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iLounge Weekly coming Monday, new giveaway

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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Also, be sure to enter our new iBattz Bundle Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for May, iLounge and iBattz are giving away 10 bundles consisting of a Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet II and an iBattz Mojo Treble Keychain Cable. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on May 31, 2012 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Thursby launches PKard Reader Smart Card solution for iOS

Thursby Software Systems has released PKard Reader, the world’s first smart card authentication solution for logging into secure web sites on iOS devices. Consisting of a free universal iOS app and a $150 card reader accessory, the PKard solution allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to access secure sites requiring two-factor smart card authentication, such as corporate and government web portals and collaboration sites. The PKard Reader accessory supports industry standard CAC, PIV, PIV-I and CIV smart cards and the solution is designed to operate in the background to maintain the secure connection once authenticated, allowing the user to switch apps without compromising security or needing to re-authenticate.

Using the PKard Reader, corporate and government employees who require access to secure smart card protected sites can now more effectively do so while on the go without needing to be tied to a desktop or laptop, with the same smart card and PIN that they already use. Further, no changes need to be made on back-end servers to support the PKard Reader solution, allowing users to easily transition to accessing the same secure sites on their iOS device as on their computer. ALmost five million Federal workers at hundreds of U.S. government agencies and the Department of Defense are issued smart cards for secure web access and it is estimated that almost one third of large corporations worldwide are now issuing smart cards to their employees, particularly in the healthcare and financial sectors. The PKard Reader accessory is available directly from the company’s web site; the iOS application is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Light Room releases major GoDocs update

Light Room has released a major update to GoDocs, its application for working with Google Docs on the iPhone and iPad. GoDocs for Google Docs 3.0 adds a redesigned user interface focused on provide a more user-friendly experience and adds a new, professional-quality PDF viewing engine. Users can now open links in PDF files and read PDF files in two dimensions. A new search feature provides the ability to locate specific content in a document and users can create new documents, spreadsheets and folders directly from within the app as well as moving files into folders. Support for both “Mobile” and “Desktop” editors is also now included along with Google Drive support and the ability to switch between multiple Google accounts. Push Notifications have also been implemented to provide alerts when documents are shared or changed by other users, and users can also now view and manage separate document revisions. The update also adds Retina Display support for the third-generation iPad and addresses a number of other bug fixes and UI tweaks. GoDocs for Google Docs 3.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

Spotify adds iPad support, Gapless playback

Popular online music service Spotify has released an update to its iOS app adding native iPad support. Spotify 0.5 is now a universal app providing a new user interface designed specifically for the iPad, including Retina Display graphics with high-definition album art and a single, unified view for searching, browsing and exploring music. A full-screen view has also been added which along with AirPlay integration allows the app to more effectively be used in a living room stereo environment. The update also adds gapless playback and cross-fading support and fixes issues with offline synced playlists and crashes related to updating playlists and starring tracks. Spotify requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Incase intros Hammered Snap Case for iPhone 4, 4S

Incase has introduced its new Hammered Snap Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Designed to resemble hammered steel, the snap-on-style case features hardshell construction, a soft-touch coating, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, a metallic finish, and an included stand. Incase’s Hammered Snap Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now in four colors and sells for $35.

Apple hit with class action suit over iTunes billing

Apple has been sued by a New York-based iTunes customer who claims he was double-billed for a song. Justia reports that Robert Herskowitz was charged twice for the song “Whataya Want from Me”, and Apple refused to refund him for the extra charge. “Your request for a refund for “Whataya Want from Me” was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund,” Apple’s response read, according to the lawsuit. “This policy matches Apple’s refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.” Herskowitz is seeking class action status for the suit.

New iPad 2 CPU boosts runtime, in unchanged boxes

The new, cheaper model of the iPad 2 has been found to have better battery life than its predecessor thanks to its smaller A5 processor, according to a new set of tests. Anandtech reports that the iPad 2,4—Apple’s internal reference for the new iPad 2 variant—offers significant battery life improvements over the prior iPad 2, with the increase ranging from 15.8 to 29 percent depending on the task. For example, the iPad 2,4 was able to playback a 720p video file for over fifteen hours on a single charge, easily besting the thirteen hours of the prior model. Notably, there have been conflicting reports as to how big an improvement users can see from the revised iPad 2; prior tests showed a far smaller improvement over the previous version. There appears to be no way to tell whether or not an iPad is a 2,1 model or a 2,4 model from outside the box, so consumers are currently left to guess as to which model they might be purchasing.

Localscope adds Wikipedia, CitySearch

Cynapse has released an update to Localscope adding support for new location information sources and refinements to existing Google Places integration. Localscope is a location browser for the iPhone that allows users to explore the area around them for people, places, photos and other information collected from multiple search engines and social networks. Localscope allows users to search manually or look up information for what is around them, including geo-tagged photos and videos and points of interest, view results on a map, share that information with their friends and even integrate with many third-party navigation apps to get directions. Information is aggregated from a variety of sources including Google Local and Places, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Panoramio, Flickr, Picasa, Bing and several others.

The latest update adds Wikipedia and CitySearch to the list of information sources, allowing users to discover landmarks, historical locations and other points of interest from Wikipedia and find restaurants, local business and services using the Citigrid yellow pages info base. The new version also brings back Google Local search in tandem with the Google Places introduces in the last update, allowing users to choose the best of the two Google services for their own particular needs. Three new pre-defined search terms have also been added for Lawyers, Plumbers and Bakeries along with new and improved icons and updated Facebook API integration. Localscope requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.

Flight Control Rocket adds more ships, bots

Electronic Arts has updated Flight Control Rocket with new levels, a new game mode and four new power-ups. An evolution of the popular hit Flight Control game, Flight Control Rocket takes players into outer space where they must direct and dock space craft by tracing paths on the touchscreen. The new update adds ten new motherships for expanded game play that can be used in all game modes and adds a new “Rescue” mode where players are challenged to guide similarly-coloured ships to save floating astronauts. Four new “Bot” power ups have also been added: Swift Swarm, Resurrection, Dopper and Personal Trainer to help players achieve higher scores. The update also limits continues to 3 per game, offers additional game modes unlocked by landing ships and includes a number of other small fixes and performance improvements. Flight Control Rocket is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.

Apple TV poll ends, media playback poll begins

With over 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Do you plan to purchase the third-gen Apple TV?”—has ended. Both positive and negative responses were provided for owners of first- and second-generation Apple TVs, as well as for those who don’t yet own an Apple TV.

Overall, 42 percent of readers said they plan on buying a third-generation Apple TV. 43 percent of those said that it will be their first Apple TV, while another 25 percent said they would be adding a third-generation unit alongside a first- or second-generation unit, 19 percent said they would be upgrading from a second-generation unit, and 12 percent said they were upgrading from a first-generation model. 27 percent of respondents said they own a second-generation Apple TV and plan to continue using it instead of upgrading, another 27 percent said they have no interest in the Apple TV—a surprise, given the device’s increasing utility for users of iOS devices—and 4 percent said they’re happy with their current first-gen units. Thanks for all your responses!

Our new poll returns to a topic we’ve covered several times in our poll, most recently in late 2010. We’d like to know what Apple device you’re currently using as your primary device for media playback. Are you using an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod touch, a more traditional iPod model, or an Apple TV? Our new poll—“What do you use today as your primary Apple device for media playback?”—lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main home page. Cast your vote today!

Apple expands iTunes Connect language support

Apple has announced that it has added support for 10 new languages to iTunes Connect. “We have expanded language support in iTunes Connect, so you can localize app metadata, keywords, and screenshots in 10 new languages: Traditional Chinese, Norwegian, Turkish, Finnish, Danish, Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese, and Greek,” reads a notice on Apple’s Developer site. iTunes Connect, the suite of web-based tools developers use to submit and manage apps on the App Store, now offers support for more than 25 languages.

Bowers & Wilkins announces P3 Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins has announced its new P3 headphones. Available in white or black, the P3s are on-ear models, built from aluminum and rubber, and feature custom drivers with terminals that have been positioned to ensure uniform airflow and reduce distortion, custom ultra-light acoustic fabric on the ear pad covers, memory foam cushions, a collapsible design, an included hard-shell carry case, and two included cables—one that’s designed to work with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and a standard 3.5mm cable. Bowers & Wilkins’ P3 headphones will be available in June and are priced at $200.

IDC: Apple increases share of tablet market in Q1

Apple increased its share of the worldwide tablet market in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest data from IDC. Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, good for 68 percent of the market, as sales of Android tablets declined sharply. Amazon, which had captured 16.8 percent of the market in Q4 2011 with its Kindle Fire tablet, saw its share of the market fall to just 4 percent in Q1 2012, allowing Samsung to pass them for second-place; Amazon was the third-largest tablet maker in the quarter, and was followed by Lenovo and Barnes & Noble.

iBattz rolls out Mojo keychain cable, battery pack

iBattz has rolled out its new Mojo Treble Keychain cable and Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The Treble is a compact, keychain-friendly accessory that combines a 30-pin cable, USB connector, SIM ejection tool, and microSD card reader in a single, small body. It supports 2.1 Amp fast charging for the iPad, and comes in white or black for $25. The Removable Power Card Wallet is a credit card-sized external battery that features a removable 1500mAh lithium battery module, a full-sized USB port for connecting a standard Apple 30-pin cable, and support for 1 Amp fast charging of the iPhone. It is also available in white or black and sells for $40. Both accessories are available now.

Contre Jour HD adds Retina support, new levels

Chillingo has released an update to its highly-acclaimed physics puzzler Contre Jour HD (iLounge Rating: A) adding support for the iPad Retina Display along with 20 new levels. Contre Jour HD challenges players to move a small creature through a variety of levels consisting of resculptable platforms, ropes and slingshots to collect glowing lights and reach the exit while avoiding various obstacles and pitfalls. The latest update adds 20 new levels set in a jungle environment along with new movable tentacles and platforms; a bonus ending sequence is also now available for players who manage to collect all 300 lights in the game. In addition, players can now purchase the Contre Jour Soundtrack, produced by David Ari Leon, from directly within the game. Contre Jour HD is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.

Logitech unveils Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad

Logitech has unveiled its new Solar Keyboard Folio case for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. As the name suggests, the Solar Keyboard Folio is a folio-style case, featuring a built-in Bluetooth keyboard that is powered via integrated solar panels that charge the battery when exposed to light, built-in magnets that activate the automatic sleep/wake functionality, and two different stand angles. Logitech’s Solar Keyboard Folio will be available later this month and sells for $130.

eWallet adds iCloud support

Ilium Software has added iCloud support in an update to its eWallet secure information management application. eWallet allows users to securely store information such as passwords, account info and credit card numbers on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with strong 256-bit AES encryption and integration for launching web URLs from directly within the app. The application provides a rich graphical user interface with the ability to layout information as virtual cards with pre-defined or custom backgrounds and photos and organization into categories and subcategories. With eWallet 7.3 users can now automatically keep their data in sync between multiple iOS devices using iCloud, making it much easier to use the universal app between an iPad and iPhone without needing to sync via a desktop application. iCloud sync is presently available only in the iOS version; synchronization with the Windows or Mac version of eWallet still requires a local Wi-Fi connection. eWallet 7.3 is available from the App Store for $10.

Plants vs Zombies HD fixes coins bug, offers free coins for all

PopCap has released a minor update to Plants vs. Zombies HD to address an issue with some customers losing coins in the prior version. To compensate users for the glitch, all players will receive a free 50,000 coin bonus when updating to the latest version. Version 1.9.4 also fixes problems with Survival mode not being properly unlocked for users who have completed Adventure mode. Plants vs Zombies HD 1.9.4 is available from the App Store for $7.

Parallels Mobile adds iOS 5 support, fixes scrolling issues

Parallels has updated Parallels Mobile, its iOS remote control app for Macs running Parallels Desktop, adding iOS 5 and third-generation iPad compatibility and several UI improvements. Parallels Mobile allows users to control both the host Mac and any Parallels virtual machines running on it remotely from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The updated version fixes problems with scrolling on both Windows and Mac, allowing a two-finger gesture to be used to scroll properly within windows, particularly for Lion users. Support for international keyboard layouts is now available when working in Mac applications and and Mac sign-on screens have been re-designed to simplify the connection process. Parallels Mobile is available from the App Store for a limited time price of $5.

Bang & Olufsen debuts Beoplay A3 system for iPad

Bang & Olufsen has debuted its new Beoplay A3 speaker system for the iPad. Triangular in shape, the A3 extends past the bottom and top of the iPad, and serves as both a speaker system and stand for the device. It features three 1/2” tweeters—two of which are active at any time, based on orientation—plus a two-inch woofer, a built-in battery with 5 hours of playback life, ABS plastic and aluminum construction, and an integrated dock connector. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A3 system is compatible with all iPad models and is priced at £449, or roughly $730.

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