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App Mix: Billing, Hitchcock, qStatus, RaceBunny

Spartadata has released Billing: Credit Card Terminal, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Billing is a wireless point of sale terminal application, offering tax and tip inclusion, support for accounts, including built-in account setup, signature capture using the touchscreen, instant receipt dispatch via email, earnings and transaction statistics, secure HTTPS transactions, and more. Billing: Credit Card Terminal is available now from the App Store and sells for $20.

Cinemek has introduced Hitchcock, its first application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Hitchcock is a mobile storyboard and pre-visualization composer designed for use by directors, directors of photography, producers, writers, animators, and others who want to visualize a story. The app feature the ability to add and arrange images as panels, set durations for each in minutes, seconds, or frames, multi-touch gestures for markups such as dolly, track, zoom, and pan, the ability to add audio clips, notes, and scene descriptions to each panel, and more. Hitchcock is available now and sells for $20.

Gx5 has debuted qStatus, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on Efiko Software’s jailbroken Twitter app qTweeter, qStatus provides a simple, single-screen interface for updating to both Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, or to only one service. Other features include support for updates longer than 140 characters through a Tweet Long feature, support for TwitPic and TwitVid with an in-app camera button, the ability to update with your currently playing music, customizable backgrounds, and more. qStatus is available now and is priced at $1.

Berbie Software has released RaceBunny, its first application for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. RaceBunny is a GPS sport companion, designed to work with the company’s TrailRunner route planning and journaling application for Mac OS X. RaceBunny receives routes from TrailRunner to display on the iPhone’s map, with a carrot that moves along the trail at a pre-selected pace. The app can then record the user’s route, sending the information back to TrailRunner for analysis of distance, speed, and altitude. RaceBunny is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Mobile Mechatronics unveils Blur Tripod for iPhone

Mobile Mechatronics has introduced its new Blur Tripod solution for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. Consisting of two pieces, the Blur Tripod system includes a custom cradle for the iPhone with a standard tripod socket on the bottom, and an included mini tripod. The cradle can also be used with other standard tripods. The company also plans to offer a companion camera application with features such as an adjustable delay, multiple shots with variable delay, and a level; it is expected to hit the App Store “shortly” and will sell for $1. Mobile Mechatronics Blur Tripod for iPhone is available now and sells for $15.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in Portugal

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows a white iPhone 3G overlooking the sea from the gardens of a house in the Algarve region of Portugal. 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: Paper dock, Apple stores, Vuzix, Aardvark

French blog Dessine moi un objet has created a paper dock for the iPhone and iPod, complete with a PDF template. The design uses folds and slots to keep the device resting on an angle, with openings allowing for the Dock Connector to pass through the stand to the bottom of the iPhone or iPod touch. Interested users can download the template directly from the website.

Apple is planning to add dedicated “iPhone Activation Zones” to its retail stores in order to enhance the in-store purchase and activation process, according to a new report. Citing multiple anonymous sources, Mac Rumors reports that the changes, due to roll out as soon as this week, will involve layout changes to the company’s various store designs to create the aforementioned areas where customers can quickly pick up and activate a new iPhone after completing the pre-authorization process online. The zones will reportedly be staffed by new “iPhone Experts,” who will be identifiable by unique t-shirts and name badges.

Vuzix has introduced its new Wrap 310 Video Eyewear for the iPod, iPhone, and other portable devices. The Wrap 310 features a twin 16x9 monitors which show a 55-inch equivalent screen, up to 6 hours of play time from 2 AA batteries, composite and VGA video inputs, as well as a dedicated dock connection for the iPod and iPhone, and included removable noise isolating earphones. No release date or pricing has been announced.

The Internet answer service Aardvark has launched its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Aardvark leverages a user’s existing social networking contacts to find the best person to ask a given question, then contacts those people who might be available to answer and asks on the user’s behalf. The application offers automatic location detection, push notifications, a language engine to analyze questions to find key topics, and more. Aardvark is a free download from the App Store.

Bose debuts SoundDock 10 speaker system

Bose has introduced its new SoundDock 10 speaker for the iPod, iPhone, and other portable devices. Unlike prior SoundDock models, which have been iPod-only, the SoundDock 10 features an interchangeable dock, allowing the included iPod/iPhone dock to be switched out with an A2DP Bluetooth audio receiver, or docks made for competing devices, should Bose choose to release them. Other features include a 19 pound, 10-inch-deep body, dual, front-facing “Twiddlers” to provide midrange and treble, a large, rear-firing woofer, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, composite video output, and included remote control. The Bose SoundDock 10 is set for a September 21 release and will sell for $599. [via Engadget]

Korean regulators put hold on iPhone talks

Despite the fact that South Korean carrier KT has already announced intentions to offer the iPhone in the country, the handset has yet to gain regulatory approval, being held up this week over location-based service regulations. The Korea Times reports that the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is debating whether Apple will need a separate license as a location-based information operator in Korea, due to a local law mandating that companies providing location-based information to their customers must acquire a separate license. In addition, the Korean government has thus far asked companies to base their operations for location services on local servers, although no such stipulation exists in the written law.

“Some of the KCC commissioners think that Apple should gain approval as a location-based information provider, while others claim that that would be too excessive,’” said a KCC official. “There are no clear-cut standards on the type of location-based services that the operator would be required to provide on a local server. However, the type of information gathered by the iPhone isn’t likely to be ruled critical enough to mandate Apple to install a local server, although we need more time to reach the conclusion.” According to the article, the ongoing discussions at the KCC have prevented Apple and KT form moving forward with negotiations, including the volume of units KT plans to release and the subsidy provided to customers.

Former Intel exec to join Apple as General Counsel, SVP

Bruce Sewell, a former general counsel and senior vice president of Intel, will join Apple as the company’s General Counsel and senior vice president of Legal and Government Affairs, replacing Daniel Cooperman, who will be retiring at the end of September. Sewell will report directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and will likely lead Apple’s legal, corporate affairs and corporate social responsibility programs, responsibilities he also held at Intel.

“We are thrilled to have Bruce join our executive team, and wish Dan a very happy retirement,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With Bruce’s extensive experience in litigation, securities and intellectual property, we expect this to be a seamless transition.”

Mix: Agent18, Griffin, NAND, iPhone accounting

Agent18 has introduced two new cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano. The Agent18 NanoShield is a clear hard plastic case offering a slim fit, full access to all ports, controls, and the camera, and a click-together design. It sells for $25. The Agent18 ForceShield is a soft silicone case featuring a shock-absorbing design, a carbon fiber-style textured pattern for added grip, and open access to all ports, controls, and the camera. It will sell for $20; both cases are available for pre-order now at a 30% discount and will begin shipping September 20.

Griffin Technology has announced two more new cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano. The Outfit is a hard-shell translucent polycarbonate case offering Griffin’s EasyDock slide-off bottom for more convenient docking and open access to all ports, controls, and the camera. It will be available in translucent black or translucent white and will sell for $25. The new FlexGrip for iPod nano 5G is a textured silicone case, offering a slim fit, access to all ports, controls, and the camera, and a new black and white translucent color scheme. It will sell for $20; both cases are expected to be available this fall.

Apple’s consumption of NAND flash memory chips, which are used in the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone, is causing a severe shortage of chips available for other manufacturers, according to a new report. Citing unnamed industry sources, DigiTimes reports that Samsung has informed several Taiwanese module makers that it will halve its NAND supply to them in September, Micron Technology has told other downstream customers it has no NAND chips available at all, and both Toshiba and Hynix are also said to be giving priority to Apple, limiting their supply to the spot market. [via AppleInsider]

A change in accounting rules set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) could see Apple abandoning the practice of deferring iPhone revenue and could also open the door for potential free software updates for the iPod touch. Currently, Apple defers its iPhone revenue over two years to allow for free software updates to be delivered over the life of the cellular contract, sometimes causing confusion for analysts, investors, and financial preparers, as the immediate revenue boost to Apple isn’t readily apparent in its reported numbers. The company—amongst others such as TiVo and Xerox—has lobbied the FASB to change these rules as more devices become dependent on software for their core functionality, such as the iPod touch, which up until now has seen each major update come at a cost due to the different methods used to account for its revenue. The FASB’s Emerging Issues Task Force decided in favor of the rule change during a meeting on September 10; if approved by the FASB as a whole, the new rules could take effect as soon as the start of Apple’s next fiscal year, which begins in less than two weeks.

iTunes 9 causing AirTunes connection problems?

A number of iTunes users are reporting problems getting iTunes’ AirTunes feature to work with their Airport Express units after upgrading to iTunes 9. Based on user reports in an Apple Discussions thread, the problem does not appear to be isolated to any specific operating system or Airport Express model, as both Mac and PC users, and owners of both 802.11g- and 802.11n-capable Airport Express units say they have been getting an error message stating, “An error occurred while connecting to the remote speaker ‘[Airport Express Name]’. The network connection failed.” Curiously, a number of users reported similar problems after installing iTunes 8. [via Engadget]

Every 2009 iPod, reviewed, photographed + more

For readers who mightn’t have seen the numerous changes taking place live last week, over the weekend, and today, iLounge has posted full reviews of the “late 2009” iPod lineup. Our review of the fifth-generation iPod nano, the text of which was published on Friday, has been updated with a large collection of new photos, as has our third-generation iPod touch review, which was published over the weekend and is now available in two versions—one solely discussing the new model, and one discussing it in the context of the second-generation model. Finally, both our iPod classic and third-generation iPod shuffle reviews have been updated with new pages and photographs focusing on the new models.

In brief summary, our top pick in the late 2009 iPod family is the $199 iPod touch (iLounge Rating: A-), followed by the fifth-generation iPod nano (iLounge Rating: B+) and late 2009 iPod touch (iLounge Rating: B+), then the late 2009 iPod classic (iLounge Rating: B), with the third-generation iPod shuffle (iLounge Rating: C) bringing up the rear. In case you missed them, here are links to reviews, news and articles related to the new lineup and iTunes 9:




AT&T begins U.S. iPhone MMS rollout

Anecdotal reports from across the U.S. indicate that AT&T has begun to roll out MMS messaging for iPhone users ahead of its announced September 25 launch date. A forum thread on Howard Forums contains reports from users as widespread as Southern California and Rhode Island saying that their MMS service suddenly started working, often times after upgrading to iPhone OS 3.1, which also includes an updated carrier file, version 5.0. At this point, it is unclear what criteria—if any—AT&T is using to select which customers will receive the service early, of it it plans to continue activating MMS for iPhone users in the days leading up to the official launch. [via Consumerist]

Bowers & Wilkins intros Zeppelin Mini iPod speaker

Bowers & Wilkins has introduced its new Zeppelin Mini speaker system for the iPod and iPhone. As the name suggests, the Zeppelin Mini is a smaller alternative to the company’s full-size Zeppelin system, with a 6.8” x 12.6” x 4” body, compared to the larger Zeppelin which measures 7.8” x 25.2” x 8.2”. Features include digital signal processing, a Flowport for deep, distortion-free bass, a rotating arm for Cover Flow operation, 18 Watts of power for each of the two channels, two 3-inch full range drivers, a 3.5mm auxiliary input for connecting other audio sources, a USB 2.0 port for synching with iTunes and USB audio streaming, an included remote control, and more. Bowers & Wilkins’ Zeppelin Mini speaker is expected to be available in October and will sell for $399. [via MacworldUK]

Apple kills 40GB Apple TV, 160GB now $229

Apple has quietly removed the 40GB Apple TV from its online store, and dropped the price of the 160GB model to $229. The 40GB and 160GB models were previously priced at $229 and $329, respectively; recent reports had noted that the shipping time for the 40GB model was growing abnormally long, indicating a possible upcoming change. Interestingly, this pricing drop comes less than one week after Apple introduced its new iTunes LP enhanced album format, which an in-depth look reveals is formatted for 1280x720 displays, or to the exact dimensions of the 720p HD video format. Furthermore, a separate report found that the iTunes LP content files reference the HTML meta tags “hdtv-fullscreen” and “hdtv-cursor-off,” suggesting that the content was created with HDTV display in mind, and that the Apple TV may see an update that allows it to play iTunes LP content sometime in the near future.

Enter the B&W Zeppelin + Music Giveaway today

If you haven’t yet entered 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!

iPod touch 3G teardown reveals 802.11n chip

A newly-published teardown of the third-generation iPod touch by iFixit has revealed that the player contains an 802.11n-capable Wi-Fi chip, despite being listed as an 802.11b/g only device. According to the article, the iPod touch 3G sports a Broadcom BCM4329FKUBG wireless chip, which the manufacturer states is n-compatible. Notably, this chip appears to be more advanced than the 802.11 a/b/g-only Broadcom BCM4325 chip found in the iPhone 3GS, and also offers support for Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR and an FM receiver and transmitter. In addition, iFixit found enough space left at the top of the board—6mm x 6mm x 3mm—to house the video camera found in the fifth-generation iPod nano, but not enough to fit a more robust sensor like that found in the iPhone 3GS. Finally, the iPod touch’s ARM processor is labeled 339S0075 ARM, possibly indicating a later version of the processor found in the iPhone 3GS, which is labeled 339S0073 ARM.

Apple lowers pricing on iPod touch 3.x update

Amidst a slew of announcements Wednesday—new iPods, iTunes 9, and so on—Apple quietly lowered the price on its iPod touch 3.1 Software Update. Previously priced at $9.95, the update is now only $4.95 for iPod touch users running Software 2.x or earlier. Customers who purchased an iPod touch after July 17, when iPhone OS 3.0 was released, likely do not need the update, and can upgrade to the latest software—OS 3.1.1—for free via the Update feature in iTunes.

iPod touch 3G speed comparison videos online

iLounge has posted a set of three videos comparing the speed of the third-generation iPod touch to that of the second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3GS. As expected, the new iPod touch appears to be slightly faster than the iPhone 3GS, and noticeably faster than the second-generation iPod touch. All three videos are embedded below, and are also available for viewing on Vimeo (1, 2, 3).

iPod touch 3G unboxing photos posted

We are now in the process of posting our complete set of third-generation iPod touch unboxing photos to Flickr. Amongst the small but notable changes in the new models is an engraving change, similar to that of the iPod classic 160GB, that sees the capacity badge shrunk, and a small amount of text removed from the bottom of the unit.

Sign up now for iPodweek, coming shortly

iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly email newsletter recapping the week in reviews, news, articles, and more, will be sent out to subscribers later today. If you haven’t yet signed up, there’s still time to do so before this week’s edition is sent out. Simply use the form below to submit your email address, and you’ll be added to our mailing list, in addition to making yourself eligible for future newsletter-specific giveaways and deals.

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Mix: Belkin, Incipio, Scosche, iPhone theft patent

Belkin has announced a slew of new cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano, second- and third-generation iPod touch, and iPod classic. The lineup includes the Grip Vue, Grip Pulse, FastFit, and Hue cases for iPod nano 5G and iPod touch 2G/3G, the Hand Band for iPod nano 5G, the Grip Ergo with Hand Strap, Halo, Cush, and Micra Flex for iPod touch 2G/3G, and the Grip Pulse Duo, Clear, Leather Sleeve with Clip, and Leather Folio for all three models. Belkin’s new line of cases is expected to be available in mid-September and sell for $20 to $30.

Incipio has introduced its new cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano and second- and third-generation iPod touch. The dermaSHOT for iPod nano 5G and iPod touch 2G/3G is made from an anti-static silicone shell, and offers a play-through design with open access to all ports and controls, as well as an included screen protector, cleaning cloth, and video stand. It sells for $15 for the iPod nano 5G and $13 for the iPod touch. Also new is the Incipio EDGE for iPod nano 5G, a high-density translucent polycarbonate case featuring a 50/50 sliding design, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protector, cleaning cloth, and video stand. Available in clear or smoke, it sells for $20.

Scosche has debuted its new kickBACK n5 and switchKASE n5 cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano. Both cases feature a hybrid rubber and polycarbonate design, with the kickBACK n5 featuring a clear center front portion and rubber on the sides and back, and the switchKASE n5 offering a mostly rubber front with similar amounts of rubber on the back. Other shared features include a hinged kickstand for watching videos, integrated traction nubs for added grip, and open access to all ports, controls, and the camera. The switchKASE n5 also includes a sport armband for use with the silicone skin. Both the kickBACK n5 and switchKASE n5 are available now and sell for $25 and $30, respectively.

A new Apple patent filing suggests the company is working on a system that would use the iPhone and iPod touch’s accelerometers to detect theft. Titled “Acceleration-Based Theft Detection System for Portable Electronic Devices,” the patent describes a system that would detect rapid movement and analyze it to determine whether or not it represented a possible theft. If so, the system could initiate an alarm, and would display

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