Parrot has announced a U.S. release date and pricing for its much-anticipated AR.Drone. First demoed at CES 2010, where it received a Best of Show Award, the AR.Drone is a quadricopter that can be piloted by remote control from an iPhone or iPod touch device using an accompanying iOS application. Users control the AR.Drone via Wi-Fi using their device’s touchscreen and accelerometer controls while the quadricopter employs two on-board cameras, an accelerometer, gyro and ultrasound sensor to help control the device and provide first-person video. The AR.Drone will go on sale in the U.S. this September via “selected retailers” for $299. Parrot expects to announce U.K. availability soon after the E3 Expo and availability in Asia and Europe “in the following weeks.” The Parrot Free Flight control app is already available from the App Store as a free download. Parrot also has two additional augmented-reality iOS games in the works for the AR.Drone allowing users to explore virtualized environments and conduct simulated dogfights with other AR.Drone users. More information and demos of the apps can be viewed at the company’s website. Parrot has also released an open source SDK for the AR.Drone to allow other third-party developers to create their own augmented reality applications for the quadricopter. [via Engadget]
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]
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G in front of two passing whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
In celebration of the iPads Around the World Gallery launch we are giving away a $250 iTunes Gift Card. All you have to do is retweet our message and submit one or more photos of your iPad in front of a landmark and be entered for a chance to win the $250 iTunes Gift Card. The winner will be picked in a random drawing on July 1, 2010.
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]
In anticipation of this week’s release of the movie Toy Story 3, Disney has launched an official Toy Story 3 app for iPhone and iPod touch users. The new app is designed as a portal to the entire Toy Story franchise and provides a collection of games and other activities for fans of the series. The free application includes a feature to create personalized greetings from Woody, collect virtual Toy Story pins by unlocking achievements and a Toy Story Community where users can share game scores, pins and achievements with their friends. The iOS app also allows users of the Mac version of Toy Story 3: The Video Game to control their gaming experience from their iOS device. Additional premium games and content are also available as In-App purchases, with three premium games available right now ranging from $1-$4 in price. Disney has also stated that it plans to update the app with new features throughout 2010. Disney-Pixar’s animated film “Toy Story 3” opens in theatres on June 18, 2010. The Toy Story 3 app is available from the App Store as a free download.
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]
A brief Apple-produced video that highlights Apple’s iOS development tools—while taking veiled shots at Google’s Android OS—has been posted online. The video, presumably made for use at the company’s WWDC conference, features a number of notable developers talking about their experience developing for iOS, as well as other platforms. “We’ve actually spent some time working with other platforms,” said Calvin Carter of Bottle Rocket. “It’s a night and day difference. They’re more difficult for the user. They don’t have the power or the tools available. They don’t have the distribution network. They don’t have the standards, both in hardware or in software.” Later, Tom Conrad of Pandora added, “It’s really evident in Apple’s APIs, in the developer tools, that you’re working with something really mature, not something that was invented two years ago.” The full video is available for viewing on YouTube or can be seen in embedded form below. [via Fortune]
Escher Auernheimer, a member of the security group Goatse Security, has posted a public response to AT&T’s customer email regarding the recent exposure of over 100,000 customer emails and SIM ICC-ID numbers. He claims that if the group and the third parties had not exposed the security hole, AT&T “would have never fixed” the problem, and that the company “had plenty of time to inform the public” about the problem before Goatse went public, but it did not, and also pointed out that the potential for exploitation of other vulnerabilities still exists. “AT&T is not highlighting the potential for a skilled attacker to use a Safari exploit, or other iPad application exploit based on this dataset to takeover the iPad,” Auernheimer said. “A complete list of iPad 3G customers (which could have been generated from this vulnerability) would have the ideal bit of data for those in the RBN with zero-day Safari exploits to acquire.”
Editor’s Note: Although it’s not prevalent, there is a small amount of foul language towards the end of Auernheimer’s post, making it possibly NSFW.
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.
Sprouter, the well-known social networking service for entrepreneurs has released an application for iPhone and iPod touch users. The Sprouter app provides a native interface for Sprouter members to connect with other startup founders around the world for networking, collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The app includes all of the functionality from the Sprouter website including the ability to post updates, access pre-defined and custom filters, view replies, send and receive private messages, star posts, view and RSVP to events, and search the service. Users can also seamlessly switch back and forth between the iOS application and the Sprouter website to follow feeds and events on whichever platform is most convenient. Sprouter is available from the App Store as a free download. A free Sprouter membership is required; users can sign up from within the app.
Google has released a Universal version of its free Google Earth application for iOS devices. Google Earth 3.0 adds native support for the iPad, including full resolution imagery and a new iPad-specific interface redesign. The update also adds a road layer for iPad and iPhone 3GS devices. Google Earth is an iOS version of Google’s popular application that allows users to navigate and view satellite imagery of Earth simply by using touchscreen swipe gestures. Google Earth also allows users to via millions of geo-tagged photos and Wikipedia articles from around the world and integrates with Google Local search for find cities, places and businesses anywhere on the globe. Google Earth 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Coinciding with the problematic launch of pre-orders for the iPhone 4, Apple has launched an official, free Apple Store application formatted for the iPhone and iPod touch, but also compatible with the iPad. The application is designed to let customers “buy Apple products and accessories, read customer reviews, find an Apple Retail Store, stay up to date with in-store events, and make Personal Shopping, Genius Bar, or On to One appointments,” and is billed as “the easiest way to buy or reserve your new iPhone—right from your current iPhone.” It also uses push notifications to provide updates for as yet unknown purposes.
Like the Apple Store web site, the application’s main screen currently displays a “We’ll be back soon” post it note graphic, seemingly related to the iPhone 4 ordering outage currently affecting the Store. Screenshots show the application offering five bottom-of-screen buttons to toggle between Featured, Products, Stores, Search, and Cart screens that are not yet available. This is Apple’s fourth separate selling app for iOS devices, following iTunes, App Store, and iBookstore within the iBooks application.
Update: The Apple Store app became functional shortly after 9:30AM. It notably offers iPhone 4 pre-ordering only for existing iPhone customers who wish to replace current iPhones with iPhone 4 models, and only reservations for customers who intend to create new accounts or add lines.
In addition to opening pre-orders for the iPhone 4 and 8GB iPhone 3GS this morning, Apple has added the iPhone 4 Bumpers, iPhone 4 Dock, and iPhone 4 Universal Dock Adapter 3-Pack to the Apple Store for immediate ordering. Continuing the surprises that began earlier today with the unexpected unavailability of the white iPhone 4 device, Apple has also staggered the availability dates for its Bumpers protectors, with only one color—black—available on the June 24 launch date of the iPhone 4, and the other five colors shipping on July 2, 2010. The iPhone 4 Dock and Universal Dock Adapter 3-Pack are both listed with June 24 “ship by” dates.
Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumpers are rubber and plastic edge protectors for the new iPhone model, apparently providing no front or rear coverage for the glass and metal device. The company describes them as “a fun and unique way to personalize your iPhone 4,” and sells them separately in white, black, blue, green, orange, and pink versions for $29 each, a further surprise to those users who expected the modestly protective Apple designs to come in six-packs a la its earlier iPod Socks.
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.