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Slacker Radio for iPhone now available in Canada

Following the Canadian launch of Slacker Radio last week, Slacker today announced the release of its Slacker Radio for iPhone application on the Canadian App Store. The Slacker Radio iPhone application allows users to listen to streamed music on the iPhone via a wide variety of pre-defined stations by genre or user-created custom stations. Canadian users can try Slacker Radio for free for 30 days with an ad-supported Basic subscription that provides unlimited streamed music and the ability to skip ahead by up to six songs per hour. To continue using Slacker Radio beyond the initial thirty-day trial users must upgrade to a Slacker Radio Plus subscription for $5/month which removes the advertising, provides unlimited skips, and provides access to complete lyrics and song requests.

Slacker Radio is available as a free download from the Canadian iTunes Store. Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions are available from within the app as in-app purchases.

Apple confirms event on Jan. 27 to show ‘latest creation’

Apple has sent out an email to select members of the press, inviting them to a special event on January 27th. The email features a colorful background of paint splashes with an Apple logo in the middle, accompanied by the text “Come see our latest creation.” The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. It is widely expected that Apple will show off its long-rumored tablet device at the event, possibly alongside a beta of iPhone OS 4.0 and an accompanying update to the iPhone SDK.

Rockstar releases Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for iPhone, iPod touch

Rockstar Games has released Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the title of the same name for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP systems, Chinatown Wars places players in the shoes of Huang Lee, who must seek revenge following his father’s murder. Features include Multi-Touch based controls, adjusted difficulty levels, top-down gameplay, a new radio station that allows players to create custom playlists for in-game listening, and more. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is available now and sells for $10.

Apple files complaint against Nokia with ITC

Apple has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, asking it to block Nokia imports to the U.S. Nokia responded to the complaint via a spokesman, who said, “Nokia will study the complaint when it is received and continue to defend itself vigorously. However, this does not alter the fact that Apple has failed to agree appropriate terms for using Nokia technology and has been seeking a free ride on Nokia’s innovation since it shipped the first iPhone in 2007.” Apple overtook Nokia as the cellphone maker generating the highest total operating profit in the September quarter, despite Nokia’s overall sales eclipsing that of Apple by a wide margin, in part thanks to Nokia’s cheaper, traditional cellphone offerings.

Apple’s filing is the latest development in the ongoing battle between the two companies. Nokia first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple vowed to “vigorously” defend the case days later, then filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by an ITC complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”

AT&T lowers prices on unlimited iPhone plans

AT&T has lowered the cost of its unlimited voice + data iPhone plans. The price of the individual unlimited voice and data plan for iPhone users has been lowered from $130 per month to $100, while unlimited Family Talk plans that include two iPhones have been lowered to $180. Unlimited texting remains a $20 for individuals or $30 for Family Talk plans. Current customers can change to the new, lower-priced plans without incurring a penalty or contract extension; the price drop comes on the heels of similar price drops from Verizon Wireless on its unlimited plans.

Enter the Sena Cases Engraved Giveaway today

If you haven’t yet entered our Sena Cases Engraved Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for January, iLounge and Sena Cases are giving away 10 Sarach Leatherskin cases for iPhone 3G/3GS, with free engraving. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on January 31, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple accepting Red Cross donations through iTunes

In response to this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, Apple has begun accepting monetary donations for the American Red Cross directly through iTunes. According to the donation page, 100% of the donation will go to the Red Cross to support emergency relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake. Due to iTunes not sharing user information with the organization, the Red Cross will be unable to further acknowledge any donations made, and an email receipt will serve as the only record of the donation. Donate buttons are available in denominations of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200; Apple has also posted a direct link to the iTunes donation page on its company homepage at

Developer claim hints at imminent iPhone OS 4.0 unveiling (Updated)

A new claim by an anonymous iPhone developer suggests that Apple plans to publicly unveil the next version of the iPhone OS in the very near future. iLounge has received an email from a well-known app developer, claiming that “we’ve submitted an updated app for the new iPhone OS 4.0 software.” A separate report from earlier this month claimed that Apple would be announcing a beta of iPhone OS 4.0 and an accompanying SDK at a special event, rumored to be held on January 27. The beta SDK was said to include a tablet simulator, and make it easier for developers to adapt applications to different screen resolutions, opening the door for higher and/or lower resolution displays on future iPhones and iPods. Apple has in the past partnered with select developers to create applications on new iPhone OS releases prior to their public unveilings to be used as demos for new features of the operating systems.

Update: Though the email in question unambiguously stated that the company had developed an app “for the new iPhone OS 4.0 software,” iLounge contacted the developer for clarification and learned that the reference was a mistake: the app is now “version 4.0” released for iPhone OS 3.1, the developer has offered “sincere apologies.”

Buffalo Technology rolls out Dualie hard drive/dock combo

Buffalo Technology has introduced the Dualie, a new combination removable hard drive and docking station for the iPod and iPhone. The Dualie features a hybrid FireWire 400/800/USB 2.0 500GB 2.5-inch hard drive, which can be used in the dock on on its own. Other features include a dual-port USB 2.0 dock—one for the HDD and one for an iPod or iPhone—with two extra USB ports available on the back, included dock adapters for the iPhone 3G/3GS, iPod touch 2G/3G, iPod classic, and iPod nano 5G, and the ability to sync/charge the docked device and access the hard drive at the same time. Buffalo’s Dualie FireWire 800/USB 500GB Hard Drive + iPhone Dock is available now exclusively from the Apple Store and sells for $250.

iPodweek newsletter coming shortly, sign up now

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Apple to step up acquisition initiatives?

Apple has hired a new employee to help it become more agressive in its acquisition strategy, a new report claims. BusinessWeek reports that Apple hired Adrian Perica, a West Point graduate and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, last year to head up its mergers and acquisitions department. Citing four unnamed sources, the report states that Perica was brought in to handle Apple’s purchase of online music site following the company’s loss of mobile advertising firm AdMob to Google earlier in the fall, and that Perica was able to close the Lala deal in a few weeks, rather than the more typical two to three months. The article also notes that three of the 11 Apple acquisitions since CEO Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 have come in the last five months. Bill Whyman, an analyst with International Strategy & Investment, said, “Their [business] model is evolving, and you can expect them to broaden their horizons.”

Vodafone UK ships 50,000 iPhones on launch day

Vodafone UK shipped 50,000 iPhones to pre-registered customers on the first day of sales, according to a new report. Macworld UK reports that Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence citied “exceptional demand” for phone, enough so that some customers are reporting delays in receiving their iPhones. The official Vodafone Twitter feed claimed on Thursday that “all pre-orders should be delivered today/tomorrow unless your area is affected by severe weather.” Vodafone UK joins O2 and Orange UK as the third major carrier to offer the iPhone in the region.

Device protection poll ends, Best of Show poll begins

With more than 3,100 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Do you keep your primary iPod or iPhone in a case or film?”—has ended. Readers could choose from yes or no answers that spanned the range of currently available iPods and iPhones, or choose to say that they don’t own an iPod or an iPhone.

More than half of all respondents—59%—said they own an iPhone, with 80% saying they kept their iPhone in a case or film, compared to just 20% who didn’t. A full quarter of overall respondents had an iPod touch, with only 12% choosing to keep the device bare, and 88% preferring to keep it encased. 10% of all respondents said they had a hard disk-based iPod, with 80% choosing to keep it encased and 20% choosing to leave it as-is. Somewhat surprisingly, only 5% of respondents said they use an iPod nano as their primary iPod; 60% of these said they keep it in a case compared to 40% who choose to let the nano’s finish be its only protection. Finally, zero percent—a total of just 21 people—said they use an iPod shuffle as their primary iPod, while 2% said they don’t own an iPod or iPhone. Thanks for all your responses!

Our new poll focuses on our 2010 CES Best of Show Awards: we’d like to know which new product you’re the most excited about. All of the single product award winners are listed for you to choose from; be sure to read our 2010 Best of Show article for more information on the products. Our new poll, “Which 2010 Best of Show winner are you most excited about?” is available now in the far left-hand column of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

Apple releases MobileMe Gallery app for iPhone, iPod touch

Apple has released its new MobileMe Gallery application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This new application lets MobileMe users access all their galleries, including those that are password protected or hidden albums, view friends’ gallery photos and movies, access previously view photos when offline, share links to albums directly from the iPhone, and also supports flick and pinch-to-zoom gestures. MobileMe Gallery requires a MobileMe account and iPhone OS 3.1 or later, and is available as a free download from the App Store. [via]

Apple, RIM sued by Kodak over photo technology

Eastman Kodak has filed a lawsuit against Apple—as well as BlackBerry-maker RIM—which claims that the iPhone infringes on Kodak patents related to digital cameras. Specifically, Kodak claims that the iPhone and some BlackBerry models infringe on a patent covering technology for previewing photos. Kodak is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to bar Apple and RIM from shipping infringing products, and is seeking unspecified damages in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. Apple was sued by a separate company over the camera technology in the iPhone in December of last year; both Kodak and Apple were named in a suit by BetaNet later the same month.

Ultimate Ears launches two new Pro Custom Monitors

Ultimate Ears has launched its new Ultimate Ears 18 Pro and Ultimate Ears 1 Pro Custom Monitors. The 18 Pros feature a proprietary design that places six individually tuned drivers in each ear for maximum clarity and extended sound reproduction. Other features of the 18 Pros include four-way crossovers with acoustic and electrical tuning, triple-sound channels, a new low-distortion cable, an in-line filter for each sound channel, and a personalized aluminum carrying case. Ultimate Ears’ 18 Pro Custom Monitors will be available in February and will sell for $1350.

Designed for use in situations where the wearer needs to hear more of his/her surroundings, the Ultimate Ears 1 Pro monitor features a single monitor offering four speakers—two for the right channel and two for the left—that delivers “stereo” audio to just one ear. Other features include a dual armature, dual bore design, an integrated passive crossover circuit, and a single cable. Ultimate Ears’ 1 Pro Custom Monitor sells for $450 and will be available soon.

NYT, others deal with impostor paid apps

The New York Times and several other content providers are dealing with a number of paid iPhone apps that are using the providers’ names while scraping content from their websites for unauthorized commercial use. Time Magazine editor Josh Quittner found that several of the top-selling paid apps in the App Store’s News category are unauthorized, such as The New York Times Mobile Reader, New York Times Mobile News Reader, and BBC Mobile News Reader. The Times’ official app, by contrast, is the number one downloaded free News app. A Times spokeswoman told AllThingsD that the apps “are not authorized and our legal department is looking into the matter,” but for now the apps remain on the store. Apple has said that is has “a process in the App Store for developers to alert us to possible IP infringement. When we’re notified, our policy includes the removal of the infringing app until a resolution is reached between the parties.”

iTunes ranks behind Amazon, eBay in customer experience

According to research firm Forrester’s latest Customer Experience Index, iTunes ranks behind other online retailers such as Amazon and eBay. The Index is based on responses from 4,653 U.S. consumers who were asked to rate companies based on three main questions: “How effective were they at meeting your needs?” “How easy was it to work with these firms?” and “How enjoyable were the interactions?” iTunes came in with a #46 ranking, far below that of top-rated Barnes & Noble, fourth-ranked Amazon, and #14 eBay. Apple itself came in at #35 in the list; both Apple’s and iTunes’ rankings are considered “good.” [via AppleInsider]

Tiffen intros Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 3GS

Tiffen, maker of photographic equipment and filters, has introduced its new Steadicam Smoothee for the iPhone 3GS. Based on the same technology found in professional Steadicam products, the Smoothee is a handheld iPhone mount with a patented design that stabilizes the iPhone when in users’ hands, enabling them to take more steady, professional-looking video. Features of the Smoothee include a fold-up hand grip, quick-release iPhone mount that can be removed and used with any standard tripod, and an included carrying strap and quick guide DVD. Pricing and release information has yet to be announced.

Ankit announces line of in-ear headphones

Ankit has introduced its new line of in-ear headphones. Available in four different styles—“Stay True,” “Break Away,” “Naughty Naughty,” and “Forbidden”—each style offers a different metallic design on the rear of the ear bud, with colored enamel accents and a matching cord manager. Other features include an ergonomically curved design meant to provide a more comfortable fit and better seal, three included pairs of silicone earplugs, G-Bass technology for more powerful bass, and a promise to plant a tree for each pair of earphones purchased. Ankit’s new line of In-Ear Headphones are expected to be available later this year; pricing has yet to be announced.

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