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Analyst: iPhone testers showing ‘concern’ over keyboard

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu has released a new report covering several key issues surrounding the iPhone launch. First, Wu states that he is picking up on “some concern from beta testers and supply chain sources” regarding the device’s virtual keyboard. He notes that while the keyboard will likely require a learning curve, he is not overly concerned. He also mentions the lack of a removable battery, and suggests Apple move to a replaceable battery design. Regarding e-mail, he states that “sources indicate that iPhone works with corporate e-mail systems based on Microsoft Exchange, but will not be as robust as the push technology offered by Blackberry.” Finally, he claims that the iPhone’s high price is likely not an issue for early adopters, and has picked up on “lower cost iPhone prototypes for release at unspecified future dates,” therefore he does not believe high pricing will be a long-term issue.

Apple upgrades iPhone battery, adds anti-scratch glass

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Apple has announced that the iPhone will offer up to eight hours of talk time, six hours of internet use, seven hours of video playback, 24 hours of audio playback and 250 hours of standby time using its internal battery. These numbers represent a significant improvement over original estimates. Apple also announced that the entire top surface of the iPhone, including the 3.5-inch screen, has been upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass for better scratch resistance and visual clarity.

“With 8 hours of talk time, and 24 hours of audio playback, iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”

Nokia board member: Euro, Asian phones make iPhone ‘look pedestrian’

Speaking on the issue of sideloading, or the process of filling devices such as the iPhone using a computer instead of directly over the internet, Nokia board member Daniel Hesse claimed that the iPhone “will be big in the U.S., but not anywhere else.” “In Europe and Asia there are all those phenomenal phones out there that make the iPhone look pedestrian,” he continued. He did however support the iPhone’s use of sideloading, stating that it “will be absolutely crucial” for transferring multimedia files to mobile devices. “I think no matter how fast the wireless networks get here, the computer is always faster,” he stated. Hesse is also the CEO of Embarq, a company that provides local phone and broadband services in several markets, including Las Vegas and central Florida.

Unofficial iPhone New York ad appears

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An unofficial iPhone commercial based in New York City has debuted on the website iphonenewyorkcity.com. The spot, available in sixty and thirty second versions, shows people of varying ethnicities and dialects talking about iPhone features in their native tounges, with translation provided by subtitles. A casting call for the spot was posted on Craigslist back in April, and called for “people of diverse ethnic backgrounds discussing different functions and attributes of the unreleased phone in their native tongue while participating in everyday activities.” The ad, dubbed “iPhone New York,” was directed by Alec Sutherland and features the song “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John.

iPhone pre-launch demand strong

A survey of 100 AT&T Wireless stores — 57 corporate owned, 43 franchisee owned — has shown strong pre-launch demand for the iPhone. The survey, conducted by The Channel Checkers, also showed that 37 percent of the stores reported “pre-order lists,” while 55 percent reported waiting lists. “We continue to believe that employees are creating pre-order and waiting lists to lock-in iPhone customers and as a result, to lock-in sales commissions for themselves,” claims the report. An earlier internal AT&T document stated there would be no pre-sales of the iPhone.

iPhone to launch 6:00 p.m., ‘local time’

The iPhone will launch June 29, at 6:00 p.m. local time, according to a Mac Rumors report. The report claims that a memo sent by AT&T has confirmed the rolling launch, stating, “The iPhone will go on sale on at AT&T retail stores June 29 at 6 p.m. local time in each market.” During his keynote address at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentioned that the phone would launch at 6:00 p.m., but did not give further clarification. If true, this means that customers in the Eastern Time Zone will be able to purchase the new handset a full three hours before their counterparts on the West Coast.

Supply expert on iPhone: ‘Undoubtedly there will be shortages’

Speaking about the iPhone and its supply chain challenges, Simon Croom, Ph.D., executive director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego, has said to prepare for shortages. In an email to ZDNet.com writer Russell Shaw, Croom wrote, “Launching any product, especially one so hyped, means that the main task is ensuring sufficient supplies are available across the US market on launch. Undoubtedly there will be shortages, service issues and challenges for call centers set upto support users.” Croom continued, stating “Depending on reliability of the product, there may also be a rapid ramp up in returns and warranty claims. Using a global supply chain will likely cause more of a problem 4 – 8 weeks into the ‘first season’ of the launch.”

Apple, AT&T send out ‘Get Ready’ iPhone email

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Apple and AT&T have sent out a mass email with recommended preparation steps for the iPhone. The subject of the announcement reads “Get Ready. iPhone is coming June 29,” while the body lists suggestions for both PC and Mac users on how to get ready for the iPhone. These tips are broken down by sections, “Contacts,” “Calendar,” “Email,” “Photos,” “Music and Video,” and “iTunes Account.” Each section includes a brief description on how it works on the iPhone, and then an explanation of how customers can prepare. Of particular interest, the “iTunes Account” section reveals that an iTunes account will be required to set up the iPhone. Keep reading to see a summary of Apple’s suggestions.

Developer response to iPhone announcement mixed

Third-party developers are giving mixed responses to the announcement that while they are welcome to create Web 2.0 applications that run on the iPhone, they are currently blocked from creating widgets that run locally on the device. “We’re a little disappointed,” said Daniel Waylonis, a software engineer at Google. “It was not the announcement we were hoping for.” Although web-based applications have been heralded as the future of software, many developers at Apple’s WWDC conference were hoping for a true iPhone SDK. “Using Ajax for the iPhone is [bullcrap],” said French programmer Jacques Foucry. Web programmer Dominique Baillon, a colleague of Foucry, agreed. “I’m quite comfortable with web applications, but I need something that I can run locally (on the iPhone) and that will work when I’m not connected to the internet.”

Mossberg displays iPhone during speech

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal showed a group of college leaders his review iPhone unit during a speech at The Chronicle‘s Presidents Forum. “I don’t know whether I’ll give it a good review or not,” he said. “I can already see some things I don’t like about it. I see some other things that I do like a lot about it.” Mossberg told the audience that a crucial element would be the iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard, and whether it would prove an adequate replacement for physical keyboards found on traditional smartphones such as the Palm Treo and Blackberry. “They are claiming that through clever software they have figured out a way for this to be actually far more accurate and efficient than you think it will be, and I’m testing that proposition,” he explained. “And I can tell you that in the first hour it works a little better than I thought, but I’m still not sure it works as well as a regular keyboard — and the first hour is not a very fair test, so I’m going to keep going at it.”

“This is the next level or elevation of the cellphone,” he said of the iPhone. “Not because it’s better or necessarily better than your Blackberry … but this runs a real computer operating system.”

iPhone to use third-party Web 2.0 applications

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During his keynote address at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that the iPhone will support third-party applications based on Web 2.0 standards. Developers will be able to create apps which look and behave like built-in iPhone applications, and can seamlessly access the handset’s services, include making a phone call, email, and Google Maps. “Developers and users alike are going to be very surprised and pleased at how great these applications look and work on iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.” He also stated that the handset will go on sale at 6:00 p.m., June 29.

AT&T training workbook reveals iPhone details

Full scans of AT&T’s iPhone Sales Training Workbook have been posted online by Mac enthusiast site MacRumors.com, revealing several small details about Apple’s upcoming handset. Previously speculated but unconfirmed features like speakerphone and vibration are in, while other supposed features, such as possible TeleNav support for the phone’s Google Maps, instant messaging support, and MMS messaging, are not present on the device. The workbook does include room for added features, however, with the statement “Keep in mind that there might be additional iPhone features that are announced at iPhone’s launch as well as additional information about the features in this guide.”

iPhone unaffected by cell phone ban

The U.S. International Trade Commission has issued a ban on U.S. imports of new cell phones containing certain Qualcomm semiconductors, which may include upcoming models such as the Motorola RAZR 2, but will not affect the iPhone. The commission has said it was banning the phones because the chips, which are found in 3G phones using EV-DO and WCDMA technology, violate a patent held by Broadcom Corp. Apple’s iPhone does not fall under the ban, because it uses quad-band GSM and EDGE technologies, and does not use any Qualcomm chips. iPhone carrier AT&T will be affected by the ban, as will Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. Eighty percent of Verizon Wireless phones sold use the technology in question.

3 million iPhones for launch, 45 million iPhones in 2009?

Apple plans to have three million iPhones ready for sale on launch day, June 29th, according to BusinessWeek sources. Most analysts look for Apple to sell around 3 million units in 2007, contradicting this number. PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster believes the company will sell 3.2 million units in 2007, but also claims the company could sell as many as 45 million iPhones in 2009. “While this may seem like a bold prediction, we believe a number in this area is not as far of a reach as some may think.” Munster said. “Specifically, to reach iPhone units of 45 million, we believe the product will have 7.0 percent hand set market share in North America and 2.8 percent handset market share in the rest of the world.”

Apple removes ‘2-year plan’ disclaimer from iPhone ads

Apple has removed the small disclaimer stating “Use requires minimum new 2 year activation plan” from the end of all online iPhone ads. The revised ads began appearing online sometime yesterday evening, and have now apparently replaced the older ads appearing on televisions nationwide. What this means for the rumors that the iPhone would be available with prepaid service, or whether the text was simply removed without a change in policy, is not clear.

Apple airs fourth iPhone ad (Updated)

Apple has begun airing a fourth iPhone ad, focused on the handset’s version of Safari. “This is not a watered-down version of the internet,” the ad voiceover claims. “Or the ‘mobile’ version of the internet. Or the kinda-sorta-looks-like-the-internet internet. It’s just the internet. On Your Phone.” The new commercial, like the other three iPhone ads that began airing earlier this week, ends with a “Coming June 29.” Apple has yet to post the commercial in its gallery, however, it is available on YouTube. [via Gizmodo]

Update: Apple has now added the commercial to its site, along with the spot’s name: “Watered Down.”

iPhone requires Apple servers on network?

Speaking in an annual results webcast yesterday, Charles Dunstone, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, a European retailer of mobile phones and services, claimed that in order for the iPhone to function correctly, Apple servers must be placed “deep into the [operator’s] network.” Dunstone was responding to a question on whether his company had been in talks with Apple over the handset, or if there would be a network-specific deal like in the US. He replied: “It has to be in some form a deal with a network, because the way the iPhone works requires the operator to install a lot of servers and stuff deep into the network to supply some of the services to it. So if you buy the phone, say on Cingular in the US, and put a T-Mobile SIM [card] in it, it won’t work properly because T-Mobile won’t have all this proprietary stuff. So the first thing they have to do is do a deal with a network. I don’t think they’ve done that yet.” [via SeekingAlpha]

No Disk Mode for iPhone?

Unlike the iPod, iPod mini, nano, and shuffle, the iPhone lacks the ability to be used in Disk Mode, according to an article on Mac enthusiast site 9to5Mac, and therefore can only be synchronized with data using iTunes and associated helper applications such as iPhoto. The report, which the site attributes to a source at Apple, also claims that the iPhone includes support for tabbed web browsing, a VPN client for business users, and a vibration feature, but lacks an iChat application for instant messaging, at least in its current software revision. It also notes that the tested iPhone lacked a SIM card slot, which may have been attributable to the phone’s pre-production status. Apple representatives had no comment on the report.

iPhone knockoff found in southern China

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Pictures and a brief hands-on of one of the first iPhone knockoffs have surfaced online. The knockoff comes in a black box adorned with an Apple-style graphic of a hand holding the less-than-authentic device. The text on the outside of the box includes the word “iPhone,” as well as “HD1080P,” referencing the high-definition television standard, and the phrase “Apple, the future is here.” Even more is written in Chinese.

imageThe device itself boasts several features, including a two megapixel camera, two SIM card slots that can be switched on-the-fly, and a microSD expansion slot. As for its performance, the phone was an obvious forgery with “clumsy” navigation handled with a stylus, despite the iPhone-like background and a splash screen that reads “ iPhone.” The back of the device also sports a false Apple logo above an iPhone label, and features a message of garbled English in place of Apple’s traditional “Designed by Apple in California.”

AT&T boosting EDGE speeds ahead of iPhone?

AT&T has ordered a last-minute upgrade of its EDGE throughput, latency, and coverage ahead of the iPhone launch, according to a Gizmodo report. An AT&T employee who works on Operations told the gadget site that the operation, internally referenced as “Fine Edge,” has been going on for as many as six weeks and wil continue until June 15. According to an internal document, the company is adding more T-1 connections to its poorest performing towers, hoping to boost the current standard of 40kbps to a new minimum of 80kbps. The iPhone hits store shelves June 29.

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