Rogue Amoeba has announced that it no longer has any plans to release new iPhone applications following a four-month delay in getting a bug fix release of its app Airfoil Speakers Touch approved by Apple. In a blog posting on the company site, Paul Kafasis writes that version 1.0.1 of Airfoil Speakers Touch was submitted to Apple in July, only to be repeatedly rejected due to the use of Apple-provided images of both computers and applications logos, which were included in the original, approved release and were used to identify what computer and application was supplying the audio to the iPhone app. Notably, these images were not contained within the iPhone app itself, but were instead gathered on the connected Mac using Apple-provided APIs, and then sent to the iPhone for display. Rogue Amoeba eventually removed the functionality, instead replacing it with a link to a page explaining the situation and urging users to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“In the future, we hope that developers will be allowed to ship software without needing Apple’s approval at all, the same way we do on Mac OS X. We hope the App Store will get better, review times will be shorter, reviews will be more intelligent, and that we can all focus on making great software. Right now, however, the platform is a mess,” Kafasis writes. “The chorus of disenchanted developers is growing and we’re adding our voices as well. Rogue Amoeba no longer has any plans for additional iPhone applications, and updates to our existing iPhone applications will likely be rare. The iPhone platform had great promise, but that promise is not enough, so we’re focusing on the Mac.”
Apple has released software version 1.0.2 for the fifth-generation iPod nano. According to the release notes, the new firmware fixes normal/slower/faster audio podcast playback, allows Genius Mixes to now work with Nike+iPod, and fixes an issue with Voice Over and the headphone controls, amongst other improvements. Software version 1.0.2 for the fifth-generation iPod nano is available now via the Update feature in iTunes. [via iPod.info.pl]
In an unusual move, AT&T has issued an official response to Verizon’s recent attack ads, which led the iPhone carrier to file a lawsuit against Verizon last week. “As the U.S. market leader in wireless data service, we typically don’t respond to competitors’ advertising. However, some recent ads from Verizon are so blatantly false and misleading, that we want to set the record straight about AT&T’s wireless data coverage,” the response states. “AT&T’s wireless data coverage reaches 303 million people – or 97% of the U.S. population, where they live and work…. 233 million people or 75% of the population are covered by AT&T’s 3G network, the nation’s fastest. 301 million people or more than 96% of the population are covered by EDGE. AT&T is the #1 network for smartphones, with twice the number of smartphone customers than Verizon, our closest competitor.” The response goes on to note that AT&T smartphone customers—or more specifically, iPhone customers—have access to over 100,000 applications, are able to use both voice and data services simultaneously, and have access to “the nation’s fastest 3G network.”
The latest edition of iPodweek, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, is coming later today. iPodweek is a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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A NASA scientist has created a 30-pin accessory that allows an iPhone or iPod touch to be used as a chemical sensor. Jing Li, a physical scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, along with other researchers in the Cell-All program in the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, built the postage stamp-sized device, which packs 16 nanosensors that allow for detection and identification of low concentrations airborne ammonia, chlorine gas, and methane. Connected to an iPhone or iPod touch’s Dock port and used with a special app, the system can send detection data to another device over a cellular or Wi-Fi network. It is unknown whether the administration has plans for the system outside of proof-of-concept testing. [via Engadget]
Evolution Designs has introduced its new BackFlip Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Made from a soft, impact-absorbing material, the BackFlip Case features open access to the screen, Home button, camera, ring/silent switch, headphone port, and Dock connector, built-in, push-through protection for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, and a built-in kickstand on the rear that can hold the iPhone upright when in vertical position or on its side for landscape use. Evolution Designs’ BackFlip Case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS is available now and sells for $30.
Apple has quietly rolled out its new iTunes Preview feature, letting both iTunes and non-iTunes users browse the iTunes Store’s music catalog without needing to launch the iTunes application itself. Currently accessible from Apple’s online iTunes Charts or via direct iTunes Store links, the Preview pages include track listings, user reviews, and related links, although ironically users can’t actually preview songs from within the browser-based interface. It’s unclear whether Apple plans to expand this functionality to TV Shows, Movies, and Apps listings, as well. [via Macworld UK]
Panasonic has introduced its new MW-10 audio system for the iPod. Unlike past iPod audio systems from Panasonic, the MW-10 combines an audio system with a Universal iPod Dock and photo frame. Features include a built-in CD player, FM/AM radio tuner, a bamboo cone speaker, D.Bass processing, an SD card slot, a nine-inch LCD that can display photos from a CD, SD card, or from the 4GB of internal memory, a variety of other display options, including a clock and iPod track menu, calendar and photos, clock and photos, and audio and calendar, and an included remote control. Panasonic’s MW-10 audio system will be available in December and will sell for $300.
Apple has said that it plans to open between 40 and 50 new stores in 2010, with more than half those located outside the United States in countries including Canada, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and China. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is also planning to focus on building more “significant,” or flagship, stores in major cities, as they are the company’s top retail revenue generators. “Other retailers call them flagship stores. We don’t use that word,” Apple senior vice president of Retail Ron Johnson said when explaining the “significant store” terminology. Highlighting Apple’s new Upper West Side store in NYC, set to open Saturday morning, the report adds that more significant stores are planned for spring or early summer openings in London, Paris, and Shanghai. Johnson also said that new stores will be larger than the majority of existing stores, to accomodate more product displays and larger Genius Bars. “Our stores are too small,” he explained. “Our biggest challenge at the Genius Bar — we cannot build them big enough.”
PhoneSuit has unveiled its new Primo Micro Battery Pack for the iPod and iPhone. Both “Made for iPod” and “Works With iPhone” certified, the Primo features a compact design, meant to connect and hang from the connected iPod’s or iPhone’s Dock Connector port. It contains an 800mAh lithium-ion battery, good for up to 45 additional hours of iPod nano audio playback or 3 hours of 3G talk time on the iPhone 3G or 3GS; the Primo also features a miniUSB port and included cord for recharging and a front-mounted LED battery charge meter. Available in white or black, PhoneSuit’s Primo Micro Battery Pack for the iPod and iPhone can be pre-ordered now and is expected to begin shipping on November 23 for $35.
According to the latest data from research firm Gartner, Apple accounted for 17% of worldwide smartphone sales in the third quarter. Apple’s market share trailed only that of BlackBerry maker RIM, with nearly 21%, and Nokia, with 39.3%—an all-time low for the Finnish company. Apple’s 17% share is a substantial improvement over the year-ago quarter, in which it accounted for only 12.9%. In addition, Gartner says that iPhone sales in the fourth quarter “should be even stronger as Apple starts selling in China, through one additional carrier in the UK, and in an additional 16 countries.” Overall, smartphone sales continued to increase, growing 13% in the third quarter.
Incase has introduced its new Topo Frame Case for the second- and third-generation iPod touch. The Topo Frame is a hybrid combining a lightweight hardshell back panel and flex-fit, injection-molded edges for a secure, protective fit and added grip. Other features include Incase’s topography graphic on the rear, integrated, push-through covers for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, and open access to the Home button, screen, Dock connector, and headphone port. Incase’s Topo Frame Case for the iPod touch 2G and 3G is available now in blue, pink, or black, and sells for $30.
The winners of our Sonix3 Earphone Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 10 iLounge readers won a pair of Sonix3 Earphones from Lenntek. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our CES Exhibits Plus Pass Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for November.
iLounge is pleased to announce the CES Exhibits Plus Pass Giveaway. 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!
Joe Hewitt, the leading developer behind the official Facebook application for the iPhone and iPod touch, and iLounge’s Editors’ and Readers’ Choice for iPod/iPhone Application Developer of the Year, has announced that he will no longer be involved in iPhone development due to Apple’s review policies. Hewitt, who is quitting only iPhone development, and not Facebook, revealed his decision last night via Twitter, saying, “Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project.”
In a more lengthy interview with TechCrunch, Hewitt explained why he decided to abandon iPhone development. “My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies,” Hewitt said. “I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.” Discussing his future, he added, “The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.”
Mac-focused security software developer Intego has posted a security memo warning of a new piece of malware targeting jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches. According to the post, the software, identified as iPhone/Privacy.A, uses the same vulnerability as the “rickroll” worm from earlier this week, attacking devices which have been jailbroken and had SSH activated without the owners changing the default password. However, unlike past hacks, which were mostly harmless, this new tool allows a hacker to silently copy a multitude of data from the compromised device, including e-mail, contacts, SMSs, calendars, photos, music files, videos, and any data recorded by any iPhone app. It also leaves no indication that the device has been compromised, since it doesn’t actually install anything on the iPhone or iPod touch, instead working from a PC, scanning the connected network for possible marks and copying their data when discovered.
Griffin Technology has announced a partnership with textile designer Chilewich l Sultan in which the two companies will work together to create a new line of co-branded Griffin + Chilewich accessories. The first fruit of the collaboration is the new Elan Form Chilewich case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. This new case maintains the two-piece, EasyDock design, polycarbonate construction, and open access to all ports and controls of the original, but adds an outer layer of Sandy Chilewich’s woven vinyl textiles. Currently available in light grey or gravel, the Elan Form Chilewich sells for $40.
Apple has passed Nokia to become the world’s most profitable handset manufacturer, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. In the third quarter of 2009, Strategy Analytics estimates Apple’s operating profit for its iPhone handset division to be $1.6 billion, with Nokia reaching only $1.1 billion of operating profit over the same time period. Alex Spektor, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, the PC vendor has successfully broken into the mobile phone market in just two years.” Neil Mawston, director of the Wireless Device Strategies service at Strategy Analytics, believes that Nokia must do better in the U.S. market if it wishes to recover, adding, “A successful fight on Apple’s high-profit home turf can simultaneously help to revitalize Nokia’s margins and to put a check on Apple’s surging growth.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said he doesn’t like attempts to paint Apple and his company as rivals. As the article states, Iwata is an Apple fan himself, carrying an iPhone and using a Mac laptop on a regular basis. He claims the two companies appeal to different consumers, and says that attempts to create a rivalry make him “uncomfortable.” Despite Iwata’s claims, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller made direct comparisons between the iPod touch and Nintendo’s DS, as well as the Sony PSP, during the company’s rock and roll media event in September, stating that while the latter two “seemed so cool” at first, they now “don’t stack up” to the touch or iPhone.
Nintendo recently announced a 52% drop in profit for the first half of its fiscal year, citing lagging sales of its Wii and DS consoles, and also predicted that its annual profit would fall year-over-year for the first time in six years. “If we can’t make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark,” Iwata said at a recent company event. Industry analysts also believe Nintendo may be in trouble due to increasing competition from Apple, with research firm DFC Intelligence expecting revenue from iPod touch and iPhone game to rise from $46 million in 2008 to more than $2.8 billion in 2014, while revenue from dedicated gaming devices is expected to shrink 27% over the same time period. Nintendo will launch a new version of its DS handheld, the DSi LL, in Japan on Nov. 21. It will sell for 20,000 yen, or roughly $222.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in collaboration with Deluxe Digital Studios, has released pocket BLU, a new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Beginning with the Blu-ray edition of Bruno and continuing on for Blu-ray releases of films such as Funny People, Public Enemies, and Inglorious Basterds, iPhone and iPod touch users will be able to interact with new and upcoming Universal Blu-ray releases using the pocket BLU app. Features of the app, which uses a Wi-Fi connection to communicate with a networked Blu-ray player, include an on-screen remote that allows for menu navigation, playback and BD-Live control, a video timeline—accessed by rotating the device—which allows users to instantly access any point in the movie, the ability to unlock a selection of bonus “Mobile-To-Go” content to be saved or streamed to the device, and a pop-up keyboard for entering text. This follows Universal’s earlier foray into added Blu-ray content for iPhone and iPod touch users. Universal’s pocket BLU application is available now as a free download from the App Store; the first compatible Blu-ray disc will be released November 17.