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Apple offering $30 iTunes credit for activation delays

Apple is offering iPhone 3GS customers affected by activation delays over launch weekend a $30 iTunes Store credit for their trouble. Mac Rumors has published Apple’s email to customers, which states, “[w]e appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delay in your iPhone activation. We are still resolving the issue that was encountered while activating your iPhone with AT&T. Unfortunately, due to system issues and continued high activation volumes, this could take us up to an additional 48 hours to complete. On Monday, you’ll receive an email from Apple with an iTunes Store credit in the amount of $30. We hope you will enjoy this gift and accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this delay has caused.” Apple did not offer any such credit to users who dealt with similar but far more widespread activation issues during last year’s iPhone 3G launch, but did offer a $100 Apple Store credit to early iPhone customers in 2007 following a $200 price drop on the handset just months after it debuted.

Apple sells over one million iPhone 3GS

Apple has announced that it sold more than one million iPhone 3GS units over the device’s launch weekend, through Sunday, June 21. The total is on par with that of the iPhone 3G, which also sold one million units in its first weekend of availability despite nagging activation problems. In addition, the company revealed that more than six million customers have downloaded iPhone OS 3.0 since its release on Wednesday. Notably, Apple CEO Steve Jobs provides the quote for the company’s press release, his first contribution to a public company statement since January.

“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

iPhone 3GS Voice Control audio demo now available

Amidst our testing of the new iPhone 3GS, we’ve put together a short audio clip to demonstrate the new handset’s Voice Control feature. The audio clip can be accessed here. (MP3 Format, 1:53). In the sample, you can hear the feature being used to bring up audio tracks by artist, start a Genius playlist, activate shuffle, and make phone calls, both with and without mobile/home instruction.

iPhone 3GS speed comparison videos posted

iLounge has posted a pair of videos to YouTube, comparing the speed of the iPhone 3GS to that of the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G. The videos offer visual comparisons of speed when running games. Continue reading to see the videos in an embedded form, or follow the above links to watch them on YouTube.

Apple: iPhone 3GS activation may take up to 48 hours

Following a relatively smooth morning roll out of the iPhone 3GS, reports are beginning to surface suggesting that early morning West Coast sales and pre-order deliveries are beginning to put strain on Apple’s servers as larger numbers of users try simultaneously to activate their new handsets. According to AppleInsider, Apple is now providing a warning message through iTunes to affected users, stating that their activation needs extra time to complete, and may take up to 48 hours to go through. The message states that an email will be sent to the customer’s email address when activation is completed, apologizes for the inconvenience, and suggests the user try out some of the phone’s features that don’t require a cellular connection. The situation recalls memories of last year’s iPhone 3G launch debacle, when thousands of users were left waiting for hours in- and outside AT&T and Apple stores while employees tried in vain to activate their new phones.

Apple support doc details Push Notifications

Apple has published a new support document outlining how the new Push Notification system in iPhone OS 3.0 operates. The article states that users must open any app at least once before it can receive notifications, and when restoring from a backup, the app(s) will need to be reopened to get notifications. Notably, the article also states that when an iPod touch unit is on and has a Wi-Fi connection, notifications can be received at any time, but if the screen of the iPod touch is asleep, the device will check for notifications once every 15 minutes. It is unclear whether the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS exhibit similar behavior due to their persistent cellular connections.

AT&T: ‘Hundreds of thousands’ iPhone 3GS units pre-ordered online

AT&T has revealed that it has already sold “hundreds of thousands” of iPhone 3GS units through its online pre-order system. AT&T corporate communications representative Michael Coe told AppleInsider, “[AT&T] sold hundreds of thousands through our preorder process prior to the launch, which exceeded our own expectations for iPhone 3GS.” Coe declined to comment on the exact number of orders, or if the figure exceeded 300,000 units, but analysts had previously pegged launch weekend estimates at roughly half a million units; the figure from AT&T does not include pre-orders made through Apple’s online system.

Rogers problems slow Canadian 3GS launch

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iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington is on location at the Apple Store in the Eaton Centre in Toronto for the launch of the iPhone 3GS, and reports that technical difficulties on Rogers’ end have slowed down the proceedings considerably. Hollington writes, “the Apple Store here at the Eaton Centre opened at 8:00 a.m. with about a dozen people in line with appointments, and about a dozen in another line who didn’t make or couldn’t get appointments. My appointment was for 9:00. The Apple Store began processing only NEW activations around 8:15 due to problems on Rogers’ end. Apparently, the just-announced promotional pricing is so new that it isn’t in Rogers’ systems, so the Rogers computer will show all existing iPhone owners as ineligible for an upgrade (as would be the normal policy).”

He continues, “as a result, they have to physically telephone a Rogers Customer Care rep for each upgrade to confirm eligibility and billing (purchase price goes on the Rogers bill). Telephone hold times are running from 30-40 minutes just to talk to somebody. I’ve been told I’m next on deck at this point, one hour late for my original appointment (there are four people being processed for upgrades right now).”

Apple releases iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0

Apple has released iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 for Mac OS X and Windows. The utility allows enterprise users to create, maintain, and encrypt configuration profiles which can then be used to setup multiple iPhones. Configuration profiles contain “device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates” that allow the devices to work with enterprise systems. iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 for Mac and Windows is available now as a free download from Apple’s website; more on the iPhone’s enterprise features can be found in Apple’s Enterprise Deployment Guide. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple now selling unlocked iPhones in Italy

Apple has begun direct sales of unlocked phones in Italy, the first time the handset has been offered outside of carrier stores in the country. SetteB.IT reports (Translated Link) that the change was just recently confirmed by employees at the Roma Apple Store, who had previously denied any plans to offer the handsets directly. Macity goes on to explain (Translated Link) that while the phones were offered unlocked through TIM and Vodafone previously, neither would sell the phone without forcing the customer to sign a contract. iPhones purchased through Apple, by comparison, are free to be used on any service. Pricing for the iPhone 3GS is €599 for 16GB models and €699 for 32GB units through Apple, and €619 and €719, respectively, through TIM and Vodafone; the iPhone 3GS goes on sale in Italy today.

O2 warns against unsupported tethering

U.K. iPhone carrier O2 has said that it will disconnect any customers found to be using the tethering feature of iPhone OS 3.0 that aren’t signed up for one of the company’s tethering Bolt-On plans. A number of iPhone users who have installed the 3.0 update have reported that it is possible to use the new tethering solution without singing up for the plan. O2 is planning to roll out its tethering Bolt-On plans for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS today with the launch of the 3GS, more information on rates and plans can be found in this article.

iPhone 3GS teardown suggests 720p video capabilities

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Rapid Repair has posted a teardown of the new iPhone 3GS, revealing chips that the service suggests support 720p video. According to the report, the iPhone 3GS contains a Samsung S5PC100 CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, capable of running at speeds up to 833 MHz—although it’s currently set to run at 600, underclocked in the same fashion that iPhone and iPhone 3G chips were—and powering 720p video playback. Rapid Repair suggests the 3GS may become a “gateway HD media product in the near future.” As expected, the teardown reveals that the iPhone 3GS carries 256MB of RAM; the report also states that the 3GS battery—a Li-ion Polymer, 3.7V model—looks “very similar” to the original iPhone 3G battery.

Update: iFixit has also posted a teardown of the new handset, and claims that the battery found in the iPhone 3GS represents a 6% increase in capacity over the iPhone 3G battery.

iPhone 3GS unboxing and comparison gallery online

iLounge has obtained a new iPhone 3GS, and has posted its new gallery of iPhone 3GS unboxing and comparison photos. Check back throughout the day for additional details on the third-generation iPhone.

Update: Our gallery has been updated, and now features screenshots of all the new iPhone 3GS features, as well as photos of both the new black and white models.

Rogers offers iPhone 3GS discounts to prior iPhone users

Rogers Wireless has announced a set of iPhone 3GS discounts that it will offer to certain prior iPhone customers. For customers who bought an iPhone 3G between July 11 and Sept. 30, 2008, and with an average monthly spend of at least $100, Rogers is cutting $500 off the cost of an iPhone 3GS, bringing the prices down to $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. For customers that bought an iPhone between July 11 and Dec. 31 2008 but aren’t eligible for the above offer, the company is offering a $250 discount, resulting in prices of $449 for the 16GB model and $549 for 32GB units. Both offers expire on July 31 and come with the addition of a one-year term to the customer’s existing agreement. Customers may also purchase the iPhone 3GS at cost through the company’s website or retail channels; this pushes the prices up to $699 for the 16GB and $799 for 32GB models.

Interestingly, Fido customers will not be offered the same deal; they may redeem FidoDollars towards a new iPhone 3GS, with an additional $100 top-up from Fido. It appears that Rogers/Fido will allow customers to switch over to Rogers and purchase the phone at the new contract price. Finally, both carriers will be offering the 6GB/$30 data promotion until July 31; this plan is valid on a new or existing iPhone plan. The iPhone 3GS will launch in Canada today, and will be available at Apple retail stores as well as Rogers/Fido locations.

Apple posts iPhone 3GS-ready user guide

Apple has posted an updated version of its iPhone User Guide (PDF Link) online. The new guide, which is labeled as “For iPhone OS 3.0 Software,” features several sections on iPhone 3GS-exclusive features, including entire chapters dedicated to the compass and Nike+ integration. Also mentioned in the guide are iPhone 3GS controls for the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic, Voice Control, complete with instructions on how to use the feature, MMS messaging, and a section on how to shoot and edit videos with the Camera application.

T-Mobile, Orange Austria announce competitive 3GS pricing

Both T-Mobile and Orange in Austria have announced their pricing for the iPhone 3GS, offering competitive plans due to their non-exclusivity. T-Mobile will be offering customers 16GB 3GS units for €149 on a €39/month contract offering 2,000 call minutes, 1,000 SMS, and 1GB of data; the 32GB model is €249 with this plan. Alternately, customers can choose the more expensive €49/month plan, which offers 3,000 minutes, 1,000 SMS, and 3GB data, and pay €49 for the 16GB 3GS, or €149 for the 32GB model. The 8GB iPhone 3G is being offered for free no matter which plan the user chooses; all plans contain upcharges for MMS messaging, and the company is also offering a €49 online coupon, a money-back guarantee, and an offer of no monthly payments for the rest of 2009. Current customers may purchase the new 16GB handset for €539, with 32GB units running €639.

Orange will also be offering tiered pricing on the iPhone 3GS, with the 16GB model running €69, €119, or €199, depending on the plan chosen, while the 32GB model will cost €169, €219, or €299. The 8GB iPhone 3G will range in price from €49 to €149. Orange is also offering an online coupon of €40, and like T-Mobile is charging extra for MMS messages. Tethering will be offered at a cost of €2 per month, €0.20 per MB. Finally, Orange will offer the iPhone 3GS without a contract, and has priced the 16GB model at €500, and the 32GB at €600. Both carriers will launch the phone on June 26.

[With contributions from Alicia Bankhofer.]

Some iPhone users report 3.0 upgrade bricking

A number of iPhone users, both on Apple’s Discussion boards and in direct emails to iLounge, are reporting that the iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade process left them with bricked devices. According to the reports, users are running the normal upgrade routine, only to have their iPhones or iPod touches hang on the “Connect to iTunes” screen, with seemingly no way to fix the problem. While some users have reported success with putting their devices into recovery mode and reconnecting, Windows users seem to be having a more difficult time with the process; some have been forced to revert back to 2.2.1, while others have been able to successfully connect and sync running 3.0, but only after installing the upgrade via a Mac. One PC user “suspect[s] that the latest v8.2 iTunes Windows installer does NOT properly install the specific recovery drivers needed for USB. These are called iBoot and DFI USB drivers.”

Apple to offer iPhone in its Canadian retail stores

Apple has announced that it will offer the iPhone in its retail stores in Canada. Apple will begin selling the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in its nine company-owned retail stores in Canada tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., up to two hours earlier than local Rogers/Fido stores, which up until now have been the only places to buy the handset in Canada. Apple operates four stores in Toronto, and also has locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, and Laval.

AT&T Wi-Fi supports auto-authentication with iPhone 3.0

AT&T has announced that with iPhone OS 3.0, iPhone users will no longer need to go through a two-step authentication process in order to access one of the company’s Wi-Fi Hot Spots. According to AT&T, auto-connect will be established once a customer connects his/her iPhone to an AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot for the first time; following this connection, the user should be able to seamlessly switch from AT&T’s 3G network to an AT&T Hot Spot without being prompted. AT&T operates more than 20,000 Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the U.S.

iPhone 3GS Review Round-Up

Following the lifting of the iPhone 3GS review embargo, Apple’s hand-picked reviewers near-simultaneously issued their opinions today on the latest iPhone model, which we’ve summarized in the following headers. Expect iLounge’s review of the iPhone 3GS to deal with these and other subjects in detail in the very near future.

Speed Increases:

Processing (General):

Comments varied on the 3GS’s speed increase, with some reviewers merely parroting Apple’s claims that the device runs apps faster; most agreed that it feels at least a little peppier than the iPhone 3G.

Joshua Topolsky, Engadget: “We’re excited by the cranked up CPU, but in our experience you’ll see lowered load times (though obviously not as drastic) if you take a standard 3G and do a full restore, so there is the lingering question of whether or not the jacked-up feel of the 3GS will last, or will begin to bog down after months of use and heaps of data.”

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