Apple Applies for Wireless License in China

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple may have finally cleared a major hurdle in bringing its iPhone handset to China, as the company has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country. The moves could put a release just a few months away, albeit without Wi-Fi.

According to AppleInsider, Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison claims that the application was filed on Friday, July 10th, but doesn’t make any mention of onboard Wi-Fi. Rumors have repeatedly hinted that Apple may be forced to remove Wi-Fi to appease the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which would prefer that iPhone owners use local networks.

Apple has supposedly been “hellbent” on shipping the iPhone to China with Wi-Fi but appears to have relented in order to get the phone into the populous nation.

If the process moves along as usual, this revised iPhone would take between four to six months to receive the green light and go on sale. This would put a launch no later than January, and Mathison seemed confident that the device would arrive before the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 will start in mid-February. Mathison stated that he views the licensing as partly a negotiation tactic that would help bring Apple closer to a deal with China Unicom, the carrier recently pegged as the most likely candidate for an iPhone due to its inherent compatibility with the iPhone’s existing 3G standards.

While it’s rare to have an estimate that narrows the release window for an iPhone in China, whether or not this latest prediction is accurate remains debatable. Local carriers have been in talks with Apple since at least late 2007, and one-time favorite China Mobile has often tried making multiple special requests that have likely stalled hopes for a quick agreement, such as demanding that the American company either use the government-backed TD-SCDMA standard for 3G or cede control of the App Store.

Apple has so far only stated that it wants to have the iPhone in China within the next year and has been silent on the progress of negotiations.

iPhone 3GS Upload Speeds Peak at 384 Kbps

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Date: Friday, July 10th, 2009, 03:23
Category: iPhone 3GS

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The cat may be out of the bag as a recent Macworld article points out that while Apple’s recently-released iPhone 3GS is capable of much faster download speeds than the previous generations, its upload speeds could stand to see some improvement. While the handset boasts a 7.2 Mbps HSDPA downstream, which is twice the iPhone 3G’s 3.6 Mbps HSDPA speed, it was assumed that Apple would also be increasing upstream speeds by finally adding HSUPA, bringing upload speeds to either 1.4 or 1.9 Mbps.

A recent RapidRepair teardown revealed this not to be the case. When the group cracked open their iPhone 3GS, they found that it still only had a UMTS/HSDPA chip. While it had increased HSDPA speeds, it only supported UMTS, the earliest 3G upload protocol in the U.S., which is only capable of peak speeds of 384 Kbps.

While download speeds with the 3GS are quite a bit faster (or will be in the U.S. when AT&T finishes their 7.2 network), upload speeds remain comparatively slow.

Wireless Carrier China Unicom Apparently Leading Race to Bring iPhone to China

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone

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In the ongoing (and sometimes epic) struggle to bring the iPhone to China, wireless carrier is purportedly closest to reach a deal but still faces an attack from dominant carrier China Mobile.

According to AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. claims to have sources aware of Apple’s leanings and gives China Unicom the nod as Apple favors the finances, hardware compatibility and degree of control it would get through an agreement. China Unicom is reportedly more willing to heavily subsidize the iPhone to its creator’s satisfaction and to let Apple have its usual say over the device and its software, both of which are doubtful through China Mobile. Rumors have long swirled that China Mobile is insisting on controlling the local App Store, a practice that Apple hasn’t allowed once in the history of its cellphones.

The smaller of the two Chinese carriers boasts 133 million carriers compared to China Mobile’s 488 million but is in the middle of deploying a 3G cellular network that uses UMTS and WCDMA, both standards that are already supported by the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Should Apple go with China Unicom, the deal would let Apple keep selling the same iPhone in China as it does elsewhere while also getting more reach: the faster network should reach 284 cities within several months.

In comparison, China Mobile’s government-supported TD-SCDMA standard for 3G would require that Apple incorporate a custom chipset just for the one carrier and would come with growth limitations of its own. Despite having over three times as many customers, the larger carrier will reach nearly 50 fewer cities with its 3G and doesn’t anticipate the network reaching complete coverage until three years from now, or well after China Unicom’s network is ready.

Wu’s contacts, however, maintain that Apple doesn’t entirely consider China Mobile “out of the running” both through its sheer influence and its interest in the iPhone, which would be a victory even in a country well-known for grey market imports.

Wu has indicated that he doesn’t see a deal with either carrier as close enough to force a change in predicted iPhone numbers for now and the year ahead. About 20 million iPhones should ship in 2009 and 26 million in 2010. All the same, he notes that Chinese shouldn’t necessarily be disappointed without an official deal thanks to the nation’s thriving bootleg community.

“Our sources indicate that iPhones will likely continue to flow into China,” Wu says. “There are an estimated 1 million-1.5 million iPhones in use despite lack of an official carrier relationship.”

Apple Issues Overheating Warning for iPhone, iPhone 3GS Handsets

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Date: Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, 04:18
Category: iPhone

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Whether reports of iPhones overheating are entirely true or not, Apple seems to be taking the situation seriously enough to reveal the presence of a temperature warning screen for the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

According to Gearlog, an unknown but probably very small number of iPhones have been affected by overheating, to the point that some white iPhone 3GSes have allegedly turned pink.

Apple, has issued what some might call a “common sense” warning: a support document that warns users not to keep the iPhone in an environment where temperatures can exceed 113 degrees Fahrenheit, including parked cars.

The company has also warned that CPU-intensive applications, such playing music or using the GPS while in direct sunlight may also overheat the iPhone.

In that case, actually using the iPhone in temperatures over 95 degrees can also trigger the temperature warning. “Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly,” Apple warns.

Obviously, summer temperatures in many locations top 95 degrees.Las Vegas, for example, has forecasts topping 100 degrees for the next 10 days; Phoenix routinely climbs above 103.

Apple also says that the iPhone 3G and 3GS should not be stored where the temperature can fall under -4 degrees Fahrenheit, or used in less in temperatures under 0 degrees F.

If the phone exceeds those temperatures, Apple says, the iPhone may stop charging, its display might dim, a weak cellular signal may be experienced, and the temperature warning screen on the left may also appear. Apple’s support document implies that there’s a temperature sensor of some sort built in to the iPhone 3G or 3G S

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if you’ve seen this on your end.

Mild iPhone 3GS Shortage Reported Models Across Apple Retail Networks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 04:11
Category: iPhone 3GS, retail

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Apple’s retail store chain reported shortages of some models of the company’s recently released iPhone 3GS handset on Sunday. According to Macworld UK, the company’s own inventory tracking tool showed a milder repeat of last summer, when Apple’s stores quickly exhausted supplies of the then-new iPhone 3G, a situation that persisted for several weeks until the company could refill the pipeline.

On Sunday, Apple’s stock-checking tool indicated that 13 of the 211 stores in the US, or 6% of the total, were completely out of the iPhone 3GS.

Another 31 stores, or 15%, had only one of the four models for sale.

The hardest-to-find iPhone 3GS was the US$199 white 16GB model, which was out of stock in 121 stores, or 57% of the locations. Supplies of the US$299 32GB black iPhone 3GS were also short, as 84 stores, or 40% of the total, reported it unavailable.

Customers on Sunday were most likely to find the US$199 black 16GB iPhone 3GS and the US$299 white 32GB model in stock, as only 23% of the stores reported being out of either of those configurations.

The iPhone 3GS has been available since June 19, but Apple only recently re-activated the inventory tool. Last summer, users were told to use the tool after 9 pm local time each day to check availability for the next day. This year, there is no such instruction, since the tool has been changed to offer better information.

“You can check the most up-to-date availability right here,” said Apple on the tool’s Web page. “Shipments of iPhone 3GS arrive most days and availability is updated hourly.”

All stores currently have the US$99 8GB iPhone 3G in stock, Apple added.

AT&T, which last year also ran through its inventory soon after the iPhone 3G’s July launch, and took much longer to restock, has some spot shortages in its 2,200 retail stores as well. The carrier, however, was vague about the extent of the problem.

“There are AT&T stores that do not currently carry iPhone,” AT&T said in an message accompanying its online store finder. The remainder of the text was identical to last year: “This store locator is made specifically for finding iPhone at an AT&T store. It does not, however guarantee that there will be iPhones in stock at the particular store at this time. To make sure iPhone is at the store closest to you, call that store’s number.”

Best Buy and Wal-Mart are selling the 3GS handset as well. However, neither sells the iPhone online or offers any information about availability online. Instead, customers must call or visit a brick-and-mortar store to see whether the smartphone is in stock.

Prior to the June 19 launch, AT&T and Best Buy said that they had exhausted their pre-order supplies of the iPhone 3GS.

Apple To Buy Additional 2.2 Million Shares of Imagination Technologies

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Hardware, News

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Apple may be expanding in component companies once again, as Macworld UK is reporting that Apple has upped its stake in British outfit Imagination Technologies, the London-based company that developed the technology used in the 3G iPhone’s graphics chips

Imagination Technologies has stated that Apple is to acquire 2.2 million of its shares at £1.4275 (about US$2.351 per share.

Apple already owned shares in Imagination’s technology. On 18 December 2008, Imagination revealed in a filing with the London Stock Exchange that Apple acquired 8,200,000 shares, equal to a 3.6% stake in the company.

London-based Imagination Technologies develops intellectual property found in systems-on-chip (SOCs), including its Meta processor cores and PowerVR graphics engines.

A graphics chip based on PowerVR provides the graphics for Apple’s 3G iPhone and other companies, including Samsung Electronics and Intel, have licensed Imagination’s graphics technology.

Apple Changes Newest iPhone Model Name to “iPhone 3GS”

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Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:01
Category: iPhone, News

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In a move that may seem both a little odd but actually makes sense, Apple has quietly changed the way it is spelling the new iPhone 3GS, which now appears without a space all of Apple’s press materials.

According the Macworld UK, Apple’s website is still using the “iPhone 3G S” term. The general understanding is that it is officially “iPhone 3GS” from now on and that the main website will be updated shortly.

When the iPhone 3GS first launched, there was much consternation amongst the press as to the correct spelling of the new product, compounded by the logo – which places the “S” inside a small square.

Apple helped clarify matters by issuing press releases with the term “iPhone 3G S”. But just four days into the launch it has changed the spelling to iPhone 3GS, and reworked all of its press materials to mark the new change.

One that is that the revised name offers more clarity for Google, and other web search engines, helping avoid confusion between searches for the new and old model of iPhone.

On the other hand, there may be a legal reason behind the move. It may be that Apple’s legal department pointed out that 3G is a generic term, and that S is a generic term and that “3G S” would be difficult to copyright; whereas “3GS” would be more easy to protect.

Or there may be another, unknown reason. An Apple spokesman allegedly commented to media that “we just feel it looks better with the 3GS all together.”

Apple Offers $30 iTunes Store Gift Certificates to Smooth Over iPhone 3G S Activation Delays

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Date: Monday, June 22nd, 2009, 09:10
Category: iPhone 3GS, News

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For iPhone 3G S customers experiencing delays activating their new units, Apple may be lending a hand.

According to CNET, Apple began notifying affected customers via e-mail on Sunday that they may experience additional delays for another two days due to “system issues” and “high activation volumes,” according to readers in various blogs who claim to have received the e-mail. The problems began immediately after the new iPhone’s launch Friday.

As a way of apology for the delays, the same e-mail said Apple plans to offer customers a US$30 credit iTunes Store credit for “the inconvenience this delay has caused.”

Here’s the entire text of the e-mail:

Dear Apple Customer,
Thank you for your recent Apple Store order. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused by the delay in your iPhone activation.

We are still resolving the issue that was encountered while activating your iPhone with AT&T. Unfortunately, due to system issues and continued high activation volumes, this could take us up to an additional 48 hours to complete.

On Monday, you’ll receive an email from Apple with an iTunes Store credit in the amount of $30. We hope you will enjoy this gift and accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this delay has caused.

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Sincerely,
Apple Online Store Team

Apple representatives have yet to comment on this.

Apple Sells 750,000 iPhone 3G S Units Upon Launch

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Date: Monday, June 22nd, 2009, 08:20
Category: iPhone 3GS

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The numbers are in and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster claims Apple sold 750,000 iPhone 3G S handsets over the launch weekend.

According to Macworld UK, Munster’s estimate that Apple sold about 750,000 iPhones over the three-day weekend, is 50% more than his initial prediction (500,000) but 25% less than the 1 million iPhone 3Gs Apple sold on launch last July.
The company sold one million units of the original iPhone were sold in the 74 days after it launched in the U.S.

Fortune reports that Munster and his colleagues surveyed 256 customers at Apple’s New York and Minneapolis stores and found that 28% were switching carriers to AT&T, down from 38% last year and 52% in 2007.

The analysts discovered that 56% were upgrading from an old iPhone, up from 38% last year. “We believe this shows Apple is developing brand loyalty not enjoyed by other mobile phone makers,” Munster writes.

Per the survey, 43% bought the high-end 32GB iPhone 3G S, compared to 66% who bought the high-capacity 16GB model last year and the 95% who opted for 8GB over the 4GB when the iPhone first went on sale.

Of the customers buying their first iPhone, 12% were switching from a Research in Motion BlackBerry, up from 6% during the launch of the iPhone 3G. Munster said this: “may indicate the company is making headway among business users slowly adopting the iPhone platform for corporate use.”

iPhone OS 3.0 to Hit Today

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 08:14
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

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Per CNET, current iPhone owners will be able to download the software from iTunes for free while iPod touch users will have to pay a US$9.95 fee for it.

Though its exact release time is currently unknown, iPhone OS 3.0 will offer features such as multimedia messaging (to be supported by AT&T later this summer), voice recording, buying and renting movies and TV shows over the air, full system search, tethering and push notifications.

The update will be available through iTunes and users are advised to hook their handhelds to their Mac or PC later today, mount the device in iTunes and click the “Check for Update” button to download and install iPhone OS 3.0.

Apple has also bundled in some extras, like landscape virtual keyboard for certain apps, more extensive parental controls, in-app purchasing, and a feature for MobileMe customers called Find My Phone.

There will also be stereo Bluetooth available, as well as the capability to create applications specifically for interfacing with third-party hardware.

The new iPhone 3G S is scheduled to hit stores such as the Apple Store retail locations, Best Buy and the AT&T stores Friday morning.