Apple has posted details of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ promised $100 Apple Store credit for early iPhone owners. The program is for customers who own a qualifying iPhone purchased prior to August 22, 2007, and who haven’t yet received any compensation from Apple or AT&T. To receive a credit, which can’t be used on iTunes — only at Apple retail or online stores, or Apple Telesales — users need to Identify their iPhone by entering their phone number and iPhone serial number. Apple then sends an SMS text message to the iPhone containing an access code to redeem the $100 credit. Again, users need to enter their phone number and this access code to generate the $100 electronic store credit. Users must activate their iPhone before submitting their claim; customers must submit their claims by November 30, 2007.
Apple is now providing a free 30-day version of its One to One personal training service with every retail store iPhone purchase, reports ifoAppleStore. The service, which normally costs $99 for a one-year subscription, includes up to one 50-minute training session per week; the terms of the offer indicate that the 30-day version is limited to a maximum of five sessions. Also, the offer’s companion web page promotes Apple’s iPhone workshops, personal training, and Genius Bar.
Yesterday Apple Vice President for iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak said that Apple is taking a “neutral stance” on third-party native application development for the iPhone. Apple has now backtracked somewhat on that statement, saying “software updates will most likely break” native applications in the future. Third-party native application development for the iPhone has been a hot topic since the device’s introduction in January; Apple announced that the iPhone would use third-party web-based applications at its WWDC conference in June. Developer reaction to that announcement was decidedly mixed, and in the months following the iPhone’s release, a dedicated group of developers have produced a myriad of native applications, from IM clients to game emulators, for the device.
According to a report from PC Magazine’s Gearlog blog, Apple has decided not to interfere with third-party iPhone application development—for now. Discussing the state of iPhone application development with Apple Vice President for iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak, the report claims that Apple is taking a “neutral stance” on applications for the device, whereby the company will not stop people from writing software or release software updates designed to break the software, but it also won’t design software updates to avoid accidentally breaking such applications, either. Joswiak also suggested that the company may re-evaluate this position in the future.
The report also states that the upcoming iPod touch does not include Bluetooth hardware, contrary to certain initial images that circulated around the Internet shortly after the device’s launch, and confirmed that games are not coming for the iPod touch “right now.”
iPhoneSIMFree‘s retail partners have begun sales of iPhone unlocking software. Companies in four countries — iPhoneWorldwideUnlock in Australia, 1digitalphone In Germany, iPhone4arab.com in Saudi Arabia and Wireless Imports in the US — have licensed the software from iPhoneSIMFree and are offering the software online. The iPhoneSIMFree software includes an application that is installed on the iPhone, and once run it contacts the company’s servers via Wi-Fi to complete the unlock. While the software is currently effective, neither iPhoneSIMFree nor its retail partners provide any guarantee of compatibility with future iPhone firmware. Wireless Imports, currently the only US-based retailer of the unlocking solution, and is accepting pre-orders for $99. [via Infinite Loop]
Apple today announced that it sold its one millionth iPhone yesterday, 74 days after the product’s introduction on June 29. “One million iPhones in 74 days-it took almost two years to achieve this milestone with iPod,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait to get this revolutionary product into the hands of even more customers this holiday season.” Apple last week announced a $200 price drop on the iPhone, bringing its price down to $399.
Responding to widespread anger from early purchasers of the iPhone over $200 price cuts announced yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today published an open letter offering a $100 Apple Store credit to any customer who purchased an iPhone at its original $499 or $599 price points, and is not already receiving a rebate or other compensation from the company. Jobs simultaneously explained the company’s reasons for the price cut, apologized, and acknowledged its need to “do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers.”
“There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever,” explained Jobs. “This is life in the technology lane.”
“[E]ven though we are making the right decision to lower the price of iPhone,” Jobs continued, “and even though the technology road is bumpy, we need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price. Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.”
According to Jobs, details of the $100 credit “are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple’s website next week.” The credit will be available through Apple retail or online locations.
According to research group iSuppli, the iPhone outsold all smartphones in the U.S. in July, accounting for 1.8 percent of all U.S. handset sales. In its first full month on sale, the two models of the iPhone sold more than RIM’s BlackBerry series, the entire Palm line, and any individual smartphone from Motorola, Nokia, or Samsung. In addition, sales of the iPhone equalled those of the LG Chocolate, the most popular feature phone in the U.S., iSuppli said. The firm reiterated its forecast that Apple would sell 4.5 million iPhones this year. “While iSuppli has not collected historical information on this topic, it’s likely that the speed of the iPhone’s rise to competitive dominance in its segment is unprecedented in the history of the mobile-handset market,” iSuppli said. According to the research group, most iPhone buyers in July were college-educated males under the age of 35, and a quarter of iPhone buyers switched operators to purchase the phone.
After several days of quiet, both iPhoneSIMFree.com and iPhoneUnlocking.com have posted new information for potential customers awaiting the release of their iPhone unlocking solutions. iPhoneSIMFree.com, whose unlocking procedure has been verified by Engadget, has posted a FAQ concerning its software, which it hopes “to release in the next 48-72 hours”. Addition details reveal that the software will require a “jail break” of the iPhone, and that the device must be activated for the software to work. iPhoneUnlocking.com, meanwhile, has uploaded a video demonstration of its unlocking solution to YouTube. The video shows the iPhone being unlocked using a Windows machine, connecting to a Mac, and making trial calls. iPhoneUnlocking.com’s parent company, UniquePhones, was contacted by AT&T lawyers over the weekend concerning the release of its unlocking software.
Following the successful launch of an iPhone-based version of the company’s hit “Bejeweled,” game developer PopCap is admittedly interested in the iPhone as a gaming device. Up to 100,000 people have played the iPhone-based version of “Bejeweled,” which was launched on July 30 as a “proof-of-concept” and can be played for free by visiting the company’s website from the iPhone. “We don’t typically make announcements about what’s in the pipeline, but based on the success of ‘Bejeweled’, we’re looking pretty closely at the iPhone,” said Andrew Stein, director of Mobile Platforms for PopCap. Electronic Arts is also interested in the device, according to company executive Travis Boatman. “We’re huge believers in the iPhone and believe that’s going to be a viable market going forward,” Boatman said. “It has an amazing interface for games and there are lots of beautiful things you can do with that touch interface.” Apple has yet to announce any plans concerning gaming on the iPhone.
The iPhone represents both a challenge and a potentially useful tool to digital forensics experts, reports Wired. Digital forensics attempts to use data gathered from devices such as computers and cell phones to solve crimes or provide additional evidence relevant to prosecutions. Some industry insiders, such as Derrick Donnelly of Blagbag Technologies, a company specializing in Apple forensic solutions, find the iPhone tempting for the amount of potential data it could contain. “There is more information in there than your average cell phone,” said Donnelly. “The ease of use lends itself to more use … and more use creates more artifacts.” Artifacts are pieces of data that can be used by forensic detectives to establish links between the user’s actions and a crime.
Others in the industry fear that the closed nature of the iPhone’s Mac OS X operating system could cause problems in court due to the fact that it would be difficult to prove the data extracted from the device hadn’t been tampered with. “The iPhone is evil,” says Amber Schroader, CEO of Utah-based Paraben, a digital-forensics software developer. “It’s Mac OS X, and it’s a completely closed system.” Donnelly explains, “Because it’s a different file system and a different operating system, right off the bat the things you’re usually looking for are not in the same places and they are in a very, very different format.” Even Mac specialists like Donnelly are struggling with how to access the iPhone’s closed system without altering the data by turning on the device. The article mentions that forensic experts may be forced into using older techniques, like photographing data as it is displayed on the screen itself, to get at the information. The iPhone is currently incompatible with existing forensic software and data-extraction tools.
According to a statement appearing on iPhoneunlocking.com, the group, which planned commercial release of its iPhone unlocking software, has put the sale of the software on hold following contact from a law firm representing AT&T. A subsidiary of UniquePhones, iPhoneunlocking claims they “received a telephone call from a Menlo Park, California, law firm at approximately 2:54 a.m.” on Saturday morning, and that the firm “presented issues such as copyright infringement and illegal software dissemination.” Unlike the processes of iPhoneSIMfree.com and the iPhone JTAG team, the software unlock claims of iPhoneunlocking.com have yet to be verified.
Closely following the release of the iPhone JTAG team’s hardware unlock, the iPhoneSIMfree.com team have officially found a way to completely unlock the iPhone via software. The unlock has been confirmed by Engadget’s Ryan Block, who also shares some details regarding the process, which apparently takes “only a couple of minutes.” The unlock, which will be commercially available starting next week, has been verified to allow non-AT&T access to all iPhone functions, except for Visual Voicemail. The unlock has also been shown, thus far, to be restore- and upgrade- resistant. In addition, the unlock allows access to several hidden menus, which were reportedly added in the 1.0.1 update.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.