With more than eight elapsed hours since Apple began accepting iPhone 4 pre-orders, both the company and AT&T continue to experience serious server issues that are leaving a large number of angry customers unable to pre-order devices online. Additionally, call times on Apple’s telephone lines are so long that the company’s phone systems are in some cases turning away callers; one iLounge editor spent three hours on hold before being told that the phone-based customer service agents are using the same system as online customers, and thus have no way to resolve the problems. iLounge has been told that both companies are working to fix the issues, and the representative we spoke with was hopeful the issues would be resolved within a few hours. The problems, for which Apple and AT&T have not apologized, began with the unexpected last-minute unavailability of white iPhone 4 devices, an issue that now seems trivial in light of the massive system failures that have blocked orders of other models as well.
Virgin Mobile has confirmed via its website that it will offer the iPhone 4 in Canada, joining Rogers/Fido, Bell, and Telus as official carriers for the handset. As with the other carriers, Virgin Mobile has yet to announce any pricing or plan details. Apple plans to launch the iPhone in Canada sometime in July. [via iPhone in Canada]
iOS Developer Mario Baluci of The App Machine has released some screenshots of his Make Coffee application for the iPhone 4, illustrating how the higher-resolution version will scale and render on an iPad device. Baluci notes in the company’s blog that the iPhone 4 native resolution application looked “terrific” on the iPad and actually runs at an almost full-screen resolution. The resolution of the iPhone 4 is 640 x 960 as compared to the 320 x 480 display used on prior iPhone models. By contrast, the iPad uses a 768 x 1024 resolution screen. Make Coffee is a virtual coffee machine novelty application for iOS devices. Version 2.0 will provide higher-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4, more advanced 3D animations and sound effects and Twitter integration.
Less than half an hour after the start of iPhone 4 pre-orders, the processing system used by Apple and AT&T to sign up new customers for iPhone data plans appears to be experiencing order-stopping technical issues. Though existing line orders for the iPhone 4 appeared to be working, attempts to use Apple’s “buyiphone.apple.com” pages to sign up for new service are stalling, producing an endlessly spinning gear with the message, “Please wait while we process your request,” and/or “session expired” notices claiming a timeout on the user’s side due to inactivity.
It remains to be seen whether these ordering problems are merely a brief early hiccup, or a repeat of past AT&T account issues that marred past iPhone launches with extended service activation delays.
Update: Problems continue an hour and fifteen minutes after the start of pre-ordering and appear not to be limited to new customers, or even just U.S. customers. Unusual Apple Store errors are appearing when attempting to pre-order iPhone hardware from the United Kingdom, and readers with existing AT&T accounts are also reporting timeouts when attempting to order the iPhone 4 from Apple’s web site.
Update 2: Nearly two hours into pre-ordering, the Apple Store’s prior timeout and spinning gear errors have now been joined by a generic “oops” error that appears when attempting to place the iPhone 4 in a cart for online ordering and at-home delivery. Apple currently appears to be falling back to a semi-working system that offers reservations for in-store pickups as an alternative to the still-problematic online ordering system.
Update 3: Apple has taken the Store offline in an apparent attempt to resolve the ordering problems. AT&T’s web site was, as of several minutes ago, processing iPhone 4 orders properly for existing customers but not yet taking orders from new customers. Like Apple, AT&T was accepting orders only for black iPhone 4 models without an option for white ones. As of now, AT&T’s site is down with a “currently doing maintenance” message.
Update 4: Both Apple’s and AT&T’s pre-order sites have returned. Reports from readers indicate that some AT&T iPhone 4 orders were abruptly cancelled for reasons unknown; we’d advise checking your e-mail account for cancellation notices in the event that you ordered from AT&T earlier this morning.
Update 5: Five hours after pre-orders started, both Apple’s and AT&T’s web sites are continuing to experience major service interruptions and order processing failures. We’ll update this story again when the problems are resolved.
Apple has officially opened pre-orders for the $199 16GB and $299 32GB versions of iPhone 4, formally announced last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA, as well as the new 8GB version of iPhone 3GS priced at $99. As of 4:00AM ET/1:00AM PT, customers may pre-order the new iPhone models for at-home delivery on June 24, 2010, or reserve the phone for in-store pick-up on that day at a local Apple retail store. Existing customers merely need to go through a quick process to determine upgrade eligibility for pricing, and may preserve their prior unlimited data plans or choose new $15/$25/$45 (tethering) options; new customers have to wait for the results of an online credit check, and may only choose between AT&T’s new, limited data plans. The early morning U.S. pre-order opening time appears to coincide with the start of the day in the United Kingdom, one of five initial countries where the new iPhones are becoming available.
Surprisingly, Apple’s web site does not offer pre-orders or reservations for the white iPhone 4 model, describing this color as “currently unavailable.” Late-breaking reports from third-party retailers suggested that merchants other than Apple would not have white iPhone 4 hardware available at launch; the fact that Apple itself is not yet offering the white version is unusual given its track record of immediately selling whatever colors it has pre-announced.
Update: Additional international pricing has been announced for U.K. and French iPhone 4 users: Apple is selling iPhone 4 units at unlocked prices of £499 (16GB) and £599 (32GB) in the United Kingdom, with French prices at €629 (16GB) and €739 (32GB). Quick checks of Apple’s foreign pages show additional restrictions on model availability outside of the United States, with German stores having no 32GB models at all, regardless of color, and only black 16GB units to pre-order.
AT&T and Best Buy have revealed details of their plans for the iPhone 4’s launch. Best Buy will begin taking pre-orders for the device starting June 15, and will begin selling the phone on June 24, as will AT&T. The latter will be opening its stores at 7:00 a.m. to begin selling the phone, and employees will be sporting special new black shirts featuring a multi-color AT&T globe design on the front and the company’s “Rethink Possible” slogan on the back. New customers will be limited to one iPhone 4 per person in line, while existing customers will be able to purchase one iPhone 4 for each eligible line.
A separate report from Modmyi containing an internal AT&T memo claims that the iPhone 4 will be available exclusively in black at launch, with white models available “later this summer.” No reason is given for the delay, nor is there any indication as to whether this is an AT&T-only restriction or if some unforeseen production issue has caused Apple to push back the launch date of white units.
Microsoft is currently offering money to iPhone developers if they port their games to the company’s Windows Phone 7 platform, which will launch later this year. Citing an unnamed developer that was contacted by Microsoft, PocketGamer reports that Microsoft is contacting “successful” iPhone developers, offering them cash to port their games to the new platform. Although the amounts being offered are said to be substantial, they’re reportedly not enough to offset the costs of porting the games over to Microsoft’s programming languages; however, the developer speculated that Microsoft still might be able to woo some developers by tweaking their development tools to make it easier to port from iOS. Sony followed a similar developer recruitment strategy prior to the launch of its PSPgo gaming system.
Vodafone in the U.K. has revealed its pricing for the iPhone 4. According to Engadget, the company posted, and then removed, the pricing sheets, screenshots of which are still available. Pricing on Vodafone will be tiered for both 16GB and 32GB models, ranging from £189 for a 16GB unit with a £25 a month, two-year contract, to a free 32GB with a £60 a month, two-year commitment. All of Vodafone’s plans include 1GB of data access and 1GB of BT Openzone Wi-Fi access monthly; select plans will also include 5GB of European data roaming. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, and Japan on June 24.
iOS 4 contains code, currently inaccessible, to allow for exporting videos directly to Facebook. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the snippet found within iOS 4’s code is labeled “AVAssetExportPresetFacebook,” and allows for video with a maximum height or width of 480 pixels, playing back at 30 fps. If or when activated, Facebook will join other sharing options including email, MMS, MobileMe, and YouTube; it is unclear when Apple might activate the new feature.
Walmart has announced that it will offer the iPhone 4 on June 24, the device’s official launch date in the U.S. Cnet reports that while the retailer has offered various models of the iPhone in the past, this is the first time it will offer a new iPhone model on launch day. Walmart joins Apple, RadioShack, and reportedly Best Buy as U.S. launch day retailers; Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24, with pre-orders opening on June 15.
O2 has announced its data plan pricing for the iPhone 4 in the U.K., while removing its unlimited data options. O2’s new plans scale the amount of data along with the number of voice minutes, ranging from 100 minutes and 500MB of data for £25 a month on a two-year contract to unlimited minutes and 1GB of data for £65 per month with an 18-month agreement. All of O2’s new plans also include unlimited use of the company’s U.K. Wi-Fi hotspots. O2 will also be offering data add-ons beginning in October, with 500MB of additional data running £5 and 1GB costing £10, both on a monthly basis. In addition, the company is offering current customers an early upgrade option, with a £20 charge for each month remaining on their minimum term. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, and Japan on June 24.
Mobile network Three in the U.K. has announced that it will be offering the iPhone 4. Similar to AT&T in the U.S., Three will begin taking iPhone pre-orders starting on June 15, with the device’s launch to follow on June 24. Service pricing has yet to be announced.
Vodafone in India has confirmed that it will offer the iPhone 4 “in the coming months.” The company was not able to say when the launch will take place, but it is expected to come by the end of September, as Apple plans to have launched the device in 88 countries by the end of that month, and Apple has already halted sales of the iPhone 3G in India, according to a Techtree report.
Bell, Telus, and Rogers have all announced that they will offer the iPhone 4 in the coming weeks. None of the three companies has provided any further information, such as pricing, but all three have set up webpages dedicated to the device, with Bell and Rogers offering customers a form to sign up for more information. Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 4 in Canada in July.
T-Mobile in Germany and the Netherlands have confirmed that they will offer the iPhone 4. In Germany, T-Mobile will begin taking pre-orders on the 15th, and in an earlier Twitter update indicated that it will be the iPhone 4’s exclusive carrier in Germany. T-Mobile Netherlands has posted a simple page indicating that it will offer the iPhone 4. Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 4 in Germany on June 24 and in the Netherlands sometime in July. [via Engadget]
iLounge has posted a set of two new high-definition hands-on videos of Apple’s iPhone 4 today, one focused on the externals of the new phone by comparison with the original iPhone and iPhone 3GS, and the other on its new software and interface.
The first video is a comparison of the iPhone 4, original iPhone, and iPhone 3GS (YouTube HD link), showing the final, working phone from all angles. It’s also available from Vimeo.
The second video is a full interface video for the iPhone 4 (YouTube HD link), showing off everything from FaceTime to iBooks, iMovie, iOS4 multitasking with the new Pandora application, and the iPhone 4’s other built-in applications. It’s also available from Vimeo.
Both videos are in 720p format.
Both Best Buy and Radio Shack will offer the iPhone 4 on launch day, according to a new report and a series of Twitter updates, respectively. Citing a trusted unnamed source, Engadget reports that Best Buy will be offering the next-generation iPhone at launch, and that stores will apparently have no less than 45 units on hand—30 for the higher-capacity 32GB model and 15 of the 16GB units. Additionally, Radio Shack has confirmed via its Twitter account that it will be offering the iPhone 4 at launch, and will begin taking pre-orders with a $50 deposit on June 15, the same day as Apple. Interestingly, the company will also be accepting trade-ins for the iPhone 4, offering as much as $100 credit for iPhone 3G units and $200 for iPhone 3GS units; more information can be found on the company’s trade-in program website. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24.
Apple has hired Rich Dellinger, a User Interface Design Architect at Palm, as a Senior User Interface Designer. According to Dellinger’s LinkedIn page, he was responsible for creating the “non-intrusive banner notification system used in webOS,” and also “co-developed the Application Framework used by webOS,” including the “CSS structure and defined HTML layout.” This will not be the first time Dellinger has worked at Apple, however, as he originally joined the company in December 1999 as a Senior Technical Support Engineer, before moving his way up to a User Interface Designer position in which he “designed applications for Apple products, including Mac OS X, iPod, and iPhone,” before leaving for Palm in April 2006. [via PreCentral]
Cisco has reached an agreement to license its iOS trademark to Apple. During its WWDC 2010 keynote address, Apple announced that it would be changing the name of iPhone OS to “iOS,” which was covered under a Cisco trademark relating to its “IOS” network infrastructure software. “Cisco has agreed to license the iOS trademark to Apple for use as the name of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad,” Cisco said in a statement reprinted on a company blog. “The license is for use of the trademark only and not for any technology.” Notably, Cisco was also the owner of the iPhone trademark when Apple first introduced the phone in January of 2007; the dispute over the name led to a lawsuit which was eventually dropped when the two companies came to an agreement to share the iPhone name.
O2, Orange, Vodafone, and T-Mobile in the U.K. have all announced that they will offer the iPhone 4. Orange, Vodafone, and O2 have posted special webpages for the iPhone 4 where users can sign up to receive more information as it becomes available, while T-Mobile has simply made an announcement, saying that “further information on launch timings, pricing and tariff plans will be revealed in due course.” Notably, this marks the first time T-Mobile will officially offer an iPhone model in the U.K. Apple will launch the iPhone 4 in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24. [via Pocket-Lint]
Apple has dropped prices on its remaining iPhone 3GS units ahead of the launch of iPhone 4. The company’s online store is now offering 16GB iPhone 3GS units for $149, while 32GB models are priced at $199. Both Apple and AT&T have already sold out of their remaining iPhone 3G units; Apple will be replacing the $99 iPhone 3G with a new, same-priced 8GB iPhone 3GS model, presumably on June 24, when the iPhone 4 officially launches. Notably, these price drops do not represent the best pricing currently available on the iPhone 3GS, as Walmart dropped its pricing on the 16GB model to $97 in late May. [via Mac Rumors]
A number of U.S. iPhone users are complaining of recurring mystery data usage appearing on their AT&T accounts. According to an Apple Support discussions thread, the mystery charges appear to be occurring late at night, typically between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. Some users report that these late night data sessions have reached as high as 70MB, theoretically ruling out the possibility of simple statistics uploading, as one user points out. None of the users reporting problems has yet been able to identify the culprit, and neither AT&T nor Apple has been able to offer any explanation.
Apple has posted an on-demand Quicktime streaming video of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address from WWDC 2010. During the address, Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4, discussed some of the new features of iOS—formerly iPhone OS—4, and gave several updates regarding the iPad and App Store. For more coverage of yesterday’s event, see our full transcript, our Flickr photostream, and our News section.