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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Crucial enters iOS accessory market with PoP Video

Micron/Crucial has entered the iOS accessory market with its new PoP Video projector. Designed specifically for use with an iPhone or iPod touch, the PoP Video is a pocket-sized projector with a built-in Dock Connector on top. Measuring roughly half an inch think, the PoP Video offers 960x540 resolution, and features a built-in rechargeable battery good for two hours of playtime, the ability to charge fully in about four hours over Micro-USB, and compatibility with the companion PoP Video app. Micron/Crucial’s new PoP Video projector is available for pre-order now for $99; a release date has yet to be announced. [via Cnet]

The Ritz-Carlton releases official iPhone app

Luxury hotel chain The Ritz-Carlton has released an official free app for the iPhone, providing reservation, local guide, and concierge features for all of its worldwide hotels and resorts. Like other hotel apps, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app allows users to make, view and edit upcoming reservations at any of the hotel’s locations, browse hotel information along with photo galleries and amenities, and view interactive maps and directions. Additionally, users can access or enroll in a Ritz-Carlton Rewards account, receive special offers while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, learn about events at the hotel, and receive recommendations and tips for nearby attractions, dining, entertainment and more.

In a novel touch, the Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app also integrates the company’s Foursquare World Concierge service. Launched last spring, this service provides information and recommendations via Foursquare, posted and curated by The Ritz-Carlton’s famous concierge service. Location services integration allows the application to determine when a guest has arrived at a Ritz-Carlton location, then provide appropriate destination and landmark tips assembled by The Ritz-Carlton Concierge team. In addition, the app provides access to exclusive Presidential Tips and other information that can be accessed by using the iPhone camera to scan QR codes located throughout the hotels and resorts; for example at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin, guests can enjoy a digital scavenger hunt led by QR codes and clues at each stop. The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app is available from the App Store as a free download.

Rock Band for iOS to stop working on May 31st?

RockBandAide reports that Electronic Arts’ Rock Band for the iPhone and iPod touch will be shutting down at the end of this month. Originally released in October 2009, the original Rock Band has not seen an update since November 2010, shortly before the release of the Rock Band Reloaded sequel, suggesting that EA was placing its focus on the newer version. A mobile adaptation of the popular console game, Rock Band included 32 songs with the option to purchase additional premium tracks via in-app purchase for $1 each, allowing players to invest considerably more money in the game beyond the original $5 purchase price.

Players now see a message upon launching the app indicating that “Rock Band will no longer be playable on your device” after May 31st. EA’s own Service Updates page does indicate that “Connected features” for a number of products will be discontinued on May 28, 2012, including “Rock Band for Android, iPhone, Palm and feature phones,” but makes no reference to the usability of the game in general. Rock Band for iOS does not require an online connection to play, however the message stating that it will “no longer be playable” suggests that the game will be disabled entirely rather than merely losing access to its online features such as music purchases and leaderboards. While there do not appear to be any technical reasons that would require the game to stop working entirely, it has been speculated that the expiry of licensing agreements for music within the app may be a factor.

Notably, the original Rock Band remains on sale on the App Store for $5 with nothing in its description suggesting an impending shutdown of the game or even any aspect of its online components. [via Touch Arcade]

Kanex ATV Pro solves Apple TV to VGA dilemma

Kanex has announced its new ATV Pro AirPlay Mirroring adapter for VGA projectors. The ATV Pro is a small, black, breakout box-style adapter that plugs into the Apple TV’s HDMI port and offers a female VGA port and a 3.5mm audio output jack on the other end, allowing users to connect the Apple TV to legacy VGA projectors. It supports resolutions of 480i up to 1080p with a refresh rate of 50/60Hz, and requires no extra software to function. Kanex’ ATV Pro AirPlay Mirroring adapter for VGA projectors is available now and sells for $59.

Third-gen iPad shipping times improve to 3-5 days

Apple has once again dropped its estimated shipping wait time for new orders of the third-generation iPad. According to a brief check of Apple’s online store, the estimated wait for all models—including both black and white variants of either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 4G models, across all capacities—is just 3-5 days, down from 5-7 business days. As has been the case in the past, the changes appear to apply only to the US and Canadian stores, as quick checks of several international Apple stores show that the device is still listed with a 1-2 week wait in most other countries.

Apple updates iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie

Apple has released minor updates to its iLife apps for iOS with a number of small enhancements, bug fixes and stability improvements. iPhoto 1.0.1 adds the ability to copy the URL of an iCloud-published photo journal to the clipboard using a Copy Link button and addresses an issue related to duplicate photos appearing in photos view. GarageBand 1.2.1 fixes an issue with crashing or missing songs when sharing to iCloud, resolves login issues with SoundCloud and Facebook accounts in addition to addressing other minor performance and stability issues. iMovie 1.3.1 adds the ability to access Help when editing projects in the iPad version and resolves an issue where incorrect frames were sometimes shown when splitting clips.

Vonage Mobile gets updated, provides free calls on Mothers Day

Vonage has updated its Vonage Mobile calling app adding new sharing features and making calling rate information more easily accessible. Vonage Mobile allows iOS device users to place free voice-over-IP calls to other Vonage Mobile app users and make calls directly to landline phone numbers for low, per-minute rates with up to 3,000 minutes per month of free calls to phone numbers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for a limited time. Vonage is also offering a special Mothers Day Promotion for Vonage Mobile app users with free calls to landlines in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Colombia between May 10th and May 13th.

The latest version of the Vonage Mobile app now includes the ability to share photos and location information directly from the app and view per-minute calling rates for any contact in the user’s address book based on their phone number and/or location. Remaining credit is also now conveniently displayed above the address book to allow users to quickly reference it in context with the displayed calling rates. The update also provides performance improvements for text messaging and general bug fixes. Vonage Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download. Calls to International and some domestic U.S. and Canadian numbers may require credit to be purchased via in-app purchase.

Hex intros Vision Plastic Watch Band for iPod nano 6G

Hex has introduced its new Vision Plastic Watch Band for the sixth-generation iPod nano. Arriving in red, black, white, pink, and blue, the band features a reinforced clip-in, clip-out plastic mounting plate and a color-matching custom silicone strap with ABS buckle, while offering full access to all of the nano’s ports and controls. Hex’s Vision Plastic Watch Band for the sixth-generation iPod nano is available now and sells for $25.

Ballistic ships Lifestyle Smooth case for iPhone 4/4S

Ballistic has announced that it is now shipping its Lifestyle (LS) Smooth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Made from TPU materials, the LS Smooth features push-through coverage for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, open access to all other ports, controls, and cameras, and four included sets of interchangeable bumpers that sit on the corners to help protect the phone from shock. Ballistic’s LS Smooth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $30.

IDC: Samsung passes Apple for Q1 smartphone lead

Samsung passed Apple in the first quarter of 2012 to become the world’s top smartphone maker, according to the latest data from IDC. Samsung’s Q1 shipments of 42.2 million smartphones were good for 29.1 percent of the market, compared to Apple, which accounted for 24.2 percent of the market with shipments of 35.1 million units. Notably, no other manufacturer accounted for more as much as 10 percent of the market. Overall, Apple was the world’s third-largest mobile phone maker in Q1 with 8.8 percent of the market, behind both Samsung and Nokia, and ahead of ZTE and LG.

Jawbone launches Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker

Nearly six months after iLounge first reported on its existence, Jawbone has officially launched its Big Jambox Bluetooth speaker system. Features include improved audio over the original, with dual passive bass radiators, a built-in battery good for up to 15 hours of playback, a built-in microphone for hands-free calling, LiveAudio audio processing technology, and a design that’s very similar to the original Jambox. Jawbone’s Big Jambox speaker is available for pre-order now in red, white, or graphite, and is expected to ship May 15 for $300.

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