Scosche has introduced its new tapStick controller case for the third-generation iPod shuffle. Made from high-impact polycarbonate, the tapStick allows users to play, pause, adjust volume, skip tracks and navigate playlists using the shuffle’s VoiceOver feature, all from three integrated buttons on the case’s front. The tapStick connects to the shuffle via the headphone jack, and features a pass-through headphone port, allowing users to use the shuffle 3G with nearly any set of headphones; it also comes with a three-foot audio cable for connecting the unit to most stereo systems. Scosche’s tapStick controller case for the iPod shuffle 3G is available for pre-order now in black or white for $30, and is expected to ship the first week in July.
A pair of new Apple patent filings suggest the company is working on both a method for sharing media files like video, photos, and music while on a call, and a multi-touch control scheme for Click Wheel iPods. Titled “Methods and systems for mixing media with communications,” the first patent describes a scenario in which the user is discussing a piece of media during a phone call, and then hits an “Add Media” button within the Phone application to attach and send the item to the iPhone user on the other end of the call. The filing also makes several references to interactive video conferences, suggesting the feature may be planned for a future iPhone model, as video conferencing is not possible with currently-available versions of the iPhone.
The second filing, titled “Multi-dimensional Scroll Wheel,” describes a Click Wheel-like control apparatus that includes circuitry allowing it to “detect input gestures that traverse the center of the scroll wheel and to detect multi-touch input.” It goes on to suggest possible gestures to be used with the improved controls, such as side-to-side swipes for moving images or album covers across the screen, or a rotating two-finger gesture for zooming in and out of images, depending on the direction of the rotation, as well as the more familiar iPhone pinch-and-zoom gesture. As with all Apple patents, these filings do not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]
Listings for both black and white versions of 16GB and 32GB “V3,” or third-generation, iPhones have appeared in the inventory system of UK-based iPhone retailer Carphone Warehouse. AppleInsider reports that the new listings appeared just hours ago, mixed in with listings for both iPhone 3G and original iPhone models. Many expected Apple to double the maximum capacity of the iPhone 3G to 32GB earlier this year, as it had done with the prior version when it announced the 16GB model in February of 2008; the iPod touch is currently the only iPhone OS device available in 32GB capacities. Apple is widely expected to introduce new iPhone models this coming Monday during its WWDC 2009 Keynote Address, which we will provide live coverage of beginning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
SanDisk CEO Eli Harari has admitted that his company is unlikely to ever surpass Apple in MP3 player market share. In an interview with Fortune, Harari said, “You can’t out-iPod the iPod.” Despite the admission, SanDisk remains the number two MP3 manufacturer, with its Sansa players outselling other well-known rivals such as the Microsoft Zune. Perhaps more importantly, the report notes, the Sansa helped legitimize flash memory as a storage technology for mobile devices, which in turn sparked licensing demand for SanDisk’s patents. Apple’s iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone all use flash-based storage.
Speck has announced that its CandyShell case for the second-generation iPod touch is now available. The hybrid case features a one-piece design with a soft rubber interior and hard outer shell in contrasting colors, protection for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, and open access to all other ports and controls. Available in two colors, Speck’s CandyShell for iPod touch 2G sells for $35; for more information, see our full review.
ESPN has released its new ESPN ScoreCenter application for the iPhone and iPod touch. ScoreCenter offers users up-to-date scoring for more than 500 sports leagues around the world, including MLB, NFL, NBA, Premier League, NASCAR, Golf, Tennis, and more, as well as game details such as stats, leaderboards, box scores, and scoring summaries. ESPN ScoreCenter is available now as a free download from the App Store.
The iPhone is the fifth most popular mobile phone brand globally among teens, the first time Apple’s phone has appeared in the top ten, according to a new survey. The Global Habbo Youth Survey 2009, conducted in April for the online virtual world Habbo Hotel, queried 112,000 teenagers in 30 countries and found that Nokia leads the market, but was down to 21% of responses compared to 29% a year ago, followed by Sony Ericsson, which also slipped, from 21% to 18%. Motorola dropped from third last year to sixth in this year’s rankings; RIM’s BlackBerry also made the top ten for the first time ever.
Belkin has introduced the TuneCast Auto Live, a new in-car FM Transmitter that works in concert with the company’s upcoming ClearScan Live application for iPhone and iPod touch. ClearScan Live allows users to display the current FM frequency and control the transmitter directly from the device. In addition, the app utilizes the iPhone and iPod touch’s location services to determine the best possible station for broadcasting based on the user’s current location, as well as recommendations from other TuneCast Auto users. Other TuneCast Auto Live features include an in-line control module with one-touch ClearScan station locator, a Pro setting for optimizing audio and boosting volume, two programmable preset buttons, and a high-contrast backlit display, compatibility with the iPod classic and iPod nano, and in-car charging for the connected device. Belkin’s TuneCast Auto Live will be available in early fall and will sell for $80; the ClearScan Live application will be available as a free download from the App Store. Continue reading for more images.
Apple is set to kick off its 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference with a Keynote address, and iLounge will be on-site to provide live coverage. The Keynote, featuring Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller and other executives, will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time—10:00 a.m Pacific—and is widely expected to focus on the yet-unreleased iPhone OS 3.0 and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, as well as the introduction of new iPhone hardware. As usual, we will be moving to our special live event-formatted page shortly before the event begins, and look forward to updating you on all the news as it breaks.
Several text strings found in iTunes 8.2 suggest that the iPhone may be receiving the third-generation iPod shuffle’s and fourth-generation iPod nano’s spoken word navigation features as an optional control method, as well as Nike + support. AppleInsider reports that the strings, found inside the iTunes application bundle, include a variety of alerts for Nike + iPhone integration—such as “Do you want to automatically send your workout info to nikeplus.com when you sync your iPhone?”—as well as a single string stating “VoiceOver changes the gestures used to control iPhone. Are you sure you want to continue?,” an addition to VoiceOver strings that the report says have been in the iTunes codebase since version 8.1. A handful of other strings seem to suggest the addition of radio tagging capabilities, although it is unclear whether these would be related to built-in radio functionality, a radio-tagging application, or some other external accessory. The strings appear to be similar to ones used by current docking iPod models for iTunes Tagging of HD Radio broadcasts picked up by external accessories.
Energizer, in partnership with XPAL Power, has introduced two new Energi To Go battery pack/case hybrids for the iPhone 3G. The case-like AP1000 and AP1500 feature an integrated 30-pin connector, side grips, an open face, and a 1000 mAh or 1500 mAh battery, respectively, built-in to the rear of the accessory. Other features include a battery life indicator, USB charging port, and a speaker, microphone, and camera-friendly design. The Energizer Energi To Go AP100 and AP1500 battery packs for iPhone 3G are expected to ship in July; pricing has yet to be announced.
Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 update contains software features that, if enabled, would allow users to recommend apps to other users, according to a new report. Citing a person familiar with the technology, BusinessWeek reports that the software may allow users to “share,” or recommend, software with other users, and may be expanded to allow users to invite others to games even when the recipient does not own the game in question. “Now you can sell copies of your app to two players instead of one,” said former Apple engineer Dave Howell, who now runs file-sharing app developer Avatron Software. Richard Doherty, director at consulting firm Envisioneering Group, suggests that the feature may eventually offer users a commission when others purchase software based on their recommendations. Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock declined the opportunity to discuss possible features with BW, saying, “[w]e’ve made no announcements at this time.”
Signage for next week’s 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference has begun to appear both inside and outside Moscone West in San Francisco, with much of the early decorations focusing on iPhone and iPod touch applications. Adam Jackson has posted a brief Flickr look at the signage, which is still in the process of being installed. Notably, a long, large banner inside the venue is covered with app icons, strewn about in no particular arrangement with the text “One year later. Light-years ahead.” joining the typical WWDC lettering. Smaller window-mounted icons can be seen on the perimeter wall facing the street, and the large Apple logo is mid-way through installation in its usual spot above the main entrance. Apple’s WWDC 2009 event kicks off next Monday with a Keynote Address from senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller and a team of other Apple executives at 10:00 a.m Pacific Time.
Apple has added an iTunes Store promotional graphic and song listing for a third-generation iPod shuffle advertisement that has not appeared. The graphic takes users to an unusually sparse and seemingly unfinished page listing the songs “Happy Up Here” by Röyksopp, “1901” by Phoenix, and “Rich Girls” by The Virgins, all under the heading of “iPod Shuffle Ad Songs,” with the “s” in shuffle atypically capitalized. In addition, the promo graphic, three-track album art, and main page header graphic all use a Voice Over talk bubble-like graphic, populated by art similar to that seen on Röyksopp’s new album Junior. It is unclear whether the songs were planned for use in an upcoming or cancelled set of shuffle advertisements, and whether Apple intentionally or errantly posted the song listing.
Update: iLounge readers report that the songs come from a web banner ad that appeared earlier this week on ESPN.com; however, the ad does not appear to be visible now.
Update x2: Continue reading to see a screenshot of the web-based advertisement, which was found on allmusic. Thanks to our readers for helping to track this down.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows a silver second-generation iPod shuffle looking across the Mueller and Hooker glaciers at Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. 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, along with a number of other large companies, has been sued in a Texas court by a company claiming that the Apple, iTunes, and App Stores violate its e-commerce patents. Actus, LCC filed a 28-page complaint against Apple, Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and others, claiming that they infringe on its patents—Nos. 7,328,189, 7,249,099, 7,376,621 and 7,177,838—which cover an online payment method. The patents describe a system through which customers first set up an account with their payment details, and then add credits to a store account which can be used to purchase goods and services. It is unclear from the suit exactly which features of the Apple’s Stores are being protested; however, the feature most similar to those described in the patents is iTunes Allowances, which allows parents to set up monthly iTunes Store credits which are distributed to other, mostly younger, family members; gift certificates and similar codes may also be impacted. The complaint alleges that Apple is infringing on Actus’ patents by “marketing, distributing, using, selling, or offering to sell the following products and/or services: Apple Store, iTunes, and iPhone Apps Store.” [via AppleInsider]
ThinkFlood has introduced its new RedEye Universal Remote Control peripheral for the iPhone and iPod touch. The RedEye is a small IR transmitter box featuring Wi-Fi and a built-in Dock for charging an iPhone, iPhone 3G, or iPod touch. Users download the RedEye software application—currently in public beta—to their device and connect to the RedEye transmitter box via Wi-Fi. The application then allows the user to control nearly any IR-sensing home entertainment equipment directly from the application, with device-specific screens that only display relevant buttons, as well as macro shortcuts for activities such as “Watch TV” or “Watch a Movie.” ThinkFlood’s RedEye Universal Remote Control solution for the iPhone and iPod touch is available during the beta period for $119; the hardware will increase in price to $149 when the software leaves beta testing this fall.
With over 3,500 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll — “Following Apple’s shift to variable iTunes Store song pricing, where are you now buying your music?” has ended. Readers could choose from online download stores such as iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Wal-Mart Online, and Zune Marketplace, brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon.com for physical CDs, or say they don’t buy music.
Despite the changed prices, the iTunes Store held the top position in our poll, with 40% of readers saying they still purchase their music there. Another 14% said they buy their music from Amazon MP3, and 6% said they purchase physical CDs from Amazon—giving the online retailer a total of 20% of reader purchases—while 8% said they get their music at a brick-and-mortar store, and 3% said they buy their music from another online retailer. Only 2% of readers said they buy their music from eMusic, followed by 1% for Zune Marketplace, and basically none—zero percent and only 15 readers—from Wal-Mart Online. Finally, a full quarter of readers—25%—said they don’t buy music at all. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on iPhone data plans. We’d like to know if you would still keep your iPhone if your carrier raised its monthly data charges or placed a bandwidth cap on use. Would you keep your iPhone no matter what, only if the higher prices included tethering and/or a bandwidth cap of 5-10GB? Or would you give it up in the case of higher prices, bandwidth caps, or both? Or do you not own an iPhone? Our new poll, “Would you give up your iPhone if data charges went up, or you were subjected to bandwidth caps?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the far left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Vote today!
Electronic Arts has released The Sims 3, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Demonstrated during Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 event, The Sims 3 is a life simulation game, in which users take control of their Sim’s life, customizing personality traits and physical characterisitcs, and choosing their destiny by deciding what actions they take, where they go, whether they fufill their goals, and who they interact with. The Sims 3 is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.
Roxy has released its new line of Roxy/JBL co-branded personal audio accessories. The new line includes the Reference 230 Earbud Headphones, Reference 250 In-Ear Headphones with Microphone, and the Reference 430 On Ear Headphones. All three models include a carrying case, a gold-plated 3.5mm mini jack connector, and a one meter cable. Roxy/JBL’s new Reference 230, 250, and 430 Headphones are available now in blue/green or orange/pink, and sell for $20, $40, and $70, respectively.
Apple has released iTunes 8.2, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 8.2 supports “iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update,” and also includes “many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.” In April, Apple began providing registered iPhone developers with a pre-release version of iTunes 8.2, which was required to activate the later beta versions of iPhone OS 3.0. iTunes 8.2 is available now through Apple’s Software Update utility or as a free download from apple.com/itunes.
Monster Cable has quietly rolled out its new iCarPlay Wireless 800 charger and FM transmitter for the iPod and iPhone. Spotted by iLounge in Target stores but unlisted on both the store’s and Monster’s web sites, the iPod- and iPhone-certified 800 features a new control bulb with a display that’s hidden when not in use and a new multi-function knob for choosing stations and presets, as well as AutoScan 3D, an updated version of the company’s AutoScan automatic station finding feature. Monster’s iCarPlay Wireless 800 is available now in Target stores and sells for $80. An additional version, iCarPlay Wireless 1000, appears to be a repackaging of the earlier and more expensive iCarPlay Wireless 250 with updated AutoScan functionality.
The winners of our FastMac TruePower iV Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 20 iLounge readers won a FastMac iV Battery Extender and Charger for iPhone and iPod touch, with ten of each model given out. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our iPWR SuperPack Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for June.