In a letter to the FCC dated shorty prior to the company’s official unveiling of the iPhone 4, Apple asked the regulatory body (PDF Link) for a 45-day confidentiality window on certain documents. Specifically, the test setup photographs, external photographs, internal photographs, and the user manual. In the letter, Apple says that “although Apple has begun to market the device publicly, these documents reveal technical and design information that has not been publicly disclosed in such marketing and that is protected by Apple as confidential and proprietary trade secrets.” As is standard practice, Apple in the same letter requested permanent confidentiality for more sensitive documents, including schematics for the applications processor, cellular radio, and Wi-Fi + Bluetooth. [via Patently Apple]
A small number of photos and video taken with the new five megapixel camera of the iPhone 4 have appeared online (Translated Link) after someone in the Czech Republic managed to get their hands on a unit early. According to the owner, who goes by the name of Swenak, the iPhone 4 is very fast, including the GPS, which is said to locate “almost immediately.” As for the device’s new glass and steel body, Swenak said while the outer frame may accumulate minor scratches, the glass is better protected, and the slimmer profile makes it more pocketable. The report also notes that an hour of playing games, browsing the web, watching YouTube, and using Google Maps, the phone’s battery life fell by only 10%. While the photos do appear to be of a higher quality than those from past iPhone models, all the sample images included in the article were taken with ample daylight available, meaning that they did not test the iPhone 4’s low light and LED flash photography features. [via AppleInsider]
Last night Apple rolled out a number of updates to its MobileMe service. Most notably, the company brought its enhanced MobileMe webmail application out of beta, giving the web app a more iPad-like interface. Improvements include widescreen and compact views, the ability to use mail rules to automate organization, faster performance, support for sending mail from a different, non MobileMe address, and improved junk mail filtering. Also new is the navigation screen, which replaces the old row of icons at the top of the page with a single cloud icon. When clicked, or when evoked using the key combination of Shift-Esc, it brings up a Mac OS X-like application switcher that lets the user move between applications. These updates join the new Find My iPhone application, which was launched alongside the updates.
Apple’s new iPhone 4 will contain 512MB of RAM. Mac Rumors reports it has verified that Apple confirmed the 512MB figure during last week’s WWDC conference. The 512MB will give the iPhone 4 double the RAM of the iPad, third-generation iPod touch, or iPhone 3GS, and will give iOS more memory to use when multitasking. In addition, the report states that Apple has said iMovie for iOS will only run on the iPhone 4, and not the iPhone 3GS nor the iPad, suggesting that the application may require iPhone 4’s extra RAM.
After a necessary halt to pre-orders erroneously taken for launch window white iPhone 4 units, Best Buy has now stopped accepting pre-orders of all iPhone 4 models. “Please note that effective immediately Best Buy will no longer be accepting pre-orders for any models of the iPhone 4,” reads a bold message on the company’s iPhone 4 pre-order FAQ page. The page notes that existing pre-orders will still be valid, and that pre-orders were stopped “due to the demand and inventory concerns.” Unfortunately for some customers, Best Buy also claims that “a pre-order does not guarantee a phone on launch day,” and that pre-orders are “simply a way of queuing our inventory whenever the store gets their quantities of iPhone 4 inventory. If your place in the pre-order queue is higher than the inventory received for launch, your pre-order will roll over to the second shipment and so on.” This also indicates that it’s unlikely, depending on the number of pre-orders at a given store, that the store will have iPhone 4 units available to walk-in customers on launch day. Apple will officially launch the iPhone 4 in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan on June 24. [via MDN]
Apple has released iTunes 9.2, the latest update to its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 9.2 includes support for iPhone 4 and iOS 4, as well as the ability to organize and sync books to iPhones and iPod touch units with iBooks 1.1, support for iBooks PDF management, the ability to create and manage iOS 4 home screen folders from within iTunes, album art speed improvements, and faster backups when syncing a device running iOS 4. iTunes 9.2 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Orange has announced its handset and tariff pricing for the iPhone 4 in the U.K. Orange is offering tiered pricing on its iPhone 4 handsets, ranging from a free 16GB unit with the £75/month plan, which includes unlimited minutes, texts, data, and Wi-Fi, and 3GB of tethering on a 24-month contract—the 32GB model is £29 with the same plan—to £319 for the 32GB model on a £35/month plan, which includes 600 minutes, 500 texts, and unlimited data and Wi-Fi on an 18-month contract. Notably, separate 750MB/month fair use policies apply to both the unlimited data and unlimited Wi-Fi, and all the plans save for the £75/month, 24-month contract require a bundle for tethering, which start at £5 per month. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, and Japan on June 24.
Only hours after Apple sold through its initial allotment of iPhone 4 units, pushing the ship date on new pre-orders back from the device’s June 24 launch date to July 2, the company has been forced to push new pre-orders back even further. According to the company’s online store, new iPhone 4 pre-orders will now ship by July 14, nearly two weeks later than orders placed just earlier today. Apple announced earlier that it and its carrier partners took more than 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 units yesterday, saying it was “the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day,” while apologizing for “order and approval system malfunctions” that left many potential customers unable to order their chosen device. [via Mac Rumors]
Following last week’s announcement that developers can begin submitting updates for iOS 4 compatibility, updates have now begun to appear on the App Store. Among the first applications boasting iOS 4 compatibility is the popular Dropbox app, which has also received some minor bug fixes as well. Developers can simply recompile their applications using the iOS 4 SDK to take advantage of the new Fast App Switching feature in iOS 4, allowing applications to be suspended in the background and resumed at their current state, and all applications listing iOS 4 compatibility should at least support this new multitasking feature. Other multitasking capabilities such as Background Task Completion will need to be specifically added by developers and will not necessarily be inherent in iOS 4 compatible applications.
Apple has issued a statement regarding iPhone 4 pre-orders, revealing that the company and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 iPhone 4 units. Calling it “the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day,” the company said the response was “far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions.” In the release, Apple admits that “[m]any customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration,” and says it apologizes “to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.”
AT&T has “temporarily suspended” pre-orders of the iPhone 4, while a report indicates that the company is dealing with a rash of security problems. Gizmodo reports that a number of customers are logging into AT&T’s system online only to discover that their account has supposedly been populated by another customers’ information. The problems are affecting both AT&T and Apple, since the latter relies on AT&T to provide the customer’s account information, and have resulted in people receiving notifications for iPhones they didn’t order, and sometimes being charged for the item in the process. While AT&T has completely stopped taking pre-orders for the time being, displaying a “temporarily suspended” message when users attempt to hit the pre-order button, Apple appears to still be accepting pre-orders online; both companies have already sold out of their launch day allotments.
Apple’s online store has sold through its initial allotment of iPhone 4 units, meaning that all new pre-orders through the store will arrive after launch day. Yesterday’s pre-launch opening was marred by severe issues that left most customers unable to get an order placed through the online Apple Store; the worst of the pre-order reservation problems appeared to be fixed by the evening. According to the store’s iPhone 4 page, new pre-orders will now ship by July 2, more than a week after the device’s June 24 launch. Apple’s move follows an announcement from AT&T yesterday evening confirming that the company had also sold out of its launch day allotment online, leaving U.S. customers who didn’t pre-order likely left with no other launch day option than to visit a local store and wait in line.
Tesco Mobile has announced that it will sell the iPhone 4 in the U.K. from launch. Tesco, which partners with O2 on its mobile offerings, becomes the sixth carrier to announce that it will offer the iPhone 4 in the region, joining O2, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Three. Tesco is expected to announce handset and tariff pricing and details on its website shortly; Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.K., U.S., France Germany and Japan on June 24. [via Macworld UK]
AT&T has confirmed that its website has sold out of its launch day stock of iPhone 4 units. In a statement released to Engadget, the company said, “Because of the incredible interest in iPhone 4, today was the busiest online sales day in AT&T history. As of Tuesday afternoon, customers who preorder iPhone 4 moving forward will receive their device on June 25 or later, depending on when the order is placed. We’ll email customers with confirmation once their order is placed, and again when it ships. In addition, we will have devices available on a first-come, first-serve basis in our stores beginning on June 24.”
In an interview with CNBC, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made several comments relating to the iPad and iPhone. When asked about the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G and its potential in the enterprise market, Stephenson said, “I think this is going to be really a significant product for enterprise. You think about, you know, our objective is just to mobilize everything. Whether it’s in the home or the workplace, this is a device that really lets you think differently about mobilizing all of the applications that you see in business. And we’re getting a strong interest from our large business customers on bringing this device into their environments, and whether it’s working with the salesforce, whether it’s order takers, any number of areas, are really excited about bringing this device in.”
When asked about the iPad users’ data usage, he explained that “it obviously generates a lot of data usage, which is a good thing from our view point, but the beautiful thing about this device is[..] when you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s running on the Wi-Fi network, when you’re out roaming, you’re on the AT&T 3G network.” Stephenson was also asked about the company’s relationship with Apple, describing it as “terrific” and said of the iPhone that “we feel like together we’ve kinda changed the telecom industry,” before adding that in the last three years data usage is up 5,000%.
Finally, he addressed the question of voice quality, describing the uptake and demand for mobile broadband “dramatic,” and admitting that it had an effect on voice quality. “We have been going hard at the voice quality issue in New York, and made tremendous progress,” he added. “And so, we’re getting to a point where voice quality is getting to where it should be, and mobile broadband is the fastest in the nation. as measured by any number of independent people.” The video of Stephenson’s interview is available from the above link or in embedded form below. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple will sell unlocked iPhone 4 units directly from its website in Canada. The Globe and Mail reports that Apple will still sell the phone in its retail stores and the stores of its carrier partners, its online offerings will be limited to unlocked phones only. Apple is currently selling the 8GB iPhone 3GS for $549 with delivery by June 24; Canadian pricing for the iPhone 4 has yet to be announced. As the report points out, Apple’s unlocked iPhones will likely appeal to international travelers more than those who don’t often travel, as the iPhone 4 will be offered by all three major Canadian carriers with a substantial subsidy. Apple will launch the iPhone in Canada sometime in July.
With more than eight elapsed hours since Apple began accepting iPhone 4 pre-orders, both the company and AT&T continue to experience serious server issues that are leaving a large number of angry customers unable to pre-order devices online. Additionally, call times on Apple’s telephone lines are so long that the company’s phone systems are in some cases turning away callers; one iLounge editor spent three hours on hold before being told that the phone-based customer service agents are using the same system as online customers, and thus have no way to resolve the problems. iLounge has been told that both companies are working to fix the issues, and the representative we spoke with was hopeful the issues would be resolved within a few hours. The problems, for which Apple and AT&T have not apologized, began with the unexpected last-minute unavailability of white iPhone 4 devices, an issue that now seems trivial in light of the massive system failures that have blocked orders of other models as well.
Virgin Mobile has confirmed via its website that it will offer the iPhone 4 in Canada, joining Rogers/Fido, Bell, and Telus as official carriers for the handset. As with the other carriers, Virgin Mobile has yet to announce any pricing or plan details. Apple plans to launch the iPhone in Canada sometime in July. [via iPhone in Canada]
iOS Developer Mario Baluci of The App Machine has released some screenshots of his Make Coffee application for the iPhone 4, illustrating how the higher-resolution version will scale and render on an iPad device. Baluci notes in the company’s blog that the iPhone 4 native resolution application looked “terrific” on the iPad and actually runs at an almost full-screen resolution. The resolution of the iPhone 4 is 640 x 960 as compared to the 320 x 480 display used on prior iPhone models. By contrast, the iPad uses a 768 x 1024 resolution screen. Make Coffee is a virtual coffee machine novelty application for iOS devices. Version 2.0 will provide higher-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4, more advanced 3D animations and sound effects and Twitter integration.
Less than half an hour after the start of iPhone 4 pre-orders, the processing system used by Apple and AT&T to sign up new customers for iPhone data plans appears to be experiencing order-stopping technical issues. Though existing line orders for the iPhone 4 appeared to be working, attempts to use Apple’s “buyiphone.apple.com” pages to sign up for new service are stalling, producing an endlessly spinning gear with the message, “Please wait while we process your request,” and/or “session expired” notices claiming a timeout on the user’s side due to inactivity.
It remains to be seen whether these ordering problems are merely a brief early hiccup, or a repeat of past AT&T account issues that marred past iPhone launches with extended service activation delays.
Update: Problems continue an hour and fifteen minutes after the start of pre-ordering and appear not to be limited to new customers, or even just U.S. customers. Unusual Apple Store errors are appearing when attempting to pre-order iPhone hardware from the United Kingdom, and readers with existing AT&T accounts are also reporting timeouts when attempting to order the iPhone 4 from Apple’s web site.
Update 2: Nearly two hours into pre-ordering, the Apple Store’s prior timeout and spinning gear errors have now been joined by a generic “oops” error that appears when attempting to place the iPhone 4 in a cart for online ordering and at-home delivery. Apple currently appears to be falling back to a semi-working system that offers reservations for in-store pickups as an alternative to the still-problematic online ordering system.
Update 3: Apple has taken the Store offline in an apparent attempt to resolve the ordering problems. AT&T’s web site was, as of several minutes ago, processing iPhone 4 orders properly for existing customers but not yet taking orders from new customers. Like Apple, AT&T was accepting orders only for black iPhone 4 models without an option for white ones. As of now, AT&T’s site is down with a “currently doing maintenance” message.
Update 4: Both Apple’s and AT&T’s pre-order sites have returned. Reports from readers indicate that some AT&T iPhone 4 orders were abruptly cancelled for reasons unknown; we’d advise checking your e-mail account for cancellation notices in the event that you ordered from AT&T earlier this morning.
Update 5: Five hours after pre-orders started, both Apple’s and AT&T’s web sites are continuing to experience major service interruptions and order processing failures. We’ll update this story again when the problems are resolved.