An Apple manager has been arrested and accused of accepting kickback payments from iPod and iPhone accessory suppliers. The San Jose Mercury News reports that Paul Shin Devine, a global supply manager with Apple, along with Andrew Ang of Singapore, were named in a grand jury indictment for wire fraud, money laundering, and kickbacks. According to the report, the scheme saw Devine share confidential information from Apple with the suppliers, which used the information to negotiate favorable contracts with Apple. In return, the suppliers gave Devine monetary kickbacks, which were routed through U.S. and foreign bank accounts, plus a front company. Devine is currently being held by the U.S. Marshals Service; Apple has filed a separate civil suit against Devine, claiming he received more than $1 million in “payments, kickbacks and bribes” over several years. “Apple is committed to the highest ethical standards in the way we do business,” said Apple spokesman Steve Dowling. “We have zero tolerance for dishonest behavior inside or outside the company.”
Update: According to Macworld UK, China’s Kaeder Electronics, South Korea’s Cresyn, and Singapore’s Jin Li Mould Manufacturing were all involved in the kickback scheme, along with three other suppliers; none of the three named suppliers has yet commented on the case.
Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform is pleasing early partners on both sides, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Application developers, including Dictionary.com and CBS Mobile, told the paper that iAd is allowing them to charge more for ad space in their applications — a 177% increase in Dictionary.com’s case. Meanwhile, advertisers like Nissan and Unilever report that their initial ads are attracting more users and holding their attention for a longer period of time. “We feel pretty strongly that this is the way to capitalize on where the mobile Web is heading,” said Chad Jacoby, a senior manager of Nissan’s media operations. “What iAd promises is the most progressive thing I’ve seen to date” in digital advertising. Rob Master, the North American media director for Unilever — which ran an iAd for its men’s line of Dove hygiene products — said the company’s iAd resulted in a double-digit percentage of users seeking more information about the product. “The ad served to help rally the organization at large” to the possibility of iAd advertising, he said. “And now that we’ve been through one, the amount of time and team dedicated [to producing an ad] drops dramatically.” Apple began rolling out its iAd platform on July 1.
Apple’s iPhone was the fourth most popular smartphone platform by worldwide sales in the second quarter, according to the latest data from Gartner. Apple sold 8.7 million units in Q2, good for 14.2% of the smartphone market, compared to 5.3 million units, or 13% of the market, in Q2 2009. The iPhone’s growth was overshadowed by that of Android-based smartphones, however, as sales of Android devices went from roughly 756,000 in Q2 2009 to 10.6 million in Q2 2010, accounting for 17.2% of the global market and good for third place in sales, behind only BlackBerry-maker RIM with 11.2 million units, or 18.2% of the market, and Symbian, with 25.4 million units and 41.2% of the market. Overall, Apple held a 2.7% share of the worldwide mobile communication device market, which includes both smartphones and traditional cell phones.
Apple is in the late testing phases of a CDMA-capable iPhone that could potentially be released by Verizon, according to a new report. John Gruber of Daring Fireball reports that the phone, codenamed N92, is in the “engineering verification test” phase, two steps away from production and one step below “device verification test” status, which was the current phase of the iPhone 4 unit that was lost by an Apple employee. Gruber notes that the phone doesn’t necessarily have to be Verizon-bound, and could potentially launch on Sprint or China Telecom, amongst other carriers throughout Asia and South America.
Apple has released iOS 4.0.2 for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, second-, and third-generation iPod touch, as well as iOS 3.2.2 for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, both releases patch a “security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.” Apple recently came under fire for the security hole, which could result in a hacker gaining administrator access to the device. iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 are available now through the Update function in iTunes.
Updated: One iLounge editor has noticed an uptick in reported iPhone 4 signal strength since installing iOS 4.0.2 software. Under 4.0.0, the iPhone reported 4-5 bars of strength, falling to 2-3 bars when 4.0.1 was installed. The same iPhone 4 now shows 3-4 bars of strength, suggesting that something may have changed again in Apple’s bar-displaying algorithm. If you’ve noticed a change, or no change, please let us know in the comments to this article.
Orange in the UK is emailing customers to tell them that white models of the iPhone 4 won’t be available until the end of the year. “We wanted to let you know that there won’t be any white iPhone 4’s in the UK until the end of the year,” the email, posted to TiPb, reads. “If you’re happy to wait another few months we’ll let you know as soon as they’re back in stock. Alternatively, if you want it now, click here or visit your local Orange shop to get the iPhone 4 Black 16GB or 32GB today.” In July, Apple announced that it was delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 “until later this year” after previously saying it would be available at the end of July. [via Mac Rumors]
Cloud storage service Box.net has released an update to its universal app for iOS devices adding iOS 4 support and the ability to access files offline. The new version allows users to designate specific files to be saved locally on the device for offline access and later sync those saved files with updated versions when others make changes. The update also adds file caching to allow for faster previewing of files, makes several user interface tweaks to both the iPad and iPhone UIs with regard to sharing and viewing content and provides iOS 4 support with fast app switching and high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Box.net is available from the App Store as a free download. A Box.net subscription is required in order to use the app; a free subscription is available which includes 1GB of storage and a 25MB file size limit, with paid subscriptions ranging from $10-15 per user per month for up to 15 GB of storage. Enterprise subscription plans are also available for larger organizations.
Developer Kevin Ng has updated his Kick Flick Soccer 2010 game to add support for the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. In Kick Flick Soccer 2010 players attempt to score goals from free kick positions by flicking shots using the touchscreen. Extra points are earned by making more skillful shots and scoring multiple goals in succession. The game provides a realistic physics simulation based on the Bullet Physics library to model real-world aerodynamic effects on the ball. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 version 1.1 is now a universal app supporting both the iPhone and iPad and provides higher-resolution graphics to support the iPhone 4 Retina Display. The update also adds a new “10 Kicks” game mode, six new achievements to be earned and provides several performance and graphics improvements. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.
Following the successful launch of Pinball HD for the iPad earlier this year, Gameprom has released a new version optimized for the iPhone 4. Like its iPad counterpart, Pinball HD 4 iPhone combines Gameprom’s Wild West Pinball, The Deep and Jungle Style Pinball into a single game and adds new features including high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and new multiplayer capabilities. In Pinball HD 4 iPhone users can challenge other users on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in competition to reach the highest score or to complete specific quests. Pinball HD 4 iPhone includes the same general features found in the earlier iPad version, including landscape and portrait modes with full- or flying-table views, a realistic 3D physics and graphics engine, local and global high scores and unique soundtracks with atmospheric music, sound effects and voices. Pinball HD 4 iPhone requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store for $2. The iPad version, Pinball HD is sold separately for $3 and has recently been updated to add the new multiplayer features as well.
A last-minute pricing dispute between Vodafone and Apple led to the New Zealand iPhone 4 launch being slightly delayed, according to a new report. Stuff.co.nz claims that Apple told Vodafone to change pricing for the new handset shortly before its was scheduled to hit store shelves, which angered Vodafone and led them to threaten Apple with canceling the launch. The report says that Vodafone’s head office in Britain intervened, telling its New Zealand subsidiary to proceed with the launch. Vodafone in New Zealand told customers waiting outside its stores in the early morning that the launch was off, only to announce midday that the phone would go on sale, but only to customers who signed a two-year contract. The first shipment of phones sold out within hours, but Vodafone spokesman Matt East claims the carrier has since been restocked.
Building on its successful iHome+Sleep app introduced earlier this year, accessory manufacturer iHome has released its second iOS application. iHome+Radio is a new Internet radio application that provides users with access to over 20,000 local and international radio stations streamed over Wi-Fi or 3G. iHome+Radio uses RadioTime.com as its source for Internet radio channels and can sync any presets that existing Radiotime.com users have stored online for a seamless transition onto the iPhone and iPod touch. iHome+Radio also integrates with the company’s iHome+Sleep app to allow users to wake up or fall asleep to their favorite Internet radio stations and includes controls and settings for iHome’s app-enhanced products such as the iA5 and upcoming iA100 alarm clocks. iHome+Radio is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices using iOS 4.0 or later and supports Radiotime listed stations streamed in MP3 and AAC formats only. iHome+Radio is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $2.
According to a new report, Apple has placed orders for “millions” of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a new iPhone production run in December. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, TechCrunch reports that the production run would likely be for a January launch, with both Verizon and Sprint possible carrier partners. Digitimes adds that Pegatron Technology is expected to manufacture the phone, and that it could end up on China Telecom as well as Verizon. It also expects Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to announce the device at CES 2011, with units shipping in January.
In the same report, Digitimes claims that Apple will launch an updated 9.7-inch iPad with a new ARM Cortex-A9-based processor and 512MB RAM in the first quarter of 2011, alongside a new 7-inch model sporting the same processor and a 1024x768 IPS display; this matches up with information reported by iLounge last week. Finally, the report claims that a new Apple TV will begin production in December, and will use AMD’s Fusion technology, will lack a hard drive, and will offer an iPhone-like interface with App Store support.
Mark Papermaster, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering, has left the company following a number of highly publicized stumbles with the iPhone 4 launch. The New York Times, which broke the story, reports that it is not clear if Papermaster quit or was asked to leave; Papermaster has until this point declined to comment. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told the NYT that Papermaster “is leaving the company and Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, is assuming his responsibilities,” while adding that Mansfield already oversees several iPhone-related technologies, including the A4 chip, the retina display, and touch screens.
In a separate report, the Wall Street Journal suggests that the reasons for Papermaster’s departure went beyond the iPhone 4, however. Citing people familiar with Papermaster’s situation, the report says his departure was driven by a “broader cultural incompatibility.” It also claims that Papermaster had lost the confidence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs “months ago” and hadn’t been involved in the decision-making process for some time. Papermaster was announced as a replacement for “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell in late 2008, but didn’t actually start working for Apple until April 2009 due to a lawsuit by ex-employer IBM.
iOS 4.1 Beta 3, the latest beta version of Apple’s upcoming software update, has a new feature that allows for FaceTime calls to be associated with an email address instead of a phone number. Mac Rumors reports that in the beta’s version of the Contacts application, the software gives you the option of connecting the call via a cell phone number or an email address. Notably, this addition suggests that iOS 4.1 will be expected to support some non-iPhone FaceTime-capable devices, such as the iPod touch or iPad. A supposed fourth-generation iPod touch front panel with a hole for a front-facing camera appeared online earlier this week.
A large number of iPhone 3GS users are experiencing random reboots during phone calls after upgrading to iOS 4. An Apple discussion thread dating back to June 22 and now over 900 replies chronicles the issue, which sees most affected 3GS units rebooting without any provocation from the user roughly 4-5 minutes into any telephone call. The only proven solution, according to several of the affected users, is to have the phone replaced. Coincidentally, a Los Angeles Times story from today quotes Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison as saying, “we’re not receiving any reports regarding [iOS 4] being an issue with the iPhone 3GS.” Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the problem. [Thanks, Palia]
According to the July ChangeWave survey, iPhone 4 users reported a better dropped call rating than users of the iPhone 3GS. iPhone 4 users reported a dropped call rating of 5.2%, compared with 6.3% for the iPhone 3GS. Despite this encouraging statistic, the iPhone 4’s customer satisfaction ratings were significantly lower than the iPhone 3GS’ one month after its release. 72% of iPhone 4 owners reported being very satisfied with the device, compared to 82% of iPhone 3GS users who reported the same level of satisfaction in August 2009. 21% of iPhone 4 owners said they were somewhat satisfied with the device, compared to 17% of iPhone 3GS owners last August. The iPhone 4’s screen resolution ranked as the top thing iPhone 4 owners like most about the device, while the requirement of using AT&T is their biggest dislike, by a small margin over the coverage/speed/quality of AT&T’s 3G network and antenna issues. ChangeWave’s survey is based on the reactions and opinions of 213 Apple iPhone 4 owners.
China Unicom will start selling a Wi-Fi capable iPhone in China beginning next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing a China Unicom official familiar with the matter, the Journal reports that the new offering could help boost Unicom’s sales of the iPhone, which have been slow thus far and have faced competition from gray-market iPhones brought into the country from other places. Notably, the Journal’s report does not make clear whether this new iPhone uses traditional Wi-Fi or WAPI, the Chinese-specific wireless networking technology, although an iPhone with the latter technology received regulatory approval in May. The report also states that Telstra’s Hong Kong unit, CSL, is facing iPhone 4 supply issues after selling through its initial inventory within hours of the device’s midnight launch.
Apple has already completed a patch that fixes the PDF-related iOS security hole discovered earlier this week. “We’re aware of this reported issue, we have already developed a fix and it will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet. It is unknown when Apple plans on releasing the update, or if the same update will also alleviate proximity sensor issues for some iPhone 4 users.
Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security has issued an official warning related to a newly-discovered security hole in iOS that was recently used to enable web-based jailbreaking of the iPhone 4. The agency said that iOS has “two critical weak points for which no patch exists,” specifically one through which opening a malicious website or PDF could give hackers “access to the complete system, including administrator rights.” It is urging users not to open PDF files and only use trustworthy websites until Apple issues a software update; Georg Albrecht, a spokesman for Apple, told the Associated Press that Apple is aware of the reports and are “investigating them.” The warning covers iOS 3.1.2 and later.
City Interactive has released Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple, a new game for the iPhone and iPod touch which combines features of point and click adventure, logic puzzle and hidden object games. In Chronicles of Mystery, the player takes on the role of Sylvie, a young archaeologist who travels to France to visit her uncle, a renowned historian, to find that he has gone missing after a recent discovery of a mysterious underground chapel from the times of the Crusades. Sylvie must embark on a journey to find her uncle and uncover the long-forgotten secrets of the Knights Hospitaller. Players travel through various areas to find hidden objects among the scenery and solve various puzzles such as balancing weights, matching symbols and navigating mazes. The storyline is enhanced by detailed 3D graphics and background music, and the game contains 50 fully-rendered locations, 14 mini-games and a special Hidden World game mode that allows users to play classic hidden object levels. Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple is available from the App Store for $4.