Review: Skinomi Techskin Carbon Fiber for iPod touch 4

It’s been a long time tradition: the first thing you do with a new iPod is to make sure that it is protected. After all, we all know just how easily that back scratches, even with extremely light use. The biggest problem with more traditional cases is the extra bulk they add to the device. After all, Apple designed the iPod to be extremely thin, and you want to keep it that way, right?

Well, that’s where skins come in. Skins are extremely thin cutouts of various materials that protect against scratches while adding the least amount of bulk possible. That’s where the Skinomi’s Techskin Carbon Fiber for the iPod touch 4 fits in.

Read on for the review!

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Apple Attempts to Future-Proof the Headphone Jack

Judging by a recent patent application, it looks like Apple wants to revolutionize an overlooked, but heavily used, part of nearly every electronic devices – the headphone jack. If the current trend continues, future gadgets will only get smaller and skinnier, and one of the biggest limiting factors is the “bulky” 3.5mm headphone jack. Luckily, Apple’s plans are not too radical (so all your exiting buds will work), but it will shave off a few extra micrometers.

The patent describes the use of “pogo pins” instead of cantilevered beams to secure the plug and make the conductive contact. Pogo pins are advantageous because they only have to occupy one dimension of space instead of two, making them much smaller and more versatile.

Users (well, except the guys at iFixit) will probably never notice the adjustment (if and when Apple implements this new design), but anything to make our gadgets smaller is a welcome change.

[Patently Apple]

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GV Mobile + Free for a Very Limited Time

Update 2: It looks like the free price is back. It was Apple’s fault, apparently. Mr. Kovacs just tweeted:

Here’s the deal…once it goes free (within 30min), I’ll give it an hour or so before flipping it back. I think that’s fair enough.

And, more recently:

iTunes on computer says FREE for me now.

I’m getting the same thing on iTunes as well. I still think the application is more than worth the $2.99 price, but get it while it’s hot, folks!

Update: And it looks like it’s over; people, myself included, are now seeing the $2.99 price being displayed, both on the Mobile App Store and the computer version. Sorry to those of you who didn’t get it, but trust me: it’s worth the price!

Possibly an attempt to get the app up in the ranking, developer Sean Kovacs has made the GV Mobile + app free, albeit for a very limited time.

The ‘original Google Voice app’ was re-released into the App Store only a short time ago, though it was beaten to the punch by another Google Voice client, which quickly gained popularity due to it being the first. Of course, even a month ago none of these apps existed. The reason why they are there now is because of Apple loosening the App Store regulations.

Good things don’t last, and the same is certainly true here. Sean Kovacs tweeted that:

~1AM EST it will go back to $2.99.

In other words, grab it now. Like, right now. For those of you not on 3.1.3 or later, he says to grab it via iTunes on the computer, and install it when you update.

[GV Mobile +]

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Muzik 3.0 Submitted to the App Store

An app that a good many of our readers have been anticipating has finally been submitted to the App Store for approval. The app in question is Muzik 3.0, which provides a high-quality iPod.app replacement based on the admittedly beautiful Zune HD music interface.

The drama behind this little app started when the developer, Ben Deckys (also known as cocotutch) pulled the app temporarily. Upon re-submitting it, Apple immediately refused to allow Muzik entrance in to the App Store. The developer has been hard at work for a while at version 3.0, which removes the concerns Apple raised, all the while adding more functionality to it.

Of course, Mr. Deckys is releasing the app into a much different App Store environment. Now that the App Store Guidelines are more relaxed to quality apps, it would seem like Muzik 3.0 has a very nice chance of actually making it this time around.

Sadly, some devices won’t be supported, though he assures us that the second generation devices (iPod touch 2G and iPhone 3G) should work great:

Unfortunately, since 1st Gen devices were cut by Apple in the 4.0 SDK, and Muzik 3.0 uses some specific 4.0 methods, and it is now no longer possible to build and distribute or submit apps for 3.1.2…Muzik will no longer work on the following devices:
  • iPod Touch (1st Generation)
  • iPhone (Silver Matte, 1st Generation)
I have no access to a 2nd Generation iPod Touch to test it on, but I have streamlined the very core of the app so it runs like a dream on my ancient and crumbling iPhone 3G 16GB.  I’m coming back armed with an iPhone 4 as of Tuesday the 28th September, so I will of course add some little easter-eggs for iPhone 4 users out there :)
So, good news for everyone who was waiting on this app, and I bet there are now quite a few more of you. In the meantime, feel free to read Appman’s review of Muzik (the original). Also, be on the lookout for our review!
Muzik 3.0 will be available soon for $0.99 on the App Store.
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iPad Patents Surface: Front Camera, Smart Bezel, and Horizontal Dock Connector?

Patently Apple has discovered a few patent applications that show new potential features that may be found on a future versions of the iPad. At this point, it is purely speculation as to what the patents actually mean, since there is limited documentation.

On September 24, 2010, China’s Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of new Apple Industrial Designs wins. In this report we cover two things. The first is Apple’s iPad Camera Connector and the second is a new iPad design which clearly illustrates that at least one future iPad model will sport a new FaceTime – face side camera. The design surprisingly confirms that there might not be a back side camera as most had anticipated.

The addition of a second dock connector would make a lot of sense, especially if you wanted to use multiple accessories at once, or actually dock your iPad to a keyboard. I wouldn’t be suprised if this one really does come to fruition, although it’s not Apple’s style to increase the number of port openings in their devices.

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No FaceTime for UAE iPhone Users

Bad news for potentional iPhone customers in the United Arab Emirates, du, one of the largest cellular providers in the Middle East, has confirmed that FaceTime will be disabled on their iPhone 4 units. There have been rumors of this happening ever since all references to FaceTime were removed from Apple’s UAE website. At first, it was believed that facial depictions were deleted from the product page simply out of respect for Middle Eastern customs, but it appears that is not the whole story.

Since it is deactivated on both cell data connections and WiFi, it can be speculated that it is a mandated limitation set fourth by a higher governing power, and not based on du’s network capacity.

via @dutweets

Our iPhone 4 customers won’t be able to make Facetime calls, as this feature is currently unavailable in the UAE.

Apple totes FaceTime as one of the leading features of the latest iPhone, and having this anticipated feature disabled so unsuspectedly may cause a bit of an upset with the carrier’s customers. We will see what repercussions there are in the coming days.

[iLounge]

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Shatter Exploit to (Possibly) be Unleashed Soon

The administrator of The iPhone Wiki and creator of blacksn0w has just confirmed that the developers of SHAtter, the exploit that will be used in Chronic Dev Team’s greenpois0n, will not wait for iOS 4.2, and will soon be releasing a jailbreak. SHAtter claims to “pwn4life” every current iOS device, so Apple will never be able to patch the exploit with a software update.

via @veeence

They won’t wait for iOS 4.2 to release SHAtter. iOS 4.1 will be jailbroken soon.

The exploit was created by pod2g and p0sixninja, but keep in mind that even though this rumor comes from a reliable source, it is still hearsay until we get word directly from the horses mouth.

Via Chronic-Dev:

  • We have not yet announced if this is tethered or untethered
  • We have not yet announced details about the exploit
  • Anything you read saying it is one of the above in definite terms is just speculation, again, we have not given official word about the tether status or any details regarding the exploit used.

If you have any questions about iOS 4.1 and this jailbreak, check out this FAQ by MrDodi.

Remember: don’t download any jailbreak tools before they have been officially released, there is a nasty trojan going around.

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Most Adorable Thing You’ll See Today: Dancing iPod Nano

PachimonDotCom over on YouTube has modified electronic servos with feet to work with various iPods, iPhones, and even an iPad, transforming them from boring mp3 players to cute dancing bipeds. It may not be practical, but it would make a great weekend project for anyone who loves to tinker.

Check out his YouTube channel for the whole googly-eye series.

For this project, I have developed very simple way to control two servo motors by iPod nano: using the sound from headphone jack as PWM signal that controls the servo motors! Yes, two servos are powered by miniature 3.7V 110mAh Li-Po battery and control lines are directly connected to headphone jack! Very simple!

[YouTube via Kotaku]

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“Discovering Ancient Pompeii with the iPad”

Apple has covertly added an interesting page to their website, which details how archeologists are using the iPad in the field. It’s crazy to think about how computers have, and will, change even the most obscure of professions for the better. Bringing the 21st century to every corner of the world is an important step forward for civilization. (Most important, I think, is the digitization of hospital records.)

In Pompeii — the longest continuously excavated archaeological site in the world — iPad is revolutionizing how scientists work in the field. Rather than recording notes and sketches on paper, researchers at the site use iPad and apps to capture invaluable historical data faster, more easily, and with far better accuracy.

The iPad’s appeal to users who would just keep one handy in the living room may be questionable, since it can neither replace a laptop nor a phone, but it seems like the device is quite useful for professionals who don’t necessarily have a desk to compute on. Many hospitals are computerizing their workflow with tablet computers, as is the US military. It may be a niche market, but tablets like the iPad could help digitize industries that you would least expect. If only Indiana Jones had an iPad during Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with a GPS and Bear Grylls Survival eHandbook, things would have been much, much different.

[Apple via Reddit]

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ThinkGeek Flip-Out Keyboard for the iPhone

Despite the fact that the iPhone has arguably the best software keyboard on the market, many users still prefer a hardware one for the tactile feedback it provides. It was always possible to connect a 3rd party keyboard via bluetooth, but carrying around another gadget is a pain, and there really isn’t an ‘elegant’ solution available. Until now. ThinkGeek has come up with a promising accessory, dubbed the TK-421. (Which is an odd name, so I assume they are making an inside joke to the Stormtrooper in a A New Hope)

The keyboard clips on like a case, and flips out from the bottom of the phone when in use, so it will stay out of your way if you just want to use the software keyboard. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB, and connects via bluetooth so it won’t hog your dock connector. It will be available late November for $49.99, but the current run of pre-orders is out of stock. (You can enter your email on the product page for availability updates.)

Product Features

  • Give your iPhone a real flip-out tactile keyboard
  • Keyboard flips out for use, then flips back in when done
  • Magnet based clasp keeps keyboard in position whether flipped in or out
  • Increased typing accuracy and speed
  • Works with any app such as e-mail, web browsing, notes, and calendar
  • Completely wireless Bluetooth™ connection does not use dock connector
  • Keyboard powered by built in rechargeable battery, recharges via included USB cable
  • Invented and designed here at ThinkGeek
  • Models available to fit iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4
  • (Please note that the iPhone 3G will NOT work with this case. The OS does not support Bluetooth™ keyboards.)

[ThinkGeek]

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