NASA has released a native iPad version of its free NASA App for the iPhone and iPod touch. NASA App HD provides access to a comprehensive library of news and information from NASA presented more effectively using the larger iPad display, including access to thousands of images from NASA’s various image libraries, on-demand NASA videos, live streaming of NASA TV, current mission information, launch information and ISS and satellite tracking. Like its iPhone counterpart, NASA App HD also includes access to NASA Twitter feeds and support for sharing information via Facebook Connect and an integrated Twitter client along with a map and links to all of the various NASA centers. NASA App HD is available from the App Store as a free download; a Wi-Fi or 3G network connection is required to use the application.
- September 3, 2010
- iPod Accessories
Scosche Industries has unveiled six new case designs for the fourth-generation iPod touch and two for the new iPod nano. The classic KickBack case with integrated kickstand for landscape video viewing has been updated for the new iPod touch with a glossy polycarbonate exterior and a flexible impact-resistant rubber interior. The KickBack t4 will be available in black, grey, or white with grey molding for $30. The KickBack t4 will also be available as part of a SwitchKase t4 combo pack that will include a smooth silicone skin and removable sport armband for the iPod touch for $40. Scosche is also introducing several other new cases including the SwitchBack t4 ($35) which includes a solid black or white frame and three interchangeable polycarbonate backs in a choice of six possible colors, with two smooth backs and one back with a hinged kickstand. The new MetalliKase t4 ($25) is a low-profile metallic polycarbonate case that will be available in chrome and dark metallic colors and include a mirrored screen protector and the BeefKase t4 ($25) provides a leather back and a polycarbonate shell. For the iPod nano, the TightGrip case provides a full silicone enclosure and will sell in packs of three cases in different colors for $20, with six possible color choices. The SoundKase n6 ($20) is a sweat-proof silicon and neoprene case and armband designed for users to work out with their iPod nano and features an integrated key slot. In addition to the new cases, Scosche will also be offering three new screen protectors for the iPod touch: The SatinShield t4 anti-glare (two-pack, $15), ProFlect t4 mirrored (two-pack, $20) and KlearCoat t4 ultra-clear (three-pack, $15). The new products are expected to begin shipping over the next few weeks.
Philips has released the Fidelio, a new docking speaker system for iPad, iPhone and iPod devices with wireless Bluetooth streaming capabilities. The Fidelio provides docking playback and charging capabilities for all recent iPod classic, iPod nano and iPhone models with a larger dock area to also accommodate the iPad. The speaker system can be powered by an AC power supply or internal rechargeable battery that provides up to 5 hours of operating time. Sound is delivered by two 3” full range woofers with 2x15 W RMS stereo output and users can adjust volume and pause or change tracks using the including multi-function remote control. The Fidelio also provides A2DP/AVRCP Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to play back music or game audio using the built-in Bluetooth capabilities on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. A free Fidelio+ app is available to allow further customization of the speaker system directly from the iOS device including access to a five-band equalizer and customizable alarm settings with sleep timer and the ability to wake to music, nature sounds and/or photos.
- September 3, 2010
- iPod Accessories
XtremeMac has announced its new line of cases for the fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano. The new offerings include the company’s signature form-fitting silicon Tuffwrap series of cases which will be available in four colors and sold in packs of two, the Tuffwrap Tatu with unique laser-engraved design patterns on the back and the Tuffwrap Play, a soft and flexible plastic case with ergonomic grips designed for gaming. The company’s new Microshield line of cases include the Microshield Basic, a clear hard-plastic case, the Microshield Accent which combines a hard plastic back and colorful rubber border and the Microshield View, a two-piece case with a removable bottom for easy docking and an integrated kickstand for watching videos. The XtremeMac Hybrid is a two-piece case with a hard plastic back and silicone overlay and is available in black or purple. XtremeMac will also be releasing its lycra and neoprene Sportwrap armband for the iPod touch and iPod nano which provides an anti-glare front and removable earbud cord wrap and a series of Tuffshield screen protectors for both devices in glossy, matte and mirrored versions. The XtremeMac iPod touch and nano cases will be priced in the $13 to $30 U.S. range and will be available for purchase in October.
According to a support FAQ from Apple, rented TV Shows are limited to being played on devices running iOS 4.1 or later. Specifically, the FAQ indicates that rented TV shows downloaded via iTunes 10 can be played only on the computer, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS or iPod touch and HD TV rentals can only be played on the computer, iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation) and that iOS 4.1 or later is required. This restriction not only prevents rented TV Shows from being played on Click Wheel iPods and the first-generation Apple TV but also rules out iPad compatibility at least until such time as iOS 4.2 ships in November. It is also uncertain at this time if TV Shows rented in iTunes 10 can be streamed to the second-generation Apple TV or whether users will need to rent TV shows directly on the device. Further, as with the movie rental restrictions discovered earlier this month, the FAQ also indicates that TV Shows rented on the iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch are “not transferable to any other device or computer” meaning that they must be watched only on the device used to rent them.
- September 2, 2010
The Wall Street Journal reports that Deutsche Telekom AG will be losing its exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in Germany ahead of the holiday season. Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ report indicates that although nothing has yet been finalized, negotiations are “in an advanced stage” for competing providers Vodafone and O2 to begin selling the iPhone following the end of Deutsche Telekom’s exclusivity, which could end as early as October. Deutsche Telekom has held exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in Germany since its release in that country in November 2007. Germany is the last major European market in which a single provider continues to have iPhone exclusivity. O2 lost its exclusivity in the UK just prior to last year’s holiday season and the market opened up in France earlier last year following a legal ruling.
Apple has confirmed to Ars Technica that it will not be releasing an update to bring the new second-generation Apple TV features such as Netflix streaming to the older device. As with other products Apple has discontinued, the first-generation Apple TV will continue to work in the same way as it already has: users will continue to be able to purchase movies and TV shows directly from the first-generation Apple TV and download new content to the device’s internal hard drive. Notably, however, the first-generation Apple TV will not provide any support for TV Show Rentals, even those rented directly within iTunes 10.
- September 2, 2010
As noted when iTunes 10 launched yesterday with Apple’s new music social network Ping, the official release of the software came roughly eight hours after its announcement—considerably later than had originally been expected. Reports have suggested that the delay may have been the result of a last-minute contractual problem between Apple and Facebook, which reportedly proposed “onerous terms,” leading Apple to remove a promised Facebook Connect option for locating a user’s existing friends online.
The Facebook Connect feature briefly appeared within iTunes 10’s Ping feature last night, as shown in the screenshot above, before disappearing entirely. iLounge editors testing the feature found no contacts available via the service while it was available. Users now have the option to manually search the Ping database for people or artists, or invite friends via e-mail; Facebook and Twitter sharing links for individual media files still appear elsewhere within the iTunes Store. It’s unclear whether Facebook Connect will return to Ping in the future. Additional screenshots are available below.
- September 2, 2010
In an unexpected change to its “Buy a Mac, get a free iPod” promotion for educational customers, which runs through September 7 of this year, Apple will not offer students rebates on iPod models announced yesterday, a limitation snuck into a just-updated Terms and Conditions PDF on its Apple Store web site. Since late May, Apple’s web site has promised students and educators a free 8GB iPod touch or less expensive iPod model with the purchase of a new Mac computer, issuing up to $199 as a rebate after the combined purchase. Now, however, the new Terms and Conditions claim that the “new models are NOT ELIGIBLE for the Back to School promotion, and rebate “claims submitted in conjunction with these new products will not be honored.”
As noted by Macworld UK, neither the change in terms nor the way to take advantage of the promotion to order old models is obvious when viewing Apple’s web site. “Because the promotion says that you have to pay for the iPod first, then reclaim the money later,” a reader pointed out, “I suspect there might be quite a lot of disgruntled students in a few weeks time, when they discover that they’ve bought an iPod they really couldn’t afford and that they’re now not going to get the money back for it.”
iLounge has confirmed that this change is impacting U.S. customers who placed orders yesterday for new Macs and iPods, as the company’s telephone representatives are claiming that rebates—despite the lack of conspicuous notice during the ordering process yesterday—will be denied.
AKG, a brand of Harman, has introduced a new line of Quincy Jones Signature headphones. The lineup includes the Q701 “reference-class” over-the-ear headphones featuring a flat-wire voice coil, a Varimotion two-layer diaphragm, and neodymium drivers, the Q460 portable on-ear mini headphones featuring a folding design, a detachable cable, and an iPhone-compatible in-line microphone and remote, and the Q350 in-ear headphones with three included pairs of silicone sleeves, a cable winder, and an iPhone-compatible in-line microphone and remote. AKG’s Q701, Q460, and Q350 headphones will be available in October and will be priced between $150 and $480.
Apple has posted its first TV advertisements for the fourth-generation iPod touch and sixth-generation iPod nano online. The fourth-generation touch commercial is similar to past spots for the device, showing off its video-recording, gaming, and FaceTime features against a white background, set the to song “Come Home” by Chappo. The sixth-generation iPod nano commercial is also shot against a white background, and is shown being clipped to various people’s clothing while they manipulate the touch-based controls; the song “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake is played in the background. Apple’s new iPod commercials are available for viewing now on the company’s website.
In separate interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek and AllThingsD, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has provided some insight into yesterday’s announcements. Jobs told Bloomberg that Apple could open an App Store for the TV when the time is right. When asked if the iPad could evolve into the TV of the future, Jobs said, “That’s how I do most of my TV watching today.” Discussing Apple’s new Ping social networking service, Jobs told AllThingsD that the company had held talks with Facebook about a variety of potential partnerships, but that the talks went nowhere, due to “onerous terms that [Apple] could not agree to.” Jobs did say that the service could incorporate Facebook Connect, making it easier to find friends, but said that users can still find friends by typing their names into search or sending them email invitations. Curiously, several reports—which have been confirmed by iLounge editors—indicate that a Facebook Connect option was seen for a brief time on Apple’s Ping service before being removed for unspecified reasons.
Apple has posted a stream of yesterday’s Fall 2010 iPod event on its website, as well as a downloadable version on its Apple Keynotes podcast. During the event, Apple announced iOS 4.1 and 4.2, new models of the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod touch, iTunes 10 with the new Ping social networking service, and a new cheaper streaming-based Apple TV. For more information on the event, see our summary article, our complete transcript, and our image gallery of the new products.
Twitter has released a universal update, adding iPad support to its official Twitter app for iOS devices. Earlier this year, Twitter acquired Tweetie for the iPhone and iPod touch for it to become the company’s official Twitter app. As part of the acquisition, Tweetie developer Loren Brichter was brought onto Twitter’s staff to continue further development of the app including work on developing an iPad-native version. Now released as a universal app for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad devices, Twitter 3.1 on the iPad provides all of the features of the iPhone version with an enhanced user interface optimized for the larger screen. Web pages, photos and videos are easily accessible from within the timeline and users can tap on any tweet and a related content pane opens to display linked content from within the tweet such as media content, web pages, profile information and hashtag searches. Panels can be slid from side to side to allow users to quickly navigate through related content, and can use two-finger pinch and drag operations to quickly peek into tweets for related information, actions and replies. Users can also access the public Twitter timelines and searches without requiring a Twitter account, or sign up for an account directly within the app. Twitter 3.1 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
- September 1, 2010
In addition to the release of iTunes 10 for Mac and PC earlier this evening, Apple has brought the Ping social music networking feature to the free iTunes application for iPhone and iPod touch. Rather than offering Ping as a standalone application, the company has integrated most of its features into a button that’s now found at the bottom of iTunes, using button-style tabs to let you switch between a timeline of Activity, lists of People you follow and who follow you, plus Profile, which contains a seemingly non-editable version of the profile you create with the desktop application.
Notably, the Ping button does not appear as of yet in the iPad version of iTunes, and may not do so until the November release of iOS 4.2.
Update: Ping does not appear to work on iOS 3 devices, including original iPhone and iPod touch models, unupdated iPhone 3G/3GS or iPod touch models, or the iPad.
- September 1, 2010
Eight hours after announcing iTunes 10, Apple has released the latest version of its digital media management software for free download from Apple.com and iTunes.com. As discussed more fully in our earlier iTunes 10 story, the software adds a new Ping social networking feature, a Hybrid View of songs with album art, and a collection of small refinements to the user interface, as well as promising performance improvements. Grab it from iTunes.com now, or wait for either the iTunes 9 software (PC/Mac) or Mac OS X to let you know that the new version is available.
Update 2: Note that Ping-related e-mail follow requests from Apple contain a web link that is currently not working. Using the Ping > People screen from within the iTunes Store will let you acknowledge and add followers.
- September 1, 2010
Apple’s release of the final version of iOS 4.1 to end users is days away, but we’ve just received screenshots showing off two of the new and previously unannounced features: high dynamic range (HDR) photography and high-definition uploading to YouTube.
Our source indicates that the HDR camera functionality, activated by a new button on the top of the camera screen, has interesting characteristics and limitations that may be of interest to some users. First, when HDR is turned on, it now takes 3-5 seconds longer to save an HDR image on an iPhone 4, as the device gathers multiple images and uses them to create the more colorful final photograph. Second, HDR cannot be used with the flash—turning HDR on automatically turns the flash off, with the flash returning to its prior setting if HDR is turned off. Third, there’s a setting that will either keep the “normally exposed photo” or discard it when HDR is turned on. If you’re viewing this article from our main page, more screenshots can be seen by clicking on the article’s title.
According to our source, YouTube HD uploads will only work over Wi-Fi, as suggested at Apple’s event today. The HD uploading option will be disabled if Wi-Fi is not available. A sample video shown in the screenshots here shows a more than 3:1 increase in the video’s size when it jumps from standard to high resolution.
Finally, a feature previously suggested in beta versions of iOS 4.1—FaceTime calling over e-mail—now appears to at least attempt the call. With two registered devices running iOS 4.1 and logging their e-mail addresses, the feature presumably works without issues.
Epic Games has released a walk-through demo of its upcoming RPG for iOS devices demonstrated during today’s Apple iPod event. Codenamed “Project Sword,” the game is an impressive 3D RPG with detailed real-time graphics powered by the Unreal Engine 3. In the full game, players will be able to explore a medieval town and engage in combat with other players over the Internet. The current demo, Epic Citadel, available as a free download from the App Store, provides a simple walk-through of the game environment with no combat options, allowing users to simply explore the detailed 3D realm. The full version of Project Sword is expected to be released later this year.
Apple has released to developers a pre-release version of the Gold Master of iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch. The release is likely the last prior to next week’s public release of the software; it is currently unknown what changes have been made in this version, although Apple did highlight some new features that will be present in the final release during today’s iPod media event. Apple’s iOS 4.1 GM seeds for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, second-, and third-generation iPod touch are available now to paid iPhone developers from the iOS Dev Center.
iLounge has posted a gallery of Apple’s official photography for the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod touch, second-generation Apple TV, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle, all of which were announced today during the company’s annual fall music event; a full transcript of the event is available here, while the photo gallery can be viewed below.