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G-Whizz provides easy access to Google services

iPhone Developer Ricky Bloomfield has released G-Whizz, a new universal application that provides users with a single, convenient point of access to Google’s mobile web applications. Essentially a multi-tabbed browser with each tab pre-defined for a different Google service, G-Whizz allows users to log in once to their Google Account and then easily switch between screens to access their favorite Google applications. The application also provides an unread count badge for Gmail, automatic detection of e-mail links and links to other Google services, and pop-up browser windows for opening external links. Google Apps accounts are also supported for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs while still using a normal Google Account for other services such as Google Reader. Eighteen different Google services are supported, including Gmail, Reader, Calendar, Search, Docs, Voice, Talk, Buzz, Picasa, News, YouTube and more and users can customize the button arrangement for their most commonly-used services. G-Whizz is available from the App Store for $3.

Survey shows strong demand for iPhone on Verizon

According to data from the latest ChangeWave wireless survey, there is strong demand for an iPhone running on Verizon Wireless’ network amongst current Verizon customers. Among Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, and T-Mobile customers, a total of 49% said they were either somewhat or very likely to buy an iPhone for themselves or someone they know if it became available on their current carrier. Of that 49%, 16% said they were “very likely” to purchase, while an additional 33% said they were “somewhat likely.” When broken down to only Verizon subscribers, the overall total of customers likely to buy an iPhone on the carrier rises to 53%, with 19% saying they would be “very likely” to buy a Verizon iPhone, joined by 34% that would be “somewhat likely” to make the purchase. By comparison, the total percentages were lower on Sprint/Nextel (44%) and T-Mobile (39%). The survey also looked at overall carrier satisfaction, with AT&T tied for the lowest percentage of respondents who said they were “very satisfied” with their service; AT&T customers also reported the largest percentage of dropped calls. ChangeWave’s survey was conducted in March among 4,040 consumers. [via MDN]

Visa working on wireless payment iPhone case

A prematurely posted press release from Visa and Device Fidelity has revealed that the two companies are working together to create a case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS that will allow for contactless payments. Near Field Communications World, which spotted the release on MarketWatch before it was pulled, reports that the case will sport a secure memory card that hosts Visa’s payWave contactless payment application, allowing users to “make payments by simply waving their iPhone in front of a contactless payment terminal.” According to the release, “[t]housands of merchants throughout the U.S.” have already upgraded their payment terminals to accept Visa mobile payments; the technology has been certified by Apple and is expected to begin market trials “this summer.” [via The Register]

New features found in iPhone OS 4 beta

A number of new features have been found in the latest beta version of iPhone OS 4 for the iPhone and iPod touch. Boy Genius Reports that the new features include the File Sharing functionality seen previously on the iPad, multitasking widgets for iPod playback, accessed by swiping to the left in the app switcher, a button for locking the screen orientation, also found in the app switcher, and the ability to close multiple applications at once from within the app switcher. In addition to these features, Mac Rumors reports that the current beta SDK contains a preset value for video capture that suggests a future iPhone or iPod touch model will be able to capture 720p high-definition video. It has been rumored that the next-generation iPhone will be called the “iPhone HD,” which would work well if the device boasts such a recording feature.

Mix: FTC on iAd, Hotel iPad, Adobe, GroovyStand

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in addition to looking at Apple over possible antitrust concerns regarding its decision to ban cross-platform applications from the App Store, may also be investigating the company’s iAd mobile advertising platform. The Wall Street Journal reports that the regulator has contacted both wireless advertising executives and developers to gauge whether the company’s ban on transmitting certain technical iPhone data to third parties will give it an unfair advantage in serving targeted advertising.

London hotel The Berkeley has announced that it is providing guests in select suites with a personal iPad to use for the length of their stay. According to the hotel, the iPads will be pre-load with a variety of hand-picked apps for use by the guests, including a range of games, videos, and comic books for children; rates for the selected suites begin a £1,300 per night, or roughly $1,670. [via TUAW]

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the ongoing talks between the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission over which body should handle the inquiry into possible antitrust issues regarding Apple were spurred by a complaint from Adobe. According to the report, Adobe claimed Apple was stifling competition by barring apps made using Flash from the App Store; neither the FTC nor the Justice Department has yet decided whether or not to open an investigation.

GroovyStand is offering a lineup of simple wooden stands for the iPad. Available in brown, natural, or black finishes, the stands are made from hard wood, finished with varnish, and can hold the iPad in either portrait or landscape orientation. GroovyStand’s wooden stands for the iPad sell for $8 in standard groove width or $10 for a wider groove width to accomodate encased iPads.

Noreve debuts Tradition leather case for iPad

Noreve has debuted its new Tradition leather case for the Apple iPad. Available in a wide range of leathers, the Tradition is a horizontally-opening folio-style case, featuring a built-in rail system to hold the iPad in place, the ability to serve as a stand, four business/credit card slots, two internal slip pockets, a magnetic closure, and open access to all ports and controls. Noreve’s Tradition leather case for the iPad is available now and sells for $81.

DDH Software releases HanDBase for iPad

DDH Software has released a native iPad version of its popular HanDBase database application. Specifically redesigned to take advantage of native iPad features, HanDBase for iPad provides split screen views, popovers and enhanced editing capabilities. Users of the iPad version can also open and sync database files from other applications such as the iPad Mail app and backup and install databases via iTunes File Sharing. The iPad version also provides a “Desktop Connect” feature that allows users to access their databases on the iPad through any browser via Wi-Fi in order to load or save database files and import and export CSV files. As with other versions of HanDBase, iPad users can also create and edit fully relational databaes, browse the HanDBase Gallery of database designs, email records and databases to other users and take advantage of advanced features such as custom views, filters, sorting, reports with graphs and charting and advanced searches. HanDBase for iPad is available from the App Store for $10.

AT&T error leaving iPad 3G owners with no data

A number of iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G owners are reporting an AT&T error that leaves their devices without access to cellular data. According to an Apple Support discussion thread, affected users are seeing a message that states, “AT&T is unable to process your request. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please try again later (Q5033)” during the cellular data account signup process. The issue appears to involve the data/billing information not being received by AT&T, and therefore not being attached to the account. Based on user responses from the thread, those users dealing with the issue need to contact AT&T and have their ICCID number tied to the phone number assigned to their data account in order to get service; others have had success with replacing the iPad’s Micro-SIM card entirely. Even after successful activation, a number of users report receiving the same error when attempting to view their account information on the device, but in those cases, the data connectivity is working.

Photo of the Week: iPhone in Iceland

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone in front of an active volcano in Iceland. 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 featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!

Apple awarded patent for iPhone 3G, 3GS design

Apple has been awarded a U.S. patent for the ornamental design of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Filed on June 5, 2008, patent number D615,083 lists both Apple CEO Steve Jobs and senior vice president of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive as inventors. Possible examples for the “electronic device” are listed as a “computer, a portable or hand-held electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), and/or the like.” [via GoRumors]

NPD: iPhone, iPod touch users lead in content downloading

According to an update of The NPD Group’s “Entertainment Trends in America” consumer surveys, three quarters of iPhone and iPod touch users are connecting to the web to download entertainment content and apps, leading all other entertainment device categories. 19 percent of game console users and 17 percent of Blu-ray set-top product users reported downloading content and or apps; overall, 16 percent of Americans age 13 or older are using devices other than their home computers to download apps, music, video, and other content. Among iPhone and iPod touch users, free apps were the most popular download category, followed by games and music downloads.

“It’s not surprising that Apple users are ahead of others when it comes to downloading Web-based content, given the breadth of the company’s app catalog and the head start iTunes had selling music for the iPod,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “Like other groups of early adopters, consumers downloading entertainment content are mostly younger and male; however, as app stores expand beyond Apple, as connected devices become more commonplace, and as connectivity is simplified we expect to see more activity on other devices and platforms.”

Apple releases iPhone OS SDK 4 beta 3

Apple has released the third version of iPhone OS 4 and its accompanying Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod touch. As with prior beta releases, a main Xcode and SDK beta is available for download, as are pre-release builds of the iPhone OS 4 software for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and the second- and third-generation iPod touch. Changes made in the latest beta have yet to be revealed. Both the new SDK and pre-release builds are available now for download by registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Scosche ships new line of IDR earphones

Scosche has announced that its new IDR655m, IDR355m, IDR355md, and IDR305m earphones featuring the company’s tapLINE II Remote and Mic are now available. The tapLINE II is an in-line remote and microphone system that places the controls at the fork in the wires for more convenient access, and the integrated mic farther up on the right channel wire for improved voice clarity. Recipient of an iLounge Best of Show Finalist award at the 2010 CES, the IDR655m earphone features 11mm drivers, cabling wrapped in a nylon-braided jacket, small, medium, and large single and dual flanged silicone eartips, and an included sheepskin leather carrying pouch. It sells for $100.

Scosche’s IDR355m and IDR355md both feature 10.7mm drivers, the same small, medium, and large single and dual flanged silicone eartips as the IDR655m, and six interchangeable color caps for user customization; the 355m features a predominantly white body, while the 355md features a black housing. Both models sell for $55. Finally, the IDR305m features a 10.7mm driver, a black housing with dark chrome accents, and included small, medium, and large single flanged silicone eartips; it is available exclusively at Apple Stores and sells for $40. All of Scosche’s new IDR earphones are available now.

Apple facing yet another patent lawsuit over iPhone

Apple has become the target of yet another patent infringement lawsuit over the iPhone. The Loop reports that California-based NetAirus Technologies has filed a patent infringement suit against the iPhone-maker, claiming that the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS infringe on NetAirus’ patent for a “Wireless Handset Communication System.” The suit claims that the entire concept behind the iPhone is infringing, instead of focusing on one or more of the device’s attributes. The patent in question describes a “small light weight modular microcomputer based computer and communications systems, designed for both portability and desktop uses,” featuring several functions similar to the iPhone’s, including “bi-directional realtime communications of voice, audio, text, graphics and video data,” a “telephone-like handset,” and a “relative large flat panel display device assembly.” NetAirus is seeking a ruling that forces Apple to halt production of the iPhone, as well as cash damages.

Hard Candy outs Kickstand case for iPad

Hard Candy has introduced its new Kickstand case for the Apple iPad. This form-fitting case is made from hard polycarbonate, and features integrated kickstand feet, full compatibility with Apple’s official iPad Docks, open access to all ports and controls, and a snap-on lid for full coverage when the device is not in use. Hard Candy’s Kickstand case for the iPad is available for pre-order in seven colors and is expected to ship on May 20 for $60.

SwitchEasy rolls out Nude case for iPad

SwitchEasy has rolled out its Nude case for the Apple iPad. Like the company’s prior Nude cases for the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPod touch, Nude for the iPad is a slim, 1mm thick GE Lexan polycarbonate case covering the rear and sides of the device, with openings for access to all ports and controls. The case also includes two removable protectors for both the headphone port and Dock Connector port, two fold-out stands—one white, one black—an anti-static screen protector with squeegee applicator, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Available now in six different colors, including a clear version, SwitchEasy’s Nude case for the iPad sells for $30; for more information, see our First Look article.

WAPI-compatible iPhone gets Chinese regulatory approval

Apple has received regulatory approval for a WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) compatible version of the iPhone. Engadget reports that the approved phone’s model number, A1303, suggests this is a WAPI version of the iPhone 3GS, instead of being a next-generation device. Currently, iPhones sold in China lack Wi-Fi capabilities, as Apple did not have a version with WAPI — China’s homegrown wireless networking technology — ready. It is unclear when the new handset will launch, or what, if any, pricing difference there may be between it and the version of the iPhone currently available from China Unicom.

ABC Player update now live with 3G streaming, landscape support

ABC’s announced update to its ABC Player app for the iPad is now available. In addition to allowing video content to be streamed over a 3G data connection, the update also supports landscape orientation in all views and proper handling of the iPad’s orientation lock. Other improvements include more responsive player controls, better display of parental ratings and other bug fixes and stability enhancements. iLounge editors who have tested the update report impressive video quality over the 3G network with smooth playback and almost no pre-buffering time. The ABC Player service remains available to U.S. users only and is a free download from the U.S. App Store.

Pandora Radio iPad update released

Pandora Media has released an update to its popular Pandora Radio streaming music application, adding native iPad support, album artwork and performance improvements. Now a Universal application, Pandora Radio 3.0.2 introduces an enhanced user interface for the iPad, displaying higher resolution album artwork and providing detailed background information on artists. The update also provides album artwork for iPhone and iPod touch users and improves audio streaming performance and support for older iPhone OS versions. Pandora Radio is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Krypton intros Flex Case, Screen Armor for iPhone 3G, 3GS

Krypton has introduced its new Flex Case and Screen Armor accessories for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Flex Case is a form-fitting silicone case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS offering push-through protection for the power and volume buttons, open access to all other ports and controls, and one of four graphic designs on the rear. It sells for $30. Krypton’s Screen Armor is a series of film screen protectors offering non-sticky application, an included microfiber cleaning cloth, and either a clear, anti-glare, mirror, or 360-degree privacy finish. It is available now and sells for $13-$25 depending on the finish.

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