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Japanese ready for iPhone’s arrival

Despite the country’s advanced cellular industry, many Japanese are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the iPhone, reports USA Today. According to a July survey conducted by research firm Yahoo Value, 13 percent of the 400 surveyed want an iPhone, and 15 percent of those would switch service providers to get one. “This is the first phone that thrilled me,” freelance journalist Tsutsumu Ishikawa says. Ishikawa flew to Hawaii on June 29 to pick up an iPhone, despite the fact that the device’s phone features don’t work in Japan. “People regard it as cool and advanced. And the interface is easy to use.” Several obstacles stand in the way of the iPhone and success in Japan, according to the article. Obstacles include Japan’s 3G networks, the iPhone’s pricing, privacy issues, and the process of negotiating a deal with a service provider, a process which, the article suggests, may be expedited by a “personal friendship” between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who happened to be on hand at the device’s unveiling at the Macworld Expo in January. SoftBank is one of Japan’s three top service providers, along with KDDI and DoCoMo. “We are interested” in the iPhone, says DoCoMo spokesman Roland Arafat. “But nothing has been decided.” The iPhone is scheduled to be released in Asia in 2008.

Details of iPhone hardware unlock revealed

Instructions for completing a full hardware unlock of the iPhone have been revealed by George Hotz, leader of the iPhone JTAG group, on iphonejtag.blogspot.com. The process consists of only ten steps, but requires opening the iPhone, soldering two wires on the iPhone itself, and quite a bit of complicated software and firmware manipulation. Citing upcoming college studies as the reason for the early reveal — the instructions weren’t scheduled to be released until early next week — Hotz again expressed his hopes that his work, and that of the iPhone hacker community, will quickly lead to a less-complicated software-based unlock, making the process more accessible to average users.

AT&T removing itemized detail from iPhone bills

Several readers and iLounge editors have reported that AT&T is sending messages to iPhone customers via SMS alerting them that the company is removing itemized detail from its paper bills. The length of iPhone owners’ paper bills has been a point of criticism for the company in recent weeks. The message reads: “We are simplifying your paper bill, removing itemized detail. To view all detail go to att.com/mywireless. Still need full paper bill? Call 611.”

Apple releases iPhone Software version 1.0.2

Apple has released iPhone Software Version 1.0.2, the second update to the handheld’s software. According to Apple, version 1.0.2 “includes bug fixes and supersedes all previous versions.” It is worth noting that while version 1.0.1 was listed as containing “bug fixes,” it also added several new features and tweaked several others. iPhone Software Version 1.0.2 is available through the Check for Updates feature in iTunes.

Full iPhone unlock completed via hardware?

George Hotz, in a post on iphonejtag.blogspot.com, claims to have successfully completed a full unlock of the iPhone using a hardware hack. The current method, which Hotz says “involves taking apart your phone and doing some complicated soldering, with a high probability of a bricked phone,” allows all hardware to be removed following the unlock, and allows the iPhone to work with an active SIM card from any GSM carrier. According to the post, information and instructions on how to perform the unlock will be released one week from today. At that point, Hotz claims, it may be possible to unlock the phone without risky hardware modifications. Video of the unlocked iPhone in action is now available on YouTube.

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]

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

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

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

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

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.

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