- September 14, 2010
Apple has launched a new online support feature dubbed Express Lane aimed at making it easier for customers to get in touch with Apple representatives ready to deal with their particular product. AppleInsider reports that the new feature narrows down possible issues by having users select the problematic product, enter that product’s serial number, and describe the issue — at which point they are provided with recommended support documents, and if those aren’t able to fix the issue, a final “Contact Options” page is presented listing the customer service options available given the nature of the problem.
You can find more Apple Support links in our Help! section.
Former Apple global supply manager Paul Devine, who was recently arrested and accused of accepting kickback payments from iPod and iPhone accessory suppliers, has agreed to a court order protecting Apple trade secrets. Bloomberg reports that the protective order covers documents, tapes, diskettes, hard drives or other media produced during the discovery phase of the criminal case containing material “that is intended to be kept secret and is trade secret information belonging to Apple.” Devine, who is also the defendant in a civil suit brought against himself and business partner Andrew Ang by Apple, agreed to procedures about how the data will be handled in pre-trial negotiations, without giving up the right to potentially use such information during the trial. Devine is accused of sharing confidential information from Apple with the suppliers, which used the information to negotiate favorable contracts with Apple.
A currently unconfirmed Apple acquisition may have played a part in the company’s addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to its iOS 4.1 feature set. Eric Slivka of Mac Rumors reports that Apple may have purchased UK-based company imsense to gain its expertise in dealing with HDR processing. Imsense, known for its “eye-fidelity” near-instantaneous Dynamic Range Correction software algorithms, was purchased by “an undisclosed trade buyer in July 2010,” according to a note on the website of Braveheart Ventures, which backed imsense. The report goes on to note that nearly all of imsense’s web presence, including its website and Facebook and Twitter accounts, has been removed since its acquisition, and its iOS application imphoto has disappeared from the App Store. Finally, imsense Director of Engineering Alexis Gatt left the company in July 2010, only to become a senior engineer at Apple.
Apple has announced that it will launch the iPad Wi-Fi in China this Friday, September 17, at 10:00 a.m. local time. Curiously, Apple’s announcement makes no mention of when or if the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G might be available despite a recent report that indicated the company had reached an agreement with China Unicom to offer the device. The release also states that Apple plans to roll out the iPad in “many more countries” later this year, and will announce availability and pricing details for these additional countries at a later date. Notably, the announcement also refers to the model as the “iPad Wi-Fi,” and not the iPad with Wi-Fi. The iPad Wi-Fi in China will sell for CNY3988 (roughly $590) for the 16GB model, CNY4788 (~$708) for 32GB, and CNY5588 ($827) for the 64GB version.
Apple has posted a notice on its iPhone 4 Case Program page confirming that the program will end on September 30, while leaving the door open for free Bumper giveaways to customers most affected/upset by their iPhone 4’s antenna problems. “We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought,” says the message at the top of the dedicated Case Program page. “A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the company’s iPhone 4 antenna media event that the company would re-evaluate the Case Program as the proposed September 30 deadline approached. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has posted its new “iPad is Musical” TV advertisement, the latest for its first-generation tablet computer. Like its prior “iPad is Delicious” commercial, the new spot shows the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, utilizing a variety of different apps. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, and is followed by a different descriptor—including “medical,” “live,” “musical,” “work,” “play,” “memories,” “social,” “magazines,” and “historic”—after each app is shown. As with the prior “iPad is” ad, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background. Apple’s new “iPad is Musical” ad is available for viewing on the company’s website.
Apple has teamed with BridgeCo, a software company that sells chips for wireless music streaming, to offer AirPlay functionality on third-party systems. CNBC reports that Apple has worked with BridgeCo in the past on iPod docking products, and approached the company a year ago to offering to make it a launch partner on AirPlay. “Apple has never opened up their eco-system,” says BridgeCo CEO Gene Sheridan. “We’ve always been knocking on the door to work with them on this.” Sheridan continued, “they’re not gonna create the world’s stereo equipment,” instead opting to leverage BridgeCo’s existing portfolio of customers including Denon, iHome Audio, Marantz, JBL, and Bowers & Wilkins. “There is a magic to Apple that sounds simple. They know how to take a complex and feature-rich technology and narrow it,” Sheridan said, noting that out of a long list of potential features BridgeCo could offer the company, Apple picked only three.
Apple has released a statement regarding its App Store Review Guidelines, promising to publish a definitive set of rules for the first time. “We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year,” said Apple in a release. “In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.” This latter statement seemingly opens the door for developers to release apps and games built using Adobe’s Flash technology, so long as they don’t download any executable code.
The release also says that Apple for the first time is “publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store. The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”
Update: Apple has posted a complete PDF of the guidelines online. Notably, the document states that Apple doesn’t need any more Fart apps, and that if a developer wants to describe sex, they should write a book or song, or make a medical app.
Apple has posted version 3.1 of its iPhone Configuration Utility for Mac OS X, its iPhone configuration management utility for enterprise users. The utility allows enterprise users to create configuration profiles which can then be used to setup multiple iPhones. According to Apple’s release notes, “iPCU version 3.1 adds support for new Mobile Device Management (MDM) features introduced in iOS 4 and enables wireless delivery of configuration profiles. It also includes support for Cisco AnyConnect and Juniper Networks SSL VPN clients, CardDAV, multiple Exchange accounts and SAN support using Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP).” iPhone Configuration Utility 3.1 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available now as a free download; a separate version is available for Windows. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has released an update to its iMovie application for the iPhone 4, adding support for the fourth-generation iPod touch and several other new features. iMovie 1.1 adds the ability to split video clips and automatically loop music when video extends beyond the end of the music track. Users can also now scrub to preview clips in the Video Browser and view an in-app Tips page to learn how to use key features. The new version also includes an updated Photos Browser with the newest images at the top, a Mute badge to indicate video clips that have audio disabled and additional performance and reliability improvements. iMovie 1.1 requires an iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5 and as a free update for current users.
As expected, Apple today released iOS 4.1 for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. The update brings a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor, Bluetooth issues, and performance problems on the iPhone 3G. Notably, the iPhone 3G is left out amongst its iOS 4.1-capable peers in support for Apple’s new Game Center social gaming service, which is also included in the update, along with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography on the iPhone 4 (a comparison shot appears below), HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and support for TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. iOS 4.1 is available now as a free upgrade for all compatible devices via the update feature in iTunes; for more information on iOS 4.1, see our Instant Expert article.
Apple has confirmed via a graphic on its Game Center web page that the iPhone 3G will not support the upcoming social gaming network. The graphic indicates that Game Center will be supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Mac Rumors notes that in its iOS 4.1 betas, Apple had initially offered support for Game Center on all iOS 4-capable devices, but removed support for the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch in a revision last month, only to add back support for the touch 2G. In addition, it appears that Apple has also reset the service ahead of its public launch, deleting the accounts of developers who had been using Game Center during the iOS 4.1 beta period.
Apple Japan replaced around 5,000 iPod nano batteries over a three week period in August, according to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. The Mainichi Daily News reports that Apple replaced 4,994 first-generation iPod nano units from August 11 to September 1, a substantial increase that can be attributed to the company’s posting of a statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano units can receive a replacement battery. Apple was ordered by the Ministry to post such a statement earlier in August following complaints from users that it was too difficult to find information on the battery replacement program. [via AppleInsider]
Apple has released a minor update to its Find My iPhone app for iOS devices, adding support for the new fourth-generation iPod touch and translation fixes for French, German and Japanese languages. Find My iPhone is a free app that allows MobileMe subscribers to access the Find My iPhone service directly from an iOS device. Users can log in to their own MobileMe account and locate, play a message, or remotely lock or wipe any devices that are registered with their MobileMe account. Find My iPhone is available from the App Store as a free download. A MobileMe subscription is required.
Apple has released a minor update to its MobileMe iDisk application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. MobileMe iDisk is a free application that allows iOS device users to open, view and share files from their online iDisk storage. The application also provides the ability to continue playing audio files in the background on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Version 1.2.1 fixes an issue that prevented package files such as Keynote presentations from opening in the correct application on the iPad and displays rotated images in the correct orientation when opened. The update also includes various stability and performance improvements. MobileMe iDisk is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has announced that its new Ping music-focused social network has reached the one million user mark, and did so in less than 48 hours after the service’s launch. Announced by Apple last week, Ping ties into the iTunes Store to let people follow favorite artists and share their musical tastes with friends. “One-third of the people who have downloaded iTunes 10 have joined Ping,“ said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “As many more people download iTunes 10 in the coming weeks, we expect the Ping community to continue growing.“ Ping requires iTunes 10 and iOS 4 or later.
- September 7, 2010
Apple has revealed its Fall 2010 iPod lineup at its recent media event, along with a new Apple TV, and a new version of iTunes—plus information on iOS versions 4.1 and 4.2. Here’s a quick summary of the key announcements, with a convenient gallery of photographs.
Fourth-Generation iPod shuffle: Physical buttons return in this $49, 2GB screenless music player.
Sixth-Generation iPod nano: The Click Wheel disappears, giving way to a touch-based interface and an iPod shuffle 2G-like body; $149 for 8GB or $179 for 16GB.
Fourth-Generation iPod touch: iPod touch meets iPhone 4, with dual cameras, FaceTime, a retina display, and the powerful A4 processor. 8GB/$229, 32GB/$299, 64GB/$399.
Click here for more details.
According to a support FAQ from Apple, rented TV Shows are limited to being played on devices running iOS 4.1 or later. Specifically, the FAQ indicates that rented TV shows downloaded via iTunes 10 can be played only on the computer, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS or iPod touch and HD TV rentals can only be played on the computer, iPhone 4 or iPod touch (4th generation) and that iOS 4.1 or later is required. This restriction not only prevents rented TV Shows from being played on Click Wheel iPods and the first-generation Apple TV but also rules out iPad compatibility at least until such time as iOS 4.2 ships in November. It is also uncertain at this time if TV Shows rented in iTunes 10 can be streamed to the second-generation Apple TV or whether users will need to rent TV shows directly on the device. Further, as with the movie rental restrictions discovered earlier this month, the FAQ also indicates that TV Shows rented on the iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch are “not transferable to any other device or computer” meaning that they must be watched only on the device used to rent them.
Apple has confirmed to Ars Technica that it will not be releasing an update to bring the new second-generation Apple TV features such as Netflix streaming to the older device. As with other products Apple has discontinued, the first-generation Apple TV will continue to work in the same way as it already has: users will continue to be able to purchase movies and TV shows directly from the first-generation Apple TV and download new content to the device’s internal hard drive. Notably, however, the first-generation Apple TV will not provide any support for TV Show Rentals, even those rented directly within iTunes 10.
- September 2, 2010
In an unexpected change to its “Buy a Mac, get a free iPod” promotion for educational customers, which runs through September 7 of this year, Apple will not offer students rebates on iPod models announced yesterday, a limitation snuck into a just-updated Terms and Conditions PDF on its Apple Store web site. Since late May, Apple’s web site has promised students and educators a free 8GB iPod touch or less expensive iPod model with the purchase of a new Mac computer, issuing up to $199 as a rebate after the combined purchase. Now, however, the new Terms and Conditions claim that the “new models are NOT ELIGIBLE for the Back to School promotion, and rebate “claims submitted in conjunction with these new products will not be honored.”
As noted by Macworld UK, neither the change in terms nor the way to take advantage of the promotion to order old models is obvious when viewing Apple’s web site. “Because the promotion says that you have to pay for the iPod first, then reclaim the money later,” a reader pointed out, “I suspect there might be quite a lot of disgruntled students in a few weeks time, when they discover that they’ve bought an iPod they really couldn’t afford and that they’re now not going to get the money back for it.”
iLounge has confirmed that this change is impacting U.S. customers who placed orders yesterday for new Macs and iPods, as the company’s telephone representatives are claiming that rebates—despite the lack of conspicuous notice during the ordering process yesterday—will be denied.