Griffin Technology has debuted its new LightBoard case for the Apple iPad. Designed for use by children, the LightBoard is shatter-resistant polycarbonate case with openings for the speakers and headphone jack, a built-in polycarbonate screen protector, and a clipboard frame for holding pieces of 8.5” x 11” paper on the screen. The case is designed to work with LightBoard Trace app, a free application that offers more than 35 different coloring activities and figures. Griffin’s LightBoard case for the Apple iPad includes a black washable felt-tip marker and is available now and sells for $40.
AG Findings has introduced its new Vent Shell case for the iPhone 4. Made from polycarbonate, the Vent Shell features a one-piece perforated design, soft touch coating, and open access to all ports, controls, and the camera. The Vent Shell is available now in a variety of colors and sells for $20 for one case or $30 in a two-case combo pack, which is available at AT&T stores.
According to the results of the latest ChangeWave survey, the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle are dominating the e-Reader market, despite differences in the devices’ usage patterns. When asked what eBook reader they currently owned, 47 percent said the Kindle—down 15 percent since the prior survey—while 32 percent said they owned an iPad, double the 16 percent of the market it held in August. Other entrants in the market included the Sony Reader at five percent and the Barnes and Noble Nook at four. In terms of customer satisfaction, 75 percent of iPad owners said they were “very satisfied” with their device, compared to just 54 percent of Kindle owners; overall satisfaction numbers, which include both “very” and “somewhat” satisfied responses, were even at 96 percent.
Another question the survey posed was what type of content users read on their respective devices. While Kindle owners were more likely to read books on their device than iPad users—at a count of 93 percent to 76 percent, respectively, iPad owners were nearly five times more like to read newspapers and magazines than Kindle owners, and 15 times more likely to read blogs and news feeds using their devices. Finally, while just five percent of respondents said they were very likely to buy an e-Reader over the next 90 days—10 percent said they were somewhat likely—42 percent of those respondents said they were most likely to purchase an iPad, compared to 33 percent who said they were most likely to buy a Kindle. The survey was completed November 8 and included responses from more than 2,800 consumers.
Acrylic Software has released an update to its RSS reader for the iPad, adding several new features and renaming the application Pulp for iPad. Pulp provides iPad users with a customizable newspaper-style layout for reading RSS feeds, combining multiple feeds into a single page and allowing users to quickly scan through headlines, previews and photos. Users can create their own categories to separate feeds into newspaper-like pages and customize the column layout and presentation of information on each page. The application also includes support for importing feeds from Google Reader and sharing articles via e-mail and services such as Facebook and Twitter. Pulp 1.2 adds a new Magic Reader mode that allows users to view full stories from preview-only feeds presented in a clean iPad-friendly format. The update also redesigns the reading view to take better advantage of the iPad screen and provides full support for iOS 4.2 multitasking support. Pulp was originally released as Times and was renamed to Acrylic Times and then finally renamed to Pulp as a result of legal and trademark issues. Pulp for iPad is available from the App Store for $5.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly responded to a customer email, saying the company hopes to expand the scope of its AirPlay streaming feature in 2011. Mac Rumors reports that a reader emailed Jobs, asking whether Apple planned to make AirPlay video streaming available in Safari and to third-party app developers. In typically terse fashion, Jobs supposedly responded, “Yep, hope to add these features to AirPlay in 2011.” The inability to stream video from Safari or third-party apps, as well as the inability to stream videos shot on an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS directly to an Apple TV, have been discussed as major shortcomings of AirPlay.
Yelp has released an update to its social location app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding a new Check-in Offers feature. Yelp allows users to search for nearby businesses such as restaurants, bars and cafes using iOS Location Services, browse through reviews by other users and add their own quick tips, photos and reviews right from their iPhone. Yelp 4.5 adds a new Check-In Offers feature that allows users to take advantage of discounts and specials being offered by participating businesses by checking in to those locations on Yelp. Users can tap the “check-in” button within the app to indicate that they are at a business and will be presented with any available deals and offers upon checking. Businesses providing offers will be highlighted in search results and users can see a list of all offers near their location directly on the Nearby tab. Yelp is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple today officially launched the iPad in 11 more countries, while SoftBank announced a steep subsidy on iPad 3G models in concert with multi-month contracts. Included in today’s launches are the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the previously announced South Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan. As Mac Rumors notes, pricing, retail distribution, and cellular data providers vary from country to country; interested customers should check with Apple to find out more information regarding availability. In addition, SoftBank is now offering a new pricing plan (Translated Link) which makes the 16GB 3G model free with a 24 month contract; customers must agree to pay 4,725 yen, or roughly $56, monthly for 3G service, with the 32GB and 64GB 3G models adding 400 and 790 yen to the monthly cost, respectively. [via Engadget]
Virgin Digital has released Project, a new multimedia magazine designed specifically for the iPad. Project promises coverage of a wide range of topics including international culture, entertainment, design, business and travel though a free reader app that sells individual monthly issues for $3. Each issue includes content updated daily throughout that month, as well as videos, photo galleries and music. Previously purchased issues can be kept in the app or re-downloaded later at no additional charge. Project requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Initial Thoughts on Project from iLounge’s Editors: Despite the hype that’s been circulating recently over the very existence of Project as a rival to News Corp.‘s upcoming iPad-exclusive publication Daily, it’s safe to say that you can easily save $3 by skipping this new magazine. Excited by the prospect of a publication guided by Virgin’s Richard Branson, we instead found Project to be a third-rate clone of the many Adobe-aided iPad magazines we’ve seen before, filling pages with weak, laddie mag-class writing and quite possibly the most useless Jeff Bridges interview we’ve ever read. Apart from its back end, which seeks to fuse what amount to blog-like web updates and comments into the application, there’s precious little novelty here.
Apple has updated its Game Center terms of service, notifying users that their full names will be used in conjunction with friend requests. “We have changed the Game Center terms and conditions to provide you notice that if you send a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the recipient,” the new document states. “If you accept a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the sender.” Notably, it appears users’ full names will not be shared with other users sending unknown friend requests, unless they accept the invitations.
Olivier Sanche, Apple’s Director of Global Data Center Operations, passed away last week after suffering a heart attack, according to a new report. Citing Tweets and blog postings from some of Sanche’s friends, Data Center Knowledge reports that Sanche joined Apple in August 2009, and oversaw the preparations for the company’s new $1 billion data center in North Carolina. Prior to Apple, Sanche headed data center teams at AT&T, Telecity Group and eBay; for the latter, he oversaw the design and construction of eBay’s “Topaz” data center in Utah, which recently received LEED Gold certification for its sustainable construction. “Olivier loved being at Apple as he could do things he could get done nowhere else,” friend Dave Ohara wrote. “He had vision, passion, and drive to do the right thing, especially for the environment.”
The iPhone leads the smartphone industry in owner loyalty, according to a new study. Citing a survey by German market research company GfK, Reuters reports that just 25 percent of planned to stay loyal to the operating system running on their phone, with Apple grabbing the highest loyalty rating at 59 percent. Apple was followed by RIM—35 percent of BlackBerry users said they would stay loyal—then Android at 28 percent, 24 percent for Symbian users, and just 21 percent for Microsoft Windows Phone users. “Loyalty with a handset is a lot more complicated these days in that people buy into experiences at the high-end level,” said Ryan Garner, the lead analyst on the survey. “If a phone doesn’t do what it says it will do or what the owner hopes it will do, the maker will lose loyalty.” GfK conducted the survey of 2,653 mobile phone users in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Britain, the United States and China online during October and November.
Netputing has released version 1.7 of its AirPrint Hacktivator for Mac OS X, a free utility that allows printing from an iOS device to any shared printer over Wi-Fi. According to the utility’s release notes, the new version was rewritten to modify only one file, which is backed up prior to installation. After installing the software and turning it on, users simply need to remove and add back the printers they would like to share with their iOS devices. AirPrint Hacktivator for Mac OS X is available now as a free download from Netputing’s website.
Apple has added to its legal team ahead of key legal battles with rival companies Nokia, HTC, and Motorola. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Apple and Nokia are squaring off before the International Trade Commission this week, with each side alleging intellectual property violations. “These are very well-known, deep-pocketed, high-end manufacturers,” said Lyle Vander Schaaf, an attorney at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Washington, who handles cases before the ITC. “Usually you have one 800-pound gorilla going after a new entrant. Here you’ve got 800-pound gorillas fighting each other.” According to the report, Apple has been the most-sued technology company since 2008, and has hired some of the country’s top patent lawyers as outside counsel, with experience representing companies such as Creative Technology, Broadcom, and Merck & Co. Apple also added an in-house attorney to its ranks this year, hiring former Sun Microsystems head of IP counsel Noreen Krall; Krall now focuses on intellectual property litigation for Apple.
Don’t forget to download our 2011 iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers’ Guide if you haven’t already. Topping 200 pages, the 2011 Guide includes tons of helpful shopping information, like lists of the lowest-priced and smartest places to buy iPods, iPhones, and accessories, selling prices so you can trade up your old model, sections dedicated to the best 100 games and 100 essential apps for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, up-to-date lists of top-rated accessories—sorted by device model and by category, and more. It’s a must-download for anyone who has an Apple-minded loved one on their holiday shopping list.
The 2011 iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers’ Guide is available in a computer- and iPad-friendly wide-screen version, a single-page version suitable for printing, and a small-screen version for viewing on the iPhone or iPod touch. iPad users: The two-page version is entirely readable on the iPad; the one-page version increases the amount of page-turning but makes text larger on the iPad, and is easier to print if need be. We strongly recommend that iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users download the Guide to their computers, then drag and drop it into iTunes for reading in iBooks. Each version is completely free for iLounge readers, and distributed in PDF format for maximum compatibility across devices. For additional details, click here to see the full story. And please do your part to share the Guide by telling a friend, or hosting it on your file sharing network of choice. Enjoy!
Parrot has released an update to the Free Flight app for its AR.Drone Quadricopter adding native iPad support. Free Flight 1.6 is now a universal app that can be used on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, scaling the AR.Drone’s camera images to fit the iPad display. Control sizes within the app have also been appropriately adapted for the larger iPad screen and users can now adjust the transparency setting for control buttons. Free Flight 1.6 also includes a firmware update for the AR.Drone and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has confirmed the purchase of a 98-acre site near its existing headquarters in Cupertino, CA. The site has served as a longtime campus for rival tech company Hewlett-Packard, and sits across the street from a 50-acre site that Apple acquired in 2006 and had previously announced as the location for a planned second campus. “We now occupy 57 buildings in Cupertino and our campus is bursting at the seams,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told the San Jose Mercury News. “These offices will give us more space for our employees as we continue to grow.” Apple and HP declined to give the sale price or any specifics of the transaction, although local real estate experts suggest the asking price may have been $300 million or more.
According to a new study of consumers conducted by The NPD Group, 11 percent of consumers are likely to purchase an iPad by February 2011. Citing a NPD “fact sheet,” AppleInsider reports that the survey also found that iPad usage increases with length of ownership; consumers who owned an iPad for two months or less use it for around 15 hours per week, a stat that increases to 18 hours/week in those who have had their iPads for more than three months. According to the report, NPD also found that 58 percent of iPad owners purchased the Wi-Fi only model, suggesting the sales ratio of Wi-Fi to 3G models is around 6 to 4.
Apple is offering discounts on a select group of accessories for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod in celebration of “Cyber Monday,” the online counterpart to Black Friday. The discounts include $40 off the Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox speaker, $20 off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD Headphones, $4 off the Twelve South Compass Portable Stand for iPad, and $13 off an iPhone-friendly Cole Haan Zip Wallet. These and the other discounts are available today only on Apple’s online store.
Several iOS developers are offering Black Friday specials today on the App Store, with discounts of up to 80% off normal prices and popular games and apps selling today for as low as $1.
In the GPS and navigation category, ALK Technologies is offering three of its CoPilot Live apps at approximately 50% off the normal prices. CoPilot Live USA is available for $3, CoPilot Live North America at $10, and CoPilot Live HD North America, for the iPad, at $20.
Navigon is also offering 50% off on its USA and MyRegion GPS navigation apps, with MobileNavigator USA priced at $30 today, and MobileNavigator MyRegion East, MyRegion West and MyRegion Central at $20 each.
Vito Technology, creators of the popular Star Walk stargazing guide has marked all of their apps down to a dollar for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Apps on sale for $1 include Star Walk for iPhone, Star Walk for iPad, Solar Walk, Geo Walk for iPad and Family Doctor. The company is also offering its Geo Walk for iPhone for free during the sale. All of the apps can be found on Vito Technology’s App Store page.
Readdle has marked down its apps by 80%, including its popular Readdle Docs document viewing app which is selling for $1 (iPhone) and $2 (iPad). Readdle’s other apps have been similarly marked down, including PDF Expert ($2), Calendars ($2), Scanner Pro ($1), Printer Pro ($2). These apps can be found on Readdle’s App Store Page. Readdle’s sale runs until November 30th, 12:00 PM PDT.
On the gaming front, Namco Networks has slashed prices on almost all of its titles down to $1. Games on sale include all of the PAC-MAN titles, Pole Position Remix, Pool Pro Online, Star Trigon and more. Other Namco games are also on sale including Ace Combat Xi, I Love Katarmari and Ridge Racer Accelerated at $3 each and Time Crisis 2nd Strike at $5. The games can all be found on the Namco Networks App Store page.
Gameloft has marked down several of its popular iPhone and iPad titles to $1 today, including Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 2 for iPad, Hero of Sparta II and Hero of Sparta II HD, Asphalt 5, Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front and Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front HD, UNO, The Settlers and The Settlers HD, NFL 2011, Let’s Golf 2 and Let’s Golf 2 HD, Shrek Kart and Shrek Kart HD, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Splinter Cell: Conviction HD and Shrek Forever After: The Game HD. The sale runs until Sunday, November 28th.
Electronic Arts has slashed prices on many of its popular games by up to 80% with many titles marked down to $1, including The Sims 3 World Adventures, The Sims 3 Ambitions, SimCity Deluxe, NCAA Football by EA Sports, Need for Speed Shift, Tetris, Littlest Pet Shop, Need for Speed Undercover, Yahtzee HD, RISK, The Game of Life, Monopoly, Monopoly Here & Now The World Edition, Scrabble, Reckless Racing HD and The Simpsons Arcade. MADDEN NFL 11 by EA Sports for iPad, Rock Band, Mirror’s Edge for iPad and Scrabble for iPad are on sale for $5 each.
Chillingo is also offering deep discounts of up to 80% off many of its popular titles, including Cogs HD ($2), Billabong Surf Trip ($1), Radio Flare Redux ($1), Radio Flare Redux HD ($1), Parking Mania HD ($1), Defender Chronicles - Legend of the Desert King ($1), Master of Alchemy HD ($1), Master of Alchemy ($1) and Fiona’s Flowers HD ($1). Chillingo’s sale runs until Sunday, November 28th.
Pangea Software is selling all of its games for $1 for a limited time. The list of games includes Enigmo, Enigmo 2, Enigmo Deluxe, Cro-Mag Rally, Nanosaur 2, Billy Frontier, Bugdom 2, Warheads, Otto Matic and Antimatter. All of the games can be found on Pangea’s App Store page.
As today marks the holiday of Thanksgiving in the U.S., all of us here at iLounge would like to take this opportunity to say how thankful we are for your continued readership and support, and to wish you a happy holiday. We will be on a limited posting schedule today and tomorrow; we will return to normal updates on Monday, November 29th. Happy Thanksgiving!