Any joy in the Zune division?

It has arrived. The limited-edition (500-only) Joy Division Zune, carrying artwork derived from Factory Records design guru, Peter Saville’s, Unknown Pleasures.

It goes on sale when the Joy Division documentary ships on June 17, with all 500 units shipping pre-loaded with the film.

Is this a fitting epitaph to iconic Joy Division singer, Ian Curtis? Is it the sign of Microsoft’s New Order in the music player space, or is it an Unknown Pleasure because no one cares about Zune?

In the spirit of American Idol, you get to decide. Say your piece in the comments below…

Thanks to Pitchfork.



Telefonica's Movistar to (really this time) carry iPhone in Spain

It’s crystal clear now that Apple is going to be in Spain this year.  On again,  off again news that Spain’s Telefonica Movistar unit will be offering the iPhone in Spain – went official today.

Telefonica this morning confirmed it will begin selling the iPhone in Spain this year. The company owns UK network, O2, which sells the device in Ireland and the UK.

At the end of March, Telefonica had 23 million users in Spain, where it is the leading mobile phone firm. 

Also in Europe, it recently emerged Apple  will offer the iPhone in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia through TeliaSonera AB. It is in talks with Royal KPN NV to distribute iPhone in the Netherlands.

Softbank to carry 3G iPhone in Japan

Same story, different Carrier/Country.  Softbank announces that they will carry the 3G iPhone on their UMTS 3G Network later this year…


Since they don’t mention exclusivity, NTT Docomo, KDDI and the rest still have a shot – so don’t go dropping your current provider just yet!

iPlayer hacked for Mac

 Impatient Mac users in the UK have been complaining that while the BBC streams shows to their platform using iPlayer, it doesn’t yet allow them to download shows for offline viewing, a feature Windows users already enjoy.

Things have changed.

Developer wizard_drongo has released an application called iPlayer Downloader which enables Mac users to download shows from iPlayer in the QuickTime format. It’s not a legal tool, as the software also eradicates and DRM on iPlayer shows, meaning episodes can be transferred to other devices, encoded into different media, and watched beyond the BBC’s permitted window for using such content.

It’s highly probable the BBC will move fast to undermine the hack used in the software in order to protect its service and its content suppliers, but meanwhile Mac users with a penchant for Doctor Who can build their unofficial collection of digital recordings.

The move is likely to increase the pressure on the BBC to enable show downloads for Mac users, the company has promised to make such features available later this year. This will only allow Mac users to watch content for a defined period, after which downloaded files will cease to work.



iPhone SDK 6 arrives

Apple has introduced the sixth version of its iPhone SDK, saying it includes support for the ‘latest iPhone software’.

The new release also requires that Mac OS X 10.5.3 be installed, the company said, revealing the SDK won’t work with previous operating systems.

The  1.19GB download is available from the iPhone Dev Center and includes a complete set of tools, compilers, frameworks, and documentation, including an iPhone Simulator for testing. 

Release notes detailing the new version are available here. 

One new feature within the recent Mac OS X 10.5.3 upgrade saw better support for Google. The Address Book application in Mac OS X 10.5.3 now lets iPhone users sync their Address Book with Google Contacts. To try it, go to the Address Book menu, choose Preferences, and then check Synchronize with Google. It’ll ask for your Google account and password, then automatically update your contacts every time you sync your iPhone, reveals Google.


UPDATED: iPhone for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – Also Holland

 Apple has finally secured a distribution deal for iPhone in the Nordic nation states, with Sweden’s largest mobile firm, TeliaSonera AB, moving to ship the device in seven countries there, starting “later this year”.

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will all be served by TeliaSonera AB, (pictured, former CEO Anders Igel).

Good news for Holland today, as local mobile network Royal KPN NV has now confirmed it is in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone in the Netherlands.

A statement emanating from Reuters explains the company was approached by Apple about selling iPhone on the Dutch market, “of course, the company is interested,” a spokesman said.

The only remaining major territories on a global basis in which Apple hasn’t yet made a distribution deal include Russia, China, and parts of Asia and Africa. Most larger countries now appear to have some form of distribution deal in place. Read our ‘who’s-who in iPhone distro deals so far?’ for more information.


iPhone gains games control device

 Development of a Sony PSP-like games controller for the iPhone is underway, and while it’s currently only compatible with jailbroken devices, it’s no stretch of imagination to see its release for all iPhones, if the technology driving it is permitted under the iPhone SDK.

iControlpad is a peripheral device which connects to the dock connector on the iPhone (or the iPod touch). It binds the device within a controller that’s of similar shape to the Sony PSP, including dedicated control buttons with which to play games on the handheld.

“Your iPhone just slides in and locks in to place, there are no modifications needed and you can remove it at any time,” the developers explain, adding, “The iControlPad is already supported by some of the biggest iPhone devs (including ZodTTD – PSX, GBA emu etc.) and we are sending out units to several others.”

The first prototype controller has been assembled, slightly smaller than the PSP the iPhone slots securely into place – the developers are also assembling a version for the iPod touch, they said.

There’s a caveat, at least for the present – not all the buttons are fully-functional just yet, but the move does suggest the emergence of a new category of ancillary peripherals for iPhone beckons.


Copyright Police may seize iPods, Macs under G8 trade deal (Updated)

 iPods, iPhones, laptops and other digital devices could be seized by customs officials worldwide under a new top-secret copyright policing deal being worked out between the G8 nations, reports claim.

Nations including Canada, the US and various European states (including the UK, which sits on the G8) are secretly agreeing a new pan-global state police deal in which information held on iPods and other devices could be subject to investigation by customs officials tasked with a new role, as copyright police.

Dubbed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), signatory nations will form an international coalition against copyright infringement.

The deal’s up for discussion at the next G8 meeting in Tokyo in July, It creates rules and regulations to govern private copying and copyright laws, and posits the founding of an international regulator, “that would turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police,” reports Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and other Canadian media outlets.

These copyright police would be given the job of checking laptops, iPods, iPhones and other personal devices for content that “infringes” on copyright laws, “including ripped CDs and DVDs”. To make this Stalinist proposition even more annoying, front line security staff will be empowered to decide what content infringes on copyright laws. And also makes any content copied from DVD or a digital video recorder open to scrutiny by officials.

It’s likely these lunatic new proposals are being drawn up in secret in order to outflank any outcry by privacy advocates or any true intellectual discussion as to whether such protectionism should be applied in favour of content creation firms.

Officials will be able to levy fines or seize goods even in the absence of any complaints by rights holders. And searches will be allowed even without a lawyer present. And ISPs will be forced to hand over personal information on any alleged copyright infringers – no actual proof will be required. And, to make it even more Orwellian, ACTA will be unaccountable to any existing trade organisation, effectively meaning the RIAA and other such bodies will run a public/private international police force with the right to search, fine and confiscate property without any accountability. Local Canadian privacy advocates point out that governments have been privately negotiating these new proposals without consultation, and that the proposals revealed yesterday only surfaced due to the application of freedom of information type laws.

The European Commission has now published a "fact sheet" concerning this legislation, while not disclosing the measures confirmed by major Canadian media as being under discussion, you can read this document online here.


Apple Jobs page reveals GPS Antenna in upcoming iPhones

Apple’s searching for a Product Design Engineer for the iPhone – and the ad suggests GPS support’s just around the corner for the device.

That’s logical, as we already know the latest iPhone Software 2.0 pre-release build offers location-aware services that let you tag images with your location as you take images, if you like. And while the Skyhook system’s impressively effective, it’s no great leap to think GPS is on the road-map.

Apple’s recruitment advertisment says: “As a member of a cross-functional design team at Apple, you will help to create the next generation of the world’s finest handheld devices. You will conceive, design, and bring into production products that will re-define the music experience. You will work closely with many different cross functional teams including Industrial Design, Packaging, Safety, Hardware Engineering, EMC, and Marketing.”

The applicant needs the highest qualifications and extensive experience, along with 3D CAD design skills, handheld/portable device experience, and must be able to integrate wireless antenna into the product. “Integration of wireless antenna (GSM, GPS, Wifi) into mechanical enclosures a big plus,” the ad declares.

Oh yes, it’s also helpful if the applicant possesses Mandarin or Japanese language skills. And be prepared to travel. Still – at least this product designer will know where they are as they test those GPS-enabled ‘Phones.



World first FM transmitter for iPhone ships

 Griffin Technology has introduced the world’s first FM transmitter for the iPhone, a variant of its iTrip device.

That’s sure to be a popular gadget, and also suggests more such peripherals will emerge for the device in future, as iPhone generates its own surrounding ecosystem of third-party add-ons, just like iPod.

iTrip AutoPilot plugs directly into the 12V power port in your car while connecting to your iPhone or iPod through the dock connector. Built-in software scans the FM frequencies to find the best one to play music through, and the system supports RDS, meaning you can see what track’s playing on your car radio display.

The device costs £59.99 in the UK, $99.99 in the US.