AT&T Confirms Efforts to Double 3G Network Speeds

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:01
Category: iPhone

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In an interview with TelephonyOnline, AT&T vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy has confirmed that the carrier is currently performing a variety of upgrades on its 3G network that should combine to double capacity in the coming months.
McElroy stated that his team plans to upgrade “the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station.”
Though McElroy didn’t provide a timetable for the upgrade, he said that AT&T is in the process of field certifying the faster network in two test markets, adding that AT&T plans to eventually migrate its 3G networks to evolved-HSPA (or HSPA+), which would increase top speeds threefold.
AT&T could then theoretically upgrade its HSPA network to 14.4 Mb/s but is expected to forgo that option due to a technical problem and its ability to migrate directly to 21 Mb/s HSPA+, McElroy said. He told TelephonyOnline that AT&T will focus “on upgrades to the baseband, which will dramatically increase capacity without having to fiddle with the elements on the tower or in the core.”
McElroy also noted that AT&T is simultaneously upgrading its network backbone to handle the increased data traffic resulting from its network upgrades. He refused to reveal the exact extent of those upgrades.
Sources close to the story say Apple has set a strict deadline that asks AT&T to complete the upgrade, quality test it, and have it ready to go live no later than May 31st. The third-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled a few weeks later.
Meanwhile, McElroy says AT&T is also looking further ahead, selecting vendors for its 4G (or long-term evolution (LTE)) network expected to go live in test markets by 2010 ahead of widespread commercial availability the following year.
The carrier will reportedly use both its 700 MHz and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to facilitate the LTE launch, with other spectrums on reserve should 4G usage take off. It could also repurpose its 2G and 3G channels for LTE once users begin migrating off those channels to the 4th-gen network.

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Additional Perks, Features Emerge in iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware Betas

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 08:00
Category: iPhone, iPod shuffle, Rumor, Software

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Developers working with recent betas of Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 software have uncovered some impressive new features such as changes to Safari’s user interface, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.
According to AppleInsider, the following changes have been the most prominent:
Safari:
Safari now allows the user to close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.
The iPhone OS 3.0 beta apparently allows the user to close out the lone remaining page. Once the “x” icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view.
Battery Indicators:
Improvements have apparently been made to the battery indicators, showing the remaining battery life left on your iPhone or iPod touch as a numerical percentage.
Resource files contained within the new version of the device’s Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a “%” sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.
Though this has yet to be confirmed, users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar — such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only.
Push Notification preferences:
A new Push Notifications preference pane allows users to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole.
Data Detectors:
Apple has enabled Data Detectors for several new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses and allow users to execute actions on those fragments via touch selections — like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.
Finally, the iPhone OS 3.0 beta firmware apparently also allows users to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.
“You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds,” a person familiar with the software said. “There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen).”

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Verizon CEO Claims iPhone Deal More Likely with 4G Network in Place

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Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 07:20
Category: iPhone

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Even though Verizon snubbed Apple when iPhone wireless carriers were initially being chosen, Verizon’s chief executive Ivan Seidenberg has now stated that the chances of an iPhone on the company’s network will be improved once 4G technology is in place.
The CEO explained to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Apple is ‘more likely’ to want to work with Verizon due to the wider distribution of the 4G standard it will use to supplement, and eventually replace, its 3G network.
Per Seidenberg, Apple was never likely to create an iPhone handset suitable to Verizon’s existing network due to the company’s choice of CDMA standards. While CDMA and its matching EVDO data format are very popular among carriers in North America and are shared with Alltel, Bell, Sprint and Telus (among others), the standards have very little reach outside of the continent. Choosing CDMA may have forced Apple to make a second iPhone model just to accommodate the rest of the world, which has settled on the more popular GSM and HSPA protocols.
This problem disappears with Verizon’s move towards Long Term Evolution (LTE) for 4G. Unlike the artificial split between North America and the rest of the world today, a large number of both domestic and international carriers plan to move to LTE within the next few years, including AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
Seidenberg has claimed that the network may or may not be the sticking point and the discussion remains up for debate. Verizon is believed to have snubbed Apple early on when the handset was initially being developed. Just after the introduction of the first iPhone, the carrier spun its apparent loss by claiming that Apple wanted too much control over sales and service. Observers have also speculated that Verizon objected to being denied a chance to customize the interface and choose which features to allow.

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Apple Files Patent for Motion-Adaptive iPhone Software

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Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Patents, Software

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Apple may be looking into creating a version of its iPhone with a front-facing camera as well as a software interface capable of adjusting itself for more precise interaction when the user carrying the phone is in motion.
While the front-facing camera idea hints towards the inevitable adoption of video conference capabilities by the iPhone in the coming years, the adaptive software interface concept could become a reality that much sooner, improving a user’s accuracy in making touch selections by increasing the size of user interface elements on the touch-screen when its determined that the user is operating the device while jogging or participation in some other kind of motion-based activity.
According to AppleInsider, Apple has filed a patent that proposes an updated version of its iPhone OS software that can detect when the device is in motion and then compare the detected degree of motion to one or more predetermined “signatures of motion.” The iPhone software could then adjust itself by enlarging selection areas on the screen to a degree suitable for the current motion of the device and user.
“For example, if the user wishes to view the contact information for ‘John Adams,’ the user touches the display over the area of the row for the contact ‘John Adams,” Apple says. “While the device is moving, the motion of the device can be detected. The device can change the size of the rows of the contacts in the contact list application to give the user a larger target area for each contact. For example, the height of a row can be increased. This gives the user a larger touch area with which to select a contact. In some implementations, the height of the toolbar can be increased as well.”
The 16-page patent filing made back in November of 2007 also suggests that interface elements, such as an array of home screen icons, could shift their position on the screen based on predictions of where the user may touch the screen. Oddly enough, the need for such adjustments isn’t entirely clear from Apple’s description.
“The shift moves the target touch areas of the display objects to a different position. In some implementations, the new position is a predetermined distance from the original position,” the company says. “In some other implementations, the new position is determined by the device based on a prediction of where the user will touch the touch-sensitive display if the user wanted to select the user interface element while the device is in motion.”
The filing is credited to Apple employee John Louch.

AT&T Pushing for Exclusive iPhone Rights Through 2011

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Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 08:35
Category: iPhone

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After three years of holding exclusive rights to the iPhone, AT&T is looking to take one more shot at an exclusive deal for the Apple handset and may keep it away from competitors until 2011.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “people familiar with the matter” have stated that AT&T has a deal to keep the iPhone in its stable until 2010 and that negotiations are underway to have the device onboard for one more year.
Though there has been no specific commentary from AT&T regarding this, an Apple spokeswoman would only say that the two companies have a “great relationship.”
The commentary follows a report from last year that also said AT&T had struck a deal to keep the iPhone until 2010 and may provide insight into current talks. At the time, the cellular carrier reportedly agreed to allow iPhone 3G subsidies in exchange for a one-year extension of the iPhone’s US exclusivity. Although the cost of discounting those phones has been severe — as much as US$1.3 billion to date, according to an estimate — the agreement renewed interest in AT&T and gave it millions of users paying at least US$60 per month (on grandfathered plans) for service.
Should AT&T be allowed to keep exclusive rights to the iPhone, it would be able to help prevent customers from jumping ship to Verizon or an alternate carrier at a time when the market is saturated and customers are more likely to have switched than sign up for the first time. The company added 1.9 million iPhone users just in the fall 2008 quarter alone.

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Rumor: Apple May Have Ordered Four Million Additional iPhones for Chinese Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 08:40
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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This is a bit strange but there may be something to it.
According to ChinaTimes, component suppliers have stated that Apple has placed orders for shipments of four million iPhone units expected to be ready by the end of the quarter.
The units will allegedly be a combination of three new models, consisting of an EDGE-only device, a 3G-capable model and a model made for the market in China, possibly on TD-SCDMA.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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Next-Gen iPhone, iPod Touch Models to Support Faster, Low-Power 802.11n Protocol

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Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 10:02
Category: iPhone

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A list of wireless radio component specifications found within beta distributions of the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware offers details for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n bound for the third-generation iPod touch handset. According to AppleInsider, the chip is also likely to be en route for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models.
The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329 in the description. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
Current iPhone and iPod touch generations provide support for 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, pushing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That resulting push forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often-crowded 2.4GHz band.
Apple’s latest firmware update for its AirPort base stations added support for dual-band networks, allowing both slow and fast devices to hook into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals at the same time.
New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification as well as channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.
The new device also focuses on efficient power management, with a special integrated PMU (power management unit) and a shared Bluetooth and WiFi receive signal path, which “eliminates the need for an external power splitter while maintaining excellent sensitivity for both Bluetooth and WLAN.”
The new component could dramatically speed up WiFi throughput and flexibility as AT&T and other providers also upgrade their 3G networks to take advantage of parallel improvements in mobile 3G speed capacity expected in the new iPhone.

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Microsoft Drops Hints Regarding Office for the iPhone

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Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 08:37
Category: iPhone, Software

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Microsoft apparently still holds aspirations of delivering a version of Office to Apple’s iPhone handset, though some more development time may still be necessary.
According to TechCrunch, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Wednesday, dropped hints to suggest that Office was bound to turn up on the Apple handheld device sometime soon.
Elop later hedged his remarks when interviewer Tim O’Reilly probed him over the comments, admitting that the software isn’t ready quite yet and stating that hopefuls should “keep watching.”
Over a year ago, Microsoft expressed “confidence” in its ability to deliver applications for the iPhone. At the time, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of the company’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, indicated to Fortune that Office applications were a natural choice.
“It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,” he said. “To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.”
Although the iPhone ships with built-in support for viewing Office documents, users wishing to make changes to those documents have had few options prior to this week’s announcement of Quickoffice, which will support editing (as well as creation of) Word and Excel documents when it’s released later this month.
To date, Microsoft has become the largest software developer for the Mac outside of Apple, its Mac Business Unit estimated to generate revenues in excess of $350 million and profits of over US$200 million each year.

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Apple Clamping Down on Jailbreaking, Other Practices with Latest iPhone NDA

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Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:19
Category: iPhone, Legal

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With iPhone OS 3.0 en route, Apple appears to be taking a more aggressive stance against develops writing applications for jailbroken iPhone handsets. Per an Ars Technica article, Apple has recently updated its “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”, the new version explicitly disallowing jailbreaking, assisting in jailbreaking, and developing and distributing jailbreak apps.
The report goes on to mention that while previous agreements forbade the creation of apps that violate privacy, facilitate crimes, or violate intellectual property laws, the new one restricts developers from jailbreaking their own phones.
Back in February, Apple publicly defined its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking, arguing that it represents copyright infringement and a DMCA violation. During this time, an Electronic Frontier Foundation proposal asked for an exemption that would allow jailbreaking of iPhones or other handsets, effectively liberating the devices to run applications other than those obtained from Apple’s own iTunes App Store.
The report also states that developers are also “forbidden from using the iPhone OS, SDK, or other developer tools to develop applications for distribution in any way other than the App Store or Ad Hoc distribution.” The new changes place significant restrictions on distribution, which is now only available via the App Store at Apple’s sole discretion.
The report also notes that updated segments of the NDA specifically restrict jailbreaking or circumventing the iPhone’s built-in OS security. Though such agreements aren’t likely to entirely prevent third-party developers from writing applications, they will likely discourage developers from submitting their unapproved or rejected app on other distribution outlets that offer alternatives for customers interested in buying, testing, or installing with their software.
The text defining these restrictions reads as follows:

(e)You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so; and
(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.

Last September, Apple extended its iPhone Developer NDA by restricting the information that developers could discuss publicly by telling developers in its App Store rejection letters that “the information contained in this message is under non-disclosure.” While discussion of details in iPhone development is generally restricted, numerous developers have complained publicly about rejections without repercussion.
If you have two cents to hurl in about this, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Marketcircle Releases Daylite Touch

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Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 18:40
Category: iPhone, Software

Yesterday, Marketcircle Inc. released Daylite Touch to the App Store allowing users of their CRM software, Daylite, to synchronize their data to their iPhone or iPod Touch.
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From the Marketcircle web site,

“Daylite Touch is a business productivity manager for the iPhone and iPod touch, designed as a companion to Daylite on the Mac. Winner of a 2009 Macworld Best of Show award, Daylite Touch helps you manage your business and your team, keeping everyone on the same page and helping you stay on track and deliver on time.”

Daylite has been an award winning business solution serving as a contact, calendar, and project database for the Mac. The desktop client allows data to be synchronized to multiple computers, and now with Daylite Touch, data can be as handy as your mobile phone. The app was demonstrated at the 2009 MacWorld Expo, but was not ready for launch.
The app can be downloaded for free from iTunes now and requires Daylite Server and firmware 2.2 on the iPhone and iPod Touch
UPDATE:
While the Daylite Touch app is free to download from the App Store, a license must be purchased from Marketcircle for each copy of Daylite Touch being used with Daylite Server. The price is $49.99 per license, per year.

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