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Orange sells 1 million iPhones in France

Orange, Apple’s wireless partner in France, announced today that it has sold its millionth iPhone in that country. Originally selected to be Apple’s exclusive carrier in France, Orange began selling the iPhone there in November 2007, as one of only a handful of companies participating in the launch of the first-generation device. Orange enjoyed an exclusive arrangement with Apple until December 2008, when France’s competition council ordered Apple to permit the iPhone to be sold by other carriers as well. The sale of 1 million iPhones represents an important milestone for the growing success of the iPhone outside of the North American market.

To celebrate its success, Orange France is offering iPhone plan customers unlimited viewing of the French Open tennis tournament via the Roland-Garros iPhone application. [via CNet].

iPodweek 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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Mix: Yahoo, Apple TV voice command, iPod camera, 16GB iPhone EOL

  • May 22, 2009

Following in the steps of Google’s Mobile app, Yahoo! has now also added its own voice-enabled search program to its iPhone app. Yahoo’s “oneSearch” voice navigation has already been available on Blackberry, Nokia and Windows Mobile phones for some time now. The new Yahoo! app with voice search is available now as a free download from the iTunes App Store.
[via The New York Times]

MacNN reports that Apple may be looking to add voice command technology into a future-generation Apple TV based on a recent patent application titled context-aware unit selection which describes a pointing device associated with a computer dubbed a “Web TV” system. The remote would contain an embedded microphone capable of accepting voice commands.

According to a post from Seth Weintraub at Computerworld, Apple may be making preparations to include a camera in the next-generation iPod touch or similar device.  Digitimes reports that OmniVision has received orders from Apple for both 3.2 and 5 megapixel image sensors. While the 3.2MP sensors are commonly believed to be for the next-generation iPhone, the higher-resolution 5MP sensors are reportedly to be used for “another Apple product expected to be launched later in the year.”  It is unclear whether this future Apple product would be the next-generation iPod touch or some other type of device, such as the oft-rumored “iTablet.”  [via MacDailyNews]

MacTalk Australia reports that Vodafone Australia has apparently sent out an e-mail to its retail staff notifying them that the 16GB iPhone has been marked as “End of Life” by their iPhone supplier, Brightpoint. They go on to note that this announcement applies only to the 16GB model, and not the 8GB model, suggesting that there either may be a surplus stock of 8GB models or that Apple may retain an 8GB model as a “value option.”

Report: Next-generation iPhone specs confirmed?

Suggesting that he has direct knowledge of the features of Apple’s next-generation iPhone, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber claims that recent rumors “are indeed accurate” that the new iPhone will include a magnetometer and improved camera with autofocus capabilities, a higher-resolution image sensor and video recording features. While the device’s video feature will not be spectacular, he suggests, it will be convenient, easy to use, and “one of the major features Apple plans to tout regarding the new model.” He also says that he “believe[s]” reports that the device will sport a 600MHz processor, 1.5 times faster than the prior iPhone models, and expects a doubling of both the device’s storage capacity and RAM for the same $199 and $299 prices as prior models, collectively making the new iPhones faster at loading and switching between apps. Additionally, Gruber notes that the new iPhone’s shell will be so similar to its predecessor’s that earlier cases will remain compatible, with only “subtle” changes.

Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone model at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 8, 2009.

Mix: Tiki+, 32Gb iPhone, Toki Tori, iPod in space

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Skorpiostech, maker of the Cocktails+ app for the iPhone and iPod touch (iLounge rating: B+) has announced the release of Tiki+, a new recipe app for Tiki cocktails and exotic drinks. Tiki+ shares most of the features of Cocktails+, including the ability to search recipes by ingredients, mark favorites, email recipes, and share recipes through Twitter and Facebook. In Tiki+, you can browse recipes by base liquor, type, flavor and other characteristics. Measurements can be displayed in imperial or metric units, and comprehensive ingredient definition and substitution information are provided. Tiki+ costs $4 and is available now from the App Store.

T-Mobile Austria briefly listed an “iPhone 32GB” placeholder in the “Coming Soon” section on its web site. A similar slip at T-Mobile Germany two years ago foretold the availability of the original iPhone on the German carrier. [via Engadget Mobile]

Two Tribes has just released its long-awaited iPhone version of Toki Tori. Originally released for the Game Boy Color in 2001 and later updated for the Wii, Toki Tori is a puzzle platform game where players take on the role of a chick working to free his kidnapped siblings while avoiding various obstacles and enemies. Tiki Tori includes 80 levels and is available from the App Store for $5. [via TouchArcade]

A reader at TUAW notes that a photo from the latest STS-125 space shuttle mission shows Astronauts John Grunsfeld and Andrew Feustel posing for a photo aboard the space shuttle with an iPod clearly visible in the background. On closer inspection, the iPod appears to be a fourth-generation model with what looks to be a Belkin TunePower battery pack.

2010 CES iLounge Pavilion expands to 6x size, adds apps

The Consumer Electronics Association today announced a dramatic expansion to the 2010 International CES iLounge Pavilion, growing the footprint to 25,000 square feet, more than six times the originally allotted space. Originally floored with 4,000 square feet, the Pavilion sold out within days of launch and has expanded twice due to heavy demand, with top third-party developers for Apple’s media players, cell phones and computers already signed on to exhibit. iPod, iPhone, and Mac accessories and software will all be featured in the new Pavilion. Building on the success of Apple’s App Store, CEA also announced the addition of an area dedicated to iPhone and iPod touch applications, including special pre-built mini-booths for smaller application developers.

“The past year has been truly amazing for Apple fans,” explained Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.com, co-sponsor of the iLounge Pavilion, “and the 2010 International CES offers a unique opportunity for leading third-party vendors to show off their latest and greatest iPod, iPhone, and Mac products on a truly world-class stage.” The 2010 International CES is scheduled for January 7-10, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada; parties interested in joining us at the Pavilion should contact Tira Gordon, Sr. Account Executive for CES at [email protected]

Apple rejects book reader Eucalyptus over content

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Apple has rejected yet another iPhone reading application over “explicit content,” despite the fact that the same content is offered in other currently-available apps, as well as online. iPhone developer Jamie Montgomerie has posted a blog entry chronicling his communications with Apple over the rejection of Eucalyptus, his book reader app that taps into Project Gutenberg, a producer of free electronic books that offers more than 28,000 titles. “The exact book (the Kama Sutra) that Apple considers the ability to read ‘objectionable’ is freely available on the iPhone in many ways already,” writes Montgomerie. “You can find it through Safari or the Google app of course, but it is also easily available via other book reading apps. You can get it easily via eReader, though the search process is handled by launching a third-party site in Safari, with the download and viewing taking place in eReader. Stanza offers up multiple versions, some with illustrated covers. Amazon’s Kindle app, the latest version of which was approved by Apple this week, offers multiple versions too - although it does charge from 80¢ to $10 per book - and you again purchase via Safari before Kindle downloads the book.”

He continues, “I am at a loss to explain why Eucalyptus is being treated differently than these applications by Apple. I’m also frankly amazed that they would suggest I should be manually censoring content that is being downloaded from the public Internet - classic, even ancient, books, no less.” He goes on to say that Apple seems unaware of “how genuinely torturous the app store approval process is,” suggesting that Apple should at the least implement a policy of “responding to at least one email after a rejection.” Montgomerie explains that he plans to manually block the book from appearing in the application, in hopes of it finally being accepted.

AT&T confirms cheaper data plan discussions

Following a report from earlier this week claiming that AT&T was considering a limited data access plan for iPhone users which would drop the monthly cost of an iPhone by $10, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega has confirmed that the company is contemplating cheaper data offerings. The executive explained that it would be costly for them to cut the price on unlimited Internet access, but that the company could offer more limited package for a lower fee. “Right now we continue to study what is the best thing that is available, not just from an iPhone point of view, but what you can do to stimulate additional demand,” said de la Vega, adding, “[w]e view Apple as a strategic partner for us, a very good partner to have now and into the future.”

Tapulous releases Dave Matthews Band Revenge

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Tapulous has teamed with Dave Matthews Band for the release of Dave Matthews Band Revenge, the company’s latest artist-specific rhythm game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Dave Matthews Band Revenge features ten songs, including two singles from the band’s upcoming album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, themes, graphics, and effects inspired by the band’s videos and discography, four difficulty levels, each with unlockable boss tracks, a multi-player mode, a DMB news feed, and Facebook Connect. Dave Matthews Band Revenge is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

Mix: Skyhook, Stanford, iPhone robbery, Kindle update

  • May 20, 2009

Skyhook Wireless, provider of the iPhone and iPod touch’s Wi-Fi-based location services, has released a report in which it claims that location-aware apps on BlackBerry’s App World service cost roughly four times as much, on average, as those offered on the App Store or Android Marketplace. The study found that the average price of a location-aware app in BlackBerry App World is $13.60, compared with $3.60 in the App Store and $0.84 in the Android Marketplace. In addition, the App Store had the highest number of location-aware apps—over 2,300—and the highest percentage of paid for location-aware apps, at over 75%. By comparison, 67% of BlackBerry location-aware apps are paid, while 80% of location-aware apps on the Android Marketplace are free. More information is available in the full report (PDF Link).

Stanford University’s iPhone Application Programming CS193P class has become the fastest iTunes U class to hit one million downloads, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I had a feeling this class would be popular but the level of popularity is surprising,” said Troy Brant, one of the graduate student instructors for the course. The course has been offered on iTunes U since April 1, and is only one of roughly 100 courses offered by the university through iTunes U. “This one by far grew more rapidly in public response and interest” than other classes, said Brent Izutsu, manager of Stanford’s iTunes U offerings. “I know (Stanford physicist) Leonard Susskind has several hundred thousand downloads but that was over 12 quarters.”

A pair of men have been arrested in connection with a recent robbery of an AT&T store in Lake Forest, CA. At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, two armed men robbed the AT&T store on El Toro Road, forcing employees to lock the doors and hand over several packages of cellphones and cash, including roughly 70 iPhones. The men were arrested between Saturday evening and Monday morning on suspicion of robbery and kidnapping; Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said none of the iPhones have been recovered, and were likely sent to other countries.

Amazon has released version 1.1 of its Kindle book reading application for iPhone and iPod touch. New in version 1.1 is the ability to read in portrait or landscape mode, to pinch to zoom in on images in books, to select alternate background and text colors to improve low-light readability, and the ability to tap the sides of the screen or flick to turn pages. Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone application is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Telecom NZ in talks with Apple for next-gen iPhone

Recent developments suggest Apple is in negotiations with Telecom New Zealand to offer the iPhone 3G, and possibly the next-generation iPhone. First, a representative from Telecom NZ posted a message from the company’s retail head Alan Gourdie on Twitter, saying the company is “in negotiations with Apple,” adding that it is “very focused on the 3rd gen iPhone.” Several hours later, a National Business Review article also claimed the company was in negotiations with Apple, with a quote Gourdie saying that Telecom was in “discussions - deep discussions - with Apple.” The iPhone 3G is currently available in New Zealand from Vodafone.

Gartner: iPhone smartphone market share doubles in Q1 2009

According to the latest figures by market research firm Gartner, the iPhone saw its share of the smartphone market more than double year-over-year for the first quarter of 2009, as worldwide smartphone sales increased despite an overall decrease in worldwide mobile phone sales. Apple’s share jumped to 10.8% in the quarter, compared with its 5.3% share in the first quarter of 2008. Unit sales grew similarly, from 1.7 million units in Q1 2008 to 3.9 million in Q1 2009. Overall smartphone sales were roughly 36.4 million units, an increase of 12.7% from the 32.3 million units sold in Q1 2008. Apple rival Research In Motion also saw gains, as the Blackberry’s smartphone market share rose from 13.3% in Q1 2008 to 19.9% in Q1 2009.

Jays debuts v-Jays headphones

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Swedish audio accessory maker Jays has introduced its new v-Jays headphones. Featuring 40mm drivers and a weight of 59 grams, v-Jays also offer a frequency response of 25 to 20,000Hz, a gold-plated stereo mini-plug, an open design, and a 24-inch cord with included 27.5-inch extension cord. v-Jays headphones will be available in early June and will sell for £60, or roughly $94.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Bali

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone outside the temple on the island of Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia. 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!

Secret features pose threat to App Store rules

Developers could potentially use hidden features to skirt Apple’s App Store rules, according to a new report. Citing iPhone developer Jelle Prins’ application Lyrics as an example, Wired reports that Apple may not have the ability to thoroughly test iPhone applications for secret features, exposing a potential loophole for developers to slide objectionable content and possibly even malicious code past the company’s watchdogs. Prins’ Lyrics app was originally rejected due to objectionable language in the lyrics of some songs, and was accepted only after Prins added a profanity filter. However, Prins hid the ability to turn the filter off in the app’s About page, letting users access the very content that got the app rejected in the first place.

“It’s almost impossible for Apple to see if there’s an Easter egg because they can’t really see the source code,” Prins said. “In theory a developer could make a simple Easter egg in their app and provide a user with whatever content they want.” Nullriver CEO Adam Dann expressed concern over the potential harm a wave of hidden content could cause, saying, “If people start putting in naked pictures of their ex-girlfriend as an Easter egg to get revenge, or something like that, that isn’t quite right[.] It has the potential to really mess things up for everybody.” iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski pointed out that hidden code could also potentially be used to invade a user’s privacy by secretly accessing the microphone, camera, or Address Book. “It’s not impossible to write code that looks innocent and acts innocent until you throw some kind of switch,” Zdziarski said. “It’s not hard to get that sort of thing past Apple…. It’s the equivalent of a doctor using a magnifying glass to try and find germs.”

Apple warns of static shock from iPod earphones

Apple has posted a new support document warning iPhone and iPod users of possible shock from their earbuds. Titled “Apple Earbuds and static electricity,” the article states that “it’s possible to receive a small and quick electrical (static) shock from your earbuds while listening to iPod or iPhone.” The article goes on to offer a basic description of static electricity, noting that the “condition is not limited to Apple hardware and static can potentially build up on almost any hardware and could be discharged using any brand of earbuds.” Finally, it suggests tips—such as keeping the device out of the wind, not rubbing it against certain materials, using anti-static hand lotion, and using a humidifier to raise the moisture content of the air—for users to try and reduce the build-up of static electricity that can lead to being shocked.

RoamBi converts data to interactive iPhone visuals

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MeLLmo, a mobile business application developer, has announced RoamBi, its new service/application for the iPhone and iPod touch. RoamBi allows users to take static information such as spreadsheets, tables, and reports from popular business applications and automatically convert it into interactive visualizations that can be viewed on the iPhone. RoamBi’s online tool lets users upload Excel spreadsheets, HTML table data, CSV files, Salesforce.com CRM reports, and more, select one of four information views, and publish the information to the RoamBi Visualizer iPhone application in one click. RoamBi’s Visualizer iPhone application is available now as a free download from the App Store; the company’s basic online publisher is also free, with a premium offering planned for later in the year.

Japanese school to give students free iPhones

Aoyama Gakuin University, located in Tokyo, Japan, is providing all staff and students with free iPhone 3G units as part of an attendance tracking system. According to the Mainichi Daily News, the school will leverage the iPhone 3G’s GPS to determine if students are at school or not, with the system scheduled to go live in the fall. In addition, the school plans to expand the use of the iPhone to include simple testing, questionnaires, homework submission, and educational video review. Aoyama Gakuin plans to pay all basic charges for the phones itself, and recently entered into a partnership with Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank on “Mobile & Net Society Education and Training.” [via MDN]

Mix: Steampunk mini, touch robot, Pre launch, Deer Hunter 3D

  • May 18, 2009

Canadian illustrator Neal Bridgens has created a steampunk case for his iPod mini. The unique case was made by hand from copper and brass, and features a hinged top for taking the iPod in and out of the case, oak front and back panels, and openings for the Click Wheel, screen, headphone jack, and Dock Connector. [via Cult of Mac]

A Japanese robotics enthusiast has created a humanoid robot with an iPod touch that acts as the robot’s face, brain, interface, and sensors. The iPod touch is connected to “Robochan” via the 30-pin connector, and is controlled using a custom application. [via TUAW]

Palm is expected to start selling its new Palm Pre smartphone the first week in June, placing the device’s launch extremely close to the beginning of Apple’s WWDC conference. Announced in January, the Pre offers many iPhone OS-like features, a 3.1-inch 480x320 touchscreen with dedicated gesture area below, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and will be exclusive to Sprint at launch. Palm hired former Apple senior vice president Jon Rubenstein to develop its next-generation software and hardware in October 2007, with the Pre likely representing the first evidence of these efforts. Update: Palm has announced that the Pre will go on sale June 6 and will sell for $200 with a two-year contract after mail-in rebate.

Glu Mobile has released its Deer Hunter 3D game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on Atari’s Deer Hunter franchise, the hunting simulation game features two play modes, unlockable weapons, accessories, and skills, seven types of realistic animals, a virtual trophy room, and 27 different locations with changing seasons and weather conditions. Deer Hunter 3D is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.

Apple asks devs to help test Push Notifications

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Apple has sent an email to registered iPhone developers, asking them to download a pre-release application in order to run a high-volume test of the company’s Push Notification servers. The email provides developers with a redemption code good for the download of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0, with instructions to notify the company if the app does not begin receiving notifications within 48 hours. The email also notes that the application can only be installed on devices running iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5, and that the functionality of the application will expire in seven days.

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