According to a report, Samsung is warning its other customers that supply of NAND flash chips will be cut sharply in July thanks to an Apple order for 50 million 8Gb-equivalent chips, mostly for use in iPhones. DigiTimes reports that supply will also be affected due to capacity reductions made by Samsung in April and May in an attempt to reduce oversupply. Despite Apple’s large order, many industry insiders are still in doubt about its impact, noting that Apple already purchased 25 million 8Gb-equivalent NAND flash chips from Samsung in June, and stating that future Apple orders will depend largely on iPhone sales.
O2 will officially launch the iPhone 3G in the United Kingdom on July 11 at 7:00 a.m. local time, and has also imposed a sales limit of one-per-person on the new handset. “Orders will be placed on a first come first served basis,” O2 said in a text message to customers explaining the need for the sales limitation. “We will be writing to you again before the 11th with details about how you can place your order.”
Speaking at a press briefing to honor Intel’s 40th anniversary, Patrick Gelsinger, general manager of the company’s digital enterprise group, expressed disappointment over Apple’s decision to eschew Intel’s Atom platform in future phones and digital media devices in favor of custom chips designed in-house with the help of recently-acquired P.A. Semi. “Apple chose not to take that road map at their next generation of platform,” said Gelsinger. “That was disappointing.” In June Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed in an interview that P.A. Semi would build chips for both the iPhone and iPod, putting to rest speculation over why Apple acquired the chipmaker. Earlier reports, including one based on a quote from an Intel executive, had suggested that Apple planned to use an Atom processor inside an as-yet-unreleased deluxe iPhone.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures with your iPod or iPhone, and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
T-Mobile has announced its pricing and service plans (Translated link) for the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands. The carrier is offering three different iPhone monthly plans, all including unlimited data, unlimited use of T-Mobile hotspots, and Visual Voicemail, and will price the iPhone 3G based on which monthly plan the customer chooses for his/her two-year commitment. The €29.95 (~$47) a month plan includes 150 airtime minutes, 150 SMS messages, and brings the iPhone 3G’s pricing to €79.95 (~$126) for the 8GB model and €159.99 (~$253) for the 16GB model. With the €44.95 (~$71) plan, which includes 300 minutes and 300 SMS texts, the 8GB iPhone sells for €1 (~$1.60), while the 16GB model goes for €79.95. Finally, the €64.95 (~$103) a month plan includes 500 minutes and 500 texts. With that plan, the 8GB model sells for €1, while the 16GB iPhone 3G costs only €19.95 (~$32). Extra minutes or texts are priced at €0.25 (~$0.40) per, no matter which of the three plans a customer chooses. T-Mobile will launch the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands on July 11.
PocketMac has introduced its new RingtoneStudio for iPhone software for Mac. RingtoneStudio for iPhone allows users to create iPhone-compatible ringtones up to 30 seconds in length from “practically any” unprotected video or audio file. The program offers drag-and-drop ringtone creation from files 30 seconds or less in length, lets the user choose the 30 second ringtone clip if the media file is longer than 30 seconds, and automatically adds the ringtones to the iTunes Ringtones list upon completion. PocketMac’s RingtoneStudio for iPhone requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 10MB of free disk space, and sells for $15.
The iTunes Store’s “Complete My Album” feature, which allows users who purchase individual or pre-release tracks to get the rest of the album at a prorated price, is helping to convert these individual track purchases into full album sales. According to the New York Times, Apple has seen conversion rates of around 10 percent since the feature was launched in March of 2007, but lately that number has jumped thanks to artists and labels using the feature as a promotional tool, encouraging its use through iTunes profiles, MySpace pages, and personal websites. The article points to Lil Wayne’s album “Tha Carter III” as an example. Universal Mowtown made six of the album’s 18 tracks available for download in the months leading up to the album’s release, and despite the album being illegally leaked online, it sold more than one million copies its first week. Ten percent of sales were digital, up from one percent for past Lil Wayne releases, and fifty-two percent of the album’s sales on iTunes came via the Complete My Album feature.
“For artists that have multiple tracks out, if the album is solid and there’s an offer that makes sense to consumers, they will use it,” Universal Motown senior vice president of digital business development Cameo Carlson said, adding that evidence of the Complete My Album’s ability to convert pre-album sales to post-release purchases is a major factor behind the appearance of more pre-release content. “Traditionally, there’s been some concern about how much content gets out there,” she said. “Complete My Album definitely helps alleviate some of that concern.”
With over 2,900 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“What should Apple do with the iPod shuffle?”—has ended. Readers were given the choice between keeping the shuffle, killing it, or changing it in one of several ways.
While 16% of responding readers said that the iPod shuffle was “perfect as-is,” more than twice as many (34%) voted that it should be discontinued in favor of less expensive iPod nanos. Yet a full 50% of voters said that the shuffle should be updated into a third-generation version, varying in what they wanted to see a new shuffle do. Many readers (19%) wanted to see Apple merge the simple iPod shuffle features into a different shell, such as a watch, earphones, or another device. Another 15% wanted to see Apple make the iPod shuffle wireless, while 11% wanted more storage capacity. Only 5% of readers wanted to see Apple shrink it further. Thanks for your responses!
Our new poll is a follow-up to one we launched last month. Right after Apple announced the iPhone 3G, we asked whether you would buy it. Now that voice, data, and SMS prices have been announced in countries all around the world, we want to know whether those prices have changed your mind about making a purchase. The new poll, “Have recent iPhone 3G rate plan disclosures changed your mind about buying one?” lets you answer that question. As always, the iLounge Poll is on the left hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!
AT&T has announced its AT&T Nation and AT&T FamilyTalk plans for iPhone 3G. Its AT&T Nation plans, meant for individual users, range in price from $69.99 to $129.99 a month, and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. The $69.99 a month plan includes 450 anytime minutes, 5000 night & weekend minutes, and any overages will cost $0.45 per minute. With the $89.99 a month plan, users receive 900 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an overage rate of $0.40 per minute, while the $109.99 a month plan provides 1350 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an additional minute charge of $0.35 per minute. Finally, AT&T is offering an Unlimited individual iPhone 3G plan for $129.99 a month, which provides unlimited minutes in addition to the unlimited data and Visual Voicemail mentioned above.
AT&T’s FamilyTalk iPhone plans cover two lines and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, and unlimited nights & weekends. The $129.99 a month plan provides 700 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.45, the $149.99 plan offers 1400 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.40, while the $169.99 plan offers 2100 shared anytime minutes and an addition minutes rate of $0.35. Plans are also available at $209.99, $259.99, and $359.99 points, and include 3000, 4000, and 6000 shared anytime minutes, respectively. Each additional line added to any of the above FamilyTalk plans runs an additional $39.99 per month. An Unlimited FamilyTalk plan will be available for $259.99 a month for two lines, with each additional line costing $129.99 a month.
In a notable change from AT&T’s prior plans, SMS Text messaging is now always sold at an additional charge, and will cost individuals $5 per month for 200 messages, $15 per month for 1500 messages, or $20 per month for Unlimited. For FamilyTalk plans, SMS can be added for $30 per month for unlimited texts, or for $0.20 per message.
For those of our readers who don’t have access to video playback, or just want a fast summary of all of the iPhone 3G’s new features, we have created this: a summary of the freshly posted iPhone 3G See What’s New video, complete with images. Inside, you can learn about the iPhone 3G’s “dramatically improved audio,” the system’s GPS “Tracking Mode,” the collection of Restrictions, and much more.
While the video doesn’t reveal many secrets, you may find the complete feature list interesting. Click on the title or comments bar below for the full scoop, and see our iPhone 3G First Look for many additional details.
Apple has posted two guided video tours of the iPhone 3G. As with the company’s previous guided video tours, the iPhone 3G guided tours walk users through the various features of the new iPhone. The main Guided Tour video covers the phone’s features from the standpoint of a new iPhone user, including basic features and functions that will be familiar to current iPhone users. In addition, Apple has posted a “What’s New” Guided Tour, meant for those already familiar with the iPhone’s functionality. It covers 3G, a-GPS, and the iPhone 2.0 software. Both videos are currently available for viewing and download from Apple’s iPhone website.
AT&T has revealed details regarding its pricing policy for the iPhone 3G in the United States. As previously announced, the 8GB model will cost $199 and the 16GB model will sell for $299, and will be available at those prices to customers who bought the iPhone before July 11, who are activating a new line with AT&T and/or who are eligible for an upgrade discount. For customers who aren’t eligible for the upgrade discount and who agree to a new two-year service plan, the 8GB model will sell for $399 and the 16GB model for $499 — identical to Apple’s unsubsidized pricing on the first-generation iPhone. AT&T will also offer the iPhone 3G on a no-contract-required basis, with the 8GB model priced at $599 and the 16GB at $699. In addition to the handset charge, current AT&T customers who are upgrading to iPhone 3G will pay an $18 upgrade fee and new AT&T customers will pay the standard $36 activation fee. The iPhone 3G will go on sale at 8 a.m. local time, July 11.
Swisscom has announced its service plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G in Switzerland. As in many other countries, Swisscom’s pricing for the handset is tiered based on which plan the customer chooses for his/her 24-month contract. Unlike most other countries, however, airtime minutes are charged at a pre-determined hourly rate, instead of in bulk by the month. With the CHF 25 (~$25) NATEL liberty piccolo monthly plan, users get 100 MB of data a month and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.70 (~$0.70). The 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for CHF 249 (~$244) with the CHF 25 monthly plan, while the 16GB model will run CHF 349 (~$342). With the CHF 35 (~$34) NATEL liberty mezzo monthly plan, users are provided with 250 MB of data and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.50 (~$0.50); the 8GB iPhone 3G is sold for CHF 199 (~$195) and the 16GB model for CHF 299 (~$293). The NATEL liberty grande plan, which runs CHF 55 (~$54) a month, provides 1,000 MB of data and an hourly call rate of CHF 0.50 (~$0.50), bringing the price of the iPhone down to CHF 99 (~$97) for the 8GB model and CHF 199 (~$195) for the 16GB model. All subscription plans also include Visual Voicemail and free access to over 1,100 hotspots across Switzerland. Finally, Swisscom will also offer the iPhone 3G on a prepaid basis (NATEL easy liberty uno), with the 8GB model selling for CHF 519 (~$509), the 16GB for CHF 619 (~$607). The prepaid hourly call rate will be CHF 0.80 (~$0.80), with a flat data rate of CHF 1 ($0.98) per megabyte of data. Swisscom will launch the iPhone 3G in Switzerland on July 11. [via setteB.IT]