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Nielsen: Apple iPhone 3G top U.S. cell of 2009

According to new data released by Nielsen, the iPhone 3G was the most popular cell phone in the U.S. in 2009. Using data procured from January to October, iPhone 3G users represented four percent of all subscribers, followed closely by the RIM BlackBerry 8300 Series of phones, with 3.7 percent of the market. The Motorola RAZR came in third, with 2.3 percent of the market; only one other phone, the LG enV2, counted for more than two percent. Apple was also among the top ten brands accessed over mobile devices from January to September, coming in tenth; Yahoo!, Google, MSN, AOL, and the Weather Channel make up the top five.

Mix: WTO, iTunes Connect, iPhone cops, Unreal Engine

The World Trade Organization panel has upheld a ruling that China is obstructing trade by forcing foreign suppliers to distribute movies, music, and books through state-owned companies. The original ruling did, however, allow the government to continue reviewing products for objectionable content, noting that the state-owned distributor restriction was not necessary to protect public decency standards. “The Chinese side feels regret about the appeals panel’s other rulings.” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement. The original complaints about China’s restrictions came from U.S. movie, music, and publishing companies, who claimed the rules cost them millions of dollars each year in lost business. China’s restrictions have also been pointed to as a reason why there is no iTunes Store in China, despite the local popularity of the iPod and iPhone. [via AppleInsider]

Apple has announced that developers can now search through their iPhone and iPod touch applications in its iTunes Connect portal. The update from Apple says developers logging into the Manage Your Application module will now find a summary of their last 10 modified apps, the new search area that allows for queries by name, Apple ID, or status, and a new application detail view that provides the ability to preview the app in the App Store and provides Crash Reports. [via Mac Rumors]

Tasmanian police officers are utilizing a new system that works both in patrol cars and on police-issued iPhones to check vehicles against a database of unregistered vehicles and unlicensed or disqualified drivers. Previously, officers has to contact Radio Dispatch Services to run the check for them. The iPhone application, used primarily by motorcycle officers, lets the officer simply take a picture of the vehicle to be checked, can can also search for outstanding warrants and other offenses. According to The Mercury, 167 unregistered vehicles have been found and 107 disqualified or unregistered drivers caught in just 10 days of operation. [via MDN]

Epic has demonstrated a new Unreal Engine 3 tech demo running on a third-generation iPod touch. The Unreal Engine is used to display the 3D worlds in some high-profile modern video games, including Gears of War 2, and according to AnandTech, the demo also runs on the iPhone 3GS, but is unable to run on older hardware due to its reliance on OpenGL ES 2.0. Although the company isn’t currently planning to release its own iPhone games, it does plan to make the iPhone engine available to licensees at some point in the near future, which would allow other companies to use it in their own App Store releases. A video of the demo in action is available at the above link. [via Touch Arcade]

Zagg intros ZAGGsparq mobile battery

Zagg has introduced its new ZAGGsparq mobile backup battery for the iPod, iPhone, and other USB devices. The ZAGGsparq features a 6,000 mAh lithium polymer battery, which the company claims is good for up to four iPhone recharges. Other features include LED lighting to indicate the current power level, two USB ports to charge multiple devices at once, and a compact black body with with integrated standard outlet prongs. The Zagg ZAGGsparq is available now and sells for $70.

Apple TV subscription service in 2010, CBS, Disney on board?

Both CBS and Disney are considering signing on for Apple’s TV subscription service, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is currently making a push to complete licensing deals and would like to introduce the service in 2010, although it is unclear whether any networks have signed on yet. The report goes on to state that the service is part of a larger strategy to overhaul the iTunes Store, offering consumers more ways to access and manage their media. This plan ties in with Apple’s plan to launch a multimedia tablet next year; the report cites people briefed by Apple that the company plans to launch it by the end of March.

Apple is having trouble reaching a substantial number of networks for the service, however, as companies such as News Corp.,  Viacom, Turner Broadcasting, and Discovery Communications appear to be hesitant to join up. Although Apple is said to be offering between $2 and $4 a month, per subscriber, to broadcast networks, and $1 to $2 a month to basic cable networks—much greater reimbursement, in some cases, than what the companies receive from traditional distributors—some executives are worried that the service could undermine the successful model of selling bundles of cable networks to distributors, while others are concerned that the service wouldn’t include advertising. “You don’t want to shoot a hole in the bucket to create another revenue stream,” one media executive said. Apple’s plan may be changing as it continues to try and sign on networks, say people familiar with the matter; the initial proposal had the company selling access to ad-free shows from a group of top cable and broadcast networks for $30 per month.

iPod touch users lag on iPhone OS 3.0 adoption

According to new data from online advertising firm Chitika, nearly half of all iPod touch users have yet to upgrade to iPhone OS 3.0, suggesting Apple is having a hard time convincing users that the upgrade is worth the money. A sampling of traffic from Chitika’s advertising network shows that while 95% of iPhone owners, who received the upgrade for free, are running iPhone OS 3.0, while only 55% of iPod touch owners have the newer software installed. As Chitika researcher Daniel Ruby points out, this number becomes even more surprising when one considers that the majority of iPod touch units sold in the last six months came with OS 3.0 pre-installed. Released in July as a $10 upgrade for iPod touch owners, the update offers features such as stereo Bluetooth, Copy & Paste, Spotlight search, In-App Purchases, and Push Notifications, and saw its price cut to $5 in September; Apple is still selling some refurbished iPod touch models with the older software installed.

Mix: Magellan, WWDC 2010, SNL, Tapulous

Magellan has revealed further details of its upcoming Premium Car Kit. The adjustable, rotating car mount is compatible with most skins and cases, and features Bluetooth for hands-free calling, a noise canceling microphone, a built-in GPS receiver for greater accuracy, an auxiliary audio output, the ability to recharge the connected device, and compatibility with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and second- and third-generation iPod touch units. The Magellan Premium Car Kit is available for pre-order now and will sell for $130.

A new listing on the Moscone Center events calendar may reveal Apple’s planned dates for its 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference. Currently, the calendar shows a listing for a “Corporate Event” on June 28 - July 2; AppleInsider notes that previous Apple events have been reserved using the same title. If so, the dates would overlap with the three-year anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch on June 29, 2007. Apple has used its WWDC event to announce new iPhone hardware the last two years, revealing the iPhone 3G in 2008 and the iPhone 3GS earlier this year.

The iPhone was the subject of ridicule during a skit from this past weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live. Discussing reports from last week that Google may be preparing a self-branded Android phone to further challenge the iPhone, Seth Meyers, during the show’s Weekend Update skit, said, “Also a challenge to the iPhone: making phone calls.” The joke was met with laughter from the crowd; SNLis filmed in New York City, which has often been cited as having problematic iPhone coverage. A clip of the joke appears in embedded form below.

Update: The clip has been pulled from YouTube due to a copyright claim from NBC Universal.

Tapulous, makers of the Tap Tap series of iPhone and iPod touch games, has revealed that its sales have approached $1 million a month. While declining to reveal precise sales data, Tapulous’ CEO, Bart Decrem, believes that the company is well positioned to take advantage of what he believes will be strong growth in mobile app commerce over the next two years. “It’s going to be big and all of a sudden people are going to say, ‘holy cow, where did those guys come from?’” Decrem told Reuters. Overall, the company said its games have now been downloaded over 20 million times, with more than 600 million games played.

iTunes U hits 100 million downloads

Apple has revealed that iTunes U, the education-specific section of the iTunes Store, has seen more than 100 million downloads since its launch in 2007. iTunes U offers free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and other content, with more than 200,000 educational audio and video files available. According to Cnet, more than 175 higher-education organizations provide content for iTunes U, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

Vodafone UK to begin iPhone sales Jan. 14

Vodafone in the U.K. has announced that it will begin selling the iPhone on January 14, 2010. According to the BBC News, tariffs will be available from £30 (roughly $48) for 24 months, while the phones will run from £59 (~$95) for an 8GB iPhone 3G to £239 (~$385) for a 32GB iPhone 3GS. Both business and personal contracts will be subject to a 1GB per month “fair use” data limit, and also include unlimited Wi-Fi use. Tethering will also be offered as an option, starting at £5 (~$8) for 500MB of bandwidth. Vodafone has been working for over a year to prepare its network for the iPhone launch, according to Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone U.K.

Enter the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Giveaway today

If you haven’t yet gotten in your entry for our Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for December, iLounge and Sonos are giving away three ZonePlayer S5 all-in-one music systems. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on December 31, 2009 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

App Mix: NFS Shift, Dragon Search, Cash Cab, Muppets

EA has released Need For Speed Shift, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Need For Speed Shift features 20 licensed cars, a unique driver’s seat view, both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi multiplayer across six game modes, the ability to personalize each car’s performance and styling, a driver profile that provides a “persona” based on the player’s skills, driving style, success rate, and other attributes, 18 unique tracks, three difficulty settings, and more. Need For Speed Shift is available now and sells for $10.

Nuance Communications has introduced Dragon Search, the company’s second application for the iPhone. Powered by Nuance’s NaturallySpeaking software, Dragon Search allows users to speak their search queries into the device and returns results across a variety of sources, including Google, Yahoo! or Bing, depending on preference, YouTube, Twitter, iTunes, and Wikipedia. Dragon Search is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Capcom has debuted Cash Cab, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the Discovery Channel’s game show of the same name, Cash Cab has players attempting to answer trivia questions of an increasingly difficult nature as the move from one point of New York City to another. The game features video snippets taken from the show, a variety of question categories including history, pop culture, language, and science, 21 different NYC destinations, the ability to listen to music from the iPod while playing, the ability to upload high scores to Facebook, and more. Cash Cab is priced at $5.

Disney Interactive Studios has unveiled The Muppets Animal Drummer, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Drummer puts lets users play listen to and play along with Animal, matching his beat and timing to score points and unlock new songs. The app also includes a Free Play Mode in which users can play along to original music—including a record feature—or to songs from their iPod library. The Muppets Animal Drummer is available now and sells for $2.

iPodweek coming soon, still time to sign up

The latest edition of iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, reviews, articles, 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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CEA: Over 100 vendors, special spot for 2010 CES iLounge Pavilion

iLounge and the Consumer Electronics Association are pleased to announce that the iLounge Pavilion, a unified iPod, iPhone, and Mac showcase at the 2010 International CES, has expanded to include over 100 exhibitors, representing a record number of Apple-related vendors at the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology. In recognition of its growing importance, the iLounge Pavilion has been given a prominent new position in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, immediately accessible from the Grand Lobby of CES. The 2010 International CES is scheduled for January 7-10, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the submission deadline for iLounge’s official Best of Show Awards fast approaching. The full press release appears below.

CEA and iLounge Announce Over 100 Exhibitors, Special Location for iLounge Pavilion at 2010 International CES
Leading Makers of Apple iPod, iPhone, and Mac Accessories Join To Announce First Products of New Decade

Arlington, Virginia and East Amherst, New York (December 18, 2009) - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and iLounge today announced that the iLounge Pavilion, a unified iPod, iPhone, and Mac exhibition area at the 2010 International CES, has expanded to include over 100 exhibitors—a 150% increase from previous commitments, and a record number of Apple-related vendors at the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology. Based on tremendous industry demand and the iLounge Pavilion’s growing importance, CEA has given the Pavilion a new and prestigious space in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, immediately accessible from the Grand Lobby of CES, near both keynote speeches and attendee registration. The 2010 International CES is scheduled for January 7-10, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The iLounge Pavilion started as a 4,000 square foot area, and has grown to become one of the largest attractions at the 2010 International CES,” said Dan Cole, Vice President, Sales and Business Development for CES. “With over 100 vendors already in place, the Pavilion will be an amazing showcase of iPod, iPhone, and Mac products. The incredible demand for booths this year has enabled us to allocate 30,000 square feet for the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES, with space selection to begin shortly.”

The A-Z list of 2010 iLounge Pavilion exhibitors starts with AAMP of America and ends with Zenrin USA, including industry-leading car accessorizers Alpine Electronics, Dension, and Scosche, earphone developers such as Etymotic Research, Hearing Components, and Westone, case makers Case-Mate, Incipio, iSkin, OtterBox, and Tunewear, and numerous other leading international brands ranging from Griffin Technology and Simplism to Vestalife and XtremeMac. A full list of exhibitors can be found here and will be updated with additions as the event approaches.

Further details on the space selection process for the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES will be shared with 2010 exhibitors in the days to come. Interested developers should contact Tira Gordon at tgordon (at) ce (dot) org or 703-907-4324 to secure one of the limited number of spaces still available in the iLounge Pavilion at the 2010 International CES. Additional information on the 2010 event can be found at

Vendors hoping to participate in iLounge’s annual Best of Show Awards, focused solely on products to be officially debuted at the 2010 International CES, should contact Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief, via email at jeremy (at) ilounge (dot) com. The deadline for products to be submitted for Best of Show Award consideration is December 23, 2009.

Tablet name poll ends, 2010 product poll begins

With over 2,100 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll, “What should Apple name its upcoming tablet device, assuming that it’s iPhone OS-based?” has come to an end. Readers were given a choice between iTab or iTablet, iBook, iPad, iPod touch XL, iSlate, or something else, the last of which prompted them to post their proposed name in the comments.

With 32 percent of the vote, iPad was the most popular name, followed by iTab or iTablet with 27%. 15% thought iSlate would make a good moniker, while 13% thought Apple should revive the iBook name, and four percent believed iPod touch XL would be a fitting name. Among the nine percent who responded “Something else,” Newton appeared to be the most popular alternative, with MacBook touch also receiving multiple mentions. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on the upcoming year. What potential 2010 Apple product are you most looking forward to? Is it the rumored Apple tablet, or the more certain fourth-generation iPhone? Or perhaps you’ve been waiting for a fourth-generation iPod touch, or a second-generation Apple TV, or even a sixth-generation iPod nano? Or do you wish Apple would give the iPod classic another makeover with a seventh-generation model, or want a new iPod shuffle but want to wait for a fourth-generation model? Or perhaps something else? Our new poll, “Heading into 2010, what potential Apple product are you most looking forward to?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge poll in the far left-hand column of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

AdMob: iPhone OS sees strong international growth in ‘09

AdMob has released its November Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link), showing strong international growth for the iPhone and iPod touch in 2009. 50 percent of the mobile advertising firm’s November requests came from iPhone and iPod touch users, compared to 39 percent in January. Among Apple’s top 10 markets, Japan saw the biggest increase, with user growth topping 300 percent from January to November, followed by France, Australia, China, Germany, and Italy. Overall, the iPhone accounted for 71% of all unique Apple users. Interestingly, 36 percent of iPhone traffic in the U.S. was over Wi-Fi, considerably higher than other Wi-Fi capable devices; by comparison, less than 10 percent of traffic from major Android devices came over Wi-Fi. AdMob’s percentages are based on ad requests, impressions, and clicks, tracked over the more than 15,000 mobile web sites and applications to which the company serves ads.

Marware ships new cases for iPod nano 5G, touch 2G

Marware has introduced its new ClearShell case for the fifth-generation iPod nano and its Accent case for the second- and third-generation iPod touch. The ClearShell is a clear, hard polycarbonate case featuring open access to all ports, controls, and the camera, as well as an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. It is available now and is priced at $25.

Like the company’s prior Accent case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, the Accent for iPod touch is a vertical flip-style case made from glossy patent leather, offering access to the headphone jack, volume buttons, and Dock Connector port when closed, and full access to the screen and home button when opened. Other features include elastic siding on the inner pouch for a more secure fit and an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. The Marware Accent for iPod touch 2G and 3G is available now in a range of colors and sells for $30.

Movie Bundles come to the iTunes Store

Apple has begun to offer a limited number of Movie Bundles on the iTunes Store. Priced at $9.99 and up, current bundles include The Godfather Part I & II for $14.99, Terminator 2 and Total Recall for $9.99, and the X-Men Quadrilogy for $29.99, all representing a savings of at least $5 over individual pricing. Although the vast majority of the bundles are for SD versions of the included films, there are two HD bundles available, indicating that Apple may add more high-definition versions to its offerings in the future.

Pioneer unveils two iPod speaker systems

Pioneer has unveiled its XW-NAS3 and XW-NAS5 speaker systems for iPod in the U.S. Previously available in other areas, both systems offer 2.1-Channel sound with an integrated downfiring subwoofer, an integrated iPod dock, component and composite video outputs, an included remote control, an auxiliary input, and compatibility with the optional AS-BT100 Bluetooth adapter. In addition, the NAS5 also features Pioneer’s Advanced Sound Receiver processing for improved sound from compressed files and Auto Level Control which monitors the volume level from track to track. Pioneer’s XW-NAS3 and XW-NAS5 speaker systems for iPod are listed as “coming soon;” pricing has yet to be revealed.

ComScore: iPhone overtakes Windows Mobile in U.S.

According to the latest data from research firm ComScore, the iPhone has overtaken Windows Mobile in U.S. smartphone market share for the first time. ComScore conducts monthly surveys of U.S. mobile subscribers over the age of 13, asking them what type of phone they use, and then derives OS market share from those numbers. Based on a three-month average ending in October, the iPhone has over 8.9 million users, compared to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile with over 7.1 million. The previous three-month average from July showed Windows Mobile with 6.65 million users, compared to 6.63 for the iPhone OS. Overall, the data showed Apple behind only BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which boasts 14.9 million users; ComScore claims there are around 36 million U.S. smartphone users. [via Engadget]

Apple airs ‘12 Apps of Xmas’ iPhone commercial

Apple has launched a new iPhone television commercial with a holiday theme. Entitled “12 Apps of Xmas,” the new commercial apes the traditional Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by using apps to show the different gifts received, ending with “an app that can light up the tree.” The entire commercial is available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Speck teams with Artsprojekt for new case designs

Speck Products has forged a partnership with community-based online product platform Artsprojekt to create new versions of the company’s Fitted case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Limited to 250 each worldwide, and with only the first 100 released prior to Christmas, the first editions will feature artwork from San Francisco-based artist Andy Howell, Noumeda Carbon of Florence, Italy, and Tesha Beaudry Okolowsky of Montreal, Canada. In addition to offering open access to all ports and controls, each case will come with a limited edition designation on the inside and includes a special collectors card about the art and artist. Speck’s Artsprojekt Fitted Authorized Editions for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS will be available soon and will sell for $40.

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