iNews Review

iPhone 'Ruining the Country', iPhone Syndrome, Replace Your iTouch Battery, GameHandle, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.12.21

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

Presentation

Protection

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

The iPhone Is Ruining the Country

PC Mag's John C. Dvorak, in his characteristic subtle fashion, declares:

"I suppose this whole thing began a couple of years ago. Now it's completely out of control. At some point cell phones captured the collective consciousness of computer users. Now they're all anyone talks about anymore....

"The trend is horrid, but it's not it's not the trend that bothers me. What annoys me is the fact that there is little talk about anything other than hardware features....

"Can you imagine if these were the key talking points with computers? Can you imagine endless chatter about the display and the keyboard? That was the case with the PS/2 [line] of computers that was released by IBM. People constantly complained about the fuzzy CRT display. But that didn't last long. It certainly didn't go on for years, that's for sure.

"So, what are we left with? An entire industry caught up in mobile phone gossip. It's vapid...."

Editor's note: I'm inclined to agree with Dvorak to a large degree. I'm a hardware geek myself and revel in discussions of technical minutia, whether it be smartphones or computers, but the cultural phenomenon of obsession with cellphones - texting, tweeting, sexting, app collecting, smartphone gaming, blabbering on them about trivialities incessantly in all venues - has become an oppressive and eye-glazingly boring prodigal waste of time, not to mention the public safety consequences of using them while driving (cars or trains) and the criminal insanity of driving while texting. Dvorak also raises the question of what lost productivity due to cellphone addiction is doing to the battered economy, noting that it has tanked in proportion to the growing popularity of the iPhone, which he contends is no coincidence. cm

toda The iPhone Is Ruining the Country

iPhone Syndrome

Strand Reports says:

"It is no secret that there has been a great deal of hype surrounding the iPhone and it is also no secret that Apple probably has the most loyal and fantastic customers in the world.

"Here at Strand Consult we have been following the iPhone market and how it has been developing since the beginning. The time that has elapsed from sending out our initial research notes about the iPhone, up to the period surrounding the launch of our report The moment of truth, a portrait of the iPhone has been very exciting.

"One of the areas that has fascinated us the most, is the approach that Apple and the iPhone fans have had to the product, and the energy they have spent defending the product despite the shortcomings and limitations of both past and present versions of the iPhone.

"Simply put, Apple has launched a beautiful phone with a fantastic user interface that has had a number of technological shortcomings that many iPhone users have accepted and defended, despite those shortcomings resulting in limitations in iPhone users' daily lives.

"When we examine the iPhone users' arguments defending the iPhone, it reminds us of the famous Stockholm Syndrome - a term that was invented by psychologists after a hostage drama in Stockholm. Here hostages reacted to the psychological pressure they were experiencing, by defending the people that had held them hostage for 6 days."

"Below is a selection of some of the arguments that various hard-core iPhone fanatics have been using since the iPhone initially launched:

  1. The first iPhone was not a 3G phone: What do you need 3G for? You can easily use the iPhone without using a 3G network and anyway, 3G is not particularly widespread, so this is not a problem.
  2. The phone cannot send MMS: There is no need to send MMSs, hardly anybody sends MMSs.
  3. You cannot forward a SMS: This is a function that hardly anybody uses and was therefore not included in the first iPhones.
  4. The phone has a poor camera: The built-in camera is perfectly adequate and the iPhone takes fantastic photos with its camera.
  5. It is not a real Smartphone, it cannot multitask: The phone has all the necessary functions and the OS is technically superior compared to other Smartphone OSs currently on the mobile market.
  6. The iPhone cannot multitask, resulting in a great number of applications being unusable: The absence of multitasking is a deliberate design decision resulting in a faster UI.
  7. You can not change battery on the iPhone: How many customers run around with spare batteries? None or very few.
  8. Apple decides which applications you can install on the phone: This is good, because Apple thereby ensures that you do not get inferior programs on your phone.
  9. The app store is a closed universe: Apple knows what is best for end users, which is good for the many iPhone users.
  10. The phone does not support Java, so games need to be developed especially for the iPhone: Java is slow and not properly integrated with mobile phones, games for the iPhone are much better because they are directly developed for the iPhone.
  11. The app store contains numerous small trivial commercial programs: The app store's large selection gives users the freedom of choice and the many small programs help make the end users daily lives more fun.
  12. It is difficult to use the touchscreen for fast SMS messaging: The touchscreen makes the phone easier to use and you quickly get used to it.
  13. The iPhone is a low technology phone packaged in a sleek design: Apple has taken the combination of the design and UI to the next level, therefore the technological specifications don't really matter.
  14. The quality of the phone is poor, calls are often interrupted and network coverage is poor: It is a good phone, these problems are due to the operators' networks and not the phone.
  15. You can only purchase the iPhone from operators chosen by Apple: Apple has spent a great deal of time and energy selecting the best operators for customers.
  16. The iPhone is targeted at a niche segment and will not be able to develop further: Apple has succeeded in designing a phone for people that appreciate design and user friendliness.
  17. The iPhone does not support memory cards: iPhones already offer the necessary memory people require and end users can choose between two models, one with a little memory and one with a great deal of memory.
  18. You can not install your own browser: The browser Apple has designed is so superior that you do not need any other browser on your phone.
  19. You cannot use the iPhone as a modem for your portable PC: People that have an iPhone do not need their portable when on the move.
  20. There is no radio in the phone: You do not need a radio in your iPhone because the iPhone supports iTunes that offers almost unlimited music.

"There are many arguments for and against the iPhone, on the other hand there is no doubt that Apple has some of the most loyal end users on the market and that iPhone users will go out of their way to defend the phone they love and worship.

"There are many similarities to the Stockholm Syndrome and from an outside perspective there is little doubt that many mobile phone manufacturers are most probably envious of the users on Apple's platform.

"In reality the iPhone is surrounded by a multitude of people, media and companies that are happy to bend the truth to defend the product they have purchased from Apple.

"There are indeed many similarities between the Stockholm Syndrome and what we have taken the liberty to start calling the 'iPhone Syndrome' - and if you are one of the many other phone manufacturers: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, HTC etc., you will most probably be very envious of the euphoria that Apple has invoked in their customers.

"If you would like to learn more about the iPhone and the iPhone market you can receive a free copy of Strand Consult's report The moment of truth, a portrait of the iPhone, you are welcome to order your free copy here: http://www.strandreports.com/sw3871.asp"

How to Replace Your iPod touch Battery

"Don't pay Apple £66 to replace your first-gen battery - do it yourself!" says Tech Radar's Neil Mohr, who reports that you can replace your iPod battery for less than £6.

"Despite the iPod touch being one of the finest devices ever conceived by mankind," says Mohr, "the sad truth is one day your beloved iPod will die. It could be a simple blunt trauma to the face or old-age gnawing at its lithium-ion polymer power cell, but either way the Grim Reaper is going to get it.

Mohr says the batteries of first-generation touches are likely on the way out given that after 500 charge cycles a Li-pol battery's capacity drops to less than 80% of its original capacity and three years service life is about the max.

He notes that while Apple charges £66 to replace these batteries, you can pick up new battery on eBay for less than £6. "The question is should you try to replace one yourself?" he says. "If you can solder, then perhaps. If you also don't mind wrestling open tightly sealed cases and are good with tools, then yes."

Chevy Volt Will Connect to iPhone Apps

A GM-centric blog says:

"It is GM's intention to make the Chevy Volt a very wired and connected high-tech car.

"We have already known that charging will be programmable at least from the dash. Drivers will be able to set the car to charge, for example, after midnight to take advantage of lower utility rates. Another powerful set of real-time connected features will stem from OnStar system which is expected to be able to download to the car, among many other things, electricity rates from utility companies.

"Nissan has previously announced their plan to make an iPod app that drivers could use to turn on or off their car's charging and get text messages from their car.

"GM it turns out has similar plans too."

Classical Music Downloads Come of Age

Macworld's Kirk McElhearn reports:

"While classical music fans have hesitated getting into the download market, the elimination of DRM and the increased file bit rates now offer some good reasons to start exploring downloads. In addition, new ventures from classical labels and orchestras show that this is a vibrant part of the music download market. Here's a look at some of the many ways you can get classical music to listen on your Mac or your iPod."

Attach SLR Lenses to Your iPhone

cow.mooh.org says:

"I've been trying to learn a bit more about the optics involved in mid- to pro-level cameras, and I've been finding that getting out the tools and doing some hacking serves as a great mechanism for instruction. Just recently the idea of optical couplers - that is, a system to transmit light from one optical device to another to make an image - has gotten my attention.

"Mainly just to see if it was possible (and to teach myself about optical couplers), I thought I'd try my hand at building an adapter so I could attach SLR lenses to my iPhone. The result is pretty cheesy, but nevertheless - I present to you, the Phone-O-Scope...."

Silent Vacuum Cleaner with iPod Dock Makes Cleaning Fun

Wired's Charlie Sorrel says:

"When Electrolux came up with the Silence Amplified, the most silent vacuum cleaner ever made , it decided to do something useful with all that extra quietness (the machine operates at just 68dB) that it had left in its wake: Fill it with music. And because today, music means iPod , Electrolux put in an iPod dock and integrated speakers."

What Dragon Dictation for the iPhone Does with Your Contacts

Michael Thompson of Nuance Mobile says:

"Some people have expressed concern about what the new Dragon Dictation for the iPhone application does with your contact information. As you may have experienced already, Dragon Dictation for the iPhone goes through your contact list on your iPhone and uploads the names to our server. We do this for a pretty simple reason: we found that people are often dictating names from their address book and expect the names to be recognized. We take this information and create an anonymous user profile for your device that understands what names are likely to dictate into a document. It's important to note that we only upload the names, not the e-mail addresses, phone numbers or any other personally identifying information from your contacts.

"Even though there is no personally identifying information, we still treat all of this information with the highest privacy standards. All of our servers are located in the United States and meet the most stringent privacy and security standards. We conform to these high standards because we use the same data centers for other areas of our business where we are required to store personal information.

"All of this is spelled out in our license agreement that comes with the Dragon Dictation for the iPhone application. Since most people only see that license agreement briefly when they are installing the software (and they usually can't wait to start using their software, so they don't spend 30 minutes reading a complex legal document...), we provided a link to that agreement here: http://www.nuance.com/company/privacy/

"So the bottom line is that nothing scary is happening with your data and we only use a little bit of information from your phone to help make the dictation accuracy as high as possible. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to post them here.

"Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Nuance Mobile"

Apps & Services

BeatTheTraffic iPhone App

BeatTheTrafficPR: The BeatTheTraffic iPhone App is now available as a free download on Apple's App Store, providing users with a new crowd-sourced software that helps travelers get where they are going at faster.

BeatTheTraffic is an iPhone application which compiles data from diverse sources to provide users with accurate traffic data in real time as well as short term traffic forecasts.

BeatTheTraffic App for iPhone

This innovative tool is offered to US and Canadian users. This is the first app to mix traffic, weather information and personalization Users can view detailed information for over 100 cities in the US and Canada and check Miami traffic or Vancouver traffic. The transportation departments of 33 cities have also included their live traffic camera images, allowing users to view traffic in points along their route in real time. Camera locations are pin-pointed on the map, giving users a geographical context for traffic camera images.

New York city traffic mapAvailable features include graphs that show traffic volume along routes at various times of the day and night. Weather and traffic map data is combined to give users the most accurate picture of traffic and weather conditions simultaneously.

The map shows color-coded information, showing users areas of congestion and the exact locations of accidents, construction, or other events that can cause delays.

BeatTheTraffic also takes into account local events that may affect traffic conditions including sporting events, conventions, and concerts. If there are events specific to an area, BeatTheTraffic also provides this information in detail. Examples of these events are Mardi-Gras in New Orleans or the Latter-Day Saint's biannual church conferences in Salt Lake City.

Construction and accident information is highly detailed and comes directly from the source, giving users the best chance of finding faster alternate routes.

Users of BeatTheTraffic also participate in the process, anonymously joining with millions of other users in providing data that will help others on their way.

This method of gathering data, known as crowd-sourcing, adds the benefit of data gathered on the phones and navigation systems of actual drivers currently on the roads and highways. This provides more immediate, accurate, and timely data than traditional methods. Crowd-sourced data transcends traditional traffic information, giving travelers an up-to-the-second picture of traffic conditions.

While the BeatTheTraffic software application covers several cities all over the country, users can save their favorite routes, cities, and regions. This makes the information users need instantly accessible and personalized to their preferences. While the App is completely free and complete without the personalization feature, the My Traffic personalization is a subscription add-on for $19.95 per year, which is less than 5¢ per day. There is a two week free trial. My Traffic works across the beatthetraffic.com website and on web-enabled mobile phones as well.

This is the first app to mix traffic, weather information and personalization", says Andre Gueziec, President & CEO of Triangle Software LLC who operates BeatTheTraffic.

Based in Santa Clara, CA, Triangle Software LLC d/b/a BeatTheTraffic is the fastest-growing provider of vehicle traffic reporting solutions. Acclaimed for its visually-striking graphics, simple setup and user-friendly interface, BeatTheTraffic received the Television Broadcast magazine's NAB Top Innovation Award. Triangle Software is a National Science Foundation funded early innovator in traffic prediction and presentation science. For more information please contact Andre Gueziec at (408) 877-6600.

ïZup Makes the Roads Safer for Everyone

PR: Illume Software, a developer of location-powered lifestyle and enterprise solutions, is pleased to announce the release of its flagship product, ïZup!", the only mobile application that effectively eliminates all cell phone related distractions for drivers. Available just in time to help Americans break the deadly habit of texting and driving in 2010, ïZup provides a simple solution to cell phone distractions and an easy way for drivers to make and keep this year's most important New Year's resolution.

Easy to download at getizup.com , ïZup waits quietly in the background and automatically launches when it detects that a phone is in a vehicle traveling over five miles per hour. While driving, incoming calls are sent to voice mail and text messages are held until the vehicle stops and a driver can read and respond to them safely. ïZup also prevents outgoing communication while driving, yet always allows emergency calls to 9-1-1 and authorized numbers, such as a parent's cell phone.

For a limited time, Illume is offering a 30-day free trial of ïZup for those who sign up for the $4.95-a-month service. Annual subscription and family plans are also available at discounted, promotional rates.

"While most Americans are aware of the very real dangers of texting and driving, the habit of cell phone use while driving is a pervasive and difficult behavior to change," said Illume CEO Matthew Growney. "We believe that a technology solution combined with legislation will ultimately be necessary to stop the widespread practice of texting and driving. ïZup provides drivers with an important safeguard that will, ultimately, be as routine as seat belt usage."

For parents of teen drivers, businesses and anyone else on the roadways, ïZup offers a comprehensive, responsible solution to what has become a growing, global problem. ïZup is available now on a variety of Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Android handsets.

AccuTerra 3.1 for iPhone

PR: Intermap Technologies, the foremost worldwide 3D digital mapping company, announced the latest version of its AccuTerra application for the iPhone is immediately available for download on Apple's iTunes App Store. The upgraded base application is currently free and includes the first detailed map download from the AccuTerra map store.

New features in version 3.1:

  • Improved In-App shopping allowing users to easily purchase 247 high-definition maps, including 167 recreation areas, 23 state parks, and 57 national parks that are also downloadable onto the iPhone
  • Access to purchase 77 detailed state maps that are easily downloadable onto the iPhone
  • Google Maps access for urban on-road data
  • Simple toggle button to switch between Google content and AccuTerra off-road maps

"The addition of Google Maps access is extremely helpful for AccuTerra users who conduct excursions straddling the boundaries between urban settings and the backcountry, where AccuTerra's off-road map coverage is second to none. With the addition of new mapping data, AccuTerra now provides more than 5.5 million square miles of wide-area coverage and more than 745,000 square miles of high-definition, super zoom backcountry and trail maps," said Michael Bullock, vice president, Intermap Consumer Electronics. "AccuTerra continues to establish itself as the de facto standard on the iPhone for backcountry mapping, even as it begins to broaden its reach into the urban setting by providing on-road data and map imagery."

The AccuTerra application now provides quick, one-touch access to all the major mapping functions within the application, such as recording treks, creating waypoints, accessing options, and toggling between different map views.

In addition, the AccuTerra application fully leverages the In-App purchase functionality of iPhone OS 3.1 to allow users to purchase additional map content on the fly. Further enhancing navigation is the added ability to shop for maps by state, helping users quickly locate relevant map data. The app uses WiFi connectivity to load highly detailed map content directly on the device and takes advantage of the iPhone's GPS capabilities to allow outdoor enthusiasts to use the application anywhere even when there is no network coverage available.

The base AccuTerra application, plus the first detailed map download, is currently free. Additional map bundles range from 99¢ to $4.99 and can be purchased directly from the iPhone.

AccuTerra is available from the App Store in the navigation category.

UMMS iPhone Medical Encyclopedia

PR: The University of Maryland Medical Center has released an iPhone app version of its Medical Medical Encyclopedia

Medical Encyclopedia topics include:

  • Disease
  • Injury
  • Nutrition
  • Poison
  • Special Topics
  • Surgery
  • Symptoms
  • Test

SongSuggest: iPhone App for Worship Leaders

PR: Toronto based WorshipApps introduces SongSuggest 1.0, their new and powerful praise and worship application for iPhone and iPod touch. Developed specifically to take advantage of the iPhone's unique capabilities, SongSuggest helps worship leaders select familiar songs for their music sets/services and quickly build a set of amazing songs their congregation will love.

Discover long forgotten, yet loved songs awaiting a comeback. Beautifully and carefully designed, SongSuggest features over 600 hand-picked songs beloved by congregations from around the world. With SongSuggest, finding the right song ideas for a themed service is easy and fun. Offering one-click search for online lyrics, chords, videos, and audio, worship leaders can quickly search by theme, key, and/or tempo, and even save favorite songs to the handy Binder. Always having a great song for any occasion.

"Church related products can tend to ignore design and usability altogether," said Batsirai Chada, cofounder of WorshipApps. Fortunately that's changing, and we wanted to be an example of the design excellence that is emerging in this generation. Especially as a pioneer app on the iPhone for worship leaders. It wasn't enough for SongSuggest to be the first. We wanted it to be great. Something remarkable. Our marketing plan is "worship leader to worship leader". So it had to be stunning. And we will always be improving it too."

Feature Highlights:

  • Over 600 songs loved by congregations around the world
  • Always have a great song for any occasion
  • Quickly build a set of amazing songs any congregation will love
  • Easy search by theme, key, and/or tempo
  • Find the right song ideas for any themed service
  • Save your favorite songs to the 'Binder'
  • One click search for online lyrics, chords, videos, audio
  • Discover long forgotten yet loved songs awaiting a comeback

"With over 100,000 apps available there was none for worship leaders in general," said Luis Vargas, cofounder of WorshipApps. "So we set out to build SongSuggest, a tool we knew we would use every week to help us make better song choices. And now there really is an app for that."

Device Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch 3.0 or later

SongSuggest 1.0 is $5.99 and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. Review copies are available upon request for media, worship artists and blog reviews.

Children's Bible Hits iTunes App Store

PR: BCNmultimedia announced the release of the 'Children's Bible' iPhone and iPod touch application, a full color comic book rendition of bible stories from the Old and New Testaments of the World English Bible. "While it has become a common occurrence to see worshipers attending their churches with digital versions of the bible on their iPhone's, up until now that was solely for the adults" said Toni Matas, publishing manager of BCNmultimedia, creators of the app. "We wanted to give the children something that was just as accessible while being entertaining as well."

Just in time for Christmas, we are offering the story of the First Christmas free with download! The "Birth of Jesus" comic is 24 scenes and tells the story of the angel appearing to Mary, the search for a room at an inn, the birth in a manger and the shepherds visit in stunning full color comics. (Part of the "Land of Nazareth" full comic). Readers can purchase additional packs containing stories and activities from within the application for only $2.99

The first story pack available is "The Land of Nazareth" and contains Over 10 full length bible stories in 144 scenes, rendered in brilliant colors with an easy to navigate interface including:

  • Annunciation of the Birth (Included Free with Download)
  • Birth of Jesus (Included Free with Download)
  • Visit of the Wise Men of the East
  • Childhood of Jesus
  • Baptism of Jesus
  • Temptations of Jesus
  • Call of the disciples
  • Wedding at Cana
  • Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes
  • Sermon on the Mount: Love the Enemies
  • Sermon on the Mount: the Prayer

The iPhone is only the latest media channel to be explored by the 16 year old company, which began producing education and religious text in 1994. Since then they have produced over 75 full length animated features, 50 interactive CD-ROMs and countless educational comics and text which have been distributed globally.

'Children's Bible' is available as a free download in the iTunes App Store for both iPhone's and iPod touch devices using operating system 3.0 or higher. The application is available in seven languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Catalan.

Classical Music 1.0 for iPhone/iPod touch

PR: New York based ADS Software Group Inc. introduces Classical Music 1.0, their new classical music compilation and quiz for iPhone and iPod touch. Developed specifically to leverage the iPhone's unique capabilities, Classical Music is an educational database of 50 music compositions of the most famous composers of all time. Music aficionados can listen to a short passage of every composition, view a short biography of each artist, and purchase the full version of the composition from iTunes.

ADS Software Group Inc. introduces Classical Music 1.0, their new classical music compilation and quiz for iPhone and iPod touch. Developed specifically to take advantage of the iPhone's unique capabilities and interface, Classical Music is an educational database of 50 music compositions of the most famous composers of all time.

Featuring a vinyl record player styled user interface, music aficionados and connoisseurs alike can listen to the most recognizable one-minute passages of famous compositions, view a short biography of each artist, with a link to purchase the full version of the composition from iTunes. Classical Music also includes a nice "Who is the Composer Quiz" game. Additionally, the application offers OpenFeint integration for music lovers to see other Classical Music Quiz player's leaderboard, get achievements and send challenges.

Feature Highlights:

  • 50 minutes of great classical music
  • Stylish Vinyl Record Player
  • Who is the Composer Quiz game
  • OpenFeint integration
  • Information about compositions and short biography of composers
  • Link to buy full version of composition on iTunes

"I have always felt there were remarkable deep-rooted similarities between classical music as compared to rock and roll, or even some pop music," said Shakhruz Ashirov, founder and CEO of ADS Software Group Inc. "Regrettably, the modern media doesn't support classical music very well, so a large percentage of the younger audience is never exposed to it. We currently have plans to add up to a 100 compositions, a new music memorizing game, as well as localize the app into major languages and some other features."

Device Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch 3.0 or later

Classical Music 1.0 is 99¢ and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. A free Lite version is also available. Review copies are available upon request.

Share Eggnog with iPhone: Free Christmas 3D Virtual Gifts App

PR: UK-based startup Little World Gifts is opening a Christmas Store on iPhone selling 3D virtual gifts, entering the virtual goods market, with a new app available now for free. It allows iPhone and iPod touch users to send each other beautiful 3D virtual gifts that they can touch, move and play with. The Liverpool company is the first to bring amazing virtual gifts to mobile, and will be following up its Christmas release with the full Little World Gifts experience next year.

The gift store takes the form of an iPhone app, also called Little World Gifts, which is the first app that's purely and simply a shop for virtual goods. It allows iPhone and iPod touch users to send each other beautiful 3D virtual gifts that they can touch, move and play with. The Liverpool a Liverpool, England - The gift store takes the form of an iPhone app, also called "Little World Gifts", which is the first app that's purely and simply a shop for virtual goods. It allows iPhone and iPod touch users to send each other beautiful 3D virtual gifts that they can touch, move and play with. The Liverpool company is the first to bring amazing virtual gifts to mobile, and will be following up its Christmas release with the full Little World Gifts experience next year.

Little World Gifts comprises a 6-strong development team that has been working on the business since June. Cofounder Katie Lips said "Mobile gives us a chance to do more with virtual gifts than anyone has before. By using the unique features of the iPhone, Little World Gifts redefines virtual gifts, giving them the charm and personality of a 'real world' present you'd want to send or receive yourself. We want people to see virtual gifts as more than representations of real world objects - we aim for our 3D gifts to be highly desirable".

It was recently reported that consumers will spend over $1 billion on virtual goods this year through social networks and online games, while Facebook alone generates almost $40 million per year by selling digital gifts.

The free app makes use of recent additions to the iPhone OS, allowing gifts to be bought via in-app purchase. They are also delivered in real-time using push notifications. Little World Gifts integrates with Facebook, so gifts are sent using your Facebook friends list, and can be shared and displayed in a separate Facebook app. This allows people without the app to be notified that they have a gift waiting for them.

The company is currently developing further high profile regional, national and global location-based marketing partnerships based around the virtual gifts concept, and will be the destination for iPhone virtual goods in 2010.company is the first to bring amazing virtual gifts to mobile, and will be following up its Christmas release with the full Little World Gifts experience next year.

Little World Gifts comprises a 6-strong development team that has been working on the business since June. Cofounder Katie Lips said 
Mobile gives us a chance to do more with virtual gifts than anyone has before. By using the unique features of the iPhone, Little World Gifts redefines virtual gifts, giving them the charm and personality of a real world present you'd want to send or receive yourself. We want people to see virtual gifts as more than representations of real world objects - we aim for our 3D gifts to be highly desirable.

It was recently reported that consumers will spend over $1 billion on virtual goods this year through social networks and online games, while Facebook alone generates almost $40 million per year by selling digital gifts.

The free app makes use of recent additions to the iPhone OS, allowing gifts to be bought via in-app purchase. They are also delivered in real-time using push notifications. Little World Gifts integrates with Facebook, so gifts are sent using your Facebook friends list, and can be shared and displayed in a separate Facebook app. This allows people without the app to be notified that they have a gift waiting for them.

The company is currently developing further high profile regional, national and global location-based marketing partnerships based around the virtual gifts concept, and will be the destination for iPhone virtual goods in 2010.

Preview Video: http://vimeo.com/6980132

toda Little World Gifts

UnitedHealthcare Puts Its Physician, Facility Network on the iPhone

PR: UnitedHealthcare is helping improve access to health care by putting its vast network of doctors, clinics, hospitals and other health care services on a new app just introduced on Apple's iPhone.

The new DocGPS App for Apple's popular mobile device enables users to tailor their search to their specific health plan and locate nearby doctors, clinics and hospitals within the UnitedHealthcare network using the GPS functionality of iPhone 3G and 3GS. The app can make searches on 23 types of health care facilities and 58 types of physician specialties.

After locating a doctor or hospital, the application can then show the office location on a map, provide detailed directions, and enable the user to call the medical professional or facility with a single tap on the search result.

DocGPS is ideal for individuals on the road who are not familiar with health care providers in their area, such as families traveling on vacation or professionals on business trips.

DocGPS also works with first-generation iPhones running 2.0 software or higher, enabling users to search UnitedHealthcare's health plan networks by zip code, or city and state. The application is available for download free of charge from the App Store on iPhone or at www.itunes.com/appstore/.

"We are putting a powerful tool in the hands of consumers so they can make more informed health care decisions whether they are at home, at work or on the run," said Dawn Owens, CEO of OptumHealth, a UnitedHealth Group company and lead developer of the new technology for UnitedHealthcare customers. "The new DocGPS App reinforces UnitedHealth Group's ability to deliver innovative technologies that help make it easier for millions of Americans to understand and access health care."

DocGPS is UnitedHealthcare's latest consumer-friendly innovation to modernize, simplify and make transparent health care information. An October 2009 study by CTIA-The Wireless Association showed nearly eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) said they are interested in receiving health care services via their mobile devices.

UnitedHealthcare provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies. The company organizes access to quality, affordable health care services on behalf of more than 25 million individual consumers, contracting directly with more than 600,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals to offer them broad, convenient access to services nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group, a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

OptumHealth helps individuals navigate the health care system, finance their health care needs and achieve their health and well-being goals. The company's personalized health advocacy and engagement program tap a unique combination of capabilities that encompass care solutions, behavioral solutions, specialty benefits and finance services. Serving nearly 60 million people, OptumHealth is one of the nation's largest health and wellness businesses and is a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company.

Accessories

TuneWear GameHandle for iPhone and iPod touch

TuneWear GameHandlePR: TuneWear announced that it is now shipping GameHandle compatible with iPhone 3GS/3G and iPod touch 2G. GameHandle gives you a better grip on iPhone or iPod touch when playing action and racing games. Take your mind off the grip and put it into the game.

GameHandle allows for a better grip on iPhone 3GS/3G or iPod touch 2G when playing action and racing games. Now you can focus all of your attention where it belongs on the game. GameHandle gives you more control and a better gaming experience.

GameHandle helps you to reach new game levels and new high scores and gives the impression that you are playing games with your old favorite game controller.

The high quality rubber coating on the surface is comfortable and feels great to the touch. It prevents your hands from slipping when you are deep in the action.

An internal sound cavity system resonates the sound from iPhone or iPod speakers inside the GameHandle body and outputs the sound through vents on the back for an overall improved audio experience.

TuneWear GameHandleWhat's included

  • GameHandle
  • iPhone 3GS/3G adapter frame
  • iPod touch 2G adapter frame

Specifications

  • Size: 151(W) x 122(H) x 49(D)mm
  • Weight: approximately 80g (including adapter frame)

Compatibility

  • iPhone 3GS/3G
  • iPod touch 2G

GameHandle ($19.95) is now shipping and is available for purchase at the TuneWear Online Store. Contact worldwideinfo@tunewear.com for more details.

The North Face Hustle Audio Jacket Fully Wired for iPod Use

PR: You're going to need some psyche-up music to huck that 40-footer, which is where The North Face Men's Hustle Audio Jacket comes in. This fully waterproof breathable shell is fully wired for iPod use and features an external joystick pad on the forearm for quick control when it's time to drop in. An attached RECCO reflector aids rescue in the event of an inbounds slide, and the Pant-a-locks system lets you create a snow-free seal with compatible pants.

The North Face Hustle Audio JacketSpecs:

  • Material: [Shell] HyVent 2L oxford; [Lining] embossed taffeta
  • Core Venting: Underarm zips
  • Pockets: 2 Hand, 1 security, 1 bicep, 1 wrist, 1 internal media, 1 internal goggle
  • Seam Taped: Yes, fully
  • Powder Skirt: Yes, removable Hood: Yes Recommended Use: Skiing, snowboarding
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime

Colors: Black, Cedar Tan

Bottom Line: Waterproof protection with a soundtrack.

Price - $348.95

The North Face Femphonic Audio Jacket Fully Wired for iPod Use

PR: The North Face Women's Femphonic Audio Jacket fends off the elements, insulates with Heatseeker Eco, and lets you control your music with an external joystick on the cuff. Yes, this is like finding out that unicorns exist. Just plug your iPod into the inner media pocket, stick your 'phones in your ears, and press the on-sleeve buttons to skip between songs or adjust the volume. Plenty of extra pockets stash the day's little necessities and internal Lycra cuffs and a powder skirt keep snow from sneaking in. Underarm vent zips provide a little fresh air when you work up a sweat by grooving down the hill - so crank up your finest '80s playlist and head out into the storm.

The North Face Femphonic Audio JacketSpecs:

  • Material: [Shell] HyVent 2L foxfaille; [Lining] argyle printed taffeta
  • Insulation: Heatseeker Eco
  • Core Venting: Underarm zips
  • Pockets: 2 Front, 1 chest, 1 internal audio, 1 internal goggle, 1 wrist
  • Seam Taped: Yes, fully
  • Powder Skirt: Yes, snap-back
  • Wrist Gaiters: Yes
  • Hood: Yes, removable
  • Recommended Use: Skiing, snowboarding, rocking out
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime

Colors: Black, Flamenco Blue

Bottom Line: Everything you need - set to music.

$349

Presentation

Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver Wirelessly Plays Music from Your iPhone through Your Stereo

home stereoPR: Using the built-in stereo Bluetooth on your iPhone and iPod touch, the Bluetooth Music Receiver connects to your home stereo to play music wirelessly

With the new Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver, you can wirelessly enjoy the music from your iPhone or iPod touch through your home stereo system. It frees you up from being tied down to docks and wires, and puts total control of your device in your hand so you can change tracks without ever getting up from your couch.

Connect the receiver to your home stereo system with the included cables, and then easily pair your device to the Receiver wirelessly to listen to, share, and control your music from up to 33 feet away. The Bluetooth Music Receiver uses Bluetooth v2.0 to give you reliable, high-quality sound.

  • The Bluetooth Music Receiver can remember up to six paired devices.
  • Features Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR for superior performance
  • Transmits up to 33 ft. away
  • Includes 3.5mm-to-RCA and 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cables
  • Compatible with all devices enabled with A2DP stereo Bluetooth, including:
  • iPhone 3GS, 3G, and first generation
  • iPod touch 2nd generation

Belkin Bluetooth Music ReceiverThe Bluetooth Music Receiver can remember up to six paired devices.

Features

  • Bluetooth v2.0 with EDR for superior performance
  • Transmits up to 33 ft. away
  • Includes 3.5mm-to-RCA and 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cables

Compatible with all devices enabled with A2DP stereo Bluetooth, including:

  • iPhone 3GS, 3G, and first generation
  • iPod touch 2nd generation

The Bluetooth name and the Bluetooth trademarks are owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and are used by Belkin International, Inc., under license. iPod and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Now available in the US. March 2010 in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

US: $49.99

New Uniquely Designed JVC iPod Dock Features Dolby Virtual Surround

PR: A new JVC iPod speaker system features a unique wraparound design, Dolby Virtual Surround, and a dock that, like most docks, holds an iPod vertically for music listening, but also can cradle it horizontally - ideal for widescreen viewing of video.

The new JVC XS-SR3 surround dock is a sleek, glossy black speaker tube with a curved design that allows the iPod to nestle between the speakers. The iPod holder rotates for viewing video in widescreen mode and comes with four clips to hold selected iPod models. The speakers' powerful neodymium magnets ensure clean, crisp sound, while Dolby Virtual Surround creates the illusion of a wider sound field when viewing video content. Power output is five watts and the system features two audio inputs, one analog and one digital optical. A remote control is included.

In addition to its function as an iPod speaker dock, the XS-SR3 can also be used as computer speaker system.

The JVC XS-SR3 is available this month for $149.95.

For further product information, visit JVC's website or call 1-800-526-5308.

Protection

Marware ClearShell for iPod nano 5G

Marware ClearShell for iPod nano 5GPR: Marware Inc. announces the ClearShell for the iPod nano 5G. This hard ClearShell for the iPod nano 5G is a clear case that shows off the colorful iPod inside while protecting it with durable polycarbonate strength.

This hard ClearShell for the iPod nano 5G is not just another clear case. It's clearly cool. Show off the colorful iPod inside while protecting it with durable polycarbonate strength. Carry your nano in your pocket, or in a bag or purse. Once your iPod is safely inside, the ClearShell case still gives you access to all the functionality your new nano has to offer. You can leave the nano in the case, even while synching. Prefer to take your nano out of the case from time to time? It snaps open easily. Clear protection and a slim design let you show off your nano's true colors.

Marware ClearShell for iPod nano 5GCarry your nano in your pocket, or in a bag or purse. Once your iPod is safely inside, the ClearShell case still gives you access to all the functionality your new nano has to offer. You can leave the nano in the case, while synching. Clear protection and a slim design let you show off your nano's true colors. The ClearShell comes with Marware's Lifetime Warranty.

Features:

  • Durable iPod nano shell protection
  • Easy access to headphone jack, hold switch and dock connector
  • Allows charging while in case
  • Includes: Clear shell case, clear screen protector, cleaning cloth, and Marware's Lifetime Warranty

The ClearShell for the Pod nano 5G is available in clear polycarbonate. It retails for $24.99 and is shipping now. Please visit Marware for more information. Marware is a leading provider of software and eco-conscious accessory solutions for Apple iPhones, iPods, and notebooks.

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