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WordPress for iOS introduces major UI refresh

Automattic has released an update to WordPress for iOS feature a major UI redesign focused on improved navigation and ease of use. WordPress 3.1 now includes a sidebar menu for quick navigation along with a sliding panels interface on the iPad, updated colours and graphics and landscape support throughout the app. Additional enhancements include support for post formats, and Quick Photo on the iPad, and new stats. A new friend finder feature has also been added to help users find their friends with blogs on and the latest version also provides easier access to user’s sites and web dashboard directly from within the app. WordPress 3.1 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Purported next-gen iPhone battery appears online

Photos showing a purported next-generation iPhone battery unit have appeared online. 9to5Mac reports that the photos, which came from a reliable parts source, show new iPhone battery packs with a slightly higher capacity than past cells. The new battery sports a 1440 mAh capacity, up from 1430 mAh in the iPhone 4S and 1420 mAh in the iPhone 4. The voltage is also up, rising to 3.8 from 3.7 in the two prior units, and the watts-per-hour measurement has also increased to 5.45, from 5.3 on the iPhone 4S and 5.25 on the iPhone 4. Based on the labeling, it appears the battery was manufactured in June 2012. The lack of a significantly higher capacity battery suggests that Apple has either selected very efficient, newer LTE-capable chips for the next-generation iPhone in an effort to keep battery life comparable to that of the iPhone 4S, or that battery life will drop from the prior model. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone at a special media event on September 12.

Apple Stores now price-matching iPhone discounts

Apple’s retail stores have started to match retailers’ and carriers’ discounted iPhone prices, according to a new report. Citing an unnamed source, MacRumors reports that the stores have received authorization to match “Market Support-approved” prices from major retailers and carriers. As such, a discount of $49.01 will be taken off select iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models, depending on the carrier. The report notes that customers will likely need to cite the source of the lower pricing in order for Apple to honor the offer; the policy appears to apply only at Apple’s retail stores and not to online orders.

Acase unveils F1 case for third-gen iPad, iPad 2

Acase has unveiled its new F1 case for the third-generation iPad and iPad 2. The F1 is a folio-style case, offering a protective polycarbonate back with a non-slip edge, and a folding leather cover that allows for a variety of viewing and typing angles. Other features include a red leather interior and open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Acase’s F1 case for the third-generation iPad and iPad 2 is available now and sells for $40.

iOS 6 adds Wi-Fi Plus Cellular data option

The fourth beta version of iOS 6 has added a new Wi-Fi Plus Cellular data option for iPhones and iPads. AppAdvice reports that in the General>Cellular section of iOS 6 beta 4’s Settings app lies an option called Wi-Fi Plus Cellular. According to the screenshot posted in the report, the option is designed to “allow apps having trouble with Wi-Fi to use cellular data.” Notably, iOS 6 beta 3 appeared to enable such behavior by default; this switch in beta 4 is effectively adding a way for users to turn the feature off. Apple is set to release iOS 6 this fall.

Apple top smartphone maker in U.S. in Q2

According to new data from The NPD Group, Apple was the top smartphone manufacturer by market share in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2012. Apple led the market with a 31 percent share, followed by Samsung with 24 percent, HTC with 15 percent, Motorola with 12 percent, and LG with 6 percent. Interestingly, year-over-year growth in the post-paid market was basically flat in the quarter, while pre-paid smartphone volume rose 91 percent compared to Q2 2011. In addition, the majority of smartphone market growth is attributable to Apple and Samsung; while their combined unit sales rose 43 percent year-over-year, the same metric for all other brands fell 16 percent.

Photojojo previews Tiltpod Mobile tripod for iPhone 4, 4S

Photojojo is now offering a sneak peek at its new Tiltpod Mobile tripod for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Tiltpod Mobile is a keychain tripod for the iPhone, designed to hold an unencased phone without the need for any socket attachments. It offers a grippy base for a secure hold on a variety of surfaces, as well as a magnetic ball head mount that allows users to pivot the iPhone to the desired angle, and works with the iPhone in both portrait and landscape modes. Photojojo’s Tiltpod Mobile for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S will be available Monday, August 13 and will sell for $15.

Scosche rolls out boomStream Bluetooth speaker

Scosche has rolled out its new boomStream Bluetooth speaker for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and other compatible devices. The boomStream is a portable speaker system featuring dual 40mm drivers and a down-firing passive subwoofer for enhanced sound, a built-in mic for speakerphone use, a built-in rechargeable battery good for up to 8 hours of playback, an integrated 500 mA USB charging port for supplying power to smartphones or other devices, and a 3.5mm aux input for connecting other audio sources. Scosche’s boomStream Bluetooth speaker for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod is available now and sells for $100.

iHome iD55 speaker for iPhone, iPad, iPod now available

iHome has announced that its iD55 portable stereo system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod is now available. Recipient of an iLounge Best of Show Finalist award at the 2012 CES, the iD55 features a curved design that slides open to allow for access to the integrated, iPad-friendly dock, as well as a line-in jack for other audio sources, two speakers set in Reson8 chambers, SRS TruBass sound enhancement, compatibility with the company’s various apps, and the ability to operate on AC power or off of 4 AA batteries. iHome’s new iD55 portable stereo system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod is available now and sells for $80.

CalypsoCrystal debuts CalypsoCase Cabrio for iPhone 4, 4S

CalypsoCrystal has debuted its new CalypsoCase Cabrio for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Handcrafted in Europe, the Cabrio features a polycarbonate hard shell core, wrapped in premium Italian leather on the exterior and soft microfiber on the interior to prevent scratching. In addition, it offers open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. CalypsoCrystal’ CalypsoCase Cabrio is available for pre-order now in four colors and sells for €89, or roughly $110.

Apple snags 72% of Chinese tablet market in Q2

Apple’s iPad accounted for over 72 percent of tablet sales in China in the second quarter of 2012, according to a new report. Citing data from China-based Analysys International, AppleInsider reports that Apple, with 72.66 percent of sales, was followed by Lenovo with 8.38 percent, Eben, with 3.63 percent, Samsung, with 3.59 percent, and Acer, with 3.27 percent. Overall, the firm estimates that 2.34 million tablets were sold during the period, giving Apple estimated sales of roughly 1.7 million units. Notably, Apple didn’t launch the third-generation iPad in China until July 20, after the second quarter had already ended.

Apple now offering refurbished third-gen iPads

Apple is now offering a range of refurbished third-generation iPads on its online store. Pricing for the refurbished units starts at $449 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and goes up to $779 for a 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Notably, both black and white versions of both models are available, as are both AT&T and Verizon variants of + cellular models. As with all Apple refurbished products, all of them include a full one-year Apple warranty.

Apple airs new third-gen iPad commercial

Apple has started to air a new TV commercial for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “All On iPad”, the ad follows the patten of prior third-gen iPad ads, showing the device performing various tasks in front of a white background while a narrator speaks. “Read it, Tweet it, be surprised, be productive,” the narrator reads. “Make a sale, make some lunch, make a movie night. Play a game, or an old favorite. Do it all more beautifully with the Retina Display on iPad.” The new commercial is available for viewing from the above link or in embedded form below.

iOS 6 Simulator points to 1136x640 display support

Apple’s most recently released version of the iOS Simulator developer tool suggests that iOS 6 already contains support for 1136x640 displays. 9to5Mac reports that when using a tweaked version of the iOS Simulator application, iOS 6 fully supported the expected next-generation iPhone resolution, offering up five complete rows of icons, not including the dock. When the current public release of iOS 5.1 was used, the Simulator instead displayed the Home screen with a stretched set of four rows of icons. Notably, the report claims that the simulator will not correctly display five rows of icons at resolutions other than 1146x640, instead scaling icons to an “iPad-like” Home screen layout, and not at the proportions and scaling of the current iPhone and iPod touch display. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone at a special media event on September 12.

Velocomp ships iBike Moto mount for iPhone

Velocomp is now shipping its iBike Moto mounting system for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S. Designed for use on motorcycles, the iBike Moto consists of a machined aluminum, 360-degree swiveling mount that attaches to motorcycle handlebars 22mm to 32mm in size, and a fully-enclosed, water- and shock-resistant case that offers access to the iPhone’s screen. In addition, the iBike Moto app provides various readouts, including speed, distance traveled, maps, and estimated fuel level. Velocomp’s iBike Moto mounting system for iPhone is available now and sells for $80.

Sprint drops iPhone 4S pricing by $50

Sprint over the past weekend dropped the price on all iPhone 4S models by $50. AllThingsD reports that Sprint is touting the discount—which brings the price of the iPhone 4S down to $150 for a 16GB model—on its website. Notably, Sprint is also waiving its activation fee when customers order online. Sprint’s move comes ahead of an expected Apple media event on September 12, at which the company is expected to introduce the next-generation iPhone.

iOS 6 beta 4 removes YouTube, adds Bluetooth Sharing

A couple of noteworthy changes have been made to iOS 6 as of the fourth beta update. Perhaps most notably, Apple has removed YouTube from the list of built-in apps. YouTube was a last-minute pre-launch addition to the iPhone in 2007, and has remained a built-in app across all iOS devices since. Apple has recently moved to distance its mobile platform from Google in iOS 6, however, replacing the latter’s Maps service with an in-house solution. The YouTube app had not been updated in some time; Apple may simply be leaving its development up to Google, which will presumably be able to release a new YouTube app as a free download from the App Store.

In addition, a new “Bluetooth Sharing” menu has appeared inside the Settings app. Found under the Privacy heading, it lists apps that have requested the ability to share data via Bluetooth. While its exact purpose is currently unknown, it is possible that this menu could tie-in to the Bluetooth 4 linking feature revealed by iLounge in a report last week.

Update: Apple has released a statement regarding the removal of the YouTube app. “Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.”

7-inch tablet poll ends, next-gen iPhone poll begins

With over 1400 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“What should Apple do with the iPod touch given competition from $200 7” tablets?”—has ended. Readers given several options, including dropping the price and improving the chips inside, dropping the price, improving the chips and enlarging the screen, keep the same price, improve the chips, and radically increase the screen size to create a small iPad, discontinue it in favor of a $199 no-contract iPhone, or keep it the same for another year.

The majority of responses were split evenly between two options—creating a new, smaller iPad at the same price point, or dropping the price of the iPod touch slightly while improving the chips and enlarging the screen. Each option received 29 percent of the vote. 22 percent of readers suggested dropping the price and improving the chips on the inside, 15 percent supported discontinuing it altogether in favor of a $199 no-contract iPhone, and 5 percent said to keep it the same for another year—a somewhat surprising result, considering that the touch has essentially been left un-touched since the fourth-generation model debuted in 2010.

Apple seeds iOS 6 beta 4 to developers

Apple has released the fourth beta version of iOS 6 to developers. As with prior iOS 6 beta updates, beta 4 is available as an over-the-air software update or as a direct download from the iOS Dev Center, and is accompanied by a new beta version of the Apple TV software, as well as an updated version of Xcode and the iOS 6 SDK. The new version is listed as build 10A5376e; it is unclear what changes may be contained in the release. iOS 6 beta 4 is available now to registered iOS developers.

AT&T making Mobile Share plans available August 23

AT&T has announced that it will make its Mobile Share plans available starting August 23. Announced in July, the plans are designed for customers with multiple devices, and offer a set amount of data and unlimited talk and text; an additional fee is charged for each device on the plan. Plans start at $40 for 1GB of monthly data and go up to $200 for 20GB, while the cost of adding each smartphone to the plan varies based on the amount of data included—each smartphone costs $45 on the 1GB plan, but only $30 when you choose one of the three most expensive plans. In addition, customers can add basic phones to their plans for $30 a month, laptops, netbooks, and LaptopConnect cards for $20 a month, and, most importantly for iPad users, tablets and gaming devices for just $10 a month; additional data will be charged at a rate of $15 per GB.

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