China Unicom has announced that it has signed up only 5,000 new iPhone subscribers in the first five days the device has been on sale, but adding it was satisfied with the results. Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing said that the company is “satisfied with iPhone sales so far,” and added that the launch would help boost revenue in the fourth quarter, without providing any additional details. Reuters reports that analysts expect Unicom may be forced to offer more subsidies on the iPhone to bring down its price and boost sales. China Unicom became the first carrier to offer the iPhone in mainland China when it launched the device October 30.
A combination of a certain Intel chipset and Windows 7 is leaving some iPhone users unable to sync their phones to their computers. According to a group of intrepid iPhone users on Apple’s Support forums, the problem appears to be caused by Intel’s P55 Express chipset and its USB controller, which leaves the Windows 7 machines able to recognize the iPhones but unable to sync. Users instead are greeted with the unknown error 0xE8000065. Notably, the problem appears to exist across both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows; no workaround is currently known short of purchasing a new PCI USB card. [via Engadget | The Register]
The iPhone has officially launched in China, with reports of lines in the hundreds. Fortune reports that the first sale was made at 6:30 p.m. Beijing time on Friday, following a ceremony held at China Unicom’s flagship store, known as “The Place.” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing, was on hand at the event, calling it “an extraordinary day,” while China Unicom officials revealed they now have more than 1 million iPhone 3G subscribers, most likely through its amnesty program that allowed owners of imported, gray-market iPhones to sign up for its services. According to reports, as many as 300 customers were in line to buy the handset at Unicom’s store in Beijing, while a strong crowd was also found outside Apple’s retail store in the city.
In its 2009 10-K form (PDF Link), filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple said it plans to fight Nokia in the complaint the Finnish communications giant filed against Apple last week. In the complaint, Nokia claims that Apple’s iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents for GSM, UMTS and wireless LAN standards, or, more specifically, those covering wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption. In its filing, Apple said that it “intends to defend the case vigorously.” Overall, Apple said it is defending more than 47 patent infringement cases, of which 27 were filed during the company’s fiscal 2009.
Data from the latest ChangeWave consumer survey indicates that the iPhone continues to gain market share in the smart phone category, bringing Apple within striking distance of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion for the first time. Overall, 39% of consumers said they currently own a smart phone, up two percent from June. Apple’s market share has jumped five percent among those respondents—from 25% to 30%—in the same time period, leaving it 10% behind market leader RIM, which dropped one point to 40%. Palm remains at 7%. Among consumers planning to purchase a smart phone in the next 90 days, Apple’s share dropped from 44% in June to 36% in September, but it remains 9% ahead of RIM in this metric. Finally, Apple continues to lead in customer satisfaction, with 74% of owners saying they are very satisfied with their iPhone. ChangeWave’s latest survey of was performed from September 14-21 with 4,255 consumer respondents.
Telus announced today that it will begin selling the iPhone in Canada on Thursday, November 5th. Although specific iPhone plans have not yet been announced, Telus will be selling the three current iPhone 3G and 3GS models at the same subsidized three-year contract pricing as Rogers Wireless. Until now Rogers and Fido have been the exclusive iPhone carriers in Canada by virtue of having the only 3G network rather than any exclusive agreement with Apple. Telus and Bell Canada have recently upgraded their carrier networks to provide 3G capabilities, and Bell Canada is also expected to begin offering the iPhone sometime in November, although no specific dates or prices have yet been announced by that company.
The Guardian reports that Orange UK will launch the iPhone on November 10th in the UK, the day after the end of O2’s two-year exclusive contract with Apple. The iPhone will be sold through the Orange’s own stores as well as Phones4U. Carphone Warehouse is also expected to sell the iPhone on behalf of Orange. This announcement makes Orange the second carrier in the UK to offer the iPhone. Two other carriers, Vodafone and 3, are also expected to begin offering the iPhone on their networks in the UK in 2010.
Apple announced this week that they will be hosting a series of iPhone Tech Talk World Tour events in select cities around the world from October 29 through to December 15, 2009.
Open to members of the iPhone Developer Program, the event will provide expert advice from Apple technology evangelists to assist developers with tips on how to get the most out of their iPhone applications, with topics ranging from adding In App Purchase features to mastering OpenGL ES.
The event is being held in San Jose, Seattle, New York, Toronto, Paris, London, Hamburg, Beijing and Tokyo, and is free to all members of the iPhone Developer Program, although space is limited and several cities have already filled up.
Verizon has launched a new TV ad campaign and matching website for its upcoming “Droid” Android phone, directly attacking the iPhone using a list of features that are unavailable on Apple’s handset but which will be available on Verizon’s upcoming device. The ad uses an Apple-like presentation of text on a plain white background with upbeat music playing in the background, beginning each statement with “iDon’t.” Examples used in the commercial include “iDon’t have a real keyboard,” “iDon’t run simultaneous apps,” “iDon’t allow open development,” and “iDon’t have interchangeable batteries.” The commercial ends with the slogan “Droid Does,” and notably does not feature the Verizon logo. The commercial can be viewed in embedded form below.
GTA TeleGuam has announced that it has reached an agreement with Apple to begin selling the iPhone in Guam later this year. GTA, which will be the first carrier to offer the iPhone in the island territory, will offer both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS; pricing and exact release information have yet to be revealed.
In response to a report that incorrectly quoted AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega as having promised tethering support for the iPhone by the end of this year, a company spokesperson has cast doubt onto the prospect of tethering in 2009. 9to5Mac, citing Cnet—the source of the disputed quote—wrote in a story that AT&T had promised tethering support by the end of 2009. It soon received an email from an AT&T spokesperson requesting a correction, and saying, “[j]ust reading again – where did anyone promise tethering by EOY? Where did you see that? We promised MMS by end of summer and ended up being a few days late for that.” As iLounge reported last week, an AT&T spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that “additional fine tuning” to its networks would be required to ensure “the best possible customer experience” for iPhone tethering.
Apple has begun to ship new iPhone 3GS units with an updated boot ROM, breaking the exploit commonly used to jailbreak the device. iClarified reports that the new ROM—iBoot-359.3.2—is not vulnerable to the “24kpwn” exploit, and began shipping last week. According to a Twitter post from “MuscleNerd,” this is the first time in the history of the iPhone and iPod touch that hackers have seen Apple update the boot ROM in the middle of a product cycle. Apple has in the past attempted to block jailbreaking through software updates, but this strategy has been less and less effective as the platform has matured, with most recent software updates being jailbroken either hours after, or in some cases, prior to, their official release.
Update: A member of the iPhone Dev-Team, a group that publishes tools to jailbreak the iPhone and iPod touch, has clarified that the new boot ROM does not in fact prevent jailbreaking, but instead makes it more difficult to reboot a jailbroken iPhone 3GS once it’s been turned on. According to Wired, without the 24kpwn exploit, jailbreaking will still be possible, but all jailbroken units with the new boot ROM will need to be tethered to a computer in order to turn on if turned off or if they run out of battery life.
Global marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of its 2009 Wireless Consumer Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study—Volume 2, with Apple and the iPhone getting top marks in smartphone customer satisfaction. Among manufacturers of smartphones used primarily for personal reasons, Apple ranked the highest with a score of 811, performing particularly well on ease of operation, operating system, features, and physical design. It was followed in the category by LG with 776 points and BlackBerry maker RIM with 759 points. Perhaps more surprising is Apple’s top ranking among customers who use their smartphones primarily for business, besting RIM by a score of 803 to 724. The consumer study was based on 3,221 smartphone owners who have used their current mobile phone for less than two years, while the business study collected the experiences of 1,148 smartphone owners who use their smartphone for primarily business purposes; both studies were held between January and June 2009.
Following Apple’s release of iPhone OS 3.1.2, AT&T has released a carrier settings update for its U.S. iPhone customers. Listed as AT&T 5.6, it is unclear what improvements the new settings file may offer; the last carrier settings update activated MMS service for U.S. iPhone customers. AT&T announced earlier this week that it will now allow VoIP iPhone applications to operate over its 3G network, but it is unknown whether this new update is in any way related to that announcement.
Apple has released iPhone OS 3.1.2, its first major update to the iPhone’s and iPod touch’s software since the launch of version 3.1 and 3.1.1, respectively, on September 9. According to Apple’s release notes, the update “[r]esolves [a] sporadic issue that may cause iPhone (or iPod touch) to not wake from sleep,” as well as an “intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart.” It also fixes a bug that could cause occasional crashes during video streaming. iPhone OS 3.1.2 is available now for both iPhone and iPod touch users through the update feature in iTunes.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal regarding the possibility of AT&T’s recent VoIP announcement being a precursor to the launch of tethering support for the iPhone, a comapny spokesperson said that more work was required before the feature could be enabled. “Whenever we offer new features, we want to offer the best possible customer experience. For tethering, we need to do some additional fine tuning to our systems and networks so that we do deliver a great experience,” the spokesman said. Earlier this week, AT&T announced that it would now allow iPhone VoIP applications to use its 3G network. Apple responded by saying it was “very happy” with the announcement, adding that it would be amending its development agreement in order “to get VoIP apps on the App Store and in customers’ hands as soon as possible.” Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T’s Mobility arm, said in November 2008 that tethering support would be coming “soon;” Apple added built-in support for the feature in iPhone OS 3.0, which was released in June, but AT&T has yet to announce an official launch date.
Verizon Wireless has begun airing a new television commercial directly targeting AT&T and Apple’s iPhone. The commercial apes Apple’s “there’s an app for that” iPhone slogan by listing various scenarios and then saying “there’s a map for that,” while displaying the company’s U.S. wireless 3G coverage map. Later in the spot, the announcer states, “if you want to know why some people have spotty 3G coverage, there’s a map for that too,” while showing an iPhone user with AT&T’s considerably less robust 3G coverage map overhead. Continue reading to watch the commercial in embedded form; the video is also available for viewing on YouTube.
Bell Canada has announced that it has reached a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in Canada beginning in November. While Bell has made an official announcement, a Globe and Mail article states that both Bell and Telus will offer the phone. The two rivals have partnered to build a new HSPA network, launching later this year, in an effort to extend their networks and match the global standard used by Rogers. The iPhone has been exclusive to Rogers Wireless and its subsidiary Fido since its launch in the country in 2008.
Update: Telus has now made an official announcement confirming that it will also begin offering the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in Canada beginning in November.
At its MAX developer conference, Adobe has announced that it will offer an iPhone and iPod touch application export option in Adobe Flash Professional CS5. The feature will allow Flash developers to use the same source code used to deliver applications on the Adobe AIR and Flash Player 10 platforms to create native iPhone applications which can be submitted to Apple and sold via the App Store. On its preview page, Adobe explains that applications created using Flash are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages which do not require a runtime interpreter and therefore do not run afoul of Apple’s iPhone development guidelines.
The company has also taken the time to explain that the new feature will not allow Flash-based web content on the phone. A passage on the preview page states, “Flash Player uses a just-in-time compiler and virtual machine within a browser plug-in to play back content on websites. Those technologies are not allowed on the iPhone at this time, so a Flash Player for iPhone is not being made available today.” Adobe Flash Professional CS5 is slated for release later this year.
Worldwide marketshare for the iPhone OS platform has overtaken that of Symbian OS for the first time, according to the latest AdMob Mobile Metrics report (PDF Link). The report states that iPhone OS’ worldwide operating system marketshare increased from 33% to 40% between February and August, while that of Symbian OS fell from 43% to 34%. Worldwide marketshare for BlackBerry devices slipped from 10% to 8% over the same period, while the Android OS’ share jumped from 2% to 7%. According to the report, the iPhone OS now accounts for a “substantial” share of the market in all regions except Asia and Africa, and the iPhone is the top handset in the world for mobile usage, followed by the iPod touch. The same can be said in the North American, Western European, and Oceanian markets; the iPhone is also the top handset in Eastern Europe, followed by the Nokia 6300 and iPod touch in third place, while the iPod touch tops the Latin American market, followed by the iPhone. AdMob’s Mobile Metrics Report is based on ad requests from the company’s more than 9,000 mobile sites and 3,000 applications.
With the announcement of both Orange and Vodafone securing rights to offer the iPhone in the U.K. in the coming months, a number of O2 customers may be looking to take advantage of a two-week window in which they can return their devices and wait for possible better tariff rates and contract terms on competing carriers. The Telegraph reports that as many as 30,000 O2 iPhone customers may be eligible for returns, and the company says it is not planning to offer unhappy users a better deal in order to keep their business. The article suggests that the competition between carriers will knock around £5 (roughly $8) off the average monthly iPhone tariff, resulting in a savings of about £100 (~$160) over the course of a two-year contract. “There will be a price war,” said Steven Hartley, analyst at technology research house Ovum. “Research shows that in every country where there is more than one operator selling it, it is cheaper. It could be very disruptive, but it depends how Orange play it. If they get really aggressive O2 will have to respond and a full-on price war could start.” Orange has yet to disclose its contract terms for the iPhone, but has said they will be less expensive than O2’s plans.