iCloud to make official debut on October 12

Following its preview at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in June, iCloud has received an official debut date—October 12—at Tuesday’s Let’s Talk iPhone Apple event. It replaces the company’s oft-maligned $99 MobileMe service, offering a central online repository for your mail; contacts; calendars; music, TV, app and book purchases; photos; documents; and backup—all for free. In addition, Apple introduced a new app called Find My Friends, for connecting with friends and family.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, unveiled the service after Scott Forstall’s presentation on iOS 5, also scheduled to ship on October 12. iCloud is comprised of several parts: seamless sync and backup for iOS devices; a server that pushes your contacts, calendar, mail, notes, and reminders to all your devices; and remote access to all your iTunes purchases. And for $25 a year, customers can purchase the supplemental iTunes Match service and receive access to their entire music library (up to 25,000 songs across 10 devices), including songs not originally purchased from the iTunes store.

Sync to the world

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iPhone 4 trade-ins up in advance of Apple announcement

iPhone 4 trade-in business has been very brisk at companies that buy older smartphones, an early indication of how Apple’s next model will sell, the firms said.

Apple is expected to unveil its next iPhone—what most have named “iPhone 5,” although that may not be what Apple calls it—during a media event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT.

Interest in the new iPhone is high, said Jeff Trachsel, the chief marketing officer at NextWorth, judging by the volume of trade-in transactions the company has conducted in the last week.

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The Week in iOS Accessories: Feeling remote

Your iPhone or iPad is surely useful to you, but let's face it: Apple's mobile products are also just plain fun. In researching this week's roundup of accessories, we've spotted tanks, wall-climbing cars, and a few new speaker systems tailed specifically for iOS devices. And if you're still looking for something useful, we've got you covered there, as well.

Aidacase: Another Bluetooth keyboard case for the iPad 2 has arrived: Aidacase's $90 Attache Keycase is described as a "crocodile-style" case with with a touch-typist-friendly keyboard for your tablet. The device is lightweight, at 40 ounces (including the iPad), and conserves battery power by putting the keyboard in standby mode three minutes after the last keystroke.

Bose's SoundLink

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T-Mobile publishes open letter about the iPhone, Android

On Monday, T-Mobile chief marketing officer Cole Brodman published a blog post titled “About the iPhone—a Letter to T-Mobile Customers.” In it, Brodman says that the company welcomes the iPhone users on its network, but since the carrier still can’t sell the iPhone directly, its core focus is on offering an excellent Android experience.

Brodman opens his letter quite candidly, writing, “we think the iPhone is a great device and Apple knows that we’d like to add it to our line-up.” He states that T-Mobile has more than one million iPhone customers on its U.S. network currently, thanks to unlocked iPhones. (Many of those iPhones are surely jailbroken; some are factory-unlocked, straight from Apple.) Brodman continues: “We are interested in offering all of our customers a no-compromise iPhone experience on our network.”

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Samsung and Apple clash in Dutch court

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung continued on Monday in a district court hearing in The Hague, Netherlands, during which the two companies argued the merits of four Samsung patents.

The patents are related to methods of managing the data connection and speed between a mobile station, such as a smartphone or tablet, and a network base station, and are presented as being standards-essential, which means they are incorporated in internationally accepted technology standards—in this case 3G and UMTS.

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The Week in iPad Cases: Mirror, mirror on the wall

This week's iPad-case roundup shows that the Smart Cover has had a profound impact on the way case vendors design their wares. Instead of trying to replace the Smart Cover, a growing number of manufacturers are creating protection that integrates with Apple's cover, addressing its flaws and enhancing its functionality.

Bracketron's iRoom iDock
Bracketron's iRoom iDock

Bracketron: Designed for effortless docking and undocking, the iRoom iDock (iPad and iPad 2; price unavailable) can be mounted on a wall and is available both in landscape and portrait configurations. Its motorized mechanism makes it easy to secure your tablet with the docking mechanism and can even be activated via a proximity sensor. The iDock is available in black or white.

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The Week in iOS Accessories: Now we're cookin'!

This week's roundup of accessories for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod includes a number of new speaker systems, as well as options for charging your i-devices, using your iPad in the kitchen, and mounting your tablet on your hand or leg.

Altec Lansing's iMT630

Altec Lansing: The veteran audio company has unveiled the $150 iMT630 Classic sound system, which features an iPhone-charging dock as its centerpiece. The portable system includes a rechargable battery, and it can be operated using either onboard controls or the included remote control. Altec Lansing also provides several iOS music apps available, including Music Mood and Alarm Rock, that let users manage their music while their iPhone is docked in the speaker system.

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