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Photos reveal China Unicom-bound iPhone 3GS

New photos published by Sina Technology show a WCDMA version of the iPhone 3GS ready for use on China Unicom’s network. The pictures show the phone connected to Unicom’s 3G network, and appear to confirm that the device lacks Wi-Fi, as its menu option is notably missing from the Settings application. iPhone in China reports that the phone displays a message on boot up that, roughly translated, says “Dear user, you are welcome to use the China Unicom’s business,” and that it is unclear whether the country will be receiving the 32GB 3GS or 8GB 3G models as well; the phone pictured is a 16GB model. A report from earlier this week stated that Apple and China Unicom had reached a preliminary agreement for exclusive sales of the iPhone in China, but a Unicom spokeswoman quickly released a statement saying that “[d]iscussions are still ongoing, we have not reached any formal agreement.”

FCC to look at markets without iPhone service

As part of its ongoing probe into cellular operators and phone exclusivity deals, the Federal Communicaitons Commission will focus on areas where the iPhone and/or Palm Pre aren’t available. “There are markets in the country where if you wanted an iPhone, if you wanted a Pre, you just couldn’t get it—from anyone,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in an interview with Bloomberg. “So one question is, is that consistent with broad consumer interests?” He declined to say what the next steps will be in the investigation, which was spurred on by a letter from four U.S. senators asking the regulatory body to review exclusivity agreements like the one between Apple and AT&T that keeps the iPhone locked to one domestic carrier. An AT&T executive told a June 17 hearing the deals spur innovation and help lower prices, while Verizon recently sent a letter to a U.S. representative announcing that it would offer any exclusive phone to carriers with less than 500,000 subscribers just six months after launch. [via AppleInsider]

Apple releases iPhone OS 3.0.1, fixes SMS vulnerability

Apple has released the iPhone OS 3.0.1 Software Update for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. According to the release notes, the new update fixes the SMS vulnerability publicized yesterday by cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Colin Mulliner which would allow a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts to give a hacker nearly complete control over the phone’s functions, including dialing the phone, accessing the Internet, turning on the camera and/or microphone, and sending more text messages to further propagate the hack. iPhone OS 3.0.1 is available now through the Update feature in iTunes.

AGF debuts Precision HSD Case for iPhone 3G and 3GS

AGF has introduced its new Precision HSD Case for iPhone 3G and 3GS. This patented case offers protection for both the front and back of the phone using a two-sided hinged design, and features microfiber lining, an easy-to-open door, an AGF 180-degree swiveling belt clip, access to the headphone port, sleep/wake button, volume buttons, and ring/silent switch, and offers users the option to secure the phone with the screen facing in or out. AGF’s Precision HSD Case for iPhone 3G and 3GS is available now and sells for $35.

iPodweek coming soon, Take the battery life poll

iPodweek, iLounge’s weekly newsletter recapping the last seven days in iPod, iPhone, iTunes and Apple TV news, articles, reviews, and more, will be sent out 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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Also, don’t forget to register your vote in this week’s iLounge Poll. We’d like to know—how’s the battery life on your primary iPod or iPhone? Our latest poll, “How would you describe your primary iPod’s or iPhone’s battery life?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand section of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

O2: SMS iPhone patch coming Saturday

A patch to fix the SMS vulnerability publicized yesterday by cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Colin Mulliner is to be patched in an update that will be released on Saturday, according to an O2 spokesperson. “We will be communicating to customers both through the website and proactively,” the spokesperson told BBC News. “We always recommend our customers update their iPhone with the latest software and this is no different.” According to Miller and Mulliner, the vulnerability would allow a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts to give a hacker nearly complete control over the phone’s functions, including dialing the phone, accessing the Internet, turning on the camera and/or microphone, and sending more text messages to further propagate the hack. [via Mac Rumors]

Philips intros Wake-up Light for iPod, iPhone

Philips has introduced its new Wake-up Light for the iPod and iPhone. The Wake-up Light is designed to gradually increase the light intensity over 30 minutes leading up to the user’s set alarm time, letting him/her awaken to a traditional beep, a choice of four built-in natural sounds, the integrated FM radio, or the attached iPod or iPhone. It also offers a similar program to gradually decrease light and sound to help the user drift to sleep, and offers charging for the attached iPod or iPhone. Philips’ Wake-up Light for the iPod and iPhone is available for pre-order through Amazon and will ship August 22 for $200.

Final day for Tekkeon myPower Giveaway

If you haven’t yet entered our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway, today is your last chance. In our Giveaway of the Month for July, 10 lucky iLounge readers will receive a Tekkeon myPower for iPhone. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end tonight at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Apple now offering AppleCare for iPhone in Canada

Apple has begun offering its AppleCare Protection Plan for the iPhone in Canada. The plan extends Canadian iPhone users’ warranties to two years from the original purchase date of the phone, including technical support and hardware repair coverage — both parts and labor — for any iPhone 3G or 3GS, its battery, included accessories, and an iPhone Bluetooth Headset. Mac Rumors notes that the launch occurs just after the one-year cut off date for early Canadian adopters of the iPhone 3G, and says reader reports indicate that Apple Canada is not providing an extension for the affected customers. The AppleCare Protection Plan is available now from the Canadian Apple Store and sells for $79 CAD.

Poor Russian iPhone sales force $8.8m lawsuit

Slumping sales of the iPhone in Russia have forced one of the country’s “big three” carriers to sue a major retail partner, according to a C-News report (Translated link). Mobile Telesystems (MTS) recently won a 279 million ruble (roughly $8.85 million) claim against retailer Euroset, which failed to sell the iPhones it agreed to, and which MTS had given it. To further complicate matters, MTS rival VimpelCom acquired a 49.9% stake in Euroset last autumn. Overall sales of the iPhone in Russia have been disappointing, with the three major carriers—MTS, VimpelCom, and MegaFon—agreeing to sell 3.5 million units within two years, but having collectively sold only 250,000 through the first quarter of 2009. The carriers stopped buying iPhones at the beginning of the year, according to the report, and are working with Apple to renegotiate their contracts. [via Cult of Mac | via Profy]

Scosche unveils IDR350M earphones with remote and mic

Scosche has introduced its new IDR350M and IDR350MD earphones with remote and mic. Both Made For iPod- and Works With iPhone-certified in-ear earphones feature an in-line control box and mic that allows for full control of the iPhone 3GS, third-generation iPod shuffle, second-generation iPod touch, fourth-generation iPod nano, and iPod classic 120GB, and also comes with six different interchangeable color caps. Scosche’s white IDR350M earphones are available now while the black-colored IDR350MD earphones are available for pre-order now and will ship early- to mid-August; both will sell for $50.

Zacuto rolls out ZGrip iPhone Jr. handgrip

Zacuto has introduced its new ZGrip iPhone Jr., its more affordable, consumer version of the ZGrip iPhone Pro. Like the Pro, the ZGrip iPhone Jr. is a handgrip system meant to help iPhone 3GS users shoot more stable, professional-looking video. It features a handgrip with a thread on the bottom for attaching to a tripod, an iPhone cradle which is permanently attached to the handgrip, and a thread on top for mounting accessories such as a separate audio recorder or light. Zacuto’s ZGrip iPhone Jr. is available for pre-order now and is expected to ship in August for $69.

iPhone devs killing future apps over Apple policies, pricing

Following the rejection of Google’s official Google Voice app and the subsequent removal of all third-party Google Voice apps from the App Store, a number of developers have voiced their concerns over the long-term viability of the platform, with at least one vowing to move on to other platforms. Second Gear developer Justin Williams, maker of the iPhone app FitnessTrack, has written a lengthy piece describing some of the core problems currently facing iPhone developers, most notably lack of feedback for developers and an unsustainable pricing structure. Williams finishes the post by stating that he is “seriously considering” selling off his two iPhone properties and leaving iPhone development behind because he believes the App Store “as it presently stands is not capable of providing a reliable and consistent means of income.” A brief summarization of the piece is available in the form of a Twitter update, which reads, “Baseless app rejections, an unsustainable pricing structure, piss-poor developer relations and a blackbox review system. Where do I sign up?”

In response, Craig Hockenberry, who, along with his Iconfactory colleagues, received an Apple Design Award for the iPhone version of Twitterrific, said he is “seriously doubting the long-term viability of this business,” while Frasier Spiers, developer of the Flickr app Darkslide who announced last year that he would not write another new application for the iPhone as long as the App Store stayed as it was (and is), has used Twitter to describe the App Store as “high risk, low probability of reward, [with] many insurmountable factors totally [outside] your control.” Finally, Layton Duncan of iPhone development house Polar Bear Farm has written an equally-lengthy piece further discussing App Store issues, and announcing that “[a]s with many other serious iPhone developers recently, we’ve made the hard decision to kill all but one project in progress, and stop investing any resources in creating new applications. We’ll continue to sell and fully support our existing iPhone offerings, however we’re already moving to platforms which show signs of real viability.”

The overarching problems—developer feedback, consistent approval policies, and the current pricing and promotion structure—are cited as problems that developers can do nothing to fix without Apple’s help, leaving them with only the option to stick it out or leave. In addition to stopping the release of entirely new applications, the loss of more iPhone developers could impact updates to current releases, rendering yesterday’s apps incompatible with new versions of the iPhone OS.

Apple blames iPhone OS instability on jailbreaking

In a newly published support document, Apple has blamed a number of iPhone and iPod touch issues on jailbreaking. The article, entitled “Unauthorized modification of iPhone OS has been a major source of instability, disruption of services, and other issues,” describes a number of issues dealing with instability, reliability, security, and more. In particular, it claims jailbreaking can disrupt Visual Voicemail service, cause “frequent and unexpected crashes of the device,” lead to “accelerated battery drain,” and result in “slow or unreliable data connections,” all problems experienced first-hand by iLounge editors on iPhones and iPod touches which have never been jailbroken. After strongly cautioning against “installing any software that hacks the iPhone OS,” the article notes that “unauthorized modification of the iPhone OS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software.”

SMS iPhone exploit leaves ‘every iPhone’ vulnerable

Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Colin Mulliner plan to publicize a vulnerability in the iPhone’s handling of SMS messages that could leave the phone open to attack. Forbes reports that the pair will demonstrate today at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas how to send a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that can give a hacker complete control over the phone’s functions. These include dialing the phone, accessing the Internet, turning on the camera and/or microphone, and sending more text messages to further propagate the hijacking. “This is serious. The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone,” Miller said in an interview with Forbes. “Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this.” Miller and Mulliner say they notified Apple of the vulnerability nearly a month ago, but the company has yet to issue a patch.

Joby debuts Gorillamobile flexible tripod mount

Joby has introduced its Gorillamobile flexible tripod mount for portable devices such as the iPod and iPhone. Similar to the company’s Gorillapod lineup of flexible camera tripods, the Gorillamobile features three legs made up of over two dozen bendable, rotating joints that allow the mount to wrap securely around nearly any surface. Instead of a permanent camera adapter, however, the Gorillamobile comes with three types of quick-release adapters—a universal camera adapter, a custom-engineered suction cup, and removable high-bond adhesive clips—all of which can be securely fastened to the mount using a locking ring on the tripod’s head. Joby’s Gorillamobile flexible tripod mount is available now and sells for $30.

Accessory poll ends, iPod, iPhone battery poll begins

With nearly 2,700 votes form iLounge readers, our latest poll—“What type of accessory do you most need for your iPod or iPhone?” has ended. Choices consisted of a new case or protective film, speakers, new earphones, an in-car accessory, a Bluetooth wireless headset, a battery pack, a computer dock, an in-home charger, other accessories, and an option for those who don’t need a new accessory.

Somewhat surprisingly given the wide range of options available in this category, a quarter—25%—of respondents said they most need a new case or protective film. 16% said they need a new in-car accessory, 14% said they need new earphones, and 9% of responding readers said they need a battery pack or speakers. 8% said they need a Bluetooth wireless headset, 2% said they need a computer dock, and another 2% said they need an in-home charger. 3% said they need some other accessory not available from the options given, while 11% said they don’t need a new accessory at all. Thanks for all your votes!

Our new poll focuses on battery life. We’d like to know: how’s the battery life on your primary iPod or iPhone? Is it excellent, sufficient, or too weak? Whether you have a Click Wheel iPod, iPod touch, or iPhone, our newest poll, “How would you describe your primary iPod’s or iPhone’s battery life?” lets you answer that question. The iLounge Poll can be found in the left-hand column of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

Apple intros MobileMe iDisk app for iPhone, iPod touch

Quietly added to Apple’s website during WWDC, the MobileMe iDisk application for iPhone and iPod touch has finally been released. The iDisk app allows MobileMe users to view files from their iDisks on their mobile devices. It offers viewing support for Office, iWork ‘09, PDF, video, and other files, lets users share files with others via email, and access the Public folders of other MobileMe members. Apple’s MobileMe iDisk application is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Apple adding keywords to App Store listings

Apple has begun asking developers to list keywords for their applications when submitting, in order to help with search. AppleInsider reports that developers are now asked to enter up to 255 characters worth of keywords, and that the new data will be used to help improve the search function of the App Store on the iPhone and iPod touch. “It is important to enter keywords for all applications as soon as possible so your application can continue to be successfully located on the App Store,” the update from Apple reads. “Keywords can be updated with the submission of a new binary.”

Apple: Jailbroken iPhones enable ‘catastrophic’ network attacks

In a new comment filing with the U.S. Copyright Office and published by Wired, Apple claims that hackers, wielding jailbroken iPhones could cause “potentially catastrophic” results. Apple explains that the iPhone’s operating system — which is modified during the jailbreak process — controls the device’s baseband processor (BBP), which in turn controls the phone’s connection to the cellular provider’s network. The company argues that changes made to the BBP could result in inoperable phones, anonymous communications via a changed Exclusive Chip Identification (ECID) number — which “would be desirable to drug dealers” — and could also be used to facilitate an attack on the cellular network, crashing tower software, and possibly more. “In short, taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer – to potentially catastrophic result,” Apple claims. The company’s comments are part of an ongoing battle with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which proposed a new exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which would explicitly allow jailbreaking of iPhones.

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