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Tablet poll ends, 2009 iPod poll begins

With over 3,200 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Would you buy a oversized iPod touch with a larger screen if it lacked full computer functionality?” has ended. Readers could say they would be interested in either a 10-inch or a 6- or 7-inch version of such a device, that they wouldn’t be interested in such a gadget unless it ran a full-fledged desktop operating system, or that they wouldn’t be interested due its lack of keyboard or some other hardware limitation.

According to the results, nearly half of iLounge readers (47%) are awaiting a tablet running a full-fledged desktop operating system, as they said they would not be interested in such a device running iPhone-like software. Another 19% said they wouldn’t be interested in such a device at all, due to its lack of keyboard or other hardware limitation. Of readers who said they would be interested, opinion was nearly split—17% to 18% overall—amongst those who would be interested in a 10-inch device for media playback and light apps and games, and those who would prefer a 6- or 7-inch device with the same functionality. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll concerns Apple’s latest lineup of iPods—we’d like to know what your reaction was to the new iPod nano, classic, touch, and shuffle. Were you pleased enough to plan on purchasing a new model, pleased enough to consider a purchase, or pleased, but not enough to make you buy? Or did you think Apple needed to do more to make the upgrades worthwhile, were downright disappointed by the announcements, or don’t have an opinion either way? Our new poll, “What’s your reaction to the new 2009 iPods?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Vote today!

iPhone 3.1 Exchange encryption causing problems for non-3GS users

A number of iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch users are reporting problems syncing with Exchange 2007 after upgrading to iPhone OS 3.1. Users on an Apple Discussion thread claim that after installing the update, they receive the message “Policy Requirement - The account [account name] requires encryption which is not supported on this iPod/iPhone.” The problem appears to stem from the pre-3GS models’ lack of hardware encryption; OS 3.1 now enforces the ‘require encryption’ flag, which leaves iPhone 3GS users as the only ones that can successfully sync with an Exchange server that requires such protection. Users on Exchange 2003 or on Exchange 2007 servers that do not require encryption do not seem to be having the problem; it is unknown whether this issue is something Apple can fix through software, as the iPhone 3GS is the only current model known to offer hardware-based encryption. [via TUAW]

Update: A number of iPhone and iPod touch users are complaining of other issues after updating to 3.1/3.1.1, including severe battery drain, podcasts appearing out of order, and random shutdowns, the latter of which can only be remedied by a hard reset. [via MacNN]

Nike planning heart rate sensor for iPod nano 5G?

Nike is planning to release a heart rate monitor compatible with the fifth-generation iPod nano, according to a new report. Citing a new Nike + iPod user guide that was temporarily posted on Apple’s site, AppleInsider reports that the document included a section entitled “Linking a Nike + iPod Compatible Remote or Heart Rate Monitor,” which stated that the heart rate monitors are sold separately, and can be connected via a menu found under Nike + iPod > Settings > Heart Rate Monitor > Link. The document also appears to state that the new monitor will be compatible with the iPod nano 5G only; AppleInsider reports that people familiar with the matter said the accessory was expected to launch alongside the new nano, but has been delayed for an undetermined period of time.

Update: The updated User Guide is once again available on Apple’s site (PDF Link), with the text referencing the Heart Rate Monitor still included. A screenshot of the page in question appears below.

iPod nano 5G ships with 1.0 or 1.0.1 software, update available

If you’ve just purchased a fifth-generation iPod nano, here’s a little tip in advance of our full review: check the software version. This can be done by plugging the device into iTunes and viewing it in the Devices column, or by going into the nano’s own Settings > About menu, then clicking twice on the center Action button. For whatever reason, some of the fifth-generation nanos we’re currently in the process of testing have shipped with software version 1.0, while others have shipped with a newer version 1.0.1. Apple’s release notes curiously say only that version 1.0.1 of the software supersedes all previous versions, and provides support for the fifth-generation iPod nano. If your iPod nano shipped with version 1.0 software, and you want whatever benefits are hidden in the update, version 1.0.1 is available from iTunes for immediate download.

iPod nano 5G color comparison photos, video posted

iLounge has posted a host of color comparison photos showing the full range of fifth-generation iPod nanos compared to past Apple iterations of the same colors to our Flickr account. In addition to the comparison photos, we have also posted a video showing the initial bootup, menu system, video recording, pedometer, and integrated FM radio features of the new iPod nano. The entire video is embedded below, or you can watch it on YouTube via this direct link.

Update: We have now posted a video demonstration of the 16 different video modes offered on the iPod nano 5G and video comparisons of the iPod nano 5G versus a Flip Video camera—including an HD version; all of which are embedded below.

Apple posts new TV ads for iPod nano 5G, touch 3G

Apple has posted its new TV advertisements for the fifth-generation iPod nano and third-generation iPod touch on its website. The iPod nano 5G commercial highlights its new video camera, showing a specific-colored nano being used to record video of a dancer wearing same-colored clothes; this formula repeats throughout the commercial until the entire line is seen with their respective videos playing on each screen. The ad features the song “Bourgeois Shangri-La” by Miss Li, and is available for viewing now on Apple’s iPod nano landing page. The new iPod touch commercial uses a similar formula as last year’s, showing a succession of sets of hands—sometimes more than one at a time—playing various games on the device, while the song “She’s Got Me Dancing” by Tommy Sparks plays in the background. It too is available for viewing on Apple’s website, on the iPod touch landing page. [via MDN]

Teardown of iPod nano 5G posted online

iFixit has posted a complete teardown of the fifth-generation iPod nano. Their 8GB unit held a flash memory chip from Toshiba, an Apple-branded processor which is believed to be a Samsung ARM chip, a rubber surround for the camera, most likely to dampen vibrations, a redesigned Click Wheel that appears not to be affixed to the body, as that of the 4th-gen model, a glass covering for the screen, similar to that seen in the prior model, and “copious amounts of glue and adhesive” to hold everything together. The speaker inside the new nano is flat, like the one found in the 2nd- and 3rd-generation iPod touch, and the camera is said to be “much thinner” than the one used in the iPhone. Also notable is the 5G’s battery, which appears to be very similar to the one found in the fourth-generation model, suggesting that Apple has either included new video hardware or optimized its software in order to increase the nano’s video battery life by one hour. For more looks at the new fifth-generation iPod nano, see our Flickr set of the 2009 iPod lineup.

iPod classic 160GB changes: new firmware, engraving

  • September 10, 2009
  • iPod,

In our preliminary comparison of the new iPod classic 160GB to the older 120GB model, we have noticed several small, but notable, differences. While the latest firmware available for the 120GB model is 2.0.1, the new 160GB model ships with 2.0.2; it is unclear what changes might be present in the update, or whether it will be released for older models. Also new is the size of the storage capacity badge on the rear of the classic, which has been greatly reduced on the new 160GB model compared to prior generations. Finally, the text on the back of the player has been reduced from three to two lines, with Apple’s trademark and copyright notice cut from the print, and, curiously, the model number—A1238—is the same for both the new 160GB classic and last year’s 120GB model. For more on the differences between the two models, see our Flickr set of the 2009 iPod lineup.

Update: Apple has posted a new support document (Link currently down) stating that the new firmware “is not compatible with previous iPod classic models.”

iPod nano 5G unboxing photos posted

  • September 10, 2009
  • iPod,

iLounge has posted full unboxing photos of the family of new fifth-generation iPod nanos, third-generation iPod shuffles, and second-generation iPod classic. Follow our Flickr photostream to get a look at the photos right now as they’re being posted.

AT&T launches A-List free calling feature

AT&T has launched a new feature called A-List with Rollover, which will give certain customers unlimited mobile calling to and from five “VIP” domestic numbers of their choice at no additional cost. Similar to T-Mobile’s MyFaves and Verizon’s Friends and Family, AT&T customers with individual Nation plans of $59.99 or higher can use A-List to call up to five domestic phone numbers—including landlines and mobile numbers on competing carriers—without using any minutes in their plan, while families with FamilyTalk plans of $89.99 or more can select up to ten numbers to call without using minutes. The feature is scheduled to launch on September 20, and eligible customers will be able to manage their A-List online at att.com/alist.

Griffin unveils iClear cases for iPod nano 5G

Griffin Technology has introduced its new line of iClear hard polycarbonate cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano. The iClear Sketch features a decorative translucent pattern on the outside of the otherwise clear case, adding an element of personalization to the player, while allowing complete access to all ports, controls, and the camera. The iClear Sketch for iPod nano 5G will be available in a variety of patterns, including dusk, tartan, pipeline, summit, hatch, bloom, landmark, warp, camo, plaid, rampt, baroque and 8-bit, and will sell for $25.

The iClear Shade is another take on the clear polycarbonate case, featuring a graduated tint called an ombre finish that fades from clear at the top of the nano to dark grey at the bottom, adding depth to the color of the player. It will also sell for $25. Finally, the iClear is a completely transparent hard case, offering full access to all controls, ports, and the camera, and Griffin’s EasyDock design for convenient docking. Available alone or with a clip and armband, iClear for iPod nano 5G will sell for $20, or $30 with the armband/clip. Griffin’s line of iClear cases for the fifth-generation iPod nano will be available later this fall.

Update: Griffin has also introduced its new Headphone Control Adapter for the iPod and iPhone. Made to work with the VoiceOver feature of the third-generation iPod shuffle and fifth-generation iPod nano, the adapter features three buttons for track and volume control, as well as a headphone port on one end and a 3.5mm plug on the other, allowing users to connect any set of headphones or an auxiliary output cord. Griffin’s Headphone Control Adapter will work with any iPod that supports transport controls through the headphone jack, and is expected to launch this fall for $20.

Apple quietly switches iPod nano 5G screens to TFT

Quietly mentioned in Apple’s tech specs for the fifth-generation iPod nano is the fact that the new models use a TFT (thin film transistor) display as opposed to the standard LCD used in past models. TFT displays are a different variant on LCD technology, that can under some circumstances improve or decrease image quality; Wikipedia notes that depending on the type of TFT screen technology chosen, viewing angles and colors can be mediocre—a problem with early technology—or dramatically more impressive, with high contrast ratios, strong black depth, and faster refresh rates. By comparison, Apple lists the display in the fourth-generation iPod nano as a color LCD with LED backlight. It is unclear what, if any, affect the change in screen technologies will have on the quality of the iPod nano’s screen.

Apple adds Top Grossing list to App Store

Perhaps in an effort to help address some iPhone developers’ concerns, Apple has added a Top Grossing Apps list to the App Store. The new list, which sits below the Top Paid Apps and Top Free Apps lists on the redesigned App Store front page, ranks applications by the amount of money they are bringing in rather than units sold or downloaded. This new metric provides an interesting comparison to the Top Paid Apps list, reordering the top three apps on the Paid list—top-seller by unit AppBox Pro is third on the Grossing list, behind Madden NFL 10 and I Am T-Pain, which are second and third by unit sales—and offering more expensive applications such as TomTom and Navigon’s GPS navigation apps the opportunity to gain more exposure despite their comparatively high prices relative to more common apps like games and utilities. Thus far, Apple has yet to add a similar list to any of the individual app genre pages.

Apple approves Rhapsody streaming app

Apple has approved Real Networks’ Rhapsody application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new app will allow subscribers of the Rhapsody service to queue songs from the service’s 8 million tracks, and create custom playlists that will stream directly to their device over cellular or Wi-Fi connections at 64 kilobits per second. New users will have a seven-day trial period before needing to sign up for a $15 a month subscription; Real Networks plans on adding a feature that would allow users to load songs onto their devices for offline playback in an update later this year. “This breaks us out of the non-Apple MP3 player segment and now we can reach the iPod Touch and iPhone audience that was unavailable to us before,” said Neil Smith, vice president of business management for Rhapsody America. Real’s Rhapsody application is expected to hit the App Store in the next few days and will be a free download.

EA releases Madden NFL 10 for iPhone, iPod touch

Electronic Arts has released Madden NFL 10, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Previewed late last month, the game features complete rosters for all 32 NFL teams, authentic models of NFL stadiums, a season mode with in-depth trades, stats and individual player rewards, in-game commentary from John Madden, Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth, detailed roster management, roughly 300 plays to choose form, the ability for players to draw up their own plays using the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s screen, and an action control mode that slows the game down to give the player more time to react to ongoing plays. Madden NFL 10 is available now from the App Store and is priced at $8 until kickoff of the Steelers v. Titans game at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, at which time it will increase to $10.

More pictures, videos of iPod nano 5G, iPod touch 3G, new iPod shuffles

  • September 10, 2009
  • iPod,

For those who just can’t get enough pictures and details on the fifth-generation iPod nano, third-generation iPod touch, and newly colored third-generation iPod shuffles, we’ve been posting a flurry of additional images over the last day and night, and wanted to bring them all to your attention here.

First Look: iPod nano (Fifth-Generation)
Hands-On Video: iPod nano (Fifth-Generation)
First Look: iPod touch (Third-Generation)
Hands-On Video: iPod touch (Third-Generation)
New! Pictures and Comparative Details: iPod shuffle (blue, green, pink, special edition).
Hands-On Video: iPod shuffle (Third-Generation, Colored).

We’ll be adding many, many more photos and details today.

Hands-on live videos of new iPod nano, touch posted

  • September 9, 2009
  • iPod,

iLounge has posted its hands-on videos of the third-generation iPod touch, fifth-generation iPod nano, and updated third-generation iPod shuffle on Vimeo. The iPod nano 5G is embedded below; follow the above links to catch the two other clips.

iPod shuffle 2G disappears from Apple Store

Following today’s introduction of the expanded color options and a 2GB model for the third-generation iPod shuffle, Apple has removed the option to purchase a second-generation shuffle from the player’s online store listing. Previously, a small link notifying customers that the 2G shuffle was still available could be seen at the bottom of the page; it is unclear whether Apple was continuing to sell the older model to address concerns over the new model’s buttonless control scheme, or to hit a price point below that of the $79 4GB model. A limited number of 1GB and 2GB refurbished second-generation iPod shuffles remain available on Apple’s online store, and sell for $39 and $59, respectively.

Hands-on with the 2009 iPod Lineup: The Summary

  • September 9, 2009
  • iPod,

Though we are in the process of posting individual First Looks, videos, and photos for the new 2009 iPod lineup, we wanted to provide you with a collective article discussing the new models together, as the iPod shuffle and iPod classic changes in particular are not significant enough to merit full articles at this time. Click on the headline of this article for all of the details.

iPod shuffle 3G gets new colors, 2GB model

Apple today updated its third-generation iPod shuffle lineup, adding new colors to the 4GB model and introducing both a 2GB version and a special edition model. Both the 4GB and the new 2GB models are now available in silver, black, pink, blue and green, and feature the same buttonless design and included Earphones with Remote as before. In addition, Apple announced a new 4GB special edition polished stainless steel model, which will be available exclusively from Apple’s online and retail stores. The 4GB third-generation iPod shuffle remains $79, while the 2GB model is priced at $59 and the special edition model runs $99.

Update: A hands-on video of the updated iPod shuffle 3G is now available for viewing on Vimeo.

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