O'Grady's PowerPage » iPhone

Rumor: Apple looking to expand on voice commands in iOS 5.0

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 08:49
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Because you don’t spend enough time talking to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is rumored to be working on a means of vastly improving voice commands on devices like the iPhone and iPad with the anticipated release of iOS 5 later this year.

Apple’s “deeply integrated” voice control feature in iOS 5 is expected to be demoed at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. The voice control will reportedly be a combination of artificial intelligence and assistance technology, and Apple’s team is said to be putting the “finishing touches” on elements that will be demonstrated at WWDC.

The new features are said to stem from technology and personnel Apple obtained through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. Siri is the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone, and it allows users to speak to the device in plain conversational English to find information and automatically accomplish tasks, like booking a reservation at a restaurant.

The advanced voice control technology owned by Apple and said to be coming in iOS 5 may even be opened up to developers for use in third-party applications. However, author MG Siegler cautioned that information “isn’t quite as concrete.”

The latest rumor corroborates a report filed that went public earlier this year which claimed that Apple is working on “voice navigation” features in iOS 5. It also builds on rumors that circulated in February that Apple hopes to improve operation of the iPhone through voice commands due to some users’ dislike of using a virtual keyboard.

Apple announced on Monday that WWDC will kick off on June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, where the company plans to “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.” The annual developers conference sold out in a record 10 hours.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may be planning iOS 5.0 around a fall release

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

Even if you’re still trying to figure out if Apple’s iOS 4.3.1 update provided any meaningful fixes, there’s still iOS 5.0 on the horizon. Per TechCrunch, iOS 5.0 may not see the light of day until this fall, the rumor mill stating that Instead of Apple possibly unveiling the latest version this spring, we may not see an official preview until summer, possibly alongside WWDC.

The current rumors have presented the following details:
-iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.

-It could well be previewed at WWDC, but won’t be released then.

-The iOS 5 launch may coincide with the release of the oft talked about iPad 3.

-The new iOS would be built heavily around the cloud, and could see the launching of several new services by Apple that would take advantage of this.

-One of those said services would be a “music locker” service, which would see the aim for a fall launch, which is usually when Apple hosts their music-themed event.

-Much of the cloud information would first be covered at WWDC.

-The new cloud service element would include a location service for finding friends and family members.

-Some of the new cloud features could also make their way into OS X Lion as well.

Still, it could be interesting stuff, even if the usual timeline is thrown off a bit.

Stay tuned to PowerPage and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.1 update

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Date: Saturday, March 26th, 2011, 03:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Apple on Friday released iOS 4.3.1, the latest update to its mobile operating system. The update includes a handful of bug fixes and security patches for iOS devices.

Per Macworld, the update centers around a pair of graphics-related fixes: one for an occasional glitch on the 4th-generation iPod touch and one for flickering problems when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs. iOS 4.3.1 also resolves a problem with authenticating some enterprise Web services and some bugs experienced when activating and connecting to cellular networks.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches. To download and install it, connect your device to your Mac or PC and click Check for Updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), please let us know in the comments.

AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal could take up to one year for federal approval

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Date: Monday, March 21st, 2011, 07:00
Category: iPhone, News

Even if AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA for US$39 billion may come as good news, it might be a while before T-Mobile can offer an iPhone.

Per T-Mobile, U.S. customers of T-Mobile likely will not have access to Apple’s iPhone for at least one year, assuming a proposed acquisition from AT&T is granted federal approval.

Following the announcement on Sunday that AT&T plans to buy T-Mobile to create the largest wireless provider in the U.S., a list of frequently asked questions were posted on the official T-Mobile website. In that list, one question is specifically devoted to the iPhone, which is currently only available to AT&T and Verizon customers.

“T-Mobile USA remains an independent company,” the FAQ reads. “The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.”

T-Mobile cannot yet offer the iPhone because its wireless network is not compatible with the 3G radio found in the GSM version of Apple’s best-selling smartphone. And that won’t change until AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile is approved by federal regulators — a milestone that is by no means guaranteed.

The merging of customer bases from AT&T and T-Mobile would create a total of about 130 million users, making AT&T the largest carrier in the U.S. AT&T has touted that the acquisition of T-Mobile will help to speed up its own existing nationwide network.

Though they operate on different radio frequencies, the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile have a common technology base with 3G UMTS. That will make it easier for AT&T to merge the two networks and ensure that handsets from both companies will be compatible on the same network.

T-Mobile’s FAQ also notes that the acquisition will offer “significant benefits” for customers, improving network quality and boosting speeds.

“The merger will ensure the deployment of a robust 4G LTE network to 95% of the U.S. population, something neither company would achieve on its own,” it reads. “Also, because of our compatible networks and spectrum, the customers of T-Mobile USA and AT&T will experience improved voice and data service almost immediately after the networks are integrated.”

Customers were also advised that they should not wait to sign up with T-Mobile or upgrade their handset, as the company remains independent until the deal is approved. The company will also honor all contracted plans that are entered into before the change of ownership.

AT&T announced on Sunday its plans to acquire T-Mobile for US$39 billion. The cash and stock deal, if approved, would give Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile USA, an 8% stake in AT&T.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the deal, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T to buy T-Mobile’s American unit for US$39 billion

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Date: Monday, March 21st, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News


Wireless carrier AT&T has announced a definitive agreement to buy Deutsche Telekom’s American T-Mobile subsidiary in a cash and stock deal worth about US$39 billion, and giving the German carrier an 8% stake in AT&T.

Per Yahoo, the two companies issued a press release outlining the terms of the deal, which has been approved by the board of both carriers.

T-Mobile and AT&T share similar GSM and UMTS/HSPA networks, and both are working to build new next generation networks using HSPA+ and LTE. However, obtaining the rights to radio spectrum and building out these networks is both expensive and complex.

AT&T’s chief executive Randall Stephenson said the deal “provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in some markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive demand for mobile broadband.”

T-Mobile had been rumored to be entering talks with Sprint, but those two companies run incomparable networks and have diverging future plans, as Sprint operates both CDMA and iDEN (from its merger with Nextel, which it plans to phase out) networks and has begun building a next generation WiMAX network with Clearwire (WiMAX competes with LTE as a next generation mobile network technology).

The release said that AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers “will see service improvements – including improved voice quality – as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure,” noting that as soon as the deal closes, AT&T “will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken on average five years to build without the transaction, and double that in some markets.”

Absorbing T-Mobile “will increase AT&T’s network density by approximately 30% in some of its most populated areas, while avoiding the need to construct additional cell towers. This transaction will increase spectrum efficiency to increase capacity and output, which not only improves service, but is also the best way to ensure competitive prices and services in a market where demand is extremely high and spectrum is in short supply,” the release says.

By bolstering its existing GSM, UMTS and HSPA+ networks, AT&T will be able to better focus on future LTE capacity, rather than struggling to get its existing network to meet today’s demand. While T-Mobile operates its 3G UMTS network on different frequencies than AT&T, its basic 2G GSM network is identical. AT&T can also use the networks and towers T-Mobile operates to strengthen its own.

The incorporation of T-Mobile’s American unit adds 33.7 million subscribers to AT&T’s network of of about 95.5 million, creating a total of about 130 million users, and becoming the largest American carrier. The deal will also expand Apple’s iPhone to three of what were the top four US carriers, as Apple has already brought it to Verizon earlier this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: View an AVI file on your iOS device

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Date: Friday, March 18th, 2011, 04:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News


As nifty as Apple’s iOS devices are, there are some limitations. One of these hurdles is the ability to play videos in an AVI format, which isn’t supported by iTunes or the native video player in the iPhone and iPad.

The cool cats at Mac|Life have thrown together a quick guide as to how to solve this problem, the author recommending that the HandBrake program can be used to convert an AVI movie into an MP4 file that will play perfectly on our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Users can also download an iPhone or iPad app that does play these files, such as CineXPlayer for iPad (US$2.99) or the universal GoodPlayer (US$2.99), and use that to watch your videos without needing to convert them.

If you’ve played with any of these programs or have conversion tips of your own, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple may include near-field communications feature in iPhone 5

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Date: Friday, March 18th, 2011, 03:24
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Last week the word on the street was that the iPhone 5 would lack near-field communications which would have turned the device into a nifty, portable e-wallet.

This week the feature might be back as a report by Forbes blogger Elizabeth Woyke on Friday has countered a recent report from The Independent that denied rumors of wireless NFC technology in Apple’s next generation iPhone. The Independent claimed earlier this week that Apple had disclosed to “several” mobile operators in the U.K. its alleged decision to abandon plans to include the feature in the so-called iPhone 5.

According to Woyke, “an entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC project” cited a friend who works at Apple to assert that the iPhone 5 will have NFC contactless capabilities. The entrepreneur also told Woyke that manufacturers of NFC readers expect Apple’s next smartphone to have NFC and are gearing up for “the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring, likely this summer.”

Woyke acknowledged The Independent’s claims, noting that many had been “surprised” by the report. The U.K. publication had cited “the lack of a clear standard” as Apple’s reason for allegedly delaying the feature.

However, Woyke affirmed her faith in the credibility of her source, in spite of the on-again, off-again nature of the report. “I trust this source and know he has connections in the NFC market because of his own project,” she wrote.

In January, Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group claimed that Apple planned to start its own retail-based mobile payment service as early as mid-2011. It should be noted, however, that Doherty erroneously predicted that Apple would add an NFC chip to the iPad 2.

Last month, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, fueled speculation even more when it mentioned Apple during a presentation on e-wallet payment systems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Upcoming case designs show iPhone 4 to be almost identical to iPhone 5

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Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 03:51
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you like the basic shape and design of the iPhone 4, then it looks like you’ll be fond of the iPhone 5.

Per HardMac, Apple’s next-generation iPhone will sport an exterior design largely identical to the current iPhone 4, if new cases from overseas are to be believed.

The picture of case renderings, obtained by HardMac, shows identical button placement and SIM card slot. It also has the same space on the back for a camera and flash.

The report noted that the information is not “confirmed,” but dubbed the source “reliable.”

“These cases would be prototypes of the iPhone 5 cases, based on the mockup that was provided by Apple,” the report said. “There is apparently no fundamental change on the placement of the buttons and the SIM card slot.”

If accurate, the renderings would likely disprove an earlier rumor that Apple is looking to abandon the steel outer frame of the iPhone 4 following bad publicity over alleged antenna issues. That rumor also suggested the so-called “iPhone 5” would adopt an antenna back, suggesting a major redesign.

Last week, alleged engineering sketches claimed to show off the iPhone 5 showed a device with a larger edge-to-edge display. Aside from the bigger screen, the rest of the device was shown unchanged externally from the iPhone 4.

If you have two cents to heave on this, please let us know in the comments.

White iPhone 4 icon located in iTunes 10.2 resource files

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Date: Wednesday, March 16th, 2011, 10:20
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

Ya know, eventually you’d give up on waiting for Godot.

But you’d still wonder if he came by 10 minutes after you left.

Per Mac Rumors, an icon depicting a white version of the CDMA iPhone 4 has been spotted in iTunes 10.2. The article, which reported that the icon is in the application’s resource files, is different from the existing GSM illustration in that it depicts the antenna break found on the top right side of the CDMA model that is not present in the GSM version. As the report notes, the icon’s appearance isn’t a guarantee that the long-awaited model will be available in a CDMA version, but instead suggests that designer responsible created it based on either a belief that the such a model exists, or as a “just-in-case” addition. Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller recently indicated that the white iPhone 4 is still on track for a spring release, adding, “it is a beauty!”

In other news, the authorities are offering a $15,000 reward to the first person who can provide authentic video evidence that they’ve tackled Bigfoot and given him an extreme makeover…

Additional iPhone/Daylight Savings Time errors reported

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Date: Tuesday, March 15th, 2011, 03:05
Category: iPhone, News

If you had problems with your iPhone’s clock around daylight savings time, you’re not alone. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, this past weekend, as clocks were turned forward for Daylight Savings time in the US, some users were still having issues of varying kinds, from clocks changing when they weren’t supposed to, to alarms not going off when set up correctly. Some users are even reporting the time changing just fine, and then inexplicably switching back.

Since most of the information on the issues is anecdotal, it’s hard to pin down exactly what’s happening, but it seems to be something going on between the phone’s software and a connection to the local provider’s time information. Most of the issues are being fixed by flipping Airport Mode on and off (to re-establish the cellular connection) or even just restarting the phone. Alternately, users can set the time themselves manually, though having a phone that sets its own time is obviously a lot more convenient.

At any rate, it looks like Apple is continuing to deal with this ongoing issue. From your end, take a quick gander to make sure everything’s where it needs to be and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.