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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.

International iPhone rollouts reach far beyond China

Despite the fact that Apple has only announced the iPhone 4’s launch in China this coming weekend, a new report suggests the handset will launch in no less than 13 additional countries by September 26. According to a 9 to 5 Mac report and subsequent comments from international readers, the iPhone 4 will launch in the following countries between September 22 and September 26: Argentina, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Macendonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. It is possible that other countries will see the iPhone 4 launch during the same time period; if you live in an area not listed above and know of an impending launch, please share details in the comments section of this article.

Update: A separate report claims the iPhone 4 will also launch in South Africa tomorrow, September 22.

Update x2: GTA Teleguam has announced that it will launch the iPhone 4 in Guam on September 24.

Apple brings Voice Memos icon from iPod nano to iOS 4.2

Following a redesign of the Voice Memos icon for the sixth-generation iPod nano, Apple has unexpectedly changed the Voice Memos icon for iOS 4.2 devices including the iPhone and iPod touch. The new icon discards the previous photo-realistic style microphone for a simpler symbol-on-gradient treatment that more closely matches the Phone, Messages, and iPod applications, an unusual step backward in icon design given that other applications received more detailed icons when Apple introduced the iPad, as well as Retina Display-bearing iPhone and iPod touch devices. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in November.

iPhone 4 to launch in China on September 25

Apple has announced that it will launch the iPhone 4 in China on September 25. According to the release, the device will be available in Apple’s retail stores beginning at 8:00 a.m., including the new Apple Store Hong Kong Plaza in Shanghai and the new Apple Store Xidan Joy City in Beijing opening on the same day. In Apple’s stores, the iPhone 4 will be available without a contract for CNY4,999 (roughly $744) for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 (~$893) for the 32GB model, while China Unicom will offer the phone with a new two year contract. Strangely, Apple’s off-contract prices are cheaper than Unicom’s pre-order pricing for the iPhone 4 as reported by the Wall Street Journal; it is unclear whether the prior report was inaccurate or if China Unicom is including an extra value for the higher prices.

AirPlay to allow streaming from apps to Apple TV, more?

AirPlay, Apple’s revamped version of AirTunes meant for streaming audio, video, and photos to compatible devices, may also allow for streaming of content from third-party applications, according to a new report. Citing testing done by a reader using the first iOS 4.2 beta, Mac Rumors reports that every application that uses the standard iOS audio/video playback interface now shows an AirPlay button for streaming. While the second-generation Apple TV, the only AirPlay device announced so far to accept video and photo streams in addition to audio, has yet to be released, a reader was successfully able to stream audio to an Airport Express from the following applications: Safari, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, iPod, BBC News, and MLB At Bat, suggesting that third-party apps may be able to stream video as well as audio to compatible devices. Notably, the software is still in beta, and as such the feature could be removed and/or tweaked prior to iOS 4.2’s public release.

EA releases The Sims 3 Ambitions

Electronic Arts has released its latest games in The Sims franchise for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions expands upon the features and scenarios offered in the earlier two Sims titles allowing players to turn their Sims’ hobbies into professions, build homes and businesses and even have babies. In The Sims 3 Ambitions, players can now develop their Sims along a variety of career paths such as firefighter, rock star, artist, teacher and more, with career-focused goals and locations in the game. The game also includes an improved build mode allowing players to resize, add and delete rooms, floors, walls and doors from their homes in addition to also building business and workplaces such as bistros, night clubs and preschools. The Sims 3 Ambitions also adds the much-requested ability for Sims to have babies in the game and interact with them by feeding them, playing with them, and putting them to bed and watching them grow into Sim toddlers. Players can choose to begin the game as a new character or import their favorite Sims from the original Sims 3 and The Sims 3 World Adventures for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions is available from the App Store for $5.

iOS 4.2 features improved YouTube, CoreMIDI support

A number of new features and improvements have been discovered in the first beta version of iOS 4.2. AppleInsider reports that the software features an updated YouTube application with like and dislike buttons, as well as support for the CoreMIDI framework, which could enable iOS devices to interface with MIDI instruments via an adapter. Also new in 4.2 are restrictions allowing users to prevent the deletion of App Store applications and prevent changes to accounts in the Mail application, iTunes links in the iPad’s Videos app, and a dedicated FaceTime button at the top of all messaging sessions. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 in November.

Street Fighter IV update adds new characters

Capcom has released an update to its acclaimed Street Fighter IV for iPhone and iPod touch devices. First released earlier this year, Street Fighter IV is an iOS optimized version of the popular console game with the same visual style and artwork and a user interface specifically redesigned for the touchscreen. The iOS version initially included eight classic characters from the game, with Cammy added as a ninth character in a subsequent update later in the spring. This most recent free update adds E. Honda and C. Viper-Ryu to the game, bringing the total number of playable characters from the Street Fighter franchise up to 11. The update also adds a new costume for Chun-Li that can be purchased from within the app. Street Fighter IV is available from the App Store for $10; the update is free for current users.

China Unicom launches iPhone 4 pre-orders

China Unicom is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the handset is priced between 5,880 yuan to 6,999 yuan (roughly $874 to $1,040), in line with what the carrier charged for the iPhone 3GS when it launched in China last October. The report states that sales have picked up after a slow start, but are still hampered by China Unicom’s exclusivity. Citing a surveys of young Chinese mobile subscribers by CMR, the report claims that potential Chinese iPhone users are reluctant to switch to China Unicom due to perceptions of poor service quality, the lengthy required contracts, and because they don’t want to relinquish their China Mobile phone numbers. Analysts estimate that millions of Chinese customers are instead using gray market iPhones without 3G service on China Mobile; Apple also sells the iPhone 3GS unlocked in its Chinese stores.

ComScore: Apple, RIM lose market share to Android

According to the latest data from comScore, both Apple and BlackBerry-maker RIM lost U.S. smartphone market share to Android during the three months ending in July 2010. First place RIM went from an average share of 41.1% in the three months ending in April to 39.3% in the three months ending in July, a -1.8% change, while Apple’s share of the market went from 25.1% to 23.8%, or a drop of 1.3%, over the same time period. Android, meanwhile, went from an average of 12% of the market in the three months ending in April to 17% in the three months ending in July, a gain of 5%. ComScore’s numbers represent total U.S. smartphone subscribers ages 13 and up.

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