If you haven’t yet submitted your entry for our Sonix3 Earphone Giveaway, today and tomorrow are your last chance. In our Giveaway of the Month for October, Lenntek and iLounge are giving away 10 Sonix3 Earphones to lucky readers. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on October 31, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
The Iconfactory has released Pickin’ Time, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pickin’ Time has players attempt to pick their chosen vegetable as fast as they can when it pops up. The game offers both a single-player mode plus single-device and Wi-Fi multi-player modes, as well as a family-friendly theme and original soundtrack. Pickin’ Time is available now and sells for $2.
UPS has launched UPS Mobile, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. UPS Mobile lets users track package and freight shipments, find nearby UPS locations, and estimate shipping costs and delivery times; users logged in with a My UPS ID can also nickname tracked shipments, see recent tracks, create shipping labels to e-mail and then print, access their ups.com address books, and use saved shipping and payment preferences. UPS Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Nikon has introduced Nikon Learn & Explore, its new photography application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Learn & Explore gives users access to a host of photography tips and information, including educational images and videos, advice on shooting techniques, guides to fundamental photography principles, a photography glossary, complete access to Nikon’s quarterly print magazine Nikon World, and more. Nikon Learn & Explore is available now as a free download.
Namco has released Garters & Ghouls, its latest title for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed in collaboration with Big Blue Bubble, Garters & Ghouls puts players in the shoes of Marie Dupois, who has been summoned to battle a horde of baddies with dual on-screen stick controls. Features include over 25 levels, a variety of weapons and power-ups, extra downloadable content, the ability to share in-game achievements via Facebook Connect, and more. Garters & Ghouls is available now and sells for $5.
iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter summarizing 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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The iPhone has officially launched in China, with reports of lines in the hundreds. Fortune reports that the first sale was made at 6:30 p.m. Beijing time on Friday, following a ceremony held at China Unicom’s flagship store, known as “The Place.” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing, was on hand at the event, calling it “an extraordinary day,” while China Unicom officials revealed they now have more than 1 million iPhone 3G subscribers, most likely through its amnesty program that allowed owners of imported, gray-market iPhones to sign up for its services. According to reports, as many as 300 customers were in line to buy the handset at Unicom’s store in Beijing, while a strong crowd was also found outside Apple’s retail store in the city.
According to a new Apple Support document, new versions of previously purchased iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content will be made available for download for use with Apple TV Software 3.0. The document states, “New versions of previously purchased iTunes Extras and iTunes LP content will be added to your download queue, and you will receive an email alerting you when they are available. The content will be delivered to your iTunes application on your computer, and you can then sync it to your Apple TV.” It is unclear what changes are being made to the files in the updated versions, but iLounge editors had noticed problems streaming iTunes LP and iTunes Extras files to the Apple TV; the support doc specifically mentions syncing these files to the Apple TV’s built-in hard drive.
Apple has released an update to its Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Remote allows iPhone and iPod touch users to control their iTunes installations or Apple TVs directly from their devices. New in version 1.3.2 is compatibility with iTunes 9 and Apple TV 3.0, as well as unspecified bug fixes. Remote 1.3.2 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
iLounge has posted an extensive gallery showing off the new interface of Apple TV Software 3.0 to our Flickr account. Included are shots of the new main interface, Genius, HD YouTube playback, Internet radio, iPhone/iPod touch Remote control, new fonts throughout the interface, and more.
Apple has released iTunes 9.0.2, the latest update to its digital media management application. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 9.0.2 “adds support for Apple TV software version 3.0, adds an option for a dark background for Grid View, and improves support for accessibility.” The updated software is a 92.8 MB download on Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility, or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes/.
Apple has filed a new patent application describing a wireless headset with the ability to play music on its own while the external device is not being used. The drawings show a headset similar to Apple’s prior iPhone Bluetooth Headset, but with a port on the rear that can be connected to a cord or strap with a similar, iPod-style earbud on the opposite side for stereo sound. Proposed features of the device would include the ability to be used as an audio player, the ability to record voice notes, which could then be synced back to the attached device, the ability to cache voicemail recordings for offline playback, and the ability to record all or part of a phone conversation. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, a Michigan-based company that has previously been awarded millions of dollars in lawsuits against consumer electronics companies such as Sony and Canon, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Delaware. The company claims that Apple has infringed upon four of its patents, entitled “Electronic Still Video Camera with Direct Personal Computer (PC) Compatible Digital Format Output,” “Electronic Still Video Camera with Direct Personal Computer (PC) Compatible Digital Format Output,” another entitled “Electronic Still Video Camera with Direct Personal Computer (PC) Compatible Digital Format Output,” and “Process for Use in Electronic Camera”. The suit claims that Apple has “made, offered to sell, imported, used and/or sold” digital cameras that “directly, contributorily, or by inducement” infringe on the patents, without naming any specific product. AppleInsider notes that in many cases where St. Clair was awarded damages, the defendants entered into licensing agreements with the company.
Apple is set to switch its retail stores from the current EasyPay portable point-of sale (POS) computers to iPod touch units using an advanced scanner accessory, according to an ifoAppleStore report. The new units will allow employees to capture data from multiple barcodes—such as UPC, serial number, product code, and cellular IMEI and ICCI numbers—in a single pass, and will allow for cash transactions to be handled without the need to head to a central cash drawer. It is unclear, the report states, whether Apple is using software developed in-house for the new system or a third-party solution. The current EasyPay system, which runs on Windows CE devices from Symbol Technologies and debuted prior to the 2005 holiday buying season, has been the subject of ongoing complaints from Apple retail employees, who claim the system suffers from crashes, Wi-Fi dropouts, and sluggish operation.
The National Basketball Association has released NBA League Pass Mobile, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by MobiTV, League Pass Mobile gives iPhone and iPod touch users access to more than 40 live NBA games a week during the 2009-20 regular season, full game replays for up to 48 hours after each game, daily highlights, live player stats, live scores, the ability to set “Remind Me” alerts for favorite teams or key games, and the ability to send game and stat updates via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. All streaming video is available over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections. NBA League Pass Mobile is available now from the App Store and sells for $40.
Apple has announced the release of Apple TV Software 3.0, offering a number of enhancements, including a redesigned user interface. The new main menu interface spills across the screen horizontally, with menus for Movies, TV Shows, Music, Podcasts, and more. As revealed earlier, the software also provides support for Apple’s new iTunes LP and iTunes Extras formats, as well as up to 12 Genius Mixes, Internet radio playback, iPhoto Events and Faces, and more. Apple TV Software 3.0 is available now as a free download via the Update Software option in the device’s General Settings menu.
Apple has updated its iTunes Store Terms, revealing an impending Apple TV 3.0 update that will bring support for the iTunes LP and iTunes Extra formats to Apple’s set-top box. In a brief summary of changes made to the terms, Apple writes, “The Terms of Sale have been revised to clarify that you can now use iTunes LPs and iTunes Extras on Apple TV with software version 3.0 or higher.” Apple last updated the Apple TV’s software in June with the release of software version 2.4, which added support for gesture controls in the company’s Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch. It also made a change to the device’s lineup in mid-September, killing the 40GB model and dropping the 160GB unit to $229. It is unknown when software version 3.0 will be released.
Wrappers has teamed up with renowned designers Paul Smith and Robert Kaufman for a new set of Sleeves for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Paul Smith of London sleeves feature Smith’s classic multi-stripe pattern in two colorways—one in bright shades of red orange, yellow and blue, and one in more subdued shades of green, brown, tan, and aqua—and sell for £17, or roughly $28, each. The Robert Kaufman sleeves sport either a purple “Bad Bone” skulls pattern or a “Hip Flower Power” black and multicolor skulls pattern, and sell for £14, or roughly $23, each. All four Sleeves feature a fitted build to prevent the iPhone from slipping out, microfiber waterproof lining, 3mm of compressed closed cell foam padding, offer complete covering for the device, require a 3-5 day build time, and are available now.
Disney.com has launched its new official application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new app offers access to Disney news and entertainment, interaction with popular characters through customizable photo frames and audio greetings, the ability to listen to Radio Disney live and watch videos, in-app games like Name That Song, and more. In addition, it offers a “Click2Life” feature that allows iPhone users to take pictures of images on the disney.com website that then become animated images within the app. Disney.com is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Priceline.com has released its Hotel Negotiator application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app lets users find and book last-minute accommodations using the site’s Name Your Own Price hotel service. Features include a winning bids listing that displays multiple recent winning bids made by other customers for hotels across a city, a shake-activated, location-based winning bids search, the ability to sort listings by star level, price, proximity, and popularity, instant bid results, the ability to browse Priceline’s published-price hotel listings, and a specially-designed one-page checkout screen. Priceline.com’s Hotel Negotiator app is available as a free download.
Seeitwithus has introduced Videopix, its first application for the iPhone 3GS. Videopix allows iPhone 3GS users to scrub through their videos frame-by-frame, extracting 640x480 stills directly from the video files. Features include precise navigation controls, automatic video orientation detection for proper photo exporting, and the ability to take images from any video in the Camera Roll. Videopix is available now and sells for $5.
Location-aware social networking service Brightkite has updated its native iPhone and iPod touch application to version 2.0. Sporting a slightly tweaked interface, the new version gives users access to new features recently added to the service’s website, including a new Friend model that allows others to follow as a fan, leaving the choice as to whether or not they are a “friend” up to the user, a new privacy model that lets users decide who sees each post, post-by-post settings for sending updates to other sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, the option to post without location data, and more. Brightkite 2.0 is available now as a free download.
Marware has unveiled its new Sport Grip case for the fifth-generation iPod nano. Made from non-slip, high-grade antimicrobial silicone, the Sport Grip features a unique subtly curved shape for easy handling, an integrated Dock port protector, open access to all other ports, controls, and the camera, small rear holes for attaching a lanyard or strap, and an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. Available now in black or clear, the Marware Sport Grip for iPod nano 5G sells for $20.
Update: Marware has also introduced a Deluxe version of the Sport Grip for iPod nano 5G, adding a lanyard and carabiner to the package for an extra $5.
Google has revealed details of its upcoming free turn-by-turn Google Maps Navigation, and has said it plans to bring the app to the iPhone. The new application will offer common Google Maps features, including the ability to search by name of business and traffic data, as well as new features like voice-assisted turn-by-turn navigation, integration with Satellite and Street View, and the ability to search along the selected route for upcoming points of interest like gas stations and restaurants.
The application will launch with Android 2.0 on the Motorola Droid, which will be available on Verizon on November 6, and will be featured on other upcoming GPS-capable Android 2.0 devices. Google’s Vice President of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, also confirmed that the company is currently working with Apple to bring the application to the iPhone, but noted that the process is different than the normal App Store submission process, because Maps is a built-in iPhone application. No preliminary launch date was mentioned for the iPhone version.
In its 2009 10-K form (PDF Link), filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple said it plans to fight Nokia in the complaint the Finnish communications giant filed against Apple last week. In the complaint, Nokia claims that Apple’s iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN standards, or, more specifically, those covering wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. In its filing, Apple said that it “intends to defend the case vigorously.” Overall, Apple said it is defending more than 47 patent infringement cases, of which 27 were filed during the company’s fiscal 2009.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone looking towards Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. 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!
Data from the latest ChangeWave consumer survey indicates that the iPhone continues to gain market share in the smart phone category, bringing Apple within striking distance of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion for the first time. Overall, 39% of consumers said they currently own a smart phone, up two percent from June. Apple’s market share has jumped five percent among those respondents—from 25% to 30%—in the same time period, leaving it 10% behind market leader RIM, which dropped one point to 40%. Palm remains at 7%. Among consumers planning to purchase a smart phone in the next 90 days, Apple’s share dropped from 44% in June to 36% in September, but it remains 9% ahead of RIM in this metric. Finally, Apple continues to lead in customer satisfaction, with 74% of owners saying they are very satisfied with their iPhone. ChangeWave’s latest survey of was performed from September 14-21 with 4,255 consumer respondents.
After amassing more than 3,100 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll, “Will iTunes LP make you more likely to purchase albums from the iTunes Store?” has ended. Readers were given a choice between two positive or five negative responses, plus an option for those who don’t purchase music.
With 29% of the vote, “I already purchase albums from the iTunes Store and am no more likely do to so because of iTunes LP,” was the leading response from readers, with 19% instead saying they purchase their music exclusively on physical media. 15% said they either rarely buy albums in any format or simply don’t pay for music at all, followed by the nine percent who said they like the iTunes LP format and will purchase more albums from iTunes because of it. Eight percent of readers said they purchase their music from other music download stores, while just six percent said they like the format, but will only increase their album purchases if Apple extends support for iTunes LP beyond iTunes, to devices like the Apple TV or a large screen tablet. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll takes a look back to initial iPod ownership. We’d like to know if you still have your first iPod. Do you still have a fully-functioning unit, or do you still have it around, but in an unusable state? Or did you give it to a friend or family member, or perhaps sell it to upgrade to either a newer iPod or iPhone? Or maybe it was lost or stolen, or disposed of because it stopped working? Or have you never owned an iPod? Our new poll, “Do you still have your first iPod?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage.
Also, don’t forget that voting for our 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards ends tomorrow. In our Readers’ Choice Awards, we’re letting our readers pick the year’s best from four categories—Apple’s best new digital media product, iPod + iPhone Accessory Developer, iPhone + iPod Application Developer, and iPhone + iPod Game Developer. Currently, the iPhone 3GS leads the third-generation iPod touch by a slim margin in the race to be crowned Apple’s best new digital media product of 2009, while the Pod + iPhone Accessory Developer of the Year race is a toss-up between Griffin, Belkin, Logitech, and iHome. Bolt Creative and Facebook remain close rivals in the iPhone + iPod Application Developer of the Year race, and Tapulous currently has a lead in the Game Developer of the Year race, with EA and Gameloft closing in. Cast your vote today!
Ozaki has introduced its new iUFO speaker system for the iPod touch and iPhone. The iUFO offers stereo speakers powered by a digital Class D amplifier, an integrated rotating dock and user-positionable stand, an auxiliary input, AV outputs, an included remote control, and the ability to charge the connected iPod or iPhone while playing. Ozaki’s iUFO is both Made for iPod and Works With iPhone certified and will sell for $130; release information has yet to be announced.