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Apple TV menus subject to rental content availability

iLounge has learned that the Apple TV’s main menus may be limited in functionality—or disappear altogether—depending on the types of rental content available in that country. In Canada, for example, rental movies are available, so the “Movies” menu contains the full stable of options, while the “TV Shows” menu disappears completely, as iTunes TV Show rentals aren’t yet available in that country. In another example, setting Mexico as the “Country” results in the removal of the “TV Shows” menu and an empty “Movies” menu, save for the “In Theaters” trailer option, as neither Movie nor TV Show rentals are available. Any TV Shows, Movies, or other media that users have saved to iTunes and available on their networks can be accessed through the separate “Computers” main menu listing.

Beijing Apple Store closes due to iPhone 4 scalpers

Apple’s flagship store in Beijing was forced to close its doors early today after a group of iPhone 4 scalpers created a chaotic scene. MIC Gadget reports that Apple removed its limitation on the number of contract-free iPhone 4 units any single customer could buy at the store, perhaps unintentionally paving the way for the problems ahead. The store opened at 7:00 a.m. local time, but closed only three hours later, with many customers left in the queue outside, unable to enter. The report claims that scalpers were entering the store and buying large quantities—20-30 units at a time—of iPhone 4s, then proceeding out into the mall and attempting to sell the units to passerby at a higher-than-retail price.

According to the report, people were literally being pushed into the cashier’s counter, some holding stacks of bank notes, prepared to buy as many iPhone 4 units as they could afford. The situation escalated when a group of regular customers got into a fight with the scalpers; Apple’s own security staff, along with local police, were called in to clear the store and restore order. An update to the article states that all four Chinese Apple Stores are now requiring each customer to show his/her identity card when purchasing an iPhone 4, and are limiting sales to just one per customer. In addition, Apple employees are unboxing the iPhone 4 units for customers and activating the phones immediately, preventing scalpers from purchasing the phones and reselling them as “brand new.”

iPad tethering options found in iOS 4.2 beta 2

New menu options in the Settings app of the iPad’s version of iOS 4.2 beta 2 suggest that Apple may begin to allow iPad users to tether other devices to its 3G data connection, similar to the tethering feature currently offered on the iPhone. 9 to 5 Mac reports that there is now a section for Internet Tethering within the Cellular Data>APN Settings submenu of the Settings application. The section has spaces for the APN, username, and password; according to the report, this is similar to the function’s appearance on the iPhone before it received an official iOS interface. Notably, 9 to 5 Mac could not replicate the new setting on an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G running on AT&T’s network; the iPad from which the screenshot came was running on 3’s network in Europe.

Monster intros new Beats iPod speaker, headphones

Monster has introduced five new products for its Beats by Dr. Dre audio line, including the new Beatbox iPod speaker. The Beatbox is a black, trapezoidal system featuring a top-mounted iPod and iPhone dock, digital amplification, two 5.25-inch long throw bass drivers, dual 2-inch concave high frequency drivers, and ABS housing. It will sell for $400. Also new are the iBeats by Dr. Dre, in-ear headphones engineered to deliver high-resolution sound from the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other portable audio devices. The iBeats feature an in-line ControlTalk box with remote and mic, a noise-isolating in-ear design, a single driver in each earbud, and three included custom-fit eartip sizes for a secure fit. Monster’s iBeats by Dr. Dre are priced at $120.

The rest of Monster’s new Beats lineup includes the LeBron James-endorsed Powerbeats In-ear Headphones, featuring dual drivers and a sports-friendly design for $170, the purple, Justin Bieber-endorsed JustBeats, which sell for $200 for an on-ear version or $120 for the in-ear version, and the new flagship Beats Pro over-the-ear headphones, featuring aluminum construction, flip-up ear cups, dual input/output cable ports, and all-metal hinges for $450. Monster’s new line of Beats by Dr. Dre audio products will be available in the coming weeks. [via Engadget]

WordPress app adds video support

Automattic has released an update to its official WordPress application for iOS devices, adding video support and several other new features and enhancements. WordPress for iOS is a universal application that allows users of WordPress blogs and sites to manage their content and create and edit posts and pages directly from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Version 2.6 adds the ability for users to upload video with their posts which can be recorded directly from within the app or chosen from the device’s media library. The new version also provides a new Media Library interface and features a complete overhaul of the Local Drafts functionality. A new Autosave feature allows users to revert to an earlier version of a post, and a new site setup wizard compatible with WordPress 3.0 networks and 2.9.2 multi-sites has also been added. The update also includes a number of bug fixes and other under-the-hood enhancements. WordPress 2.6 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Current theatrical release films appear on Apple TV (Updated)

During our early testing of the second-generation Apple TV, iLounge has found several films available for rent that are currently in or awaiting theatrical release. I’m Still Here, the quasi-documentary starring Joaquin Phoenix which debuted in theaters on September 10, is available for rental for $8, while the sci-fi drama Monsters is available for rental for $11, ahead of its limited theatrical release on October 29. It is unclear whether Apple has plans to continue to offer theatrical release films for rent at higher prices, or whether these offerings are simply one-off titles and not indicative of a larger trend.

Update: It appears the films were available for rent through iTunes prior to the release of the second-generation Apple TV, and are not related to the set-top box’s launch.

iPhone 4 Case Program ends, Bumpers return

Today is the last day of Apple’s iPhone 4 Case Program, meaning that any potential iPhone 4 customer needs to purchase their phone today in order to be eligible for a free case. Notably, although the purchasing window is closing, customers still have up to 30 days from the purchase date to submit their claim. With the end of the Case Program, Apple is expected to put its Bumper Cases for iPhone 4 back on store shelves, according to a new report. Citing unnamed insiders, ifoAppleStore reports that the cases are expected to reappear for purchase on Friday, and may be limited in quantity and color at first.

FlightBoard provides virtual Airport Departures and Arrivals board

Mobiata, developer of FlightTrack Pro, has released FlightBoard, a virtual airport departure and arrivals board for iOS devices. FlightBoard features a design based on the Arrivals and Departures board at Charles de Gaulle Airport and allows users to turn their screen into a view of scheduled flights for just about any airport in the world, including flight status and gate numbers. FlightBoard works with over 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide and users can quickly switch between departures and arrivals views and share flight information with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. A search interface allows users to quickly narrow results down and get real-time status for just about any flight in the world. FlightBoard is a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is available from the App Store for $4.

Second-gen Apple TV arriving in stores

iLounge has confirmed that the second-generation Apple TV is starting to arrive in Apple retail stores across the U.S. The first shipments of the device arrived at some stores as early as yesterday morning, and while it is expected that most stores should have the device in stock, we encourage readers to call ahead to ensure your local store has them on hand before heading out.

Update: iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington notes that second-generation Apple TV units began arriving in Canadian Apple Stores this afternoon.

Apple TV 2G teardown reveals 8GB of storage

iFixit has completed its teardown of the second-generation Apple TV, and has already revealed several previously unknown details of the device. Notably, the second-generation Apple TV sports 8GB of internal flash storage, equivalent to the $99 iPhone 3GS, and also features 256MB of RAM, the same as the fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad. Its Apple A4 chip bears the same marking as the one found in the fourth-generation iPod touch and iPad, but different from the iPhone 4; the Broadcom BCM4329XKUBG 802.11n Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip is also the same as the one found in the iPad. Overall, iFixit gave the second-generation Apple TV an eight out of ten for repairability thanks to its easy-to-open case, separate power supply board, and common fasteners.

iPhone tops smartphone satisfaction ratings

Apple has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any smartphone manufacturer, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study—Volume 2. Apple claimed the top spot for the fourth consecutive time with a score of 800 out of 1,000, doing particularly well in the areas of ease of use, operating system, features and physical design. Apple was followed closely by Motorola with a score of 791 and HTC with a score of 781. The ratings are based on experiences reported by 6,821 smartphone owners between January and June 2010.

Official Google Voice app approved, coming soon

TechCrunch reports that Apple has approved the official Google Voice application for the iPhone. Citing a “source close to Google” the article indicates that the application has already been approved and is now just waiting for Google to update it to work with the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 multitasking capabilities. Google first attempted to release a native iPhone application for its online telephony service last summer, however the application was rejected by Apple, citing duplicate functionality. Subsequently, several third-party Google Voice applications were also removed from the App Store based on the same policy—namely that these applications duplicated features that were already present on the iPhone, such as the Phone and Messaging applications.

Following Apple’s publication of a new set of guidelines for the App Store earlier this month, several of the previously rejected third-party Google Voice applications such as GV Mobile+ have made a sudden reappearance. Although no official word has yet been released on Google’s plans for its own Google Voice application for the iPhone, the company presently provides native applications for both the Blackberry and its own Android platform and merely an HTML5 web interface for iPhone users. A native application would be able to offer features that a web-based application cannot, such as Push Notifications and tighter integration with other iOS applications.

Pendle outs new Stand for iPad

Pendle Products has outed its new iPad Stand. The silver-covered stand can hold the iPad in either an inclined or reclined position, and offers full dock connector access in either portrait or landscape orientation, rubber and plastic supports to alleviate scratches, and laser cut steel. Pendle Products’ iPad Stand is available now and sells for £30, or roughly $47.

Apple TV 2G interface runs on iPod touch

An iOS developer has managed to extract the second-generation Apple TV’s main interface and run it on an iPod touch. Named Lowtide.app, the interface was built with support for multiple devices, including the iPad, in its list of supported hardware, TUAW reports. Developer Dustin Howett took the application and managed to get it running on an iPod touch, although it required modification of the iPod touch’s software, to the point where it needed to be completely restored to regain its normal functionality. Notably, the application runs at full resolution and therefore does not display the entire Apple TV interface on the iPod touch, but instead only the furthest left portion. A video of the interface in action on the iPod touch is embedded below.

Booq Boa Folio offers space for iPad + iPhone, iPod touch

Booq has introduced its new Boa Folio case for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The Boa Folio is a carrying case for iPad made from Nappa leather or Booq’s Twylon ballistic fabric, and features a dedicated iPhone/iPod touch pocket on the front flap, a closing strap to hold the case closed when travelling, a molded bumper to protect and securely hold the iPad inside, the ability to fold flat, at a low angle for typing, or at a nearly vertical angle for video viewing, and a large interior document pocket. The Booq Boa Folio for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now in five colors and sells for $90 for the leather versions or $50 for Twylon models.

Weather HD comes to iPhone, iPod touch

Vimov has released an update adding iPhone and iPod touch support to Weather HD. Originally designed and released for the iPad, Weather HD displays real-time weather conditions in an artistic high-definition visual display of actual weather patterns. Users can configure the application to provide weather for multiple cities and optionally display a seven-day forecast as well as the current time. As of version 1.5, Weather HD is now a universal app providing support for the iPhone and iPod touch including Retina Display support and also now allows users to display additional weather information such as chance of precipitation, pressure and visibility. Weather HD is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.

SwitchEasy debuts Trim case for iPhone 4

SwitchEasy has debuted its new Trim case for the iPhone 4. The Trim is a one-piece hybrid case featuring sides made of a scratch resistant hydro polymer material and a polycarbonate back, push-though coverage for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, and open access to the ring/silent switch, screen, and cameras. In addition, it includes two anti-static screen protectors, a microfiber wipe, two Universal Dock adapters—one white, one black—a video stand, two 30-pin port protectors, and two 3.5mm headphone jack protectors. SwitchEasy’s Trim for the iPhone 4 is available now in three colors and sells for $20.

Apple posts iOS 4.2 beta 2, iTunes 10.1 beta

Apple has released its second beta version of iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, along with its accompanying SDK and a new beta version of iTunes 10.1. It is unclear what new features are present in the update, although it does appear to offer a slightly altered multitasking animation. Slated for a November release, iOS 4.2 will bring several new features to Apple’s mobile device OS, including AirPlay streaming, AirPrint wireless printing, and the ability to import .ics files directly into Calendar as new events, and will bring the iPad’s software feature set into parity with the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s iOS 4.2 beta 2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch and iTunes 10.1 beta are available now as free downloads for paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Photo of the Week: iPad in Botswana

This week’s featured photo is from our iPads Around the World gallery, and shows an iPad in front of a herd of pachyderm in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Interestingly, the shot shows not only the iPad, but also a reflection of the iPhone 4 that took the photo. 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!

H2O Audio releases Surge 2G Waterproof Sport Headphones

H2O has released its new Surge 2G Waterproof Sport Headphones. The new Surge 2G headphones are 100% sweatproof and waterproof, and features a new design for improved sound, an aerodynamic profile that provides an improved fit and reduces drag, 8mm neodymium drivers, and five included sets of Elastomer earplugs to ensure a waterproof seal and comfortable fit. H2O Audio’s new Surge 2G Waterproof Sport Headphones are available now and sell for $50.

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