Second Gen iPhone in September?

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 15:55
Category: iPhone

Remember all those version 2 iPhone rumors rumbling about back in May. Well, they’re back and running amuck in Taiwan. According to DigiTimes, Taiwan’s Chinese-language Commercial Times says that Taiwan’s Wintek has gained the touch-screen panel orders for the second-gen iPhone. The report claims that Wintek has already begun test production in small volumes with Apple intent on selling their newest model of the iPhone in September for somewhere between $249 and $299. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t state where this flavor of the iPhone will be sold.

Second generation iPhone for $249 in September? – Engadget

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iPhone Unlocking Team Reaches SIM Card Milestone

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 13:37
Category: iPhone

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The guys over at the iPhone unlocking project (available with a simple Google search) took on a sizable task when the handset was first released.
Despite having yet to completely unlock the handset, the team has reached a significant milestone in releasing iASign, a piece of software that purportedly allows users to work with prepaid Cingular, AT&T and AT&T MVNO SIM cards. According to Engadget, the program will allow users to pick up an iPhone without a contract, install their current SIM and be able to use the phone via a current contract without signing up for a new one.
For the brave of heart, the iASign download link can be found here.
If you’ve tried the program or have your two cents to chip in about unlocking the iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 Build 4560 Released

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 08:08
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, software company Parallels released build 4560 of its best-selling Parallels Desktop for Mac emulation program.
The new build, an 83.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker, adds the following fixes and changes:
-Better customizability of SmartSelect for easier app/file integration.
-Faster & smoother Boot Camp partition use.
-Much smoother fullscreen transitions. No more flickering or lagging redraws.
-Improved Parallels Tools for Linux…we’ve added a Time Sync tool.
-The return of the Parallels Image Tool!
-A beefed up Parallels Explorer that makes sharing files and working with non NTFS drives easier. Sharp new graphics too.
-More powerful Snapshot manager that gives you greater control over how snapshots -re created and deleted.
-Minor tweaks and fixes.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 retails for US$79.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version and have either positive or negative feedback about it, let us know in the forums.

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iPhones Lead to Headaches on Duke’s Wireless Network

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 14:25
Category: iPhone

It’s new, it’s spiffy and damn is it cool to have.

And it’s apparently brought Duke University‘s wireless LAN system to its knees.

Writing for NetworkWorld.com, author John Cox has pointed out that anywhere from a dozen to 30 wireless access points have been overwhelmed by requests from several iPhone handsets.

At this time, campus network administrators are talking with Cisco, the campus’ main WLAN provider and have opened a help desk ticket with Apple.

“Because of the time of year for us, it‚’s not a severe problem,” commented Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology. “But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It’s a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they’e down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating.”

The iPhones apparently flood the access points with as many as 18,000 address requests per second, consuming almost 10 megabits per second of bandwidth and overtaking the access point to the point that the access point shows up as “out of service” for up to 10 to 15 minutes at a time. During these periods, there’s no way to communicate with them.

In addition to temporarily shutting the access points down, the iPhone, through the use of the Address Resolution Protocol, will request the MAC address of a destination node since the device has already obtained an Internet Protocol address. If the device receives no answer regarding the MAC address, it just keeps asking.

Miller has stated that Duke’s network team began capturing wireless traffic for analysis and discovered that the offending devices were iPhones. There are currently about 150 iPhones registered to use Duke’s campus WLAN.

“I’m not exactly sure where the ‘bad’ router address is coming from,” Miller says. One possibility: each offending iPhone may have been first connected to a home wireless router or gateway, and it may automatically and repeatedly be trying to reconnect to it again when something happens to the iPhone’s initial connection on the Duke WLAN.

They’re still sorting out what that “something” is. On two occasions, one last Friday and one today, Monday 16 July, both users seemed to be behaving completely normally, yet both iPhones started flooding the net with ARP requests. In both cases, the user first successfully connected to the WLAN at one location, and then moved to another building, where the ARP flood began. “It may have something to do with the iPhone losing connectivity and then trying to reconnect in a new location,” said Miller.

Duke has currently commented that the trouble ticket with Apple was “escalated”, but as of now, nothing substantive has been heard from the company.

This fall could prove interesting, especially if you’re in a campus network capacity.

If you’ve seen anything along these lines or have your own stories, ideas or feedback, let us know over in the forums.

Security Firm Expresses Concerns Over iPhone Browser Dialer

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 08:04
Category: iPhone

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Security firm SPI Labs claims to have discovered a threat to the iPhone’s security via the handset’s built-in MobileSafari browser. The company claims that the browser, which features an ability to dial phone numbers found on web sites, can be exploited in the following ways:
-Redirecting a call to a phone number other than the one seen on a given web site.
-Tracking calls to a site visitor.
-Bypassing the confirmation dialog box and forcing the call to continue.
-Preventing the phone from dialing calls altogether.
The firm has offered examples in which a user clicks on a malicious web site, then discovers they’re calling an international number and paying those rates.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, SPI Labs has opted not to disclose the actual nature of the exploit and how to perform it. The company has stated that they have alerted Apple and are cooperating with the company as to how to plug these holes. SPI Labs has also commented that the feature can simply not be used if users are worried about security.
If nothing else, the first iPhone software update should prove interesting.
Let us know your comments, ideas and thoughts on this over in the forums.

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iPhone Users Reporting Mixed Brightness on Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 07:53
Category: iPhone

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The grass may be always greener on the other side, but iPhone users may have a genuine complaint in this situation.
According to the guys over at iPhone Atlas, readers are reporting that some iPhone screens are brighter than others when set to the full brightness setting. The dimmer screens also seem to display a grid pattern on the background that appears as a checkered pattern of horizontal and vertical lines in all applications (a picture posted on ImageShack presents the difference).
The problem seems to stem from two distinct revisions of iPhone LCD panels being used, a 5 series and a 7 series. This can be tested via the following instructions:
-Put your iPhone in field test mode by accessing the Phone application, tapping Keypad, then entering *3001#12345#* and pressing Call.
-Tap Versions
-Inspect the entry next to LCD Panel ID
-Users have reported that iPhones with LCD Panel IDs that begin with 7 exhibit this problem, while those with IDs that begin with 5 do not — though we’ve seen reports from users with 7-series screens that do not exhibit the issue.
The article also suggests that when checking whether or not your iPhone has this issue, be sure to deactivate the Auto Brightness setting in your Settings menu, then reset the iPhone by holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for at least 10 seconds. The reading may be affected by ambient light and this is the best way to remove that factor.
Apple has yet to comment on this issue.
If you’ve seen this or anything similar with your iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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AT&T May Offer Discounted Data-Free iPhone Plan

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 13:03
Category: iPhone

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When enough customers get irked about something, a company usually works to accommodate then.
AT&T is no exception. According to Electronista, the provider may offer a low-cost data-free plan for iPhone users who threaten to drop their accounts.
Specifically, if a client calls complaining about Internet performance over its EDGE network, AT&T sales agents have apparently been offering to lower their monthly bills to US$40 as opposed to the current US$60/month minimum in exchange for dropping the unlimited data plan and SMS text messaging features.
Other features that arrived with the iPhone and its initial service plan will remain. Subscribers will still be able to use the iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature for browsing as well as have e-mail and YouTube access. Other features that will remain the same include 5,000 night and weekend minutes as well as 450 daytime minute. Visual Voicemail is disabled under the revised contract and the US$40/month fee tacks on minor service fees as well as charges 25 cents for each text message if a separate text bundle isn’t included within the revised account.
For subscribers failing to pass AT&T’s credit check during the activation process despite owning an iPhone, AT&T has quietly instituted GoPhone plans for these users. The GoPhone plan functions as a simplified prepay plan. Up to this point, AT&T had required that virtually all its plans include data and SMS features.
Not a bad alternative if you feel the iPhone’s data functions aren’t up to snuff, but not perfect either. As always, feel free to toss around your ideas and thoughts in the forums.

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World of Warcraft 2.2 to Feature MacBook-Specific Improvements

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 08:07
Category: Software

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In other news, Blizzard Entertainment has released a new beta version of its World of Warcraft massive multiplayer online role playing game.
The version 2.2 beta, which according to Macworld News, has yet to be released to the public, will include changes such as bug-fixes, revised items, player balancing and the ability to capture gameplay footage via QuickTime.
The new version will require Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later and QuickTime 7.1.6 or later to be able to make use of the new QuickTime functionality.
Perhaps the most interesting new change for portable users are graphics optimizations that are being made. The new version will incorporate changes which utilize AltiVec on PowerPC-based Macs and SSE on Intel-based Macs. The changes are expected to yield performance boosts on Macs wherein vertex animation shaders aren’t available such as the Mac Minis and MacBooks, which use Intel integrated video systems as opposed to specific graphic cards.
If you have any thoughts or ideas on this, let us know over in the forums.

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Apple Confirms iPhone Battery Software Bug

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 08:05
Category: iPhone

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No matter how much you love your new iPhone, there may be some bugs to sort out.
As the result of a survey held over at The Cell Blog in which over 60% of respondents mentioned that their iPhone didn’t display a fully charged battery, a new comment has emerged.
An Apple PR representative responded with the following: “Your battery is fully charged, but the UI (User Interface) is just not correctly reflecting this. We expect to fix this in a software update.”
No word has been given as to when to expect the software update and Apple apparently has yet to publish any information regarding this bug.
If you’ve seen something similar to the bug in your experience with your own iPhone or have thoughts or ideas about this, let us know over in the forums.

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Guide Posted for Adding Custom Ringtones/Tweaks to iPhone

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2007, 13:31
Category: iPhone

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When the iPhone shipped a few weeks ago, it arrived without custom ringtones. I’ve told a few people who’ve groused about it that Apple might be sorting out an arrangement with a ringtone provider and that this might be taken care of in the first software update.
They weren’t terribly happy with that answer and I wasn’t that happy to give it. For US$499 and US$599, this seemed like a basic feature that should have been covered.
The guys over at iPhoneAlley may have a solution in the mean time. According to a guide that was just posted, a user named “Mubs” recently submitted a full tutorial to the site’s forums as to how to install custom ringtones to your iPhone.
It’s a bit technical and not for the faint of heart, but site head Michael Johnston reported that it worked perfectly on his iPhone and this is good enough for me.
So, if you get a chance, check it out and let us know how it goes in the forums.

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