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Pragmatic Studio announces iPhone Development course

The Pragmatic Studio has announced a new 4-day iPhone Development Studio training course, to be held in Reston, VA on August 4-7. In the workshop, developers will learn how to build full-featured iPhone applications from experienced iPhone developers and authors Bill Dudney and Daniel Steinberg. According to Pragmatic, the studio is best suited to experienced developers who have a programming background in C or an object-oriented language and are new to iPhone and Mac development. Registration for the iPhone Development Studio includes a continental breakfast and full lunch each day, a binder with all printed material, Internet connectivity and power during the Studio, a full catalog of example source code for later reference, discounts on books, screencasts, and future training, and more. Alumni of Pragmatic’s courses can register for $1,595; for others the price is $1,895 through June 15, and $2,195 from June 16 on.

iTunes price hikes lead to lower unit sales, revenues

Three weeks after the introduction of variable pricing on the iTunes Store, labels are seeing lower unit sales for both $.99 and $1.29 songs. Citing sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, Billboard reports that out of the Top 100 tracks, the 67 that remained at $.99 sold a total of 29% fewer units than they did the week before the price increase, resulting in a 29% drop in revenue, while the 33 songs that were raised to $1.29 saw an aggregate drop of 34.5% in unit sales, for a 14.7% decline in revenue. Billboard suggests that while the $1.29 tracks generated $43,000 in “extra revenue” than they might have if they sold the same number of units at $.99, Digital Music News has cited numerous sources, including executives within the major labels, as saying that overall revenues are moving downward, as unit sales are dipping far enough to produce aggregated revenue declines. [via MDN]

Amazon intros 9.7-inch Kindle DX for eBooks, newspapers

Amazon has announced its third Kindle product, the Kindle DX. Designed to handle larger, more complex documents than the company’s recently released Kindle 2, which has been compared with the smaller iPhone, the Kindle DX features a 9.7-inch, 1200 x 824 E-Ink electronic paper display that can display newspaper and magazine pages at closer to full size. Kindle DX adds automatic screen rotation to landscape orientation, a built-in PDF reader—prior Kindle models could only read PDF-formatted documents after they had been converted into a Kindle-friendly format—4GB of internal storage, and a battery that supports four days of use with wireless on, or 20 days of use with wireless off. Like the Kindle 2, it also sports built-in EVDO Whispernet wireless downloading that is included for free for the life of the device, stereo speakers, a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in dictionary, and more. Amazon’s Kindle DX is available for pre-order now for $489 and will be released this summer.

AT&T launches myWireless Mobile for iPhone

AT&T has launched its new myWireless Mobile application for the iPhone. AT&T myWireless Mobile enables U.S.-based iPhone users to view and pay their bills, view voice minutes and data usage, and add or remove features from their account. The app requires the user to have an active AT&T Mobility account that is registered for online account management and does not support Premier business or prepaid accounts; users can sign up at att.com/mywireless. AT&T myWireless Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in Kosovo

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G outside a church in the town of Mitrovica in North Kosovo. 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!

EA releases Need For Speed Undercover for iPhone, iPod touch

After several delays, Electronic Arts has introduced its Need For Speed Undercover game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Originally planned for a 2008 release, then pushed to March 2009, and finally to May, Need For Speed Undercover is a racing game offering 3D graphics, customizable vehicles, and an in-game sound track featuring well-known artists, as well as the option to listen to music from the iPod app. Features include 20 different cars like the Porsche Carrera GT, Nissan 370Z, Lamborghini Gallardo, and more, 24 secret missions, eight game modes, including Highway Battle, Sprint, and Cop Takeout, the ability to earn performance upgrades, and an in-game handler played by Maggie Q. Need For Speed Undercover is available now from the App Store and is priced at $10.

App Mix: Top Gun, Caster, Michelin, inTouch

Paramount Digital Entertainment has released its new Top Gun game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Freeverse, Top Gun places players in the shoes of a new recruit, who is being trained by Maverick and Iceman at the Top Gun Academy. The game offers users a choice between the F-22 Raptor or a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, and features ten missions set in a variety of environments, medal and achievements, “Danger Zones” to avoid, customizable handles, unlockable content and easter eggs, target-locking missiles and Vulcan cannons as weapons, and more. Top Gun is available now and sells for $2.

Elecorn has released Caster, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Caster is a third-person shooter, in which players must use six unique attacks to destroy enemy Flanx and heal an infected land to bring trees back to life. Features include a soundtrack by Trance Emerson, 15 different landscapes, three difficulty levels, and more. Caster sells for $5.

Michelin has introduced its new Michelin Guide Restaurants for New York City and San Francisco in the U.S., as well as guides for Germany, Spain + Portugal, Italy, and the U.K. in Europe. These iPhone and iPod touch applications offer users listings of all the restaurants selected by the Michelin guide, including both starred eateries and Bib Gourmand locations that represent a good value. Each listing includes the restaurant’s address, phone number, opening hours, awards and Michelin guide comments; users can find nearby restaurants and call for reservations, and can share their opinions of eateries they visit. A search by name feature, however, appears to be absent. The Michelin Guide Restaurants apps for the U.S. and Europe are sold individually and are priced between $7 and $10 each.

Inversity has debuted inTouch Address Book, its new application for the iPhone. InTouch Address Book is designed to automatically keep track of what time zone users are in relative to their contacts, displaying a red (unavailable), yellow (about to be unavailable), and green (available) markers next to each contact to indicate whether it’s appropriate to call at that time. Users can also manually set contacts’ time zones, and can also enter a schedule for each to ensure that they don’t call during work hours. InTouch Address Book is available now and sells for $3.

Apple replacing water-damaged iPhone, 3G for $199

Apple has instituted a new policy under which iPhone owners who have accidentally caused water damage to their handsets—an issue not covered under Apple’s warranty—can buy a refurbished replacement unit for $199. ifo Apple Store reports that the new policy allows these users to replace their iPhones without the need to pay AT&T’s upgrade-ineligible pricing or add another two years to their contract. A commenter on the story indicates that the $199 price is good for replacements of both 8GB and 16GB units, and that it applies to the original iPhone as well as the iPhone 3G. The iPhone features four liquid submersion indicators—one in the headset jack, one in the dock connector, and two on the phone’s interior—which enable Genius Bar workers or other Apple technicians to determine whether an iPhone problem could have been caused by water damage.

FTC investigates Apple, Google ties

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the close ties between Apple and Google’s boards amount to a violation of antitrust laws. Citing multiple people briefed on the inquiry, who asked to remain anonymous, the New York Times reports that the companies’ sharing of two directors—Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech—may violate the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it could reduce competition between them.The article notes that while the companies have worked together to bring services such as Gmail and Google Maps to the iPhone, they have been increasingly been in competition, with products such as the iPhone and the Android OS, and with Safari and Google’s Chrome browser. Under the Clayton Act, sharing directors is not considered a problem if the revenue from products in which the companies compete is less than 2 percent of either company’s sales.

Filemaker releases Bento for iPhone and iPod touch

Filemaker, Inc., a subsidiary of Apple, today released Bento for the iPhone and iPod touch. Bento is a personal database application that lets users keep track of a wide variety of business-related, and personal data, including issue tracking, expenses, and inventory for business, projects, home inventory, diet log, to dos, recipes, and vehicle maintenance for personal data. Other features include a blank template for creating other data types, wireless syncing to Bento for Mac software, the ability to group records into playlist-like collections, and the ability to tap to call a contact, open a web site, send an email, or display a map. Bento for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now from the App Store and sells for $5; the Mac version, which is not required to use the App, sells for $50.

iPhone tops J.D. Power’s smartphone ratings, battery knocked

Apple is the world’s top-ranking smartphone manufacturer when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to the results of J.D. Power’s 2009 Wireless Consumer Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study. Apple ranked highest among smartphone manufacturers with a score of 791 out of 1000, performing strongly in the categories of ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design. By comparison, it struggled only but very substantially in the battery category, where it rated below average. LG and Samsung follow Apple in the rankings, with scores of 772 and 759, respectively. Interestingly, the study also found that 40 percent of smartphone users report dropping their landlines in favor of their mobile, compared with just 28 percent of traditional handset owners who had done the same. Overall, smartphone users reported sending and receiving an average of 17 emails per day on their devices, and 82 percent said they regularly use their device’s personal information management capabilities — such as address books and to-do lists — to stay better organized.

Apple rejects newspaper-reading app over content

Apple has rejected Makayama’s iPhone application Newspaper(s) due to objectionable content. Newspaper is an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that will let users to read 50 national and international newspapers, including the New York Times, Frankfurter Algemeine and El Pais. The application was rejected due to content found in the Page 3 section of UK-based tabloid The Sun, which contains images of topless women. In the rejection message, Apple noted that Parental Controls have been announced for iPhone Os 3.0, adding that it “would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available.” Makayama has since removed The Sun from the application’s database of papers and resubmitted the application; Newspaper(s) is now available for $1.

Cyan Worlds brings Myst to iPhone, iPod touch

Cyan Worlds has released its classic puzzle adventure game Myst for the iPhone and iPod touch. Once the best-selling PC game of all time, Myst places players in the shoes of a character named the Stranger, who uses a special book to travel to the mysterious island of Myst. Players then explore the island from a first-person perspective, solving interrelated puzzles to complete their journey. The iPhone version includes all the areas, or “Ages,” from the original, along with artwork that surpasses the original in quality, full music and sound effects, an auto-save feature, a bookmark system to save and restore progress, touch-based controls, and original movies and animations. Myst is available now from the App Store for $6, and is a 727MB download.

NPD: Blackberry Curve outsells iPhone 3G in Q1

According to data from the NPD Group’s latest Smartphone Market Update report, the BlackBerry Curve unseated the iPhone 3G as the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. in Q1 2009. The iPhone 3G came in second, followed by the BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Pearl, and the T-Mobile G1. NPD attributes the jump in BlackBerry sales to Verizon Wireless’ “buy-one-get-one” promotion. BlackBerry maker RIM’s consumer smartphone market share increased 15 percent to nearly 50 percent of the smartphone market in Q1 2009 versus the prior quarter, while both Apple and Palm saw their share decline by about 10 percent. Overall, smartphones made up 23 percent of all U.S. handset sales in the quarter, compared to 17 percent in Q1 2008.

“Verizon Wireless’s aggressive marketing of the BlackBerry Storm and its buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion to its large customer base contributed to RIM capturing three of the top five positions,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “The more familiar, and less expensive, Curve benefited from these giveaways and was able to leapfrog the iPhone, due to its broader availability on the four major U.S. national carriers.”

Apple rejects update to NIN app, Reznor responds

After allowing the original and two subsequent updates through, Apple has rejected the latest version of Nine Inch Nails’ iPhone app, citing objectionable content. In a posting to the band’s forums, founder and sole official member Trent Reznor posted Apple’s notification email, which claims that the objectionable content was found in “The Downward Spiral.” Reznor notes that the album of the same name is not available anywhere in the app, meaning Apple must be referring to a podcast that can be streamed to the app. Reznor’s response continues below.

“Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem - as in, what do you want us to change to get past your stupid $#*!& standards?  And while we’re at it, I’ll voice the same issue I had with Wal-Mart years ago, which is a matter of consistency and hypocrisy. Wal-Mart went on a rampage years ago insisting all music they carry be censored of all profanity and “clean” versions be made for them to carry. Bands (including Nirvana) tripped over themselves editing out words, changing album art, etc to meet Wal-Mart’s standards of decency - because Wal-Mart sells a lot of records. NIN refused, and you’ll notice a pretty empty NIN section at any Wal-Mart. My reasoning was this: I can understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any “indecent” material for sale - but you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film “Scarface” completely uncensored, or buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense?”

Winners of Just Mobile Xtand Giveaway announced

The winners of our Just Mobile Xtand Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 20 iLounge readers won Just Mobile Xtands for the iPhone or iPod touch, with ten of each given out. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our FastMac TruePower iV Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for May.

App Mix: Quicken, Land of the Lost, Dark Raider, Team Up

Intuit has released its Quicken Online Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The application gives users access to their Quicken Online accounts directly from their iPhones or iPod touches, letting them see bank, credit card, loan, and other accounts all in one place, utilize a Paycheck Forecaster to plan for future purchases, monitor budget goals, find nearby ATMs, and more. Quicken Online Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Universal Pictures has released Land of the Lost: Crystal Adventure, a new game promoting the release of this summer’s Land of the Lost movie starring Will Ferrell. The puzzle-based game features 25 different levels, in which players must navigate a mix of obstacles in order to reach a large crystal, collecting small crystals along the way to increase their scores. Other features include an undo button, a local scoreboard, and photos, trailers, and sound bytes from the film. Land of the Lost: Crystal Adventure is available as a free download from the App Store.

Egerter Software has unveiled Dark Raider, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The top-down style game has players explore castles, tombs, pyramids, arenas, mazes, and forests, with 64 progressively more difficult levels spread across eight unique settings. Other features include a mix of environmental puzzles and combat, a variety of weapons, a choice between on-screen or accelerometer-based controls, 360-degree movement and aiming, three difficulty levels, 8-10 hours of gameplay, and a 10 song soundtrack. Dark Raider is available now and is priced at $8.

PokitLint has introduced Team Up, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Team Up is designed to easily divide groups of people into two teams. Users enter the number of people playing, tap a begin button, and then have each player tap the screen to receive their team assignment. Team Up is available now and sells for $1.

iLounge announces FastMac TruePower iV Giveaway

iLounge is pleased to announce the FastMac TruePower iV Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for May, ten lucky iLounge readers will receive a FastMac iV Battery Extender and Charger for the iPhone or iPod touch. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on May 31, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

iPhone exclusivity poll ends, DVR vs. iTunes poll begins

With nearly 2,900 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Should Apple abandon iPhone carrier exclusivity in your country?” has ended. Readers could say “yes” in two different ways, one indicating that they would like to use the iPhone on a competing GSM carrier, and the other saying they would like to use it on a competing non-GSM carrier. They could also say no, indicating that they felt Apple’s choice of carrier(s) was fine. Other responses were available for readers who live in a country where the iPhone isn’t exclusive, or where the iPhone isn’t available, and for those who aren’t interested in the iPhone no matter which carrier offers it.

Of all responding readers, a plurality of 45% said they thought Apple should abandon carrier exclusivity in their country so they could use the phone on a competing GSM carrier, while another 19% said that Apple should abandon exclusivity, but their preferred carrier is non-GSM and would require Apple to make a different version of the iPhone. Meanwhile, 24% of responding readers said they were fine with Apple’s choice of carrier, while 5% said the iPhone wasn’t exclusive in their country, another 5% said they weren’t interested in the iPhone regardless of which carrier offers it, and, finally, only 1% said the iPhone wasn’t available in their country at all. Thanks for all your responses!

Our new poll focuses on the choice between the iTunes Store and DVR-based TV show recordings. We’d like to know: would you rather buy your shows from the iTunes Store, or would you rather transfer them from a DVR? Or would you like to purchase your shows from iTunes, but can’t wait until the next day for the content to appear, or do you not watch TV or are otherwise uninterested in adding TV content to your library? Our new poll, “Would you rather buy TV shows from the iTunes Store or record them on an iPod/iPhone-friendly DVR?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Vote today!

Mix: Peggle, Ice iPod, nano GPS, Wembley

  • May 1, 2009

PopCap has revealed that its long-awaited iPhone version of Peggle will be released on May 12. Joystiq reports that the game has yet to be priced, but suggests the game may come in at $5-$6.

An iPod discovered in a block of ice has apparently survived its time in the cold. Blogger Andrew Robulack of Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada recently found an iPod classic emerging from some freshly melting ice, and estimates the hard disk-based device had been in the ice since early winter. He claims it booted up right away, and apart from a few scratches, nicks, and condensation underneath the screen cover, is in perfect working order. Robulack is giving the iPod’s owner a week to contact him, after which he plans to keep the device for himself.

A former employee of the now-defunct GPS company Nemerix has posted details on how a first-generation iPod nano could be rigged to display information from one of the company’s low-power GPS chips. The mod consists of a reference design board containing a Nemerix GPS with an Atmel ATMEGA324 micro-controller, and uses the iPod’s AiR mode, which allowed developers to send a 4-color picture to the iPod and display it on the screen. The end result was able to display both latitude and longitude coordinates, along with satellite signal strength indicators. Notably, however, Apple shut off accessory access to the screens of later iPod nano and classic models, making an accessory like this all but impossible. [via Engadget]

British singer-songwriter Gary Go has announced that he will be perform upcoming events at Wembley Stadium using nothing but his iPhone. Go, who will be supporting Take That at the events scheduled for July 1, 4, and 5, also used a four-track recording studio app to create all the demos for his album. “At this point it’s quite hard to think of something I don’t use the phone for,” said Go. “For songwriters it’s an amazing tool as I always have it with me. I used to phone myself and leave messages to remember ideas. Now I can record real tracks in the park - it’s great… I think it’s pretty amazing that I’m going to be using a mobile phone on stage at Wembley Stadium in front of so many people. I grew up behind the stadium, and used to listen to concerts in my back garden,” he added. “My biggest worry is that my phone will ring mid-song.”

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