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