Apple has launched a new replacement program for potentially troublesome first-generation iPod nano units in Japan. Following another rash of overheating incidents, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) told Apple last week that it must post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano can receive a replacement battery. Apple seems to have gone one step further, and is offering full replacements for any units that overheat. “We’ve worked closely with METI to make sure first-generation iPod nano customers who are concerned with their battery have the latest information,” U.S.-based Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told Reuters. Apple faced a similar situation in 2008, during which it blamed the problem on faulty batteries from a single supplier and offered to replace the batteries of affected, or even concerned, customers.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 4 overlooking a mosque in the town of Tiout, Morocco. 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!
Sauce Digital has released its latest game, Space Balls, an atmospheric physics puzzler for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Space Balls, players must skillfully fire unique space balls at various objects to either activate, move, alter or destroy them in order to capture enemies. Players progress through a variety of levels that present different challenges with each level requiring specific tactics. The game features 90 levels, 35 unique obstacles and enemies, 16 different Space Ball characters, and a progressively disclosed storyline presented in comic strip format. High-resolution iPhone 4 Retina Display graphics are included along with atmospheric sound effects and an exclusive music soundtrack by Tokyo Pushers. Space Balls is available from the App Store for $1. The company has also announced that it has begun development of higher-resolution iPad releases of Space Balls and its five other iOS games: Killer Pool, Nano Rally, Amoebas, Touch Soccer 3D and Monkey Tennis. The iPad versions of the games are expected to begin appearing within a month and are expected to be priced at $1.
Cloud storage service Box.net has released an update to its universal app for iOS devices adding iOS 4 support and the ability to access files offline. The new version allows users to designate specific files to be saved locally on the device for offline access and later sync those saved files with updated versions when others make changes. The update also adds file caching to allow for faster previewing of files, makes several user interface tweaks to both the iPad and iPhone UIs with regard to sharing and viewing content and provides iOS 4 support with fast app switching and high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Box.net is available from the App Store as a free download. A Box.net subscription is required in order to use the app; a free subscription is available which includes 1GB of storage and a 25MB file size limit, with paid subscriptions ranging from $10-15 per user per month for up to 15 GB of storage. Enterprise subscription plans are also available for larger organizations.
Scosche Industries has rolled out its new Revive II Dual USB Car and Home Chargers for the iPad. Each charger features two USB ports, one 2.1 Amp and one 1 Amp, for charging both an iPad and iPhone or other USB-charging device simultaneously. In addition, each unit offers a blue charging indicator light, features labeled ports, and plugs into either a standard home outlet or automotive 12V DC power port. Scosche’s Revive II Dual USB Car and Home Chargers for the iPad are available now and sell for $25 and $30, respectively.
Arods Inredningar has introduced its new WallPad stand and wall mount for iPad. Made from sustainable wood and coated in a protective paint finish, the WallPad is an angled holder that includes two screws and two wall plugs to hook onto the wall, rubber feet for laying flat on a table, and an optional metal stand for upright desktop use. In addition, it also features access within the stand for a charging cable. Arods Inredningar’s LXB WallPad is available now and sells for €100, or roughly $131, and up.
Developer Kevin Ng has updated his Kick Flick Soccer 2010 game to add support for the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. In Kick Flick Soccer 2010 players attempt to score goals from free kick positions by flicking shots using the touchscreen. Extra points are earned by making more skillful shots and scoring multiple goals in succession. The game provides a realistic physics simulation based on the Bullet Physics library to model real-world aerodynamic effects on the ball. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 version 1.1 is now a universal app supporting both the iPhone and iPad and provides higher-resolution graphics to support the iPhone 4 Retina Display. The update also adds a new “10 Kicks” game mode, six new achievements to be earned and provides several performance and graphics improvements. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.
With over 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—Would an integrated camera make you buy a new iPod touch?—has ended. Readers were given a variety of positive options, including options for front-facing, rear-facing, and both rear-facing and front-facing cameras, as well as negative options for owners and non-owners of the iPod touch.
Nearly half of readers—48%—said an integrated camera wouldn’t entice them to buy an iPod touch. 30% said they didn’t own an iPod touch and wouldn’t buy one for an integrated camera, while 18% said they were current iPod touch owners and wouldn’t upgrade their unit for a camera or cameras. Among the positive responses, 19% of readers said both front and rear cameras would make them buy a new iPod touch, followed by 17% who would by but only if the camera is rear-facing and capable of both still photography and video recording, and 15% who would purchase for a front-facing, FaceTime-capable camera. One percent—26 people—said they would be enticed to purchase but only by a rear-facing, still-only camera, while zero percent, or only 12 people, said they would buy but only for a rear-facing, video-only camera. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on Apple TV and the App Store. We’d like to know if you’d buy an Apple TV if it runs App Store apps? Would you buy, but only if it includes 32GB or more of built-in storage, or maybe if it has a lower price point? Or would you only buy if it has both 32GB or more of storage and a lower price point, or would you not be swayed, whether you have an existing Apple TV or not? Our new poll, “Will you buy an Apple TV if it runs App Store apps?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!
The European Commission has joined the FTC in probing Apple’s iOS developer policies, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, the New York Post reports that the European body is investigating whether Apple’s decision to bar iOS developers from using other companies’ tools to developer software is harming competition. Also at issue is Apple’s decision to ban Adobe’s Flash technology from its iOS devices. According to the report, the investigation could last another four to six months. [via Mac Rumors]
ZooGue Innovative has launched its new Smart Case for the Apple iPad. The Smart Case is a leather folio-style case featuring a unique Velcro design that allows it to act as an adjustable stand on nearly any angle, open access to all ports and controls, and included, adjustable elastic and velcro straps for attaching to car headrests or securely closing the case when traveling. ZooGue Innovative’s Smart Case for the Apple iPad is available now and sells for $50.
Following the successful launch of Pinball HD for the iPad earlier this year, Gameprom has released a new version optimized for the iPhone 4. Like its iPad counterpart, Pinball HD 4 iPhone combines Gameprom’s Wild West Pinball, The Deep and Jungle Style Pinball into a single game and adds new features including high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and new multiplayer capabilities. In Pinball HD 4 iPhone users can challenge other users on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in competition to reach the highest score or to complete specific quests. Pinball HD 4 iPhone includes the same general features found in the earlier iPad version, including landscape and portrait modes with full- or flying-table views, a realistic 3D physics and graphics engine, local and global high scores and unique soundtracks with atmospheric music, sound effects and voices. Pinball HD 4 iPhone requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store for $2. The iPad version, Pinball HD is sold separately for $3 and has recently been updated to add the new multiplayer features as well.
Livio Radio has released an update to its Internet Radio app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Livio Car Internet Radio provides an in-vehicle optimized interface for browsing and listening to Internet Radio on the iPhone or iPod touch. Users can easily search for stations by genre, location or language, tune stations in by call letters or keywords or find local stations based on the iPhone’s current GPS location. Background listening is supported via a Safari browser stream, allowing for compatibility with older non-multitasking-capable iOS devices. The application also provides a built-in speed dialer feature for iPhone users, allowing quick access to frequently called contacts from directly within the app and Facebook and Twitter sharing for posting favorite stations to social network feeds. Originally priced at $5, Livio Internet Car Radio is now available from the App Store as a free download and includes access to hundreds of Internet Radio stations at no extra charge; an upgrade to the Premium version is available for $5 as an in-app purchase which unlocks access to 42,000 additional stations through the RadioTime directory and enables a recommendations feature for locating similar radio stations.
AT&T may be indicating that its iPhone exclusivity deal with Apple is nearing its end. In a recent 10Q filing, AT&T added new language citing the end of exclusivity agreements for a “number of attractive handsets.” The Wall Street Journal, citing CLSA’s Steven Fox, notes that the language was not in the company’s prior 10Q. In addition, AT&T also said that it does not expect any such exclusivity terminations to have “a material negative impact” on Wireless segment income.
Apple has added new functionality to iAds that lets developers sell apps directly from within iAds, eliminating the need to launch the App Store. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the new ads are essentially the equivalent of an App Store page, and that developers can use the money/credit they earn in iAds to promote their apps through the new advertisement type, helping Apple to fill ad slots.
Warner Music’s growth in revenue from digital music sales fell for the second year in a row, contrasting with iTunes’ growth over the same period to provide a small suggestion of how much app sales have meant to iTunes’ revenue. Asymco notes that Warner’s digital music revenues grew just 3.7 percent in the past quarter, leading CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. to say that the company is looking “beyond the iTunes model” to boost growth. By contrast, Warner’s digital music revenues grew 4.5 percent a year ago and 39 percent the year before, while iTunes’ revenues have grown by 27%, 17% and 35% over the same periods, respectively.
Apple has altered its paid application contract to let developers offer education discounts on bulk app purchases. Mac|Life has posted the relevant language, which states, “[t]his amendment enables you to offer a 50% discount to education institutions on multiple copies of the same app as described in Section 3.1 in the amendment above. If you agree to participate, you can apply the discount to individual apps in the Manage Your Applications module, or you can apply it to all of your current apps at once.”
NXP Software has released CineXPlayer, a new app that allows users to view Xvid movies on the iPad, a format not directly supported by the built-in video codecs on iOS devices. Using CinexPlayer, users can transfer movies in the Xvid format directly onto their iPad without the requirement to convert them an iPad-specific video format. Movies are transferred to the application over USB via iTunes’ File Sharing options and the app provides a listing of movies stored on the device with standard playback controls, automatic bookmarking of playback positions and the ability to delete movies directly from within the app. At this time, CineXPlayer only supports standard Xvid format movies and does not yet have the ability to handle additional codecs such as MKV and AC3 audio. CineXPlayer is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Engadget]
Tim Sears has released an update to Future Checkin, an app which uses iOS 4 background location services to automatically check-in users to nearby Foursquare venues. Future Checkin allows users to specify locations on Foursquare that they wish to check into automatically and the app continues running in the background to monitor the user’s location and check them in when they are near any of their chosen locations for more than three minutes. Users can also configure the app to auto-checkin to any places that they have checked into in the past, customize settings to control GPS accuracy in exchange for battery life and choose to receive notifications to confirm auto-checkins when they occur. Version 1.1 adds the ability for users to adjust the proximity to a location before they will be checked in and allows users to share automatic checkins using their Foursquare-linked Twitter and Facebook accounts. This latest update also improves battery life and contains several UI improvements and bug fixes. Future Checkin requires an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Apple has gained an exclusive license to use unique, amorphous metal alloys created by Liquidmetal Technologies. The deal, revealed in an SEC filing and reported by AppleInsider, gives Apple “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercial such intellectual property in the field of electronic products in exchange for a license fee.” The alloys feature an amorphous, non-crystalline structure that gives them a greater strength than comparable aluminum or titanium alloys, or even stainless steel, while offering a scratch and corrosion-resistant exterior. Liquidmetal also licenses its alloys to defense contractors, sports equipment manufacturers and medical suppliers.
ANDESigned has released an update to Total Baby, its baby and child care tracking application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Total Baby 2.0 adds support for iOS 4 and the iPhone 4 Retina Display, including background task completion for automatic backups and syncing between devices. The latest version also adds Growth Charts and percentiles for ages 0-36 months based on CDC and WHO datasets and now allows the user to fully customize the e-mail export output with 18 preset templates. Other improvements include the ability to disable the device’s auto-lock feature when a timer is running, better syncing performance between devices, and several bug fixes related to iOS 4. Total Baby is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
iTeleport has released an update to its VNC remote control app for the iPad adding support for Bluetooth keyboards and displaying a remote desktop screen via Apple’s iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter cable. iTeleport for the iPad allows users to securely view and remotely control a PC, Mac or Linux desktop via the VNC protocol over either a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. A free companion desktop application, iTeleport Connect for Mac and Windows allows users to easily configure their computer to accept remote VNC connections from the app while outside of their local home or office network. iTeleport for iPad 4.1 is available from the App Store for $20 and is a free update for current users. A universal app, iTeleport: Jaadu VNC is also available for $25 but has not yet been updated to receive the latest features of the iPad-only version.
A last-minute pricing dispute between Vodafone and Apple led to the New Zealand iPhone 4 launch being slightly delayed, according to a new report. Stuff.co.nz claims that Apple told Vodafone to change pricing for the new handset shortly before its was scheduled to hit store shelves, which angered Vodafone and led them to threaten Apple with canceling the launch. The report says that Vodafone’s head office in Britain intervened, telling its New Zealand subsidiary to proceed with the launch. Vodafone in New Zealand told customers waiting outside its stores in the early morning that the launch was off, only to announce midday that the phone would go on sale, but only to customers who signed a two-year contract. The first shipment of phones sold out within hours, but Vodafone spokesman Matt East claims the carrier has since been restocked.
Building on its successful iHome+Sleep app introduced earlier this year, accessory manufacturer iHome has released its second iOS application. iHome+Radio is a new Internet radio application that provides users with access to over 20,000 local and international radio stations streamed over Wi-Fi or 3G. iHome+Radio uses RadioTime.com as its source for Internet radio channels and can sync any presets that existing Radiotime.com users have stored online for a seamless transition onto the iPhone and iPod touch. iHome+Radio also integrates with the company’s iHome+Sleep app to allow users to wake up or fall asleep to their favorite Internet radio stations and includes controls and settings for iHome’s app-enhanced products such as the iA5 and upcoming iA100 alarm clocks. iHome+Radio is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices using iOS 4.0 or later and supports Radiotime listed stations streamed in MP3 and AAC formats only. iHome+Radio is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $2.