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Survey: Planned iPhone purchases up significantly

According to data from the latest ChangeWave smartphone survey, more than half of all respondents planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days are planning to purchase an iPhone. 52% of respondents said they planned to purchase an iPhone, a dramatic 21% increase from the March survey. Following Apple was HTC, with 19% of respondents planning to purchase one of its phones, Motorola, with 9%, and RIM with 6%. Notably, both Motorola and RIM saw significant decreases from March, with Motorola down 7% and RIM falling 8%. In addition, Apple continued to lead in cell phone customer satisfaction, with 73% of iPhone customers saying that they are “very satisfied” with their device. ChangeWave’s numbers are based on a survey of 4,028 consumers, completed June 24.

Apple acquires online mapping firm Poly9

Apple has acquired Québec-based online mapping firm Poly9, according to a new report. French-language le Soliel reports (Translated Link) that the transaction, specifics of which are not known, occurred recently, and that the vast majority of Poly9’s staff have been relocated to Apple’s Cupertino offices. While the company’s website has been pulled down, an older version cached by archive.org shows that Poly9 specializes in developing and designing online mapping applications, online and offline 3D mapping applications, and mapping APIs. The purchase marks Apple’s second mapping-related acquisition in as many years, as it purchased mapping service Placebase and its accompanying Pushpin API in July 2009. [via MDN]

WaterField Designs outs new iPhone 4 cases

WaterField Designs has announced two new “Bumper-Fit”-sized cases for the iPhone 4. Company owner Gary Waterfield explains that due to the iPhone 4’s ongoing reception issues, the company wanted to create versions of its sleeve-like cases that could accomodate an iPhone 4 inside an Apple Bumper or any other similarly thin case. The Bumper Fit Smart Case is similar to the company’s prior iPhone 4 Smart Case, featuring a rigid insert for screen protection, water-resistant nylon on the outside, Ultrasuede inner lining, and brown leather on the sides. It comes in Slip, Flap, or Clip styles and sells for $39-$45. The company is also offering a Bumper Fit Suede Jacket, an Ultrasuede sleeve featuring a bottom loop to help remove the iPhone from the case, the ability to double as a screen cleaner, and an optional mesh rear pocket. It is available now, in both regular and Bumper Fit form, and sells for $10-$16 depending on options and fabric styles.

Apple exec Scott Forstall joins Twitter

Scott Forstall, Apple’s Senior Vice President of iOS Software, has joined Twitter. While Forstall has yet to post a single tweet, he already has 16,987 followers, but is following only one person himself: Conan O’Brien. Coincidentally, O’Brien’s latest tweet as of this writing involves the iPhone 4. It says, “I found a huge design flaw in my new iPhone. People get angry when I talk on it during a funeral.” It’s unclear whether Forstall’s account was created solely for his personal use, or if it represents the beginning of a larger push by Apple into social media, perhaps in an effort to battle negative press regarding the iPhone 4’s reception issues.

AdMob: Apple not yet enforcing ad restrictions

Speaking at the MobileBeat 2010 conference, AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui has revealed that Apple has yet to enforce its new ad restrictions that would effectively ban the Google-owned mobile advertising service from the iOS platform. “They haven’t been enforcing (the new regulations) yet. We’re very appreciative of that,” said Hamoui, according to a Cnet report. He went on to explain that were the restrictions enforced, “it would mean we could not run ads on the iPhone at all,” adding that without the analytical data, AdMob couldn’t even track who had clicked on their customer’s ads, making it virtually impossible to sell any ads at all. In addition, Hamoui had praise for Apple’s new iAds, saying, “the really rich pretty ads they’re doing are making advertisers and agencies think about what mobile means. Anybody getting advertisers interested in mobile is a good thing. It’s not at all a zero-sum game.”

Audible releases native iOS app

Audible has released a native iOS application for downloading and listening to audiobooks from Audible.com on an iPhone or iPod touch. The Audible application allows users to browse through and download audiobooks from their Audible.com library over a Wi-Fi connection and listen to any downloaded titles directly from within the app. Users can begin listening to an audiobook while it is downloading and iOS 4 multitasking support allows users of multitasking-capable devices to continue downloading and listening to an audiobook even while the Audible app is not actively running. The application also supports chapter navigation, bookmarking and a sleep timer and provides Facebook and Twitter integration and access to the Audible Newsfeed. The Audible app maintains its own library on the device rather than integrating with the built-in iPod app—Audible titles still need to be synced separately via iTunes in order to appear in the normal iPod Audiobooks section. The app also does not provide direct purchasing capabilites although users can visit Audible.com using the Safari browser to purchase titles and add them to their library, at which point they can be downloaded by the Audible app. Only Audible.com accounts are supported at this time, with Audible.co.uk, Audible.de and Audible.fr said to be coming soon. Audible is available from the App Store as a free download; an Audible.com account is required and users can sign up for a new account directly from the app.

ProClip rolls out holders for iPhone 4

ProClip has rolled out its new line of holders for the iPhone 4. The lineup includes both padded and adjustable models of its tilt-swivel holder, tilt-swivel holder with pass-though 30-pin connector, tilt-swivel charging holder with cigarette lighter adapter, and tilt-swivel charging holder with straight power cord for fixed installations. Notably, the padded models are designed to hold bare iPhone 4 units, while the adjustable models can accept iPhone 4 units covered in a variety of different silicone-type cases, though not Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumper case. Also, all the holders require a custom vehicle mount which is not included in the price. ProClip’s new line of holders is available for pre-order now with shipping expected to begin on July 16; pricing ranges from $35 to $80.

Apple removing iPhone 4 discussions mentioning Consumer Reports

Apple has been removing any threads on its support forums mentioning Consumer Reports’ post from yesterday, claiming that it couldn’t recommend the iPhone 4 due to reception concerns. TUAW reports that Apple has removed at least six such discussions, one of which is still available in cached form from Bing. As the report notes, this is hardly the first time Apple has been caught removing unfavorable threads from its support forums, but it does reflect poorly on the company as it attempts to deal with the iPhone 4 antenna debacle.

Nimbuzz adds iOS 4 background VoIP support

Nimbuzz has released an update to its instant messaging and voice-over-IP application adding support for background Internet calling on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. With Nimbuzz 2.0.1 users of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and third-generation iPod touch can now receive and answer VoIP calls even when the Nimbuzz app is not actively running in the foreground. Users can also continue to carry on a conversation via Nimbuzz while accessing other apps on their iPhone or iPod touch or access other Nimbuzz features such as IM chat while within the app. Nimbuzz also works seamlessly with background audio applications such as the built-in iPod app, Spotify or Pandroa, automatically muting playback on an incoming call. In addition to its own VoIP network, Nimbuzz also supports Skype and SIP-based VoIP providers. Nimbuzz 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download, however VoIP calls may incur additional charges depending on the network being used.

Mark/Space updates The Missing Sync for iOS 4

Mark/Space has updated its advanced iPhone sync utility to support iOS 4 and iTunes 9.2. The Missing Sync provides iPhone users with the ability to sync additional information between their device and their computer beyond that supported by iTunes. With The Missing Sync, users can backup and archive SMS messages, visual voicemail messages, voice memos and call history and organize, view and access them via a set of included desktop applications. The Missing Sync also provides synchronization support for Mark/Space’s Fliq productivity apps, allowing users to sync notes, tasks and documents with their iPhone over a Wi-Fi connection. The Mac version also includes a tool for creating and editing ringtones from any non-protected track in a user’s iTunes library. The Missing Sync is available for Windows and Mac OS X from the developer’s web site for $40.

PicPosterous adds background uploading

Posterous has released an update to its utility for posting photos and videos to Posterous.com adding background uploading on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and updated graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. PicPosterous allows Posterous users to upload photos and videos to Posterous from the camera or the device’s saved photos library, either creating new albums on Posterous or adding photos to previous albums. Users can also delete photos from albums, geo tag photos and videos during upload, and manage and create multiple sites and albums. Uploaded videos are converted and stored by Posterous in both Flash and QuickTime-compatible formats allowing them to be viewed in a most desktop and mobile browsers. PicPosterous also supports HD-quality videos when recorded from within the app itself; videos selected from the device’s photo library remain limited to VGA quality. New users can create a Posterous album simply by submitting pictures with no account required, or optionally register on Posterous.com to manage multiple sites, create private albums and automatically post updates to other services such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. PicPosterous is available from the App Store as a free download.

Temple Bags unveils cases for the iPad

Temple Bags has unveiled its new line of cases for the Apple iPad. The line includes a sleeve-style case, a folio case, a vertical case with exterior and internal pockets, and a horizontal case with three exterior pockets—the latter two of which can double as stands. Each case is available in black, brown leather, and “re-purposed” styles; prices range from $79 to $265, and new orders ship in 2-4 weeks.

Incase previews cases for iPhone 4

Incase has posted a preview of its upcoming cases for the iPhone 4. Retooled versions of its Slider Case, Snap Case, and Protective Cover with a topographic design on the rear of the case are all expected by month’s end. Although the company declines to name for certain what cases in what colors it will be offering, the preview shots show pastel colors for the Snap Case, a single pastel blue mixed in with white, black, and gray for the Slider Case, and darker red, blue, purple, and black for the Protective Cover. In addition, the company states that additional styles, including its Perforated Snap Case, will be available soon after the Slider Case, Snap Case, and Protective Cover; pricing and exact release dates were not announced.

Case-Mate debuts Venture case/stand for iPad

Case-Mate has debuted its new Venture case and stand for the Apple iPad. Made from a black polyurethane material with green piping, the Venture features a side-opening design, access to all ports and controls, and a folding front cover with snap closure that doubles as an adjustable-angle stand. Case-Mate’s Venture hybrid case/stand for the Apple iPad is available now and sells for $90.

iPad poses threat to e-readers, portable gaming devices

The Apple iPad poses a threat to both the e-Reader and portable gaming device markets, amongst others, according to a new study. Citing Resolve Market Research’s new iPad study, Mashable reports that when asked what products they would not buy after owning an iPad, 49% of users said an E-Reader, followed by 38% who said a portable gaming console. This was notably higher than the percentage of iPad users who said they wouldn’t purchase a netbook or laptop (32%) or an MP3 player (29%). Somewhat surprisingly, 37% of respondents who either owned or planned to buy an iPad said the device would be their first Apple product, a percentage eclipsed only by those who had owned an iPod (49%), and ahead of those who had owned an iPhone (24%) or MacBook (16%). Finally, while “early adopter” iPad owners tended to be in the 22-45 age group, the next group of adopters and those interested in buying the device were generally older than 45 years of age.

Heckler Design intros AtRest stand for iPad

Heckler Design has introduced its new @Rest stand for the iPad. Made from precisely-cut, heavy steel, the @Rest features a powdercoat finish, milled polypropylene resting pegs that adjust to hold both encased and bare iPads, two resting sides for holding the iPad at either 30 or 60 degrees in both horizontal or vertical orientation, and cord pass-through holes for convenient charging. Available now in a variety of colors, Heckler Design’s @Rest stand for iPad sells for $59.

Consumer Reports ‘can’t recommend’ iPhone 4 over signal issues

After stating in an earlier post that there was “no reason, at least yet, to forgo buying an iPhone 4 over its reception concerns,” Consumer Reports has published a new blog post claiming that it “can’t recommend” the iPhone 4 due to its ongoing cellular reception issues. During testing of three separate iPhone 4 units within the publication’s radio frequency isolation chamber, Consumer Reports was able to replicate the “left hand” issue in which the device experiences significant signal degradation when skin touches the black band on the lower left hand side of the handset. The signal issue is cited as the sole reason the iPhone 4 was not considered a “recommended” model in new smartphone ratings released by the publication today, despite the fact that it “sports the sharpest display and best video camera we’ve seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and such new features as a front-facing camera for video chats and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller.”

iPhone lawsuit goes class action nationwide

A long-standing lawsuit against Apple and AT&T over the two companies’ iPhone exclusivity agreement has been granted expanded class action status. According to the court document posted online by Wired, the suit now covers “[a]ll persons who purchased or acquired an iPhone in the United States and entered into a two-year agreement with Defendant AT&T Mobility, LLC for iPhone voice and data service any time from June 29, 2007, to the present.” In an interview with Wired, Mark Rifkin, lead counsel representing the plaintiffs of the suit, explained that AT&T’s two-year contract provides an option for customers to terminate the agreement—for a fee—and switch to another carrier. Due to the nature of the U.S. cellular industry, and because the iPhone is only offered by AT&T, customers are essentially locked into using AT&T despite having the termination option.

Apple has argued that its original five-year iPhone exclusivity agreement with AT&T was widely reported, and that even if it wasn’t disclosed, it fails to produce the kind of monopoly power claimed by the plaintiffs. Notably, the exclusivity situation described above is the same for many current smartphones from other cellular providers, such as the Evo 4G from Sprint, the Droid from Verizon, and the original model of the Nexus One from T-Mobile. In addition, it remains to be seen whether the five-year exclusivity deal between Apple and AT&T is still in place, as it has been speculated that the terms of the two companies’ iPhone deal may have been part of the negotiations over iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G data plans.

Apple posts four new iPhone 4 FaceTime ads

Apple has posted four new iPhone 4 television commercials. Similar to the company’s first iPhone 4 ad, the new 30-second spots highlight the phone’s FaceTime video chat feature. “Meet Her” shows a new grandfather meeting his granddaughter for the first time, “Haircut” revolves around a boyfriend seeing his girlfriend’s new haircut, “Smile” shows a father attempting to get his daughter to smile so he can see her new braces, and “Big News” shows a wife sharing the news with her husband that they are going to have a child. All four new TV ads are available for viewing on Apple’s website.

MobileNavigator adds Background Location and more

Navigon has updated its MobileNavigator turn-by-turn navigation applications, adding support for iOS 4 Background Location and Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable devices and several other new features. In addition to multitasking, MobileNavigator 1.6 adds live weather information, directions to parking, voice guidance for pedestrian mode and an enhanced Reality View Pro. The new Live Weather feature updates and reports current weather conditions enroute and at the destination with temperature and weather conditions shown in the route overview screen during navigation. A new Clever Parking feature enables users to display a list of available parking areas near their destination and easily plot a route to a parking spot. Support for iOS 4 Background Location allows MobileNavigator to continue running in the background and providing voice guidance on multitasking-capable devices. MobileNavigator will also automatically shut down background location mode when no route is active or once you’ve reached your destination, avoiding unnecessary power consumption from the GPS hardware. The latest update also adds enhanced graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and includes the latest NAVTEQ map data, while bringing the Navigon MyRegion suite of regional apps up to the same feature level as the main MobileNavigator series; the MyRegion apps have been renamed to MobileNavigator MyRegion to reflect this. MobileNavigator North America is available from the App Store for $50 until July 22 and is a free update for current users. Versions for other countries can be found on Navigon’s App Store page.

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