comiXology Releases Comics for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:00
Category: iPhone, Software

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Over at San Diego Comic-Con, Iconology Inc. announced the launch of its Comics by comiXology App on the App Store. The Comics by comiXology App is a digital comic library and reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch handsets that is launching with over 100 titles available from twenty popular comic publishers and many independent comic writers.

Comic book enthusiasts can now read their comics in a format designed to preserve the comic book experience on an iPhone or iPod touch, but also locate and connect with local retailers to purchase the printed version of the titles.

The application offers a “guided view” that keeps the entire page of a comic intact, unlike other solutions where the page is cut into individual pictures the user browses like a photo application.

Among the twenty publishers that have already signed up to deliver their titles through Comics by comiXology are many well-known industry icons including:

  • AdHouse Books
  • Arcana Comics
  • Asylum Press
  • Bluewater Comics
  • Com.X
  • Creative Impulse Entertainment
  • Digital Webbing
  • eigoMANGA
  • Evil Twin Comics
  • First Salvo
  • Image Comics (Active Images, Allred, Kirkman, Wagner, Brunswick, Revel and more)
  • Markosia
  • Moonstone
  • Red 5
  • Slave Labor Graphics
  • Th3rd World Studios
  • Zenescope

Additionally, popular comics writer Robert Kirkman has agreed to deliver his titles exclusively through Comics by comiXology making it the only place to get “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” for iPhone and iPod touch.

The Comics by comiXology App is now available, including over 30 free comics, for US$0.99 from the App Store.

Apple Applies for Wireless License in China

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple may have finally cleared a major hurdle in bringing its iPhone handset to China, as the company has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country. The moves could put a release just a few months away, albeit without Wi-Fi.

According to AppleInsider, Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison claims that the application was filed on Friday, July 10th, but doesn’t make any mention of onboard Wi-Fi. Rumors have repeatedly hinted that Apple may be forced to remove Wi-Fi to appease the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which would prefer that iPhone owners use local networks.

Apple has supposedly been “hellbent” on shipping the iPhone to China with Wi-Fi but appears to have relented in order to get the phone into the populous nation.

If the process moves along as usual, this revised iPhone would take between four to six months to receive the green light and go on sale. This would put a launch no later than January, and Mathison seemed confident that the device would arrive before the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 will start in mid-February. Mathison stated that he views the licensing as partly a negotiation tactic that would help bring Apple closer to a deal with China Unicom, the carrier recently pegged as the most likely candidate for an iPhone due to its inherent compatibility with the iPhone’s existing 3G standards.

While it’s rare to have an estimate that narrows the release window for an iPhone in China, whether or not this latest prediction is accurate remains debatable. Local carriers have been in talks with Apple since at least late 2007, and one-time favorite China Mobile has often tried making multiple special requests that have likely stalled hopes for a quick agreement, such as demanding that the American company either use the government-backed TD-SCDMA standard for 3G or cede control of the App Store.

Apple has so far only stated that it wants to have the iPhone in China within the next year and has been silent on the progress of negotiations.

iPhone OS 3.0 Users Reporting Difficulties with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Connections

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone, Software

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, there may be some issues to sort out. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS handsets are reported to have wireless connectivity issues that, in over fourteen Apple Discussion threads and over six hundred messages, have placed the blame for this issue on iPhone OS 3.0.

The problem, verified by many, states that when updating to the new software, Wi-Fi connectivity on the iPhone 3G either decreased or vanished entirely. Those who were used to getting full bars of Wi-Fi connectivity now experience markedly less bars. Worse, even if some signal strength bars are displayed, often there is no Internet connectivity.

Many solutions have been proposed including resetting the router, changing settings (seemingly at random), and even putting the 3G in the freezer:

“Also i might note, I turned off wifi, turned off the phone, put it in the freezer (in a bag) for 10 mins, turned the phone back on, put the phone right next to my wifi antenna and then turned on wifi and it joined, it JUST joined and I couldnt believe it,” says one forum poster. Several others report similar results, but this fix did not last long. In fact, blog posts have been written about possible solutions, but none of them seemed to pan out after using Wi-Fi for a short period of time.

Replacement iPhones have been circulated through Apple Stores, though this didn’t seem to fix the problem either.

A lesser yet still present problem reported in the Discussions is a lack of Bluetooth connectivity in conjunction with the lack of Wi-Fi. It seems that losing Bluetooth for those affected is a package deal with Wi-Fi.

Apple is reported to be well aware of this problem and as time goes on and the number affected increases, Apple Stores are acknowledging the problem and replacing phones, albeit without a solid set of solutions at the moment.

If you’ve seen these issues on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Wireless Carrier China Unicom Apparently Leading Race to Bring iPhone to China

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone

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In the ongoing (and sometimes epic) struggle to bring the iPhone to China, wireless carrier is purportedly closest to reach a deal but still faces an attack from dominant carrier China Mobile.

According to AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. claims to have sources aware of Apple’s leanings and gives China Unicom the nod as Apple favors the finances, hardware compatibility and degree of control it would get through an agreement. China Unicom is reportedly more willing to heavily subsidize the iPhone to its creator’s satisfaction and to let Apple have its usual say over the device and its software, both of which are doubtful through China Mobile. Rumors have long swirled that China Mobile is insisting on controlling the local App Store, a practice that Apple hasn’t allowed once in the history of its cellphones.

The smaller of the two Chinese carriers boasts 133 million carriers compared to China Mobile’s 488 million but is in the middle of deploying a 3G cellular network that uses UMTS and WCDMA, both standards that are already supported by the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Should Apple go with China Unicom, the deal would let Apple keep selling the same iPhone in China as it does elsewhere while also getting more reach: the faster network should reach 284 cities within several months.

In comparison, China Mobile’s government-supported TD-SCDMA standard for 3G would require that Apple incorporate a custom chipset just for the one carrier and would come with growth limitations of its own. Despite having over three times as many customers, the larger carrier will reach nearly 50 fewer cities with its 3G and doesn’t anticipate the network reaching complete coverage until three years from now, or well after China Unicom’s network is ready.

Wu’s contacts, however, maintain that Apple doesn’t entirely consider China Mobile “out of the running” both through its sheer influence and its interest in the iPhone, which would be a victory even in a country well-known for grey market imports.

Wu has indicated that he doesn’t see a deal with either carrier as close enough to force a change in predicted iPhone numbers for now and the year ahead. About 20 million iPhones should ship in 2009 and 26 million in 2010. All the same, he notes that Chinese shouldn’t necessarily be disappointed without an official deal thanks to the nation’s thriving bootleg community.

“Our sources indicate that iPhones will likely continue to flow into China,” Wu says. “There are an estimated 1 million-1.5 million iPhones in use despite lack of an official carrier relationship.”

Apple Store Locations to Begin Replacing Broken Displays

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 03:51
Category: iPhone, News

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As mixed as Apple can be, sometimes its service offerings move in the right direction.

Last month, Apple announced that its AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone would extend technical support to two years from the iPhone’s date of purchase as well as extend hardware coverage to two years as well. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple this week announced that a specific repair, screen replacement, can be performed at Apple Store Genius Bars while the customer waits. The service is free if your phone is under warranty and would otherwise retail for US$199.

Security Hole Found in iPhone SMS Code

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Date: Friday, July 3rd, 2009, 02:17
Category: iPhone, News

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Over at the SyScan conference in Singapore, security researcher Charlie Miller cited his discovery of a new significant exploit in the iPhone’s SMS system. The flaw may “allow an attacker to remotely install and run unsigned software code with root access to the phone.”

“The SMS vulnerability allows an attacker to run software code on the phone that is sent by SMS over a mobile operator’s network. The malicious code could include commands to monitor the location of the phone using GPS, turn on the phone’s microphone to eavesdrop on conversations, or make the phone join a distributed denial of service attack or a botnet.”

According to HotHardware, it’s unlikely that there could be any risk of a wide-spread attack on iPhones, though the high number of iPhone handsets out there make it an issue. Miller has agreed with Apple to wait until Black Hat USA expo in Las Vegas later this year to release the details of the exploit, giving Apple a window of time to patch the exploit.

Apple Issues Overheating Warning for iPhone, iPhone 3GS Handsets

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Date: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, 04:18
Category: iPhone

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Whether reports of iPhones overheating are entirely true or not, Apple seems to be taking the situation seriously enough to reveal the presence of a temperature warning screen for the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

According to Gearlog, an unknown but probably very small number of iPhones have been affected by overheating, to the point that some white iPhone 3GSes have allegedly turned pink.

Apple, has issued what some might call a “common sense” warning: a support document that warns users not to keep the iPhone in an environment where temperatures can exceed 113 degrees Fahrenheit, including parked cars.

The company has also warned that CPU-intensive applications, such playing music or using the GPS while in direct sunlight may also overheat the iPhone.

In that case, actually using the iPhone in temperatures over 95 degrees can also trigger the temperature warning. “Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly,” Apple warns.

Obviously, summer temperatures in many locations top 95 degrees.Las Vegas, for example, has forecasts topping 100 degrees for the next 10 days; Phoenix routinely climbs above 103.

Apple also says that the iPhone 3G and 3GS should not be stored where the temperature can fall under -4 degrees Fahrenheit, or used in less in temperatures under 0 degrees F.

If the phone exceeds those temperatures, Apple says, the iPhone may stop charging, its display might dim, a weak cellular signal may be experienced, and the temperature warning screen on the left may also appear. Apple’s support document implies that there’s a temperature sensor of some sort built in to the iPhone 3G or 3G S

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if you’ve seen this on your end.

Some iPhone 3GS Owners Reporting Overheating, Problem May Link to iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, 03:11
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Software

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Despite the iPhone 3GS being out and nifty, a number of handset owners have reported problems wherein some units overheat and become too hot to touch. According to French web site Le Journal du Geek and the Apple Core, the handsets are apparently becoming so warm that their white plastic cases are discoloring to a brownish pink tone.

iPhone 3G models in the same color aren’t affected by the same problem, nor do black iPhone 3GS models appear to suffer the issue at this stage — though these last owners aren’t completely exempt from the root causes. A number of reports have surfaced that some phones are getting particularly hot under certain circumstances, such as using the handset while it’s connected to a power source.

Over on The Inquirer, the current report is that the overheating may be due to faulty battery cells whereas Aaron Vronko of Rapid Repair has stated that “overheating is likely an issue due to faulty battery cells” and could result in “massive recalls of iPhone 3G S units.”

Finally, Wired’s Charlie Sorrell has chimed in that the problem may not be limited to the iPhone 3GS hardware itself but could be applicable to Apple’s recently-released iPhone OS 3.0 firmware update for the iPhone and iPod touch handsets.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

Several Original iPhone Owners Report Difficulty Maintaining Wireless Connections Under iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, a number of original iPhone owner have reported that their handsets are having difficulty remaining connected to wireless networks.

According to MacFixIt, complaints similar to the following description have been left over on the site’s discussion board:

MacFixIt reader Mark M. reports:
“I’ve been having persistent problems getting my iPhone to remember Wi-Fi networks after the upgrade to 3.0. I’ve been following the Apple User Group discussions (iphone, network) and have followed the suggestions there (restore the phone; forget network settings) to no avail. I have a 1st gen iPhone and currently I have to go to settings, general, reset, reset network settings several times a day to maintain a Wi-Fi connection to my home airport. From the User Group discussions it appears this is a fairly common problem.”

The issue currently appears to be bigger than single cases and has also been reported with many iPhones running iPhone OS 2.2.1 as well as units with the iPhone OS 3.0 update installed.

Over on the Apple Discussions Board, user “GoHawks” reported the following:

“A lot of us, myself included, are all of a sudden having this issue. Mine started a few weeks ago as well, when I was running 2.2.1, and continued on into 3.0. Every once in a while it will work, but it’s a rare occurrence. Unfortunately all the tips and tricks don’t appear to work for me either, things I’ve tried include:
1. Reset Network settings
2. Reset All Settings
3. Restore (done about 12 of them over the last couple of weeks)
4. Deleting various apps to see if that makes a difference
5. Reboots
6. Airplane Mode on/off
7. Toggle WiFi
8. Turn of Bluetooth
9. Resetting the phone by holding the top button and home until it reboots
I’ve done all of this many times and every once in a while one of them will seem to work, but within an hour I’ve lost it again. Even when I have it I’m constantly having to put in my password information for the networks I connect to with encryption.”

Currently there does not appear to be a permanent fix for this issue. Most users report that a combination of any of the above attempts for a solution will temporarily provide relief and decent wireless performance.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the new, revamped and nifty comments section!

Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 Released, Adds Support for iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Thursday, June 25th, 2009, 05:18
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Mac, Software

synciconSoftware developer Mark/Space announced the released of Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 on Wednesday. The Mac client of the application allows you to synchronize notes, documents, and tasks and archive text messages and call history from your iPhone onto your Mac (and vice-versa wherever it applies).

Version 2.0.2, a 13.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Added support for iPhone OS 3.0.
  • Improved stability with importing Apple Notes, SMS and Call Log information.
  • Fixed a problem that prevented the Check for Updates feature from installing the downloaded update.
  • Fixed an issue where importing Apple notes could cause duplicate notes.
  • Fixed an issue on Tiger (Mac OS X v10.4.x) where the client id we generated for Sync Services was too long (> 63 chars).
  • Fixed a problem that could cause a crash when syncing Notes with Entourage.
  • Added an “Import Apple Voice Memos” checkbox to the Notes plugin settings sheet that’s enabled only when syncing to Notebook. If checked, any recordings the user has made with the “Voice Memos” app are placed into a “Voice Memos” category in Notebook.
  • Added an “Import Voicemails” checkbox to the Notes plugin settings sheet that’s enabled only when syncing to Notebook. If checked, any voicemails the user has on his iPhone are placed into a “Voicemail” category in Notebook.
  • iTunes 2.8 has the option to encrypt backup files. If the option to encrypt backup files is enabled in iTunes, The Missing Sync cannot read call log, sms messages, voice memos, voicemail, or import Apple iPhone notes.

Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.2 retails for US$40 for a single user license and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.