Softbank Mobile, Apple’s iPhone carrier in Japan, plans to introduce a new program Friday that will give some iPhone handsets away for free with a new two-year contract.
The 8GB iPhone 3G handset will be offered for free to new subscribers starting a calling plan today, though this may be likely to disappoint those who paid the equivalent of US$235 (22,782 yen). According to CrunchGear, Softbank is also reducing the price of the 16GB version from US$350 to US$118 as part of the new “iPhone for everybody Campaign.”
The wireless carrier has also cut the cost of its cost of its maximum data plan rate from US$62 a month to US$45.60 a month. Voice calls and texts are free among Softbank customers, but if your friend or colleague is an NTT DoCoMo customer, charges can start to accumulate quickly at 20 cents for a 30-second call.
There’s no clear indication as to whether Softbank is cutting prices in response to demand, but Apple COO Tim Cook noted during last month’s earnings conference call that the company considers the price of the iPhone “clearly elastic,” meaning that every time it has dropped the price, demand has increased.
If you’re in or around the Japanese marketplace and have noticed this offer, let us know in the comments or forums.
Software developer Truphone announced yesterday that the company has added Skype support for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. Per the press release, users can now instant message their Skype contacts as well as make and receive Skype-based calls to users on their contact list.
To begin, download Truphone for iPhone or iPod Touch, go to the IM screen in the iPhone application (the IM/More screen in the iPod touch application). If you cannot see this screen, select it from within the “More” screen.
Once here, select Skype from the setup screen, sign in using your Skype account details.
Once logged in, you will now see all of your Skype contacts and you will be ready to start.
Skype-based calls within Wi-Fi areas as well as instant messages will be free and users can make Skype-based calls and send Skype instant messages using Truphone Anywhere, which will use your data package to connect the call or send the instant message.
Truphone is a free download and requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried Truphone for the iPhone or iPod touch and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.
Posted by: Tom Hesser
Date: Thursday, February 26th, 2009, 14:41
or optional shortened version… http://bit.ly/BhBBR
No matter what you think of Mac OS X 10.5.6, Apple is cited as having tapped its developer community this week to begin testing its Mac OS X 10.5.7 update, a maintenance and security update to the company’s Leopard operating system with a particular focus on syncing improvements.
According to AppleInsider, sources close to the story have stated that the update will include a plethora of bug fixes, six code corrections and currently weighs in at 440 megabytes in its simplest form.
Apple is currently said to be focusing on syncing issues found in applications such as Mail, Address Book and system preferences. A problem with Safari not accepting certain types of cookies will also reportedly be addressed.
Among the nearly two dozen other components receiving attention in beta of Mac OS X 10.5.7 are graphics drivers, Time Machine, printing services, screen sharing services, MobileMe syncing, AirPort services, text services, and iCal, those familiar with the software claim.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your hands on a 10.5.7 build, please let us know what you think of it in the comments or forums.
Early Wednesday, Omni released version 5.9 of its OmniWeb web browser. The new version, a 16.6 megabyte download, adds no fixes and changes but is now apparently free, according to the development listing.
OmniWeb 5.9 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
If you’ve played with the new version and noticed any major improvements or shortcomings, let us know in the comments or forums.
The Safari 4 public beta requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later on Leopard or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later on Tiger as well as Security Update 2009-001 to install and run. The browser is available for both Mac and Windows as a free download.
If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback on it, hit us up in the comments, forums or drop me a line at chris @ powerpage.org.
In the several years I’ve shopped at Best Buy, I’ve never signed up for their Reward Zone program. And maybe it’s time I did.
According to Macworld, Best Buy is apparently selling both the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G for US$100 off their respective retail prices. And unlike similar past deals from AT&T, these are brand new handsets, not refurbished units.
The catch: The deal is only applicable to Best Buy Premier Silver Reward Zone members, the “silver” status arriving if you’ve spent US$2,500 at Best Buy during a calendar year.
The other proviso: Customers need to have been a Reward Zone member by February 21st, so it’s too late to swing out, snag a MacBook Pro, sign up for the Reward Zone program and save that much more off an iPhone 3G. The price is also only good through February 28th, requires an in-store purchase and for the user to sign a two-year contract with AT&T.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this offer at your local Best Buy, let us know in the comments or forums.
Last week saw the release of Xumii for iPhone, a free social networking application for Apple’s heralded smart-phone. Xumii is not new to the mobile community. It can run on many of the mobile phones capable of running Java-based applications. It was only a matter of time before a version came out for Cupertino’s pride and joy.
Xumii professes to be “your mobile, social addressbook” and intends to be the default location for keeping track of your social contacts. By adding your account login for networks (also known as “communities”) such as Facebook, Google, or MySpace, Xumii can list all of your friends and display their current status messages or chat status. Tapping on a contact allows you to see their full status message, online status, an option to invite them to use Xumii, and lastly, a method of sharing media stored on any of your added “communities”. If you select a contact who also has a supported chat account, and is online, the option to initiate a IM chat will also be listed.
Xumii has some other nice features, such as a separate page for recently updated status messages, and a rudimentary listing of top news stories, but it’s greatest strength is probably the media sharing feature. By clicking on the Share tab at the bottom of the screen, Xumii presents you with a list of photo albums from Flickr, Yahoo, or Facebook, to mention a few, which you can browse and then Share with your contacts, even across social networks. So, if you have that friend who is still a MySpace hold-out, you can still share your Facebook pictures with them. Xumii also mentions being able to view YouTube video on their web site, but apparently that feature is not yet available on the iPhone. Perhaps Apple feels this would be duplicate the function of the iPhone’s YouTube app.
I have a few criticisms of the app presently, which are likely due to the fact that it is a 1.0 product. On other mobile devices, you have the option to change the status message on any of your “communities” individually, or choose to post the same message to all your networks simultaneously. Currently with the iPhone app, it is all or nothing. If it had to be one or the other, I would rather have the ability to change individual messages. While I expect this feature to be added, it does keep me from truly considering this a one-stop solution. Since I rarely post across all my networks, I will still have to use the Facebook app or AIM app to do this individually. Also, another minor quibble is that contacts that appear on more than one “community” are listed separately, and in the case of AIM accounts, listed alphabetically by their AIM handle rather than their real name, making searching less convenient then I’d like.
With the addition of some missing features, I think Xumii for iPhone can do a lot to reduce the clutter of individual networking apps and offer a convenient interface. There is a lot of competition out there, but Xumii has a lot of experience in the mobile space to leverage and will hopefully develop a strong, feature-rich solution.
EMC Corporation on Friday released the fourth public beta of Restrospect 8.0 its long-standing backup and recovery software for the Mac. The new beta consists of the following new features and changes:
Stability has been greatly improved, and this build should feel much better.
Proactive Backup (old Backup Server) monitoring is now functional, and the Pause/Run/Resume buttons now work as expected.
Email notification is working as designed now.
Repair and Rebuild Catalog functionality has been added.
It is now possible to set a password for the Retrospect engine by going to Preferences>General and clicking the Change Server Password button. Once you set/change the password, you will need to remove the Retrospect engine from the sidebar and re-add it using the new password.
Partial archiving of Time Machine data has been added. Retrospect 8.0 cannot restore a functioning Time Machine volume, but it can restore files backed up from a Time Machine volume to any non-Time Machine volume.
Backup and restore activities can now be previewed when using the Backup and Restore Assistants.
The restore files and folders workflow now has an option to restore to a new folder. When choosing this option, Retrospect may incorrectly warn you on the summary page that all other files will be deleted from the destination. This is not the case.
Media request notifications have been improved.
Several bugs related to rules (selectors) have been fixed; a handful may still remain.
The Retrospect 8.0 beta is currently available as a 29.7 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
Retrospect 8.0 is expected to ship in the first quarter in three versions: Desktop 3-User (US$129 new or US$59 as an upgrade), Single Server (US$809 or US$539), and Multi Server (US$1,669 or US$939). Users who purchased a new Retrospect 6.1 license on or after January 14, 2008 will receive a free upgrade.
Let us know what you think in the comments or forums.