iOS 4.1 Beta 3, the latest beta version of Apple’s upcoming software update, has a new feature that allows for FaceTime calls to be associated with an email address instead of a phone number. Mac Rumors reports that in the beta’s version of the Contacts application, the software gives you the option of connecting the call via a cell phone number or an email address. Notably, this addition suggests that iOS 4.1 will be expected to support some non-iPhone FaceTime-capable devices, such as the iPod touch or iPad. A supposed fourth-generation iPod touch front panel with a hole for a front-facing camera appeared online earlier this week.
A large number of iPhone 3GS users are experiencing random reboots during phone calls after upgrading to iOS 4. An Apple discussion thread dating back to June 22 and now over 900 replies chronicles the issue, which sees most affected 3GS units rebooting without any provocation from the user roughly 4-5 minutes into any telephone call. The only proven solution, according to several of the affected users, is to have the phone replaced. Coincidentally, a Los Angeles Times story from today quotes Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison as saying, “we’re not receiving any reports regarding [iOS 4] being an issue with the iPhone 3GS.” Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the problem. [Thanks, Palia]
According to the July ChangeWave survey, iPhone 4 users reported a better dropped call rating than users of the iPhone 3GS. iPhone 4 users reported a dropped call rating of 5.2%, compared with 6.3% for the iPhone 3GS. Despite this encouraging statistic, the iPhone 4’s customer satisfaction ratings were significantly lower than the iPhone 3GS’ one month after its release. 72% of iPhone 4 owners reported being very satisfied with the device, compared to 82% of iPhone 3GS users who reported the same level of satisfaction in August 2009. 21% of iPhone 4 owners said they were somewhat satisfied with the device, compared to 17% of iPhone 3GS owners last August. The iPhone 4’s screen resolution ranked as the top thing iPhone 4 owners like most about the device, while the requirement of using AT&T is their biggest dislike, by a small margin over the coverage/speed/quality of AT&T’s 3G network and antenna issues. ChangeWave’s survey is based on the reactions and opinions of 213 Apple iPhone 4 owners.
China Unicom will start selling a Wi-Fi capable iPhone in China beginning next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing a China Unicom official familiar with the matter, the Journal reports that the new offering could help boost Unicom’s sales of the iPhone, which have been slow thus far and have faced competition from gray-market iPhones brought into the country from other places. Notably, the Journal’s report does not make clear whether this new iPhone uses traditional Wi-Fi or WAPI, the Chinese-specific wireless networking technology, although an iPhone with the latter technology received regulatory approval in May. The report also states that Telstra’s Hong Kong unit, CSL, is facing iPhone 4 supply issues after selling through its initial inventory within hours of the device’s midnight launch.
Apple has already completed a patch that fixes the PDF-related iOS security hole discovered earlier this week. “We’re aware of this reported issue, we have already developed a fix and it will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet. It is unknown when Apple plans on releasing the update, or if the same update will also alleviate proximity sensor issues for some iPhone 4 users.
Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security has issued an official warning related to a newly-discovered security hole in iOS that was recently used to enable web-based jailbreaking of the iPhone 4. The agency said that iOS has “two critical weak points for which no patch exists,” specifically one through which opening a malicious website or PDF could give hackers “access to the complete system, including administrator rights.” It is urging users not to open PDF files and only use trustworthy websites until Apple issues a software update; Georg Albrecht, a spokesman for Apple, told the Associated Press that Apple is aware of the reports and are “investigating them.” The warning covers iOS 3.1.2 and later.
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.