AT&T offers early upgrade dates to customers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 7th, 2010, 10:34
Category: iPhone, News

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Just hours ahead of Apple’s anticipated fourth-generation iPhone announcement, AT&T has begun moving some customers’ upgrade eligibility dates forward to allow them to buy Apple’s latest handset.

Per AppleInsider, a number of users have reported that their eligibility for an iPhone upgrade has been updated, allowing them to buy Apple’s next-generation iPhone as soon as it goes on sale, fully subsidized with a 2-year contract agreement.

Customers can see their upgrade eligibility by logging into their account on the AT&T website and selecting “Check Upgrade Options.” Upgrade status can also be checked by dialing *639# from the iPhone.

“As a valued customer, we can offer you an upgrade with a new 2-yr commitment and an US$18 upgrade fee,” AT&T’s message to eligible iPhone owners reads.

Though U.S. iPhone customers must sign a two-year contract with AT&T in order to receive the iPhone at a subsidized price, the wireless carrier frequently offers faster upgrades for its highest paying customers. Those with more services and a higher monthly bill typically are not required to wait the full two years before they become eligible.

Screen shot via TUAW

AT&T previously revealed that generally speaking, customers who spend more than $99-a-month per line are eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.

The latest round of upgrades follow previous updates by AT&T in May, when some users saw their upgrade eligibility date moved up by months, to June 21, 2010.

Moving up customers’ upgrade dates is the same approach AT&T has taken in the past. Last year, the wireless carrier offered early iPhone 3G adopters the opportunity to purchase an iPhone 3GS as the same $199 and $299 price points as new customers.

Review: Street Fighter IV for iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 4th, 2010, 05:01
Category: iPhone, Review

By Joshua Simmons

If someone had told me over a year ago when I picked up Street Fighter IV for the consoles that I’d play a near identical version for my iPhone, I would have feared for my hands and the onset of arthritis from trying to play such a complex fighter on the small touch screen. Thankfully, Capcom decided to have mercy on my digits and took the time to adapt the controls to a more comfortable scheme. It is worth stating I am also continually surprised by the games that are being release on the iPhone, Street Fighter IV being the latest example with its gorgeous graphics and little to no slow down. Of course, being one to enjoy Street Fighter games, and Capcom’s latest offering, I had to download this iPhone iteration and check it out for myself. So, how does it measure up to its big brother counterpart?

As mentioned, the graphics are superb and transfer well to the iPhone screen. Capcom effortlessly translates the new graphically style they employed in the console versions for this port; these aren’t your Street Fighter II 16-bit graphics. Even more impressive is they manage to do so with no slow down, or lag. I currently own the iPhone 3G model, which is typically slower and gets the shaft when it comes to higher profile games, and Street Fighter IV runs as smooth as possible whenever I pick it up. A few details in the character models are lost to fit the resolution of the screen, but this is still one of the best looking iPhone games to date. The soundtrack and audio are also excellent and what one would expect from a Street Fighter game. Something I am also thankful for in this game, that most iPhone games I have played don’t do, is the screen being orientated so that my hand isn’t covering the primary speaker the audio is coming out of while I am playing.

The gameplay and control scheme have been wisely adapted for this version, saving the screen from being cluttered with buttons. Instead of six attack buttons (light, medium, and heavy), we are given just two: punch and kick. There is also an onscreen joystick, as well as a button for specials and one for SFIV’s focus attack. This simplifies the gameplay a bit, and may seem disappointing to the hardcore, but it allows for an ease of play on the iPhone that is needed yet still leaves room for exploration. For example, Supers and Ultras can now be pulled off by not only performing a specific combo, but also by simply moving the stick in a certain direction and hitting the SP button, or Ultra meter. Lastly, a nice touch to the game is the allowance for customization of the control layout by individual buttons, not to mention the ability to adjust the transparency of the on screen buttons; which is useful if you prefer to see more of the action.

As great as the game is on the iPhone, it is not without its flaws, however. It is difficult to decide if the US$10 price tag justifies the amount of content in the game. On one hand, the game’s presentation exceeds that of anything else on the iPhone, but on the other it is limited in just what the gamer is getting out of it. With an offering of only eight fighters for the iPhone version versus the 25 in the console iteration, and 35 in the recently released Super Street Fighter IV, the roster is petite by comparison. As far as the game modes are concerned, the offerings are also scarce. You can play solo, which includes tournament, free sparring, and training modes yet lacks any story, time attack or survival. There is also a versus option via Bluetooth, however you will need a friend with an “idevice” as well as the game to play with. More desirable would have been a wifi versus option, but it stands to reason that it is just not possible at this time unfortunately. The game also lacks any unlockable extras, somewhat dampening its replayability.

Despite these few flaws and gripes, Street Fighter IV is an excellent game for the iPhone that offers something for everyone. The load screens can be a little too lengthy at times, but it is still easy to just pick up and jump into a fight while on the go. Regardless of a simplified interface and limited roster, the hardcore will be for the most part pleased with this offering. The graphics and audio are superb, and at just US$9.99, this is a most own game that will show off the power of your particular idevice. If anything, Street Fighter IV makes me even more excited to see just what else is in store for Apple mobile gaming in the future, especially considering the potential power of the soon-to-be announced 4th gen iPhone. Perhaps we will even be seeing a mobile version of Super Street Fighter IV? One can only hope.

Based on a 1 out of 5 point rating system, I would give Street Fighter IV for the iPhone a 4 out of 5.

Cocktail 4.6.2 (Leopard Edition) Released

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 4th, 2010, 04:32
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.6.2 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 1.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed a bug where clearing the virtual memory swap files may cause kernel panics.
- Fixed a bug where the trojan RSPlug was falsely detected.
- Added clearing of the latest variants of the HellRTS and OpinionSpy trojan horses.
- Addresses an issue in which the system log server (syslogd) may not be properly restarted.
- Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 4.6.2 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.

Additional fourth-generation iPhone component pictures surface

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 3rd, 2010, 05:41
Category: iPhone, Pictures

An additional set of component pictures claimed to be from Apple’s forthcoming fourth-generation iPhone once again show a white external casing, this time with a previously unseen white back panel.

Web site PowerBook Medic obtained images of both the front and back panels for the newly designed casing. While the shown front panel matches what was previously pictured online, the back of the device shows space for a camera flash and a larger camera lens, as were found in the black models that were publicly disassembled.

The white back panel, covered with a plastic seal, lacks any markers that might indicate the storage capacity of the new device, and it does not feature a model number, suggesting it is still a prototype and not the final product.

The parts do clearly show the side-facing slot for a micro-SIM card, and the device’s previously revealed metal sides. The front panel also features a spot for a forward-facing camera.

Last month, the first glimpse of a white next-generation iPhone was seen when an alleged part was obtained. The same site later placed the white front panel atop other components to give an idea of what the device might look like when it is finally released.

Previous reports said the back panel is made of glass or a similar material designed to help improve reception of Apple’s next-generation handset.

Apple is expected to introduce its fourth-generation iPhone next week at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The event will kick off on Monday, June 7th, with a keynote hosted by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.


Verizon spokeperson confirms no iPhone for the immediate future

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 3rd, 2010, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

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The mighty Beet.TV posted an interview yesterday in which Verizon spokesperson John Johnson confirmed that the iPhone is definitely not coming to Verizon, at least anytime soon. “Verizon has no plans to carry the iPhone in the immediate future, but you’ve got to look at the incredible excitement around the Android devices.”

Johnson then went on to extoll the virtues of Verizon’s network improvements and the Android OS.

Until then, we’ll see what Apple has to offer at WWDC in a few days before the rumor mill begins anew…

VirtualBox 3.2.2 released

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 3rd, 2010, 05:44
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.2.2. The new version, a 70.9 megabyte download, sports a list of fixes and changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 3.2.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases sixth beta of Mac OS X 10.6.4, no known issues reported

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 11:09
Category: News, Software

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Apple this week issued a sixth beta of its Mac OS X 10.6.4 security and maintenance update for its Snow Leopard operating system. Per AppleInsider, the latest build remains free of known issues.

According to sources close to the story, the beta, which was issued to developers last Tuesday, is labeled as “build 10F564″, weighs in at 600 megabytes which developers being asked to focus on graphics drivers, SMB, USB, VoiceOver and VPN.

The last few builds have all contained the same focus areas and enhancements, and this week’s update is no different. The updates addressed issues that could cause the keyboard or trackpad to become unresponsive, and also fixed a problem that prevented some Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications from loading.

Apple first began widespread testing of Mac OS X 10.6.4 in late April. The previous update to Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6.3, was released at the end of March. It included improvements for QuickTime X and OpenGL-based applications, in the form of a 437.2 megabyte update.

AT&T revises calling plans, announces tethering for iPhone OS 4.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T will be transitioning away from unlimited data plans beginning June 7th according to AppleInsider, the company introducing tethering, iPad 3G data plans capped at 2GB per month and slightly lower pricing.

The company announced this week that a new data plan for iPhone owners, dubbed “DataPro,” will be offered starting June 7th, providing 2GB of data for US$25 per month. Tethering will be available for an additional US$20 per month, and lets customers use their handset to share Internet connectivity with another device, such as a laptop. Tethering will be available this summer when iPhone OS 4.0 is released.

AT&T will also offer a less expensive data plan, called “DataPlus,” which offers 200MB for US$15 per month. The carrier noted in its press release that 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200MB per month, while 98% use less than 2GB per month.

Customers who near their cap for the month will be sent a text message notifying them when they reach a certain usage level. For customers who exceed the cap, an extra 1GB in the DataPro plan costs US$10, and an extra 200MB in the DataPlus plan runs US$15.

Current AT&T customers are not required to switch to the new plans and sacrifice their unlimited data, but can do so without a contract extension.

AT&T also announced that it would discontinue its existing US$29.99-per-month unlimited 3G data plans for the iPad for new customers. This plan will be replaced by a no-contract plan that runs US$25 a month for 2GB of data. Customers who have the existing unlimited plan are not required to change.

Plans for voice and texting through AT&T will remain unchanged after June 7.

AT&T has long hinted that changes to its unlimited data plans were coming, as the company has faced network issues and bandwidth problems. The carrier has sought ways to encourage the heaviest bandwidth consumers to reduce or modify their usage of the AT&T network.

Last December, one AT&T executive said he believed it was inevitable that users who utilize more bandwidth than their share will have to pay more than the rest. At the time, the company said that 40% of the network capacity for AT&T is used by just 3% of smartphone users. Other reports have alleged that the average iPhone user consumes 10 times the bandwidth of a typical smartphone user.

Stay tuned for additional details and let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Adobe releases Camera Raw 6.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 04:37
Category: News, Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 6.1 of its Camera Raw plugin, a program which delivers access to “raw” image formats in professional and mid-range digital cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and others. The new update, a 61.9 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), includes the following fixes and changes:

- This new version of the Camera Raw plug-in replaces the original Camera Raw plug-in that was installed with Adobe Creative Suite 5, Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Support has been added for the following cameras:

- Canon EOS 550D (Digital Rebel T2i/ EOS Kiss X4 Digital)

- Kodak Z981

- Leaf Aptus-II 8

- Leaf Aptus-II 10R

- Mamiya DM40

- Olympus E-PL1

- Olympus E-600

- Panasonic G2

- Panasonic G10

- Sony A450

Camera Raw 6.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Skype 2.0 app out the door, adds for bug fixes, 3G call support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Software

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While you were barbecuing and watching the game, Skype released version 2.0 of its Voice over Internet Protocol app for the iPhone. The new version, which is available for free, introduces support for making calls over 3G wireless data networks.

Per Mac Observer, Skype-to-Skype calling over 3G networks is free for now, but the company plans to start charging for the service at the end of the year. While that’s bad news for users hoping to get a free ride, it’s still better than Skype’s original plan to start charging for the service this August.

Skype 2.0 also includes several performance improvements and bug fixes. The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run and is available here.