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]
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.
Apple today announced that it sold its three millionth iPad yesterday, just 80 days after its initial launch in the U.S. “People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world, including those in nine more countries next month.” The announcement also notes that there are now over 11,000 iPad applications available. The iPad is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.
Apple has sent out emails to at least some of its pre-order iPhone 4 customers notifying them that their phones will be arriving on June 23, a day ahead of the official launch. The email reads, “You recently received a Shipment Notification email from Apple advising you that your iPhone has shipped. This email is to confirm that your delivery will occur on June 23rd. Although Apple and FedEx tracking information may currently indicate a later date, you can check the FedEx website the morning of the June 23rd to track your package to your doorstep.” While it is uncharacteristic of Apple to deliver any devices ahead of the actual launch date, with the large number of pre-orders, it is possible that both Apple and AT&T want to spread out the burden on the latter’s activation servers as much as possible after last week’s pre-ordering snafu.
Apple has released iBooks 1.1, the first major update to its e-Book reading and purchasing software for iOS devices. As revealed by Apple in its WWDC keynote address, iBooks 1.1 offers compatibility with the iPad as well as any iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4, and features several noteworthy improvements, including PDF support, the ability to highlight text, add notes, and bookmark, the latter two of which are reflected in the book’s Table of Contents, wireless syncing of notes, highlights, and page position between devices, and, interestingly, support for iTunes Digital Booklet files once they’ve been marked as a Book in iTunes. iBooks 1.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Apple has released iOS 4 for the second- and third-generation iPod touch, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. The fourth major release of Apple’s mobile device operating system—previously called iPhone OS—the new software provides over 100 new features or enhancements, according to Apple. Among these are multitasking, folders, customizable backgrounds for the Home screen, a unified inbox for the Mail application, more fine-grained control over Location Services, support for Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform, and support for iBooks 1.1 on the iPhone and iPod touch. Several of the features—most notably multitasking—require more advanced hardware and are therefore only available on the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, as well as future devices such as the iPhone 4. Interestingly, iLounge editors have seen a dialog box experienced when updating a second-generation iPod touch, warning not to “interrupt the update, which may take an hour or longer to complete” that was not seen when upgrading an iPhone 3GS. The iOS 4 update for the second-generation iPod touch weighs in at 315.0MB, the iPhone 3G update is 292.1MB, the third-generation iPod touch download is 366.4MB, and the iPhone 3GS version is 378.0MB. iOS 4 for the iPhone and iPod touch is available for download now via the update feature in iTunes, and will be coming to the iPad this fall.
Update: iOS 4 for the iPhone 4 is a 579.3MB download, more than 200MB larger than any of the other iOS 4 install bundles.
According to the latest data from Millennial Media (PDF Link), Apple’s share of overall U.S. mobile device ad impressions is on the decline. In May, Apple devices accounted for around 25% of all impressions, down sharply from 35% the month before. The report gives no indication as to whether Apple’s changes to the iOS developer agreement, which banned the sharing of user and device data with third party ad networks and analytics tools, had any affect on the results. Also of interest in the report is a new section on mobile developer trends. The report claims that 90% of all U.S. developers are single-platform, with 56% of those focused on iOS development, followed by 29% that are focused on Andoid. Millennial Media’s numbers are based on impressions served on its network of mobile sites and apps, which reaches 82% of the U.S. mobile audience, according to the company.
In a letter to the FCC dated shorty prior to the company’s official unveiling of the iPhone 4, Apple asked the regulatory body (PDF Link) for a 45-day confidentiality window on certain documents. Specifically, the test setup photographs, external photographs, internal photographs, and the user manual. In the letter, Apple says that “although Apple has begun to market the device publicly, these documents reveal technical and design information that has not been publicly disclosed in such marketing and that is protected by Apple as confidential and proprietary trade secrets.” As is standard practice, Apple in the same letter requested permanent confidentiality for more sensitive documents, including schematics for the applications processor, cellular radio, and Wi-Fi + Bluetooth. [via Patently Apple]
Last night Apple rolled out a number of updates to its MobileMe service. Most notably, the company brought its enhanced MobileMe webmail application out of beta, giving the web app a more iPad-like interface. Improvements include widescreen and compact views, the ability to use mail rules to automate organization, faster performance, support for sending mail from a different, non MobileMe address, and improved junk mail filtering. Also new is the navigation screen, which replaces the old row of icons at the top of the page with a single cloud icon. When clicked, or when evoked using the key combination of Shift-Esc, it brings up a Mac OS X-like application switcher that lets the user move between applications. These updates join the new Find My iPhone application, which was launched alongside the updates.
Following a recent update to its MobileMe service, Apple has released Find My iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. A native app for the web-based service, Find My iPhone can be installed on any device running iOS 3.1.3 or later and assists users in locating another lost or missing iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that is using the MobileMe service. Users simply sign in with the MobileMe member name associated with the missing device and the Find My iPhone app provides an integrated map to show where the lost device last reported its location. Users can then display a message and/or play a sound on the remote device, remotely lock the device with a passcode or wipe the device completely in the same way as through the MobileMe web-based Find My iPhone service. Note that the Find My iPhone service must already have been enabled on the missing device in order for the app to locate it. Find My iPhone is a universal app that runs natively on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is a free download from the App Store, although a $99/year MobileMe subscription is required to use the Find My iPhone service.
Apple has released iTunes 9.2, the latest update to its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 9.2 includes support for iPhone 4 and iOS 4, as well as the ability to organize and sync books to iPhones and iPod touch units with iBooks 1.1, support for iBooks PDF management, the ability to create and manage iOS 4 home screen folders from within iTunes, album art speed improvements, and faster backups when syncing a device running iOS 4. iTunes 9.2 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Only hours after Apple sold through its initial allotment of iPhone 4 units, pushing the ship date on new pre-orders back from the device’s June 24 launch date to July 2, the company has been forced to push new pre-orders back even further. According to the company’s online store, new iPhone 4 pre-orders will now ship by July 14, nearly two weeks later than orders placed just earlier today. Apple announced earlier that it and its carrier partners took more than 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 units yesterday, saying it was “the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day,” while apologizing for “order and approval system malfunctions” that left many potential customers unable to order their chosen device. [via Mac Rumors]
With more than eight elapsed hours since Apple began accepting iPhone 4 pre-orders, both the company and AT&T continue to experience serious server issues that are leaving a large number of angry customers unable to pre-order devices online. Additionally, call times on Apple’s telephone lines are so long that the company’s phone systems are in some cases turning away callers; one iLounge editor spent three hours on hold before being told that the phone-based customer service agents are using the same system as online customers, and thus have no way to resolve the problems. iLounge has been told that both companies are working to fix the issues, and the representative we spoke with was hopeful the issues would be resolved within a few hours. The problems, for which Apple and AT&T have not apologized, began with the unexpected last-minute unavailability of white iPhone 4 devices, an issue that now seems trivial in light of the massive system failures that have blocked orders of other models as well.