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ScrollMotion signs textbook publishers to iPad deals

  • February 3, 2010
  • iPad

ScrollMotion, a software company that specializes in translating print media to digital devices, most notably the iPhone and iPod touch, has signed deals with a number of leading educational textbook publishers to bring their textbooks, test-prep, and study guides to the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that publishers including McGraw-Hill’s education unit, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, Pearson Education, and Kaplan Inc. have all signed deals with ScrollMotion. “People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010,” said Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill. While involved in the project, Kranenburg isn’t yet ready to crown the iPad king of the classroom, saying, “nobody knows what device will take off, or which ‘killer app’ will drive student adaptations. Today they aren’t reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials.” According to the report, features of the ScrollMotion deal include applications to let students play video, highlight text, record lectures, take notes, search the text, and take interactive quizzes.

iPhone game sales help boost Gameloft’s annual revenue

Previewing its fiscal earnings for 2009, Gameloft has revealed that overall company revenue increased by 11% in 2009 to €122 million (roughly $170 million), thanks in part to strong sales of the company’s iPhone games. Revenue from sales of App Store titles totaled €17.6 million, or roughly $24.5 million, for the year, representing over 14% of the company’s annual revenue. In the fourth quarter alone, iPhone game sales accounted for €7.0 million (~$9.8 million), up 115% from the year-ago quarter and accounting for 22% of the company’s quarterly revenue total. Overall, mobile games accounted for 94% of Gameloft’s sales in 2009, with the remainder made up of console sales.

Photo of the Week: iPod touch in California

This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows an iPod touch in the ghost town of Bodie, California. 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!

Documents To Go now includes PowerPoint editing

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DataViz has released a major update to its premium version of Documents To Go to add support for editing PowerPoint presentations and editing and viewing supported attachments from Gmail directly on the iPhone. Formerly known as Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments, the rebranded Premium version now permits users to edit and create PowerPoint presentations directly on their devices, including support for editing and adding bullets, text, and speaker notes as well as sorting, adding, duplicating and deleting slides. The new version also allows users to access attachments directly from their Gmail accounts for viewing or editing directly on the device. Documents To Go Premium continues to support viewing and editing of Microsoft Word and Excel formats as well as enhanced viewing of PDF files. Documents to Go Premium 3.0 is available on the App Store for $15 for new users and is available as a free upgrade for owners of Documents To Go with Exchange Attachments.  DataViz also provides a standard version of Documents To Go 2.1 with only Word and Excel editing and no attachment support for $10.

Gameloft releases Pocket Chef

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Gameloft has released Pocket Chef, a 3D cooking game for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows players to challenge their virtual cooking skills by following 25 different real-world recipes with an emphasis on precision and speed. Players use the accelerometer and touchscreen to replicate real-world movements such as flipping steaks and breaking eggs and can play through 19 mini-games that cover aspects of the process from the preparation of ingredients to baking and the presentation of the finished result. Pocket Chef also provides a recipe book so that the recipes can be looked up and used for real-life cooking as each recipe is unlocked. Pocket Chef is available from the App Store for $5.

‘iPod room’ created for CA model home

  • February 2, 2010
  • iPod

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Just when you thought that the iPhone and iPad had consumed everyone’s attention, Pennsylvania-based luxury home builder Toll Brothers has created a music-themed bedroom around iPod-themed elements. As shown in the pictures found below, this music enthusiast’s bedroom, features roughly 2.5-foot-diameter iPod Click Wheels on both the floor and ceiling, interestingly made from carpeting. The Wheels form rows, lining the edges of both the ceiling and the floor. Other features include iPod silhouette art on the walls, a photo of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and metallic rivet-style paneling. The model home with iPod-themed bedroom is located in Corona, California, and offers 5,900 sq. ft. of space at a price of $1,034,000.

Apple forces removal of USB sharing from e-book app

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Lexcycle, maker of the popular e-book reader Stanza for the iPhone and iPod touch, recently released an update for the app that killed a popular feature, reportedly at Apple’s request. In the App Store release notes for Stanza version 2.1, it states “removed the ability to share books via USB as required by Apple.” Previously, the feature allow users to transfer books in the eReader or ePub formats—the latter being used for Apple’s upcoming iBookstore—to their iPhone or iPod touch using a USB cable. TechCrunch reports that in email correspondence with Lexcycle, Apple indeed demanded the feature be removed, but the company stopped short of explaining why, stating the it was “forbidden from discussing the specifics of our conversations with Apple on this matter.” The timing of the update is curious, as Apple just last week announced its plans to enter the e-book business via its new iBooks app for the iPad and accompanying iBookstore; Lexcycle itself is owned by Amazon.com, which purchased the app developer in April 2009.

St. John Ambulance releases First Aid app

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St. John Ambulance has released its official First Aid application, providing a user-friendly reference to first aid procedures for situations ranging from major emergencies to minor incidents. The application provides a streamlined interface to allow users to quickly look up appropriate first aid procedures for a given situation. Procedures are divided into major and minor categories and a section on common first aid techniques is also provided. Selecting a procedure or technique guides the user through a step-by-step series of straightforward instructions with diagrams where appropriate. An information section is also available to provide guidance on calling emergency services, proper first aid kits and first aid training. St. John Ambulance First Aid is available on the App Store for $4.

Apple releases iPhone OS 3.1.3 for iPhone, iPod touch

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Apple has released iPhone OS 3.1.3, its latest update to the operating system software for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update improves the accuracy of reported battery level on the iPhone 3GS, resolves an issue where third-party apps would not launch in some instances, and fixes a bug that may cause an app to crash when using the Japanese Kana keyboard. In addition, a number of security changes have been made which are listed in this Apple support document. iPhone OS 3.1.3 is available now via the Update feature in iTunes for all iPhone and iPod touch models running iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

Update: Apple has also released an update to the iPhone SDK. SDK 3.1.3 is required for Xcode to work with and recognize 3.1.3 devices. The updated iPhone SDK is available now for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Bills On Your Table provides bill reminders with Push Notifications

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PoweryBase has released Bills On Your Table, a new application for tracking and managing bills on the iPhone. The application allows users to enter various types of bills and other expenses with their due dates and recurrence. A main overview screen then provides a visual indication of upcoming bills and Push Notification alerts can be sent to the user’s device to notify when bills are about to becomes due. Bills On Your Table provides support for 170 different currencies, a payment log with a history of actions, AutoPay support, a passcode lock, and includes Push Notifications with no additional subscription required. Bill information can also be synchronized with an online web service where users can log on and manage their bill information from any web browser. Bills On Your Table is available on the App Store for an introductory price of $2.

U.S. Senator probes Apple, others about practices in China

Dick Durbin, a United States Senator from the state of Illinois and Assistant Senate Majority Leader, has asked a group of 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, for more information on their business practices in China. Reuters reports that the request was spurred by Google’s decision to cease cooperation with Chinese Internet censorship programs. “Google sets a strong example in standing up to the Chinese government’s continued failure to respect the fundamental human rights of free expression and privacy. I look forward to learning more about whether other American companies are willing to follow Google’s lead,” Durbin said in a statement. Apple’s 2009 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report (PDF Link) notes that while the company’s products and components are manufactured by a wide variety of suppliers around the world, the final assembly of most products occurs in China. The report states that of the 83 facilities audited, 97% of the core issues assed were in compliance with Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct. More information on Apple and its relationship with suppliers and manufacturing partners can be found on the company’s Supplier Responsibility page.

iPad name poll ends, iPod/iPhone use poll begins

With over 3,500 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“What are your feelings about the iPad name?”—has ended. Users were given four choices for each gender, with options for those who liked the name, liked the name but don’t plan on purchasing an iPad, dislike the name, and dislike the name but would still consider buying one.

In a rare occurrence, reader opinion on the iPad name was split straight down the middle, with exactly 50% of respondents who said they like the name, and 50% who said they didn’t. Out of our male respondents, the response was split 52/48% between “like” and “don’t like,” with the women showing a more negative 34/66% split. Perhaps more importantly, 62% of overall respondents said that they would consider buying the iPad, with more readers—regardless of gender—saying that they’d consider buying the device even if they didn’t like the name. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on iPod and iPhone use. Aside from making phone calls, we’d like to know what you feel is the most important feature of your iPod or iPhone—the one that you couldn’t live without. Whether it’s audio or video playback, e-mail and web access, games, apps, or camera functionality, our new poll, “Phone calling aside, what’s the most important feature of your iPod or iPhone that you could not live without?” will let you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge home page—cast your vote today!

Liquid Scale provides content aware image processing

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Savoy Software has released Liquid Scale 1.0, an iPhone application for mobile image processing which allows for simple content aware retouching and resizing of images directly on the iPhone without creating unnatural distortions of the original photo. WIth Liquid Scale, users can perform retouching tasks such as removing people and objects from photos or resizing a photo to adjust foreground objects in relation to each other the image background. Liquid Scale performs intelligent analysis on images to identify the real motif of the photo in relation to the background allowing the different components of the image to be manipulated separately. Processed images can be re-saved to the iPhone camera role in three different quality levels or they can be sent by e-mail. A Before-after view is also available for quick comparison of the original image to the results. Liquid Scale is available on the App Store for $2.

Cocoon rolls out Gramercy Messenger Sling for iPad

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Cocoon Innovations has introduced its new Gramercy Messenger Sling bag for the iPad. Made from water resistant ballistic nylon, the Gramercy features an exterior media pocket designed to hold an iPhone, iPod touch, or other portable device, an easy-access outer pocket, an iPad-accommodating zippered main pocket, an adjustable shoulder strap, and an included Grid-It rubberized woven elastic organizer for holding accessories, pens, paper notebooks, and other items. Cocoon’s Gramercy Messenger Sling bag for the iPad will be available soon in red, black, or gray, and will sell for $30.

NYT: Apple A4 chip offers modest gains, loses PA Semi staff

  • February 2, 2010
  • iPad

The Apple A4 chip powering the company’s new iPad tablet is underwhelming some chip industry experts, according to a New York Times report. “I don’t see anything that looks that compelling,” said Linley Gwennap, a chip analyst at the Linley Group. “It doesn’t seem like something all that new, and, if it is, they are not getting far with it.” The A4, its first custom effort, is said to differ only slightly from competing chips from Nvidia and Qualcomm, offering similar performance, and is likely manufactured by Samsung using common industry designs with small tweaks from Apple. The report also states that while Apple bought the 150-employee P.A. Semi in 2008 with hopes of designing its own high-efficiency, low-power chips, the company has since lost at least one key member of that team. According to records on the job networking site LinkedIn, at least “half a dozen” P.A. Semi engineers have left Apple for San Jose-based Agnilux, a start-up co-founded by former P.A. system architect Mark Hayter. The report cites two people with knowledge of both companies as saying that some of the P.A. Semi engineers left Apple only a few months after the acquisition due to the unattractive price of stock grants offered by the company.

Perceptive Development releases iMicroscope

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Perceptive Development has announced the release of iMicroscope, an iPhone application that allows scientists and students to use the iPhone camera to take precision microphotographs through microscopes. Originally created by Zack Gainsforth, a scientist at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory, iMicroscope aims to make microphotography more accessible for education and research by providing a simple and cost-effective solution for students and researchers who may not have access to sophisticated and expensive micrograph equipment. iMicroscope works simply by placing the iPhone camera above the microscope’s eyepiece and then using the microscope’s magnification settings to produce a calibrated micrograph image. iMicroscope is available on the App Store for $3.

Winners of Sena Cases Engraved Giveaway announced

The winners of our Sena Cases Engraved Giveaway have just been announced. In the giveaway, 10 iLounge readers won a Sena Cases Sarach Leatherskin case for the iPhone 3G & 3GS, with free custom engraving. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway, our latest giveaway.

iLounge announces Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway

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iLounge is pleased to announce the Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway. 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 8, 15, 22 and March 1. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—Good luck!

iPhone helps boost Softbank profit 41% in Q3

Softbank has reported a fiscal third quarter net profit jump of 41%, thanks in part to strong sales of the iPhone and related services, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Japan’s third-largest carrier by subscribers, Softbank said net profit for the December quarter was 24.1 billion yen (roughly $265.9 million), up from 17.1 billion yen in the year-ago quarter. “When we launched the iPhone [in the summer of 2008], some people said those phones were not suited for Japanese cellphone users,” said Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son at a news conference. “But those [skeptics] have been proven completely wrong ... The iPhone is selling so well that we are really feeling the boost from it.” Mr. Son declined to say how many iPhones Softbank had sold, but said Apple’s handset was “the biggest contributor to third-quarter handset sales,” and “a major contributor to growth in data communication revenue.”

Newsstand changes name to NewsRack

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iPhone developer omz:software has changed the name of its popular Newsstand RSS reader app to NewsRack. According to the developer’s blog, Newsstand was pulled from the App Store early last weekdue to a trademark complaint that was received by Apple. An updated version of the application under the new name was submitted to the App Store last Tuesday and was approved last night. In addition to rebranding, the update also provides improved support for RSS feeds that use basic authentication. NewsRack 2.3.1 is available on the App Store for $5 for new customers and is a free update for prior users of Newsstand.

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