iNews Review

BlackBerry's Bold Challenge to iPhone, Zune Sales Still Flat, 3G iPhone Launch Nigh, and More

This Week's iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.05.16

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

iPhone News, Reviews, & Opinion

iPod News, Reviews, & Opinion

For iPods and iPhones

For the iPhone

For iPods

iPod and iPhone Deals

iPhone News, Reviews, & Opinion

BlackBerry Unveils Bold Challenge to iPhone

The Times' Amanda Andrews reports:

"Workaholics in the City are likely to celebrate news that their favourite gadget, the BlackBerry, is set to become slicker, faster and more powerful.

"Research in Motion (RIM), the creator of the BlackBerry, yesterday announced the launch of an updated version - the BlackBerry Bold - in an apparent attempt to compete with Apple, which is tipped to launch a third generation (3G) version of its iPhone next month....

"In what appears a direct move on Apple's potential customer base, RIM said music is now more easily downloaded and a new application provides 'a simple way to sync iTunes digital music collections with the smartphone'."

Link: BlackBerry Unveils Bold Challenge to iPhone

iPhone vs. BlackBerry: Which Do Consumers Love Most?

SeekingAlpha's Paul Carton says:

"ChangeWave's recent Smart Phone Wars report showed a rapidly evolving two-horse race between the Apple iPhone and Research in Motion BlackBerry - with second tier players like Palm and a host of others being shoved to the sidelines.

"To follow-up, we took a close-up look at the features users love and hate about their iPhones and BlackBerrys as part of our March 2008 survey of 864 smart phone owners."

Link: iPhone vs. BlackBerry: Which Do Consumers Love Most?

AT&T: No Vacations During 3G iPhone Launch Window

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"AT&T staffers have once again been told they can't take any time off work next month because of an anticipated 'heavy selling period' resulting from 'an exciting Summer Promotional Launch', a leaked memo reveals.

"No prizes for guessing that the carrier is referring to the 3G iPhone and to its plan to offer the handset with a $200 discount, as forecast last month.

"The memo was leaked to website Boy Genius Report, which last year posted a similar missive forbidding holiday time between 15 June 2007 and 15 July 2007 in order to capitalise upon an 'exciting product launch'."

Link: AT&T Halts Holidays During 3G iPhone Launch Window

Today's Sign that the 3G iPhone Is Nigh

News.com's Tom Krazit says:

"Widespread iPhone shortages, combined with an explosion in carrier deals, point to the launch of the next-generation iPhone as right around the corner, according to Piper Jaffray.

"I know, I know: this isn't the first time you've heard that theory. But you have to admit that signs are piling up that a 3G iPhone is in Apple's short-term plans. Let's recap the evidence so far."

Link: Today's Sign that the 3G iPhone Is Nigh

Getting on the iPhone

Forbes' Brian Caulfield says:

"It sucks to be in the print business right now.

"If it wasn't bad enough that newspapers are dying as cheap Web-based rivals thrive, now media companies will have to get by notoriously fickle Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs if they hope to secure a prime spot on the screen of the gizmo that could give them the best shot at digital relevance.

"The Associated Press, however, is giving it a shot. On Apple's iPhone, 'there was a button for stocks, there was a button for weather, but there was no button for news,' says Jeffrey Litvack, director of global product development with the AP.

"The AP wants to be that button on the iPhone."

Link: Getting on the iPhone

Brand New Google Reader for iPhone

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady reports:

"Google has released a new beta version of their Reader RSS client for iPhone. You can use it by visiting http://www.google.com/reader/i/ from Mobile Safari.

"Google first introduced an XHTML version of Reader back in 2006 and released the new 2008 version with many of the same features that are available in their desktop app."

Link: Brand New Google Reader for iPhone

iPhone: Troubleshooting USB Connections

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"When attempting to sync, update, or restore the iPhone, you may receive one or more of the following symptoms:

  • An alert message indicates an unknown error occurred
  • The iPhone unexpectedly disconnects during a sync or restore
  • Photos downloaded from the iPhone appear garbled or not all photos transfer
  • An alert message indicates the USB device cannot operate because it needs more power than is available
  • An alert message indicates 'this device can perform faster' if you plug the device into a higher speed USB port"

Link: iPhone: Troubleshooting USB Connections

iPod News, Reviews, & Opinion

Zune Reaches 2M Sales - Flat vs. iPod

Electronista reports:

"As part of its recent Zune update, Microsoft has revealed that it has sold two million of the music players since their launch in November 2006, revealing relatively flat growth for the device lineup. Although the company originally promised and slightly exceeded a target for its first million sales between the original launch date and June 2007, the company has largely remained silent on its data for its players in nearly a year....

"The results nonetheless leave Microsoft with just a fraction of Apple's US share and with comparatively slow development....

"Apple in its latest quarter sold 10.6 million iPods, or more than five times Microsoft's cumulative sales to date."

Editor's note: 2 million Zunes. 18 months = 6 quarters. That's an average of 666,667 Zune's per quarter, so Apple sells 16 iPods for every Zune Microsoft unloads. Some "iPod killer". dk

Link: Zune Reaches 2M Sales; Flat versus iPod

Climate Researchers Dream Up iPod-based Supercomputer

VNUNet.com's Robert Jaques reports:

"Scientists looking to build a supercomputer to model cloud conditions and help them better understand climates have looked upon the humble processors found in iPods and other small devices for a solution. A conventional supercomputer that could do what the researchers want could cost up to $1 billion; using millions of smaller processors could cost only about $75 million and save power.

"Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have suggested building a supercomputer based on low-power embedded microprocessors to improve global climate change predictions.

"Using the embedded microprocessor technology used in mobile phones, iPods and other consumer electronic devices, the boffins propose a cost-effective machine for running complex computational models."

"They conclude that a supercomputer using about 20 million embedded microprocessors would deliver the results and cost $75 million to construct."

Editor's note: I've heard Microsoft wants to sell a lot of Zunes. With built-in WiFi and a 533 MHz CPU, Microsoft could eclipse iPod sales for a single quarter by landing this one. :-) dk

Link: Climate Researchers Dream Up iPod-based Supercomputer

Apple Offers $45 Credit for Canadian Owners of Older iPods

The Montreal Gazette's Irwin Block reports:

"Following two class-action lawsuits, Apple Canada Inc. is offering $45 credits to Canadian residents who own a new first-, second- or third-generation iPod purchased before June 24, 2004.

"The proposed settlement, including payment of legal fees, is the result of two iPod owners suing because rechargeable batteries in the second year of use conked out after just three hours, contrary to the advertised claim of eight hours between recharges."

Information on how to obtain or file a claim is available at trudeljohnston.com, legaladvocates.ca, or appleipodsettlement.com

Link: Apple Offers $45 Credit for Canadian Owners of Older iPods

Apple to Issue Refunds for Short iPod Battery Life

Register Hardware's Austin Modine reports:

"Apple has agreed to give US and Canadian customers two separate settlement offers to make charges of faulty and misrepresented products go away.

"Canadian owners of older iPods can get a CDN $45 (credit) rebate over claims the battery life in its devices were much shorter than advertised.

"Americans who purchased replacement power adapters for PowerBook and iBook notebooks will get cash refunds between USD $25 and $79 over accusations the device did a fine impersonation of a Morning Glory sparkler on Independence Day.

"Assuming they kept the receipts...."

Link: Apple to Issue Refunds for Sparky, Prematurely Dying Products

For iPods and iPhones

iGet Mobile 2.0 Improves Remote Mac Access from iPhone, iPod, and PCs

PR: Nakahara Informatics, Inc. has announced the release of iGet Mobile 2.0, the next generation of the company's remote Mac access software for iPhone, iPod touch and other web-capable devices. iGet Mobile gives Mac users a personal web interface to access their documents remotely, with a special emphasis on making various types of data more accessible on small-form-factor devices.

Nakahara Informatics, Inc. has announced the release of iGet Mobile 2.0, the next generation of the company's remote Mac access software for iPhone, iPod touch and other web-capable devices. iGet Mobile gives Mac users a personal web interface to access their documents remotely, with a special emphasis on making various types of data more accessible on small-form-factor devices.

iGet MobileVersion 2.0 sports new iPhone-specific features in the web interface, an improved web server component, a completely redesigned user interface for the Mac application, and many other enhancements. Automatic network configuration is also improved, making it easy for most Mac users to make their personal servers accessible from the Internet without requiring networking expertise.

"It's just cool," said one user who participated in the beta test. "Instead of 8 GB, it's like having a 500 GB iPhone, because everything on my iMac at home is basically always in my pocket."

"We're tremendously excited about this release," said CEO Christopher Martin. "The iPhone is certainly the most interesting new platform in a decade, and it's been a catalyst for innovation. Last year, we released iGet Mobile 1.0 in record time, due to insistent demand from customers who wanted a solution for accessing the Mac from the iPhone as soon as we could possibly deliver it. Now, with this second major release, we've not only been able to add new features, but have also added a lot more polish in terms of how the application looks and behaves. So we're very pleased to make this release available as a free upgrade for all our customers."

iGet Mobile not only allows users to browse their Macs remotely, but can also perform on-the-fly document conversions that make many common Mac file types more compatible with mobile devices. This means that a 50 MB high-resolution Photoshop image file can be reduced in size and converted to a standard image format, or that a rich-text RTFD document can be instantly converted to PDF format, before being viewed on an iPhone.

While designed with the iPhone specifically in mind, iGet Mobile allows users to access their Macs from "any decently web-capable device", Martin added.

iGet Mobile 2.0 is available immediately from the company's web site. The software will run in full-featured demo mode, allowing users to try out all of its features before purchasing a license.

iGet Mobile was designed from the ground up using the latest Apple technologies, and it requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. It will run on any Mac that supports this version of the OS.

iGet Mobile 2.0 is available immediately from the company's web site. Regularly priced at $39, the software is currently available for the special promotional price of only $29 USD, for a limited time. For more information, please visit the company's Website, or call (888) 550-0505.

Link: iGet Mobile

Proporta Launches Facebook Site

PR: Proporta are well known for wanting to stay in touch with their customers and are pleased to have launched a page on the popular Social Networking site, facebook.com.

Proporta Facebook Site

Friends of the Proporta Facebook page (they believe you can never have enough) can enjoy access to a special promotions area, the latest product reviews and sneak announcements of products not yet launched. Those joining the Proporta Facebook page will also be able to communicate with each other and Proporta directly.

To celebrate the launch of the page, Proporta are offering all their friends a 10% discount off all Proporta branded hardware. Simply enter the promotion code FRIENDSFOREVER at the cart page. :o)

Link: Proporta Facebook Site

For the iPhone

Simiotica Releases aMaze! iPhone Game

PR: Awaiting AppStore launch, international game developer Simiotica announces immediate availability of the iPhone and iPod touch game aMaze! via Installer.App. aMaze! is very realistic transition of the classic wooden balance game Labyrinth, where players guide steel ball through a maze avoiding holes, to the iPhone.

Simiotica, the international game developer, announces immediate availability of the iPhone and iPod touch game aMaze! via Installer.App. aMaze! is very realistic transition of the classic wooden balance game Labyrinth, where players guide steel ball through a maze avoiding holes, to the iPhone.

aMaze!aMaze! is unique for playing exactly like its real world prototype by tilting device to control the labyrinth attitude thus moving the ball. This is the most intuitive game control because anyone who has ever played original Labyrinth game knows how to play the game.

Moving a ball to the exit is just one of the possible gameplays. Within this plain scenario, there are levels requiring bonus collection to complete them successfully, which results in longer and more attractive gameplay. More than 70 nicely designed game boards will enable broad audience of players to test their balance sense. Some levels are easy, many have normal difficulty and several are extremely hard to pass.

"Large multitouch screen, OpenGL ES and OpenAL support, built-in accelerometers make iPhone most powerful mobile gaming device on the market. We have developed aMaze to meet expectation of the iPhone owners for games with innovative gameplay not yet possible with other devices. While awaiting the launch of the official AppStore, we make it available through the Istaller.App to let iPhone enthusiasts enjoy it as early as possible", explains Alex Dubov, Simiotica CMO.

aMaze! is available for installation through Installer.App v3.0 with community sources installed. The 10 levels demo version is free, while other 70 levels could be unlocked for $9 USD fee. More information about the aMaze! could be found at their website.

Link: aMaze!

USB Fever iPhone Hard Crystal Cases: Pretty Woman, Butterfly, Flowers

USB Fever iPhone Hard Crystal CasesPR: Features:

  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Fully Protected from bumps and scratches
  • Light weight
  • Perfectly fit
  • Anti-dust
  • Easy access to all ports, buttons and sockets

iPhone Hard Crystal Cases - Pretty Woman

  • Printed with "pretty woman" theme

iPhone Hard Crystal Case - Butterfly

  • Printed with Butterfly theme

iPhone Hard Crystal Case - Flowers

  • Printed with Beautiful flowers theme
Link: Pretty Woman
Link: Butterfly
Link: Flowers

GizMac's New Titan Clear iPhone Case Colors

PR: GizMac Accessories, designer and manufacturer of innovative products for the Apple iPod and iPhone, announce new color choices for their Titan Clear iPhone case with holster.

Titan Clear iPhone CaseGizMac Accessories Titan Clear iPhone case has been available for a few months, but GizMac is announcing new colors to be available soon. These new iPhone case colors will join the currently shipping clear, pink and smoke colored versions. The addition of the two new colors of Titan iPhone cases brings the total selection to five color choices.

"Smoke, pink and clear colors having been selling really well and people have been commenting on how great they look," explained Ken Vitto, Marketing Director for GizMac Accessories, "But the incredible colors we have come up with now might become the most popular colors yet."

The Titan Clear case protects the iPhone with its tough polycarbonate shell, but still allows some of Apple iPhone's striking appearance to show through. The translucent colors of the case change with the thickness and produce subtle color variations that give the Titan Clear iPhone case its unique look.

New colors for the Titan Clear iPhone case are blue and green. Blue is a cobalt blue, yet can exhibit an aqua shade on the front and back in bright light. Green is emerald green, while traces of forest green appear on the curves in low light.

The Titan Clear iPhone case in blue and green colors will retail for $34.99 including the holster and will be available mid May.

Link: Titan Clear iPhone Cases

For iPods

iPod Movie Converter for Mac Free This Month

PR: Convert video to iPod video and iPod audio on Mac OS X with powerful functions, iSkysoft iPod Movie Converter for Mac is a powerful Mac iPod video converter which enables you converting all popular audio and video files such as MPEG1, MPEG2, MP4, 3GP, 3G2, AVI, Mpeg TS/TP (for HD Video) to iPod video supported by iPod/iPhone including M4V, M4A(AAC), MP3, AAC, etc.

You can convert videos to iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod touch on Mac (include Leopard) with high output quality and various features such as setting video brightness, contrast, saturation, video file trim, video crop, and joining multiple files into one file. The Mac iPod video converter is easy to handle with just a few button-presses to complete the conversion.

For your convenience, batch conversion function is offered by iSkysoft iPod Movie Converter for Mac. You should select the files that you want to convert, then set up the formats and specify parameters for the target files, push Encode button and start the conversion.

You can get iSkysoft iPod Movie Converter for Mac for free this month. Please enter your email address to receive the download link.

$29

0$ Now

Version: 1.2.0.0

Intel Size: 8.46 MB

PowerPC Size: 8.39 MB

Supported OS: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

iPod Movie Converter for Mac Features

  • Designed just for Mac OS X: A professional free iPod video converter developed only for Mac OS X users.
  • Convert video to iPod: You can convert all sorts of video files to iPod on Mac OS X with this free iPod movie converter.
  • Customize video effects: Set movie video brightness, contrast, saturation, and choose to apply special video effects to your video files.
  • Various video and audio settings: Set video output settings including resolution, frame rate, encoder, and bit rate, and set audio output settings including sample rate, channel, encoder and bit rate.
  • Crop video: This free iPod movie converter lets you crop video to remove back video sides.
  • Trim video: You can trim your video files to capture and convert your favorite video clips.
  • Merge file: Merge all added files and output one file.
  • Capture pictures (bmp,jpg) from video: You can capture pictures by clicking the snapshot button while previewing the movie.
  • Preview: Preview your video files before conversion to adjust the output quality.
  • Easy to use: With this powerful free iPod Converter for Mac, you can convert video to iPod with absolutely hassle free.

New in iPod Movie Converter for Mac version 1.2.0.0:

  1. support importing flv format.
  2. Enhanced the ability to convert audio.
  3. Added the encoding formats (rgb565,adpcm) for Creative Zen.
  4. Support asf output format and more input formats.
  5. Highly optimized the encoding speed of h264.

System Requirements:

  • MAC OS X (include Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard) or above operating system.
  • At least 512M physical RAM.
  • At least one DVD-ROM.
  • 1G Hz Intel or PowerPC processor,or above.
  • 1024*768 resolution display or higher.

Link: iPod Movie Converter for Mac

Use iPod Hard Drives with Any Computer/Convert Your iPod to Compact Flash

PR: Addonics Technologies have announced a pair of accessories that allows users to easily convert their Apple iPod into a Compact Flash-based player as well as use the Toshiba 1.8" iPod hard drive with any computer.

Toshiba 1.8"ZIF to 2.5" IDE hard drive connectorThe Addonics Toshiba 1.8" ZIF to 2.5" IDE hard drive connector converter allows iPod owners to connect their iPod hard drive as a regular 2.5" hard drive to other computers. With the choice of a ZIF or original iPod connector, a user who has a defective iPod can also export data off the drive. It can also be connected to the standard 40 pin IDE cable common found on any desktop computer, server, and most industrial PCs by adding the Addonics 2.5" to 3.5" converter kit.

With the new Addonics converter any Toshiba 1.8" hard drive can also become a read only drive by using the standard IDE Write blocker, which makes it an appropriate solution for forensics applications.

List price of the Toshiba 1.8" ZIF to 2.5" IDE hard drive connector converter (AAT18ZIF25) is $17.99 for ZIF iPod hard drives and $14.99 for original hard iPod drives (AAT18IDE25). Addonics iPod accessories are compatible with any operating system that supports IDE storage.

The Perfect iPod Mod - Convert your Hard Drive to Compact Flash

CF-to-ZIF adapterWith the Addonics 1.8" ZIF - CF Adapter users can make their iPod more shock resistant and achieve fast throughput by replacing the ZIF hard drive inside their Apple iPod with the fast, reliable, and high speed Compact Flash media.

The adapter (ADZIFCF) supports several types of Compact Flash media including PIO, DMA, UDMA4 for up to a 40MB/s transfer rate. In addition to iPods, the adapter supports any laptop computer or portable device that uses a 1.8" ZIF connector. It has a MSRP of $23.99.

Addonics products are available through the company online store, major catalog companies, resellers, VARs and distributors, including Amazon.com, PC Connection, CDW, Buy.com, Provantage.com, Insight, and Ingram Micro.

USB Fever iPod touch Anti Glare Screen Protector

PR: These Screen protectors are made of 0.16mm PET material with Japanese patented silicon coating to hold them to your screen.

Highlights:

  • These Screen protectors are made of 0.16mm PET material with Japanese patented silicon coating to hold them to your screen.
  • Application is easy and they will have no bubbles, self-adhesive and fix firmly on your screen. No actual adhesive used.
  • Therefore it is washable and re-useable.

iPod touch Screen ProtectorFeatures:

  • Anti Glare
  • Anti finger print
  • Oil resistant
  • dirt-repellent coating added to the surface
  • Anti bacterial surface
  • No glue or adhesive is required for placement
  • Washable and reusable
  • Bubble free
  • Dust Free
  • Anti-Scrach
  • Customised to protect iPod touch, no need for any cuttings and resizings.
  • Ultra-thin and highly durable
  • UV Protection
  • Resistance to erosion and fingerprint

$8.99

Link: USB Fever iPod touch Anti Glare Screen Protector

iPod nano 3rd Replacement LCD Display USB Fever iPod nano 3rd Replacement LCD Display

PR: As perfect as original iPod nano 3rd Gen's LCD Display

Features:

  • As perfect as original iPod nano 3rd Gen's LCD Display
  • Brand New

$24.99

Link: USB Fever iPod nano 3rd Replacement LCD Display

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