Apple debuts iPhone OS 4.0 in San Francisco

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Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 12:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Over in San Francisco, Apple gave iPhone developers and the media a sneak preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, announcing major changes in multitasking capabilities, changes to the Mail application, and a built-in advertising system highlight the features that make up iPhone OS 4.0.

Per Macworld, developers could get their hands on a preview of the 4.0 update on Thursday although users will have to wait until at least the summer. Owners of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users will be able to take advantage of all the features, while second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G models will only support some of the update’s enhancements. iPhone OS 4.0 won’t be available for the iPad until the fall.

The iPhone OS 4.0 update will reportedly introduce 1,500 new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers and more than 100 new user features, including playlist creation, 5x digital zoom in the camera app, tap-to-focus for video, auto photo-geotagging, and support for Bluetooth keyboards. During the preview, Apple focused on seven new aspect that it called “tentpole” features: multitasking, folders, Mail improvements, iBooks for the iPhone, enhancements for business users, a social gaming network, and iAd.

iAds, perhaps the newest thing, functions as Apple’s new advertising platform designed specifically for the iPhone OS. The architecture allows developers the functionality to build ads directly into their apps; the ads, written using the HTML5 standard, are designed to provide a rich promotional environment, complete with what are essentially mini apps-inside-the-app.

Camera for iPad allows iPad users to borrow iPhone, iPod touch cameras via Bluetooth

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Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

The iPad currently lacks a built-in camera.

And some of you are combining your pitchfork technology with your torch technology and planning on waving flaming pitchforks outside 1 Infinite Loop (and Steve’s office) about this.

Still, there might be a solution to this.

Headlight Software’s Camera for iPad [App Store, US$0.99] allows iPad users to take photos on their iPad using their iPhone camera. Per iLounge, users load the Camera for iPad app on both their iPhone and iPad and can then establish a Bluetooth connection between the two devices.

Once connected, users can take photos on the iPad from the iPhone camera. A live view is shown on the iPad screen and users can zoom in and out and rotate the view using standard pinch and swipe gestures. Photos are taken at the maximum resolution of the iPhone camera and automatically transferred to the iPad over Bluetooth and stored in the iPad’s Saved Photos album.

The application can also be used with a second- or third-generation iPod touch or another iPhone 3G or 3GS although the original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are not currently supported.

Camera for iPad is a Universal app and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later to install and run.

Keep your iPad cool, out of direct sunlight

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Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

As nifty as the iPad may be, one of the largest concerns regarding the new tablet is an apparent problem with rising temperatures when operating the touch-screen tablet in direct sunlight or other hot conditions.

Per CNET, several sites around the Internet have cited the heat problem, which brings back memories of the iPhone’s heat issues, especially prevalent with the release of the iPhone 3G.

It is widely expected, however, that a firmware update will likely fix the heating issues (as it did with the iPhones). Some users, in the meantime, have resorted to refrigeration as a means of cooling their iPad. Apple suggests keeping your iPad in operating temperatures at a maximum of 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), which may be a tall order for iPad owners living in warmer climates.

For the time being (and until the first inevitable firmware update), keep an eye on your iPad usage when you’re outside. Try and stay out of direct sunlight and keep your iPad covered whenever possible. Should you get the overheated warning, move your iPad to a cooler location, wait a few minutes, and reset it. Everything should work fine.

If you’ve seen your iPad overheat or come close to it or have figured out a nifty way of keeping it cool, please let us know.

Apple schedules iPhone OS 4.0 preview for April 8th, speculation emerges

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Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

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On Monday, Apple announced that it would hold a special invite-oly press event in San Francisco on April 8th to offer a preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system.

“Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS,” the event invitation reads per Macworld UK.

With nothing specific on the table, speculation as to what can be expected has run across the following lines:

Multitasking:
Per recent rumors and reports, Apple has been looking to include full multitasking and may be doing this via an Expose-like approach which will show open programs revealed when the user double-clicks the iPhone’s Home button. Multitasking always seems to have a place on iPhone OS wish lists and it makes sense to match Android OS-based smartphones on their own ground.

Global Mailbox and Home Screen Contacts:
Recent iPhone OS 4.0 rumors have centered around a global inbox that merges multiple e-mail accounts into a unified view, plus the ability to add specific contact names as icons on the iPhone’s home screen. These changes could be useful on a lot of levels but might also be stepping stones to larger feature inclusions.

GPS Navigation:
With Google adding free, turn-by-turn, voice-guided GPS navigation to its Android phones, and Nokia doing the same for several of its handsets, the pressure’s on Apple to offer something similar. Apple acquired mapping company Placebase last summer, and also posted a job ad last November seeking an engineer to help overhaul the iPhone’s Maps app. A major GPS application seems likely and Apple has taken several important steps towards this.

Verizon iPhone, 4G iPhone:
It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s event is aimed at the iPhone’s operating system, not hardware. Don’t expect to hear anything about Verizon iPhones or next-generation iPhones. Just as Apple announced the 3.0 OS in March 2009, and the iPhone 3GS in June, any news on the hardware front is probably a few months away.

Email Attachments, Contact and SMS Groups, Rotation Lock:
Though this is pure speculation, a lot of iPhone OS users have griped about it. To this day, users can’t attach files within the e-mail app (you can only send them from outside apps), and the inability to create groups for contacts or text messages is a pain. With the iPad getting its own handy rotation lock switch, it may be time to build this into the larger iPhone OS.

Stay tuned for additional details and full event coverage come April 8th.

And if you have any changes you’d like to see made to the iPhone OS in version 4.0, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.

Apple “rejiggers” iPhone to ease load on AT&T network

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Date: Wednesday, March 31st, 2010, 05:25
Category: iPhone, News

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A new report profiling AT&T’s bandwidth troubles posed by millions of iPhone units reveals that AT&T had Apple modify the handset to ease strain on the company’s network. Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said he and other executives flew to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus to give the handset maker a “crash course in wireless networking.” With regular return meetings at Apple, AT&T employees helped the iPhone designers create new technologies to limit the strain on the wireless provider.

“Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T’s towers,” the report said. “As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.”

Donovan told the Journal that Apple’s designers are now “in a Master’s class” on networking, having learned the basics and worked with AT&T to improve the iPhone dramatically. Exactly what changes were made, and whether they were hardware or software based, were not revealed.

The article also revealed that AT&T executives set up a 100-day play in December of 2009 to improve the company’s network in large cities where users most commonly experience dropped calls. A random performance test released in February found that AT&T’s 3G network speeds had improved by 84%.

But the Journal also noted Tuesday that AT&T is still “racing” to improve its network as Apple is rumored to be working on a CDMA capable iPhone that could be headed to the Verizon network as soon as this year.

Apple releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK gold master

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Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, 04:56
Category: iPad, iPhone, Software

Late Monday, Apple release the Gold Master version of its iPhone OS 3.2 SDK, which will act as the final version of the development kit. Per MacNN, developers can also now download the official iPad 3.2 firmware and corresponding licensing agreement with the agreement hints at terms for future firmware upgrades.

“Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free,” the agreement reads.

While iPhone owners have been permitted to download every major firmware update at no charge, the iPod touch requires a modest fee for similar downloads. The iPad appears to balance both models, providing one major revision at no cost but charging for further updates.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple working on standard fourth-gen iPhone for summer, CDMA iphone for Verizon

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Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, 03:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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In addition to the anticipated release of a fourth generation iPhone this summer, the Wall Street Journal has stated that Apple is also working on a CDMA-capable version that could run on the Verizon network in the U.S.

In a report issued Monday evening, Journal reporters Yukari Iwati Kane, Tin-I Tsai and Niraj Sheth reported that Apple “appears” to be working on a new iPhone model for Verizon Wireless. The report suggested that the CDMA iPhones might come after Apple introduces a new handset this summer, as the CDMA iPhones are not scheduled to go into mass production until September. The report noted it was “unclear when Apple might make the model available.”

“The people briefed on the matter said one of the new iPhones is being manufactured by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which produced Apple’s previous iPhones,” the report said. “The model that has CDMA capability, used by Verizon Wireless, is being manufactured by Pegatron Technology Corp., the contract manufacturing subsidiary of Taiwan’s ASUSTeK Computer Inc., said these people.”

Apple is expected to introduce a fourth generation iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference this summer. A calendar listing for San Francisco’s Moscone Center, where the event is usually held, has led some to believe that WWDC 2010 could take place between June 28 and July 2.

In January, Apple executives made a clear effort to demonstrate they are happy with their partnership with AT&T. The company also aimed to downplay speculation that the iPhone would become available on multiple carriers in the with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook stating that multi-carrier strategies are not the best option for every country.

“I don’t want to imply that would happen in every market or that we are headed that way in every market,” Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings call. He also specifically defended AT&T and said the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier is working to alleviate coverage concerns across the country.

The rumored September manufacture date reported would fit with rumors that Apple could launch a UMTS/CDMA hybrid iPhone in the third quarter of calendar 2010. However, some have speculated that the technology will not be ready for the iPhone until 2011 at the earliest.

Earlier this year, one report alleged that Apple and Verizon were in negotiations for a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, but the two companies were said to be at odds over pricing. That report alleged that Apple could still make a CDMA phone for other markets like China and Japan, even if a deal with Verizon couldn’t be reached.

Other sources have stated that the new iPhone to be introduced this summer will bring the latest update to its mobile operating system, iPhone OS 4.0, and with it support for full-fledged multitasking with third-party applications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to begin national rollout of 3G MicroCell device in April

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Date: Thursday, March 25th, 2010, 05:05
Category: iPhone, News

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After months of promotion, AT&T announced that the company will begin the formal national rollout of its 3G MicroCell service next month.

Per AppleInsider, the company announced that there would be no additional costs, other than the purchase of the 3G MicroCell device, for using the 3G MicroCell service, as minutes used through the hardware affect the account of the phone making the call. Individual or Family talk subscribers can pay US$19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device.

The 3G MicroCell hardware itself will retail for US$149.99, but comes with a US$100 mail in rebate for customers who select a MicroCell calling plan. In addition, customers who purchase a new line of broadband service with AT&T are also eligible for a US$50 mail-in rebate. Those who select both could receive the hardware for free.

The hardware blankets a 5,000 square foot area, about a 40 foot radius from the device, to provide voice, data and text service coverage in areas that might otherwise be a “dead zone” for cell phone reception. The hardware supports up to four users making simultaneous calls, and up to 10 on 3G standby available for incoming calls and messages.

Last September, Charlotte, North Carolina served as the first test market for the femtocell device, which provides 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service from the home. In order to support that bandwidth, the device must be connected to an appropriately fast broadband connection.

AT&T was expected to expand its 3G MicroCell service to other markets in 2009, but until this week availability was limited to Charlotte. In that test, the device was said to cost US $150 and carried no monthly fees.

In February, AT&T expanded its trial of the 3G MicroCell service to five markets, adding select counties in Georgia, South Carolina, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Opera Mobile web browser submitted to App Store for approval

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Date: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010, 04:41
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Opera on Tuesday revealed that the company had submitted its Opera mobile web browser, which uses server-side compression to offer faster mobile Web browsing, to the App Store.

Per AppleInsider, the app is now awaiting Apple’s review.

“The Opera Mini for iPhone sneak peek during MWC told us that we have something special,” said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software. “Opera has put every effort into creating a customized, stylized, feature-rich and highly responsive browser that masterfully combines iPhone capabilities with Opera’s renowned Web experience, and the result is a high performing browser for the iPhone.”

The company has advertised that its server-side rendering allows compression of data by up to 90%.

Nick Bilton of The New York Times used the latest version of Opera Mini for iPhone, and reported Tuesday that the browser “loaded pages extremely quickly.” He also said the browser offers features unavailable in Apple’s own Mobile Safari, including the ability to search the content of a Web page.

Still, Opera Mobile apparently lacks one defining feature of the iPhone: pinch-to-zoom capabilities. The feature could reportedly be added in a future release of the software provided Apple allows this.

Last month, Opera began touting the speed of its mobile browser, which uses a special form of compression to render Web pages more quickly. Before its official unveiling, talk of Opera Mini for iPhone occurred soon after the App Store opened in 2008.

Until now, Apple has rejected any browsers that are not based on the WebKit engine built into the iPhone OS. The company has not indicated that it has changed its policies, suggesting that Apple could reject Opera’s submission.

Officials with Opera have said they believe there is no reason for Apple to reject the Opera Mini browser from the App Store. Opera’s mobile browser is not based on the WebKit open source project.

Opera’s iPhone browser reportedly achieves speeds up to six times faster than Apple’s Safari when running over 3G. The alleged superior speeds are achieved through compression technology used by the company that allows less data transfer by using the company’s servers.

Either way it sounds cool and good luck to Opera, it’d be nice to have a choice of web browsers on the iPhone.