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Happy New Year and Thanks from iLounge

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Heading into 2010, the entire staff of iLounge would like to thank our readers and community members for a great 2009. The year that’s passed saw many exciting developments and changes, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store in the year to come.

Thank you all for another great year—we hope you and yours have a terrific 2010!

App Mix: Hipstamatic, Momento, MatchTunes, iZen Garden

Synthetic Corp has released Hipstamatic, its first application for the iPhone. Hipstamatic is a new camera application that mimics the functionality of an interchangeable lens analog camera, with multiple lenses and “films” provided with the initial purchase; more lenses, films, flashes, and gels are available as $1 packs from within the application. Hipstamatic is available now and sells for $2.

D3i has introduced Momento, a new writing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Momento is a diary and journal writing application, which allows users to keep a private daily diary on their device, and integrates with a variety of social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr to add updates and photos to each day’s log of activities. Momento sells for $3.

Izatt has debuted MatchTunes, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. MatchTunes is an audio-based matching game that challenges users to match audio clips to the appropriate track in their iPod library. Features include the ability to match by song, album, artist, or music clip, a two-player mode, and the ability to select music from a particular genre and clip length. MatchTunes is a $3 download from the App Store.

Random Ideas has unveiled iZen Garden 2.0, a new version of its Top 100 app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Like the original, iZen Garden 2.0 offers users a virtual zen garden to interact with on their device; version 2.0 adds more garden elements, more relaxation sound tracks, more bits of “daily zen,” a meditation timer, a sleep timer, and the ability to share a garden via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, or through the device’s photo library. iZen Garden is available now and sells for $3.

Apple wins appeal in iPod hearing loss suit

Apple recently won an appeal in a class-action lawsuit that sought to hold the company responsible for hearing loss caused by iPods. Reuters reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a prior district court’s rejection of the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs in the case failed to show that use of the iPod poses an unreasonable risk of noise-induced hearing loss. “The plaintiffs do not allege the iPods failed to do anything they were designed to do nor do they allege that they, or any others, have suffered or are substantially certain to suffer inevitable hearing loss or other injury from iPod use,” Senior Judge David Thompson wrote. “At most, the plaintiffs plead a potential risk of hearing loss not to themselves, but to other unidentified iPod users.” The plaintiffs were seeking monetary damages and a court order requiring Apple to improve safety disclosures and provide better headphones.

Tap Tap Revenge 3 hits 2 million downloads

Tapulous has revealed that its popular Tap Tap Revenge 3 rhythm game has seen 2 million downloads since its price was dropped from $1 to free on December 23. Silicon Valley Insider reports that the game, which employs both in-app advertising and in-app purchases to generate revenue, did more than 700,000 downloads on Christmas alone, far more than the most current Tap Tap release did last year. Tap Tap Revenge is currently the most popular free application on the U.S. App Store; for more information on the game, see our iPhone Gems review.

Strong iPhone sales continue in France

The iPhone has seen continued strong sales in France since the device spread from Orange to competing carriers Bouygues Telecom and SFR in April. According to a Le Figaro report (Translated Link), Apple is expected to see 2009 sales between 1.8 and 2 million iPhones in France, representing around 8.5% of the 23.5 million phones sold in the country this year, and 20% in terms of market value. “Sales are significantly higher than that of Christmas 2008, since all operators offering the iPhone,” said Matthew Cortesse, director of telecoms research firm GfK. Among smartphone sales, Apple is expected to have sold more than half, with total smartphones sales expected to come in at around 3.5 million units.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3G in New York

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G at Niagara Falls State Park in New York overlooking Niagara Falls. 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!

SmarTone launching iPhone 3G, 3GS in Hong Kong

SmarTone/Vodafone is preparing to launch the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in Hong Kong. The carrier will become Hong Kong’s second to offer the iPhone directly, but has little information about its plans and pricing online, offering only a simple form to sign up for future updates. Competing carrier 3 has sold the iPhone 3GS since July, and offers pricing between HK $4,880 (roughly $630) for a 32GB iPhone 3GS on the cheapest plan—which offers 100MB of data and 400 basic minutes for HK $138 (~$18)—to free for a 16GB model with the most expensive, HK $398 (~$51) monthly tariff. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS were also previously available unlocked directly from Apple online.

Nokia: Apple infringes patents in ‘virtually all’ products

Nokia has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.” According to the company’s announcement, the complaint centers on seven Nokia patents related to user interfaces, as well as camera, antenna, and power management technologies, all of which allow for a “better user experience, lower manufacturing costs, smaller size and longer battery life for Nokia products.”

“Nokia has been the leading developer of many key technologies in small electronic devices” said Paul Melin, General Manager, Patent Licensing at Nokia. “This action is about protecting the results of such pioneering development. While our litigation in Delaware is about Apple’s attempt to free-ride on the back of Nokia investment in wireless standards, the ITC case filed today is about Apple’s practice of building its business on Nokia’s proprietary innovation.”

Nokia sued Apple in October alleging that the iPhone infringes on patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN standards, specifically those relating to wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. Apple vowed to “vigorously” defend the case, and earlier this month filed a countersuit against Nokia alleging that Nokia is infringing 13 of Apple’s patents, announcing the suit in a terse press release that quoted Apple General Counsel and Senior Vice President Bruce Sewell as saying “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.”

NewerTech intros Window Mount for iPhone 3G, 3GS

Newer Technology has introduced its new Window Mount for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The nine-inch long Window Mount features a suction cup-style mount, a flexible neck, and a rotating black plastic cradle that allows for full access to all of the iPhone’s ports and buttons. Newer Technology’s Window Mount for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $20.

Ford offering iTunes Tagging on 2011 models

Ford has announced that it will be offering HD Radio with iTunes Tagging on select 2011 models. The feature will work through the company’s Sync system, and will allow users to store up to 100 tags until an iPod is connected, at which point the tags are moved over and can later be accessed in iTunes. “iTunes Tagging and HD Radio technology are strong new additions to the growing collection of Ford convenience features and technology we’re offering customers to make driving even more enjoyable,” said Mark Fields, executive vice president of Ford Motor Company. Ford expects to roll the feature out beginning in 2010; pricing has yet to be revealed.

iPhone 3G arrives in box for 8GB 3GS

A German iPhone user has reported receiving a refurbished iPhone 3G in a box labeled for an 8GB iPhone 3GS. “David,” a moderator on the apfeltalk forums, has posted a photo (Translated Link) of the box’s serial number/IMEI label, which clearly says “iPhone 3GS v2.2, 8GB;” iPhone 3G S also appears on the box’s contents label. David reports that the phone inside is indeed an iPhone 3G, running software 3.0.1, despite the box’s markings. Evidence of an 8GB iPhone 3GS model appeared as early as this August in a supposed internal Rogers Wireless memo and on the carrier’s website; it is expected that this new low-end model would replace the current 8GB iPhone 3G in Apple’s lineup.

China Unicom hits 300,000 iPhones sold

After selling only 5,000 iPhones in the handset’s first five days on sale, China Unicom has revealed (Translated Link) that it has now sold more than 300,000 iPhones in mainland China. A China Unicom GM told the press December 27 that the company would hit the 300,000 sales mark either later that day or on the 28. The announcement comes just 20 days after the company announced it had reached the 100,000 unit plateau; by comparison, it took the company 40 days to reach that milestone, suggesting that sales are beginning to accelerate. China Unicom launched the iPhone in mainland China on October 30. [via iPhonAsia]

App Store sales soar on Christmas, touch takes lead

The App Store saw a huge sales spike on Christmas Day, according to new data from Flurry Analytics. The firm found that iPod touch downloads surpassed those of iPhone users for the first time, as iPod touch downloads jumped nearly 1,000% on December 25 compared to the average of all previous Fridays in December, eclipsing iPhone downloads by 172%. iPod touch download volumes continued to exceed that of the iPhone by 104% on December 26. Overall, App Store download growth increased by over 50% in December over November, and current App Store download volume is more than 13 times that of the Android Market. Flurry’s stats are based on information gained through its analytics software for mobile devices.

Glass panel problem forced Apple tablet delay?

Apple’s search for a way to strengthen the glass panel portion of the display for the company’s upcoming tablet forced the company to delay the product’s launch, a new report claims. Citing sources from Apple’s component suppliers, DigiTimes reports that Innolux, the panel-manufacturing subsidiary of Foxconn, will be the initial supplier of panels for the tablet. The report claims that Foxconn’s optical glass processing subsidiary G-Tech Optoelectrics will provide a glass-strengthening process for the 10-inch glass panels; Taiwan-based optical film maker Wah Hong Industrial has also been tapped as a supplier. Finally, Foxconn is said to be the manufacturer of the tablet, which the report claims will be announced in January and will see mass shipments beginning in March or April.

AT&T cuts off online iPhone sales in NYC (updated)

AT&T has abruptly ceased online iPhone sales to customers in the New York City area without explanation. The Consumerist reports that a NYC-based reader alerted them to the issue after receiving a message from the AT&T site that the iPhone was unavailable. Later checks found that no zip code in New York City, or in the suburbs of Westchester County or northern New Jersey, would allow for an online iPhone purchase, either. The site contacted AT&T Customer Service via online chat to ask about the issue, and was told that “the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone. You don’t have enough towers to handle the phone.” In a written statement, AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook was not as forthcoming, saying only that the company “periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.” The iPhone remains available through AT&T and Apple Retail stores throughout the city.

Update: AT&T is resuming online iPhone sales in NYC, according to the AP.

Apple tablet to be named iSlate?

New evidence of trademark and domain name acquisitions by Apple suggest the company may be planning to use the name iSlate for its rumored tablet device. MacRumors found evidence from late 2007 that Apple has acquired the domain name “iSlate.com” through MarkMonitor, a firm that handles domain name registrations and trademark protections for many different companies, including Apple. TechCrunch then discovered iSlate trademark filings in the United States and European Union by a company named Slate Computing. Curiously, the same report notes that the European filing lists U.K.-based firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge as a legal representative, the same firm that helped Apple secure the EU trademark for the term “MacBook.” Finally, Mac Rumors found further evidence linking Slate Computing to Apple, as the trademark application documents list Regina Porter as the signatory; a person with the same name is also a Senior Trademark Specialist with Apple, according to her Linkedin profile. Notably, however, companies do acquire domain names for potential product titles that are not used, so regardless of Apple’s ownership of any domain, its tablet device may carry a different moniker. Apple has reportedly scheduled a special press event on Jan. 26 to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Happy Holidays from iLounge!

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On behalf of all of iLounge’s Editors, forum administrators, moderators and helpers, happy holidays to you and yours. We will be on a limited publication schedule through the holiday weekend as we celebrate with our families and friends.

We hope you’re able to open up whatever new iPod, iPhone, or accessory you wanted over the next few days. If you didn’t happen to get anything Apple-related, if you’re looking for a way to spend last-minute shopping money, or if you’re looking to spend some money you received as a gift, here are a few sections where you might find helpful tips.

Our 2010 Buyers’ Guide, with shopping, hardware, accessory, and software suggestions.
iLounge’s collection of reviews, covering all iPod and iPhone models, as well as thousands of accessories.
iPod and iPhone Gems + Tutorials, for App Store purchasing recommendations and helpful guides to all things Apple.
Our Discussion Forums, with over 1.3 million posts from iLounge readers.

Thanks, and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Apple telling developers to ready big-screen apps (Updated)

Apple has told certain iPhone developers to prepare applications for a demo on a screen with a higher resolution than the iPhone and iPod touch, according to a new report. Citing a source inside the mobile industry, Silicon Valley Insider reports that Apple plans to show off the new device, most likely the long-rumored tablet, in January. “They’ve told select developers that as long as they build their apps to support full screen resolution—rather than a fixed 320x480—their apps should run just fine,” said the source. The report notes that the device will not go on sale in January, but could launch as soon as March.

Update: The Financial Times is reporting that Apple has scheduled a special press event for January 26, to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Rogers extends free tethering offer through May

Rogers Wireless and Fido have extended their free tethering offer through May 3, 2010. In an email sent out by Rogers, the companies explain that the promotion, which was launched this summer, was set to expire on December 31, and provides tethering at no extra charge to customers with a data plan or data add on of 1 GB or more, including the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. In addition, the email states that “customers who are currently eligible to use tethering can continue to do so at no extra charge until the promotion’s end date.” Any data used while tethering counts towards the customer’s monthly limit.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3GS in New Zealand

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3GS at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. 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!

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