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2011 CES will admit first 100 enthusiasts in special promo

In January 2011, over 200 iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac companies will show off their latest creations at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show—the world’s largest trade show for consumer technology and America’s largest annual trade show of any kind. We’d like to invite you to be a part of it.

Until now, the Las Vegas CES has been exclusively open to industry professionals, but this year, a limited number of consumers will be allowed to check out CES as part of a new program for technology enthusiasts. The program offers a special discounted one-day admission ($49) pass to the CES show floor, as well as a collection of considerable discounts offered by CES exhibitors, and other benefits.

Only the first 100 people to sign up at using the promo code CES will receive show floor admission passes through this program, so sign up quickly. The special CES admission promotion is only available with this promo code, not with any other codes or promotions, and is valid for show entry on Sunday, January 9, 2011. You’ll have the opportunity to check out everything from new iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac gear to the next generation of HDTVs, camcorders, digital cameras, and other AV gear from major (and smaller) vendors.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the incredible size, scope, and new products of CES with your own eyes, now’s the time to make it happen. We hope to see you at CES and the iLounge Pavilion in North Hall this January! previews Voomote One for iPhone, iPod touch has announced its new Voomote One universal remote accessory for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Voomote is a case-like accessory that connects via the Dock Connector and features an IR transmitter at the top, allowing for access to all other ports, controls, and cameras when attached. The Voomote One works in conjunction with the company’s free Voomote One app, which includes codes for 98% of all available IR devices, according to the company, and features learning capabilities for devices not included in the app’s built-in code database. The app also allows users to setup their own remote control configurations, setup different configurations by room, and configure one-button macros.’s Voomote One universal remote for iPhone and iPod touch is available for pre-order now and is expected to ship in Q1 2011 for €69, or roughly $91.

iPad now available in the Philippines

Apple is now offering the iPad in the Philippines. The company is selling all six models of iPad on its online store, with prices ranging from PHP 23,990 (roughly $541) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model to PHP 40,990 (~$924) for the 64GB 3G model. As TUAW notes, the iPad’s Filipino rollout was delayed quite a bit longer from the device’s U.S. launch than was the iPhone 4’s, which launched in the country just three months after its initial introduction.

iTunes exec Luke leaves Apple for EMI

Apple’s iTunes director of global music initiatives Alex Luke has left the company to join U.K.-based major EMI. According to a 9 to 5 Mac report, Luke will serve as an executive vice president of A&R with EMI’s Capitol & Virgin Label Group, and will be based in Los Angeles. Luke joined Apple in 2003, and during his tenure was responsible the launch of the “Live From” series of live performances held at Apple’s retail stores, as well as the iTunes Originals series and the Single of the Week programs. In his new position, Luke will report directly to Dan McCarroll, the recently-appointed President of the Capitol & Virgin Label Group in North America. “Alex is simply one of the best music people I’ve had the privilege of working with,” said McCarroll in a statement. “He has a great understanding of what it takes to have a hit and to sustain success, and he is able to work in partnership with artists to deliver the positive outcomes that they truly deserve.”

iSkin rolls out Aura case for iPad

iSkin has rolled out its new Aura case for the Apple iPad. The Aura is a multi-functional folio-style case featuring a brushed metallic nylon exterior and microfiber inner lining, a textured, slim-fit inner iPad jacket with open access to all ports and controls, and buttons to release a fold-out stand for typing; the case can be folded out further for video viewing or passive surfing. The iSkin Aura folio case for iPad is available now in three colors and sells for $120.

Sharp to build new LCD production lines for iPhone

Sharp plans to spend 100 billion yen (roughly $1.2 billion) to build production lines for small and midsized LCDs, the bulk of which Apple is expected to purchase for use in the iPhone, according to a new report. Citing the Nikkei business daily, Reuters reports that Sharp will begin installing the lines at a Mie Prefecture plant next year, with mass production expected to begin in the second half of 2012. Apple is expected to shoulder a large portion of the investment and buy most of the LCD panels produced; Toshiba is also said to be building a new LCD plant primarily to supply small panels to Apple, which hopes to expand procurement in order to help it gain market share in the smartphone market.

iTunes holds 66% share of music download market in Q3

iTunes accounted for 66.2 percent of the paid digital music download market in the third quarter, up from 63.2 in the year-ago quarter, according to the latest data from NPD. Citing the data, the Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon’s share of the market rose to 13.3 percent over the same period, up from 11 percent the year earlier; however, record label executives note that the disparity between the two may be even larger, with with Amazon holding only 6-10 percent of the market in any given week, with Apple closer to 90 percent. The report suggests that Amazon’s “daily deal” albums may be responsible, and, citing people familiar with the matter, claims that Amazon normally pays full wholesale price for those albums — normally $7 to $8 — and eats the difference between the wholesale and $3.99 discounted price. Notably, the report also claims that digital album downloads have risen 13 percent this year, compared to a 0.3 percent gain for individual song downloads, and a 20 percent drop in CD sales.

Electronic Arts releases SimCity Deluxe for iPad

Electronic Arts has released the iPad version of SimCity Deluxe, the latest mobile edition in its city-building game franchise. SimCity Deluxe for iPad provides all of the same game play features as its iPhone and iPod touch counterpart with higher-resolution graphics and a user interface redesigned to take advantage of the larger iPad screen. In addition to optimized controls and overlay windows, the iPad version also provides dockable information pop-ups to provide players with quick access to important SimCity statistics. SimCity Deluxe for iPad provides the same scenarios, starter cities, buildings and landmarks as the iPhone version, all rendered for the higher-resolution iPad screen. SimCity Deluxe for iPad is currently available from the App Store for a special limited-time sale price of $1.

iPad, iPhone play part in insider trading sting

An executive at Flextronics, a parts supplier to Apple, passed on secret information about the iPad and iPhone 4 before their announcements, according to a new report. Citing a 39-page legal complaint lobbied against Walter Shimoon, a senior director of business development at Flextronics, and three other men, the Wall Street Journal reports that Shimoon shared information about Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod with an unnamed government informant. “They [Apple] have a code name for something new…It’s, it’s totally…it’s a new category altogether. And, uh, I speculate, it doesn’t have a camera in it, what I figured out. So I speculated that it’s probably a reader…Something like that…I believe it’s called…K48,” Shimoon told the informant in October 2009, nearly four months before the iPad’s introduction. During the same call, Shimoon said that Apple was working on a new version of the iPhone that would include two cameras; the iPhone 4 was launched eight months later. Shimoon is also said to have provided information about Apple sales figures for the iPhone for the third quarter of 2009, and sales forecasts for the iPhone and iPod for the fourth quarter of 2009.

AeroWeather Pro now universal, adds AirPrint support

Pascal Dreer has released an update to AeroWeather Pro, an aviation weather application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This latest update adds native iPad support and the ability to print aviation forecast data in raw METAR and TAF form from individual or multiple stations using AirPrint on iOS 4.2. Users can also now send out METAR/TAF data from an individual station via e-mail or SMS and data is now copy-enabled for pasting into other applications via the iOS clipboard. Additional new features in version 1.2 include animated radar images for U.S. airports, pins identifying nearby stations in the map view and the ability to specify both IATA and ICAO options and runway length in feet or meters in the station listings. The update also adds support for Brazilian Portuguese, Danish and Swedish languages and fixes a number of small issues with the previous version rlated to DST and decoding of radar images and runway information. AeroWeather Pro is available from the App Store for $4. A free lite version is also available.

Star Walk Christmas Edition tracks Santa, adds AirPrint support

Vito Technology has released an updated Christmas Edition of its interactive astronomy guide apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In keeping with the holiday season, the update adds the ability to track Santa Claus’ journey on Christmas Eve, including the ability to fast-forward to December 24th using the application’s Time Machine feature to find out where Santa will be in advance of the big day. The new version also adds AirPrint support for printing sky maps with stars and constellations, new star catalogues including more information on spectral class and distance from the Earth and expanded details on interesting satellites including launch dates and stories. Star Walk is available in two versions: Star Walk for the iPhone and iPod touch sells for $3 while Star Walk for iPad is sold separately for $5.

Fieldrunners for iPad adds multiplayer support

Subatomic Studios has released a major update to Fieldrunners, its popular tower defense game for the iPad, adding multiplayer support and new maps, towers and fieldrunners. The new version allows for both cooperative and competitive multiplayer games via Game Center and adds two multiplayer and three new single player maps. The update also introduces three new towers: Plasma, Shotgun and Lava to provide new and unique methods for stopping Fieldrunners, as well as adding new types of fieldrunners to the game. Fieldrunners for iPad 1.1 is available from the App Store for $8.

Tunewear debuts Tunefolio Urban cases for iPad

Tunewear has debuted its new line of Tunefolio Urban cases for the Apple iPad. The Tunefolio Urban Wide is a nylon notebook-style case featuring an interior iPad holder with open access to all ports and controls, an elastic band to hold the case closed, Velcro on the interior for adjusting the viewing angle when folded to become a stand, an included shoulder strap for carrying, and an included screen protector and cleaning cloth. The Tunefolio Urban Tall offers all the features of the Wide but in a vertical design, a benefit to users who prefer the vertical orientation for reading books or typing documents using a Bluetooth keyboard; like the Wide version, it too comes with a detachable shoulder strap, screen protector, and cleaning cloth. Both of Tunewear’s new Tunefolio Urban cases for the iPad are available now in a variety of colors and sell for $60.

Griffin intros new iTrip, Window Mount

Griffin Technology has introduced its new iTrip Universal FM transmitter and Window Mount for automobiles. The new iTrip Universal features an integrated 3.5mm input cable for compatibility with all iPods, iPhones, and iPads, as well as other portable devices, SmartSound audio enhancement, a built-in screen, two user-programmable presets, and is powered by two AAA batteries. It will sell for $25. The Window Mount is an window/dash mounting solution featuring a case-friendly bracket for holding an iPod, iPhone, or other portable device, a ball joint that allows for 360 degree rotation and swiveling, and two mounting options—a cling base for glass surfaces, or an adhesive mounting base for mounting on dashboards or consoles. The Window Mount will sell for $20; both accessories will be available in the first quarter of 2011.

Rogers/Fido now unlocking iPhones for $50 fee

Rogers/Fido have instituted a new handset unlocking policy which allows eligible owners of the iPhone to have their handsets unlocked for a $50 fee. According to an iPhone in Canada report, customers wanting to take advantage of the unlocking service must have an account in good standing, and have paid the unsubsidized cost for the device at least 30 days prior or have finished their contract. In addition, the device to be unlocked must be listed in their equipment history. The report indicates that the unlocking service is handled by Rogers Customer Care, and that once set up, the user simply needs to restore the device and it will be unlocked via iTunes.

Nokia files 13 new patent complaints against Apple

Nokia has filed a total of 13 new patent complaints against Apple in Europe, representing the latest chapter in a legal battle that started over one year ago. According to a Reuters report, the new complaints were filed in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, and accuse Apple of infringing on Nokia patents related to several technologies, including touch user interfaces, on-device app stores, signal noise compression, and modular structure. “The Nokia inventions protected by these patents include…a wiping gesture on a touch screen to navigate content, or enabling access to constantly changing services with an on-device app store, both filed more than ten years before the launch of the iPhone,” Paul Melin, vice president of Intellectual Property at Nokia, said in a statement. “These actions add 13 further Nokia patents to the 24 already asserted against Apple in the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Delaware and Wisconsin Federal courts.”

Nokia first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”

The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); Nokia then sued Apple again in May, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five of its patents. The ITC case between the two companies is ongoing, but ITC staff issued a pre-trial memo stating that Nokia shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple’s patents. A recent report indicated that Apple has been bolstering its legal team ahead of key battles with Nokia, as well as HTC and Motorola.

Man pleads guilty in iTunes fraud scheme

A U.K. man has become the first of a group of 11 defendants to plead guilty in a case relating to the use of iTunes and stolen or fraudulent credit cards to steal royalty fees. 19-year-old Lamar Johnson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud, according to a BBC report. Johnson was among a group of musicians who provided 19 songs to US-based distributor Tunecore, which uploaded the songs to iTunes and Amazon for sale. Once online, the group then opened accounts with stolen or cloned U.S. and U.K. credit cards to purchase their albums, with Apple and Amazon paying out roughly $300,000 in royalties over the next few months. In addition, the added sales boosted the chart rankings of the songs, resulting in even more sales and increased royalties for the DJs. At least nine of the defendants were arrested in June 2009 after allegedly downloading the songs 6,000 times from 2008 to 2009. Johnson, who admitted to being responsible for roughly 2,000 of the purchases, is currently serving a five-year prison term for an unrelated offense; the rest of the defendants are expected to appear in the same court in January.

iTunes 10.1.1 offers fixes for music video, instability bugs

Apple has released iTunes 10.1.1, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, the update addresses an issue where some music videos may not play on Macs equipped with NVIDIA GeForce 9400 or 9600 graphics, resolves an issue where iTunes may unexpectedly quit when deleting a playlist that has the iTunes Sidebar showing, fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit when connecting an iPod to a Mac equipped with a PowerPC processor, and addresses an issue where some music videos may not sync to an iPod, iPhone, or iPad. iTunes 10.1.1 is a 54.8 MB download for Mac users and is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility.

In-app purchases lead to big bills for parents

A new report suggests that some parents are facing large iTunes bills after their children unknowingly make purchases within some apps. The San Francisco Chronicle has reprinted an AP story that focuses on purchases from within children’s games with questionable in-app purchase offerings, particularly “The Smurfs’ Village” game from Capcom. As one example, Kelly Rummelhart of Gridley, Calif has a four-year-old son who racked up nearly $67 in purchases while playing the game by purchasing “Smurfberries,” which are used to accelerate the completion of the game. “Really, my biggest concern was them scratching the screen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be charging things on it,” she said. Notably, her son didn’t purchase the “wheelbarrow” of Smurfberries, which sells for $60 by itself. Other games cited in the story sell similar in-game items for as much as $100 each. Apple does offer parents the ability to restrict in-app purchases from within Settings, and has a 15-minute password window after which a user must re-enter his or her password in order to make another purchase, which it claims are sufficient blocks to unwanted purchases. It appears that not all parents are aware of the restrictions or the password window, however, and according to some, the password window doesn’t always work consistently.

Apple releases iBooks 1.2

Apple has released an update to iBooks for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch adding support for illustrated books, AirPrint and organizing PDF files. iBooks 1.2 now supports fully illustrated books such as children’s picture books and art books which are now available for download from the iBookstore. The new version also allows users to organize their own PDF files into personal Collections that can be accessed by swiping left or right in the PDF section and can print PDF documents and iBooks notes using AirPrint. The new version also takes advantage of iOS 4.2 to automatically hyphenate text to fit more words per page. iBooks 1.2 is available from the App Store as a free download.

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