According to new research performed for Consumer Reports by bill analysis company Validas, iPhone users account for nearly twice as much data usage as the average non-iPhone smartphone user. The study found that iPhone users consume 273 MB of data per month on average, compared to just 54 MB for BlackBerry users and 150 MB for users of other smartphone platforms. Additionally, 12 percent of iPhone users consume at least 500 MB of data per month, and a third of those users consume more than 1 GB of data. Validas’ data is based on user-submitted electronic bills from nearly 14,000 individual consumer wireless cell phone lines, including 757 iPhone and 783 BlackBarry lines. [via Mac Rumors]
Fring, developer of the popular Voice-over-IP communications app, has reported that mobile video calling now makes up more than 40% of its worldwide calling traffic among supported devices. Fring first introduced video capabilities last November, allowing users to conduct video calls with other fring users and Skype contacts from supported mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod touch. The company reports even higher usage rates of 60% of call traffic throughout Western European countries—more than double the usage of leading PC-based video calling services. Fring is available as a free download on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, however only incoming video is supported on these devices due to the lack of a front-facing camera.
Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson, speaking at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) 2010 conference, has revealed that the publication plans to release its content for the iPad by summer. “I’m from the media world,” Anderson said, “and as you may have heard, we have lots of questions about our future. The good news is I think we found part of the answer…. We think this is a game changer.” Anderson explained that the iPad allows periodicals for the first time to offer digital content with the same values and artistic range of print magazines. The new digital edition was demonstrated on a large touchscreen-capable display, and offered both single and two-up page views, depending on orientation, as well as a thumbnail view, and interactive media and advertisements. Interestingly, Wired’s creative director, Scott Dadich, worked with Jeremy Clark of Adobe to developer the iPad edition, a process which has been ongoing over the last six months. Pricing for the iPad edition of Wired was not announced.
Update: Wired has posted a video of the interface in-action online; it is available in embedded form below.
Apple has reportedly banned the Apple IDs of two known iPhone hackers from the App Store for “security reasons.” One hacker, known as “Sherif,” posted an update to his Twitter account notifying his followers that Apple had banned his ID. “‘Your Apple ID was banned for security reasons,’ that’s what i [sic] get when i try to go to the app store, they must be really angry,” the hacker wrote. Another hacker, known as “iH8sn0w” and developer of the XEMN hacking tool, posted a response to Sherif’s update, claiming that he, too, had been locked out of his account. In November 2009, Apple posted a new job listing for an iPhone OS Platform Security Manager, suggesting the company was looking to further secure its mobile OS from jailbreaking and other unauthorized modifications. [via Cult of Mac]
Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. In this unique giveaway, iLounge and Uncommon are giving away 200 custom cases for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, or iPod touch. With such a large number of prizes available, we are splitting the cases up over four weeks, with 50 to be awarded each Monday, on February 15, 22 and March 1. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—Good luck!
In an unusual decision that will enable third-party companies to produce a communications accessory that it hasn’t itself released, Apple has given its approval to a reference iPhone and iPod touch accessory design that would allow these devices to connect to a DB9, RJ11, or other cable via the Dock Connector. Redpark Product Development‘s Serial Cable Reference Design for OEM use with the iPhone and iPod touch is designed to provide a connection between the iPhone or iPod touch and a number of different medical, scientific, retail, and industrial devices, with a specialized app handing the communication between app and the connected device. Physically, the design includes a 30-pin male Dock Connector on one end and a box with a female connector on the other side. Redpart additionally expects that the design will be suitable for use with the iPad, but has not yet done real-world testing. [via Engadget]
Interview magazine, founded in 1969 by artist Andy Warhol and John Wilcock, has unveiled plans to launch new iPad-formatted versions of its issues. The Huffington Post reports that the company announced the new digital initiative at its 40th anniversary party; a video preview of the new iPad editions accompanies the article. Interview’s iPad editions will integrate photography and text with both audio and video features, and it will launch the 40th anniversary, December/January 2010, February 2010, and March 2010 issues simultaneously. The new iPad versions of Interview are expected to be available next month.
“When Andy Warhol founded Interview four decades ago, he did so with an ethos that embraced the new,” the magazine said in an announcement. “As with his art, Warhol re-wrote the rulebook with Interview, creating an innovative, intelligent, sophisticated, cutting-edge magazine that was culturally impactful, pushed the boundaries of the medium, and reinvented what a magazine could be. So it’s entirely fitting that Interview is once again at the forefront of reinventing the magazine experience for Apple’s iPad, combining the benefits of the digital age with the familiar advantages of Guttenberg’s printing press to deliver a groundbreaking, knock-out reader experience. One could call Interview magazine on the iPad ‘an affordable Warhol screenprint.’”
There is a “high” likelihood of Microsoft winning an iPhone search deal with Apple, according to a BusinessWeek report. Citing a note from Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, the report states that Aggarwal met with Microsoft executive on February 10, and although the employees present at the meeting “did not confirm or deny any chatters on the likelihood of Microsoft wining Apple search deal for iPhone,” the executives did say that “for right economics” Microsoft would very much like to win the contract to become the default Internet search engine on the iPhone. BusinessWeek reported that the two companies were in negotiations over the possible deal earlier this year; a later report from Silicon Alley Insider indicated that Google may be paying Apple as much as $100 million per year to keep its place as the default search engine on the iPhone.
Oceanhouse Media has announced the release of three new officially licensed Dr. Seuss iPhone applications. The Cat in the Hat and Dr. Seuss’s ABC are interactive eBooks providing professional narration, background audio and original text and artwork from the popular Dr. Seuss children’s titles. The two eBook applications also include the ability to highlight words as the story is read and to read back words as pictures are touched. Both titles sell for $4 each on the App Store. The third application, Dr. Seuss Camera - The Cat in the Hat Edition allows users to create Dr. Seuss themed photo cards using the iPhone’s camera or existing saved photos. Users can pose for pictures either with Dr. Seuss characters or become those characters in the photos. Resulting photo cards can be e-mailed or saved to the photo library. Dr. Seuss Camera - The Cat in the Hat Edition sells for $3 on the App Store. All three applications are supported on both the iPhone and iPod touch and Oceanhouse Media has announced that they will also be available for the iPad.
Vodafone UK has announced a new range of SIM-only plans, including several appropriate for iPhone users. In an update to the company’s official Twitter account, a representative said the new plans are “great for iPhone users switching networks.” The plan mentioned in the Twitter update is a £25/month (roughly $40), 12-month contract plan that includes 900 anytime minutes, unlimited inclusive texts, 1GB of web usage, and unlimited BT Premium Openzone Wi-Fi hotspot usage; several other configurations are available. In addition, the company is also offering 30-day SIM-only plans for £25-£30, which include slightly less minutes and or mobile data use than the comparable plans offered on a one-year contract basis. [via Macworld UK]
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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Clickgamer has announced an update to its popular Angry Birds catapult destruction game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Angry Birds 1.2 adds 42 new levels, two new worlds and new graphical themes for the levels. The new version also adds support for Crystal leaderboards and provides users with the ability to listen to their own iPod music library while playing. Angry Birds 1.2 is available on the App Store for a new price of $1, and is a free update for existing users.
Coinciding with yesterday’s annoucnement of its new Gorillamobile stand for the iPod touch, Joby has released an update to its Gorillacam companion application. Gorrilacam 1.1 adds tap-to-focus on the iPhone 3GS, 4X digital zoom capabilities and selectable image sizes. The new version also introduces an anti-shake feature that uses the accelerometer to detect when the device is steady before capturing an image. Gorillacam 1.1 is available on the App Store as a free download.
According to a number of reader comments and a subsequent comment from a Zagg customer service representative, some of the company’s ZAGGsparq Portable Battery Backup & Chargers have been facing charging malfunctions, failing to provide a charge out of either USB port. The charging device offers a 6,000 mAh lithium polymer internal battery, LED lighting to indicate the current power level, two USB ports to charge multiple devices at once, and integrated standard outlet prongs. Zagg’s site shows that the product is currently not available for sale, and the customer service representative indicated that a new version of the product, ZAGGsparq 2.0, will be available in late March. If you have experienced problems with your ZAGGsparq, the company is offering a free replacement upgrade to the new model, and can be contacted at 1-800-700-ZAGG, or by visiting zagg.com/contact.
Following Apple’s announcement of iPhone OS 3.2 in late January, the first application update boasting compatibility with the iPad-ready operating system has appeared on the App Store. The release of TextExpander 1.1.3 lists only “updates for iPhone OS 3.2” in its release notes, without citing additional features. Taking directions from Apple in new iPad Human Interface Guidelines, numerous developers are updating their applications to provide improved compatibility with the iPad upon its release, including higher-resolution graphics and in some cases entirely new user interfaces.
Total Access Communication (TAC), the second-largest mobile firm in Thailand, is preparing to offer the iPhone in the Thai market. Citing an industry source, Reuters reports that the Telnor-controlled TAC will be the second provider to offer the iPhone in region, following smaller rival True Move PCL, which began selling the iPhone in Thailand in January 2009. “[TAC] have prepared some work on websites and it should be for sale within one month from now,” the source said. Current carrier True has said it sold roughly 100,000 iPhone in 2009 with expectations to sell another 120,000 in 2010; TAC’s larger rival Advanced Info Service said it was still investigating ways to offer the iPhone in the Thai market after failing to reach a deal with Apple.
According to the latest data from The NPD Group, Apple is now the fifth-largest electronics retailer in the United States. In the brick and mortar retailer category, Apple placed fifth in overall 2009 sales, following leader Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, and Target. Apple was also fifth in the online retailer category, following Dell, Amazon, Best Buy, and HP. Overall consumer spending was down, with the middle class—consumers with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000—cutting back nearly eight percent from 2008. Lower-income consumers decreased spending by three percent, while consumers with incomes over $100,000 decreased spending by slightly more than one percent. NPD’s Consumer Technology sales include IT, imaging, audio, video, and consumables, and exclude video game hardware and software, PC software, and mobile phones. [via MacDailyNews]
Apple has launched its new “Countdown to 10 Billion Songs” promotion in celebration of the lead-up to the 10 billionth song sold on iTunes. In the contest, Apple is offering a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to the person who downloads the 10 billionth song. No incremental prizes are being awarded, and there is a limit of 25 entries per person per day. As it has in past “countdown” promotions, the company is using a counter graphic on both its countdown webpage and iTunes store graphics, although these have normally been approximations, and not real-time download numbers. The contest begins today and will end once the 10 billionth download is reached; official rules are available here.
Google pays Apple more than $100 million annually for its position as the default Internet search engine on the iPhone, according to a new report. Citing a source familiar with Apple’s operations, Silicon Alley Insider reports that Apple receives more than $100 million a year from Google as part of a revenue sharing deal, but that recent deals between the two companies have become increasingly contentious. According to the source, the original deal between the two companies for Google Maps on the iPhone was reached in just two weeks, while a similar deal for the iPhone 3G, negotiated just a year later, was a six-month negotiation “full of acrimony” as Google wanted access to data generated by Maps users, which Apple did not want to give up. A report from last month indicated that Apple was in talks with Microsoft over the possibility of the latter’s Bing service replacing Google as the default search engine on the iPhone.
Quinn Genzel has announced a major update to his popular Packing and Packing Pro applications. Packing is designed to help iPhone and iPod touch users with their packing lists when preparing to travel. The applications allow the user to create fully customizable packing lists from scratch or based on sample lists designed for typical travel scenarios. Users can track which items have been packed or not, tally up packed items and even calculate the size and weight of their luggage. Packing Pro provides additional organization features and an expert list assistant that can automatically create packing lists based on criteria such as number of travellers, weather conditions and food and clothes washing preferences. The latest versions of Packing and Packing Pro include a complete redesign of the application with new artwork and a redesigned and simplified layout. Both applications are currently on sale on the App Store, Packing selling for $1 and Packing Pro for $3.