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Apptwee debuts Ri Universal Remote for iOS

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Apptwee has debuted its new Ri Universal Remote accessory for iOS devices. The Ri is a small white accessory that connects via the headphone port and features an IR blaster on the front. Working in conjunction with the company’s free Ri App for iOS, it allows users to control their home theater equipment and any other device that accepts IR-based remote control signals directly from their device. Apptwee’s Ri Universal Remote for iOS is available now for pre-order and sells for $20.

Apple TV available through Dec. 16 for $80

  • December 13, 2010
  • Deals,

Apple Authorized Dealer DataVis is currently offering a hefty discount on the second-generation Apple TV. Now through 2:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 16, customers can purchase the set-top box from DataVis for just $79.99 via eBay, representing a discount of $19 off the standard $99 retail price. The listing indicates that limited quantities are available at this price. [via Dealmac]

Nike stores pushing iPod-less Nike+ solutions

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After years of touting the tight integration between the Nike + iPod Sport Kit and various iPod nano models, Nike has taken a surprising and seemingly anti-iPod position in its holiday marketing of a new Nike+ product. Touting “the freedom of running without music,” new Nike signage brings shoppers’ attention to the Nike+ SportBand, an iPod-less wristband solution that tracks distance, pace, time, and calories burned using a USB-ready dongle rather than the iPod nano. Given the previously close development relationship between Nike and Apple, it is unclear whether this is merely a push by Nike to bolster awareness and sales of the SportBand, or a negative reaction to Apple’s devolution of the latest iPod nano model, designed to undermine the value of music during workouts.

Toshiba building plant to make LCDs for Apple

  • December 13, 2010
  • Apple,

Toshiba will spend roughly $1.2 billion to build a new factory for making small LCD panels, primarily for Apple, according to a new report. Citing the Nikkei business daily, Reuters reports that the factory will be built in the Ishikawa prefecture and will produce high-resolution, low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels. Work on the plant is expected to start by early next year with production expected to begin in the second half of 2011; Toshiba already makes such panels at a nearby factory, and its month production capacity of 8.55 million units is expected to more than double with the new factory. Notably, the report claims that Apple will invest a portion of the investment necessary to build the new factory; the report did not indicate in which product or products the panels may be used.

LTE-capable iPhone to launch on Verizon soon?

Apple plans to announce an LTE-capable iPhone on Verizon Wireless “right after Christmas,” according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source believed to be familiar with the matter, MacDailyNews reports that Verizon held management training for iPhone sales last week, and had functioning, LTE-capable units in management hands during the sessions. The report also states that the device has been finished for “quite a while” and is already to shipping in bulk to Verizon warehouses; the device is reportedly not shipping to any third-party retailers in an effort to contain leaks. Due to the limited LTE coverage currently offered by Verizon, the phone will have multi-band chip backward compatibility with regular CDMA networks, but will be promoted as the only “LTE iPhone,” and will be a Verizon exclusive. Furthermore, the report claims that the iPhone 5 was planned to debut in summer 2011 as an LTE-only handset for all contracted carriers, but LTE coverage is not expected to be widespread enough for an LTE-only launch; Apple CEO Steve Jobs is said to be upset that carriers cannot seem to get LTE rolled out more quickly, and the company is reportedly “helping” U.S. carriers to speed up their build outs of LTE technology.

Notably, MacDailyNews states that the information has yet to be independently confirmed. Apple has traditionally taken a conservative approach when it comes to including cutting-edge connectivity options in its products—for example, the original iPhone launched without support for available 3G networks, and Apple has not supported next-generation wired or wireless standards such as USB 3 or WiMAX despite roll-outs of compatible hardware by other companies. The Verizon LTE launch was more widespread than initially expected, however, and the launch of Verizon’s iPad + MiFi bundle, as well recent comments made by AT&T executives, suggest that a collaboration of some sort between Apple and Verizon is ongoing, lending credence to the possibility of such an aggressive iPhone launch plan.

Google releases official Latitude app

Google has released an official iOS application for its Latitude location sharing service. Google Latitude for the iPhone allows users to share their own location and view friends’ locations on the Latitude service. Friends’ locations can be viewed either as a list or using an integrated map within the application and users can initiate phone calls or send text and e-mail messages directly from the friends list. The application also supports iOS Background Location services on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 to allow the user’s location to be updated even while the application is not open and privacy controls allow users to choose to share only their city-level location or hide their location entirely on a per-contact basis. Google Latitude is available from the App Store as a free download.

Judge dismisses patent complaint against Apple

  • December 13, 2010
  • Apple,

A federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a patent infringement complaint filed against Apple and several other tech companies for being too vague. The lawsuit was filed by Interval Licensing, a company controlled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and alleged that Apple, along with Google, YouTube, Facebook, AOL, eBay, Netflix, Staples, and OfficeMax, infringes on four patents owned by Interval. The Wall Street Journal reports that both Google and Apple filed motions to dismiss the suit, claiming that the complaint didn’t specify which of the various companies’ products were infringing. “The allegations in the complaint are spartan,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in her decision. Interval has until December 28 to file an amended complaint, which a spokesperson for Allen indicated was in the company’s plans, calling the dismissal a “procedural issue.”

Apple adds iTun.es URLs, playlists to Ping

Apple has started using its iTun.es domain as a URL shortener, while adding playlist sharing to Ping, its new music-focused social network. The iTun.es domain, which Apple purchased in 2006, is now used for shortening URLs in Twitter updates sent from Ping. As 9 to 5 Mac notes, Apple previously used the t.co URL shortening service with Ping. In addition, Apple has added the ability for Ping users to create playlists which can be shared, added to by friends, rated, and reviewed. To create a playlist, users simply need to click on the “Create a Ping Playlist” link on the right side of Ping’s Recent Activity page, and then search for songs to add—unfortunately, users are currently unable to import previously made iTunes playlists into Ping.

Enter the Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway today

Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway. In our giveaway of the month for December, iLounge and Uncommon are giving away 200 custom iPhone 4 Deflector cases, which can be customized by the winners with their own images or with artwork from Uncommon’s galleries. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on December 31, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple bidding on Nortel wireless patents

Apple is among several companies expected to bid on patents owned by telecom company Nortel Networks. Reuters reports that the patents, which pertain to third- and fourth-generation wireless technology such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), are expected to draw bids Apple, Google, Motorola, and Research In Motion as the companies fight legal battles over patents related to mobile handsets. The patents are part of an auction of bankrupt Nortel Networks’ portfolio of intellectual property, which also includes patents relating to optical and data networking, Internet, Internet advertising, voice and personal computers. The auction is said to have been underway for about seven months. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple gift poll ends, new Apple TV poll begins

With over 2,800 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Do you plan to purchase an Apple media product as a gift this holiday season, and if so, which one?”—has ended. Readers were given a choice between all of Apple’s media products, as well as an option for those who don’t plan on gifting an Apple product this year.

The iPod touch and iPad were nearly deadlocked for most popular gift, with the iPod touch receiving 19 percent of the overall vote and the iPad accounting for 18 percent. Those two iOS products were followed by two more, the Apple TV and iPhone, both of which received six percent of the overall vote. The iPod nano was next with five percent, followed by the iPod shuffle with two percent, and the iPod classic, which one percent of readers said they would be giving as a gift. Meanwhile, a sizable portion of readers—43 percent—don’t plan on purchasing an Apple media product as a gift this year. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on the second-generation Apple TV. We’d simply like to know whether or not you’ve bought a new Apple TV. Our new poll—“Did you buy a new Apple TV?”—lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge poll in the left hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Cast your vote today!

iPad users complain of slow Wi-Fi under iOS 4.2

  • December 10, 2010
  • iPad,

A number of iPad users are reporting sluggish Wi-Fi performance following the installation of iOS 4.2. According to a lengthy thread on Apple’s Support Discussions, the problem seems to affect both iPad Wi-Fi and iPad 3G models and multiple brands of routers, including Apple AirPort units; some users report having fixed the issue by rebooting their routers and/or resetting the network settings. It is unclear how widespread the problem is or when a fix might be available for those affected. If you’re having problems with Wi-Fi performance on your iPad running iOS 4.2, let us know in the comments. [via TUAW]

New edition of iLounge Weekly coming later today

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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.

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Fanny Wang unveils on-ear headphones

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Fanny Wang Headphones, a new company founded by Hard Candy Cases CEO Tim Hickman, has announced its first offering, a pair of On Ear Headphones. Featuring a Beats by Dr. Dre-inspired design—the company claims the sound engineer behind the acoustics of Monster’s popular headphones also worked on Fanny Wang’s—the new headphones sport 40 mm titanium drivers, a “DuoJack” inline splitter for sharing music, a collapsible tri-fold design with a metal hinge, and a sound signature that is said to include a modest bass boost while remaining appropriate for various genres of music. In addition to the initial On Ear offerings, the company also plans to launch on-ear iPhone and over-ear noise-canceling models in Q1 2011. Fanny Wang’s new On Ear Headphones are available for pre-order now in red, black, or white, and will ship December 27 for $150.

Firemint announces Real Racing 2

Firemint has announced details on its upcoming sequel to Real Racing for the iPhone and iPod touch. Real Racing 2 introduces a number of new features along with 30 officially licensed cars, 15 locations, five different game modes and support for online multiplayer races of up to 16 players. Among the new officially licensed cars are the 2010 BMW M6 Competition Edition, the 2010 Jaguar XKR, 2010 Lotus Exige and 1995 McLaren F1 GTR, with additional cars from Chevolet, Ford/Shelby, Nissan/Super GT, Volkswagen and Volvo. Real Racing 2 provides a 16 car grid for authentic pack racing action against either computer-controlled AI opponents or up to 15 other players that can be auto-matched or invited through Apple’s Game Center. Players can choose to engage in either quick races or a full career mode where they must compete in races and earn in-game currency to buy and sell cars and upgrades, with game progress saved online. Other game modes include time trial, eight-player local multiplayer and 16-player online multiplayer and additional features such as the ability for vehicles to take damage in the game and five camera angles plus TV-style replays. The game will provide a wide variety of control options allowing users to use a combination of accelerometer/gyroscopic and touchscreen controls to steer, accelerate and brake, including optional haptic feedback during play. Real Racing 2 will be available from the App Store on December 16, 2010 for $10.

Costco confirms break with Apple

As first reported by iLounge in October, membership club Costco has confirmed that it is phasing out all Apple products per a mutual agreement between the two companies. Speaking to The Seattle Times, Costco CFO Richard Galanti said that the company had sold iPods and iTunes Gift Cards for years, but Apple had never allowed the retailer to sell its products online, as it did other retailers. “In the past couple months, we agreed to wind down,” he added. Costco is the third-largest retailer in the U.S., with 425 stateside warehouses, more than a quarter of which are in Apple’s home state of California.

Report: iPad 2G to have dual cameras and high-res display

  • December 10, 2010
  • iPad,

The second-generation iPad will have both front- and rear-facing cameras, among several other improvements, according to a new report. Citing four people familiar with the situation, Reuters reports that touchscreen chip designer Wintek, battery maker Simplo Technology, and cover maker AVY Precision are all ramping up for a new round of production in the first quarter of 2011, with two sources claiming the ramp-up is for the second-generation iPad. Curiously, the report comes only one day after several supposed second-generation iPad cases appeared online, all of which sported holes on the back for a rear-facing camera.

Along with the cameras, one source told Reuters that the new model will be thinner, lighter, and have a higher resolution display. Camera module manufacturers Genius Electronic Optical and Largan Precision were also said by two sources to be starting new supply contracts with Apple, although neither source could confirm for which Apple product the modules are intended. As noted yesterday, recent rumors have pegged the iPad 2G’s release as coming within the next 100 days.

Papers adds Dropbox/iDisk, AirPrint support

Mekentosj.com has released an update to Papers, its academic library and research app for the iOS platform adding support for iOS 4.2 AirPrint and multitasking features and support for importing files from online Dropbox and iDisk services. Papers 1.9 also adds several improvements to PDF support including the ability to import and export PDF documents with annotations, better highlighting and support for password-protected PDF files. Additionally, the last visited page is remembered for each paper in the library and a “Locate with Google” button has been added to help find missing PDFs for bibliography entries. Papers 1.9 also sports a new and improved look and feel and fixes several issues with stability, syncing papers via Mail and iTunes and downloading papers from JSTOR and IEEE. Papers 1.9 is a universal app requiring iOS 3.1.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $15.

Bejeweled 2 adds in-app coins purchasing

PopCap Games has released an update to Bejeweled 2 + Blitz adding several interface improvements and support for purchasing coins directly from within the app. Version 1.4 also adds a new Boost Auto Renew feature that allows users to lock in up to three different boosts for every game as long as coins are available and provides a new look and feel with a new Options menu and a separate Boost Selection menu as well as new backgrounds. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz is available from the App Store for $1.

iKit rolls out touchscreen AutoCon FM transmitter

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iKit has rolled out its new AutoCon FM transmitter. Sporting a 3.5mm auxiliary input cable, the AutoCon offers compatibility with all iPods, iPhones, and the iPad, as well as other portable devices. It also features a touchscreen display, with rapid auto scan to quickly find open stations, play, pause, volume, and track skip controls, handsfree telephony functionality, and an included USB car charger. The iKit AutoCon FM transmitter is available now and sells for $45.

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