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.]
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 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 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.
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.
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.”
Following a solid week of complaints from users, AT&T has announced that it will be offering iPhone 3G customers who are upgrade eligible in July, August or September of this year its best upgrade pricing ($199/16GB, $299/32GB) on the iPhone 3GS beginning tomorrow, June 18. In an open letter, the company states that “[l]ike most U.S. carriers, we offer a variety of phones that we sell below our actual cost when customers agree to sign service agreements. In general, the more a customer spends with us, the quicker they become eligible for a price break on a new device. For example, iPhone customers who spend more than $99 a month per line with us generally are eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.”
The letter continues, “[a]ll of that said, we’ve been listening to our customers. And since many of our iPhone 3G customers are early adopters and literally weeks shy of being upgrade eligible due to iPhone 3GS launching 11 months after iPhone 3G, we’re extending the window of upgrade eligibility for a limited time.” AT&T notes that its upgrade eligibility tools will not reflect the change until tomorrow, and that supplies will be limited at its retail stores, but customers may order online from AT&T for delivery in 7-14 days, or purchase the device from Apple’s online or retail stores. Finally, it says that customers who pre-ordered from an AT&T store would have the price adjusted at checkout, while online pre-order customers eligible for the discount will receive an e-mail and a credit. Customers who pre-ordered through an Apple will have their upgrade eligibility re-assessed, and if eligible for the lower pricing, will receive an credit from Apple.
Apple has announced that it will be opening its stores at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, an hour earlier than planned, for the launch of the iPhone 3GS. The company had originally planned to open its doors at 8:00 a.m., but may have changed its mind due to AT&T’s announcement that it would be opening its stores at 7:00 a.m. for pre-order customers, with normal sales beginning at 8:00.
Apple has officially released its iPhone Software Upgrade 3.0 for the iPhone and iPod touch. The second major update to the iPhone OS brings with it a host of new features, including Copy & Paste, widespread landscape keyboard support, in-app and Spotlight search, a new Voice Memos application for the iPhone and iPod touch 2G, MMS support for the iPhone 3G, multi-photo emailing and deletion, stereo Bluetooth support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G, and more. iPhone Software Update 3.0 is now available as a free download for the iPhone and iPhone 3G; the software is a $10 upgrade for the iPod touch, and iPod touch 2G. For more information on iPhone OS 3.0, read our review, or see our Complete Guide and Instant Expert articles.
A set of photos showing the unboxing of a new black 32GB iPhone 3GS has been posted to Flickr. The photos show the device’s home screen, the Voice Control feature, as well as shots of the Compass application in action, complete with a “Compass Interference” error message.
On examination of a handful of shots posted to Flickr by our friends at iFun.de comparing the iPhone 3G’s camera to that of the iPhone 3GS, new details about iPhone 3GS still photo capabilities have been revealed. Notably, photos taken with the iPhone 3GS are saved in 2048 x 1536 (3.1-Megapixel) resolution, with a file size of around 1MB. As expected, the EXIF data on photos taken with the 3GS also shows evidence of auto exposure, auto white balance, and auto focus adjustments, with focal length data; the data also shows a listing for ISO speed. Notably, the EXIF data does not identify the iPhone 3GS as a separate device from the original iPhone or iPhone 3G; all three devices are listed as “iPhone.”
T-Mobile Germany has announced its pricing (Translated Link) for the iPhone 3GS. The exclusive German iPhone carrier will offer the 16GB model for as little as €1 with the most expensive (€120/month, roughly $166) tariff on a two-year contract, with the handset running €130 (~$180) with the least expensive (€25, roughly $35) plan. The 32GB model will run from €1 to €250 (~$346), respectively. All the plans offer unlimited data, save for the cheapest, which offers only 200MB per month. The iPhone 3GS goes on sale in Germany on Friday.
Orange has revealed its pricing for the iPhone 3GS in France. The 16GB model will be available from €149 (roughly $206) and the 32GB for €229 (~$317) on a one-year contract. The company will be offering a new “Origami special iPhone edition” package from €52/month, which will include four hours of calling time, unlimited data, SMS, MMS, and Wi-Fi access, 60 channels of Orange TV, and Visual Voicemail; Orange will also offer tethering at rates of €9.90/month for 200GB, or unlimited for €29.90/month, with a reduced connection speed once usage reaches 1GB. Orange will be opening its stores Paris on the Champs-Élysées, in Lille in the Grand Place and in Lyon Cordelier at one minute after midnight on July 19 for iPhone 3GS sales.
A first-hand account from the final session of Apple’s 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) claims the company actively avoided facing the questions of many iPhone developers. Tumblr and Instapaper developer Marco Arment reports that the final session of WWDC ‘09, which he attended, was about publishing on the App Store, and although the content of the session is under NDA, Arment claims the session was more notable for what it didn’t contain. Arment writes, “So I’ll tell you what wasn’t in it: the audience Q&A session that succeeded nearly every other WWDC session and usually provided invaluable access to Apple employees and useful additional knowledge to attendees. The session itself blew through its lightweight examples quickly, ending 45 minutes early. The majority of the audience was clearly there for the Q&A. As people lined up at the microphones around the room, the presenter abruptly showed a simple slide with only ‘WWDC’ in plain lettering, thanked us for coming, and bolted off the stage. The Apple engineers, usually staying around the stage for one-on-one questions, were gone. The lights came up instantly, and it was the only session that didn’t end in music. The audience was stunned.”
“It was a giant middle finger to iPhone developers. And that’s the closing impression that Apple gave us for WWDC. Clearly, they had absolutely no interest in fielding even a single question from the topic that we have the most questions about,” he continues. “This went far beyond reluctant tolerance. It’s hard to interpret it as anything else except blatant hostility. We could probably have a more open discussion with Kim Jong-il about North Korea’s nuclear policy.” A separate report from earlier in the week suggests the company may have been trying to sidestep questions from developers regarding the company’s opaque and sometimes frustrating iPhone application approval process, as developers were unable to get answers about their rejections, even when speaking face-to-face with Apple employees during the event. [via DF]
AT&T plans to drop support for all Pay As You Go iPhone users, in an effort to move all pre-paid iPhone users onto contract plans ahead of the iPhone 3.0 release. Erica Sadun of TUAW writes that she called AT&T after receiving a screenshot of an official AT&T text message sent to a pre-paid iPhone user, which stated that the upgrade may affect data service. The message asked the user to call AT&T; he was told that if he downloads the software without being on “an approved iPhone data plan,” his data service would be interrupted. According to Sadun’s phone communications with AT&T, it appears that the company will be deliberately downgrading the data services offered to GoPhone users to get them to move to contract plans. As this online memo states, GoPhone plans are no longer available for either the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, and only original iPhone Pick Your Plan customers with the unlimited data plan for iPhone will be safe from service interruptions. Sadun was also told that original iPhone users on GoPhone plans would be unable to move to a postpaid plan without signing a two-year contract, despite their full ownership of their current equipment, adding, “all prepaid customers should transfer into a contract plan for the iPhone.”
Apple is now shipping pre-ordered iPhone 3GS units to customers for delivery on Friday. iLounge reader Kevin Hanson has posted screenshots of his Apple Store shipment notification for a 32GB white iPhone 3GS, and similar notifications are currently hitting other customers’ accounts. While Kevin did not comment on tracking details, a separate report from AppleInsider indicates that the units are shipping out of Shenzhen, China, home to many of the country’s large manufacturers, including Foxconn Electronics. Both Apple and AT&T have promised customers placing online pre-orders that their new handsets would arrive on Friday, the same day the iPhone 3GS goes on sale in Apple and AT&T retail locations.
AT&T has completely sold through its launch day supply of pre-order iPhone 3GS units, according to a new report. Citing an internal AT&T memo, Boy Genius Report claims that only pre-orders placed prior to Saturday, June 13 are expected to arrive at stores in time for a Friday morning pick-up, while customers placing pre-orders after that time should be told their order will arrive between 7-14 days from the order date. It is currently unclear whether this will have any affect on online pre-orders, or standby stock for customers who chose not to pre-order. AT&T will open its stores at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning to allow pre-order customers to come in and receive their iPhone 3GS before the stores open for general sales at 8:00.
AT&T will not charge iPhone users with text messaging plans anything extra for MMS messages, according to a FAQ list (PDF Link) posted online. Support for MMS messaging will be included in iPhone OS 3.0, which is launching this Wednesday, June 17. Unfortunately, AT&T will not have its network ready to provide MMS service to iPhone users on that date, and has only said that the feature would be activated “later this summer.” In addition, the company has also committed to providing tethering support for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, although it will only say the feature is coming “in the future.”
Following four days of complaints from current iPhone users who are being quoted prices of $399 and up to upgrade their current handsets to the iPhone 3GS, a crisis communications expert has suggested that AT&T has roughly 24-48 hours to respond to the criticism. “It’s time for AT&T to step forward and be an industry leader,” said Dallas Lawrence, vice president of digital media at New York-based Levick Strategic Communications, in an interview with Computerworld. “The next 48 hours will be very telling. AT&T needs to embrace the message, to acknowledge a mistake’s been made, and to make things good.” The online complaints have culminated in a Twitter petition—now with more than 8,000 supporters—calling for AT&T to offer iPhone 3GS upgrades to all iPhone customers for the same $199 and $299 pricing it offers to new customers. The number of names attached to the petition has nearly doubled in the last 24 hours.
“AT&T has the opportunity to turn a potential negative into a positive,” said Lawrence, adding “[t]hey should forget the immediate gratification [of higher revenue] and invest in the longer term to keep iPhone users.” Lawrence went on to say that this vocal group of users will only get more agitated the longer it takes the U.S. iPhone carrier to respond, and that if the company were his client, he would tell them to immediately apologize and guarantee the cheapest upgrade pricing for all iPhone users. “And they should say they will do that for every iPhone that Apple launches, because they want the iPhone users to be part of the AT&T family for life,” Lawrence added. “That would be the type of statement that would be leading—outside the industry norm—and would let iPhone users know they can make a commitment to AT&T because AT&T has made a commitment to them.”
A newly-disclosed Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a system to enhance emergency calls on the iPhone. Titled “Method and system for prolonging emergency calls,” the patent describes a system for determining when a call is an emergency call, either by automatically classifying numbers as emergency services—such as 911—or via an emergency tagging system in the contacts application. When an emergency call is detected, the phone could then implement a number of different tactics to help facilitate the call, including but not limited to deactivating Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or various sensors, implementing a confirmation alert before the call can be ended, and providing options for “emergency phrase buttons,” which would allow the user to simply touch the screen to send his/her current location, an “unable to speak” message, phrases describing the user’s problem, or an automated request to contact a certain contact, all via pre-recorded audio messages. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. Continue reading for more images from the patent application. [via MacRumors]
Both Apple and AT&T have outlined their plans for June 19, when the iPhone 3GS goes on sale. Apple will open its retail stores worldwide at 8 a.m. local time to begin sales of the phone and to allow those who pre-ordered to come in and pick their units up, while AT&T plans to have two queues outside its stores—one for those who pre-ordered, and one for those planning to purchase their unit that day. The pre-order customers will be allowed inside the stores at 7 a.m. to pick up their device, while the regular customers will need to wait until 8 a.m. Although both Best Buy and Walmart offer the iPhone 3G in their stores, it is currently unclear whether they will also carry the iPhone 3GS, or whether they will have units available on launch day. iLounge has contacted both companies for clarification and will update this story when we hear back.
In addition, AT&T has posted a video explaining its launch day plans; continue reading to watch.