O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Korean wireless carriers deny Nexus S handset, say iPhone remains safe

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Date: Friday, December 31st, 2010, 09:04
Category: iPhone, News

Korean cell carriers are turning service for down the Nexus S handset both because of Google’s control but also because of Apple, insider tips said late Thursday. According to The Korea Times, both KT and SK Telecom are reportedly upset that Google’s insistence on a pure Android experience won’t let them promote their own proprietary apps and services. Google’s control of the marketing for the Android 2.3 flagship also wouldn’t give them the marketing angle they would like.

The iPhone is also cited as a reason for the lack of any plans. Even SK Telecom, which has often had Nexus S maker Samsung’s blessing as the anti-iPhone carrier, reportedly doesn’t believe that the official Google phone would have any effect. “The Nexus S won’t make a huge impact enough to break the current iPhone stronghold,” an anonymous official from the carrier said.

KT has still said it has “no plans,” though its position may be mixed. Most of its smartphone performance is based on the iPhone, even though it was the only carrier to sell the Nexus One in Korea. The Android device has sold at much lower levels, at 50,000 units since July, but KT is believed willing to keep talking with Google to “recover ailing corporate ties” with Samsung. The electronics chain has allegedly been abusing its dominant position to retaliate against KT for iPhone competition, such as by withholding better phones and dictating harsh marketing requirements.

The absence of HDMI video out and a microSDHC slot were similarly cited as factors in a Korean market that often favors feature-heavy devices, but it’s not certain how likely this might be given that the iPhone has thrived without either. Samsung’s Galaxy S has sold very well in the country despite the absence of an HDMI port.

The similarity between the Nexus S and the Galaxy S may ultimately be the main factor, as the Nexus S’ primary advantages are mostly limited to its newer, unmodified OS, its front-facing camera and its support for NFC wireless.

If you have any experience with the Korean wireless marketplace and want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what you think in the comments.

Skype 3.0 now available for iOS, allows video chat over 3G, Wi-Fi protocols

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 05:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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As expected, Skype has added a new video calling feature to version 3.0 of its iPhone app, giving users an alternate service from Apple’s own FaceTime video chat standard.

Per Engadget, reports emerged last week that Skype was planning to make “a series of video-related announcements” at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. A support document detailing how to make video calls via iPhone served as further evidence of the imminent release of a video-capable Skype iPhone app.

An update to the Skype for iOS app Thursday allows users to make Skype to Skype video calls over WiFi and 3G with other iOS Skype users or Skype desktop users, Engadget reports. Two-way video calls are only supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch, while iPad and third-generation iPod touch users can receive video calls. Video calling on Skype 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or above.

Skype’s launch of video chat on the iPhone and iPod touch will challenge Apple’s efforts to get its FaceTime video conferencing standard to catch on. With over 500 million user accounts, Skype has the user base needed to promote rapid adoption of its video call features over Apple’s FaceTime.

Skype 3.0 is available for free and requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new video chat feature on Skype and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple could release Verizon iPhone on or prior to February 14th, 2011

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Date: Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 05:28
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Apple is expected to hold an event “very soon,” perhaps by Valentine’s Day on February 14th 2011, to unveil a new CDMA version of the iPhone compatible with U.S. carrier Verizon’s network.

Per Bloomberg Businessweek, the alleged debut of the iPhone on Verizon is portrayed as an “enormous problem” for AT&T, the current exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. While AT&T has had sole access to the iPhone since 2007, problems with its network have caused bad press, including a recent reader poll from Consumer Reports ranking AT&T the worst carrier in America.

“Verizon enjoys a reputation for reliability,” author Peter Burrows wrote. “AT&T is notorious for dropping calls, especially in densely populated places like New York and San Francisco where iPhones are most common and cell towers get loaded.”

The report said that Apple would hold one of its own “splashy product introductions to announce a new version of the iPhone that work’s on Verizon’s network,” and said that event would “maybe” come by Valentine’s Day.

Some have speculated that Apple would instead allow Verizon to announce the product at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, an uncharacteristic move for the typically controlling iPhone maker. But the report specifically stated that a CES unveiling is not in the plans.

“Apple’s introduction of an iPhone for use on Verizon’s network will come sometime after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, according to a person familiar with Apple’s plans who is not authorized to discuss them publicly,” Burrows wrote.

But while the apparently loss of exclusivity on the iPhone is cause for concern for AT&T, the report also suggested that Verizon could experience its own growing pains when Apple’s smartphone arrives on its network.

“At least initially, Verizon’s iPhone may have weaknesses compared to AT&T’s,” the report said. “The expense and hassle of changing carriers could also work to AT&T’s advantage.”

It also noted that iPhone customers may be less likely to switch from AT&T if they are still under contract, as the carrier upped its termination fee to US$325 in May of this year. The carrier also offered early upgrades for some iPhone 4 buyers whose contracts had not expired, locking them in to another two full years.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if a Verizon iPhone is in your heart, please let us know what’s on your mind.

Radio Shack offering $50 discount, additional trade-in credit towards iPhone 3GS, 4 handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The holidays are winding down but the deals are still there if you know where to look for them.

Per the mighty Boy Genius Report, Radio Shack is once again offering a US$50 discount on new 16GB iPhone 4 and 8GB iPhone 3GS units, bringing their prices down to US$149 and $49, respectively.

The deal is reportedly good for “new and eligible upgrade customers while supplies last.” The retailer is also offering boosted trade-in credit for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS units. “Qualifying iPhone 3G and 3G S handsets will have a guaranteed trade-in credit of US$75 and US$125, respectively,” reads an email received by BGR. To qualify, the iPhone must “power on, cannot be PIN locked and must be in fully functional, working condition without any broken components.”

This offer does not have a set end date and readers are encouraged to call their local store to check on availability.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 6.0.11992.625164 released

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 27th, 2010, 11:41
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 6.0.11992.625164 on Thursday. The new version, available here, sports the following major fixes and changes:

Parallels Desktop (build 6.0.11992.625164) improves the general performance, stability, and compatibility of virtual machines, including fixes that:

- Address problems with incorrect handling of HTML links and files.

- Resolve an issue with disk access errors in Boot Camp virtual machines.

- Resolve graphical issues in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game.

- Resolve an issue with SATA virtual CD/DVD drives support in a virtual machine with more than 2 GB of memory.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run.

Unofficial iPhone Dev Team releases redsn0w beta, offers initial iOS 4.2.1 jailbreak

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Date: Monday, December 27th, 2010, 07:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The Unofficial iPhone Dev Team has advanced to its next project, posting a beta of redsn0w, its jailbreaking utility for iOS devices. Per iPodNN, the release supports untethered operation in iOS 4.2.1, that is, jailbreaking without having to stay connected to a computer via USB during the process. So far only the iPad, the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch devices are compatible.

The Dev Team warns that because things can potentially go “very wrong,” the software is aimed strictly at beta testers. People are asked to back up any essential content, and avoid the beta entirely if they use the ultrasn0w unlock. The software also requires a separate install of usbmuxd, and that Cydia have v4.2b3 SHSH blobs saved.

Owing to sandbox problems, Bluetooth support is temporarily unavailable. redsn0w 0.9.7b3 is a Mac-only download; the untethered mode can be used by selecting the Jailbreak Monte option. Testers are urged to do a fresh restore before installation in order to rule out variables.

If you’re feeling brave, let too know how it went in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.6.6 update to include beginnings of Mac App Store integration

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Date: Friday, December 24th, 2010, 11:03
Category: News, Software

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This could be interesting.

Per MacGeneration, Apple plans to include some rudimentary integration between its upcoming Mac App Store and the next maintenance release of Mac OS X 10.6, according to discoveries made a MacGeneration forum member.

Mac OS X 10.6.6, due for release in the next few weeks, will offer users the option of searching the Mac App Store for applications when it runs into an unsupported file type for which no application has previously been assigned.

The Mac App Store — due to launch on January 6th — would return applications capable of opening the specific file.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts about the Mac App Store, please let us know.

Skype network recovering after Wednesday’s crash

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 23rd, 2010, 12:59
Category: News, Software

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There’s a downside to something being successful: eventually people come to rely on you.

Per Macworld, Skype is continuing to slowly recover after an outage caused by problems with its peer-to-peer interconnection system.

The latest estimates say that 10 million users are now online after a crash on Wednesday according to a blog post.

However, users able to get online can still expect that some features may not work as reliably as expected. For example, online statuses may be slow to update, and instant messages might not be delivered as quickly as they are normally, the blog post said.

Also, it’s currently impossible for Skype to predict when all users will be able to sign in and start making calls again, the company said. Around midday European time Thursday, almost 5 million users were back online, Skype said, which is around 30% of the number it would expect to see at that time of the day.

Skype at one point also disabled new downloads of its software, according to a Twitter message from a company spokesman.

Skype’s initial description of the problem said many of the “supernodes” that act as directories for Skype users to find one another were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of the Skype client.

“Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal,” the company blog post said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you were affected by this crash, please let us know.

Apple updates Remote app to version 2.1, includes AirPlay features

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Date: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010, 13:25
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes it’s the little software updates that prove the coolest.

Per Macworld, Apple has released version 2.1 of the Remote application for its iOS-based devices.

The new version, which can be snagged via the App Store, includes the following fixes and changes:

- AirPlay video support to control iTunes on your computer to stream videos to an Apple TV.

- Internet radio control to play thousands of internet radio streams in iTunes on your computer.

- The ability to control iTunes on your computer to play Movies and TV shows that are rented from the iTunes Store.

- Addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV.

- Includes stability and performance improvements.

Remote 2.1 requires iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run and is available for free.