News | iLounge

News

Browse News by Category:

Apple, Verizon open iPhone 4 orders, cite Feb. 18 ship date

Apple and Verizon Wireless are now accepting pre-orders for the CDMA iPhone 4 online. While Verizon is offering to ship the orders to customers, users ordering through Apple’s Online Store have the choice between shipment or reservation for in-store pickup. Notably, Apple is already citing a shipment date of “by February 18,” indicating that it may have already sold through its entire early allotment of units set aside for online sales. Both companies will be opening their retail stores at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning for sales to customers on a first-come, first served basis; in the past, Apple has reserved a large number of units for brick-and-mortar launch-day sales.

Google Translate comes to the iPhone as a native app

Google has released a native iOS application for its Google Translate service. The Google Translate service has been available as a web application since 2008, but previously only offered an iPhone-optimized version of the normal online service, allowing users to enter or paste in text that could then be translated into alternate languages. In addition to the features of the web app, the new native iOS application allows users to speak into the iPhone to perform translations and listen to the translated text read back to them. The application will accept voice input for up to 15 languages and the results can be spoken in one of 23 other languages or transcribed in text into more than 50 languages. The iOS application also provides a full-screen mode to allow users to enlarge translated text for easier readability. Users can also view dictionary results for single words, accessed starred translations and translation history even when offline. Google Translate requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Verizon iPhone 4 antenna problems persist (video)

In the course of conducting our standard suite of iPhone 4 performance tests, iLounge has discovered that the Verizon CDMA iPhone 4 suffers from signal attenuation problems similar to ones discovered in the original GSM version of the iPhone 4. As seen in this Verizon iPhone 4 antenna attenuation video, the CDMA iPhone 4 can still lose substantial cellular signal strength when held in the prior “death grip” position, as well as Wi-Fi signal when held in a different position, in each case noticeably slowing or completely stalling the reception of data.

image
image

The problem with Wi-Fi reception appears when the device is held snugly in landscape orientation with two hands, a position common when playing games or using the widescreen keyboard. Prior to the Verizon iPhone 4’s launch, sources told iLounge to be on the lookout for the issue, which was being referred to as the “death hug.” It should be noted that although early Apple-sanctioned reviews of the Verizon iPhone 4 claimed that the antenna problems had been fixed in the CDMA model, the same reviewers failed to notice the antenna problems in their original coverage of the GSM model. iLounge’s testing so far has found that the Verizon iPhone 4’s issues appear in the same geographic location as the AT&T iPhone 4’s, indoors with an average of three bars of signal strength. Once again, use of a protective case appears to fix the antenna issue, and antenuation may not be noticeable in areas with stronger signal strength.

 

image

Updated: We’ve added pictures above showing how a normal grip on the bare phone can reduce Verizon’s four-bar signal down to one bar, along with the Speedtest results—a 1.1Mbps download speed gets cut down to 0.1Mbps, and uploads are cut from 0.5Mbps down to 0, or no uploading capability.

Read our detailed review of the new Verizon iPhone 4.

Verizon iPhone 4 reveals small differences in CDMA model

iLounge has received its Verizon iPhone 4 for review purposes and is busy putting the revised handset through its paces, but there are several small differences between it and the GSM model that we’d like to share. Apple has notably removed all the markings below the text on the rear of the CDMA model, including the CE and FCC logos; the text itself has changed to reflect its new FCC ID of BCG-E2422A—GSM models carry an ID of BCG-E2380A or B. The ringer switch of the CDMA model has been shifted notably downwards to accomodate the fourth antenna divider, something that may cause incompatibilities with some cases, as may a tiny shift downwards in the placement of the volume buttons. Also, the front and back of the box have changed to reflect the revised antenna design and different networks, respectively; Apple has added a reference to the CDMA model’s hearing aid compatibility rating to the sticker on the rear, but includes no such reference on GSM models. We’re continuing to test the new handset, but for now, feel free to see our Verizon iPhone 4 Unboxing photoset on Flickr.

Rogers outs new data sharing options

Rogers has outed its new data sharing options, with a special option for iPhone users on the 6GB/$30 a month plan. Under this new option, users who are already paying $30 for 6GB of data a month on their iPhones will need to pay an extra $30 a month—plus the Government Regulatory Recovery Fee—in order to share that data with an iPad. As iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington notes, Rogers offers a standalone 5GB/$35 a month data plan for iPads, making the new $30 option a poor deal for users wanting to share data with their iPad 3G units. iPhone in Canada speculates that with the launch of these new data sharing options, Rogers may be preparing to charge for iOS 4.3’s Personal Hotspot feature, despite the fact that they haven’t charged for USB/Bluetooth tethering in the past. Unless Rogers was able to disable the Wi-Fi sharing feature of the Personal Hotspot individually, this would actually take away existing free functionality from current users by disabling Bluetooth and USB tethering. Users who aren’t on the $30 for 6GB of data plan can share their data with other devices for a charge of $10-$15 per month.

$10 million in counterfeit Apple products seized in LA

image

More than $10 million in counterfeit iPods, iPhones, and other electronics have been seized in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that the items were taken from a downtown warehouse operation as part of a theft case started by the Los Angeles Port Police. “This was a well-funded operation, and the counterfeits looked very authentic,” said Ron Boyd, chief of the L.A. Port Police force, who added that a buyer might not have noticed anything was amiss until he or she got home and tried to hook up with iTunes. Some of the products, which were shipped from Asia, were designed to resemble older Apple products such as non-touchscreen iPod nanos. Boyd said the case highlighted the lengths counterfeiters go to in hiding their activities, as the fakes arrived as parts meant to be reassembled and labeled before being sold. “Our layered, multi-agency approach to security and theft investigations led to success,” Boyd said. “We’re proud of the teamwork that happens on a continuous basis to thwart consumer fraud, keep our port safe and enable our agencies to pursue cases to fruition and criminal prosecution.”

Verizon stalls iPhone 4 business shipments, sends empty box

Acting on an earlier tip, iLounge’s editors have now confirmed that Verizon Wireless business customers who pre-ordered Apple’s iPhone 4 have been de-prioritized in favor of consumer orders for the device. Reader reports, as well as a call to Verizon’s business customer service line, established that Verizon has not shipped phones that were ordered and paid for by business customers early on February 3, despite having delivered units earlier today to non-business “consumer” accounts.

“We never got any emails with tracking info,” reader Scott told us. “Our order status only shows this: Order Status: COMPLETED. The Verizon rep said my order is ‘Paid Pending Shipment,’ which means it hasn’t shipped yet. They are telling people that it doesn’t matter when they ship our orders because the phones can’t be activated until the 10th. But that’s not true.”

“Ordered mine on the business site,” said reader Neil, who reported that he succeeded at 3:49AM, roughly an hour after the pre-order system began accepting orders earlier than expected. “[Verizon’s] website says that the order is completed but I have not received a shipping confirm… Not cool treating business customers like this.”

“Ordered mine at 3:30am on the 3rd through my business account,” confirmed Nick, another reader. “No sign of tracking info or that it is in inventory (Status says completed as of Sunday but waiting for inventory). Why would they put their largest financial contributors behind consumer purchases? I called my rep on Friday to ask and they told me that no one would be getting their phone before Thursday.”

Another report concerns a reader who received an empty box instead of the iPhone 4 he had ordered and paid for. “I received an empty sealed box today,” explained Ric. “I got charged for the phone. I called Verizon and they told me that someone else got the phone and already activated it. They have suspended that phone but they do not know when I will get my phone. I am very PO’ed.”

Numerous readers who ordered through Verizon’s consumer division have received and activated their iPhone 4s without issues, contradicting the Verizon customer service claims that pre-ordered phones could not be activated until February 10.

Verizon iPhone 4 teardown shows GSM-compatible chip

iFixit is in the process of completing its teardown of the Verizon iPhone 4, and has found several curious differences between it and the GSM model. Most notably, the Qualcomm MDM6600 cellular communications chip inside the new handset—the same as found inside the Droid Pro world phone—is capable of handling both HSPA+ data rates of up to 14.4 Mbps and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A/Rev. B, meaning that it is technically able to support both the CDMA2000 and GSM standards, although the phone obviously has no SIM card slot. The absence of a SIM card slot precludes the device from being used primarily on a GSM network; the report suggests that the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 lacks the necessary antennas required to operate on GSM networks, although this has yet to be independently confirmed.

Interestingly, the MDM6600 was introduced alongside several other “Gobi” chips, including the MDM9600, which could allow a future iPhone model to support LTE data rates of up to 100 Mbps and backward compatibility with both dual carrier HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev. A/Rev. B networks. Apple has moved and completely redesigned the vibration motor, found in the upper corner of the GSM model, but in the lower left hand corner in the CDMA version, and while the battery of the CDMA model is listed as having the same 5.25 watt-hour capacity as its predecessor, it carries a different model number and weighs slightly less—25.6 grams versus the GSM version’s 26.9 grams. We will update this story should iFixit’s teardown reveal any other noteworthy changes.

Apple holds second place in Q4 smartphone shipments

According to new data from research firm IDC, Apple held its second place spot in the worldwide smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010 amid strong market growth overall. Nokia maintained its overall lead in the smartphone market, with 28.3 million units shipped in the fourth quarter and a 28 percent share, down from its 38.6 percent share of the market in Q4 2009. Apple’s market share actually remained flat year-over-year at 16.1 percent with shipments of 16.2 million units, as its 86.2 percent unit shipment growth nearly matched the 87.2 percent growth seen in the overall market. RIM placed third in overall market share with shipments of 14.6 million units and a 14.5 percent share, down from 19.9 percent in the year-ago quarter, while Samsung and HTC took fourth and fifth places with impressive year-over-year growth of 438.9 percent and 258.3 percent, respectively. For the year, Apple finished in third place with shipments of 47.5 million units and a 15.7 percent share of the market, trailing second-place RIM by 1.3 million units shipped and less than half a percentage point in market share.

Abvio releases major updates to Runmeter, Cyclemeter and Walkmeter

Abvio has released updates to Runmeter, Cyclemeter and Walkmeter, its trio of iPhone GPS-based fitness apps for tracking exercise performance. The three applications are built from the same foundation, each optimized for running, cycling and walking, respectively. The apps allow users to track their workouts recording such data as time, location, distance, elevation and speed and then view their results on maps and graphs organized by routes and activities with a summary for different time periods. Users can also automatically post workout-related status updates to Twitter and Facebook and hear responses from their online friends during their workout using the built-in text-to-speech engine. Version 5.0 adds integration with leading social community dailymile.com allowing users to automatically sync and share their workouts in real-time with the dailymile community and hear messages of encouragement from dailymile friends during workouts. The new version also introduces a Virtual Competition feature that allows users to import a route to add a virtual competitor to run, cycle or walk against. Routes can be imported from previously recorded workouts, friends’ workouts, social fitness sites, or any other GPX-compatible data source.

Additional new features in the latest update include an enhanced text-to-speech engine with a new and improved built-in voice. An additional 16 voice options and dialects for the text-to-speech feature are also available via in-app purchase, including male and female voices in American and British English, German, French and Canadian French. The update also includes 25 configurable voice announcements for distance, time, speed and more with improved voice quality. Additional enhancements include a configurable stopwatch display with up to 40 different statistics, the ability to enter notes before and during a workout, improvements to the responsiveness of speed and pace displays, support for tracking descent, grade and energy burn in kilojoules and more. The three applications Runmeter, Cyclemeter and Walkmeter are sold separately in the App Store for $5 each. Text-to-speech voices are available via in-app purchase for $1 per voice.

Apple adds Genius to iPhone iTunes Store

Apple has added the ability for iPhone and iPod touch users to view iTunes Store Genius recommendations directly on their devices. The new option can be found inside the iTunes Store app under “More” and then “Genius.” Recommendations are available for music, movies, and TV shows, and of course require that you have Genius turned on for your iTunes account. Users are able to rate individual recommendations by swiping across them and tapping on either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon.

First Verizon iPhone 4s arrive: biz orders later?

While some early Verizon iPhone 4 pre-orders are beginning to arrive, other early pre-order customers have reported to iLounge that their phones have yet to ship. FedEx deliveries are beginning to arrive today for customers who received e-mail confirmations that their iPhone 4s had been shipped late last week, with one report including images from a reader who received his phone. On the other hand, we have received multiple reports of unexpected delays, including ones from customers who got their pre-orders in to Verizon’s business account system at 3:45 a.m. on February 3, but have yet to receive shipment notifications, suggesting that Verizon may be fulfilling standard consumer orders prior to those of business customers. If you pre-ordered a Verizon iPhone 4, please share your current order status and where you pre-ordered your device—Verizon consumer site, Verizon business, or Apple Store—in the comments below.

White iPhone 4 placards spotted at Best Buy, The Source

Placeholders for white iPhone 4 units have started to appear at both Best Buy and The Source retail stores. Engadget reports that a placard listing a 16GB white AT&T iPhone 4 unit for $599.99 off contract—the same price as the black model—was spotted in a Houston-area Best Buy, while listings for both 16GB and 32GB on-contract white iPhone 4s on Bell were spotted at a The Source store in Canada. Evidence pointing to a near-term release of the long delayed handset has been mounting over the past few weeks; Apple has said only that it expects to launch the white iPhone 4 this Spring.

AT&T, Verizon battle over iPhone during Super Bowl

Both AT&T and Verizon had TV advertisements spotlighting the iPhone that played during last night’s Super Bowl. Verizon played its recently debuted anti-AT&T iPhone ad which asks viewers whether their network works, while AT&T showed a new ad that is a direct response to Verizon’s spot. Entitled “Answer” and debuted several days prior to the big game, the spot shows a man answering his phone, only to find that it’s his wife wishing him a happy anniversary, which he had forgotten about. While on the call, the man frantically searches on his iPhone for a place to make dinner reservations—something that’s not possible on the Verizon iPhone when no Wi-Fi is available. Towards the end of the commercial, a voiceover says “only AT&T’s network lets your iPhone talk and surf at the same time,” with similar text shown on the screen. AT&T’s new commercial is now available for viewing on YouTube or in embedded form below.

Verizon debuts new anti-AT&T iPhone ad

Verizon has debuted a new anti-AT&T iPhone TV advertisement. Backed by closeups of a rotating CDMA iPhone 4 shot against a black background, the ad’s announcer states, “It’s beautiful. It’s intelligent. Even genius. But does your network work?” The phone then rings, and Verizon’s worker/mascot answers, saying, “Yes, I can hear you now.” The commercial finishes with a voiceover saying “This is America’s largest and most reliable network. Verizon. Built so you can rule the air,” while the company’s 3G service map, logo, and “Rule the Air” logo is shown on the screen. The commercial is available for viewing on YouTube via the above link or in embedded form below.

Verizon, Apple sold out of iPhone pre-orders

Both Verizon’s and Apple’s websites have stopped taking pre-orders for CDMA iPhone 4 units. According to an announcement from Verizon, pre-orders were halted at 8:10 p.m. EST yesterday, ending “the most successful first day sales in the history of the company.” Verizon’s website now indicates that customers—presumably all customers, and not just current Verizon customers—will be able to order the phone online beginning at 3:01 a.m. Eastern Time on February 9, while the handset will launch in stores at 7:00 a.m. local time the following day. Interestingly, both Apple and its GSM carrier partner AT&T sold out of their pre-order allotments of the iPhone 4 within a day, after experiencing technical issues that seemed to be more far-reaching than those faced by Verizon customers yesterday; it’s also worth noting that the Verizon iPhone’s early pre-orders were limited to current Verizon customers, while AT&T’s pre-orders were open to any qualified party.

“This was an exciting day,” said Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer for Verizon Wireless. “In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history. And, when you consider these initial orders were placed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., it is an incredible success story. It is gratifying to know that our customers responded so enthusiastically to this exclusive offer – designed to reward them for their loyalty.”

Verizon document outlines throttled data speeds for heavy users

A Verizon Wireless document posted online (PDF Link) reveals that the company may throttle the data speeds of its heaviest users to ensure a better experience for other customers. “Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers,” the memo reads. “To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren’t negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.” The policy is effective for anyone subscribing to a data plan or feature on February 3 or after, including all iPhone customers. [via BGR]

Early Verizon iPhone 4 tests: slow data, better calls

Following prior iPhone launch traditions, Apple has offered a handpicked collection of reviewers early access to the Verizon iPhone 4, embargoing their reviews until this morning. Their conclusions are collectively mixed, focused on four primary differences between the AT&T iPhone 4 and Verizon CDMA version, and wavering on the wisdom of making a purchase now.

Data Speeds: Virtually all of the reviewers agree that Verizon’s data speeds are much slower than AT&T’s in areas where both phones get solid service. Downloads and uploads are commonly twice as fast on AT&T’s network, so Verizon customers will see photos and videos take much longer times to upload when away from a Wi-Fi network, while apps will take longer to download and install. On the other hand, reviewers claimed that subtle redesigns to the Verizon iPhone 4’s antenna enable it to avoid “death grips” that can kill calls and data on the prior iPhone 4.

Hotspot Access: Apple’s iOS 4.2.5/4.2.6 renaming and repositioning of Tethering to become the new Personal Hotspot feature was generally praised. Personal Hotspot is now accessible from the top level of the settings menu, and though it is slow using Verizon’s network, it is expected to debut on AT&T within days of the official Verizon iPhone 4 launch.

Data Versus Calls: Confirming a known deficiency of Verizon’s CDMA network, reviewers noted that the Verizon iPhone 4 cannot make calls and receive data at the same time, as the AT&T iPhone 4 can. However, unlike the original EDGE-only iPhone, which sometimes blocked calls when data services were in use, the Verizon iPhone 4 appears to allow calls to go through and stops data services when they come in.

Call Quality: Reviewers generally agreed that calls sounded somewhat better and were less likely to drop when using the Verizon iPhone 4. However, call performance did vary between geographic regions, and The New York Times’ David Pogue suggested that Verizon’s network might buckle under a “stampede of new iPhone customers.”

Wisdom of Buying the Verizon iPhone 4: Though the reviewers were generally positive on the addition of Verizon as an iPhone service provider, several cautioned that Verizon/AT&T performance varied considerably between locations, and some warned potential Verizon customers that they would be unwise to jump on board right now. Pogue specifically noted that Apple was asked about but would not guarantee the iPhone 4’s longevity in light of the anticipated release of the fifth-generation iPhone in summer. If Apple follows past patterns, he suggests that “you’ll be stuck with an outdated phone in only five months.”

Verizon iPhone order server errs out; Apple rejects orders

In an unexpected repeat of the problematic online launches of past iPhones, the pre-ordering systems set up by both Verizon Wireless and Apple have turned away some iPhone 4 customers who arrived for the companies’ 3:00AM sign-up process. Attempts to order the iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless’s web site failed for more than five hours, as some customers who attempted to sign in to the ordering page were presented with a broken “Sorry, an error has occured” page, promising to get “this fixed as soon as we can.” Other customers reported successes in ordering only after extended problems with the site; one noted that “Verizon’s web site was a disaster” with an early-morning order taking an hour to get placed. Separately, some customers attempting to order the iPhone 4 through Apple’s online Apple Store website were presented with inaccurate information denying their eligibility to pre-order the phone, despite confirmations from Verizon that they were in fact eligible.

image

As has become common with Apple’s iPhone launch problems in recent years, Twitter discussions have popped up to express the frustration and distress of customers who have been unable to place their orders. Apple has previously made only modest attempts to apologize for pre-ordering issues, instead citing high demand for its products.

Updated 9:08AM: iLounge’s editors have been testing both Apple’s and Verizon’s ordering systems this morning with mixed results. One editor has found that adding an additional line of service to an existing account appeared to be successful in placing an order through Verizon’s site, whereas other editors have been unable to get orders placed through either Apple’s or Verizon’s pre-ordering systems. It’s obvious at this stage that some users (and some web browsers) are having different experiences than others, though the reasons for continued generic error messages on some accounts remain unclear. We’ve updated the title of this story to reflect the uncertain nature of the errors.

AT&T to add 2GB of data to tethering plan

AT&T today announced that it plans to add 2GB of data usage to its smartphone tethering plan. According to the release, current tethering customers will automatically get the additional 2GB of monthly data usage added to their plans at no extra charge as of February 13; customers who sign up for tethering afterwards will get the additional data from the start of their tethering plan. The total cost for 4GB of data plus tethering capability will be $45 per month, the same price iPhone users paid for 2GB of data plus tethering in the past; users who exceed their data limits will be charged an overage fee of $10 per gigabyte. The change coincides with the release of an “AT&T Mobile Hotspot” app and the launch of the HTC Inspire 4G, however, the announcement makes no mention of whether a similar app will be offered for iPhone users, or if the company plans to make use of iOS 4.3’s Personal Hotspot feature. Notably, Verizon Wireless has said that it will also charge $20 for use of the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature, but the 2GB of data included in the Verizon plan is for Personal Hotspot use only, while AT&T’s extra data will be applied to collective use across all devices.

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

/* * * APPLE AFFILIATE LINK MAKER * * */