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EA posts details of upcoming Sims 3, SimCity titles

Electronic Arts has released new screenshots and details on two upcoming iPhone releases in its popular Sims and SimCity franchises. The Sims 3 World Adventures is a sequel to The Sims 3 where players take their Sims on journeys to explore exotic destinations around the world. Destinations include “Al Simhara” Egypt, “Champs Les Sims” France or “Shang SimLa” China, with each location offering opportunities for danger, adventure and romance. The Sims 3 World Adventures will include additional custom content suited to foreign locations as well as 52 new goals and 4 new mini-games. Players can also transfer their existing Sims between the original iPhone version of The Sims 3 and The Sims 3 World Adventures. A specific release date for The Sims 3 World Adventures has not yet been announced.

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Scosche rolls out netSuit, netSuit Pro for iPad

Scosche has introduced its new netSuit and netSuit Pro carrying cases for the iPad and other netbook-sized devices. The netSuit is a neoprene sleeve-style case featuring a reversible design and flap closure; it is available for $15. The netSuit Pro is a more traditional, briefcase-style bag with soft microfiber lining for protection against scratches, a zippered main compartment,  external zippered pockets for additional storage, and handles that tuck into a pocket for added portability. It is also available now, and sells for $20.

T-Mobile USA to launch iPhone in late 2010, early 2011?

According to comments made by René Obermann, CEO of T-Mobile USA parent company Deutsche Telekom, the fourth-largest U.S. carrier may start offering the iPhone as soon as later this year. The Financial Times reports that Obermann told the publication T-Mobile USA hopes to start selling the iPhone later this year or next year, but in the meantime will focus on Android-powered smartphones. T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to offer an Android-powered phone, the HTC G1, and has since expanded its Android lineup with several other models, including the Google-branded, HTC-built Nexus One. [via MDN]

China Mobile hopes to carry iPhone, iPad

China Mobile hopes to reach a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, and possibly the iPad, in the near future, according to recent comments made by China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou. “We’re hoping we’ll come to an agreement (with Apple) on the iPhone as soon as possible,” he told AFP reporters at a news conference in Hong Kong. “We will continue to express our interest in the iPhone. But not just the iPhone, also the iPad.” China Mobile has reportedly been in talks with Apple about the iPhone since November 2007, but the negotiations have stalled multiple times over issues such as revenue sharing and App Store control. During this period, Apple reached an agreement with rival carrier China Unicom to carry the iPhone; Unicom launched the handset in China in October 2009.

Apple Board member Jerome B. York passes away

Apple announced today that Jerome B. York, a member of Apple’s Board of Directors since 1997, has passed away, after being hospitalized late last evening with what his wife described as a massive cerebral hemorrhage. York was the chairman, president and CEO of Harwinton Capital, and was the former CFO of IBM and Chrysler, contributing to both companies’ turnarounds. “Jerry joined Apple’s Board in 1997 when most doubted the company’s future. He has been a pillar of financial and business expertise and insight on our Board for over a dozen years,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It’s been a privilege to know and work with Jerry, and I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Harman/JBL previews Spring 2010 speaker lineup

Harman Kardon/JBL has announced its upcoming lineup of new speakers for the iPod and iPhone. While few details on the new systems have yet been released, the lineup does bring iPhone compatibility to new versions of several speakers that were previously iPod-only. Included in the new lineup is the Harman Kardon Go + Play Micro, an updated version of the company’s prior Go + Play Loudspeaker Dock that will ship this month for $299, the JBL On Stage Micro II, a second-generation update of the original On Stage Micro that will sell for $129 when it ships in April, and the On Time 200P and On Time Micro, both of which will ship in April for $249. Continue reading for images of all four new speaker systems.

Gameloft releases Sports Pack bundle

Gameloft has released a new application combining three of their popular sports games. Gameloft Sports Pack bundles Gameloft’s highly acclaimed Let’s Golf, Real Tennis and Pro Baseball into a single $5 app. Let’s Golf is a top-rated golf game that allows users to play through 63 holes in four distinct 3D-rendered locations and provides easily adaptable controls and local Wi-Fi multiplayer support. Real Tennis takes the player on a world championship tour across 7 stadiums and 3 different surfaces with touchscreen and accelerometer based controls, a wide array of strokes and local Wi-Fi multiplayer support. Pro Baseball provides a 3D-rendered baseball simulation with audio commentary, sound effects and spectator reactions and game modes ranging from a full 162-game season to a quick play home-run mode. Gameloft Sports Pack is available from the App Store for $5.

HTC ‘disagrees’ with Apple suit, will ‘fully defend itself’

In a statement released to the press today, HTC Corporation officially responded to Apple’s lawsuit against the company, which was filed on March 2. “HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC. “HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible.” The press release also contains a photo of the HTC-built T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition, which the company points out was the first 3.5-inch color touchscreen smartphone in the U.S., pre-dating the original iPhone by five years. Apple’s lawsuit and accompanying ITC complaint accuse HTC of “infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.”

Apple releases iPhone SDK 3.2 Beta 5 for iPad

Apple has released the fifth beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. First released in January following the introduction of the iPad, the SDK is tailored specifically to the device, including support for its 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 unknown what, if any, changes were made in this latest version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 5 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

DICE intros G2 Cradle for iPod, iPhone

DICE Electronics has introduced its new G2 Cradle for the iPod and iPhone. Designed for in-car use, the G2 features a pass-through Dock Connector port for connecting the cradle to a car integration kit, charger, or rear-seat entertainment system, a black and brushed aluminum design, six included interchangeable cradles for the iPod classic, first-, second-, and third-generation iPod touch, iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS, a ball mount for adjusting the device’s viewing angle, and AMPS and iGrip patterned mounting holes, allowing for a variety of mounting solutions, including KUDA, ProClip, and iGrip mounts. DICE’s G2 Cradle for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $60.

Electric Pocket releases BugMe

Electric Pocket has released the iPhone version of its popular BugMe digital ink note and reminder app. BugMe allows users to jot free-form notes using their finger or a stylus, share their notes and set scheduled reminders for them. Users can choose from one of four background colors or specify their own photo for each note. Notes can be shared via Twitter or e-mail, saved directly to the device’s photo album or even saved as tiny sticky-note icons on the main Home Screen. Users can set an alarm on each note and be alerted via Push Notifications when the note comes due. BugMe! is available from the App Store for $1.

Apple gives developers ability to schedule app sales

Apple has updated its iTunes Connect online iPhone application submission service to allow developers to schedule pricing changes to their apps, according to one iPhone developer. In an update to his Twitter account, Amro Mousa, a developer for return7, states that “iPhone devs can now schedule sales in iTunes Connect,” with an accompanying screenshot showing the new options within the iTunes Connect interface. Developers can access the new features by logging into iTunes Connect. [via Ars Technica]

Navigon releases lower priced MyRegion apps

Navigon has released three new regional versions of its popular MobileNavigator app. Dubbed NAVIGON MyRegion, the new apps provide the same features as the full version but limit map information to regional areas of the United States. Three versions are presently available: U.S. Central, U.S. East and U.S. West; each currently sells for $25 and includes the ability to add the other regions via in-app purchase for $13 each. The MyRegion apps also include support for the Traffic Live feature, available as an in-app purchase for $20. Current prices are promotional prices, valid until April 12th. [via TUAW]

Apple updates iWork.com with new iPhone, iPad interface

Apple has launched a number of new enhancements to its iWork.com beta Web-based document sharing service, including improved access on iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad devices. Mac Rumors reports that an email sent out to iWork.com users touts a redesigned user interface, which includes “a redesigned Sign In and Shared Documents page for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch [that] makes it easy to access your documents while on the go. The new interface and improved scrolling help you find your shared documents faster.” To access the new features, users can visit iwork.com from their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Apple bans protective screen film from Apple Store

Apple has banned protective screen film from its retail and online stores, iLounge has confirmed with several separate companies, a policy that will affect both cases and individual film packages beginning in May. In communications with vendors that have been ongoing for “some time now,” according to one company, Apple has said that it will remove both film-only solutions from its stores, as well as any case or other accessory that includes film protection as part of its package, such as cases that include film screen protectors. According to sources, the ban will impact all forms of screen film, including completely clear film, anti-glare film, and mirrored film, regardless of whether the purpose of the film is protective, decorative, or both. It will also prevent sales of film for iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. One vendor speculated that the ban is an Apple marketing attempt to suggest screen durability, despite scratches that have damaged both plastic and glass displays of its products for years.

It is believed that Apple’s move will have ramifications for the accessory industry outside of its own stores, as the Apple Store constitutes a significant fraction of total sales for many developers, even though accessory manufacturers also sell their products through other channels. Despite consumer demand for film solutions, which are currently ranked the #1 most popular “cases” for both iPods and iPhones in the Apple Store, and the #6 and #7 most popular overall iPhone and iPod accessories, respectively, developers might not create separate versions of each case product, one without film for sale by Apple, and one with film for sale elsewhere. iLounge requested details on the change from leading film developer Power Support, which had no comment, as well as several case makers, who were aware of the new policy but had nothing to add. However, Mirage Mirror Screen Protector vendor XGear suggested that despite the Apple Store ban, its “marketing positioning will not change. This will open many new doors for us as we move forward in my opinion.”

iLounge has requested comment from Apple on this story and will update this article with additional details as they become known.

Update: We’ve posted responses to common reader comments on this story in a separate article.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Ireland

In recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day, today’s classic image from our iPhones Around the World archive shows an original iPhone overlooking the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland.

We’re looking for your great iPhone and iPod images to add to our galleries! Springtime shots and anything else you might be able to contribute would be appreciated! So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!

Wearable launches AirStash wireless flash drive

Wearable, Inc. has introduced its new AirStash wireless flash drive with built-in media server. Airstash is a small device featuring a USB port on one end and an SD/SDHC card slot on the other. Once a card is inserted, users can fill the card with media from their desktop or laptop PCs, and then use the AirStash’s built-in Wi-Fi media server to access the content from any Wi-Fi-capable device with a web browser. Notably, the device’s browser-based interface has been optimized for the iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad using HTML5, allowing Apple’s mobile devices to play and/or access any document, photo, audio, or video format supported by the iPhone OS. The AirStash is available now for $100.

Konami releases Frogger Inferno

Konami Digital Entertainment has released Frogger Inferno for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Frogger Inferno, players employ the familiar dodge-and-run tactics from the original game to guide Frogger across a busy highway to his home marsh. As an additional twist, however, Frogger Inferno now leaves a trail of fire behind him, requiring players to get Frogger home without the ability to double-back along their path. Additional features include Facebook Connect integration to allow users to post their game scores, play against others and follower the Frogger Leader Board. Frogger Inferno is available from the App Store for $1.

Apple sued over failing iPod shuffle controls

A disgruntled iPod shuffle owner has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over failing iPod shuffle controls. The Wrap reports that Stephen Vale, of Manhattan Beach, CA, claims that when working out, perspiration would travel down his earphone cord and into the control module, causing the iPod to “fail.” Vale at first took his shuffle to a nearby Apple retail store, and was given a replacement cord, which subsequently failed in the same manner as before. According to the lawsuit, “Plaintiff was told it was alright (sic) to exercise with the music player, but not to sweat.” Vale is claiming five counts of breach-of-warranty, one count of false advertising, and one count of unfair competition, and is seeking unspecified damages for himself and any other affected California residents. Although it is not specified in the report, it appears Vale was using a third-generation iPod shuffle; similar complaints from other third-generation shuffle users began pouring in not long after the device’s release, leading one company to offer waterproofed versions of Apple’s pack-in headphones as a solution to the problem.

NASA App update brings Facebook, Twitter integration

NASA has released an update to its official NASA App introducing support for sharing information on Facebook and Twitter. Version 1.2 supports Facebook Connect to allow users to share images, videos, tweets and mission information on their Facebook profile and also integrates its own full Twitter client for not only posting but also retweeting, replying and direct messaging from within the app. Other new features include the addition of the NASAImages.org collection containing over 125,000 new images, an advanced search option, and an offline caching system. The NASA App is available from the App Store as a free download.

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