AT&T has hired 2,000 extra workers to staff its company-owned stores in anticipation of the iPhone launch. The new employees — mostly college students — were brought in for the summer to help deal with the expected crowds of iPhone customers, said AT&T spokesperson Michael Coe. In addition, customers who come to the store only to find it sold out will be able to purchase the iPhone at the store and have it shipped to them as soon as it’s available.
Are you planning to line up for the iPhone? Or sit out the June 29th launch day? We want to know.
We’ve brought back the iLounge Poll to give you a chance to easily register your opinions. As always, it’s in the left-hand column of the iLounge.com main page. Let us know your honest feelings, and if you’re lining up, tell us why! Once you’re finished submitting your answer, you can move the poll downwards on the page just by clicking on it and dragging it away.
According to AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel, a report today that AT&T will wait until the day of iPhone’s launch to disclose rate plans for the device is inaccurate. “We will disclose before the 29th,” said Siegel, noting that customers will be able to show up at stores that day knowing how much they will be charged for both the Apple-developed hardware and AT&T’s cellular service plans. “It’s not going to be anything exotic,” Siegel told iLounge, confirming that there will be separate voice and data services components to its iPhone service plans, rather than the one-size-fits-all plans some had expected. As previously stated by both companies, and re-confirmed by Siegel, a two-year service commitment will still be required.
Larry Carter, senior vice president of sales for AT&T, has stated that service plan specifics for the iPhone will not be revealed until launch day. Speaking with USA Today, Carter did not offer specific details, but did indicate there will be plans customized for the iPhone, which will more than likely include both voice and data. “Regardless of which device you’re using today, you pay us a certain amount for (voice) minutes, and you also pay us for data units,” he says. “That is also true on the iPhone.”
Marketcircle has introduced iPhoney, an iPhone web simulator for designers. The software, which requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later, gives users a pixel-accurate recreation of how sites will look on the iPhone. iPhoney lets users test iPhone-enabled Web 2.0 applications and compatible web sites, rotate to see websites in both portrait and landscape orientation, show or hide the address bar for full-screen simulation, and simulate the iPhone user agent to test browser redirection scripts. iPhoney is a free download from application’s website.
Apple has begun airing a fifth iPhone commercial centering on the phone’s newly-announced YouTube feature. The new commercial features the same background music as the others, with a voiceover that says: “You’ll be surprised by some of the stuff you find on YouTube… but when it comes right down to it, maybe the biggest surprise is finding YouTube… on your phone.” As with the other commercials, the spot ends with the standard “iPhone, only on the new AT&T, Coming June 29.” The ad has yet to appear on Apple’s website.
Update: Apple has added “Surprised” to its website.
Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, speaking at an event in Paris, claimed that there will be more Google/iPhone announcements in the months ahead. When asked about his position as Google boss and Apple board member and what collaborations that might lead to, Schmidt responded, “What you are really asking is to see my iPhone.” “iPhone is a powerful new device and is going to be particularly good for the apps that Google is building,” he said. “You should expect other announcements from the two companies over time.” The iPhone makes use of Google’s search and Google Maps application, and it was recently announced that the iPhone will offer streaming video from Google-owned YouTube when it launches June 29.
Two new leaked internal AT&T documents have revealed more details about the company’s plans leading up to the iPhone launch. The first document, entitled “Prepare Landlords for iPhone Launch,” discusses how store managers should approach landlords about launch details such as where customer lines should form and whether stanchions (queue dividers) should be used. The document also confirms reports that AT&T stores will close at 4:30 p.m. and reopen at 6:00 p.m. for the launch, and that most stores — except those in enclosed malls — will see their hours extended to at least 10:00 p.m. on June 29.
Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has stated that he doesn’t think the company needs to immediately respond to the iPhone. Speaking at the NXTcomm trade show in Chicago, Seidenberg said, “The way we come at this is to let the iPhone hit the market.” He continued, “I don’t think it changes the game plan for how we approach the market. But we need to see the impact. The burden is on (AT&T and Apple) to prove the market will change.” Seinberg also said that he thinks the iPhone may be able to spark new business across the industry. “The iPhone will add excitement and stimulation to the market,” he added. “If we have done our job, then we will be a beneficiary. I hope it does reasonably well.”
In a series of updates to the Apple.com website, Apple has added additional details about several iPhone features, including the device’s YouTube browser, sensors, and Dock. A QuickTour video clip of the YouTube browser shows a decidedly different interface on iPhone from the one released this morning for Apple TV, with the ability to bookmark and e-mail YouTube clips directly from the Now Playing screen. A full Bookmarks screen full of previously saved YouTube clips can be seen, and each video can be selected to view an expanded text description, related videos, and a simple “Share” button. Apple has also added a demonstration of the device’s Accelerometer sensor, which tracks the phone’s rotation from horizontal to vertical display modes, to a previous video of the device’s Proximity sensor, which turns the phone’s touch controls off when it approaches your face.
New shots of the iPhone Dock, previously announced in January, have also materialized in the iPhone Gallery, depicting the unusually shaped charging station’s side and 3/4 front profiles. Selected images from the new iPhone pages can be seen below.
All company-owned AT&T stores will be closing at 4:30 p.m. June 29, to prepare for the iPhone launch. The stores will then re-open at 6:00 p.m. to begin selling the device, according to a Boy Genius Report article. The report claims that iPhone shipments are expected to arrive within the 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. timeframe that day, keeping unscrupulous employees from selling the device early. The store’s iPhone display is also expected to be setup during the hour and a half break. Finally, the report claims that most AT&T stores will then stay open late, possibly until 12:00 Midnight.
Apple has announced that the iPhone will include a built-in, Apple-designed YouTube application when it launches on June 29. The new iPhone application will wirelessly stream YouTube content over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks. In addition, the previously announced YouTube feature for Apple TV is now available as a free update using the unit’s built-in software update feature. YouTube members will be able to log-in to their accounts from Apple TV to view and save their favorite videos. “iPhone delivers the best YouTube mobile experience by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Now users can enjoy YouTube wherever they are-on their iPhone, on their Mac or on a widescreen TV in their living room with Apple TV.” Since the YouTube on Apple TV feature was announced, YouTube has been encoding videos in H.264 format. iPhone will be the first mobile device to use YouTube’s H.264-encoded videos — over 10,000 will be available on June 29. YouTube will continue adding more videos each week, until its entire catalog is avaiable in H.264, sometime this fall.
Update: Apple has added a YouTube demo to the iPhone’s “Internet in Your Pocket” QuickTour page.
A page of notes from Apple’s Developing Web Sites for iPhone session from WWDC has provided more information (article has since been removed) into the exact capabilities of the handset’s build of the Safari web browser. The notes, published on the University of Washington Emerging Technology blog, confirm that the iPhone will not support Flash or Java at launch. In addition, the notes include lists of features and suggestions for iPhone web development, which we have summarized below.
The iPhone Developers Camp has been announced for the weekend of July 6-8. The non-commercial, all-volunteer event, which hopes to help attendees “develop web-based applications and optimize web sites for the iPhone,” will be held in the Bay Area in California, and will be free to attend. Although the Camp is not affiliated with Apple, the official site states that attendees will be able to create, optimize, and test web applications for the iPhone. A venue for the event has yet to be announced.
Apple has added details of its iPhone battery testing to the handset’s technical specifications page. Talk Time testing was done connected to a 1900MHz network; both the Talk Time and Standby testing was done with the phone on default settings except that Call Forwarding was turned on, and the WiFi feature “Ask to Join Networks” was turned off. Internet over WiFi testing was “conducted using a closed network and dedicated web and mail server, simulating browsing to 20 popular URLs and checking mail once an hour. All settings were default except: Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature “Ask to Join Networks” and Auto-Brightness were turned off; WPA2 encryption was enabled.” Internet over EDGE testing used the same setup but utilized a 1900MHz network connection as opposed to a closed WPA2 WiFi network.
Video Playback testing was done by repeated playing of a 2 hour 23 minute film purchased from the iTunes Store (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is 2 hours, 23 minutes long, and has appeared before in Apple promotional material), while the Audio Playback testing playlist consisted of 358 unique tracks, all 128-Kbps AAC, some from iTunes and some ripped from CD using iTunes. During both the Video and Audio playback testing, all settings were default except Call Forwarding was turned on; the WiFi feature “Ask to Join Networks” and Auto-Brightness were turned off. All the tests were conducted between May and June 2007 using preproduction iPhones and software.
Speaking at the NXTcomm communications conference in Chicago, new AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said that around 40 percent of inquiries to the company about the iPhone have come from people that are not current AT&T wireless customers. The company revealed in March that they had received about 1 million requests for information on the iPhone, which launches at 6:00 p.m. local time, June 29.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has released a new report covering several key issues surrounding the iPhone launch. First, Wu states that he is picking up on “some concern from beta testers and supply chain sources” regarding the device’s virtual keyboard. He notes that while the keyboard will likely require a learning curve, he is not overly concerned. He also mentions the lack of a removable battery, and suggests Apple move to a replaceable battery design. Regarding e-mail, he states that “sources indicate that iPhone works with corporate e-mail systems based on Microsoft Exchange, but will not be as robust as the push technology offered by Blackberry.” Finally, he claims that the iPhone’s high price is likely not an issue for early adopters, and has picked up on “lower cost iPhone prototypes for release at unspecified future dates,” therefore he does not believe high pricing will be a long-term issue.
Apple has announced that the iPhone will offer up to eight hours of talk time, six hours of internet use, seven hours of video playback, 24 hours of audio playback and 250 hours of standby time using its internal battery. These numbers represent a significant improvement over original estimates. Apple also announced that the entire top surface of the iPhone, including the 3.5-inch screen, has been upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass for better scratch resistance and visual clarity.
“With 8 hours of talk time, and 24 hours of audio playback, iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”
Speaking on the issue of sideloading, or the process of filling devices such as the iPhone using a computer instead of directly over the internet, Nokia board member Daniel Hesse claimed that the iPhone “will be big in the U.S., but not anywhere else.” “In Europe and Asia there are all those phenomenal phones out there that make the iPhone look pedestrian,” he continued. He did however support the iPhone’s use of sideloading, stating that it “will be absolutely crucial” for transferring multimedia files to mobile devices. “I think no matter how fast the wireless networks get here, the computer is always faster,” he stated. Hesse is also the CEO of Embarq, a company that provides local phone and broadband services in several markets, including Las Vegas and central Florida.
An unofficial iPhone commercial based in New York City has debuted on the website iphonenewyorkcity.com. The spot, available in sixty and thirty second versions, shows people of varying ethnicities and dialects talking about iPhone features in their native tounges, with translation provided by subtitles. A casting call for the spot was posted on Craigslist back in April, and called for “people of diverse ethnic backgrounds discussing different functions and attributes of the unreleased phone in their native tongue while participating in everyday activities.” The ad, dubbed “iPhone New York,” was directed by Alec Sutherland and features the song “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John.