News | iLounge

2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Still time to enter the Tekkeon myPower Giveaway

image

There’s still time to enter our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway if you haven’t done so already. In our Giveaway of the Month for July, 10 lucky iLounge readers will receive a Tekkeon myPower for iPhone. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on July 31, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Mix: Yale on iTunes, Palm SDK, Verizon, Pocketpedia

  • July 17, 2009

Yale University is now offering select courses as free downloads from iTunes U. Subject matter in the courses varies from Financial Markets and Game Theory to Death, Milton, and Ancient Greek History. Each course contains at least 40 tracks, split across audio and video files. The courses join a host of other content offered by the school on iTunes U, including talks on law, the environment, and business.

iPhone developer Craig Hunter has written a blog post describing his impressions of Palm’s just-released webOS SDK, which is designed to help Palm’s Pre smartphone develop an app catalog like the iPhone’s. According to Hunter, the kit provides “no way for developers to tap into OpenGL ES,” and an extremely low accelerometer sampling rate of 4 Hz. He says that this is not usable for dynamic motion where high fidelity is desired,” adding that “[a]ccelerometer support in the webOS is suitable for detecting basic movement of the phone for interface rotation, but that’s about it.” Overall, Hunter describes the SDK as going “back two years, back to the days when we could only develop web apps on the iPhone… It seems we’re right back in the same boat with webOS.” [via DF]

Verizon Wireless has sent a letter to U.S. Representative Rick Boucher announcing that any time the company strikes an exclusivity deal on a handset, it will allow any carrier with less than 500,000 customers to begin selling it six months after its launch on Verizon. The move may be a response to an ongoing Department of Justice probe into whether handset exclusivity deals are hurting smaller, often rural carriers; this same probe was sparked in part by pressure put on regulators by a consortium of these smaller carriers. In the letter, Verizon laid out an argument for exclusivity deals, stating: “Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design. We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers. When we procure exclusive handsets from our vendors we typically buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of each device. Otherwise manufacturers may be reluctant to make the investments of time, money and production capacity to support a particular device.”

iPhone developer Bruji has announced that it has been forced to remove its Pocketpedia application from the App Store due to a change in Amazon’s API terms. Bruji says it received a letter from Amazon requesting the app’s immediate removal, citing the same terms—that “[y]ou will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link, use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device”—as it did when forcing the removal of Delicious Library earlier this month. Bruji has logged a request with Amazon to be given an exemption from the mobile clause, but isn’t hopeful for a positive outcome given the company’s earlier refusals.

App Mix: Inkiness, Ranch Rush, Playlist Alarm, Meditate

Fenrir has debuted Inkiness, its new drawing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Inkiness emulates drawing with ink, on a grid patterned pad. Features include a virtual, on-screen nib for increased accuracy, the ability to save and edit up to 80 drawing pages, and the ability to save drawings to the photo library or share them via email. Inkiness sells for $3.

FreshGames has released Ranch Rush, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Previously released on the Mac and PC, Ranch Rush puts players in the shoes of Sara, who must build a thriving ranch before the owner is forced to sell. Over the course of several weeks, players will need to harvest fresh produce, gather eggs from ostriches, collect honey from bees, make ketchup from tomatoes, and more. The game features more than 40 levels, four upgrades, four different animals to tend, and 20 trophies to win. Ranch Rush is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.

Chilli X has introduced Playlist Alarm Clock, its latest clock application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Playlist Alarm Clock allows users to build or choose two playlists of songs to wake up and fall asleep to. Users can choose separate durations of time for music to play when falling asleep and waking up, and can also use the app as a standard alarm or bedside clock; other features include a snooze function and auto-lock prevention. Playlist Alarm Clock is available now and is priced at $2.

SimpleTouch Software has released Meditate, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Meditate serves as a simple meditation timer, offering a single-pane interface, customizable interval chimes, the ability to set preparation and cool down times, automatic meditation tracking, including total and daily average meditation times, statistics, and smart interruption handling and restart. Meditate is available now and sells for $2.

iPodweek coming shortly, still time to sign up

image

iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out to our email subscribers 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.

Your Email Address:   

IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.

iPhone, iPod touch screen poll ends, accessory poll begins

With over 2,900 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Have you noticed any problems with your iPhone or iPod touch screen?” has ended. Readers could choose between noticeable scratches, oleophobic coating wear, other issues, no noticeable problems, or say they don’t own either device.

An overwhelming majority of respondents—81% of iPhone and iPod touch owners and 69% overall—said they hadn’t noticed any problems with their iPhone or iPod touch screens, followed by 14% who said they didn’t own an iPhone or iPod touch. Among remaining owners of the devices, 9% said they had noticed scratches, 7% said they had noticed other issues, and 3% said they had seen their iPhone 3GS’ oleophobic coating already begin to wear down or peel. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll covers iPod and iPhone accessories. We’d like to know what type of accessory you most need for your iPod or iPhone. Do you need a new case or protective film, or perhaps speakers, or new earphones? Or do you need a new in-car accessory, or Bluetooth wireless headset, or a battery pack? Maybe you need a computer dock, or an in-home charger, or some other accessory? Or do you not need a new accessory? Our new poll, “What type of accessory do you most need for your iPod or iPhone?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the far left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Cast your vote today!

Man sues Apple, FBI over mafia-‘bugged’ iPod conspiracy

Apple has been sued by a Beverly Hills, CA man, who accuses the company of conspiring with the mafia to track him and his activities in secret. According to the complaint, Gregory McKenna believes his bedroom, living room, upstairs bathroom, and Toyota Camry, along with an iPod shuffle he purchased from eBay and an iPod mini he purchased in an Apple Store, all contained receivers that allowed the mafia to transmit threats to him and follow his whereabouts. McKenna claims that recordings of mafia members saying “I’m going to kill him” played in unison with a song on his iPod mini in 2008, and that a modified version of the Mike Jones song “Still Tippin,” heard on his iBook G4, PowerBook G4, and two iPods contained the word “herpes,” which McKenna suggests was added to the song in order “to humiliate, degrade, and cause emotional stress.” Apple is but one of several entities named in the lawsuit, joining the St. Louis County Police Department, a local auto mechanic, and “unknown agents” of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Missouri, the suit reads, “The recording of death threats and other evidence prove that APPLE INC. conspired with the Mafia and other Defendants to manufacture, distribute, and sell illegally bugged iPods and other electronic equipment to Plaintiff to perpetuate the stalking, extortion, and torture.” (via AppleInsider)

CellShields offers first iPhone 3G cases with Apple logo

image

CellShields is now offering its Hard Case Cover Skin for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The plastic case provides access to all ports and controls, and notably features an Apple logo—which also functions as a snap point for the two-piece design—in the center of the back. Available in a variety of two-tone color combinations, CellShields’ Hard Case Cover Skin for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $10 for matte plastic models or $12.50 for combination matte and metallic plastic units.

Update: According to an email received by iLounge, CellShields is no longer offering the Hard Case Cover Skin.

Google debuts Search with Location for iPhone OS 3.0

Google has announced that iPhone and iPod touch users running iPhone OS 3.0 can now perform local searches via the company’s My Location feature. When users visit google.com from Safari, a link on the page will allow them to turn on My Location, after which searches can be made on a local basis; the Official Google Mobile Blog uses a search for “Jazz clubs” in New York City as an example. Once the feature is turned on, users can update their location via a link on the main google.com home page. It is unclear whether Apple plans to build the feature into future versions of Safari for iPhone, which would allow for location-based searches via the browser’s integrated search area.

PocketMac intros RingtoneStudio 2.0 for iPhone

image

PocketMac has introduced its new RingtoneStudio 2.0 for iPhone software for Mac OS X. RingtoneSudio lets users make an unlimited number of ringtones from any unprotected music file or from a large variety of QuickTime-ready video formats. Features of the new version include visual sound editing, volume control, fade in/fade out capabilities, full integration with QuickTime Pro, and improved integration of video and waveform editing. RingtoneStudio 2.0 for iPhone is available now for $30; upgrades from version 1.0 are priced at $10. For more information on RingtoneStudio 2.0, see our First Look article.

App Mix: Typography, Pizza Hut, Cyclops, WoW

Justin Stahl has released The Typography Manual, a new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Manual features a 60+ page book covering the history of type, typography basics, how to properly set text and characters, information on web typography, and more. It also offers resources such as a visual type anatomy glossary, a style guide, a keyboard character and HTML character code listing, an Em calculator, and a font size ruler. The Typography Manual is available now from the App Store and sells for $5. [via Kottke]

National chain Pizza Hut has launched a new app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The application allows users to order pizzas, wings, and pastas using interactive tools, see the latest deals, and play a racing mini-game while they are waiting for their order to arrive. The Pizza Hut app is available now as a free download.

Deep Prose Software has debuted Cyclops, its new application for the iPhone 3GS. Cyclops utilizes the iPhone 3GS’ macro capabilities to scan barcodes of items found in normal stores or at home, automatically searching Amazon to provide up to date product information and pricing. Cyclops is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Blizzard Entertainment has released World of Warcraft Mobile Armory, its second application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Built for players of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Armory lets users search for and view any character, item, guild, or Arena team in World of Warcraft, access their in-game calendars, view achievement-point leaderboards, plan out talent specs, and more. World of Warcraft Mobile Armory is a free download.

Griffin launches iFM Radio Browser for iPhone, iPod touch

image

Griffin Technology has released iFM Radio Browser, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. iFM Radio Browser serves as an interactive radio companion, providing users with real-time data—provided by Mediaguide—on local FM stations in their area, the currently playing song, with album art, artist info, and concert date information. Users may also browse by station, artist or genre, and can instantly purchase music with the iTunes app or save songs to a wish list for later purchasing. Finally, iFM Radio Browser works with Griffin’s recently released Navigate in-line controller and FM radio for iPod and iPhone, working as a touchscreen control interface. Griffin’s iFM Radio Browser is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Apple releases iTunes 8.2.1 with bug fixes, Palm Pre blocked?

Apple has released iTunes 8.2.1, its latest update to its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, in addition to providing “a number of important bug fixes, the release “addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices,” which could be a reference to Palm’s unauthorized efforts to make its Pre phone appear to be an iPod for purposes of iTunes synchronization, or a specific note on iPod touch and iPhone device verification during OS installation and restoration. It is unclear what other changes may have been made to the software. iTunes 8.2.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from Apple.com/itunes/.

Update: Several reports indicate that iTunes 8.2.1 does indeed prevent the Palm Pre from syncing with iTunes.

Mix: iPhone insurance, Bulk Apps, Chinese iPhone 3G

  • July 15, 2009

OH-based insurance company Safeware is now offering insurance for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The comprehensive plan provides coverage against accidental damage, liquid spills, power surge, drops, falls, collisions, flood, fire, vandalism and theft. Pricing is based on the model of phone and runs $82 per year for a 16GB iPhone 3GS, not including a $100 per incident deductible. There is no time since purchase requirement to sign up, no occurrence limit, and no waiting period for new claims. For more information, visit Safeware’s iPhone insurance page.

Skyhook Wireless, provider of the iPhone’s and iPod touch’s Wi-Fi-based location feature, has released its latest report (PDF Link) on location-aware (LBS) apps. While the most common price point for LBS apps on both the App Store and Android Marketplace was $1, the report suggests this is due to what the company calls “bulk apps,” or template-based applications that sold at the same price point but with different content. As an example, the report singles out one developer who sells over 850 travel apps based on the same template, but with location-specific content in each. The report claims that nearly 1/3 of all LBS apps on the App Store are these mass-produced local search or travel guides, and that while Apple enjoys touting the large number of apps available on the store, bulk apps account for much of this volume.

Citing an unnamed source, Chinese-language daily 163.com is reporting that a Shenzhen, China subsidiary of Foxconn has begun mass production of a customized iPhone 3G meant for the Chinese market and China Unicom in particular. This customized model reportedly lacks built-in Wi-Fi, which lines up with information from an independent iLounge source, who indicated that mainland China would get a slightly different version of the iPhone than other countries. The 163 report goes on to indicate that the iPhone will receive its network license after negotiations between China Unicom and Apple have finished, possibly in the next few weeks. [via Tech Trader Daily]

iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 features revealed

image

An anonymous source has provided iLounge with a listing of small but notable changes found in the second beta version of iPhone OS 3.1. A new option in the Accessibility menu allows users to triple-click the Home button in order to toggle VoiceOver or the White on Black features on and off; VoiceOver has also received a practice mode for learning its unique gestures. When editing video, the “Save” and “Save as Copy” options from beta 1 have been changed to “Trim Original” and “Save as New Clip” for clarity, and another change—possibly included in the first 3.1 beta as well—keeps the user’s “Now Playing” queue intact across syncs, meaning the user must manually change the playlist or finish listening to the one started prior to the sync. The other big change on the developer side is that developers can now monitor/debug their apps over Wi-Fi rather than having to use a USB connection. iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 is available now to registered iPhone developers; Apple has yet to set a release date for a broader launch of the update.

Photo of the Week: iPod touch in Montenegro

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows an iPod touch overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro. 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 SDK, OS 3.1 beta updates available

image

Apple has released the second beta versions of both the iPhone SDK 3.1 and iPhone OS 3.1 to registered iPhone developers. Notes for the new beta of iPhone OS 3.1 do not show any apparent changes from the first beta release, which included non-destructive video editing, support for Voice Control over Bluetooth, and new modem firmware and AT&T profiles. The first 3.1 beta release of the iPhone SDK offered updated OpenGL and Quartz APIs; no major changes are indicated in the release notes for the updated SDK. iPhone OS 3.1 and iPhone SDK 3.1 beta 2 are now available for download from the iPhone Dev Center.

App Mix: Cellar, SurrounDead, Enviro-Bear, U.K. developer course

Airsource has launched Cellar, its new wine collection management app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cellar lets users track their current wine inventory and finished bottles—stored in the “Garage”—through a graphic interface that mimics the look of real cellar, with user-specified options to match the actual bottle as closely as possible, including the ability to add a custom photo of the label. The app also stores information about each bottle, including brand, region, vintage, grape, price, rating, and personal notes. Cellar is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.

Handheld Games has released SurrounDEAD, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In SurrounDEAD, players attempt to survive a zombie attack by shooting down as many as possible before their life runs out. The game features 360-degree play, with the players using either tilt controls, or—for the first time—the iPhone 3GS’ compass—to turn around and catch oncoming baddies. SurrounDEAD is available now and is priced at $1.

Justin Smith has introduced Enviro-Bear 2010, a whimsical new driving game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Players of Enviro-Bear take control of a roughly-drawn bear, who must use touch controls to interact with items, including food like fish and berries. Once sufficiently full, the player must drive into a cave to hibernate, while continuing to interact with the surroundings and avoiding other bear drivers. Enviro-Bear 2010 sells for $1 and is available now.

About Objects has announced a partnership with NTI Leeds to offer iPhone OS 3.0 developer training in the U.K. The first iPhone Development course is scheduled for July 20-22, and will be held at NTI Leeds headquarters in the Old Broadcasting House in the Civic Quarter in Leeds. A 3-day event, the course takes attendees from the fundamentals of Objective-C 2.0 through all the basics of developing apps using the iPhone SDK’s APIs, Xcode development environment, Interface Builder, and other tools. Registration is now open; the class fee is £995, or roughly $1620.

Mix: In-Ear Headphone update, O2 + Twitter, unlocked 3GS, UK carriers

  • July 14, 2009

Following changes previously made to the Earphones with Remote packaged with the iPod shuffle 3G and Earphones with Remote and Mic included with the iPhone 3GS, Apple has quietly updated the 3.5mm plug on its In-Ear Headphones. The smaller plug is now made of hard, glossy white plastic as opposed to soft matte rubber, and matches the thinner diameter of the iPod shuffle 3G body. Apple’s In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic are available now and sell for $79; for more information, see our full review. [via AppleInsider]

U.K. iPhone carrier O2 is partnering with micro-blogging service Twitter to let O2 customers receive SMS notifications of certain messages. Beginning August 1, every O2 customer will be able to turn on text notifications within Twitter to receive text alerts for @ replies and direct messages for free. Customers will also be able to send updates to the service as part of their regular messaging plan. O2’s fair use policy will allow for up to 600 Twitter messages per month.

Apple is now offering unlocked iPhone 3GS units through its Online Store in Hong Kong. Pricing for the iPhone 3GS is HK$5,388—roughly $695—for 16GB units and HK$6,288 (~$811) for 32GB models. In addition, pricing on the 8GB iPhone 3G has dropped from HK$5,400 (~$695) to HK$4,488, or roughly $579. Apple began offering the iPhone 3G unlocked in Hong Kong in September of 2008.

Both T-Mobile and Orange in the U.K. are in talks with Apple to offer the iPhone 3G in the country, according to a new report. The Register Hardware reports that T-Mobile “told” them it is in talks with Apple about offering its prior-generation handset in the next few months, and says that Orange is also rumored to be negotiating an iPhone 3G offering. Notably, the iPhone 3GS is not said to be part of any talks, as its exclusive on the new handset “seems to be secure.” O2 has been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.K. since its launch in the country on November 9, 2007.

iTunes now offering two-song Digital 45s

image

Harkening back to the days of the vinyl 45 rpm record, the iTunes Store has launched a new section of the store for “D45s.” As with vinyl 45s, these new digital packs contain two songs, traditionally made up of a single and B-side. Currently available D45s include selections from artists such as David Bowie, Prince, Coldplay, Foreigner, and The Doors; pricing ranges from $1.49 to $1.99.

App Store hits 1.5 billion downloads in one year

Apple has announced that its customers downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications from the App Store during its first year of operation, making it “the largest applications store in the world.” The company added that the App Store continues to grow at a fast pace, with more than 65,000 apps now available and more than 100,000 developers in the iPhone Developer Program. “The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up.” The App Store is now available in 77 countries; the store passed the billion download milestone in late April, meaning the pace of downloads is likely quickening as well.

Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.