New company Franky Wish has launched, with a new iPad sleeve among its first products. Made from water-resistant synthetic leather, the company’s iPad sleeve features “Pro Extreme Technology,” a protective material with a unique microcellular structure that excels at absorbing the forces of an impact, a smooth interior, a protective interior border, and YKK zippers. Available in “Electric Wish” and “Urban Enigma” exterior designs, the new Franky Wish iPad sleeves are available now and sell for €47, or roughly $65; the company is expected to offer iPhone cases in the near future.
News Corp. and Apple have sent out e-mails to select members of the press, inviting them to a special event for the launch of The Daily newspaper. According to The Loop, News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch will be on hand, as will Apple Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue. According to past reports, the new tablet-based newspaper will utilize a new Apple subscription platform that will allow customers to sign up for a subscription to a periodical via the App Store and get the publication delivered automatically to their iPad each time a new issue is published, instead of needing to purchase each issue individually either as a separate app or through in-app purchases. The Daily launch event will be held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday February 2.
Navigon has unveiled its new iPhone Car Kit. Available in versions specific to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G/3GS, the Car Kit includes a USB car charger with five-foot USB to 30-pin cable, a “designer” suction cup mount attachment, and a rotating iPhone mounting cradle offering open access to all ports and controls. Navigon’s new iPhone Car Kit for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G/3GS is available now and sells for $50.
With over 3,100 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Are you going to buy a Verizon iPhone 4?” has ended. Individual yes and no responses were provided for AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers’ customers, as well as an option for readers who don’t live in the U.S.
Over a quarter of respondents—26 percent—said they plan on buying a Verizon iPhone 4. Of those, 66 percent were current Verizon customers, 25 percent were current AT&T customers, and eight percent were customers of another U.S. carrier. Perhaps unsurprisingly, of the 58 percent of overall respondents saying they weren’t going to buy a Verizon iPhone, the vast majority said they were current AT&T customers—79 percent, to be exact. Only 11 percent of those not planning to buy a Verizon iPhone were current Verizon customers, while another 10 percent were customers of another carrier. Finally, 15 percent of overall respondents said they don’t live in the U.S. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on iPod and iPhone protection. We’d like to know if you use a case or film on your iPod or iPhone, and why or why not? Do you use it for protection, to change the device’s looks, or for a combination of those reasons? Or do you keep your device bare to preserve its looks, because you don’t think it needs protection, or for both those reasons? Our new poll, “Do you use a case or body film with your iPod or iPhone?” 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!
Creaceed has released a new app to assist users with reducing camera shake when shooting videos on the iPhone and iPod touch. Movie Stiller allows users to import videos of up to 10 minutes in length from the device’s photo library and apply stabilization to compensate for horizontal, vertical and rotational motions of the device during recording. Users can choose the stabilization strength and optionally upscale the video to remove borders. The resulting stabilized video can then be exported back to the device’s library. The application performs all video processing directly on the device itself so no Internet connection is required and supports the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Movie Stiller is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Chillingo has released Infinity Field, a new dual-stick shooter game for the iPad. Infinity Field puts players in a spaceship that they must navigate through a field of enemies, guiding their craft with with one analogue stick while blasting enemies out of their way. Players collect power-ups as they move around the playing field that improve their simple cannon into more powerful weapons such as omnidirectional bullets, lasers and bombs. The game provides six simple survival modes plus a full campaign mode with challenging bosses and a competitive multiplayer option. Crystal and Game Center support is included for rankings and achievements. Infinity Field is available from the App Store for $2.
At a press conference in Japan earlier today, Sony introduced the successor to the PSP, codenamed the Next Generation Portable, or NGP. Specs for the new gaming handheld include a 5-inch OLED touchscreen with 960x544 resolution, 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, compass, and GPS, and two cameras, one front- and one rear-facing. As expected, the device is powered by a multi-core ARM processor—a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9—that works alongside a quad-core PowerVR SGX534MP4+ GPU. Notably, code found within the iOS 4.3 beta suggested that Apple is planning to include a similar POWERVR SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies in an upcoming product or products, and as the successor to the ARM Cortex-A8 at the heart of Apple’s A4 chip, the A9 is a logical next step for Apple’s iOS devices.
In addition, the NGP features a rear touch-sensitive panel, dual analog sticks, a traditional d-pad, four Playstation action buttons, a six-axis motion detecting system, and shoulder trigger buttons. Games will be offered on flash memory-based cards or downloaded from the Playstation Store; Sony also announced that it will be launching PlayStation Suite, a new initiative that will see certain Android devices become PlayStation Certified, allowing them to play PlayStation games; the company also plans to open a PlayStation Store for Android where users will be able to download content directly to their device.
Zachary West has released an update to Prowl, his Growl client for iOS devices, providing a significantly redesigned user interface and a number of new features. Prowl allows Mac users to receive notifications from the popular Mac Growl notification app on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Version 1.2.1 adds a brand new icon and an updated UI with Retina Display support, landscape views throughout the application, customizable font sizes and the ability to copy notifications or forward them via e-mail or SMS directly from within the app. The update also adds the ability to send custom URLs with redirections to allow other applications to be opened, launch redirects directly from the notification list and filter redirects based on event. The latest version also now includes multitasking and background support on compatible iOS 4 devices. Prowl 1.2.1 is available from the App Store for $3.
Reporting its fourth quarter financial results, AT&T has revealed that it activated 4.1 million iPhones during the quarter. Notably, this was AT&T’s final full quarter as exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone in the United States; its 4.1 million iPhone activations helped it towards a record net gain of 2.8 million wireless subscribers. In addition, the company announced that added 442,000 iPad and Android-based tablets to its network, with more than 90 percent of those being booked to the prepaid category. Notably, the iPad 3G receives data service from AT&T on a prepaid basis, suggesting that a large number of the tablet additions were for iPad.
Verizon has sent out information to its corporate customers with more specifics about its iPhone pre-orders and launch. According to an e-mail received by Mac Rumors, Verizon will begin accepting pre-orders from existing customers at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time on February 3. The e-mail states that customers will need to have their My Verizon self-serve account set-up online prior to the opening of the pre-order window, as orders can only be placed through a My Verizon account. Existing customers will be able to order upgrades and new lines, although the e-mail also notes that the pre-sale inventory is limited, so customers who miss out will need to wait until the official launch on February 10. Finally, the report states that Verizon is allowing some existing AT&T customers to trade-in their iPhones for credit when buying a new Verizon iPhone 4, at a rate of $60 for a 16GB original iPhone, $105 for a 16GB iPhone 3G, $160 for a 32GB iPhone 3GS, $280 for a 16GB iPhone 4, and $360 for a 32GB iPhone 4. Verizon will be shipping its iPhones two-day FedEx, with next day air as an option.
In its fourth-quarter letter to shareholders and financial results release (PDF Link), Netflix has revealed that the Apple TV has surpassed the iPad in viewing hours, despite having sold far fewer units. Noting that the devices with the largest installed bases—including Windows and Mac laptops, the Sony PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii—are the most popular devices for streaming Netflix, the release states that the “AppleTV has done very well for us, and in just four months has passed the also-growing iPad in Netflix viewing hours.” Apple sold its one-millionth Apple TV the week of December 25th, while cumulative iPads sales as of the same date were 14.79 million.
Stan Miasnikov has released an update to PhatPad, his advanced note-taking and sketching app for the iPad, adding support for recording voice notes and displaying output on an external monitor or projector. PhatPad provides a freeform writing and sketching pad that allows users to write notes and draw shapes using digital ink which can then be converted into text or proper geometrical shapes using a built-in handwriting and shape recognition engine. Users can share their notes via e-mail, Wi-Fi sync or Dropbox or display them in presentation mode. PhatPad 1.1 adds the ability to record voice notes and also now includes an advanced presentation mode allowing pages to be shown on a projector or external monitor using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter. Users can also create unattended presentations by synchronizing document pages and playback of voice notes. Version 1.1 also provides several other new features and enhancements including a new erase gesture for quick deletion of content, improved recognition of geometrical shapes, increased support for cut, copy and paste commands and the ability to change the layout order of overlapping images and text labels. PhatPad requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $4.
Essency has released an update to Awareness The Headphone App bringing several new add-on features available via in-app purchase. Designed to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists listening to music via sound-isolating headphones, Awareness allows users to remain aware of external sounds such as warnings, shouts or even normal conversations using the device’s built-in microphone. Outside sounds are mixed in with whatever music is currently playing based on automatic or user-specified external sound levels ensuring that users can hear others speaking to them or important warnings such as alarms or car horns. With the release of version 2.1 the price of the application has been reduced to $1 with a number of additional features available separately as $1 in-app purchases. Optional features include AutoPause which automatically pauses audio playback when outside noise exceeds a certain threshold, AutoSet which automatically adjusts thresholds based on normal background noise, ClearVoice to improve speech quality and a dB Noise Meter to provide a visual measurement of ambient noise. Version 2.1 also adds the ability to duck music volume levels and vibrate the iPhone when the external mic is triggered. Awareness requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.1 or later. Version 2.1 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users. Current users will also receive all in-app purchases free upon upgrade provided a copy of the previous version of Awareness is already installed on their device.
Scosche has announced that it is now shipping its new FlipSync II full-sized keychain USB charge and sync cable for the iPod and iPhone. The FlipSync II is a miniature USB 2.0 charge and sync cable that fits on a keychain, providing short—but full-sized—USB and 30-pin connectors that fold neatly back into the keychain when not in use. The FlipSync II full-sized keychain USB charge and sync cable for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $20.
AT&T is letting some longtime iPhone users sign back up for its $30 unlimited data plan after having switched to one of the newer tiered options, according to an Associated Press report. The report claims that AT&T has allowed iPhone subscribers who have had an unlimited data plan in the past—as in, prior to the company’s June 2010 switch to tiered data pricing—to switch back to the plan. It cites Jose Argumedo, of Brentwood, N.Y., as an example; Argumedo and a friend, who are both iPhone 4 users and who owned iPhones prior to the new handsets, were switched back to an unlimited plan after a call to AT&T customer service. AT&T did not confirm the option to return to an unlimited plan, according to the report; Verizon recently announced that it will offer early iPhone purchasers a $30/mo. unlimited data plan, although it did not provide specifics as to how long users will have to sign up.
In an announcement that amazed even us, the Consumer Electronics Association revealed today that it sold out of its allotted 50,000 net square feet for the 2012 iLounge Pavilion in less than two hours during CES exhibitor space selection, a record time, and will add additional space to meet demand. “The iLounge Pavilion is experiencing unparalleled success and has undoubtedly established itself as the center of the ‘i’ Universe,” said Karen Chupka, CEA senior vice president, events and conferences. “Exhibitors made their intentions loud and clear in purchasing more iLounge space in two hours of space selection than ever before. It’s evident that there is strong industry demand for a showcase of these popular products at the International CES, and space for the iLounge Pavilion will increase as a result.” The 2011 iLounge Pavilion featured over 200 companies across 50,000 net square feet, more than an acre of space, and launched thousands of new iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac related products.
“Our CES experience was amazing. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better place to release our new product, and I do not mean just CES, I mean in the iLounge Pavilion,” said Michael Shumski, CEO, of start-up KIOKY. “We were swarmed with American distributors, but took the company global the day we launched! Look for us there next year because we made sure to reserve our space again.” The 2012 iLounge Pavilion, sponsored by iLounge.com, will be included in the 2012 International CES running from January 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nevada; companies interested in exhibiting in the growing Pavilion should contact Tira Gordon, senior account executive for CES, at tgordon@CE.org.
China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou has confirmed that his company remains in talks with Apple over an iPhone that will run on its home-grown TD-SCDMA network, according to Reuters. “We hope that when they develop the next-generation models, since Apple can create CDMA, they can also consider developing TD-SCDMA,” Jianzhou told reporters in Davos, Switzerland. “These two years we have been discussing the issue. Right now the situation is moving forward. Apple has made it clear they will support TD-LTE,” the next-generation wireless standard developed by China Mobile. The report notes that China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier, with 584 million subscribers as of December 2009, compared to China Unicom, the current exclusive provider of the iPhone in China, with 167.4 million.
Following last night’s design changes, Apple’s online store has posted full details of the plans and options available to Verizon iPhone customers. Mac Rumors reports that beyond the two-year contract, new individual customers will need to choose from voice packages that include a $39.99/mo. plan for 450 minutes, $59.99 for 900 minutes, or the Nationwide Unlimited plan for $69.99. Family SharePlans begin at $69.99 for 700 minutes, moving up to $89.99 for 1400 minutes, $99.99 for 2000 minutes, or $119.99 for unlimited. Data pricing is currently locked at $30/mo. for unlimited data, and as previously revealed, the Personal Hotspot feature will include an extra 2GB of data specifically for that feature for an extra $20 a month. Finally, users will be able to choose between 250 text messages for $5, 500 messages for $10, or unlimited texts for $20; family plan customers will have both the $5 and $10 options, as well as a 5000 messages for $20 option, or unlimited for $30.
Using the above figures, this means the minimum monthly cost for an individual iPhone user on Verizon will be $69.99 without text messaging or the Personal Hotspot feature, and $129.99 for a pair of iPhone users sharing a family plan, with the same limitations. Spread over two years, the total individual cost will be $1,879.75, including the cost of a 16GB iPhone 4 but not counting any additional taxes or fees, and assuming that the customer does not use text messaging or the Personal Hotspot feature. For a pair of iPhone users sharing a family plan, the total cost increases to $3,519.74 over two years, again including the cost of two 16GB handsets but not including the cost of any additional fees, taxes, or features.
Update: Apple appears to have removed the relevant pages from its website.
Update x2: As of February 2, Verizon has officially announced its plans, confirming the prior figures from Apple’s website.
Apple has been awarded a patent for a touchscreen-friendly glove system, according to a new report. Patently Apple points to U.S. Patent 7,874,021, entitled “high tactility glove system,” which the publication has dubbed the “Magic Glove.” The patent describes a pair of gloves consisting of an electrically conductive inner liner, an optional insulating layer, and an outer shell, the latter of which can itself be electrically conductive, or else offer “at least one aperture through which the inner liner may extend to operate the input mechanism of an electronic device.” Notably, several companies already produce touch-friendly gloves using similar systems; as with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
Apple overnight made some modest changes to its website design. As noted by Mac Rumors, the new design sports a dark navigation bar, a slight pattern to the background at the top of the homepage, and new pop- and slide-in animations for its product pages, including the main Mac and iPod pages. Interestingly, the report notes that several reports from last night—when the online Apple Store were down due to the design change—suggested that the outage was due to the addition of the white iPhone 4 to the store, which turned out not to be the case.