Antecea has released Cloud Connect Pro, a new app for the iPad designed to provide a complete set of file management and remote desktop features. Cloud Connect Pro allows users to access and manage their files on cloud-based services such as Dropbox, MobileMe iDisk and Box.net as well as remote Windows, Mac and Linux PCs. Users can also remotely control desktop computers via either the VNC or RDP protocols; an optional Easy Connect app allows users to connect to their remote computers using Google authentication or the iOS VPN feature can be used to access computers behind a corporate firewall. Supported protocols for remote file access include SMB, AFP, FTP, SFTP and WebDAV (HTTP/HTTPS); an SMB server mode also allows the iPad to act as a network drive to be accessed from computers on the same local network. Users can copy, rename, delete and move files, edit text files, zip and unzip files and folders, open files in other third-party apps and send any file as an e-mail attachment using the iPad Mail app. Audio recordings can also be created from directly within the app and any supported file can be printed via AirPrint. Other features include simultaneous transfer of multiple files and folders, streaming of video and audio content, Wake on LAN for remote computers, iTunes File Sharing over USB and SSH Public Key authentication for SFTP. Cloud Connect Pro requires an iPad running iOS 3.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $20.
Assero Industries has introduced its new Defender and Protector packs for the iPad. The Defender is a unique carrying solution for iPad, offering the ability to be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag, briefcase, or frontpack. Features include a neoprene iPad sleeve with a brushed tricot fabric screen protector, microfiber interior flexible pockets, a dedicated iPod/iPhone pocket with headphone cord access, a large back pocket, a carrying handle, mesh, breathable fabric on the body side of the bag, and adjustable straps in the dedicated iPad area that allow the Defender to serve as a hands-free holder when worn in a forward-facing configuration. The Protector uses a similar, but more limited design that can be work as a backpack or frontpack, and offers the same hands-free iPad holder functionality as the Defender. Other features include memory foam cushioning, breathable mesh fabric facing the body, a neoprene iPad sleeve with Velcro for easy adjustment, and a streamlined pocket with space for minimal accessories such as chargers and cables. Assero’s Defender and Protector packs for the iPad are available now and sell for $130 and $90, respectively.
A new class action lawsuit has been filed against AT&T, claiming that the company over bills for data usage, Courthouse News reports. According to the suit, which was filed in federal court by Patrick Hendricks, “AT&T’s bills systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction involving an iPhone or iPad account,” going on to describe it as being “like a rigged gas tank that charges pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank.” Hendricks claims that the over billing and “phantom” data usage were discovered and confirmed by an “independent consulting firm retained by plaintiff’s counsel, which conducted a two-month study of AT&T’s billion practices for data usage.” The firm “found that AT&T systematically overstate web server traffic by 7 percent to 14 percent, and in some instances by over 300 percent.” While the complaint admits that the overcharges “have a modest effect on an individual customer’s bill, they have a huge effect on AT&T’s bottom line,” citing fourth quarter 2010 wireless data revenue of $4.9 billion. Hendricks is seeking restitution and class damages for money received, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, unfair and fraudulent business practices, unfair competition, and violations of the federal Communications Act.
A number of popular Russian films from the Soviet era are being sold as apps without the consent of the copyright holders, according to a new report. The BBC reports that films such as Gentlemen of Fortune, Assa, The Diamond Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka are being sold on the App Store, despite the lack of consent from copyright holders Mosfilm, a Russian film studio, and the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia). “It is illegal to present our films as applications either in iTunes or on any other internet site. It is permitted only on our own Mosfilm site”, Svetlana Pyleva, Mosfilm’s deputy director-general, told bbcrussian.com. “The only official internet site where you can watch legal Mosfilm content is the Mosfilm site. There are no third parties which we have permitted to use our content.” She added that the studio was preparing to submit a claim to Apple.
Ekaterina Toropova, press-secretary of the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia), said it had not given permission or issued licenses for such apps, either. “The [Joint State Film Collection] retains all exclusive rights”, she said. “We’ll try to get in touch with the developers. It is possible that they obtained licenses from someone else and they themselves are in the dark as they are sure that they sell a legitimate product. We’ll explain to them that they are wrong.” Apple intends to investigate the apps, according to spokesperson Christine Monaghan, who added, “we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately.”
Apple’s iPad accounted for 75 percent of the global tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 96 percent in the prior quarter, according to a new report. Citing market researcher Strategy Analytics, Bloomberg reports that while iPad shipments jumped 74 percent compared to the previous quarter, to 7.3 million, shipments of Android-based tablets—driven by sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices—went from 100,000 in the third quarter to 2.1 million units in the fourth, good for a 22 percent share of the market. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the main driver of Android success,” Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, wrote in the report. “Tablet makers like Android because of its perceived low cost and an accompanying range of compelling media services such as YouTube and Google Maps.” Apple is expected to face increasing competition in the tablet market this year, as rivals such as Motorola, HP, RIM, Samsung, and Acer are all expected to launch tablet devices in the first half of 2011.
Update: Samsung has clarified its sales numbers for the Galaxy Tab, saying that the two million unit figure it reported last week was actually the number of devices it shipped to wireless companies and retailers. According to the Wall Street journal, Samsung executive Lee Young-hee went as far as to say that actual sales to consumers were “quite small,” which would obviously have an effect on the figures provided by Strategy Analytics.
If you haven’t yet entered our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway, this is your last weekend to do so. In our giveaway of the month for January, iLounge and Tekkeon are giving away 10 myPower Charging Cases for iPhone 4. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on January 31, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Several Hollywood studios are using iTunes as a way to combat piracy stemming from stolen screener copies of award-worthy films, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fox Searchlight was the first studio to have nearly 100,000 Screen Actors Guild voters view new films such as Black Swan through a free download from the iTunes Store, according to the report, and other studios such as Paramount and Focus Features did the same. In each case, the downloads were set to expire 24 hours after being viewed—the same limitation Apple uses for its movie rentals in the U.S.—and were not available to the public. In the past, studios have sent out thousands of screener DVDs to those who vote on awards such as the Golden Globes and Oscars, and had seen many of them stolen or otherwise copied, ripped, and uploaded to file sharing sites. As the report notes, however, digital screeners may take time to replace physical copies as some studios are hesitant to annoy voters by making them watch films on a computer or mobile device. “I don’t know how thrilled filmmakers would be to have their films seen on a laptop instead of a flat-screen TV,” said David Kaplan, a senior vice president of anti-piracy at Warner Bros., whose movie Inception is up for an Oscar for best picture.
Rain Design has debuted its new iRest Lap Stand for the iPad. Designed specifically for use on the user’s lap, the iRest is made from aluminum, and features a torque hinge that allows for angle adjustment up to 60 degrees, the ability to fold flat for travel, foam cushions for comfort, the ability to work as a desktop stand, cutouts for the Dock Connector and speaker, the ability to be used with encased iPads, and padding for the iPad to prevent scratches. Rain Design’s iRest Lap Stand for iPad is available now and sells for $50.
Toshiba, a known supplier of hard drives for the iPod classic, has announced two new drives that could be used to bump the capacity of the iPod classic. The current iPod classic—which hasn’t seen an update since September of 2009, and even then only saw a capacity bump from 120GB to 160GB—uses a 5mm thick, 160GB drive. Toshiba’s new drives are also 5mm in thickness, but offer capacities up to 220GB in a single-platter design with a 16MB buffer for improved performance and the smallest power consumption levels of any SATA drive. According to the release (PDF Link), samples of the drives will be available for customers in February. Apple traditionally updates its iPod lineup once a year in September, but as noted by Mac Rumors, the abnormally long time period between updates for the iPod classic could lead the company to consider a mid-cycle update.
According to new data from IDC, Apple slipped from fourth to fifth on the list of top mobile phone vendors during the fourth quarter of 2010. The IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Chinese manufacturer ZTE passed Apple, moving into fourth place on the list with unit shipments of 16.8 million compared to Apple’s 16.2 million, giving the companies 4.2 and 4.0 percent of the market, respectively. Nokia remained on top with unit shipments of 126.8 million, good for 30.8 percent market share, and was followed by Samsung, with shipments of 68.8 million and share of 20.1 percent, and LG, with shipments of 33.9 million and a market share of 7.6 percent. For the whole of 2010, Apple remained in fifth place, with unit shipments of 47.5 million and a market share of 3.4 percent.
Apple has been sued in a California court over the iPhone 4’s glass housing. LA Weekly reports that Donald LeBuhn has filed a class action suit in L.A. County, claiming that the company is aware of the problem and refuses to warn customers that “normal” use of the device could lead to a broken glass panel. Citing LeBuhn’s suit, the report states that he purchased an iPhone 4 in September, and has the glass break on him three weeks later when his daughter accidentally dropped the phone three feet to the ground. The suit also points to Apple’s statements that the glass is “20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic” as misleading. “Months after selling millions of iPhone 4s, Apple has failed to warn and continues to sell this product with no warning to customers that the glass housing is defective,” the suit reads. LeBuhn is asking Apple to refund of the purchase price of the iPhone 4 to all those in the class action suit, to reimburse customers for any repair fees they’ve incurred, and to make restitution for “their overpayment in purchasing defective iPhone 4s.” [via The Washington Post]
Cybermart, a major Chinese retail chain, has won a distribution deal with Apple to sell its products in China, according to a new report. Citing Cybermart chairman Steve Chang, DigiTimes reports that the retailer plans to set up 500 Apple-licensed retail shops across China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The report states that the first store will be opened in Tianjin on April 1; the company currently has 34 outlets in the country. Notably, Cybermart is part of the Foxconn Group, one of Apple’s most important manufacturing partners.
Apple has officially launched the iPad in the United Arab Emirates. According to the Twitter account of Apple Premium Reseller iStyle, Wi-Fi only iPads will be priced from AED2,199 (roughly $599) for the 16GB model to AED3,099 (~$844) for 64GB units, while 3G models will run from AED2,799 (~$762) for the 16GB version to AED3,699 (~$1,007) for the 64GB model. iStyle also notes that it will only be offering 3G units, and it is up to customers to choose a carrier and data plan. This marks the second iPad rollout of the day; it was previously revealed that Apple would also be launching the iPad in India today.
SpoonJuice has released an update to Daily Deeds, its habit-tracking app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed to help remind and motivate users to perform daily routine tasks, Daily Deeds allows users to create a list of actions that can be checked off each day as they’re completed. Users can review their progress on a calendar view and easily create PDF reports to be shared via e-mail. Daily Deeds 1.3 adds a badge counter unchecked deeds for each day to the application icon on iOS 4 devices and allows users to automatically back up and restore their information using Dropbox. Additional enhancements include Japanese localization and an enhanced UI including color labels for deeds to allow easy organization and sorting of lists. Daily Deeds is available from the App Store for $1.
Mekentosj.com has released an update to its academic research library application, Papers, adding PDF-related enhancements. Papers 1.9.2 now supports Table of Contents in PDFs as an additional tab in the Bookmarks view and adds a “Go to page number” feature to navigate directly to a specified page within a PDF document. The new version also enables hyperlinks in PDF files on the iPad, allowing users to follow links from within a PDF document to other sections within the same document or to external URLs such as web pages or other publications. The Login/Authenticate option from Papers for Mac has also been added to the iPad version, allowing users to reload the current page through EZProxy. Papers is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $15.
The Iconfactory has released an update to its Twitterrific client for Twitter adding support for additional photo services including Instagram, plixi and step.ly in Photo view. The update also provides fixes to reduce the Twitter API server errors that some users were experiencing, adds support for new Twitter links to tweets and screen names, restores the dark theme as a default setting and improves OAuth timestamp checking. Twitterrific is a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version is ad-supported and only provides support for a single Twitter account; a $5 in-app upgrade to Premium removes the ads and enables support for multiple accounts.
Apple has released iTunes 10.1.2, the latest version of its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 10.1.2 “syncs music, movies, and more with iPhone 4 (CDMA model) and provides a number of important stability and performance improvements.” Verizon Wireless will be the first to offer the CDMA version of the iPhone on February 10. iTunes 10.1.2 is a 93.1MB download for Mac users and is available now as a free download from iTunes.com or via Apple’s Software Update utility.
Liv Games has released Legendary Wars, a new hybrid fantasy game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A blend of traditional real-time strategy, RPG and castle defense play, Legendary Wars takes the player through five mystical and tumultuous zones of Lengendaria as they set out to unravel the secrets surrounding the mysterious Sunstones. The game provides a varied set of arcade mini-games, three unlockable game modes and an immersive storyline set in a vibrant, lighthearted fantasy world. An assortment of playable characters range from Elven Archers to Magical Unicorns and each unit has upgradable stats and unique combat abilities that players use against hordes or Netherworld creates and bosses to lead their army to victory. Players can choose from a variety of gameplay styles such as castle defense, castle siege, ambush and free build and must mine resources and recruit units to send into battle, direct units to perform special attack or defensive moves and collect gems in battle to fority defenses, improve resource production and upgrade units. Legendary Wars requires iOS 3.1.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Speaking on a conference call discussing the company’s fourth quarter financial results, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the company will put its focus on Android now that it has lost iPhone exclusivity in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. “We’re going to be a heavy participant in the Android market this year, so you’re going to see a significant shift in [the] mix” of phones sold by AT&T, said Stephenson, adding that the company plans to “very aggressively” market its stable of Android phones. Interestingly, Verizon Wireless used as similar strategy against AT&T prior to its announcement that it will be carrying the iPhone, which it launches on February 10.
Recipient of a 2011 CES iLounge Best of Show award, iSkin’s new Q.West collection is now available online. Ranging in price from $50 for an iPad sleeve or camera pouch to $260 for the Jimmy travel bag, the collection includes 16 unique carriers in a wide variety of styles. Of particular interest to iLounge’s editors at CES was the Sling ($125), a slim, water-resistant bag with an over-the-shoulder design, a storage compartment large enough to hold an iPad or 11-inch MacBook Air, a zippered compartment for cords, compact cameras, or other accessories, and a dedicated phone or media player pocket on the front. For more information on select styles and pricing, see iSkin’s dedicated Q.West mini-site.