Apple has issued a response to reports of iTunes users seeing their accounts hacked and used to purchase certain apps in order to build App Store rankings. “The developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns,” Apple told Engadget. “Developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded. If your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about canceling the card and issuing a chargeback for any unauthorized transactions. We also recommend that you change your iTunes account password immediately. For more information on best practices for password security visit http://www.apple.com/support/itunes.” It remains unclear how many accounts were compromised, or how, although it has been suggested that it was a very small percentage of the 100 million active iTunes accounts.
- July 6, 2010
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now expected to skip the annual Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, according to new report. The Financial Times claims that Jobs has told some he plans to skip the event, while telling others that he was “leaning against” attending, but remained undecided. This contradicts a BusinessWeek report from late last month that claimed Jobs was expected to appear, and speculated that he would use the gathering of notable CEOs and leaders from both the technology and media industries as a opportunity to convince some executives to offer more content for Apple’s devices. Jobs has attended the conference twice in the past, in 1999 and 2005.
In a post on Apple’s iPhone Developer News site the company has provided some additional details concerning the roll out of its new iAd advertising platform. As expected, the rollout began July 1st, however this initial rollout is limited to North America only, with the service scheduled to be deployed outside of North America in “a few months.” Apple also notes that only a few ads will initially be appearing but the number of ads served will be increased over the next few weeks and months. A separate post provides additional information for developers on displaying iAds within their applications and cautions developers to take steps to avoid blank banners appearing when ads are not available, noting that apps that display blank iAd banners will not be accepted by the App Store Review Team.
- July 2, 2010
Following yesterday’s reports of wireless streaming and synchronization features coming to iTunes this fall, CNet has indicated that the service may not be coming as soon as predicted. The article points out that although Apple has apparently been engaged in discussions with the music industry regarding a streaming service, the company has yet to actually acquire the necessary licenses from the top four music labels. Some people within the recording industry have indicated that Apple could likely allow users to stream content from their own home computers without requiring a new license, however streaming music from Apple’s own servers would require them to negotiate a new arrangement with the recording industry. The article goes on to note that there is a small possibility that Apple may not feel that the labels’ permission is required to stream music as such a service would likely only provide users with access to music that they had already purchased. Apple’s acquisition of music service Lala back in December would seem to indicate that the company is planning a streaming service of some form, although as usual Apple itself has been completely silent on the matter.
Apple has issued a press release this morning responding to the numerous complaints that have been circulating regarding reception issues with the new iPhone 4. In a Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4, Apple reiterates previous comments that holding any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by one or more bars, and acknowledges that this is as true of the iPhone 4 as it was of previous iPhone models and other manufacturers’ phones. The letter goes on to note, however, that “some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band.” Apple admits that this is a “far bigger drop than normal” and concedes that it has led some to believe it to be the result of a faulty antenna design.
Apple reports that on further investigation it was “stunned to find that the formula [used] to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong.” In essence, the company explains that the iPhone 4 sometimes displays four bars even in weak coverage areas where it should only be displaying as few as two bars. Apple notes that users who are seeing a loss of several bars when gripping their iPhone in a certain way are likely in areas with weak signal strength, but don’t realize it due to the calculation error. The letter notes that a user’s “big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.”
In the letter, Apple indicates that it will be releasing a free software update “within a few weeks” that will use AT&T’s more recent formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The result of the update will not change the actual signal strength but will report it more accurately. Apple notes that this error has been present since the original iPhone and will also be corrected in the software update for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS models.
Apple has started rolling its new iAd mobile advertising platform in iOS 4 applications coded to display the ads. Although reports indicate that some users are already able to see and interact with the new ads, two iLounge editors have yet to have one appear—possibly due to their geographic locations—leaving nothing but a blank banner, as pictured above. Previewed by Apple at both its iPhone OS 4 event in April and then again during the company’s WWDC keynote address, iAd is a new, Apple-controlled mobile advertising platform that is built directly into iOS, allowing for more advanced interaction between the viewer and the content, with the bonus of not having to leave the app in which the ad was displayed. A recent report indicated that the first companies with iAds paid $1 million for the privilege, with some paying up to $10 million for some measure of exclusivity in their respective categories.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and AT&T over the iPhone 4’s cellular reception issues. The suit, filed in Maryland District Court, revolves around the “left hand” reception issue, and alleges that Apple and AT&T “knew or reasonably should have known of the iPhone 4’s defective nature prior to placing the iPhone 4 into the stream of commerce.” Claims against the two companies include general negligence, defect in design, manufacture, and assembly, deceptive trade practices, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud by concealment. The suit seeks compensatory damages and “other remedies.” [via Gizmodo]
Apple has released an update to its MobileMe Gallery application for iPhone and iPod touch devices. MobileMe Gallery 1.1.1 adds support for downloading higher-resolution images when using an iPhone 4 on a Wi-Fi network. The update also notes additional bug fixes, and although no mention is made of iOS 4 support the update appears to add Fast App Switching capabilities as well, although no other specific iOS 4 multitasking features are available. MobileMe Gallery allows iPhone and iPod touch users to view photos and movies from their own and their friends’ MobileMe Galleries in a manner similar to the built-in Photos app. Previously viewed photos are cached on the device so that they can be viewed even without an Internet connection, and links to albums and photos can be e-mailed out directly from within the app. MobileMe Gallery is available from the App Store as a free download for the iPhone and iPod touch and although the current version runs on the iPad, an iPad-native version is not yet available.
A purported copy of Apple’s internal iPhone 4 antenna troubleshooting procedures has been leaked and posted online. Claiming to received the document from an unnamed Apple source, Boy Genius Report states that the list represents the exact procedures AppleCare representatives must follow when dealing with customers experiencing reception problems with their iPhone 4 units. The reps are told to tell iPhone 4 customers to “avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band,” and note that “the use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.” The representatives are told not to perform warranty service, only escalate if the issue exists when the phone isn’t being held in a hand, and not to offer free bumper cases to angry customers.
In a brief update to its iPhone Developer news and announcements page, Apple has revealed that it is ending support for iOS 2.x apps. The post, which urges developers to review Apple’s iOS 4 Readiness Checklist, states that “the App Store will no longer support applications that target iOS 2.x,” while reminding developers that “[a]ll new applications and updates to existing applications must be built with iPhone SDK 4.” Apple released iOS 4 on June 21 as a free update for all iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, second-, and third-generation iPod touch users.
Apple has posted its new television ad for the iPhone 4 online. Based heavily on a video shown during the company’s keynote address at WWDC, the minute-long spot focuses solely on the iPhone 4’s FaceTime video calling feature, and shows a number of different people using FaceTime in different ways to communicate. As it was during the keynote, the video is accompanied by the song “When You’re Smiling” by Louis Armstrong. Apple’s new iPhone 4 television ad can be viewed on the company’s website. [via Daring Fireball]
Apple has posted a new support document explaining how to configure a firewall or security software to enable iPhone 4 FaceTime video chats over Wi-Fi. The document claims that while FaceTime will “just work” on most Wi-Fi networks, the feature may fail on some networks protected by a firewall. According to the document, port forwarding must be enabled for ports 53, 80, 443, 4080, 5223, and 16393-16472 (UDP) for FaceTime to function correctly on firewall-protected networks. For all other Wi-Fi related issues, Apple refers users to its general Wi-Fi troubleshooting document.
Apple has announced that it sold more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 units from Thursday, June 24 through Saturday, June 26. “This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.” The iPhone 4 is available now in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, and will be available in an additional 18 countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland—by the end of July.
Apple is offering new iPhone 4 users a dedicated toll-free hotline for them to call to test the FaceTime feature of their new handsets. Mobiture reports that calling 1-888-FACETIME and instigating a FaceTime call allows users to video chat with an Apple representative who can tell the caller how to use the feature and offer advanced tips. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Central Time; Wi-Fi is, for obvious reasons, required for the service. [via Engadget]
- June 25, 2010
Apple has issued a statement on the reception issues some iPhone 4 users are reporting when holding the device in their left hands, with their palms bridging the small gap between the upper and lower steel plates. According to Engadget, Apple said, “Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.” Notably, a large portion of Apple’s promotional material for the phone up to this point has featured people holding the phone in the exact same manner, and while the service changes do not appear to be as severe as the loss in service “bar” indicators suggests, the issue is gaining media attention and could become a larger problem should it become more widespread.
A class action lawsuit filed against AT&T and Apple earlier this month over the former’s change in data plan offerings has been amended and refiled to include more users, including those out-of-state. The New York Times reports that the suit, filed in U.S. District court in San Jose, CA, currently names three persons who claim Apple and AT&T “baited” them in an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G with the unlimited wireless data plan, “only to have that promise reneged upon within weeks of their purchases.” The suit notes that AT&T and Apple originally claimed that iPad 3G customers would be able to easily opt-in and opt-out of the unlimited plan, but following AT&T’s data plan changes, it’s unclear whether users who decide to skip a month of data will still be eligible for the unlimited plan afterwards. The suit also claims that AT&T was abrupt in its decision, giving customers less than a week’s notice that the unlimited offering would be eliminated.
Apple has released its iMovie app for the iPhone 4. Announced at WWDC 2010 on June 7th, the iPhone version of iMovie provides iPhone 4 users with a mobile version of Apple’s Mac iMovie application, providing the ability to edit videos directly on the iPhone via onscreen Multi-Touch controls. Users can add video from the iPhone library or record directly using the built-in camera, scrub through and trim videos, and add background music, photos, titles and basic transitions. A selection of five themes is available within the app, with each theme including its own distinct set of titles and transitions. Additional features include support for location services to automatically insert maps and appropriate place titles, inserted photos with a Ken Burns effect and ducking support for lowering background music and highlighting audio. Movies created in iMovie can be exported in Medium, Large or HD formats, shared via e-mail or MMS or uploaded directly to MobileMe or YouTube. iMovie runs only on the iPhone 4 and is available from the App Store in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan for $5.
Apple has posted its new User Guide for the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 online (PDF Link). The 28-chapter, 200+ page guide covers a host of iOS 4 features—including syncing and file sharing, all the core, pre-installed applications, iBooks, Nike + iPod functionality, and accessibility. Notably, the Guide includes several iPhone 4-specific notes and illustrations, including those for SIM card installation, high-definition video syncing, putting a call on hold—you press and hold the Mute button on the iPhone 4’s call screen—placing a FaceTime call, switching between the device’s two cameras, and a note stating that movies rented on the iPhone 4 cannot be transferred to a computer as on the iPhone 3G and 3GS; although movies rented on the computer in iTunes can be transferred to an iPhone 4 unit. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has released a statement confirming that white iPhone 4 units will be unavailable on launch day. In the statement, Apple claims that white models of the iPhone 4 “have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July.” Speculation about the availability of white iPhone 4 units has persisted since the phone was unavailable for pre-order alongside black models on June 15; this is also the first time Apple has publicly suggested that a black iPhone model is more popular than its white counterpart.