iLounge has received its first iPhone 4S test units, and has posted a complete unboxing and comparison gallery to Flickr, including images of the new Siri Assistant feature, its settings, and related screens. In addition to photos of the iPhone 4S, our Flickr account also offers photos of the new white fourth-generation iPod touch, which were posted earlier this week. Stay tuned throughout the day for more photo updates and initial testing notes on Apple’s latest handset.
The iPhone 4S’ launch in Japan was marred by an unfortunate SoftBank server issue. The Wall Street Journal reports that a server glitch led the company to suspend sales nationwide for three full hours—the first three hours of the launch. “I am sorry for the inconvenience. The registration system has been restored,” SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son announced over Twitter at roughly 11:15 am Local Time. The launch also marks the end of iPhone exclusivity for SoftBank, as rival carrier KDDI is also offering the handset, beginning today.
A U.S. Judge has ruled that Samsung does infringe on Apple’s patents with its Galaxy line of Android-based tablets, but stopped short of issuing a preliminary injunction against the devices. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said that while Apple must show that Samsung infringed its patents, it must also prove that its patents are valid under the law. Koh said she would deny an injunction based on one of Apple’s “utility” patents, calling her thoughts “tentative” while promising to issue a formal order “promptly,” but did not say whether she would grant an injunction based on three other Apple “design” patents. Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in various suits against one another in Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.
Apple is preparing to launch the iPhone 4S today at 8:00 am Local Time, or less than 20 minutes from now for those of our readers on the East Coast. With a record-setting number of units being pre-ordered, it is unclear whether crowds at today’s brick-and-mortar launches will be as large as they have been for prior iPhone launches; however, as evidenced by the photos below, taken by iLounge editor Nick Guy at the Walden Galleria Apple Store, there are plenty of people waiting to get their units before the delivery trucks start arriving for pre-order customers. Interestingly, Apple appears to be reusing its old iPhone 4 window displays for the iPhone 4S, as the oversized units show the prior GSM antenna positions.
Swedish headphone maker Jays has debuted its new t-Jays Four stereo music headset for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Based on the company’s prior t-Jays earphones, the t-Jays Four is an in-ear headset featuring 10mm TCD drivers, an inline MEMS microphone and three-button remote, Kevlar-reinforced dividable cables with a microphonics-reducing clip, the ability to wear the cable behind the ear or straight down, five sets of silicone sleeves for a precise fit, and an included carrying case. Jays’ t-Jays Four stereo music headset for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod is expected to ship in November for $129.
IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping its iRig MIDI Core MIDI interface for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The iRig MIDI is a dock-connecting accessory that offers users three MIDI ports—in, out, and thru—as well as two LEDs to show MIDI input and output activity, a micro USB port for the connected iOS device can charge while in use, included 1.6m MIDI 5-pin DIN cables, and compatibility with nearly any MIDI hardware device—such as keyboards, synthesizers, drum machines, drum pads, and pedal boards—and any Core MIDI-compatible app—including the company’s own SampleTank and Apple’s GarageBand. IK Multimedia’s iRig MIDI interface is compatible with the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, and iPad 2, and sells for $70.
Griffin Technology has unveiled the Woogie 2, the second version of its plush toy/case for the iPhone and iPod touch. Made from soft, colorful, and certified non-toxic materials, the Woogie 2 features five “legs” for propping up the device, and an integrated pocket with a velcro closure and touch-through screen protector. Griffin’s Woogie 2 case/toy for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now and sells for $20.
iFixit is currently performing a teardown of the iPhone 4S, and while it isn’t yet finished, it has gotten far enough to reveal some noteworthy facts about the new handset. Most prominently, it has confirmed that the iPhone 4S features 512MB of RAM—the same amount as the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. It also features the linear oscillating vibrator found in the CDMA iPhone 4, which is said to be softer and quieter than the rotational electric motor found in the prior GSM model, and communications chips from Skyworks and Qualcomm, including the MDM6610 Gobi chipset, which is responsible for the handset’s communication with both GSM and CDMA networks. We will update this article if and when any further noteworthy discoveries are made.
An Australian court has temporarily banned Samsung from selling its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android-powered tablet in the country. According the Associated Press, the ruling prevents Samsung from selling the device in Australia in its current form until a further court order, or until the lawsuit is resolved. The ruling will likely prevent Samsung from launching the product in time for the lucrative holiday sales season, barring a settlement between the two companies, which seems a tenuous suggestion at best. Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in various suits against one another in Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek has posted a lengthy profile of Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone Software Scott Forstall which is to be its cover story in this week’s print edition. Calling Forstall a “sorcerer’s apprentice,” the article points out a number of ways in which Forstall resembles his long-time mentor Steve Jobs. In particular, Forstall is known for keeping a fairly consistent wardrobe across media event appearances, sporting a Jobs-like jeans and black top—a zippered sweater, instead of a turtleneck—and for his taste for the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, the same car Jobs was known to drive.
Early voting in our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards has been proceeding at a fast clip, with over a thousand votes already counted. Announced last week, the Readers’ Choice Awards let you pick the year’s best from four categories—Apple’s best new digital media product, iPad/iPhone/iPod Accessory Developer, iOS Application Developer, and iOS Game Developer. Currently leading the Application Developer of the Year category are Apple, which released GarageBand, Cards, and an iPad-formatted version of iMovie, Adobe, and Skype, with hundreds of votes for other developers as well. Griffin, iHome, Logitech, and Speck are currently battling it out in the Accessory Developer of the Year category, with EA, Epic Games, Gameloft, and Rovio most heavily supported for Game Developer of the Year. There’s still time for you to cast your vote—voting ends at midnight Eastern Time on October 28—and all it takes is filling out a simple four-question survey, so cast your vote today!
Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios to add movie streaming to its iCloud service. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the Los Angeles Times reports that Apple representatives have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow customers to stream movies purchased on the iTunes Store to any Apple device. As noted in the report, the moves comes at a time when a majority of the major studios—all but Disney—are preparing to rollout a similar initiative called Ultraviolet, in which consumers purchasing select DVD or Blu-ray titles will also have access to digital copies that can be streamed to Internet-connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets; Apple is not one of the companies currently participating in the initiative. Regardless, the report suggests that the studios may be amenable to adding Apple on, as it accounts for 66 percent of online movie sales and rentals, and thus building a cloud-based movie business without its support could prove difficult.
While the report suggests that Apple’s devices could be made Ultraviolet compatible via Apps, it appears that a more sensible approach—especially given iTunes’ current handling of digital copies included with physical releases—would be to allow iTunes to store the copy of the film and handle streaming in the same way it will for traditional iTunes purchases.
Apple has released Cards, its new app designed to allow users to create and mail their own personalized, professionally crafted cards directly from an iPhone or iPod touch. Announced last week during Apple’s iPhone Event, Cards is a free app whereby users can choose to create their own personalized, physical greeting cards from a selection of 21 different designs. Users add personalized messages and photos from the camera or iOS photo library and then choose a recipient from their iOS Contacts and submit the order to Apple which then prints the greeting card and mails it out to the recipient. Printed cards use a professional letterpress technique and are crafted from 100 percent cotton paper with an elegant debased design.
Available card designs are grouped into six themes for different occasions: Thank You, Holiday, New Baby, Birthday, Love and Travel. Location integration can automatically fill in the users’ current location when choosing a card from the Travel category or insert the location that a photo was taken when adding a photo to a card. Cards mailed to U.S. addresses can be tracked via the U.S. Postal Service Intelligent Mail barcode system and push notifications are used to provide the user with delivery status and other tracking information. A history of cards is also saved automatically making it easy to send the same card to more than one recipient. Cards is available from the App Store as a free download; users are charged via in-app purchase to send individual cards at $3 per card for U.S. destinations or $5 per card for international destinations.
Apple has released iTunes Movie Trailers, a new iOS app that allows users to access new and exclusive movie previews in HD on their device. Users can browse trailers, clips and featurettes for both major Hollywood films and independent cinema along with high-resolution photos, a year-long calendar of movie releases and location-based showtime info. The application also allows users to purchase movie tickets directly from their iPad or iPhone. Favorite movies and theatres can be saved for quick access and images can be saved to the iPad photo gallery to use as desktop wallpapers or share with friends. AirPlay is also supported allowing users to view trailers on their Apple TV, and favourites can be pushed to multiple iOS devices via iCloud.
iTunes Movie Trailers requires iOS 4.3 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch. iCloud sync requires iOS 5 or later and a valid iCloud account. iTunes Movie Trailers is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Today’s software update for the Apple TV brought with it two surprising new features: support for NHL and WSJ content. In the release notes, Apple touts the new National Hockey League feature, which offers live games, highlights, scores, and more, as well as Wall Street Journal Live, which offers on-demand streaming of video content from the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the update also brings with it a new interface for movie trailers, which is highly similar to the prior interface for movies. The latest Apple TV Software Update—listed as software version 4.4 (3140) and iOS version 5.0 (9a334v)—is available now via the Update Software option in the device’s general settings menu.
Apple has released iOS 5 updates to its three iWork apps—Pages, Numbers and Keynote—adding support for sharing documents via iCloud. The latest versions allow users to automatically store presentations, spreadsheets and word procession documents in iCloud and automatically keep them up to date across all iOS devices. Documents can also be downloaded to a Mac or a PC from iCloud.com in either native iWork, PDF, or Microsoft Office compatible formats, and new compatible files can be uploaded to iCloud.com for automatic synchronization to iOS 5 devices.
Several other new features have also been added to each of the apps in addition to iCloud and iOS 5 support. Keynote 1.5 introduces the ability to stream presentations wirelessly to an Apple TV via AirPlay along with support for navigating slides, viewing presenter notes and using the virtual laser pointer while giving a presentation. Keynote also adds several new builds and transitions, advanced presentation controls including loops slideshows and autoplay and support for hyperlinks between slides.
Pages 1.5 adds voice dictation support for the iPhone 4S, the ability to create footnotes and endnotes in documents and character, paragraph and page counts. Numbers 1.5 improves formatting and data entry features adding sliders, steppers and pop-ups to simplify entering data and support for merging cells and hiding rows and columns. All three apps also improve compatibility with their iWork for Mac and Microsoft Office counterparts and include improved support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean language input.
As expected, Apple today released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The anticipated update offers over 200 new features, including a new Notifications system, Reminders app, Twitter integration, Camera enhancements, full support for iCloud, Wi-Fi Sync, PC-less setup, and more. iOS 5 is available now for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch via the Update feature in iTunes 10.5.
Apple has released its latest Software Update for the second-generation Apple TV. The new update offers support for iOS 5, including wireless display mirroring from the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, Photo Stream support, and improved AirPlay support. The update is available now via the “Update Software” option in the Apple TV’s general Settings menu.
Update: Several iLounge editors have experienced trouble installing the update, with the message “The update was not successful.” appearing on the screen after a lengthy download period. It is unclear whether the problem lies with the update image itself or with some other issue.
Foursquare has just released a major update to its iOS app for the popular location-based social network introducing a new iOS 5 feature, foursquare Radar. Designed to work in tandem with the enhanced location features of iOS 5, foursquare Radar allows users to receive notifications about interesting and cool things happening nearby. The features leverages information in the user’s Foursquare profile such as lists they’re following, to-do items they’ve created and friend relationships to provide notification alerts when things are happening in the user’s current vicinity. For example, Foursquare can notify the user when they’re near a venue that is on a followed list or to-do item or when a group of friends are meeting up nearby. Once enabled, notifications occur whether the app is running or not and appear in the iOS 5 Notification Center. Foursquare 4.0 remains compatible with iOS 4 and provides some new sharing features and an updated ‘Me’ tab as well, however the Radar feature requires iOS 5 and an iPhone 4 or 4S—as with the built-in Reminders app, location notification features are not available on the iPhone 3GS due to the lack of region monitoring support in the hardware. Foursquare 4.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has started rolling out its iTunes in the Cloud feature in a variety of new countries. According to a MacRumors report, iTunes in the Cloud has started rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, with other countries possibly to follow. Part of Apple’s iCloud initiative, iTunes in the Cloud allows users to re-download past music, books, app purchases from the iTunes, iBook-, and App stores directly to their iOS devices or computers, and also offers an “Automatic Downloads” feature.