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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

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.

AdMob: International iPhone OS use growing faster than U.S.

In its Mobile Metrics Report for June 2009, mobile advertising platform AdMob detailed iPhone and iPod touch share by region, finding that the international market for the devices is growing faster than the U.S. According to the report, 54% of iPhone OS users in June were in the U.S., down from 61% six months ago. 26% of those were in Western Europe, with Asia representing 7% of global iPhone and iPod touch users. The company also points out that despite the rise in iPod touch sales reported by Apple in it’s Q3 2009 earnings call, the ratio of iPhones to iPod touches on their network remained at roughly 2:1, suggesting the growth of the two devices is on a similar trajectory. AdMob’s numbers are based on the 16 million iPhone OS users in their network.

iLounge & CEA announce over 40 iLounge Pavilion exhibitors

iLounge and the Consumer Electronics Association are excited to announce the first public list of exhibitors for the iLounge Pavilion, a unified iPod, iPhone, and Mac showcase that will be part of the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 7-10 2010. The public list features more than 40 companies, including industry-leading accessory makers such as Griffin, Incase, Scosche, Macally, iSkin, AAMP/Peripheral Electronics, Power Support, Etymotic, Westone, and numerous other developers; additional names will be made public in the lead-up to the event.

“We’re thrilled that so many outstanding developers from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia have already joined together to show off their latest and greatest Apple products at the Pavilion,” said Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge. “It is truly a one-stop destination to experience all things Apple at the consumer technology industry’s largest trade show.” If your company is interested but has not yet signed up for the 2010 CES, contact CEA Senior Account Executive Tira Gordon at tgordon@ce.org today, and see the official 2010 International CES web site for more details.

Kensington unveils Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone

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Kensington has unveiled its Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone. Compatible with nearly all iPods but designed for the iPhone and iPod touch, the Nightstand Charging Dock is designed to charge the connected device while functioning to keep it in landscape mode, and works in concert with the company’s free Rise & Shine application, which turns the charging iPhone or iPod touch into an alarm clock, displaying the time in one of three formats, along with the date and weather conditions. Kensington’s Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone is available for pre-order now and sells for $40; a release date has yet to be announced.

Jailbroken Twitter app challenges App Store rivals

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An update to Efiko Software’s iPhone Twitter client qTweeter for jailbroken iPhones has added a new video sharing feature that puts it functionally beyond many of the currently-available, officially-sanctioned Twitter clients in the App Store. qTweeter runs in the background of jailbroken iPhones, letting users slide their finger down from the status area to tweet or update their Facebook status. New in version 2.0, however, is the ability to share video recorded using the iPhone, iPhone 3G, or iPhone 3GS, a feat the developer claims App Store apps “will never be able to accomplish.” qTweeter is available now as a free download from the Cydia download repository.

App Mix: SI Swimsuit, Treasure Grab, HotelPal, Layers

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Sports Illustrated has released SI Swimsuit 2009, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed in partnership with Azuki Systems, Si Swimsuit features videos and photos of all 20 models from the 2009 SI Swimsuit franchise, and allows users to create a personalized daily sports calendar to keep track of schedules and scores for up to six professional and/or college sports teams. Rated 17+, SI Swimsuit 2009 is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.

THQ Wireless has released Treasure Grab, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Treasure Grab puts players in control of master thief Alya Loot, who must steal, sneak, and pick locks to grab the most precious heirlooms of four decadent nobles. Features include open gameplay, an original storyline and characters, and seven “Trickster” powers that can be used to fool guards and maximize treasure. Treasure Grab is sells for $3.

Mobiata, maker of FlightTrack and FlightTrack Pro, has introduced HotelPal (pictured), its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. HotelPal offers users access to over 100,000 hotels, including full-screen photos, interactive maps, and live availability info. Once a room is found, travelers can book right in the app, using a custom booking interface powered by Travelocity. HotelPal will be available as a free download from the App Store as soon as it receives approval from Apple.

Ben Gotow, developer of NetSketch, has unveiled Layers, his latest art creation tool for the iPhone and iPod touch. Layers is a natural media painting application, allowing users to add up to five layers to each drawing or photo, with the ability to email the file as a .psd file with the layers intact. Tools include a full-featured eraser for revealing hidden layers, two-finger pan and zoom, eight brushes, an eyedropper tool, precisely adjustable brush sizes, a large color picker with transparency control, undo history that is saved on exit, and the ability to email the an image in either .jpg or .psd formats. Layers is available now and sells for $5.

Navigon debuts MobileNavigator GPS software for iPhone

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Navigon has released its MobileNavigator North America turn-by-turn GPS application for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Taking up a massive 1.29GB of space, MobileNavigator stores all its map data directly on the device for operation in areas where cellular service is unavailable, and features Reality View Pro 3D navigation views with actual road signs and lane guidance, Lane Assistant Pro, which helps drivers prepare for an upcoming exit or tun with on-screen arrows, a Speed Assistant, day and night mode for map display, single-click “Take me home” functionality, branded POIs, both 2D and 3D map views, automatic switching between portrait and landscape formats, and more. Navigon’s MobileNavigator North America is available now from the App Store and will sell for $70 through August 15, when the price will increase to $100; no subscription is required.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Greece

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows the ancient Parthenon reflected on the screen of an iPhone in Athens, Greece. 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: Decline of traditional iPod predicted, iPod touch, iPhone surging

In comments made during a conference call with analysts following the release of third-quarter 2009 financial results, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that the company now views its iPod and iPhone business—“pocket products”—as comprising three segments: “traditional MP3 players,” “iPod touch,” and “iPhone,” and had internally forecasted year over year declines to occur in the traditional segment, one of the reasons the company developed the iPhone and iPod touch. “We expect decline to continue as we cannibalize ourselves” with the touchscreen devices, said Oppenheimer, though he noted that 50% of traditional iPod purchasers are people who are buying their first iPods, and suggested that these iPod models are not going away any time soon. According to Oppenheimer, unit sales declined in part based on reduction of channel inventory, as well as reduced sell-through of 4% year-over-year.

However, iPod touch sales grew “extremely well” in the quarter, representing 130% year over year growth, with the iPod continuing to have over 70% market share based on the latest NPD tracking information, and growth in nearly every territory it is being tracked in. iTunes sales of 8 billion songs were confirmed, with restatements of past figures: 1.5 billion downloads of Apps and 65,000 applications in the App Store. iPod touch sales are expected to grow considerably in the future.

Though Apple would not break out specific numbers on sales of the iPod touch and iPhone, COO Tim Cook noted: “As we made the changes, both the launch of the 3GS and the price reduction of the 3G, we saw a significant acceleration of total unit sales… as Peter alluded to, the iPhone 3GS is currently [supply] constrained in virtually every country we’re shipping in, so the demand for it is very robust.” Regarding sales to the corporate world, Cook said that interest is growing, in part due to the 3GS’s new hardware encryption and security features, and noted that almost 20% of the Fortune 100 have purchased 10,000 or more iPhone units, as have multiple government agencies.

The executives said that the App Store is now available in 77 countries and now reaches over 45 million total iPhone and iPod touch users. Apple is also looking to expand iPhone distribution within currently available countries where it makes sense to do so, and expand past the iPhone’s current 80 countries, including large ones. Notably, they had nothing to add on the situation regarding the iPhone in China, beyond the fact that it continues to be a priority and they hope to have the device available there within a year. The company also admitted that it is a “beginner” in markets where pre-paid phones dominate the market, saying that there are some opportunities available there, and that a “good” number of iPod touch users had upgraded to version 3.0. Finally, when asked about the movement towards $0.99 pricing in the App Store, Cook and Oppenheimer said that the company does have some ideas on how to improve the store experience, and they realize there is room for improvement, but that the developers set the price themselves, and are doing “good business” when deciding where best to set their prices.

Apple sells 10.2 million iPods, 5.2 million iPhones in Q3 2009

Reporting its third quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter—a 7 percent decrease compared to the 11.01 million iPods sold in Q3 2008, and similarly a 7% decrease compared to the 11.01 million iPods sold in the year ago quarter. It also sold 5.2 million iPhones in the quarter, up significantly from the 3.79 million sold in the second quarter, but vastly more—626%—than the 717,000 units sold in the third quarter of 2008, when the original iPhone’s stocks were depleted in anticipation of the iPhone 3G’s release. The company posted revenue of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.35 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share in Q3 2008.

Sales of “Other Music Related Products + Services” were up 17% over the year-ago quarter but down 9% from the second quarter of 2009, to $958 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. Revenue from iPhone and Related Products & Services, which includes iPhone handset sales, carrier agreements, and Apple-branded and third-party iPhone accessories, was $1.589 billion, up 11% from Q2 2009 and 303% over the year-ago quarter.

“We’re making our most innovative products ever and our customers are responding,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to have sold over 5.2 million iPhones during the quarter and users have downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications from our App Store in its first year.”

“We’re extremely pleased to report record non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings and quarterly cash flow from operations of $2.3 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $8.7 billion to $8.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $1.18 to $1.23.”

iPod fire investigation turns up shuffle-related incidents

  • July 21, 2009
  • iPod

According to a lengthy investigation by Amy Clancy of KIRO 7 Eyewitness News in Seattle, users of both first- and second-generation iPod shuffles have reported having the devices overheat. The reports, from 2006 and November 2008, respectively, come from information obtained by Clancy using the Freedom of Information Act. After seven months of delays due to blocks by Apple’s lawyers, who allegedly filed “exemption after exemption,” she eventually received access to more than 800 pages of Consumer Product Safety Commission documentation relating to iPod overheating incidents—which in turn offered information about 15 burn- or fire-related incidents, a number described by the CPSC as relatively small given the number of devices that have been sold. The report goes on to document several previously publicized fire and overheating reports of first- and second-generation iPod nano units; Apple has offered to replace units with faulty batteries in both Japan and Taiwan.

Foxconn employee commits suicide after losing new iPhone prototype

A China-based employee of Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has committed suicide, following his apparent loss of a prototype iPhone. According to Chinese news reports recounted by DigitalBeat, 25-year-old Sun Danyong was a recent engineering graduate, and handled product communications for Foxconn, including shipping iPhone prototypes from Foxconn to Apple. Danyong had 16 prototype fourth-generation iPhone prototypes from the assembly line at a local factory, but over the course of several days, he discovered that one of the phones was missing, and was unable to find it at the factory. After reporting the missing phone to his boss, Danyong’s apartment was reportedly illegally searched by Foxconn employees in an attempt to find the device; some reports indicate that Danyong may have been detained and physically abused during the investigation. He then jumped out of a window of his apartment building last Thursday, committing suicide.

Apple today released the following statement to CNet regarding Danyong’s death. “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

Push Notification glitch causing IM misrouting

A new problem with Apple’s Push Notification service and hacked iPhones is causing AIM messages to be sent to unknown/random recipients without the user’s knowledge. Till Shadde, CEO of Equinux, discovered the glitch by sending an AIM from his Mac to his iPhone, only to get a response back from an unknown user. According to his Twitter stream, the problem manifests itself when sending a message to a hacked iPhone containing the Push Notification service hack, Shaddde claims that any message sent to a hacked iPhone running the Push hack “seems to be broadcasted to all hacked phones.” Apple is believed to be actively blocking Push Notification service on hacked or unlocked iPhones.

Klipsch intros Image S4i In-Ear Headset

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Klipsch has introduced its new S4i In-Ear Headset with integrated microphone and remote. Designed for use with the iPhone 3GS, third-generation iPod shuffle, second-generation iPod touch, fourth-generation iPod nano, and iPod classic 120GB, the S4i features a slightly tweaked version of Apple’s three-button in-line microphone and remote system at the yoke where the left and right earbud cables converge for a more natural feel when answering calls and controlling music. Other features include the company’s exclusive oval ear tips, 8.5mm drivers with controlled damping, a piano black finish with chrome accents, and included fit kit, cleaning tool, clothing clip, and carrying pouch. Klipsch’s S4i In-Ear Headset will be available in August and will sell for $100.

Apple rejects Twitter app for resembling SMS interface

Syncode, developers of the Push-enabled Twitter client iTweetReply, has revealed that the app’s first update—version 1.1—has been rejected by Apple due to its visual similarity to the iPhone’s built-in messaging app. According to a post on Syncode’s blog, Apple’s rejection email stated, “Thank you for submitting your application to the App Store. Unfortunately, your application, iTweetReply – Push Twitter Replies and Direct Messages, cannot be added to the App Store because its usage of the standard SMS UI elements may be confusing or misleading to iPhone users. Please redesign your application to look significantly different from the standard iPhone SMS built-in app.” The developer points out that this portion of the UI remains unchanged from the already available 1.0 release, and that a similar look is used by a number of other Twitter applications; iLounge has also seen several instant messaging applications with similar layouts. Syncode says it will soon be submitting an improved 1.1 release of iTweetReply, containing several features originally planned for later updates; it is unclear how the company plans to deal with Apple’s UI complaints.

Namco announces Pac-Man Remix for iPhone, iPod touch

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Namco has announced its latest Pac-Man title for the iPhone and iPod touch, Pac-Man Remix. Featuring an angled overhead 3-D view, the game is similar to the Pac-Man Arrangement game found on Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PSP, and adds maze traps, the ability to jump, and a number of power-ups to the classic Pac-Man gameplay. Additional features include a choice between on-screen, flick-, and accelerometer-based controls, six unique boss characters, and stage-specific gadgets. Pac-Man Remix is expected to be available in the coming weeks and will sell for $6; continue reading for more screenshots.

Apple quietly approving racy new 17+ content?

Apple has begun allowing racy new content into appropriately-labeled applications, a new update suggests. Based on the tales of woe web site, F-MyLife by enormego has been updated to version 1.5.4, which, according to the release notes posted to the App Store listing, “[e]nables the ‘Sex’ category for iPhone 3.0 users.” This category had previously been missing from the app, despite its appearance on the actual web site’s pages; the App Store now requires the user to acknowledge the potential of objectionable content within the app before the download. It is unclear whether this will lead to the approval of more controversial applications. F-MyLife and F-MyLife Pro are available now for free and for $2, respectively, and are labeled 17+.

Mix: AAPL Q3, MobileSync, lawsuit, T-Mobile UK

  • July 20, 2009

Apple will announce its third quarter financial results tomorrow, July 21. As it has done in the past, the company also plans to conduct a conference call to discuss its first quarter results; the call will begin at 2:00 p.m. PST and will be available as an audio webcast.

Vaughn S. Cordero has released MobileSyncBrowser (MSB) 3.0, the latest version of the iPhone backup utility. MSB lets users access SMS messages, notes, and call history stored in iTunes during syncing, with options to view, save, archive, and export the information. MSB Plus allows for expanded data recovery, including export support for Contacts, Calendar Events, and Photos, and the ability to export any file found in the backup regardless of type. Version 3.0 adds compatibility with iPhone OS 3.0 along with better performance and enhanced stability. MobileSyncBrowser 3.0 and MSB Plus 3.0 are available now for Mac and Windows and sell for $10 and $20, respectively.

Apple, along with several other companies, has been sued by Tsera, over the latter’s touchpad control patent. Tsera is claiming that the Click Wheels found on the iPod classic and iPod nano, along with the controls of the Microsoft Zune, LG Chocolate, and several other devices infringe on a 2004 touchpad patent held by the company. The patent mentions a series of strokes made by the user which must be interpreted into actions, while noting that “[n]o immediate visual feedback is provided as a command pattern is traced, and the user does not need to view the device to enter commands.” [via Engadget]

T-Mobile in the U.K. is reportedly scouring Europe in search of contract-free iPhones in order to import the phones to sell to local customers. The Telegraph reports that sources at T-Mobile claim Apple will be unable to stop the company should it choose to begin sales, as the contract between Apple and O2—the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.K.—does not prevent other companies from importing unlocked phones from abroad. T-Mobile is said to be under intense pressure from parent company Deutsche Telekom, which is investigating the possibility of selling the underperforming U.K. branch. Last week, a report surfaced suggesting both T-Mobile and Orange in the U.K. were in talks with Apple about the possibility of offering the iPhone 3G, leaving the iPhone 3GS an O2 exclusive.

Apple, RIM taking large chunk of cellphone profits

Despite accounting for only three percent of worldwide cellphone sales in 2008, Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion accounted for a much larger percentage of profits—35% combined—according to Brian Modoff, an analyst with Deutsche Bank. The Wall Street Journal reports that Modoff expects an even wider discrepancy this year, with the rival smartphone makers accounting for five percent of sales but 58% of total operating profits. Modoff attributes the two companies’ profitability to their focus on smartphones, which tend to sell for higher prices an provide wider margins than traditional cellphones. Apple and RIM controlled roughly 32% of the smartphone market between them in the first quarter, according to IDC estimates.

Universal to offer iPhone, iPod touch features on Blu-ray

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced plans to begin offering iPhone and iPod touch-enabled features on upcoming Blu-ray releases. This new functionality, launching on July 28 with the 2-Disc Blu-ray release of Fast & Furious, will be enabled via companion applications available from the App Store. The initial app will tie in with the “Virtual Car Garage” bonus feature, allowing users to control 360-degree views of cars featured in the film, along with exclusive technical specs, directly from their device. Other planned features include virtual remote functionality, the ability to access and download bonus content for on-the-go viewing, and the ability to access addition film details while watching the movie. The Fast & Furious Blu-ray companion app will be available as a free download.

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