Both T-Mobile in the Netherlands and Vodafone in Australia have suggested that connection and reception problems with the iPhone 3G were caused by the device, and not by their networks. In a posting (Translated link) on its company blog, T-Mobile Netherlands blamed Apple for the problems, saying, “The 3G coverage of T-Mobile is as good as the competition, there can therefore not lie. We suspect that it is a hardware / software specific issue of the iPhone itself.” CNet reports that “there can therefore not lie” should actually be translated as “so that should not be the issue.” A separate story from the Sydney Morning Herald cites an unnamed telecom source as saying that Apple provided carriers with the iPhone 3G the day before the device hit the market, leaving no time for proper testing. Jessica Forrest, a spokeswoman for Vodafone Australia, added that the iPhone 3G issues were device-specific and had nothing to do with the carriers’ networks. “We are aware of the issues on the iPhone 3G and we’re working with Apple to provide a solution,” she said.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone near a beach on the Indonesian island of Bali. 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!
Best Buy will become the first independent retailer of the iPhone in the U.S. when it begins selling the iPhone 3G across 970 full-size stores and 16 Best Buy Mobile locations on September 7, reports the Associated Press. “We had a lot of work to do, obviously, to get in a position where Apple and AT&T would feel good about Best Buy Mobile carrying it, and that’s what we’ve done in the last 18 months,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. Best Buy also offers the iPod and some Mac computers in its stores, a relationship that Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris pointed to as the reason Best Buy would be able to sell the iPhone. Last week Best Buy announced that it had completed a two-year conversion of its stores to include upgraded cell phone departments, which will be branded Best Buy Mobile and will now be able to handle handset activations. Best Buy Mobile is a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse, which offers the iPhone in the United Kingdom.
Update: Best Buy has issued an official press release confirming that it will begin sales of the iPhone at its U.S. stores on September 7.
“The iPhone has changed the way people think about their mobile phones, and we are delighted to help more customers get their hands on this revolutionary product,” said Brian J. Dunn, president and chief operating officer, Best Buy. “Our Best Buy Mobile employees have the training and expertise to deliver the best experience possible for our customers - from the initial purchase through the life of their iPhones.”
iZotrope has introduced the first of its iDrum series of beat creation applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. iDrum allows users to access professional sound content and patterns to create their own music. Users can tap virtual pads to create rhythms, shake the handset to clear patterns, and use slide and flick gestures to navigate the interface. According to the developer, a special combination application will also be available to turn created beats into iPhone-compatible ringtones. The first two editions of iDrum, Hip Hop Edition and Club Edition, are now available on the App Store and sell for $5 each.
Marvel Apps has released its Fandora’s Box 2008 Summer Games application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app provides medal standings for every country, news updates, event schedules and results, and more. Fandora’s Box 2008 Summer Games is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
Handmark has released its new GTS World Racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game offers users accelerometer-based controls, 64 track layouts, a choice of multiple car types and difficulty levels, and four play modes. It also offers the ability to choose between the game’s soundtrack or the user’s own audio. GTS World Racing is available now via the App Store and sells for $8. For more information on GTS World Racing, see our iPhone Gems article.
Fullpower has released its MotionX Dice application for the iPhone and iPod touch. MotionX Dice is a real-world physics based dice simulator, using the iPhone’s accelerometer and user motion to determine the way the dice roll, collide, and settle. The app also allows the user to choose the number of dice to use, from one to five, and customize the appearance of the dice and the rolling surface. Fullpower’s MotionX Dice is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Numerous reports indicate that Apple and AT&T are investigating a rash of iPhone 3G connection problems affecting some handsets. A San Francisco Chronicle article tells the story of one iPhone user, who claims to have had ongoing connection problems with the 3G. “I was driving down Folsom Street in San Francisco, and I got a dropped call 10 times. I get dropped calls just standing in one place,” said Stephen Yarbrough, a 34-year-old accountant. “I’m extremely annoyed, but I’m hopeful a software update will fix it.” Later in the piece, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said that while customer concerns were being looked into, it is difficult to know if they are widespread or related to individual circumstances. “How a device performs in individual situations depends on circumstances like where you are in the 3G coverage, how close you are to a cell site. Things like terrain and buildings all come into play,” Siegel said. “I’m not denying that people are having a less than satisfactory experience, but overall, the phone is doing great.”
CNet staffer Tom Krazit points to an Apple discussion thread on the topic, noting that iPhone 3G users are having trouble connecting, and staying connected, to 3G networks, with the phone switching between 3G and EDGE networks even when sitting still. In addition, Krazit notes that international iPhone 3G users are reporting similar problems, suggesting the issue lies with the handset as opposed to the network. Finally, Nomura analyst Richard Windsor has said in a note to clients that the problem may stem from an immature chipset from Infineon. “We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier,” Windsor wrote, adding that because the problems are likely to be embedded in the low-level software and the chipset, a firmware upgrade is unlikely to fix the problem. Are you experiencing connection problems with your iPhone 3G? Let us know in the comments below. [via MDN]
SwitchEasy has announced the release of its new Colors case for the iPhone 3G. Made from silicone, Colors is a form-fitting case featuring a “jelly bean” home button, thick silicone for shock protection, and extra-thick button covers for the volume and power buttons. Each Colors case includes a case, two anti-static screen protectors, a Microfiber cleaning cloth, a squeegee applicator, a headphone jack protector, and a 30-pin Dock Connector protector. As its name would suggest, Colors is available in 10 different colors, and is available now for $15.
D2C Games has released its new Chalkboard Sports Baseball game for the fifth-generation iPod, iPod classic, and iPod nano (video). Built from the ground up for the Click Wheel interface, the game features 5-on-5 arcade-style baseball action in one of two different modes: Quick Play or Playoff Mode. It also offers the ability to personalize teams with images, the ability to unlock new pitches, and features six different ballparks, both day and night games, and unique sound effects including umpire calls and crowd chants. D2C Games’ Chalkboard Sports Baseball is available now through the iTunes Store and sells for $5.
SoftBank Mobile, currently the only carrier offering the iPhone in Japan, added more subscribers in July than any other Japanese telecom, in part due to the launch of the iPhone. Tech-On reports that competing carrier KDDI had more cancellations with mobile number portability (MNP) than subscriptions with MNP for the first time in July, with cancellations temporarily increasing following the iPhone’s launch. “SoftBank’s other handsets might have drawn interest in the wake of the iPhone’s release as well,” a KDDI spokesperson said. “We are, however, not sure if the impact will continue from now.” By comparison, SoftBank posted a net growth of 52,000 subscriptions, with the company stating that “[w]e believe our large net growth was an iPhone effect.”
The iPhone continues to be the most used cameraphone, according to monthly statistics from photo sharing site Flickr. After gaining the lead, and then briefly losing it to the rival Nokia N95, the iPhone has once again taken the lead in cameraphone use, possibly propelled by sales of the iPhone 3G. The site’s Apple camera page (the company previously made a line of QuickTake digital cameras) shows that in a little more than a year, over 3.3 million photos have been uploaded from iPhones, with 1,298 average daily users. [via TUAW]
Apple products, in particular the iPhone, are drawing increased attention from hackers as they gain in popularity worldwide, according to an AFP report. “There are more eyes looking over Apple products for vulnerabilities,” security vulnerability analyst Cameron Hotchkies said in an interview at the annual DefCon hacker conference. Hotchkies pointed to the soon-after-release “jailbreaking” of the iPhone 3G as an example, saying “it shows people are getting proficient at analyzing Apple software.” “There are people looking at the iPhone. We pass vulnerabilities on to vendors, and when I communicate with Apple the first thing they ask is if we’ve tested it on the iPhone. They don’t want to be surprised,” Hotchkies added.
H2O Audio has introduced its new line of AMPHIBIX Waterproof Armbands for MP3 Players and Phones. Designed to handle a number of different portable media devices and phones, the armbands are available in Large (for full-sized iPods, the iPod touch, and iPhones) and Medium (for iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPod mini) sizes. Each features a LatchTight locking closure for 100% waterproofing down to 12 feet, a ClearTouch plastic window that allows full operation of the devices while in the case, a SealTight Connector that’s compatible with all standard 3.5mm headphone plugs, an adjustable strap, and the ability to float even with a device inside. H2O Audio’s AMPHIBIX Waterproof Armbands are available now in Large and Medium sizes and sell for $80 and $70, respectively.
Griffin Technology has introduced its new iTrip Universal FM transmitter. iTrip Universal features a simple, stick-like design with an integrated backlit display, a 3.5mm stereo input jack for connecting an iPod or other audio source, and a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batter that charges using the Universal’s built-in USB plug. Other features include three user-programmable presets for saving often-used frequencies and a user selectable stereo/mono output. Griffin Technologies iTrip Universal FM transmitter is available now and sells for $40.
Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that the App Store saw more than 60 million downloads in its first month, with an average of $1 million in sales per day, for a monthly total of around $30 million. That puts Apple on pace for $360 million a year in new revenue from the App Store. “This thing’s going to crest a half a billion, soon,” Jobs said. “Who knows, maybe it will be a $1 billion marketplace at some point in time.” “I’ve never seen anything like this in my career for software,” he added. Jobs pointed out that Apple isn’t likely to make much of a direct profit off the store, but is instead hoping to use the App Store to sell more iPhones and iPod touch devices. “Phone differentiation used to be about radios and antennas and things like that,” he said. “We think, going forward, the phone of the future will be differentiated by software.” Finally, Jobs confirmed that Apple has the capability to remotely disable any software purchased from the App Store, but argued that Apple needs it in case it inadvertently allows a malicious program, such as one that stole users’ personal data, to be distributed to iPhones through the App Store. “Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,” Jobs said.
Google has launched a new version of its online Google Translate tool optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to the Google Mobile Blog, the web app is “optimized for speed, supports all of the existing Google Translate language pairs, and uses a client-side data-store on your iPhone to hang on to your past translations so you always have them at hand, even if you can’t use the local data network.” Google Translate for iPhone and iPod touch can be accessed now by visiting translate.google.com on the mobile Safari browser.
iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out to our email subscribers later today. In addition to rounding up the week’s top stories, iPodweek also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. If you haven’t yet signed up to receive iPodweek, there’s still time to register and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address.
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The developers behind the popular iPhone and iPod touch application PhoneSaber have posted a statement regarding the app’s removal from the App Store. According to TheMacBox, they pulled the app at the request of THQ Wireless, which owns the rights for Star Wars apps on mobile phones. Their talks with THQ were friendly, however, and the devs write that “[t]hey want to do some sort of official, Star Wars branded version of PhoneSaber, and will be working with us on that one.” Release date and pricing information for the new version has yet to be revealed.
FMWebSchool has introduced its new FMTouch application, which allows users to deploy FileMaker Pro on an iPhone or iPod Touch. The app offers support for multiple databases, multiple related tables, layouts, portals and value lists, and allows users to add records, edit records, delete records, delete found sets, sort records, edit portal rows, search, find all records and use FileMaker generated runtimes. FMTouch requires FileMaker 8 or 9, and is now available through the App Store for $99.99.
Far Out Labs has announced the release of its new ProRemote applications, which allow iPhone and iPod touch users to control professional audio products such as Digidesign’s ProTools and Apple’s Logic Music production system using a proprietary protocol over a Wi-Fi network. It provides users with either eight channels (light edition) or 32 channels of remote control with real-time color metering and 40mm touch-sensitive virtual faders. The full version of also offers a dedicated transport view that allows the user to do audio scrubbing/shuttling, set markers, and control many advanced aspects of the transport as well as basic play, record, and return to zero. ProRemote Light Edition and ProRemote are both available now from the App Store, and sell for $39.99 and $149.99, respectively.
Hudson Soft has released its second iPhone/iPod touch game Puzzloop. First released as an arcade game in 1998, Puzzloop is a “looping puzzle” game in which players attempt to clear differently-colored balls from the game screen by shooting balls from a central position in hopes of connecting three or more of the same color. Puzzloop is available now from the App Store and sells for $7.99.
With over 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our latest iLounge poll — “Does Apple’s $99 MobileMe service interest you?” — has ended. Readers were given a variety of “Yes” choices, each including reasons why the service interested them, as well as a pair of “No” responses.
The majority (56%) of readers said “No,” MobileMe did not interest them, with 49% stating that it didn’t offer anything they would want to pay for, or for other reasons, while another 7% said they weren’t interested due to the various reports of service problems. Another 44% of readers were interested in the service, with 33% already subscribers: 21% of readers said they were subscribers mostly because of their PC or Mac needs, while another 12% said they subscribed mostly because of their iPhone/iPod touch needs. Finally, 6% of readers said they were not current subscribers but were interested mostly due to their iPhone and iPod touch needs, 3% were non-subscribers interested because of their Mac or PC needs, while only 2% said “Yes,” but for other reasons.
Our new poll focuses on Apple’s Fall 2008 lineup of products. We’d like to know: Are you considering purchasing one of Apple’s upcoming products, and if so, why? Do you simply want a currently-styled iPod, but with more capacity? Better battery life? Different colors? Are you hoping for a dramatic redesign? Or a new Mac? Or are you satisfied with the current options, and either planning to buy one of those, or simply sit this round out? The new poll, “Which one possible Fall 2008 Apple product has the best chance of winning your dollars?” 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!
A configuration file discovered during a forensic examination of the iPhone 3G suggests that Apple may have the ability to disable unauthorized or malicious iPhone applications already installed on the device. Jonathan Zdziarski, member of the unofficial iPhone Dev Team and author of at least two iPhone books, found the file, along with a remote URL that Apple is using to keep a list of unauthorized apps. Zdziarski says, “This suggests that the iPhone calls home once in a while to find out what applications it should turn off. At the moment, no apps have been blacklisted, but by all appearances, this has been added to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down. I discovered this doing a forensic examination of an iPhone 3G. It appears to be tucked away in a configuration file deep inside CoreLocation.” Currently no applications are listed in the file; it remains unclear whether Apple will use this list for remote deactivation of truly malicious apps, or for a more broad range of apps it deems unfit for use/sale.
Update: Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggests that given the file is hidden in CoreLocation, this is most likely a blacklist for “preventing any listed apps from accessing Core Location,” as opposed to a list for complete disabling of apps.
A new Apple patent application suggests that the company may be working on a way to allow iPhone owners to access their iTunes libraries remotely. Titled “Remote access of media items,” the patent describes a system of loading metadata for “virtual media items” onto a portable media device — such as the iPhone or iPod touch — which can then access the virtual media items, the data of which remains stored in iTunes, over the air through a LAN, WLAN, Wi-Fi, or cellular data connection. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]
The rest of the countries receiving the iPhone 3G on August 22 have been announced. SetteB.IT reports (Translated link) that in addition to already-announced arrivals in Romania, India, the Philippines, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, four additional countries will see launches. Latvia and Lithuania will see the device launched on TeliaSonera’s LMT and Omnitel services, respectively, while T-Mobile and Orange will launch the iPhone in Slovakia, and SingTel will begin offering the device in Singapore. These latest additions bring that number to 21, and bring the total number of countries in which the iPhone will be available to 43 as of August 22.
Apple is widely known for its refusal to talk about future products, notes a recent Washington Post article, but its recent silence in the wake of widespread service problems with existing products such as MobileMe and iPhone may be hurting its relationship with its customers. Technology columnist Rob Pegoraro writes, “Poor communication can sink any gadget, but it’s worse on a Web service such as MobileMe. When these things malfunction, they often do so for reasons beyond our control or even comprehension…. So the companies running these services need to speak up, promptly and with sufficient detail to give users cause for optimism. ‘Trust me’ and ‘We’ll do better’ won’t do—not when users paying $99 a year can see the providers of competing, free services offering far more information to their users.” Pegoraro notes that while Apple’s secrecy on future products is a sound business strategy — one preferable to pre-announcing “vaporware” products that either arrive with significant delay or not at all — the company’s “don’t-look-behind-the-curtain tactics don’t work when customers just want to know that their purchase will work as advertised, or when would-be customers want reassurance that they’re not buying into a failed experiment.”
With submissions ending tomorrow, now is your last chance to submit questions for our upcoming “Ask the Editor” article. Ask the Editor gives you an opportunity to ask a question of iLounge’s Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz, on topics ranging from favorite products in different categories to our views on events in the Apple pocket device world to iLounge’s editorial policies and behind-the-scenes details. To submit your question for inclusion in this week’s article, simply email Jeremy at iLounge dot com with the Subject “Ask the Editor Submission” by tomorrow evening. We’ll be reading through your questions, and will select a handful to be answered in the article later this week.
Latin American cellular operator America Movil has announced that it will launch the iPhone 3G in ten additional countries on August 22. Having already launched the device in Mexico, Movil plans to begin selling the phone in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay on the 22 as part of a wider 20-country roll out. Reuters reports that rival telecom Telefonica S.A. is also preparing to launch sales of the iPhone 3G throughout Latin America later this month, and also states that America Movil’s Brazilian unit Claro is expected to begin sales of the device “in the coming months.”
Power Support Japan has introduced its new Air Jacket Set for the iPhone 3G (Translated link). Like the company’s prior Air Jacket Sets for the original iPhone and iPod touch, the iPhone 3G set consists of an extremely thin polycarbonate rear plate, which is used in conjunction with one of the two included protective screen films (one clear, one anti-glare). The set also includes a Dock Connector protector and a dust-collection cleaning sheet. Currently available in clear for 2,280 yen (~$21), the Power Support Air Jacket Set for iPhone 3G will soon be available in black and white variations, as well. U.S. availability has not yet been announced.
Update: Power Support USA is now offering the Air Jacket for iPhone 3G in clear or black for $35.