iNews Review

iPod touch as Netbook, $49 Refurb iPhone, Google Voice Banned from App Store, MobileMe iDisk App, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.07.31

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.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated regularly.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apple's Sleeper $229 Netbook

Pixobebo's Kate MacKenzie says her neighbor in the apartment next door bought a Dell mini 9 netbook for $350 and had it two days before figuring out it came with Linux and not Windows, expecting to get a fully functioning PC notebook at a dirt cheap price. "The expectation was warped," says Kate, "The anticipation deflated. Good don't come cheap."

"My neighbor was disappointed. I grinned. She scowled. "I'll bet Apple doesn't sell a netbook for $400," she scoffed. She's right. Mine cost $229.

I pulled my iPod touch out of my handbag. 'See,' I said, with a little neighborly rivalry in my you poor slob smile. 'The absolute perfect netbook'."

iPhone 3G Refurb Dropped to $49 at AT&T

9 To 5 Mac says:

"With activation of new voice and data plans, AT&T Wireless has refurbished models of the Apple iPhone 3G 8 GB Smartphone in Black for $49 with free shipping. That's the lowest price we've ever seen for a factory-packaged iPhone. 16 GB iPhones are available for $50 more. This deal is only available in the AT&T online store while supplies last."

Texting While Driving Increases Crash Risk 23-Fold

Computerworld's Matt Hamblen reports:

"Drivers of heavy trucks who were texting while driving were at a 23 times greater risk of a crash or near-crash than those who were not, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported last night.

"The findings of a series of studies (download PDF) released by the research institute also showed that the risk to truck drivers from texting was much higher than the risk from dialing a cell phone...."

Apple Growing Rotten: Official Google Voice App Blocked from App Store

AT&T running over AppleTech Crunch's Jason Kincaid says:

"Earlier today we learned that Apple had begun to pull all Google Voice-enabled applications from the App Store, citing the fact that they 'duplicate features that come with the iPhone'. Now comes even worse news: we've learned that Apple has blocked Google's official Google Voice application itself from the App Store. In other words, Google Voice - one of the best things to happen to telephony services in a very long time - will have no presence at all on the App Store. If there's ever been a time to be furious with Apple, now is it."

Apple Bars Google's Voice from iPhone

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"Apple has barred the official Google Voice application from the iPhone App Store while dumping two third-party apps that tap into Google's invite-only service....

"The decision doesn't appear to be Apple's. In fact, GV Mobile developer Sean Kovacs Tweeted that no less a luminary than Apple SVP for marketing and Jobsian keynote stand-in Phil Shiller personally approved his app.

"We blame AT&T."

Apple Isn't Evil for Rejecting Google Voice

Forbes' Brian Caulfield says:

"There are few greater joys in life than presenting an unwelcome truth to the Apple faithful. The iPod? Sales are down over the past year. And yeah, Microsoft has a point: Apple's stuff is expensive. Et cetera.

"And as fun as it would be to inflame the Apple fanboys by writing that Apple is evil for rejecting the Google Voice application from its App Store, it just isn't so.

"...it's easy to see the threat the application posed to both AT&T and Apple."

Google Voice App Runs on Hacked iPhones

AppleInsider's Neil Hughes reports:

"As Apple suggests dire consequences could come from users hacking the iPhone, one well-publicized former App Store program has made the jump to hacked hardware only.

"Developer Sean Kovacs was surprised on Monday to discover that his GV Mobile client for Google Voice was to be pulled from the App Store - even though it had been available there for months. So, he responded this week by porting his once-paid application over to Cydia, the hacker software store for installing unapproved applications, for free."

How to Clean and Care For Your iPhone

CIO's Tom Kaneshige says:

"Are you starting your car with the iPhone plugged into the charger? To avoid electrical spikes and other problems that could zap your patience, follow these tips on how to safely clean and care for your iPhone."

DIY Acrylic iPhone DockDIY Acrylic iPhone Dock a Clear Winner

Cult of Mac's Nicole Martinelli reports:

"Tod Kurt put together this clean, clear iPhone dock from four pieces of acrylic scraps. He was inspired to create it after buying a case that wouldn't work with traditional docks."

Apple Says Jailbroken iPhones Endanger Cell Towers

The Register's Austin Modine reports:

"Apple has told the US Copyright Office that jailbroken iPhones could lead to crashed cell phone towers and drug dealers freely making anonymous phone calls.

"Cupertino loosed the hyperbole firehose on the Copyright Office in response to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's proposal to legalize the modification of the iPhone's OS."

Yahoo MobileYahoo Expands Its Makeover to the iPhone

Internet News's David Needle reports:

"Yahoo didn't wait long after the launch of its redesigned home page last week to make mobile news along the same lines.

"Today the Web giant unveiled a new mobile homepage that's available now on the iPhone's Safari browser, with other mobile platforms to follow 'soon,' the company said."

Does Apple Repair iPods or Simply Encourage a Throwaway Culture?

The Guardian's Leo Hickman says:

"It seems very difficult to repair faulty Apple iPods, especially once their one-year warranty has expired. Given the number of iPods which seem to break within a year or two of purchase - all three iPods I have purchased have either completely died or developed issues - and the number of iPods bought and presumably discarded each year, this must create a huge amount of unnecessary waste. It seems to me like Apple is actively discouraging long-term maintenance of iPods whilst encouraging a throwaway culture with relatively cheap replacements (next year's model is all too-appealing)...."

Where in the World Are Those 18.6 Million iPod touches?

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt says:

"Apple, for reasons known only to itself, does not report the number of iPod touches it has sold.

"But it lets you do the math, and on Tuesday COO Tim Cook casually mentioned, in response to a question about the App Store, that the total installed base of iPhones (26.4 million) plus iPod touches (X) is now 45 million.

"So where are those 18.6 million iPod touches?"

Nissan Dials iPhone for Car Remote Control

IDG News Service's Martyn Williams reports:

"Nissan has developed a prototype iPhone application that would allow electric car owners to dial into their vehicles and check battery levels.

"The application, a working version of which was demonstrated by the company at its research facility in Yokosuka, Japan, links to the car's IT system to check the status of the Lithium Ion batteries that power the car."

Apps & Services

iPhone: The Missing Manual, Third Edition

PR: With the iPhone 3.0 software and the new iPhone 3GS, Apple has a world-class hit on its hands. This sleek, highly refined pocket computer comes with everything - including a cellphone, iPod, Internet, and camcorder - except a printed manual. Fortunately, David Pogue is back with an expanded edition of his witty, full-color guide of the world's most popular iPhone book, iPhone: The Missing Manual, Third Edition (O'Reilly, $24.99).

iPhone: The Missing Manual"The iPhone 3GS feels like the thing has finally landed," says author Pogue. "They've finally filled in the feature holes - video recording, voice dialing, Copy and Paste - and taken it to a new level with the 3.0 software upgrade. The best part is that you don't have to buy a new phone to get all of the 3.0 features; it's a free upgrade for all those 23 million existing iPhones."

Here is just some of the important stuff covered in the new edition of Pogue's latest iPhone: The Missing Manual:

  • The phone. Thanks to voice dialing, Visual Voicemail, and MMS (picture/video messages), the iPhone is a top-notch cellphone.
  • The iPhone 3GS. This book covers all iPhones, but the 3GS offers a camcorder, compass - and blazing speed.
  • The 3.0 software. Older iPhone models gain MMS, Copy and Paste, voice recording, global Search, and 100 other features.

The iPhone may be the world's coolest computer, but it's still a computer, with all a computer's complexities. iPhone: The Missing Manual is an entertaining, lavishly illustrated guide to the tips, shortcuts, and workarounds that will turn you, too, into an iPhone addict. The ebook is available now and the print edition will be available soon.

David Pogue, Yale '85, is the weekly personal-technology columnist for the New York Times and an Emmy award-winning tech correspondent for CBS News. His funny tech videos appear weekly on CNBC. And with 3 million books in print, he is also one of the world's best-selling how-to authors. In 1999, he launched his own series of amusing, practical, and user-friendly computer books called Missing Manuals, which now includes 100 titles.

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596804299

iPhone: The Missing Manual
iPhone: The Missing Manual, Third Edition
David Pogue
ISBN: 9780596804299,
416 pages,
Book Price: $24.99 USD, £17.99 GBP
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938
1-707-827-7000

Apple Releases MobileMe iDisk App for iPhone, iPod touch

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"Apple's free MobileMe iDisk application is now available on the App Store, allowing users to remotely access files saved online via the MobileMe service."

Synology Releases DS Photo on Apple App Store

DS PhotoPR: Synology America Corp. has announced the availability of their new iPhone! application, DS Photo, which is available to download for free on the Apple App Store. DS Photo provides Disk Station users the ability to use an iPhone or iPod touch to upload photos to their Synology Disk Station, or browse photos stored directly on their Synology Disk Stations remotely.

Synology Disk Station users can use DS Photo to upload photos stored on their iPhone or iPod touch to their Disk Stations and instantly share their photos with anyone online. Users can upload their photos to an existing album or create a new one, and customize the photo titles and descriptions. Uploaded photos are instantly available through the web-based Synology Photo Station 3 and can be viewed with a desktop computer, iPhone, or Windows Mobile phone.

"DS Photo is the newest addition to our iPhone applications, and reflects our ongoing commitment to make digital files easy to share and use across multiple platforms and devices," said Heather Morford, Director of Marketing for Synology America Corp.

DS Photo is now available for free download on Apple App Store.

DS Photo works with Synology Disk Station 2.2 firmware. The public beta version DSM 2.2 firmware is now available for download with the production version releasing in September 2009.

iPod Users Get Free Access to 6 Million Songs with iGetMusic

PR: With iGetMusic, Amphony is unveiling a new and innovative approach for iPod fans to build and expand their music collection.

''Traditional methods for obtaining music for the iPod, such as ripping CDs or downloading MP3s from the Internet, have always proven to be unattractive from a user point of view,'' said Gunter Fellbaum, Marketing Director at Amphony. ''iGetMusic works by automatically recording music from the vast song collection of CBS Radio. The user thereby gets access to over 6 million songs without having to pay per song, without a monthly fee, and without having to worry about breaking any laws.''

With iGetMusic, a user simply selects a desired music category, and iGetMusic will record any of the over 200 music channels from AOL Radio, Yahoo! Launchcast, or Play.It. In addition, custom music channels can be created by the user and automatically recorded by iGetMusic.

Internet radio recording software has always been unable to generate full-length tracks due to inaccurate track separation and the cross-fading between titles in internet radio streams. In contrast, songs recorded with iGetMusic are full length without missing anything at the beginning or end, essentially the same as if copied directly from a CD. Further all recorded songs are 100% accurately tagged with title, artist and album information. CD album covers are saved automatically for display on an iPod or computer media player.

In contrast to flat-rate music providers and music web sites, such as iTunes, iGetMusic songs are saved in the unencrypted iPod m4a format and thus are not restricted to specific audio players. Songs in the m4a format are only half the size of MP3 files at the same level of audio quality thus doubling the amount of songs that can be stored on the iPod.

''Another unique feature of iGetMusic is the ability to record any number of music channels simultaneously on a single PC. As a result, a user can expand the music collection at a speed which is only limited by the speed of the computer and internet connection.''

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Amphony is a startup technology company that has become the leading provider of digital wireless headphones and audio transmitter products. In the US, Amphony products are sold by Amphony Corp., an affiliated Amphony company.

MyPhone+ 2.0 for iPhone and Facebook Users

MyPhone+ 2.0 for iPhonePR: Ultimake Ltd. announces MyPhone+ 2.0, an update to their popular dialer and Facebook synchronization application for the iPhone. MyPhone+ is an all-in-one premium dialer and Facebook synchronization application. It provides all dialing options: keypad, contact list and favorites, while keeping the iPhone contacts up to date with the latest profile picture and information from Facebook.

MyPhone+ offers a rich and user-friendly dialer interface including a visual contact list, favorites photo dialer, stylish designed keypad, birthdays list and more. Using the most advanced Facebook sync engine, it keeps the iPhone contacts up to date with the latest profile picture and information from Facebook. It's a must have application for Facebook users.

"I really wanted to have pictures for my contacts so I can see them when they call me on the iPhone's large screen" said Ken Vinner, CEO of Ultimake Ltd. "I have hundreds of contacts, most of them use Facebook, everyone on Facebook has a picture, then I thought why not take it to the next level?"

MyPhone+ 2.0 for iPhoneFeature Highlights:

  • Sync contacts pictures and information with Facebook (birthday, current address, company & job title)
  • Most advanced Facebook sync engine with conflict resolving algorithms offering best match gestures
  • Visual contact list - Full iPhone contact list with thumbnail photos
  • One touch favorites photo dialer with multiple page and zoom in/out capability
  • Birthdays list - view all contacts birthdays in one convenient place
  • Send Facebook messages directly from the contact list
  • Access contacts Facebook profile directly from the contact list
  • Shake To Search - Quickly search contacts by shaking the iPhone
  • Stylish designed keypad

Users will appreciate the seamless Facebook and dialer integration, providing a visual caller ID along with a beautiful dialer interface. Effortlessly searching contacts by shaking the iPhone, viewing contacts birthdays with one single tap and sending Facebook messages or viewing Facebook profiles directly from the contact list.

System Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch 2.0 or later

MyPhone+ 2.0 for iPhone is $2.99 and available exclusively through Apple's App Store.

Super Laser Racer

PR: Super Laser Racer is an exciting combat racing game set in outer geometric space. Blast your way to the top of the leaderboard using lasers, missiles, bombs, and more.

Features

  • 12 exhilirating tracks
  • 12 racers to unlock
  • 4 challenging tournaments
  • Bombs, cannons, lasers, mines, missiles, plasmas!
  • Online leaderboards
  • Unlock new ships
  • Eliminator and Survival race modes
  • Create your own tracks

Try the free demo or purchase the full version for $9.99/£7.49/€7.99.

Bacardi Flavored Rums Launches Cocktail Application

PR: Bacardi has announced the launch of the Bacardi Flavors Cocktail Application (App) for the iPhone and iPod touch. Now users (21+) will be able to tap and explore popular Bacardi Flavored Rum cocktails and other Bacardi provided features, such as local listings for bars, liquor stores and taxis - all on their mobile device.

Created exclusively for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms, this new App is the ultimate interactive resource for enjoying popular Bacardi Flavored Rum cocktails, responsibly.

It allows users to flip through each of the eight Bacardi flavors and tap on recipes to view their descriptions. The vibrant taste of each flavor is highlighted through vivid graphics and high resolution images. You can even try the recipes with a unique feature called "Try-One," which simulates drinking the cocktail by simply tilting your device.

In addition to providing delicious recipes, the App also allows for quick and easy planning. Features for locating the nearest bars, hotels, liquor stores - and even calling a taxi - are just a tap away. In addition, Bacardi internet radio provides a non-stop party mix of the best in rock, hip hop and rap. Streaming live through WiFi or 3G, this 24-hour station makes the Bacardi Flavors Cocktail App your own personal DJ. Further showcasing Bacardi's innovation, this branded mixology application offers the very best in responsible and convenient planning, music and cocktails.

"Since many consumers are constantly on the move and continue to rely on their mobile devices for information, the Bacardi Flavors Cocktail App is a great way to showcase our unique flavors and everything our brand has to offer," said Gordon Chisholm, brand director, Bacardi USA., Inc. "Whether on the go or at home, the application offers an entertaining and responsible way to plan an evening and find a delicious Bacardi Flavored Rum cocktail to enjoy."

The Bacardi Flavors Cocktail App is a free download available now. You must be 21 and over to access. The application is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch and requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later. The Bar Locater and Bacardi Internet Radio requires WiFi or 3G connection.

Accessories

Use Any Headset with 3G iPod shuffle with Belkin's New Headphone Adapter

PR: Belkin's Headphone Adapter includes the control buttons you need to change tracks and adjust volume, while still using the headset of your choice you can play/pause, skip or go to previous track, hear the song title, or move between playlists

With Belkin's new Headphone Adapter for iPod shuffle, you now have the freedom to use the headset of your choice with your iPod shuffle. If you would like to use a headset other than the ones provided with the iPod shuffle, this Adapter will be ideal for controlling your music, since there are no controls on the iPod shuffle itself. The Headphone Adapter is equipped with controls that allow you to adjust volume, skip tracks, toggle between playlists, and hear a song title. The controls on the Headphone Adapter conveniently work the same way as those on the earbuds that are included with the iPod shuffle.

Belkin's New Headphone AdapterAvailability:

  • End of July in North America
  • Mid-August in Europe, Asia, and Australia

Headphone Adapter for iPod shuffle (F8Z452) - $19.99

  • Play/Pause: Single-Click
  • Next track: Double-Click
  • Previous track: Triple-Click
  • Hear title and artist of song playing (VoiceOver): Press and hold the multifunction button
  • Move between playlists (VoiceOver): Press and hold, and then release the multifunction button after you hear a tone. Click to select playlist.

This accessory is compatible with the following iPod models: iPod shuffle, 3rd generation, 4GB

$19.99

Kensington Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone

Kensington Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhonePR: Much more than just a charger, the Kensington Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone allows you to download, at no extra cost, an application that transforms your iPhone or iPod touch* into a bedside clock and weather center.

Features

  • Charging dock holds your iPhone or iPod touch in landscape mode using a kickstand to clearly display the time and weather
  • Large, landscape display that doesn't go into sleep mode, with optional screen dimming
  • Small footprint reduces nightstand clutter
  • Download the Kensington Rise&Shine Clock & Weather application from the Apple App store at no extra cost
  • Kensington application features easy-to-read time and weather along with three clock viewing options**
  • Charging cable included
  • Visit www.riseandshine.kensington.com for more details
  • *Must download Kensington Rise&Shine Clock and Weather application for clock and weather

*Application compatible with iPhone 3G, iPhone and iPod touch only

System Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3G, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th gen), iPod classic, iPod mini, iPod (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th gen)

Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone is backed by the Kensington 2-Year warranty.

Price: $39.99

X-Power1 iPhone/iPod touch/iPod USB Charger Cable

Power1 iPhone/iPod touch/iPod USB Charger CablePR: Give your iPhone/iPod touch/iPod extra power while on the road using the X-Power1 USB cable with a rechargeable battery which charges every time you connect your iPod, iPod touch or iPhone to your computer. The X-Power1 battery backup unit is as small as a AAA size battery.

Take your X-Power1 cable with you when you are on the go. If your iPod touch, iPod or iPhone run out of juice just plug the X-Power1 cable in and you have the power you need. Always have the backup power you need to keep going. The X-Power1 has the ability to charge the iPhone/iPod/iPod touch's internal battery as well and the X-Power1 is compatible with Apple iPhone, IPod Touch and all iPod Docking Devices. Keep a X-Power1 in your home, office and car to assure you always have the backup power you need. X-Power1 cables are offered in a retractable cable as well - So it is convenient to carry the cable around and just pull it out when you need the extra battery power.

Power1 iPhone/iPod touch/iPod USB Charger CableRechargeable Battery Cable for iPhone 3G, iPod touch, iPod

  • Provides twice the battery time and power reserve. Now you have the power you need when you are on the go:
  • Additional talk time 4.5 hours on 3G and 9 hours on 2G. Up to 5.4 hours additional on Wi-Fi.
  • Standby time up to 270 hours. Audio Playback up to 20 hours and Video Playback 6 hours.
  • Optional USB to AC power adapter available
  • Patent Pending technology with rechargeable battery built-in to your USB Cable
  • Provides power when your iPhone,iPod touch or iPod have run out of juice.
  • Charges your iPhone/iPod touch/iPod battery and provide backup power when you need it.
  • Operates exactly like the standard iPhone/iPod touch /iPod USB sync/charging cable
  • Have power in emergencies. Plugs directly into iPhone/iPod touch/iPod.
  • Have power for the iPhone3G/iPod touch/iPod anywhere.
  • Lightweight, slim and compact size.
  • Cable available in different size: 6 inches, 20 inches or 30 inches.
  • Color: Black or white

You have a second cable to keep in your desk, car or in your notebook case to take with you when you are on the move. Take X-Power1 with you when you are on the go traveling, hiking, camping, biking, skiing, at sporting events, in airplanes or just running around town. Never be without backup power. X-Power1 is patent pending.

USB Fever Hard Crystal Case for iPhone 3G/3GS (Sea + Flower)

USB Fever Hard Crystal Case for iPhone 3G/3GS (Sea + Flower)PR: Features:

  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Printed with featured graphics - Sea & Flowers
  • Fully Protected from bumps and scratches
  • Light weight
  • Perfectly fit
  • Anti-dust
  • Easy access to all ports, buttons and sockets

This case is suitable for:

  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3GS

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

US$16.99

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