If you meandered over to the Worth Ave. Group booth at Macworld Expo, you might have noticed their staff hammering on expensive gadgets. Per Macworld, the Worth Ave. Group is now offering notebook and iPhone insurance and invited Macworld Expo attendees to take a hammer to some of the MacBooks, iPhones and iPod touches they had on hand.
The Worth Ave. Group claims to be the only iPhone insurance company around and has stated that they’ll cover stuff that won’t be handled by your typical warranty from Apple. Whether your iPhone has been dropped, stolen, or damaged by liquid, you are covered. The annual premiums are pretty reasonable too, starting at US$55 for 3G/8GB or earlier models and going up to US$79 for 3GS/32GB models. If your iPhone encounters a fall into a toilet or falls out of your pocket at some juncture, they’ll buy you a new one.
The insurance plan seems fairly comprehensive and the company has stated that they’ll also cover cameras, game systems, and cell phones.
For those of you craving a better iPhone/iPod touch keyboard experience, 4iThumbs introduced its tactile keyboard product at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Per Mac Observer, the 4iThumbs system consists of three major components. The first is the transparent overlays that provide tactile guides that go between the keys on iPhone onscreen keyboard. There are also overlays for landscape, and one for portrait keyboard orientations with the idea being that, similar to a traditional keyboard, having tactile guides can improve your accuracy over time.
The second part of the system are adhesive guides that are placed on the top and bottom of the front of your iPhone. These allow the quick, accurate insertion and removal of the keyboard overlays. The third, optional part of the system are additional adhesive guides that you can place on the rear of your iPhone, for situations where you don’t need the overlays.
The standard keyboard retails for US$14.95, the landscape keyboard retails for US$16.95, and a kit with both keyboards sells for US$19.95.
If you got your hands on the Tactile Keyboard and have an opinion on it, please let us know.
If you’ve ever worried about your iPhone or iPod touch’s hard drive crashing, DriveSavers has once again proven useful.
Over at Macworld Expo, the company has announced that it will update its free DriveSaver app for the iPhone and iPod touch that can simulate solid-state drive failures.
Per Macworld, the Crash a Hard Drive feature educates users about how hard drives can crash and what you can do to ensure safe data storage. The new addition will now add a solid-state drive to the mobile app’s simulations of real-world drive failures.
If you want your iPhone or iPod touch to be able to do everything, including spackle the den this weekend, you might be one step closer.
Per Daring Fireball, Square has opened up a beta version of a payment system wherein users can create an account on the Square web site, receive a hardware dongle and swipe debit and credit cards through the device as a means of payment.
Over at Macworld Expo, developer SHAPE Services introduced Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC.
According to iLounge, the application connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application.
The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later to function.
Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for US$2 and requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.
In the wake of Apple’s iPad release, Adobe Systems reached out to its Flash developer base via a blog post stating its plans to add support for the iPad’s higher screen resolution to its upcoming Packager for iPhone development tool.
Although the iPad offers a significantly larger screen and packs more powerful hardware than the iPhone and iPod Touch, it won’t support Flash when released in the coming months.
Per the post, Flash developers can use Adobe’s upcoming Packager for iPhone tool to convert Flash content into applications that can run on the iPad. The converted content won’t immediately be able to take advantage of the iPad screen’s resolution of 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution and the company said this feature would arrive later.
“It is our intent to make it possible for Flash developers to build applications that can take advantage of the increased screen size and resolution of the iPad,” the post said.
The iPhone and iPod touch handsets feature screen resolutions of 480 x 320 pixels, with a pixel density of 163 pixels per inch. The iPad screen has a pixel density of 132 pixels per inch.
Adobe also asked for developers interested in developing iPad applications using Flash to get in touch.
“We are looking for developers and designers who have a specific app in mind to be submitted to the iTunes App Store within the next two months,” the blog post said.
Along with yesterday’s iPad revelation, Apple also released an update to its iPhone Software Developer Kit on Wednesday. The new kit, currently in beta, will allow developers to write applications optimized for the iPad, an included documentation section covering multi-touch apps for the larger display while the Human Interface Guidelines covers the new views and controls.
Per MacNN, the SDK provides APIs that will allow developers to create apps that utilize external displays attached to the iPad. Other supported features include a shared file directory and tools to build universal apps that work on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Apple has also included sample code to help developers write iPad and universal applications. iPad apps can be previewed on a simulator and debugged from there.
The iPhone SDK 3.2 beta is currently available for all members of the iPhone Developer Program.
ScareBear Trail Companion is an iPhone app that replicates the sounds of bells, clapping, and rocks in a tin can which could help scare bears from your path before you even encounter them. Should you happen to come across a bear immune to these charms and wards, ScareBear Trail Companion still has you covered – in an emergency, you can use the app to sound an emulated air horn, which may terrify the creature and send it scurrying away.
While this isn’t guaranteed to save your life, it’s designed for the iPhone user who fears being eaten by bears (which we all should on one level or another).
ScareBear Trail Companion retails for US$0.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.
You’ve got to admit, it’s the rumors that make life interesting.
Boy Genius Report has reportedly received information from a source close to the story claiming iPhone OS 4.0 will be introduced at Apple’s press event next week at the Yerba Buena on January 27th. Per the source, iPhone OS 4.0 will be limited to the iPhone 3G and 3GS (presumably including at least more recent iPod touch models and omitting the original iPhone) and will incorporate solutions for multitasking by running applications in the background and a revamped user interface for easier navigation.
Other changes will include the following:
- There will be multi-touch gestures OS-wide.
- “A few new ways” to run applications in the background — multitasking.
- Many graphical and UI changes to make navigating through the OS easier and more efficient.
- The update will supposedly be available for only the iPhone 3G and 3GS, but will “put them ahead in the smartphone market because it will make them more like full-fledged computers” more than any other phone to date. Everyone is “really excited.”
- A brand new syncing ability for the contacts and calendar applications.
The ability to run iPhone applications in the background has been near the top of many users’ wish lists, but Apple has yet to implement full backgrounding and multitasking due to its effect on performance and battery life, instead opting to deploy push notifications as a means for closed applications to serve data to users.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.