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Gameloft intros Siberian Strike for iPhone, iPod touch

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Gameloft has introduced its new Siberian Strike game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A top-down shooter in the style of the 1942 series, Siberian Strike places players in the shoes of Elliott Freeman, a 1940’s fighter pilot who must destroy a Soviet cyborg before it invades Europe. Features include 12 levels, a choice between accelerometer and touch controls, local Wi-Fi multiplayer, four difficulty levels, and a mix of shooting and piloting missions. Siberian Strike is available now and sells for $6.

EA releases Tiger Woods PGA Tour for iPhone, iPod touch

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Electronic Arts has released Tiger Woods PGA Tour, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Tiger lets players create their own golfer, or control a number of professionals, including Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Vijay Singh, Natalie Gulbis, and Retief Goosen, using a touch-n-drag Swing Meter to perform shots. The game features seven different 3D courses, including Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, TPC Sawgrass, and Doral, play-by-play commentary, realistic sound effects, and in-flight spin control. Tiger Woods PGA Tour is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.

For more information on Tiger Woods PGA Tour, see our full review.

iPhone app makers become acquisition targets

The success of the App Store has lead several iPhone development houses, and their applications, to become targets for acquisition by larger companies. Following Amazon’s purchase of Lexcycle, maker of the iPhone book-reading application Stanza, IAC, an internet media company that also runs Citysearch, Ask.com, Match.com, and Evite, has announced its acquisition of UrbanSpoon, based in part on the strength and popularity of its iPhone and iPod touch application. These latest acquisitions are the latest in a string that includes Barnes & Noble’s purchase of Fictionwise, which included an iPhone e-reader app, and blogging service Tumblr’s acquisition of the app Tumblrette, which is now offered to users as the official Tumblr app. [via Fortune]

WSJ: Ex-AMD exec Koduri joins Drebin at Apple

Raja Koduri, CTO of the graphics product group at AMD, has left the company to take an unspecified position at Apple, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that Koduri started work this week, and will help the iPod maker design multifunction chips for use in the iPhone, iPod touch, and other yet-unannounced mobile devices. The report suggests the chips may offer drastic reductions in power consumption and may also offer graphics circuitry to help play more realistic games and high-definition videos, although the chips aren’t expected to emerge in shipping products until next year at the earliest. Word of Koduri’s arrival comes only days after it was revealed that Bob Drebin, also a former CTO at AMD and veteran console graphics engineer, had joined Apple; the report suggests that the company is still trying to fill dozens of chip-related positions.

App Mix: Simplify Music, Hollywood Hangman, Truphone, Modulo

Simplify Media has released Simplify Music 2.0, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Simplify Music works in concert with a free application on users’ home computers to stream their music to their device. Features in the new software include the ability to search for artist, album, and title across all shared libraries, tag favorite music, create on-the-fly playlists, and scrub forward and backward through audio files. Simplify Music is available now from the App Store and is currently priced at $3; the price will increase to $6 on May 14.

LimeLife has released its new Hollywood Hangman game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the classic word game, Hollywood Hangman features 1,500 puzzles spread across four trivia categories—celebrity, movie, TV, and music—along with single, pass n’ play, and Wi-Fi multiplayer modes, three different music tracks, 10 different Hollywood-inspired backgrounds, and the ability for users to create their own puzzles. LimeLife’s Hollywood Hangman sells for $1; a free Lite version is also available.

Truphone has launched version 3.0 of its Truphone application for the iPhone. Truphone is a VoIP app which supports calling through Skype, Google Talk, and Truphone. Improvements in version 3.0 include superior voice call quality, a new instant messaging tool with support for Skype, MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk, and real-time account management. Truphone 3.0 for the iPhone is available as a free download from the App Store.

Electric TopHat has introduced its new Modulo puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Modulo, players bust rotate a set of colored cogs until they are all facing in the same direction. It features 180 different levels, all of which are accessible from the start of the game. Modulo is available now and sells for $2; a free Lite version is also available.

NYT: iPhone knockoffs big business in China

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Knockoff models of popular cellphones such as the iPhone are selling well in China, suggesting Apple may have a more difficult time penetrating the market than expected. The New York Times reports that knockoff, known as shanzhai, phones account for more than 20 percent of sales in China, while the government has done little to stop the proliferation of the fakes. Part of the problem, the report suggests, is the lower price of the knockoffs, made possible by technological advancements that make the fakes very cheap to produce, and by the manufacturers’ evasion of taxes, regulatory fees, and safety checks. “We’re being severely hurt by shanzhai phones,” says Chen Zhao, a sales director at Konka, a Chinese cellphone maker. “Legal cellphone makers should pay 17 percent of their revenue as value-added tax, but shanzhai makers, of course, won’t pay it.” China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently warned consumers about the hazards of shanzhai phones, saying “their radiation usually exceeds the limit.”

Fake iPhones—like the Meizu M8—are particularly popular, partially due to the fact that the phone isn’t officially available in China, except in Hong Kong, pushing the street price of imports out of reach for many. “I saw iPhone pictures on the Web; it’s so cool. But it costs over $500 — too expensive,” said Yang Guibin, 30, an office worker from Chongqing. “So I decided to buy a shanzhai iPhone. I bought it in a digital market here; it looked exactly like the iPhone.” Interestingly, even the manufacturers admit their business is less than reputable. “We are a kind of illegal producer,” said Zhang Feiyang, whose company, Yuanyang, makes an iPhone clone. “In Shenzhen there are many small mills, hidden. Basically, we can make any type of cellphone.” Apple has been linked to both China Mobile and China Unicom as potential partners for an iPhone launch in China, however, no official announcement has been made by either company.

Apple posts iPhone OS 3.0 beta 4, iTunes 8.2

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Apple has released the fourth beta version of iPhone OS 3.0 to developers, along with an updated version of the iPhone software development kit (SDK), and a pre-release version of iTunes 8.2, which is required to activate iPhone OS 3.0. It is currently unclear what changes might have been made to the SDK, OS, or iTunes with this release; however, legal language referring to Blu-Ray data from Gracenote has been spotted in iTunes, suggesting Apple is working on Blu-ray playback/support for the media jukebox. The updated SDK weighs in at 2.13GB, and is listed as build 9M2734, while the iPhone OS 3.0 beta 4 is listed as build 7A300g.

Developers can download iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 4, iTunes 8.2 pre-release, and the accompanying updated SDK from Apple’s iPhone Dev Center.

Photo of the Week: iPod touch in Honduras

  • April 29, 2009

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows a first-generation iPod touch resting on the beach in Roatán, Honduras. 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!

Apple offering tablet phone, ‘iPhone lite’ to Verizon?

Apple is working on two new iPhone-like devices which may be offered by Verizon Wireless, according to a new report. Citing two people “familiar with the matter,” BusinessWeek reports that one of the devices is a smaller, less expensive calling device described by one of the sources as an “iPhone lite,” while the other device is a touchscreen media pad that would allow users to listen to music, watch high definition video, view photos, and make calls via a Wi-Fi connection. According to the report, one of the devices may be introduced as early as this summer. Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam recently confirmed talks with Apple, telling BusinessWeek that “In the last six months, I have talked to Steve Jobs;” however, it is unclear whether Apple’s current exclusivity contract with AT&T would block the introduction of a new iPhone model on a competing carrier, and whether the information was leaked to provide leverage for ongoing future exclusivity negotiations between Apple and AT&T. USA Today recently reported that Verizon and Apple were discussing the development of a CDMA-based iPhone for introduction next year.

App Mix: Base Jumper, Flick NBA, Car Jack Streets, E*Trade

Vir2L Studios has released its new Vir2L Base Jumper game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Base Jumper puts players in control of a free flying character, who they must maneuver through three different levels, including the Alps, the canyon, and the city, using accelerometer-based controls. Users can collect rings to score points, and can also customize their jumper’s parachute, suit, helmet, and smoke color. Vir2L Base Jumper is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.

Freeverse has released Flick NBA Basketball, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Boasting one player from each NBA team, Flick NBA offers players five individual events—3-point shootout, hotshot arcade, long shot challenge, H.O.R.S.E., and a ball spin mini-game—along with touch-based controls, realistic 3D models, and a multiplayer mode. Flick NBA Basketball is available now and sells for $5.

Tag Games has released Car Jack Streets, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Previewed last December on iLounge and developed by members of the original Grand Theft Auto creative team, Car Jack Streets is a top-down-style game in which players must complete a number of missions, jobs, and assignments in order to pay down a massive gambling debt. It features a 3D city for players to explore, a variety of cars and weapons, online rankings, achievements and other hidden in-game extras, “real time” game play, and an in-game soundtrack that spans over 80 minutes. Car Jack Streets is available now and is priced at $5.

E*Trade has launched its new E*Trade Mobile Pro application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Mobile Pro allows account holders to view streaming real-time quotes with integrated charts, breaking news, and commentary, perform stock and options trades with market, limit and advanced orders, manage their account, synchronize their watch lists and portfolios with their online accounts, and perform cash transfers to and from any institution. E*Trade Mobile Pro is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Apple sued over legal threats made to BluWiki

Apple has been sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and representatives of OdioWorks, which runs the BluWiki website, after Apple made legal threats to the company over content hosted on the wiki. At issue is a group of pages, referred to as the iTunesDB pages, that contained information on how to use an iPod or iPhone with third-party software. Apple legal sent a letter demanding the pages be removed, arguing that the content constituted copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA’s) prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures. OdioWorks’ suit against Apple seeks a declaratory judgment that the discussions do not violate any of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, and do not infringe any copyrights owned by Apple.

Amazon buys iPhone Stanza app maker Lexcycle

Amazon.com has purchased Lexcycle, developer of the iPhone book-reading application Stanza. Stanza allows users to read e-books on their iPhone or iPod touch in the “epub” format, which is an open standard supported by the International Digital Publishing Forum that many publishers use to create e-book files. Amazon’s Kindle device doesn’t currently support “epub” files; nor does its Kindle for iPhone app let users download content from within the application, a feature Stanza offers. According to a post on Lexcycle’s blog, the company is “not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition,” adding that they are “excited to join forces with a company that has innovated on behalf of readers for over a decade and is a pioneer in ebooks. Like Amazon, we believe there is a lot of innovation ahead for ebooks and we could not think of a better company to join during this exciting time.”

Apple gets ex-ATI console GPU lead Bob Drebin

According to his LinkedIn profile page, former Chief Technology Officer of AMD’s Graphics Products Group Bob Drebin has joined Apple as a Senior Director. Previously a key member of the architecture and engineering team at ArtX, the company responsible for the Nintendo GameCube’s graphics processor, Drebin came to AMD through its acquisition of ATI, which acquired ArtX and used its expertise to develop the graphics processor for Nintendo’s Wii. Drebin was previously a chief engineer at Silicon Graphics, and a computer R&D tech for Pixar. Drebin’s hiring is the latest in a series of moves by Apple that suggest the company will develop its own chips for the iPhone and iPod. The company first purchased chipmaker P.A. Semi in April 2008, later confirming that the company was purchased with plans to “do system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods.” It then hired former IBM executive Mark Papermaster in November to lead the company’s iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams, and made a significant investment in mobile GPU maker Imagination Technologies in December. Imagination makes the PowerVR MBX chip used in current iPhone hardware. [via The Inquirer]

App Mix: iWine, WeatherBug, Uggles, Top-Tens

Ageasoft has released its new iWine application for the iPhone and iPod touch. iWine allows wine enthusiasts to track vintages that they own, taste, purchase, and recommend. The app offers attribute fields for winery, vintage, varietal and varietal type, region, rating pairing, price, and tasting notes, and also allows users to store both thumbnail and full size images of wine bottle labels. Other features include the ability to favorite wines, two separate rating systems, the ability to sort by any field, and provides a customizable library of wine varietals, varietal types, and regions. iWine is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.

Weather information service WeatherBug has introduced its WeatherBug Elite application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Devoid of the advertising found in the company’s free application, WeatherBug Elite features full radar animations, six additional contour layers including infrared satellite, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed, enhanced seven-day and hourly forecasts, full presentation of National Weather Service alerts, unlimited location settings, and an enhanced current conditions section. WeatherBug Elite is available now and sells for $1.

Frogameleon has released its new Uggles game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Uggles, players attempt to catch ball-like characters, called Uggles, utilizing touch- or accelerometer-based controls. The speed of the game increases as the player catches more Uggles. Other features include the ability to collect and display Uggles that have been unlocked, three levels of difficulty, high score listings for each difficulty, and the ability to listen to the iPod while playing. Uggles is available now and is priced at $1.

iPhone developer Rod Cambridge has released Top-Tens for the iPhone and iPod touch. Top-Tens lets users to keep tabs on multiple “top ten” lists at once, allowing them to keep up with trends in their favorite interests, hobbies, or pastimes. Categories include books, movies, video games, music charts and sales, coupons and deals, websites, blogs, and more. Top-Tens is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.

Skyhook CEO: iPhone driving demand for location-based services

Apple’s iPhone is spurring demand for location-based services, according to Ted Morgan, founder and CEO of Skyhook Wireless. “Thanks to the popularity of iPhone, we are seeing more and more apps using geo-data,” Morgan said in an interview with GigaOM. “The iPhone has unleashed location-based creativity.” Skyhook provides the technology for the Wi-Fi location positioning feature of the iPhone OS, and also offers its services to other mobile device manufacturers and mobile app developers. According to GigaOM, the number of location-aware mobile apps has grown in the past year from a few dozen to 2,000, with five times as many location-aware apps expected by next year.

Report: Apple discussing Verizon iPhone for 2010

Verizon and Apple are formally discussing the possibility of introducing a Verizon-compatible iPhone next year, according to a new report. Citing “people familiar with the situation,” USA Today reports that the two companies entered into “high-level” discussions months ago while Steve Jobs was still overseeing day-to-day business at Apple. While the article states that the phone would be built to run on Verizon’s current CDMA wireless network, Verizon plans to begin commercial use of its next-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network in 2010, suggesting that the negotiations may instead be targeting this more advanced network platform. AT&T is expected to launch a commercial LTE network in mid-2011, leaving Verizon a brief window of 4G exclusivity in which it could take advantage of a 4G iPhone. In addition, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg recently commented that Apple would be more likely to offer the iPhone to Verizon once it had transitioned to a LTE network. USA Today claims that AT&T has exclusive U.S. iPhone distribution rights into 2010—though it is said to be seeking an extension through 2011—and would likely continue to offer the iPhone even if Verizon were to offer it as well.

DomeSkin launches line of iPhone, iPod skins

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DomeSkin has launched its new line of “3D” skins for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, first- and second-generation iPod touch, third- and fourth-generation iPod nano, and iPod classic. Sporting a variety of original graphics and designs, DomeSkins feature a “clear dome” of resin built into the skin, giving it a 3D appearance and offering added protection over standard vinyl skins. Other features include a patented 3M adhesive which makes the skins reusable and allows them to be removed without leaving residue on the device, and a warranty that is good for the life of the device to which it was first applied. Priced at $15, DomeSkins are available now at domeskin.com and amazon.com.

Latest edition of iPodweek coming shortly

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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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Etymotic teams with ACS for custom-fit hf2 headset

  • April 24, 2009

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Etymotic has announced (PDF Link) the launch of its hf2 Custom-Fit program in the U.K. This new program, developed in collaboration with Advanced Communication Solutions (ACS), adds a special voucher inside hf2 Custom-Fit boxes which allows the customer to visit any of ACS’ 300 approved ear impression outlets for a 15-minute custom fitting. After a “few short weeks,” the customer will receive a pair of custom-made silicone earpieces, designed to maintain Etymotic’s sound signature while providing a more comfortable fit and greater sound isolation. Etymotic’s hf2 Custom-Fit Headset will be available in the U.K. starting April 28; for more information on the Etymotic hf2 Noise-Isolating Headset, see our review. [via Engadget]

Gameloft releases Assassin’s Creed for iPhone, iPod touch

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Gameloft has released Assassin’s Creed - Altaïrs Chronicles, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the Nintendo DS game of the same name and previewed last week, Assassin’s Creed puts players in control of a master assassin named Altair, sent to Jerusalem in the year 1191 AD to steal a chalice in order to end the Crusades. The game offers a mix of stealth, problem solving, and action, and features skill-based mini-games, cinematic cutscenes, the ability to upgrade Altair and his six different weapons, and 3D graphics. Assassin’s Creed - Altair’s Chronicles is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.

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