Apple has started sending out free iTunes Movie Rental codes to select iTunes users, according to a new report. Citing an email received by a reader, 9 to 5 Mac reports that the included code is good for one rental from iTunes’ library of over 8,500 movies, and that the distribution of the codes seems to be random. Most likely, Apple is attempting to use the promotion to raise awareness of Movie Rentals on the iTunes Store, perhaps hoping to boost sales of the second-generation Apple TV in the process.
Gumdrop Cases has rolled out its new Drop Series case for the iPhone 4. The Drop Series case is a hybrid solution featuring an inner layer of TPU rubber and a stiffer, textured outer surface. Other features include rubber-reinforced corners, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, two included screen protectors, and an included belt clip that can be placed over the front for added screen protection when on the move. Gumdrop Cases’ Drop Series case for the iPhone 4 is available for pre-order now in five color combinations and sells for $45.
Jarre Technologies is now shipping its AeroSystem One speaker for the iPod and iPhone. Built atop a circular base, the AeroSystem One is a single-piece, cylindrical speaker system featuring a top-mounted dock, two 30 Watt full spectrum tweeters and one 60 Watt subwoofer for 240 degree sound dispersion, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, a USB port, and an included remote control. Jarre Technologies’ AeroSystem One for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for €799, or roughly $1,063.
Consumer Reports has released the results of its latest cell phone service survey, with iPhone carrier AT&T ranking dead last nationally. According to the results, which have been posted online by the Houston Chronicle, AT&T scored a “worse” rating in every single category save for texting, in which it received a next-to-bottom rating. Overall, AT&T received a score of 60, below that of T-Mobile (69), Sprint (73), Verizon Wireless (74), and national leader U.S. Cellular (82); it also received the lowest score in every city in which Consumer Reports surveyed readers. Notably, the same issue also ranks smartphones and traditional cell phones by carrier, and lists the iPhone 4 as tied with the Samsung Captivate for the title of best smartphone available on AT&T.
Apple’s retail stores are now offering “iPad Gift Card” packages for the holidays. As seen in our photos, the iPad gift cards aren’t specially-printed cards with iPad imagery on them, but instead appear to be standard Apple Store gift cards that have been placed inside iPad-specific packaging. Interestingly, customers weren’t initially able to purchase iPads with Apple Store gift cards, as company policy required users to pay with a debit or credit card.
iOS 4.2 reduces the maximum power output of the iPad Camera Connection Kit’s USB adapter, essentially breaking compatibility with some cameras and other devices, according to a new report. 9 to 5 Mac claims that Apple has reduced the maximum amount of power that the iPad’s 30-pin connector can emit from 100mA to 20mA, leaving many non self-powered devices, including keyboards, microphones, flash drives, and some cameras unable to connect. According to the report, connecting such a device under iOS 4.2 results in an alert that says “The connected USB device requires too much power.” As noted in the report, it is unknown whether this is a bug or a deliberate change by Apple, nor whether it will be remedied in a future software update.
A Prudukt has introduced its new Kork case for the Apple iPad. Made from recycled and recyclable natural cork, the one-piece Kork offers a snap-on design, open access to all buttons and ports, an angled audio output vent and microphone wall for improved sound quality, a generously-sized 30-pin port cutout for large jacks, and an angled back for a more comfortable grip. A Produkt’s Kork case for the iPad is available now and sells for €50, or roughly $66. [Thanks, Michael]
Drive Industries has teamed with Speck Products on a new line of Hawaii-themed cases for the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3G/3GS. Based on Speck’s popular Fitted line, the cases feature fabric covered backsides in a wide variety of prints and patterns, hard plastic construction, and open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Drive Industries’ new Hawaii-themed cases for the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3G/3GS are available now and sell for $44-$55.
Fring has released an update to its voice and video calling application for the iPhone and iPod touch making several improvements to the video calling features. The update adds a new Dynamic Video Quality feature that optimizes video calls based on available network bandwidth; users can also now see a live video call quality indicator and video is now displayed on a new full-screen interface. The latest version also improves video call setup time and fixes a bug where calls were disconnected when switching from 3G to Wi-Fi. Fring allows iPhone and iPod touch users to make and receive video calls between a variety of mobile device platforms. Users can receive one-way video calls on any iPhone or iPod touch and send video from any camera-equipped iOS device, although the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch are preferred for two-way video calling due to the front-facing cameras. Fring is available from the App Store as a free download.
Mili has debuted its new Power Pack battery case for the iPhone 4. Sporting a slide-in design, the Power Pack features an integrated 3000mAh lithium polymer battery, which the company claims is good for up to 11.25 additional hours of talk time or Internet use over 3G, up to 87.5 hours of audio playback, or up to 22.5 hours of extended video playback. Other features include a built-in stand that works in both vertical and horizontal orientation, open access to all buttons, cameras, and the headphone port, pass-through holes for the microphone and speaker, and an on/off button with dedicated status light. Mili’s new Power Pack battery case for the iPhone 4 is available now in black or white and sells for £60, or roughly $94.
Radio Shack has announced that it will be offering a $50 discount on all iPhone models beginning tomorrow, December 4, according to a new report. Boy Genius Report claims that the promotion applies to brand new devices, not refurbished units, and that interested parties need only be eligible for a new two-year agreement. Notably, the discount brings the price of the 8GB iPhone 3GS down to $50, while 16GB and 32GB iPhone 4s will cost $150 and $250, respectively. The promotion is said to run through December 11.
In an interview with CVG, Electronic Arts vice president Patrick Soderlund said he believes Apple would have a fighting chance in the video game console market should it choose to enter. When asked whether Apple would have a shot at challenging Sony and Microsoft in the console market, Soderlund said, “If it was anyone but Apple, I’d say that’s going to be very hard.” He continued, “I still think it’s going to be extremely hard for them but they’ve surprised many people before. Look at what they did with the iPhone, right? They are a truly brilliant company so I would give them a relatively good chance to succeed if they tried.” [via MDN]
Apple is at a standstill in talks with magazine publishers over the terms of a potential iTunes subscription model, according to a new report. Citing anonymous publishing sources, AllThingsD reports that Apple is offering publishers the ability to sell app subscriptions through iTunes, 70 percent of revenue, and the ability to offer a simple opt-in form for gleaning name, address, and e-mail address. The publishers are apparently unhappy with the revenue split model, preferring to sell subscriptions themselves, but are more at odds over the lack of access to subscribers’ credit card data, which is valuable to them for marketing purposes and allows them to bundle the digital subscriptions with traditional print media. The report also notes that a News Corp. executive said the company’s upcoming iPad newspaper the Daily won’t launch until the first quarter of 2011, but expects it to showcase a new “push” feature from Apple that will allow new issues to be downloaded to an iPad automatically. Notably, News Corp. owns AllThingsD.
As expected, Orange, T-Mobile, and 3 are now offering subsidized iPad 3G units in the U.K. Pricing on the subsidized units ranges from £199 for 16GB models to £349 for 64GB units with a 24 month contract; pricing for the iPad itself is consistent across carriers. Orange is offering a £27 monthly plan with 1GB of anytime and 1GB of “quiet time” data, the same plan is also being offered by T-Mobile. 3, meanwhile, is charging £25 a month for 15GB of data.
Yamaha has introduced its new TSX-140 speaker system for the iPod and iPhone. The TSX-140 features a rectangular design, a built-in CD player, Universal Dock, AM/FM radio, dual USB ports—one for playback of MP3 or WMA files stored on a USB thumb drive, one for syncing—two 3.5-inch ported bass reflex speakers, DSP audio processing, a front-facing LED display, an auxiliary input, and IntelliAlarm, a unique alarm clock feature that initially filters out unpleasant high frequencies, and gradually restores the full audio spectrum as the user wakes. Yamaha’s TSX-140 speaker system for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $400.
Mophie has outed its new Juice Pack Plus battery case for the iPhone 4. Like the prior Juice Pack Air for iPhone 4, the Plus integrates a rechargeable battery—2000 mAh—into a two-piece, slide-on case with open access to the headphone port, cameras + flash, volume buttons, ring/silent switch, and sleep/wake buttons. Mophie claims the new Juice Pack Plus offers up to eight hours of additional talk time over 3G, up to seven hours of 3G data use, up to 44 extra hours of audio playback, or up to 11 hours of extended video playback on a single charge. Other features include a standby/charging switch, integrated LED status indicator, acoustic sound enhancement, and a micro USB port for charging and syncing. The Mophie Juice Pack Plus for the iPhone 4 is available now and sells for $100.
Apple has made a number of small but notable changes to its Apple Universal Dock kit. The new set includes the Universal Dock, which looks similar to the company’s 2007 model, Apple’s new aluminum Remote, Dock Adapters to fit the iPhone 4, iPhone 3G/3GS, iPod touch 2G/3G, iPod touch 4G, and iPod nano 5G, a USB power adapter and USB cable. Perhaps due to the inclusion of the charger, the revised Universal Dock package now sells for $59, compared to $49 for the prior version. Apple’s new Universal Dock is available now. [via Mac Rumors]
H2O Audio has unveiled its new Flex waterproof, sweatproof headphones. The company claims that Flex is 100% waterproof down to three feet, and feature 9mm drivers, a two-tone design, and three different sizes of included earplugs. H2O Audio’s new Flex waterproof headphones are available now in four colors and sell for $30.
iLounge is pleased to announce the 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’s new music-focused social network Ping is currently hosting the worldwide premiere of a new Michael Jackson song, in hopes of attracting more attention for and presumably users to the service. The song, “Much Too Soon,” will be included on the pop star’s posthumous release Michael and was written during the time Jackson was working on his seminal classic Thriller. “The song ‘Much Too Soon’ was written at the time of Thriller,” reads the official announcement. “Michael always liked the song and would pull it back out of the vaults for each subsequent album project but never found the right home for it; on the new album it finds its place as the bittersweet closing to the stellar collection. The song was written by Michael Jackson and produced by Michael Jackson and John McClain.” The song is being streamed free for one week exclusively from Jackson’s Ping profile page.