Boom! New chip adds more punch to mobile device speakers

Your next smartphone or tablet may have richer, deeper sound even with the small speakers usually found in such devices. On Tuesday, NXP Semiconductors introduced a new integrated circuit and algorithm that boasts 5x more output power for sound while also protecting the speaker.

Weekly App Store Picks: June 6, 2009


The week may be drawing to a close, but here at TheAppleBlog we’ve got an array of apps to get your through the weekend.

As ever, I’ve got four notable new iPhone releases from the App Store to tell you about. Before we jump into the apps, though, let’s take a look at the week that was with a quick news roundup.

The week kicked off with a bit of a downer as news broke that Apple will be charging for re-downloading premium apps that you’ve already purchased for iPhone. It’s not a big deal — it seems downloading via iTunes will still be free — but it’ll be an inconvenience to users who are prone to deleting and re-downloading apps while on the go.

Next up, Microsoft is well and truly on the warpath with its forthcoming Zune HD, and what’s more, it’s gunning for the iPod touch. The new device will have a touchscreen, web browser, Wi-Fi, HD radio and, I think, looks rather scrummy. Delicious-looking it may be, but I still don’t know if that makes it a true contender.

Our own Henry Balanon stepped up to the plate with a seriously impressive iPhone development resources article. He managed to squeeze in 43 different links to various resources around the ‘net. Coders should head on over to the article and bookmark it immediately; it’ll prove useful as a reference tool.

Another new feature coming to the iPhone has been doing the rumor-rounds: Apple is integrating geo-location within Mobile Safari. Are location-aware web sites the next big thing? Setting aside Google Latitude, I’m not entirely convinced. Hit up the article for Darrel Etherington’s take on the matter.

Pipping Apple’s new devices to the post, Palm’s Pre should be hitting the shelves today. Owners of the Pre will be pleased to hear that Palm’s new devices will sync seamlessly with iTunes.

To celebrate the recent release of Dave Matthews Band Revenge for iPhone and iPod touch, I’ve got three promo codes to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, leave me a comment explaining why you’d like to play this new game.

Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at Put Things Off, Jaman Free Movie Fridays, Pocket Alan, and Terminator Salvation Lite. Read More about Weekly App Store Picks: June 6, 2009

Performing Live: London’s iPhone Orchestra

Photo by Flickr user Jinho.Jung

Photo by Flickr user Jinho.Jung

Over in London, the experimental electronic music scene is positively flourishing.

Having lived in the UK’s capital city for the latter part of 2008, I discovered a bubbling sonic subculture — a community of creatives hijacking ice cream vans, reappropriating medical EPGs, and hacking instruments out of scraps of junk, all for the purposes of audio experimentation.

Particularly interesting is that, among these esoteric technologies, the iPhone seemed to be emerging as a burgeoning platform for sonic exploration. Since leaving London and moving to Helsinki, things have advanced even further as, in what is perhaps a world first, the iPhone orchestra (conducted via Wii controller, naturally) has been established.

The London Geek Community iPhone OSCestra’s inaugural performance was May 8 at Open Hack London, a one-day event supported by Yahoo! (s yhoo) that brought together ultra tech-savvy hackers for a day of coding and communicating. The orchestra, a crew of eight musicians, opened with an impressive (and deliciously geeky) performance of the “Doctor Who” theme. Read More about Performing Live: London’s iPhone Orchestra

Weekly App Store Picks: May 2, 2009


Who’s that knockin’ at your door? Why it’s none other than the freshest pickings from the App Store, joined by a smattering of Apple (s aapl) news.

Before we get stuck in to this week’s iPhone picks and recommendations from the App Store, let’s shift our focus for a moment and have a quick recap on what went down this week.

There’s so much to get through here, so let’s kick off by rewinding back to Monday where Apple launched a new iPhone OS 3.0 beta, sliding in a selection of new features including settings for push notification and audio scrubbing in the iPod app. Plus, David Appleyard took a look at iStat for iPhone. The $1.99 app is a useful tool for remotely monitoring your system performance and resources.

The very next day, Amazon swallowed up iPhone developer Lexcycle. A significant purchase indeed because Lexcycle is the brains behind Stanza, a wonderful — and absolutely free — eBook reader for the iPhone. Also on Tuesday, our own Clayton Lai continued his Jailbreak series, looking at how to jazz up the sedate iPhone lock screen.

Rumors abound as Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams has apparently, “talked to people at Apple.” Speculation has turned to the possibility of two new Apple products: an “iPhone Lite,” and apparently a “media pad.” The latter of which would essentially be an oversized iPod Touch.

The latest addition to TheAppleBlog’s journalistic lineup, Gavin Bowman, launched the App Store Roundtable article series. His first post brings several developers together to look at the growth of the App Store and the initial gold rush. And finally, Apple stealthily launched Live Chat support for MobileMe. (It’s still not going to convince me to move over from DropBox, though.)

And in other news, UK-based artist Jon Burgerman has teamed up with UsTwo, the app developers behind Steppin and MouthOff. The team are currently cooking up an iPhone music toy, titled Inkstrumentals, featuring a crowd of Burgerman’s odd and awesome characters.

Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at Pixel Contact, Wolfenstein 3D Lite, MusicNeon and Lilt Line. Read More about Weekly App Store Picks: May 2, 2009

App Review: Leaf Trombone: World Stage — Like American Idol But With Leaves

title=Leaf Trombone

Learn to play the leaf trombone, perform your repertoire before a global audience, and prepare to be judged.

Since the App Store’s launch last year, Smule has been steadily building an impressive portfolio of sound-based social apps for the iPhone. With Dr. Ge Wang — an assistant professor in Music and Acoustics — at the helm, among a smattering of clever and fun sonic toys, their biggest hit to date has been the multi-award winning Ocarina.
Smule’s latest app, Leaf Trombone: World Stage, is a social musical instrument designed specifically for the iPhone. Players can download new songs and perform before a judging panel of other leaf trombonists. Read More about App Review: Leaf Trombone: World Stage — Like American Idol But With Leaves

App Review: Amplitude — Your iPhone as a Covert Surveillance Tool


Amplitude pushes the iPhone (s aapl) in a new direction, transforming the device in to a hand-held James Bond-style surveillance tool. An intriguing concept indeed, but would Q approve?

Setting aside the more recent Bourne-esque gritty romps of the latest Bond movies — which are, for the record, utterly brilliant — I’ll be forever enchanted with the classic laboratory scenes where Q presents 007 with an array of innocent-looking yet lethal gadgetry.
Amplitude transforms the iPhone in to a surveillance device, allowing you listen in on distant conversations.
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App Review: AudioBoo — Twitter for People Who Want Their Voice Heard


Do you tweet? Then maybe you should Boo! It’s like a multimedia Twitter, designed especially for iPhone users.

Over in the UK back in 2008, Channel 4 (Britain’s edgy TV channel) launched a unique funding program entitled 4IP. Cut to 2009 and, having just announced a dedicated iPhone 3.0 fund, the suits over at 4IP seem particularly keen on Apple’s (s aapl) device as a platform for pushing interactive wares. In fact, 4IP has announced a fund for developers, with almost $150,000 up for grabs at a maximum of approximately $40,000 per app.
Made possible by 4IP and developed by BestBefore, AudioBoo is among the first of Channel 4’s original iPhone commissions to hit the App Store. As developers ready their funding proposals, AudioBoo is set to be a showcase of the kind of app 4IP will be looking for — making use of various media formats, community-focused, and integrating with the most popular social platforms.
Designed to work alongside Twitter and iTunes, AudioBoo is an audio blogging platform created especially for iPhone. Read More about App Review: AudioBoo — Twitter for People Who Want Their Voice Heard

Weekly App Store Picks: March 21, 2009


It’s the weekend, traditionally a time for quiet contemplation of the freshest iPhone releases, welcome to the App Store Pick.

Hang on there one moment though because before we run headlong in to a stack of apps, we’ve got but a few moments to look at the latest happenings on TheAppleBlog this week.
First up, Neil Gaiman’s creepy Coraline just hit the App Store in eBook form. It’s available to download now for $5.99 but we’ve got four Coraline promo codes to giveaway. If you’d like to bag yourself a copy of Coraline, just drop a comment at the end of this post (and make sure to leave an address for us to email the code to), we’ll dish out the promo goodness on a first come first served basis.
Over in iTunes, HD movies are now available for sales and rental too. It’s great that we can reap all the benefits of HD via download, however the price point, $19.99, seems super expensive and thus utterly ill-considered to me. In other film-related news, in a rare publicity move, Apple has opened an official Twitter account, specifically for new trailers, check it out at Those who doubt the account’s authenticity should check out the Apple Trailers site which now sports a Trailers on Twitter link.
None of this matters though when we consider the real Apple news this week: the long-awaited über-happening that was Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 event; and though they may be Jobless, that didn’t stop a flurry of rumor-mongering activity and excitement focused on the unveiling of the latest iPhone software update, arriving this Summer.
For me, it didn’t disappoint, while there’s still no mention of Flash coming to the iPhone, cut/copy/paste will finally arrive, as will MMS and push. There’s also an array of awesome new features beyond those must-haves. For instance, there’s the iPhone’s new Spotlight page — it brings search to the iPhone — meaning you can simultaneously hunt through contacts, messages, mail and music.
For developers, there’s some serious potential for advanced apps that the iPhone update’s APIs will bring. In particular, access to the iPod library for apps — potentially bringing an added dimension and layer of interactivity to our music collections: think Tap Tap Revenge creating new levels with your iTunes music library.
Moving on to the app picks, this week I’ve been looking at Nimbuzz, Yamanote Soundrop Lite, iGamesDev and Cardsnap. Read More about Weekly App Store Picks: March 21, 2009

AirPhones: The True Potential of AirTunes on Your iPhone


I like my Airport Express with AirTunes. I use it to connect my home theater set-up to my iTunes (s aapl) library, and more frequently, for listening to Internet radio via iTunes. But it’s always bothered me that I couldn’t use it to listen to audio from any other source beyond iTunes. I don’t know about you, but the majority of my video collection is in non-iTunes-compliant format, and so when I’m watching movies, I have to run a super long mini-stereo capable from my Mac to my stereo to get the sound working.

Overnight, a solution appeared via my iPhone (and iPod touch) in the App Store. It’s called AirPhones ($6.99, App Store), and it’s an app that lets you stream any audio directly from your Mac to your iPhone or iPod touch. Or, at least it claims that you’ll be able to hear any audio. I found out that wasn’t exactly the case, but more on that later. Let’s just say that it definitely lets you hear more audio than your iTunes-connected Airport Express.
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