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.
IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.
Also, don’t forget to enter our Odoyo Case and iBattz Mojo Armor Battery Case Giveaways. In our Odoyo Case Giveaway, iLounge and Odoyo are giving away 100 iPhone 4/4S cases, while in the iBattz Mojo Armor Battery Case Giveaway, iLounge and iBattz are giving away five Mojo Armor Battery Cases. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway pages—both giveaways will end on July 31, 2012 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Sparrow, developer of the popular Mac and iOS e-mail client of the same name, has announced that it has been acquired by Google. In a post on the company’s web site and an e-mail sent out to customers, Sparrow CEO Dom Leca indicates that the company will be joining the Gmail team “to accomplish a bigger vision” that it feels it can better achieve working with Google. Leca goes on to note that they will continue to make the Sparrow e-mail client available and provide support for its users, including any critical updates that may be required, however they do expect to be working on new projects at Google and do not plan to release any new features for the Sparrow apps.
Gameloft has released The Dark Knight Rises, a new exclusive gaming experience inspired by the concluding instalment in the Batman movie trilogy. The new game challenges players to take on the role of Bruce Wayne as Batman to protect Gotham City through a collection of missions dealing with hostage situations, bomb squads, jailbreaks and car chases. To succeed, players must learn to take advantage of the variety of tools in Batman’s arsenal and master different fighting moves to take on a variety of villains. Players can also climb into vehicles such as the Bat-Pod and The Bat to drive and fly through Gotham City on special missions, exploring the city and its different districts across a huge map. The Dark Knight Rises includes an immersive storyline with likenesses of key characters from the movie such as Catwoman, Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon along with detailed high-resolution graphics and soundtrack. The Dark Knight Rises requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $7.
Omer Shoor has released an update to Photogene² for iPhone adding new photo annotation tools along with several other features and enhancements. In Photogene² 1.3 users can now take advantage of new annotations to add arrows and markers to photos and collages and can also rotate text boxes, add curved edges in collages and modify vignette colour. Photos are also now displayed in full resolution in the editor and a new oil-painting filter has also been added along with the ability to add or modify geo-tagging of photos and search for albums by name. The export menu has also been redesigned and users can now choose a destination folder when exporting photos to Dropbox and export IPTC metadata in XMP format. Users of the in-app Pro upgrade can also now geo-tag photos in bulk and copy and paste geo-tags between photos, add textual watermarks, and set DPI for exported photos. Photogene² for iPhone is available from the App Store for $1.
Griffin Technology has debuted its new Nations case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Nations case is a hard-shell, snap-on style case offering open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, and a large graphic on the back. 12 different graphics are available, representing ten countries—U.S., Great Britain, China, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Italy—as well as a diamond Union Jack design and one for the Flags of the World. Griffin’s Nations case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $25.
Bang & Olufsen has unveiled its new Playmaker wireless audio bridge. Designed to connect digital music sources to the company’s speakers, the Playmaker offers both AirPlay and DLNA support, a high performance Digital Audio Converter, 802.11 b/g wireless connectivity, an Ethernet port, a line-in port, and two RJ45-style loudspeaker outputs. It is priced at $425 and will be available later this month. [via Engadget]
Films from 20th Century Fox are now available for download from iTunes in the Cloud. When Apple originally launched iTunes in the Cloud for movies earlier this year, both Fox and Universal held their films off the service; Universal added its films to the service in April. Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud service allows customers to re-download past purchases multiple times, and also serves as a base for content streamed directly to the Apple TV. [via 9to5Mac]
Hemisphere Games has introduced multiplayer support to its hit game Osmos in a major free update released earlier today. In Osmos (iLounge Rating: A) players control a ball known as a Mote by tapping to navigate it through a pool of fluid, absorbing nearby smaller motes to grow in size while avoiding larger objects and other obstacles; challenges across numerous levels include growing larger than other objects in the pool or absorbing specific target objects. The game also provides a unique physics engine and numerous small gameplay-enhancing touches such as gravity attractors, time warping controls and AI opponents to add strategy and unique gameplay throughout each level.
Osmos 2.0 takes the game into a new dimension by allowing players to challenge their friends to a mote-eat-mote absorption fest of skill and strategy in any of six distinct arenas via either local Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) or online Game Center play. The update also adds a new unique level type for multiplayer, Antimatter Impasse. iPad vs iPhone play is also supported for local multiplayer games, while Game Center requires all users to be on the same device. Additional enhancements in the new update include support for Retina Display graphics in the iPad version, Twitter integration for sending out achievements and challenges to friends and followers, and numerous audio/visual enhancements. Osmos 2.0 is available in separate, device-specific versions: Osmos ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Osmos for iPad ($5). Both require iOS 4.1 or later.
InMethod has released an update to its popular Air Video streaming app for iOS devices adding Retina Display support for the third-generation iPad and the ability to passthrough H.264 video streams in original, unconverted form. In combination with the free Air Video server application running on a Mac or PC, the Air Video iOS app allows users to stream videos remotely to their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch; almost all source video formats are supported with on-the-fly conversion in real-time. Videos can be streamed directly from the host computer over a local Wi-Fi network or remotely over a cellular data connection with routers that support the appropriate port forwarding protocols. Used in conjunction with the latest Air Video Server beta version for Mac or Windows, Air Video 2.4.11 now allows users to pass through videos that are already in an iOS compatible H.264 format natively without the requirement for re-conversion. This provides for better performance on the host computer as well as improved video quality, with support for H.264 source videos in full 1080p resolution. The H.264 Passthrough feature requires an iPad, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and currently does not support the display of soft subtitles. Air Video requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
iGills has released its SE-35 Smart Diving System for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S. Designed for use down to 130 feet, the waterproof housing is made from clear polycarbonate, and features marine-grade stainless steel hardware, a secure locking latch, a precision optical glass window for the rear camera, lanyard loops, and a dock that connects the device to the built-in, high-accuracy depth and temperature sensors, as well as the six-button diver interface on the front. When used with the free iGills app, the solution serves as a full-features recreational dive computer, and also allows for recording still images or video at full-resolution. iGills’ SE-35 Smart Diving System for the iPhone is available now and sells for $330.
Reporting its second quarter financial results today, Verizon Wireless revealed that it sold 2.7 million iPhones during the period. GigaOm reports that the number represents a 17 percent increase over the year-ago quarter, although it is down slightly from the 3.2 million iPhone sales Verizon recorded in the first quarter of 2012. By comparison, the carrier sold 2.5 million LTE-capable Android phones, and activated 3.2 million LTE devices in total, including phones, modems, hotspots, and tablets—including the third-generation iPad.
Apple has launched its iTunes in the Cloud service for movies in 35 new countries. MacRumors reports that the feature has rolled out in Australia, Argentine, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., Venezuela, and Vietnam. In addition, the company has also expanded its iTunes Match service into Hungary and Poland. Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud service allows customers to re-download past purchases multiple times, and also serves as a base for content streamed directly to the Apple TV.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has penned an open letter the the Department of Justice, asking it to drop its lawsuit against Apple and major publishers. In the suit, the DOJ claims that Apple and the publishers colluded to raise the price of digital books. “While the claim sounds plausible on its face, the suit could wipe out the publishing industry as we know it, making it much harder for young authors to get published,” Schumer writes for the Wall Street Journal. “The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple. If that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets.”
Schumer goes on to point out that Amazon held a monopoly position in the market before the arrival of the iBookstore, and set the prices for the books itself—many times undercutting the market for hardcopy titles. He also states that “As our economy transitions to digital platforms, we should be celebrating and supporting industries that find ways to adapt and grow”, adding that he believes the suit will “have a deterrent effect not only on publishers but on other industries that are coming up with creative ways to grow and adapt to the Internet”. Finally, the senator calls for new guidelines governing non-merger Justice Department investigations, which should “take a broad, pragmatic view of the market as a whole”.
Apple has been granted a patent that covers a wide swath of the iOS user interface. Patently Apple reports that the patent covers the basic user interface for many of iOS’ built-in apps, including Mail, Photos, Camera, Videos, Music, Calendar, Safari, Notes, and Maps. Also covered by the patent are iOS’ scroll bar, as well as the virtual keyboard. As noted in the report, Apple lists the following inventors on the patent: Scott Forstall, Henri Lamiraux, Andrew Platzer, Michael Matas and Imran Chaudhri. The patent was originally filed in the first quarter of 2007; Apple refiled the application in March of this year.
In the wake of AT&T’s refusal to clarify whether or not it will charge its customers an added fee on top of their data plans in order to use iOS 6’s FaceTime over cellular feature, competing carrier Sprint has made its stance known. “We are committed to our unlimited data and that means not charging for data consumption based on the application,” a Sprint spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. While AT&T claims it is “working closely with Apple” on the developer preview for iOS 6, Verizon representatives have declined to comment on the matter. As noted in the report, the wording of the FaceTime over cellular message is very similar to the alert that appeared in past developer betas foreshadowing AT&T’s decision to charge an extra fee for the Personal Hotspot feature.
Sensopia has added a new Room Editor feature to MagicPlan, its app for easily creating floor plans from an iOS device using augmented reality. By leveraging the camera and gyroscope to map out and measure rooms, MagicPlan allows users to quickly create a floor plan simply by standing in a single convenient location in a room and capture corners and doorway edges using the iOS camera; this information is then used to calculate the dimensions of the room and generate a floor plan; multiple room floor plans can also be easily connected together to create a complete floor plan of an entire property. Version 2.2 adds a new Room Editor to allow users to easily correct capture mistakes, create new rooms from scratch, fine tune room layouts and enter exact dimensions where available. Users can also now zoom in and zoom out when navigating floor plans and the update makes improvements to the iPad user interface in landscape orientation. MagicPlan is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and an iPad 2, third-generation iPad, iPhone 4/4S or fourth-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store as a free download; commercial use requires in-app payment of $2 per floor plan.
Aviiq is now offering its Aluma Shield case for the third-generation iPad. The Aluma Shield is a hard ABS plastic case featuring a prominent anodized aluminum plate on the back, openings for access to all ports, controls, and cameras, and compatibility with the iPad Smart Cover. Aviiq’s Aluma Shield case for the third-generation iPad is available now in a variety of colors and sells for $25.
A U.K. judge has ordered Apple to publish notices on both its website and in British newspapers alerting consumers to a ruling in which Samsung was cleared of all alleged patent infringement. Bloomberg reports that according to Judge Colin Birss, the notice should outline the July 9 decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s patented designs, and should be posted on the website for six months, as well as appear in several newspapers and magazines to correct the impression that Samsung had copied the iPad. The ruling will result in Apple running “an advertisement for Samsung, Richard Hacon, a lawyer representing Apple told the court, adding, “no company likes to refer to a rival on its website.” In his ruling, Birss said Samsung’s tablets were unlikely to be confused with Apple’s iPad because they are “not as cool”.
Hex has rolled out its new Stealth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Stealth is a snap-on style case that features a hidden, shielded, RFID-friendly internal storage compartment that allows for use of a contactless payment or transit card without the need to remove it from the case. It also features raised corners for screen protection, and open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Hex’s Stealth case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available in black and white and sells for $35.
The Apple Online Store is now offering customers the ability to receive updates on their order status via text message. According to Apple’s Shipping & Pickup page, customers will be given the option to request text message updates when in Checkout. Messages will be sent when an order ships or is ready for pickup, and will include the order number and a link to the online Order Status; messages will be sent between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local time in the customer’s time zone. The Next Web notes that text notifications are available exclusively in the U.S. and Canada at the moment. [via MacRumors]