Although Apple is spreading out the arrival of iPhone 4 pre-orders over three days, the influx of new handsets appears to already be causing some problems with iTunes and AT&T’s activation servers. One iLounge editor had repeated trouble attempting to activate his iPhone, with the activation going through on the seventh try, and only after a restart of iTunes; repeated “timeout” messages were seemingly resolved by the restart. However, two other phones were received and activated without issue. It is unclear whether these problems are related to AT&T’s activation servers, a glitch in iTunes, or something else, and whether they will persist or quickly dissipate ahead of tomorrow’s official launch.
Despite Apple’s claims of much stronger aluminosilicate glass for the iPhone 4, Engadget is reporting that the back of their iPhone 4 review unit is scratched after just five days of use. Omitted in the blog’s full review, the scratches—described as “nasty”—only became visible in bright light. While iFixIt’s teardown indicated that the iPhone 4’s front panel is made of Gorilla Glass, the service company was unable to positively identify the material used on the back of the phone, although it is also some type of hardened glass.
TomTom International has updated its series of turn-by-turn navigation apps to take advantage of the new multitasking features in iOS 4. A required update for iOS 4 users, TomTom 1.4 adds support for the new background location feature available on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. The update provides continuous visual driving instructions on iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS devices even while the user is on a call and background navigation for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch devices allowing users to open other applications while still receiving spoken turn-by-turn directions. The update also adds several other new features including updated maps, sharing of routes via e-mail, the ability to add departure reminders directly to the iOS Calendar and a new fuel-efficient “Eco Route” selection. TomTom 1.4 for the U.S. & Canada is available from the App Store for $60 and is a free update for existing users. Versions for other regions can also be found via TomTom’s App Store page.
Trapster has released an update to its social driving navigation app, adding background location support for multitasking capable iOS 4 devices. Trapster leverages a social network and user-maintained database to track road hazards such as speed traps, red light cameras and police check points and uses iOS location services to alert users as they approach such locations. When running on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch devices, the latest version of Trapster can now continue running the background to monitor the device’s location and provide alerts. Trapster also includes a Caravan feature to communicate with other users in real time and a Patrol feature that identifies which roads users have recently travelled on. The Trapster service represents the world’s largest social driving network with 6.5 million users and a database of over two million reported traps worldwide. The application also includes a My Trips feature for general travel navigation and support for local search, Google Live Traffic, turn-by-turn directions, full iPod controls and Facebook and Twitter integration. Trapster 4.3 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Slacker has released another update to its popular Slacker Radio personalized streaming radio application, adding support for background audio on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. With Slacker Radio 2.1, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users can now start a personalized radio station playing and then exit the app while the music continues playing in the background. Slacker Radio 2.1 also builds upon the offline listening feature introduced earlier this month, allowing users to listen to cached versions of their favorite playlists in the background even without an active Internet connection. Although the actual station caching process will only occur while Slacker Radio is running, users can continue to listen to their cached content while using other applications in the same manner as for live streaming stations. As before, station caching requires a Slacker Radio Plus subscription for $5/month or $48/year, which also provides users with ad-free listening, song lyrics, and unlimited song skipping and song requests. Background audio support is available with either the free Slacker Radio Basic or paid Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions. Slacker Radio 2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
iLounge has posted our official gallery of iPhone 4 unboxing photos online. Though repeated leaks of the iPhone 4 hardware made the device’s appearance anything but a surprise, and our prior iPhone 4 unveiling shots covered a lot of territory, this new gallery shows you what to expect step by step when opening the package up and removing the iPhone 4 from its protective spot in the box—including the absence of the SIM card removal tool, what sort of protection iPhone 4 arrives wrapped in, and little tweaks to the included accessories. Keep checking our Flickr account for more photos of the iPhone 4 throughout the next day.
iFixIt has posted a complete teardown of the iPhone 4, confirming a number of the device’s specs while revealing others. Notably, the device has 512MB of RAM, as had been reportedly confirmed by Apple during WWDC. Like the iPhone 3G and 3GS, the iPhone 4 has two Phillips #00 screws on the bottom, which serve to release the rear case offering immediate access to the 3.7V 1420 mAh Li-Polymer battery. According to the teardown, the iPhone 4’s A4 processor houses a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 core; the gyroscope is believed to be manufactured by ST Micro, and iFixIt believes Apple is the first to ship a product containing this particular part. In addition, the iPhone 4 unit examined in the teardown contained Samsung flash memory, the same Cirrus Logic audio codec chip used in the iPad, Broadcom Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS chips, and, iFixIt believes, a front glass panel made of Corning Gorilla Glass.
Microsoft has released an update to its Bing application for iOS devices. Going beyond the basic search engine features now included in iOS4, the Bing 1.2 app brings support for conducting searches by scanning barcodes and cover art with the iPhone camera and connecting to Facebook and Twitter accounts. The new version now combines results from users’ social networks when searching the web and allows users to share their search results via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. An expanded shopping section with reviews, ratings and prices is also now available as well as additional clips and trailers when searching movies. Bing 1.2 is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
For a limited time Electronic Arts has dropped the prices on 17 of their popular game titles for the iPhone and iPod touch. For 48 hours, EA titles such as Need for Speed Shift (normally $6.99) and Madden NFL 10 (normally $6.99) are selling for only $0.99 each. Other titles include SimCity, Command & Conquer Red Alert, FIFA 10, NBA Live, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Need for Speed Undercover, Dragon’s Lair, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, The Game of Life, YAHTZEE Adventures, Battleship, Connect 4, Surviving High School and Jewel Quest Mysteries: Curse of the Emerald Tear. The games normally sell for $1.99-6.99 each.
Phantom Fish has released an iOS 4 update to its popular Byline RSS client for Google Reader. Byline 3.2 introduces higher-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display and adds background task completion for multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. When exiting Byline on an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third-generation iPod touch with iOS 4, the app will finish the current syncing or caching process in the background. Fast App Switching is also supported on these devices to allow users to quickly return to where they left off when re-entering the application. Byline 3.2 also tweaks swipe sensitivity to improve navigation and fixes several bugs related to syncing, caching and handling of links to iTunes and the App Store. Byline is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing users. A free ad-supported version is also available.
Firemint has released an iPhone 4 update to its popular Real Racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Real Racing 1.22 features new graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display with higher-resolution textures, more detailed car interiors, updated menus and improved graphical performance on the iPhone 4. The update also promises smoother graphics on iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch devices through the use of anti-aliasing in iOS4. With this version Real Racing adds support for the iPhone 4 gyroscope to provide more responsive and accurate controls for iPhone 4 users in addition to accelerometer-based controls. iOS 4 Fast App Switching is also supported to allow users to exit the game and automatically pick up where they left off when returning to it. Real Racing 1.22 is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing users.
AT&T has announced that it will not have any iPhone 4 inventory to sell on a first-come, first-serve basis until June 29, five full days after the device’s official launch on June 24. Customers who pre-ordered the device from AT&T online should have their device delivered this week, while customers who pre-ordered for store delivery should receive a call letting them know when their iPhone 4 is ready for pickup. As of June 29, AT&T will be offering the iPhone 4 on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last, in its retail stores, on its website, and in business sales channels.
A number of iTunes users are reporting difficulty playing back purchased TV episodes in iTunes following the installation of version 9.2. Similar to a problem that surfaced with iTunes Movie Rentals shortly after their introduction in January 2008, affected users are reporting that after downloading and attempting to play a TV episode using iTunes 9.2, iTunes repeatedly asks for authorization despite the fact that it is already authorized, and eventually plays the video, but only presents a gray screen with no sound. Interestingly, these same TV episodes appear to playback normally on other authorized Apple devices, suggesting the problem lies within the iTunes installation and not the file. Apple has yet to acknowledge the issue.
With the official launch still two days away, a number of iPhone 4 pre-order customers are reporting delivery of their new handsets today. A Mac Rumors forum member has posted photos of his unit, which arrived earlier today, despite his FedEx tracking information listing his delivery date as June 24, and after receiving an email notification from Apple stating that his iPhone 4 would arrive tomorrow. The member also noted that activation went quickly and without issue. Apple will officially launch the iPhone 4 on June 24.
Following yesterday’s iBooks 1.1 update, users have discovered that Apple’s built-in dictionary is no longer working with some e-books, a problem traced by iLounge’s editors to a difference in the way iBooks 1.1 chooses dictionaries relative to versions 1.0 and 1.01. The new iBooks appears to be using the language identifier normally stored within ePub files to determine which dictionary to use for a given e-book. Some popular e-book conversation applications such as Calibre do not insert the correct language identifier when saving in the ePub format, which will result in iBooks not knowing which dictionary to use. The problem appears to be confined to e-books that users have converted themselves or downloaded from third-party sources outside of the iBookstore, despite the fact that dictionary lookups for these books worked fine prior to the iBooks 1.1 update. More information on this problem and how to fix it can be found in our Backstage section.
U.K. retailer Carphone Warehouse is warning customers not to queue up outside its stores for the iPhone 4 launch, citing low stock. Citing an unnamed Carphone Warehouse employee, Macworld UK reports that the retailer has received only 16,000 iPhone 4 units thus far, and although it ordered 60,000, it expects to only receive “about half that.” The same staffer said that customers who queued up outside Carphone Warehouse in hopes of getting a handset would be “wasting their time,” and noted that employees are not allowed to purchase the device “until further notice.” Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan on June 24.
iHome has announced that it is now shipping its iP46 Portable Rechargeable Stereo Speaker System for the iPod and iPhone. Previewed at CES 2010, the iP46 features a sound bar-style design, with four speakers—two active and two passive—mounted in Reson8 speaker chambers, SRS sound enhancement, a pivoting retractable Dock, a line-in jack for connecting other audio sources, folding stand supports, and a rechargeable lithium ion battery that the company claims is good for 10 hours of audio playback. The iHome iP46 is available now for $100; for more information, see our full review.
Apple today announced that it sold its three millionth iPad yesterday, just 80 days after its initial launch in the U.S. “People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world, including those in nine more countries next month.” The announcement also notes that there are now over 11,000 iPad applications available. The iPad is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.
Thanks to our readers, iLounge today is happy to announce that our iPad Buyers’ Guide + iPod/iPhone Book 5 has been downloaded over one million times. The publication combines a completely updated version of the iPod/iPhone Book—our make-the-most-of-iPods and iPhones tutorial edition—with two new features: a 40-page iPad guide and six new iDesign features spotlighting outstanding developers of Apple accessories and applications: Incase, Speck, SwitchEasy, Duck Duck Moose, PopCap Games, and Tapbots.
In addition, thanks to Apple’s just-released iTunes 9.2, iOS 4, and iBooks 1.1, users of iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads can add the book to their iBooks libraries for on-the-go reading without the need for extra, for-pay software. iLounge’s iPad Buyers’ Guide + iPod/iPhone Book 5 is a completely free download for iLounge readers, and is available from the above link in single- and twin-page formats. Single-page is recommended for iPhones and iPod touches; twin-page and single-page work equally well on iPads.