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Best Buy offering iPhone 3GS free with contract

Best Buy is offering the 8GB iPhone 3GS free today only. The one-day offer requires a two-year agreement from AT&T and “activation through Best Buy,” and is available both in stores and online. The offer comes just as RadioShack ended a promotion that saw it offering the handset for $19.99 on similar terms; Best Buy offered a similar promotion last year. [via Mac Rumors]

2012 iLounge Pavilion grows to 75,000 square feet

The Consumer Electronics Association today announced that the iLounge Pavilion at the 2012 International CES has grown to 75,000 square feet, making it the largest dedicated exhibition of iPod, iPhone, and iPad related products and services in the world. “The success of the iLounge Pavilion is unparalleled, featuring the largest number of i-related product launches at any event, any time of year,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA. “With strong industry demand for a showcase of these popular products, the iLounge Pavilion at the 2012 International CES is the place where key business is done for this space.”

The 2012 iLounge Pavilion will feature products from more than 250 companies spread across its space—compared to 200 companies across 50,000 square feet in 2011. Notably, the 2011 International CES’s independently audited attendance of over 149,000 people was up 18 percent from the year prior; it is the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world. The 2012 International CES will be held January 10-13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bluelounge debuts Kicks for iPad

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Bluelounge has debuted its new Kicks protective accessories for the iPad. Kicks are small, thin rubber strips that attach to the back of the iPad to help prevent slipping, damage, and scratches. The Kicks attach via a 3M damage-free adhesive so as to not leave any marks on the iPad itself, and also help to protect the iPad when laying flat on its back, as the rails elevate it slightly. Bluelounge’s Kicks for iPad are available now and sell for $12.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, giveaway update

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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Also, don’t forget to enter our Fanny Wang Headphone Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for August, iLounge and Fanny Wang are giving away two pairs of Black & White DJ Over Ear Wangs Tuxedo Headphones. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on August 31, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Monitors in Motion offers commercial iPad mounts

Monitors in Motion is now offering a range of iPad mounts for use in commercial applications. The iPad docking station offers numerous mounting options, lockable security screws that prevent the iPad from being removed without a key, and billet aluminum construction. It sells for $350. The iPad Floor Stand is a 40-inch tall mount for the iPad and iPad 2, offering a 12-inch diameter aluminum base, a secure mount, and the ability to accomodate screen tilt of 180 degrees. It is priced at $750. Finally, the iPad Lift is a wall and desk mountable, arm-based iPad mounting solution offering a maximum reach of 16.7-inches, an integrated anti-theft mechanism, and the ability to position the iPad in a variety of positions for optimal viewing. It sells for $490; all three options are available now.

iOS 5 to end Nike+ sync through iTunes

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With the release of iOS 5, Apple appears ready to end iTunes’ use as a middleman between iOS devices and nikeplus.com. According to an anonymous source, iOS 5 beta 6 devices with Nike+ data now prompt an iTunes dialog box stating that workout data can now be sent using the “Send Workouts to Nike+” feature in the iOS device’s Nike + iPod settings, and iTunes 10.5 no longer displays a Nike + iPod synchronization tab for iOS 5 devices. Notably, iOS 4.x devices and iPod nanos still bring up the option to sync Nike+ data when connected to the new iTunes beta release. Readers may recall that the ability to sync Nike+ data wirelessly to nikeplus.com from an iOS device was added as an option in iOS 4.1, although users still had iTunes wired syncing as an alternative—the latter, traditional option is what has disappeared today.

Gameloft confirms new releases to be Universal builds

Pocket Gamer reports that iOS game developer Gameloft has officially confirmed that it plans to “release everything as Universal” going forward. Until recently, the popular game development studio had traditionally been releasing separate iPhone and iPod touch versions of most of its games, followed later by separate “HD” versions for the iPad that had to be purchased separately. In addition to requiring users with both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad devices to potentially purchase two versions, the HD versions often came out weeks or months after the initial iPhone release.

Over the past few weeks, new releases such as BackStab and 9mm diverged from this practice, but it was unclear whether this was exclusive to these titles or indicative of a change in policy on the company’s part. Gameloft’s Digital Marketing PR Manager, Gregory Wintgens has now confirmed that this is in fact a reflection of the company’s future plans as a result of consumer feedback. [via Touch Arcade]

Apple releases iOS 5 beta 6 to developers

Apple has released the sixth beta version of its upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Listed as build 9A5302b and available exclusively to paid iOS developers, the release does not appear to include any major changes from prior versions, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 6 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

AT&T exec tips October launch for iPhone 5

An AT&T vice president has confirmed to several employees that Apple plans to launch the iPhone 5 in early October, according to a new report. Citing a high-level AT&T source, Boy Genius Report claims that the executive also told a group of managers that things were going to get “really, really busy in the next 35-50 days, so prepare your teams accordingly.” While the exact announcement and release timeframe for the iPhone 5 is still up for debate, recent reports indicate that a September announcement and October launch seems likely for the next-generation handset.

Roth unveils KRadio for iPhone and iPod

Roth AV has unveiled its new KRadio for the iPhone and iPod. The glossy black rectangular system features an Ethernet port and integrated Wi-Fi for streaming Internet radio, FM, DAB, and DAB+ tuners, a twin alarm, a top-mounted dock with the ability to charge the connected iPhone or iPod, touch-motion controls, and an included remote control. Roth AV’s KRadio for the iPhone and iPod will be available in September and will sell for £199, or roughly $330. [via Gizmodo]

Report: Apple to launch Retina Display iPad in early 2012

Apple is preparing to launch an iPad with a high resolution display in early 2012, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is currently working with component suppliers and its assembler in Asia for trial production of the next-generation tablet, and has already ordered key components such as display panels and chips. The report claims that the next-generation iPad is expected to boast a 2048 x 1536 display, which has already shipped in small quantities for sampling. Such a display would likely qualify as a “Retina Display” in Apple’s eyes. “Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012,” said a person at one component supplier, which has already received orders for parts for roughly 1.5 million next-generation iPads in the fourth quarter.

HP kills webOS hardware, will spin-off/sell PC business

HP today announced that will discontinue operations for its webOS devices, effectively removing iPhone and iPad competitors such as the Pre line of phones and touchPad tablet computer from the market. “HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones,” reads a statement from the company. “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

Notably, the same press release states that the company is exploring alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), where former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein now serves as senior vice president of product innovation. Options for the group, which is responsible for business and consumer PCs, mobile computing devices and workstations, include a full or partial separation from HP “through a spin-off or other transaction,” suggesting that HP will exit the hardware businesses for computers, phones, and tablets in the near future. Should the webOS software team be joined with the PSG, it could create an organization similar to Apple, leaving products such as enterprise services and software under the HP banner. However, the announcement may signal a substantial liquidation of HP’s patents or hardware businesses, which would be a stunning blow to a previously strong rival to Apple’s various businesses.

UNO adds online multiplayer support

Gameloft has released an update to its iOS adaptation of the classic UNO card game adding a new online multiplayer mode. The new version allows players to challenge others from around the world, winning games and completing challenges to increase their experience level and score. Several multiplayer rooms are available for players at each experience level ranging from Beginner to Champion and users can track their scores over time on new online national and international leaderboards. The new multiplayer mode adds several other new features including bonus power-ups, clover leaves and new backgrounds that allow users to personalize their games. UNO is currently available from the App Store for $1 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original UNO card game.

OmniOutliner for iPad 1.1 adds several improvements

The Omni Group has released a major update to OmniOutliner for iPad adding text searching, copy and paste improvements, the ability to send outlines to other apps and a host of other improvements. In OmniOutliner for iPad 1.1 users can now search for text within the current outline from the Document tab of the tools popover and can also copy and paste rows between outlines and other apps using the iOS clipboard; similarly multiple paragraphs of text can also be pasted from the clipboard as individual rows. Additional buttons have also been added for expanding and collapsing all rows and for creating line breaks and splitting rows while in text edit mode. The new version also provides the ability to directly export outlines to other supported iOS apps. The update also includes several bug fixes and improvements related to import and export, performance, data integrity and user interface and adds eight new language localizations. OmniOutliner for iPad requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $20.

iTunes 10.4 removes Back Up to Disc feature

Apple has quietly removed the “Back Up to Disc” feature in iTunes 10.4, as indicated in a recently updated Apple Support article. First introduced in iTunes 7, the Back Up to Disc feature allowed users to backup all or a portion of their iTunes library to optical media such as CD or DVD, preserving library metadata such as playlists, play counts, and ratings in the process. This feature is no longer available in iTunes 10.4, with Apple now suggesting that users instead backup their iTunes Library manually to an external hard drive or that Mac OS X users can rely on Time Machine to provide this capability. It appears that iTunes 10.4 will continue to read backup media created with this feature in prior versions of iTunes, but is unclear whether this support will continue in future versions.

Official photo shows Obama, Biden viewing iOS app

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The White House has released an official photo, taken by chief White House photographer Pete Souza, showing President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden looking at an app, being displayed on an iPhone 4. The photo’s description does not say what app the pair are viewing—it appears humorous, in any case—and while it does not specify whether the phone Biden is holding is in fact his personal handset, it does appear that the phone is encased in an Incase Slider Case, or something very similar. While this isn’t the first photograph of the President with an Apple product, it is the first to call specific attention to the growing world of mobile phone apps, and illustrates the growing prominence of Apple’s technology and software in our daily lives.

Apple sued in China over alleged refurb iPhone sales

Apple has been sued in China by customers who claim to have been given refurbished iPhone 4 units after paying for brand new devices. Citing a report from Chinese-language Sina Tech, M.I.C. Gadget reports that at least six customers who purchased iPhone 4 units from Beijing Apple stores reported that their registered warranties were less than the full year promised by Apple, and that their supposedly new units had scratches, leading them to believe that Apple had sold them refurbished units.

Two customers filed lawsuits, both claiming that they purchased 16GB black iPhone 4 units from the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing on July 9, 2011, complete with a receipt. One of the customers claims to have discovered that her iPhone 4 carried a warranty expiration date of January 28, 2011, just over six months from the date of purchase. Upon making this discovery, the women supposedly called counterfeit goods activist Wang Hai, who subsequently filed the lawsuit on their behalf.

AT&T to drop all but Unlimited texting plans

AT&T is set to discontinue all but its most expensive, unlimited text messaging plans, leaving customers with a choice between expensive pay-as-you-go plans or paying for a full unlimited plan. The carrier has confirmed to Engadget that starting August 21, all new customers will have to choose between the $30/mo. Messaging Unlimited for Families or $20/mo. individual Messaging Unlimited, or go with the $0.20 per SMS, $0.30 per MMS pay per use plan. Notably, current customers will be allowed to keep their current plans—such as the $10 for 1000 messages plan—even when changing handsets.

Filter Mania adds more filters, Instagram integration

Dropico has released a major update to its Filter Mania photo effects app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new version features a revamped, more intuitive user interface, a number of additional filters and integration with Instagram for photo sharing. Users can combine multiple filters to create unique effects with 12 professional filters included with the app and dozens more available for download. The update also adds Retina Display support, the ability to re-edit photos and import images from the iOS photo library and built-in notifications for new filters, features and special offers. Filter Mania is available from the App Store as a free download. For a limited time users can purchase an Unlimited Pro Filters download for $1 via in-app purchase.

Readdle releases Card Scanner Pro

Readdle has released Card Scanner Pro, a new iPhone application that allows users to scan business cards directly into the iOS address book. Users simply use the iPhone camera to take a photo of a business card and the application then identifies and saves the contact information such as name, e-mail, phone number and address to the appropriate address book fields. The application uses ABBYY OCR technology to provide high-quality recognition accuracy, however users can also easily preview the scan results and source image and make any changes before saving the data to the address book. In addition to saving contact details to the address book, the application also stores scanned cards in its own Card Holder section for quick access. Card Scanner Pro is available from the App Store for $7.

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