Apple appears to be readying for the launch of the white iPhone 4, according to a pair of new reports. 9 to 5 Mac, citing information from a Dutch source, claims the handset will launch on April 27, with limited stock at first. The report also claims that T-Mobile will have a one month exclusive on the long-awaited handset in the Netherlands, and that units are already arriving in stores, with embargo stickers on the packages that state “do not open until April 27.” Engadget, meanwhile, has posted a photo of sealed white iPhone 4 package, which it claims was sold to a Vodafone UK customer, after which the company halted sales of the handset “until next week.” Apple has repeatedly promised that the white iPhone 4 would launch this Spring.
Update: Engadget has now posted a photo of the Vodafone white iPhone 4 unboxed, revealing a redesigned proximity sensor. Instead of the array of small dots seen in the original white iPhone 4, the new version’s proximity sensor area is a black oval, possibly suggesting that Apple had problems with the previous design.
Condé Nast is pulling back on its goal to deliver iPad versions of all of its magazines, according to an AdAge report. Citing anonymous company employees, the report claims that the change in strategy is due to lower sale volumes than are optimal for attracting advertisers. The report states that the company is still committed to the iPad as a platform, and has another undisclosed iPad edition of one of its magazines arriving in May. “It’s a shift,” one Condé publisher said. “The official stance was we’re going to get all our magazines on the iPad because this is going to be such an important stream. The new change is maybe we can slow it down. In my opinion it makes Condé look smart because we have the ambition, but we’re not rushing. They’re not all doing all that well, so why rush to get them all on there?” The company was one of the earliest supporters of the iPad, announcing prior to the iPad’s launch its intentions to bring out iPad editions of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and The New Yorker. [via Mac Rumors]
Scosche has announced that it is now shipping its switchBack surge g4 battery case for the iPhone 4. Made from hard polycarbonate, the switchBack features an integrated 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery, an integrated kickstand for video viewing, a micro USB port for charging and syncing, interchangeable back plates for customization, LED charge indicator lights, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, save for the Dock Connector, and integration with the company’s free reVive app. Scosche’s switchBack surge g4 case for the iPhone 4 is available now and sells for $80.
Apple has already secured deals with two of the four big music labels for its upcoming cloud-based music service, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, AllThingsD reports that the first two deals were signed within the last two months, and that Apple’s Vice President of iTunes Eddy Cue will be in New York today to try and finalize the remaining deals. “They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it,” said one industry executive. “It feels like they want to go pretty soon.” The report also states that the general idea of the service is for Apple to let customers store songs they’ve purchased from the iTunes Store, as well as other songs stored on their hard drives, for listening across multiple devices; it adds that the deals Apple is signing will let it store a single master copy of a song on its servers for sharing with multiple users, while Amazon’s service works much more like an external hard drive. The report gave no clues as to when Apple might launch the service, although prior reports have stated it could launch as early as June.
Apple has released iBooks 1.2.2, the latest version of its e-Reader software for iOS. According to the company’s release notes, version 1.2.2 addresses issues playing video included with enhanced books from the iBookstore, resolves a problem where some books open with a different font than expected, makes iBooks more responsive when navigating books with many items in their table of contents, and other “important stability and performance improvements.” iBooks 1.2.2 requires iOS 3.2 or later and is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Following Apple’s filing of a lawsuit against Samsung in the U.S., Samsung has countersued the company, claiming infringement on 10 mobile technology patents by the iPhone and iPad. Samsung filed the suits in its home country of South Korea, Japan, and Germany, and said the patents involve power reduction during data transmission, 3G technology for reducing errors while transmitting data, and wireless data communication technology, according to Reuters. “Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business,” the company said in a statement. During the company’s Second Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple COO Tim Cook addressed the lawsuit against Samsung, saying that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer and considers them a valued component supplier, and that he expects their strong relationship to continue despite the lawsuit.
IK Multimedia has released iRig Recorder, a new app for easily creating recordings on an iPhone or iPod touch. Designed as an additional companion app for the iRig Mic, iRig Recorder provides simple to use effects processors and presets to allow easy recording by users with little or no music or audio knowledge. The app organizes recordings by date and time and also automatically tags them with a geographic location using the iOS device’s location services. File can be exported via e-mail, Wi-Fi, FTP, SoundCloud or iTunes File Sharing in a range of sizes and formats up to and including 16-bit 44.1khz uncompressed audio. iRig Recorder provides one-touch recording with real-time monitoring, intuitive non-destructive editing for trimming and looping recordings and pitch- and time-based effects such as changing the speed of recordings to adapt them for mixing with other media or as video sound tracks. The app includes eight effects processors in total such as optimize level, optimize tone, cleanup, and voice brightening and smoothing. iRig Recorder is available from the App Store in two versions; iRig Recorder ($5) includes the full set of features while iRig Recorder Free which allows users to try the basic features of the app and purchase additional editing functionality, WAV file export and effects processors from within the app.
Apple has “completed work” on its cloud-based music storage service and is set to launch it ahead of a competing service from Google, according to a new report. Citing two people familiar with both companies’ plans, Reuters reports that the new service will allow iTunes customers to store their songs on a remote server, and access them from anywhere they have an Internet connection. The report adds that Apple has yet to sign any new licenses for the service and that the major music labels are hoping to secure deals ahead of the service’s launch, although they have not yet been told when that will be. Apple has reportedly been working on the music service for some time, which may or may not be tied into a revamp of MobileMe.
Apple is seeding select developers with A5-powered iPhone prototypes in anticipation of the next-generation model’s release, according to a new report. Citing an unnamed source, 9 to 5 Mac reports that the prototype units are “virtually identical” to the current iPhone 4, save for the processor inside. The report goes on to state that the units are being provided so that developers can ready their iPhone applications to take full advantage of the more powerful hardware, and that the source’s unit is kept in a safe at the company’s offices when it’s not in use. A report from earlier this week claimed that Apple plans to begin production of the next-generation iPhone in July or August, with shipments set to begin in September.
Speaking during a conference call discussing the company’s Q1 2011 results, Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo hinted that the next iPhone will be a “world phone,” capable of running on both CDMA and GSM networks, according to a Barron’s report. When asked about the Average Revenue Per User (APRU) growth of 2.2 percent in Q1, compared to growth of 2.5 percent in the prior quarter, Shammo replied, “[t]he fluctuation, I believe, will come when a new device from Apple is launched, whenever that may be, and that we will be, on the first time, on equal footing with our competitors on a new phone hitting the market, which will also be a global device.” The chips Apple used in both the CDMA iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are capable of connecting to CDMA and GSM networks, but Apple chose not to take advantage of the chip’s GSM capabilities, including only CDMA-specific antennas in each device. A true “world phone” iPhone would allow Apple to build only one model of the iPhone, which it could distribute to both CDMA and GSM carriers.
Michiel Cornelissen has introduced its new Pod à porter neckband for the fourth-generation iPod shuffle. The Pod à porter’s unique design routes the cord of the shuffle’s stock headphones through a 3D printed polyamide band, encasing the iPod shuffle on one end with access to the controls, while the right and left earbud cords emerge on the other side. Michiel Cornelissen’s Pod à porter neckband for the fourth-generation iPod shuffle is available now in black, red, indigo, and dark gray, and sells for $30.
Wacom, known for its pen-based drawing tablets for traditional PC operating systems, has unveiled its new Bamboo Stylus for the iPad. The Bamboo Stylus features a black and silver design, a satin-textured metal body, balanced weighting, and a stylus tip that’s 25 percent narrower—6mm vs. 8mm—than most competing solutions. Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus is expected to ship in mid-May and will sell for $30.
Announcing its first fiscal quarter financial results, Verizon Wireless has revealed that it sold 2.2 million iPhones in roughly half a quarter. Reuters reports that sales of the Verizon iPhone, which went on sale February 10, helped the company add 906,000 new subscribers, compared to just AT&T, which added just 62,000 in the quarter. Verizon also saw its earnings rise to $1.44 billion, or 51 cents per share, from $443 million, or 16 cents a share in the year ago quarter. Interestingly, the company’s results press release states that operating cash flow was $5 billion in the quarter, down from $7.1 billion in Q1 2010, offset by the launch of the iPhone, as well as a pension funding obligation.
During Apple’s Second Quarter 2011 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Apple COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its media-related products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In his opening statements, Oppenheimer said that it was the highest March quarter in revenue and earnings ever for the company, with the highest year-over-year revenue growth ever generated. The numbers were boosted by an single-quarter record for iPhone sales, plus “robust” iPad sales—he said the company was “thrilled” with the iPad’s momentum—and 28% year-over-year growth in Mac sales, which totaled 3.76 million.
Oppenheimer also said that the iTunes Store had its best quarter ever, and the iBookstore saw 17,000 eBooks added during the quarter; the iBookstore now offers eBooks from 2,500 publishers, and has seen over 100 million downloads. While overall iPod sales were down, they were ahead of internal expectations, and were comprised of 60 percent iPod touch units, enabling Apple to maintain a 70 percent share of the MP3 player market. Overall, just under 189 million iOS devices had been sold, cumulatively, by the end of the quarter.
Reporting its second quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 9.02 million iPods during the quarter — a 17 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 18.65 million iPhones in the quarter, a 113 percent increase year-over-year, and up from the 16.24 million units sold in the holiday quarter. Apple also sold 4.69 million iPads during the quarter, down from 7.33 million units in the prior quarter. The units sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 108.55 million, 307.02 million, and 19.48 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $24.67 billion and net quarterly profit of $5.99 billion, or $6.40 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $13.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.07 billion, or $3.33 per diluted share in Q2 2010.
Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 23% over the year-ago quarter, and up 14% from Q1 2011, to $1.63 billion total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. International sales accounted for 59 percent of the quarter’s revenue.
“With quarterly revenue growth of 83 percent and profit growth of 95 percent, we’re firing on all cylinders,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We will continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year.”
“We are extremely pleased with our record March quarter revenue and earnings and cash flow from operations of over $6.2 billion,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $23 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.03.”
FileMaker has released an update for FileMaker Go, its iOS app for mobile access to FileMaker Pro databases. The new version adds support for printing FileMaker data via AirPrint and viewing and editing charts created with FileMaker Pro 11 using chart data from FileMaker or passed through from SQL database sources. FileMaker Go now also provides the ability to capture and save digital signatures directly on an iOS device, making it easy to sign contracts and invoices; signed documents can be exported to a computer or uploaded to centralized FileMaker Server databases. Other new features in the update include enhanced PDF creation for sending print-ready reports, notifications of record lock conflicts and the ability to open hidden files. FileMaker Go is available from the App Store in two separate versions: FileMaker Go for iPhone ($20) and FileMaker Go for iPad ($40). Both require iOS 4.2 or later. FileMaker is also offering new FileMaker Go customers 50% off the purchase price of FileMaker Pro 11 until June 17, 2011.
iOS game developer Mobigame and French agency La chose have released a new game in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Amnesty International. The game, Bulletproof, challenges players to quickly stop bullets from a firing squad executing a man condemned to death by an oppressive regime. Players stop bullets by tapping on the touchscreen as each bullet is fired and the game provides several levels of increasing difficulty; at each level the player must stop a specified number of bullets allowing as few as possible to get through. Bulletproof is available from the App Store for $1 with all revenues going to Amnesty International in support of its work defending human rights.
Apple has dropped its estimated shipment wait times on the iPad 2 to 1-2 weeks in many of the countries where the device is available. As noted by Mac Rumors, the new 1-2 week estimate is now posted on Apple’s online stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, while estimates on its European stores remain at 2-3 weeks. Apple last dropped its wait times to 2-3 weeks on April 4.
Eye-Fi has released a major update to its iOS application adding support for Direct Mode transfers and native iPad compatibility. The new Direct Mode feature allows Eye-Fi X2 card users to transfer photos and videos from their camera directly to their iOS device by establishing a direct Wi-Fi network between the camera and the device. Photos transferred using Direct Mode are saved in the device’s built-in camera roll and appear in the Eye-Fi app where they can be previewed or uploaded to the user’s home computer or any of their configured online sharing services. An optional full-screen mode allows users to automatically preview photos on their iOS devices as they are transferred. The update also adds support for background file transfers on multitasking-capable devices and can automatically transfer photos taken with the Camera app on the iPhone, fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad 2. The Eye-Fi app requires a device running iOS 4.0 or later; Direct Mode requires an Eye-Fi X2 card with firmware 4.5021 or higher and Eye-Fi Center 3.3 or later for configuration. Eye-Fi 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
A pair of programmers has discovered that iOS 4 devices are regularly recording their positions to hidden files, which reside on the devices and are transferred to any computer the devices are synced with during backup. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden report for O’Reilly that while working on data visualization projects, they discovered a file “consolidated.db” that contains latitude-longitude coordinates along with a timestamp, and while the coordinates aren’t always accurate, they are rather detailed. According to the report, it appears that the location collection started with iOS 4, and thus the file could potentially contain tens of thousands of data points, or an entire year’s worth of movements. The pair note that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and have contacted Apple’s Product Security team, but have yet to hear back.
As noted in our forums, Apple appears to have moved away from Skyhook and to an internal location database/detection service as of iOS 4. Given that users of Wi-Fi-only iPads and iPod touches have reported an ability to fairly accurately determine their location in situations that would prove challenging for an actual Skyhook-based system—such as in a moving car, with no Internet access available—it appears likely that iOS 4 devices are relying on this internal database to provide users with approximate location data even when no such data would normally be available. For those interested in seeing their own data, Allan and Warden have created a free Mac OS X application called iPhoneTracker that will automatically search the computer for any location files and display them on a timeline-enhanced map.
Update: The authors of the report have added a new section entitled “Who has access to this data?,” in which they state, “there’s no immediate harm that would seem to come from the availability of this data. Nor is there evidence to suggest this data is leaving your custody. But why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it — or not — are important questions that need to be explored.”
Update 2: One week after the release of this report, Apple posted a Q&A on Location Data, explaining that while some iOS devices are in fact storing location information indefinitely, the data refers to locations of nearby cell towers rather than the particular GPS coordinates of the user, and is primarily being used for quickly providing mapping information. Our followup article explains how the company will change the collection of this data going forward.