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Spat between Lyons, AT&T poses iPhone outage threat

An ongoing spat between journalist Dan Lyons—posting as his satirical alter-ego “Fake Steve Jobs”—and AT&T has the potential to cause iPhone service outages Friday afternoon. Following a profanity-filled rant (NSFW) in which Lyons compared AT&T to a record company wanting customers to purchase less copies of an album due to high demand, Lyons subsequently proposed “Operation Chokehold,” suggesting that iPhone users flood AT&T’s cellular network with traffic by turning off Wi-Fi and using their 3G connections for data-intensive activities, such as streaming video, for approximately one hour at Noon Pacific Time (3:00PM Eastern Time) on Friday.

Following the “Chokehold” post, AT&T called the scheme “irresponsible and pointless,” adding that “there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers.” Lyons’ responded, noting that the company has made over $10 billion in profit over the last nine months, and has seen wireless data revenues soar 80% over the last eight quarters, while dropping its capital expenditures by 30% over the same period. A Facebook group dedicated to “Operation Chokehold” now has over 1,750 fans, and despite a later statement from Lyons claiming that he doesn’t want to “cause any actual harm to my fellow AT&T users,” questions remain as to whether the protest will have any impact on the network on Friday.

Mix: Hitwise, Elgato, Walmart, ColcaSac

  • December 16, 2009

According to Hitwise, the iPhone was the most searched-for product in the U.K. during the week ending November 5th. The Apple handset accounted for 1.75 percent of product searches and more than 14 percent of all mobile phone searches during the period, and was followed closely by the iPod touch, which accounted for 1.29 percent of product searches. The Microsoft Xbox 360 was third followed by the Nintendo Wii in fourth and Sony Playstation 3 in fifth; the iPod nano was ninth on the list with 0.50 percent of product searches. [via Macworld UK]

Elgato has launched an update to its EyeTV software that allows users to stream live TV and EyeTV recordings to their iPhones over a 3G connection. Dubbed Live3G, the web app connects users iPhone’s to their home Mac computers, and employs HTTP Live Streaming technology to deliver the highest possible playback quality while taking advantage of the iPhone’s hardware acceleration to maximize performance and battery life. The EyeTV Live 3G requires EyeTV hardware, EyeTV 3.3 software—a free update for all EyeTV 3 users—an iPhone running iPhone OS 3.1 or later, and a Mac with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, and is available now at live3g.eyetv.com.

Walmart is preparing to launch a substantial discount on 8GB fifth-generation iPod nano units. Beginning Saturday December 19 and running through December 24, all 8GB iPod nano models, priced at $145, will include a free $50 iTunes Gift Card with purchase. The retailer offered a similar deal on Black Friday when it included a $50 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of an 8GB iPod touch.

ColcaSac has introduced its new sleeves for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic. These padded sleeves feature textured fabric on the exterior and a fleece-lined interior, and may offer access to the headphone port and/or Dock Connector depending on model and orientation inside the sleeve. ColcaSac’s sleeves for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod classic are available in an original style, made from all-nature environmentally friendly fabrics, or in black, and sell for $10.

Apple launches HD movie sales in Canada

Apple has begun to offer select movies for purchase in HD quality on the iTunes Store in Canada. Previously, movies were only available for rent in the country, and only through the Apple TV. With the launch of HD movies purchases, titles available for purchase in HD are also available for rent directly through iTunes as well as the Apple TV.

JVC rolls out XS-SR3 iPod speaker dock

JVC has announced its new XS-SR3 iPod speaker dock. The XS-SR3 features a unique design with a rotating dock made to accomodate both vertical and landscape positions, a glossy black speaker tube with a curved design that allows the iPod to sit in between the speakers, Dolby Virtual Surround sound processing to create a wider sound field, 5 watts of power, two audio inputs—one analog and one optical digital—and an included remote control. The JVC XS-SR3 will be available later this month and will sell for $150. [via Engadget]

Belkin debuts Bluetooth Music Receiver

Belkin has debuted its new Bluetooth Music Receiver for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, second- and third-generation iPod touch, and other A2DP stereo Bluetooth devices. The new Receiver is a small rounded black box that uses Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR to allow transmission of music from up to 33 feet away, and also includes 3.5mm-to-RCA and 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cables. Belkin’s Bluetooth Music Receiver is available now in the U.S. for $50, and will be available in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia beginning in March 2010.

Photo of the Week: iPhone 3GS in Jordan

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3GS in front of Al Khazneh—better known as The Treasury—in Petra, Jordan. 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!

App Mix: Pastebot, Epson iPrint, Circletris, NYC Meters

Tapbots has released Pastebot, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pastebot is a clipboard manager that allows users to save text snippets and images to the application for later access. In addition to this basic functionality, Pastebot allows users to apply filters to the text and images—such as “find & replace” or black and white image conversion — create new image and text clippings from within the application, one-tap copying back to the clipboard, and the ability to push images and text from the app to a Mac computer located on the same network using a free companion app called Pastebot Sync. Pastebot is available now and sells for $2.

Seiko Epson has introduced Epson iPrint, the company’s first application for the iPhone and iPod touch. iPrint lets users print photos stored on the device to a variety of network-capable Epson printers over Wi-Fi. Other features include automatic printer discovery, the ability to print with or without borders, and support for several paper sizes. Epson iPrint is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Ivan Starchenkov has debuted Circletris, a new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Circletris combines elements of Tetris and Zuma to create a game in which players rotate an outer wheel with their fingers in order to create columns or lines of three or more same-colored cells, which are then cleared from the board. Features include increasing difficulty as the game progresses, two different bonus abilities, a built-in tutorial, and the ability to change background colors. Circletris is priced at $2.

Zen Concepts has launched NYC Broken Meters, its second application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Broken Meters relies on the City of New York’s Scout/311 broken parking meter database to display a location-based map of broken parking meters, with an alternate list view and the ability to sort by distance and also filter by distance and date created. In addition, users can also report broken meters, and photo tag a meter with the iPhone’s built-in camera if he/she happens to get a ticket while at a broken meter—NYC laws state that a person may park at a broken meter for one hour without paying or receiving a ticket. NYC Broken Meters is available as a free download.

Apple hit with patent lawsuit over iTunes, MobileMe, more

  • December 15, 2009
  • Apple,

Apple, along with 17 other companies including Kodak and Microsoft, has been sued for patent infringement by BetaNet, LLC in U.S. District Court in Texas. BetaNet claims that Apple is infringing two U.S. Patents, both entitled “Secure System for Activating Personal Computer Software at Remote Locations” via its iTunes, Aperture, QuickTime, and MobileMe programs. BetaNet claims Apple infringes upon its patent by offering limited software for download, which can be upgraded to a “complete version” after entering license transaction information, which is then sent to a central registration server that returns the complete program. BetaNet is seeking damages, costs, expenses, and interest, as well as a permanent injunction barring all 18 companies from further infringement. [via The Loop]

Audio-Technica intros ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones

Audio-Technica has introduced its new ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones. The ATH-ANC1 features an on-ear, folding design, and offer the company’s active noise-cancelling technology, which employs miniature built-in microphones to detect environmental noise and apply a corresponding sound-cancelling signal. Other features include full-range drivers, the ability to operate in passive mode without batteries, and an included carrying pouch, 1.6-foot extension cord, an airline adapter, and an AAA battery. Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones will be available in January 2009 and will sell for $130.

Mix: Toshiba NAND, AdweekMedia, Orange Uganda, Ridge Racer

  • December 15, 2009

Toshiba has announced the launch of a new 64GB embedded NAND flash memory module, the highest capacity yet offered in the industry. Since Toshiba a supplier of 32GB chips for the iPhone 3GS and 64GB iPod touch, which uses a pair of 32GB chips, it is likely that Apple will adopt the new 64GB chips for use in future 64GB iPhone and 128GB iPod touch models. According to Toshiba, samples of the new 64GB module are available now, with mass production starting in the first quarter of 2010.

AdweekMedia has announced its “Best of the 2000’s” awards winners, with Apple taking home several accolades. Apple itself was named Brand of the Decade, while the iPod was named Product of the Decade, Apple’s “Silhouettes” iPod + iTunes campaign was named the Out-of-Home Ad of the Decade, and the company’s “Get a Mac” ad series was named Campaign of the Decade; Apple CEO Steve Jobs was also named Marketer of the Decade.

Orange Uganda has launched the iPhone in Uganda, the first carrier in the country to offer the device. The company is offering both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS on contracts ranging from six to 24 months, and Orange has seen relatively high interest in the device, according to company executives. “Since we announced the arrival of iPhone on Orange, we have already seen several hundred customers register their interest on our Web site, orange.ug,” said Orange Uganda Chief Executive Philippe Luxcey. “We will be matching their enthusiasm with a 3G+ mobile broadband network that covers more people in Uganda than any other operator, a commitment to deliver the best 3G+ experience on the iPhone and best-in-class applications and plans.” Prices range from the equivalent of $1,421 to $3,421. [via The Industry Standard]

Japanese gaming site Famitsu has posted an extensive screenshot gallery (Translated Link) of Namco Bandai’s upcoming Ridge Racer: Accelerated game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Previously unannounced, few details of the game are available, although the Famitsu story claims the title will be available before the end of the year at a yet to be determined price. [via Kotaku]

App Mix: Battleship, Sphere Raider, Gravity Sling Deluxe, Chromixa

Electronic Arts has released Battleship, an iPhone and iPod touch version of the classic board game. Battleship provides both a classic turn-based mode and a more real-time “Salvo mode” allowing players to choose to play against the computer or a human opponent via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or pass-and-play modes. Animated graphic cut scenes are included to liven up the game play by showing guns firing, successful hits, and enemy ships being sunk. Battleship also includes an additional “Super Weapons Mode” where players can unlock additional weapon types for more expanded game play with additional Super Weapons becoming available as players progress. Battleship is available for $3 on the App Store.

Gallen Technologies has released Sphere Raider, a puzzle game in which players must rotate a sphere using the touch screen or accelerometer to capture as many objects as possible within a limited time. Players can choose from three initial difficulty levels and progress through ten game levels, each with unique graphics. Sphere Raider is available for $2 on the App Store.

Riptide Games has released Gravity Sling Deluxe, a paid version of its earlier Gravity Sling game. Gravity Sling Deluxe bundles all of the content previously available through in-app purchases into the base application, allowing OS 2.2 devices to take advantage of the extended game content. In this inertia-based puzzle game you must route an astronaut back to a space shuttle while taking into account the gravity from nearby planets. Gravity Sling Deluxe is currently being sold for $1 for the first 5,000 customers and is available from the App Store.

Developer Simon Watson has released Chromixa, a unique color-blending puzzle game. Chromixa presents the player with a series of multi-colored shapes which are arranged in an outlined area to produce a desired color. Shapes can be moved, rotated and intersected to mix colors and desired shape as appropriate. The game includes 48 puzzles, three arcade-style mini-games and three difficulty levels. Chromixa is available in the App Store for $2.

Apple changes App Store policy on private APIs

Recent reports from iPhone developers indicate that Apple has softened its stance on using private APIs—features not authorized by Apple for third-party developer use—in iPhone applications. One iPhone developer, Vimov, indicated that instead of simply rejecting its application for using private APIs, Apple approved it with a request that the developer resolve the issue in its next update. An unrelated developer, Jonah Grant reported a similar experience with his application. The iPhone SDK Developer Agreement prohibits the use of private APIs, which, unlike public APIs, may include features that Apple could change in future OS updates, and thus does not want third-party developers to use. In the past, applications that made use of private APIs have been rejected by the App Store review process, and Apple has even gone so far as to implement an automated check for the use of private APIs. The change in policy appears to be aimed at increasing approvals while educating developers about reasons for future rejection. Earlier this month Steve Jobs personally intervened to reverse the rejection of the Knocking application, which also made use of a private API. (via AppleInsider and Daring Fireball).

Amazon releases Kindle for iPhone outside of U.S.

Following the release of the hardware Kindle device internationally in October, Amazon has released the Kindle for iPhone app in the iTunes App Store in 60 other countries outside of the United States. The Kindle for iPhone app (iLounge rating: B+) allows Amazon Kindle ebooks to be downloaded and read on the iPhone and iPod touch, including WhisperNet synchronization of read status and bookmarks across multiple devices running Kindle software. The international version remains available in U.S. English only and does not appear to have changed significantly from the previous version; version 1.3 release notes state simply that “Kindle for iPhone is now available in more than 60 countries.” (via Wired)

 

Apple redesigns iTunes App Store pages

Apple has redesigned the layout of application pages within the iTunes App Store. Following the release of iTunes 9 in September, the rest of the iTunes Store saw significant page changes, while App Store pages retained their prior looks. Over the weekend, the App Store pages were updated for consistency with the rest of the iTunes Store layout. Application pages now display a larger version of the app icon, with the purchasing button, specifications, ratings and top in-app purchases displayed in a column on the left-hand side. The application description is now summarized at the top of the screen with a “More” link to provide more detailed information, a “What’s New” section broken out separately, and screenshots presented in a scrolling panel. Apps can now be added to wish lists or shared with friends via Facebook and Twitter in the same manner as other iTunes Store content. Also noteworthy is that custom-designed App Store pages that were previously used for specific Apple-selected titles have disappeared with this update. (Thanks, @jfmartin67)

Four days left in our MusicSkins Ultimate Design Contest

Four days remain in our 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!

 

Still time to enter the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Giveaway

Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Giveaway. 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!

iPodweek coming shortly, still time to sign up

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 acknowledges iTunes 9 iPod sync issues

  • December 11, 2009
  • Apple,

Apple has belatedly acknowledged a number of sync issues with iTunes and Click Wheel iPod models that users have been experiencing since the initial release of iTunes 9 in September. Following the release of iTunes 9, a number of iLounge readers have reported problems with their iPods not being recognized by iTunes, extremely slow syncs and iTunes crashing during sync. Although iPod classic users seem to be most affected by these issues, it appears that iPod nano users have also experienced similar problems. Apple had previously provided no comment, but has now confirmed that it is “aware of the issue and are investigating.” (via AppleInsider)

 

Apple countersues Nokia for 13 alleged patent infringements

  • December 11, 2009
  • Apple,

In response to a lawsuit brought against the company by Nokia for alleged iPhone-related patent infringements, Apple today filed a countersuit alleging that Nokia is infringing 13 of Apple’s patents. Surprisingly, Apple issued a terse press release regarding the countersuit, quoting Apple General Counsel and Senior Vice President Bruce Sewell as stating that “Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.”

In October, Nokia filed suit against Apple claiming that the iPhone infringed on Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN technologies covering wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. Apple responded shortly thereafter that it intended to “defend the case vigorously,” indicating that it is defending more than 47 patent infringement cases, of which 27 were filed during the company’s fiscal 2009. Countersuits are often used in patent litigation as a means to achieve cross-licensing agreements and settlements without trials on the patents’ merits.

UPDATE: TechCrunch has provided some additional details regarding Apple’s lawsuit. Specifically, Apple is accusing Nokia of attempting a “patent hold-up” arguing that the patents in question are considered industry standards and Nokia is therefore expected to license them under fair and reasonable terms. Apple states in its countersuit that “Nokia has sought to gain an unjust competitive advantage over Apple by charging unwarranted fees to use patents that allegedly cover industry compatability standards.” The company further accuses Nokia of choosing to copy the iPhone as a response to its rapidly declining share of the high-end mobile phone market.

Apple offering free iTunes LP Holiday Sampler

Apple is offering U.S. iTunes Store customers a taste of its new iTunes LP format with the iTunes Holiday Sampler, available as a free download from the iTunes Store. The Holiday Sampler includes 20 Christmas favorites from popular artists such as Amy Grant, Sarah McLachlan, Barry Manilow, the Vince Guaraldi Trio and Stephen Colbert. In addition, the Holiday Sampler comes with an iTunes LP containing artist biographies, photos and song lyrics. The music tracks are in standard iTunes Store format and can be played on any recent version of iTunes; the iTunes LP format requires iTunes 9 or later or Apple TV 3.0 or later.  The iTunes Holiday Sampler is available as a free download from the U.S. iTunes Store.

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