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Audio Unlimited intros Fone-Doc Speaker for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Audio Unlimited has introduced its new Fone-Doc Hands-Free Speaker for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Fone-Doc eschews Bluetooth connectivity for a dock-based hands-free speaker solution, featuring a cradle on the right side, next to an NXT flat panel speaker that is used for audio playback—though nothing is shown as being connected to the iPhone’s headphone port. It can be mounted on an automobile’s visor using included metal clips, or placed on a table for stationary use. Other features include an automatic sleep mode, a 3.5mm input jack for connecting other audio devices, and automatic activation for inbound/outbound calls, or for media playback. The Fone-Doc Hands-Free Speaker for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $70.

Duke Nukem 3D appears, plagued by touch control issues

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3D Realms has released Duke Nukem 3D, an iPhone and iPod touch port of the classic PC game. Though the graphics engine offers a faithful port other than certain censored risque graphics, users have discovered serious control issues, as well as problems getting the game to install on iPod touch units. According to Touch Arcade, the game’s on-screen analog sticks don’t work properly, requiring taps rather than smooth dragging motions. George Broussard, a co-author of the original game, has replied to some of the criticism on the site’s forums, saying that there was “internal miscommunication” which resulted in the game being released before he had a chance to test it, admitting that he agrees “100% on the comments on the [control] sticks,” and indicating that the company will be releasing an update that addresses “as much as possible.” Duke Nukem 3D is available now from the App Store and is priced at $3.

Bose to unveil major product on Aug. 19

Bose has sent out invitations to select members of the media for an event to be held in New York City on Wednesday, August 19. The invite, believed to be for a new product compatible with the iPod and/or iPhone, states simply, “Thirty years of research. Our best ever. Now Arriving. Please join us to experience the next generation of the product that defined an industry.” No further details as to what product they might be referring to were given; the company’s marquee offerings include QuietComfort headphones, SoundDock speakers, and Wave Radios, amongst others.

Major labels plan new album format without Apple

The four largest music labels—Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI—are reportedly planning a new digital album format called CMX. The Times reports that the new format will offers customers a digital version of the sleeve notes that accompany a physical album, including lyrics and artwork, as well as videos. According to the report, the labels approached Apple about the new bundle format around 18 months ago, but were turned down; Apple is reportedly working on a format of its own, code-named “Cocktail,” which is expected to launch in the next two months.

One senior record label insider told the Times, “Apple at first told us that they were not interested, but now they have decided to do their own, in case ours catches on. Ours will be a file that you click on, it opens and it would have a totally brand-new look, with a launch page and all the different options. When you click on it you’re not just going to get the ten tracks, you’re going to get the artwork, the video and mobile products.” CMX-formatted albums are expected to be rolled out slowly, with only a few releases available at first. “We are not going out in force,” the label source said. “What you are going to see is a couple of releases thrown out there to see what people like. We are working with the retailers now.”

CourseSmart launches eTextbooks app, offers 7,000+ titles

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CourseSmart has launched its new eTextbooks application for the iPhone and iPod touch. eTextbooks serves as a reader application for CourseSmart’s eTextbook service, which offers online access to more than 7,000 textbook titles from twelve different publishers. The Textbooks are offered via a subscription at an average of 50% off traditional print versions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and require an Internet connection for access. Features of the application include access to subscribed textbooks, the ability to scan for visual aids, skim thumbnails, access full pages, and keyword search. CourseSmart’s eTextbooks for the iPhone is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Bank to let customers deposit checks via iPhone

USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to allow customers to deposit checks remotely using its iPhone application, the New York Times reports. The updated application, which is expected to be released this week, will use the iPhone’s camera to photograph both sides of a check, with an on-screen guide to make sure the check’s image is placed correctly in the frame. “We’re essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would,” Wayne Peacock, a USAA executive vice president, told the NYT. Customers will not be required to mail the check in, and are told to void the check and either file it or discard it after it has been deposited. To reduce fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some form of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the feature, a group which includes about 60 percent of the bank’s customers.

Mix: Clickfree, Washington, iPhone case, Offender return

  • August 10, 2009

Clickfree has introduced new iPhone and iPod USB accessories called Transformer and Transformer SE, which use the devices’ empty storage space to perform backups of connected computers’ files. The accessories are designed to back up files without the need to install or set up any extra software; you simply connect your device to the Transformer, then connect the Transformer to a PC or Mac. Additionally, the Transformers can also be used to transfer media from any iPod or iPhone to any Mac- or Windows-based computer. The Transformer for iPhone and iPod is available now and sells for $50; the Transformer SE will add the ability to work with external USB hard drives and will be available in September for $90.

The University of Washington is now offering a certificate-granting program in iPhone and Cocoa Development through its downtown Seattle campus. Set for Autumn 2009, the program will include three courses—Programming in Objective-C and the Cocoa Framework, Developing with the iPhone SDK, and Advanced Cocoa Development for Mac OS X and iPhone—and will teach students how to “successfully design, build, test, and sell [their] own quality Mac OS X and iPhone applications.” The cost for each individual course is $705. [via Ars Technica]

Japanese online retailer Sanwa Direct is now offering a Waterproof bag for the iPhone or iPod (Translated Link). The simple bag offers a clear plastic window through which users can control their iPhones, iPod touches, or Click-Wheel iPods, a pass-through headphone port, a clear rear window to allow for use of the iPhone’s camera, and a clip closure. Sanwa also includes waterproof headphones, an armband, and a neckstrap. The Waterproof bag is available now for 3,280 Yen, or roughly $34.

Following its removal on Friday, ThinAir Wireless’ Offender Locator application for the iPhone and iPod touch has returned to the App Store, minus its California listings. The app, which uses publicly-available databases to help users locate sex offenders in their areas, was reportedly pulled from the store for legal reasons. Some suggested it ran afoul of the state of California’s law prohibiting the sale of criminal information for profit, a claim which is backed up by its reappearance without the potentially infringing content. Offender Locator and its Lite counterpart are both available from the App Store, for $1 and and as a free download, respectively. [via Fortune]

iTunes 9 to gain Blu-ray support, app organization? [updated]

iTunes 9 will feature Blu-ray disc support, as well as a better way to handle iPhone and iPod touch applications, according to a new report. Citing a “pretty reliable source,” Boy Genius Report writes that Blu-ray support will be coming in the next version of iTunes, which is curious considering that Apple currently doesn’t sell any of its own computers with Blu-ray drives installed. However, Blu-ray support could be added to upcoming Mac computers, and potentially aid Blu-ray-equipped PCs with iTunes in importing iTunes-friendly Digital Copies or using interactive Blu-Ray content.

The report also claims that iTunes 9 will include the ability to visually organize and arrange iPhone applications, and that the software will offer some form of social networking integration, specifically for Twitter, Facebook, and Last.fm. No release timeframe is given, although it is likely that the release could coincide with the release of updated iPod models. Apple introduced iTunes 8 with Genius auto-playlist support on September 9, 2008, the same day it introduced new iPods.

Update: The Boy Genius Report has posted more details on iTunes 9, attributed to the same source. According to the report, iTunes 9 will allow users to broadcast what music they’re listening to, connect to friends, and update all your statuses at the same time. The new software is also said to allow for iPhone app organization by genre, date added, or custom arrangements, and that the social networking integration found in iTunes 9 may be part of a larger social networking push by Apple that may include plans for a standalone application.

More evidence of 8GB iPhone 3GS appears on Rogers site

More evidence of an upcoming 8GB iPhone 3GS model has appeared on Rogers Wireless’ website. Under the “iPhone Comparison” tab on Rogers’ iPhone 3GS mini-site, the company has posted a comparison chart for the iPhone 3G and 3GS which shows an 8GB option listed for both models. Curiously, the chart appears to be the only current reference to an 8GB iPhone 3GS on the site, which otherwise notes that the 3GS starts at $199 for a 16GB model. Screenshots published last week suggested that the company is working to sell out its existing stock of 8GB iPhone 3G units in preparation for the arrival of the new low-end 3GS. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple pulls paid sex offender locator, leaves free version

Apple has pulled the paid version of ThinAir Wireless’ Offender Locator application from the App Store, but left the free version—Offender Locator Lite—in place. Offender Locator used publicly-available databases to help users locate sex offenders in their areas. Trip Wakefield, a ThinAir employee, told Cnet that the app was pulled for unspecified legal reasons, although readers on both Cnet and TechCrunch have suggested that the state of California prohibits the sale of criminal information for profit, which would have made the paid version of the application illegal. Wakefield also noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search, remains on sale.

iPhone headed to Korea on KT

Korean network operator KT has confirmed that it plans to offer the iPhone in the country. Kim Yeon-hak, KT’s Chief Financial Officer, said during a conference call that the “Apple iPhone will be in our smartphone line-up. [We expect that the] iPhone will help to expand the smartphone market and will contribute to increasing the ARPU” (average revenue per user).” Telecoms Korea reports that Kim declined to offer any more details on the agreement, such as whether it will offer both the 8GB iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, pricing, or a release date. Competing Korean carrier SK Telecom recently said it too has been in contact with Apple over the phone, although no deal has been announced. [via MacNN]

iLounge’s weekly iPodweek newsletter coming soon

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iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in iPod, iPhone, iTunes and Apple TV news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out 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.

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iPhone OS 3.0 bug leads to invisible photos

A new bug found in iPhone OS 3.0 has led some users to take pictures that were rendered invisible on the device. According to a lengthy Apple Discussions thread, the bug appears to pertain only to photos with the name IMG_10000 or higher, as the built-in Photos application refuses to acknoledge their presence or show them in the Camera Roll. Users are reporting, however, that the pictures are indeed still on the device, and can still be imported to iPhoto on the Mac or the selected program on Windows. This bug appears to be independent of another OS 3.0 photo-related problem, in which pictures are taken by the device and then reported as missing by iPhoto during the import process.

New software gives devs wireless iPhone Simulator control

Vimov has introduced iSimulate, a new iPhone app and Xcode library bundle that lets iPhone developers wirelessly control their applications and games from an actual iPhone or iPod touch unit. In addition to sending multi-touch events, accelerometer data, and GPS location to the iPhone Simulator, iSimulate also allows developers to test across different versions of the iPhone OS without needing several devices, each provisioned with a different OS build, and test applications with different device IDs to test for different models. The ability to fully control the iPhone Simulator on a real device allows developers to take full-quality preview videos of games and other mixed-media applications. iSimulate is available now from the App Store and is currently $8; its price will be raised to $32 on August 16.

iPod/iPhone battery poll ends, App rejection poll begins

With more than 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll — “How would you describe your primary iPod’s or iPhone’s battery life?” has ended. Readers could choose from Click Wheel iPods, iPod touch, and iPhone, with descriptors including “excellent,” “sufficient,” and “too weak,” with an extra option for readers who don’t own any of those models.

iPhone owners were the most vocal out of the readers who voted, comprising 56% of the overall responses. More than half—53%, and 30% of the overall total—described their battery life as too weak. 42% of iPhone owners, or 24% overall, said their iPhone’s battery life was sufficient, while just 5%, or 2% overall, described their iPhone’s battery life as excellent. Among iPod touch owners, nearly half—49%, and 11% of the overall total—said their battery life was sufficient, followed by 34%, or 8% of the overall total, that said their battery was too weak, and 17%, or 4% overall, who said their iPod touch’s battery life was excellent. Click Wheel iPod owners were much happier with their battery life, with 85%—or 17% of the overall total—saying their battery life was either excellent or at least sufficient. Only 15%, or 3% overall, described their Click Wheel iPod’s battery life as too weak. Finally, 2% of respondents said they didn’t own any of those models. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on Apple’s increasingly confusing string of App Store rejections. We’d like to know if these decisions have affected your opinion of the company. Have they earned your respect, either a lot or a little, or have they caused you to lose respect for the company, either on a small or large scale? Or do you not have an opinion? Our new poll, “Has Apple’s handling of App Store rejections impacted your respect for the company?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Vote today!

App Mix: Lexulous, Waze, CoPilot Live, JR Hexatone Pro

RJ Softwares has released Lexulous, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Lexulous is a crossword-style game that challenges players to make words on a 15x15 board using eight letter tiles, and is designed for play by 2-4 players at a time. The game features real-time chat between players, Facebook integration, as well as the ability to continue games started on the device on Facebook, a dictionary for word look-up, a two-letter word list, and the ability to listen to iPod music while playing. Lexulous is available now from the App Store and sells for $4.

Social mapping service Waze has released its new client application on the App Store. Compatible with both the iPhone and iPod touch, Waze uses driver-generated data to build road maps and provide real-time traffic information to users. As the app runs, it automatically and anonymously relays location points back to the company’s servers, data which is used to build and constantly updated the road grid, traffic information, driving directions, road changes, and more. Waze is available now as a free download.

ALK Technologies has released its CoPilot Live United Kingdom turn-by-turn navigation application for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Featuring detailed street maps of the U.K. and Ireland, it offers 3D and 2D driving views with speed-variable zoom and street names, automatic portrait to landscape switching, intelligent navigation for guidance in tunnels and overpasses, automatic day/night mode switching, lane indicator, signpost display, and ClearTurn features, weather forecasts, and more. It also stores maps on the phone for use when out of service areas, and does not require monthly fees. CoPilot Live United Kingdom is priced at £26, or $43.

Amidio, in collaboration with Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has released JR Hexatone Pro, its new music creation application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Hexatone Pro is a six-directional drum machine and rhythm sequencer that uses artificial intelligence and advanced randomization algorithms to produce constantly changing sonic structures. The app can create a variety of drum loops, melodic sequences or rhythm patterns by loading custom user samples and modifying them in real-time; users can also add stutter or chorus effects and control them via the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s accelerometers. Hexatone Pro features 400 original factory samples, 40 loop presets, and .WAV exporting, and is available now for $10.

Apple rejecting all e-book reader, content apps?

Apple has started rejecting all e-book and e-book reader applications for the iPhone and iPod touch on the basis of possible copyright infringement, according to a new report. Citing developers speaking on the grounds of anonymity, TUAW reports that Apple has begun sending all e-book submitters rejection letters which state, “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.” The report claims that Apple has rejected at least one application from a national content syndicate who owns the rights to the materials and can prove those rights, and has also rejected a new e-book reader application on the same grounds. As the developer of the reader application said in an email to TUAW, “[l]eaving aside the presumption of innocence, [what] about iTunes and iPod; shouldn’t they be banned too? After all many users indeed are using them to listen to the music that is not always legally obtained.” It is unclear whether the company also plans to remove and/or reject future updates to other e-book applications currently available on the App Store, and whether this move may be paving the way for Apple to offer its own e-book store, as was rumored last week.

Apple seeks iPod, iPhone consumer abuse detector patent

  • August 6, 2009
  • iPod

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A newly-published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on more sophisticated means to tell whether or not a device—such as an iPod or iPhone—has been subjected to abuse by its owner. Titled “Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method,” the patent describes a system of water, thermal, shock, and other sensors that may detect and record potential device abuse, while at the same time disabling certain components such as screens, hard drives, processor memory, and/or removable media in order to protect them from damage. The application summary reveals that Apple hopes to save money on faulty warranty claims via such as system, as evidenced by this passage: “In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the system may include an interface by which a diagnostic device may access the memory to analyze the records and determine whether a consumer abuse event occurred, when the event occurred, and, in some embodiments, what type of abuse event occurred. By providing the capability to quickly and easily detect whether consumer abuse occurred in an electronic device, a vendor or manufacturer diagnosing a returned product may be able to better determine whether or not to initiate a product return under a warranty policy.” As with all Apple patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product release or feature from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

Apple to intro an 8GB iPhone 3GS?

Apple is planning to add an 8GB iPhone 3GS to its lineup, potentially replacing the current 8GB iPhone 3G, according to a new report. Based on screenshots from an internal Rogers Wireless memo, Boy Genius Report states that the company is in the process of shipping black 8GB iPhone 3GS units to its stores. While pricing is not mentioned in the partially obscured memo, it does inform readers to continue selling through available stock of the 8GB iPhone 3G while receiving the new handsets, and refers to a “smooth transition over to the new piece,” indicating that Apple may plan to replace the 3G model with the lower-capacity 3GS at the same price point of $99.

App Mix: TomTom, Pac-Man, Q*Bert, GoPayment

An U.K.-based online retailer has posted pricing for TomTom’s upcoming GPS car mount and application bundle for the iPhone. According to the item’s Handtec listing page, the TomTom for iPhone Mount will sell for £99 plus VAT, or roughly $168 plus tax. Unveiled during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote, the Mount will offer a more accurate, consistent GPS signal than that made possible by the iPhone 3G or 3GS alone, a louder speaker, a microphone to facilitate hands-free calling, the ability to power the iPhone while docked, and the ability to stick to either the windshield or dashboard. An exact release date has yet to be revealed. [via Daniweb | MDN]

Namco has released Pac-Man Remix, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Announced in July and featuring an angled overhead 3-D view, the game is similar to the Pac-Man Arrangement game found on Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PSP, and adds maze traps, the ability to jump, and a number of power-ups to the classic Pac-Man gameplay. Additional features include a choice between on-screen, flick-, and accelerometer-based controls, six unique boss characters, and stage-specific gadgets. Pac-Man Remix is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.

Sony Pictures Television has released Q*Bert Deluxe, its newest release for the iPhone and iPod touch. An updated version of the 1982 arcade game, Q*Bert Deluxe features three game modes—arcade, modern, and jungle—a choice between accelerometer- or touch-based controls, five different enemy types, and four friendly objects. The developer also promises “regular updates” with “new themes and gameplay.” Q*Bert Deluxe is available now and is priced at $2.

Intuit has released its new GoPayment application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Intuit GoPayment allows business owners to process credit card payments directly from their devices, view past charges and send customers electronic receipts via e-mail or text message. In addition, users can also review transactions online and synchronize them with Intuit’s QuickBooks software. In addition to the app, users will need an Intuit GoPayment merchant account, which costs $19.95 a month and requires a one-time setup fee of $59.95; Intuit will, for a limited time only, waive both the setup fee as well as the first 60 days of monthly fees and minimums. Intuit’s GoPayment application is available now as a free download from the App Store.

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