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2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones now available

Apple is now offering refurbished iPhones on the online Apple Store. Found under the “Special Deals” section, the 4GB and 8GB models are available for $399 and $499 respectively, representing a savings of $100, or up to 21 percent, off the original price. All Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones include a full one-year warranty, and are also eligible for the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone.

Analyst sees “sustained iPhone momentum”

Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Capital, has said that checks with Apple and AT&T retail stores show “sustained iPhone momentum.” Abramsky predicts that 1.5 million iPhones will be sold by the end of the quarter, well above Apple’s target of 1 million. He also sees total iPhone shipments of 14.3 million by the end of calendar year 2008, and expects Euopean iPhone carrier partners to be announced next month. Of note, Abramsky also says that checks with large retailers show that cannibalization of iPod sales by the iPhone appears minimal.

Read on an iPhone: The Free iPod Book 3.3, optimized

You already know all about The Free iPod Book 3.3—our massive tutorial guide for iPods, iTunes, iPhones, and Apple TVs, released yesterday. This morning, we’ve debuted a special version of the Book that’s optimized for reading on the iPhone itself, so you can access everything, including its newly added Free iPhone Book accessory guide, from your pocket.

Our iPhone version of The Free iPod Book 3.3 attempts to make maximum use of the device’s basic PDF reader, rendering individual pages for the full iPhone screen rather than attempting to squeeze two page spreads together side-by-side. Consequently, header text is generally readable without zooming in; you can use pinch and expand gestures to focus on text and graphics that interest you. Additional technical details can be found by clicking on this article’s headline above.

You can get the iPhone version of The Free iPod Book 3.3 here.

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(9.3 MB PDF)

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(6.6 MB PDF)

The full-sized version of the Book 3.3, available in widescreen (2-page-wide) or printable (1-page-wide) editions, is available here.

Survey: Early iPhone adopters very satisfied

According to the most recent ChangeWave Alliance survey, 77 percent of iPhone owners report being “very satisfied” with the device, while another 15 percent are “somewhat satisfied.” The survey, conducted July 18-25, included 74 iPhone owners, as well as 3,000 non-owners, who spoke of future purchasing plans. The closest manufacturer in terms of customer satisfaction was Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, with 50 percent. Nearly two-thirds of iPhone owners said the integration of phone, iPod, and internet browser was the feature they liked best about the device; 35 percent claimed the speed of AT&T’s EDGE network was their biggest dislike. In addition, the percentage of non-owners stating they were likely to purchase the iPhone for themselves or someone else increased to 22 percent, up from 13 percent in the April ‘07 survey.

Eighth iPhone television ad appears online [updated]

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Apple has begun airing a new iPhone television commercial, which has appeared on YouTube. The spot, speculatively titled “How?”, is the eighth iPhone commercial. The spot says, “All these years, you’ve gone through the day without email like this in your pocket… or stock updates like this in your pocket… or internet like this in your pocket… and you survived. The question is… How?” Apple has yet to update its official site with the advertisement.

Update: Apple has now posted the commercial, titled “All These Years,” along with a ninth iPhone advertisement, titled “All The Parts.” Both commercials are now available for viewing on Apple’s website.

App enables iPhone video conferencing

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At this weekend’s C-4 developer conference, two coders from the Ecamm Network managed to produce a functioning video conferencing application for the iPhone. The application requires a modified mirror to overcome the fact that the iPhone’s camera faces the wrong direction for conferencing. Currently, the application does not handle audio, although the developers point out that the application can run while using the phone on speaker, allowing for audio alongside the video. Neither the completed application nor the source code for the project is currently available; the developers say to “check back.”

Some iPhones developing touch-screen issues

Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, several online reports, as well as a discussion thread on Apple’s support site, indicate that some iPhone owners are experiencing what are being referred to as “dead spots” on the device’s touch-screen. An analyst report has claimed that the rights for the iPhone’s touch-screen technology were purchased from a bankrupt Finnish company that was trying to make a similar device. That company is said to have encountered the problem that with extensive use, the screen’s heat-receptive film would begin to degrade and the screen would lose its sensitivity. Apple, while not yet publicly acknowledging the issue, has reportedly been very quick to replace or repair the problem units. If you have any abnormalities with your iPhone’s touch-screen, please let us know in the comments.

Apple debuts two new iPhone ads

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Apple has begun airing two new iPhone television commercials. The first, “Instead,” tells listeners that “instead of carrying an iPod and a phone… why not carry an iPod, with all your favorite music, and movies, in your phone.” The second spot, “Amazing,” says “It’s amazing what fits in a pocket these days… your favorite music, all your email, today’s newspaper (as it shows the New York Times web page), endless entertainment, and of course, a phone.” Both ads are available for viewing on Apple.com.

Apple bonds .Mac, iPhone with Web Gallery (updated x2)

Updated (x3): During a special event primarily focused on the release of an updated, aluminum-bodied iMac computer, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today announced .Mac Web Gallery, a new feature of its subscription-based .Mac Internet service designed to ease photo and video sharing for users of iPhones and Apple’s iLife ‘08 suite of digital lifestyle software. Operating somewhat like photo-sharing site Flickr, .Mac Web Gallery is an extension of iPhoto ‘08 and iMovie ‘08 that publishes your photos and videos to the Internet with one click, enabling you and other users to view the content online in a special Web 2.0 interface, and add to the photo collection with a special e-mail address.

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A new iPhone feature, “Send to Web Gallery,” enables iPhone users to wirelessly add photos to the Gallery from the road using the device’s Photos application; the feature mysteriously appeared as a new iPhone menu option, as shown above, hours after Jobs announcement. Galleries - including any video content that has been encoded using iMovie for viewing on an iPhone - can also be viewed using the iPhone’s Safari browser. In addition to requiring the $79 iLife ‘08 suite, a $100 annual subscription to .Mac will be needed to publish the Web Gallery.

Update 3: A hands-on report on .Mac Web Gallery’s integration with iPhone and iPhoto is available here.

Third-party native iPhone development continues

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Following last week’s appearance of the first third-party native iPhone application, developers have continued to pursue the building of new, unsanctioned programs for the device. Erica Sadun of TUAW has built both a voice recording app, VRecord, and a screenshot utility for the iPhone, and a native NES emulator, iphonenes, has appeared on Google Code. A video of the emulator in action can be found on YouTube. Unfortunately for most iPhone owners, installation of these and other upcoming applications still requires a “Jailbreak” of the device. iPhone modification programs such as iFuntastic — which recently added file browsing in version 2.5 — are making the process easier for the average user, but modification remains an “at your own risk” endeavor, and it is reasonable to assume that any future iPhone software update may override any changes you make to your phone.

Apple sued over iPhone keyboard

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based SP Technologies has filed suit against Apple, alleging that the iPhone’s touchscreen-based keyboard violates an SP patent. The suit claims “Apple has infringed, and is now infringing” the patent “through the use, sale, [and] offer for sale of its iPhone product and system.” The patent, U.S. patent number 6,784,873 B1, describes a “method and medium for a computer readable keyboard display incapable of user termination.” Physician Peter V. Boesen is listed as the inventor. Boesen was sentenced to prison in May after being convicted of defrauding Iowa’s Medicare and Medicaid programs by filing false claims, but is currently free pending an appeal.

Apple adds iPhone iPod Hi-Fi Tone Control support

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Along with documented security and Safari bug patches, and several undocumented but user-discovered changes to other applications, Apple has updated the iPhone’s software in version 1.0.1 to enhance iPod accessory compatibility. When docked in an iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, an iPod Hi-Fi menu now appears under Settings, enabling the iPhone to access the same Treble Boost and Bass Boost “Tone Control” settings found on iPods and iPod nanos. This feature, originally designed to simplify iPod Hi-Fi sound tweaks through an additional main menu option, has remained unavailable to third-party developers since Hi-Fi’s release.

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg claims in his blog that, following the 1.0.1 update, the “iPhone can now play music through many previously incompatible car adapters and other external speakers originally designed for the iPod.” Though iLounge’s editors have had no success getting iPhone to work properly with their favorite car adapters, we would be interested in hearing new reader experiences based on version 1.0.1. Please let us know what you’ve discovered, pro or con.

First third-party native iPhone app appears

The first third-party native iPhone application has appeared on Google Code. The application, MobileTerminal.app, is a terminal emulator for iPhone. Being a native application, MobileTerminal appears on the iPhone’s home screen, along with the device’s default apps. A video of the application in action has been posted to YouTube. While the application itself is rather minimal, its importance as the first third-party native iPhone graphical application is substantial, as it represents what may be a turning point in the ongoing efforts of hackers and enthusiasts to open the device up for uses beyond the phone’s Apple-sanctioned applications.

iPhone update adds features, fixes battery error

According to discussions on Apple’s support site and several reader reports, it appears iPhone Software 1.0.1 includes a few new features, along with the known bug fixes and security patches. There is now a BCC: option in the phone’s Mail Settings to send yourself a copy — this was previously only a CC: option. Passcode Lock timing options have been expanded up to “After 1 Hour,” and it has also been reported that the 1.0.1 update fixes a previously reported battery issue in which the iPhone’s display would not indicate a full charge.

iPhone buyers report AT&T store woes

Following a MacDailyNews report that AT&T Stores have been hiding and refusing to demonstrate Apple iPhones to potential customers, readers have reported mixed but negative-skewing experiences about their attempts to purchase or even just see iPhones at AT&T stores. Some positive reports have been posted, but MacDailyNews and many of its readers have suggested that AT&T stores and their employees are being less than cooperative with customers interested in testing or purchasing the iPhone.

Some reports claim that the iPhone display units that appeared around the device’s launch have been removed, without explanation. Other reports claim that AT&T employees informed customers that they had to purchase an iPhone to be able to see one. Still others suggest that the commission-based employees are not receiving enough financial incentive to push the device over other models, and that they have instead opted to attack the product.

A report from “DM” states, “I went to my local corporate ATT store in Northern NJ, they did not have any iPhones in stock (probably true). But what a little disconcerting is that they were trashing the iPhone and Apple as putting out a bad product and suggested that I buy the new Blackberry Curve. I just smiled, walked out and across the mall and bought one at the Apple Store.”

A separate report from “Jim Steward” states, “My local AT&T store had them on display at first, then took them out. The display is still there, but no iPhones are attached. I didn’t have any trouble purchasing the iPhone, but they would not even bring it out of the back room until I had paid for it. If I hadn’t been set on buying the iPhone when I walked in or had not already looked at and held one, I would’ve gone to another AT&T store to see if I was treated any better.”

We encourage our readers to share your AT&T store experiences, positive, neutral, or negative, in the comments.

iPhone Software 1.0.1 fixes Safari bugs, security

Apple tonight released iPhone Software Version 1.0.1, which according to the company is dedicated solely to “bug fixes,” specifically security patches related to iPhone’s Safari browser.

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The free download, available through the Check for Updates feature in iTunes 7.3, patches five security issues related to maliciously created web sites, including cross-site scripting, code execution, cross-site requests, masquerading web site URLs, and unexpected application termination. No additional features appear to have been added to the iPhone beyond Safari security fixes. Running the application results in verification of the iPhone’s existing software, then an update of the software to version 1.0.1 (1C25).

AT&T iPhone service bills running long

New York Times columnist David Pogue and John Gruber of Daring Fireball are reporting that iPhone customers’ AT&T bills contain overly lengthy explanations of data usage. Writes Pogue, “I get six pages of listings of data tidbits that the iPhone has downloaded in the form of email and Web pages–kilobyte by kilobyte! Every graphic on every Web page, every message sent or received–it’s all carefully listed by date and time.” Gruber confirms the excess, stating that his own data listing “weighs in at 45 pages.” It is important to note that while lengthy, the listings provide no specifics of browser activity. For environmentally conscious iPhone owners who would like to enroll in paperless billing and avoid receiving pages of data transfer listings, you can sign up for the free service at att.com/mywireless.

iPhone owners experience AC adapter woes

A notable amount of iPhone owners have reported problems with the device’s included AC adapter. Jason O’Grady for ZDNet has posted a similar report, with not only his colleague’s but also his and his wife’s adapters failing. According to reports, the adapters suddenly fail to charge the iPhone, yet the same USB cable that fails when used with the iPhone AC adapter continues to charge the iPhone when connected to a computer or an iPod AC adapter. Several owners have reported success in returning the misbehaving adapters to Apple for replacement units.

iPhone update coming next week?

Security researchers are set to reveal details of a previously-reported security flaw in the iPhone next week at the Black Hat 2007 conference, leading to speculation that Apple may update the device to patch the vulnerability in advance of the event. Apple hasn’t said whether a patch will be delivered prior to when the researchers are expected to disclose their findings. Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, said, “Right now other smart phones are full of vulnerabilities and they are not getting patched. This is actually a good test to see if Apple can do this better than the mobile carriers.” If and when a patch is released, it will be the first software update for the iPhone, which went on sale nearly a month ago.

iPhone now on display at UK’s Computer Warehouse

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Offering residents of the United Kingdom an opportunity to try out the iPhone for themselves, UK-based Apple reseller Computer Warehouse has sent out an e-mail and updated its website to note that the company has an 8GB iPhone on display at its Brentford showroom. Although it remains unknown what carriers will offer the iPhone in the UK, it is possible that Apple could sell the iPhone through Apple Authorized Resellers such as Computer Warehouse, or again rely exclusively upon its own retail locations and those of its European partners. Since Apple’s retail presence in Europe is limited by comparison with the United States, a wider early rollout to resellers is a legitimate possibility.

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