iNews Review

MMS for iPhone, Wireless Charging, 10 Photo Apps, 'Safe' EU Standards for MP3 Players, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.10.02

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.

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

AT&T Finally Enables MMS on iPhone 3G/3GS - but Not Original iPhone

Apple Support says:

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is now available to AT&T customers on the following iPhone models:

  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3GS

MMS is not available on the original iPhone. Original iPhone owners: You can still view MMS messages you receive using the View My Message website.

Products Affected: AT&T MMS requires iPhone OS 3.1 and a carrier settings update.

Wireless Charging to Go Mainstream in 2010

Computerworld's Eric Lai reports:

"The company behind the new Dell Latitude Z laptop's wireless power charger predicts that its technology will go mainstream next year, with cell phones, MP3 players and Bluetooth headsets featuring the technology at the coming Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

"Inductive charging, which creates a small-area electro-magnetic field around devices to recharge their batteries, will be slower to emerge on other computers besides Dell Inc.'s new ultra-thin, ultra-premium business notebook, said Bret Lewis, director of Fulton Innovation LLC in Ada, Mich. He confirmed that the company is talking to a number of other PC manufacturers."

Editor's note: Let's hope Apple gets on board. This would be great for charging iPods, iPhones, and MacBooks. dk

Is Your iPhone Backup Adequate?

Technology Inc.'s Kim Boatman says:

"You rely on your iPhone to handle critical business matters, but are you as careful backing up data on your iPhone or smartphone as you are on your PC? Maybe it's time to be more careful about backing up mobile devices.

"The rush is on. With more than 75,000 applications and counting, the iPhone serves as a new frontier for business development."

10 Apps for Taking and Editing Photos on the iPhone

Loop Insight's Jim Dalrymple says:

"Of all the things we do with our iPhones, one of the most popular is certainly taking and sharing photos. The best part is the iPhone allows us to do all the basics without even connecting to a computer.

"However, there are apps available on the App Store that will help you take better photos and edit them before you upload them to MobileMe, Facebook or Twitter. I've gathered a few of the best ones below."

How to Transfer Songs and Videos from iPod touch to Mac for Free

iSkySoft says:

"When you accidentally delete music or videos in your iTunes Library, or you lost all songs and movies files when your hard drive on your Mac died, you might try to recover the data from your iPod by connecting it to iTunes, only to find that's no way to get the files back to your Mac. Or you just got a new Mac and you want to transfer your iPod touch content to it. In cases like these, FreeSync is a totally free program that can help you transfer your songs and videos to Mac."

Editor's note: FreeSync requires an Intel Mac. It is not compatible with PowerPC Macs. dk

iPod shuffle 3G - The Outspoken Music Player

The Register's Stephen Dean says:

"Apple's decision not to add a camera to the latest version of the iPod touch disappointed a lot of people, but at least the 32 GB and 64 GB models received a new processor that gives the device more potential as a games machine. The iPod shuffle didn't even get that. However, Apple did announce some minor changes to the shuffle product line, so we've decided to give the latest version a quick look in time for the Christmas buying frenzy."

Complete Guide to Unlocking and Jailbreaking the iPhone and iPod touch

Cult of Mac's Tim Cox says:

"With Apple's recent ridiculous app store refusals, now is the perfect time to free your phone. Jailbreaking your device might seem too difficult to take on, but by following the steps below you can easily add a video camera to your 3G, or tether your MacBook to your 3GS. This How-To will guide you through jailbreaking your specific device using either Pwnage Tool or Redsn0w. Also included are simple instructions to unlock your device, letting you use it with different carriers."

How to Check Your Mac, iPod, or iPhone's Warranty Status

FairerPlatform.com says:

"So, you own one of Apple's trend setting computers, media players or handsets, and you don't remember exactly when you bought it. Did you get the extended warranty? The receipt is somewhere and you re worried that your baby is about to go off warranty. Here's what to do...."

EU Sets Standards for 'Safe' Volume from Personal Music Players

PR: "Listening to personal music players at a high volume over a sustained period can lead to permanent hearing damage. 5-10% of listeners risk permanent hearing loss"

In recent years, sales of personal music players have soared, in particular those of MP3 players. Overall, in the EU, it is estimated that roughly 50 to 100 million people may be listening to portable music players on a daily basis. In the last four years, estimated units sales range between 184-246 million for all portable audio devices and range between 124-165 million for MP3 players. Across the EU, many millions of people use personal music players daily and, if they use them inappropriately, they put themselves at risk of hearing damage.

Consumers will benefit from new default settings on personal music players set at safe exposure levels, as well clear warnings on the adverse effects of excessive exposure to high sound levels, following a decision by the European Commission today. In October 2008, the EU Scientific Committee SCENIHR 1, warned that listening to personal music players at a high volume over a sustained period can lead to permanent hearing damage. 5-10% of listeners risk permanent hearing loss. These are people typically listening to music for over 1 hour a day at high volume control settings. It is estimated that up to 10 million people in the EU may be at risk. The European Commission today sent a mandate to CENELEC (the EU standardisation body) requiring new technical safety standards to be drawn up.

EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, said, "It's easy to push up the sound levels on your MP3 player to damagingly loud levels, especially on busy streets or public transport. And the evidence is that particularly young people - who are listening to music at high volumes sometimes for hours each week- have no idea they can be putting their hearing at risk. It can take years for the hearing damage to show, and then it is simply too late. These standards make small technical changes to players so that by default, normal use is safe. If consumers chose to override the default settings they can, but there will be clear warnings so they know the risks they are taking."

Bridget Cosgrave, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, said, "Consumers' safety has the highest priority for the digital technology industry. DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the approach of the European Commission by using a science-driven process for development of standards. It is important that users have accurate information in order to make informed choices about how they enjoy personal music. DIGITALEUROPE looks forward to working with the European Commission and standards bodies to serve consumer interests."

The current rules

Existing EU standards currently prescribe no maximum sound limit nor require any specific labelling in respect of volume levels but require that a statement be put in the instruction manual to warn of the adverse effects of exposure to excessive sound level.

The new proposals - the mandate for new safety standards

The mandate, proposed by the European Commission with 27 Member States, covers all personal music players and mobile phones with a music playing function. It provides that:

Safe exposure levels shall be the "default" settings on products. The mandate does not prescribe specific technical solutions in order not to stifle the capacity of industry to innovate. Instead it requires manufactures to provide that the default settings for normal usage meet safety requirements.

The mandate makes it clear that safe use depends on exposure time and volume levels. At 80 dB(A), exposure should be limited to 40 hours/week. At 89 dB(A) exposure should not exceed 5 hours/week.

The safe exposure levels defined above shall be the default settings on products. Higher exposure levels can be permitted, provided that they have been intentionally selected by the user and the product incorporates a reliable means to inform the user of the risks.

Adequate warnings for consumers on the risks involved, and on ways to avoid them, including the situation when the original set of earphones is replaced with another type and this causes higher unsafe sound levels. The mandate is not prescriptive in terms of how this is done. Industry solutions could include for example - labels or digital information on the screen.

What happens next?

EU standards are drawn up by CENELEC (European standard setting body) in a process, involving scientists, industry and consumer groups as well as other stake holders, it can take up to 24 months. EU standards are not mandatory, however if the new standard is approved by the European Commission and published in the Official Journal of the European Union, it "de facto" becomes the industry norm. Products meeting those standards are presumed safe - otherwise manufacturers have to go through costly independent testing for products. The new safety standards will apply only to future products.

What can consumers do?

Personal music player users can already take certain very practical precautions, such as checking their device to see if a maximum volume can be set so as to keep the volume lower, or they can lower the volume manually, and they can take care not to use the personal music player for prolonged periods in the interest of their hearing.

Apps & Services

Apple Launches Apps for Everything

PR: Once you discover the App Store, you'll see how applications can make your iPhone do just about anything. There are thousands of iPhone apps to choose from. Here are a few that will help you get the most out your iPhone, wherever you go.

  • Apps for Cooks: iPhone knows its way around the kitchen. And the wine cellar.
  • Apps for Keeping Current: If it's in the news, it's on your iPhone.
  • Apps for the Great Outdoors: Lewis had Clark. You've got iPhone. Ready to explore?
  • Apps for Music: iPhone makes beautiful music wherever you go.
  • Apps for Work: In the office or on the road, iPhone is always ready to do business.
  • Apps for Students: iPhone can even help with your homework.
  • Apps for Moms and Dads: iPhone is there for you, every baby step of the way.
  • Apps for Working Out: Work out with fitness apps that keep you motivated from treadmill to trail.
  • Apps for Going Out: Find places to eat, people to see, events to watch, and music to hear.
  • Apps for Managing Money: Money matters with apps that help you budget, save, and spend smart.
  • Apps for Traveling: Carry an iPhone and keep a world of information at your fingertips.
  • Apps for Fun and Games: Get your game on with a tap and a tilt of the phone that has more fun.

CNN App for the iPhone and iPod touch

PR: Now you can get live streaming video of breaking news, the most important headlines of the day with location-based news, weather and traffic from the palm of your hands. With the NEW CNN App for the iPhone and iPod touch, you can also iReport directly from your phone using the phone's advanced photo and video capabilities.

Download the CNN App for the iPhone and iPod touch, available now on the App Store.

Get CNN in your hands.

Free Lite Version of Flight Stunts 3D Game

PR: Makayama's action-packed 3D game Flight Stunts is now available in a free Lite version. It allows you to play a complete mission (San Francisco) with an Airbus A320 and the F16 training level. The full version has five missions.

Strap yourself into the cockpit of a Boeing, Airbus or F-16 fighter jet, as you perform amazing stunts with airplanes around the world. Flight Stunts is a real 3D aerial action game. Fly the motion-controlled planes by turning your iPhone or iPod touch, as you take to the skies to complete the missions.

Flight Stunts 3DAction packed with breathtaking scenery your aerial performances are what it's all about. You need to deliver pulse-pounding maneuvers with lifelike graphics that include authentically re-created aircraft, airports, and scenery. Players need to accomplish twenty tasks in five challenging missions (full version). These tasks include:

  • Manoeuvring an Airbus A319 under the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
  • Dropping a paratrooper in the Olympic Stadium of Beijing
  • A dog fight over the Atlantic Ocean against Apache helicopters and an aircraft carrier
  • Performing a flyaround at New York's JFK airport control tower
  • Fighting against enemy MIGs in a virtual air combat over Moscow
  • and much more...

Do not expect a flight sim like X-plane which is all about instrument panels and weather conditions, this is about the fun and the action and anyone can fly. Climbs, curves, and midair dives: it's white-knuckle time as you fight the G-forces with exhilarating air show pilot point-of-view.

Take to the skies in a way never before experienced on the iPhone and iPod touch as you perform precision aerobatics in "Flight Stunts".

Available in the App Store

Eye Glasses Magnifying App for iPhone

PR: Freeverse, has announced the release of Eye Glasses, an iPhone application that clearly displays objects that are too small to make out - from fine print to photo details. Whether at the DMV or the doctor's office, Eye Glasses helps bring life into focus!

Eye Glasses uses the iPhone 3GS autofocusing camera to clearly display text or imagery. To use Eye Glasses, users choose between four different levels of magnification, from 2x, 4x, 6x or 8x, point the iPhone camera at the item, and see it magnified on the screen as the camera sharpens the image.

If you're shy about not being able to see as well as you'd like, Eye Glasses helps you discreetly read the fine print using your iPhone. The app is ideal for farsighted individuals, those with reading glasses or bifocals, senior citizens and anyone that just needs to see more clearly.

Eye Glasses is now available in the Apple App Store for $2.99.

Test Your Survival Skills with the Worst-Case Scenario

PR: Namco Networks brings the best-selling book franchise to iPhone and iPod touch with fast-paced trivia game

The hit survival trivia book series, Worst-Case Scenario, is launching on Apple's App Store to test users' survival knowledge and powers of observation. Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of mobile, iPhone and PC games for mass-market casual gamers, today announced the release of Worst-Case Scenario for 99¢. Worst-Case Scenario is an entertaining and informative trivia game based on the popular handbook series created by Quirk Productions and published by Chronicle Books which has sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into 26 languages.

The game gives players access to more than 300 trivia questions, providing hours of unique game play. Additionally, Namco Networks utilizes the in-app purchasing feature to provide three additional 300 question downloadable content packs, each priced at 99¢.

"Players can see if their survival instincts are spot on for everything from crossing piranha-infested waters to wedding disasters," said Jonathan Kromrey, general manager of Apple Games for Namco Networks. "This is just another example of a great 99 cent title that provides quick and satisfying entertainment. Once done playing, there are three additional question packs available for download for even more challenge and fun."

Consumers can test their survival skills and prepare themselves for almost any disaster while on the go with this new iPhone game. Worst-Case Scenario features rapid-fire trivia questions covering 11 different categories from the best-selling books, including dating, outdoor survival and politics. Players can test their skills with questions ranging from surviving the direst of dating disasters to avoiding an angry alligator attack.

Worst-Case Scenario also features Facebook Connect, allowing users to post their rankings on Facebook and share achievements with their friends.

For more information on Worst-Case Scenario or other games by Namco, please visit www.namcogames.com or Namco Networks on Facebook.

I Am Safe: 24 Hour Personal Security

PR: New iPhone App I Am Safe can help users in emergency situations with the single touch of a button by triggering a series of potentially lifesaving actions. If users never experience a personal safety emergency and the App remains inactive, all the better, say the App's developers

Picture This

You can be traveling the world on your own, or just out for a night with your friends who have gone their separate ways and left you to catch a taxi. It is three in the morning, the streets are deserted and there's not a taxi to be seen anywhere. All of a sudden, you feel very alone and vulnerable.

You think you see movement in the darkness of a doorway close by. Then, from nowhere a large figure is rushing at you. The situation immediately becomes an emergency.

At once, with one touch of the I Am Safe button on your iPhone your emergency strategy is activated and positive safety actions are triggered. The people who care about you are notified immediately by SMS and Email, your position is tracked and recorded wherever you may be and the event is monitored.

I Am Safe will send your messages to and from anywhere in the world, subject to the integrity of the signal on your iPhone.

You can have your loved ones monitor your safety at any time from anywhere and feel totally secure. In today's world of uncertainty and violence, I Am Safe is a must for everyone.

App Features

  • On activation I Am Safe will immediately - Send an incoming call ringtone to your iPhone, which may avert the potential incident,
  • Compute your position on the map
  • Register the date and time of the incident
  • Send a pre-worded PANIC email to five nominated contacts from your contact list
  • Send up to five SMS messages to your nominated contacts
  • Attach a web-link to your email's navigating to the I Am Safe incident page
  • Allow your contacts to monitor your position and listen to audio recordings in real-time
  • Continuously record the incident and save the recording for future reference on the server

Sending SMS's attracts a charge. The first bank of SMS's included in the initial price of I Am Safe. Subsequent uses need to be purchased on the Members page.

Regular Price - $6.99

Limited time - $2.99

Accessories

iHome Ships New Dual Dock Alarm Clock Radio for iPhone & iPod

PR: Swapping out or hassling with multiple chargers just became obsolete as iHome, a leading supplier of innovative iPod/iPhone speaker solutions, today shipped the iP88 Dual Docking Station for iPhone/iPod. The iP88 is the first iHome unit that allows users to dock and charge two iPhones simultaneously and also charge iPod models, all while serving as a great-sounding alarm clock radio.

iHome iP88"At iHome, we understand that many households have multiple iPhones, iPods and docking stations. The iP88 is designed to help consolidate a family's needs into a single accessory and make a positive impact on their lives," says Evan Stein, Vice President of Marketing, iHome. "As part of our award-winning alarm clock radio line, the iP88 provides owners with a single charging solution at a reasonable price without sacrificing functionality or quality."

Shielded for iPhone and compatible with docking iPod models, the iP88 allows users to charge, play and wake to a designated playlist, AM/FM radio or buzzer, has three separate alarm settings and a remote control. Equipped with Reson8 stereo speakers, EQ and 3D sound, the user will enjoy a rich listening experience with clarity and depth.

The iP88 is currently available for purchase on ihomeaudio.com and at major retail outlets nationwide for the suggested retail price of $149.99.

Purchase Links

Marware Accent Case for iPhone 3G/3GS

PR: Marware Inc. announces the Accent carrying case for iPhone 3G/3GS is now shipping. The sturdy, patent leather construction allows you to carry your iPhone in a purse, bag, or pocket with confidence. The subtle pattern on the front is decorative, without being overly flashy.

When closed, the Accent is a slim, stylish flip case protecting the iPhone. Use the volume buttons, listen to your earbuds, and use the speaker or microphone with the case open. The Accent protects the iPhone and provides total functionality, all with the glossy look and style of an expensive fashion accessory. The Accent comes with Marware's Lifetime Warranty.

Features:

  • Glossy patent-leather with decorative, colorful cover
  • Front flap totally encloses and protects the iPhone when closed
  • Elastic siding ensures a secure fit
  • Easy in-case access to all iPhone functionality and buttons
  • Includes: Patent-leather flip case, clear screen protector, cleaning cloth, and Marware's Lifetime Warranty

The Accent is available in blueberry, bubble gum, cherry, chocolate, lemon ice, licorice, orange sorbet, and vanilla. The Accent retails for $29.99 and is now shipping. Please visit Marware online for additional information. Marware is a leading provider of software and accessory solutions for Apple iPhones, iPods, and Notebooks.

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