China Unicom to Begin Selling iPhone 3G in October

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Date: Monday, September 28th, 2009, 04:56
Category: iPhone

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Apple’s iPhone 3G smartphone will go on sale in China in October, operator China Unicom said on Monday.

According to Macworld UK, the handset will go on sale in October for around 5,000 yuan (US$733), the operator said, without offering specific pricing for the two iPhone 3G models, which have storage capacity for 16GB and 32GB of data, respectively.

The Chinese version of the iPhone 3G, which intentionally lacks Wi-Fi networking support, will be offered with eight different service plans, which range in price from 126 yuan to 886 yuan per month, China Unicom said. These packages will include 450MB to 4GB of mobile data access, 120 to 880 SMS messages, 15 to 95 MMS messages, and between 320 to 3,000 minutes of talk time.

Details of all eight pricing plans were not available, and it was not immediately clear if iPhone 3G customers would pay the full retail price with all of these plans.

The Chinese launch of the iPhone 3G closely tracks the commercial launch of China Unicom’s 3G service, which is based on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technology.

The 3G service officially starts operations on 1 October, which is a national holiday and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

TomTom Announces Clarification, States Car Kit, Application to be Sold Separately

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Date: Friday, September 25th, 2009, 05:47
Category: Accessory, iPhone, iPod, News

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Following up on an incident where its product was briefly displayed at the European Apple Store web site yesterday, TomTom U.K. announced that its upcoming iPhone Car Kit accessory will have a retail price of £99.99 but will not include the TomTom application.

“TomTom announces today that the TomTom car kit for the iPhone will have a recommended retail price of £99.99,” the company said in a press release. “The TomTom car kit will be available this October and will be sold separately from the TomTom app. It will be compatible with the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS. All further details on the car kit will be made available soon.”

The announcement conflicts with earlier reports that the kit would include the software as a bundle.

The press release didn’t clarify whether the iPod touch will be compatible with the hardware kit, though the product’s windshield mount includes an external GPS receiver that is said to improve the reception of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Unlike those models, first-generation iPhone does not include an internal GPS receiver, but the press release states that the device will work with the hardware. That corrects an apparent error in the previous Apple Store listing, which said that the TomTom software would not work on the first-generation iPhone.

Originally due for release over the summer, the kit was delayed until October. The TomTom application was released in the App Store in August at a price of US$99 U.S.

A final price for the U.S. edition has yet to be officially accounced.

AT&T to Launch MMS Feature for iPhone Friday via Carrier Profile Update Over iTunes

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Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

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American iPhone users will finally see AT&T’s MMS feature unlocked late Friday morning on the west coast by way of a carrier update file that will be delivered through iTunes, AT&T announced Wednesday.

“MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25,” AT&T wrote on its official Facebook page. “Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.”

Per AppleInsider, east coast residents will likely see their update available sometime early Friday afternoon. It also confirms that an iTunes update to the phone’s carrier profile will be necessary for MMS to be activated.

An article published over on DSLReports cited a source familiar with the company’s MMS upgrade as saying, “Starting at 10AM Eastern (on the 25), AT&T will send out a mass text to a group of iPhone users telling them that MMS now works on their phone.

Assuming all goes well, “They will keep doing groups of phones on the hour throughout the day,” the source said. Official word from company spokesman Seth Bloom said the upgrade would be targeted at early afternoon on the East Coast, or late morning for users on Pacific Time.

The source said AT&T was “very nervous” about the launch, due to seeing a surge in traffic from just a limited number of iPhone users selected to participate in advanced testing of the new service.

MMS allows users to send graphics, audio clips, location and contact files, and even video clips via an SMS-like messaging system. The new MMS features require an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS.

Picture and video messaging was originally scheduled to arrive in the summer, but will be a few days late. AT&T has said that iPhone data usage has been very taxing on its network, leading to delays as the company attempts to strengthen its service.

Originally, iPhone tethering was also announced for the summer, but AT&T officials have said that service is coming at a later date, with no specifics given. The company apparently has no intentions to cap bandwidth for iPhone users.

Carbon Copy Cloner Updated to 3.3

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Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:42
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, has released version 3.3 of the program. The new version, a 3.2 megabyte download, adds the following changes:

- Added support for HFS+ filesystem compression that was introduced in Snow Leopard.
- To correspond with how the Finder and Disk Utility report these values on Snow Leopard, CCC will now use base 10 for reporting MB and GB on Snow Leopard. CCC will continue to use base 2 to report these values when booted from Leopard or Tiger.
- Improved the performance of backing up a large number of files with extended attributes.
- It is no longer a requirement that CCC be installed on media that supports the setuid bit.
- Added a bootability notification that will notify users when a target volume’s underlying disk is partitioned with the MBR partitioning scheme (rather than the Apple-recommended GUID or APM partition scheme).
- Increased the increment value of the disk image segment size stepper from 1 to 25. Now it takes mere seconds to get from 650MB to 4.6GB.
- Addressed an issue in which the source and target menus would not be properly updated if a disk disappears unexpectedly in the middle of a backup task.
- CCC now properly excludes the Time Machine database when backing up a hard drive using the “Backup everything” cloning method in file-level mode.
- Much like the Snow Leopard update, this release includes hundreds of tweaks and adjustments to improve performance and reliability.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

Apple Clears Legal Hurdle to Sell iPhone in South Korea

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:05
Category: iPhone, News

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South Korean authorities cleared Apple’s iPhone for sale in the country on Wednesday by lifting a legal bar on operation of location-based services by Apple, a spokesman for a government regulator said. Per Macworld UK, the Korea Communications Commission decided to allow Apple to operate the services itself in a “flexible” application of local law, the spokesman said. Without the clearance, Apple would have needed a local operator to run the location services and manage user privacy for the data gathered, he said.

The move is partly aimed to avoid limiting choices for South Korean consumers, according to a spokesperson’s press release. South Korean’s mobile phone market is currently dominated by local handset makers Samsung and LG Electronics.

South Korean mobile carrier KT is in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone, though details are not yet available. Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Apple recently removed Wi-Fi functionalities from the model of the iPhone to be offered in China this year to obtain the country’s regulatory approval for the handset.

VLC 1.0.2 Released

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:53
Category: Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.0.2 on Tuesday. The new version, a 43 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Assorted bug fixes.
- Support for SSA decoding.
- Support for v4l2.
- Mac OS X interface changes.
- OGG/theora support changes.
- X264 modules and security issue changes.
- Introduces the port to 64 bits for Mac OS platform and 2 new languages (Kazakh and Croatian).

VLC 1.0.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and is available as a free download.

Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.1 Update

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:37
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 83 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
- Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
- Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
- Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
- Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
- Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
- Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
- Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.

iTunes 9.0.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

ESPN Radio App Now Available for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, 03:27
Category: iPhone, Software

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ESPN Radio has released an iPhone application that provides access to live radio streams from more than 15 different ESPN stations. Per MacNN, the app features play-by-play broadcasts of college football games in real-time, as well as live scores and news feeds for NFL, MLB, NHL, and other professional sports games. ESPN Radio allows users to listen to a variety of shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Michael Kay Show, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

Users can use the application access live feeds from regional stations including ESPN 1050 New York, ESPN 1250 Pittsburgh, and ESPN 1000 Chicago. The app also provides over 35 different podcasts, along with SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes. Users can even send text messages directly from the interface to ESPN Radio studios.

ESPN Radio retails for US$3 and requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

And for the record: go, Patriots!!!

Apple Hunting Down Feedback from iPhone 3GS Users Citing Poor Battery Life

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Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit Apple is not openly acknowledging the issue, it’s taking the “shy kid” approach to reaching a solution. Per iPhone Blog, Apple is apparently seeking feedback from iPhone users over claims that the recent iPhone 3.1 Software Update is draining batteries.

Short battery life has been a concern since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS amongst many users, despite Apple promising improved performance at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple said the iPhone 3GS would deliver 9 hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge, about a 30% upgrade to the iPhone 3G.

However, a recent teardown by iFixit noted that the iPhone 3GS’s battery was just 6% more powerful than the battery in its predecessor.

Recently, the company has contacted a number of users on Apple’s discussion boards who have posted negative comments asking for feedback. A list of 11 questions – covering e-mail, push notifications, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and application use – is being sent out reports The iPhone Blog.

The note also contains an attachment which, when double-clicked, installs what looks like an unsigned profile, which apparently enables Battery Life Logging on the iPhone.

Once enabled, the iPhone will sync power logs back via iTunes, and they ask that those logs be sent back to Apple reports the The iPhone Blog.

The blog notes this isn’t the first time Apple, via AppleCare, has contacted iPhone users after posts on the company’s discussion boards.

It is not known what percentage of iPhone owners might be experiencing the problem.

Rumor: AT&T MicroCell Device En Route, Will Offer Unlimited Coverage for Extra $20/Month

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:39
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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AT&T customers based in one of the company’s weaker pockets of coverage will be able to pay US$20 to pay $20 extra to obtain unlimited calling over 3G using their own Internet access. Per Engadget Mobile, an anonymous tip has stated that the company plans to offer an unlimited calling plan for users for US$20 per month.

The service would be bundled with AT&T-supplied Internet (if available in your area), the monthly fee would drop to US$10, and with AT&T Internet and landline service, the monthly fee goes away entirely.

It’s not clear if the monthly fee for unlimited wireless calling through the device will be mandatory in order to obtain the 3G MicroCell device. According to the photo of official looking marketing collateral included in the report, “3G phones connected to the MicroCell without AT&T Unlimited MicroCell Calling continue to use existing plan minutes.”

If unlimited calling is entirely optional, iPhone 3G and 3GS users may be able to purchase and install the 3G MicroCell and simply use it to burn their existing plan minutes without paying any additional monthly fees, solving dropped call or delayed SMS issues for users within poor coverage areas.

Even if obtaining the device requires the additional unlimited calling plan, users may end up saving money by cutting their existing plan minutes and placing most of their calls from their home or work location. Current iPhone service plans with AT&T cost US$60 for 450 daytime rollover minutes, US$80 for 900 minutes, US$100 for 1,350 minutes, or US$120 for unlimited time.

In either case, other AT&T users who access the MicroCell to place 3G calls, texts or access mobile data will not be charged any differently than if they were to use a regular 3G tower; they will simply eat up their existing plan minutes.

The 3G MicroCell does not create a VoIP alternative to AT&T’s network. In fact, the unit simply tunnels 3G voice and data over the user’s existing broadband Internet service to AT&T’s servers, which process it like any other call handled by its existing 3G cell towers.

AT&T’s 3G appliance isn’t usable by 3G mobile users on other carriers, nor does it provide GSM/EDGE service usable by the original iPhone model. It will work with any 3G-capable sold by AT&T, however. It’s not yet known if the MicroCell supplies the standard 3.6Mbit/sec HDPA service typical of AT&T’s current towers, or if it supplies the faster 7.2 service supported by the iPhone 3GS.

Due to broadcasting regulations, users will also be prevented from using the 3G MicroCell in areas where AT&T doesn’t officially do business. For example, it can’t be installed by users in Vermont or North Dakota or in other countries outside the US; this is enforced by GPS tracking in the device.

Other mobile providers already sell similar “mini cell tower” devices, commonly referred to in the industry as a “femtocell”. These units are used both to provide service where coverage is missing or to allow customers to provide their own pipe for unlimited mobile calling. For example, Sprint sells its Airave for US$5 per month, or with an unlimited calling plan that costs US$10. Verizon sells a femtocell for its 3G users with no monthly fees, but does not provide any unlimited calling option.

T-Mobile, for their part provides unlimited calling through its HotSpot@Home service, which costs US$10 per month.

AT&T is expected to begin rolling out 3G MicroCell devices to users in a limited number of markets over the next couple of weeks, following an extensive beta testing period. Hammered by the iPhone’s voracious data demands, AT&T’s 3G mobile network has been criticized as severely inadequate by many high profile critics and plenty of frustrated users.