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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

MS Office coming to iOS in 2013

Although Microsoft’s Office applications were rumored to be coming to the App Store this year, the company now plans on releasing Office in a native iOS version next year, according to reports. Product manager Petr Bobek told Czech site IHNED that Office 2013 would hit the market in the first quarter of next year, and that iOS would be among the included available operating systems for the productivity suite. Although the iOS Office release was apparently confirmed in a press release spotted by The Verge, a Microsoft US spokesperson claimed that the company has yet to announce retail availability for the new Office. [via The Verge]

SuperSync 5 adds advanced ITunes Match support

SuperSync, an iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 5.0. The latest version goes beyond allowing Mac or PC users to view, merge, and synchronize iTunes libraries over local networks or over the Internet: the newest update adds advanced iTunes Match support, helping users to get more matches, upgrade tracks to the highest bit rate possible, and remove iCloud duplicates. SuperSync 5.0 is available now with a two-computer/unlimited iOS device license for $23.

Wind Solutions announces CopyTrans Contacts

Wind Solutions has announced the final release of CopyTrans Contacts, software that allows PC users to import and manage contacts across iOS devices without using the cloud or any third-party servers. Contacts can be transferred or imported from other iOS devices and PC email solutions such as Outlook or Gmail. Users can edit contacts on a PC or through the Contacts app. Designed for Windows 7, XP, and Vista, the download is currently available for $2, and is compatible with all iOS devices.

iMobie releases PhoneClean device maintenance app

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iMobie has released its new PhoneClean device maintenance app for Windows. According to the company, PhoneClean helps to remove long-term caches, temp, and junk files from iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches without the need for jailbreaking. iMobile claims that PhoneClean can help users reclaim up to 40% of free space, and may also help improve device performance. PhoneClean requires Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8, and is available now as a free download.

HandBrake conversion utility updated to 0.9.6

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Popular video conversion utility HandBrake has been updated to version 0.9.6. The update brings with it a number of bug fixes and improvements, including audio gain control, improved support for OS X Lion, improved handling of DVD subtitles without Stop Display commands, HE-AAC encoding support, and improved average frame rate detection. HandBrake 0.9.6 is available now as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

SuperSync 4.0 brings new GUI, Smart Playlist export

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SuperSync, a iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 4.0. SuperSync allows users to view, merge, and synchronize iTunes libraries over local networks or over the Internet, among other features. Version 4.0 offers users a brand new interface that allows for easier navigation of multiple libraries, improved networking speeds, a duplicate inspector that lets users compare tracks that are or may be duplicates, an iTunes import feature for importing music from another library or from a backup, Smart Playlist export, and built-in Internet search. SuperSync 4.0 is a free upgrade for all current users while new licenses range from $29 for a two-license pack to $49 for a ten-license pack; it is available now for Mac OS X and Windows.

Handbrake updated to 0.9.5, adds iPad, iPhone 4 presets

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Popular open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter Handbrake has been updated to version 0.9.5, its first update in over a year. The new version offers a long list of improvements, including new presets for the iPad, iPhone 4, and second-generation Apple TV, support for SSA subtitles, automatic discovery of VLC in the Applications folder (necessary for ripping encrypted DVDs), AC3 encoding support, universal audio downmix support, a peak framerate option, and more. Notably, 0.9.5 drops support for legacy PowerPC-based Macs; a complete list of changes is available here. Handbrake 0.9.5 is available now as a free download for Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Windows 2000 or later, and Linux.

CopyTrans TuneSwift promises easy iTunes migration

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Wind Solutions has introduced CopyTrans TuneSwift, its latest iTunes software product for Windows. CopyTrans TuneSwift is designed to facilitate migration of an iTunes library from one PC to another or from a PC to a Mac. Features include complete transfer of an iTunes library, iTunes backup and restore capabilities, including iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad backups, the ability to move the iTunes library to any folder, computer, external disc, or flash drive the user chooses, and the ability to keep an iPod, iPhone, or iPad linked to the new iTunes library. CopyTrans TuneSwift requires iTunes 7 or later, Windows XP, Vista, or 7, or Mac OS X for PC to Mac transfers, and is available for free until March 15, 2011 using the code TUNESWIFT-ILOUNGE.

PC motherboard makers release iPad charging drivers

A number of leading PC motherboard manufacturers have released updated drivers that allow for iPad charging. Gigabyte, MSI, and ASUS have all released software updates that allow for iPad charging, as well as faster charging for iPhones and some iPod models, on recent motherboards. Engadget notes that although the software is designed for the respective manufacturers’ products, some users of other companies’ machines have reported that the software works with their models, as well.

Elgato announces new, smaller EyeTV Hybrid

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Elgato has announced its next-generation EyeTV Hybrid TV tuner stick for HDTV and analog TV. Hailed by the company as “America’s smallest TV tuner stick,” the new EyeTV Hybrid features an ultra-compact enclosure, a matte aluminum finish, a built-in USB connector, an analog/ATSC tuner, S-Video, Composite video, antenna, and stereo audio inputs, an IR remote control sensor for use with the included remote control, and included EyeTV 3 software for Mac. Notably, the new model does not offer the built-in FM radio tuner of the previous model. The next-generation Elgato EyeTV Hybrid is available now and sells for $150.

Fire Core releases aTV Flash 4.1, supports Apple TV 3.0.2

Fire Core has released version 4.1 of its aTV Flash software utility package for the Apple TV. aTV Flash allows users to install a number of different software packages—including the Couch Surfer Pro web browser, a RSS feed reader, and support for a much broader set of media formats—on their Apple TV units using a USB flash drive. New in version 4.1 is full 5.1 surround sound support for nearly all media types, including DVD (VIDEO_TS) files, faster web browsing and enhanced Remote app support for the Couch Surfer Pro browser, “much improved” media playback, and compatibility with Apple TV Software 3.0.2. aTV Flash 4.1 is available now for Mac or Windows, requires a 256MB or larger USB flash drive, and sells for $50 with a year of software updates included.

WindSolutions unveils CopyTrans 4, adds Smart Backup

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WindSolutions has unveiled CopyTrans 4, the latest version of its iPod to PC transfer tool. New in version 4 is dramatically increased iTunes import speeds, a new “Smart Backup” feature that transfers only the needed information and is claimed to be “100% duplicate proof,” out-of-the-box support for all iPhone and iPod models, including Mac-formatted devices, the ability to import Smart Playlists and all track meta tags include “Date Added,” support for Voice Memos, videos shot on the device, and MMS videos, iTunes 9 compatibility, and more. CopyTrans 4 is designed for Windows 7, XP, and Vista, and is a free upgrade for all users who purchased a CopyTrans license within the last year; pricing is $20 for new users.

Handbrake version 0.9.4 adds 64-bit support

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Popular open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter Handbrake has been updated to version 0.9.4. The new version offers a host of improvements, including speed, size, and quality improvements taken from the x264 project, support for 64-bit and parallel builds for added speed improvements on 64-bit capable machines, support for soft subtitles, a live preview feature, better input support, constant quality encoding which varies size to meet a given quality level, a new custom anamorphic mode, and more. Handbrake 0.9.4 is available now as a free download for Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Windows XP or later, and Linux.

Power Technology debuts iDFX iTunes add-on

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Power Technology has introduced its new iDFX Audio Enhancer software add-on for iTunes. According to the company, iDFX re-encodes users’ current MP3 and AAC files via a “patent-pending method that repairs the damage and lost harmonics that occurred during the original encoding process.” In addition, the company also claims that the software sets all songs to a standard volume level, similar to Apple’s SoundCheck feature, and increases the audio clarity and undistorted maximum output level when used with iPod docks and in-car connections. iDFX requires Windows XP, Vista or higher and iTunes 8 or higher, and is available now for $40. A free trial version is also available.

SuperSync 3.3 adds iTunes 9 support, more

SuperSync, a iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 3.3. SuperSync lets users synchronize their music libraries between multiple computers over the Internet. Version 3.3 improves upon the software’s meta data synchronization interface, adds a “Quick Connect” feature for iPods that allows viewing and importing tracks from an iPod onto any Mac or PC running SuperSync, offers support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and more. In addition, the company points out that while iTunes 9’s new Home Sharing feature can handle up to five computers on a home network and offers one-way syncing, SuperSync offers two-way synchronization for computers both on the same network or connected via the Internet. SuperSync 3.3 is available now for Mac OS X and Windows, and is priced at $29 for a 2-machine license; a demo version is also available.

ImToo brings YouTube videos to iPod

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ImToo Software Studio has released ImTOO YouTube to iPod Converter 2.0, the latest version of its video conversion tool for Windows. ImToo YouTube allows users to browse, download, and convert YouTube videos to an iPod-friendly format. New features include one-step downloading and conversion, an embedded YouTube browser with an anonymous proxy download option, and the ability to download and convert videos in batches. ImTOO YouTube to iPod Converter requires Windows XP SP2 or later, and sells for $26.

iPod Access update adds iPhone OS 3.0, 3GS support

Findley Designs has updated its iPod Access iPod/iPhone music and video transfer application to version 4.3. The new version adds support for iPhone OS 3.0, iTunes 8.2, and the iPhone 3GS, and also offers improved iTunes integration. iPod Access provides users with access to all the songs, videos, and movies stored on their iPods or iPhones, offering features such as single-button backups, playlist cloning into iTunes, and an instant listing of all iPod songs. iPod Access version 4.3 is a free update for all registered version 4 users; a full license for Mac OS X or Windows Vista/XP is $20.

CopyTrans 3, CopyTrans Photo support iPhone OS 3.0

Wind Solutions has announced that the current versions of its Pod to PC transfer tool CopyTrans and photo transfer and backup tool CopyTrans Photo are both compatible with iPhone and iPod touch units running iPhone OS 3.0, including the iPhone 3GS. CopyTrans allows users to transfer media from their iPod or iPhone to their Windows PC, and can also create backups of iPods and iPhones for archival storage, while CopyTrans Photo allows for drag-and-drop photo transfers to and from iPods/iPhones and PCs, in-application navigation and browsing of photos stored on the iPod or iPhone, photo backup, the ability to view photos stored on the device as a slideshow, and the ability to create, delete, rename, and edit iPod and iPhone photo albums. CopyTrans 3 is available now for $20; CopyTrans Photo sells for $30. Both applications are compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Wind Solutions releases CopyTrans 3

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Wind Solutions’ iPod to PC transfer tool CopyTrans has been updated to version 3. CopyTrans allows users to transfer media from their iPod or iPhone to their Windows PC, and can also create backups of iPods and iPhones for archival storage. New in version 3 is the ability to transfer ratings, play counts, skip counts, date last played, album artwork, and all other iTunes fields, and a fully-customizable list view that enables users to choose the columns they wish and place them where they want. CopyTrans 3 offers support for the iPhone and iPhone 3G, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, fifth-generation iPod, fourth-generation iPod, iPod mini, and iPod shuffle, and is available now for $20.

BookmarkiTunes offers iTunes ‘wishlists’

An independent developer has released BookmarkiTunes, a new utility that lets users create and organize a wishlist of items they want in the iTunes Store. Users can drag-and-drop any link, including text and images, into the application to add that item to the list, or can also copy and paste in iTunes links. The application attempts to automatically discover the name of the item, but users may also edit the name directly, and add a description for each item on their list. Each item remains in the application, with a link back to iTunes, until it is deleted. BookmarkiTunes is available now as a free download for Mac and Windows.

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