The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes Monday morning. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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With over 1,000 responses from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Are you planning to sign up for iTunes Match?”—has ended. Options were given for readers who are going to give the service a try, use a competing service, aren’t interested in cloud music services, would use it if it were available in their area, or don’t own an iOS device.
Nearly half of readers—46 percent—said they plan on giving iTunes Match a try, followed fairly closely by the 38 percent of readers who said they aren’t interested in cloud music services. Six percent of readers said they were waiting for a more sophisticated option, five percent said they would sign up if iTunes Match were available where they live, three percent said they plan on using a competing service, and two percent said they don’t own an iOS device. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on cellular data usage. Given the rise of speed throttling by carriers on customers who heavily take advantage of “unlimited” data plans, we’d like to know how much data you normally use in a month on your iPhone or iPad. Do you use less than 250MB, more than that but less than 500MB, between half and a full GB, between one and two GB, between two and five GB, or more than five? Our new poll, “How much cellular data do you normally use in a month on your iPhone/iPad?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!
AT&T has released a statement in which it reveals plans to throttle data speeds for its heaviest data users starting October 1. According to the company, customers on unlimited data plans who reach a usage level that puts them among the top five percent of heaviest data users in a giving billing period will see their data throughput speeds reduced, although not before receiving multiple warnings and a grace period. “These customers on average use 12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone data customers,” says the company. “This change will never impact the vast majority of our customers, and is designed to create a better service experience for all…. To rank among the top 5 percent, you have to use an extraordinary amount of data in a single billing period.” The change will not affect customers who are already on the company’s tiered plans.
If you haven’t yet entered our PhoneSuit Elite Battery Case Giveaway, this is your last weekend to do so. In our Giveaway of the Month for July, iLounge and PhoneSuit are giving away 10 PhoneSuit Elite Battery Cases for iPhone 4. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on July 31, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Google has announced that it plans to roll out an improved search experience for users of the iPad and Android 3.1 tablets. According to a post on the comapny’s Mobile Blog, the revised service offers a simplified layout of search results, larger page contents like text, buttons, and other touch targets, a search button below the search box for quick access to specific categories of results like Images, Videos, Places, etc., and improved images results, with enlarged previews, continuous scrolling and faster loading of image thumbnails. To see the new enhancements, visit google.com from an iPad or Android tablet.
Apple became the world’s number one smartphone vendor in the second quarter of 2011, according to the latest data from Strategy Analytics. Apple’s 20.3 million units were good for the top spot and 18.5 percent of the market, besting rival Samsung, which shipped an estimated 19.2 million units, good for 17.5 percent of the market. Both companies blew past former market leader Nokia, which shipped 16.7 million units during the period, good for 15.2 percent of the market, but down susbstantially from 23.8 million units shipped and a 38.1 percent of the market in the year-ago quarter.
ION has unveiled its new Piano Apprentice accessory for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Described by the company as a piano learning system, the Piano Apprentice is a portable, battery-powered keyboard featuring 25 touch-sensitive, lighted keys, built-in speakers, a headphone jack for private practicing, and a 30-pin dock connector cable that enables it to work with the Piano Apprentice app, which demonstrates how to play while lighting up the appropriate keys on the keyboard in time with the music. ION’s Piano Apprentice system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch will be available this Fall and will sell for $100. [via TUAW]
According to June data from Nielsen, Apple is the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States, but iOS remains behind Android as a whole for the title of most popular smartphone OS in the country. Apple holds a 28 percent share of the handset market, followed by RIM and HTC, each of which account for 20 percent of the market. When looking at operating systems, iOS again accounts for a 28 percent share of the market, while Android represents 39 percent of the market, and BlackBerry OS holds a 20 percent share.
iStudentPro has released an update to its iStudiez Pro class and study management app for iOS adding several new improvements related to tracking and scheduling class and exam information. iStudiez Pro is a universal app designed to help students, teachers and parents easily keep track of school schedules, homework, exams and grades by providing planner tools, notifications, grade and GPA tracking features and much more. iStudiez Pro 1.5.2 adds options for grading exams, assigning multiple instructors to classes and exams and re-enables the option to add partners to assignments. Users can also now enter grading and GPA scales with more precise values, take advantage of a GPA scale for percentage-based marks and assign negative values for grades.
Several synchronization improvements have also been added including the ability to sync cancelled classes and class notes. iPad users can also now enter calendar events directly from iStudiez Pro. The update also addresses several performance and stability issues. iStudiez Pro is a universal app requiring iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $3; a free Lite version is also available with limited class management features. A companion Mac desktop application is also available from the Mac App Store for $10.
Google has released an update to Google Shopper for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for finding offers and deals near the user’s current location. In the latest version, users will now see a new tab for Offers that can be used to display either a list or map view of offers that businesses have posted through Google Places. Users can also save offers that they encounter for future use which can be viewed and redeemed from a new “My Offers” tab. Google Offers are currently available win Portland, Oregon, the San Francisco Bay area and New York and will be expanding to other cities in the future. The latest update also includes several bug fixes related to mysterious crashes on some iOS versions. Google Shopper 1.5 is available as a free download from the App Store in the U.S. and U.K. and requires iOS 4.0 or later.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate Samsung’s claims that Apple is infringing on its patents. Samsung filed a complaint against Apple with the ITC last month, and as Reuters reports, is accusing Apple of infringing five patents with the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone. Apple filed an ITC complaint of its own against Samsung earlier this month; both companies are seeking to ban imports of the other’s products into the U.S.
New photos claiming to show a silicone case for the next-generation iPhone and a lighter, cheaper iPhone 4 prototype have appeared online. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the case photos point to complete redesign for Apple’s next-generation handset, with a thinner profile than the iPhone 4, and a slightly curved back reminiscent of the fourth-generation iPod touch. Notably, the case photos match a similar purported iPhone 5 case photo sent to iLounge by an OEM manufacturer earlier this week.
Thought Out has debuted its new Stabile PRO stand for the iPad and iPad 2. Based on the company’s original Stabile stand for iPad, the Stabile PRO offers solid steel construction that gives it a study weight of nearly four pounds, a 3/4” steel ball that lets the holder pivot 80 degrees in all directions, a low center of gravity to reduce the chance of tipping, a case-friendly design with four vinyl holding pads, a split back for cable routing, and four non-skid feet. Thought Out’s new Stabile PRO stand for the iPad and iPad 2 is available for pre-order now in silver, white, or black, and sells for $85.
Apple has been sued by Texas-based Affinity Labs, which claims the iPod and iPhone violate patents related to media playback. According to AppleInsider, the suit states that the “iPhone, iPod touch, and iPhone line of products” violates a patent entitled “Content delivery system and method,” while only the iPhone is accused of violating the second patent, entitled “Method for managing media.” Affinity Labs previously sued Apple in 2009, accusing it of violating three patents related to the streaming and downloading of content. Notably, third-party accessory manufacturer AAMP is also named in the suit, which seeks damages, applicable attorney fees, and a judgement that prohibits either company from further infringement.
Fishlabs has released Waterslide 2, a sequel to its previous hit game Waterslide Extreme with newer and faster challenges. In Waterslide 2 players take on the role of a male or female character or a penguin and race through a gigantic, city-wide waterslide at high speed, collecting pearls and avoiding obstacles; wild algae, crabs, jellyfish and other sea creates will slow the player’s progress and present other unique challenges. Additional in-game power ups such as a vortex and inner tube can be collected and used at the right time to help avoid obstacles and gain additional points. Waterslide 2 includes 30 brand-new levels with atmospheric lighting, OpenFeint and Game centre integration for tracking high scores and achievements and a variety of new enemies, obstacles and items. The game is a universal app with full Retina Display resolution for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch and can be downloaded from the App Store for $1.
H2O Audio has launched its new Xplorer Portable Speaker Case for the iPod, iPhone, and other portable devices. The Xplorer is a hybrid speaker and case featuring a rugged soft shell body, a specialized zipper to keep the interior safe from splashes, rain, and dirt, three exciter speakers, a control pad on the front to control volume and power, a soft internal divider to protect the iPhone or iPod from scratches, two elastic and mesh pockets to keep other items secure, the ability to run off two AAA batteries, compatibility with all standard 3.5mm headphone jacks, and a variety of attachment options including a detachable wrist loop, belt pass-through, and double D-rings with straps that stash into an external pocket when not in use. H2O Audio’s new Xplorer Portable Speaker Case for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $40.
Aviiq has rolled out its new Portable Charging Station for the iPad, iPhone, iPod, and other USB charging devices. Weighing in at less than a pound, the Charging Station is designed to be carried within its own included travel sleeve that features multiple pockets for organizing and carrying cords and a zip closure. Features include the ability to charge three devices simultaneously from one wall outlet, up to 15W of output, an integrated, pass-through USB cable for syncing one device while it charges, and nylon and ABS plastic construction. Aviiq’s Portable Charging Station is available now and sells for $80.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 4 on the shores of Jackson Lake overlooking Great Teton in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
Evernote has released an update to its Evernote Peek study app for the iPad 2 adding support for audio clues, shared notebooks and additional UI improvements and bug fixes. Evernote Peek is an app designed as a study aid for iPad 2 and Evernote users, allowing the iPad 2 Smart Cover to be used to “peek” at clues and hints by lifting the edge of the Cover; users see a clue and can then open the Smart Cover all the way to see the answer. Closing the Smart Cover automatically advances the app to the next clue, allowing users to quickly quiz themselves on a notebook of study materials. Evernote Peek 1.5 introduces audio clues in addition to the visual ones and includes three new audio-based notebooks to try out: birds calls, Spanish language and French language. The latest update also adds support for accessing notebooks shared by other Evernote users. Evernote Peek is available from the App Store as a free download.
JVC has started to ship its UX-VJ3B speaker system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Sporting a thin, upright design, the UX-VJ3B features a horizontally-oriented iPad dock with compatibility with most cases, a hidden, rotatable dock for the iPod and iPhone, 30 watts of total power, detachable speakers, an auxiliary audio input, a mini-USB input, a subwoofer output, video output, an AM/FM tuner, a down-lit LED illuminated base, a clock, sleep timer, wake up timer, surround mode, and included remote control. JVC’s UX-VJ3B speaker system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod is available now and sells for $200. [via iPodNN]