Apple today released iTunes 9.0.3, the latest update to its digital media management software. According to the release notes, the update “provides a number of important bug fixes,” including a fix for iTunes ignoring users’ “Remember password for purchases” settings, a fix for problems when syncing some Smart Playlists and Podcasts with iPods, resolution for a problem recognizing when an iPod is connected, and various stability and performance issue fixes. iTunes 9.0.3 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility and as direct download from itunes.com.
NLU Products has introduced new versions of its BodyGuardz and ScreenGuardz protective solutions designed to fit the new Apple iPad. Made from the same material used to protect the front of automobiles from rocks and other potentially damaging objects, each BodyGuardz for iPad set will include a clear screen protector and a one-piece back protector that will cover both the rear and sides of the device while allowing for full access to all buttons and ports. In addition to its BodyGuardz set, NLU will also offer its ScreenGuardz screen protector separately. NLU’s BodyGuardz set and ScreenGuardz screen protector for iPad are available for pre-order now and are priced at $30 and $20, respectively.
The iPhone saw its share of the worldwide smartphone market shrink in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a new report. Citing data from ABI Research, the Wall Street Journal reports that the iPhone’s share of worldwide smartphone sales dipped from 18.1% in the third quarter to 16.6% in the fourth quarter, despite the fact that iPhone sales increased 18% to 8.7 million units during the same time period. According to the report, the overall smartphone market grew 26% in the fourth quarter, with Motorola introducing its first Android-based phones and Nokia Oyj increasing sales by 4.6 million units. The last time the iPhone lost market share was in the fourth quarter of 2008, suggesting that the dip in worldwide sales may be a cyclical occurrence based in part on Apple’s traditional mid-year iPhone introductions, which offer opportunities for competitors to release new models later in the year.
Sesame Street has released Elmo’s Monster Maker, a new iPhone application for kids that promotes creativity and decision-making by allowing the user to create their own Sesame Street style monster by choosing a body and then adding eyes, a nose and a hat. Once a monster has been created, the user can tap the screen to make the monster dance and play and interact with Elmo or save pictures of their monster to the iPhone or iPod photo album. Elmo’s Monster Maker is available on the App Store for $4.
iPhone developer dw-c has released an update to its iCamcorder application, providing high-quality video recording capabilities for the first-generation iPhone and iPhone 3G. iCamcorder provides support for recordings of 15FPS on the highest quality settings with high-quality audio, unlimited recording length, digital zoom and up to nine digital effects. Both portrait and landscape recording modes are supported and videos can be saved on the device’s Camera Roll, sent out via e-mail or shared on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. iCamcorder requires a first-generation iPhone or iPhone 3G with iPhone OS 3.1 or later and is available on the App Store and is currently selling for $1.
FastMall has announced a major update to its shopping mall navigation application. FastMall 2.0 is now free and adds a number of new features. FastMall provides turn-by-turn directions to help you find your way around over 1,275 shopping malls with directions to stores, restaurants and even restrooms. FastMall 2.0 also provides the ability to save information on where you parked so you can find your car, to be taken to the nearest restroom simply by shaking your device, and an elevator-only navigation mode for users with strollers or wheelchairs. Users can review stores, restaurants and even restrooms within a mall and can share status on Facebook and Twitter. FastMall is available for free on the App Store.
Editor’s Note: Comments on this article have been closed due to astroturfing.
Intellect Wireless has filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Illinois claiming patent infringement. The complaint states that the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS infringe on at least two patents held by company owner Daniel Henderson relating to the receiving and display of “caller ID information, non-facsimile pictures, video messages, and or Multimedia Messaging Service.” Intellect Wireless has previously sued other companies, including Helio, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Virgin Mobile, with similar claims of patent infringement; the company is seeking damages and other relief in its complaint against Apple.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs held a Town Hall meeting for Apple employees last week following the announcement of the iPad tablet, offering his views on a number of topics, including the company’s increasing competition from Google, according to several reports. Although all details from the event are second-hand reports, and are therefore open to some interpretation, Jobs reportedly said that Google attacked Apple by entering the phone business, instead of Apple going after the search market. John Gruber of Daring Fireball quotes a source claiming that Jobs said “teams at Google want to kill us,” but that Apple won’t let them, and added that the company’s “Don’t be evil” mantra is “a load of crap.”
Wired reports that Jobs also called out Adobe for being lazy, as he said they have the potential to do interesting things but simply refuse. Jobs also said that Apple doesn’t support Flash on its iPhone OS devices because it’s buggy, and that no one will be using Flash going forward as the online community focuses on HTML5 development. Finally, Mac Rumors received an anonymous submission that included some extra details, including statements from Jobs that Apple plans to deliver agressive updates to the iPhone that Android/Google won’t be able to keep up with, that Jobs considers the iPad to be on a similar level of importance as the iPhone and Mac, and that the next iPhone will be an “A+” update.
Electronic Arts has released Spore Creatures for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed as a sequel to its popular Spore Origins title, Spore Creatures continues the storyline into a land-based evolutionary adventure. Players create a customized Spore Creature from over 45 unique body parts and skins, shapes and colors, and then take their creation through twenty different game levels, avoiding or socializing with other creatures, solving puzzles, and collecting DNA to evolve their creature. Spore Creatures is available on the App Store now and sells for $7.
Quietly coinciding with last week’s iPad announcement, Apple lifted restrictions that had prevented voice over IP (“VoIP”) apps for iPhone OS from running on 3G networks. Last October, AT&T announced that it would begin allowing VoIP applications to run on its 3G network, following which Apple noted that it would be updating its developer agreements and SDK to allow 3G support “as soon as possible.”
In response, three developers have now released VoIP-over-3G capable versions of their apps: iCall was the first to announce Wednesday that its iCall application for the iPhone and iPod touch would begin allowing “unrestricted free local and long distance calling over 3G data networks” via a new version of the application, which is available for free in the App Store. The iCall v1.2.5 update also adds Push Notification support to allow users to receive incoming calls even when the application is not running.
Following the iCall announcement, Fring announced that its popular VoIP and video calling application would also now provide 3G support, and Acrobits made a similar announcement regarding its Softphone app. Both developers indicated that the applications already provided VoIP-over-3G support within the applications, but that they had not been allowed to enable the functionality due to Apple’s previous SDK restrictions. As a result, no update to these applications was required to enable 3G support. Fring is available as a free download from the App Store, while Acrobits’ SoftPhone sells for $8 on the App Store.
In addition, Justin Brady, the developer of WalkieTalkie VoIP has also indicated that an update to allow calls over 3G is pending review by Apple. Notably, the most popular provider of VoIP services, Skype, has not yet commented on when a 3G-compatible version of its app will be available for the iPhone.
Despite the lack of any actual commercials for the iPad during last night’s 2010 Grammy Awards telecast, Apple’s newest device did make an appearance, courtesy of comedian Stephen Colbert. During the early moments of the event, Colbert briefly displayed an iPad as he presented the nominees for Song of the Year. Colbert produced the device from an inner jacket pocket, and it appeared to be fully functional, as the screen was shown on the Spotlight search view at first, then on a traditional Home screen layout. Colbert also joked with the crowd while displaying the new device, asking, “Jay-Z, did you not get one of these in your gift bag?” A clip of Colbert showing off the device appears below in embedded form and is also available on YouTube via the above link.
iLounge is excited to announce that Jesse David Hollington, a long-time iLounge Contributing Editor and Forum Administrator, today joins our full-time staff as iLounge’s Applications Editor. For the past three years, Jesse has written our Ask iLounge column, numerous iTunes tutorials, and reviews of both applications and games, all of which have been very warmly received by our readers. If you’ve been helped by an iLounge article, or enjoyed using our spam-free Discussion Forums, there’s a strong chance Jesse was involved.
Starting today, Jesse will be handling news announcements and reviews of iPhone, iPod, and iPad applications. If your company would like to reach us with product news, we have created a new submission form for app news, and also maintain an e-mail address for app submissions. Hardware and accessory news should continue to be directed to Charles Starrett at this e-mail address.
Please join us in welcoming Jesse to his new position. We’re truly happy to have him on board.
Following reports pointing out that Apple’s product shots and promotional video for the new iPad tablet showed Adobe Flash running correctly on the device, Apple has removed all instances of Flash running on the iPad from its promotional video and images. Questions began to spread following the discovery of these Flash examples due to the fact that the popular plug-in was noticeably absent from demo models used in last week’s special media event. Adobe has publicly criticized Apple for the iPad’s lack of Flash support, claiming that the company was imposing “restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.”