Following a relatively smooth morning roll out of the iPhone 3GS, reports are beginning to surface suggesting that early morning West Coast sales and pre-order deliveries are beginning to put strain on Apple’s servers as larger numbers of users try simultaneously to activate their new handsets. According to AppleInsider, Apple is now providing a warning message through iTunes to affected users, stating that their activation needs extra time to complete, and may take up to 48 hours to go through. The message states that an email will be sent to the customer’s email address when activation is completed, apologizes for the inconvenience, and suggests the user try out some of the phone’s features that don’t require a cellular connection. The situation recalls memories of last year’s iPhone 3G launch debacle, when thousands of users were left waiting for hours in- and outside AT&T and Apple stores while employees tried in vain to activate their new phones.
Apple has published a new support document outlining how the new Push Notification system in iPhone OS 3.0 operates. The article states that users must open any app at least once before it can receive notifications, and when restoring from a backup, the app(s) will need to be reopened to get notifications. Notably, the article also states that when an iPod touch unit is on and has a Wi-Fi connection, notifications can be received at any time, but if the screen of the iPod touch is asleep, the device will check for notifications once every 15 minutes. It is unclear whether the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS exhibit similar behavior due to their persistent cellular connections.
AT&T has revealed that it has already sold “hundreds of thousands” of iPhone 3GS units through its online pre-order system. AT&T corporate communications representative Michael Coe told AppleInsider, “[AT&T] sold hundreds of thousands through our preorder process prior to the launch, which exceeded our own expectations for iPhone 3GS.” Coe declined to comment on the exact number of orders, or if the figure exceeded 300,000 units, but analysts had previously pegged launch weekend estimates at roughly half a million units; the figure from AT&T does not include pre-orders made through Apple’s online system.
iLounge editor Jesse David Hollington is on location at the Apple Store in the Eaton Centre in Toronto for the launch of the iPhone 3GS, and reports that technical difficulties on Rogers’ end have slowed down the proceedings considerably. Hollington writes, “the Apple Store here at the Eaton Centre opened at 8:00 a.m. with about a dozen people in line with appointments, and about a dozen in another line who didn’t make or couldn’t get appointments. My appointment was for 9:00. The Apple Store began processing only NEW activations around 8:15 due to problems on Rogers’ end. Apparently, the just-announced promotional pricing is so new that it isn’t in Rogers’ systems, so the Rogers computer will show all existing iPhone owners as ineligible for an upgrade (as would be the normal policy).”
He continues, “as a result, they have to physically telephone a Rogers Customer Care rep for each upgrade to confirm eligibility and billing (purchase price goes on the Rogers bill). Telephone hold times are running from 30-40 minutes just to talk to somebody. I’ve been told I’m next on deck at this point, one hour late for my original appointment (there are four people being processed for upgrades right now).”
Apple has released iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 for Mac OS X and Windows. The utility allows enterprise users to create, maintain, and encrypt configuration profiles which can then be used to setup multiple iPhones. Configuration profiles contain “device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates” that allow the devices to work with enterprise systems. iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 for Mac and Windows is available now as a free download from Apple’s website; more on the iPhone’s enterprise features can be found in Apple’s Enterprise Deployment Guide. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has begun direct sales of unlocked phones in Italy, the first time the handset has been offered outside of carrier stores in the country. SetteB.IT reports (Translated Link) that the change was just recently confirmed by employees at the Roma Apple Store, who had previously denied any plans to offer the handsets directly. Macity goes on to explain (Translated Link) that while the phones were offered unlocked through TIM and Vodafone previously, neither would sell the phone without forcing the customer to sign a contract. iPhones purchased through Apple, by comparison, are free to be used on any service. Pricing for the iPhone 3GS is €599 for 16GB models and €699 for 32GB units through Apple, and €619 and €719, respectively, through TIM and Vodafone; the iPhone 3GS goes on sale in Italy today.
U.K. iPhone carrier O2 has said that it will disconnect any customers found to be using the tethering feature of iPhone OS 3.0 that aren’t signed up for one of the company’s tethering Bolt-On plans. A number of iPhone users who have installed the 3.0 update have reported that it is possible to use the new tethering solution without singing up for the plan. O2 is planning to roll out its tethering Bolt-On plans for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS today with the launch of the 3GS, more information on rates and plans can be found in this article.
Rapid Repair has posted a teardown of the new iPhone 3GS, revealing chips that the service suggests support 720p video. According to the report, the iPhone 3GS contains a Samsung S5PC100 CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, capable of running at speeds up to 833 MHz—although it’s currently set to run at 600, underclocked in the same fashion that iPhone and iPhone 3G chips were—and powering 720p video playback. Rapid Repair suggests the 3GS may become a “gateway HD media product in the near future.” As expected, the teardown reveals that the iPhone 3GS carries 256MB of RAM; the report also states that the 3GS battery—a Li-ion Polymer, 3.7V model—looks “very similar” to the original iPhone 3G battery.
Update: iFixit has also posted a teardown of the new handset, and claims that the battery found in the iPhone 3GS represents a 6% increase in capacity over the iPhone 3G battery.
iLounge has obtained a new iPhone 3GS, and has posted its new gallery of iPhone 3GS unboxing and comparison photos. Check back throughout the day for additional details on the third-generation iPhone.
Update: Our gallery has been updated, and now features screenshots of all the new iPhone 3GS features, as well as photos of both the new black and white models.
Rogers Wireless has announced a set of iPhone 3GS discounts that it will offer to certain prior iPhone customers. For customers who bought an iPhone 3G between July 11 and Sept. 30, 2008, and with an average monthly spend of at least $100, Rogers is cutting $500 off the cost of an iPhone 3GS, bringing the prices down to $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. For customers that bought an iPhone between July 11 and Dec. 31 2008 but aren’t eligible for the above offer, the company is offering a $250 discount, resulting in prices of $449 for the 16GB model and $549 for 32GB units. Both offers expire on July 31 and come with the addition of a one-year term to the customer’s existing agreement. Customers may also purchase the iPhone 3GS at cost through the company’s website or retail channels; this pushes the prices up to $699 for the 16GB and $799 for 32GB models.
Interestingly, Fido customers will not be offered the same deal; they may redeem FidoDollars towards a new iPhone 3GS, with an additional $100 top-up from Fido. It appears that Rogers/Fido will allow customers to switch over to Rogers and purchase the phone at the new contract price. Finally, both carriers will be offering the 6GB/$30 data promotion until July 31; this plan is valid on a new or existing iPhone plan. The iPhone 3GS will launch in Canada today, and will be available at Apple retail stores as well as Rogers/Fido locations.
Apple has posted an updated version of its iPhone User Guide (PDF Link) online. The new guide, which is labeled as “For iPhone OS 3.0 Software,” features several sections on iPhone 3GS-exclusive features, including entire chapters dedicated to the compass and Nike+ integration. Also mentioned in the guide are iPhone 3GS controls for the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic, Voice Control, complete with instructions on how to use the feature, MMS messaging, and a section on how to shoot and edit videos with the Camera application.
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.