TuneWiki has released an update to its iOS music discovery app a new integrated song identification feature. TuneWiki allows users to play music, stream Internet radio and videos with synchronized lyrics available in over 40 languages. Version 3.1 adds a new Song ID feature whereby users can identify and display the lyrics for songs being played on the radio or from other sources via their device’s microphone. The update also expands social integration with a new Active Songbox feature that displays the likes and comments on recently played songs and the ability to add comments to songs played by other users. TuneWiki 3.1 requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Griffin Technology has rolled out its new Helo TC Helicopter for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The Helo TC is a remote-controlled indoor helicopter featuring twin rotors, a lightweight metal frame, a plack polycarbonate body, and an included Flight Deck infrared module that plugs into an iOS device and transmits remote control signals to the helicopter via the Helo TC app. Users can choose between two flight modes—Touch Control, which uses the display to control the ‘copter’s throttle and joystick, and Tilt to Steer, which uses the device’s accelerometers for control—and can also store up to three Flight Plans allowing them to repeat favorite patterns easily. The Helo TC is powered by an integrated, USB-rechargeable battery, while the Flight Deck module is powered by four AAA batteries and connects to the device’s headphone jack. Griffin Technology’s Helo TC Helicopter is available now and sells for $50.
Energizer has introduced its new iSurge Travel Charging Station for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other devices. The iSurge is an all-in-one AC adapter offering a top-mounted 30-pin dock for the iPod and iPhone, two USB ports with 2.1 Amp output for fast charging of the iPad, 3 standard, surge-protected AC outlets, a 180-degree rotating plug, and an integrated nightlight. Energizer’s iSurge Travel Charging Station will sell for $60 and will be available in October.
Apple’s VP of Mobile Advertising Andy Miller will soon leave the company to join a venture capital firm, according to a new report. Citing sources close to the situation, AllThingsD reports that Miller will become a general partner at Highland Capital, a Boston-based venture firm. Notably, it was Highland that back Quattro Wireless, the mobile advertising company co-founded by Miller in 2006 and acquired by Apple in early 2010. The report states that Apple will search for a replacement for Miller, and that the staff was told of his departure today.
Apple’s online stores have been hit with an extended outage today, leading to speculation as to what might be behind the downtime. According to various reports and iLounge observations, the U.S. online store went down sometime prior to 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, and is still down at the time of this posting. Additionally, Apple’s normal placeholder image—“We’ll be back soon”—is rarely being seen, as the site is not loading at all for most users. As most online Apple Store outages feel carefully structured, coinciding with anticipated product launches, the disappearance of the Store this morning suggests that Apple may be facing data center or network problems, or that a significant backend overhaul is taking place. We’ll update this story when the store reappears to report on any changes.
Update: The store is back up in some areas and appears to be loading faster than before, but no other changes are immediately noticeable.
Apple has been sued in South Korea by a group of roughly 27,000 people claiming the company invaded their privacy by allowing their iPhones to collect location data without their consent. Bloomberg reports that the class action suit, which was filed in Changwon, south of Seoul, is seeking 1 million won—roughly $930—per person in damages. Apple was fined earlier this month by the Korea Communications Commission over the same issue, and was ordered to pay a 3 million won for its actions. According to Apple, iPhones running iOS 4 were for some time “maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around [the user’s] current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from [the user’s] iPhone, to help [the user’s] iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.” When the file containing the database was initially discovered, it set off a wave of speculation that Apple was secretly tracking the locations of its users, something the company expressly denied in its subsequent Q & A document.
Guided Ways has released an update to its iOS productivity app 2Do noting the addition of support for syncing with iCloud calendars, one of the first apps on the App Store to advertise compatibility with Apple’s as-yet-unreleased new online service. The release notes indicate “OTA CalDAV support for iCloud” noting that the existing in-app purchase for MobileMe support will also work with iCloud when iOS 5.0 is released later this year. Announced in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, iCloud promises to be a free replacement for Apple’s MobileMe service and has been in closed beta for iOS and Mac Developers over the past few months. The full iCloud service is expected to be released to the general public this fall along with the release of iOS 5.
Foursquare has released an update to the iPhone and iPod touch application for its popular social networking service adding in-line display of photos and several other user interface tweaks and improvements. Foursquare 3.4 now displays photos inline within users’ activity streams, mirroring a similar feature that was recently introduced to the website; a similar view has also been added to the “Here Now” view on individual venues, providing users with quick access to an overview of photos from a specific place or event. The update also increases the size of tap targets to make the app easier to navigate while on the go. Foursquare 3.4 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has plans to invest in a Sharp Corp factory in order to secure a supply of LCD screens for iPhones and iPads, according to a new report. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that the move has spurred speculation that Apple may move to diversify its range of suppliers in light of its ongoing legal dispute with Samsung. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” said one of the sources. The report notes that Sharp has already secured a contract with Apple to supply “power-efficient” screens for the sixth-generation iPhone, due in 2012. According to the report, Japanese media have said Apple’s investment may be as large as $1.3 billion; Sharp officials could not be reached for comment.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, ans shows an iPod touch in front of one of the world’s highest motorable mountain passes, Tanglang La, located 17,582 feet above sea level in Ladakh, India. 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 with your iPod or iPhone, and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
Logitech has debuted its new Tablet Speaker for the iPad, iPad 2, and other tablet devices. Powered by a rechargeable battery good for up to eight hours of audio playback, the Tablet Speaker sports drivers on either end of its elongated, rounded-square body, clips on to the iPad via built-in arms, connects via 3.5mm headphone jack, can serve as a typing stand for the iPad, and comes with a carrying case. Logitech’s Tablet Speaker for iPad, iPad 2, and other tablet devices is expected to ship next month for $50. [via Gizmodo]
Google has released Google Catalogs for the iPad, a new free app that allows iPad users to browse through their favourite catalogs in an interactive, rich-media format. The application features digital versions of catalogs from diverse categories such as fashion and apparel, jewelry, kids, home decor and gifts, with content from top brands including Bloomingdale’s, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Nieman Marcus, Urban Outfitters and many more. Users can zoom in on photos to see close-up views of products, tap on tags for more information and view photo albums and videos as well as finding products in nearby stores or online. The app also provides the ability to search for products across multiple catalogs, build a collage of favourite catalog pages and products, and share individual products or user-created collages with friends; users can also mark catalogs as favourites to be notified when new issues arrive. Google Catalogs is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
LinkedIn has released a completely rewritten version of its iPhone and iPod touch application with a new user interface design focused on speed and simplicity. Promising improvements of up to ten times more speed across all features, the app has also been reorganized around four key areas: Updates, Inbox, You and Groups & More simplifying navigation and making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. The Updates section provides a single unified view of all updates from the user’s network and news from LinkedIn Today, while the Inbox and You sections allow the user to quickly view their invitations, private messages, personal profile information and connections.
Version 4.0 also introduces access to LinkedIn Groups from the mobile app, allowing users to easily access any groups that they are a member of and follow and participate in discussions within those groups from the mobile app. In addition to the update to its iOS application, LinkedIn is also introducing a new HTML5 based Mobile Web site for iOS devices, with a preview available now at touch.linkedin.com. The application, LinkedIn 4.0 requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
SmileOnMyMac has released an update to TextExpander, its text replacement utility for iOS adding support for syncing TextExpander snippets via Dropbox and posting to Twitter via TapBots’ TweetBot app. TextExpander allows users to save short text abbreviations that can be automatically expanded into larger sentences or even entire paragraphs. Numerous third-party iOS applications integrate with TextExpander directly or users can simply copy and paste snippets from within the app. In addition to local Wi-Fi syncing, TextExpander 1.2 can now sync content with TextExpander on other iOS devices and the Mac via Dropbox, a feature that has already been available in the Mac version for some time. The update also adds new options for sorting snippets, displaying snippet labels, and support TweetBot as a Twitter client in the application’s settings. Several other minor fixes and improvements have also been made in the latest version. TextExpander 1.2 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
AT&T has installed 4G LTE equipment in at least one “major” Apple retail store, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, Engadget reports that one piece of the equipment supports only the 700MHz and AWS bands—both of which AT&T plans to use for its LTE network should its acquisition of T-Mobile receive regulatory approval. The picture accompanying the post is unfortunately of little use, as it does not show any specific, device-identifying labels, nor does it offer up any evidence suggesting that the photo was taken inside an Apple retail location. The report goes on to claim that the Apple Store in question, and all those in the region, are now trying to increase staffing by roughly 30 percent, for reasons unrelated to the company’s traditional holiday-season hiring.
Scosche has unveiled its new boomCan portable speaker for the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other devices. Described by the company as slightly larger than a film canister, the boomCan features a 40mm driver to offer improved sound output when compared to the devices’ built-in speakers, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack connection, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to seven hours of music playback on a single charge. Users can also daisy-chain multiple boomCan units together for increased output. Scosche’s boomCan portable speaker is available now in black, silver, blue, and red, and sells for $25.
Taiwan-based HTC has filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Delaware, claiming patent infringement. According to a Reuters report, the complaint claims that Apple infringes on three HTC patents through the sale of Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, and “other devices,” and seeks an injunction against Apple’s importation and sale of the devices, compensatory damages, triple damages for willful infringement, and other remedies. The legal battle between the two companies dates back to March 2010 when Apple filed a patent infringement suit against HTC; HTC has since filed a complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission, while Apple has filed two such complaints against HTC. Last month, the ITC ruled in Apple’s favor in one of the complaints, prompting HTC to say that it was “open to having discussions” with Apple in the hopes of reaching a settlement.
Apple and Starbucks have expanded their long-running “Pick of the Week” promotion to include apps. The promotion, which debuted in April 2008, has offered a complimentary song or music video every week as a free download for Starbucks customers, via a card with a redeemable promo code on the back. Cnet reports that the apps are being distributed in the same manner, with the first app to be offered being Shazam Encore, the music-identifying app that normally sells for $5.99. The report states that Starbucks declined to comment on whether the apps take the place of that week’s music track or video.
New components claimed to be for a yet-unannounced iPhone 5 have appeared online. MacPost reports that parts claimed to be a “camera lens replacement,” earphone audio jack, and a sleep/wake flex cable have all been spotted for sale from different Chinese resellers. Notably, the earphone audio jack pieces are available in both black and white, suggesting that if real, the iPhone 5 will be available in both hues. While similar parts have leaked out in the weeks preceding prior iPhone launches, it is difficult to confirm the authenticity of these parts.
955 Dreams has released a major update to its iPad reference app, The History of Jazz, adding information on 30 new Jazz Legends and additional updated content. The History of Jazz is an interactive timeline that allows users to explore the background and culture of jazz music through a rich media experience of audio, video and interactive text. Users can travel through the various jazz eras and genres learning about key figures in jazz history with videos, short biographies and more detailed encyclopedia content; each artist also includes a curated list of essential songs and albums that the user can sample or purchase on the iTunes Store. Version 2.0 updates the video and other content and adds information on 30 additional Jazz Legends including Oscar Peterson, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Horace Silver, Chris Connor and more. The History of Jazz is available from the App Store for $5.