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China Unicom launches iPhone 4 pre-orders

China Unicom is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the handset is priced between 5,880 yuan to 6,999 yuan (roughly $874 to $1,040), in line with what the carrier charged for the iPhone 3GS when it launched in China last October. The report states that sales have picked up after a slow start, but are still hampered by China Unicom’s exclusivity. Citing a surveys of young Chinese mobile subscribers by CMR, the report claims that potential Chinese iPhone users are reluctant to switch to China Unicom due to perceptions of poor service quality, the lengthy required contracts, and because they don’t want to relinquish their China Mobile phone numbers. Analysts estimate that millions of Chinese customers are instead using gray market iPhones without 3G service on China Mobile; Apple also sells the iPhone 3GS unlocked in its Chinese stores.

ComScore: Apple, RIM lose market share to Android

According to the latest data from comScore, both Apple and BlackBerry-maker RIM lost U.S. smartphone market share to Android during the three months ending in July 2010. First place RIM went from an average share of 41.1% in the three months ending in April to 39.3% in the three months ending in July, a -1.8% change, while Apple’s share of the market went from 25.1% to 23.8%, or a drop of 1.3%, over the same time period. Android, meanwhile, went from an average of 12% of the market in the three months ending in April to 17% in the three months ending in July, a gain of 5%. ComScore’s numbers represent total U.S. smartphone subscribers ages 13 and up.

Apple announces AirPrint wireless printing for iOS 4.2

Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of AirPrint wireless printing for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to members of its iOS Developer Program, and that the new feature will be part of iOS 4.2 when it is released publicly in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need for additional drivers or software. Supported printers include HP Photosmart, Officejet, Officejet Pro and LaserJet Pro series ePrint models, as well as printers shared through a Mac or a PC. Notably, Apple claims that printing will only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet lists the second-generation iPod touch as compatible, while omitting the iPhone 3G.

“AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS—no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.”

“We’re pleased to work with Apple to bring Apple’s AirPrint to our fall lineup of ePrint printers in time for the holiday shopping season,” said Vyomesh Joshi, HP executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group. “Making it easy for our customers to print anytime, anywhere, is a key priority for HP. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch customers are going to love how easy it is to print using our new range of ePrint printers, creating high-quality printed pages in an instant.”

Apple releases iOS 4.2 Beta for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch

Apple has released its first beta version of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Announced by Apple earlier this month and slated for a November release, iOS 4.2 will bring several new features to Apple’s mobile device OS, including AirPlay streaming, AirPrint wireless printing, and the ability to import .ics files directly into Calendar as new events, and will bring the iPad’s software feature set into parity with the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s iOS 4.2 Beta for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now as a free download for paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Apple acquisition tied to iOS 4.1 HDR capability?

A currently unconfirmed Apple acquisition may have played a part in the company’s addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to its iOS 4.1 feature set. Eric Slivka of Mac Rumors reports that Apple may have purchased UK-based company imsense to gain its expertise in dealing with HDR processing. Imsense, known for its “eye-fidelity” near-instantaneous Dynamic Range Correction software algorithms, was purchased by “an undisclosed trade buyer in July 2010,” according to a note on the website of Braveheart Ventures, which backed imsense. The report goes on to note that nearly all of imsense’s web presence, including its website and Facebook and Twitter accounts, has been removed since its acquisition, and its iOS application imphoto has disappeared from the App Store. Finally, imsense Director of Engineering Alexis Gatt left the company in July 2010, only to become a senior engineer at Apple.

T-Mobile capable iPhone rumor reemerges

According to comments made by an executive vice president of Canada’s Quebecor, which today launched a new mobile service through its Vidéotron brand, Apple is building an iPhone compatible with the 3G network operated by T-Mobile USA. Engadget Mobile reports that the exec said Apple is in the process of manufacturing an AWS-compliant iPhone, and to “expect an announcement in the coming months” regarding the device’s launch on Vidéotron. Notably, both Vidéotron and T-Mobile USA offer 3G service over AWS, which uses the 1700 and 2100 MHz bands. The current iPhone 4 supports 3G service on the 2100 MHz band but not the 1700. This is the second time this week a T-Mobile USA-compatible iPhone has been mentioned in the press; Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson recently tweeted that a T-Mobile manager “casually mentioned to [him] that they’re going to get the iPhone 3GS (but not 4, oddly) later this year.” [via AppleInsider]

Apple confirms Sept. 30 end for iPhone 4 Case Program

Apple has posted a notice on its iPhone 4 Case Program page confirming that the program will end on September 30, while leaving the door open for free Bumper giveaways to customers most affected/upset by their iPhone 4’s antenna problems. “We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought,” says the message at the top of the dedicated Case Program page. “A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the company’s iPhone 4 antenna media event that the company would re-evaluate the Case Program as the proposed September 30 deadline approached. [via Mac Rumors]

OTA Notes sync missing on iPhone 3G, iPod touch 2G under iOS 4.1

In its effort to improve the performance iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch—the oldest and not coincidentally slowest devices supported by the new OS—Apple has removed the ability to sync Notes over-the-air for those devices in iOS 4.1. Geek.com points to an Apple Support Document that confirms the feature is no longer available on the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G, and suggests that users who saw their Notes disappear after the update simply re-sync with iTunes, checking the boxes for syncing notes and for replacing the Notes information on the device, to restore their data. In addition to OTA Notes syncing, TUAW points out that Spotlight no longer searches through MMS messages on the iPhone 3G under iOS 4.1, likely another change made to improve performance on the older model.

iOS 4.1 causing in-car USB playback problems?

According to reports in an Apple Discussions thread and in a separate but similar thread on the PriusChat forums, a number of iPhone and iPod touch users are suffering from in-car USB audio playback issues after the installation of iOS 4.1. Affected users report hearing “scratching” or “crackling” noises when playing back music from an iOS 4.1 device over a vehicle’s built-in USB interface, with one Ford Fusion owner likening the effect to listening to a “scratched CD.” The problem does not appear to be limited to any one brand or major manufacturer, and several users have noted that audio playback via the headphone port or Bluetooth works fine. Notably, one user claims that unpairing his Bluetooth connection allowed audio to play over USB without issue, suggesting the problem may be related to having Bluetooth on and or paired while attempting playback. [Thanks, Doug]

Documents to Go 4.0 adds new UI, full keyboard support

DataViz has released a new update to its Documents To Go Premium Office Suite for iOS devices. Documents to Go is a universal app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files on their devices. iPad and iOS 4 users can open documents in Documents to Go from the built-in Mail and Safari apps as well as any third-party app that supports iOS file sharing as well as transferring documents over Wi-Fi, USB via iTunes or from online services such as Dropbox and Google Docs. Version 4.0 delivers an updated and more intuitive user interface for navigating and editing documents including improvements for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Display as well as full support for external Bluetooth keyboards on iPad and modern iOS 4 devices including arrow keys and other keyboard shortcuts. The new version also provides significant speed improvements, the ability to freeze spreadsheet panes and extensive paragraph formatting options for Word documents such as indent, strike through and bullet styles. Documents To Go Premium 4.0 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later; it is available from the App Store for $17 and is a free update for current users.

TweetAgora 2.0 update brings Cadmus integration

KainosAgora has released an update to TweetAgora, its advanced filtering app designed to provide users with more valuable content from their Twitter feeds. TweetAgora 2.0 introduces integration with Cadmus, a real-time service that analyses and prioritizes content in users’ Twitter streams. The Cadmus integration in TweetAgora allows users to view their Twitter feed sorted by relevance over the past 24 hours based on factors such as number of replies, number of retweets, times favorited, popularity and more, allowing users to get a quick overview of the best content in their stream without having to sift through hundreds of tweets. TweetAgora can also now provide personalized trending topics generated from only those people the user is following and check out only what their followers have said on those topics. Users can also view a filtered timeline of all of the replies that have been received for a specific tweet and use the Questions Asked link on user profile pages to see a filtered list of interrogative tweets from a specific user. The new version also provides a new look and feel with a new colour scheme, adds pull-to-refresh for mentions and direct messages across multiple accounts and provides several performance improvements that should be particularly noticeable for users of older iOS device models. TweetAgora 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version allows users to filter up to three keywords and three people, create up to three Agoras and load up to 150 tweets in a timeline. Users can upgrade to the paid version for $5 via in-app purchase to remove these limitations and add support for multiple accounts and filtering of tweets from third-party services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Blip.FM.

Adobe resumes development of Packager for Flash

Following yesterday’s statement by Apple that it was “relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code,” Adobe has announced that it has resumed development of its Packager feature for Flash, which allows developers to export Flash applications as native iOS apps. Apple’s decision has “direct implications for Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, a feature in the Flash Professional CS5 authoring tool,” the company said in a blog post. “This feature was created to enable Flash developers to quickly and easily deliver applications for iOS devices. The feature is available for developers to use today in Flash Professional CS5, and we will now resume development work on this feature for future releases. This is great news for developers and we’re hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store.” Adobe went on to point out that Apple decision doesn’t change its stance on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices.

G5 Entertainment releases Virtual City for iPhone and iPod touch

G5 Entertainment has released the full version of Virtual City, its city building game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Released last month as a free lite version, Virtual City allows players to construct their own city, developing it into anything from a suburban utopia to a bustling metropolis. To accomplish this, players must build houses, setup industrial buildings, create mass-transit systems and entertain their city’s residents with parks, cinemas, stadiums and events. Players must also manage production chains to transport goods and services to the areas that require them, trade with neighbouring cities and look after planning and providing city services such as health care, public safety, waste collection and recycling in order to keep their city’s residents happy and healthy. In progressing through the game, players must balance time, income, environmental factors, population and happiness in order to succeed, while dealing with various political and economic crises and natural disasters. Virtual City supports high-resolution Retina Display graphics on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G and provides 50 levels in five different geographic settings, 18 mission scenarios, over 50 types of buildings and 25 types of goods to transport and trade. Players can also earn special achievements and unlock special upgrades and additional buildings as they progress through the game. Virtual City is available from the App Store for $3.

Gameloft releases Real Golf 2011

Gameloft has released Real Golf 2011 for the iPhone and iPod touch. Optimized for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Display, Real Golf 2011 allows players to face off against some of the world’s best golfers on ten authentic real-world golf courses recreated in 3D. Players can choose from either a touch-based control scheme or more traditional controls and the game also provides support for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G gyroscope for precise player movement. Players can choose to play either quick challenges such as Time Stroke and Closest to the Pin or play in Career mode to win tournaments and upgrade with new gear as their golfer rises in rank. Multiplayer support allows users to compete against other players either online or locally and integrates with Gameloft Live for online leader boards and achievements. Players can also upload their favorite instant replays directly to YouTube from within the game to show off their achievements. Real Golf 2011 is available from the App Store for $7.

Game updates begin appearing for Game Center

Following the release of iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch earlier today, the first Game Center enabled games have begun to appear on the App Store. Pangea Software has released updates to Nanosaur 2, Cro-Mag Rally and Enigmo, enabling support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards for single-player games as well as multilayer Game Center support including Voice Chat and Auto-Match. FireMint has also updated its iPhone and iPod touch versions of Real Racing and Flight Control with support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards. Namco Networks has also released an update to Ms. Pac-Man adding support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards. All titles are available from the App Store now and are free updates for owners of the previous versions.

Apple posts iPhone Configuration Utility 3.1 for Mac OS X

Apple has posted version 3.1 of its iPhone Configuration Utility for Mac OS X, its iPhone configuration management utility for enterprise users. The utility allows enterprise users to create configuration profiles which can then be used to setup multiple iPhones. According to Apple’s release notes, “iPCU version 3.1 adds support for new Mobile Device Management (MDM) features introduced in iOS 4 and enables wireless delivery of configuration profiles. It also includes support for Cisco AnyConnect and Juniper Networks SSL VPN clients, CardDAV, multiple Exchange accounts and SAN support using Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP).” iPhone Configuration Utility 3.1 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available now as a free download; a separate version is available for Windows. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple releases iMovie 1.1 for iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G

Apple has released an update to its iMovie application for the iPhone 4, adding support for the fourth-generation iPod touch and several other new features. iMovie 1.1 adds the ability to split video clips and automatically loop music when video extends beyond the end of the music track. Users can also now scrub to preview clips in the Video Browser and view an in-app Tips page to learn how to use key features. The new version also includes an updated Photos Browser with the newest images at the top, a Mute badge to indicate video clips that have audio disabled and additional performance and reliability improvements. iMovie 1.1 requires an iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5 and as a free update for current users.

iPod nano 6G interface, iPod + iPhone family photos posted

In addition to our earlier galleries showing the unboxing of the sixth-generation iPod nano and fourth-generation iPod touch, comparisons of the new models to their predecessors, and images comparing the rear-facing camera of the iPod touch 4G to that of the iPhone 4, iLounge has posted new photos to our Flickr photostream showing off the touch-based interface of the new iPod nano, as well as a new photo—seen in limited resolution above—of the entire 2010 lineup of iPods, iPhones, and the iPad.

iPhone 4/iPod touch 4G camera comparison photos, video posted

iLounge has just posted a new gallery of images comparing the camera capabilities of the iPhone 4 to that of the new fourth-generation iPod touch. Notably, the iPhone 4’s camera is a five-megapixel shooter while the fourth-gen touch’s camera is designed primarily for capturing 720p HD video, cutting off the sides of the 1280x720 sensor when shooting stills, resulting in 960x720 stills and a greatly reduced effective width. In addition, a pair of videos have been added to our Vimeo account comparing the video capabilities of the iPhone 4 to those of the iPod touch 4G.

iOS 4.1 for iPhone, iPod touch now available

As expected, Apple today released iOS 4.1 for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. The update brings a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor, Bluetooth issues, and performance problems on the iPhone 3G. Notably, the iPhone 3G is left out amongst its iOS 4.1-capable peers in support for Apple’s new Game Center social gaming service, which is also included in the update, along with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography on the iPhone 4 (a comparison shot appears below), HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and support for TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. iOS 4.1 is available now as a free upgrade for all compatible devices via the update feature in iTunes; for more information on iOS 4.1, see our Instant Expert article.

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