Joby has introduced its new Gorillamobile stand for the iPod touch. Like the Gorillamobile for iPhone, the Gorillamobile for iPod touch is a stand that features flexible, wrappable legs that enable it to mount securely to a variety of surfaces. The Gorillamobile for iPod touch will come with a soft-touch case designed for the second- and third-generation iPod touch, as well as a universal 1/4” tripod screw camera mount and two removable high-bond adhesive clips. Joby’s Gorillamobile for iPod touch is available now and sells for $40.
Rockstar Games has announced a special price promotion for its highly-rated Grant Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars game (iLounge rating: A-). From Friday, February 12th until 11:59pm EST on Sunday, February 14th, the game is being offered at 30% off its normal $10 price. GTA: Chinatown Wars is a sandbox-style driving, shooting, and adventure game that puts the player in the role of a Triad gang member who must battle his way through a dangerous and morally bankrupt city in search of honor, riches and revenge. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is available on the App Store and our review can be found here.
SHAPE Services has released Mobiola Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC. The Headset app connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application. The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later and the iPhone app is compatible with iPhone and second-generation iPod touch devices running iPhone OS 3.0 or later. Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for $2.
According to text found on Apple’s iPad features page, the iBooks app for iPad will be an optional download from the App Store, instead of a pre-installed application. The iBooks application serves as a virtual library and reading application, and also offers access to Apple’s upcoming iBookstore for purchasing new e-books. “Download the free app from the App Store and buy everything from classics to best sellers from the built-in iBookstore,” the passage reads. Apple is expected to begin shipments of Wi-Fi only iPad models in late March or early April. [via Daring Fireball]
Apple has been in talks with television networks to lower the price of SD television shows from $2 to $1, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the discussions, the Financial Times reports that Apple may be planning to debut the lower pricing alongside the launch of the iPad in late March or early April, and several television networks are said to have agreed to the lower prices after “months” of negotiations. According to the report, Apple is also continuing its push for a $30 per month “best of TV” subscription service, but has met with resistance from media companies fearful of destroying traditional distribution relationships. In addition, Apple executives have reportedly been careful not to link any new TV offerings to the Apple TV, as it is seen as a threat to traditional pay-TV services. Notably, the iPad’s 4:3 aspect ratio screen is technically a better fit for standard-definition media than high-definition shows and movies, which traditionally come in a 16:9—or wider—aspect ratio that leaves black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when viewed on the device.
A recent update to AOL’s AIM instant messaging application has added Facebook integration. AIM users can now log in to their Facebook account and chat with their Facebook friends, who will appear integrated into the buddy list alongside other AIM users. Status updates from Facebook friends can also be viewed in the Lifestream section of the app and users can comment on their friends’ status updates. AIM continues to also provide access to AOL, AIM, ICQ, .Mac and MobileMe accounts, AOL’s Lifestream, support for multiple identities, SMS messaging and push notifications. AIM is available from the App Store either as a free ad-supported version or an ad-free version is available for $3 which also provides landscape support.
Apple has released Apple TV Software 3.0.1, the latest software update for its set-top box. While the software is available through the “Update Software” feature in the Apple TV’s General Settings menu, Apple’s official Apple TV software update support document has yet to be updated with any information on what, if any, new features or improvements might be included in software 3.0.2. Apple last updated the Apple TV’s software last Novemeber with version 3.0.1, which Apple urged users to install immediately due its containing a fix for a bug that caused content to temporarily disappear until it was resynced.
Updated: iLounge’s editors have tested the latest update and changes appear to be confined mostly to bug fixes and stability improvements. The 3.0.2 update most notably appears to fix some serious HDMI-related issues that appeared in 3.0.1, in which synchronization would occasionally be lost, requiring a reboot of the Apple TV unit. Although some users have speculated that this update may include new features related to Aperture 3.0, we have seen no evidence of this, as the Apple TV continues to work with Aperture 3.0 in much the same way as previous versions of Aperture; no support for Faces or Places, for instance, is offered by the Apple TV after it is updated. However, full compatibility with Aperture 3.0 would likely also require a future iTunes update to implement.
Update x2: Apple has updated its Apple TV software update support document to include details of this latest release. According to the document, Apple TV Software 3.0.2 “includes fixes for Genius playlists, MobileMe gallery photos, iTunes U content, Internet Radio, and other media-related features. The update also includes performance and connectivity fixes for Apple TV.”
New estimates from iSuppli suggest the 16GB, non-3G iPad carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) cost of just $219, with manufacturing costs estimated to be $10, bringing the total cost of the low-end machine to $229. According to the report, the mid-range version of the iPad, with 32GB of memory and 3G wireless capabilities, will carry a BOM of roughly $276, making it the most profitable member of the family on a percentage basis. iSuppli believes that the display and touchscreen interface costs $80 per unit, making it the most expensive component of the 16GB and 32GB models, and second only to the 64GB of NAND flash memory—estimated to cost $118—in the top-of-the-line model. Other component estimates include a cost of $17 for the A4 processor, $24.50 for wireless components, and $17.50 for the battery. Notably, iSuppli’s estimates are based on the cost of components expected to be used in the iPad, and not on an actual teardown of the device, nor do they include other expenses such as software, royalties, and licensing fees.
Positioning Animals Worldwide has released a free app to allow users of its Spotlight GPS Dog Collar to locate and track their pets using their iPhone. The SpotLight GPS Pet Locator application allows the user to locate one or more pets, plot their locations on a map and use the iPhone’s GPS to provide real-time tracking and turn-by-turn directions to their pet. Users can also toggle the Dog Collar’s LED beacon on or off from within the app to help find their pet at night. The Spotlight GPS Pet Locator application is available on the App Store as a free download.
Wide Angle Software has released an update to TouchCopy, a utility that allows Mac or Windows users to transfer media content from their iPods or iPhones back to their computers, complete with playlists, ratings and play counts. Featured in our tutorial on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer, TouchCopy also provides the ability to copy and manage calendars and voice memos, and allows the iPhone and iPod touch to be used as external storage devices for any type of file. Version 9.5 adds support for copying SMS messages, contacts and notes from the iPhone.
To coincide with the update, iLounge readers have been offered a substantial coupon savings for the application. Normally, TouchCopy is sold for $25, with a free 15-day trial version also available; through April 30th, iLounge readers can use the coupon code 8E503286A at the developer’s web site to receive 50% off the normal price.
A temporary change to the way in which the iPod touch and iPhone Safari browser handles direct RSS feed links caused a one-day outage, but was resolved following publication of the original version of this news article. Since the launch of the first iPhone, clicking on a direct RSS link in the mobile version of Safari would take a user to a specific mac.com URL—reader.mac.com—where the feed would be parsed and displayed. During the outage, clicking on a direct RSS link instead directed users to a me.com URL, which went through several redirects before displaying a page with information about Apple’s MobileMe service and a link to setup instructions. As Apple has shifted much of its former .Mac online service to become MobileMe, including e-mail and web addresses, it appears that Apple plans to migrate the RSS reader service over to a me.com domain.
Updated: This article originally noted that Apple appeared to have ceased support for its Mac.com-based RSS feed reader for the MobileSafari browser of the iPhone and iPod touch, based on a reader report. Following the publication of this article, the Mac.com-based RSS feed reader for iPhone and iPod touch began functioning properly, suggesting the feature was hit by a temporary outage and not completely removed.
Speaking during the company’s Q1 Fiscal Results Conference Call, Disney CEO Bob Iger made several comments about the iPad, including its potential to transform media content and possible Disney products that might appear on the device. When asked, “If you could give us more details on what you think ABC might be offering on the iPad and is this a step in the direction of retailing or wholesaling your cable and broadcast networks online, that would be helpful,” Iger began his response by saying that, “We find that the iPad has a lot of potential. We think it’s a really compelling device. We think it could be a game changer in terms of enabling us to create essentially new forms of content.”
He continued, “We’ve put in the marketplace a digi-books product through our Disney publishing group just recently. We were developing it primarily for the computer screen and we started developing it for iTunes, I should say for the iPhone/iTouch platform, and suddenly this device comes along and provides us with an even more robust technological platform that makes the interactivity that we were going to provide, things like read-alongs, simple animation, music, to just sort of come to life, and that’s just one example.” Iger went on to mention more specific potential iPad releases, saying that “When you think about ABC, you think about a program like `Lost’ and not just being able to watch the program, but all the other things that viewers like to do with that program. ABC News, another great example. ESPN ScoreCenter, which is a great app on the iPhone, and provides relatively rudimentary information, scores, basically, suddenly we have an opportunity with a platform where you can really make the scores come to life.” Iger was notably present at Apple’s iPad introduction event; Apple CEO Steve Jobs is currently Disney’s largest individual shareholder, with approximately 7% of the company’s stock, and is also on the company’s board of directors. [via MacDailyNews]
Bite Interactive has announced the release of The Red Carpet, a new iPhone application where users can participate in a contest to select their predictions for the 2010 Academy Awards with a $1,000,000 prize for users who correctly predict all 24 televised Oscar winners. In addition to the contest, The Red Carpet application provides real-time information on Oscar nominees, ratings and reviews, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix integration and information on theatres, showtimes and previews of nominated films. The contest itself is open only to U.S. residents and full terms and conditions can be found on the application page on the App Store. The Red Carpet is available on the U.S. App Store for $3.
Adobe has revealed there were more than 7 million attempts by iPhone and iPod touch users to download Flash from Adobe.com in December. Discussing the matter with the San Francisco Chronicle, Adobe claimed that the stat clearly shows demand for Flash from iPhone and iPod touch users, despite Apple’s decision not to support the technology. For comparison, Adobe said the number of iPhone and iPod touch Flash download attempts was only 3 million in June 2009. It is unclear whether the number counts multiple attempts by the same user, although it seems likely given the wording of their statement.
Apple has released the second beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. Originally released on January 27 following the introduction of the iPad, the SDK is tailored specifically to the iPad, including support for the device’s 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and includes an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is currently unclear if any major changes were made in the updated version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 2 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.
Norwegian browser company Opera Software has announced plans to show off a version of its Mini browser for the iPhone and iPod touch next week at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, according to a Reuters report. The company claims the browser will offer download speeds up to six times faster than the built-in MobileSafari browser, and could cut data traffic by up to 90 percent. Opera also said it saw no reason why its browser should be rejected by Apple. “We have not submitted it yet to the Apple App Store. However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in Web browsing experience,” said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera. Apple in January began allowing some third-party browsers into the App Store, but those that have been approved thus far use WebKit, the same built-in browser engine that powers Safari, and not a third-party solution.
Shazam Entertainment quietly updated to its popular free Shazam app last night to add support for looking up tour information for tagged artists. The Shazam 1.8.5 update now provides the tour info feature previously found only in the $5 Shazam Encore app allowing users of the free version to look up tour dates both nearby and internationally and purchase tickets. Tour information can also be sent out via e-mail, and the service can also provide information on local concerts from other related artists. Shazam is available from the App Store as a free download.
Waterfield Designs has introduced its new Ultimate SleeveCase and Suede Jacket for the Apple iPad. The Ultimate SleeveCase for iPad is a fitted sleeve-style case featuring either a horizontal or vertical design, a flap opening with Velcro closure neoprene padding, Ultrasuede interior lining, an internal plastic insert for added screen protection, and a ballistic nylon exterior. Options include a shoulder strap and leather bottom trim. It sells for $55-$59.
The Suede Jacket for iPad is a low-profile sleeve-style case featuring Ultrasuede construction, a finger loop on either side for easy insertion/removal of the device, and an optional exterior pocket for headphones, cables, or other small items. It sells for $19-$25. Both of Waterfield Designs’ new cases for the Apple iPad are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship within one week of the iPad’s launch.
iPhone Developer Siri has released Siri Assistant for the iPhone, a novel application that provides iPhone users with a voice-activated personal assistant. Users can request information from Siri Assistant simply by speaking natural language questions such as “Where is the best sushi near here” or “What PG-13 movies are playing this afternoon.” Siri Assistant can presently handle requests for information on restaurants, events, movies, taxis, weather and local points of interest and the developer plans to expand the service to include features such as reminders, flight information and reference questions. Siri Assistant can also personalize each users’ results based on the information that they most commonly request. The present version of Siri Assistant is compatible only with the iPhone 3GS using iPhone OS 3.1 or later and works only in the United States. It is available as a free download on the U.S. App Store.
Warner Music Group has revealed that unit sales growth on the iTunes Store has decelerated since the move to a variable pricing scheme. AllThingsD reports that industry-wide, year-over-year “digital track equivalent album unit growth” was 5% in the December quarter, down from 10% in the September quarter and 11% in the June quarter. As iTunes makes up the majority of Warner’s digital revenue, growth is slowing in that metric, as well, with digital revenue up 8% year-over-year in the December quarter, compared with a 20% growth rate in December 2008. Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said that music downloads are a “mature” business, and that the pricing change has been a “net positive” for the label, but also suggested that, looking back, the move to raise prices wasn’t the best idea during a time of recession. Apple announced the move to a variable pricing scheme, under which individual tracks are sold for $.69, $.99, or $1.29, in January 2009, although the changes didn’t take hold until April 2009.