- October 14, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5s is currently more than doubling the sales of iPhone 5c, according to a survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Based on the survey, the iPhone 5s made up 64 percent of iPhone sales following its launch in September. The iPhone 5c accounted for 27 percent of sales, with the 4s filling in the gap with 9 percent of the sales. CIRP notes the iPhone 5 grabbed slightly more of the iPhone market than the 5s during its release last year — 68 percent — though it was the only new iPhone release at the time. [via AllThingsD]
- October 11, 2013
AT&T announced it will only be offering Mobile Share plans to new customers starting Oct. 25. The carrier will be eliminating its older per-device plans. Existing AT&T customers will have the option to stick with their current plans. AT&T’s Mobile Share offers data plans ranging from 300MB to 50GB per month.
A number of reports have popped up relating to a “blue screen of death” error when multitasking on the iPhone 5s. The topic has been discussed in Apple user forums, as the issue seems to stem from using iWork on the 5s. Forbes has a video of the malfunction in its report.
We tested the 5s using iWork and got the same results. In one test, the phone wasn’t truly rebooted — Touch ID could still be used to log in after the glitch occurs. On another occasion, the 5s did undergo a full reboot. It’s possible that Apple will solve the issue when updating iWork for iOS 7, or a fix could come via a software update. Some users have reported that disabling Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from Settings, iCloud, Documents & Data seems to resolve the problem.
Flickr (free) from Yahoo! updated to version 2.30.1503, enabling auto upload in iOS 7. Users can now automatically save their photos in Flickr’s 1TB-per-user storage space in full resolution. The app also now features auto straighten, letting users automatically straighten photos using the Flickr editor. Google sign-in issues have been fixed in the update, as well.
Foursquare (free) has made more major changes to its iOS app. Version 6.4 adds a “nearby” button to see what friends are around. Each friend’s most recent check-in is also shown, and more information can be accessed through their profiles. The app is also rolling out real-time recommendations to more iPhone users each day — checking in at a restaurant can show you a top menu item or daily special, for instance.
- October 10, 2013
T-Mobile has announced it will begin offering global data roaming coverage at no extra charge, starting Oct. 20 for new customers, and Oct. 31 for existing customers. The unlimited data coverage will be available in more than 100 countries, with free texting and 20 cents-per-minute calls. According to T-Mobile’s website, data is available at “up to 2G speeds.” Customers must have a qualifying Simple Choice Plan to receive the coverage.
Apple is preparing to launch its iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in the United Kingdom, according to a report that notes the program will debut “in the coming months.” The report suggests that Apple may also debut the program in other European countries after the UK launch. The recycling program launched in late August in the U.S., ahead of the iPhone 5c/5s launches. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: The trade-in program has launched in the UK, 9to5Mac reports.
Apple announced that the iPhone 5c and 5s will be coming to more than 25 countries on Friday, Oct. 25. On that day, the phones will be released in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.
The two phones will also be available in more than a dozen countries a week later, on Friday, Nov. 1. That day, the iPhone 5c and 5s will hit Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.
Camera+ ($2) from tap tap tap has upgraded to version 4.2. The update fixes and enhances burst mode shooting on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s. Additionally, a new effects pack has been added that includes all the filters in Apple’s iOS 7 Camera and Photo apps. The developer’s oddly punchy, not particularly Apple-friendly description of the update on the iTunes preview page is actually worth a read, as well.
Real Boxing ($5) from Vivid Games is now at version 1.4.1, which offers new iPhone 5s support within the Unreal Engine. This comes only a week after version 1.4, which gave players the ability to bet on their fight outcomes and win in-game currency. An enhanced multiplayer mode and global leaderboards were added, as well as Korean, Chinese, and Japanese language support.
A number of revelations behind the original launch of the iPhone in 2007 have been published in The New York Times Magazine. Fred Vogelstein, author of the upcoming “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,” profiles a number of Apple employees at the time, including Andy Grignon, senior manager in charge of all radios in the original iPhone. Grignon tells of the tense moments leading up to launch, as the iPhone suffered from numerous bugs prior to the unveiling. During rehearsals, Grignon “had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch” — including dropped calls, lost Internet connections, freezes, and unprompted shutdowns. A “golden path” was pre-determined to keep the iPhone from crashing through the numerous known issues, but backups on stage were ready in case of a failure.
The report notes that “software in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio was so unstable that Grignon and his team had to extend the phones’ antennas by connecting them to wires running offstage so the wireless signal wouldn’t have to travel as far.” AT&T brought in a portable cell tower to boost phone reception, and Apple rigged the on-screen cellular strength indicator to show 5 bars at all times, even if the phone’s radio crashed and restarted. But the biggest problem involved memory, as the iPhone often required a restart when multitasking. Jobs usually had a backup plan, but not this time. “It was Apple TV or the iPhone,” Grignon said. “And if he had gone to Macworld with just Apple TV … the world would have said, ‘What the heck was that?’ “
Jobs initially resisted making a phone, and Apple designed and built three early versions of the iPhone in 2006, putting inordinate pressure on employees in the process. Employees were pulled from other areas at Apple and told that they would work on something amazing, but that it would be the hardest work they had ever done. Other insights in the piece include the challenges of shrinking OS X, developing capacitive multitouch, and some incredible details on the lengths of Jobs’ obsession with secrecy surrounding the launch—including a squashed plan to keep contractors sleeping at the venue the night before the unveiling to avoid leaks. The successful iPhone demo ended with Grignon and the iPhone team drunk from scotch snuck into the keynote event.
A Hong Kong company, E-Ser Electronic Co., claims to have completed Lightning cables compatible with both iOS 7 and allegedly new Lightning authentication chips found inside the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The claims haven’t been verified, but are still notable, as non-certified Lightning accessories began to invoke warnings and charging malfunctions after iOS 7 was released.
Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-area voice actress, has revealed herself as the original voice of Siri. Though Apple won’t confirm Bennett as the voice, CNN reports, “Professionals who know her voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ‘100%’ certain the two are the same.” Though Siri didn’t debut until Oct. 4, 2011 during the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, Bennett unknowingly recorded voice samples for the virtual assistant in July 2005. Under contract with ScanSoft, Bennett recorded samples for four hours a day that month. Bennett didn’t find out she was Siri’s voice until the iPhone 4S was released. A colleague with the new phone emailed Bennett, asking if she was Siri. Bennett checked Apple’s website to hear the audio. “Oh, I knew,” she said. “It’s obviously me. It’s my voice.”
- October 3, 2013
There have been reports of the iPhone 5s motion sensors showing incorrect values — one particular MacRumors thread goes on for 20 pages — and today Gizmodo demonstrated that the sensors are off when compared to a level. The report found the gyroscope was a few degrees off, and that the compass on the iPhone 5 had a “more accurate measurement” compared to the 5s.
In confirming the findings, we found similar issues when testing the iPhone 5s sensor in multiple phones: measurements were two to three degrees off, in both portrait and landscape mode, and when the iPhone 5s was placed flat on an even surface. It’s unknown at this point whether the issues are hardware- or software-specific, and whether an iOS update will correct them.
Sega’s The Cave ($5) is an adventure game from Double Fine Productions and Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert. The Cave was previously released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U, just now making its iOS debut. Players explore a sprawling cave using a team. Users pick three explorers out of seven, all with their own personalities, talents, and motivations. The gameplay dynamics are similar to Gilbert’s Maniac Mansion, an absolute classic from 1987.
Goodnight Mo ($3) is a new interactive pop-up book from StoryToys Entertainment. The short book shows a little monster named Mo getting ready for bed. He takes a bath, goes to the bathroom, and brushes his teeth before settling down for the night. It’s designed to help establish a bedtime routine for youngsters, who can have fun interacting with the various elements of the book. The app can read the book aloud to kids, or let them read it for themselves. Narration is available in English, French, German, and Spanish.
Apple is working on a solution for a known iOS 7 glitch that is disrupting iMessage, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some users have found that iMessages appear to go through, only to later discover that the message has not actually been delivered. “We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update,” Apple said in a statement. A few workarounds have been suggested by users for the time being, including restarting the device, and disabling iMessage, resetting Network Settings, and then turning iMessage back on.
Flixster’s free app with the lengthy title — Movies by Flixster, with Rotten Tomatoes — has upgraded to version 6.6. The update brings HD streaming to select titles. The app also features a brand new design for iOS 7. Flixster notes those who are having issues with streaming movies due to the update should log out and log back in to fix the problem.
Navigon North America ($40) from Garmin has updated to version 2.6.1. As one might expect, it’s been updated to support iOS 7, and there are some bug fixes, but the big change is the app is now compatible with Garmin HUD. Garmin’s HUD — for Head-Up Display — projects navigation information onto a driver’s windshield from the app. HUD is an interesting concept that keeps eyes on the road while using navigation data, but the $150 device is a separate purchase from the already pricey app.
- September 30, 2013
Boost Mobile will carry the iPhone 5c and 5s, according to a tweet from @evleaks. It will be the first time the prepaid carrier will sell the iPhone.
Major League Baseball plans to utilize Apple’s new iBeacon indoor mapping feature in its At the Ballpark app. The app will use the new iOS 7 feature in MLB stadiums. “Essentially, we want to create micro-locations within the stadiums where you can get different experiences,” said MLB iOS developer Marc Abramson. It’s possible the app could load a ticket through Passbook when a spectator approaches a stadium gate, and present a map which can show spectators to their seats.
A number of other possible features were revealed, including discounts and loyalty cards at concession stands, and historical information about the park. The New York Mets are currently testing the Bluetooth LE-powered iBeacon for in-stadium use, but Abramson said, “A lot of teams have expressed interest so far.” [via Mashable]
- September 27, 2013
Virgin Mobile will carry Apple’s iPhone 5c and 5s starting Oct. 1. The carrier announced the news through its official Twitter account. Virgin Mobile didn’t start selling the iPhone 5 until June of this year. A number of regional carriers will also begin carrying the new iPhones on Oct. 1.
A Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee has voted to recommend letting airline passengers use smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other electronic devices during takeoffs and landings, the Associated Press reports. The recommendation will be sent to the FAA, which has final say on whether the restrictions will be eased. However, it’s notable that downloading data, using the Internet, and talking on the phone would still be prohibited below 10,000 feet under the recommendations. The FAA began seeking public comments on the issue more than a year ago. While the FCC urged the FAA to expand in-flight device use, another report claimed passenger electronics interfere with equipment.
2K Drive ($5) from 2K Sports has updated to version 1.6. The new British car pack brings four new cars from Land Rover, Vauxhall, and Jaguar to the game. New events have also been added to 2K Drive, and users who were completely unable to play the game before can now get past the tutorial level and purchase cars. Additionally, vehicle control improvements have been made, including steering sensitivity tweaks, though the default steering is pretty challenging.
Lens Tutorial (free) from Smart Learn Apps isn’t the prettiest-looking app around, but it makes up for its lack of aesthetic appeal through education. The app, now updated for version 1.4, shows how to use a variety of camera lenses, demonstrating visually how their aperture, distance from subject, and width/zoom level change their depth of field. More than 3,400 digital cameras are now included after the most recent update. The app also offers a high-contrast scheme with large fonts for outdoor use.