Rogers Wireless and Fido in Canada have announced their official smartphone tethering policy, which extends to the iPhone. According to a post on Rogers’ RedBoard blog, “[e]ffective immediately, tethering will continue to be included at no additional charge for Rogers and Fido customers who subscribe to data plans of 1 GB and above.” This announcement essentially makes the company’s prior tethering promotion its ongoing policy. The post also notes that tethering “cannot be used with the new 1 GB+ One Rate Roaming plans (except Rocket stick plans), Family Shared Data & Voice Plans and Smartphone & Rocket stick shared data plans.” Tethering capability was added to the iPhone in iPhone OS 3.0, but only select carriers have thus far enabled users to take advantage of the feature.
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!
iGi, also known as i-Got-it Corp, has introduced its new i-Got-Control accessory for the iPhone and iPod touch. i-Got-Control is a dock-connecting infrared transmitter and receiver that works in conjunction with the company’s free i-Got-Control app to allow users to control various electronics with their iPhone or iPod touch. According to the company, the i-Got-Control solution offers a database of more than 40,000 IR codes for leading consumer electronics devices; the app also allows users to learn a device’s IR codes from an existing remote and set a single device as master volume device. The i-Got-Control for iPhone and iPod touch is available now and sells for $70; the companion app is free and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.
According to a new survey conducted by comScore, the iPad equals the Amazon Kindle in consumer awareness, and appeals equally to consumers who own an iPhone or iPod touch and those who don’t. The survey of 2,176 Internet users found that 65% were aware of the iPad, the same number who were aware of the Amazon Kindle, and the numbers of those seriously considering a purchase in the next three months were also similar between the two devices, at 15% and 14%, respectively. The same percentage—15%—of respondents who currently own an iPhone or iPod touch are seriously considering purchasing an iPad in the next three months, suggesting that a prior purchase of an iPhone OS device does not increase a consumer’s likelihood of purchasing an iPad. When questioned about which iPad features and activities they would be most likely to use if they owned a device, only 37% said book reading—compared with 28% who said they would be “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to read books on the device. Internet browsing was the most popular choice, with 50% of respondents saying they would be “likely” or “very likely” to surf on the iPad, followed by 48% for email, and 38% who indicated they would likely listen to music.
Kensington has taken the wraps off its new line of accessories for the iPad. The PowerBolt Micro Car Charger features a low-profile charging stem, a USB port with 2.1 Amps for fast charging of the iPad, an included, detachable USB-to-Dock Connector cable, and an LED power indicator. It will be available April 3 and will sell for $25. The Reversible Sleeve for iPad is a simple sleeve-style case made from neoprene with a two-color reversible design and a slim profile; it is available now and sells for $10. Finally, the Sling Bag for iPad features an over-the-shoulder, messenger bag-style design offering a zippered exterior pocket with a mobile phone compartment, a soft, padded interior safety compartment for the iPad, and an interior accessory pocket for chargers, wallet, keys, and other small items. It will sell for $30 and is expected to be available April 30.
In a brief reply to a customer email, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly confirmed that the iPhone will soon offer a universal email inbox. A TUAW reader asked Jobs “will iPhone ever have a universal mailbox just like Mail has on my Mac? It would be so much easier and efficient,” to which the notoriously terse CEO replied “Yep.” Notably, the email was apparently sent from an iPad, as was a reply to a separate inquiry asking whether there was a way to transfer Google Docs to an iPad using iWork.com or iDisk—Jobs responded positively to this question as well. Jobs has been known to respond to customers’ emails on occasion, normally with short, one sentence answers.
iHome is now shipping its iA5 app-enhanced alarm clock for the iPhone and iPod. Recipient of an iLounge Best of Show Finalist award at the 2010 CES, the iA5 offers an extended, front-center mounted dock, a standard clock face hidden behind the front grill, which also houses a single audio driver with a Reson8 speaker chamber, bass and treble EQ adjustments, a programmable snooze function, and a line-in jack for other audio devices. Notably, the iA5 also integrates with the company’s free iHome + Sleep app, which deactivates the built-in display to turn the connected iPhone or iPod touch into a large clock screen, with multiple alarms—which can be set to post Twitter or Facebook alerts when the users goes to sleep or awakens—a sleep statistic tracker, weather widgets, and a news tracker for catching up on events happening while the user is sleeping. The iHome iA5 app-enhanced alarm clock for the iPhone and iPod is available now and sells for $100.
Apple and AT&T, along with 20 other companies including Acer, Google, HTC, LG, Nokia, and Palm, have been sued by California-based MicroUnity Systems Engineering, which is claiming infringement of 14 separate patents. AppleInsider reports that the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, specifically names the iPhone 3GS and third-generation models of the iPod touch, as well as competing devices including the Motorola Droid, Google Nexus One, Palm Pre, and Nokia N900. The patents specified in the suit appear to cover a wide range of mobile processor activities, relating to parallel operation, cache operation, and other general processing concepts. According to the suit, AT&T was targeted because it sells the iPhone 3GS and “services utilizing and software utilized by such products.”
Case-mate has announced seven new accessories for the Apple iPad. The company will offer its I Make My Case service for the iPad, letting users create their own customized hard case, as well as the Gelli Case, a flexible thermoplastic case featuring a unique pattern, open access to all ports and controls, and an included screen protection kit. The latter will sell for $40, while pricing for the I Make My Case service has yet to be announced. The iPad Hybrid Tough case features an inner layer of silicone for impact protection, wrapped in a rugged ABS plastic shell for increased structural integrity, and also offers access to all ports and controls. It will sell for $50, as will the Felt Folio, a horizontally-opening flip-style case made of felt with leather accents, offering interior storage pockets and a magnetic strap closure. The Leather Commuter (listed online as The Walkabout) is a top-opening sleeve-style case made from premium tan leather and featuring a magnetic closure for $80, while the Nylon Folio (listed online as The Express) is a black, splash-resistant ballistic nylon flip-style case with a horizontally-opening design and a magnetic closure. It will sell for $35. Finally, the Stand is an iPad stand that provides support in both landscape and portrait modes and features a collapsible design that snaps together for easy storage when not in use; pricing for the Stand has yet to be announced. All of case-mate’s new accessories for the iPad are expected to be available in Q2 2010.
CNET reports that Opera has now submitted its Opera Mini web browser for the iPhone to Apple for App Store approval. First previewed at the Mobile World Congress, Opera Mini is designed to be used as an alternative to the iPhone’s built in Safari browser and promises faster page loading due to server-side optimization and a tabbed browser interface. CNET indicates that Opera Mini 5 running on the iPhone looks and behaves “almost identically” to the version of Opera Mini 5 on other mobile devices but also includes the ability to reload the previous session to maintain a persistent state when relaunched. Unlike other alternative browsers currently available on the App Store, Opera Mini is not based on WebKit, and there has been much speculation as to whether Apple will approve it. Third-party browsers have previously fallen afoul of Apple’s restriction on third-party applications executing code, however in discussing the matter with CNET, Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner indicated that he doesn’t feel that Opera Mini directly violates anything in Apple’s SDK license as it merely displays web pages rendered on Opera’s own proxy servers.
Equinux has released its SongGenie 2 music library utility software for Mac OS X. SongGenie helps users manage their digital music libraries by identifying unknown song titles, completing missing track information fields, and cleaning up song information listings. New features in version 2 of SongGenie include song lyrics search, genre organization, song information editing, a new song information rating system and status indicator, new sorting options, the ability to play back songs inside the app, and album art quality ratings. SongGenie 2 is available now as a direct download for $30 or €25 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later; registered users can upgrade to SongGenie 2 for a discount using the equinux License Manager.
The iPhone OS has overtaken Sony’s Playstation Portable in terms of U.S. portable game software revenue, according to a new report from Flurry Analytics. Using publicly available market data from NPD, estimated Nintendo DS and Sony PSP game software sales, and iPhone games sales estimated using a combination of data from both Apple and the company’s own app-tracking analytics service, the iPhone OS as a platform increased its share of U.S. portable game software revenue from 5% in 2008 to 19% in 2009. In the same time period, the Nintendo DS’ revenue share fell from 75% to 70%, and the PSP’s share fell from 20% to 11%, leaving it behind the iPhone OS. Apple’s overall share of U.S video game software revenue, which includes revenue from console software sales, increased from 1% in 2008 to 5% in 2009; Flurry speculates that the launch of the iPad could lead to more increases for the iPhone OS platform. “With the iPad featuring a larger screen and more processing power, games on the tablet take a step closer to PC and console gaming,” the report states. “Unless the other major video game platform providers (i.e., Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft) respond accordingly, Apple could continue to roll up video game market share.”
Apple has begun to offer iPhone 3GS units without a contract in its own retail stores, according to a new report. Citing an internal Apple document, Gizmodo reports that customers may purchase one iPhone per day without verifying that they have an AT&T account or providing a form of ID. According to the report, the phones remain carrier-locked to AT&T, and are priced from $499 for the 8GB iPhone 3G to $699 for the 32GB iPhone 3GS. Curiously, the move comes nearly one year to the day after Apple started similar contract-free sales of the iPhone 3G, suggesting that the company is preparing to move existing stock ahead of a new iPhone model this summer.
iWrap has introduced its new Full Body Wrap for iPad. The Full Body Wrap is a set of transparent protective film that covers both the front and rear of the iPad, allows for full access to all ports and controls, and includes an installation kit with application solution and a squeegee. iWrap’s Full Body Wrap for iPad is now available for pre-order and sells for $30.
Following its launch of the “Gift This App” feature on the App Store, Apple has updated its iTunes Store Terms & Conditions to add a section to the document covering gifts. Specifically, the new section explains “the conditions under which Apps can be gifted, including an explanation that Gifts may not be used for in-app purchases, in-app subscriptions, upgrades, or the iPod touch OS,” and “that some gifts require compatible hardware and parental control settings so they can be redeemed.” Notably, the Gift this App feature is also available on the Canadian App Store, despite the continuing restrictions on purchasing applications with gift cards, which leave users lacking personal credit cards, or family members willing to offer theirs, without any reasonable way of purchasing apps from the App Store.
Perseus Books Group, the largest distributor of independent publishers, has signed a deal with Apple to offer its books on Apple’s upcoming iBookstore. The New York Times reports that Perseus is a large independent publisher itself, but also distributes works from 330 smaller companies including Grove Atlantic, Harvard Business School Press, Zagat and City Lights Books. “We’re working with Apple to make books from The Perseus Books Group and the independent publishers we represent available on the iBookstore starting on April 3,” David Steinberger, CEO of Perseus, told the NYT. “As the leading provider of distribution services for independent publishers, including digital distribution through our Constellation digital service, Perseus is thrilled to be making our books available on the iPad.”
Update: Apple has also signed a deal with independent publisher Workman Publishing Company, responsible for the “What to Expect” series, novels like “Water for Elephants” and the Silver Palate cookbooks, to offer its books on the iBookstore.
Line 6 has introduced its new MIDI Mobilizer, a Dock-connecting accessory that allows users to connect MIDI devices to the iPhone and iPod touch. The small black accessory offers both MIDI in and MIDI out ports, letting users record MIDI data from nearly any compliant device, or playback and restore data from the iPhone or iPod touch to the MIDI device, by using the company’s free companion MIDI Memo Recorder application. In addition, it allows for the sharing of MIDI information by exporting a Standard MIDI File (SMF) that can be emailed to the user or a collaborator. Line 6’s MIDI Mobilizer for iPhone and iPod touch will include a pair of five-foot, five-pin Planet Waves MIDI cables, and will be available later this Spring; pricing has yet to be announced. [via Engadget]
Apple has launched a new App Store feature called “Gift This App.” Appearing in the “Buy App” drop-down menu on individual apps pages, the new service allows users to buy applications for download by friends or family. Once the feature is selected, a separate page appears letting the user choose between sending the gift via email or printing it themselves, along with boxes for entering the recipient’s name, email address, and a personal message. Users are also be able to gift an app to multiple recipients at once by adding multiple recipient email addresses. The page also instructs users to check the app’s requirements carefully, as “your recipient(s) may not be able to redeem or use your gift if their hardware or iPhone OS is incompatible.” [via TUAW]
Wrapsol has introduced its new line of Wrapsol ultra shock-protection film. Unlike ordinary film solutions, Wrapsol ultra features a shock absorption property that helps protect against both drop and scratch damage. The film also uses a new dry application process that removes the need for solution, is optically clear, and comes pre-cut to account for the device’s buttons, ports, and form factor. Wrapsol’s ultra film is expected to be available in the coming weeks for the iPhone, iPod, and other mobile devices; pricing has yet to be announced. In addition, Wrapsol is now taking orders for its traditional iPad film. The package includes film precision-cut to fit the iPad, a microfiber towelette, a mister of application solution, and a flexible application squeegee. It sells for $30.
XGear has provided iLounge with a pre-release look at its new Carbon Leather snap-on case for the Apple iPad. Sporting a design that covers the back of the iPad while snapping over the device’s four corners to provide a proper fit and added drop protection, the case also features a carbon fiber leather fabric exterior covering an ABS plastic shell, and open access to all ports and controls. XGear’s Carbon Leather snap-on case for iPad is expected to ship by April 3 and will sell for $50.