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Canadian Palm Pre ad apes Apple’s iPhone spots

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A new TV advertisement for the Palm Pre running on Canadian carrier Bell appears to have been modeled on Apple’s long-running series of app-focused iPhone commercials. Like the Apple ads, the new Pre spot shows the device against a white backdrop, while an unseen person holds and demonstrates different features of the device and a modern pop song plays in the background. Continue reading to watch an embedded version of the ad. [via Engadget]

Apple offering refurb first-gen iPods online

  • August 20, 2009
  • iPod

Apple is curiously offering a limited quantity of refurbished first-generation iPods through its online store. Although the product number—F8513LL/A—and description—which mentions a 5GB iPod for Mac—suggest the item being offered is a first-generation model, the listing page features a picture of the third-generation iPod. The units come with headphones, an iPod Power Adapter, a 2m Apple FireWire Cable, a getting started manual, a CD with iTunes and electronic documentation, and a one-year limited warranty. These refurbished first-generation iPods are available now for shipping “within 24 hours” and sell for $129. [via TUAW]

Apple sued a second time over Apple TV intro [updated]

Apple has been sued a second time by photographer Louis Psihoyos over what he claims is misappropriation of his image “1000 TVs” for the Apple TV’s wall-of-videos intro sequence. Psihoyos filed a similar claim against Apple in June of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado; this latest suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan, and is seeking actual damages and other remedies that are “reasonably believed” to exceed $2 million. Apple modified the Apple TV’s opening sequence somewhat with the release of software 2.0, possibly in response to Psihoyos’ claim, as it was less similar to the photographer’s work than the prior introduction movie.

Update: Following the publication of this article, iLounge learned that the suit was not referencing the Apple TV, but instead an early version of the i.TV application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The suit names both Apple and i.TV, asserting that “[w]ithout permission or authorization from the plaintiff, defendants Apple and i.TV have impermissibly used, reproduced, copied, infringed, disseminated or otherwise exploited the plaintiff’s copyrighted image in the i.TV application.” The image no longer appears in the application, and it is unclear how long the application was available with the infringing image.

iPhone 3GS capable of 720p, 1080p hi-def playback?

A forum post to Chinese-language site weiphone.com (Translated Link) indicates that the iPhone 3GS is capable of playing back both 720p and 1080p video encoded in H.264 through the built-in video player, suggesting that Apple is currently placing arbitrary limits on the device, either to preserve battery life or keep its functionality more consistent with that of prior iPhone OS devices. Using the free document storage and viewing application FileAid, forum member fridtear was able to circumvent Apple’s video restrictions, smoothly playing back files up to 30 Mbps in 1920x1080 resolution via the iPhone 3GS’ built-in video player. While the effects on the device’s temperature and battery of playing back such large video files is unclear, these tests do appear to indicate that Apple would be able to open up the 3GS and any similarly-appointed future iPhone OS devices to playback of HD video files purchased from the iTunes Store, and potentially allow the devices to output HD-quality video via the Component AV Cable for iPod and iPhone.

Palm refused Apple effort to limit employee poaching

Former Palm CEO Ed Colligan rejected what he deemed a “likely illegal” proposal from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that the two companies refrain from hiring each other’s employees, according to two-year-old communications between the two executives obtained and reviewed by Bloomberg News. While the report states that the exact details of what Jobs proposed are unknown since the proposal was not included in the documents it received, it did review Colligan’s response, which said, “Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other’s employees, regardless of the individual’s desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal.” Colligan reportedly considered offering hiring concessions, before deciding against it.

The proposal appears to have been a direct result of Palm’s hiring of former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein to develop new products; Jobs was concerned that Rubinstein would recruit Apple employees away from the company to join his team at Palm—a rational fear, given that Apple had hired a number of Palm employees in the lead-up to the iPhone. “We must do whatever we can to stop this,” Jobs said. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible collusion in hiring practices amongst technology companies, and the Federal Trade Commission is currently looking into whether ties between Google and Apple through shared board members—including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who recently resigned from Apple’s board—might have led to a similar arrangement, reducing competition between the two companies.

Marware debuts SportShell Convertible for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Marware has introduced its new SportShell Convertible case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. With interchangeable parts, the SportShell Convertible can function as a hard shell case, an armband, or as a belt clip case. The armband offers a quick release design, while the belt clip locks in place to become a stand; the case offers full access to all ports and controls and includes a clear screen protector and cleaning cloth. Marware’s SportShell Convertible case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS is available now and sells for $45.

Bose unveils QuietComfort 15 Noise-Cancelling headphones

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Bose has introduced its new QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, a replacement for the company’s aging QuietComfort 2 headphones. The QC 15s feature a newly-developed, more sophisticated approach to active noise reduction than their predecessors, placing microphones both inside and outside the earcup to better sense ambient sounds and produce an appropriate cancellation signal. Other features include new proprietary ear cushions for additional passive isolation, an around-the-ear design, the ability to run for roughly 35 hours on a single AAA battery, and the company’s TriPort acoustic headphone structure for stronger bass. The Bose QuietComfort 15 will be available in silver starting August 20th for $300.

iPhone supply dwindling in Canada?

The supply of iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS units is running low in Canada’s Rogers Wireless and Fido stores, according to a new report. The Globe and Mail reports that Apple is shipping only limited supplies to Rogers, which claims to be out of both models. “We are out of stock and still taking orders as our inventory continues to come in week to week,” Rogers spokeswoman Liz Hamilton said. “While we have continuous incoming inventory, we are filling back orders on a priority basis and we appreciate the enthusiasm and patience of our customers.” The report notes that several of Apple’s 11 Canadian retail stores report stock of the iPhone, and that some other international markets, including Australia, also appear to have run out of the handset. [via MDN]

Westone intros Westone 1 earphones

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Westone has introduced its new Westone 1 earphones. Based on a single balanced armature driver, the in-ear Westone 1 also features durable braided cables, a small, ergonomically-designed body, and includes a fit kit with ten universal eartip options, a zippered carrying pouch, a 1/8” to 1/4” plug adapter, and an inline volume control. Westone’s Westone 1 earphones will be available in early September and will sell for $139.

Nike offers hosted, virtual Nike+ Human Race 2009

  • August 19, 2009
  • iPod

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Nike has announced the Nike+ Human Race 2009, a global 10K running event in which entrants can run in one of the 24 Nike-hosted Human Race events in cities worldwide, or use their Nike+ iPod Sport Kits at any preferred alternate location to log a 10K run on the event day. Registration for the event, which will take place October 24, is now open on nikeplus.com; U.S.-based, Nike-hosted events will be held in New York City at Prospect Park, at the University of Southern California, and on the campus of The Ohio State University, each offering post-race festivities, and with a portion of race-day fees will go to local non-profit organizations. For more information on the Nike+ Human Race 2009, visit nikeplus.com.

USB Fever offering mini-boombox speaker for iPod, iPhone

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USB Fever has released its Retro Cassette Stereo Mini Speaker for iPod and iPhone. Powered by the attached iPod or iPhone via the Dock Connector, this boombox-styled mini speaker offers “stereo” output, a compact 2.4 x 1.18 x 0.6 inch design, an easily accessible volume control, and more. The Retro Cassette Stereo Mini Speaker for iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $32.

AT&T begins 850MHz network buildup

AT&T has begun to roll out its 850MHz spectrum in hopes to improve its 3G coverage in densely populated areas. Mobiledia reports that the company has said it will start the rollout in Atlanta, eventually adding more than 540 cell sites to increase network capacity and coverage. Keith Holmes, AT&T’s vice president and general manager, said, “We’re enhancing our network every day to help customers do more with and get more from their wireless connections.” An anecdotal report from TechCrunch indicates that upgrades may also be underway in San Francisco, as editors and contacts have seen improved coverage in that area; an AT&T representative told the publication that “improvements are underway,” and that “[m]ost of this is 850MHz spectrum being added.”

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Turkey

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone looking out on some windsurfers at Alaçati Beach in Turkey. 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!

App Mix: Wikipedia, NPR, Discovery, iBurgh

The Wikipedia Foundation has released its official Wikipedia Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app is described as being “very simple and very fast,” with features expected to be added to future versions based on requests. In addition, the foundation claims the code for the application is 100% open source and community built, adding that any programmer with Javascript and HTML5 experience is welcome to help work on the code. Wikipedia Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store. [via Mac Rumors]

National Public Radio has launched its new NPR News application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by the MPR Mobile team and Bottle Rocket Apps, NPR News relies on location services or a zip code search to let users locate the nearest NPR station. The app also allows users to search by station or by program, letting them connect to more than 1,000 live or on-demand streams of NPR stations, including popular programs such as All Things Considered, Car Talk, and Morning Edition. In addition, it also offers a customizable playlist feature, which lets users select, organize and time-shift their favorite NPR programs or stories. NPR News is available now as a free download.

Discovery Communications has introduced its new Discovery Channel application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The free application offers users access to a collection of video clips from some of the network’s shows, including Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild, and Cash Cab, along with a collection of quizzes, photo galleries, programming schedules and updates from Discovery News. Users may also share content via email and save favorites for later viewing. The Discovery Channel application is available now.

YinzCam has released iBurgh, a new application for the iPhone that allows Pittsburgh residents to report problems to the city. The application lets users take photographs of problems, such as graffiti, potholes, traffic issues, and more, automatically geotagging the image to allow officials to know exactly where the problem is, and sending it to the city’s 311 complaint system. iBurgh is available now and is a free download.

Apple investigating exploding iPhone OS devices

Apple is currently investigating reports of an exploding iPhone and iPod touch in Europe, according a European Commission spokeswoman. Reuters reports that Apple told the EU it considers the reported incidents isolated. “Apple have come back to us ... and what they’ve said to us is that they consider these are isolated incidents. They don’t consider that there’s a general problem,” Commission spokeswoman Helen Kearns said during a news briefing. “They’re trying to get more information on the specific details of those incidents (reported in the media) and they will do tests as necessary to investigate the possible cause.” While Apple did not comment on Kearns’ remarks, an Apple Europe spokesman did say that “[w]e are aware of these (media) reports and we are waiting to receive the iPhones from the customers. Until we have the full details, we don’t have anything further to add.”

Last week a report emerged claiming that a French teen was injured when his girlfriend’s iPhone exploded nearby; this followed a report from earlier this month that a U.K. girl’s iPod touch exploded after being dropped.

Marware rolls out C.E.O. Premiere+ for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Marware has introduced its new C.E.O. Premiere+ case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The C.E.O. Premiere+ combines a hip case made from eco-leather, featuring a Velcro closure, integrated low-profile belt clip, fleece interior, and perforated leather design, with a hard shell case offering open access to all ports and controls. The hard shell can be used on its own or in conjunction with the hip case; the package also includes a clear screen protector and cleaning cloth. Marware’s C.E.O. Premiere+ for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now in black or brown and sells for $40.

Sony, Best Buy team on iPod speaker systems

Sony and Best Buy have partnered on a new line of audio products, which includes two iPod-docking speaker systems. Part of the new Altus line, the ALT-SA31iR is a multi-room system consisting of a docking station for the iPod and iPhone, and two high-output wireless speakers. An AM/FM tuner is also featured, along with an S-Air remote control with an LCD for display of metadata such as album, artist, and track information. The AIR SW10Ti is a compact speaker system with an integrated dock, two built-in speakers, an FM tuner, 60 Watts RMS output power, an included remote control, and the ability to stream audio to compatible Altus and S-Air products. The new ALT-SA31iR and AIR-SA10Ti will be available for pre-order soon from sonystyle.com for $700 and $400, respectively, and are expected in Best Buy stores in September.

NPD: iTunes accounts for a quarter of U.S. music sales

According to the latest data released by The NPD Group, iTunes now represents a quarter—25%—of all retail music sales in the United States, more than ten percent more than its closest competitor. Based on all music sold in the first half of 2009, iTunes sold 25 percent of it, up from 21 percent in 2008 and 14 percent in 2007. Walmart, which sells music through its brick-and-mortar stores, Walmart.com, and its Walmart Music Downloads initiative, accounted for 14 percent of music volume, followed by Best Buy in third. In digital music, iTunes’ lead is even larger, accounting for 69 percent of the market, followed by Amazon MP3 with 8 percent. Overall, digital music sales continue to make up a greater share of U.S. music sales, comprising 35 percent of all music sales, compared to just 20 percent in 2007 and 30 percent in 2008.

iBlink earphones flash along with music

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Following in the footsteps of Design Annex’s 2005 product iBeat, iBlink has introduced its new iBlink noise isolating earphones with integrated LED lights. Using a patented audio-optic technology, the iBlink flashes its LEDs to the sound output of any connected device. The volume level of the music device controls the brightness of the lights, while gel ear bud caps provide passive isolation from outside noises. Available in both black and white with white, blue, or pink LEDS, iBlink noise isolating earphones are available now and sell for $30.

Mix: Jobs profile, App Store PR, SoftBank cases, TomTom

  • August 17, 2009

Apple made an effort to stop a profile of CEO Steve Jobs from running in the U.K.‘s Sunday Times. The profile itself states that an Apple PR representative told the author the company “want[s] to discourage profiles,” and that it later contacted the publication’s editor in an attempt to stop the profile from running. At four-pages in length, the profile is a broad look at the Apple co-founder’s history with the company, his personal background, and his personality, as told through a series of quotes from Apple-focused journalists and former colleagues.

Apple has made a change in its Public Relations department, giving the App Store a dedicated PR team, according to a new report. TechCrunch reports that it has received its first email from “App Store Public Relations,” indicating a new branch of Apple’s PR team; past emails received by the site have come from more broad iPhone or Apple PR teams. The report states that the company recently split its iPhone PR team in two, with one group to focus on the hardware and the other to take on public relations for the App Store.

Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank has begun offering its exclusive line of hand-crafted Japan Texture cases for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. These lacquer cases feature intricate artwork representing various events and figures from Japanese history, with gold dust details. Each of the five cases comes with its own specifically-designed carry bag, as well. SoftBank’s Japan Texture cases are available now and sell for 99,800 yen, or roughly $1,058 each.

TomTom has confirmed that its upcoming iPhone GPS cradle will support the iPod touch. In an interview with French-language site Mac4Ever (Translated Link), TomTom PR representative Yann Lafargue said that the cradle would work with the iPod touch, allowing the device to utilize the cradle’s built-in GPS receiver as its own, and will even allow the touch to work with GPS software from competing companies. Unfortunately Lafargue was unable to provide further details on the cradle’s release date or pricing.

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