City Interactive has released Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple, a new game for the iPhone and iPod touch which combines features of point and click adventure, logic puzzle and hidden object games. In Chronicles of Mystery, the player takes on the role of Sylvie, a young archaeologist who travels to France to visit her uncle, a renowned historian, to find that he has gone missing after a recent discovery of a mysterious underground chapel from the times of the Crusades. Sylvie must embark on a journey to find her uncle and uncover the long-forgotten secrets of the Knights Hospitaller. Players travel through various areas to find hidden objects among the scenery and solve various puzzles such as balancing weights, matching symbols and navigating mazes. The storyline is enhanced by detailed 3D graphics and background music, and the game contains 50 fully-rendered locations, 14 mini-games and a special Hidden World game mode that allows users to play classic hidden object levels. Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple is available from the App Store for $4.
According to a new report from the NPD Group, Android devices were the top selling smartphones by OS in the U.S. during the second quarter. The report states that Android phones accounted for 33 percent of smartphone sales, ahead of RIM/BlackBerry with 28 percent and the iPhone with 22 percent. Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, notes that “while the Google-developed OS took market share from RIM, Apple’s iOS saw a small gain this quarter on the strength of the iPhone 4 launch.” Among carriers, Verizon Wireless maintained its lead with 33 percent of the units sold in the U.S., followed by AT&T with 25 percent, Sprint with 12 percent, and T-Mobile with 11 percent. Notably, both this and a Neilsen report from earlier in the week placed Apple in third in the U.S. smartphone market, although the Neilsen report had BlackBerry leading the market, followed by Android; it was measuring new subscribers and not sales.
Apple has released its third beta version of iOS 4.1 as well as the accompanying SDK. It remains unclear whether iOS 4.1 addresses the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor issue, however, the release does remove support for Apple’s Game Center social gaming network on the iPhone 3G and 2nd generation iPod Touch, according to Mac Rumors. Both the new iOS 4.1 SDK Beta 2 and pre-release builds are available now for download by paid iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.
Apple has received regulatory approval for the iPhone 4 in South Korea, the country’s Communications Commission said today. Bloomberg reports that the regulator said it granted a certification after reading documents sent by Apple, which included testing conducted locally. Surprisingly, the Commission said Apple filed its application on July 29, just one day before the company had originally planned to launch the device in South Korea. According to a spokesman for iPhone carrier KT, Apple plans to begin sales of the iPhone 4 in Korea within two months.
A newly-released hack for jailbroken iPhone 4 units allows for FaceTime calling over 3G networks. The hack, called My3G, has also allowed for a measurement of how much data FaceTime calls use. According to 9 to 5 Mac, a five minute call with “lots of movement” used 14.7 MB of data; this averages out to roughly 2.94MB per minute for FaceTime over 3G, compared to 1.3MB per minute for a 3G voice call over Skype. As for quality, 9 to 5 Mac claims that its editor couldn’t tell the difference between FaceTime over 3G or Wi-Fi, “the quality is that good.” More information on jailbreaking the iPhone 4 and installing the My3G hack can be found here.
Handsets running Google’s Android OS accounted for a greater share of new smartphone subscribers in the second quarter of 2010 in the U.S. than did iPhones, according to the latest data from Nielsen. BlackBerry devices accounted for the most new subscribers in the U.S. during Q2, representing 33% of the market—a 3% drop from Q1—followed by Android handsets, which jumped from 17% in Q1 to 27% in Q2, enough to drop Apple into third place with 23%, down 4% from Q1. Apple’s share of overall smartphone subscribers remained steady with 28% between Q1 and Q2, placing it in second place behind BlackBerry with 35% but well ahead of Android’s 13% share. Notably, the iPhone was also the “most desired” phone amongst Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry users; 89% of current iPhone owners stated that they wanted to purchase another iPhone as their next handset, while 29% of BlackBerry owners and 21% of Android owners also want an iPhone as their next phone.
According to the latest data from Net Applications, the iPhone saw its largest jump in operating system market share ever in July. The report states that the iPhone’s global usage share went from .59% in June to .7% in July. In addition, iPhone usage share grew at over twice the pace of Android over the same period. For comparison, the iPhone’s usage share was just half of July’s numbers—.35%—less than one year ago in September 2009. Net Application’s numbers are based on the 160 monthly million visitors to its clients’ websites.
Apple over the weekend quietly removed its webpage dealing with competitors’ antenna performance, while leaving up the page discussing its $100+ million design and testing facility. The missing page, which had been updated as recently as last week, offered videos, photographs, and text comparing the signal attenuation of competing smartphones from manufacturers including HTC, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung to that of the iPhone 4. Apple has left a passage concerning signal attenuation on its antenna design and test lab page, and has not pulled down its smartphone antenna comparison pages from all of its international sites—notably, Canada’s is still online. It is unclear what motivated Apple to pull down the page, or whether it has any plans to re-post the information. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple is abandoning past partners Skyhook and Google for location data in favor of its own database, signaling a further move towards in-house mapping and location services. TechCrunch reports that in a letter responding to a Congressional request for information about its data collection, Apple indicated it is now using its own location database to provide iOS 3.2 and later devices with location information. “For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said in the letter. “Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes.” Apple purchased online mapping firm Poly9 earlier this year and bought the mapping service PlaceBase in 2009; these acquisitions, along with confirmation that it is running its own location database, lend credence to the suggestion that Apple is planning to launch its own mapping service.
T-Mobile today launched the iPhone 4 in the U.K. According to Macworld U.K., the carrier is offering a range of 24-month contracts, from £30 to £60. Prior to today, the carrier had yet to post any details of when it would launch the handset and what pricing might be. “Bringing iPhone 4 to our customers in the UK is a fantastic move for T-Mobile,” Lysa Hardy, vice president of T-Mobile Propositions, told the publication. “With a range of value plans we’re making iPhone 4 more accessible to even more customers in the UK.” T-Mobile, with Three, joins O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile in offering the iPhone 4 in the UK.
iPhone 4 purchasers in Canada are facing long lines and potential sellouts on launch day. iLounge’s Canadian editor Jesse David Hollington was in line at the Apple Store Fairview in Toronto from early in the morning until opening, and indicated that the persons he was waiting with were Apple Store employees, not scheduled for work and unable to enter the store prematurely. Based on his accounts, the carrier stores in Canada have had lineups but had way less stock, possibly not enough to even fulfill the number of people in line. While all the major carriers in Canada were offering the phone, Apple is also selling it unlocked, giving users the option of roaming between networks and utilizing pre-paid micro SIM cards when overseas. Apple launched the iPhone 4 in iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland today.
Update: Several Rogers stores observed by iLounge editors are now indicating that they are sold out of iPhone 4s.
Rogers has announced its pricing structure for the iPhone 4. New customers can purchase the handset on a three-year voice and data plan for $159 CAN for the 16GB and $269 CAN for the 32GB model. The same prices are offered to those who started an iPhone contract on or before December 31, 2008, and to those who activated or upgraded to the iPhone 3G in 2008 and then upgraded again between June 19 and September 15, 2009, a likely time window for those moving up to iPhone 3GS units. For anyone who activated or upgraded an iPhone on a term contract between January 1, 2009 and June 7, 2010, pricing will be $399 CAN for the 16GB model and $499 CAN for the 32GB model. Similar pricing will be offered by Fido.
Rogers notes that quantities of the iPhone 4 are limited, and that the handset will only be available at Rogers stores and authorized retails at launch. In addition, the company will once again be offering a 6GB of data for $30 CAN monthly plan between July 30 and September 30, 2010, for smartphone customers who activate on a three-year contract. Finally, for a limited time between July 30 and Sept. 30, customers on a 6GB plan can share the data between iPhones and iPads for an extra $20 CAN monthly fee.
Three in the U.K. will begin selling the iPhone 4 tomorrow, July 30. According to the company’s iPhone 4 page, Three’s plans start at £30 for 500 minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 three-to-three minutes, and 1GB of Internet access, with the iPhone 4 being priced at £99 for the 16GB and £189 for the 32GB model; pricing extends up to a £45 monthly tariff, which includes 2,000 any network minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 three-to-three minutes, and 1GB of Internet access; at this level, the 16GB iPhone 4 is offered for free, while the 32GB model costs £89. [via T3]
Electronic Arts has released the latest iPhone game in its popular SimCity franchise. First previewed in March, SimCity Deluxe is an improved version of EA’s original SimCity application for the iPhone and iPod touch and provides a visual style akin to EA’s SimCity 4 with noticeable enhancements in user interface, graphics and frame rate. In SimCity Deluxe, players can play an open-ended game and build their own city or choose from one of seven predesigned cities and remake them from there. The game also provides seven scenarios where users must reshape and plan their cities to meet specific goals such as staging a World Games or coping with a heat wave. SimCity Deluxe also introduces seasons with specific seasonal disasters that can befall a player’s city and allows users to modify terrain and landscape their cities using touch controls. SimCity Deluxe is available from the App Store for $7.
Apple is looking into reports that iOS 4 is causing a number of issues when installed on iPhone 3G units. The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of user reports have cropped up on Apple’s support forums, with the most common complaints being that the phone is slow after the upgrade, that it drains the battery quickly, or that it gets unreasonably hot. “This phone has gone from being a dream to constantly annoying me. Not a way to make friends. I would upgrade to an iPhone 4, but I’m feeling pretty angry that Apple has forced my hand by making my 3G unusable,” said one iPhone 3G user on Apple’s support forums. An Apple spokesperson confirmed to the WSJ that it is aware of the reports and is looking into the matter, although it is unclear whether the problems can be fixed with another iOS 4.x update, or whether Apple will have to release a downgrade utility for the iPhone 3G to return the phone to iOS 3.x.
Reporting his company’s first fiscal quarter financial results, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son made several comments regarding the iPhone and iPad, products for which SoftBank is the exclusive carrier in Japan. Masayoshi Son said that sales of the iPhone 4 “far exceeded” his expectations, and apologized to customers for supply shortages. “We ship and we ship, and then we immediately get more new orders,” he said. He also said the company added 696,600 subscribers in the quarter, many wooed away from competitors that don’t offer Apple products. Regarding the iPad, Masayoshi Son said the tablet was selling well and drawing interest from large corporations. When discussing whether consumers should get the iPhone or iPad, he recommended they get both, noting that historical Japanese warriors often carried both a short and long sword. Despite the strong performance, SoftBank’s net profit fell 29 percent due to a tax hit.
A few details of the upcoming Canadian iPhone 4 launch have emerged. iLounge has confirmed with the Apple Store Eaton Centre in Toronto that the store will be opening at 7:00 a.m. Friday, July 30 for device’s launch and will be selling the iPhone 4 at full price unlocked, or on-contract from all four major Canadian carriers. We were told that no other Toronto-based Apple Store is expected to alter its hours, but are awaiting additional confirmation from a second store. In addition, iLounge was told that no personal shopping appointments or pre-reservations will be offered, meaning all units will be sold on a first-come first-serve basis, and no official pricing has been announced despite recent reports to the contrary. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland this Friday, July 30.
Update: iLounge has confirmed that the Apple Store Fairview will also be opening at 7:00 a.m., potentially indicating an early opening for all Canadian Apple Stores.
Apple is to blame for the current lack of iPad magazine subscription options, according to a new report. AllThingsD reports that Time Inc. was planning to launch a subscription version of its Sports Illustrated iPad app with payments being handled by the publisher, until Apple rejected the application at the last minute, forcing Time to sell single copies as in-app purchases. Notably, a number of the app’s negative reviews mention the lack of a subscription option. The report states that Time executives “have been going nuts” trying to find a way to get Apple to approve a subscription plan. In addition, Apple reportedly approved the company’s subscription plans prior to the iPad’s launch, during a time when Apple was communicating with Time executives. As the report notes, no other magazine publisher has gained approval to sell its own iOS app subscriptions, either.
A light leak issue may be behind the white iPhone 4 delays, a new report suggests. Citing a person familiar with the manufacturing process, Scott Moritz of The Street reports that the backlight from the white iPhone 4’s screen is leaking out around the edges of the glass and through the back of the phone. Earlier this week, Apple announced that it was delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 until “later this year” because the units have “continued to be more challenging to manufacture than… originally expected.” A prior report suggested the delays were attributable to problems in finding the correct thickness of white paint on the front panel; Moritz, the author of this latest report, has been known to post inaccurate information about Apple.
Apple has released its iOS 4.1 Beta 2 and the accompanying SDK. Reports are varied as to whether this second version of the iPhone and iPod touch operating system includes a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor issue, a problem iOS 4.0.1 failed to address; Apple has yet to indicate one way or the other. Both the new iOS 4.1 SDK Beta 2 and pre-release builds are available now for download by paid iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.