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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

App Store update: 5 billion downloads, 225,000 apps available

During his keynote address today at the company’s WWDC event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave several updates regarding the App Store. As of today, there are 225,00 apps available in the store, with 8,500 available for iPad users. iPad users have downloaded over 35 million apps thus far, for an average of 17 apps per iPad, while the App Store overall has seen over 5 billion downloads, with more than $1 billion in revenue paid out to developers. Jobs said that Apple is seeing over 15,000 new app submissions each week, with apps coming in up to 30 different languages, and despite the constant influx, 95% of all submissions are approved within seven days.

iBooks enhancements: notes, PDF support coming soon

During today’s WWDC keynote address, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed several enhancements to the iBooks app for the iPad. The new version will offer highlighting and note taking, with an option to bookmark a page and have the bookmark appear in the table of contents. In addition, the new version of iBooks will offer support for reading PDF files. Jobs noted that the iBookstore has seen five million downloads in the first 65 days, for an average of 2.5 books per iPad, and offers books from five out of the six largest publishers in the U.S., taking a 22% share of eBook sales in just eight weeks. The updated version of iBooks will be released later this month.

Mix: PadSync, 8-track nano, PhotoFast, SquareTrade

  • June 7, 2010

Ecamm Network has introduced PadSync, its new iPad file management tool for Mac. PadSync offers a standalone application for managing iPad files on an app-by-app basis, automatically mirroring the files on the iPad, allowing users to edit and save documents for later synchronization to the iPad, add files to be synced to the iPad, automatic change detection to keep documents up to date, and a simple drag-and-drop interface. Ecamm’s PadSync requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and the latest version of iTunes, and sells for $10; a free seven-day trial is also available.

YouTube user themadhacker2 has uploaded a video demonstrating an iPod nano that has been modified to interface with any 8-track player. Hardwired into an old 8-track cartridge, the nano offers full access to its library, and the user has also added a headphone jack and USB port to the end of the cartridge to allow for “on-the-go” listening and charging of the device, respectively. [via Engadget]

PhotoFast, a company known for its flash memory-related goods, has demonstrated a new iPad-compatible webcam solution. Pocket-link reports that the demonstration unit is actually a Microsoft webcam that has been modified to connect to the iPad’s 30-pin port, and works with instant messaging services for 640 x 480 video conferencing. PhotoFast hopes to have its final product out later this year; the company is also working on a memory card reader/dock that will allow access to the connected memory card via an app, but no pricing or release date was mentioned.

SquareTrade has launched an updated two-year iPhone protection plan offering same-day turn around on most repairs for $124. According to the company, the plan covers against drops, spills, and normal usage failures for two years, with a $50 deductible applied to some claims. If the company can’t fix the iPhone, it will pay a cash claim, up to $599 depending on the model. Curiously, both 32GB and 64GB “iPhone 4G” models are listed in the iPhone model drop down menu, allowing users to purchase insurance on their fourth-generation model before it’s even been announced. For a limited time, SquareTrade’s iPhone protection plan is available for $99; for more information, visit the company’s website. [via Mac Rumors]

iLounge on site at WWDC, live coverage starting at 10 am PT

iLounge’s editors are on site at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco and will be offering live coverage of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Jobs is expected to unveil the fourth-generation iPhone during the event, and will likely discuss further details of iPhone OS 4, as well as other topics. As we have done in the past, iLounge.com will take you to our streamlined special event page half an hour or so before the event; you can set your bookmarks ahead of time to live.ilounge.com, and we also hope to update our Flickr account with new photos.

Nike and Polar intro Nike+ heart rate monitor

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Nike and Polar have teamed up to introduce the new Polar WearLink wireless heart rate monitor. Made to work with the Nike+iPod system, the WearLink is worn around the user’s chest and wirelessly transmits heart rate data to the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, or to the Nike+ Sportband. Users can then hear spoken feedback of their beats per minute (BPM) during a Nike+iPod workout; this data can also be transferred to the nikeplus.com website. In addition, the WearLink uses 5kHz transmission technology for use with select Polar training computers. The first evidence of a Nike+ compatible heart rate monitor was found within a new Nike + iPod User Guide that was posted to Apple’s site in September 2009. The Polar WearLink will be available this month in the U.S. for $70, with Canadian and European launches to follow in July.

Editor’s Note: Comments to this article have been closed based on astroturfing by the scumbags at iTMP/Digifit, who attempted to use this story to promote competing products to Polar’s. We strongly advise readers never to do business with companies that engage in deceptive marketing practices such as astroturfing, which attempt to create the false impression of grass roots interest in products using comments submitted to web sites.

AT&T bumps up iPhone upgrade dates further

AT&T has moved up the iPhone upgrade eligibility dates for a number of iPhone 3GS users, signaling the imminent arrival of the fourth-generation model. Several readers, along with at least two iLounge editors, report having their AT&T upgrade eligibility status updated over the weekend, changing their dates for eligibility from later in the year to immediate eligibility. This is the second time AT&T has changed some users’ eligibility dates prior to the fourth-generation model’s introduction. The company moved some eligibility dates from November 21 to June 21 last month; it’s unclear whether these same users are now available for immediate upgrades. AT&T customers can instantly check their upgrade eligibility dates by calling *639# from their iPhones. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to officially unveil the fourth-generation iPhone during his WWDC keynote address, which begins at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today.

MobileMe changes point to tiered membership

New changes to Apple’s MobileMe account type labels suggest the service may be moving to a tiered membership scheme. Ars Technica reports that several MobileMe subscribers have reported seeing their accounts, which were previously listed as either “Individual” or “Family Pack,” now listed as “Full Member.” Previously, only “Trial,” “Individual,” and “Family Pack” were possible account types. The report notes that recent rumors have suggested Apple will move the service to a tiered pricing scheme, possibly offering some services for free to better compete with Google.

iLounge Weekly coming soon, sign up now

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The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, is coming later today. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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AT&T out of 8GB iPhone 3G units

AT&T has officially stopped selling the 8GB iPhone 3G, labeling the device “out of stock.” Boy Genius Report claims the device is at the end of its run, posting what is apparently an internal AT&T memo stating that “[e]ffective immediately, iPhone 3G 8GB is Out of Stock.  Please refer all customers to iPhone 3GS 16 GB and 32 GB models.” The memo also states that the company doesn’t know when more stock will arrive. Walmart recently lowered its price on the 16GB iPhone 3GS to $97, signaling that the iPhone 3G would likely be discontinued and replaced at the ~$100 price point by the low-end iPhone 3GS. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the next-generation iPhone on Monday, June 7, during his WWDC keynote address.

Boxcar updated for iPad, services now free

Appremix has released an update to its Boxcar Push Notification application for the iPhone platform. Boxcar 3.0 is now a universal app, adding iPad support and a revamped inbox with a pull-down-to-refresh feature, the ability to delete individual notifications and five new notification sounds. Notably, all push notification services offered by Boxcar are now free—previous versions provided one service at no charge and required users to purchase additional notification services via in-app purchase for $1-$2 each. Instead, the new version appears to be ad-supported, with a $5 in-app purchase option for users who would like to upgrade to the ad-free version. Ads are not yet appearing in the application and it is unclear whether or not existing users who have previously purchased additional services will be required to purchase the ad-free upgrade separately. Boxcar 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; existing users should receive the new version automatically.

Lexcycle updates Stanza, adds iPad support

Lexcycle has released a Universal update to Stanza, its acclaimed e-book reader application. Stanza 3.0 adds native iPad support as well as support for PDF, DjVu and Comic Book Archive formats. iPad users can now transfer e-books directly onto their device using the iTunes File Sharing section as well as opening support book formats directly from web pages and e-mail attachments. Additional language support for Turkish and Bulgarian users has also been added. Stanza continues to provide support for a wide variety of e-book formats, including ePub, eReader and Mobipocket as well as direct integration with a number of e-book services from directly within the application. Stanza 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; existing users should receive the universal update automatically.

AT&T to let pre-order iPad 3G customers sign up for unlimited data? (Updated)

AT&T is considering letting customers who have pre-ordered an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G sign up for an unlimited data plan. The New York Times reports that AT&T is contemplating the move in the face of widespread iPad shortages that may leave some customers interested in the unlimited data plan unable to sign up prior to the data plan switch over on Monday. “We are looking into this situation and how we can accommodate these customers,” an AT&T spokesperson told the NYT. According to the report, AT&T would allow customers who have paid for, but not yet received, an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G to sign up for unlimited data ahead of when the device actually arrives; until such a solution is announced, iPad users have until 11:59 on June 6 to sign up for unlimited data, which will then need to be automatically renewed each month in order to not fall back on the company’s new data plans, which max out at 2GB for $25 a month.

Update: AT&T has confirmed that customers who pre-order the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G by June 7 will be eligible for the $30 unlimited plan. “[N]o need to worry,” a company spokesperson wrote on AT&T’s Facebook Wall, “we will honor the $29.99 unlimited data pricing for customers who order iPad by June 7.”

Gumdrop Cases launches with iPhone 4G offerings

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Gumdrop Cases has launched its first Apple accessories, including two cases for the unannounced fourth-generation iPhone. The Gumdrop Skin and Moto Skin are form-fitting cases for the fourth-generation iPhone, offering open access to ports and controls and textured surfaces. Both come in a variety of colors and sell for $30. The AirShell is a snap-on polycarbonate hard shell case offering open access to all ports, controls, and the camera, and either a pearl finish—on the Palmtree Island models—or a soft touch, textured finish on the Skater Nation models; it sells for $35. Also available from Gumdrop are the form-fitting Moto Skin TPU case and folio-style Surf Convertible case for the Apple iPad, both of which sell for $40. All of Gumdrop Cases’ new accessories for iPhone and iPad are available now.

Apple posts iPhone, iPad compatible HTML 5 showcase

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Apple has posted a new webpage dedicated to highlighting examples of HTML 5 in use on the web, its latest move in the ongoing spat with Adobe over Flash technology. “Every new Apple mobile device and every new Mac — along with the latest version of Apple’s Safari web browser — supports web standards including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript,” Apple points out at the top of the page. “Standards aren’t add-ons to the web. They are the web. And you can start using them today.” The showcase offers HTML-driven examples of usage cases in which Flash is commonly employed, including video and audio playback, custom typography, transitions, VR, 360º spinning objects, and image galleries. Included at the bottom of the page are links to the Safari Dev Center, where web developers can learn more about the technologies driving the demos, as well as Apple’s iPad ready website page and CEO Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Flash” open letter.

Google adds iPhone app results to mobile search

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Google has announced that it has added iPhone and Android app results to its mobile search service. On the Google Mobile Blog, they use a search for “bank of america app” as an example, with a direct App Store link to the app appearing above the traditional search results. In addition to the link, the app result also includes the price, rating, publishers, and icon. According to the blog post, the app results will appear when the search “pertains to a mobile application and relevant, well-rated apps are found.” Google’s mobile app search results are available today in the U.S., with “other countries and devices planned for the future.”

$3K in prizes offered to Share the iPad Guide

To celebrate the release of The iPad Buyers’ Guide + Free iPod/iPhone Book 5, iLounge is offering our readers a chance to win some great prizes for sharing the Book with friends, family, and social network followers. To enter, simply retweet this message—complete with bit.ly link—to your followers. 50 retweeters will be selected at random to win CandyShell cases from Speck, while four additional readers will be selected based on the positive influence of their tweets to receive either one of three second-place prizes—iHome iA5 App-Enhanced Alarm Clocks—or the grand prize, an iHome iP1 Studio Series Speaker System. Our Share the iPad Guide Contest begins now and ends on June 15, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time; more information, including official rules, are available on the contest page. Thanks, and good luck!

iFrogz delivers slew of cases for iPad

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iFrogz has announced its new lineup of cases for the Apple iPad. The Silicone Wrapz case is made from 100% silicone and features an anti-dust treatment, impact protection, and access to all ports and controls. It comes in a variety of colors and sells for $30, as does the SoftGloss case. Made from TPU, this semi-opaque case features a radial etched pattern on the rear that highlights the Apple logo, open access to all ports and controls, and the ability to more easily slip in and out of bags. The Luxe Original case is made from polycarbonate and features a hard-shell, two-piece design, a metallic, soft touch finish, and access to all ports and controls. It comes in a variety of color combinations and sells for $40.

Similar to the Luxe Original, the Luxe Lean case is also made from polycarbonate and features a hard-shell, snap-on design, a metallic, soft touch finish, and access to all ports and controls; it comes in a host of colors and sells for $30. The Envoy case is a textured, faux leather sleeve-style case offering a pull tab to help remove the iPad that doubles as a Velcro closure, reinforced seams, and padding for impact protection. It is available in several colors and sells for $30. Finally, the NeoFirm Burst is also a sleeve-style case, featuring a radial print design, a semi-rigid foam back, a neoprene exterior, and a fold-over front pocket. It comes in five colors and sells for $25; all of iFrogz’ new cases for the iPad are available now.

iPhone OS upgrade poll ends, AT&T poll begins

With over 3,600 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Will you upgrade your current iPhone OS device to OS 4 if there’s a charge?”—has ended. Users of second- and third-generation iPod touches, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS units, and iPads were given options to say they will or won’t upgrade, with a separate option for those who either don’t own an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, or whose device isn’t compatible with OS 4.

While a majority of users in each device category said they would upgrade, the numbers varied by device, perhaps due to the limited number of new features available to iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch users, as well as the age of the devices. Among second-generation iPod touch users, 71% said they would upgrade if there’s a charge, while 29% said they would not. iPhone 3G users were similarly split, with 68% who said they would upgrade and 32% who said they would not. Third-generation iPod touch users were slightly more likely to upgrade if there’s a charge; 73% said they would upgrade and 27% said they would not. 77% of iPhone 3GS users—the largest user base in the survey—said they would upgrade, while 23% said they would decline. Finally, 87% of iPad users said they would upgrade if there were a charge to do so—something Apple has specifically indicated won’t be the case—while only 13% said they would not. Overall, 7% of readers said either their device wasn’t OS 4 compatible or they didn’t own an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on AT&T’s new data plans and rates for the iPhone and iPad. We’d like to know how and whether the plans will affect you. Whether you own an iPhone, iPad, or are simply considering a purchase of one of Apple’s AT&T-tied devices, we want to hear your opinion. Our new poll, “How will AT&T’s new iPhone + iPad data plans affect you?” lets you voice that opinion. As always, you can find the iLounge poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!

iSkin intros Enigma case for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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iSkin has introduced its new Enigma premium case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Enigma is based around a lightweight polycarbonate case, which is wrapped in genuine Napa leather that’s been treated for added durability. Other features include microfiber inner lining, a non-scratch metallic front face, a push-through Home button cover, metallic accents, open access to all other ports, controls, and the camera, and a slip-in design. Available in black or white, iSkin’s Enigma case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS will begin shipping on June 8 for $100.

AT&T deluged with negative comments following iPhone plan changes

Following AT&T’s decision to introduce new “smartphone” plans that will impact iPhone and iPad 3G users, the company has been flooded with negative sentiments from angry customers. The company’s Facebook Wall is filled with comments ranging from well-mannered and sensible sentiments—“Just imagine the good PR you guys will get if you offer the tethering for free with the [DataPro] plan, it won’t change anything in your service since everybody will use the same data that [they are] already paying [for]”—to bolder and frequently brutal ones, such as “AT&T is showing their true colors… They really truly suck.” Many users, including iLounge readers, have focused about the abrupt change in iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G service terms after only a month on store shelves. “Bait and Switch,” says iLounge reader Liz. “They pumped the iPad 3G for months on the unlimited data plan with no contract and now they’re taking it away only what 2 months or less since the 3G launched? Screw AT&T I’d rather pay the big cash to another carrier and use MiFi instead.”

A quick search of Twitter for the hashtag “#attsucks” turns up numerous recent tweets, for obvious reasons all negative. “I’m sure of two things: as of 6/7 I’m giving $15 less to AT&T each month,” writes user davehiggins1. “As of 11/20 I’m giving $0 to AT&T each month.” Twitter user HelloTasmin writes, “Does it actually make it better that I pay slightly less for a service that becomes sh!*!ier every day?” It remains to be seen whether the backlash will force AT&T’s hand to remedy some of the newly-created issues; however, as iLounge reader Devo points out in a comment on our editorial on the matter, there is some precedent for iPhone-related customer outcry leading a carrier to change its policies.

“When Apple finally announced that Canadians [were] going to get their chance to get their hands on a (legitimate) iPhone, Rogers communications (our AT&T equivalent provider north of the border) announced some pretty lousy data plans,” Devo writes. “In fact, some of them had (have) ridiculously low caps. I think they started [at] 100MB! Canadian customers were so [put] off that Americans were being offered unlimited data that a petition was started to try and force Rogers to offer the same, an unlimited plan at a fair ($30) price. What we got was a limited time offer of 6GB for that $30, and yes I signed up for that. Then last summer, Rogers got wise and when Apple offered tethering on the iPhone, customers could use that service, free of any additional charge, and any data usage incurred would count towards that month’s allowed data. Now AT&T wants to make the same mistakes as Rogers, and hopes to get away with it? What are they thinking? Who in the world thinks it’s a good idea to offer worse service at a higher price, than was available to consumers in the past. They must think you’re all idiots.”

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