PhotoFast has introduced its new iPADock, a desktop stand/dock that can charge and sync multiple portable Apple devices at once. The iPADock is capable of handling four iPods or iPhones at once, two iPads simultaneously, or a combination of one iPad and two iPhones or iPods, via four powered USB ports on the back and cutouts in the docking wells that allow Apple’s standard 30-pin to USB cables to fit through. In addition, it offers three non-powered USB ports, multiple memory card readers with support for most popular formats, and slots to hold the iPad Camera Connection Kit. Cult of Mac notes that the price for the iPADock is $70, however, no pricing information was provided on the product page.
Movies rented from the iTunes Store using the iPhone 4 cannot be transferred back to users’ iTunes libraries, iLounge has discovered, and must be viewed solely on the iPhone 4. Although this is similar to a restriction found on the iPad and Apple TV, this marks the first time that this limitation has appeared on an iPhone. The iTunes Store Terms and Conditions and iTunes Store Movie/Film Rental FAQ (iTunes link) indicate that movies rented “using the Apple TV or iPad may not be moved” however they exclude any mention of the iPhone 4 in this regard, as do any of Apple’s current support documents. The only reference to this restriction is found buried on page 99 in the iPhone iOS 4 User Guide (PDF link) which states:
“On iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, you can transfer rented movies between iPhone and your computer. On iPhone 4, you can transfer rented movies between iPhone and your computer only if they were rented in iTunes on your computer. Movies rented on iPhone 4 cannot be transferred to a computer.”
It is also worth noting that the iPhone 4 has the same restriction on video output as the iPad, prohibiting the iPad Dock to VGA Connector from being used to display HD content purchased or rented from the iTunes Store. This brings into question the practicality of renting HD movies directly on the iPhone 4 since the 960 x 640 Retina Display still falls short of full 720p resolution while standard-definition content at 854 x 480 comes reasonably close to the capabilities of the new display.
2K Sports has released its new NHL 2K11 game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Created using the company’s proprietary console game engine, NHL 2K11 is a professional hockey simulation game, featuring Season, Quick Game, Free Skate and Shootout gameplay modes, and a full lineup of professional teams and players. As noted in the game’s description, this marks the first time the NHL 2K series has appeared on a portable device. 2K Sports’ NHL 2K11 is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.
iHome and New Balance have announced a partnership that will see the two companies launch a line of New Balance-branded sport earphones and headphones. The lineup will include the NB439, which is a 2-in-1 sport earbud with removable ear hooks for added stability, interchangeable colored accent caps, and in-line volume controls; it will sell for $35. The NB447 is a pair of foldable sport headphones featuring interchangeable cord lengths and an in-line remote/mic that also sells for $35, while the NB467 is a set of foldable behind-the-neck earbuds with interchangeable cord lengths that sells for $25. The New Balance Sport Headphone collection will be available on a limited basis in late 2010, with expanded distribution planned for 2011.
Mekentosj has released an update to its Papers academic research app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding several improvements to its annotation and page navigation features. Papers (iLounge Rating: A-) is an application designed for academic users to create a personal library of research literature that is readily accessible on their iOS devices. Users can directly access and search a variety of academic and scientific repositories, download research papers and journals directly to their iOS device and share and synchronize their libraries with other iOS devices or Papers for Mac OS X. Papers 1.8.5 adds more intuitive highlighting and note creation, the ability to navigate pages in PDF documents by tapping the sides of the screen and fixes to highlighting and downloading PDFs from specific online sources. Papers is available from the App Store as a universal app for $15 and is a free update for existing users.
Laminar Research has released an update to its X-Plane for iPad flight simulator adding several new features including a detailed map screen for the higher-resolution iPad display. X-Plane for iPad is a highly realistic flight simulator that allows users to fly a wide variety of aircraft such as the Cessna 182, F-22, Boeing 747 and even the Space Shuttle with detailed 3-D graphics, authentic instrument panels and accelerometer-based flight controls. Version 9.61 adds reverse thrust to aircraft that include this capability, low-fuel warnings and a detailed map screen that allows users to zoom in from a whole region view right down to runway markings and terminal buildings. The update also improves performance and stability by reducing the memory requirements on the iPad. X-Plane for the iPad is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Pepe & Pepe has released an update to its online digital photo frame app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding support for sharing photos from Facebook friends in addition to Flickr. Air Frame allows users to turn their iOS devices into digital photo frames that display live content streams from Facebook and Flickr. Users can choose to display photos from their own accounts, photos from friends and/or interesting public photos from Flickr and iOS 4 users can also include photos from the device’s own photo album. Air Frame supports a number of different transitions such as Ken Burns and Page Curl effects and can optionally display maps showing where photos were taken or overlay photos with a clock. Recent images are also cached by the application for offline viewing. Version 2.3.2 adds support for streaming photos from Facebook Friends, UI performance improvements, new transitions and miscellaneous bug fixes. Air Frame is available from the App Store for $3 as a universal app and is a free update for current users.
Apple has announced that iTunes U downloads have surpassed the 300 million mark. Launched just over three years ago, iTunes U offers users public access to content from learning institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal. “iTunes U makes it easy for people to discover and learn with content from many of the world’s top institutions,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “With such a wide selection of educational material, we’re providing iTunes users with an incredible way to learn on their computer, iPhone, iPod or iPad.” According to Apple, over 800 universities worldwide have active iTunes U sites, and nearly half of these institutions distribute their content publicly. Overall, iTunes U hosts more than 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the globe.
The iPhone will soon be operable on Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, thanks to a new service offered by Japan Communications. Nikkei reports that Japan Comm will soon offer a SIM card for unlocked iPhones—licensed Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank sells carrier-locked units—that allows them to operate on NTT DoCoMo’s network. Japan Communications plans to bypass the carrier locks by selling unlocked iPhone 4 units for roughly 60,000 yen, or roughly $715, with service running 6,260 a month, or about $75.
Google has released an update to its Google Mobile app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding support for Push Notifications for GMail messages and Google Calendar appointments. The update allows users to optionally configure the application to provide Push Notifications for new mail messages and calendar appointments. New items will appear as a badge count on the Google Mobile App on the iOS home screen and opening the app will show the number of pending items in each account. Tapping on an account will open the mobile GMail or Google Calendar web page in the Safari browser. Popup messages and sound notifications do not appear to be supported at this time. Users can configure multiple accounts for Push Notifications, including Google Apps accounts, and for each account can enable mail and calendar notifications separately and choose to receive notifications only between certain times. The Google Mobile App is available as a free download from the App Store.
Quickoffice has released an update to Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for iOS 4 features and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite allows iPhone and iPod touch users to open, edit and share Microsoft Word and Excel documents directly on their devices including support for opening and sharing files via cloud storage services such as Dropbox and iDisk and transferring files via Wi-Fi. Version 3.3 provides Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices, the ability to open files from other applications such as the iOS Mail app and optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite is available from the App Store for $10.
Amazon has released a minor update to its Kindle app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad fixing some issues related to highlighting text. Kindle 2.2.1 improves the sensitivity of the highlighting feature to help reduce accidental highlighting of text, fixes a crash that some users were experiencing when using the highlighting feature and also corrects a problem where the most recent page is not being saved when returning to the app. The release notes indicate fixes for several other bugs based on customer feedback as well. Kindle 2.2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Simperium has released a major update to its Simplenote note-taking application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding a number of new features. Simplenote is a minimalist note-taking app that is designed to allow users to quickly and easily make and access notes from their iOS devices and keep them seamlessly synchronized with other devices using the Simplenote web service. Version 3.0.2 adds the ability for users to tag their notes, pin important notes to the top of the list and view notes by tag as well as accessing older versions of current notes and recovering deleted notes. Users can also now easily share notes with other Simplenote users or publish notes as a web page and search within notes that they are viewing. The update also offers a number of other smaller enhancements such as a fullscreen mode for viewing notes, character and word counts and improvements to link detection and synchronization with the web service. Simplenote 3.0.2 is available from the App Store as a free download.
According to stats found on the Facebook for iOS app’s dedicated Facebook page, the app now has over 100 million monthly active users. This represents the vast majority of iOS devices sold up to this point, based on figures released by Apple at its 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and serves to highlight the app’s importance to the iOS ecosystem.
In addition to showing over 100 million users, the app’s Facebook page also suggests that the new 3.2.2 update, released on the App Store today and said to fix login issues, may actually be targeted at users of jailbroken iOS devices who had experienced problems with the app’s latest updates. Places, a feature new to version 3.2 of Facebook that was not originally working when the application launched last week, has started to become active in a number of cities coinciding with the release of versions 3.2.1 and 3.2.2. Facebook version 3.2.2 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
A newly published Apple patent application has led to reports that the company will use a new unauthorized user recognition technology to deter users from jailbreaking iPhones. The patent application, entitled “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device,” primarily describes methods for detecting unauthorized users—people who do not normally use the device—and taking appropriate action, such as relaying information about the unauthorized user’s identity and location to the device’s owner, restricting functions, or deleting sensitive data. The controversy stems from references in the application to jailbreaking and/or unlocking the device, both of which it describes as “activities that can indicate suspicious behavior.” In July, the U.S. Library of Congress’ Copyright Office announced a decision under which jailbreaking was deemed legal and within the user’s fair use rights, which might conceivably limit Apple’s ability to discriminate against users with jailbroken devices. However, it’s unclear as to whether Apple is patenting this invention in the hopes of actually locking out users for its own purposes, deterring certain uses of its devices, or merely empowering owners to protect their own items as they wish. As with all Apple patent applications, the filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
Apple’s U.S. online store is now quoting wait times of one to three days for all models of the iPad, down from three to five days. The reduction in shipment wait times represents the second such drop in less than a week, as the wait dropped from seven to ten days to three to five days last Thursday, August 19. While wait times for the device continue to drop, UDN reports (Translated Link) that Acer Chairman JT Wang believes Apple’s share of the tablet PC market will drop from the nearly 100% share it currently enjoys to 20% - 30% due to competition from “open camp” competitors. [via Engadget]
Due to the extremely high humidity of the Hong Kong climate, some local iPhone users are facing problems with falsely-triggered moisture sensors. The South China Morning Post reports that while Apple’s guidelines call for a relative humidity of 5% to 95%, the humidity around Hong Kong regularly exceeds 95 percent, leading to false positive readings for users like Justin Hayward. “I’ve never used it in the bath, gone swimming or anything like that,” Hayward said, after being offered a replacement phone from his carrier Smartone-Vodafone for HK$1,700, or roughly $218. Hayward then made multiple calls to Apple Asia and its technical support line, receiving only on message in return. “Let’s face it; many people do break the rules. But a significant number of people are making these kind of reports,” he said. “If the limitation is over 95 per cent humidity, they ought not to be selling the product here. I find it quite unbelievable - a real piece of corporate greed or a great oversight.”
According to the report, the humidity in and around Hong Kong varies, with some parts of the area reporting humidity higher than 95% one-quarter of the time between June 1 and August 16, while other parts see humidity over 95% for 73 days, or 95% of the time, during the same period. Based on humidity resistance tests published by 3M, the company named in U.S. lawsuits as the manufacturer of the moisture indicator tape used in iPhones, the indicator strips will turn pink when exposed continuously to a temperature of 55 degrees Celsius, or 131 degrees Fahrenheit, and relative humidity of 95%. A class action suit was filed against Apple in the U.S. earlier this year over falsely-tripped moisture sensors. [via Gizmodo]
Just Mobile has debuted its new AluPen stylus for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The AluPen is a chunky, pencil-shaped stylus, which is crafted from aluminum and features an ultra-soft rubber nib for added control. Just Mobile’s AluPen stylus for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch will be available soon and will sell for $20.
If you haven’t yet entered our Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway, there’s still time 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!
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.
IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.