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iPad Mix: China Unicom, Scottish school, iPad orchestra, Ektopad case

China Unicom will begin offering Micro SIM-sized “USIM” cards for the iPad beginning tomorrow, September 1, according to a new report. Chinese-language Sina reports (Translated Link) that the card is primarily aimed at customers importing iPads from other markets, as the official launch date for the iPad in China has yet to be announced.

The Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, U.K., has moved all its students away from pen and paper and onto iPads. The Daily Record reports that the move was the idea of Frasier Speirs, the school’s IT teacher, who also happens to be an accomplished Mac and iOS developer. Speirs wrote on his blog that the first day was an “unqualified success,” adding that he “got the impression that the kids were almost relieved to be working with iOS. I have no doubt that, for a lot of them, it’s already the OS they interact with most often.” [via MDN]

A quartet going by the name of “The iPad Orchestra” has been featured in an online video. The four members of the group each play a separate iPad, using the app Seline HD to simulate the sounds of the clarinet, cello, flute, and violin. The performance pf “Sweet Dream” by Ilya Plavunov captured in the video was given for a live audience on August 8th; the video is available for viewing in embedded form below.

Uzibull has introduced its new Ektopad case for the iPad (Pictured). The Ektopad is a silicone case featuring molded grips on the ends and back for gaming, an interior rib structure for added protection, openings on the corners for attaching the included woven elastic strap, openings for access to the headphone port, dock connector, power button, and orientation lock switch, push-through button covers for the volume buttons, and open access to the screen and Home button. Uzibull’s Ektopad case for the iPad is available now and sells for $40.

Hard Candy debuts iPod touch 4G case

Hard Candy has debuted its first case for the fourth-generation iPod touch ahead of the device’s expected introduction tomorrow morning. As with prior iPod touch 4G cases from X-Doria, the TPU-based Street Skin Rubber case features a hole in the upper left-hand corner of the back for a camera and microphone, as well as holes in the bottom for the dock connector and headphone port, holes for the volume buttons on the side, the power button on top, and open access to the screen and home button on the front. The case also features a pattern on the back for added grip; notably, the product shots found on the company’s website show what appears to be an aluminum-backed device inside, although the camera module is not present. Hard Candy’s Street Skin Rubber case for the iPod touch 4G is available for pre-order now in three colors and will ship September 15 for $30.

Apple, Nintendo sued over motion-sensing devices

Apple and Nintendo have been named in a new lawsuit accusing the companies of patent infringement. Filed in the patent-friendly U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, the suit states that the motion-sensing capabilities of the two companies’ devices infringe on a patent held by Triton Tech, entitled “Computer Apparatus Input Device for Three-Dimensional Information.” AppleInsider reports that the patent describes a “mouse” that detects motion on six axes using multiple accelerometers and angular rate sensors. The court filing specifically singles out the iPhone 4 for its use of “acceleration sensors and rotational rate sensors for detecting motion about a particular axis for communication with a computing device,” along with Nintendo’s Wii Motion Plus accessory, but implies that other devices may also be in violation.

iPhone 4 launches in 6 more countries, hardware revision coming?

An executive of Mexican iPhone carrier Telcel has indicated that Apple plans to release a revised version of its iPhone 4 that will fix the handset’s antenna issues. Recounting a report from Mexico’s CanalMX, Mac Rumors reports that Marco Quatorze, Telcel’s Director of Value Added Services, said current iPhone 4s being sold in Mexico are the same hardware as is being sold elsewhere, but as of September 30, Apple will begin shipping out revised hardware. Mac Rumors’ report notes that Quatorze could simply be confusing the September 30th date with the end of Apple’s free case program, and that it is unknown whether an executive at his level would even be privy to such plans. Telcel began selling the iPhone 4 in Mexico last week as part of a quiet launch that also saw the device arrive in the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and Slovakia.

99-cent iTunes TV rentals hinging on News Corp.?

Apple’s ability to launch a new 99-cent-per-episode TV rental service may hinge on the decision of Rupert Murdoch, founder, chairman, and CEO of Fox parent News Corp. The Los Angeles Times reports that CBS, NBC Universal, and Time Warner have rejected Apple’s proposal on the grounds that such a low cost for individual episodes could eat into traditional revenue streams, while Disney, in which Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest individual shareholder, has reportedly agreed to try the new pricing plan. The report states that the new offering would function as a “six-month pricing trial,” and that Murdoch is prepared to participate in hopes of bettering the company’s relationship with Jobs and potentially gaining benefits for other divisions within the company. Murdoch has in the past said that the iPad may be able to help rescue print media by luring in new customers who wouldn’t otherwise subscribe to a newspaper; the device also plays heavily into his plans to launch a digital national news product later this year, according to the report.

Foursquare and Gowalla release security updates

Location-based social networking services Foursquare and Gowalla have released updates to their iOS applications addressing recently revealed security concerns. A report by software developer Martin Kou last week revealed that both the Foursquare and Gowalla iOS applications were sending all information to their respective services using clear, unencrypted connections, making it possible for usernames, passwords and other information to be intercepted, particularly when used over an open Wi-Fi network. Both companies responded quickly to the report indicating that they were preparing updates to their iOS apps to address these issues. Gowalla has released updates to Gowalla and Gowalla for iPad enabling more secure OAuth authentication while Foursquare has released an update to its Foursquare app adding SSL support to provide encrypted submission of user information. All three apps are available from the App Store as free downloads and should appear as automatic updates for current users.

Apple iPod event to focus on iTunes music discovery?

A large portion of tomorrow’s Apple special event will be spent discussing improvements to iTunes’ music discovery features, a new report suggests. Citing unnamed sources, Cnet reports that Apple will double the length of song previews from 30 to 60 seconds in a bid to encourage users to find songs via iTunes instead of using increasingly popular services such as Pandora or YouTube. The report also claims that Apple’s rumored cloud-based music service is unlikely to be announced at the event. Apple’s 2010 iPod/music event will begin tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Coverage of Apple’s 2010 iPod event begins tomorrow at 10 am

Join iLounge tomorrow for play-by-play coverage and analysis of Apple’s 2010 iPod/music event, being held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, beginning tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Apple is expected to announce its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at the event, including a fourth-generation iPod touch with front- and rear-facing cameras, a diminutive new touchscreen iPod, and a new version of iTunes. Also possible are discussion of a next-generation Apple TV, and/or an iOS 4.x update for the iPad. As in the past, iLounge will be flipping over to our live event coverage page in the minutes leading up to the event.

Jensen intros JiPS-250i dock for iPad, iPod, iPhone

Jensen has introduced its new JiPS-250i Docking Station for the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. Compatible with Apple’s smaller devices but designed for the iPad, the 250i features a rotating, adjustable dock, an auxiliary input, two built-in speakers, video line-out, an included remote control, and compatibility with a free Jensen app offering alarm clock, voice memo, calendar, EQ, music player, nature sound photo album, Facebook, Twitter, and Internet radio functionality. Pricing and release information for Jensen’s JiPS-250i Docking Station for the iPad, iPod, and iPhone has yet to be announced.

Sena previews Keyboard Folio case for iPad

Sena Cases has posted a preview of its upcoming Keyboard Folio case for the Apple iPad. The Keyboard Folio for iPad features a folio-style design, an integrated Bluetooth keyboard in the cover that bears more than a slight resemblance to the one found on the KeyCase iPad Folio, which was outed by the FCC last week, a recessed, collapsible back stand, a leather exterior, and a snap closure. Sena Cases’ Keyboard Folio for iPad is available for pre-order now at a discounted price of $130 and is expected to ship on October 7 for $150.

Portenzo offers folio cases for iPad, iPhone 4

Portenzo is offering a new line of folio-style cases for the iPad and iPhone 4. Modeled after Moleskine notebooks, these cases feature either vertical or horizontal opening covers, inner device holders made from bamboo featuring “Grip-Right corners” to hold the devices securely while allowing the covers to lay flat when closed, openings for access to ports and controls, and elastic straps to hold the cases closed. Portenzo’s new folio-style cases for the iPad and iPhone 4 are available now and sell for $40-$100.

Eyedip releases Flight Doodle

Eyedip has released Flight Doodle and Flight Doodle HD, new action games for the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad. Flight Doodle puts the player in control of a uniquely customizable hot-air balloon where they must soar upward and navigate using the accelerometer, gather power-ups and avoid falling objects, changing weather patterns and enemies to try and reach extreme altitudes. Users can collect different tools that allow them to shrink their balloon, envelop it in a protective shield or arm it with explosive shells and more in order to deal with various obstacles. An in-game drawing program allows users to design their own personalized hot-air balloon with doodles and imported photos; players’ customized balloon images are shown on visual OpenFeint leader boards to mark the most recent high scores. The developer has also indicated that new game modes will to be added every two weeks through September. Flight Doodle for the iPhone and iPod touch is priced at $1; Flight Doodle HD for the iPad is $3.



Intel buys iPhone chip unit from Infineon

Intel has entered into an agreement to purchase the wireless unit of Infineon Technologies for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, and will give Intel a significant boost in the wireless market. Infineon’s wireless unit produces chips used in smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone 4. “The acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business strengthens the second pillar of our computing strategy—Internet connectivity—and enables us to offer a portfolio of products that covers the full range of wireless options,” said Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Infineon also makes electronics for the car industry, electronic devices for electricity generation and transmission, and chips used in credit and security cards.

Supermarket Mania adds iOS 4 support

G5 Entertainment has released an update to Supermarket Mania, adding support for iOS 4 and updated graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Supermarket Mania is an iOS version of the popular casual time management game from other platforms where players must keep their grocery store shelves stocked with the right products by moving their character between stockrooms, shelves and in-store displays to provide the goods that customers are looking to buy. The game features a story mode with 50 levels, and endless shift mode with a global leader board, five different shops, multiple types of customers and products to sell and a variety of accessories and upgrades for each shop. The latest version provides Fast App switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and now allows users to select their preferred language from the iOS Settings app. Supermarket Mania is available from the App Store for $3.

NASA app adds NASA TV live stream

NASA has released an update to its official free iPhone application adding live streaming of the NASA TV public channel. The NASA App provides users with a variety of news and educational information from NASA directly in an app optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can access NASA mission information, launch information and countdown clocks, sighting opportunities for the ISS and Space Shuttle and a wide variety of NASA images and videos. The application also provides an integrated Twitter client and Facebook Connect support for easy sharing of information from within the app. NASA App 1.31 adds a live stream of the NASA TV channel, including a detailed programming schedule and the ability to pause and rewind the live stream during playback. The update also fixes bugs related to iOS 4 and issues with viewing maps on older devices. NASA App 1.31 is available from the App Store as a free download.

iPad wait times down to 24 hrs

Apple has once again shortened its waiting period for new iPad models. The company’s online U.S. store now shows a shipping time of within 24 hours for new iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units, down from one to three days. Apple started out the month with a wait time of seven to ten days on new iPads, a figure that dropped on the 19th to three to five days, and was lowered again one week ago to one to three days. During the company’s Q3 2010 Conference Call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that Apple was making iPad units as fast as it can sell them, and indicated that it was working to ramp up production to meet demand as quickly as possible.

New case photos: iPod touch 4G, iPod shuffle 4G?

iLounge has received more photos supposedly showing cases for upcoming iPod models. As with the case photos discovered last week, these cases are from X-Doria, and offer a glimpse into the shape and features of the fourth-generation iPod touch and a smaller, squarish iPod that could be either the fourth-generation iPod shuffle or sixth-generation iPod nano—notably, it was referred to as the former in our e-mail exchange with the company. These new photos seem to support information published by iLounge last week claiming that the fourth-generation iPod touch will sport a back plate that is mainly flat, as well as a rear-facing camera and mic. We have thus far been unable to confirm whether the rectangular hole on the rear of the shuffle 4G/nano 6G case is for a clip or for access to some other feature. Apple is expected to announce its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at a special event scheduled for Wednesday, Sept 1., at 10:00 a.m. in San Francisco.

Last weekend to enter the Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway

If you haven’t yet entered our Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway, this is your last weekend to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for August, iLounge and Slacker are giving away 12 subscriptions to one year of free Slacker Radio Plus. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on August 31, 2010 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

2011 iLounge Pavilion grows to become largest TechZone at CES

With more than four months remaining before the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association and iLounge proudly announced today that the Pavilion has already surpassed 40,000 sold square feet of iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac exhibitors, and has officially become the largest TechZone at CES.

Over 125 companies already plan to exhibit within the Pavilion in 2011, a marked increase from last year, and vendors have in many cases reserved considerably larger spaces than before. The growth of the Pavilion represents an exciting milestone for the industry: what was previously a highly diffused collection of Apple-related CES exhibitors has been unified, meriting one of the most prominent areas at the world’s largest consumer technology trade show. Because of the broad participation and great input we’ve received from last year’s event, the 2011 CES promises to be an even stronger follow-up for makers of iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac products.

Companies interested in exhibiting should immediately contact Tira Gordon, Senior Account Executive for CES, at

Microsoft co-founder Allen sues Apple, others over patents

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, has sued Apple and ten other companies claiming they infringe on technology patents awarded to his Interval Research Corp. think tank. The Wall Street Journal reports that while Allen didn’t develop any of the technology himself, he does own the patents, which cover automatic suggestions for shopping sites, automatic location of related stories on a news site, and the presentation of information such as ads, stock quotes, news updates, or videos on a computer screen, in the periphery of the user’s main activity. Allen’s suit names Apple, as well as Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and Google’s YouTube subsidiary; unsurprisingly, Microsoft is missing from the list, as Allen remains a major investor in the Redmond, WA-based company.

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