Apple has started issuing refunds to iPhone 4 users who purchased Bumper cases from the online Apple Store. According to a customer email from the Apple Store posted on Mac Rumors’ forums, Apple is refunding both the retail price and any shipping or VAT charges that might have been applied to the order, noting that if the customer paid via credit card, it may take 3-5 days for the refunds to reach his/her account. Apple announced last Friday that it would be offering all current iPhone 4 owners and those who purchase the device by September 30 a free Bumper or other third-party case, and said it would issue refunds to those who had already purchased a Bumper case from Apple; it is expected to announce details of how current users can register for their free cases later this week.
ABC Digital has released an official ABC News app for the iPad. ABC News provides an optimized version of the content from the broadcaster’s website with interactive features allowing users to explore the news in a touchscreen-friendly format. Users can choose from a traditional news content view or browse through stories with a unique globe interface by either swiping or shaking the iPad to spin the globe and touching the screen to read or watch content that appears. Users can also filter the content that appears on the globe by selecting a favorite topic or show, save stories to a Favorites section for reading offline and share links to stories via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. ABC News is available from the App Store as a free download. A promo video demonstrating the app can be found on the ABC News website.
Following up on its May announcement of the AmpliTube iRig adapter, IK Multimedia has released the iPad version of its AmpliTube for iPad companion software. Designed to be used with the iRig adapter, the AmpliTube app provides a portable multi-touch tone-modeling solution for guitar and bass players. The app provides the same 23 amps and effects as the iPhone version, accessible from a single-pane touchscreen control interface and four simultaneous stompbox effects—one more than the iPhone version. The app provides five amp models with full tonal and drive controls, 11 stompbox effects, five cabinet layouts and two microphones. Users can easily organize and recall configurations on the fly with 36 available presets. Additional functions in the iPad version include a tuner, metronome and backing track player that can be used to improve playing skills. AmpliTube for iPad is available from the App Store for $20. A free version is also available with only three effects and a single amp and cabinet; additional gear from the full version can be added to the free version via in-app purchase. An iPhone version is also available. The AmpliTube iRig adapter is sold separately for $40.
Brenthaven has posted details of its upcoming 5-in-1 case for the iPad. The 5-in-1 is a two-sided hardshell case offering protection for both the front and rear of the iPad, a slot in the front cover that allows it to function as both a viewing and typing stand, an included headrest strap system for hands-free use of the iPad in a car, and an integrated handle for a secure grip. Brenthaven’s 5-in-1 case for the iPad is now available for pre-order for $60 and is expected to begin shipping on August 15.
Otterbox has debuted its new lineup of cases for the iPhone 4. The Impact Series Case is made from silicone and features inner coring for increased shock protection, push-through coverage for the volume and power buttons, open access to all other ports, controls, and the camera, and an included self-adhering clear protective film. It is priced at $20. The Commuter Series Case is a multi-layer case consisting of an inner silicone layer, a stiffer outer layer, and a self-adhering screen protector. It also offers access to all ports and controls and silicone plugs for the ports, and is priced at $35. Finally, the Defender Series Case is a three-layer protective case, featuring a clear protective membrane over the screen, a high-impact polycarbonate shell, and a silicone skin, with silicone plugs for the ports and an included ratcheting belt clip holster. It is available for pre-order now and sells for $50; Otterbox’s other cases for the iPhone 4 are listed as coming soon. [Thanks, Anthony]
Reporting its second fiscal quarter financial results, U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T has revealed that it handled 3.2 million iPhone activations during the period. That number includes some sales of the iPhone 4; AT&T claims that preorder sales of the iPhone 4 were 10 times higher than the first day of preordering for the iPhone 3GS a year earlier. In addition, the 3.2 million activations is a new quarterly record for AT&T, with about 27%—roughly 864,000—of those activations representing customers who were new to AT&T.
Duluth Pack has introduced its Haversack bag for the iPad. The Haversack is a messenger-style bag made from 18-ounce canvas, and featuring a leather strap and buckle closure, side and interior pockets for carrying pens, pencils, cell phones, and iPods, an adjustable leather or cotton shoulder strap, and an iPad-sized internal zippered pocket. Duluth Pack’s Haversack bag for iPad is available now in a variety of colors and sells for $100.
Foursquare has released an update to its location-based social networking app adding support for in-app SMS and e-mail messaging and a number of other enhancements. Foursquare users can now send SMS and e-mail messages from directly within the Foursquare app rather than having to exit the application. The update also adds further high-resolution content for iPhone 4 devices, improves support for Fast App Switching and adds a current position indicator to in-app map views. Foursquare is available from the App Store as a free download.
Readdle has released an update to its ReaddleDocs document viewer for the iPad, adding support for annotating PDF files. ReaddleDocs users can now add notes and highlights to PDF files which are saved within the document and can be accessed from a Mac or Windows PC. Users can also specify a color for PDF highlights, download files in the built-in browser by tapping on a link and open plain text files in a text editor. The update also improves WebDAV client compatibility with cookie-based sessions and resolves issues with unzipping certain types of ZIP files. ReaddleDocs for iPad is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
Bulkypix has released an update to Babel Rising adding additional content and new powers and in-game bonuses. In Babel Rising, players take on the role of a deity who must prevent its followers from successfully completing a tower to the heavens. Players use god-like powers to smite followers as they attempt to build and climb the tower, however each divine ability requires energy that must be recharged between uses. Babel Rising 1.3 adds two new powers in Divine mode including red lightning and a burning bush and now allows players to control time, increase bonus scores and quickly reload powers. Babel Rising is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.
Gameloft has released an update to its popular game N.O.V.A. adding support for iOS 4 and the iPhone 4. N.O.V.A. 1.2.1 adds a gyroscopic control mode for iPhone 4 users with a complete 3D range of movement and provides enhanced high-resolution graphics to take advantage of the iPhone 4 Retina Display. The update also adds Fast App Switching for users of multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. N.O.V.A. is a first-person shooter that puts the player in the role of a futuristic Marine hero who must battle unknown forces to prevent mankind’s annihilation. Users can choose to play through a single-player campaign with 13 levels across five different environments or participate in a multiplayer game over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. N.O.V.A. - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users. An iPad version is also available separately for $7.
Remember The Milk has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch app for access its cloud-based task management service. Remember The Milk 1.4 adds support for iOS 4, allowing users of multitasking-capable devices to take advantage of Fast App Switching and background syncing with the web service. The update also adds Retina Display support for the iPhone 4, accessibility and VoiceOver support and various bug fixes and enhancements. Remember The Milk is available from the App Store as a free download; a $25/year Remember The Milk Pro subscription is required to use the app with the Remember The Milk service.
Apple has expanded the ranks of its senior executive team by promoting Jeff Williams from vice president of operations to senior vice president of operations. “Jeff Williams is Apple’s senior vice president of Operations, reporting to COO Tim Cook,” reads his Apple bio page. “Jeff leads a team of people around the world responsible for end-to-end supply chain management and dedicated to ensuring that Apple products meet the highest standards of quality.” Williams worked at IBM from 1985 until he joined Apple in 1998, initially taking on the role of head of worldwide procurement. He was named vice president of operations in 2004, and has led worldwide operations for the iPod and iPhone since the latter’s launch in 2007. Mac Rumors notes that Williams appears to have taken the position on or before July 7, and that Williams’ holdings in Apple stock and options are worth over $41 million at current prices, although not all of the options and grants have yet been vested or exercised.
KainosAgora has released an update to TweetAgora, its advanced filtering client for Twitter. TweetAgora 1.2 adds support for photo posting via TwitPic, Instapaper and Read It Later integration, native retweets, the ability to resize tweet fonts and iPhone 4 Retina Display support. Users of mulittasking-capable iOS 4 devices can now continue image uploads after closing the app and the update also allows users to configure their own Bit.ly account for URL shortening via the Bit.ly API. The Premium version also adds the ability to mute tweets from 12seconds, Blip.FM and Plancast, in addition to Foursquare, Gowalla and Formspring. TweetAgora is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version allows users to filter up to three keywords and three people, create up to three Agoras and load up to 150 tweets in a timeline. Users can upgrade to the paid version for $5 via in-app purchase to remove these limitations and add support for multiple accounts and filtering of tweets from third-party services such as Foursquare and Blip.FM.
Fictionwise has released a universal update to its venerable eReader app providing native iPad and iOS 4 support. Although primarily designed for reading e-books purchased from the Fictionwise.com and eReader.com stores, eReader also allows users to transfer their own content or download unprotected eReader-format books from many other web sites in addition to their own library of purchased titles. eReader for the iPad provides the same features as the iPhone and iPod touch version including cover flow view, dictionary support, notes, highlights and bookmarks, eight different reading fonts and customizable day/night reading themes. eReader supports the well-established eReader format but is not compatible with Kindle or iBooks e-books and does not currently provide support for transferring books via USB through iTunes. eReader is available from the App Store as a free download.
Twelve South has introduced its new Compass mobile stand for the iPad. Compass is an easel-like stand made from heavy gauge steel featuring a collapsible design for easy portability, the ability to switch between two stand angles—one more vertical and one low-angle—and an included travel case. Twelve South’s Compass mobile stand for iPad is available now and sells for $40.
Skype Software has released an update to its Skype iPhone application that brings multitasking support to iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS units running iOS 4.0. The update allows users to receive Skype calls and IMs while other apps are running or even when the phone is locked, and also allows users to continue current calls when switching to another application. Curiously, the update is listed in the App Store as version 2.0.1, but the release notes refer to it as version 2.1. Skype for iPhone is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Vaja has rolled out its new iVolution Grip case for the iPhone 4. The iVolution Grip is a open-face case offering coverage for portions of the device’s sides and back, access to all ports, controls, and the camera, a leather exterior, and metal logo plate at the bottom of the back. Vaja’s iVolution Grip for the iPhone 4 is available for order now with a handicraft process of 45 days and is priced at $65. In addition, Vaja has also introduced new versions of its iVolution Top case, which are physically identical but differ in the leather design.
Miniot has introduced its new iWood 4 case for the iPhone 4. Each iWood 4 is carved from a single block of selected woods, meaning that no two cases are exactly alike. Features include wooden push-through button covers, openings for access to all other ports and the camera, and a two-piece design with a slide-off bottom for easy docking. In addition, the iWood 4 can be custom engraved for free for a limited time. Miniot’s iWood 4 case for the iPhone 4 will be available for pre-order next week starting at €70, or roughly $90, with deliveries to begin on August 30.
Following a response from Nokia on Apple’s claims that signal attenuation is a problem for all smartphones, Apple has added a section covering the Nokia N97 mini to its smartphone antenna performance page. “Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design,” Nokia said in a statement. Apple’s antenna performance page, posted last Friday after Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference, originally compared the performance of the iPhone 4 to the BlackBerry Bold, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, and iPhone 3GS, and led to a similar response from BlackBerry-maker RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.