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Apple targets Verizon with new iPhone 3GS ads

Apple is preparing to launch a pair of new TV advertisements for the iPhone 3GS that directly attack competing carriers, most specifically Verizon Wireless. Both ads—uploaded online with the titles “What Time’s the Movie?” and “Did You See My Email?”—feature the iPhone being used against a white backdrop, similar to most of Apple’s recent iPhone commercials. While both ads show various apps in use, the theme for each is not the apps themselves, but instead the fact that AT&T’s 3G network allows for data access while on a call, something that Verizon can’t offer due to its different network technology. BusinessWeek reports that the new ads are scheduled to air tonight during programs like House, The Daily Show, and Dancing With the Stars; continue reading to see both commercials below in embedded form, or follow the above links to watch them separately on Vimeo.

Apple announces Black Friday 2009 shopping event

Apple has announced via a graphic on its online store that it will once again be holding a special shopping event on the day after Thanksgiving, November 27, commonly known in the retail world as “Black Friday.” The image, which shows a package made up of graphic representations of various Apple products, including the iPod touch, iPod nano, and Apple TV, reads: “Come back to the Apple Online Store the day after Thanksgiving for a special one-day-only holiday shopping event. You’ll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas—all with free shipping.” Exact details of the event, such as applicable products and pricing, have yet to be revealed; last year, the discounts included $11 off all iPod nanos and a $21 discount on iPod classic, iPod touch, and Apple TV models. It is unclear whether Apple will be offering the same or similar discounts in its retail stores, although it has in years past.

Swimman waterproofs Earphones with Remote and Mic

Swimman is now offering waterproofed sets of Apple’s Earphones with Remote and Mic. According to the company’s website, Swimman developed the waterproofed controls as an option for owners of compatible iPod and iPhone models—such as the remote-dependent third-generation iPod shuffle—who have grown tired of their in-line control boxes shorting out when exposed to moisture or sweat. Apart from the waterproofed control box, all specifications are identical to Apple’s standard offerings. Swimman’s Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic with Waterproofed In-Line Controls are available now and sell for $40.

KT to launch iPhone in South Korea on Nov. 28

KT has announced (Translated Link) that it will officially begin sales of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in South Korea on November 28. “We are thrilled to bring iPhone to South Korea,” said Kim Woo-sik, CEO of KT’s personal customer group. “Our customers will enjoy the power and benefits of using the revolutionary iPhone on KT’s 3G network.” All three iPhone models will be available with three different “i-” plans, with the 16GB iPhone 3GS and 8GB iPhone 3G available for free with the W 95,000/month—roughly $82—“i-Premium” plan; pricing rises through the three tiers to a maximum of W 396,000 (~$343) for the 32GB iPhone 3GS on the W 45,000/month (~$39) “i-Light” plan. Despite the official announcement and a confirmation from Apple, South Korea remains missing from Apple’s list of countries where the iPhone is available.

New iPhone jailbreak worm seeks banking info

A new iPhone worm affecting jailbroken units is targeting owners who use their device to access Internet banking services from Dutch online bank ING. BBC News reports that the worm was discovered by security company F-Secure, and uses the same SSH vulnerability—specifically, jailbroken iPhones that have had SSH activated without having the default password changed—to redirect the bank’s customers to an unauthorized look-a-like site with a login screen. According to F-Secure, this new worm is more dangerous than prior threats because it can behave like a botnet, enabling the phone to be accessed or controlled remotely. “It’s the second iPhone worm ever and the first that’s clearly malicious - there’s a clear financial motive behind it,” F-Secure research director Mikko Hypponen told the BBC. “It’s fairly isolated and specific to Netherlands but it is capable of spreading.” Hypponen added that while the number of infected phones is thought to still be in the hundreds, the worm could potentially jump from phone to phone when multiple vulnerable devices are running on the network, such as at Wi-Fi hotspots. A spokesperson for ING Bank said the company was going to post a warning about the worm on its official website. “We are also briefing call centre personnel,” she added. “It’s important to remember that the worm only affects jail-broken phones and it is only aimed at customers in the Netherlands.”

Apple exec Schiller discusses App Store

In an interview with BusinessWeek, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller made several interesting comments about the continuing growth of the App Store and the company’s app approval process. “We’ve built a store for the most part that people can trust,” Schiller said of the App Store. “You and your family and friends can download applications from the store, and for the most part they do what you’d expect, and they get onto your phone, and you get billed appropriately, and it all just works.” Comparing Apple to a brick-and-mortar retailer that must determine what products to put on store shelves, Schiller continued, Whatever your favorite retailer is, of course they care about the quality of products they offer. We review the applications to make sure they work as the customers expect them to work when they download them.”

Schiller reiterated the company’s count of more than 100,000 apps available in the App Store, and said that roughly 10,000 are submitted each week; Schiller claimed that most are approved, while about 90% of rejections are sent back to the developer due to a technical issue, such as a bug or unexpected operation. The other 10% are mostly inappropriate. “There have been applications submitted for approval that will steal personal data, or which are intended to help the user break the law, or which contain inappropriate content,” Schiller said. However, about 1% or fewer of returned apps fall into a gray area that Apple hadn’t previously anticipated; Schiller used apps written to help users cheat at casino games as an example. “We had to go study state and international laws about what’s legal and what isn’t, and what legal exposure that creates for Apple or the customer,” he said.

Schiller said the company is also taking a hard line on potentially illegal use of trademarks—particularly those owned by Apple. “If you don’t defend your trademarks, in the end you end up not owning them,” Schiller says. “And sometimes other companies come to us saying they’ve seen their trademarks used in apps without permission. We see that a lot.” The executive did say that the company is working to make its trademark guidelines more sophisticated and transparent. “We need to delineate something that might confuse the customer and be an inappropriate use of a trademark from something that’s just referring to a product for the sake of compatibility,” he said. “We’re trying to learn and expand the rules to make it fair for everyone.”

Enter the CES Exhibits Plus Pass Giveaway today

If you haven’t yet entered our CES Exhibits Plus Pass Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for November, iLounge and CEA are giving away CES Exhibits Plus passes to 100 lucky readers. The pass will allow access to all exhibits, TechZones, SuperSessions, and keynote addresses at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including the all new iLounge Pavilion. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on November 30, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Wider distribution boosting iPhone sales in France

Apple’s increased number of iPhone carriers in France is leading to a boost in sales, which bodes well for a similar result in the U.K. Marketwatch reports that the latest data from Bernstein shows Apple’s value market share in France jumped from 21% in the second quarter to 32% in the third quarter, thanks to the phone’s availability on Bouygues Telecom and SFR. “The expansion of iPhone distribution has clearly benefited Apple, helping it to more than double sales in three months,” said Pierre Ferragu, an analyst with Bernstein. Morgan Stanley had similar estimates, the report states, which showed iPhone market share in France increasing by 17% sequentially in the third quarter. Carolina Milanesi, research director in Gartner’s mobile device department, said France is now the biggest market for the iPhone in Europe with more than 600,000 units sold in the third quarter.

A similar boost is hoped for in the U.K. “Exclusivity in France ended in April. Our numbers show that shelf share tripled and market share doubled quarter on quarter,” said Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston. “Given that the U.K. market is pretty similar and the brand strong there, yes, you can extrapolate that.” O2 was the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the country until earlier this month when Orange launched the device; Orange said it saw first-day sales of 30,000 units, while competing carrier Vodafone will launch the handset early next year. [via MDN]

Chinon rolls out AVi portable iPod speaker

Chinon has introduced its new AVi portable iPod speaker system with integrated digital TV. Featuring a boombox-style design, the AVi offers a Universal iPod Dock on the top of the system, a 7-inch, front-mounted LCD monitor, dual, 2.5W speakers, an integrated ATSC digital TV tuner with AV output, an auxiliary input for connecting the iPod shuffle or other audio sources, a digital FM tuner with 20 presets, an alarm clock, the ability to run for three hours off eight “C” batteries, and an included remote control. Chinon’s Avi portable speaker system for iPod is available now and sells for $200.

TomTom intros separate Car Kit for iPod touch

Following the release of its updated turn-by-turn navigation app that added support for the original iPhone and iPod touch, TomTom has revealed that first-, second-, and third-generation iPod touch users wanting to purchase a TomTom-branded GPS solution will need to buy a separate car kit than the one offered to iPhone users. In a Twitter update, TomTom representatives wrote, “The existing TomTom car kit is designed for the iPhone. A new car kit for iPod touch will be available shortly in the United States.” The iPod touch version of the Car Kit looks physically similar to its iPhone cousin, and will offer a majority of the same features—charging, enhanced GPS performance, an enhanced speaker, audio line out, and a rotating mount—but will lack the microphone of the iPhone unit. The company has put up a product page for the iPod touch Car Kit, which is listed at $100, but has yet to announce a firm release date. [via iFun.de]

iLounge and MusicSkins announce the Ultimate Design Contest

iLounge and MusicSkins are pleased to announce the new Ultimate Design Contest. Entrants can upload their own design/imagery for the chance to be featured and distributed via MusicSkins iPod, iPhone and Macbook skins at the iLounge Pavilion within the International CES, held January 7th – 10th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other prizes include a Macbook computer, a third-generation iPod touch, and a MusicSkins licensing deal. The winner and 2 runners up will be chosen by the iLounge and MusicSkins staff. The contest begins now and will run until December 15th; interested readers can visit the Ultimate Design Contest homepage at www.MusicSkins.com/iloungecontest for more information and to upload their design. Good luck!

Latest edition of iPodweek coming shortly

iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out to our email subscribers 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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Apple planning more iPod touch apps for retail?

Apple is planning to roll out at least two more iPod touch applications to be used in its company-owned retail stores, according to an AppleInsider report. In addition to the previously revealed point-of sale application, Apple will reportedly be providing an application that allows employees to replace iPhones and iPods directly on the store floor, removing the need for a Genius Bar visit. A separate application is said to be designed for the stores’ stock rooms, where it will help facilitate necessary tasks performed in all of Apple’s retail stores. According to the report, the new apps will arrive simultaneously, alongside the new iPod touch-based POS system.

Gameloft, others cutting back on Android development

Gameloft has said that it, along with other developers, is cutting back on Android development due to the low financial returns seen on the platform. Reuters reports that Gameloft finance director Alexandre de Rochefort, speaking at an investor conference, said, “We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like ... many others.” “It is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products. On Android nobody is making significant revenue,” he added. Gameloft’s App Store offerings generated 13 percent of the company’s revenue last quarter. “We are selling 400 times more games on iPhone than on Android,” Rochefort said. Google’s Android platform has seen increased press coverage lately in part due to the release of several high-profile devices, including the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris on Verizon Wireless.

Google launches Google News for iPhone, iPod touch

Google has launched a new mobile-formatted version of its Google News homepage. The new offering is optimized for display on the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as Android devices and the Palm Pre. It offers the same personalization available on the desktop, along with more stories, sources, and images, a mobile-friendly “jump to” menu, and the ability to reach favorite sections, find articles, and play videos in fewer taps. To access the new mobile version of Google News, simply visit news.google.com from Safari on an iPhone or iPod touch.

Magellan releases RoadMate app, Car Kit coming

Magellan has released its new RoadMate 2010 North America application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Features of the turn-by-turn navigation app include a OneTouch favorites menu for fast bookmarking and retrieval of commonly-accessed places and searches, spoken street name guidance, highway lane assist, QuickSpell with SmartCity Search for faster entry of addresses, 3D landmarks, Address Book integration, in-app music control, the ability to save a vehicle’s parking location, a pedestrian mode for use outside a vehicle, and up-to-date NAVTEQ maps. In addition, the application offers support for the iPod touch, allowing for use with an optional third-party GPS receiver, such as Magellan’s upcoming Premium Car Kit. The Car Kit will offer a fully adjustable, rotating mount to work with any skin or case, enhanced GPS signal via the built-in receiver, the ability to charge the connected iPhone or iPod touch, a noise-cancelling speakerphone with Bluetooth hands-free calling, and an amplified speaker. Magellan’s RoadMate 2010 North America application is available now and sells for $80; the Premium Car Kit is listed as coming soon, but no exact release date or pricing information has yet been announced.

Proporta ships Antimicrobial Case for iPhone 3G, 3GS

Proporta has introduced its new Antimicrobial Silicone Case with SteriTouch for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Antimicrobial Silicone Case is made from rugged silicone, which has been treated with an antimicrobial coating to guard against germs and bacteria, and features a textured black outer surface with grey interior. Proporta’s Antimicrobial Silicone Case with SteriTouch for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $21.

Virgin Mobile Canada to offer iPhone 3G, 3GS

Virgin Mobile Canada has announced that it will launch the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in its Virgin Mobile retail stores and online in the coming months. Although no further details were provided in the official announcement, Canadian mobile news site MobileSyrup suggests that the handset will launch on the carrier in February 2010, and also believes pricing will be similar to that offered by the phone’s other Canadian carriers, with a three-year contract. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are currently available in Canada through Rogers/Fido, Bell Canada, and Telus.

Incase unveils new chargers for iPod, iPhone

Incase has introduced its new Car Charger and Combo Charger for the iPod and iPhone. Both chargers feature dual high-speed USB ports for charging up to two devices at once, LED charging indicators, and an included four-foot 30-pin charging cable. The Car Charger is made solely for in-vehicle use, connecting to an open power port or cigarette lighter port, and featuring a high-gloss finish, while the Combo Charger can connect to in-vehicle power ports, as well as to standard US outlets thanks to folding prongs hidden in the charging stem, and features a soft-touch finish. Incase’s new Car Charger and Combo Charger are available now and sell for $30 and $40, respectively.

In addition, the company has launched new chrome-finish version of its Slider Case for the iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod touch 2G/3G; both versions offer full access to all ports and controls, included S-Stands for widescreen viewing, and a slide-off bottom for easy docking. The Chrome Slider Cases for iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod touch 2G/3G are available now and sell for $35 each.

AT&T suffers setback in Verizon suit, airs response ad

AT&T has suffered an initial setback in its lawsuit against Verizon Wireless over the latter’s recent TV advertisements attacking AT&T and the iPhone, but has also launched a new television commercial to counter the Verizon spots. A federal judge in Atlanta has denied an initial request from AT&T to force Verizon to pull its “map for that” commercials from the airwaves, the Asscociated Press reports, but did schedule a hearing on December 16 to give AT&T attorneys another chance to state their case. AT&T filed suit against Verizon Wireless two weeks ago claiming that the latter’s ads were “misleading.”

In response to Verizon’s ads, AT&T has launched a new TV commercial called “Side by Side” comparing certain characteristics of the two company’s offerings that favor the U.S. iPhone carrier. Starring actor Luke Wilson, the ad points out that AT&T has the “nation’s fastest 3G network,” which allows users to “talk and surf at the same time,” that it offers the most popular smartphones, and that its customers—more specifically, iPhone users—have access to over 100,000 apps. The new advertisement is available for viewing below in embedded form or can be viewed in high quality on YouTube. [via Mac Rumors]

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