discourage our readers from doing business with companies that engage in such marketing practices.

Ten One Design intros SoundClip for iPhone 3G

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Ten One Design has introduced the SoundClip, a new passive sound enhancer for the iPhone 3G. Made from a single piece of plastic, the SoundClip attaches to the Dock Connector, and is designed to direct sound from the iPhone’s built-in speaker towards the user. In addition to serving as a port protector, the device also prevents a user’s hand from inadvertently covering the speaker during activities such as gaming, and attaches to the iPhone’s sync cable when not in use. According to the company, SoundClip amplifies iPhone audio by 10dB between 5kH and 20kHz, and improves frequency response, as well. Ten One Design’s SoundClip for iPhone 3G is available now and sells for $8.

Belkin caught soliciting paid product reviews, apologizes

Mike Bayard, a Business Development Representative for Belkin, was revealed to have solicited paid positive reviews for the company’s products on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site, prompting a public apology from president Mark Reynoso. The original Amazon posting, which has since been removed—along with all possibly fraudulent reviews—promised $0.65 for each review. The reviews were to give as high a rating as possible, with instructions to “write as if you own the product and are using it,” and mark any negative reviews as “not helpful.” Following a Daily Background story exposing the Mechanical Turk posting, Belkin posted this response from Reynoso:

“Belkin has always held itself to the highest standards of corporate ethics and its employees to the highest standards of personal integrity. Similarly, we support our online user community in discussion and reviews of our products, whether the commentary is good or bad. So, it was with great surprise and dismay when we discovered that one of our employees may have posted a number of queries on the Amazon Mechanical Turk website inviting users to post positive reviews of Belkin products in exchange for payment.

Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this. We know that people look to online user reviews for unbiased opinions from fellow users and instances like this challenge the implicit trust that is placed in this interaction. We regard our responsibility to our user community as sacred, and we are extremely sorry that this happened.

We want to stress that this is an isolated incident and to re-instill trust with you, we have taken the following courses of action:

- We’ve acted swiftly to remove all associated postings from the Mechanical Turk system.
- We’re working closely with our online channel partners to ensure that any reviews that may have been placed due to these postings have been removed.

It’s also important to recognize that our retail partners had no knowledge of, or participation in, these postings.

Once again, we apologize for this occurrence, and we will work earnestly to regain the trust we have lost.

Sincerely,
Mark Reynoso
President, Belkin”

T-Mobile Austria drops price on 8GB iPhone 3G

T-Mobile Austria has reduced its pricing (Translated link) on the 8GB iPhone 3G, a possible hint at changes in store elsewhere for the basic model handset. The 8GB model is now priced at €1 when purchased with the €45/month supreme tariff, compared to €99 before the drop. In addition, the carrier is offering the first month at no fee, and an online ordering bonus of €45. This is the first carrier to offer a discount from its original pricing on the iPhone 3G; it is unclear whether other iPhone carriers plan to drop their prices on the smaller-capacity model as well. Apple bumped the maximum capacity of the original iPhone from 8GB to 16GB in February 2008.

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