A number of iPhone users are reporting problems with the playback and syncing of Voice Memo files, as well as the access and syncing of photos taken with the iPhone’s camera. In an Apple support discussions thread, several users claim to have made recordings which are visible on the device, but are unable to be played back—while the play icon changes to a pause button, indicating the file is being played back, the slider never moves, nor does any sound come out. In some cases users were able to sync their phones and retrieve the message(s), but in others the sync removed the files from the phone entirely. Interestingly, an iLounge editor came across a similar problem with the iPhone’s Photos application, in that the phone suddenly acted as if no photos were stored on the device, and would take pictures but claim it was empty. After importing the photos into iPhoto, the app began to have trouble finding specific images, and the import did not help fix the problem on the iPhone. Another bug makes the Camera shutter button unresponsive and unable to take pictures. It is possible that these issues are unrelated, however, it is also possible that a bug in the way iPhone OS 3.0 handles saving files to its media databases may be to blame. [via MacNN]
Liverpool, U.K.-based Stuart Hughes has introduced its new 18ct Solid Rose Gold iPhone 3GS Diamond. Sporting a replacement rear plate and bezel made of solid gold, the new model contains approximately 150 grams of 18ct rose gold, as well as 53 pink diamonds set in the rose gold Apple logo. The 18ct Solid Rose Gold iPhone 3GS Diamond will be available later this week and will sell for £21,995, or roughly $35,575.
Apple may be intentionally blocking users with hacked or unlocked iPhones from receiving Push Notification messages, according to a developer report. Czech developers PoweryBase, makers of the Push Notification-powered reminder app NotifyMe, report that the 5% of its customers using unofficially modified or activated phones were creating more than 80% of customer support requests, complaining that the application didn’t work as advertised. Upon closer inspection, PoweryBase discovered that these phones were not receiving a response back from Apple’s Push Notification Server (APNS), while normal devices had no such issue. “When the Push based application such as NotifyMe requests an ID from APNS, the server responds within a second and identifies the device with the unique token. From that point, the connection between APNS and user’s device is successfully established,” said Pavel Serbajlo, PoweryBase’s lead developer. “However, on a unofficially activated device, APNS keeps the application wait forever and does not provide any respond at all, keeping user wait infinitely or time out the connection, if the target application is capable of timing out.” The company is now implementing an in-application check to see whether or not data is being received back from the server and directing users to the app’s FAQ page if a problem is detected; the company is also discouraging users of hacked iPhones from purchasing NotifyMe. NotifyMe is available now from the App Store and sells for $4; a free version is also available.
Apple has rejected updates to two more applications—FastFinder from Bananas Design and Chirp! Bird Songs from Spiny Software—due to what the company considers to be an inappropriate rating based on the apps’ ability to connect to the Internet. FastFinder allows users to quickly query a variety of search engines and other services such as IMDB, Amazon.com, Facebook, and more, while Chirp! Bird Songs helps users to listen to, identify, and learn about different bird songs. In the former case, Apple argued that FastFinder “allows unfiltered access to the Internet, where content with mature or suggestive themes can be accessed;” it used the same argument to reject the Chirp! update due to its ability to connect to Wikipedia, according to an email from the developer. In both cases Apple said “[a]pplications must be rated accordingly for the highest level of content that the user is able to access,” suggesting the company may continue to reject applications offering Internet access until they raise their ratings. Both FastFinder and Chirp! Bird Songs had previously been accepted into the App Store with a 4+ rating, and are available in their current versions for $2 and $3, respectively.
If you haven’t yet entered our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. 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!
Drawing on his own experiences developing for the Iconfactory and from discussions with “hundreds” of other iPhone developers, Craig Hockenberry has posted a comprehensive list of the challenges and problems facing the App Store as it heads into its second year—including 3-week wait times for app update approvals—as well as an equally comprehensive list of possible solutions. Among his suggestions are the verification of developers instead of individual applications, the ability to offer paid upgrades and time-limited trials of applications, more clear, concise rules for application behavior and content, and a second, more expensive tier for larger developers with premium service. Hockenberry goes on to acknowledge that it has been a great last year for both Apple and third-party iPhone developers, but expresses fear that developers may begin to feel disenchanted with the iPhone maker should it continue refusing to engage developers and ignore their needs, and notes Apple’s refusal to answer App Store questions at WWDC enhanced that fear.
DirecTV has revealed that customers who sign up for the company’s NFL Sunday Ticket SuperFan package will be able to watch live NFL games on their iPhone during the upcoming season. According to the service’s NFL Sunday Ticket page, the Supercast Mobile application will over live streaming video, highlights, scores and game status updates, and instant stats; live streaming of games will be subject to local blackout restrictions. While the app will be free and will run over both Wi-Fi and 3G, users will be required to sign up for the company’s $280 NFL Sunday Ticket package, as well as the $100 SuperFan subscription. [via Business Insider]
An iPod is suspected to be the cause of a recent car fire in Sweden. According to a Hallandsposten report (Translated Link), the remains of the iPod were found in the car’s seat, near where the fire is believed to have started. The device has yet to be officially named as the cause of the blaze, however, and the exact model of the iPod is currently unknown. [via Engadget]
iPhone developer John Casasanta of tap tap tap has found that the 256MB of RAM found in the iPhone 3GS, double that of the iPhone and iPhone 3G’s 128MB, can actually provide up to nine times the available memory. Using the $1 application Memory Status, Casasanta found that the 3GS had 156 MB of memory available after startup compared to just under 40MB on the 3G, but that after opening, using, and quitting a group of several apps—including Safari, which stays open—the difference was increased, with the 3GS offering 122MB of available memory to just 13MB on the iPhone 3G.
Wind Solutions has released a new version of its CopyTrans Manager iPod and iPhone content organizer that is compatible with both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone OS 3.0. CopyTrans Manager allows users to add music, videos, and other media to the iPod and iPhone, organize and edit playlists and track information, play songs directly from the device on the PC, and remove tracks and playlists from the iPod or iPhone. CopyTrans Manager requires Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, and is available now as a free download.
The latest edition of iPodweek, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, is coming later today. iPodweek is a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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iLounge has learned that Incase‘s current-generation Power Slider case for the iPhone 3G is no longer in production, and that the company is working on a revised model to be released in the coming months. Incase representative Rachel Quizon Maniago told iLounge that the company is sold out of its existing inventory of the Power Slider EC20009, a quietly updated version of the original Power Slider launched in November 2008 with the model number EC20003; both versions of the product remain available through some third-party retailers. According to the company, the March update “implemented some design adjustments to allow for improved sound quality during speakerphone usage and made slight adjustments to fit and function, including updates to the firmware to increase standby time/battery efficiency and improve sync functionality,” however, user comments have suggested that iPhone 3G reception suffered due to the changes. Maniago said the company hopes to have the new Power Slider ready for release “around the holiday timeframe.”
Apple has rejected an update to TapMode’s News Addict application, claiming that the developer must rate the app 17+ because it allows access to the Internet. In an email to iLounge, TapMode developer Jeff McMorris explains that the app is currently #1 in the paid app listing for the News section, and that such a mandate would potentially affect thousands of other applications in the App Store. Notably, News Addict has passed inspection two previous times with a rating of 4+, a rating which is shared with many of its competitor applications. In addition, while the app is designed to offer fast access to a variety of predetermined news sources, there is no way to even enter a URL in the application, making Apple’s “Internet access” claim largely untrue. As McMorris notes on his company’s blog, “Apple needs to rate apps based on what they actually contain not what they might be used for. This is the equivalent of putting 17+ ratings on TV sets because they have the potential to play R rated movies.” The prior version of News Addict, version 1.1, is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
Apple has posted a new support document outlining the steps users can take to try and fix specific Wi-Fi or Bluetooth issues on the iPhone or iPod touch. According to the article “Unable to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with iPhone or iPod touch because there’s no address listed for the device,” symptoms of the issue may include a greyed out Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon, a lack of an address for either or both of the protocols, the appearance of a Wi-Fi signal but no ability to connect to online services, and the inability to pair with a Bluetooth device. Apple lists three steps for fixing these problems, telling users to try resetting network settings, erasing all content and settings, and restoring the software. If none of those three methods work, Apple says the device may need repairs. A number of users have reported problems with Wi-Fi and or Bluetooth following the installation of iPhone OS 3.0, however, it is unclear how many users are dealing with the specific issues outlined in this document.
Thought Out has introduced its new PED3-TriPhone and PED3-TriPhone FORM rotating iphone tripod mounts and holders for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. Based on the company’s previous PED3 iPhone mounts, the TriPhone is made to attach to any standard quarter-inch tripod mount for steadier video and pictures, and allows for the rotation of the device from vertical to horizontal orientation. In addition, the TriPhone FORM will work with most iPhones while they remain in their cases or skins. Thought Out’s PED3-TriPhone and PED3-TriPhone FORM mounts and holders will be available for pre-order soon and should begin shipping by the end of the month for $28 and $32, respectively; current owners of PED3 stands can purchase the TriPhone mount separately for $12.
Epic Tilt, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, has released TapStar, a new rhythm game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In TapStar, players attempt to tap on the touchpoints in the four corners of the screen to match up to the beat of the currently playing song, and are judged on misses, longest streak, and overall accuracy. Features include a widescreen presentation, music from artists such as John Mayer, Lit, Pink, and Cheap Trick, and four difficulty settings for each level. TapStar is available now from the App Store and sells for $1; a free trial version is also available.
American Heart Association has announced the launch of Pocket First Aid & CPR, its medical application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Jive Media, Pocket First Aid serves as a portable medical reference guide, with hundreds of illustrated pages on topics such as CPR, choking, bites, seizures, and more, videos to show users how to respond in critical situations, an area to store medical and insurance information for quick retrieval, and up-to-date emergency information. Pocket First Aid & CPR sells for $4.
Advenio has introduced Cloudburst, its new weather application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cloudburst is designed to offer users a quick-glance look at weather conditions, including current temperature, wind speed and direction, visibility, sunrise and sunset times, a four-day forecast, and current radar image, with all data provided by NOAA.gov. Cloudburst is available now and is priced at $1.
Candywriter has released Word Solitaire, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Word Solitaire merges word games with solitaire by having players drag letters onto each other to form words, completing the level by using all the provided letters in words. It features 25 levels, each with classical art backgrounds, intelligent decks that increase the difficulty slightly with each level, customizable color themes, Twitter integration for posting scores, millions of letter arrangements, and auto save. Word Solitaire is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
A new group of Apple patent filings published this week suggest the iPhone-maker is working on adding object identification capabilities to the device, among other features. As described by the patent filing, this “ID App” would allow users to identify objects, structures and other features of their surroundings by using information received by the camera, an RFID reader, or an Infrared camera. This information could be combined with current location data in order to more accurately pinpoint the appropriate database for the identification search. Another filing describes a method for recording and saving outgoing voicemails and tying them to the recipient’s contact information for later playback and reference, while yet another describes a system by which a consumer could pre-select the media to be loaded onto his or her device before purchasing, so that it could be downloaded immediately to the device and be available within minutes after opening.
Two more filings focus on improvements to messaging, the first of which describes a system of parental controls which would filter out objectionable text content in messages based on the user’s age or grade level, and could also alert the parents or other administrators to the presence of such text. The second outlines a messaging application that could determine whether a message was successfully sent from the device to one or more recipients, and allow the user to re-send the message without the need to retype it should the initial delivery attempt fail. Finally, a new filing suggests the company is working on a method for displaying song lyrics or other text-based content on a partially transparent, scrollable “sheet,” which is overlaid on the standard touchscreen iPod controls. As with all Apple patent filings, these do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]
Apple Korea has agreed to recall some first-generation iPod nano units following consumer complaints of overheating batteries in the devices. The Wall Street Journal reports that on June 25, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards sent a request to Apple asking it to recall all first-gen nanos with lithium ion batteries made by Chinese manufacturer ATL, it announced in a statement. “Although the overheating problem doesn’t affect the batteries that are being used now in iPod nanos, concerned customers can get a replacement battery,” Apple Korea was quoted as saying in the KATS statement. First-generation iPod nano units have been accused of bursting into flames on several different occasions dating back to October 2007; Apple also drew the ire of regulators in Japan over the battery problems and eventually released a statement explaining the problem and offering replacements to affected customers. [via Engadget]
A new feature found in iPhone OS 3.0 has also created a new security liability, according to a security group member. The exploit is caused by the OS’ automatic opening of Safari when attempting to connect to a network. Remote-exploit.org co-founder Max Moser explains that when the iPhone joins a network, it tries to run a DNS query for apple.com, and open a simple HTML document stored on Apple’s website. If these two things happen without incident, it functions as normal, but in circumstances in which the DNS query is successful but it can’t retrieve the HTML file, it assumes there is a “captive portal”—a hotspot with a login/pay-to-use screen—and automatically opens Safari. When combined with the penetration testing software karmetasploit, this vulnerability could potentially be used to capture iPhone cookies, account information, and possibly more, depending on what other vulnerabilities are found. While this would require a malicious Wi-Fi network to be setup, which might also pose a threat to other devices, the iPhone’s new automatic connect sequence leaves it more vulnerable than most. [via InformationWeek]
Wil Shipley, the developer behind Delicious Monster, has announced via Twitter that the iPhone version of the personal cataloging software Delicious Library has been pulled from the App Store due to a change in Amazon’s API terms. The portion of the terms in question states 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.” Shipley notes that the desktop version of Delicious Library is safe from these restrictions, and that he asked permission to use the data but was told “no permission is being given right now.”
More than four in ten people planning to purchase a smartphone in the next 90 days plan on buying an iPhone, according to the latest ChangeWave survey. Of the 14.4% of respondents who said they plan on purchasing a smartphone in the next 90 days, 44% said they planned on purchasing an iPhone, compared to just 23% who planned to purchase a BlackBerry and 8% who planned to purchase a Palm. Of those 44%, 17% plan to buy a 32GB iPhone 3GS, 21% plan on picking up a 16GB model, while 5% plan on purchasing the still-available 8GB iPhone 3G. By comparison, only 30% of March respondents said they were planning to purchase an iPhone.
As of July 6, the total cost for all 55,732 applications in the App Store was $144,326.06, according to a post on Busted Loop. On average, each app cost $2.59, or $3.34 when not including the 12,538 free applications available. Interestingly, the post also lists the top 26 developers by total cost of their applications—at the top was Iceberg Reader, with 1206 apps available at a total cost of $16,427.94.
More evidence of the third-generation iPod touch has surfaced, via Pinch Media’s Pinch Analytics data. Labeled “iPod 3,1,” the device was first seen in Pinch’s data in April 2009, only slightly after a listing for the same device was discovered in an iPhone OS 3.0 configuration file. Pinch Media claims that they have now tracked a “few dozen” distinct “iPod 3,1” devices, with appearances becoming more common since May. The original iPod touch was labeled “iPod 1,1” while the second-generation unit was labeled “iPod 2,1;” it is worth noting that first number changes normally indicate significant internal component differences between models, as the original iPhone was labeled “iPhone 1,1,” while the iPhone 3G and 3GS were labeled “iPhone 1,2” and “iPhone 2,1,” respectively.
Audio-Technica has introduced its new ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint noise-canceling headphones, an updated version of its prior ATH-ANC7 model. The ATH-ANC7b offers the same 85% active noise cancellation as its predecessor, but offers several improvements, including a more natural tonal balance, redesigned, more comfortable earcups, and easier battery access. Other features include 40mm neodymium-magnet drivers, a fold-flat design and included carrying case for travel, and the ability to operate in passive mode without batteries. Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint noise-canceling headphones will be available in August and will sell for $220.
In a recent interview, Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan made several interesting statements about the company’s Wi-Fi-based location services in relation to the iPhone and GPS. Despite the apparent overlaps between the two technologies, which some might presume would make Skyhook’s Wi-Fi-based device triangulation less useful in GPS-equipped devices, Morgan said the situation is actually the opposite, as the two features complement each other. He told Cnet that due to the longer time GPS takes to acquire an accurate location, pure GPS isn’t fast enough for instant-on apps used on smartphones, and that both interference from the devices’ screens and their smaller GPS antennas add to the issues. In addition, he claimed that two-thirds to three-quarters of the time, the iPhone locates itself using the Skyhook Wi-Fi service as opposed to GPS.
Jelly Biscuits has released Volcano Planet, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Volcano Planet, users attempt to help inhabitants of a volcanic planet escape from destruction by tapping on volcanoes as they erupt—like a 3-D whack-a-mole game—while swatting away passing flying saucers. Features include local and Internet high score tracking, bonuses for speed and accuracy, and pause functionality. Volcano Planet is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
Zachary West has introduced Prowl, a new Push Notification-enabled Growl client for the iPhone and iPod touch. The application works in concert with the Growl plugin for Mac OS X, allowing users to receive Growl notifications—for things like incoming emails, IMs, and Tweets, completed processes, and more—via Apple’s Push Notification service. Other features include the ability to keep up to 30 days of notifications stored on the server, customized notifications, and the ability to send any message to the device via the Prowl website. Prowl is available now and is priced at $3.
Sevnthsin, PopLife, and Yustin have released iMated, a new photo manipulation app for the iPhone and iPod touch. iMated lets users choose and align photos of two separate people to be combined into one face, giving an amusing look at the possible offspring of the two people pictured. Features include the ability to use a photo from the library or take a new photo with the camera, and the ability to shake to generate new results. iMated is available for $2.
Acrossair has previewed Nearest Tube, its new augmented reality application for the iPhone 3GS. Once the app receives approval from Apple, Nearest Tube will allow London-based iPhone users to hold the phone up and see their surroundings displayed in video format, with information about the nearest subway stations—gathered using a combination of Location and Compass technology—overlaid in real time over the video. Nearest Tube is pending approval from Apple; pricing has yet to be announced.