TeliaSonera has announced that it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in Nordic and Baltic markets. According to the company, it will offer the phone in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia “later this year.” As in other recent iPhone carrier announcements, no further release details or model specifications were provided. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to make an announcement regarding future iPhone roll outs during his WWDC keynote address on June 9.
Having previously released the game Bomberman for iPod nano, classic, and 5G owners, Japanese video game developer Hudson Soft has opened a free iPhone and iPod touch gaming site featuring a handful of simple games and downloadable movies. Titled “Do the Hudson!!,” the site features 15 different games, including poker, blackjack, and a variety of memory- and math-based challenges. Several of the games feature Hudson’s best-known characters Bomberman and Bonk. Based in Japan, the site is accessible from any iPhone or iPod touch worldwide at touch.hudson.co.jp.
France Telecom CFO Gervais Pellissier has confirmed its Orange unit will keep exclusivity over the next iPhone in France, according to a Reuters report. “It will remain an exclusive contract in France,” Pellissier told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms summit in Paris. He declined to comment on when the next iPhone might be launched, or if any of Apple’s first-generation exclusivity deals would be re-negotiated for the launch of the new handset. Earlier in the week, T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan confirmed that the iPhone would remain a T-Mobile exclusive in Germany. Orange has announced plans to offer the iPhone across countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa later this year.
The latest beta of iPhone Software 2.0 released to a enterprise partners suggests Apple is working on adding geotagging support to the iPhone’s Camera application. Geotagging adds location-specific metadata such as city and state or latitude and longitude coordinates to media files so they can later be processed, sorted, and referenced by location. AppleInsider reports that people familiar with the release, labeled build 5A292g, say location-aware applications such as Maps and Camera now ask for user permission to identify their current position. In addition, a new toggle found in the iPhone’s General Settings menu appears to allow users to enable/disable Location Services on a system-wide basis. Despite the appearance of these new location services, it appears that location metadata is not yet being embedded in new photos taken with the iPhone’s camera; the specific details of what metadata is included may yield clues as to whether the geotagging is based on currently vague iPhone location detection, more precise GPS functionality, or either, depending on the iPhone model.
Myxer, a site offering free, advertising-supported mobile content, has added the ability to download iPhone-formatted ringtones to its service. To access the ringtones, users can visit myxer.com, browse the available content, and use the “Download for iPhone” link to download any tone to their PC or Mac desktop. The iPhone ringtones are already in the required .m4r format, so they can be added straight to iTunes following the download, and can then be synced to the iPhone. “The iPhone is part of today’s new mobile economy and like Myxer, it’s helping to change the landscape of today’s mobile environment,” said Myk Willis, CEO, Myxer. “We’re delighted to invite iPhone users to expand their mobile content choices through open access to Myxer’s catalog and broad array of mobile content delivery services.”
The Rural Cellular Association plans to file a petition with the FCC calling for an investigation into exclusivity deals used by large wireless providers to secure rights to carry certain cellular phones. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group represents about 80 small and rural wireless companies, most with fewer than 500,000 customers. Using the iPhone as an example, the complaint states that most Vermont residents, as well as those in rural areas of 15 other states, can’t use Apple’s handset because AT&T offers only roaming coverage in those areas, and other carriers which do offer service can’t sell the iPhone. CITA spokesperson Joseph Farren argues that “When you look at the number of handsets available in the U.S. compared to Europe we’re far ahead,” adding that since consumers have so many choices, there is no need for an FCC ban on exclusive deals. [via CNET]
Speaking at the Reuters Technology, Media, and Telecoms Summit in Paris, T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan said that he expects the iPhone to remain exclusive to T-Mobile in Germany. “We have a very good relationship with Apple…at least in Germany it is exclusive, and we expect it to remain as such,” Akhavan said, adding, “If and when there is a 3G iPhone we expect to have it exclusively in Germany as well.” T-Mobile has been the device’s carrier in both Germany and Austria, however, last week Orange announced an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Austria alongside T-Mobile, raising questions about the company’s exclusivity arrangements.
Telefónica’s Movistar has reportedly reached an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in Spain. According to a report by technology blog Sevenclick, Telefónica executive José Santos Esteras confirmed at the Professional Communications Congress that the company has an exclusive contract to offer the iPhone in Spain. Daniel Pujol of Orange added that the exclusivity is limited to three or six months. Telefónica Europe CEO Matthew Key recently stated the Telefónica Group would make a joint announcement with Apple in the “coming weeks.” [via AppleInsider]
Orange, the iPhone’s carrier in France, today announced a new agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in a host of other countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Specific countries include Austria, where T-Mobile Germany already offers the handset, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the company’s African markets. According to the announcement, Orange will begin offering the iPhone in these countries “later this year.”
Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann has said the company’s T-Mobile Germany has so far sold more than 100,000 iPhones in the country. The company last reported sales of 70,000 iPhones at the end of January, meaning around 30,000 units have been sold from February on. Hamid Akhavan, Deutsche Telekom’s board member at T-Mobile, had previously told Dow Jones Newswires that sales figures for the iPhone were “in line” with expectations, and that the recent price drop had spurred sales. In April, T-Mobile Germany began offering 8GB iPhones at reduced prices when purchased with a 24-month contract, bringing the price of the handset down to as little as €99.
Speaking at an Intel event in Munich, Intel Germany CEO Hannes Schwaderer has said that Apple will unveil two different iPhone devices (Translated link) at its Worldwide Developer Conference, according to ZDNet.de. One model is said to have a larger form factor, a 720x480 screen, and an Intel Atom chip as its main processor, while the other is reportedly similar in size to the current iPhone, but with 3G capabilities. Schwaderer said that the Atom-powered version of the iPhone would be larger not due to the chip’s size, but due to its use of the higher-resolution screen. Apple CEO Steve Jobs will make his keynote address to kick-off WWDC at 10:00 a.m. on June 9. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: Intel has issued a disclaimer (Translated link) regarding Schwaderer’s remarks, saying the CEO made “only general remarks about possible mobile Internet DEVICE (MIDs) and did not speculate upon future iPhone models,” adding that the iPhone was only mentioned as an example of such a device. Intel press spokesman Mike Cato told ZDNet.de, “Intel knows nothing about future products of other manufacturers and can therefore about it also nothing say.”
CEO of O2 parent Telefónica Europe Matthew Key has said the 3G iPhone will be announced in “the coming weeks.” Speaking after the announcement of O2’s first quarter results, Key was asked when the 3G iPhone would be available. He said: “That’s more of a question for Apple ... but over the coming weeks we will do a joint announcement with Apple as Telefónica Group.” O2 has already sold out of the current 8GB model iPhone, and has a “multi-year” exclusivity deal to offer the iPhone in both the UK and Ireland.
Swisscom has confirmed in a message on its website that it will carry the iPhone in Switzerland. A recent report suggested the company had reached an agreement with Apple to offer the phone, but nothing official had yet been announced. Swisscom’s message reads: “Swisscom is launching iPhone in Switzerland. The iPhone will be available later this year. We will inform you personally as soon as we have more news.” Below the message is a “Register here” link where users can register to receive more iPhone information when it becomes available. Swisscom is the largest mobile carrier in Switzerland with 5.1 million subscribers (Translated link). [via setteB.IT]
Google has released a new beta version of its Reader application designed for the iPhone and other mobile devices with advanced browsers. According to the official Google Reader Blog, the new version is designed to offer many of the same features as the desktop version, while allowing users to read, share, star, and toggle unread status all from a single view, and without needing to reload the page. To access the new beta version of Google Reader for iPhone, visit google.com/reader/i/ from an iPhone or iPod touch.
A drop-down menu of devices on AT&T’s customer website shows a new “iPhone Black” model alongside a listing for the current iPhone. The menu is visible from the Phone/Device selection screen in the Online Account Management area of the carrier’s website. While no device with that name has been announced, the appearance of the listing does lend credence to prior reports that the next-generation iPhone would be available with a black casing. [via AppleInsider]
A Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) executive has claimed that a 3G-capable version of the iPhone will be on sale in Italy in June, according to an Electronics Weekly report. Speaking to EW’s David Manners, Luigi Licciardi, executive vice president of technology and operations with TIM, said, “We will be selling an iPhone with 3G capability next month.” In the same report, Manners describes a conversation he had with a Vodafone spokesperson, who declined to confirm that the carrier would indeed be offering the 3G iPhone in the ten countries announced last week, indicating that the handset covered by the agreement was simply “an iPhone device.” Both Vodafone and TIM have announced agreements to offer the iPhone in Italy later this year. [via Wired]
The first-generation iPhone is now listed as “Currently Unavailable” on Apple’s Online Store in both the United States and the United Kingdom. This news comes after a week which saw the introduction of more than 20 international iPhone carriers which will offer the iPhone later this year, and comes amidst iPhone sellouts at UK iPhone carrier O2 and retailer Carphone Warehouse stores. The stores, which have been sold out of 8GB iPhones since April, recently ran out of the 16GB model as well, and were unsure whether they would receive more supply. Apple has yet to make any announcement regarding the lack of availability.
Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), Bharti Airtel, Globe Telecom, and SingTel subsidiary Optus have announced they have reached deals with Apple to offer the iPhone in their respective markets later in 2008. SingTel will offer the phone in Singapore, Bharti Airtel in India, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, and Optus in Australia. The announcement of Bharti in India and Optus in Australia also makes these the second and third confirmed non-exclusive iPhone country carriers, behind Telecom Italia Mobile in Italy, as Vodafone will offer the handset in all three markets later this year. StarHub, Singapore’s second-largest telecom firm behind SingTel, said it expects all three mobile operators in the area — SingTel, StarHub and MobileOne — to be offering the phone by the end of the year.
Citing a source within Swisscom, a new report (Translated link) from French-language Le Martin Online indicates the company has reached an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Switzerland later this summer. With over five million subscribers, Swisscom is the country’s largest mobile carrier; a prior report indicated there are already over 34,000 active iPhones operating in Switzerland.
Following the brief appearance of “Free AT&T Wi-Fi for iPhone” pages at some AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, the US iPhone carrier has officially listed Wi-Fi access as being included with iPhone rate plans. The company’s iPhone web site now states “Plans start at $59.99 and include Visual Voicemail, Unlimited Data (email and web), 200 SMS text messages and access to AT&T’s more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including Starbucks* all for use in the U.S. *Wi-Fi available at U.S. company operated Starbucks locations equipped with a hotspot.” An AT&T representative had previously declined to comment on the appearance of the free Wi-Fi pages, but it now appears an official announcement on the service is imminent. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: Following the publication of this news, AT&T removed all mention of the Wi-Fi service from the iPhone site.