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Next-generation iPad to arrive in 3-4 months

Apple’s next-generation iPad will launch in the next three to four months, according to a new report. Citing sources in the supply chain, DigiTimes reports that various parts and component makers have started to deliver pieces to OEM contractors while ramping down production of iPad 2 components. The report claims that OEM production of the iPad 2 will remain at 14-15 million units during the fourth-quarter of 2011 but decline to between four and five million units in the first quarter of 2012. Foxconn is expected to begin building next-generation iPads in January and ramp up the production volume in February, according to the report, with production expected to reach 9.5-9.8 million units in the first quarter of next year.

Apple to add Bluetooth support to AirPlay?

Apple may be planning to add Bluetooth support to its AirPlay wireless media streaming protocol, according to a new report. According to Macotakara, Apple recently held a technology summit for members of its Made For iPod/iPhone/iPad (MFI) program in Shenzen, China, at which it shared details of a new certification chip. The chip will offer MFI devices access to iOS devices via AirPlay over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Apple also suggested that the new Bluetooth 4.0+HS support found in the iPhone 4S should increase battery life thanks to low energy requirements and will support new applications in the health care and gaming markets. According to the report, Apple hopes the move will help grow the AirPlay device market, which currently accounts for just two percent of the MFI program. [via AppleInsider]

Apple airs new Beatles iTunes ad

Apple has started to air a new 30-second TV advertisement touting The Beatles on iTunes. The ad is based on the covers of the band’s albums, including Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour—the titular track plays in the background—The Beatles [White Album], Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, and Abbey Road, in that order, with a simple “The Beatles on iTunes” message appearing in text at the end, followed by an Apple logo. Apple is notably giving away The Beatles Yellow Submarine children’s book right now on the iBookstore. The new ad is available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Tekkeon intros TekCharge MP1580 battery pack

Tekkeon has introduced its new TekCharge MP1580 battery pack for the iPod, iPhone, and other USB-charging devices. The MP1580 offers the ability to charge devices using between two and four AA batteries, and serves as a charging station for rechargeable NiMH or lithium cells. Other features include an inline voltage regulator to ensure safe charging, a built-in USB slot for connecting charging cables, and an external charge indicator. Tekkeon’s TekCharge MP1580 battery pack is available now and sells for $25.

HP to release WebOS as open source software

HP today announced that it will contribue its webOS software to the open source community. WebOS is a mobile operating system that debuted on the Palm Pre prior to the company being acquired by HP, and also served as the OS for HP’s TouchPad tablet. HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license, and promises to be an “active participant and investor” in the project going forward, with the ENYO application framework to be released to the community in the “near future”.

Apple drops prices on refurb iPad 2 units

Apple has dropped its prices on refurbished iPad 2 units. For Wi-Fi-only models, 16GB units are now $419, down from $449, while both the 32GB and 64GB models saw $50 drops, to $499 and $599, respectively. Refurbished Wi-Fi + 3G units saw similar drops, brining their prices down to $549 for 16GB models—a $30 drop—and $629 and $729 for 32GB and 64GB units, respectively, each representing a $50 cut. All of Apple’s refurbished iPads include a full one-year warranty, as well as a new battery and outer shell. [via Mac Rumors]

Motorola wins injunction barring sales of iPhone in Germany

Motorola Mobility has won a German patent suit against Apple, leading to a preliminary injunction that bars sales of all iPhone models and 3G iPad models in the country. FOSS Patents reports that all products which implement the patent in question—EP 1010336 (B1), covering a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”—are barred from sale; this includes the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 3G, iPad 2 3G, and likely the iPhone 4S, although it is not specifically named. Apple will likely appeal this ruling and request a stay on the injunction for the duration of the appeal proceedings, and may also make efforts to acquire a license for the patent.

Hex debuts new cases for iPhone, iPod touch

Hex has debuted its new Solo Wallet case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, as well as the Core Case for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The Solo Wallet is a molded hard case featuring a snap-on design, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, two rear card slots, and a genuine leather exterior. It is available in two colors and sells for $40. The Core Case is also a custom molded hard case, wrapped in premium washed canvas and offering open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. It is available in khaki and charcoal and sells for $30; both cases are available now.

Google releases Google Currents

Google has released Google Currents, a new content aggregation and reading app for iOS devices. Google Currents provides access to top content from a wide range of publishers such as CNet, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more delivered in a format optimized for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Users can also add their own RSS, video and photo feeds and integrate their Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions to provide a customized content experience. Google Currents also provides a Trending Editions section that leverages Google search technology to build a customized collection of the five top trending stories in categories such as world, entertainment, sports and science, updated hourly and presented as a compiled edition of articles, videos and pictures. The application also provides offline reading support so that users can browse and read their customized magazines even without an active data connection. Integration with Google+ allows users to easily share articles or videos with their circles; Facebook, Instapaper, Pinboard and Tumblr are also supported as additional services. Google Currents is currently only available from the U.S. App Store and is a free download.

Twitter 4.0 introduces revamped iPhone UI design

Twitter has released a major update to its official iOS app adding a significantly redesigned user interface for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed to bring the mobile user experience in-line with the web site, Twitter 4.0 provides a new set of views for the user’s Home timeline, a Connect screen that combines mentions and related activity such as retweets and favourites and a new dedicated Discover view designed to allow users to explore trending topics, find new people to follow, browse interests and explore hashtags. A new “Me” section provides quick access to the user’s profile along with drafts, lists and direct messages. The new UI design is presently only available on the iPhone with Twitter on the iPad retaining the same UI design and features as in the prior version. Twitter 4.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Edifier ships Tick Tock speakers

Edifier has started shipping its new Tick Tock alarm clock speaker lineup. Each model in the collection features a half-round design inspired by classic alarm clocks, “bells” on either side of the top that conceal functional 1.5-inch omni-directional speakers, a large LCD display, an FM tuner, a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack, and a front-firing driver. The Tick Tock Bluetooth adds Bluetooth connectivity to allow for wireless audio streaming, while the Tick Tock Dock instead boasts a pivoting iPod/iPhone dock in the front. Both the Tick Tock Bluetooth and Tick Tock Dock are priced at $80; a third model, the Tick Tock SD/USB/FM Radio relies on SD cards or USB input for audio, and sells for $70.

Google’s Schmidt claims Android ‘ahead’ of iPhone

Speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris, Google Executive Chairman and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt touted his company’s Android operating system as being “ahead” of the iPhone and iOS. Cnet reports that Schimdt’s claim that “Android is ahead of the iPhone now” was met with silence from a crowd filled with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Schmidt responded by explaining, “Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working so hard to distribute Android phones globally that whether you like ICS or not—and again I like it a great deal—you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first”. In addition, Schmidt responded to a complaint from an Android user frustrated that many apps launch on iOS first by predicting that “six months from now you’ll say the opposite”.

Citytv Video adds iPhone support, blocks video output

Rogers Media has released an update to the Citytv Video app for Canada’s Citytv television network adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch along with several UI and performance enhancements. Originally released last year as an iPad application, the Citytv app provides free, ad-supported access to popular prime-time content carried by the Citytv network along with live streaming of selected shows such as Citytv’s Breakfast Television morning show.

Unfortunately the updated version now actively blocks video output over a wired or AirPlay Mirroring connection, displaying a message that video output is not supported “due to contractual obligations.” Although the prior version of the app did not provide direct AirPlay support, video could be streamed to an external display using a Dock Connector video cable or AirPlay Mirroring on the iPad 2. Citytv and Rogers Media are part of the Rogers Communications group of companies, which also operates one of the largest cable television networks in Canada and it’s notable that this limitation does not exist in iOS applications from other major Canadian television networks.

Microsoft releases My Xbox Live for iOS

Microsoft has released My Xbox Live, a universal iOS application that allows Xbox users to access their Xbox Live accounts while on the go. The application allows gamers to connect with their Xbox Live friends, track and compare achievements and even change their 3D avatar dirtily from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Users can review recent games that their friends have played or jump into the games hub to learn more about the latest Live games and apps. The app also provides access to Xbox Spotlight feeds, breaking news from Xbox Live, game tips and tricks and more. My Xbox Live requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

PowerSkin rolls out Gaming Skin for iPhone, iPod touch

PowerSkin has rolled out its new Gaming Skin battery case for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Gaming Skin offers an integrated 2050 mAh battery—good for up to 10 hours of extra game play, according to the company—built-in stereo speakers, LED battery status lights, a vibration motor for game enhancement, a pass-through headphone port, external volume up and down buttons, and a USB to allow for syncing and charging of the device while in the case. PowerSkin’s Gaming Skin is compatible with the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch, as well as the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S, and is available for pre-order now for $100.

Behringer teases massive, 10,000W iNuke Boom

Behringer has announced that it will unveil its new iNuke Boom docking speaker system for iPod and iPhone at the 2012 CES, likely claiming the titles of heaviest, costliest, and most powerful iPod speaker in the process. Measuring eight feet wide by four feet tall and weighing 700 pounds, the iNuke Boom features a top-mounted iPod/iPhone dock, and will supply its speakers with over 10,000 Watts of power. Further details of the speaker have yet to be revealed; the iNuke Boom will carry an MSRP of $30,000.

Optrix unveils HD Sport Mount for iPhone, iPod touch

Optrix has unveiled its new HD Sports Mount for the iPhone and iPod touch. The HD Sport Mount consists of a weatherproof ruggedized case designed to hold the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, or fourth-generation iPod touch during video recording, featuring ultrasonic welds and silicon gaskets to keep moisture and dirt away from the device, and a variety of included base mounts that securely adhere to nearly any surface. Optrix’ HD Sport Mount for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and fourth-generation iPod touch is available now and sells for $80.

Photo of the Week: iPad 2 in the Philippines

This week’s featured photo is from our iPads Around the World gallery, and shows a black iPad 2 sitting near the monument to General Douglas MacArthur on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. 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!

iBooks adds Night mode, New fonts

Apple has released an update to its universal iBooks app adding several new UI features and enhancements. iBooks 1.5 adds a nighttime reading theme for reading books in the dark as well as a new full-screen reading view. The update also adds several new fonts including Athelas, Charter, Iowan and Seravek and a new redesigned annotation palette making it easier to choose highlighting colours. With the latest version Apple is now including classic covers for public domain books as well rather than the generic title covers that had previously been displayed. iBooks 1.5 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Jetpack Joyride adds new Mission System

Halfbrick Studios has released an update to Jetpack Joyride introducing a new Mission System and a new playing environment. In Jetpack Joyride 1.2 players can now undertake a variety of new challenges each time they earn a prestige badge with expanded missions that take players deeper into the gameplay experience. The update also introduces a new forest environment for Barry to explore and continue his coin collecting, havoc wreaking and time travelling adventures. Jetpack Joyride 1.2 is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.

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