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Matias unveils three new keyboards for PC/Mac/iOS

Matias has unveiled three new keyboards for the PC, Mac, and iOS devices. The One Keyboard, Slim One Keyboard, and Tactile One Keyboard all offer a Bluetooth connection to allow for use with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, with a single dedicated button to switch between the PC/Mac and iOS device, black keys set against a silver background, and an integrated USB cable. The Slim One Keyboard features a slim, Apple-like body and includes a MiniRizer iPhone stand for $80, while the One Keyboard features a more traditional body, with arrow keys, a number pad, and a space for the iPhone to sit between the keys. It sells for $100 and will begin shipping soon.

Finally, the Tactile One Keyboard also offers a full layout—with space for the iPhone, arrow keys, and a number pad—but uses an Alps Mechanical Switch for each individual key, offering an experience similar to Apple’s Extended and Extended II keyboards for $200; it is expected to ship in May. Each keyboard is available for order now in separate Mac- or PC-specific versions for shipment no later than May.

Herd.fm provides mobile-focused music sharing and discovery

Startup music discovery service Herd.fm has launched a new iOS application designed to deliver a new standard for music sharing and discovery for mobile devices. Based on the idea that many users’ music listening is now centered around mobile phones rather than traditional media players and desktop PCs, Herd.fm is customized for the iPhone and iPod touch to provide a streamlined and user-friendly way of connecting people through songs and playlists. The app leverages a user’s iTunes listening history and Facebook sharing activity to provide a snapshot of recent favourites and as a basis for intelligent music recommendations from Last.fm combined with Herd.fm’s own matching algorithms. Users can share their favourite music at any given moment or manually select songs from their device’s music library to create shareable mini-mixes.

Herd.fm allows users to broadcast recommendations via Facebook and Twitter but is primarily designed for person-to-person sharing, encouraging users to post recommendations directly to their friends on a personal level rather than merely posting to a feed. The app also integrates SoundCloud and YouTube APIs to provide direct in-app streaming of recommended tracks and provides links to song purchases via the iTunes Store. Artist tour dates are provided when available via the Songkick concert API and Herd.fm also incorporates a geo-location feature to display a visualization of where your shared songs are being listened to around the world by other Herd.fm users. Herd.fm requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Qmadix intros new Boostpac batteries for iPhone, iPod

Qmadix has introduced a pair of new battery packs for the iPhone and iPad, as well as several new cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Dubbed the Boostpac Eclipse and Boostpac Quick Shot, both battery packs offer integrated Dock Connectors for charging iPhones and iPods, Micro USB recharging, and LED battery indicator lights. The Eclipse offers a 1500 mAh cell and a built-in stand, while the Quick Shot offers a more compact design and a 1200 mAh battery. Qmadix’ Boostpac Eclipse and Boostpac Quick Shot batteries for the iPhone and iPod will sell for $60 and $50, respectively, and are listed as “coming soon”.

Numark rolls out iDJ Pro for iPad

Numark has rolled out its new iDJ Pro DJ controller for the iPad. Designed to seamlessly integrate with Algoriddim’s djay app, the iDJ Pro features an integrated, centrally-located iPad dock, dual capacitive, touch-activated platters, setup, a brushed aluminum casing with lighted controls, die-cast aluminum volume knobs, professional microphone and external device inputs, balanced XLR master outputs, and a dedicated music library scroll knob. Pricing and availability information has yet to be announced.

Ten One debuts Pogo Sketch Plus stylus

Ten One Design has debuted its new Pogo Sketch Plus stylus for iOS devices. The Pogo Sketch Plus features an anodized aluminum body, a built-in black pocket clip, and an all-new tip boasting Pro Tip technology. According to the company, the Pro Tip technology consists of patterned structures within the tip itself for greater sensitivity, combined with a smaller tip diameter for added precision. Ten One Design’s Pogo Sketch Plus for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now in a variety of colors and sells for $15; existing Pogo Sketch owners can receive 50 percent off the Plus by emailing a photo of their current stylus to info (at) tenonedesign (dot) com.

Garmin announces social integration for StreetPilot

Garmin has announced an update to its StreetPilot onDemand navigation app adding support for new social media capabilities. The new version will add integration with Wikipedia, Facebook and foursquare, allowing users to easily display locations from these networks on the map and check-in when arriving at a destination. Wikipedia icons will also appear on the map that can be tapped onto provide detailed information about interesting locations and landmarks nearby. The new version of the StreetPilot onDemand app will also add a variety of new voices and vehicle icons to choose from as well as visually refined 3D renderings of buildings for an improved map overview.

Garmin has also reduced the prices of all of its North American turn-by-turn navigation apps by $10 during Macworld (Jan 26-28), including StreetPilot OnBoard USA ($40), StreetPilot OnBoard North America ($50), StreetPilot onDemand (free, $20/year in-app subscription), Navigon USA ($40), Navigon North America ($50) and Navigon MyRegion ($20).

Apple CEO Cook to hold employee event to discuss ‘exciting new things’

Following the release of yesterday’s record-setting financial results, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email out to the company’s employees congratulating them on a great start to 2012 and inviting them to a special event. As reprinted by 9to5Mac, the email reads:

“Team,

Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we’re off to a great start in 2012. Last week in New York we launched a groundbreaking initiative for education with iBooks textbooks, and today we reported the strongest quarter in Apple’s history. Please join me tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. in Town Hall. We’ll review our record-setting results and discuss some exciting new things going on at Apple. The meeting will be broadcast live to many sites in Cupertino and other Apple locations. Please check AppleWeb for details.”

Photo of the Week: iPhone 4S in Africa

This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows a black iPhone 4S in front of the Door of No Return in the city of Ouidah in Benin, Africa. 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!

Notes from Apple’s Q1 2012 Conference Call

During Apple’s first-quarter 2012 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod businesses, as the company celebrated record revenue, profits, and sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

As usual Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer gave the opening remarks, saying the company was “very proud” of the results. Oppenheimer said that despite the drop off in unit sales, iPod sales beat internal expectations, with the iPod touch representing more than half of all iPod sales. In addition, the iPod retains over 70 percent market share in the U.S., and is still the top-selling MP3 player in most of the countries Apple tracks.

Discussing the iPhone, Oppenheimer said that nearly all of the top companies in Fortune 500 now use and support iPhone on their networks. It is “changing the way companies use mobile devices for work”, he said, noting that many companies were developing mission-critical apps. The 128 percent year-over-year iPhone sales growth outpaced the expected 40 percent growth in smartphone sales overall, he said, adding that the iPhone 4S is now available in 90 countries.

Apple CEO Tim Cook later added that the company was thrilled with iPhone sales for the quarter, which were substantially above the prior 20 million unit sales record. He attributed the outstanding sales to several factors, including consumer enthusiasm, delayed sales from the prior quarter, and the fact that the company made a “large bet” on potential demand—but noted that it still ended the quarter with a backlog, and thus “didn’t bet high enough”. Cook said that sales in the U.S. and Japan were particularly strong, as were iPhone sales in greater China, which is especially surprising given that the iPhone 4S was not available in mainland China during the quarter - and later said that there was nothing to announce regarding the company’s likely tie-up with China Telecom.

Turning to the iPad, Oppenheimer said the company was “very pleased” with its record iPad sales during the quarter, saying that sales surpassed internal expectations. Overall, the company has now sold over 315 million iOS devices, including more than 62 million in the holiday quarter alone—suggesting that the company sold roughly 9.6 million iPod touch units during the period. Oppenheimer also revealed that iOS app developers earned over $700 million during the holiday quarter, and are quickly approaching $4 billion earned since the launch of the App Store in 2008.

Cook later reiterated that Apple is “very happy” with iPad sales, and believes that the record sell through is consistent with its long-term belief that the tablet market is a “huge opportunity” for the company. He said that the company still believes that the tablet market will grow to be larger than the PC market, and noted that based on research, it appears as if tablet sales have already overtaken traditional desktop PC sales. He added that there are now over 170,000 apps available specifically for the iPad compared to “hundreds” for competing products, and also noted that Apple doesn’t really see “limited-function” tablets and eReaders as direct competition for the iPad. Cook said that Apple will continue to “innovate like crazy in this area”.

In addition, Cook uncharacteristically revealed exact Apple TV sales for fiscal 2011 and for the holiday quarter. Saying the product was doing very well, Cook said that 2.8 million units were sold in fiscal 2011, with another 1.4 million units sold in the first quarter of 2012. He also said that the company will continue to add things to it, adding that he personally “couldn’t live without it”. Discussing iCloud, Cook revealed that the company has signed up over 85 million users in just three months, and described consumer response as incredible. He went on to describe the realization of iCloud as a “fundamental shift”, and said that, instead of being a product, per se, it’s actually a very important strategy for the next decade.

Finally, concerning the company’s massive cash balance, Oppenheimer said that the company’s executives and Board of Directors are “actively” discussing options as to what is the best use of the cash - whether it be investments in the supply chain, or acquisitions—before noting bluntly that the company had nothing to report as far as possible stockholder dividends or stock buybacks.

Apple Q1 2012: 37m iPhones, 15.4m iPads, 15.4m iPods

Reporting its first quarter 2012 financial results today, Apple said it sold a record-breaking 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, a 128 percent increase year-over-year, and up from 17.01 million units in the prior quarter. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter—another record—up 111 percent from the year-ago quarter and up from 11.12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Finally, the company said it sold 15.4 million iPods during the holiday quarter — a 21 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year, but up from 6.62 million in Q4 2011. Unit sales of iPhones, iPads, and iPods bring the cumulative totals for the three device categories to 183 million, 55.28 million, and 336.58 million, respectively.

Apple posted revenue of $46.33 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, representing all-time revenue and profit highs, compared with revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share in Q1 2011. Revenue from Other Music Related Products and Services, which includes revenue from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore in addition to sales of iPod services and Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories, was $2.027 billion for the quarter, up 42 percent year-over-year and 21 percent over the prior quarter.

“We’re thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline.”

“We are very happy to have generated over $17.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 13 weeks, we expect revenue of about $32.5 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $8.50.”

Xobni releases Smartr Contacts for iPhone

Xobni has released Smartr Contacts for iPhone, an iOS adaptation of its popular contact and relationship management solution for other mobile and web platforms. Smartr Contacts is a free app that allows users to extract information from their e-mail data and social network connections to easily create integrated profiles for their contacts, combining details from different sources such as phone numbers, photos, e-mail history and social network status updates. Contacts are further ranked within the app by importance rather than alphabetically, placing the most commonly referenced contacts nearer to the top of the list and also provides linked contextual e-mail and calendar information for each contact. Smartr Contacts for iPhone and related platforms leverage Xobni’s Smartr Cloud solution, using an online service to aggregated contact information across multiple networks; a Xobni account is therefore required to use the app, and e-mail integration requires a Gmail account or Xobni for Outlook to be installed on the user’s PC. Smartr Contacts for iPhone requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple top semiconductor purchaser in 2011

Apple was the world’s top purchaser of semiconductors in 2011, according to new research from Gartner. Apple last year purchased over $17.2 billion in semiconductors, up 34.6 percent from its 2010 total of $12.8 billion, and good for a 5.7 percent share of all semiconductor purchases on a per-company basis. Following Apple on the list was Samsung, with a 5.5 percent share, HP, also with a 5.5 percent share, Dell, with a 3.2 percent share, and Nokia, with a 3.0 percent share. “The major growth drivers in 2011 were smartphones, media tablets and solid-state drives (SSDs),” said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner; all three are major growth areas for Apple, including the iPhone, iPad, and the drives found in the company’s MacBook Air laptops.

Apple hires Sony Ericsson exec to head Latin America

Apple has hired away Anderson Teixeira, former President of Sony Ericsson U.S. and Head of Region North America, to become its new head of Latin American operations. According to 9to5Mac, Teixeira, whose official title at Apple will be Latin America General Manager, had been with Sony Ericsson for ten years, and started at Apple earlier this month. A mid-2009 profile on Teixeira revealed that he is a native of Brazil, and during his time with Sony Ericsson was based out of Miami, FL, Raleigh, NC, and Munich, Germany. For Apple, Teixeira will operate out of Apple’s Coral Gables, FL office.

Epson iProjection streams presentations wirelessly to Epson Projectors

Epson has released iProjection, a universal iOS app designed to stream presentations, documents and photos wirelessly from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to a compatible networked Epson projector. The iProjection app allows users to load in supported file formats such as word processing documents, presentation files, PDFs and images and output them for display on the projector. Users can also select images directly from the iOS device’s photo library or open files from e-mail or other cloud storage apps directly in the iProjection app. A built-in project remote control feature also allows the app to control projector features such as input sources, mute, freeze, audio settings and more. Supported file formats include Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2003 or later, Apple Keynote, and PDF, JPG and PNG files, although video playback and animations are not currently supported in presentation files. Epson iProjection requires an iPad, iPhone or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later and a supported Epson projector; the app is available from the App Store as a free download.

Agenda Calendar adds Goal View

App Savvy has released an update to Agenda Calendar adding a new “Goal View” to help users plan their overall priorities for 2012. Agenda Calendar is a universal calendar app for iOS devices that provides a number of additional themes and views along with enhanced features over the built-in iOS Calendar app, including advanced gesture support, easy sharing of events and status updates, custom alerts and reminders and more. The new Goal View in version 2.5 allows iOS 5 users to lay out a big picture overview for major milestones throughout the year, allowing significant events and goals to be added to the calendar so users can effectively plan the smaller day-to-day events around them. Agenda Calendar is a universal app requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $1. The new Goal View feature requires iOS 5 or later.

Korean researchers develop new ebook page-turning system

A group of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have created a new system for ebook page-turning that could someday find its way to Apple’s iOS devices. As demonstrated on an iPad, the technology would allow users to quickly rifle through multiple pages by starting their gesture on the bezel molding instead of the screen itself, turn multiple pages using multiple fingers, and bookmark a page with one finger while flipping through the pages with another finger. The video also demonstrates the ability to move through multiple pages at once based on the speed or length of the gesture. According to KAIST—which has filed 11 patents for it in Korea and abroad—the prototype was built using a private Apple API, making it unfit for the App Store in its current form. A video of the technology in action can be viewed in embedded form below. [via The Verge]

IMDb adds Metacritic support, more sharing features

IMDb has released an update to its universal iOS movie and TV reference app adding support for Metacritic scores and reviews, expanding international support and improving sharing options. In the latest version users can now view the Metascore and associated reviews and scores for any title directly from the information screen and can easily share trivia items, quotes and goofs from any movie or TV show with their friends. iOS 5 users can also now sign up to receive notifications when new events and celebrity photos are posted and the app adds support for Amazon.cn (China) and Amazon.es (Spain). IMDb Movies and TV 2.5 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Alesis intros audio accessories for iPad, iPhone

Alesis has introduced three new audio accessories—the AmpDock, DM Dock, and AmpCase—for the iPad and iPhone. The AmpDock is a multi-effects guitar processor for the iPad, encasing the iPad while adding a rugged pedalboard controller, several on-board physical controls, a 1/4” high-impedance guitar input and a XLR-1/4” combo input, 1/4” outputs with Guitar/Mic and Ground Lift switches, a headphone output with volume control, and compatibility with most CoreMIDI apps, including GarageBand, AmpliTube, and JamUp. It should sell for a street price of $299.

The DM Dock is a similar-looking Drum Module Dock for the iPad, offering 13 1/4”, dual zone TRS trigger inputs, a 1/4” headphone jack, a 1/8” mix input for connecting other audio sources, traditional MIDI and USB MIDI connections, an assignable footswitch input, and the ability to charge the iPad while it’s docked. It should sell for around $249. Finally, the AmpCase is a headphone-maximizing amplifier and case combo for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Sporting a black and silver body, it offers open access to all of the iPhone’s ports and controls—save for the Dock Connector—on-board Alesis DSP technology, a dedicated volume control, and a mini-USB jack for charging the phone while it’s in the case. It will sell for $99; all three products are expected to launch in the second quarter of 2012.

Ten One unveils Magnus stand for iPad 2

Ten One Design has unveiled its new Magnus stand for the iPad 2. First shown at the 2012 International CES, the Magnus is a minimal stand made from aluminum that uses the iPad 2’s built-in magnets — the same used by Apple’s iPad Smart Cover — to secure the device to the stand, leaving open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. As such, the stand only works in one orientation—landscape, with the Home button on the right — and obviously does not accomodate encased devices. Ten One Design’s Magnus stand for the iPad 2 is available for order now and will begin shipping later this week for $50.

Behringer rolls out three iPad-docking mixers

Behringer has rolled out three new mixers with iPad docking stations built-in. The new Xenyx iX series includes the iX3242USB, iX2442USB and iX1642USB which offer 32, 24, and 16 inputs, respectively, each of which uses the iPad for recording, system tuning, monitoring, and more. Other features include a host of physical controls, a built-in stereo USB audio interface, a dual-engine Klark-Teknik FX processor with 32 editable effect presets that uses the iPad and a companion app to allow for effects control from the device, and Xenyx mic pre amps. Pricing and release information for the new mixers has yet to be announced.

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