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Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in Kentucky

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G outside during the recent ice storm in Lexington, Kentucky. 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!

Deadmau5 releases iPhone DJ app

Canadian producer and DJ Deadmau5 has released a new DJ app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new application, Deadmau5 Touch Mix, allows users to remix and perform using ten exclusive tracks. Users can apply delays, effects, rewinds, cuts, and more, and utilize a scratch pad. Deadmau5 Touch Mix is available now from the App Store and sells for $3. [via Beatportal]

Marvel planning ‘motion comics’ for iTunes

Marvel Entertainment has announced that it will release a series of “In-Motion” comics through iTunes, during a panel discussion at this week’s New York Comic Con convention. Geeks of Doom report that the company is working with Neal Adams and Continuity Studios to develop a new form of digital comic for iTunes, which the company is referring to as motion comics. This new breed of comic will feature panels that animate scenes, as well as spoken dialog from voice actors. A preview of an Astonishing X-Men motion comic was shown during the panel, and a new Spider-Woman series is planned as well. “We’re looking at it as a completely new project.” said artist Alex Maleev about the new Spider-Woman ongoing. “Motion comics,” he added, “require a much different process when compared to print.” No pricing or release information was revealed, although the panel did indicate that multiple prices could be an option depending upon the content. [via TUAW]

Multi-touch left out of Android by Apple’s request?

Google decided against implementing multi-touch in its mobile device operating system Android after Apple requested they refrain from using the technology, according to a new report. VentureBeat, citing a member of the Android team, says the search giant acquiesced to Apple’s request in order to avoid putting strain on the relationship between the two companies; it is unknown whether the threat of legal action relating to iPhone patents also played a role in the decision. Google has been a leading partner of Apple’s in recent iPhone and Mac software releases, providing the backend for the iPhone’s Maps application and the Places functionality of iPhoto ‘09, as well as releasing iPhone apps of its own, one of which openly violated App Store rules but has been allowed anyway. In addition, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board of directors. Interestingly, recent demonstrations by Android developers have shown that the hardware of the T-Mobile G1, the first Android-based phone, is indeed capable of handling multi-touch, meaning the decision against implementation was made in software instead of hardware.

Apple TV online survey questions movie rental, purchasing habits

Apple is conducting an online survey of Apple TV owners to learn more about their movie rental and purchasing habits, as well as their use of the device and other living room electronics, such as DVRs, Blu-ray players, and video gaming consoles. According to MacDailyNews, the survey includes questions such as “If you could change one thing about your Apple TV, what would that be?” and “Which of these devices, if any, do you have in your household?”, with options including DVD and Blu-ray players, all current and last-generation video game consoles, and both cable provider and TiVo DVRs. Other questions include “How do you rent movies?”, with options for online services like Amazon Unbox, Apple TV, Netflix streaming, Vudu, and Xbox 360 live, as well as more traditional options such as brick-and-mortar Blockbuster and local video stores, cable/satellite provide VoD, and Netflix rental by mail, “Where do you buy movies?”, with options for Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, iTunes, and other physical or online stores, and demographic questions relating to the sex of the respondent, household information, employment and occupation, and income.

Google launches Google Sync for iPhone

Google today launched a beta version of its Google Sync service for the iPhone and iPod touch. Google Sync is a two-way push synchronization service that works with Gmail contacts and Google Calendars, allowing users to update information from either their iPhone or iPod touch, using the built-in Calendar and Contacts applications, or from any traditional computer, using the web browser. The new Sync service uses the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol, and Google warns that enabling the Sync service will automatically delete any existing contacts and calendar information from the device. For more information on Google Sync or to set up the service on a device, visit m.google.com/sync.

SmHeart Link provides iPhone, exercise equipment interaction

iTMP Technology has introduced the SmHeart Link, a new product that serves as a wireless bridge between exercise equipment sensors and the iPhone or iPod touch. The SmHeart Link collects data from distributed health and fitness sensors such as heart rate monitors and cycling sensors and sends it to the iPhone via Wi-Fi. According to the company, the device is compatible with heart monitor chest straps from companies such as Polar, Garmin, Nike, Reebok, Timex Ironman, New Balance and Numetrex, and is also compatible with biking sensors to track speed, cadence and power. The SmHeart Link pairs with several iPhone apps released by iTMP, including iRPM+, a bike computer and heart monitor application, iSPINNING, a cardio fitness and cycling application designed for Spinner bike enthusiasts, and iNewLeaf, which is also a cardio fitness and cycling computer that lets users incorporate metabolic profile data from New Leaf Fitness. The iTMP SmHeart Link is available now and sells for $155.

Amazon introduces Kindle 2 book reader

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Amazon has introduced the Kindle 2, the second iteration of its E-Ink based portable book reader. The new device features a slimmer design with rounded edges and a tapered back, much like Apple’s iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch. It weighs 10.2 ounces, is .36 inches thick, and features 25 percent more battery life than the original, allowing for two weeks of reading on one charge. Additional storage gives it seven times the book capacity of the original—1,500 books, Amazon estimates—while an improved 6-inch display features 16 shades of grey, and other UI improvements have been made: a new five-way controller enables 20 percent faster page turning, the full QWERTY keyboard has been redesigned, audiobook support and a 3.5mm headphone jack have been added, a new Text-to-Speech feature is included to let printed books be read to users, along with basic web browsing and MP3 player capabilities, and the same Sprint-powered 3G wireless connectivity as the original. While not a direct competitor to Apple’s portable devices, the proliferation of book reading applications for the iPhone and iPod touch has made comparisons between them increasingly common. The Amazon Kindle 2 is available for pre-order now and will begin shipping on February 24 for $360.

China Mobile iPhone talks break down over App Store control

The latest round of negotiations between Apple and China Mobile have broken down due to a disagreement over control of the App Store, a new report indicates. Interfax TMT China, citing a source at the China Mobile Research Institute, states that China Mobile president Wang Jianzhou outlined the turbulent negotiations on a recent visit to the Institute. The negotiations are said to have gone through three distinct rounds, spanning 18 months and involving both Apple CEO Steve Jobs and COO Tim Cook. Jianzhou reportedly claimed that initial negotiations broke down due to Apple’s insistence on revenue sharing, while the second round of talks failed after Apple offered to sell iPhones to the carrier for $600 and required that China Mobile subsidize iPhone service bundles.

The third, and reportedly final, round of negotiations is said to ended over Apple’s insistence that it, rather than China Mobile, sell applications for the device directly to customers via the App Store. Jianzhou saw the offer as possibly detrimental to China Mobile’s dominance of the country’s mobile Internet industry. “Wang said China Mobile should operate the application store itself in order to maintain its advantage,” the Institute source said, noting that Chinese customers have preferred to make purchases through deposits in their mobile phone accounts rather than through the credit cards required by the App Store. Apple currently sells an unlocked model of the iPhone 3G in Hong Kong, directly from its own website.

Orange Austria matches 8GB iPhone 3G price drop

Orange Austria has now matched (Translated Link) T-Mobile’s lowered pricing on the 8GB iPhone 3G. Like T-Mobile, Orange is now offering the 8GB model for just €1 when purchased with a €35/month tariff and €14 a month “iPhone Pack,” which includes 3GB of data and 100 SMS texts. T-Mobile first dropped its pricing on the smaller-capacity model last month; curiously, both promotions are slated to end on February 14. It is unclear whether the price drops are a result of slower than expected demand, or indicative of an upcoming change to the iPhone 3G lineup. Apple bumped the maximum capacity of the original iPhone from 8GB to 16GB in February 2008.

Enter the Vestalife 5&5 Speaker Giveaway

If you haven’t yet entered our Vestalife 5&5 Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for February, ten lucky readers will win a Vestalife speaker system, with five winners receiving Ladybugs and five receiving Butterfly systems. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on February 28, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Google launches Google Book Search for iPhone

Google has launched a mobile version of its Google Book Search service. The new iPhone- and iPod touch-friendly interface gives users access to over 1.5 million public domain books directly from their device. The books have been optimized to be read on a small screen, and are available for free. To access Google Book Search mobile, simply visit books.google.com/m from your iPhone or iPod touch.

Our weekly iPodweek newsletter is coming soon

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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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Mix: iPhone 2.2.1 fix, Nickelodeon, dB meter, My Valentine

  • February 6, 2009

Apple has begun emailing customers affected by the iPhone 2.2.1 Software issue where some users experienced iTunes crashes upon sync following the installation of the latest iPhone and iPod touch software. Apple is recommending that affected users deauthorize their computers through iTunes, then reauthorize them, indicating that the process should fix the crashing problem. Mac Rumors notes, however, that some users report having to purchase a free iTunes app after following the above steps to completely fix the problem.

Nickelodeon has announced its upcoming slate of iPhone applications. Beginning with the SpongeBob Tickler, which was released on Jan. 20 and allows users to interact with the animated character using the touchscreen and accelerometer, the company plans to introduce six more apps between March and September. They include a Dora the Explorer app will challenge users to match shapes, count numbers and practice the alphabet; it will launch in March. SpongeBob’s Wacky Walk is a platform game that will allow users to tap, swipe, tilt and shake scenery to get obstacles out of SpongeBob’s way; it will be released in April. Another SpongeBob title, SpongeBob SquarePants Diner Dash, will be a SpongeBob-themed version of the popular casual game, Diner Dash, set in the Krusty Krab, the Chum Bucket and other under-the-sea locations, and will launch in July. Finally, iCarly on the iPhone will be a “live action” application, in which players will help the iCarly crew get ready for their next “webisode” by issuing quests around school and playing mini games at Carly’s studio. It will launch in September.

Faber Acoustical has released dB, a simple sound level meter application for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and second-generation iPod touch. The application lets users “tag” what’s happening around them with a the current sound level, and optionally with a photo, GPS location, a graph, and more, and share the tag via email or Twitter. The app has been designed to work with both the iPhone’s built-in microphone and Apple’s microphone-enabled headphones, and can measure sound levels up to approximately 105 dB. dB is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.

Origin Creative has introduced its new My Valentine application for the iPhone and iPod touch. My Valentine allows users to create personalized messages for loved ones, offering over 30 different cards and 18 greetings. Users can then email the cards directly from the application, with no limit to the number of cards that may be sent. My Valentine is available now and sells for $2.

iPhone stability poll ends, App coverage poll begins

With over 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll, “Which crashes more often, your computer or your iPhone/iPod touch?” has ended. Readers could say their pocket device was more or less stable than their Windows PC or Mac, with options given for each platform, as well as an option for those who don’t own an iPhone or iPod touch.

Of the respondents, 53% (64% of the total) said they owned Windows PCs, and 30% of the respondents (36% of the total) said they owned Macs. Roughly half of the Windows PC users said that their iPhones or iPod touches crashed more often than their PCs, while roughly three-quarters of the Mac users said that their iPhones or iPod touches crashed more often than their Macs. While far from scientific, the results suggest that iPhone/iPod touch software is more crash-prone than Mac software—comparable to the instabilities PC users deal with. Finally, 17% of respondents said they didn’t own an iPhone or iPod touch. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll deals with the growing number of farting and bikini apps on the App Store. We want to know whether you think we should cover them or not. Should we cover everything, even if it’s in questionable taste? Steer clear of all but the most notable ones? Ignore them all? Or do you simply not care, or don’t have an iPhone or iPod touch? Our new poll, “Are you interested in seeing iLounge cover fart and bikini iPhone apps, or should we ignore them?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge poll in the left hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Vote today!

Gameloft previews Wild West Guns for iPhone, iPod touch

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Gameloft has provided iLounge with an exclusive preview of its upcoming iPhone and iPod touch game Wild West Guns. Based on the Wii title of the same name, Wild West Guns is a carnival shooter-style game set in a Western environment. The game will feature 18 challenges featuring typical Western environments such as saloons, deserts, stables, trains, and more, with interactive backgrounds that let players shoot elements in the environment to earn more points. Other features include diverse targets and enemies, five different game modes, and touch-based shooting controls. The game will be submitted to the App Store tomorrow, and should be available in the coming days. Continue reading for more screenshots from Wild West Guns.

Mix: BBC HD, LaserPup, FlightTrack Pro, Agent 18

  • February 5, 2009

BBC Worldwide plans to offer its programs in high-definition through the UK iTunes Store, according a new report. A BBC spokesperson told Crave that the company “will at some point soon be releasing HD titles on iTunes in the UK,” adding that more details would be made available “in the coming weeks.” HD television downloads were added to the UK iTunes Store only recently.

iLounge reader Joe has created an interesting iPhone-controlled, Internet-enabled dog toy he calls “LaserPup.” The system consists of two servos, a buzzer, and a laser pointer, which work to move the laser pointer dot around on the floor, entertaining the dog while Joe is away. The buzzer sounds to let the dog know when playtime is beginning and ending, while an X10 light helps the dog see and a webcam allows Joe to monitor the action. The entire setup is controlled via an I/O Bridge with Servo Module, which is controlled over the Internet via Joe’s iPhone. A video of the LaserPup in action is available on YouTube. [Thanks, Joe]

Appropos Mobile has released FlightTrack Pro, an upgraded version of its FlightTrack application for the iPhone and iPod touch. FlightTrack Pro lets users integrate with their online Tripit accounts, syncing flight itineraries automatically with the service. In addition, FlightTrack Pro offers the ability to track cancellations, delays, gate changes, and more, without the need to retype flight information, live flight tracker maps with radar, local weather, time, and temperature display, and the ability to email itineraries to colleagues. FlightTrack Pro is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.

Agent 18 is offering iLounge readers a special Valentine’s Day discount on its FlowerVest cases for iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod nano, and iPod touch. Simply enter the coupon code “AgentValentine” during checkout on the company’s website for a 40% discount. The code is valid until February 15, 2009.   

GPX unveils new iPod audio systems

GPX has introduced two new iPod audio systems. The CI189 clock radio will feature an iPod Dock, a single alarm, an AM/FM radio, the ability to wake to alarm, radio, or iPod, line input, and a soft amber display. It will sell for $30. The HI209 audio system features an integrated iPod Dock, an AM/FM tuner, clock display, line-in for connecting other audio sources, and an included remote control. It will be priced at $50; both units are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2009.

RapidRepair offers 240GB 5G iPod drive upgrade

  • February 4, 2009
  • iPod,

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RapidRepair has posted a page touting a 240GB hard drive upgrade for the fifth-generation iPod. According to the product page for the Toshiba 240GB MK2431GAH 8mm, the drive will only function correctly in fifth-generation iPod units, and not the iPod classic, due to the fact that it is a two-platter drive — the latter model is currently only able to see one of the drive platters. Pricing for the drive is not available and it is listed as out of stock, although RapidRepair is offering a “wait list” link for interested parties.

Update: The company is now accepting pre-orders for the drive, which is priced at $295 and will begin shipping in March. Owners of the 30GB fifth-generation iPod will be able to order a thicker backing along with the drive for an added $10.

Norway consumer advocate drops iTunes complaint

Following three years of attempts to sanction Apple for anti-competitive iTunes practices, Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon has said he is dropping a complaint against iTunes before the country’s Market Council, due to Apple’s announcement that all music on iTunes Store will be available DRM-free as of April. “We have no reason to pursue them anymore,” Thom told AFP. Thom had previously said that Apple’s iTunes DRM scheme and contract terms breach the Norwegian Marketing Control Act, and planned to bring the matter before Norway’s Market Council, a government agency that can impose fines and require companies to change their business practices.

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