Jivo Technology has debuted its new Wrapture case for the iPhone 4. Available in several different styles, the Wrapture features a wrap-around graphic design on its back and sides, openings allowing for full access to all ports, cameras, and controls, and a one-piece, snap-on design. Jivo Technology’s new Wrapture case for the iPhone 4 is available now and sells for €25, or roughly $35.
MountMe has introduced its new Freedom mounting solution for the iPad. The Freedom is a combination case and mounting solution offering full access to all ports and controls, a quick release rear bracket that doubles as a kickstand for video viewing and typing while offering panning and tilting capabilities, and the option to mount the bracket using screws, suction cups, or a mounting strap good for in-car use. MountMe’s Freedom mounting solution for iPad is available in a variety of colors and sells for $50; a model compatible with the second-generation iPad is listed as “coming soon.”
One Man Left Studios has released an update to its popular iOS arcade shooter Tilt to Live adding support for multiplayer gaming. In Tilt to Live, players use accelerometer-based tilt controls to evade enemy objects while seeking out unlockable weapon orbs. The new version adds a single multiplayer level, Viva La Coop, available to users who have purchased the $1 Viva la Turret expansion level. The new level allows two users to play the game cooperatively over either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with high scores tracked on a separate, dedicated Coop leaderboard. The update also adds a toggle to turn the perforator turret on and off in the Classic and Code Red games and improves caching of Game Center scores when an Internet connection is not available. Tilt to Live includes four different game types with a fifth turret weapon and game type available as an in-app purchase which is also required to enable the new cooperative multiplayer mode. Tilt to Live is available from the App Store for $3; the expansion pack sells for an additional $1 as an in-app purchase. An iPad version is sold separately and is scheduled to be updated with the new multiplayer enhancements in the coming weeks.
New developer Mobiler has released its first iOS application aimed at teaching sound recognition to young children. Little Ears - Sounds for Toddlers provides over 60 hand-crafted illustrations of everyday objects and environments that children can associate with sounds in an entertaining and interactive manner. The application is designed with simplicity in mind to allow kids to easily play and interact without unnecessary distractions and provides multiple stimuli such as audio voice prompts, illustrations, animations and even vibration output on supported devices and provides motivational feedback as toddlers correctly associate the sounds from the app with the images on the screen. Little Ears - Sounds for Toddlers is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.
Several applications designed to facilitate music piracy have unexpectedly been approved by Apple, and are currently available on the App Store. Music Forest (Free) and Music Forest Full ($1) from You Jinwen and Music Downloader ($1) from Chen Lunyu allow the user to search online databases of music or browse music charts—including the U.S. Billboard Top 100—then tap to download songs directly to the device. Music Forest automatically grabs song lyrics from the Internet; and also offers AirPlay streaming support. Interestingly, the apps offer users of jailbroken devices the ability to transfer downloaded files to a computer using a desktop file browsing application such as iPhone Explorer for the Mac.
Several other applications, such as Downloads - Download Manager ($2) by Hian Zin Jong, are now using modified browsers to support the downloading of all sorts of files, including music files and movies. Though a number of browser-based downloading applications have been offered for legitimate purposes, this one uses screenshots to show the illegal downloading of the entire Tron Legacy film soundtrack in its App Store screenshots, and allows direct importation into iTunes using Apple’s USB File Sharing feature. Additional screenshots and comments for the app explain that it can be used to download pornography and access well-known sources of pirated media files. Based on past experiences with applications of this sort, it is likely that Apple did not properly screen these apps before approving them, and will pull them from the App Store in the near future.
Speaking in a recent interview, Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead made several comments regarding the iPhone and Apple’s future plans to support its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Mead said that although the company won’t be revealing exact iPhone sales numbers until its next earnings release, reports that sales fell below expectations were incorrect, and that the modest lines seen at stores on launch day were attributable to the company’s staggered launch strategy. “It was a conscious decision to spread the launch over three phases,” said Mead, who added that the launch was staggered in order to ensure the best possible purchasing experience for customers. He also said that more than 60 percent of iPhone 4 sales occurred online, helping to explain shorter-than-expected launch day lines. “If we had not done online, you would have seen a much different flow in the pictures,” he said, adding that the company will soon be doubling the number of stores that sell the iPhone from 4,000 to 8,000.
Regarding Apple’s support for Verizon Wireless’ new 4G LTE network, Mead said he expects Apple to offer devices compatible with the technology, although he declined to give details as to what those products might be or when they might be released. “You’ll see more coming from Apple on LTE,” Mead said. “They understand the value proposition of LTE and I feel very confident that they are going to be a part of it.” Apple is widely expected to include support for Verizon Wireless service in at least one model of its upcoming second-generation iPad, although it is unknown whether that support will be limited to the company’s more widely-available 3G network.
If you haven’t yet entered our LuxMobile M.C. Escher Giveaway, this is your last weekend to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for February, iLounge and LuxMobile are giving away 200 M.C. Escher Cases for iPhone 4. Winners will get to choose from two different designs. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on February 28, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Bioserie has launched its new line of Printed iPhone 4 Covers. Like the company’s prior case for the iPhone 4, the new Printed Covers are made of bioplastics derived from plants and other annually renewable resources, and are printed individually using patent-pending Surface Digital Enhancement (SDE) technology. Other features include open access to all ports, controls, and the camera, four front-facing “feet” to protect the screen when placed face-down, and compatibility with both the GSM and CDMA models of iPhone 4. Bioserie’s new line of Printed Covers for the iPhone 4 are available now in a variety of designs and are priced at $35.
Two new accessories, the PadPivot and Waldok, have reached their KickStarter funding goals and are set to become commercial products in the coming days. The PadPivot is a tablet stand for the iPad and other tablet devices, offering a curved base for resting on both curved and flat surfaces, a central, hinge-mounted sticky pad for setting the tablet at a desired angle, and a slot in the front which works to hold the tablet with the sticky pad providing extra support. It is available for pre-order via a $25 pledge. The Waldok is a plug-in speaker/charger for the iPod and iPhone. The device was originally designed primarily for the sixth-generation iPod nano, but has since been modified for compatibility with most docking iPods and iPhones. Features include a 40mm driver, a top-mounted dock, and retractable, flip-out prongs that allow the Waldock to attach directly to a power outlet. The developers are asking for a $59 pledge to secure one of the first Waldok units; neither product has yet received a firm release date.
Xtreamer has posted a teaser page for its new Xtreamer Prodigy media player, which the company claims will offer support for Apple’s AirPlay wireless media streaming protocol. According to the company, the Prodigy is meant to serve as a set-top box, with the Opera web browser built-in—the company uses an Apple graphic with the Safari icon to denote the browser’s inclusion—as well as support for an internal hard drive up to 3TB, 7.1 channel audio, AirPlay, MediaFly, Last.FM, Google Talk, Pandora Radio, Grooveshark, YouTube XL, and various other online services. The device also sports a DVD backup function, as well as a host of ports and connectivity features, including a media card reader, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HDMI, component, and composite video outputs, SPDIF optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, Ethernet, optional 802.11n Wi-Fi via a USB antenna, and an optional heatsink. The product page currently displays a countdown with slightly more than four days left; it is unclear whether pricing and availability information will be available when the countdown ends. [via Engadget]
Apple has clarified its plans for using cloud-based remote music storage, according to a new report. Citing several music industry executives, the Financial Times reports that Apple is now planning to use its cloud storage to allow iTunes Store users to back up their music collections and access them from any Apple device. According to one person with knowledge of the company’s plans, Apple doesn’t want to undermine the market it currently dominates for digital music downloads, instead likening its plan to “insurance.” Although no launch date for the service is mentioned in the report, it is noted that Apple’s offering will face competition from a similar service from Google, and from music streaming service Spotify, which is said to be nearing a deal with Universal Music that would give it the support of three of the “big four” record labels and could ultimately lead to a U.S. launch this summer.
Element Case has unveiled its new Vapor Pro case for the iPhone 4. As a modified version of the company’s prior Vapor case, the Vapor Pro features wider access ports for compatibility with more third-party accessories, a special “aerospace” polymer section over the antenna contact points to help eliminate attenuation, a diagonally-attached design with bolts positioned at opposite corners of the phone, titanium alloy finishes, and a special hex key tool for removal and installation. The Vapor Pro will initially be available in a limited first-run edition that includes a zippered carrying case, a removable carbon fiber back plate, and a special two tone electrolytic hard coated finish. The limited edition will sell for $150, while traditional models, as well as a version compatible with the CDMA iPhone 4, will be available soon; pricing for those models has yet to be announced.
Apple has notified resellers that it has discontinued the retail box version of MobileMe, shifting completely to online sales, according to a Mac Rumors report. Existing stock of the boxed version of MobileMe can continue to be sold while supplies last, the report states. The boxed version of MobileMe contained little more than an activation code and promotional materials, and therefore served primarily as a way to provide in-store visibility for the offering. Apple is said to be working on a revamp of the online service suite, and is considering making it a free service to serve as an online “locker” for personal data such as photos, music, and videos. As noted in the report, Apple executives confirmed during yesterday’s annual shareholders meeting that the company’s new data center in North Carolina should be opening soon and will primarily support its MobileMe and iTunes services.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said that it will review the marketing and delivery of certain applications built around In-App Purchases. Citing a letter from FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz to Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the Washington Post reports that the FTC feels “in-app purchases” in certain applications have raised doubts as to whether consumers fully understand the ramifications of such charges. “We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases,” Leibowitz wrote. “Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivery of these types of applications.”
Rep. Markey released a statement on the matter, saying, “After the Washington Post first broke this story earlier this month, I sent the Federal Trade Commission a letter calling on the agency to investigate the issue of ‘in-app’ purchases and provide additional information about the promotion and delivery of these applications to consumers, especially with respect to children. What may appear in these games to be virtual coins and prizes to children result in very real costs to parents. I am pleased that the FTC has responded, and as the use of mobile apps continues to increase, I will continue to actively monitor developments in this important area.” The issue with children unknowingly racking up large bills via In-App Purchases was first brought to light in an AP story from last December, which focused on “The Smurfs’ Village” game from Capcom.
The Omni Group has released OmniFocus 1.9, the latest update to its professional grade productivity and task management application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Version 1.9 adds a number of features and enhancements related to improving workflow and task management on the go including the ability to adjust view filters using a toolbar button and numerous small user interface improvements. In the new version users can now quickly filter their Project or Context views to include all actions or only next, available or remaining actions directly from any view without having to visit the Settings menu. The update also simplifies entry of start dates, due dates and repeat intervals for tasks. The location-based Map mode is now displayed on the main menu instead of the toolbar and view settings for project and context lists have been expanded to include next action and all action options and list titles and action groups now more accurately reflect the current view settings and overdue counts. A large number of other small UI and performance improvements have also been made; a full list of release notes can be viewed from the Settings screen within the app. OmniFocus 1.9 for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store for $20. An iPad native version is sold separately.
Sports technology company Velocomp has rolled out its new iBike Dash CC wireless cycling computer for the iPhone and iPod touch. Working in conjunction with the company’s free iBike app, the Dash CC offers users 50 power-based and heart rate zone workouts, an included ANT+ speed sensor with support for optional cadence and heart rate sensors, a bike odometer, user customizable cycling information display screens, and an easy install and move “Phone Booth” dashboard case that offers water and shock resistance, full use of the touch screen, and space inside for a rechargeable battery. Velocomp’s iBike Dash CC wireless cycling computer is available now and sells for $199.
Peapod Labs has released the latest app in its Little Explorers series of educational applications for children. ABC Music allows children to explore an interactive world where they can learn about words, letters and musical instruments. The application teaches letter and word recognition for toddlers and preschoolers with over 52 musical instruments and words and hundreds of photos and videos to enrich the learning experience along with entertaining fun facts. Video content is provided through a selection of carefully curated videos from YouTube, requiring an Internet connection for video playback. ABC Music is a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store for $2.
Apple today held its 2011 annual shareholders meeting at its campus in Cupertino, CA. Among the items up for vote was a shareholder proposal, backed by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, that would require the company’s board of directors and CEO to annually update and disclose a CEO succession plan. The proposal was opposed by Apple, and was today voted down by shareholders. Another shareholder proposal opposed by Apple, changing the election process of the board from a plurality vote to a majority vote, passed, however; the shareholders also re-elected all seven board members. Notably, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who took a medical leave of absence earlier this year, did not attend the meeting.
As expected, Apple has sent out invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a special event on March 2. The image accompanying the invitation features a mockup of iOS’s Calendar app set for the date of March 2, with a corner peeled back to reveal an image of the original iPad underneath, and the tagline “Come see what 2011 will be the year of.” Apple is expected to unveil the second-generation iPad at the event; the device itself is expected to feature a front-facing camera for FaceTime video calling, a larger speaker, and a thinner design, among other improvements. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco and will start at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.