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Apple begins shipping iPhone 3GS pre-orders

Apple is now shipping pre-ordered iPhone 3GS units to customers for delivery on Friday. iLounge reader Kevin Hanson has posted screenshots of his Apple Store shipment notification for a 32GB white iPhone 3GS, and similar notifications are currently hitting other customers’ accounts. While Kevin did not comment on tracking details, a separate report from AppleInsider indicates that the units are shipping out of Shenzhen, China, home to many of the country’s large manufacturers, including Foxconn Electronics. Both Apple and AT&T have promised customers placing online pre-orders that their new handsets would arrive on Friday, the same day the iPhone 3GS goes on sale in Apple and AT&T retail locations.

AT&T sells out of launch day iPhone 3GS pre-orders

AT&T has completely sold through its launch day supply of pre-order iPhone 3GS units, according to a new report. Citing an internal AT&T memo, Boy Genius Report claims that only pre-orders placed prior to Saturday, June 13 are expected to arrive at stores in time for a Friday morning pick-up, while customers placing pre-orders after that time should be told their order will arrive between 7-14 days from the order date. It is currently unclear whether this will have any affect on online pre-orders, or standby stock for customers who chose not to pre-order. AT&T will open its stores at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning to allow pre-order customers to come in and receive their iPhone 3GS before the stores open for general sales at 8:00.

Belkin rolls out new cases for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Belkin has announced its new line of cases for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Its new Grip Cases are made from silicone and feature form-fitting construction and different textured designs. The Grip lineup includes the Ergo ($30), which features contoured ridges for added grip and comfort, the Two-Toned Vector ($30), and the Vector Duo ($20). Also new are the company’s BodyGuard cases, which are made using a combination of polycarbonate and rubber materials, and offer a slim profile and full access to all ports and controls. The lineup includes the Hue ($25), which features a two-piece snap-together design to create two shades of color, the Halo ($30), which features a colored rubber track for added grip, and the Cush ($30), featuring interior rubber lining for added scuff protection. In addition, Belkin has introduced the Micra Flex ($25), a slim, form-fitting polycarbonate and rubber case featuring a flexible design for easier removal, a easy-to-grip exterior surface, and full access to all ports and controls, as well as the Leather Sleeve with Pull Tab ($30), which features a cutout window for viewing the time and caller ID information, as well as several other revised leather offerings. All of Belkin’s new cases for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are available now, except for the BodyGuard cases, which are expected to launch in mid-July.

BBC: Apple threatened to sour relations over report

Concluding a report on Apple in the BBC technology program Click, which featured an extended segment on Apple’s control over its employees, developers, and the media, presenter Spencer Kelly said that Apple was invited to participate in the program, but declined and threatened to sour relations with the program if it ran the segment. Click included two Apple-related segments in its 30-minute episode, one focused on announcements from the 2009 WWDC in San Francisco, and the next on various aspects of the company’s development and marketing strategies. In the latter portion, Click aired interviews that suggested that Apple communicates with members of the press solely for marketing purposes, and cuts access when coverage hasn’t been positive enough.

According to Kelly, “we did invite Apple to participate in that report, but they said they don’t comment on their internal operations, and that our piece was ‘speculative’ because it didn’t feature anyone from Apple. We’ll leave you to work that one out. They also added that running that report could ‘sour’ our relationship with them. We’re not quite sure what that means, but I’m sure that we, and you, will find out in due course.” A text article summarizing the piece is available online, but it should be noted that the spirit of the segment that aired on television is not fully captured in the print version.

AT&T: No extra cost for iPhone MMS messaging

AT&T will not charge iPhone users with text messaging plans anything extra for MMS messages, according to a FAQ list (PDF Link) posted online. Support for MMS messaging will be included in iPhone OS 3.0, which is launching this Wednesday, June 17. Unfortunately, AT&T will not have its network ready to provide MMS service to iPhone users on that date, and has only said that the feature would be activated “later this summer.” In addition, the company has also committed to providing tethering support for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, although it will only say the feature is coming “in the future.”

Enter the iPWR SuperPack Giveaway today

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If you haven’t yet entered our iPWR SuperPack Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for June, 20 lucky iLounge readers will receive an iPWR SuperPack Rechargeable External Battery for the iPhone or iPod touch. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on June 30, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Our weekly iPodweek newsletter is coming later today

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iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in iPod, iPhone, iTunes and Apple TV news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out 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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Crisis expert: AT&T has 48 hours to respond to iPhone complaints

Following four days of complaints from current iPhone users who are being quoted prices of $399 and up to upgrade their current handsets to the iPhone 3GS, a crisis communications expert has suggested that AT&T has roughly 24-48 hours to respond to the criticism. “It’s time for AT&T to step forward and be an industry leader,” said Dallas Lawrence, vice president of digital media at New York-based Levick Strategic Communications, in an interview with Computerworld. “The next 48 hours will be very telling. AT&T needs to embrace the message, to acknowledge a mistake’s been made, and to make things good.” The online complaints have culminated in a Twitter petition—now with more than 8,000 supporters—calling for AT&T to offer iPhone 3GS upgrades to all iPhone customers for the same $199 and $299 pricing it offers to new customers. The number of names attached to the petition has nearly doubled in the last 24 hours.

“AT&T has the opportunity to turn a potential negative into a positive,” said Lawrence, adding “[t]hey should forget the immediate gratification [of higher revenue] and invest in the longer term to keep iPhone users.” Lawrence went on to say that this vocal group of users will only get more agitated the longer it takes the U.S. iPhone carrier to respond, and that if the company were his client, he would tell them to immediately apologize and guarantee the cheapest upgrade pricing for all iPhone users. “And they should say they will do that for every iPhone that Apple launches, because they want the iPhone users to be part of the AT&T family for life,” Lawrence added. “That would be the type of statement that would be leading—outside the industry norm—and would let iPhone users know they can make a commitment to AT&T because AT&T has made a commitment to them.”

Griffin debuts new cases for iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 2G

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Griffin Technology has introduced several new cases for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and second-generation iPod touch. Griffin claims its new Reveal case for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPod touch 2G is its thinnest case yet, adding just over a millimeter to the thickness of the device. Made from low-profile polycarbonate, it features a one-piece design, slim rubber accents for added cushioning, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector. It sells for $25. The Elan Form with Sky Blue trim for the iPhone 3G and 3GS is a two-piece, form-fitting hard case featuring Griffin’s EasyDock slide-off bottom, top-grain leather covering its polycarbonate frame, and an included screen protector. It is priced at $30.

The Elan Passport Metal for the iPod touch 2G also features a folio-style design, with a horizontally-opening flap, leather construction with microsuede lining, metal accents, and an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. It sells for $35. Finally, the FlexGrip for the iPod touch 2G is made from two-tone silicone, and offers a textured back for added grip, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector. It sells for $20; all of Griffin’s new cases for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 2G are available now.

Agent18 intros new cases for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Agent18 has announced its new lineup of cases for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The SlimShield is a back-only case featuring chrome accents, a ten-layer hardcoat spray for added protection, openings for all ports and controls, and an included screen film and table stand. It will sell for $35. The ShockShield is a full body rubbery case featuring open access to all ports and controls, side ribs for added grip and shock protection, and an included screen protector and table stand. It will come in seven different colors and sell for $20. The FlowerVest Refresh is an update to the company’s prior floral FlowerVest design, with brighter colors and a larger rear floral design. Made from silicone, is offers a wrap around relief design, full access to all ports and controls, and included screen film and table stand. It will come in blue/white and white/pink, and will sell for $30.

The EcoShield Slider is a two-piece case made from post-consumer plastic bottles that features a removable bottom for easier docking, a secure locking mechanism, interior silicone pads to prevent scratching, outer side grips for easier handling, and an included screen film and table stand. It will come in black, blue, and white, and will sell for $35. Finally, Agent 18 is offering two Seasons Limited Edition Cases, one with a cloud design, the other with a mixtape design. Both back-only hard cases feature full access to all ports and controls, a printed design on the rear, a thin profile, and included screen film and table stand. They will sell for $30 each. All of Agent18’s new cases for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are available for pre-order now; the company is currently offering pre-order customers a 50% discount off the regular prices, which are listed above.

U.K. DJs use iTunes, credit card scam to boost sales

A group of U.K.-based DJs has been arrested for using iTunes and stolen or fraudulent credit cards to boost their chart rankings and steal royalty fees. Metro.co.uk reports that the nine musicians are accused of providing 19 songs to US-based distributor Tunecore, which uploaded the songs to iTunes and Amazon for sale. Once online, the DJs then opened accounts with stolen or cloned U.S. and U.K. credit cards to purchase their albums, with Apple and Amazon paying out roughly $300,000 in royalties over the next few months. In addition, the added sales boosted the chart rankings of the songs, resulting in even more sales and increased royalties for the DJs. In December, Apple began to receive “stop payment” orders from the credit card companies, who warned that the cards were fraudulent. After Apple contacted police in New York, the accounts were traced to the U.K., and the perpetrators arrested with the help of the Metropolitan Police. The men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

Apple patent points to enhanced emergency calls

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A newly-disclosed Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a system to enhance emergency calls on the iPhone. Titled “Method and system for prolonging emergency calls,” the patent describes a system for determining when a call is an emergency call, either by automatically classifying numbers as emergency services—such as 911—or via an emergency tagging system in the contacts application. When an emergency call is detected, the phone could then implement a number of different tactics to help facilitate the call, including but not limited to deactivating Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or various sensors, implementing a confirmation alert before the call can be ended, and providing options for “emergency phrase buttons,” which would allow the user to simply touch the screen to send his/her current location, an “unable to speak” message, phrases describing the user’s problem, or an automated request to contact a certain contact, all via pre-recorded audio messages. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. Continue reading for more images from the patent application. [via MacRumors]

Id Software reveals Doom Resurrection for iPhone, iPod touch

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Id Software co-founder John Carmack has revealed Doom Resurrection, the company’s first original game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In an interview with VentureBeat, Carmack said the plot of the game is similar to that of Doom 3, but takes place in a different place than the main Doom 3 storyline. In addition, Carmack was pleasantly surprised that the development team from Escalation Studios—which Carmack led—didn’t have to didn’t have to completely redo the PC game art for the iPhone, but instead downsampled it to fit the iPhone’s screen. The game has eight full levels, good for around five hours of gameplay, and Carmack said the game may use various iPhone software 3.0 features once they are released, including peer-to-peer cooperative multiplayer. “I love the iPhone,” Carmack said. “It’s a real game platform, not a tiny little toy.” He added, “If you look at it in raw hardware horsepower, the iPhone should be better in performance than the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable[.] But the truth is, you can’t exploit it all because of software inefficiencies.” He went on to say that he is meeting with Apple to discuss how to improve the iPhone as a gaming platform, and while he is excited about the faster iPhone 3G S, he remains focused on making sure his games run on the widest number of iPhone OS devices. Doom Resurrection is expected to hit the App Store next week; pricing has yet to be announced.

Apple, AT&T release iPhone 3GS launch day details

Both Apple and AT&T have outlined their plans for June 19, when the iPhone 3GS goes on sale. Apple will open its retail stores worldwide at 8 a.m. local time to begin sales of the phone and to allow those who pre-ordered to come in and pick their units up, while AT&T plans to have two queues outside its stores—one for those who pre-ordered, and one for those planning to purchase their unit that day. The pre-order customers will be allowed inside the stores at 7 a.m. to pick up their device, while the regular customers will need to wait until 8 a.m. Although both Best Buy and Walmart offer the iPhone 3G in their stores, it is currently unclear whether they will also carry the iPhone 3GS, or whether they will have units available on launch day. iLounge has contacted both companies for clarification and will update this story when we hear back.

In addition, AT&T has posted a video explaining its launch day plans; continue reading to watch.

Mix: iPhone Stencil, Stephenson, Hyperwall, Navigon

  • June 10, 2009

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Design Commission is now offering an iPhone Stencil Kit (pictured) for developers to quickly mock-up application interfaces. The kit includes a precision cut stainless steel stencil featuring commonly-used UI elements, a Zebra mechanical pencil, and a downloadable PDF-format, letter-sized paper template for use with the stencil. The iPhone Stencil Kit is available now and sells for $17.

During an interview at the D7 conference, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made several comments related to the iPhone, wireless networks, and future plans. Stephenson said that the move to 7.2mbps HSPA would not have a negative impact on its network as data demands grow, saying, “it’s all network management….We’ll have a whole new capacity.” He also said that when both AT&T and Verizon are operating LTE networks, consumers should be able to take their handsets with them from one carrier to the other, and that the company remains happy with its iPhone arrangement with Apple, saying the company has “no complaints.” A full video of the interview is available online.

Apple had an interesting art-like installation called the “Hyperwall” on display at its 2009 WWDC conference. Built using 20 Mac Pro towers running Snow Leopard, programmed in Quartz Composer using new OpenCL APIs and shown on 20 synchronized 30-inch Apple Cinema Displays, the wall showed the activity of the 20,000 most popular apps on the App Store, arranged by color, animating each app’s icon every time the app was downloaded from the store. Click the link above to see it in action.

GPS maker Navigon has announced that it will be bringing its turn-by-turn GPS app MobileNavigator to the iPhone, placing it in direct competition with TomTom, which demonstrated its application during Monday’s Keynote. The new software will feature Reality View Pro, Real Roadsign Pro, Lane Assistant Pro, Speed Assistant, Day & Night Mode, and the ability to display points of interest along the route, as well automatic display adjustment, and intelligent address entry, and the ability to navigate directly to a contact’s address. The company will also offer a free Lite version that lacks active route guidance, but can display maps and nearby points of interest. Navigon’s MobileNavigator will be available later this month; pricing has yet to be announced.

Apple 2009 WWDC Keynote now available online

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Video from Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote Address is now available in both a streaming QuickTime format for online viewing, and through the company’s Keynotes podcast in iTunes. The iTunes version weighs in at 1.32 GB; both versions run just slightly over two hours in length. For those of you that missed our live coverage, Apple yesterday updated its line of MacBook laptops, demoed and announced a shipping timetable for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, discussed and announced a release date for iPhone OS 3.0, and introduced the new iPhone 3GS.

Tapulous unveils Lady Gaga Revenge, UMG partnership

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Tapulous has released its new Lady Gaga Revenge game for the iPhone and iPod touch, and announced a new deal with Universal Music Group to bring more music games to the App Store. Lady Gaga Revenge features 14 tracks and remixes from the pop singer, four boss tracks featuring an all-new horizontal play mode and four rails, themes, graphics, and effects inspired by Lady Gaga videos and discography, four difficulty levels, a multiplayer mode, news feed, and Facebook Connect. It is available now and sells for $5.

Under the new UMG agreement, which kicked off with the release of the Lady Gaga game, the two companies will team up to provide a variety of music-oriented games featuring UMG artists, the ability for users to purchase songs from UMG artists in the upcoming title Tap Tap Revenge 3.0—tracks will run $.50 each and will be provided through iPhone OS 3.0’s In-app Purchases feature, and at least one new rhythm game featuring a UMG artist, to be released this fall.

iPhone 3GS SGX GPU to cause game coding headaches?

The new iPhone 3GS contains a PowerVR SGX graphics core, according to a new report, which also suggests that the new OpenGL ES 2.0 features may cause difficulties for game developers. Citing people familiar with the matter, AppleInsider reports that the new iPhone contains the new PowerVR SGX chip from Imagination Technologies, which has been integrated into the handset’s system-on-a-chip, manufactured by Samsung. Prior reports had suggested that an “international electronics systems company” had licensed the SGX technology for its own use in a multi-use, multi-year deal. It was later revealed that Apple had bought 8 million shares, or a 3% stake, in Imagination, further evidence of a relationship between the two companies.

The new SGX technology enables OpenGL ES 2.0-specific rendering features, including programmable shaders, while maintaining support for OpenGL ES 1.1 fixed-function rendering. However, games written to take specific advantage of the iPhone 3GS’s OpenGL ES 2.0 capabilities will need to contain two codebases, one for OpenGL ES 2.0 and one for 1.1, or break compatibility with older devices. This creates obvious difficulties for smaller developers who may not have the resources to create both sets of code; it also makes it less likely that currently-available games will be updated to take advantage of the iPhone 3GS hardware, as the financial benefits will most likely not be able to make up for the development time spent.

T-Mobile Netherlands confirms 3GS processor, RAM specs

  • June 10, 2009

T-Mobile Netherlands has confirmed both the RAM and processor specs for the new iPhone 3GS through its specifications page. According to the page, the iPhone 3GS sports 256MB of RAM — up from 128 in the original iPhone and iPhone 3G — as well as a faster processor running at 600MHz, compared to 412MHz in the first two iterations of the device. The second-generation iPod touch also sports a faster processor than that found in the first two generations of iPhone, running at 532MHz. [via MDN]

Photo of the Week: iPod touch in Croatia

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows an iPod touch near the shoreline of Korcula, Croatia. 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!

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