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Photo of the Week: iPhone in Oregon

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows a buffalo crossing the road, reflected in the sideview mirror of a vehicle as it passes through Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. 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!

iPhone 3GS accessory issues blamed on software?

An ongoing iPhone 3GS issue where Works With iPhone-certified accessories bring up an error when connected is being blamed on software. Based on a reader report and two Apple discussion board threads, it appears that some iPhone 3GS users are greeted by an error that reads “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone - Charging is not supported with this accessory” when connecting certain WWI accessories, with Mophie’s Juice Pack Air cited in many cases. iLounge contacted Mophie to ask about the issue, and the company blamed the problem on a 3GS-specific software issue.

“We have seen a brand-new iPhone 3GS that was plugged in an AT&T store demo Apple iPhone Dock and the 3GS screen shows that the accessory(Apple Charging Dock) is not an authorized Work with iPhone accessory,” the company said in an email to iLounge. “As related to Juice Pack Air, this issue will usually goes away after the consumer fully recharge the Juice Pack Air or reconnecting to the iPhone 3GS. If this issue is consistently showing, please have the consumer call or email us, we would [gladly] replace it with a new one and get the other one back for study. [We are] confident that Apple has discovered this issue with many of its own accessories as well and hopefully this issue will go away completely with a new software update.”

iPhone OS 3.1 beta 3 improvements revealed

A number of under-the-hood improvements added to the third beta version of iPhone OS 3.1 have been revealed to iLounge. Notably, the new beta supports failover support for HTTP live streaming, allowing content providers to queue up multiple media playlists, automatically switching over to a secondary stream in the event that the first one fails to load. Other improvements include enhanced support for Bluetooth audio recording in third-party applications, and the ability to perform offline audio conversion to AAC. As noted in a previous article, additional functions have also been added to the OS’s APIs to allow for customized interactions with the camera, including those seen in augmented reality applications. The new beta also runs somewhat faster than its predecessor.

Apple working to block Google Voice on iPhone?

Apple has rejected an official Google Voice application, and has since removed two competing third-party solutions from the App Store, suggesting that the company—or perhaps its carrier partners—does not want the service available on the iPhone or iPod touch. Google Voice allows users to send free SMS messages, offers affordable long-distance calling rates, and lets users hand out a Google Voice number which is tied to their account and can be ported from device to device simply by signing in. Speaking with TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said, “We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users — for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.”

Apple has also pulled two third-party Google Voice applications, GV Mobile from Sean Kovacs and a competing app called VoiceCentral, for duplicating iPhone functionality. Notably, Kovacs claims that Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller called him personally to apologize for the delay in getting GV Mobile approved in the first place, making its removal all the more curious. Google currently has official Google Voice applications available for both the company’s Android platform and for BlackBerry.

Report: Apple, China Unicom reach iPhone agreement

Apple and China Unicom have reached a preliminary agreement for exclusive sales of the iPhone in mainland china, according to a Reuters report. Shanghai Securities News originally reported that a deal had been made, however, China Unicom spokeswoman Sophia Tso quickly released a statement stating that “[d]iscussions are still ongoing, we have not reached any formal agreement.” The original Shanghai Securities report also said that the deal did not include a revenue sharing arrangement—something that was believed to be a sticking point in Apple’s negotiations with Chinese carriers—and that under the agreement, China Unicom will purchase the devices from Apple for 3,000 yuan (roughly $440) each, and will guarantee annual sales of 1-2 million units and at least 5 billion yuan ($732 million) in annual revenue. During Apple’s recent Q3 financial results conference call, Apple executives had little to say on the subject of the iPhone in China, beyond reiterating that it continues to be a priority and they hope to have the device available there within a year.

Taito releases Space Invaders Infinity Gene for iPhone, iPod touch

Taito has released Space Invaders Infinity Gene, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Infinity Gene begins mimicking the classic arcade shooter, with the game “evolving” as play continues, adding colored backgrounds, varied Invaders, and evolved power-ups. In addition, the game features a unique “Music” option that creates new levels on the fly based on the data from the song selected from the iPod/iPhone library. Space Invaders Infinity Gene is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

Belkin rolls out Headphone Adapter for iPod shuffle 3G

Belkin has introduced its new Headphone Adapter for the third-generation iPod shuffle. Allowing users to listen to music with any set of headphones or earphones they like, the Headphone Adapter is a short black cord with a headphone plug on one end and a female jack on the other, with an in-line control box in between. It lets users adjust volume, skip tracks, toggle between playlists, and hear a song title, using the same commands they would on Apple’s pack-in Earphones with Remote. Belkin’s Headphone Adapter for iPod shuffle 3G is available now in the U.S for $20 and will launch in Europe, Asia, and Australia in mid-August.

Mix: Spotify, AVG, $1 million app, Toshiba

Swedish music streaming service Spotify is planning to launch an application for the iPhone and iPod touch, and has already submitted it to the App Store for approval, reports BBC News. Spotify is a streaming music service offering millions of songs, and offers both free, ad-supported service and a premium service that costs £9.99, or roughly $16.50, a month that removes all advertisements. The company’s iPhone application is designed to be used with the premium plan, and would allow users to create a playlist of songs to listen to and then temporarily store it on the device for playback without the need for an Internet connection. Apple has yet to approve the application.

Windows antivirus software AVG sent out a database update over the weekend that caused problems for many iTunes users. AppleInsider reports that the update mistakenly viewed iTunes library files as Trojan viruses, placing them in quarantine. “Unfortunately, a recent virus database update resulted in iTunes being detected as a Trojan by AVG security products,” said AVG. “We can confirm that it was a false alarm. AVG immediately released a new virus database update (definition file 270.13.29/2260) that corrected this issue.”

Social Gaming Networks’ F.A.S.T. aerial dogfight game for the iPhone and iPod touch has generated more than $1 million in download fees for the company, TechCrunch reports. SGN has changed the price of the game several times since its release in early June, starting the title off at $10 but lowering down as far as $2, which remains its current price point. The report also states that the company plans to add in-game purchases of weapons and jet upgrades in a future version.

Toshiba is expected to ramp up its NAND flash production to 90% of its capacity next month, possibly in response to a large order from Apple. DigiTimes reports that despite the production increase, Toshiba has told other interested parties that its supply will be limited, suggesting that the majority of the new chips will go to a larger partner. Apple executives announced during the latest conference call that the company had made a $500 million prepayment to Toshiba for NAND flash, and the company’s seasonal release of new iPods has in the past prompted flash shortages, however, it is unclear whether the entirety of this NAND flash order is for iPod models or for some yet-unannounced flash-based product. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple releases third beta of iPhone OS 3.1, SDK

Apple has released the third beta versions of iPhone OS 3.1 and the related SDK. The new beta operating system is listed as build 7C116a, while the updated SDK is listed as build 9M2808. It is currently unclear what changes are present in these new beta releases; however, Apple is expected to make certain video APIs accessible for third-party developers in order to support augmented reality applications on the iPhone 3GS. Both the updated beta OS and the updated SDK are available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

Apple, record labels working on ‘Cocktail’ album bundles

Apple is working with the four major music labels—EMI, Sony, Warner Bros., and UMG—on a new type of album bundle aimed at boosting sales of complete albums on the iTunes Store. The Financial Times reports that the project, code-named “Cocktail,” will include interactive liner notes, videos, lyrics, and other interactive content with albums, expanding on the current bundles already available. The report states that the initiative is being developed alongside a new tablet-style portable computer from Apple, which is said to be in talks with book publishers about offering their content for sale on the new device.

Augmented reality apps coming to iPhone in OS 3.1

Apple plans to allow iPhone developers to release augmented reality apps in the App Store following the roll out of iPhone OS 3.1. The LA Times reports that Apple told Acrossair, developer of the Nearest Tube train finder, that the app will be approved for distribution after Apple releases the latest version of the iPhone and iPod touch software, which the company believes to be on track to land in early September. Currently, developers of augmented reality apps—which utilize the iPhone’s Internet connection, GPS, Compass, and camera to overlay information atop a stream of video showing the user’s surroundings—are using the iPhone OS’ camera viewer in an unauthorized manner to deliver the video needed for the apps to run, but that 3.1 will change that. “We have the app working on 3.0 already,” Acrossair Director Chetan Damani told the LA Times. “On 3.1, we have a few extra bits that allow us to show full-screen video.”

iPod nano 5G screen film suggests new width

A new screen protector for the yet-unreleased fifth-generation iPod nano appears to confirm information published by iLounge in May claiming that the new device would sport a wider screen ratio than its predecessor. The protector, offered by JVB Technology Co., measures 50.7mm by 33.7mm, for a diagonal screen size of roughly 61mm, or 2.4 inches. Notably, the current-gen nano’s screen also measures roughly 33.7mm wide, but is only around 42mm tall, or noticeably shorter than the current screen. The company is also listing a screen protector for the third-generation iPod touch, sporting the same dimensions as current models.

Apple restores promo codes for 17+ apps

Apple has fixed what it once described as a “minor glitch” that kept iPhone developers from issuing promo codes for apps carrying a 17+ rating. iLounge reported in December that developers were unable to issue codes for adult-rated apps, which limited the promotional avenues available to such applications. At the time, we questioned whether the problem was due to an Apple attempt to limit promotion of 17+ titles, or a temporary bug that would be resolved in time. In any case, the company took over six months to fix the “glitch.”

Thermaltake shows iPhone, iPod touch LUXA2 H1-Touch stand

LUXA2, a division of PC component manufacturer Thermaltake, has introduced its new H1-Touch stand for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic. Made from brushed aluminum, the H1-Touch features a fully adjustable rotating cradle with six supports, adjustable from 45 mm to 72 mm to hold the iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, or other portable device. In addition, the stand itself features two Swarovski crystals embedded in the front. LUXA2’s H1-Touch stand for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic will be available in three weeks and will sell for $50.

App rejected, Google offers Latitude via Safari on iPhone

Google has announced the launch of its new Latitude web application for iPhone and iPod touch, after seemingly having its native application rejected by Apple. On the Official Google Mobile Blog, Mat Balez, Product Manager for the Google Mobile Team, writes, “We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps tiles.” The reality of the rejection flies in the face of past Apple-Google dealings on the iPhone; Google was widely-known to have been granted access to unpublished APIs when building its Google Mobile App, so it remains unclear why Apple would choose to reject this particular effort, especially after Google had spent the time and effort to build it. Latitude allows users to share their location with friends and see their friends’ locations on a map, use basic search and directions functionality, and, like in the native Maps application, tap a blue dot to be taken to their approximate current location. To access Google Latitude for iPhone and iPod touch, simply visit from the mobile Safari browser.

ImToo brings YouTube videos to iPod

ImToo Software Studio has released ImTOO YouTube to iPod Converter 2.0, the latest version of its video conversion tool for Windows. ImToo YouTube allows users to browse, download, and convert YouTube videos to an iPod-friendly format. New features include one-step downloading and conversion, an embedded YouTube browser with an anonymous proxy download option, and the ability to download and convert videos in batches. ImTOO YouTube to iPod Converter requires Windows XP SP2 or later, and sells for $26.

Thought Out intros PED3-Bike mount

Thought Out has introduced its new PED3-Bike mount for the iPhone and iPod touch. Built for motorcycles, bicycles or any other type of handle bar vehicles, the PED3-Bike combines the PED3-Bike-M mount with a bare iPhone, bare iPod touch or FORM holder, the latter of which is designed to accept both iPhone and iPod touch units while inside of protective cases. The mount itself provides a secure grip that adapts to 1-inch and 25mm diameter bars, and offers full device rotation. Thought Out’s PED3-Bike mount is available now for $32-$36 depending on model, while the Bike-M mount is available separately for $23 for owners of PED3 or NAJA King holders.

Palm WebOS update restores Pre iTunes Sync

Palm has released webOS 1.1, bringing with it a number of new features and improvements for the company’s Pre smartphone. Most notable for iLounge readers, however, is the re-enabling of what Palm calls “media sync,” which allows Pre users to connect their devices to iTunes and sync their media as if it was an iPod. Cleverly beginning the sentence with “Oh, and one more thing,”—a reference to Steve Jobs’ surprise final announcements during past Keynotes—the company’s blog states that “you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes.” Apple disabled this feature with the release of iTunes 8.2.1, noting that the release “addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.” The Pre previously achieved syncing with iTunes by masquerading as an iPod; it is unclear if the same approach is being used by the latest software.

Apple withdraws legal threats against BluWiki

Apple has withdrawn its threat of legal action against OdioWorks, which runs the BluWiki website. In April, OdioWorks representatives, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued Apple over threats made to the company over content hosted on the wiki. At issue was a group of “iTunesDB” pages that contained information on how to use an iPod or iPhone with third-party software. Apple legal sent a letter demanding the pages be removed, arguing that the content constituted copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA’s) prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures. Following the receipt of a letter from Apple saying it was withdrawing its cease & desist demands and stating that “Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publication of the iTunesDB Pages,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation is dismissing its suit.

iPhone boosts AT&T subscribers, shaving margins

Reporting its second-quarter financial results today, AT&T revealed that the iPhone continues to be both a long-term boost and a modest short-term drag on the company. The exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier said it handled more than 2.4 million iPhone activations in the quarter, partly due to the iPhone 3GS launch, and increased its overall 3G smartphone subscriber based by more than 3.5 million. The large number of iPhone purchases also came with a cost in the form of subsidies, however, narrowing wireless operating margins to 23.8% during the period, down from 25.5% in the year-ago quarter; however, these subsidies are more than repaid during the two-year service contracts of subscribers. Overall, the company saw quarterly revenue of $30.7 billion, net income of $3.2 billion, and diluted earnings of $0.54 per share.

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