Immediately following Apple’s launch of the iPhone 4 Case Program, a case giveaway designed to reduce reception-related issues traced to the iPhone 4’s external antenna, iLounge editors discovered two billing-related errors that appear to enable some users to receive more than the correct number of free cases or refunds due. The first error appears to enable a user who ordered a Bumper case from Apple to simultaneously receive an automated refund and still be eligible for a free case using the iPhone 4 Case Program application. Separately, iLounge has discovered that a single person’s order for multiple Bumper cases led to the receipt of multiple refunds—while still remaining eligible for a free case through the application. As a result, one of our editors has already received credits and order confirmations for three cases. It’s unclear whether this is due to a lack of cross-checking the Apple IDs used to register for free cases with past iPhone 4 Bumper case orders, or quiet but intentional over-generosity on Apple’s part. We have contacted Apple to notify it of the errors and obtain a comment, and will update this article if and when we receive a response.
Apple has posted details of its iPhone 4 case program. According to the webpage, iPhone 4 users who want to receive a free case need to download the free iPhone 4 Case Program app from the App Store. Once the app is installed, users need to login with their iTunes Store account or Apple ID. The app checks the device’s IMEI and serial number to verify that the user indeed does own an iPhone 4, and lets the user choose an iPhone 4 Bumper or another case. Apple notes that for iPhone 4 purchases made before July 23, 2010, users must apply no later than August 22, 2010; otherwise, they must apply within 30 days of the iPhone 4 purchase. For advice on picking your free case, take a glance at our recommendation article.
Apple has announced that it is delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 once again. The press release states, “White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year.” The company released a similar statement exactly one month ago, promising availability in the second half of July, and did not mention any manufacturing problems during either its iPhone 4 press conference last Friday nor during its fiscal results conference call earlier this week.
- July 22, 2010
Apple has expanded the ranks of its senior executive team by promoting Jeff Williams from vice president of operations to senior vice president of operations. “Jeff Williams is Apple’s senior vice president of Operations, reporting to COO Tim Cook,” reads his Apple bio page. “Jeff leads a team of people around the world responsible for end-to-end supply chain management and dedicated to ensuring that Apple products meet the highest standards of quality.” Williams worked at IBM from 1985 until he joined Apple in 1998, initially taking on the role of head of worldwide procurement. He was named vice president of operations in 2004, and has led worldwide operations for the iPod and iPhone since the latter’s launch in 2007. Mac Rumors notes that Williams appears to have taken the position on or before July 7, and that Williams’ holdings in Apple stock and options are worth over $41 million at current prices, although not all of the options and grants have yet been vested or exercised.
Following a response from Nokia on Apple’s claims that signal attenuation is a problem for all smartphones, Apple has added a section covering the Nokia N97 mini to its smartphone antenna performance page. “Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design,” Nokia said in a statement. Apple’s antenna performance page, posted last Friday after Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference, originally compared the performance of the iPhone 4 to the BlackBerry Bold, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, and iPhone 3GS, and led to a similar response from BlackBerry-maker RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
- July 20, 2010
During Apple’s Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Apple COO Tim Cook made several noteworthy comments concerning the company’s digital media products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In his opening statements, Oppenheimer said the company has sold its 100 millionth iOS device—a long-awaited milestone—that the iPod continues to gain market share year-over-year in nearly every tracked country, and that iTunes revenue was up 25% from the year-ago quarter. Apple saw strong sales of the iPhone in Asia, Europe, and Japan, and is now available from 154 carriers in 88 countries. In regards to the company’s offer of free cases for all iPhone 4 purchasers, Oppenheimer said the company would defer an estimated $175 million in revenue until the December quarter, corresponding to the estimated total value of the case giveaway.
The executives revealed that the average selling price (ASP) of the iPad for the quarter was $640, while the iPhone saw an ASP of $590, the latter reflecting both direct payments by customers and shared revenue from carrier partners. In terms of corporate use, more than 80% of the Fortune 100 and over 60% of the Fortune 500 are now deploying or pilot testing the iPhone, while around 400 higher education institutions have embraced the iPhone for faculty, staff, and students. The executives also said that after just 90 days, 50% of the Fortune 100 are deploying or testing the iPad, a stunning number considering the opposition Apple once faced trying to sell Macs to these companies. In discussing iPhone sales numbers and the lead up to the launch of the iPhone 4, Cook revealed that the company saw significantly lower sales from June 7—the date the iPhone 4 was unveiled—through June 24, the device’s official launch, which came only days before the end of the quarter. The year-over-year growth rate for the iPhone was close to 90% heading in to June 7, but finished at 61% as a result of the slowdown, a reflection of how changes in both Apple’s iPhone inventory and consumer demand can impact its sales numbers immediately before a new model is launched.
Throughout the call, Cook repeatedly explained that Apple is making both iPads and iPhone 4 units as fast as it can sell them, and while it is working to ramp up production and meet demand as quickly as possible, it can’t say definitively when it will have enough supply to meet demand. This was characterized as a good problem to have, and iPad sales were noted to be as strong during the three-month quarter as some had expected in an entire year. The executives also said that the company had seen an extremely small number of iPhone 4 returns over the antenna issue. Notably, the Apple TV was not discussed at any point throughout the course of the call.
Reporting its third quarter 2010 financial results today, Apple said it sold 9.41 million iPods during the quarter—an eight percent unit decrease compared to the 10.2 million iPods sold in Q3 2009, albeit with a four percent increase in revenue. It also sold 8.4 million iPhones in the quarter, up 61% from the year-ago quarter, and 3.27 million iPads, the latter alone contributing $2.166 billion in revenue during its first quarter of supply-constrained availability. The company posted overall revenue of $15.7 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $9.73 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.83 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share in Q3 2009.
“It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple’s history with iPhone 4,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is off to a terrific start, more people are buying Macs than ever before, and we have amazing new products still to come this year.”
“We’re really pleased to have generated over $4 billion of cash during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue of about $18 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $3.44”
Apple has released iBooks 1.1.1, the latest version of its e-book reading application for the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. According to Apple, the new version includes the ability to double-tap images to view more detail, support for audio and video within books, performance improvements for PDF reading, fixes for an issue that caused some book downloads not to complete, and other stability and performance improvements. iBooks 1.1.1 is available now from the App Store.
Apple has released iTunes version 9.2.1, the latest update to its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes version 9.2.1 disables older versions of certain incompatible third-party plug-ins, addresses issues concerning drag-and-drop, performance when first syncing some devices, upgrading to iOS 4 on an iPhone or iPod touch with encrypted back-ups, and “other issues” impacting stability and performance. iTunes 9.2.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Apple has pulled its remaining stock of iPhone 4 Bumper cases from its retail and online Stores ahead of its free giveaway. A check with an Ohio-based retail store, as well as with Apple’s online store, shows no availability of the Apple-branded cases, and a retail store representative confirmed with iLounge that the cases had been pulled due to the giveaway. Apple announced on Friday that it would be offering a free Bumper or other, yet-to-be-determined case to all current iPhone 4 users and those who purchase the handset by September 30 due to complaints over the iPhone 4’s antenna issues.
Apple has announced that the iPad will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore this Friday, July 23. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at yet to be determined prices. The iPad is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and Apple claims it will roll out the device to “many more countries” later this year.
Apple has posted a QuickTime video stream of its iPhone 4 press conference on its website. During the roughly hour-long event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave a presentation explaining Apple’s view of the antenna issues, and promised free cases to all current iPhone 4 users and all those who will purchase the device by September 30. Notably missing from the video stream is the question and answer session held directly following the presentation, a brief overview of which can be found here. In addition, the company has posted a pair of new webpages examining smartphone antenna performance and comparing that of the iPhone 4 to the BlackBerry Bold, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, and iPhone 3GS, and highlighting the company’s antenna design and testing labs.
Apple today revealed that it will launch the iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland on July 30. Notably, the list of countries does not include South Korea, which was previously scheduled to receive the phone at the same time; no reason was given for the delay. In addition, Apple said that white models of the iPhone 4 will be available in late July, but did not offer an exact date for availability, or reveal whether online pre-orders would be available.
During today’s iPhone 4 press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that due to complaints over the iPhone 4’s antenna issue, Apple will be offering a free case to all customers who purchase an iPhone 4 by September 30. According to Jobs, users will be able to apply for the free case on Apple’s website late next week, and the case will be shipped to them free of charge. Due to the low number of Bumper cases available, Apple also said it will be offering users a choice of cases beyond the Bumpers, but did not specify which cases would be eligible. For iPhone 4 users who have already purchased a Bumper case, Apple will be offering refunds, but will not be refunding those who purchased third-party cases.
Apple’s short-notice press conference regarding the iPhone 4 will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Although no one is certain what the company may say, earlier reports have indicated that the company is unlikely to issue a recall of current iPhone 4 units, and may well claim that the handset’s reception problems can be fixed via a software update. Also unknown is whether or not the company will make any mention of the ongoing proximity sensor issue reported by some users. We will be updating this story throughout the event as information becomes available.
Apple has posted its iOS Software Development Kit (SDK) 4.0.1, bringing with it compatibility with the latest iOS software releases. Notably, Apple is warning developers that if they have updated their iPhones to iOS 4.0.1 or their iPads to iOS 3.2.1 they will need to download and install the new SDK to continue development. Unlike the iOS 4.1 beta and accompanying SDK released yesterday, iOS SDK 4.0.1 is available to all registered developers, and not just those who have paid Apple’s $99 annual fee to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program. Apple’s iOS SDK 4.0.1 is available now as a free download from the iPhone Dev Center.
Alongside iOS 4.0.1 for the iPhone, Apple today also released the iOS 3.2.1 Software Update for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, the update brings improved Wi-Fi connectivity, fixes for issues that could prevent copy and paste of single-page PDF documents in Mail and cause video playback to freeze, improved reliability of video-out when using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, and adds Bing as an option for Safari’s search field. The iOS 3.2.1 Software Update for the iPad is available now for both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models via the Update feature in iTunes.
Apple has released iOS 4.0.1 Software Update for iPhone, the first update to the iOS since the release of 4.0 on June 21. According to Apple’s release notes, the 4.0.1 Software Update “improves the formula to determine how many bars of signal strength to display.” Apple promised this fix in a press release earlier this month; it remains to be seen whether it also addresses the ongoing proximity sensor issue, as well. The iOS 4.0.1 Software Update for iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 is available now via the Update feature in iTunes.
A newly published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a new format Dock Connector that would allow device docking in multiple orientations. Entitled “Methods and Apparatuses For Docking a Portable Electronic Device That Has a Planar Like Configuration and That Operates in Multiple Orientations,” the patent describes a docking system that, like current Apple Docks, offers both power and data to the connected device, either via flush contacts that physically touch similar contacts on the dock itself, or via inductive coils that could be concealed within the device’s body. As AppleInsider notes, the patent also covers less progressive docking ideas including traditional electrical contact docks that can be rotated or adjusted; it notably also shows an iPad-like device being docked to an articulated arm not unlike the one found on earlier iMac models. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
Apple’s limited developer release of the beta version of iOS 4.1 yesterday makes a handful of small new changes to iOS 4.0, which debuted in June 2010 for iPhone 3G, 3GS, iPod touch 2G, iPod touch 3G, and iPhone 4 devices. For readers who may be interested in what’s changed, we’ve compiled a brief list, along with several screenshots provided by a reader.
One subtle change was first spotted in iOS 4.1 but will likely appear in an iOS 4.0.1 update, as well: Apple’s signal bar strength meter has been updated to more accurately depict cellular signal strength, such that they will show fewer bars than before under some conditions, and the first three bars have been made larger.
Game Center, a matchmaking and leaderboard application for iOS 4-compatible games, has been added again to the list of icons. Apple included Game Center with developer versions of iOS 4.0 until the date of final release, but pulled the app from the publicly available iOS 4 release to give developers additional time to integrate their apps with the feature. The new version of Game Center includes an updated interface with stylized graphics.
Apple has added a new Settings > General > Restrictions option to turn off multi-player game matchmaking within Game Center, which disables the request tab and friend adding for that application. It has also added a new Settings > General > Keyboard option to disable the spell checking feature. User-created dictionary entries also appear to be in the offing for iOS 4.1, enabling the auto-correction feature to learn additional words that shouldn’t be replaced.
Additional features include support for adding iPhone 4 FaceTime contacts to your Favorites list, a tweak that moves the Flash and Camera switch buttons to different locations when the device is tilted into landscape orientation, and a change to AVRCP Bluetooth handing that allows for track skipping. A version of iOS 4.1 for iPad notably has not been released by Apple.