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White iPhone 4 appears on Orange, Three UK sites

Following appearances in the inventory systems of Vodafone Germany and Best Buy, as well as popping up in AT&T’s Online Account Management System, the white version of the iPhone 4 has now appeared on the websites of Three and Orange in the UK. Notably, neither network is offering specifics on when the elusive model might be available; Three says simply that the “White iPhone 4 is currently unavailable for order online or in-store.” In Apple’s most recent delay notice, it said the handset would be available in “Spring 2011;” the listings found in Best Buy’s system suggested a release date of February 27. [via T3]

Verizon confirms $30 unlimited data plan for iPhone (Updated)

Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Verizon COO Lowell McAdam has confirmed that the company will offer a $30 unlimited data plan for iPhone users. “I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot,” McAdam said, referring to the large number of AT&T iPhone users who were grandfathered in with unlimited data prior to AT&T’s move to a tiered data pricing scheme last year. The report also notes that anticipation of a Verizon iPhone launch appears to have held back sales during Verizon’s fourth quarter; while analysts were generally happy with the subscriber growth, McAdam wasn’t, saying, “It wasn’t what I hoped it would be.” Verizon Wireless will launch the iPhone 4 on February 10.

Update: McAdam has clarified that the iPhone unlimited data plan will be a temporary offer and said that Verizon will move to tiered data pricing for the iPhone in the “not too distant future.”

ITC judge says Apple, RIM clear of Kodak patent

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Paul Luckern said yesterday that Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry devices do not violate a Kodak patent covering a common image preview feature. BusinessWeek reports that while Luckern’s preliminary findings are a setback for Kodak, they are still subject to review by the six-member commission, which has the power to overturn the ruling and ultimately block imports of iPhone and BlackBerry devices that contain cameras. Kodak first sued Apple and RIM in January 2010, alongside filing the aforementioned ITC complaint, prompting Apple to launch a countersuit and ITC complaint of its own against Kodak, claiming patent infringement.

Google brings Cloud Print service to iOS devices

Google has announced that it has launched a beta version of its Google Cloud Print service for mobile documents and Gmail for mobile. The feature will allow users to print documents from Google Docs, or emails and attachments from Gmail, directly from their browser. The service will require users to connect their printers to Google Cloud Print—something which currently requires a Windows PC—and will be rolling out today and tomorrow for English speaking users in the US. According to Google, the new mobile Cloud Print feature will work on most phones that support HTML5, including devices running iOS 3.0 or later.

KT touts 2 million iPhones sold in South Korea

South Korean iPhone carrier KT has announced that it has sold more than two million of the devices since its November 2009 launch in the country. The Korea Times reports that two million iPhones were activated in South Korea as of January 20, and that 1.03 million were iPhone 4s, while 977,000 were iPhone 3GS units. According to the report, the iPhone 4 has proven to be nearly twice as popular as its predecessor, and KT claims it is now activating roughly 250,000 iPhone 4 units a month. “The achievement is the result of the combination of the iPhone’s outstanding product quality and KT’s networks, subscription plans and services,” said Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s Mobile Business Group. Interestingly, KT says that most iPhone buyers in South Korea are men in their 20s or 30s, and that nearly 70 percent of its iPhone users live in Seoul or its surrounding metropolitan area.

White iPhone 4 listings appear at AT&T

Following appearances in the inventory systems of Vodafone Germany and Best Buy, a pair of listings for the white iPhone 4 have appeared in AT&T’s Online Account Management system. The listings, pointed to by Boy Genius Report, read as “iPhone 4 - 16GB White” and “iPhone 4 - 32GB White” and offer further evidence that the long-awaited variant may be close to launch. The prior listings in Best Buy’s inventory system listed a release date of February 27, however, it is unclear whether this will be the actual release date, as the 27th is a Sunday and Apple typically launches new products on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday in order to generate larger totals of launch weekend sales.

Apple airs new ‘two is better than one’ iPhone spot

Apple has aired its first commercial for the Verizon iPhone 4. Entitled “Two is better than one,” the thirty-second ad features two iPhones—one running on AT&T, one on Verizon—being used for similar tasks in front of a white background. At the end of the spot, the two phones are moved off to their respective sides, leaving the AT&T and Verizon logos behind them, followed by the text “Two is better than one,” and then Apple’s iPhone 4 logotype. As of this writing, Apple has yet to post the commercial to its TV Ad gallery, but the spot is available for viewing on YouTube and in embedded form below.

Verizon posts first iPhone 4 TV commercial

Verizon Wireless has posted to YouTube its first television commercial for the iPhone 4. The commercial, which is devoid of Apple products save for a brief glimpse of a Magic Mouse and Apple keyboard, shows a variety of clocks ticking, some with people watching them count down. As they slowly approach 12:00, a voiceover says, “To our millions of customers who never stopped believing this day would come, thank you.” The commercial ends with Apple’s logo and iPhone 4 type on a white background, followed by the Verizon logo, the “It Begins” slogan, the 2.10.11 launch date, and Verizon’s “Rule the Air” logo. Notably, the spot represents the first such iPhone commercial to air in the U.S. that was seemingly created by the phone’s carrier and not by Apple itself.

Apple blocking user access to iPhone with special screws

Apple is beginning to use specialized screws to seal the outside case of the iPhone 4, according to a new report. Arguing that the move represents an effort by Apple to keep users from being able to repair their own phones, iFixIt reports that Apple is using a new five-point “Pentalobe” screw, for which there are no readily available screwdrivers. According to the report, Apple has used three different sizes of the screw, first using it to secure the battery of the mid-2009 MacBook Pro, then using an extremely small variant on some iPhone 4 units, and employing yet another size to lock users out of the new MacBook Air. In addition, the report claims that should a user bring in for repair an iPhone 4 with standard Phillips screws on the exterior, Apple will replace them with the new, tamper-resistant Pentalobe screws without notifying the customer of the change. As a remedy, iFixIt is offering a $10 “iPhone 4 Liberation Kit,” which includes a five-point screwdriver—good for removing the Pentalobe screws but not recommended for repeated use—along with two Phillips replacement screws and a #00 Phillips screwdriver for future servicing.

iOS 4.3 beta 2 offers more evidence of iPad camera, new features

The second beta version of iOS 4.3 has been shown to offer further evidence of a camera-equipped iPad, as well as hints of a new cloud-based media sharing and syncing service, a new app, and Push Notifications for an existing service. Mac Rumors reports that the new beta includes an image of an iPad home screen with icons for FaceTime, Camera, and Photo Booth pictured, offering further evidence that the next iPad will include at least one camera. According to the report, the image is used to show a preview of the user’s wallpaper selection; it also suggests Apple is porting its standard Mac OS X Photo Booth app to its portable devices.

Also found in iOS 4.3 beta 2 and reported by AppleInsider is a mention of a new Photo Stream image sync feature, which appears to make MobileMe Gallery sharing automatic, which was found inside a “Media Stream” folder. “Photo Stream uploads and stores the last thirty days of your photos on MobileMe and downloads them to all of your devices,” reads the text found in the beta. Finally, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ping has received the ability to send Push Notifications under iOS 4.3 beta 2. Apple has yet to set a public release date for iOS 4.3, and as with all betas, features are subject to changes and/or removal prior to the official release.

Apple releases iOS 4.3 beta 2 to developers

Apple has released the second beta version of iOS 4.3 to its paid developers. Listed as build number 8F5153d, it is unclear what has changed in the new version from the first, which brought AirPlay functionality to Safari and third-party apps, the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature, an option in the Settings app to choose whether the iPad’s side switch acts as a screen rotation lock or as a mute switch, and new four- and five-finger gestures for the iPad. Notably, documentation released alongside the new beta indicates that the aforementioned gestures will not be part of iOS 4.3’s public release, but are instead included in order to gain developer feedback, and the release is accompanied by a new preview build of Apple TV Software 4.3. Separate versions of iOS 4.3 beta 2 for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch are available as downloads for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.

For more information on iOS 4.3, see our Full Breakdown article.

AT&T plans changes to text message offerings

AT&T is preparing to launch a new text messaging plan while removing two prior options, according to a new report. Citing a leaked image of an internal Best Buy notice, GearLive reports that AT&T is doing away with its prior $5/200 message and $15/1500 message plans, and is launching a new $10 monthly plan that will include 1000 messages, with each additional message costing $0.10. Notably unchanged are the company’s $20 individual unlimited and $30 family unlimited plans. While current customers will be grandfathered in and allowed to keep their current plans, all new customers will have to choose from the new offerings beginning January 23.

AirView displays AirPlay video on iOS devices

Clément Vasseur has released an AirPlay client application for iOS device users. Although the AirPlay technology built into iOS 4.2 allows iOS users to stream content to an AirPlay client device, iOS 4.2 does not currently provide any way to view content from an AirPlay source. AirView is a free universal application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that allows a device to receive and display AirPlay video streams from another AirPlay-enabled source such as iTunes or another iOS device. Users can simply launch the Airview application on their iOS device which will then appears in a list of AirPlay destinations on other devices. At this time, AirView supports only video streams and not audio or photos. AirView requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Personal Hotspot coming to iPhone 3GS?

iLounge has received an anonymous tip that the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 will work on both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. According to our source, who tested it using the first beta version of iOS 4.3, the feature works on the 3GS exactly as it works on the iPhone 4, including the ability to share the device’s 3G network connection over Wi-Fi. Notably, it is up to the individual carriers to support the feature, so while the feature may be present in the OS, it will not show up in users’ Settings app unless it has been enabled by their carrier. In addition, while the feature is present in the current 3GS build of iOS 4.3 beta, it is possible that Apple could remove the feature prior to the public release of the update.

Apple COO Cook alludes to display investment?

During Apple’s first-quarter 2011 financial results conference call today, Apple COO Tim Cook made several statements that suggest the company sees display technology as a potential component investment for the future. When asked about Apple’s long-term investments on components, Cook mentioned the company’s prior $1 billion flash memory investment as something that was important across the product line, and added that the company has identified a similarly important area in recent quarters. Cook said that the company has come into pre-payment agreements in this new area for parts, equipment, and tooling in hopes of achieving a specific competitive advantage. While Cook didn’t directly mention it, separate reports from the same week in December claimed that Apple was expected to supply a portion of the investments required for a new Toshiba LCD plant and Sharp LCD production line, respectively. Both reports specifically mentioned that as a result of Apple’s investment, the new factory and new production line were expected to produce displays primarily for the Cupertino-based company. Given Apple’s reliance on touchscreen technology in its iOS devices, it seems likely that these were the agreements to which Cook was referring during the call.

Update: The investment is worth $3.9 billion dollars over two years, and involves three vendors. Apple made pre-payments of $650 million during the last quarter, and expects to make $1.05 billion in payments during the March quarter.

Verizon offering $200 credit to recent phone buyers upgrading to iPhone 4

Verizon’s iPhone 4 FAQ page indicates that it will offer a $200 credit to recent phone purchasers who would like to buy an iPhone instead. “Current Verizon customers who purchased and activated new smartphones, feature phones or certified pre-owned phones between 11/26/2010, and 01/10/2011, are eligible to receive up to a $200 Visa debit card when they purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price by 02/28/2011 and return their existing phone,” reads the page. It also notes that the offer will only be available on consumer accounts with five of less lines, and to be eligible the customer must purchase the iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless stores, telesales, or from the company’s website. Verizon Wireless will launch the iPhone 4 on February 10. [via BGR]

White iPhone 4 appears in Vodafone inventory system (Updated)

Listings for the white iPhone 4 have appeared in Vodafone Germany’s inventory system, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source who provided screenshots of the listings, Engadget reports that listings for both the 16GB and 32GB white models were found; the source said to expect a launch “soon.” Apple has repeatedly delayed the white iPhone 4 since its unveiling last year, first from June 2010 until July, then from July until late 2010, before being slated for a Spring 2011 rollout last October.

Update: Mac Rumors reports that similar listings have now been found in Best Buy’s inventory system, with a listed release date of February 27.

iOS 4.3 beta contains Imagination SGX543 GPU driver

New code found within the first iOS 4.3 beta suggests Apple is planning to incorporate the POWERVR SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies into an upcoming product or products. Mac Rumors reports that the SGX543 is said to deliver seven million more polygons per second and double the fillrate of the older SGX535 that is found in Apple’s A4 chip. In addition, the new GPU offers support for the Apple-backed OpenCL specification, which allows applications to tap unused GPU processing power for general computing tasks, as well as support for multi-core configurations. Notably, a rumor from late 2009—the chip itself was announced that January—suggested that Sony was interested in using the chip as the graphics processor for its second-generation PSP handheld gaming console, suggesting that Apple and Sony are on a similar path when it comes to portable gaming.

Kindle adds e-book import, background downloads

Amazon has released an update to its Kindle app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding the ability to open and import supported e-book formats. Kindle 2.5 now allows users to open e-book files from sites such as Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive directly from the Safari browser or Mail app using the “Open in” feature in iOS 4. Supported ebook formats can also be transferred to a user’s device via USB using the File Sharing feature in iTunes. The new version also adds the ability to continue downloading books while the app is in the background, improves the image zoom feature and provides a new book indicator and miscellaneous bug fixes. Kindle for iOS is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Task Ave provides simple location-aware task reminders

Task Ave has released an iPhone application aimed at providing task reminders based on a users’ location. Task Ave allows users to easily create reminders that are triggered when the user is within a set proximity of a specific location where something needs to be done. Locations can be added manually or via search and tasks can be added and edited directly on a map view or by using a more traditional list view. The application allows users to choose the proximity at which they wish to be notified from 500m and 13km and users can opt for either GPS tracking or simplified cell tower tracking to conserve battery. Task reminders can be disabled by location and users can configure the app to remove completed tasks automatically. Task Ave is available from the App Store for $3.

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