ALK Technologies has released the latest update to its CoPilot Live North America application, providing updated street maps of the U.S. and Canada, integrated local search and Facebook integration. The included local search, previously only available as a $20 in-app purchase, allows users to quickly locate products, services and stores directly from within the application. The update promises improved guidance and a more realistic display at complex intersections with its new Lane Assist and ClearTurn features. The new Facebook integration allows users to update their Facebook status from within the app with their current location, their destination, or the currently playing iPod track. The new version also now provides user-controllable volume settings, allowing users to mute or lower music volume during voice directions. CoPilot Live North America is available from the App Store for $30; live traffic updates continue to be available as an in-app purchase for an additional $20. A free version, CoPilot Live Directions is also available which provides thirty days of free access to the Premium features, after which users can choose to pay for a subscription via in-app purchase or continue using the free app with standard turn-by-turn directions without voice guidance.
According to a recent smartphone brand loyalty survey conducted by Crowd Science, 39% of BlackBerry users would buy an iPhone if purchasing a smartphone “tomorrow.” 34% of BlackBerry users would purchase an Android device, while 92% of iPhone owners and 87% of Android owners would definitely/probably repurchase another iPhone or Android device, respectively. iPhone and Android owners showed similar brand loyalty in the recommendation section of the survey, with 97% of iPhone users and 100% of Android users saying they would recommend their current phone to friends and family. Curiously, 52% of BlackBerry users would recommend the iPhone, compared to 28% who would recommend Android. The study consisted of 1,140 respondents who were randomly recruited via the Crowd Science Sample Beta program from websites serving more than 20 million unique visitors.
PayPal has released a major update to its mobile iPhone application. Along with a complete redesign, PayPal 2.0 now adds support for withdrawing funds and requesting money as well as an integrated tip calculator for splitting restaurant bills and requesting everyone’s share via PayPal. Users can also use the app to collect contributions from a group for events, gifts or causes and can now configure bill reminders with Push Notifications. The update also adds support for Bump technology, allowing users to initiate funds transfers with other PayPal users simply by running the app and bumping their devices together. PayPal 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Electronic Arts has released an update to The Sims 3, adding support for new expansion packs and transferring Sims into future Sims games. The update includes support for a new “prank pack” that can be purchased from the in-game store to allow players to play pranks on their fellow Sims, and additional theme packs are also available via in-app purchase. Each pack sells for $1 and push notifications can now be enabled to notify users when new content is available. The latest update also adds a new import/export feature to allow players to transfer their Sims between The Sims 3 and the upcoming The Sims 3 World Adventures game. The Sims 3 is available from the App Store for $7. The Sims 3 World Adventures for the iPhone was previewed at CES 2010 in January; a release date for the game has not yet been announced.
PRS Cables has introduced its new Guitarbud cable solution for the iPhone, second-, and third-generation iPod touch. The Guitarbud is a three-way cable that features a standard 1/4” guitar plug on one end, a 3.5mm female headphone port on one end, and a headphone plug on the other, allowing users to connect a guitar to the iPhone or iPod touch while preserving the ability to hear their music through their headphones. The cable works with most guitar- or audio-related applications, including Voice Memos, tuning applications, and multi-track recorders. PRS Cables’ Guitarbud for iPhone and iPod touch is available now and sells for $30.
Nearly 10,000 Microsoft employees, or roughly 10% of the company’s global work force, are iPhone users, according to a new report. Citing two people who heard estimates from senior Microsoft executives, the Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system in 2009, despite a change to the company’s corporate cellphone policy that only reimburses service fees for employees using Windows-powered phones. In one particular meeting among Microsoft executives, Andy Lees, a Microsoft senior vice president who oversees development of the mobile-phone software business, and his boss, Robbie Bach, explained that employees often use rival products like the iPhone to better understand the competition, but were rebuffed by COO Kevin Turner, who said, “[w]hat’s good for the field is good for Redmond.” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a similar stance, saying that his family always drove Fords, as his father worked for Ford Motor Company. Still, some Microsoft employees choose to use iPhones, even if they need to disguise their handsets, or keep them hidden around senior executives. “Maybe once a year I’m in a meeting with Steve Ballmer,” said one employee. “It doesn’t matter who’s calling, I’m not answering my phone.”
Daniel Tello, a Venezuelan blogger and analyst, estimates that Apple saw as many as 120,000 iPad pre-orders on Friday. Tello, who goes by the screen name Deagol, bases his number on tracking of order numbers submitted by members of an Apple-focused board on the site InvestorVillage, compared against his estimates of Apple’s average online daily order volume. Fortune reports that Tello is expecting iPad sales to continue over the next few weeks at a rate of 30,000 per weekday and 15,000 on weekends. “With three weeks and two weekends left before they ship, I wouldn’t expect much more than half a million in pre-orders and reservations,” Tello said. Notably, Tello’s figures don’t take into account orders with more than one iPad, nor do they account for iPads that have been reserved for pick up and purchase on launch day. While these figures are by no means definitive, they do provide a general glimpse at iPad sales leading up to the device’s launch on April 3.
Mobile advertising network Mobclix has released a new iPad-specific software development kit to enable developers to integrate advertising into their iPad apps. The new SDK allows developers to integrate video and rich media ads into their apps in four different sizes: 468x60, 300x250, 120x600 and 728x90, with more options to come. The Mobclix iPad SDK is available for download from the Mobclix Developer Dashboard (free registration required). [via TechCrunch]
According to a change in his Linkedin status, Richard DeVaul, founder and president of AWare Technologies, has taken a job as a Senior Prototype Engineer at Apple. Computerworld reports that DeVaul has a Ph.D. in Media Arts & Sciences from MIT, where he focused on “new human-computer interaction techniques for wearable, mobile, and portable applications.” DeVaul’s dissertation was on a head-up display called “The Memory Glasses,” which used subliminal visual cues to boost test subjects’ performance on memory recall tasks by as much as 63% without the tester being aware of any stimulation at all. Computerworld claims that DeVaul will be working under Jonathan Ive in special lab focused on wearable computing technology.
Dan Dobberpuhl, founder and CEO of P.A. Semi, has left Apple to join several other former P.A. Semi employees at a new start-up. Citing multiple anonymous sources, Cnet reports that Dobberpuhl’s departure from Apple was not recent, and may have happened as early as fall 2009. “He was the CEO at PA Semi and leader of the team, and one of the guys that was driving the whole thing,” said Linley Gwennap, a chip analyst at the Linley Group. But “those guys are start-up kind of people, and within the structure of Apple, they may [have been] chafing.” According to the report, Dobberpuhl has joined other P.A. Semi engineers who have also left Apple at San Jose-based Agnilux, a start-up co-founded by former P.A. system architect Mark Hayter. Apple purchased P.A. Semi in April 2008, with plans of using the company’s expertise to build system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods.
An Apple support document has revealed that should an iPad need service due to a failing battery, Apple will simply replace the iPad for a $99 service fee. The document states, “If your iPad requires service due to the battery’s diminished ability to hold an electrical charge, Apple will replace your iPad for a service fee,” noting that damaged iPads and/or iPads suffering from component failures will not be eligible for Battery Replacement Service. Notably, it also states that data from the iPad being “serviced” will not be preserved, saying, “you will receive a replacement iPad that will not contain any of your personal data. Before you submit your iPad for service, it is important to sync your iPad with iTunes to back up your contacts, calendars, email account settings, bookmarks, apps, etc.” Apple states that customers should receive their replacement iPads in approximately one week from the time they send out their faulty units. [via Engadget]
Simplify Media, developer of the Simplify Music and Simplify Photo iPhone applications announced Friday that it will no longer be offering its current software to new users and that it has removed the Simplify iPhone apps from the App Store. Simplify Media was best known for its applications that allowed iPhone and iPod touch users to stream music and view photos from their computer over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, even while away from home. In a post in its blog, the company indicates that it is heading in a “new direction” and has taken these steps to focus on that transition. The post goes on to state that Simply Media will continue operating and supporting the service for at least the next 3 months for existing users, and that the company hopes by that time to be able to announce more information on “future incarnations” of the service. [via TUAW]
Apple has begun to hand out promotional iPad cards at its retail stores that suggests the company is preparing for a sell-out of launch day iPad reservations. The card offers instructions on how to reserve an iPad for pickup, telling customers to visit apple.com/ipad/reserve, select the store they wish to pick it up from, and choose their iPad model—16, 32, or 64GB. It then states that Apple will send the customer “an email with the date [their] iPad will be ready for pickup,” instead of saying the device would be ready on April 3. The card also references free shipping for iPad pre-orders, which can be made online at apple.com/ipad/pre-order.
Ngmoco has released a new version of its popular first-person shooter. Eliminate:CO-OP provides a new multiplayer game mode where users can team up with their friends for cooperative game play against computer-generated battle drones. The new game builds on the original Eliminate Pro, providing ten new multiplayer environments, the ability to collect items and credits from demolished battle drones and an enhanced global matchmaking system for quickly connecting with other players. Eliminate:CO-OP is also fully compatible with Eliminate Pro for online deathmatch play. Eliminate:CO-OP is available from the App Store as a free download.
TomTom International has released an update to its series of turn-by-turn GPS navigation applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. The latest version allows users to subscribe to real-time traffic notifications via an in-app purchase and adds support for Google local search to find points of interest. The update also adds new maps, automatic music fading during voice instructions, automatic day and night modes and the ability to add locations from other supported iPhone applications. Real-time traffic notifications require an iPhone and are only available in the U.S. at the present time. TomTom U.S.A. is available from the App Store for $60; real-time traffic updates require an in-app subscription of $20 annually. Updated versions for other geographic areas are also available.
In addition to the disclosure in Apple’s just-published FCC filings for the iPad that there are two Wi-Fi antennas per model, a separate Apple document has disclosed a previously unknown difference in the dimensions of the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models. According to the document, the Wi-Fi + 3G model is 0.3mm taller and 0.1mm wider than the Wi-Fi only model, in part apparently due to the 3G model’s top antenna panel. This is in addition to a previously disclosed 0.1 pound difference in weight between the models, which was announced on the date of the iPad’s introduction in January. Though this difference in dimensions is very modest, it will likely impact the compatibility of individual iPad models with some precision-molded cases and other accessories, which are commonly manufactured to fit tightly on Apple’s devices.
Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Schlage LiNK Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for March, iLounge and Schlage are giving away five Schlage LiNK Starter Kits with Wireless Keypad Deadbolts, which are compatible with the Schlage LiNK iPhone app. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on March 31, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Both the iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G have appeared on the Federal Communications Commission’s website. While the documents that are available — the user manual, external photos, and other materials are still being withheld at Apple’s request — provide little in the way of important new information, there are several small discoveries to be made within. Both models of the iPad sport two Wi-Fi antennas, one that is shared with Bluetooth, and one that is not; these antennas cannot transmit simultaneously, are “fed with different power levels,” and are located in different places within the casing. While the exact reason for the dual antenna configuration is not given, it appears to be for reception diversity, allowing the iPad to decide which antenna is working better and switch between them, opting for the higher power version when necessary. [via Engadget]
Belkin has introduced three new sleeve-style cases for the Apple iPad. The Vue Sleeve is made from neoprene and features a reinforced panel for screen protection, quilted lining, a transparent, expandable outer pocket for accessories, and zip closures on both the main iPad compartment and the exterior pocket. Also made of neoprene, the Max Sleeve features a pleated design that expands to fit more items inside, quilted lining, a reinforced panel for screen protection, and zippered main iPad and external accessory compartments. Finally, the Grip Sleeve combines a basic neoprene sleeve with a textured, laser-etched silicone surface for added grip, and also offers a soft inner lining, a reinforced screen protection panel, and a zippered closure. All three of Belkin’s new sleeves for the iPad will be available soon in purple or black and will sell for $40 each.
Worldly Developments, creator of the Plancast.com social networking site has released an iPhone app for users of its service. Plancast.com is a social networking service designed to allow users to share information about where they are planning to be in the future, as opposed to where they currently are. The new Plancast application allows users to create new plans and share them with their friends directly from their iPhone or iPod touch. Users can browse friends’ plans, including mapped location information and a list of who else is planning to attend, and can add themselves to the list. The app also allows users to search for their friends’ plans or browse from a list of featured users, and plan links can be sent out via Twitter and Facebook. Plancast is available from the App Store as a free download. [via TechCrunch]