Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1, and officially launched its iTunes Match music service. Previously made available in beta form to registered iOS developers, iTunes 10.5.1 adds support for iTunes Match, and also offers other performance and stability improvements. iTunes Match is a $25/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. Apple had planned to launch iTunes Match at the end of October, but delayed the launch for unspecified reasons, while it continued to provide developers with updates to the beta version of iTunes 10.5.1. iTunes 10.5.1 is available now as a direct download from apple.com/itunes and is expected to appear in Apple’s Software Update utility shortly.
Incase has unveiled its new Leather Portfolio and Leather Book Jacket Select cases for the iPad 2. The Leather Portfolio case features a zippered closure, quilted taffeta and suede liners, internal organizer pockets for papers, pens, and other items, and the ability to convert into a workstation with viewing and working angles. It will come in black/gray or dark gray/port and will sell for $130; it is listed as coming soon. The Leather Book Jacket Select features an elastic band closure, open access to all ports, controls, and camera, built-in rails to let the case serve as a multi-angle stand, and suede interior lining. It is available now in black or dark gray/port and sells for $100.
Apple has launched a new Replacement Program for the first-generation iPod nano. As stated on the program’s official page, “Apple has determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the iPod nano (1st generation) may overheat and pose a safety risk. Affected iPod nanos were sold between September 2005 and December 2006. This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. While the possibility of an incident is rare, the likelihood increases as the battery ages.” It continues, “Apple recommends that you stop using your iPod nano (1st gen) and follow the process noted below to order a replacement unit, free of charge.” Users will need to enter their iPod nano’s serial number to verify eligibility, and will receive their replacement units approximately six weeks after Apple receives their current unit. [via Macworld UK]
As part of its ongoing testing efforts, Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 to registered iOS developers. According to Apple’s release notes, the software offers stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match, and is a required update for all developers currently subscribed to the iTunes Match beta. Apple notified all developers earlier this week that it would delete all iTunes Match libraries on November 12, but has yet to announce an updated release date for the service, which was scheduled to launch at the end of October. iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 is available now from the iOS Dev Center.
With over 2,500 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“What’s your reaction to Apple’s Fall 2011 iPhone + iPod lineup?”—has ended. Readers were given options of saying they were or were not planning to purchase an iPhone or iPod, and whether or not the announcement had any affect on their decision.
While not a majority, a large number—38 percent—of readers said that they were planning to purchase an iPhone or iPod, and the announcement didn’t change their mind. They were followed by two groups of readers, both of which constituted 23 percent of responses—those who were planning to buy a new iPhone but decided to hold off because of what was announced, and those who weren’t planning to buy an iPhone or iPod, and were not persuaded otherwise by Apple’s announcements. Both those who were planning to buy a new iPod but are now holding off and those who weren’t planning to buy an iPhone but had their minds changed accounted for seven percent, while only one percent of readers said they weren’t planning to buy a new iPod, but would based on what was announced. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on iOS 5.0.1. We’d like to know whether or not iOS 5.0.1 has fixed any issues you might have had with the prior release. Did it fix your battery life issues, AirPlay issues, or both? Or did it fail to fix your issues, or worse yet, make them worse? Or did you not have an issues to fix, or do you not own a device capable of running iOS 5.0.1? Our new poll—“Did the iOS 5.0.1 update fix anything for you?”—lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Cast your vote today!
Apple has sent out an email to registered iOS developers informing them that it will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Saturday, November 12 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The correspondence recommends that current users should turn off iTunes Match on all of their computers and iOS devices, and says that songs on their computers should not be affected. Apple has offered iTunes Match to its registered iOS developers on a limited, beta basis since the end of August, but notably missed its “end of October” timetable for a public launch, and has instead continued releasing beta updates to iTunes 10.5.1 to developers as it continues to test the service.
Claro, a subsidiary of América Móvil and the largest Puerto Rican telecommunications company, has launched the iPhone 4S in the U.S. territory. According to the carrier’s website (Translated Link), customers can purchase the 16GB model for as low as $100 on a two-year contract, with 32GB and 64GB units priced at $200 and $300, respectively; monthly plans start at $65 and go up to $85. Notably, both higher-capacity models are listed as coming soon, suggesting that the carrier only has supplies of the 16GB model for the launch. The carrier will also sell the phone unlocked, with prices ranging from $670 to $870.
A number of iPhone 4S users are reporting that the iOS 5.0.1 update, which Apple specifically noted as fixing “bugs affecting battery life”, has not helped their battery drain issues. According to a lengthy thread on Apple’s Support Communities site, a significant number of users are reporting that their battery is draining at the same rate as before, while some are reporting that their battery drains at an even faster rate than before. Other users have reported that the update appears to have greatly improved their battery life, making it difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem for those that are still affected. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: Apple has released a statement to AllThingsD, stating that “The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices. We continue to investigate a few remaining issues.”
Flixster has released an update to its Movies app for iOS devices adding support for downloading UltraViolet movies for offline watching. Flixster users can add UltraViolet Digital Copies to their collections using redemption codes included in Blu-Ray or DVDs that they have purchased and will then be able to stream or download those movies to their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad via the new Flixster app. The latest version also adds iOS 5 support and restores Netflix DVD Queue management which had previously been removed due to a Netflix policy change. Movies by Flixster is available from the App Store as a free download. Streaming requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad, a Flixster account and at least one UltraViolet movie in the user’s Flixster movie collection.
Yesterday’s release of iOS 5.0.1, combined with subsequent updates to Apple’s AirPort routers and Time Capsule network storage products, appear to have fixed the more daunting of two types of AirPlay dropout issues experienced by iPhone 4S users. While iLounge has been able to verify that the iPhone 4S no longer stops playing after only several seconds of streaming to AirPlay speakers, both the iPhone 4S and other iOS devices continue to experience random dropouts minutes into audio playback. It remains unclear whether the 5.0.1 update provided any benefit to iPhone 4S users who were experiencing issues but do not have an Apple router, as well as whether firmware updates to AirPlay speakers will be required.
Apple today began offering unlocked iPhone 4S units for sale on its online store in the United States. As noted on the store, unlocked iPhone 4S units will work only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S., and will also allow for use of a local micro-SIM card when travelling internationally. They will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon or Sprint. Pricing for the unlocked handset starts at $649 for 16GB units, raising to $749 for 32GB models and $849 for 64GB units. All three are listed as shipping in 1-2 weeks.
Sprint will begin locking all iPhone 4S SIM cards at activation as of today, according to a new report. Citing an internal Sprint memo, Sprintfeed reports that the memo indicates that all iPhone 4S units will have the SIM locked beginning today. “The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer,” the memo reads. “The process for unlocking a SIM is the same as enabling international GSM roaming. [Representatives] should direct the customer to Sprint Worldwide for authentication.” The memo goes on to state that customers can sign up for an international rate plan and use the phone in most countries around the world, and that the update will not impact any current iPhone 4S customers who activated their phones prior to today.
Apex Armor has debuted its new I-Konik multi-use case for the sixth-generation iPod nano. The I-Konik consists of an aluminum watch case for the iPod nano, an included watch band and wrist strap, and an optional armband, all three of which are capable of connecting to the watch band. Other features include open access to all ports, controls, and the rear clip, and a set of four rare earth magnets bonded to the back of the case for attachment to any metal surface. Apex Armor’s I-Konik multi-use case for the sixth-generation iPod nano comes in gunmetal gray, black, green, red, blue, or pink, and is available for pre-order for $90 with an expected ship date of December 10.
Fresh Fiber is now offering 3D-printed cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Among the company’s latest offerings are the Cassette Case, which features turning reels, the Boombox Case, which features an integrated stand, and the Camera Case, which features a sliding cover for the iPhone’s camera and small holes on either end for attaching a camera strap. Fresh Fiber’s 3D-printed cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available now and sell for €40, or roughly $55.
Satarii has introduced its new Swivl photo dock for the iPhone and iPod touch. Swivl consists of a motorized base with an integrated 30-pin cable and a device holder, the latter of which can hold an iPhone or iPod touch in vertical or horizontal orientation, and can tilt forward and backward based on the position of the included paired marker, which it uses to track the user’s location and also serves as a remote control. It is also compatible with any tripod-mountable pocket video weighing six ounces or less thanks to an included tripod mount accessory. The Swivl photo dock for the iPhone and iPod touch is expected to ship in early 2012 and will sell for $160; the company is taking reservations now.
Apple has released iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update contains bug fixes and improvements, including fixes for bugs affecting battery life, the addition of Multitasking Gestures to the original iPad, fixes for bugs with Documents in the Cloud, and improvements to voice recognition for Australian users using dictation. iOS 5.0.1 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch, and is available now via the update feature in iTunes or as an over-the-air update. To update your iOS device over-the-air, open Settings, tap on General, and tap on Software Update.
A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company has been working on a way to add a speaker to the iPod nano and iPod shuffle. Entitled “Speaker Clip”, U.S. Patent Application #20110274303 describes a rear clip, similar to the one found on current-model iPod nanos and iPod shuffles, that incorporates a piezoelectric speaker in a recessed region in the clip, with perforations to allow the audio to pass through. Notably, one of the drawings included in the patent shows a round hole in the rear clip of an iPod nano-shaped device, serving as evidence that the company has been experimenting with the idea of added a camera to the device, as was suggested by a part leak earlier this year.
A developer of AirPlay-compatible speakers has confirmed that the iPhone 4S is having a unique problem streaming audio to accessories, and that both speaker makers and Apple are trying to resolve it. iLounge has confirmed that third-party AirPlay accessories can drop the iPhone 4S’s audio stream within three to five seconds of starting playback, seemingly knocking the accessory offline for a brief period of time—an issue that does not appear to affect Apple TVs in any way. Libratone writes on its troubleshooting site, “Users of the new Apple iPhone 4S may experience both short and prolonged AirPlay audio drop-outs from time to time, and this issue seems to be occurring on all AirPlay-enabled speakers (from Libratone and other vendors alike). We are working actively with Apple and other speaker manufacturers to resolve this issue[.]” The company goes on to note that it is currently unclear whether the issue lies within the firmware of the iPhone 4S or the speaker’s firmware.
While iLounge has noted in past testing and reviews that all of the AirPlay speakers we’ve tested appear to have issues with at least occasional drop-outs, the issue with the iPhone 4S is more serious, rapidly and consistently interrupting audio playback within seconds of starting a song. In recent days, another speaker developer told iLounge that early AirPlay speakers have experienced unusually high return rates because of various wireless issues users have experienced, including audio drop-outs. Apple has yet to publicly address the issues.
Atari has released Asteroids Gunner, a new universal iOS game inspired by the classic 1980’s arcade game. Asteroids Gunner is a dual-stick action shooter that challenges players to blast their way through deadly asteroid fields and alien ships earning fortune and fame, collecting treasures and upgrading their ship and skills. The game provides three different galaxies to explore and conquer with 150 waves of asteroids and alien ships to obliterate. Players can choose from one of three unique ships: the Miner, the Bomber or the Dart that can be further customized and upgraded over the course of the game by earning Crystals and purchasing Space Bucks to unlock new galaxies and powerful upgrades. An extensive achievement system allows players to earn rank promotions and gain upgrades along with Game Center and OpenFeint integration for tracking high scores and achievements. Asteroids Gunner is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Omer Shoor has released Photogene², the sequel to his highly acclaimed photo editing application for the iOS platform. Released as an entirely new app rather than an update to the prior version, Photogene² has been entirely rebuilt with an interesting and fun new user interface optimized specifically for the iPhone while bringing over all of the advanced features introduced in the iPad version over the past several months. The new app features advanced photo editing capabilities such as cropping, straightening, colour adjustments with histogram and curves, sharpen and denoise filters and several retouching tools. A host of special effects are also available including centre focus, vignette, frames, reflection, text boxes and more and a large collection of presets allow users to easily choose a look and further adjust it from there.
Photogene² also includes the collage maker feature introduced on the iPad version, allowing users to choose from a variety of templates to combine several photos into a single artwork style image. An advanced metadata viewer is incorporated to display EXIF and IPTC metadata, including locations on an integrated map view and users can also edit IPTC metadata directly from within the app. Photos can be exported to a number of online services including Flickr, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and FTP or shared via e-mail; multiple photos can be exported at once and users can choose to resize photos during export or simply send them out in the original resolution. Additional collage templates and frames can be purchased from within the application, and more advanced users can take advantage of an optional “Pro” in-app upgrade to add features such as star ratings, watermarking on exported photos, FTP history, RGB curves, JPEG quality settings, advanced white-balance adjustments and custom masking overlays for localized effects.
Photogene² for iPhone is a new application rather than an upgrade to the prior version of Photogene, however the new version is available from the App Store at an introductory price of $1 until November 17th to allow existing users to upgrade. Users who have the original version of Photogene installed on their device will also be offered their choice of one in-app purchase expansion for free when first launching the new application.