iOS 4.3.1 Released, iPad 2 Glass Thinner but Stronger, 5-in-1 Connection Kit for iPad, and More
This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News
All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
News, Reviews, & Opinion
- Apple Releases iOS 4.3.1
- iPad 2: Specs and Feature Comparisons Are Not the Point
- Which iPad 2 Should I Buy?
- iPad 2: Still the Best Tablet You Can Buy?
- iPad 2: Tips on Upgrading from an iPad 1
- iPad 1 vs. iPad 2 Glass: The Predecessor Doesn't Stand a Chance
- iPad 2 Glass Is Thinner, Yet Much Stronger Than iPad 1 Glass
- iPhone 4 Survives 1,000' Fall from Plane
- Alternate Payment Method for MobileMe Coming
- iFixit iPad 2 3G GSM & CDMA Teardown
- BlackBerry Bans Police Checkpoint Apps; Apple Doesn't
- IDC Forecasts Windows Phone to Outsell iOS by 2015
Apps & Services
- Text'nDrive Voice Texting App More Popular than Angry Birds Free
- The New York Times Releases Major Update to News Application for iPhone
- iEV 1.1 Electric Car Simulator
- F1 News 2011: The Source for the Latest Formula 1 News
- iPad 2 to Computer Transfer Ultimate Software for Windows
- 5-in-1 Connection Kit for iPad
- Skip the Wallet or Purse with Speck's CandyShell Card Case for iPhone 4
- Harman Brings Entertainment Experience on iPad to Life with JBL OnBeat Speaker Dock
- RingO Mounting System: Quickly Mount Your iPad 2 to Any Surface
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News, Reviews, & Opinion
iOS 4.3.1 Software Update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:
- Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on iPod touch (4th generation)
- Resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
- Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
- Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services
- Personal Hotspot requires iPhone 4 with tethering data plan
- New AirPlay features requires Apple TV (2nd generation) running software version 4.2 or later
- HD Video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter requires iPhone 4, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation)
Products compatible with this software update:
- iPhone 4 (GSM model)
- iPhone 3GS
- iPad 2
- iPod touch (4th generation)
- iPod touch (3rd generation)
This update contains security content originally included in previous iOS Software Updates.
Apple iOS can be downloaded from iTunes by connecting your iPhone and clicking the Update button. You can also download the version specific to your iPhone or iPod touch
The Register's Tony Smith summarizes:
"What can I say? Yes, the iPad 2 is better than the iPad one. Yes, it's superior to the current crop of competitors. Apple has ticked the empty boxes on the features list that, left unchecked, would have left its tablet in the lee of this year's other new models.
"There, review done, move on to the next one...."
Actually, Smith continues with a full, multipage review, noting that to reduce the comparison to a consideration of the specifications - particularly in comparison not only to what the iPad left out, but what rivals have pledged to put in - is to miss the point, which is that Apple is fine. Smith says that getting the iPad 2 in your hands shows that while it may be a small step forward on paper, it's a leap ahead in your hands.
Link Apple iPad 2
Cnet Crave's Flora Graham notes that there are six different basic versions of the iPad 2, and that which one you choose depends on how you're going to use it - and how much you're willing to spend, but her advice [with which your editor concurs] is to buy the 16 GB iPad 2, unless you're a music or movie collector who absolutely must take all your media with you. She does observe that if you can't stand to be disconnected, and you don't want to be forced to find a hotspot, you can splurge on an iPad 2 with 3G built-in.
Pocket Lint's Paul Lamkin says the iPad 2 is a mixed kettle of fish that, like any envisaged result of rumor and murmur, ticks some of the boxes that we expected yet leaves us wanting when it comes to others.
In his review, Lamkin considers the differences between the original and the iPad 2, and how these alterations affect his overall impression of the device, while at the same time treating the iPad 2 as an entirely new device on the market (which it is) and giving it the fair assessment that it deserves. What it won't do (mercifully) is to baby-walk you through all the aspects of the iPad and the iOS ecosystem.
BeatWeek's Daynah says:
"Are you an iPad (1st generation) owner? Did you also just upgrade to an iPad 2? Here are a few things you should think when moving your data over to your new tablet."
ifixyouri.com's Chris says:
"We had some pieces of glass laying around the shop and wanted to see if the original iPad glass held up any better than the iPad 2. Is the iPad 2 going to hold up and better than the original? See for yourself. Its definitely lighter, thinner, and yes, stronger."
Edible Apple reports that one reason the iPad 2 is noticeably thinner and lighter than the original iPad is because its glass display is 27% thinner than the one used on the original, but that this shouldn't translate into more broken screens since the iPad 2's glass display is made of a more flexible material, rumored to be Asahi Glass Co's Dragontrail Glass technology which is similar to Corning's Gorilla Glass.
The Register's Caleb Cox reports that while it would be exaggerating to say the iPhone 4 is indestructible, one surviving a 1,000' drop from an aircraft without a parachute certainly takes the notion of rugged to a whole new level. Cox is referencing a "whoops" experience of US Air Force Combat Controller Ron Walker, a skydiving Jump Master who says he leaned out of an aircraft door to look for landmarks and dropped his iPhone. Walker was able to activate the Find My iPhone app and locate his dropped phone a couple miles away in a woodland area, finding it in good working order without a scratch or speck of dirt. Notably the iPhone was inside a Griffin Motif TPU case and an aftermarket metal backing.
MacNews.de's Sebastian Trepesch reports that Apple's MobileMe service is due for a revamp, although not in the way most have been hoping for, noting that macnews.de has been told by the company's support staff that Apple plans to implement "alternate payment methods" in the near future. At the moment, it's impossible for users to renew their subscriptions to the 79€/year service without a credit card, and actual MobileMe cardboard boxes with activation codes haven't been sold in Apple's stores since February of this year - a problem for users who don't have a credit card.
Trepesch says that Apple's support hotline affirmed that there is something in the works for all those noncredit card holders out there. "We're currently working on offering customers alternate payment options," a support staffer told him, without being able to provide a specific due date."
PR: iFixit notes that its device teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions. That's what iFixit's Guides are for. There is not yet a iPad 2 3G repair manual, but you can start one. See the Web page for details.
iFixit staff note that Apple decided to offer the iPad 2 in a number of flavors that would make Baskin Robbins proud: two colors, three storage capacities, and three connectivity choices (WiFi only, 3G GSM on AT&T, and 3G CDMA on Verizon). All in all, that's 18 different versions of essentially the same device.
The original iFixit iPad 2 teardown featured the black 16 GB WiFi only version. There's absolutely no reason why they'd take apart 17 other iPads, but they felt it worthwhile to at least document the differences between the WiFi only, GSM, and CDMA versions.
The Register's Bill Ray reports that responding to complaints from four US senators, RIM has removed two applications that warn users when they're approaching a police checkpoint from its App World store, but so far Apple has yet to follow suit.
"Not that RIM's ban will prevent anyone using the applications: in fact the publishers of both Trapster and PhantomALERT report downloads have increased significantly since the complaint attracted media attention, and as RIM doesn't restrict what applications can be installed, the removal from the official app store isn't such a big deal."
Ray notes that the controversial applications don't do anything illegal, relying on user reports of enforcement activity to the benefit of others, but showing the locations of checkpoints on a map is a step too far for some, despite the publishers' dubious assertions that it prevents drunk driving.
Ray says that the real issue in play here is whether it's appropriate for corporate application stores to act as ethical filters over what applications we run on our mobile devices, and so, whose ethics should be applied? He notes that Apple apparently removed the Exodus International alleged "cure for homosexuality" app on grounds that it was "offensive to large groups of people" who organized protests and complained loudly (see last week's iOS News Review for more details), but so far Trapster and PhantomALERT have only prompted complaints from four people, who happen to be elected senators - not enough for Apple, more than enough for RIM, and nearly enough for Google.
The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011 as more consumers and enterprise users turn in their feature phones for smartphones with more advanced features. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010. Moreover, the smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market.
"Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional," says Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Last year's high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases. The expected market growth for 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from what we saw in 2010."
To capture the strong consumer demand for smartphones, manufacturers have unleashed a steady stream of new models and features over the past two years. The battle for mind and market share has also resulted in stiff competition among the smartphone operating systems.
"Android is poised to take over as the leading smartphone operating system in 2011 after racing into the number 2 position in 2010," comments Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party. This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users."
IDC predicts that Nokia's recent announcement that it will shift from Symbian to Windows Phone will have significant implications for the smartphone market going forward. "Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences," added Llamas. "The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android."
Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 CAGR (listed alphabetically)
|Windows Phone 7/Mobile||5.5%||20.9%||67.1%|
For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423, email@example.com, or visit idc.com.
Apps & Services
PR: Text'nDrive is now the 13th most downloaded free app on the App Store, ahead of apps like Angry Birds Free, Facebook, and Groupon App. Text'nDrive was the first iPhone application to read and reply to messages with intelligent speech technology, and it has more than one million users.
Designed to help reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers distracted by their cell phones, Text'nDrive uses an intelligent, multilingual text-to-speech technology. This allows motorists to listen to and respond to incoming messages by voice using any handsfree device, while keeping their focus on driving.
Compatible with all mobile carriers and with any handsfree device speakerphone, wired and Bluetooth headset, and vehicle handsfree kits, Text'nDrive allows workers and professionals to stay productive while being safer and more responsible drivers.
As of February 2011, 30 states and the District of Columbia, as well as all 10 Canadian provinces, have created legislation to ban texting while driving. A recent study from the University of Utah finds that people who send text messages while driving are six times more likely to be in an accident.
On iPhone Text'nDrive offers a safe alternative to emailing and driving in order to reduce the number of car crashes. On Android & BlackBerry the application can also read and reply to SMS messages by voice in addition to emails.
Users may download the free version of the Text'nDrive app from the iTunes Store, the Android Market or the BlackBerry App World and upgrade to the Pro Version for more features.
PR: The New York Times has released a major update to its NYTimes iPhone application, adding videos, slide shows and more content from blogs, in addition to the world-class articles that users have grown to expect. The new app also incorporates improved navigation, and breaking news alerts enable users to stay on top of important news when the app is closed.
The NYTimes iPhone application is a free app designed for iPhone and iPod touch. The update is now available to current users, and new users can download the app from the App Store.
When The Times launches its digital subscription model on March 28, the Top News section of the app will remain free. To delve deeper into the apps other sections, users will be asked to become digital subscribers. Details and pricing for these plans is available at nytimes.com/access.
"The NYTimes iPhone app is an incredibly popular way for our readers to access Times content on the go," says Denise Warren, senior vice president and chief advertising officer, "The New York Times Media Group and general manager, NYTimes.com. As design and technology have evolved, we are updating the app to ensure that our readers are getting the best possible reading experience with more quality content and better functionality."
Features of the NYTimes iPhone app include:
- Expanded content videos, slide shows and all blogs are now available as standalone sections (Video, Photos, Blogs) and integrated throughout other sections and articles.
- Improved navigation navigation tools have been redesigned based on user feedback for easier use and content discoverability. Readers can now swipe between articles to enjoy a more continuous news experience.
- An improved Favorites section allows users to bookmark frequently visited sections and blogs, in addition to saving articles.
- A Recently Viewed section makes it easy to access recently-read articles. Links at the bottom of articles enable readers to continue reading additional content in the section without returning to a section front.
- Breaking news - breaking news delivered via Push Notification allow users to stay on top of breaking news even when the app is closed.
- Share options share articles, videos and slide shows with a full set of tools, including Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and copy link.
The NYTimes iPhone app is available from the App Store on iPhone or iPod touch.
PR: Munich based companies DotTribes and The Green & Energy Consulting Group has released iEV 1.1, the world's first electric car simulator for 3G, 3GS and 4G iPhone devices. This app enables people to simulate an electric vehicle's battery and range behavior while they are driving their normal car. With this information drivers can get to know their personal range and battery capacity requirements before buying an electric car. This is an update adding new features requested by the users. iEV brings Electric Vehicles (EV) closer to the people, showing that the perceived range problem is not an issue for most drivers. It also helps its users to save money when they have to choose which EV to buy.
The results are specific to the driver's personal behavior, geography, and the car itself. Users can set the car's configuration from presets (Small or Medium sized car, SUV, etc.), or they can configure the variables one by one, such as car weight, area, and aerodynamics. Users then need only to press start and begin driving. When they arrive at the destination, they press stop and the results are presented immediately to them. After several uses the app creates a driver's profile, showing battery consumption and ranges in daily average and peaks.
The results can be compared with the specifications of any Electric Vehicle on the market to decide if that EV is right for the driver. All EV manufacturers show the battery size in the car specs in kWh (Kilowatts per hour); iEV shows the battery consumption in the same way, making it very easy to compare.
To develop this application a team of software and energy engineers modified a hybrid car, changing parts and adding sensors. Tests were run for over a year to create the statistics for the simulation. Then, the formula was adapted to the iPhone GPS until the results were satisfactory and with a very low error margin.
People do not have to wait for the electric cars to come on the market. They can begin practicing right now with iEV, finding out how they can change the way they drive to consume less energy and help the planet.
iEV 1.1 adds the following new functions to the app:
- Trip durations were added to the drive history and drive profiles
- People can exclude individual trips from the driver profile calculations
- Users can now recalculate the trips altogether after they have changed the car configuration
- New layouts for the app tutorial
- Minor fixes
- iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
- Requires iPhone OS 4.2 or later
- 2.2 MB
iEV 1.1 is $3.99 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category.
PR: NewsApps has announced the release of F1 News 2011, where you can read all the latest news as the 2010 Formula 1 Grand Prix motor racing season comes to an enthralling climax. Catch all the latest news on Alonso, Webber, Vettel, Hamilton, and Button, along with Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren as they fight for the championship as well as every other driver and team.
- "Simple to use, quick to update - F1 News 2011 HD"
- "A great resource for all F1 fans"
- "Easy to get to all the best Formula 1 sites without using Google"
- "Awesome alongside the office F1 timing apps"
Formula One news combining sources, Tweets, track conditions, championship standings and calendar along with individual track, driver and constructor listings? There's an app for that - this app. The No. 1 unofficial source for F1 news containing news and information presented simply and intuitively.
F1 news and championship information at your fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like one of Lewis Hamilton's mechanics it's the app that never sleeps. Want to see that track layout for the next race or read the latest Williams tweets? It's all in your pocket. Unique to the HD version are the following features:
- Native iPad support
- Unique, user-defined latest news feed. Meaning the news you wish to see is presented to you in one view
- Background updating of news on the latest news feed
- Ad free
- Additional information on each circuit on the calendar
- Enriched driver profiles
- Enhanced constructor profiles
F1 News 2011 HD contains the best in motor racing from Formula One news, driver and constructor championship standings, calendar & track information along with driver & constructor knowledge to weather and more. No need to scan dozens of newspapers, driver's Twitter feeds, team web sites and fan sites, it's all here brought together in one app. Read the views of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher as well as all the happenings at Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, Renault, Williams, Red Bull and EVERY other team.
From FIA rulings and the latest pit wall chatter on team orders to the rain showers at Spa Francorchamps and Jenson Button's holiday plans, this app has it covered. Download this app today and follow the Formula One 2011 season through to its stunning climax.
- The best in Formula 1 news combining your favourite sources in one view and individually. Once downloaded, news is stored for offline reading for your connivance
- Driver and Constructors standings along with enhanced information such as Team, Nationality, Base, Team Principle, etc.
- Race calendar including individual track guides, information and weather
- Switch news on or off as desired from the Sources view
- View each story in the app or via the website
- Email, tweet or share via Facebook stories that your friends will find interesting
- Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
- Requires iOS OS 3.2 or later
- 17.2 MB
F1 News 2011 is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Sports category for $1.99. It follows the highly successful 2010 version, F1 News 2010, was in the top 10 in the UK Sports category on the App Store and was featured in "New & Noteworthy" in the Sports category during its first days of release.
PR: To provide users with much richer and stronger transferring functions than Apple iTunes, Aiseesoft has introduced the outstanding iPad 2 to Computer Transfer Ultimate. This fantastic iPad 2 transferring software can help users transfer and backup iPad 2 files on computer.
This iPad 2 to Computer Transfer Ultimate supports abundant iPad 2 file types, such as music, movie, TV shows, podcast, iTunes U, eBooks, pictures, voice memos, camera shot, etc. It can transfer all these files from an iPad 2 to a local disk with super high speed and best transferring speed. Also it can export iPad 2 files to iTunes for backup, and it supports the latest iTunes version.
This iPad 2 to Computer transferring software also supports iPhone and iPod. It can backup iPhone SMS, contacts and call lists as database files on a computer.
With this iPad 2 to Computer Transfer Ultimate, there is no need to worry about losing files. Moreover, this software possesses lots of user-friendly features. Its built-in player can help preview music, movies, podcasts, pictures, etc. And it facilitates the transferring process through allowing users to define what kind of iPad 2 files should be shown or not, and sort the files by Artist, Album and Genres.
If you have no access to so many functions of this transfer ultimate, you should pay attention to the iPad 2 to Computer Transfer Standard. This transfer software limits its functions on transferring video, audio and picture files. System Requirements:
- OS Supported: Windows NT4/2000/2003/XP and Windows Vista, Windows 7
- Hardware Requirements: 800 MHz Intel or AMD CPU, or above; 512 MB RAM or more
PR: This adapter helps you to connect your iPad to:
- a TV for Video Playback (see notes below)
- SD card for Data transfer
- Micro SD (T-Flash) card for Data transfer
- Computer for Data Sync / USB Port for charging
- Keyboard for data input / DC for picture and video input
- Incredibly easy to download photos from your digital camera (with a DCIM Folder) to your iPad
- Supports moving jpeg (.jpg) / Raw files from iPhone 4 to iPad
- Supports SD / SDHC / Micro SD (TF) Cards
- Supports connecting via the USB port (see notes below)
- The USB port can be connected to a keyboard for data input to your iPad
This accessory if compatible with (see firmware below):
- Apple iPad
- Apple iPad 2
- iOS firmware 4.1.0
- iOS firmware 4.2.1
- iOS firmware 4.3
- No other firmwares not specified above.
- iPad only reads data (graphics files) from devices / Memory cards with a folder "DCIM".
- Please keep no space between the iPad and the dongle
- Don't have more than 1 device connect to the dongle at the same time.
- If you are not in the firmware we state above, please restore it to previous workable firmware.
- If you are going to connect your iPad with a HDMI TV, we would encourage you to consider this one instead.
PR: Speck's latest iPhone 4 case, the CandyShell Card, is designed for those times when you're on the go and traveling light. It features all the protection you've come to expect from Speck's award-winning line of CandyShell cases, as well as the ability to securely hold up to three cards (ID or credit cards) plus some cash in its built-in slot. The CandyShell Card is the case to carry when you don't want to be weighed down with a bulky wallet or a heavy purse.
"Increasingly, we've noticed that people are looking for cases that do more than simply protect their devices," says Bryan Hynecek, Speck's Director of Design. "The CandyShell Card is a highly protective and functional iPhone 4 case that's an awesome choice for anyone looking to travel lighter. It lets folks leave their wallet or purse at home."
With CandyShell Card, inserting and removing cards is a snap. Cards slide into the rubberized slot, and slide out just as easily for quick access with the handy thumb release. CandyShell Card has been designed to fit both the Verizon and AT&T models of the iPhone 4. It comes in three unique color combinations: NightDrive Grey, GrapeEscape Purple, and Moonsicle White.
The CandyShell Card is available now for $39.95 in stores and on the Speck website.
PR: Harman International Industries, Incorporated has announced the release of its new JBL OnBeat loudspeaker docking station, a JBL dock to bring your next-generation entertainment experience to life, delivering realistic, dynamic sound with any iPad, iPhone or iPod device.
Bringing Netflix movie streaming, gaming, YouTube clip watching and more to an entirely new level with Harman's signature sound quality, the JBL OnBeat dock features dual Phoenix full-range transducers with computer-optimized DSP equalization, creating a richly detailed soundstage. A universal connector that firmly docks an iPad, iPod or iPhone lets you rotate iPod and iPhone screens to portrait or landscape orientation for the best video display, and an infrared remote (IR) puts you in full control of system functions and music navigation from across the room.
Stream action-packed movies, intimate family photos and videos, and share the hottest content on the Web in your living room with family and friends through the addition of an optional composite cable that can send video content from the device directly to your TV.
"Imagine what moviegoers must have felt when they heard sound paired with film for the first time in history. This is what we hope to accomplish for the next era of entertainment experiences with products such as the JBL OnBeat for the iPad, iPhone and more," says David Slump, president, Harman Consumer Division. "Our goal is to awaken our senses to the power that great sound and music can have on bringing media to life through the most cutting-edge devices out on the market right now."
The new JBL OnBeat also features a USB connection to sync and charge devices when connected to the iTunes music library (cable not included), and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack auxiliary input that connects to virtually all portable media devices (cable not included). The dock features a dynamic JBL Weave design styling that is as sculptural as it is conversation-starting. Brackets to attach the iPod, iPhone and iPad to the dock are included in the package. The JBL OnBeat also serves as a charging station for your iPod or iPhone while it is docked.
The JBL OnBeat loudspeaker dock will be available in April in black for $149.95.
PR: Vogels, the European market leader in Audio/Video & TV mounting solutions, announces the worldwide launch of the new patented RingO universal tablet mounting system for iPad 2, iPad, and Galaxy Tab, with new versions for additional tablets available at a later date. The RingO system allows users to mount their tablet onto virtually any surface: wall, car, tile, boat, to enjoy watching movies, reading the latest news, or using any app, hands free.
Snap On & Off to Quickly Move iPad 2 from One Location to Next
RingO's key feature is its simplicity its modular design lets users quickly snap the RingO Cover onto a tablet, which then can be clicked securely onto a variety of RingO mounts: Wall Mount, Car Mount, Flexible Mount and others. Just quickly squeeze the mount clips to release the iPad from the mount, click quickly onto the next Mount, and your tablet is ready to use wherever its needed.
RingO to Support a Range of Major Tablets
Introduced in Europe at IFA in Berlin on September 2010, under the name Mount & Cover, Vogels launched the mounting system for original iPad in the U.S. at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, January 2011, under the new RingO trademarked name, which better captures the essence of the circular mounting design.
Albert Zeeman, VP Innovations at Vogels, says: "We simply needed a better name for our patented system. Mount & Cover was focused on the original iPad, while RingO will support a range of major tablets. It is our expectation that tablet and accessory manufacturers will be excited by the potential, and will seek to license RingO for incorporation into their products."
RingO for iPad 2 and other tablets will be available internationally in late April from major retailers and Apple Premium Resellers, priced at: $69.99 for the Starter Pack and $99.99 for the Car Pack.
Recent News Roundups
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Links for the Day
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