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iPhone 4 shipping wait estimates improve

Apple has reduced the estimated wait time for new iPhone 4 orders from its online store down to 5-7 days. The reduction—which appears to be unique to the U.S. online store, as wait times in other countries remain at three weeks—could be a sign that Apple is beginning to get its supply issues with the handset under control. During Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that the company was making iPhone 4 units as fast as it could sell them; the company has since greatly expanded the number countries in which the phone is available, potentially hindering its ability to meet demand. [via Mac Rumors]

Android tops among new smartphone purchases

Google’s Android OS has become the most popular smartphone operating system in the U.S. among recent smartphone buyers, according to new data from The Nielsen Company. From January to August, the company recorded the OS of smartphone purchases within the last six months, and found that as of August, 32% of recent smartphone purchasers had bought an Android device, followed by both Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry OS, which are in a “statistical dead heat” for second with roughly 25%. Among all U.S. smartphone owners, BlackBerry remains the most popular OS with 31% share of the market, followed closely by iOS with 28% and Android with 19%. [via Daring Fireball]

Netflix adds video out support for iPhone, iPod touch

Netflix has released an update to its streaming video application for iOS devices adding the ability to output video content through the Dock Connector with the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Netflix was originally released in April for the iPad and added video output support for iPad users with an update in late May. In August a new version was released that introduced iPhone and iPod touch support, however despite being a single universal application, the video output feature was unavailable when running on these devices. Netflix version 1.1.1 adds support for video output on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, however it remains unavailable on older models. Netflix is available from the App Store as a free download in the U.S. and Canadian App Stores. A Netflix Unlimited Subscription is required to use the app.

Apple loses, challenges Cover Flow-related lawsuit

Apple was recently ordered by a jury to pay damages to Mirror Worlds LLC for infringing the latter’s patents related to the display of digital documents, but is challenging the verdict. Mirror Worlds, a software business started by a Yale University computer-science professor David Gelernter, claimed that Apple’s Cover Flow and Time Machine display methods infringed on its patents, and was awarded $208.5 million in damages for each of the patents infringed. Apple has asked U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis for an emergency stay of the verdict, claiming that there are outstanding issues with two of the three patents, and also claimed Mirror Worlds would be “triple-dipping” if it were to collect the full $208.5 million for each of the three patents. Bloomberg reports that Davis also is considering Apple’s request, filed before the verdict, to rule that the company doesn’t infringe two of the patents, which would lead him to strike the amount of damages attributed to those two patents.

Peggle adds Peggle Nights expansion

PopCap Games has released an update to its acclaimed Peggle arcade game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Peggle, players fire a ball into the playing field with the goal of clearing pegs from the board by hitting them with the ball either directly or rebounding off other objects. Players advance to the next level by clearing all orange pegs while other colored pegs offer additional points and power-ups. Players can choose a Quick Play mode or progress through an Adventure mode where they train with Peggle Masters and learn to use special power-ups on each level and master more complex shots. Peggle includes 55 levels and 40 Grand Master Challenges and support both single and multiplayer modes. Version 1.2 adds the sequel levels from Peggle Nights to the existing iOS game, with five Peggle Nights levels available for free and the remaining game levels unlockable via in-app purchase. The new version also adds support for French, German Italian and Spanish languages. Peggle is currently available from the App Store for $1; version 1.2 is a free update for current users. The Peggle Nights expansion is available for purchase within the app for $3.

Beijing Apple Store closes due to iPhone 4 scalpers

Apple’s flagship store in Beijing was forced to close its doors early today after a group of iPhone 4 scalpers created a chaotic scene. MIC Gadget reports that Apple removed its limitation on the number of contract-free iPhone 4 units any single customer could buy at the store, perhaps unintentionally paving the way for the problems ahead. The store opened at 7:00 a.m. local time, but closed only three hours later, with many customers left in the queue outside, unable to enter. The report claims that scalpers were entering the store and buying large quantities—20-30 units at a time—of iPhone 4s, then proceeding out into the mall and attempting to sell the units to passerby at a higher-than-retail price.

According to the report, people were literally being pushed into the cashier’s counter, some holding stacks of bank notes, prepared to buy as many iPhone 4 units as they could afford. The situation escalated when a group of regular customers got into a fight with the scalpers; Apple’s own security staff, along with local police, were called in to clear the store and restore order. An update to the article states that all four Chinese Apple Stores are now requiring each customer to show his/her identity card when purchasing an iPhone 4, and are limiting sales to just one per customer. In addition, Apple employees are unboxing the iPhone 4 units for customers and activating the phones immediately, preventing scalpers from purchasing the phones and reselling them as “brand new.”

FlightBoard provides virtual Airport Departures and Arrivals board

Mobiata, developer of FlightTrack Pro, has released FlightBoard, a virtual airport departure and arrivals board for iOS devices. FlightBoard features a design based on the Arrivals and Departures board at Charles de Gaulle Airport and allows users to turn their screen into a view of scheduled flights for just about any airport in the world, including flight status and gate numbers. FlightBoard works with over 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide and users can quickly switch between departures and arrivals views and share flight information with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. A search interface allows users to quickly narrow results down and get real-time status for just about any flight in the world. FlightBoard is a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is available from the App Store for $4.

iPhone tops smartphone satisfaction ratings

Apple has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any smartphone manufacturer, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study—Volume 2. Apple claimed the top spot for the fourth consecutive time with a score of 800 out of 1,000, doing particularly well in the areas of ease of use, operating system, features and physical design. Apple was followed closely by Motorola with a score of 791 and HTC with a score of 781. The ratings are based on experiences reported by 6,821 smartphone owners between January and June 2010.

Official Google Voice app approved, coming soon

TechCrunch reports that Apple has approved the official Google Voice application for the iPhone. Citing a “source close to Google” the article indicates that the application has already been approved and is now just waiting for Google to update it to work with the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 multitasking capabilities. Google first attempted to release a native iPhone application for its online telephony service last summer, however the application was rejected by Apple, citing duplicate functionality. Subsequently, several third-party Google Voice applications were also removed from the App Store based on the same policy—namely that these applications duplicated features that were already present on the iPhone, such as the Phone and Messaging applications.

Following Apple’s publication of a new set of guidelines for the App Store earlier this month, several of the previously rejected third-party Google Voice applications such as GV Mobile+ have made a sudden reappearance. Although no official word has yet been released on Google’s plans for its own Google Voice application for the iPhone, the company presently provides native applications for both the Blackberry and its own Android platform and merely an HTML5 web interface for iPhone users. A native application would be able to offer features that a web-based application cannot, such as Push Notifications and tighter integration with other iOS applications.

EU drops antitrust investigation into Apple

Apple’s decision to relax its restrictions on tools developers are able to use to create iOS applications has led the European Competition Commission to drop its antitrust investigation into the company. “Apple’s response to our preliminary investigations shows that the Commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings,” Commission VP Joaquín Almunia said in a statement. The Commission this spring launched two parallel investigations into Apple’s iPhone business: one concerning its app and app development restrictions, and one concerning its “country of purchase” rule, whereby repairs service was only available in the country where the iPhone was purchased. Apple has since changed the latter policy and has told Authorized Service Providers to offer cross-border support in regions where Apple itself does not offer repair service.

Pocket Informant adds iOS Calendar integration

Web Information Solutions has released a major update to Pocket Informant, its advanced personal information manager for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pocket Informant is an integrated calendar and GTD-based task management application that provides a number of advanced features and synchronization with Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and ToodleDo. Pocket Informant 1.6 adds direct integration with the built-in Calendar on iOS 4 devices and adds improvements to desktop sync connectivity. Users can also now use a pinch-and-zoom gesture on the Day View to adjust the number of days displayed from a single day to up to 10 days. Task management has also been improved with the ability to edit multiple tasks at once and convert tasks to projects and events to tasks. The new version also adds project statistics, a redesigned icon picker and the ability to associate icons with calendars and tags as well as many other small improvements. Pocket Informant for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store for $13. An iPad version, Pocket Informant HD is also available at an introductory discounted price of $7; a similar update for the iPad version is currently pending App Store review.

FaceTime missing from UAE iPhone 4 units

The official Twitter account of du, an iPhone carrier based in the United Arab Emirates, has confirmed that FaceTime will be unavailable in the UAE when the phone launches tomorrow. “Our iPhone 4 customers won’t be able to make Facetime calls, as this feature is currently unavailable in the UAE,” the company said. In later updates, it apologized to customers who were upset that the feature had been withheld, and repeatedly said “it’s not in our hands.” TUAW notes that its report from earlier in the week suggested the feature may also be missing from iPhone 4 units sold in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen.

Apple sees shortages of unlocked iPhone 4 units in U.K.

Apple is experiencing sell-outs of unlocked iPhone 4 units at its company-owned retail stores in the U.K. due to the device’s popularity in markets where Apple has yet to launch the device. The Daily Mail reports that the phone brokers who are purchasing the handsets often form long lines prior to the stores’ openings, and that they are targeting the U.K. because it is one of the few countries that sells the iPhone 4 unlocked. The report notes that unlocked iPhone 4s are priced at £499 for the 16GB version (roughly $790) and £599 (~$948) for the 32GB version, but often sell for double the price in markets such as Dubai, Singapore, South Africa, Russia, and India, with the brokers receiving a commission of £70 for every phone they buy. Unfortunately, the situation is making it hard for regular consumers to purchase the unlocked handset. “I have come here five times now,” said Abdullah Al Mubadal, speaking of Apple’s Covent Garden store. “The guards just say there are no more phones. We are just normal customers.”

Smule updates Glee app

Smule has released an update to its Glee application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Updated for Season 2 of the popular TV series, Glee Karaoke introduces a global competition mode where users sing to compete with fellow Glee fans from around the world and complete individual singing missions to gain levels and win starburst points and gleeks. Glee Karaoke also provides personal voice coaching tips to improve singing skills as well as pitch correction and three-part harmonies as fans sing along to their favorite songs from the TV series. The app includes the songs Rehab, Somebody to Love and You Keep Me Hanging On with additional songs available via in-app purchase for $1 each including such favorites as Hello, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Imagine, Defying Gravity, Jessie’s Girl and more. Users can also get free songs by earning Gleeks through sharing their top songs with friends on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Smule’s own Sonic Network. Additional new songs are added each week that an original episode airs. Glee Karaoke 2.0 is a universal app available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for users of the previous Glee app.

Dropbox adds new UI design, background uploads

Dropbox has released an update to its cloud file sharing app for iOS devices with a new UI design, Retina Display support and support for background file transfers on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Dropbox 1.3 also adds the ability to view files in a full-screen view while using the app in landscape mode on the iPad, file caching to allow users to re-open files they have recently viewed and the ability to create folders from directly within the app. Dropbox is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. A free Dropbox account is required to use the app.

Disney releases TRON app update

Disney has released an update to TRON for the iPhone and iPod touch adding new video content and trailers. Designed to promote the upcoming TRON movie and video games, the iOS TRON app provides an updated version of the classic Tanks game from Tron Arcade, with both single and multiplayer modes available. The version 1.1 update adds promotional and preview material including a three-part video series from the 2010 San Diego Comic-con TRON panel, a sketchbook featuring the first 13 pages from the new graphic novel, TRON Betrayal, and new video trailers for TRON Legacy and TRON Evolution. TRON is available from the App Store as a free download.

Netflix launches in Canada

Netflix has officially launched its online streaming rental service and application for iOS devices in Canada, providing Canadian users with instant, on-demand access to a variety of movie and TV show content from the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Originally released for the iPad earlier this year, the Netflix app added iPhone and iPod touch support in August but remained available only in the U.S. With the launch of Netflix in Canada the same universal Netflix application is now available to Canadian App Store customers. The app allows Netflix members to stream TV shows and movies over either Wi-Fi or 3G from the Netflix catalog and browse and manage their Netflix queue from within the app. Viewing status is automatically synchronized with the Netflix service to allow users to continue watching a movie or TV show on another device from where they left off. The second-generation Apple TV scheduled to ship later this month is also expected to include Netflix support. Netflix 1.1 is available from the U.S. and Canadian App Stores as a free download. An Netflix unlimited subscription is required to use the app; an introductory one-month trial is available for Canadian users at http://www.netflix.ca.

South Korea passes one million iPhones sold

Roughly nine months after the device’s local release, South Korean iPhone carrier KT has announced that sales of the iPhone have passed the one million unit mark. Yonhap News Agency reports that KT saw activations reach 1.02 million as of Aug. 16, and expects sales to reach 1.2 million in early October. The company received 350,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4, which launched in Korea on Sept. 10; AllThingsD notes that roughly 200,000 devices are still back-ordered. “iPhone’s 1 million record is a symbol of [the] smartphone’s popularization,” said Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s mobile business group. “[We’re working to create] a ‘mobile wonderland,’ where anyone in the country can enjoy data services through unlimited Wi-Fi and unlimited 3G.”

FileMaker releases FileMaker Go updates for iPhone and iPad

FileMaker has released a major update to its FileMaker Go for iPhone and FileMaker Go for iPad applications that allow users to work with FileMaker Pro databases on their iOS devices. The version 1.1 updates, available separately for the iPhone and iPad platforms add the ability to create PDFs from within the app, share complete database files with other users and improves photo and media support. Users can now convert a database record directly to a PDF file that can be saved on the device or shared via e-mail, allowing reports and other information to be easily saved and distributed while on the go. The new update also provides the ability to save a copy of a complete database and e-mail it directly from FileMaker Go to exchange information with other users without requiring an intermediate desktop or laptop computer.

Improved photo and media support has also been added enabling users to capture photos on an iPhone or import photos that are already in their iOS device’s photo library and insert them directly into a database. Photos and other file types such as spreadsheets stored in a database can also be e-mailed out directly from FileMaker Go. Additional improvements include the ability to import records from local or hosted FileMaker databases using scripts and a new URL protocol that allows other iOS developers to open FileMaker Go and trigger scripts to perform actions such as importing data from other applications and generating reports. FileMaker Go is available separately for the iPhone and iPad, with FileMaker Go for the iPhone and iPod touch available from the App Store for $20, FileMaker Go for iPad for $40. Both are free updates for users of the same previous version.

Survey: AT&T to keep 63% of iPhone customers

A new survey by Credit Suisse has found that 63% of U.S.-based iPhone customers would stay with AT&T if/when their exclusivity deal with Apple expires. Business Insider reports that of the 37% who say they would leave the carrier, 23% would jump to Verizon, 3% would go to Sprint, and 2% would go to T-Mobile, with 9% said they weren’t sure. When broken down further, 26% said they would stay with AT&T if they improve their network, 20% said they would stay because they are fully satisfied, and 17% said they would stay with AT&T because of a family plan or corporate discount. Furthermore, based on AT&T’s internal take rate of 16%, Credit Suisse found that as many as 8.1 million Verizon customers may be waiting to buy an iPhone with their current carrier.

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