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Schiller: Apple will not make a ‘cheap’ iPhone [Updated]

In an interview with the Shanghai Evening News, Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller responded to rumours of a cheaper iPhone, essentially stating that Apple will continue to focus on producing the best quality iPhone possible and will not cut corners on its iPhone design simply to produce an inexpensive smartphone for the mass market.

Speaking regarding Apple’s products in China, Schiller noted that the Chinese market has already evolved from non-smartphones to cheap smartphones, but that despite their popularity, this will not be the future of Apple’s products. Schiller emphasized that Apple considers using only the “best technology available” in every product that it creates, and that Apple continues to make the majority of profit despite only owning a relatively small market share of smartphones.

Update: Reuters has issued a brief statement that it has withdrawn the prior story due to the Shanghai Evening News report being “subsequently updated with substantial changes to its content.” Notably, Reuters has indicated that no replacement story will be issued. There is some confusion as to the reasoning for this, as the Shanghai Evening News reports does not appear to have substantially changed since its initial publication by English media, however there has been some speculation that Schiller’s comments may have been misinterpreted or mistranslated.

Tim Cook meets with China Mobile Chairman

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China Mobile Chairman Xi Gouhua earlier today to discuss “matters of cooperation” according to a China Mobile spokesperson. This latest move suggests that Apple and China Mobile may be moving toward a deal. The iPhone 5 was released in December on China Unicom and China Telecom, however Apple has yet to reach an agreement with China Mobile—the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers—despite several years of talks.

Cook also met with government officials and partners earlier this week, including China’s minister for industry and information techonlogy, and senior executives from China Unicom.  More details on Apple’s talks with China Mobile are unavailable due to a confidentiality agreement between both parties.

iLounge’s 2013 CES Best of Show Awards announced

iLounge has announced our 2013 International CES Best of Show Award winners and finalists. Twenty-four winners were selected from hundreds of developers and thousands of products, representing the best and most innovative products we’ve seen at CES. A total of 12 full Best of Show awards were given out, as Incipio took home four Best of Show awards — including Overall Best of Show — while IK Multimedia netted two Best of Show wins. Other Best of Show winners include Adonit, Griffin, LifeProof, myCharge, Soundfreaq, and Switcheasy.

In addition to our 12 full Best of Show awards, 12 total Best of Show Finalist awards were presented to developers. Click here for all the winners and details on the selected products.

2013 International CES: Apple gear at CES.iLounge.com

You’ve already seen dozens of our pre-show reports from Las Vegas, but today’s the day when the 2013 International CES officially opens for business. Completely filling the Las Vegas Convention Center’s floor space, offices, and meeting rooms for the rest of this week—as well as the nearby LVH and just about every other hotel—CES is going to be packed from edge to edge with new product and service announcements—many of potential interest to iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Mac users.


iLounge’s team has been in town for days now, meeting with leading developers from around the world. We’ve shared “under construction” photos from the massive 120,000-foot iLounge Pavilion at CES on our Twitter account, and posted everything from First Looks at new products to company-by-company previews of what’s about to be shown. Join us today at CES.iLounge.com for plenty more live coverage of all things Apple from the show floor—we’re very excited by what we’ve seen so far, and can’t wait to share more with you.

2013 CES First Looks worth seeing

With so many 2013 CES reports (visit our special CES site!) hitting iLounge yesterday, we wanted to make sure that the latest CES First Looks didn’t get lost in the crowd.

Speck’s CandyShell and CandyShell for iPad mini are excellent updates to its prior signature product, slimmer than expected for Apple’s tablet.

As a new entry into the Beats-alike market, the Audiovox 808 Studio Headphones are glossy plastic on-ears at a budget-ish price.

The new Native Union Switch is a stylish Bluetooth speakerphone with stereo music streaming and a very cool volume knob.

Based on earlier Cushi stickers, the id America Cushi Plus is equivalent to a full case thanks to added protective elements - and has some great designs, too.

One of the most value-packed super-protective cases around, the SwitchEasy FreeRunner for iPhone 5 is ready to challenge far more expensive rivals such as LifeProof and OtterBox cases.

App Store hits 40 billion downloads, pace increasing

New App Store statistics released by Apple today include several milestones: 40 billion unique downloads of over 775,000 apps by over 500 million active accounts. The 40 billion downloads notably do not include re-downloads or updates, but do include nearly 20 billion downloads in 2012 alone—a huge uptick in growth reflecting iOS’s increased user base, availability of apps, and comfort with apps. Apple notably hit the 25 billion mark in March 2012.

While the pace of downloads continues to quicken, the number of apps doesn’t appear to have grown as dramatically: Apple’s 775,000 app number is up from 550,000 in early 2012, a significant increase that the company is attempting to bolster further. In its press release announcing the latest statistics, Apple also appealed to developers by noting various individual developer successes: tens of millions of downloads for inexpensive games and apps, over $100 million of revenue for freemium titles, and growth of tiny developers into medium-sized businesses.

New Audio-Technica QuietPoint, SonicSport headphones at CES

Audio-Technica has announced its new line of products for CES, including new additions to its QuietPoint headphones line and the introduction of its SonicSport headphones. The company’s budget-priced ATH-ANC29 ($100) over-ear headphones provide up to 87 percent noise cancellation, and interestingly, the cord can be detached for cordless noise-cancelling headphone use. Also, the ATH-ANC33iS ($80) in-ear headphones offer up to 90 percent noise cancellation and feature volume control with an in-line mic and control. These earphones come with Comply foam tips for comfort and fit improvements. Both headphones come with a case, airline adapter and AAA battery. They will be available in April.

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Audio-Technica’s new SonicSport headphones are designed for sports and active use. The three debut models include ATH-CP700 ($100), which features a headband that wraps around the back of the neck and a cord-mounted remote and built-in microphone; the ATH-CKP500 ($75), which feature earpieces with angled housings that direct the cord behind the user’s neck; and the ATH-CKP200 ($50), which use a hinged ear hook that adjusts around the ears. These SonicSport headphones will be available in January.

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, new giveaways

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 two new January giveaways. In our iBattz Mojo Refuel Giveaway, iLounge and iBattz are giving away ten Mojo Refuel Removable Battery Cases for the iPhone 5, and in the Unu DX Battery Case Giveaway, iLounge and Unu are giving away ten Unu DX Protective Battery Cases in black and white. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway pages—both giveaways will end on January 31, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

SuperTooth announces HD Voice, Disco Twin

SuperTooth has announced that it will debut its new HD Voice ($89) at CES, a new portable hands-free car kit designed to clip to a car’s visor and pair to a phone using voice commands. The HD Voice will also be able to announce callers in one of 12 different languages and will incorporate two speakers and two microphones to provide enhanced quality.

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The company has also announced the new Disco Twin package, which it will be showing at CES along with its entire collection of speakers. Disco Twin ($199) provides users with a pair of SuperTooth’s portable, rechargeable speakers designed to pair with each other and a Bluetooth device wirelessly to provide left and right channel stereo sound. [via Engadget]

Best Buy files complaints on Walmart iPhone 5 pricing

Walmart has drawn fire from rivals for misleading ads, with Best Buy specifically claiming that it lost $65,000 in profit in one day on the iPhone 5. According to a report, Walmart sold the iPhone 5 for $150 on the first day of its promotion, but advertised the device for $127; iLounge noted that the company had misleadingly offered and then didn’t honor an aggressive discount on the current-generation iPad, as well. Complaints against Walmart have reportedly been filed with state attorneys general as a result of the pricing practices.

Best Buy claims that Walmart didn’t have a sufficient number of iPhones available to meet its promised pricing, and Best Buy’s price-match guarantee required the chain to match Walmart’s advertised price. Walmart says that the iPhone 5 was 98 percent in stock at stores that carried the phone, but didn’t release exact figures on how many phones were in stock. [via The Wall Street Journal]

Corning to intro Gorilla Glass 3 at CES

Corning has announced that it will officially introduce Gorilla Glass 3 at CES, which the company claims is stronger and three times more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass 2. According to the company, 40 percent fewer scratches will be visible thanks to Native Damage Resistance improvements, and Gorilla Glass 3 will be 50 percent better in retaining its strength after the glass is flawed. Prior versions of Gorilla Glass have made it into Apple’s devices, albeit without any Corning branding. [via Engadget]

JBL unveils OnBeat Rumble Lightning speaker, Charge

JBL has announced OnBeat Rumble ($399), its third Lightning speaker dock. OnBeat Rumble is a Bluetooth-enabled 50-watt speaker with a built-in 4 1/2” subwoofer and two 2.5” full-range drivers. In addition to the Lightning connector, it also has an auxiliary input jack for older and non-Apple devices. Users can download JBL’s free MusicFlow app, which adds additional EQ modes to OnBeat Rumble, as well as enabling music browsing and playlist creation. OnBeat Rumble will be released in the spring.

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JBL also announced Charge ($150), a portable cylindrical Bluetooth stereo speaker. Conceptually similar to Flip, the wireless speaker is two inches wide by six inches long and provides 12 hours of playback from one charge of its 6000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery. Two full-range drivers and a 10-watt amplifier are featured. Charge has a rugged exterior with rubber end rings, and will be available in several colors, including blue, black, or green. Charge will be released in the first quarter of 2013.

Facebook Messenger adds voice messages, calling

Version 2.1 of Facebook’s standalone text and photo messaging app Facebook Messenger has been released, adding support for new features: “quick voice messages” and free phone calling, the latter apparently a VoIP calling service that will use “your existing data plan,” and “rolling out over the next few weeks.”

The quick voice message feature enables voice recordings to be sent as instant messages, presenting users with a “touch and hold to talk” button that auto-sends messages once released. This feature is akin to standalone apps such as HeyTell, and already enabled. Facebook Messenger version 2.1 is free, with an interface optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch, and available now from the App Store.

NYNE’s Bluetooth 4 NB-550, 500 speakers to be at CES

NYNE has announced that two Bluetooth 4 speakers will debut at CES, the NB-550 ($300) and NB-500 ($200). The NB-550 is a 100-watt speaker with an aesthetically neutral design, which notably includes a USB charging point and auxiliary input, as well at the very recent Bluetooth 4 streaming technology.

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The NB-500 is a smaller, lower powered version of the NB-550, which also uses Bluetooth 4. Both speakers will be available in the second quarter of 2013.

Logic3 shows Ferrari Cavallino GT1 Bluetooth speaker

Logic3’s Ferrari by Logic3 sub-brand has announced the Cavallino GT1 ($649), a Bluetooth speaker dock. Heavily based on the Cavallino GT1 Air, which was announced at last year’s CES but never actually released, the GT1 borrows design details from Ferrari’s GT car. An integrated subwoofer boosts the GT1’s speaker system, which features two tweeters and two drivers. GT1 includes Bluetooth and a legacy 30-pin Dock Connector, rather than AirPlay.

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A composite video out, auxiliary in jack and USB charging port are all included on the GT1, as is a remote control based on Ferrari’s metal gate gearbox. The GT1 is said to be available now.

iHome to bow Lightning, Bluetooth speakers, more at CES

iHome has announced its new product lineup to be unveiled at CES, which includes the company’s first Lightning dock speakers. The iDL100 ($150) is a stereo FM clock radio with two Lightning docks, plus a USB charging dock; it’s capable of charging up to three iPads at once with triple 2.1-Amp power. By comparison, the iDL45 ($100) is a version of the iDL100 with only one Lightning dock, retaining the USB charging dock.

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iHome is introducing the iBT44 ($200), a portable FM stereo Bluetooth retro boom box. The stereo can operate on six D batteries or use a USB connection to stream audio. Two woofers and tweeters are included, as is a remote control. Other Bluetooth-enabled products announced include the iBT20 ($80), a wireless FM alarm clock radio, and the iBT88 rechargeable mini stereo speaker system, for which no price was given. The iB85 ($100) Bluetooth headphones are foldable and include an on-ear remote and built-in mic, and the iB10 Sport Earhooks ($20) and iB22 ($15) noise-canceling headphones were also introduced. No release dates have been announced.

FELTaudio to show Pulse speaker, Rewind earbuds at CES

New audio company FELTaudio has announced two new products that will debut at CES. Offered in white, black, and gray, Pulse is being pitched as “the world’s smallest multi-functional Bluetooth speaker;” a portable speaker with a clip, the Pulse can fit in a pocket, and attach conveniently to the back of new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch cases. When used with an iPhone, its microphone allows for hands-free calls.

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FELTaudio’s Rewind wireless earbuds work up to 40 feet away from Bluetooth devices. Housed in a hard plastic box with a clip—and the ability to interface with the aforementioned Apple device cases—Rewind has a cable management system to prevent the silicone-tipped earbuds from getting tangled. Integrated volume controls are included on the earbuds’ box, and a microphone is included on the cord. Rewind earbuds also come in white, black, and gray. Release dates and pricing were not announced.

Mobee to debut Magic Juice, Link, and Tunes at CES

Mobee has announced three new products that will debut at CES, two leveraging the company’s inductive charging platforms for ease of use. Magic Juice ($79) is a backup battery/charging station that can be carried in a pocket, and inductively recharged using Mobee’s previously-released Magic Feet or Magic Charger charging platforms. Somewhat curiously, the battery promises to fully charge an iPad once or an iPhone twice, and is compatible with Lightning and Dock Connectors, mini USB and micro USB, thanks to a standard USB port on one end.

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Magic Tunes ($99) is a wireless Bluetooth speaker. Equipped with speakerphone functionality, it’s billed as the first “double wireless” speaker, capable of both wireless audio streaming and inductive wireless charging. Finally, Magic Link ($49) is an energy-saving wall adapter and illuminated cable for Apple mobile devices, showing you charging status through the cable’s glowing color before turning off automatically to conserve power. Magic Link also promises Lightning, Dock Connector, mini USB and micro USB compatibility. All of these new products will be released in 2013.

Lunatik to show four new iPhone 5 cases at CES

Lunatik has announced a new series of iPhone 5 cases that will debut at CES. The cases include Taktik Extreme, an iPhone 5 version of the rugged, previously-reviewed iPhone 4/4S case featuring Corning Gorilla Glass, and Taktik Strike, a similar case without the glass cover.

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Brand new to Lunatik’s lineup, Seismik is a unique suspension frame case — shown above and discussed here in a First Look — while Flak is a lightweight, two-material hard and soft plastic case akin to Speck’s CandyShell. Release dates and pricing were not announced.

MacTech offers Apple-focused CES conference track

Alongside the massive iLounge Pavilion at the 2013 International CES, enterprise technology-focused publication MacTech will offer MacTech Insight, a CES conference track focused primarily on technical topics related to Apple’s products and services. Starting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 10, MacTech Insight will offer sessions on topics including iCloud, storage solutions, content and app creation, organization-wide mobile device management, backing up data, and home automation.

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Same-day admission to the one-day MacTech Insight conference track is $500, and includes access to the CES show floor; use the coupon code MT25P for a 25% discount off the regular registration price. The conference will take place in North Hall N260, up the escalators from the iLounge Pavilion’s North Hall show floor area. A full list of conference topics and a registration link can be found here.

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