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News

O2 bracing for glut of iPhone returns?

With the announcement of both Orange and Vodafone securing rights to offer the iPhone in the U.K. in the coming months, a number of O2 customers may be looking to take advantage of a two-week window in which they can return their devices and wait for possible better tariff rates and contract terms on competing carriers. The Telegraph reports that as many as 30,000 O2 iPhone customers may be eligible for returns, and the company says it is not planning to offer unhappy users a better deal in order to keep their business. The article suggests that the competition between carriers will knock around £5 (roughly $8) off the average monthly iPhone tariff, resulting in a savings of about £100 (~$160) over the course of a two-year contract. “There will be a price war,” said Steven Hartley, analyst at technology research house Ovum. “Research shows that in every country where there is more than one operator selling it, it is cheaper. It could be very disruptive, but it depends how Orange play it. If they get really aggressive O2 will have to respond and a full-on price war could start.” Orange has yet to disclose its contract terms for the iPhone, but has said they will be less expensive than O2’s plans.

Marware unveils Accent case for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Marware has introduced its Accent case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Made from glossy patent leather, the Accent is a vertical flip-style case, offering access to the ring/hold switch, headphone jack, volume buttons, speaker, microphone, and Dock Connector port when closed, and full access to the screen and home button when opened. Other features include elastic siding on the inner pouch for a more secure fit, soft inner lining, a velcro closure, and an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. The Marware Accent for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now in a range of colors and sells for $30.

Apple: NYC iPhone users average 30% dropped calls

An Apple Genius Bar employee has told a New York City-area iPhone user that most iPhone users in the region experience an average of 30% dropped calls. In an email to iLounge, reader Manoj says that after experiencing a high volume of dropped and missed calls, along with voicemail delays, he repeatedly contacted AT&T, who ran him through a series of standard troubleshooting procedures before telling him to have the phone examined by Apple. After speaking with Apple tech support over the phone and trying several other troubleshooting steps, Manoj took his iPhone into an Apple retail store, where a Genius Bar technician tested the phone and found nothing wrong. Since notifying Apple of the issue, the company had been keeping track of his dropped calls, and found that his phone experienced dropped calls around 22% of the time. The technician told Manoj that this was “better call coverage” than other iPhone users in the region, who experience “30% dropped calls” on average.

As noted in an iLounge article from February 2008, New York City has one of the highest concentrations of iPhone users we’ve seen in a major metropolitan area, and service in the area has been a subject of frequent complaints from users. A lawsuit filed against Apple and AT&T in New York’s Easter District Court in September 2008 named AT&T’s struggle to respond to demands on its 3G infrastructure resulting from the iPhone 3G launch among its complaints against the two companies.

SwitchEasy rolls out Cubes for iPod nano 5G

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SwitchEasy has introduced its new Cubes cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano. Made from strong, soft coated silicone, Cubes feature a duotone, logo-free design, and offer access to all ports, controls, and the camera, as well as two included Click Wheel guards, two screen guards, two 30-pin connector protectors, and a microfiber wipe. SwitchEasy’s Cubes for iPod nano 5G are available now in five different colors and sell for $13.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Norway

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone in front of the Torghatten mountain in Norway. 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!

Final Day for our B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway

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If you haven’t yet entered our B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway, today is your last chance. In our Giveaway of the Month for September, Bowers & Wilkins and iLounge are giving away two Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin iPod speaker systems, and ten full-year memberships to Society of Sound Music. In addition, all entrants will automatically receive a free 3-month trial including an exclusive best-of Society of Sound Music sampler and a single a month for three months. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end tonight at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Belkin intros new ‘for the Cure’ cases for iPod touch

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Belkin has introduced two new “for the Cure” cases for the second- and third-generation iPod touch, with $2.50 of each case sold going to help Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The DualFit for the Cure armband features a dual-fit system designed to maximize sizing, a clear screen protector, a key pocket, a pink ribbon design on the armband, and reflective material for nighttime use. The Grip for the Cure is a form-fitting case offering a textured exterior for improved grip, a rear pink ribbon graphic, and open access to all ports and controls. Both cases are slated for a mid-October release and will sell for $30 each.

App Mix: EyeTV, CNN, Cadence, Zipcar

Elgato has released its new EyeTV application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The EyeTV app will allow users of the company’s EyeTV desktop software for Macs to watch live TV and recordings, browse the program guide, and start or schedule recordings, all directly from their devices. Live video is delivered over Wi-Fi only, with H.264 video, AAC audio, and iPhone hardware acceleration for playback. EyeTV requires a Mac running EyeTV 3.2 or higher, a compatible TV tuner, and iPhone OS 3.0 or later, and is available now for $5.

CNN has introduced its new CNN Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch. CNN Mobile offers users live video of breaking news, streaming video of top stories from all categories, the ability to view, record, and submit video and photo iReports, view stories from a variety of topics, in condensed or full versions, view local news, weather, and traffic, save stories and videos for later viewing, and more. CNN Mobile is priced at $2.

TrekoClinics.com has debuted Cadence, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cadence is designed to let users perform activities such as running or dancing while listening to a steady stream of songs that match the beat of their movements. The app offers a slider for selecting songs according to beat per minute (BPM) values of 70-200, as well as forward, back, and play/pause controls; users must download the Cadence desktop application and use it analyze their iTunes libraries in order for the app to function properly. The Cadence application for iPhone and iPod touch requires OS 3.0 or later and sells for $3; the desktop software is available for download on a “pay what you want” basis, with 20% of all proceeds going to support Shoe4Africa.

Car sharing service Zipcar has released its official application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Demonstrated during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote Address, the app allows Zipcar members to find available Zipcars on a map using current location, favorite location, or any location, reserve cars, sort cars by time available, car type, and model, view upcoming reservations, easily locate a reserved Zipcar by honking its horn and lock and unlock the Zipcar from within the app, get directions to a reserved Zipcar, and more. Zipcar requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is available now as a free download from the App Store.

iPhone app used to grab users’ phone numbers

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A number of European readers of the French-language site Mac4Ever are complaining of receiving unwanted calls after downloading and installing a specific iPhone application, suggesting the application is grabbing the users’ numbers via the app itself and using them to place the unsolicited calls. The article states that Mac4Ever successfully tested a line of code meant to retrieve an iPhone’s number, which can then be sent to remote databases or used in other nefarious ways without any notification to the user; it appears the behavior has been available since iPhone OS 2.1. The application in question, mogoRoad, is not available in the U.S. App Store, but we recommend European readers use caution when downloading this or any other apps from the company.

Newton creator rejoins Apple as marketing exec

  • September 29, 2009
  • Apple

Apple has hired Michael Tchao, one of the original developers of the Newton, as Vice President of product marketing, the New York Times reports. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the hire, saying that Tchao will report to Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing. Tchao left Apple roughly 15 years ago, and was most recently general manager of Nike’s Techlab, where he was responsible for the Nike+ product line, amongst other technologies. Although Tchao’s exact duties at Apple have yet to be revealed, the article suggests that he may oversee the marketing of Apple’s rumored tablet device, with one employee, speaking anonymously, saying, “[h]e’s got the scars and the great ideas” with regards to tablet computing.

Vodafone UK to offer iPhone in 2010

Vodafone has announced that it will offer the iPhone in the UK beginning in early 2010, and has launched a “coming soon” page for the device. Vodafone will be the third carrier in the country to offer the phone, behind O2, which has offered the phone since November 9, 2007, and Orange, which announced yesterday that it would begin selling the phone later this year. In addition, Reuters reports that Vodafone will also offer the phone in Ireland, bringing the number of countries in which it offers the iPhone up to 13. Pricing and tariffs have yet to be announced.

EU proposes volume limit on iPods, iPhones

A new proposal from the European Commission would see lower default volume limits placed on portable music players and smartphones such as the iPod and iPhone. The proposal is based on a study by the EU’s Scientific Committee published in October 2008, which found that listening that headphones at volumes of more than 89 decibels with regularity could have detrimental effects on hearing. BBC News reports that the Commission is recommending a limit of 80 decibels, at which volume the study recommended exposure be limited to 40 hours a week. The proposals could take some time before becoming standard practice and would be voluntary among manufacturers; users would also be able to override the limit at their own risk.

“It is easy to push up the sound levels on your mp3 player to damagingly loud levels, especially on busy streets or public transport,” said EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. “The evidence is that particularly young people - who are listening to music at high volumes sometimes for hours each week - have no idea they can be putting their hearing at risk. It can take years for the hearing damage to show, and then it is simply too late. These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe. If consumers chose to override the default settings they can, but there will be clear warnings so they know the risks they are taking.”

Apple updates 2009 iPod classic 160GB software

  • September 28, 2009
  • iPod

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Apple has released Software Version 2.0.3 for the iPod classic 160GB (2009). According to the release notes, the software offers support for Genius Mixes; no other changes or bug fixes are mentioned. Notably, the 2009 iPod classic 160GB shipped with Software 2.0.2; the prior iPod classic 120GB was last updated to version 2.0.1, and it is unclear whether Apple plans to add Genius Mixes support to older iPod classic models. The 2.0.3 software update for the iPod classic 160GB (2009) is available now through the Update feature in iTunes.

Update: No new updates have been released for prior iPod classic models to add Genius Mixes support.

iPhone accessories gain app download prompt

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Debuting with Griffin Technology’s new iTrip with App Support, it appears Apple is now allowing Made For iPod- and Works With iPhone-certified developers to include automatic application download prompts when connecting app-supported accessories. When connecting such an accessory to an iPhone or iPod touch for the first time, an alert box labeled “Application Not Installed” appears, informing users that the accessory requires an application which is not currently installed, and asking if they would like to install the application from the App Store. Upon acceptance, the iPhone or iPod touch then takes users to a new “For This Accessory” page on the App Store, with a direct link to the necessary app’s listing, from which they can download and install the application. While support for the feature was likely introduced alongside more robust accessory support in iPhone OS 3.0, this is the first time iLounge has seen the functionality included in a shipping accessory. More screenshots appear below.

China Unicom announces iPhone pricing, October launch

China Unicom has announced its pricing and tariffs for the iPhone in China. The company has said the phone will be priced at 5,000 yuan (roughly $732), but it is unclear which model this price refers to, as the official press release (Translated Link) states the phone will be available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB versions. The company will offer subsidies of 893 yuan to 4,253 yuan (~$130-$622) based on the service plan selected; plans will range from 126 yuan to 886 yuan (~$18-$130) per month. Finally, the exact official launch date of the phone also remains unclear, as the press release references “a limited number of people” that may start using it on October 1, with a public release coming “late next month.” [via Fortune]

Orange UK to offer iPhone later this year

Orange UK has reached an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS later this year. Offering the UK’s “largest 3G network,” Orange will sell the iPhone through all the company’s direct channels, including Orange shops, the Orange website and Orange telesales channels, as well as selected high street partners. In addition, Orange has launched a pre-registration site for interested customers at Orange.co.uk/iPhone. Owned by France Telecom, Orange now offers the iPhone in 28 countries and territories globally; pricing, tariff, and availability information has yet to be announced.

App Store hits two billion downloads

Apple has announced that more than two billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store since its launch on July 11, 2008. The company also revealed that over 85,000 applications are now available from the store, with over 125,000 developers in Apple’s iPhone Developer Program and more than 50 million iPhone and iPod touch users worldwide.

“The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it.”

Last weekend to enter the B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway

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If you haven’t yet submitted your entry for our B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for September, Bowers & Wilkins and iLounge are giving away two Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin iPod speaker systems, and ten full-year memberships to Society of Sound Music. In addition, all entrants will automatically receive a free 3-month trial including an exclusive best-of Society of Sound Music sampler and a single a month for three months. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on September 30, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

AT&T drops iPhone 3G refurb pricing; $49/8GB, $99/16GB

AT&T has announced that it has dropped prices on its stock of refurbished iPhone 3G units. 8GB iPhone 3G units are now available for $49, while 16GB models—available in black or white—are priced at $99. According to a post on AT&T’s Facebook page, the units are available in stores while supplies last; as with new iPhone 3Gs, the refurbished units require a two-year contract, and AT&T notes that all refurbished iPhones carry a warranty of 90 days or more and may have “minor scratches.”

Latest edition of iPodweek coming later today

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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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