Apple today released a statement regarding the use of iPhone unlocking programs and the changes they make to the iPhone. Apple claims that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available online cause “irreparable damage” to the iPhone’s software, and that a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update will likely cause modified iPhones to become “permanently inoperable.” The company also revealed that it will release the next iPhone software update, containing “many” new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, later this week. Apple went on to strongly discourage iPhone owners from installing unauthorized unlocking programs, and gave the following warning to those still considering the option: “Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.”
Update: Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, has made a statement clarifying the company’s intentions regarding the warning. “This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked,” Schiller said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences.”
Elgato has released EyeTV 2.5, a free update to its EyeTV 2 television software. EyeTV 2.5 offers WiFi Access, a feature that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to connect to, browse, and play back recorded programs directly from the device over a local Wi-Fi network. In addition, EyeTV 2.5 features one-click export for iPhone and iPod touch, and can also automatically export to iPhone when scheduled recordings have completed. Other changes include improved H.264 HDTV playback performance, the ability to record from the live TV buffer, and IPTV support for Freebox. EyeTV 2.5 is a free update for all EyeTV 2.0 users; a full download of EyeTV runs $80.
The iPhone soundly bested both the Nokia N95 and HTC Touch in a recent usability test by Perceptive Sciences, a Texas-based usability consulting firm. The test, which was designed to be as objective as possible, asked ten people who had never used any of the three devices to perform simple tasks, such as setting the phone to vibrate, making a call, saving a phone number to the contact list, sending a brief e-mail, and taking a photo. Completion times for each task were recorded and compared; based on these results and the scientists’ observations, a score of between one and five was awarded. Overall, the iPhone received a score of 4.6 out of 5, compared to the HTC Touch’s score of 3.4 and the N95’s score of 3.2. “Testers were [typically] about twice as fast doing specific tasks on the iPhone, which is pretty remarkable,” said senior research scientist Tom Thornton. The iPhone was triumphant in all but one of the five testing categories, losing to the Nokia N95 in “Functionality.”
French Telecom’s Orange unit has confimed that it will offer the iPhone in France, CNNMoney reports. “We have signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone,” France Telecom’s spokeswoman said. The company also said it will start selling the handset in November, without giving a precise date for the launch. The iPhone is being launched in the U.K. and Germany on Nov. 9. In addition, the company said it “won’t subsidize the iPhone,” but declined to give any pricing details; in Germany, the phone will sell for €399, or around $554. Apple has yet to comment on the announcement.
Apple and T-Mobile announced today that T-Mobile will be the exclusive German carrier for the iPhone when it launches in that country on Nov. 9. The iPhone in Germany will feature Visual Voicemail, EDGE, and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with T-Mobile to bring the iPhone to Germany,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone in the US has been incredible, and we can’t wait to introduce T-Mobile customers to the most revolutionary mobile device on the planet.”
“We are convinced that we can get our customers excited about experiencing the mobile internet with the iPhone,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO, T-Mobile International. “I am proud that Apple and T-Mobile have become partners.” iPhone owners in Germany will also have use of 8,600 T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi access points, and T-Mobile claims that by the end of 2007, it will be the only network operator in Germany to offer EDGE throughout its entire GSM network. The iPhone is scheduled to launch on November 9 and will be sold in Germany through Telekom Shops of Deutsche Telekom and the T-Mobile web shop. It requires a new 2-year T-Mobile tariff and will be available in an 8GB model for euro 399 (around $554) including V.A.T.
At its “Mum is no longer the word” press event today, Apple revealed details of the iPhone’s UK introduction. The company announced that O2 will be the device’s exclusive carrier in the UK, when it makes its debut on November 9. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with O2 to offer our revolutionary iPhone to UK customers,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “US iPhone customer satisfaction is off the charts, and we can’t wait to let UK customers get their hands on it and learn what they think of it.” Matthew Key, CEO, O2 UK, said, “The iPhone is a breakthrough that is changing the way people use their mobiles forever, and we’re thrilled to have it exclusively for O2 customers in the UK.”
The iPhone will be sold exclusively in the UK through Apple’s retail and online stores, O2 and The Carphone Warehouse retail stores, and will be available as an EDGE-based 8GB model for £269 (inc. VAT). It will also require an 18 month contract with O2. O2 will offer three different tariffs for the phone, starting at £35 a month for 200 minutes and 200 SMS messages, and going up to £55 a month for 1200 minutes and 500 SMS. All three tariffs include unlimited data, visual voicemail, and unlimited access at any of The Cloud’s 7500 UK Wi-Fi hotspots. iPhone activation will require an internet connection, an iTunes Store account or major credit card, and the latest version of iTunes.
The iPhone Dev Team has released anySIM, a GUI-based iPhone application that allows users to unlock the iPhone for use with any SIM card. The app simply needs to be copied on to the phone and executed — it is fully automatic, and therefore makes unlocking a much easier process for those users who lacked the technical experience to take advantage of previously released, more challenging unlocking methods. anySIM is available as a free download from the iPhone Dev Team’s website.
An image appearing during the early iPhone owner credit process has revealed iPhone firmware version 1.1.1, along with two extra menu options in Settings. The image, which appears on the second page of the process, below where users enter their phone number and iPhone serial number, is meant to show customers how to find their iPhone serial number. In the Settings menu, under General, appear options for “Home Button” and “International” which are not found on current (version 1.0.2) iPhone firmware, and the final screen in the image shows the “Version” as 1.1.1, build 3B13. As of this writing, the image is still viewable on Apple’s site; a screen capture of the image appears below. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: The “About” screen shown below also points to new modem firmware, v.04.02.04_G. Current iPhone modem firmware is listed as 03.14.08_G. TUAW has reported that recent SIM unlocking methods rely on patching the modem firmware, thus version 1.1.1 of the iPhone firmware, if/when released, may break current iPhone unlocking methods.
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.