TomTom Car Kit Lacks Support for iPod Touch Units

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Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2009, 05:31
Category: Software

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The good news: The TomTom Car Kit is finally available for the iPhone.

The bad news: Contradicting previous rumors, TomTom has stated that their recently launched TomTom GPS Car Kit will not add GPS capability to Apple’s touchscreen handhelds that do not have GPS chips of their own, namely the first generation iPhone and all current and past models of iPod touch. Per AppleInsider, the Car Kit features GPS unit built in that it uses for navigation with the iPhone 3GS to enhance functionality, leading some to believe that it could be made to work with non-GPS devices.

A notice on TomTom’s web site states:
“Note: The TomTom app for iPhone is not included with this TomTom Car Kit. The Car Kit dock is compatible with all iPhone models, but the Car Kit app only works with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.”

The TomTom GPS app can be found in the App Store for US$99.99.

When asked if the application could be updated to run on the first generation iPhone and iPod touches, devices with no GPS receivers of their own, a company spokesperson said they have not made any “public announcements”.

The Car Kit is available on the Apple Store web site for US$119.95.

Apple Reportedly Working on FM Radio Application for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2009, 06:54
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Apple is reportedly developing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod touch, with similar functions now available to iPod nano users. Per 9to5Mac, the company is developing an FM radio application that would work in the background, like listening to music via iTunes, while users check email and surf the Internet.

Last month Apple added an FM radio tuner to the popular iPod nano with the ability to pause and rewind your favorite radio stations and shows while on the go.

The radio supports tagging in the US, with listeners able to buy songs they hear on air via iTunes.

According to 9to5Mac: “The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program.”

The website suggests Apple could could add some Shazam technology to help with those stations that don’t support tagging, which appears to be the majority of them.

Apple’s iPhones and iPods are already able to receive FM radio signals but the function has only be used for the Nike+ ecosystem until now according to 9to5Mac.

Apple Updates MobileMe Service, Revises File Sharing and iPhone Services

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Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009, 04:20
Category: Software

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In a behind-the scenes fix, Apple’s MobileMe cloud services package has been updated to improve its public file sharing features and make it easier to locate the Find My iPhone page. The web apps still can’t be accessed from the iPhone however. Per AppleInsider, The company issued the update Friday. Users who login will notice a new “radar sweep” icon in the navigation bar, which serves as a direct link to pull up the Find My iPhone page. This feature was previously hidden in under the Settings page.

The update also addresses Public shared files in the user’s iDisk, which can be made fully available to anyone or restricted to users who know a Public password set by the user. The revamped interface now allows users to password-protect their Public folder and provides the option to enable visitors to upload, move and delete any publicly shared files.

However, the new settings are hidden behind a Preferences item within the drop down menu displayed by the “gear icon” action button.

Apple also gave the public iDisk page MobileMe’s SproutCore treatment, which provides a cohesive look and feel and supports direct drag and drop of files between folders within the web page (but not to or from the desktop). The update also enables users to connect to another user’s Public folder while being currently logged into their own MobileMe account.

As with the previous version, MobileMe makes access personal and public iDisk files available from the desktop as a WebDAV file share on Windows or via the Finder using the Go/iDisk menu, and viewable from the iPhone using the free iDisk app.

Apple still has yet to address the most bizarre problem with MobileMe: the web service is completely and intentionally blocked to iPhone users. Rather than providing web-based access to the site via the iPhone’s browser, users attempting to pull up me.com are sent to a special landing page that tells them to use the phone’s native Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Photos apps instead.

This prevents iPhone users from accessing their MobileMe account information (such as changing their password), looking up the location of other iPhones attached to their MobileMe account with Find My iPhone, logging into an alternative account (such as offering a guest web access to their own account on the iPhone) or troubleshooting problems with email connectivity (such as local SMTP mail delivery problems in a given location that could be resolved with direct webmail access).

Apple has also added some custom support for accessing MobileMe features from the web, including a mobile-optimized Gallery for viewing shared pictures. Apple’s refusal to support access to more or most of MobileMe from the iPhone or iPod touch is particularly strange given the company’s marketing that referred to the iPhone’s browser as providing access to the “real Internet.”

If you’ve played around with the new version, let us know what you make of it.

Adobe Working on Tools to Create Flash-Based Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:18
Category: News, Software

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Adobe announced on Monday that its developers will be able to use an upcoming version of its Flash Professional software to create apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement, made at the company’s Max developer conference in Los Angeles, coincides with the unveiling of its Flash Player 10.1.

According to Macworld, Flash Player 10.1 will be operable with a large number of smartphones, though none of them currently include the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone doesn’t run Flash in any form, and Monday’s announcements don’t change that. What has changed is the ability of Adobe developers to use the Flash platform to build standalone apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

New features in the upcoming Flash CS5 Professional will allow developers to write applications and compile the code to run on the iPhone and iPod touch. Applications can target the iPhone OS 3.0 and later.

“We are ecstatic to announce that we’re enabling you to use your Flash development tools to build applications and compile them to run natively on the iPhone,” said John Loiacono, head of Adobe’s Creative Solutions business unit, who made the announcement at Adobe Max.

A public beta of Flash CS5 will be available on Adobe’s Web site later this year and the final shipping version could arrive anywhere between March and September of 2010, according to Adobe’s typical upgrade cycle. The CS5 version will contain a feature that allows developers to export Flash’s native FLA files to IPA, the iPhone app format.

Developers can create brand new content, or repurpose content they’ve already built, for the iPhone. “In some ways it’s more exciting, because they can actually charge for the apps and get revenue coming in,” Voltmer added. “Apple’s going to be excited because they’ll see more revenue from all these new developers; and end-users get more choices.”

Though Adobe is still unable to offer a standard Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod touch because Apple’s license terms prohibit plug-ins for the built-in Safari browser, these new Flash apps are different: iPhone apps built with Adobe Flash Professional CS5 don’t include any runtime interpreted code. The applications would go through the same approval process, and follow the same rules and procedures, as other iPhone apps to be sold in the App Store.

Flash Player 10.1 is due in beta form later this year and final form in the first half of 2010, will be available for many smartphones: Google Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm WebOS, and Nokia Symbian. Adobe holds out hope that eventually, Flash will arrive in its full form on the iPhone, in spite of complaints about the mobile version from the very top of Apple. “We do know that people are looking to have a Flash-enabled experience on their iPhone,” Voltmer said, “But it’s really up to Apple to finalize that and to let us get that working. We’d love to work with Apple, but Apple does control the hardware, and at this point we’re waiting for them.”

Elgato Announces EyeTV for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 05:00
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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Software developer Elgato has announced the release of EyeTV for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. The iPhone application lets Elgato EyeTV users view TV recordings wherever they are. EyeTV also gives users on the go control over remote recording, scheduling as well as providing a TV guide.

Per Macworld UK, the application requires a Wi-Fi connection for watching live TV on your iPhone or iPod touch.

EyeTV for iPhone connects to any Mac running the latest version of Elgato’s software, EyeTV 3.2, and will automatically find a Mac on the local network using Bonjour.

The application can also find and access a remote Mac via “My EyeTV”, a free locator utility introduced as part of the latest EyeTV 3.2 software update, which sets up any router that supports UPnP or NAT-PMP protocols automatically.

Users can manually configure their routers and/or use a dynamic DNS service.

The application is available from the Apple iTunes App Store EyeTV, retails for US$4.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and an EyeTV 3.2 or higher TV tuner.

TomTom Announces Clarification, States Car Kit, Application to be Sold Separately

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Date: Friday, September 25th, 2009, 05:47
Category: Accessory, iPhone, iPod, News

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Following up on an incident where its product was briefly displayed at the European Apple Store web site yesterday, TomTom U.K. announced that its upcoming iPhone Car Kit accessory will have a retail price of £99.99 but will not include the TomTom application.

“TomTom announces today that the TomTom car kit for the iPhone will have a recommended retail price of £99.99,” the company said in a press release. “The TomTom car kit will be available this October and will be sold separately from the TomTom app. It will be compatible with the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS. All further details on the car kit will be made available soon.”

The announcement conflicts with earlier reports that the kit would include the software as a bundle.

The press release didn’t clarify whether the iPod touch will be compatible with the hardware kit, though the product’s windshield mount includes an external GPS receiver that is said to improve the reception of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Unlike those models, first-generation iPhone does not include an internal GPS receiver, but the press release states that the device will work with the hardware. That corrects an apparent error in the previous Apple Store listing, which said that the TomTom software would not work on the first-generation iPhone.

Originally due for release over the summer, the kit was delayed until October. The TomTom application was released in the App Store in August at a price of US$99 U.S.

A final price for the U.S. edition has yet to be officially accounced.

ESPN Radio App Now Available for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, 03:27
Category: iPhone, Software

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ESPN Radio has released an iPhone application that provides access to live radio streams from more than 15 different ESPN stations. Per MacNN, the app features play-by-play broadcasts of college football games in real-time, as well as live scores and news feeds for NFL, MLB, NHL, and other professional sports games. ESPN Radio allows users to listen to a variety of shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Michael Kay Show, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

Users can use the application access live feeds from regional stations including ESPN 1050 New York, ESPN 1250 Pittsburgh, and ESPN 1000 Chicago. The app also provides over 35 different podcasts, along with SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes. Users can even send text messages directly from the interface to ESPN Radio studios.

ESPN Radio retails for US$3 and requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

And for the record: go, Patriots!!!

Apple Could Receive FASB Approval for Accounting Changes, Remove iPod Touch Upgrade Fees

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 04:34
Category: Finance, News

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If you’ve ever been irked at the small charges you’ve had to pay for an iPod touch software upgrade, this may be about to go by the wayside. According to Ars Technica, a rule governed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, that’s been heavily lobbied for by Apple and other electronics companies, may be enough to lift the charge that iPod touch owners have had to pay for updates of significant features to their devices. The rule focuses on “subscription accounting”, or devices that gain “significant new functionality” after their sale, like the iPhone, have to be reported over a series of years rather than all at the same time (presumably because the revenues associated with the product were the result of a series of updates, not just one lump sum).

In the case of the iPhone, subscription charges associated with them over two years round out the criteria. The iPod touch is different and because Apple doesn’t want to report the sales of those devices over a period of time, they’ve had to charge minimum fees for updates in the form of the US$10 and other fees that iPod touch owners have paid for the firmware updates. But if the new rule receives FASB approval, then Apple would be able to report sales of the iPod touch all together without having to worry about charging for updates, as well as the dual GAAP and non-GAAP reporting we’ve heard on their conference calls.

Such a chance could also help Apple’s stock price (seeing all of the iPhone’s sales at once would boost investor confidence), and it would help developers who are asking all users of both the iPhone and iPod touch to update right away, as they wouldn’t have to wait until users found the few bucks in question before downloading a large new update.

iFixIt Teardown Finds 802.11n Chip, Space for Video Camera on New iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 06:32
Category: iPod, iPod Touch

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You’ve gotta love iFixIt and their recent teardown of the new third generation iPod touch has revealed some interesting details pertaining to Apple’s newly-released third generation media player.

Per the report, the new iPod touch features an 802.11n chip as well as enough space to fit a video camera such as the one found in the new iPod nano. In addition, the space is in the center on the back of the device, where the camera was rumored to be located. However, there are no headers on the iPod’s board for a camera cable.

“It appears that Apple left in room for a camera in the top of the device,” the solutions provider said. “There is a 6mm x 6mm x 3mm space between the Broadcom chip and the wireless antenna. There isn’t enough depth for an iPhone-style autofocus still camera, but just enough room for the camera that Apple used in the 5th generation iPod nano.”

The new iPod nano features a video-only camera and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in an interview with The New York Times this week that the iPod touch was not given a camera because the company wanted to focus on promoting the hardware as a gaming machine, and keeping the low-end model’s price under US$200.

The teardown located a Broadcom BCM4329 chip inside the new third-generation device, the chip supporting the 802.11n protocol. The iPhone 3GS features a BCM4325 chip, which only supports 802.11 a/b/g. The new iPod touch does not support 802.11n Wi-Fi out of the box.

“This reminds us of last year when we broke the news that the 2nd generation touch had Bluetooth support in hardware,” they said. “Apple didn’t enable software support until 9 months later with iPhone OS 3.0.”

The new device also features a Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and and a FM receiver and transmitter. However, that does not necessarily mean that the iPod touch will be able to receive and send FM signals. The latest iPod nano, however, does have a built-in FM receiver.

“If they built in the antennas, and if Apple adds software support,” iFixit said, “you could theoretically stream music to your car stereo without any external hardware. But that’s a lot of ifs.”

“While we were all disappointed by Apple’s underwhelming iPod touch announcement, it is clear that there is more engineering effort under the surface of this device than meets the eye.”

TomTom iPhone Kit Delayed Until October

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Date: Friday, September 4th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Right, you won’t like this, but you should know about it.

According to AppleInsider, TomTom spokesman Kevin Carter confirmed that the company’s iPhone hardware kit will not be available for its previously announced summer release deadline, though no specific reason was given. The accessory is a cradle that will interface with the iPhone and provide enhanced GPS capabilities.

“I can confirm that we have decided to take some extra weeks in order to deliver the highest quality on this innovative product,” Carter said. “So, the car kit will become available for purchase this October on www.tomtom.com.”

While the hardware is not necessary to use the software that is currently available in the iPhone App Store, it will amplify the GPS signal for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. In addition, the original iPhone and the iPod touch, both of which do not have a GPS receiver, will be able to use the hardware kit, as mentioned on the product’s FAQ page.

The TomTom kit will act as a basic suction cup mount for the dashboard or windshield, and will also support hands-free calling and music through the stereo system, as well as charge capabilities through the vehicle’s 12-volt port.

The kit’s price will vary depending on location and final system requirements have yet to be released.