Fourth-gen iPhone video conferencing screenshots surface

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 04:17
Category: iPhone, News, Pictures

Ok, this is interesting.

The cool cats at Boy Genius Report have just dug up the following screenshots sent in from an Apple engineer who was part of a field testing effort for the fourth-generation iPhone.

The photos seem to confirm that video conferencing will be available as an option on the new handset:

As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

AT&T raises early termination fee to $350, Verizon rumors abound

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T appreciates your business.

And just made it that much pricier to leave early to do business with anyone else.

Per the Dow Jones Newswire, beginning June 1st, new AT&T iPhone customers who wish to cancel their contract with the wireless carrier will need to pay a US$325 early termination fee, up from the existing US$175 fee.

The new fee will apply to all smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, as well as connected netbooks. For feature and messaging phones, the fees will drop to US$150.

Though change comes on the heels of speculation that AT&T could lose exclusivity of Apple’s iPhone over the next year, though an AT&T spokesperson reportedly said that the increase in the early termination fee to US$325 was not related to one specific device.

“The changes come amid increased regulatory scrutiny and class-action lawsuits over the issue,” the report said. “The Federal Communications Commission has expressed concern that onerous fees make it difficult for consumers to switch their service. Wireless carriers argue the fees are necessary to recoup the costs incurred by the subsidies they provide to lower the initial cost of the handset.”

The change follows a previous move by competitor Verizon, which began charging a $350 early termination fee for smartphone users. Google and T-Mobile also charged a combined US$550 fee for those who canceled their contract on the Nexus One. Both of those recent developments have brought early termination fees under scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T and Apple offer the iPhone at a subsidized rate, starting at US$99 for the iPhone 3G, with a two-year contract for the device. Starting in March, Apple began selling contract-free iPhones at a much higher price, as it has done in previous years, to help clear out inventory before the launch of new hardware.

In addition to recouping lost money from a canceled contract, the fees are also designed to deter customers from jumping to another network. The timing of the early termination fee increase will undoubtedly result in speculation about the potential of the iPhone becoming available on a carrier other than AT&T.

Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone when it kicks off the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7th while rumors of a Verizon iPhone have been persistent since March.

Strange Knowledge Base article points to potential Boot Camp update for mid-April MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

This is interesting.

Per CNET, Apple has released a knowledge base article outlining a Boot Camp update for the 2010 13″ MacBook Pro notebook. The update is for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of windows, and addresses a problem where the Boot Camp Control Panel would display warnings when changing the display brightness, as well as problems with no audio for headphones.

The 2010 MacBook Pro models were released in mid-April, and since then there have not been any Boot Camp updates so this is the first mention of one for these machines and perhaps a sign of fixes to come.

The update should be available through Apple’s software update utility in Windows, and is currently unavailable as a standalone download. When you install the update it should show the Boot Camp build number as 2354 when you select “About Boot Camp” when clicking the Boot Camp tool in the Windows task bar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple rescinds no-cash policy for iPads

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:31
Category: iPad, News

As much as Apple may make you want to storm the gates of 1 Infinite Loop, blazing pitchforks in hand, the company sometimes listens.

Per KGO-TV, a San Francisco-baed woman who was denied the ability to purchase an iPad with cash managed to push Apple to reverse its policy and rewarded the woman by giving her the hardware for free.

Diane Campbell lives on a fixed income, and saved up money to buy an iPad from an Apple store in San Francisco. But when she attempted to purchase the device with cash, she was denied, based on an Apple policy designed to ensure the product is fairly distributed as the hardware is in short supply.

“Mr. Jobs, give a sister a break, OK?” she told the KGO-TV San Francisco news station. “I’m not going to go sell my iPad.”

After the station featured Campbell’s story, Apple responded. Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, spoke with the newscast to reveal that Apple would no longer continue its credit-only policy.

“It came to our attention that Diane, through your story was very interested in buying an iPad with cash,” Johnson said. “And we made a decision today to change that.”

Apple’s original intent was to make sure that its policy restricting iPad preorders to two per customer was properly enforced. Apple has faced strong demand and limited supply of the iPad since it first launched in the U.S. on April 3rd.

The previous policy has been rescinded and anyone can pay for an iPad with cash, as long as they set up their Apple account at the store. The iPad must first be connected to a PC or Mac with iTunes to be activated regardless.

Apple also sent two employees to Campbell’s home to personally deliver her an iPad, free of charge.

Latest iPhone OS 4.0 beta points toward customizable user dictionary

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 20th, 2010, 04:48
Category: iPhone, News

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Yesterday, we mentioned that Apple’s newest beta of its iPhone OS 4.0 operating system included reference to tethering via AT&T. The cool cats at Gizmodo have apparently located a custom dictionary that will allow users to add their own words and unique spellings, and will automatically recommend those words as users type them.

The new option, “Edit User Dictionary,” can be found in the Keyboard section of the handsets Settings application in beta 4 of iPhone OS 4.0. There, users can press the plus button and add their own words.

This will allow users to bypass the “learning” feature found in previous versions of the iPhone OS, where the software will remember when the user chooses to discard a recommended spelling from the built-in dictionary.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Refreshed MacBook dissected, 10-hour battery could be transplanted into older MacBooks

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Date: Thursday, May 20th, 2010, 04:27
Category: MacBook, News

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You’ve got to love iFixit.

That being said, the firm has performed a complete teardown of Apple’s newest low-end MacBook and noticed that only the central processing unit, the graphical processing unit and the battery have changed since the last hardware iteration.

iFixit has stated that the battery itself is of special interest given that the battery is exactly the same shape as its former and all you have to do to get an extra 350 mAh for your existing plastic MacBook is to drop in a refreshed battery.

While the new cells weigh more and it’s likely the new silicon that’s actually responsible for 10 hours of battery life, but should your Li-ion pack fail under warranty, your older MacBook might be returned with more juice than you’d bargained for.

Kind of a cool thing if you ever dreamt of your older MacBook using a 10 hour battery…

iPhone OS 4.0 beta 4 released, incorporates AT&T tethering features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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On Tuesday, Apple released the fourth beta of its iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, pushing Apple towards a final release that’s expected to coincide with its WWDC event next month.

Per Gizmodo, the new release appears to invoke tethering options for AT&T in the US. iPhone OS 3.0 introduced tethering support in software, but AT&T has been among the carriers failing to support the feature.

A new configuration panel appears to indicate that AT&T has worked out its issues related to refusing to support tethering on the iPhone (it supports tethering with other phones, but apparently fears that iPhone users would overwhelm its network) and will have a billing program in place by the time iPhone OS 4 ships.

The new Internet Tethering setup panel directs users to call AT&T or visit its website to setup tethering on their account.

Other new features spotted by beta testers include the ability to view photo Camera Rolls in landscape, more useful wallpaper images, an option to turn off group MMS messaging, and a generally faster interface throughout, ranging from call dialing to Maps.

New MacBook sends both audio, video data through VESA-compliant adapters

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, 05:14
Category: MacBook, News

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This seems useful:

Apple’s newest MacBook, per this support document from Apple, send both audio and video data out through HDMI as long as you’ve got a VESA compliant adapter (which most DisplayPort adapters are).

Take a gander and if you get your hands on Apple’s newest MacBook, please let us know what you make of it, for better or for worse.

Apple releases Java updates for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, 05:07
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, Apple released a pair of Java updates for its Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 operating systems. The updates (Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 7 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 2) make the same changes and per Macworld, offer “improved compatibility, security, and reliability.” The specifics on how the updates do this are unclear, however, as the release notes for both the 10.6 and 10.5 updates are a little light on the details.

Apple does tell us that the 122MB download for users of OS X 10.5.8 and later updates J2SE 5.0 to 1.5.0_24 and Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_20. As with the Java update released last December, J2SE 1.4.2 remains disabled by default, as it’s no longer being updated.

As for the 78MB Java for Mac OS X 10.6 download, it updates Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_20. It’s aimed at Mac OS X 10.6.3 and later.

Both downloads are available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Hulu Plus service for iPad delayed, won’t make May 24th launch

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 18th, 2010, 06:47
Category: iPad, News

You love Hulu on your Mac.

But you’ll have to wait a little longer for it on the iPad.

Per MediaMemo, sources close to Hulu have cited that Hulu’s new service, dubbed “Hulu Plus” wouldn’t make its anticipated arrival date of May 24th and in fact there was “no way” Hulu Plus would become available next week.

According to the original plan, Hulu plans to charge a monthly subscription for access to Hulu on the iPad through a forthcoming application to be released on the App Store. Hulu executives were initially hopeful that they could release an application potentially alongside the debut of the iPad.

Sources close to the story said Tuesday that it’s likely the service remains in negotiations with content holders. Even with the delays, it’s been reported that the principal partners, including Fox, ABC and NBC have agreed to the basics of the subscription plan, including a US$10-per-month fee for access to “a deeper catalog of broadcast shows plus access to the services like Apple’s iPad.”

“And even if Hulu and all of its partners are seeing eye-to-eye — not a given — getting the rights from various programming partners to sell their shows could be a slog,” Kafka wrote for MediaMemo.

Sources pushing Hulu’s subscription plan behind the scenes did reportedly say that the new service will be “revolutionary.”

One feature that the new Hulu won’t support: HTML5. Last week, the company revealed on its official blog that it doesn’t see HTML5 in its immediate future. The current player on the website is built on Adobe Flash, which is used to stream video, secure content, and handle reporting for advertisers, among many other tasks.

Hulu’s iPad application is expected to be similar to the existing ABC and Netflix streaming players available for download on the App Store. The popular ABC application shows programs like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu and its subscription plans.

Reports have suggested that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan by offering streaming to Apple’s iPad, as well as by including a “window” where content is available to subscribers before it can be seen for free by the general public. It is said that Hulu’s business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to “train” viewers that they should pay for online access to content.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.