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O2’s UK iPhone exclusivity to expire on Oct 9?

O2’s exclusivity deal for the iPhone in the U.K. is set to expire on October 9th, according to a new report. Claiming to have seen “documentation” regarding the deal, Mobile Entertainment reports that although the exclusivity agreement runs out in 2009, the carrier has the rights to sell the iPhone until 2012. In addition, the report sites unnamed sources that say the carrier may also retain sole rights to the recently launched iPhone 3GS. In recent weeks, rival carriers Orange and T-Mobile have reportedly been in talks to offer the iPhone 3G in the U.K.; T-Mobile also recently began offering iPhone 3G units imported from other countries where the phone is offered unlocked to disgruntled, high-paying customers threatening to leave the company. O2 has been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.K. since its launch in the country on November 9, 2007. [via Macworld UK]

Latest iPhone 3.1 beta points to mystery product

The latest beta version of iPhone OS 3.1 released to developers contains configuration settings for what is thought to be both a prototype and release-ready version of an as-yet-unannounced Apple product. Found in the updated USBDeviceConfiguration.plist file, which lists details about the USB configurations of various hardware models along with their Device IDs and product names, were two listings for a mysterious “iProd.” The first, iProd0,1, was first discovered in a beta version of iPhone OS 3.0 in March, and given its 0,1 designation, was thought to be a prototype. It has been joined in the latest 3.1 beta by iProd 1,1, the preceding “1” typically standing for a first-generation shipping product. In addition, the iProd 1,1 listing includes the a different ConfigurationDescriptor than the 0,1 model, but one it shares with iPhone models—“standardMuxPTPEthernet.” This suggests the product may have gained high-speed network capabilities, although Ars Technica states that the iPhone uses this interface for tethering capabilities. Notably, the presence of the “iProd” in the iPhone OS USB listing suggests that the device—believed by some to be a new Apple tablet—will run iPhone OS rather than or in addition to Mac OS X, however, the specific features of the device remain unclear.

Apple rejects, censors iPhone dictionary app [updated]

Apple rejected the dictionary app Ninjawords three times before accepting it into the App Store, in the process forcing the developers to remove every word it deemed “objectionable,” including commonly-used words that have non-objectionable uses. Unlike many competing low-cost dictionary apps using WordNet, Ninjawords uses Wiktionary as its source. John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that Mac OS X’s built-in Dictionary app lists all of the words deemed objectionable by App Store reviewers. After having been rejected in May for a bug that crashed the software on the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0, the app was rejected again for listing curse words.

Phil Crosby, a developer for Ninjawords maker Matchstick Software, told Gruber in an email interview that the rejection came despite the fact that Ninjawords filtered out all curse words in its suggestion listings, something competing apps, including Dictionary.com’s application, don’t do. It was rejected a third time following Matchstick’s efforts to remove the curse words, with an Apple representative calling Matchstick to inform them that “no matter what we did to our dictionary, it will have to be 17+ to make it to the App Store.” In the end, Matchstick ended up having to remove common words such as snatch, c*ck, and screw, and managed to have the app approved in mid-July. Ninjawords is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.

Update: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has responded to Gruber’s report via an email, stating that Ninjawords was rejected not because of common swear words, but because of “other more vulgar terms,” “urban slang” that might be more offensive than those found in traditional and common dictionaries, and suggested that had the developer waited for the release of Parental Controls in iPhone OS 3.0, the app would not have needed censoring.

“You are correct that the Ninjawords application should not have needed to be censored while also receiving a 17+ rating, but that was a result of the developers’ actions, not Apple’s. I believe that the Apple app review team’s original recommendation to the developer to submit the Ninjawords application, without censoring it, to the App Store once parental controls was implemented would have been the best course of action for all; Wiktionary.org is an open, ever-changing resource and filtering the content does not seem reasonable or necessary,” Schiller said in his email.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Taiwan

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and an iPhone at the Lalu Hotel overlooking Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan. 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!

Gameloft reveals NFL 2010, Modern Combat FPS

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Gameloft has unveiled two upcoming games for the iPhone and iPod touch: NFL 2010, and the first-person shooter Modern Combat: Sandstorm. NFL 2010 will offer a “full football simulation,” on-screen controls, and full NFL team rosters. Pricing has yet to be set, but the company hopes to release the game on the App Store by the end of the month. Even less is known about Modern Combat: Sandstorm, which debuted on YouTube with a video description claiming that the game places players in the “heart of a modern war.” Pricing is similarly unannounced, and the game is said to be coming soon. Continue reading for more screenshots of both games.

Microsoft offers iPhone to Windows Mobile porting tips

Microsoft has posted a case study on its Windows Mobile Development Center offering an example of how to port an iPhone application to Windows Mobile 6.5. The application in question, Amplitude by Luke Thompson of Gripwire.com, allows users to enhance distant and/or quiet sounds to make them more audible to those nearby. According to a post on the Windows Mobile Blog, the app is “well suited for a porting project because it combines a rich user interface with features such as alpha blending and transparency with specific audio and sound requirements, which makes it challenging to port the app but, at the same time, provides a number of helpful learning experiences.” Some of those challenges included adding support for running in the background, accommodating keyboards, and porting the UI, since the .NET Compact Framework Thompson was using didn’t offer support for transparencies and alpha blending like the iPhone OS. Microsoft plans to open its App Store competitor Windows Marketplace for Mobile sometime this fall.

Apple execs visiting China to wrap-up iPhone deal?

Senior Apple officials are expected to visit China this week to work on the final stages of iPhone negotiations with China Unicom, according to a Fortune report. Citing an unnamed source quoted on the Chinese-language Sina.com, the report claims that the visit is to meet with senior China Unicom executives and discuss how the iPhone should enter the Chinese market. The International Business Times reports that Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing, is expected to lead the negotiations; Joswiak was reportedly on hand for a round of negotiations this past March, as well. Although the source is unnamed, it is worth noting that Sina was also the original publisher of photos showing a WCDMA iPhone 3GS running on China Unicom’s network, which appeared last week following a separate report that the two companies had reached a preliminary agreement on sales of the handset in China.

Griffin debuts Elan Form Etch for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Griffin Technology has introduced its new Elan Form Etch case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. This two-piece, snap-together case features open access to all ports and controls, a premium leather exterior that is bonded to an impact-resistant polycarbonate shell, and Griffin’s EasyDock removable bottom cover for easier docking. Currently available at Apple retail stores in brown leather with an etched vintage pattern, the Elan Form Etch will soon be released in a number of additional colors and patterns and will also be available from Griffin’s website. It is priced at $35.

Grantwood intros RunWallet for iPod shuffle

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Grantwood Technology has introduced its new RunWallet, an armband-based wallet for the iPod shuffle. Designed to carry IDs, cards, keys, and cash during exercise with a Velcro closure to keep items secure inside, the RunWallet also features an attachment band onto which users can clip a second- or third-generation iPod shuffle. It includes a flexible armband strap, which can be ordered in extra large or extra small sizes as need; the armband can also be removed to let the RunWallet attach to a belt or shoelaces. Grantwood’s RunWallet is available now and sells for $10.

Apple launches iTunes Music Store in Mexico

Apple has officially launched the iTunes Music Store in Mexico (Translated Link), letting customers there purchase songs and music videos alongside the previously available iPhone applications from the App Store. According to a report from Mundo Mac, songs are priced at 12 pesos—or roughly $0.91—each, while music videos sell for double that amount. TV shows and movie purchases and rentals are not offered at the moment, and the report indicates that the store is not yet available from Mexico-based iPhone and iPod touch units.

Update: Apple has released an official announcement regarding the launch, and reader reports indicate that the iPhone and iPod touch store is now functional.

“The iTunes Store in Mexico is off to a great start with music from all of the majors and hundreds of indie labels,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “And the revolutionary App Store in Mexico gets bigger and better with great new apps using amazing new features, and we can’t wait to see what developers come up with next.”

Apple bans iPhone developer, yanks 900+ apps

Apple has banned an iPhone developer responsible for over 900 apps for repeated complaints of copyright infringement. Khalid Shaikh has seen his iPhone Developer Program License Agreement and Registered iPhone Developer Agreement terminated by Apple, who told Shaikh in its rejection email that it has “informed you of numerous third party intellectual property complaints concerning over 100 of your Applications and reminded you of your obligations to obtain the necessary rights prior to submission of your Applications. Nevertheless, we continue to receive the same or similar types of complaints regarding your Applications despite our repeated notices to you. The persistent nature of such complaints has led us to conclude that you are entering into the representations and warranties in the iDP Agreement in bad faith by misrepresenting that you have all the necessary rights for your submissions.”

MobileCrunch reports that Shaikh’s 9-month-old company, Perfect Acumen, had a team of 26 developers and had managed to publish 943 applications, or an average of 5 apps a day, every day, for 250 days. Many of the company’s apps were serialized in nature and sold for $5 each, such as “Top Sexy Ladies,” “Top Sexy Men,” and a vast number of news update applications. The report also notes that competing developer Brighthouse Labs has released over 2,000 applications, each costing $0.99, many of which seem to have similar copyright issues as Shaikh’s apps.

Apple posts two new iPhone TV ads

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Apple has added two new iPhone 3GS television advertisements to its online gallery. The first, “Share,” highlights apps that allow users to share pictures and contacts wirelessly, and wireless gaming, while “Travel” highlights a variety of apps that one might use when visiting a foreign city such as Paris, including a city guide, subway app, and postcard application. Both ads available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Mix: Namco, T-Mobile UK, iPhone payment, FTC

  • August 3, 2009

Namco has announced that Apple veteran Jonathan Kromley has joined the company to head up its new Apple Games division. Before joining Namco, Kromley worked for Apple as an iPod and iPhone games producer and designer, and was responsible for the research, design and development of products/applications on the iPod, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV platforms. Kromley’s new duties at Namco will include creating new franchise opportunities, overseeing research, managing design and production from internal teams and worldwide external partners, and developing and publishing new and original content for Apple’s devices.

T-Mobile in the U.K. has begun offering imported iPhone 3G units to current high-value customers threatening to leave the carrier, the Register reports. The company has limited the units to just 150 per week, to be handed out by 50 agents in the retentions department who are limited to three units per week each. In addition, the handsets are reserved for customers currently paying more than £75 (roughly $127) a month. The report also speculates that the handsets are being handed out quietly as to not upset Apple, which has an exclusive deal with T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom to sell the iPhone in Germany.

A new iPhone payment system, code-named “Square,” is currently being tested in a New York clothing boutique. Cool Hunting reports that Self Edge NYC is testing the system, which consists of a small square credit card reader that attaches to the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s headphone jack and transmits the card number to a companion application. The customer then “signs” for the purchase using their finger on the screen, and can enter an email address to which their receipt will be sent. The payment is processed by Square for a small percentage plus a fixed fee, and the funds are transferred instantly to the retailer’s account. [via Cult of Mac]

The Federal Trade Commission has released an official statement regarding Apple’s announcement that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was resigning from Apple’s Board of Directors. “We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other,” said Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein. “We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies.” The regulatory body launched an investigation earlier this year into whether the close ties between Apple and Google’s boards amount to a violation of antitrust laws; Mac Rumors notes that Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, remains a member of both boards, and former Vice President and Apple board member Al Gore serves as a “special advisor” to Google and Eric Schmidt.

Apple adds Travel Guide section to iTunes Store

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Apple has added a new Travel Guide section to the iTunes Store. Found on the right-hand side of the main iTunes storefront under “More In Music,” the Travel Guide page offers links to destination applications, podcasts, audiobooks, and music, language-oriented translation and learning apps, podcasts, and audiobooks, a section for “Staycations” featuring movies, TV Shows, and audiobooks, and a section for more travel tools highlighting a number of iPhone applications that might be helpful to those traveling by car or plane, for both international and domestic trips. Also new to the “More In Music” section is a dedicated link to the store’s Commercial Success page, which highlights individual songs used in various recent TV commercials. Notably, the page for July 2009 spotlights the song “Wholehearted” by Madcon, which the description claims is used in a new Apple TV spot, although it is unclear exactly what ad is being mentioned.

Update: Apple has since pulled “Wholehearted” off the current Commercial Success page.

Winners of Tekkeon myPower Giveaway announced

The winners of our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 10 iLounge readers won a Tekkeon myPower for iPhone. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our Livespeakr Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for August.

iLounge announces Livespeakr Giveaway

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iLounge is pleased to announce the Livespeakr Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for August, Digital Group Audio and iLounge are giving away 10 black Livespeakrs for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on August 31, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Kensington unveils Charging Dock with Battery Pack for iPhone, iPod

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Kensington has introduced its new Charging Dock with Mini Battery Pack for iPhone and iPod. The white and gray Charging Dock simultaneously charges the attached iPhone or iPod and the Mini Battery Pack, which extends music play time up to 30 hours, video playback by 6 hours, and talk time by 3 hours, depending on the model. Other features include a detachable USB cable for charging and syncing and the ability to charge encased iPhones and iPods. Kensington’s Charging Dock with Mini Battery Pack for iPhone and iPod is available for pre-order for $70 and is expected to ship October 23.

FCC questions Apple, AT&T over Google Voice removal

The Federal Communications Commission has opened an inquiry into why Apple rejected an official Google Voice application for the iPhone and subsequently removed related applications from the App Store. Letters sent to both companies, as well as AT&T, ask why Apple rejected the application and removed voice applications already available, and how and if AT&T was consulted when making the decision. The FCC asks pointedly what AT&T’s role is in approving or denying applications allowed in the App Store, as well as asking the companies to explain their reasoning for application rejections.

Its letter to Google asks for a description of the Google Voice application, and whether Apple has approved any other Google applications for its store. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC “has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment.” The inquiry letters “reflect the Commission’s proactive approach to getting the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions,” and hint at concern over topics such as lack of consumer disclosure, and lack of developer disclosure, regarding the type of applications that are permitted and rejected. The Wall Street Journal reports that while the investigation isn’t formal, it is notable because the FCC hadn’t received a complaint about the rejection and removals.

iPhone developers get e-mail help, line length clues

Apple has made a couple of small changes to its iPhone Dev Center that partially address issues developers have raised since the launch of the App Store over a year ago. It has added an App Store Review Status graphic to the site, giving developers a general idea of the wait time that all developers are facing for application approvals. The Status is based upon “current app submissions,” and offered as a percentage approved within a timeframe, so its accuracy will vary on a case-by-case basis. The site has also begun to publicize a new “all issues” escalation email address, allowing developers with urgent bug fixes in need of priority service to get their questions answered. [via TUAW]

Apple tried to silence victim of exploding iPod?

  • August 3, 2009
  • iPod

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Apple made an attempt to silence an 11-year-old girl and her father after her iPod exploded, the Times reports. Ken Stanborough of Liverpool, U.K., dropped his daughter Ellie’s iPod touch sometime last month, which caused it to make a “hissing noise.” “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour,” Stanborough said. He claims he then threw the device out of his back door, where “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air.” Stanborough contacted both Apple and Argos, the retailer where he purchased the device, and ended up reaching an Apple executive on the phone after being passed around several departments. Following that conversation, Apple sent a letter denying liability but offering a refund — in exchange for silence.

The letter specified that Stanborough, in accepting the money, was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential,” and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties.” Stanborough refused to sign the letter. “They’re putting a life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling,” he said. “We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back.”

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