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Loopt for iPhone gains constant access via deal with AT&T

Loopt, a location-aware social network, has gained constant location updates for its iPhone users via a tie-up with AT&T. The company’s native iPhone application, like all other third-party applications, isn’t allowed to run in the background on iPhone—a limitation not enforced on other mobile phones—so Loopt reached a deal to let users constantly update their locations, even when the application isn’t running. The feature will allow users to receive updates when they are near friends or places they might interested in, and, the report suggests, will open the door for more intelligent location-based advertising. According to Silicon Valley Insider, the new always-on feature will launch in a limited 5,000 user trial, and will come at a charge of $4 a month after 14 days.

AT&T: iPhone 3G + 3GS MMS on September 25

Following earlier claims that AT&T would enable U.S. iPhone 3G and 3GS users to have access to multimedia messaging (MMS) by late summer 2009, the company today announced that MMS support will launch on September 25, 2009, several days after the official end of summer. “We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS,” AT&T said in a statement today. “The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One.” AT&T’s failure to support MMS immediately upon the release of iPhone 3.0 software drew jeers from attendees at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, as well as U.S.-based users, some of whom have sued AT&T and Apple over the continued unavailability of the feature. The companies still have not announced the date at which tethering—another iPhone 3.0 feature, enabling an iPhone to serve as a computer’s modem—will be supported by AT&T.

Editor’s Note: The original article incorrectly stated that summer ended earlier; the error has been corrected.

Mix: Walkman, TiltShift, Krazy Kart, Modern Combat

  • September 3, 2009

Sony’s Walkman portable media player outsold the iPod in Japan last week, the first time in over two years a competing player has grabbed the top spot, according to new data from research firm BNC. Bloomberg reports that Sony’s share of the market for the week ending August 30 was 43%, just inching out Apple, which accounted for 42.1%. BNC notes that the iPhone cannibalized some iPod sales, but isn’t included in the survey because it is also a mobile phone. Apple had held the market share lead in Japan since January of 2005.

Takayuki Fukatsu has released TiltShift Generator, his latest photo application for the iPhone. TiltShift Generator allows users to take new photos or edit existing pictures and add effects that make the scene look like a miniature—a photographic technique that traditionally requires a tilt-shift lens. In addition to blur and vignetting effects, users can also edit the saturation, brightness, and contrast of photos loaded into the program. TiltShift Generator is available now from the App Store and is priced at $1 for the next two weeks, when it will rise to $3.

Konami has introduced Krazy Kart Racers, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Krazy Kart Racers is a Mario Kart-style go-kart racing game, featuring 10 well-known Konami characters as drivers, 16 different race tracks, five single player modes, and six-player local or online Wi-Fi multiplayer modes. Krazy Kart Racers sells for $8.

Gameloft has released Modern Combat: Sandstorm, its newest title for the iPhone and iPod touch. Sandstorm first-person shooter set in the middle of a modern war, featuring ten missions set in varied Middle Eastern environments, three control schemes to choose from, a wide range of authentic military weapons with a leveling system that allows players to progressively unlock weapons, a precision sniper and “ironsight” mode, and more. Modern Combat: Sandstorm is available now and is priced at $7.

TomTom Car Kit release slips to October

In an update to its iPhone frequently asked questions page, TomTom has revealed that the release date for its iPhone Car Kit has slipped to October. Originally previewed at Apple’s 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference, the Car Kit is a combination mount, charger, speakerphone, and GPS booster, allowing it to boost the accuracy of the built-in GPS on the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and enabling iPod touch units to work with navigation software, such as TomTom’s own application. The updated page reads, “[t]he TomTom car kit availability was originally planned for this summer. But we have decided to take some extra weeks in order to deliver the highest quality on this innovative product. So, the car kit will become available this October.” The Kit recently appeared on the FCC’s website, indicating that the accessory has passed regulatory testing; pricing has yet to be announced. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple preparing pre-made ringtones for iTunes Store?

Apple is planning to launch sales of pre-made ringtones, possibly as early as next week, according to a new report. Citing unnamed music industry executives, Cnet reports that the new ringtones are meant as a convenience, as iPhone users can already create their own ringtones through iTunes. The report also states that the new offerings will be announced at next week’s Apple event, if managers can get the files ready in time. iLounge will be reporting live from Apple’s event, which will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on September 9.

Sony intros CF-CL75iP clock radio for iPod, iPhone

Sony has introduced its new CF-CL75iP Multi-function AM/FM Clock Radio for the iPod and iPhone. Featuring a 7-inch LCD screen for viewing photos and movies, the CF-CL75iP also features a retractable dock, a digital AM/FM radio, 2-, 5-, and 7-day alarms, a choice between waking to nature sounds, the connected iPod or iPhone, 1GB of built-in memory plus inputs for MemoryStick, USB drives, and SD cards for photo storage, and more. Sony’s CF-CL75iP Clock Radio for the iPod and iPhone is available for pre-order now from Sony Style Canada and is expected to ship on October 1 for CA $200, or roughly $181. [via Engadget]

AT&T seeing ‘radical shift’ in cellphone usage

As part of a larger New York Times article discussing the problems some iPhone users are having with AT&T’s network, AT&T CTO John Donovan said the company has had a hard time keeping up with data demand. “It’s been a challenging year for us,” said Donovan. “Overnight we’re seeing a radical shift in how people are using their phones,” he said. “There’s just no parallel for the demand.” The report states that the company has delayed its rollout of MMS multimedia messaging for the iPhone, and has postponed computer-to-iPhone tethering as well, although it’s unclear whether the delays will last past the end of summer, as previously announced for MMS. Finally, AT&T states that the majority of the roughly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will go towards upgrades and expansions to help meet the demands placed on the 3G network.

Hudson iPhone lineup: Military Madness NN, Aqua Forest 2, more

Hudson Soft has released details of its fall lineup of games for the iPhone and iPod touch. The company will be offering four new titles in the fall, including a sequel to the well-received Aqua Forest. Knights of the Phantom Castle is a hybrid strategy and action RPG game offering deep character customization including the forging of new weapons and development of new abilities, touch-screen controls, and numerous strategy decisions for the player to make in battle against the enemy. Military Madness: Neo Nectaris is an adaptation of the mobile game Military Madness 2, a sequel to the original and widely acclaimed TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine game Military Madness. In the turn-based strategy game, players will be asked to control armies via touch commands through 50 levels of tactical gameplay. Other features include upgraded visuals and an all-new musical score.

World RPS is a global rock-paper-scissors game that allows users to play the classic game against other players from around the world. The location-aware game will keep track of where the player scores wins and losses, as well as a global leaderboard to keep track of the top players worldwide. Finally, Aqua Forest 2 is a follow-up to last year’s Aqua Forest physics game, keeping the same water physics gameplay in place while adding 50 new environments, and an in-game level editor that allows players to make and share their own Aqua Forest levels, and play levels created by others. All four titles are slated for release this fall; more exact release and pricing information has yet to be announced. Continue reading to see more screenshots.

Marware unveils MicroShell for iPhone 3G, 3GS

Marware has introduced its new MicroShell case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Measuring less than 1mm thick, MicroShell is a low-profile case featuring a half-shell design that protects the rear and sides of the iPhone while offering full access to all ports, buttons, and controls. Available in seven metallic colors, it also comes with a clear screen protector and cleaning cloth. Marware’s MicroShell case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $30.

Mix: Vonage, Chess Wars, Dual SIM, Rock Band

  • September 2, 2009

Vonage has announced that it has received approval from Apple for its mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Although the company has yet to reveal details, the app is expected to allow users to place VoIP calls using their Vonage account over Wi-Fi. According to the announcement, the company is currently conducting a beta test of the software and will announce availability at a later date.

Apple has rejected an update to the game Chess Wars, claiming after a six-week wait that the game’s chat feature bore too close a resemblance to Apple’s own Messaging application. Joe Stump of Blunder Move, developer of Chess Wars, writes on his blog (Warning: NSFW; strong language) that the company submitted an update to the game which featured a critical bug fix to Apple roughly six weeks ago, only now hearing back that the chat feature’s bubbles look too much like Apple’s “trademarked” chat bubbles. Among other suggestions, the Apple representative Stump talked to said the company could make their bubbles “less shiny;” Stump also points out that his bubbles are basically the same as those found in the official Facebook application for the iPhone and iPod touch. [via DF]

USBFever has launched a new 3-in-1 External Battery case with Dual SIM function for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The case features an integrated 1900mAh battery, a mini-USB port for recharging, open access to all ports and controls save for the Dock Connector and ring/silent switch, an LED power indicator, and a dual SIM card adapter that allows users to switch between the two SIM cards using the Settings application. It is unclear, however, whether the adapter works with non-jailbroken/unlocked iPhones. The 3-in-1 External Battery Case with Dual SIM function is available now and sells for $60.

EA has announced a new version of Rock Band for mobile devices set to launch on Verizon September 16. Despite the apparent network restriction, screenshots of the game posted to EA Mobile’s Facebook account show what appears to be a very iPhone-friendly interface, suggesting the game may yet see a release on the App Store. Officially, EA Mobile says it is “unable to comment on any other platforms at this time.”

Novothink debuts Solar Surge cases for iPhone, iPod touch

Novothink has debuted its new Solar Surge solar-charging cases for the second-generation iPod touch, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Featuring an integrated solar panel on the cases’ rear, the Surge allows for solar charging of the attached iPhone or iPod touch with no other power supply required, and also offers LED battery status light indicators, a soft touch finish, a mini USB port for syncing or charging the attached device, an included cord for hanging the case from the user’s wrist, belt or backpack, and open access to the headphone jack, camera, screen, sleep/wake and volume buttons, and ring/silent switch. Novothink’s Solar Surge case for the iPod touch 2G will be available later this month and will sell for $70; the iPhone 3G and 3GS model will be available in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Editor’s Note: Phony comments associated with this article have been removed, and further comments closed.

V-Moda rolls out Faze headset for iPhone, iPod

V-Moda has introduced its new Faze headset with in-line microphone and call/music control button for the iPhone, iPod, and other portable electronics. The Faze features an in-ear design with aluminum alloy bodies, Kevlar reinforced cabling, noise-isolating BLISS technology, three differently-sized pairs of both black and clear silicone fittings to ensure a proper fit, and an included 2.5mm adapter for use with compatible phones. V-Moda’s Faze headset for the iPhone and iPod is available now exclusively through Best Buy and sells for $50.

Klipsch quietly updates iGroove SXT speaker for iPod

Klipsch has quietly released an updated version of its iGroove SXT iPod speaker. The revised SXT features iPhone compatibility, a bi-amplified design to help eliminate distortion and improve sonic performance, re-tuned bass ports for reduced port noise, and a 1000mA rapid recharge circuit for quickly recharging connected iPods and iPhones. Klipsch’s updated iGroove SXT iPod speaker is available now and sells for $150; for more information, see our prior review.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3GS in Montauk

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3GS in front of the Montauk Point Lighthouse in Montauk, NY. 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!

Mix: Gameloft, iToner, China Mobile, Pearson

  • September 1, 2009

Gameloft has announced that it has sold over six million games on the App Store since its launch last July, making iPhone OS the company’s number one platform. Gameloft claims that of its 35 games currently available, 18 have made the Top 10 Paid Games list worldwide; the company plans to launch between 15 and 30 new titles through the end of 2009.

Ambrosia Software has released iToner 2.0.4, the latest update to its iPhone custom ringtone creation software for the Mac. The new update brings with it streamlined low level iPhone syncing, communication, and support processes, with the goal of enhancing the user experience and overall reliability. iToner 2.0.4 is available now as a free upgrade for registered iToner customers, and costs $15 for new users; a free trial download is also available.

Despite last week’s announcement that the iPhone would launch in China on China Unicom, representatives from China Mobile have confirmed that the company is still in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone itself. Speaking with IDG News Service, a China Mobile spokeswoman said that the talks with Apple have yet to reach a conclusion; Apple has confirmed that its deal with China Unicom is not exclusive, but has not mentioned any other possible carriers for the iPhone in the region.

Publishing company Pearson has announced that it will hold a new Voices That Matter: iPhone Developers Conference in Boston this October. Scheduled to run October 17-18 at Boston’s MCLE Conference Center, the conference will feature speaking and Q&A sessions with iPhone application development authors and experts, and is aimed at current iPhone developers, long-time Mac developers looking to leverage existing skills, designers, and mobile application specialists. Registration for the conference, which includes admission to education and networking sessions, continental breakfast, lunch, Saturday supper and breaks, and access to the speakers’ slides, runs $495 until September 12, at which point the price increases to $695.

Progical challenges Apple licensing with “Homemade for iPhone” accessory program

Progical Solutions has announced its new “Homemade for iPhone” accessory program, which aims to offer developers an alternative to Apple’s official Made For iPod and Works With iPhone programs. The program consists of a toolkit that taps into Apple’s External Accessory framework to provide a serial data connection between accessories and the iPhone or iPod touch via the 3.5mm headphone jack. Using the jack, serial data can be transmitted or received at speeds up to 19.2k baud, according to Progical. The company promises to offer technical information, hardware connectors and components, testing tools, technical support, and more through the program, which it claims can be licensed for a “nominal fee.” Progical has also posted a YouTube video showing the toolkit integrating with a OneTouch Glucose meter as a proof of concept, and says that it has successfully integrated hardware from LifeScan, Sony, and Apollo Electronics with the toolkit.

Winners of Livespeakr Giveaway announced

The winners of our Livespeakr Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 10 iLounge readers won a Black Livespeakr for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for September.

iLounge announces B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway

iLounge is pleased to announce the B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway. 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!

Mix: China App Store, MLB.com At Bat, Learn That Name, Mr. Driller

  • September 1, 2009

Apple may face hurdles attempting to offer the App Store on China Unicom-bound iPhones, a new report suggests. According to Chinese-language CNW (Translated Link), Apple and China Unicom are currently discussing how to solve the problems posed by the Chinese government’s regulatory policy, which may call for modifications in how the store operates and/or how much information Apple is forced to provide about the purchases and activities of App Store users.

MLB.com has released version 1.4 of its At Bat 2009 application for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding an in-game purchasing feature. For the remainder of the 2009 season, users will be able purchase any out-of-market game for immediate streaming for $1 each. All MLB.tv and MLB.tv Premium subscribers can already access all out-of-market games via the application; the new option simply offers a-la-carte access for other users. MLB.com At Bat 2009 is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.

A new application for the iPhone and iPod touch won the most votes at a recent Startup Weekend coder gathering, held on Microsoft’s campus. Of the 15 applications created at the event, 14 were built for a Microsoft platform, and only one—Learn That Name, created by attorney Eric Koester—was for the iPhone, yet won the top prize. “It’s been an awesome experience,” said Koester, who led a team of more than a dozen developers. “I was just looking for something simple and this was really way more than I anticipated in 48 hours.” Koester created the app, which helps users remember the names of people they meet at events, after forgetting the name of one of the attendees, and said he’s hopeful to have the $2.99 app approved in the App Store in the coming weeks. [via MDN]

Namco has released Mr. Driller, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The fast-paced puzzle game puts players in the shoes of Mr. Driller, who must drill through colored blocks covering his town to find the source. It offers three game modes—a survival mode with three difficulty settings, an Arcade Mode with two levels, and a Time Trial Mode—as well as three control options and Facebook Connect integration. Mr. Driller is available now and sells for $1.

Parrot intros RKi8400 car stereo for iPod, iPhone

Parrot has introduced its new RKi8400 car stereo system for the iPod and iPhone. Designed for maximum compatibility with digital music sources, the RKi8400 features a USB port for connecting a portable hard drive or flash drive, an SD card reader, and a double line-input socket for analog sources, along with a built-in 30-pin connector for the iPod and iPhone. Other features include a hidden device storage area behind the removable faceplate, an external double microphone for improved voice clarity, Bluetooth for using the iPhone in hands-free mode and for accepting Bluetooth stereo A2DP signals, a 2.4-inch screen for displaying menus, phonebooks, and album art, an AM/FM radio with RDS, a 200 W MOFSET amplifier, and more. Parrot’s RKi8400 car stereo for iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $400.

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