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Sumajin debuts Ink Leather Case for iPhone 3G, 3GS

Sumajin has introduced its new Ink Leather Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The two-piece case features a slide-off bottom portion for easy docking, an ABS plastic shell with rubberized inner lining and a leather exterior, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector. Sumajin’s Ink Leather Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now in a variety of colors and sells for $25.

TomTom releases hardware-less iPhone navigation apps

Announced and demonstrated during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote Address, TomTom has released its navigation applications for the iPhone. The four separate TomTom apps cover the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, respectively, each featuring the latest Tele Atlas maps for its designated region. Features include the company’s IQ Routes technology for calculating fast, accurate routes and travel time estimates, voice instructions, automatic re-routing if a turn is missed, six million points of interest for the U.S. and Canada edition, night and day color modes, 2D and 3D display options, multi-touch gestures for zoom control, Contacts integration, and more. TomTom’s navigation apps for the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are available now and sell for $100, $140, $80, and $95, respectively. A mounting cradle with GPS antenna accessory announced by TomTom for use with the apps is not required in order to use the software.

Prototype pics of iPod touch 3G confirm camera, design changes

Update: Every 2009 iPod reviewed, photographed and more including the iPod touch 3G.

A group of pictures showing what is believed to be a prototype third-generation iPod touch used for screen impact testing confirm that the device will sport a rear-mounted camera, as had been previously rumored. The pictures, which were sent to iLounge by the Maxim Radio show Covino and Rich, show the presence of a “2009” marking on one of the device’s circuit boards, as well as a camera sensor module in the appropriate place for the rear-facing camera, shown in a separate shot. The photos also confirm that the new touch will keep the same size and aspect screen, and will keep the headphone port, volume buttons, sleep/wake button, and plastic antenna cover in the same positions as found on the second-generation device; interestingly, the camera is depicted with an iPhone-like metal ring around its lens, and a pinhole off to its right side.

Agent 18 intros StandHear Travel Stand

Agent18 has introduced its new StandHear Travel Stand for the iPod, iPhone, and other portable devices. The StandHear is a folding grey and white stand that offers a rubberized surface on which to rest the device, an adjustable kickstand for multiple viewing angles, and an integrated headphone splitter. It is available now and sells for $25.

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Apple, AT&T hit with iPhone MMS lawsuits

Apple and its carrier partner AT&T have been hit with two separate yet identical class-action lawsuits over the iPhone’s current lack of MMS support in the U.S. Although filed by different groups in different U.S. District Courts—the Southern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Louisiana—both suits use identical language, alleging that Apple heavily advertised both the iPhone 3G and 3GS as offering MMS, “in and on television, the Internet, radio, newspapers, and direct mailers.” The suits also claim that they downloaded the iPhone OS 3.0 update expecting MMS support to be included, despite a very clear statement from Apple Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Scott Forstall, who said during the company’s 2009 Keynote, “MMS requires carrier support as well. Twenty-nine of our carrier partners in 76 countries around the world will support MMS at the launch of iPhone OS 3.0. in the United States, AT&T will be ready to support MMS later this summer.” The Louisiana suit claims at least 10,000 individuals are to be included the complaint, while the Illinois suit claims at least 100,000; both are requesting individual plaintiff damages for the iPhone 3G or 3GS purchased, between $100 and $500 each.

Mix: China Unicom, USAA, Qik, Madden NFL 10

China Unicom is now denying a report from earlier in the week stating that it had agreed to purchase 5 million WCDMA iPhones for sale in mainland China. “The report is not true,” Unicom spokesman Yi Difei told the UKPA. “Talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time, but no agreement has been reached yet. There are all kinds of possibilities. There is no particular timetable for the talks.”

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, has revealed that customers have already made more than $1.5 million in deposits using the company’s updated iPhone application which launched this week. The application uses the iPhone’s camera to photograph both sides of a check for deposit, with an on-screen guide to make sure the check’s image is placed correctly in the frame. A company spokesperson told mocoNews that overall, the app has been installed nearly 150,000 times, and more than 58,000 users have already elected to update it.

The online video streaming and sharing service Qik has launched its official application for the iPhone 3GS. Available as a free download from the App Store, the Apple-approved version carries with it restrictions missing from the previously-released jailbreak app, namely the ability to record, upload, and stream video over 3G using an iPhone 3G or 3GS; the App Store version offers only the ability to record and upload over Wi-Fi using the iPhone 3GS. In addition to uploading to Qik’s own site, the app can also upload videos to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

In a press release announcing the availability of its Madden NFL 10 football game for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, and PSP, Electronic Arts has revealed that its anticipated iPhone port of the game will be available in September. Unlike its console and portable releases, for which EA has exclusive rights to the NFL’s teams and players, the iPhone and iPod touch release of the game will have competition, including Gameloft’s NFL 2010, which has already been released on the App Store.

Sony recruiting iPhone devs for PSP games

In addition to Microsoft’s push to bring iPhone OS app developers to the Zune, Sony is attempting to lure iPhone developers to bring existing App Store titles to the company’s PlayStation Network store. The games would be aimed at Sony’s upcoming PSPgo pocketable gaming system. According to Pocket Gamer, the downloadable titles will be priced at 1, 2 and 5 Euros—roughly $1.40, $2.85, and $7.13, respectively—to stay price-competitive with the App Store. The article goes on to note that ported iPhone games will require some reworking for the PSPgo, to account for the difference in screen resolution—480x320 versus 480x272, respectively—and to map controls onto the PSPgo’s physical buttons. It also states that all games will be required to go through formal Technical Requirement Checks and a two-week quality assurance testing period, and that Sony will actively control the release schedule for games.

Microsoft luring iPhone developers for Zune apps

Microsoft has quietly been recruiting iPhone developers to create applications to run on its upcoming Zune HD media player. John Gruber of Daring Fireball reports that following a brief note he posted on the new 16GB and 32GB touchscreen media players, he received an email from the developer of an iPhone Twitter client, saying that he had been contacted by Microsoft and offered “a bucket of money” to port his app to the Zune. The developer in question turned down Microsoft’s offer, but assumes the company was pursuing similar agreements with the developers of multiple popular iPhone apps. Due to the fact that the developer turned down the offer early on, he wasn’t privy to what OS or SDK the company might be using for Zune development, but was adamant in the fact that the apps would be for the Zune, and not Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform.

Notably, Microsoft attempted a similar strategy in 2006 when it recruited leading iPod developers to create car, home, and portable accessories for the Zune. Despite support from a number of well-known companies, which brought over designs that were originally developed for the iPod, the Zune accessory program ultimately resulted in little traction for Microsoft, and the products substantially faded from store shelves.

Mix: NewerTech, Dexter, iSkin promo, Theory11

Newer Technology has introduced its new Auto Charger with USB Sync/Charge Cable for the iPod and iPhone. The Charger consists of a simple bulb with a USB port on the back, which connects to the included charging cable; it is available in black or white for $20. Also new is the company’s 3 in 1 Audio/Sync/Charging Cable, which provides both a 3.5mm audio plug and a USB connector from a single Dock connection. It sells for $15.

Speck has introduced a limited edition run of its CandyShell cases, adorned with the logo of upcoming Dexter the Game, based on the Showtime TV series. The cases, available exclusively for the second-generation iPod touch, feature both the Speck and Dexter logos on the back, with a white outer hard shell and red inner soft rubber lining. Speck’s Dexter the Game CandyShell for iPod touch 2G is available now from the Showtime Store and sells for $50.

iSkin is running a Back to School contest for a prize pack valued at $2,500. Included in the package is an Apple MacBook with SOHO MacBook Sleeve and ProTouch Keyboard Protector, a 16GB iPod touch 2G with Vibes case, an iSkin Cerulean Bluetooth headset, an Apple Might Mouse with matching ProTouch cover, a $50 iSkin Online Gift Card, and 50 free downloads from eMusic. Entries are being accepted on the contest page and no purchase is necessary to enter; the contest will end on September 15.

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller has for the third time emailed a developer upset over an App Store rejection. According to a Dow Jones Newswires report, Schiller emailed Chris Kenner of the magic site to discuss the rejection of the company’s “rising card” trick application, which Apple reviewers claimed created “consumer confusion.” Although details of the correspondence have not been revealed, Kenner and Schiller are expected to discuss the matter today. Theory11 CEO Jonathan Bayme commented, “It’s frustrating to us as a developer to have it just sitting there and hoping that Phil could intervene.”

BlueLounge unveils Refresh charging station

BlueLounge has introduced its new Refresh charging station for the iPod, iPhone, and other portable devices. Similar in functionality to the company’s prior Sanctuary charging station, which offers total of 11 charging tips as well as a single USB port, the Refresh is smaller in size and scope, featuring dual iPod/iPhone charging connectors, both Mini and Micro USB connectors, and two USB ports, giving it the ability to charge up to four iPods or iPhones at once. All the cords and connectors are hidden in the unit’s base, with only the ends sticking out to charge devices set on the slanted upper tray. Available in black, white, or pink, the Refresh charging station is available now and sells for $90.

French teen injured by exploding iPhone

A French teenager has been injured by an “exploding” iPhone, less than two weeks after a report emerged accusing the company of trying to silence the victims of a similar incident involving an iPod touch. The teen’s mother claims that her son was near his girlfriend’s iPhone when it began to make a hissing noise, after which the screen suddenly broke, sending pieces of glass flying, at least one of which struck the teen in the eye. “My son was frightened but he did not lose an eye,” Marie-Dominique Kolega told AFP. The woman has contacted Apple over the incident, but it is unclear whether the company has responded.

Apple patent shows further work on motion compensation

A new Apple patent filing suggests the company is continuing its work on motion compensation for screens, particularly touchscreens as found on the iPhone and iPod touch. The patent, entitled “Motion Compensation for Screens,” describes a method of combining motion data, touch data, and screen properties to make devices easier to use when they’re in motion. Possible implementations could include temporarily increasing the size of selectable items on the screen, increasing the touch input region, and changing both the display and the input regions based on the motion of the device and motion of the selectable object, such as when swiping through pages of apps. A similar Apple patent filing appeared in April, and dealt primarily with scaling screen elements to make them easier to select when the device is in motion. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

Myvu debuts Crystal EV Personal Media Viewer

Myvu has introduced its new Crystal EV Personal Media Viewer, an upgraded version of the company’s best selling Myvu Crystal. The Crystal EV has a 64” equivalent screen size, a 30% increase over the original Crystal, and also features the company’s SolidOptix screen technology, integrated stereo earphones, and full VGA resolution. It is also Made for iPod and Works With iPhone certified, and is currently available at InMotion Entertainment airport stores nationwide; further release and pricing information has yet to be announced.

China Unicom signs on for 5 million iPhones

China Unicom has reached an agreement with Apple to buy 5 million iPhones, with the first units set to go on sale in mainland China in September. Citing a CBN news article, International Business Times reports that the carrier has already paid Apple 10 billion yuan, or roughly $1.46 billion, for 5 million WCDMA iPhones, in both 8GB and 16GB varieties. The September rollout has been confirmed by Zhou Youmeng, vice general manager of China Unicom, who said the phone will initially be available at China Unicom 3G sections in retail partner Carrefour stores, and some large retail outlets run by the company. As to pricing, Yu Zaonan, general manager of customer development for China Unicom, said, “[t]he price of the 8G standard iPhone is set at about 2,400 yuan and the 16G may be sold at 4,800 yuan.” Currently, 2,400 yuan is the equivalent of roughly $350, making 4,800 yuan the equivalent of about $700.

Sennheiser rolls out apt-X Bluetooth headphones for iPod, iPhone

Sennheiser has introduced two new Bluetooth stereo headphones and a new Bluetooth dongle for iPod and iPhone, all featuring the apt-X audio codec. Apt-X was designed to work within the Bluetooth A2DP profile to enhance sound quality; the developer claims it delivers CD-quality sound and a high degree of error resilience despite the inherent bandwidth restrictions. The PXC 310 BT is Sennheiser’s new flagship Bluetooth headphone, offering NoiseGuard 2.0 active noise canceling, a TalkThrough feature to allow for short conversations while the headphones are still on the listener’s ears, a foldable design, neodymium drivers, patented Duofol diaphragms, an included carrying case, rechargeable lithium polymer batteries, and on-board controls.

The PX 210 BT portable model also features on-board controls, as well as a foldable design, rechargeable lithium polymer battery, and apt-X audio decoding, but lacks the 310’s NoiseGuard active noise canceling feature. Finally, the BTD 300 is a Made for iPod- and Works With iPhone-certified Bluetooth dongle for the iPod and iPhone, capable of adding apt-X A2DP audio transmission functionality to any Dock Connecting model, including iPods and iPhones without integrated stereo Bluetooth support. The BTD 300 is not needed, however, for the PXC 310 BT and PX 210 BT to work with iPods and iPhones that already offer Bluetooth support, or with older iPods via an existing Bluetooth adapter. Sennheiser’s new PXC 310 BT and PX 210 BT headphones are expected to hit stores this month for an undetermined price; pricing and release information for the BTD 300 have yet to be announced.

Mix: Gartner, DVD Jon, T-Mobile, Schiller

Apple grabbed 13.3% of the worldwide smartphone market in the second quarter, according to the latest data released by Gartner. While overall mobile sales declined 6%, smartphone sales grew 27%, helping Apple to reach third place on the list of handset manufacturers, behind only Nokia with a 45% share of the market—down from 47.4% in the year-ago quarter—and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which gained 1.4% year-over-year to capture 18.7% of the market. Notably, Apple accounted for only 2.8% of the market in Q2 2008 due to the timing of the iPhone 3G’s announcement and launch.

“DVD Jon” Johansen has been subpoenaed in the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Apple over the iPod and iTunes. Johansen, perhaps best known for breaking the encryption used on DVDs, has been asked to hand over all communications with Apple concerning his efforts to make the iPod compatible with media purchased from online services other than iTunes, to make iTunes Store purchases compatible with other players and devices, to license FairPlay, and Apple’s attempts to prevent him from circumventing or reverse-engineering FairPlay. The lawsuit itself dates back to early 2005, and alleges that Apple broke antitrust laws by limiting the compatibility of purchases from iTunes to the iPod, and by refusing to make the iPod compatible with DRM’d media purchased in other formats, such as WMA.

T-Mobile in the U.S. has begun shutting off data service to customers using the prepaid Sidekick plan with an unlocked iPhone. The plan allowed iPhone users to pay $1 per day for unlimited text and data. T-Mobile made an official statement on the matter via its Twitter account, but TUAW notes that users on Android-specific data plans appear to be unaffected by the change. Earlier this year, T-Mobile said it was “committed” to supporting its iPhone customers despite the fact that it doesn’t offer the device due to Apple’s exclusivity agreement with competing carrier AT&T.

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller has again curiously responded directly to an individual blog post regarding the iPhone and the App Store. Following a lengthy post discussing his decision to boycott the iPhone “until the issues with app store policy are demonstrably improved,” Panic co-founder Steven Frank received an email from Schiller addressing some of his concerns; Frank said that he was surprised to receive the email, and is soliciting reader advice on whether to continue the boycott.

Although Frank has chosen not to publish the message verbatim, he claims that Schiller was basically saying “we’re listening to your feedback;” Schiller also denied references to the supposed App Store ban on e-books, explaining that the specific e-book app referenced had been rejected because it allowed sharing of (potentially copyrighted) books between devices.

Logitech rolls out two new iPod speakers

Logitech has introduced its new Rechargeable Speaker S315i for iPod and iPhone and its Portable Speaker S125i for iPod. The S315i features a built-in rechargeable battery good for up to 20 hours in power-saving mode or 10 hours of normal operation, full-range drivers, a slim, 1.8-inch deep body, an auxiliary input, and an integrated Universal Dock. It is expected to ship later this month for $130. The Portable Speaker S125i features a compact design, an integrated dock, the ability to run on AC power or for up to 10 hours on four AA batteries, an auxiliary input, and push-button bass boost. It is also expected to ship later this month, and is priced at $70.

Photo of the Week: iPod nano in Switzerland

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows a first-generation iPod nano looking up at the Alps outside the village of Kandersteg, Switzerland. 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: Civilization, Wolfenstein RPG, Saskatchewan, Buggle

2K Games has released Civilization Revolution, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Remade for the iPhone OS, Revolution puts players in control of an entire civilization, which they have to evolve by waging war, conducting diplomacy, discovering new technologies, and building an empire. The game features 16 historical civilizations to choose from, gesture-based touch controls, multiple difficulty levels, an integrated tutorial, and in-game advisors. Civilization Revolution is available now and sells for $5.

Electronic Arts has released Wolfenstein RPG, a Firemint-developed iPhone and iPod touch remake of the J2ME mobile game by id Software. Unlike the first-person shooter from which it gets its name, Wolfenstein RPG is a turn-based game, featuring a variety of different weapons, nine levels and over eight hours of gameplay, 32 different types of enemies, two built-in mini-games, hidden secrets, and a “mixing station” at which players can enhance their characters’ abilities. Wolfenstein RPG is priced at $5.

The University of Saskatchewan has released its new iUsask application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This new app allows students to get a list of their classes, read class announcements, get news and recent scores for the school’s sports teams, search for books in the library catalogue and view their library account, check assignment marks and feedback, check final grades, view a campus map, and more. iUsask is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Top Meadow has released Buggle, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A match 3-style game, Buggle has players swipe their fingers across the screen to slide and rotate various bugs placed on the screen in order to match three or more and “free” them before they can be eaten by a spider. Features include five different “super powers,” the ability to earn award badges, and an in-game top ten list. Buggle is available now and sells for $1.

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