iNews Review

Palm Prē to Challenge iPhone, NSC Seeks to Ban Mobile Use While Driving, Mic for iPod nano, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.01.16

It looks like the iPhone is going to have some stiff competition. Palm, which once owned the PDA market, went back to the drawing board and developed a new smartphone from scratch. Based on comments from those who attended the roll-out and those who have spent a few moments with it, the Palm Prē looks like it could be a contender. It will be a Sprint exclusive in the US.

Palm Pre

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.

Palm Prē News

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

Protection

iPod and iPhone Deals

These price trackers are updated regularly.

Palm Prē News

Former Apple Staffers Make Palm Prē a Contender

Cult of Mac's Giles Turnbull says:

"Of all the surprises to come out of the CES show this year, Palm's revival as a serious player in the handheld device market is perhaps the biggest of all.

"Most people - myself included - had long since consigned Palm to the dustbin, confident that it would never re-invent itself out of the hole it had fallen into, out-manouevred and out-featured by rival devices.

"Not so.

"The initial reports coming from CES are that the Palm Prē is an excellent device and offers the iPhone some proper competition...."

Palm Prē Preview: Simply Amazing

Gizmodo's Adrian Covert says:

"Hey, I just had some time to play with the Palm Prē, maybe the most important handset to be announced in two years, and here's what it was like to use it. Updates coming.

"The Palm Prē is a lot smaller than I initially thought it would be. A good size comparison would be an iPod classic with a big hard drive....

"The Prē's Web OS UI and and UX really looks great....

"The Card system is really a great way to keep your information in front of you and know what you're working on....

"The input technology that doesn't involve the screen is also top notch....

"There's also the keyboard....

"The screen is beautiful,....

"It also has a few features not found on the iPhone...."

How Palm Used Apple Magic to Own CES

IT Business Edge's Rob Enderle says:

Palm Pre"I was pretty harsh on Microsoft and Apple last week with regard to their various pitches. On Apple's side, it really didn't have that much to present and, given the content, I doubt anyone else would have done better. But then it was Apple, and Apple isn't expected to be just anyone else. Several folks have spoken to me about the Microsoft CES keynote, saying that it was Microsoft, after all, so I should have lowered my expectations. Maybe so, but in these hard times it is critical that companies step up and create excitement. Otherwise, these hard times are likely to be with us a lot longer.

"Fortunately, Palm, in sharp contrast to much of what was at CES, got up on stage and went for the gold. It set a standard that every other company at CES should try to emulate. It brought to market the Palm Prē, a product that did what the iPhone did two years ago and stole the show. And Palm did this largely by emulating Apple...."

Why Prē Is the Right Move for Palm

Cnet Crave's Matt Hickey says:

"Before I gave in and started using an iPhone, I was a stalwart Palm supporter. In the late '90s, I was actually a beta tester for the very first Pilot 1000 device. It was light years ahead of what anyone else was doing at the time, and it 'just worked.'"

"Last week at CES, Palm announced a new operating system, called Web OS, and the first device to run it, the Prē. It also announced an application store, called Prē Catalog. And that's when things got very interesting: the Prē blew everyone away....

"As it turned out, Palm hit what appears to be a grand slam. Palm has a competitor to the iPhone and the G1. For the first time in years, gadget fans were drooling over a Palm device....

"In short, Palm went from a company that nobody cared about to a leader in the smartphone field overnight...."

News, Reviews, & Opinion

National Safety Council Calls for Nationwide Ban on Cell Use While Driving

IDG News Service's Stephen Lawson reports:

"The nonprofit National Safety Council on Monday called on all US states to ban the use of cell phones while driving.

"The NSC, which says it counts 55,000 companies as members, compared talking or texting while driving to drunken driving and urged states to ban even the use of phones with hands-free kits.

"No state has completely banned cellphone use while driving, though 23 have passed some form of restriction...."

Apple's Future: It's in the iPod touch

ZD Net's Sam Diaz says:

"A guest post on ZD Net yesterday posed the question: Has Apple gotten lazy? It's not the first time I've heard it asked, considering Apple's headlines in recent months: a pullout from Macworld, the distractions of Steve Jobs' health and relatively low-key announcements out of Macworld. Sure, upgrades to iLife, iWork and the MacBook line were each newsworthy, just not keynote worthy. That doesn't make Apple lazy.

"Still, I think the author of the post is on to something when he says that Apple will need to do something soon if it wants to keep Wall Street (and the fan base) happy....

"In terms of a breakthrough gadget, the next big thing is already out there - and has been for more than a year. The iPod touch (horrible name for it) is the real breakthrough device here, not the iPhone...."

Editor's note: Our own Tim Nash made the same point last December in The iPod touch Will Outsell the iPhone. dk

High Bills for Traveling iPhone Users

The Los Angeles Times' David Sarno reports:

"Not long after I returned from a recent trip to Canada, I was surprised to find a $400 cell phone bill in the mailbox. This seemed odd because I'd made only two phone calls when I was there, the longer one for 15 minutes.

"But when I looked closer at the breakdown, I saw what was going on. It wasn't I who'd been making dozens of long-distance calls back to the States - it was the phone itself. While I thought my iPhone was sitting "unused" in my jacket, it had been constantly checking my e-mail for 72 consecutive hours...."

Apple Welcomes Other Web Browsers to iPhone App Store

Register Hardware's James Sherwood reports:

"Apple has suddenly approved a healthy selection of third-party iPhone web browsers for sale in its App Store - even though they deliver a feature already found on the phone.

"The firm's previously banned browsers from other developers, such as Opera Mini, because they compete with the built-in Safari browser. It's similarly rejected other apps that duplicate the handset's out-of-the-box features."

These browsers are available through the Apple App Store.

Chipmaker Leak Points to iPhone nano in June

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"Rumors that Apple has a scaled-down iPhone dubbed the 'iPhone nano' in the works have lurched forward following a report here that two Taiwanese companies are set to supply chips for the phone.

"According to DigiTimes, the two purported chip suppliers are the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC)....

"DigiTimes also reported that 'the launch of Apple's iPhone nano is expected to take place in June this year at the earliest.'"

Frozen Input at Login with Mac OS X 10.5.6 Update after iPhone 'Jailbreak' Attempt

MacFixIt reports:

"Several users have reported that, after updating to Mac OS X 10.5.6, mice and keyboards have frozen and will not allow them to log in or otherwise provide input to the computer....

"Affected users have several options to fix this problem."

Apps & Services

iBank Mobile iPhone App for Tracking Personal Finance on the Go

PR: IGG Software announces the forthcoming release of iBank Mobile, a native iPhone counterpart to iBank 3 - the market-leading personal finance alternative to Quicken on the Mac. Capable of running on both the iPhone and iPod touch, this new release will be available exclusively for download from the iTunes App Store in the first quarter of this year.

Among the new application's highlights:

  • iBank Mobile can be run as a stand-alone app, providing a great way to enter transactions, including transaction splits, or to track spending and account balances.
  • Existing iBank users can sync iBank data and new transactions from mobile devices using a MobileMe account for effortless, continual updating; with a WebDAV server; or directly via WiFi to a local machine running iBank.
  • A Quick Entry screen allows users to enter and categorize transactions in seconds, with intelligent autofill speeding entry even further.
  • Multiple currency support is included for world travelers and today's global economy.
  • Multiple users with iBank, such as couples or business partners, can sync to the same iBank data from different mobile devices.
  • The iBank Mobile Home Screen provides an at-a-glance overview of the user's finances; users will be able to see current balances across multiple accounts and where money is being spent at any time.
  • Rotating the screen of an iPhone or iPod touch allows users to get a better picture of finances over time.

"We're confident that this first version of iBank Mobile will satisfy most users wanting to track personal finances on their iPhone," notes IGG Chief Architect James Gillespie. "Certainly, some features on the phone will work differently than features on the Mac. But we weren't trying to port iBank to the phone - we just want to make a great iPhone app."

IGG Software, LLC, was founded in 2003 by developer Ian Gillespie. Located in Putney, Vermont, the company engages in sustainable practices such as purchasing all of its energy from renewable sources.

Speed Trap App Drops to 99¢ before Next iPhone Update

PR: In order to expose the world to the most advanced GPS-based Speed Trap notification system for the iPhone, Njection LLC has dropped the price of NMobile until version 1.1 is released. Individuals who buy NMobile now will get the 1.1 update free of charge

Njection.com LLC, the maker of Njection Mobile (NMobile), their worldwide speed trap notification system for Apple iPhone 3G, is dropping the price of their application in the Apple App Store to 99¢ until the release of the version 1.1 update. 1.1 is a major update unleashing the full power of the iPhone GPS- and location-based mapping services. Version 1.1 will have new, requested features along with Njection Mobile exclusive features.

Designed specifically to take advantage of the iPhone 3G's unique abilities and interface, NMobile was built for drivers so they can be notified to the location of police speed traps, red light cameras, and speed detection devices using GPS. Locations around the world can be searched and full iPhone gesture map controls are supported, including pinch to shrink, spread to zoom, and flick to momentum-scroll.

"Unlike our competitors," says Shannon Atkinson, Founder of Njection.com, "we do not sacrifice our users' personal information such as their phone number, email address, or location for the sake of using our application. You are not forced to 'register' before taking it out on the road and using it." Njection.com's Privacy Policy sets strict limits to the use of your personal information unlike the competition.

Along with live updates of locations of Speed Traps to the iPhone, users can visit the website and see a history of each speed trap. As more people contribute to an individual location, a color-coded heat map is formed showing you the highest probability of that area being monitored. This exclusive feature gives you a higher level of awareness.

We want to give drivers the upper hand by allowing them to sharing GPS locations privately and confidentially.

Accessories

Never Miss a Sound with the New XtremeMac MicroMemo for the iPod nano 4G

PR: Easyishop has become the first retailer within the UK to announce that it will be selling the new XtremeMac MicroMemo voice recorder for the iPod 4G nano. This announcement comes only a matter of days after XtremeMac announced the new product at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, USA. The MicroMemo is available to purchase on pre-order online at Easyishop before its release in March.

XtremeMac MicroMemo for the iPod nano 4GThis accessory for the forth-generation nano enables the user to make voice recordings on the Apple device by using the fully flexible detachable microphone which connects via the nano dock and uses the same power source. Included is a backing that encases the nano and not only holds the MicroMemo upright during recording, but also offers added protection.

The built in speaker from the MicroMemo makes it convenient for the user to listen back to their recordings straight away as well as their recordings being saved in a WAV file directly on to the iPod. The next time the nano is connected to iTunes it automatically recognises the new file and copies it onto their computer, which then sorts the files by time and date of the recording.

Operating the MicroMemo is extremely easy as it is fully integrated into iPod nano's main menu, which enables you to control it from there. The recording time is displayed on your iPod nano screen in real-time and an illuminated recording status indicator lets you know if the recorder is on.

"The XtremeMac MicroMemo is an essential accessory for those that want to record that important meeting or the lengthy lecture and then be able to play it back from their nano" says Will Corden, PR and Marketing Executive of Micro Heaven Ltd.

The MicroMemo also can use other microphones with a 3.5mm jack plug and can record audio directly from a computer or soundboard via line-in capabilities. The XtremeMac MicroMemo comes with a 'Made for iPod' logo which indicates that this product has been designed specifically to work with iPod. The product has the same high standards of quality and performance that you expect from iPod and Apple.

The XtremeMac MicroMemo is released in March but is available online for pre-order priced at £39.99 via the easyishop.co.uk website

Protection

Proporta Offer Free Second Skins for 4G iPod nano

Soft Feel Silicone CasePR: Proporta are now offering a second skin free for everyone who buys a Soft Feel Silicone Case from proporta.com. Even better, the second skin can be in any shade from the range, giving you the chance to mix and match, and create colourful variations for the protection of your 4G iPod nano.

Proporta are huge fans of the Apple 4G iPod nano, and think it looks great when kitted out in a Proporta Soft Feel Silicone Case.

If you're the sort who craves a bit of variety in life, you'll be pleased to hear that Proporta are now offering a second skin free for everyone who buys a oft Feel Silicone Case from proporta.com. Even better, the second skin can be in any shade from the range, giving you the chance to mix and match, and create colourful variations for the protection of your 4G iPod nano.

Soft Feel Silicone CaseThe Proporta Soft Feel Silicone Case's two tough, protective skins not only prevent scratching, but also limit impact damage. Available in a variety of colour options.

Cut outs give access to ports and controls so that you can continue to use your device while it's in the case.

Key Features

  • Perfectly fits your Apple 4G iPod nano, providing dual layered protection
  • Fits inside your pocket
  • Protection from impacts, scratches, dust and dirt
  • Access all ports and controls inside the case
  • View your device screen inside the case

Price: $18.95

Once you've made certain your 4G iPod nano is stylishly protected, it would be an awful shame for the screen to be left out. Look after your nano with an Advanced Screen Protector (4G iPod nano) and make sure that your screen is safe from scratching and all those other nasty little surprises.

Advanced Screen ProtectorProporta really are a cut above the rest when it comes to producing screen protectors. Well, we have come across a few in our time. And, these are the best - and you can wash them.

The ultra high-clarity plastic that they're manufactured from protects your screen like a dream, and we've even been able to increase the thickness without impairing screen brightness or clarity. Proporta realise that sometimes applying screen protectors can be a bit fiddly, so each kit contains a screen cleaning cloth and an application card to make perfect-fitting quick and easy.

Key Features

  • Prevents screen scratching and other damage
  • Reduces glare from sunlight or bright lighting
  • Can be washed and replaced
  • Guaranteed to be the best - if you don't agree, they'll refund you

$7.95

Sweet Heart Case USB Fever Hard Crystal Case for iPhone 3G - Sweet Heart Theme and Butterfly

PR: Features:

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

Notes: This is not for iPhone 2G, it is for iPhone 3G only.

$16.99

Features:

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

Notes: This is not for iPhone 2G , it is for iPhone 3G only.

$16.99

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