iNews Review

iPhone OS 3 Preview for Developers, ThumbTacks Mini-mic, No AppleCare for iPhone in Canada, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.03.20

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 3.0 Beta

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

Protection

iPod and iPhone Deals

These price trackers are updated regularly.

iPhone 3.0 Beta

Apple Previews Developer Beta of iPhone OS 3.0

Apple on Tuesday previewed its iPhone OS 3.0 software and announced the immediate availability of a beta software release to registered developers. The iPhone OS 3.0 beta release includes an updated Software Development Kit (SDK) with over 1,000 new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) including In-App Purchases; Peer-to-Peer connections; an app interface for accessories; access to the iPod music library; a new Maps API and Push Notifications. Apple also announced over 100 new features that will be available to iPhone and iPod touch users this summer including cut, copy and paste; MMS;* landscape view for Mail, Text and Notes; stereo Bluetooth; synching Notes to the Mac and PC; shake to shuffle; parental controls for TV shows, movies and apps from the App Store; and automatic login at WiFi hot spots. The iPhone OS 3.0 beta release will also include a new Voice Memo app and expanded search capability for all key iPhone apps, as well as Spotlight search across the iPhone or iPod touch.

"The new iPhone OS 3.0 is a major software release packed with incredible new features and innovations for iPhone customers and developers alike. It will keep us years ahead of the competition," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

The iPhone OS 3.0 beta software and SDK include over 1,000 new APIs and are available today for all iPhone Developer Program members to use for development and testing of their apps for iPhone and iPod touch. Included in these APIs is the ability to leverage the incredible purchase model of the App Store within apps. In-App Purchases will allow developers to offer subscription content and provide the ability to sell new content and features in a simple and secure process. Developers can also more easily create peer-to-peer games for iPhone and iPod touch by using Bluetooth.

Another key developer feature in the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software is the ability for apps to interface with hardware accessories, creating a whole new element of control for iPhone and iPod touch accessory developers as well as a new ecosystem of solutions for customers. Developers will also be able to use Apple's new Maps API to integrate Google Mobile Maps services within their apps which will offer Google Map tiles, current location, custom annotations and geocoding. The iPhone OS 3.0 beta software includes the Apple Push Notification service which provides developers with a mechanism to alert users with sounds, text or a badge.

The new iPhone OS 3.0 software will be available to iPhone and iPod touch users this summer with over 100 new features including cut, copy and paste which can be done within or across applications; MMS to send and receive photos, contacts, audio files and locations with the Messages app; and the ability to capture and send audio recordings on the go with the new Voice Memo app. Landscape view will be available for Mail, Text and Notes. Search capabilities will be expanded, allowing customers to search within Mail, iPod and Notes or search across all key apps by typing a key word or phrase into the new Spotlight search, conveniently accessed from the Home screen.

The updated Stock app will add the ability to display recent company news and current trading information like opening or average price, trading volume or Market Cap, and will offer a landscape view to see a full screen of any stock chart. Customers will also be able to view shared calendars right on their iPhone with CalDAV support and sync their calendars with iCal, Yahoo, Google and Oracle.

Today, the groundbreaking App Store has more than 25,000 applications available to consumers, and 15 more countries have been added so the App Store is now available in 77 countries, allowing developers to reach more than 30 million iPhone and iPod touch users around the world. Developers set the price for their applications and retain 70 percent of all sales revenue. Apple covers all credit card, web hosting and infrastructure costs associated with offering applications on the App Store.

The iPhone OS 3.0 beta software and SDK will be available for registered developers to download starting today from developer.apple.com . iPhone customers will be able to download the new iPhone OS 3.0 software for free this summer and iPod touch customers will be able to purchase a software update for $9.95 (US).**

*MMS messaging is available only on iPhone 3G; fees may apply. MMS may not be available in all areas.

**Some features may not be supported by older hardware.

iPhone 3.0 Update to Offer 100 New Features

Macworld's Jonathan Seff reports:

"iPhone users and app developers got a sneak preview at what the future holds for them on Tuesday, when Apple showcased its upcoming iPhone 3.0 software. The next major version of the iPhone operating system, slated for a summer release, promises a number of changes aimed at end-users and software makers alike.

"For iPhone users, that number is more than 100 - the amount of new features Apple promises in iPhone 3.0. Topping the list is the ability for users to copy and paste information - including text, blocks of HTML, and photos - in the iPhone's built-in apps. Users will also be able to copy and paste between applications...."

iPhone 3.0 Adds Copy & Paste, MMS, Global Spotlight Search

AppleInsider's Prince McLean reports:

"At the preview of the new iPhone 3.0 platform, Apple announced new features for users that include the ability to select text for copy and paste between applications, MMS, and scores of other new features."

Apple Intentionally Crippled Bluetooth in iPod touch 2G, Wants $10 to Unlock It

ZD Net's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports:

"As a rule, I think that Apple employs some very smart people. But every so often the company does something that just pushes the boundaries of milking their customers too far.

"Take the revelation yesterday at Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 preview event, where is emerged that the next software update to come down the pipes will activate Bluetooth in iPod touch 2G devices . . . that is, for a fee of $10 (OK, for the pedantic out there, the charge will be $9.99)."

News, Reviews, & Opinion

AT&T Offering iPhone 3G at No-commitment Price

The Boy Genius Report reports:

"Time to clear out some inventory, boys! AT&T, starting March 26th, is going to start offering the 8 GB and 16 GB iPhone 3Gs at a no-commitment price. These prices are $599 and $699 respectively. The good news is that you do not need to perform an activation/unbrick at the point of purchase, so you can buy the devices for your grandma, your best friend, or for half of China before you head back home...."

iPhone in Canada: 3 Years Contract with Rogers, No AppleCare Option

wheresmyapplecare.ca says:

"As a Canadian iPhone user, I have been curious about the absence of the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone in Canada. A quick search on Apple.com quickly reveals the iPhone Protection plan in the US, so why not in Canada?

"In an effort to answer the question 'Where's My AppleCare?' I tried a few different channels at both Rogers and Apple. I called the AppleCare support number for Canada (1 (800) 263-3394) and asked if I could purchase it. I was told by the representative that it is not currently available, nor could they tell me when I would be able to purchase this in Canada. Hrmm. I gave a try to Rogers support as well. They told me that I would need to call Apple for any kind of hardware support.

"I decided it would be easier to talk to somebody in person, so I headed over to my local Apple Store. While the store employee was very friendly and aware that you could purchase AppleCare for iPhone in the US, they too had no idea when it was going to be available to Canadians. I started to wonder a little more about Apple's plans to offer extended warranty on iPhones to it's friendly neighbors to the North...."

Google Ends Free Text Messaging Party for iPhone Users

The Apple Blog's Darrell Etherington says:

"The iPhone, despite aggressive attempts to block such efforts by AT&T (with Apple's help), did occasionally offer some apps that actually managed to save users some money in one way or another. For instance, for a while, people could tether their phones to their computers in order to share the data connection without having to pay an additional, expensive fee to AT&T or getting a separate dongle and data subscription. And, for a brief time, you could also send unlimited, free text messages using your data connection, in case you didn't have an SMS option attached to your subscription.

"I say for a brief time because Infinite SMS, one of the apps that allowed you to do this, was recently informed that the service they provided would no longer be available. They were not, however, cut off by Apple, as might be expected. Instead, the bad news came from Google, whose Google Talk service they were taking advantage of to offer free, web-based SMS to buyers of their own app...."

iPhone Screen Repairs Revisited

Macworld's Ted Landau reports:

"A few months ago, I wrote about a 'dead strip' problem with the screen on an original iPhone. The matter was happily resolved after a visit to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store.

"More recently, I had an entirely different screen-related problem, this time with an iPhone 3G. Again, the ending was a happy one. The problem was a small white spot on the iPhone screen. The spot was definitely under the glass, not removable by any cleaning I could do....

"So it was off to the Apple Store again...."

Apps & Services

Photogene 'Mini-Photoshop' for iPhone

Macworld's Megan Morris says:

"There's much to love about the iPhone, but the built-in camera isn't on that list. Even if you can get past the low resolution and lack of flash, you still have to resign yourself to the fact that you can't edit any photos you take with the camera - at least, not without the help of some third-party apps....

"Add Photogene to the list of helpful image editors from the App Store. Developed by Omer Shoor, this user-friendly app makes cropping, adjusting, and adding fun effects to your photos a breeze...."

WordDigest English Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Spell Checker for iPhone

PR: Global Delight - publishers of Mac, iPhone and iPod products - today released its first mobile application for the iPhone platform. WordDigest is an intelligent and fast English dictionary, thesaurus and spell checker tool all integrated into one complete package.

WordDigest has a built in dictionary containing more than 147,000 words, IPA pronunciations for 87,000 words, built-in hyperlinked thesaurus for more than 28,000 words and built-in hyperlinked intelligent spell checker. WordDigest also has a provision to search words on the Internet. The search results have been optimized to suite the display on any iPhone or iPod touch. It also has options to set bookmarks for favorite words, maintaining history of previously searched words and also to alter the text size.

"WordDigest integrates a industry strength dictionary, thesaurus and spell check into one package thus eliminating the need of having multiple apps for reference," says Mr. Rohith Bhat, CEO of Global Delight. "Its intuitive word-search and spelling suggestions are quick giving you in-depth information of words without an Internet connection," he added.

System Requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch,
  • requires iPhone software v2.0 update

WordDigest is priced at $3.99 and can be downloaded from the App Store. As an introductory offer, WordDigest can be purchased for $1.99 from App Store for a limited period.(available through the iPhone App Store)

PhoneCam 1.0 for iPhone

PR: Tidal Pool Software today announces the release of PhoneCam 1.0 for Apple iPhone. PhoneCam turns your iPhone into a wireless webcam. It allows you to transmit images to your website from anywhere there's a WiFi or cell data connection available. It automatically uploads images to an FTP server either manually or at a predefined interval. Capture images manually or on a timer as frequently as every 5 seconds. Upload each image with incrementing file names or replace them with each capture.

Tidal Pool Software announces the release of PhoneCam 1.0 for Apple iPhone. PhoneCam turns your iPhone into a wireless webcam. It allows you to transmit images to your website from anywhere there's a WiFi or cell data connection available. Capture images manually or on a timer as frequently as every 5 seconds. Upload each image with incrementing file names or replace them with each capture.

PhoneCam includes support for saving multiple servers and file names so you can quickly change where to upload images to. It also supports both PNG and JPEG image types, an image quality setting (JPEG only), and multiple image sizes.

Key Features:

  • Image capture and upload to a website (requires FTP access)
  • Support for saving multiple servers and file names
  • Image update interval - manual, preset timer interval (from 5 seconds to 24 hours), custom timer interval
  • Replace image after each capture or save them all with incrementing file names (e.g.. image-1.jpg, image-2.jpg, etc.)
  • Starting file number setting (e.g.. image-100.jpg, image-101.jpg, etc.)
  • JPEG and PNG image types
  • Compression image quality setting (JPEG only)
  • Image sizes from 60x80 to 1200x1600 (full resolution)
  • Support for both portrait and landscape orientations

System Requirements:

  • Apple iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later
  • Apple iPhone or iPhone 3G
  • FTP access to a website

PhoneCam is now available for purchase on the Apple App Store for just $1.99.

Accessories

ThumbTacks Micro-Microphone for iPod nano 4G/iPod touch 2G

ThumbTacks Micro-MicrophonePR: Say hello to this new tiny recordable mini-mic. Now your iPods can listen. Plug and play with your Nano 4G or Touch 2G.

Key Features:

  • Ultra small Microphone
  • Unique "ThumbTack" design
  • Outstanding quality sound recording
  • Hi quality gold-plated non-corrosive plug
  • Works with third party Apps

Introducing ThumbTacks

ThumbTacks Micro-MicrophoneThe first thing you'll notice about ThumbTacks is that it's a familiar day to day object in your life. This unique design feature not only looks great, but is also the perfect shape to easily push and pull out of your iPod. This distinctive yet functional design was only achievable due to our meticulous design and detailed engineering. We shaved everything out to bring you the smallest mic of its kind, while still tough enough to withstand your everyday use.

Unleash the Power of your iPod

ThumbTacks allows you to fully unleash your iPod's secret potential*... Recording, It couldn't be simpler to use! Push your Thumbtack into your 3.5mm headphone jack and your iPod will automatically turn into a voice recorder. So next time when you need to record class dictations, office meetings, or even covering the next big story.

ThumbTacks Micro-MicrophoneOne big consideration when designing Thumbtacks was its tiny size. But, equally important was the microphone quality. Thumbtacks excels in comparison to similar products which are larger and bulkier and considerable time was spent testing a multitude of microphones in different acoustic environments to ensure we had the best quality micro-microphone of it category.

Note: Please upgrade your iPod to the latest firmware before using ThumbTacks.

$12.99 + $3.00 s/h

Monster High-Quality Headphones Will Soon Feature New iPod shuffle VoiceOver and Control

PR: Monster has announced that within the next few months its line of high-quality headphones will integrate full support for Apple's exciting new third generation iPod shuffle with VoiceOver. Monster's lineup, including its popular Beats by Dr. Dre family of high-definition headphones, highly acclaimed Turbine In-Ear Speakers and new upcoming models, will provide users with a convenient on-cord control that gives them access to their iPod's playlists and also lets them adjust play, pause and volume functions - all while hearing their iPod shuffle "speak" to them. Monster will also soon introduce a special adapter for adding iPod shuffle VoiceOver control to any headphone.

"Monster's iPod products are all about helping users maximize their musical experiences," noted Kevin Lee, Little Monster and vice president of Marketing Strategy and Business Development. "We created our entire headphone line because we truly believe that sound matters to the enjoyment of music. We're thrilled to be able to complement the new iPod shuffle with easy-to-use control features built into our headphones so customers can enjoy the high-quality Monster audio experience they've come to expect."

Monster has long demonstrated its commitment to enhancing and maximizing the iPod experience, providing consumers with the world's best quality FM Transmitters and Direct Connect chargers. And it was Monster's dedication to the principle that "sound matters" in music that led to the creation of its high-quality, high-definition headphones, giving iPod users the opportunity to enjoy dramatically better audio. Now, with the integration of VoiceOver control, Monster is giving its headphone customers the chance to further improve their iPod experience, enjoying not only great sound and style, but actually being able to control their music with their headphones. This will allow users to leave the iPod where it should be, in their pocket or in its case.

The new third-generation iPod shuffle with the VoiceOver feature can speak song titles, artists and playlist names. When users want to know the name of the song or artist playing, they can simply press a button on the conveniently located headphone controls and iPod shuffle tells them the song and artist name. iPod shuffle can even announce status information, such as the

V-MODA to Debut 2009 Headphone Line Compatible with New Apple iPod shuffle

PR: Music lifestyle brand V-MODA announced today that it is developing a revolutionary headphone line with integrated controls compatible with the new third generation iPod shuffle featuring VoiceOver. The new V-MODA Audio Volume Control (AVC) headphone line will perfectly complement the iPod shuffle as well as the latest generation of iPods and MacBooks, which already support the inline playback and volume control functionality.

"By leveraging Apple's latest features, our new AVC headphone line will allow Apple consumers to enjoy their new iPod shuffle with convenience, style, and ease," said Val Kolton, V-MODA CEO and founder, independent DJ and producer. "We're proud of our long-standing relationship with Apple and what we've forged together, and we look forward to creating more high-fidelity, high-fashion products in the future."

The new third generation iPod shuffle with the VoiceOver feature can speak song titles, artists and playlist names. When you want to know the name of the song or artist playing, simply press a button on the conveniently located headphone controls and iPod shuffle tells you the song and artist name. iPod shuffle can even announce status information, such as battery life.

The first AVC headphone will be available in the second quarter of 2009, while V-MODA's other AVC products, including on-ear and DJ headphones, will be launched later in the year.

V-MODA is the remixed blend of high fashion and high fidelity based in Hollywood, California. It designs and markets innovative products that are inspired by the sonic sensation of live concerts and club DJs from the Balearic isle of Ibiza, Spain, to Hollywood, Calif., and beyond. V-MODA offers the ultimate music experience where technology, design and fashion collide, resulting in an unmistakable vibe.

Etymotic Research to Support Integrated Controls for New iPod shuffle

PR: Etymotic Research have announced that an upcoming version of its headsets will support the new integrated control functions of Apple's third-generation iPod shuffle, giving users the ability to play, pause, adjust volume, switch playlists and hear the name of the song and artist with just the press of a button. Etymotic is well positioned to complement this advancement, building on the unique remote control features of the company's present wireless Bluetooth stereo earphones.

"The VoiceOver feature, which lets the user hear the name of a song or artist, is a clever innovation from Apple," said Etymotic President Dr. Mead Killion. "The 4 GB capacity of the new iPod shuffle means that on a device measuring only 45x18 mm, our most demanding customers can store an impressive amount of uncompressed music."

Etymotic customers are traditionally audiophiles. The appeal of Etymotic earphones and headsets is their practically perfect, uncolored frequency response and unmatched noise isolation. "Our Isolator Earphones are the smallest high-fidelity stereo earphones in the world," said Dr. Killion, "and combined with the new iPod shuffle, users should get a nearly weightless, palm-sized music system with fidelity that is unmatched by anything that size."

Link: Etymotic Research

Protection

Proporta's Beachbuoy Keeps Your iPod or iPhone Safe and Dry

BeachbuoyPR: The Beachbuoy is guaranteed to be waterproof up to 5 metres/16 feet underwater and has been tested and approved by the British Standards Institute - BSI (IP57 and IP58). With this watertight protection, you can take your MP3 player to the beach or your PDA to the pool, and the Beachbuoy will keep your valuables safe and sound - and 100% dry

Summer is quickly approaching (hooray!) which means trips to the beach and holidays abroad, if you're lucky. But whether it's a desert island holiday, or just a trip to the local leisure centre, if you need to keep your devices dry this year, the Morfica Beachbuoy is perfect for you.

The Beachbuoy is guaranteed to be waterproof up to 5 metres/16 feet underwater and has been tested and approved by the British Standards Institute - BSI (IP57 and IP58). With this watertight protection, you can take your MP3 player to the beach or your PDA to the pool, and the Beachbuoy will keep your valuables safe and sound - and 100% dry.

The Beachbuoy measures 13.5 x 8.5 x 3.5cm (LxWxD), and is ideal for those who love spending their summers outdoors, or in the water, but still need their gizmos and gadgets close to hand. Enjoy.

The BeachBuoy sells for $11.37.

Grantwood Technology Ships tuneband for iPod touch 2G in Assorted Colors

PR: Grantwood Technology, LLC today announced the release of assorted colors for tuneband for iPod touch 2G, an armband product designed to comfortably secure the iPod touch 2G in place during exercise, with the ability to access the screen and buttons. The tuneband armband is made with the same material as their highly acclaimed tuneband for iPod touch. Each tuneband consists of a comfortable and flexible armband strap that can accommodate both large and small arms.

red tuneband for iPod touch 2GGrantwood Technology, LLC today announced the release of the tuneband for iPod touch 2G (second generation), an armband product designed to comfortably secure the iPhone in place during exercise, with the ability to access the screen, volume controls and buttons.

The tuneband for iPod touch 2G is one of the most popular armbands sold, now we are making available seven skin colors: black, cloud/clear, navy blue, pink, red, teal, blue, and purple.

Each tuneband consists of a comfortable and flexible armband strap that can accommodate both large and small arms. We also have extra large armbands available upon request. The rest of the package includes a durable silicone skin that allows access to all ports on the iPod touch 2G, including volume, screen, camera and home button.

We also supply a low-tack, cut-and-peel screen protector that helps guard against smudges, moisture, and daily wear-and-tear. The tuneband armband is made with the same material as our highly acclaimed tuneband for iPod nano and our original tuneband for iPod touch.

The iPod touch 2G is compatible with the Nike+iPod system. In addition to the tuneband armband, Grantwood Technology also sells the Shoe Pouch for Nike+iPod as a perfect combination for runners desiring to use the Nike+ system with non-Nike shoes.

"The tuneband for iPod touch 2G is one of the most popular armbands available," explained Michael Banks, MD, cofounder and CEO of Grantwood Technology, LLC. "We have now added 6 more colors to the original black skin that was available."

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