Apple over the weekend reopened its iTunes Match beta to registered iOS developers. Mac Rumors reports that the company sent out emails to developers, letting them know that the beta has been expanded to additional developers in the U.S. The email also notes that iTunes 10.5 beta 8 is required to use the service. iTunes Match is an upcoming $25/year cloud-based service from Apple that matches the songs in users’ iTunes libraries with songs available on the iTunes Store, uploading songs that can’t be matched, and subsequently offering the users access to their entire libraries across all their computers and iOS devices anywhere they have an Internet connection. The iTunes Match beta was launched late last month, but was closed for new signups shortly afterwards.
Apple has uncharacteristically released a small update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. According to release notes provided to iLounge by an anonymous source, the update focuses mainly on Apple’s iTunes Match service, which remains closed for new developer sign-ups. iTunes 10.5 beta 8, as well as iWork for iOS beta 3, are available for download now from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple this morning removed its shipping estimates for a wide range of products from its online store. Prior labels indicating shipment estimates of 24 hours or 1-3 days have been replaced with text simply indicating that a given product is “In Stock.” Notably, an estimate of 2-4 business days is still in place for the 12-Core model of Mac Pro, suggesting that Apple may still use its prior estimate system when the potential wait for an item surpasses three days. In addition, Apple also made changes to its iPad purchasing page, streamlining the process of selecting a specific model. [via AppleInsider]
Sprint will offer the iPhone with unlimited data service plans beginning next month, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Sprint will being selling the iPhone in mid-October as part of a deal with Apple that will see it offer the iPhone 5. The report notes that both AT&T and Verizon have dropped their unlimited data offerings for new iPhone customers, giving Sprint an opportunity to differentiate itself in the the marketplace. Sprint’s unlimited voice and data service is priced at $100 per month.
Apple has won another court battle in its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung. Reuters reports that a German court has upheld an injunction barring Samsung from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablets in Germany. In the ruling, Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman said that the overall impression of the Tab 10.1 was too similar to the iPad, stating that it “is distinguished by its smooth, simple areas.” The decision limits retailers to sales of existing stock and or obtaining new supplies from Samsung’s parent company Samsung International. Samsung can object to the decision.
V-Moda has debuted its new Limited Edition True Blood Maker Headphones. Made of Zinc Metal using a die-casting process, the Maker features an 8mm V-MASQUE driver tuned to provided added low-end response, an in-line single button remote and mic box, Kevlar-reinforced fabric cables, a 45 degree angled plug, and includes four sizes of BLISS 3.0 (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon) ear tips to insure a comfortable fit, as well as a pair of sport earhooks. Limited to just 400 units, V-Moda’s True Blood Maker earphones are available now and sell for $150.
Case Scenario has introduced its new line of officially-licensed Space Invaders cases for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The lineup of hard-shell, snap-on cases is available in a variety of black and white and multicolor designs, including “White & Colors,” “Black & Colors,” “Mirror,” and “Daimer,” and each case offers full, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Also included in the collection are two nubuck folio-style cases for the iPad 2 offering three stand angles in landscape position, PU leather construction, an elastic band closure, and integrated magnets for compatibility with the iPad 2’s automatic sleep/wake function. Case Scenario’s new line of Space Invaders cases for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are available now and range in price from €30-€60, or roughly $42-$83.
Pioneer has unveiled its new AirPlay-enabled Music Tap sound systems. Available in Pioneer and Elite branded models, these systems feature built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay, DNLA connectivity, vTuner Internet radio, compatibility with Pioneer’s free AirJam app for iOS on the software side. Interesting hardware features include a 2.5-inch LCD display, a two-channel digital amplifier and dual full-range drivers, an integrated pop-out iPod and iPhone dock for playback and charging, an auxiliary input for connecting other audio devices, a USB port for added connectivity, and the ability to display song information and album art on a connected monitor or TV. Pioneer’s new Pioneer and Elite Music Tap sound systems will be available this October and will sell for $400 and $479, respectively.
Apple has launched a new charitable matching program that will see the company match employees’ personal donations to eligible charities. In an email to employees reprinted by Mac Rumors, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the program, which will match employee donations to non-profit organizations dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 per year. The program will initially be available only to full-time U.S. employees, with plans to expand it in the future. Cook’s email is reprinted in full below.
I am very happy to announce that we are kicking off a matching gift program for charitable donations. We are all really inspired by the generosity of our co-workers who give back to the community and this program is going to help that individual giving go even farther.
Starting September 15, when you give money to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Apple will match your gift dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000 annually. This program will be for full-time employees in the US at first, and we’ll expand it to other parts of the world over time.
Thank you all for working so hard to make a difference, both here at Apple and in the lives of others. I am incredibly proud to be part of this team.
If you’d like more information on the program, you can get it on HRWeb, which can be easily accessed through AppleWeb.
Apple has filed a lawsuit in Tokyo District Court seeking to ban sales of various Samsung Galaxy products in Japan. Citing sources close to the matter, Reuters reports that the suit specifically names the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Tab 7; no mention is made of the more recent Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7. According to the report, Samsung filed a suit against Apple in Japan in April, leading to an Apple countersuit on August 23. Apart from an order suspending sales of the devices, Apple is also seeking 100 million yen, or roughly $1.3 million, in damages, according to a Kyodo news agency report cited by Reuters.
PopCap has released an update to Plants vs Zombies for the iPhone and iPod touch adding nine new mini-games and several additional Game Center achievements. New mini-games provide a variety of new challenges including Seeing Stars, Pogo Party, Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick and more. The update also adds a new Race to China micro-game that challenges players to dig their way to China as quickly as possible and adds additional Game Center achievements for the new mini-games. Plants vs Zombies 1.8 is available from the App Store for $3.
Ballistic has announced that it is now shipping its Ballistic LS case for the iPhone 4. Previewed by iLounge in December 2010, the Ballistic LS is made from TPU material, and features four interchangeable silicone “Ballistic Corners,” which vary in color and thickness to allow for a customized level of drop protection, as well as push-through protection for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, compatibility with both GSM and CDMA models, and open access to all other ports, controls, and cameras. The Ballistic LS case for iPhone 4 is available now in translucent gray or translucent blue and sells for $30.
Apple’s OEM maker Foxconn Electronics is in the process of ramping up production on the iPhone 5, according to a new report. Citing industry sources, Digitimes reports that production has reportedly reached 150,000 units per day, with lens maker Largan Precision, touch panel supplier TPK Holding, glass supplier G-Tech Optoelectronics and battery vendors Simplo and Dynapack all operating at full force. According to the report, shipments of the iPhone 5 are expected to reach 5-6 million in September and top 22 million units in the fourth calendar quarter as suppliers ship fewer iPhone 4 units. In addition, Pegatron, tapped to be a second manufacturing partner on the iPhone 5, is said to have landed roughly 15 percent of orders for the yet-unannounced handset, but may not begin shipping until next year.
Mobile development startup Massive Damage has released a new location-based MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod touch. Please Stay Calm puts the player in the role of a survivor of a futuristic zombie apocalypse where they must travel with their iPhone to explore real-world locations to scavenge for essential supplies, hunt zombies and build outposts and safehouses. As players progress and level up in the game they can choose from an expanding arsenal of weapons and equipment with which to fight zombies and duel other players as well as upgrading their fighting, exploring and scavenging skills. Players can establish cooperative teams by building or joining safehouses and spending resources to upgrade their safehouse for team bonuses. A global chat allows users to communicate with their fellow survivors along with Foursquare integration to check-in to specific locations online. The game also provides context through an episodic storyline with cinematic cut-scenes. The developer indicates that it plans to release additional chapters “with extreme frequency” that will expand the storyline and include new features, mini-games, weapons and upgrades. Please Stay Calm requires iOS 4.1 and an online connection to play and is currently available from the Canadian App Store as a free download; a U.S. launch in expected for Oct 13th, with a global launch to follow.
NuForce has rolled out its new Icon iDo digital audio converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The iDo is designed to greatly improve the quality of audio being delivered from the device—especially in the case of Apple Lossless files—by bypassing the device’s built-in DAC and extracting the audio data in its original digital form. It requires a 30-pin connection to the device, as well as a power connection for its own power supply, and gives users the choice of connecting the iDo to a home stereo system using RCA analog or coaxial digital output or listening via headphones connected directly to the device. In addition, as it offers its own headphone amplifier, it is capable of properly driving more power-hungry headsets than the device alone. NuForce’s Icon iDo is available now and sells for $249.
G-Form has launched its new Extreme Edge case for the iPad, iPad 2, and other 10-inch tablet devices. The Extreme Edge is designed to hold the iPad while in use, securing it on four corners and protecting the back with the company’s Reactive Protection Technology (RPT) material. It is available in yellow and black and sells for $45. Also new is the Extreme Portfolio case for the iPad and iPad 2. It combines the Edge with an RPT front cover that also has an internal layer of polycarbonate for screen protection, an inner pocket for documents, and a zippered closure. It is also available yellow and black and sells for $90. Both cases are available now.
Itai Alter and The App Network have released a new application that provides a curated catalog of kid-safe and parent-approved applications from the App Store. Designed to help parents with the challenge of discovering quality apps for their kids, Apps for Girls delivers a list of apps that have been chosen by app-savvy parents organized into categories such as education, books, games, style and more to provide a balance of learning and entertainment; each app provides a description, price and links directly to the App Store for purchasing. Apps for Girls is available from the App Store as a free download.
iCloud Communications, which filed a lawsuit against Apple only days after the company announced its iCloud service, has dropped the suit and changed its name. According to Cnet, the company appears to have also changed its name to Clear Digital Communications; although a representative for the company apparently answered the phone “iCloud Communications” when called, before admitting that he didn’t know what the company was now called.
A graduate student has reworked iTunes’ Software License Agreement for his master’s thesis. The Daily reports that Gregg Bernstein, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, teamed with University of Georgia law professor Robert Bartlett to parse the 4,137-word document to a more digestible 381 words, and then broke it into sections, and adopted a set display type for headlines and section starts. The result is imminently more readable and understandable; Berstein said he has contacted Apple’s legal department about doing usability research, but has yet to hear back. [via TUAW]
In an unusual turn of events, Apple’s Find My iPhone service has been used to located the wreckage of a plane crash. Citing a reader email, 9to5Mac reports that the family of one of the victims of the accident, which occurred in Chile near the island of Robinson Crusoe, were able to login and isolate the coordinates of the last known whereabouts of the plane, which were then passed on to the Navy who are using it to coordinate rescue efforts.
In celebration of 2011’s Fashion’s Night Out, Gin Lane Media, in cooperation with Stylelist.com and Saks Fifth Avenue, has created an interactive storefront display at Saks’ flagship location using a total of 64 iPad 2s. The iPads display Stylelist-branded imagery, live-streaming content from the redesigned website, Twitter updates, and user-submitted photos. The display will run through September 19 and is flanked on either side by two windows of nine 27-inch Apple Cinema Displays. To view pictures of the display, continue reading.
RadiumOne Labs has launched PingMe Messenger, a new cross-platform real-time messaging app for the iPhone designed as an SMS replacement. The application provides real-time text messaging and photo sharing between two or more users along with dynamic group messaging and geo location capabilities. Users register for PingMe using their phone number as a user ID and can then connect with their friends via the iOS contact list, Facebook or the PingMe network. A PingMe news feed allows users to post status updates and check-in with friends and the application includes Push Notifications for receiving incoming messages even when the app is closed. PingMe is a free service and the app is available from the App Store as a free download.
Update: A follow-up report from GigaOM indicates that this seems to be the result of a technical glitch rather than an actual policy change, citing an e-mail from Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey in which he stated that “No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams. A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.”