iPhone Unlocking Team Reaches SIM Card Milestone

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 13:37
Category: iPhone

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The guys over at the iPhone unlocking project (available with a simple Google search) took on a sizable task when the handset was first released.
Despite having yet to completely unlock the handset, the team has reached a significant milestone in releasing iASign, a piece of software that purportedly allows users to work with prepaid Cingular, AT&T and AT&T MVNO SIM cards. According to Engadget, the program will allow users to pick up an iPhone without a contract, install their current SIM and be able to use the phone via a current contract without signing up for a new one.
For the brave of heart, the iASign download link can be found here.
If you’ve tried the program or have your two cents to chip in about unlocking the iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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iPhones Lead to Headaches on Duke’s Wireless Network

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 14:25
Category: iPhone

It’s new, it’s spiffy and damn is it cool to have.

And it’s apparently brought Duke University‘s wireless LAN system to its knees.

Writing for NetworkWorld.com, author John Cox has pointed out that anywhere from a dozen to 30 wireless access points have been overwhelmed by requests from several iPhone handsets.

At this time, campus network administrators are talking with Cisco, the campus’ main WLAN provider and have opened a help desk ticket with Apple.

“Because of the time of year for us, it‚’s not a severe problem,” commented Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology. “But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It’s a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they’e down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating.”

The iPhones apparently flood the access points with as many as 18,000 address requests per second, consuming almost 10 megabits per second of bandwidth and overtaking the access point to the point that the access point shows up as “out of service” for up to 10 to 15 minutes at a time. During these periods, there’s no way to communicate with them.

In addition to temporarily shutting the access points down, the iPhone, through the use of the Address Resolution Protocol, will request the MAC address of a destination node since the device has already obtained an Internet Protocol address. If the device receives no answer regarding the MAC address, it just keeps asking.

Miller has stated that Duke’s network team began capturing wireless traffic for analysis and discovered that the offending devices were iPhones. There are currently about 150 iPhones registered to use Duke’s campus WLAN.

“I’m not exactly sure where the ‘bad’ router address is coming from,” Miller says. One possibility: each offending iPhone may have been first connected to a home wireless router or gateway, and it may automatically and repeatedly be trying to reconnect to it again when something happens to the iPhone’s initial connection on the Duke WLAN.

They’re still sorting out what that “something” is. On two occasions, one last Friday and one today, Monday 16 July, both users seemed to be behaving completely normally, yet both iPhones started flooding the net with ARP requests. In both cases, the user first successfully connected to the WLAN at one location, and then moved to another building, where the ARP flood began. “It may have something to do with the iPhone losing connectivity and then trying to reconnect in a new location,” said Miller.

Duke has currently commented that the trouble ticket with Apple was “escalated”, but as of now, nothing substantive has been heard from the company.

This fall could prove interesting, especially if you’re in a campus network capacity.

If you’ve seen anything along these lines or have your own stories, ideas or feedback, let us know over in the forums.

Security Firm Expresses Concerns Over iPhone Browser Dialer

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 08:04
Category: iPhone

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Security firm SPI Labs claims to have discovered a threat to the iPhone’s security via the handset’s built-in MobileSafari browser. The company claims that the browser, which features an ability to dial phone numbers found on web sites, can be exploited in the following ways:
-Redirecting a call to a phone number other than the one seen on a given web site.
-Tracking calls to a site visitor.
-Bypassing the confirmation dialog box and forcing the call to continue.
-Preventing the phone from dialing calls altogether.
The firm has offered examples in which a user clicks on a malicious web site, then discovers they’re calling an international number and paying those rates.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, SPI Labs has opted not to disclose the actual nature of the exploit and how to perform it. The company has stated that they have alerted Apple and are cooperating with the company as to how to plug these holes. SPI Labs has also commented that the feature can simply not be used if users are worried about security.
If nothing else, the first iPhone software update should prove interesting.
Let us know your comments, ideas and thoughts on this over in the forums.

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iPhone Users Reporting Mixed Brightness on Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 07:53
Category: iPhone

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The grass may be always greener on the other side, but iPhone users may have a genuine complaint in this situation.
According to the guys over at iPhone Atlas, readers are reporting that some iPhone screens are brighter than others when set to the full brightness setting. The dimmer screens also seem to display a grid pattern on the background that appears as a checkered pattern of horizontal and vertical lines in all applications (a picture posted on ImageShack presents the difference).
The problem seems to stem from two distinct revisions of iPhone LCD panels being used, a 5 series and a 7 series. This can be tested via the following instructions:
-Put your iPhone in field test mode by accessing the Phone application, tapping Keypad, then entering *3001#12345#* and pressing Call.
-Tap Versions
-Inspect the entry next to LCD Panel ID
-Users have reported that iPhones with LCD Panel IDs that begin with 7 exhibit this problem, while those with IDs that begin with 5 do not — though we’ve seen reports from users with 7-series screens that do not exhibit the issue.
The article also suggests that when checking whether or not your iPhone has this issue, be sure to deactivate the Auto Brightness setting in your Settings menu, then reset the iPhone by holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for at least 10 seconds. The reading may be affected by ambient light and this is the best way to remove that factor.
Apple has yet to comment on this issue.
If you’ve seen this or anything similar with your iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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AT&T May Offer Discounted Data-Free iPhone Plan

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 13:03
Category: iPhone

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When enough customers get irked about something, a company usually works to accommodate then.
AT&T is no exception. According to Electronista, the provider may offer a low-cost data-free plan for iPhone users who threaten to drop their accounts.
Specifically, if a client calls complaining about Internet performance over its EDGE network, AT&T sales agents have apparently been offering to lower their monthly bills to US$40 as opposed to the current US$60/month minimum in exchange for dropping the unlimited data plan and SMS text messaging features.
Other features that arrived with the iPhone and its initial service plan will remain. Subscribers will still be able to use the iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature for browsing as well as have e-mail and YouTube access. Other features that will remain the same include 5,000 night and weekend minutes as well as 450 daytime minute. Visual Voicemail is disabled under the revised contract and the US$40/month fee tacks on minor service fees as well as charges 25 cents for each text message if a separate text bundle isn’t included within the revised account.
For subscribers failing to pass AT&T’s credit check during the activation process despite owning an iPhone, AT&T has quietly instituted GoPhone plans for these users. The GoPhone plan functions as a simplified prepay plan. Up to this point, AT&T had required that virtually all its plans include data and SMS features.
Not a bad alternative if you feel the iPhone’s data functions aren’t up to snuff, but not perfect either. As always, feel free to toss around your ideas and thoughts in the forums.

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Apple Confirms iPhone Battery Software Bug

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 08:05
Category: iPhone

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No matter how much you love your new iPhone, there may be some bugs to sort out.
As the result of a survey held over at The Cell Blog in which over 60% of respondents mentioned that their iPhone didn’t display a fully charged battery, a new comment has emerged.
An Apple PR representative responded with the following: “Your battery is fully charged, but the UI (User Interface) is just not correctly reflecting this. We expect to fix this in a software update.”
No word has been given as to when to expect the software update and Apple apparently has yet to publish any information regarding this bug.
If you’ve seen something similar to the bug in your experience with your own iPhone or have thoughts or ideas about this, let us know over in the forums.

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Guide Posted for Adding Custom Ringtones/Tweaks to iPhone

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2007, 13:31
Category: iPhone

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When the iPhone shipped a few weeks ago, it arrived without custom ringtones. I’ve told a few people who’ve groused about it that Apple might be sorting out an arrangement with a ringtone provider and that this might be taken care of in the first software update.
They weren’t terribly happy with that answer and I wasn’t that happy to give it. For US$499 and US$599, this seemed like a basic feature that should have been covered.
The guys over at iPhoneAlley may have a solution in the mean time. According to a guide that was just posted, a user named “Mubs” recently submitted a full tutorial to the site’s forums as to how to install custom ringtones to your iPhone.
It’s a bit technical and not for the faint of heart, but site head Michael Johnston reported that it worked perfectly on his iPhone and this is good enough for me.
So, if you get a chance, check it out and let us know how it goes in the forums.

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iPhone Battery Details Explained

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2007, 10:03
Category: iPhone

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We’ve been talking about the iPhone battery a fair amount this week and while there’s apparently no clear explanation as to whether there’s a bug in the software that controls it’s charge, the guys at Macworld were able to get to the bottom of the battery’s specific functions and expected life span in this article by Jason Snell.
Here, Snell explains that while the iPhone’s battery – like any other – can be expected to eventually die, reports by outlets such as CNET that the battery will last for about 400 charges or two years of use are being debunked.
Apple marketing vice president Greg Joswiak went on the record to comment that the iPhone’s battery can be expected to lose about 20% of its overall capacity “after 400 full charge and discharge cycles.”
Joswiak then went on to explain that “topping a battery off”, or recharging it from three quarters to full, qualified as a quarter charge cycle.
Joswiak also commented that tips toward battery conservation had been posted on the iPhone web site and that use and performance would vary from user to user.
For users needing to replace their battery a few years down the line, Apple will apparently offer a battery-replacement program, replacing batteries that die young and are under Apple’s warranty for free.
If you have any ideas on this or have seen some strangeness via your own iPhone battery, let us know over in the forums.

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iPhone Codes Leaked

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2007, 09:53
Category: iPhone

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Although the iPhone is still being unlocked, there’s still some cool hacks for you to try on your own.
The thoroughly-awesome Erica Sadun over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog discovered that certain Nokia phone codes were effective on an iPhone. She then Googled some other Nokia codes and found them to work as well.
So, for your edification:
“*3001#12345#* and tap Call. Enter Field Mode.
Field mode reveals many of the inner settings of your iPhone, specifically up-to-date network and cell information.
*#06# Displays your IMEI. No need to tap Call.
IMEI is the unique identifier for your cell phone hardware. Together with your SIM information it identifies you to the provider network.
*777# and tap Call. Account balance for prepaid iPhone.
*225# and tap Call. Bill Balance. (Postpaid only)
*646# and tap Call. Check minutes. (Postpaid only)
These three are pretty self explanatory.
*#21# and tap Call. Setting interrogation for call forwards.
Discover the settings for your call forwarding. You’ll see whether you have voice, data, fax, sms, sync, async, packet access, and pad access call forwarding enabled or disabled.
*#30# and tap Call. Calling line presentation check.
This displays whether you have enabled or disabled the presentation of the calling line, presumably the number of the party placing the call.
*#76# and tap Call. Check whether the connected line presentation is enabled or not.
State whether the connected line presentation is enabled or disabled. Presumably similar to the calling line presentation.
*#43# and tap Call. Determine if call waiting is enabled.
Displays call waiting status for voice, data, fax, sms, sync data, async data, packet access and pad access. Each item is either enabled or disabled.
*#61# and tap Call. Check the number for unanswered calls.
Show the number for voice call forwarding when a call is unanswered. Also show the options for data, fax, sms, sync, async, packet access and pad access.
*#62# and tap Call. Check the number for call forwarding if no service is available.
Just like the previous, except for no-service rather than no-answer situations.
*#67# and tap Call. Check the number for call forwarding when the iPhone is busy.
And again, but for when the iPhone is busy.
*#33# and tap Call. Check for call control bars.”
Give it a shot and let us know what comes up on your end over in the forums.

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AT&T Under Fire for iPhone Termination Fees

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2007, 11:11
Category: iPhone

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Despite the favorable reviews it’s received in the few weeks since its debut, the policies surrounding the iPhone came under fire yesterday when Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), chairman of a House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, had some choice words about AT&T’s termination fees.
According to The Boston Herald, Markey criticized AT&T’s US$175 early termination fee as well as AT&T acting as the exclusive provider for the iPhone until 2012 in yesterday’s hearings.
During his speech, Markey described the iPhone as akin to the Eagles’ song, “Hotel California”, in which “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave – you’re stuck with your iPhone and you can’t take it anywhere.‚Äù
The comment arose during a hearing to decide whether Congress should grant the cell-phone industry’s wish of being allowed to pre-empt states from regulating wireless phone companies. Individual state public utility commission currently hold the authority to regulate both the terms and conditions of wireless service agreements.
If you have any ideas or thoughts on this, let us know via the forums.

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