I’ll say this about Walt Mossberg: Sometimes he comes up with some really interesting tidbits. I can’t quite say if I’d want him covering my back in a bar brawl, but he does the Wall Street Journal proud, whatever his bar brawl abilities may happen to be.
In Mossberg’s recent Questions About Apple’s iPhone column, Mossberg mentions that the iPhone will be able to play additional Internet video format via an Adobe Flash plug in that Apple plans to add through an early software update.
The guys at iLounge have made a good point in illustrating that Apple’s lack of Flash support in the Safari web browser for the iPhone has been a point of contention in early reviews about the device.
Mossberg’s column also mentions a cool tidbit about Apple extending loaner iPhones to its users for US$29 should your iPhone require repairs.
The column is a good read, especially with more people becoming interested in the iPhone and having questions as to its basic features, what can be done with the calling plans and what’s possible in terms of overseas calls, so give it a once-over if you have a moment.
One of the complaints that have followed the iPhone is the earbuds shipped with the unit. Like the iPod’s earbuds, they were apparently better suited to the guys out in Cupertino than their customers and it’s been noticed.
Unfortunately, there’s currently few (if any) third party alternatives to these earbuds, especially if customers want to keep the mic and music toggle options built into Apple’s headphone cable. Finally, a “non-standard, standard” jack makes things that much harder.
The guys over at Engadget have thrown together a tutorial video featuring James Papadopoulos, who shows you how to install a pair of third party headphones with a little confidence and some soldering. It’s somewhat for the brave of heart, but it the iPhone’s earbuds were driving you nuts, this might come in handy:
If you have any ideas or workarounds of your own to the earbud issue, let us know.
Apple’s iPhone has been out for almost a week now and has received ample feedback, both positive and negative. One of the most prominent complaints about the handset was the fact that it would be locked to the AT&T EDGE network and would be unable to work with other providers.
Generally, when a cell phone is locked into a single network, the effort is focused towards helping the provider recoup the costs involved with subsidizing the handsets for their customers. In AT&T’s case, Apple has taken on the costs involved, AT&T having become involved in a five-year agreement to function as the sole iPhone provider in the United States.
According to Macworld News, a group of hackers is currently involved with the process of unlocking the iPhone in order to allow it to function with other wireless carriers. As of Monday, members of the group posted that progress had been made in this effort.
The first major obstacle that’s been focused on is circumventing the authentication process in Apple’s iTunes software that allows users to sign up for an AT&T service plan as well as activate the handset’s features, such as its camera and music player.
One group member, identified as “gj” on the iPhone Dev Wiki (the site is apparently locked down at this point) commented that “We have been fairly successful in spoofing iTunes activation processes. This should allow us to activate the phone.”
Progress made to data apparently allows to group to set and read data on an iPhone as well as query as to whether or not an iPhone has been activated. “The rest of our work is legwork really, in understanding how certain functions operate with the rest of the phone,” commented one poster on the forums. The post also mentioned that the group was close to the ability to browse file systems on the iPhone.
Other questions facing the group concern how iTunes will react when faced with a phone that hasn’t been activated for use with the AT&T network as well as how the rest of the handset functions. This process is aided by the fact that the iPhone uses a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) smart card which contains data such as a user’s phone number as well as storage space for contacts and messages, as opposed to a system that hardwires this data directly into the phone. Apple’s use of a removable SIM cards allows for the firmware to be more easily cracked.
If you have any thoughts, ideas or workarounds regarding this, let us know.
After less than a week out in public, the iPhone firmware has apparently been leaked over the Internet and is currently under review by anyone who cares to look it over.
According to Engadget, a forum post over at Hackintosh disclosed that the following files were found within the iPhone’s firmware:
It’s currently believed that the files point to possible European wireless carriers for when the iPhone is released to these markets later this year.
More information on this as soon as it becomes available.
Via a brief announcement posted on its web site, auto manufacturer BMW has confirmed reports that it would be the first to offer full iPhone integration with its cars.
According to iLounge, the company has noted that cars currently equipped with the iPod/USB interface (namely the 3 and 5 series manfactured from March, 2007 on; the X5 series manufactured from April, 2007 on and the 6 series manufactured from September, 2007 on) will be able to use the iPhone with music and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
The company has promised additional details in the near future.
On Tuesday, Ecamm Network released Call Recorder for Skype 2.1. Call Recorder for Skype functions as an add-on for the Skype Voice over Internet Protocol program and allows users to record and archive their conversations.
The new version, a 1.4 megabyte download, adds the following features and changes:
-Adds an option to automatically discard short recordings.
-Adds an option to keep the Call Recorder window in the foreground during Skype calls.
-Call Recorder will now properly respect Skype’s mute button.
-Fixes a recording problem which could cause distorted sound when using certain input and output devices on a Power PC Mac.
-Fixes a warning message that could be displayed while recording voicemail messages with Skype v2.6 or later.
-Fixes a problem which caused the Call Recorder windows position to be forgotten after quitting Skype.
-Fixes an issue with default encoding settings on newer Macs.
-Fixes an issue which could cause Skype to hang after a conference call.
Call Recorder for Skype retails for US$14.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and Skype 1.4 or later to run.
As always, if anything good or hideous comes out of your experience with the new version, let us know.
On Monday, Apple released Audio Update 2007-001, a small software patch that resolves a “popping” sound that might be heard on some external speakers connected to Intel-based Macs.
The update is a 660 kilobyte download via Apple’s web site and is also available through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
Users will need to have Mac OS X 10.4.10 already installed before using this update.
If you’ve had either a positive or negative experience with Audio Update 2007-001 on your Mac, let us know.
Apple has updated its iPhone support web site, offering supplemental details regarding its iPhone Battery Replacement Program.
According to MacNN, the replacement terms state that if your iPhone battery demonstrates a diminished ability to hold an electrical charge, Apple will repair the iPhone for a service fee of US$79 plus US$6.95 shipping and handling, bringing the total to US$85.95. The repair process requires about three business days.
Apple has also noted that the iPhone’s data will not be preserved, so be sure to sync your iPhone to iTunes before sending it in.
If you’ve been having trouble with your iPhone’s battery or have an idea or workaround regarding it, let us know.
If the iPhone is version 2.0 of the Macintosh computer, then the 4GB iPhone is the second coming of the original 128k Macintosh. Product reviews seem to bear this out: The iPhone is phenomenal, while falling short. A vision of the future, hampered by the constraints of current technology.
The iPod was doomed to the same slow death as the PDA. Almost everyone carries a mobile phone and increasingly, they can do it all. Horrid little convergence devices that live in your pocket. Connected to a network with operating systems that remind me of the screen menus built into my TV set.
Enter the iPhone: iPDA, iCamera, iWebrowser and iPod. It is the handheld computer that Microsoft could not envision. Just like the original Macintosh, it is running well out on the edge of the curve teetering on a technological reality that barely meets the requirements. Cellular network speed, fixed battery and memory all stretched to the limit. It’s the screen baby, supported by an intuitive touch interface and slick animated graphics. Crack one open and it is nearly one third battery. The remaining two thirds are just pure magic.
Jason Calacanis, the CEO and co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., has just posted that he’s come into possession of no less than five eight gigabyte iPhones to give away in upcoming contests.
The contests themselves are currently up in the air and he’s taking suggestions via his web site.
Take a look and see what you think.
Also, standing at the end of his driveway waving torches and pitchforks isn’t a valid (or legal) option, so you might have to think of a plan b.