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EA brings Trivial Pursuit to iPhone, iPod touch

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Electronic Arts has released its new Trivial Pursuit game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the popular board game of the same name, Trivial Pursuit features over 3,500 questions, including 2,900 text and 600 picture questions, both Classic and Pursuit game modes, Wi-Fi multiplayer for up to four players and pass-and-play multiplayer support for six, and touch-based controls. Trivial Pursuit is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

Bump is billionth app downloaded, 13-year-old wins prizes

Apple has released details of the winning user in its Billion App Countdown contest. The one billionth app, the contact swapping app Bump from Bump Technologies, was downloaded by Connor Mulcahey, age 13, of Weston, CT, USA. As the grand prize winner of Apple’s one billion app countdown contest, Mulcahey will receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card, a 32GB iPod touch, a Time Capsule and a 17-inch MacBook Pro.

“The revolutionary App Store has been a phenomenal hit with iPhone and iPod touch users around the world, and we’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve the astonishing milestone of one billion apps downloaded,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “In nine months, the App Store has completely revolutionized the mobile industry and this is only the beginning.”

App Store hits one billion downloads

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According to graphics placed on Apple’s home page and Billion App Countdown page, the App Store has officially passed the one billion download mark. The countdown page now reads “Thanks a billion. Over 1 billion downloads in just nine months. Only on the App Store.” In smaller text, the page also advises that the Billion App Countdown promotion has ended, and to please come back to the page “soon” to see who won.

Apple apologizes for approving Baby Shaker

Apple has issued an official apology for allowing the application Baby Shaker onto the App Store. “We sincerely apologize for this mistake,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in a statement, adding that the game was “deeply offensive” and should not have been approved for sale. Appearing yesterday on the App Store, Baby Shaker urged users to stop the crying of a baby pictured on screen by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch, until the crying stops and two red “x” marks appear over the infant’s eyes. Apple removed the app from the Store yesterday afternoon; this is the first time Apple has publicly apologized for the publishing of an offensive application.

Plantronics debuts Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset

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Plantronics has introduced its new Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset. The successor to Plantronics’ well-received Voyager 510 and Voyager 520 headsets, the Voyager Pro features AudioIQ2, the next generation of the company’s AudioIQ digital signal processing (DSP) technology, offering noise and wind cancellation, as well as more natural-sounding inbound audio. Other features include an adjustable dual-microphone boom, dual external stainless steel microphone screens and acoustic fabric covers for the microphone to help reduce wind noise, a custom speaker with adaptive 20-band equalizer, a soft silicone ear tip, power, volume and mute buttons, a lithium polymer battery that provides up to six hours of talk time and five days of stand-by time, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with multipoint technology. Plantronics’ Voyager Pro is available now and sells for $100.

Proporta rolls out Sports Armband for iPod nano 4G

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Proporta has unveiled its new Sports Armband for the fourth-generation iPod nano. Made from elasticated neoprene, the Sports Armband features a built-in protector for nano’s face, including the screen and Click Wheel, an integrated pocket for small items such as a house key, an armadillo print design, and is both washable and water resistant. Proporta’s Sport Armband for iPod nano 4G is available now and sells for $13.

Konami releases Silent Scope for iPhone, iPod touch

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Konami has released Silent Scope, a new version of its sniper game for iPhone and iPod touch. Originally released as a gun-operated arcade game, Silent Scope puts players in the shoes of the world’s top sniper, who must defeat terrorists and rescue the abducted President and the first family. The game offers nine stages, two gameplay modes—arcade and training—three gameplay stages within arcade mode, including story, shooting range, and time attack, multiple difficulty levels, 3D graphics, touch-based controls, and power-ups hidden throughout the game. Silent Scope is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.

iPWR intros SuperPack for iPod and iPhone

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iPWR has introduced its new iPWR SuperPack external battery for the iPod and iPhone. Both “Made for iPod” and “Works With iPhone” certified, the iPWR SuperPack is a dock-connecting battery pack featuring a 1800 mAh lithium-polymer battery, which according to the company provides up to 40 additional hours of music, up to seven hours of additional talk time, 10 hours of additional video, or ten additional hours of Internet access on an iPhone 3G. Other features include a weight of 1.5 oz. mini-USB recharging, and an included top cover which protects the dock connector when not in use. The iPWR SuperPack is available now in white or black and sells for $60.

Aliph unveils Jawbone Prime Bluetooth headset

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Aliph has introduced the Jawbone Prime, the third generation of its noise-canceling headset. The Jawbone Prime features NoiseAssassin 2.0, Aliph’s latest version of its noise elimination technology which offers an improvement of 6 to 8 decibels in noisy environments, an integrated digital approach to wind reduction, a voice activity sensor, and an acoustic voice activity detector which kicks on when the sensor is not touching the user’s face. Other features include a slightly revised outer texture, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with Multipoint functionality, and three new fit earbuds for a more comfortable, stable fit in the user’s ear. Aliph’s Jawbone Prime will be available in black, “coffee,” and platinum, or in an Earcandy Edition in green, pink, yellow, or purple, and will sell for $130. Users can pre-order the Jawbone Prime now from Aliph’s website; it is expected to ship on May 2.

Notes from Apple’s Q2 2009 Conference Call

During the company’s Q2 2009 financial earnings Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments relating to the company’s iPod and iPhone businesses. Oppenheimer opened the call with some opening remarks, during which he revealed that the 11 million units sold marked a new March quarter record for iPod sales, driven by the iPod touch, which saw sales more than double the year-ago quarter. He added that customers and reviewers responded favorably to iPod shuffle 3G, and that Apple is very pleased with its iPod MP3 Player market share, which remains over 70% in the U.S., according to the latest data from NPD.

Oppenheimer also revealed that there are now over 35,000 applications available in the App Store, and that the billionth app download should happen “within hours.” He said the App Store was a key differentiator for the iPhone and iPod touch relative to competing devices, and that it keeps Apple “years ahead of the competition.” iPhone’s global reach expanded during the quarter, as it is now available in 81 countries. As with the early announcement of iPhone OS 2.0, Apple will delay recognition of revenue from all iPhones sold on or after the March 17 iPhone OS 3.0 announcement until after the updated software’s release.

A brief question and answer session followed, continue reading to see more.

Apple Q2 2009: 11m iPods, 3.79 million iPhones sold

Reporting its second quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 11.01 million iPods during the quarter. Despite Apple’s introduction of the third-generation iPod shuffle during the quarter, iPod sales growth was modest compared to the year-ago quarter, with only three percent growth in unit sales. It also sold 3.79 million iPhones in the quarter, down slightly from the 4.363 million sold in the first quarter, but more than double the 1.7 million units sold in the second quarter of 2008.

The company posted revenue of $8.16 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $7.51 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per diluted share in Q2 2008. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 19% over the year-ago quarter and roughly 4% over the first quarter of 2009, to $1.049 billion total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. Revenue from iPhone and Related Products & Services, which includes iPhone handset sales, carrier agreements, and Apple-branded and third-party iPhone accessories, was $1.521 billion, up 22% from Q1 2009 and 302% over the year-ago quarter.

“We are extremely pleased to report the best non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings in our history,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Apple’s financial condition remains very robust, with almost $29 billion in cash and marketable securities on our balance sheet. Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.95 to $1.00.”

Apple sinks lower, approving Baby Shaker, Poop the World apps

Apple continued to lower its standards for acceptable App Store content this week with the approval of two new applications, one designed to simulate violent, life-threatening acts on an infant. The object of Baby Shaker from Sikalosoft is to stop the crying of a baby pictured on screen by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch, until the crying stops and two red “x” marks appear over its eyes. Jennipher Dickens, whose son Christopher was injured by being shaken by his father, told Cnet, “As a mother of a child who was violently shaken at 7 weeks old, causing a severe brain injury, and the founder of a national organization for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention (as well as the communications director for a national organization helping children with brain injuries), I don’t have to tell you how much this horrifies me!!!”

Update: Baby Shaker was removed from the iTunes Store shortly following the publication of this story.

Meanwhile, the scatalogical Poop the World from SWS Digital is designed to let iPhone and iPod touch users share details of their bowel movements, including time, place, consistency, and smell, with other users across the globe. Users are encouraged to select from one of 20 shapes that best approximate their most recent output, then a scent from a long list of possible smells. Details, including location, are then uploaded to SWS’ servers, allowing other users to track the details. Promoted by the developer with toilet paper rolls that feature the App Store logo, the app even offers trophies to users who accomplish set “goals.” Poop the World and Baby Shaker are available now from the App Store and sell for $2 and $1, respectively.

App Mix: Metal Gear, Nationwide, Currencies, 9 Innings

Konami has released the completed version of Metal Gear Solid Touch for the iPhone and iPod touch. Expanding upon the 12 stages included in the “Initial Release” version of the game, the new complete version — listed in the App Store as version 2.0.0 — includes eight additional “Mission” stages, 20 new wallpapers, and language support for French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Metal Gear Solid Touch is available now from the App Store and sells for $8; the complete version is a free update for those who purchased the initial release.

Nationwide Insurance has released its new Nationwide Mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for use by Nationwide customers, the app helps users find local resources and document accidents. The app can help find local authorities and emergency services, as well as local towing services, Nationwide Blue Ribbon Repair Service Facilities and Nationwide agents. In addition, it provides an interface for entering the other driver’s insurance and contact information, and users can also store photos of the accident taken with the iPhone’s camera and automatically record the exact location of the accident using the iPhone’s built-in GPS. Other features include a flashlight function and a tool to help non-customers locate a Nationwide agent. Nationwide Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Edovia has introduced Currencies, its new currency conversion tool for the iPhone and iPod touch. Currencies offers a one-pane interface, with support for over 75 currencies, a customizable rate refresh delay, the ability to refresh exchange rates on the fly by shaking the device, the ability to reorder the currency list to display them in the user’s desired order, and the ability to drag amounts to switch the conversion order. Currencies sells for $1 and is available now.

Com2uS has released 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The baseball simulation game offers users four play modes, including season, tournament, exhibition, and homerun modes, eight different teams and managers to select from, and on-screen controls. In addition, the developer promises to add auto fielding, auto running, a pitching guide, and enhanced artwork and effects in a future update. 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009 is available now from the App Store and is priced at $5.

Apple’s homepage points to end of billion app countdown

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The counter for Apple’s billion app countdown, which currently occupies the front page of Apple.com, has revealed the company’s timing forecasts for the sale of the one-billionth app from the App Store. TechCrunch reported that the image was tied to the time and date on the user’s computer, making it possible to adjust one’s time settings forward in order to see the image Apple will display once the billionth app has been downloaded. This offers users an idea of when Apple estimates it will achieve its goal; it appears, however, that the dependency on the user’s own clock has since been fixed. According to the article, Apple previously had the time pegged at 1:24:06 a.m. PST April 23, but has been adjusting the exact timing based on the rate of app sales, meaning the actual one billionth download may take place slightly before or after the estimated time.

AT&T activates 1.6 million iPhones in Q1

Announcing its first quarter fiscal results, U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T has revealed that it activated more than 1.6 million iPhone 3G units during the period. Of the 1.6 million iPhone 3G activations, over 40 percent were customers who were new to AT&T; the Q1 activation total compares with 1.9 million iPhone 3Gs activated by AT&T during the previous holiday shopping quarter—impressive given the typical post-holiday sales downtick—and brings the total number of U.S. iPhone 3G activations to over 5.9 million. Overall AT&T saw a net gain of 1.2 million total wireless subscribers in Q1, to reach 78.2 million total, and also saw the fifth consecutive quarter with a year-over-year increase in average revenue per subscriber, up 2.1 percent versus the year-earlier quarter to $59.21.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in England

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G overlooking the Needles on the Isle of Wight, England. 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!

App Mix: Chippy, Find the Nuts, SplashPhoto + SplashNotes

  • April 21, 2009

Cramzy has released Chippy, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the Capcom arcade game Pang, Chippy puts players in control of a squirrel, who must shoot down floating balls while collecting bonuses before the timer runs out. The game offers on-screen controls, 18 levels, each with different bonuses and obstacles, in-game music, and a pause/resume feature. Chippy sells for $1 and is available now from the App Store.

Cracked Eggs Productions has released Find The Nuts, a poker training application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Find The Nuts aims to help Texas Hold’em players identify the best hand, or “the nuts” by reading the community cards. The game lets players practice with three, four, or five community cards, using a side-scrolling row of remaining cards at the bottom to build either the best hand, or, for more advanced users, the second- or third-best hand. Find The Nuts: Texas Holdem Trainer is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.

SplashData has announced the release of both SplashPhoto and SplashNotes for the iPhone and iPod touch. SplashPhoto offers users a Photos app alternative, with two-way sync to a free PC or Mac OS X desktop version. It allows users to group photos by album, add titles and notes, move photos between albums directly from the device, upload to/download from both Flickr and Picasa, geotag photos taken from the iPhone, and set a password to prevent unwanted access to the photos. SplashNotes is a notetaking and outlining application that also syncs directly with companion Mac or Windows software. It offers users the ability to create outlines of any size and complexity, attach notes and photos for quick recall, and display lists with checkboxes to turn outlines into task lists. SplashPhoto and SplashNotes are available now and sell for $5 each.

Mix: AT&T speed plans, Sony PSP, Boston Marathon, Instapaper

  • April 21, 2009

Speaking in an interview with Telephony Online, AT&T Mobility vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy said that the company is currently doubling download speeds on its existing HSPA network from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s, then plans a subsequent jump to 21 MB/s by adopting the more advanced HSPA+ standard. McElroy added that the company is also adding HSPA carriers at many cellsites, “on a market-by-market basis.” “We’re adding second and even third carriers according to demand. We’re also in the early phases of an 850-MHz overlay,” he said. [via Engadget]

A former Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Technology Group employee Sebastien Rubens has spoken out against the company’s handling of PSP development, saying the iPhone is currently a better system for developers. After stating that Sony needs to work on third-party developer relations, Rubens said, “[t]he second step is to have a better SDK – iPhone’s is better. You could make things a lot easier to use, and I come from the software engineering side.” Reubens left SCEE to start Anozor, which recently published PSP game No Gravity, a PlayStation Store-only downloadable title. “After that it’s a problem of the market and deciding what it wants, including prices for downloadable games,” he said, “so people know what kind of games to make – in other words, not a GTA [Grand Theft Auto], even if PSP is technically capable of running it, because the economics don’t make it worth it. And in the submission process, [Sony’s] a bit too slow to move.”

Jason Jacobs, developer of the iPhone application RunKeeper, recently ran the Boston Marathon dressed as an iPhone with his application on the screen. RunKeeper lets runners track distances and speeds, and according to the New York Times, it has been downloaded more than 300,000 times from the App Store. A picture of Jacobs wearing his iPhone running suit is available at the above link, while video of Jacobs participating in the event is available on the app’s website. Jacobs finished the race with a time of 4:01:20.

Marco Arment, lead developer of Tumblr and also of Instapaper, has revealed that the latest version of Instapaper has been rejected by Apple over an iPhone-like image in the app. At issue is an icon appearing the in the middle of the app’s lower tool bar, which depicts an iPhone-like device with an up arrow next to it. Arment said Apple’s response cited the following text: “You may not use the Apple Logo or any other Apple-owned graphic symbol, logo, or icon on or in connection with web sites, products, packaging, manuals, promotional/advertising materials, or for any other purpose except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Apple, such as a reseller agreement.” Arment notes that it “seems like a stretch to say that an abstractly drawn icon depicting a device (which resembles many other phones as much as it resembles the iPhone) is trademark infringement,” and says he plans to make a different icon and resubmit the updated application.

Psyclops rolls out Silicone Sleeves for iPod nano 4G

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Psyclops has introduced its new line of Silicone Sleeves for the fourth-generation iPod nano. Available in twelve colors and styles, six of which feature one-eyed characters on the back, each case features open access to all ports and controls, as well as a secret code that unlocks access to a special part of Psyclops’ website, which the company describes as an “interactive age-appropriate multi-platform online music and dance experience.” Psyclops’ Silicone Sleeves for the iPod nano 4G are available now and sell for $20.

More signs of voice control found in iPhone OS 3.0

More evidence pointing to the possibility of a voice control feature in iPhone OS 3.0 has been found in the latest beta version of the software. Citing anonymous sources, Ars Technica reports that a number of references to classes and methods related to the code name “Jibbler” have been discovered in the software, which appear to suggest support for both voice synthesis and voice recognition. References to Jibbler, which appears to be an enhancement to the iPhone’s home page SpringBoard application, include VSSpeechSynthesizer, VSRecognitionSession, SBVoiceControlDisableHandlerActions, SBSensitiveJibblerEnabled, and SBVoiceControlSoundCompletion. Ars adds that SB refers to SpringBoard, and VS likely refers to voice services; the report also suggests that the feature may be activated by the in-line button on the headset, and could be used for voice-controlled dialing, along with iPod nano 4G and iPod shuffle 3G-style audio feedback. Prior screenshots of the upcoming OS update showed a Voice Control menu option in the Settings app.

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