Apple is abandoning past partners Skyhook and Google for location data in favor of its own database, signaling a further move towards in-house mapping and location services. TechCrunch reports that in a letter responding to a Congressional request for information about its data collection, Apple indicated it is now using its own location database to provide iOS 3.2 and later devices with location information. “For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said in the letter. “Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes.” Apple purchased online mapping firm Poly9 earlier this year and bought the mapping service PlaceBase in 2009; these acquisitions, along with confirmation that it is running its own location database, lend credence to the suggestion that Apple is planning to launch its own mapping service.
T-Mobile today launched the iPhone 4 in the U.K. According to Macworld U.K., the carrier is offering a range of 24-month contracts, from £30 to £60. Prior to today, the carrier had yet to post any details of when it would launch the handset and what pricing might be. “Bringing iPhone 4 to our customers in the UK is a fantastic move for T-Mobile,” Lysa Hardy, vice president of T-Mobile Propositions, told the publication. “With a range of value plans we’re making iPhone 4 more accessible to even more customers in the UK.” T-Mobile, with Three, joins O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile in offering the iPhone 4 in the UK.
iPhone 4 purchasers in Canada are facing long lines and potential sellouts on launch day. iLounge’s Canadian editor Jesse David Hollington was in line at the Apple Store Fairview in Toronto from early in the morning until opening, and indicated that the persons he was waiting with were Apple Store employees, not scheduled for work and unable to enter the store prematurely. Based on his accounts, the carrier stores in Canada have had lineups but had way less stock, possibly not enough to even fulfill the number of people in line. While all the major carriers in Canada were offering the phone, Apple is also selling it unlocked, giving users the option of roaming between networks and utilizing pre-paid micro SIM cards when overseas. Apple launched the iPhone 4 in iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland today.
Update: Several Rogers stores observed by iLounge editors are now indicating that they are sold out of iPhone 4s.
Rogers has announced its pricing structure for the iPhone 4. New customers can purchase the handset on a three-year voice and data plan for $159 CAN for the 16GB and $269 CAN for the 32GB model. The same prices are offered to those who started an iPhone contract on or before December 31, 2008, and to those who activated or upgraded to the iPhone 3G in 2008 and then upgraded again between June 19 and September 15, 2009, a likely time window for those moving up to iPhone 3GS units. For anyone who activated or upgraded an iPhone on a term contract between January 1, 2009 and June 7, 2010, pricing will be $399 CAN for the 16GB model and $499 CAN for the 32GB model. Similar pricing will be offered by Fido.
Rogers notes that quantities of the iPhone 4 are limited, and that the handset will only be available at Rogers stores and authorized retails at launch. In addition, the company will once again be offering a 6GB of data for $30 CAN monthly plan between July 30 and September 30, 2010, for smartphone customers who activate on a three-year contract. Finally, for a limited time between July 30 and Sept. 30, customers on a 6GB plan can share the data between iPhones and iPads for an extra $20 CAN monthly fee.
Three in the U.K. will begin selling the iPhone 4 tomorrow, July 30. According to the company’s iPhone 4 page, Three’s plans start at £30 for 500 minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 three-to-three minutes, and 1GB of Internet access, with the iPhone 4 being priced at £99 for the 16GB and £189 for the 32GB model; pricing extends up to a £45 monthly tariff, which includes 2,000 any network minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 three-to-three minutes, and 1GB of Internet access; at this level, the 16GB iPhone 4 is offered for free, while the 32GB model costs £89. [via T3]
Electronic Arts has released the latest iPhone game in its popular SimCity franchise. First previewed in March, SimCity Deluxe is an improved version of EA’s original SimCity application for the iPhone and iPod touch and provides a visual style akin to EA’s SimCity 4 with noticeable enhancements in user interface, graphics and frame rate. In SimCity Deluxe, players can play an open-ended game and build their own city or choose from one of seven predesigned cities and remake them from there. The game also provides seven scenarios where users must reshape and plan their cities to meet specific goals such as staging a World Games or coping with a heat wave. SimCity Deluxe also introduces seasons with specific seasonal disasters that can befall a player’s city and allows users to modify terrain and landscape their cities using touch controls. SimCity Deluxe is available from the App Store for $7.
Apple is looking into reports that iOS 4 is causing a number of issues when installed on iPhone 3G units. The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of user reports have cropped up on Apple’s support forums, with the most common complaints being that the phone is slow after the upgrade, that it drains the battery quickly, or that it gets unreasonably hot. “This phone has gone from being a dream to constantly annoying me. Not a way to make friends. I would upgrade to an iPhone 4, but I’m feeling pretty angry that Apple has forced my hand by making my 3G unusable,” said one iPhone 3G user on Apple’s support forums. An Apple spokesperson confirmed to the WSJ that it is aware of the reports and is looking into the matter, although it is unclear whether the problems can be fixed with another iOS 4.x update, or whether Apple will have to release a downgrade utility for the iPhone 3G to return the phone to iOS 3.x.
Reporting his company’s first fiscal quarter financial results, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son made several comments regarding the iPhone and iPad, products for which SoftBank is the exclusive carrier in Japan. Masayoshi Son said that sales of the iPhone 4 “far exceeded” his expectations, and apologized to customers for supply shortages. “We ship and we ship, and then we immediately get more new orders,” he said. He also said the company added 696,600 subscribers in the quarter, many wooed away from competitors that don’t offer Apple products. Regarding the iPad, Masayoshi Son said the tablet was selling well and drawing interest from large corporations. When discussing whether consumers should get the iPhone or iPad, he recommended they get both, noting that historical Japanese warriors often carried both a short and long sword. Despite the strong performance, SoftBank’s net profit fell 29 percent due to a tax hit.
A few details of the upcoming Canadian iPhone 4 launch have emerged. iLounge has confirmed with the Apple Store Eaton Centre in Toronto that the store will be opening at 7:00 a.m. Friday, July 30 for device’s launch and will be selling the iPhone 4 at full price unlocked, or on-contract from all four major Canadian carriers. We were told that no other Toronto-based Apple Store is expected to alter its hours, but are awaiting additional confirmation from a second store. In addition, iLounge was told that no personal shopping appointments or pre-reservations will be offered, meaning all units will be sold on a first-come first-serve basis, and no official pricing has been announced despite recent reports to the contrary. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland this Friday, July 30.
Update: iLounge has confirmed that the Apple Store Fairview will also be opening at 7:00 a.m., potentially indicating an early opening for all Canadian Apple Stores.
Apple is to blame for the current lack of iPad magazine subscription options, according to a new report. AllThingsD reports that Time Inc. was planning to launch a subscription version of its Sports Illustrated iPad app with payments being handled by the publisher, until Apple rejected the application at the last minute, forcing Time to sell single copies as in-app purchases. Notably, a number of the app’s negative reviews mention the lack of a subscription option. The report states that Time executives “have been going nuts” trying to find a way to get Apple to approve a subscription plan. In addition, Apple reportedly approved the company’s subscription plans prior to the iPad’s launch, during a time when Apple was communicating with Time executives. As the report notes, no other magazine publisher has gained approval to sell its own iOS app subscriptions, either.
A light leak issue may be behind the white iPhone 4 delays, a new report suggests. Citing a person familiar with the manufacturing process, Scott Moritz of The Street reports that the backlight from the white iPhone 4’s screen is leaking out around the edges of the glass and through the back of the phone. Earlier this week, Apple announced that it was delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 until “later this year” because the units have “continued to be more challenging to manufacture than… originally expected.” A prior report suggested the delays were attributable to problems in finding the correct thickness of white paint on the front panel; Moritz, the author of this latest report, has been known to post inaccurate information about Apple.
Apple has released its iOS 4.1 Beta 2 and the accompanying SDK. Reports are varied as to whether this second version of the iPhone and iPod touch operating system includes a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor issue, a problem iOS 4.0.1 failed to address; Apple has yet to indicate one way or the other. Both the new iOS 4.1 SDK Beta 2 and pre-release builds are available now for download by paid iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.
Apple has issued an official response to yesterday’s Library of Congress Copyright Office ruling that jailbreaking a smartphone did not constitute a copyright violation, and instead fell under fair use. “Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” an Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac. “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.” Apple had in the past argued that jailbreaking was illegal—in that it constituted copyright infringement and a DMCA violation—and that it could enable “potentially catastrophic” network attacks.
AT&T has said that it plans to fix the software defect that left some iPhone 4 users with abnormally slow upload speeds, according to a Reuters report. After a number of iPhone 4 users reported the issue earlier in the month, AT&T claimed that the problem was caused by a software defect in its HSUPA Alcatel-Lucent equipment, and that the glitch impacted less than two percent of the company’s wireless customer base. According to AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel, the company now has a software patch that can be used to fix the defect. “This patch will be deployed on a phased basis over the next two to three weeks,” Siegel said. The iPhone 4 is currently the only smartphone sold by AT&T that utilizes HSUPA technology.
The U.S. Library of Congress’ Copyright Office has announced a decision under which jailbreaking mobile devices, most prominently the iPhone, has been deemed legal and within the user’s fair use rights. The ruling (PDF Link) states, “when one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses.” Apple has in the past taken a hard stance against jailbreaking, claiming that the practice was illegal—in that it constituted copyright infringement and a DMCA violation—and that it could enable “potentially catastrophic” network attacks.
In addition to addressing the issue of jailbreaking, the ruling also makes note of unauthorized unlocking of mobile phones. While the ruling itself doesn’t extend so far as to ensure “that customers have the freedom to switch wireless communications service providers,” it does state that “unlocking a mobile phone to be used on another wireless network does not ordinarily constitute copyright infringement and that Section 1201(a)(1), a statute intended to protect copyright interests, should not be used to prevent mobile phone owners from engaging in such noninfringing activity.” [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has added a new section focused on the Motorola Droid X to its smartphone antenna performance page. Apple’s testing shows the Droid X dropping from three bars down to no bars of service when phone is held in such a way that the user’s hand is blocking the majority of the bottom back portion of the device. Following Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference, Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola, said, “Consumers don’t like being told how to hold the phone ... It is disingenuous to suggest that all phones perform equally.” In addition, the prior-generation Motorola Droid was at the heart of the “iDon’t” advertising campaign aimed at the iPhone in late 2009.
The large majority of U.S.-based iPhone users are happy with AT&T, according to a new study by the Yankee Group. CNNMoney reports that 73% of iPhone users are “very satisfied” with AT&T, a number that compares favorably to how non-iPhone smartphone users feel about AT&T. The survey found the satisfaction rate of AT&T subscribers as a whole is 68%, while AT&T smartphone users were only slightly more satisfied at 69%. Analysts with the Yankee Group attributed the high iPhone numbers to a “halo effect.” “Consumers transfer the high gloss of their Apple iPhone experience to AT&T,” Carl Howe, Yankee Group analyst. “The iPhone creates a halo effect that rubs off.” Overall, the study estimates that the iPhone will be worth $1.8 billion in sales to AT&T this year, and will generate $9 billion for the company over the next five years.
TunedOn has released a new app, Texto, that allows iPhone users to setup and send pre-written canned text messages via the iPhone’s built-in SMS app. Users can choose from a list of pre-defined short messages such as “running late” or “I’m here” or create their own custom entries. Using the in-app SMS feature introduced in iOS 4, tapping on a canned message opens the iPhone’s native SMS compose screen where users can add additional text or simply send the message as-is. Users can also associate canned messages with individual contacts from the iPhone address book allowing quick access to frequently-used messages or responses. Texto is available from the App Store for $1 and requires an iPhone running iOS 4 or later. The developer indicates that an iPod touch version is currently under development.
Apple has announced that the iPhone 4 will launch in 17 additional countries this week. Currently available in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, the phone will launch in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland this Friday, July 30. Despite ongoing concerns over the phone’s antenna design, Apple has continued to see strong demand for the phone; COO Tim Cook recently stated during the company’s third-quarter financial results conference call that Apple was selling them as fast as it could build them.
Immediately following Apple’s launch of the iPhone 4 Case Program, a case giveaway designed to reduce reception-related issues traced to the iPhone 4’s external antenna, iLounge editors discovered two billing-related errors that appear to enable some users to receive more than the correct number of free cases or refunds due. The first error appears to enable a user who ordered a Bumper case from Apple to simultaneously receive an automated refund and still be eligible for a free case using the iPhone 4 Case Program application. Separately, iLounge has discovered that a single person’s order for multiple Bumper cases led to the receipt of multiple refunds—while still remaining eligible for a free case through the application. As a result, one of our editors has already received credits and order confirmations for three cases. It’s unclear whether this is due to a lack of cross-checking the Apple IDs used to register for free cases with past iPhone 4 Bumper case orders, or quiet but intentional over-generosity on Apple’s part. We have contacted Apple to notify it of the errors and obtain a comment, and will update this article if and when we receive a response.