Fring adds video conferencing feature to app, handles videoconferencing over 3G networks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 9th, 2010, 03:44
Category: iPhone, News, Software

For those of you hankering for a third-party video calling app for the iPhone 4, the new version of the Fring social networking app has now added support for video calling.



The bonus: It appears to work adequately over 3G as well.

This opens the door for services that could have potentially broader implications than FaceTime itself, since Apple’s service is limited to WiFi and currently only works between iPhone 4 handsets.

Fring is available for free and requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple to add 5 megapixel camera, FaceTime and gyroscope to fourth-gen iPod touch

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Date: Friday, July 9th, 2010, 03:02
Category: iPod Touch, Rumor

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A new report from the mighty Electric Pig has alleged that Apple’s fourth-generation iPod touch, expected to arrive this September, will feature a 5 megapixel camera, capture HD video, feature FaceTime connectivity, and include a gyroscope, like the iPhone 4.

U.K. retailer John Lewis said the information is based on “noises we’re hearing from suppliers”. Though no mention was specifically made of a forward-facing camera at the company’s presentation in London, it did say that FaceTime calling over Wi-Fi would be possible “so you can communicate with friends at zero cost.”

The purported details of Apple’s new iPod touch were revealed at the John Lewis “Xmas in July” event. The retailer also claimed that the new iPod touch will include a camera flash for improved pictures in the dark, like the iPhone 4. It also said that users would be able to upload their HD videos directly to YouTube from the device, over Wi-Fi.

Finally, representatives from John Lewis also said the new iPod touch is expected to include both an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The hardware addition already found in the iPhone 4 allows a new, more precise control method for game titles on the App Store.

The company made no mention whether the iPod touch would receive some of the other additions of the iPhone 4, namely the 640-by-960 pixel Retina Display, or Apple’s custom-built A4 processor.

Apple was originally rumored to add a camera to its iPod touch at last year’s annual September iPod event, but the feature was allegedly pulled due to bad parts with the camera modules. The company later added a popular video camera component to its iPod nano media device.

How-To: deactivate Network Services to improve iOS device battery life

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 8th, 2010, 04:31
Category: How-To, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

Although the iOS 4 software update has been lauded as improving battery life for most users, some are finding the improvements lacking. Per the Apple Toolbox Blog, one source of this may be overuse of the Location Services feature which can accompany checking Push notifications, and having many open Safari windows open.

It now appears that overactive location services usage can result in poor battery life. Specifically, apps that use location services in the background can quickly drain the battery.

The post offers the following steps for resolving this and hopefully upping your iOS device’s battery life:

“To check location services usage on an app-by-app basis, navigate to Settings > General > Location Services.

Turn location services off for all applications, then turn them back on for desired apps one by one or in groups. Via this procedure, you can identify which app’s use of location services is draining battery.

Alternatively, you can temporarily turn off location services altogether and check for increased battery life.”

Mozilla releases Firefox 4, beta 1 for public testing

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Date: Thursday, July 8th, 2010, 04:05
Category: News, Software

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For the brave and the bold, Mozilla has released the first public beta of its upcoming Firefox 4 web browser. The new browser, a 20.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), incorporates the following fixes and changes:

- Tabs are now on top by default on Windows only – Mac OS X and Linux will be changing when the theme has been modified to support the change.

- On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar has been replaced with the Firefox button.

- You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar

- New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)
Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions.

- The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac and Linux.

- The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like).

- Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins.

- CSS Transitions are partially supported.

- Full WebGL support is included but disabled by default at this time.

- Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently.

- Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format.

- An experimental Direct2D rendering backend is available on Windows, turned off by default.

- Web developers can use Websockets for a low complexity, low latency, bidirectional communications API.

- Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs.

- More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction.

- Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload.

- CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history.

- New HTML5 parser.

- Support for more HTML5 form controls.

The Firefox 4 beta is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried it and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments

Apple releases version 1.2 of MobileMe iDisk app, adds iPad support

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPad, News, Software

Apple on Tuesday released version 1.2 of its MobileMe iDisk application, bringing support for multitasking within iOS 4 for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, as well as native support for the iPad.

The 3.4MB update is available from the App Store or through iTunes. New features in version 1.2, according to Apple, include:

- Designed for both iPhone and iPad.

- Multitasking support for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS (iOS 4 required).

- Quickly switch to another app and back using iDisk.

- Play audio from your iDisk while using another app.

- When app is opened, the last file or directory viewed is displayed.

- Option to open iDisk documents in compatible apps such as iBooks.

- When sharing a file, an email can be sent from any configured email account.

- The URL for a shared filed can be copied and pasted.

- Various stability improvements.

The iDisk application was first released for the iPhone and iPod touch in July of 2009. It allows users to remotely access files saved online via the MobileMe service.

AT&T upload speed limits may be bug, not intentional data throttling

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Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 04:44
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Following up on yesterday’s story in which some iPhone 4 users are experiencing slow upload speeds on AT&T’s network, the incident may be a genuine bug and not intentional data capping.

Per AppleInsider, users across the U.S. have reported upload speeds of around 100Kbps, well below the capabilities of the HSPA-capable iPhone 4. The issue has affected users in a number of major metropolitan areas across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

While some speculated the problems were a result of bandwidth throttling by AT&T, that is not said to be the case. Instead, sources close to the story have stated that the issues are a result of an unintentional software glitch related to High-Speed Uplink Packet Access in some sections of the country. When working properly, HSUPA can allow uplink speeds of 5.76Mbit/s.

It is believed that a fix for the issue is forthcoming, though AT&T did not provide a comment on the matter as of Tuesday evening.

iPhone 4 jailbreak imminent per developer tweet

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, 04:11
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Per a tweet by a member of the iPhone Dev Team, an all-device jailbreak (like Spirit and Blackra1n) is seems imminent for the iPhone 4:

The tweet goes as follows:

“MuscleNerd: @xfsasx jailbreak for all devices at 4.0 is already handled by upcoming @comex release so, good time for iphone4 unlock stuff”

A specific iPhone 4 jailbreak release date has yet to be announced, though an iOS 4 update is due within a few weeks”

If you’re in the mood to run some extra apps as well as void your iPhone’s warranty, have at it and it should be a good release.

Apple cites iPhone 4 reception problems as software bug, promises fix within a few weeks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, News

First, as you may have noticed, there are issues with the iPhone 4′s reception. Still, Apple says this might not be what you think according to a recent press release from the company:

“Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

The full press release can be found here and it seems a bit strange that Apple is once again blaming the formula.

Still, this is what it is and stay tuned for the software fix as well as additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4 gyroscope goes under the microscope, could find its way into future iPad

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Date: Thursday, July 1st, 2010, 04:41
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

In as much as the iPhone 4 has drawn criticism, it does sport some nifty new technologies.

Among this is its new gyroscope, which could find its way into a future revision of the iPad.

Per InformationWeek, UBMTechInsights took a look inside Apple’s new iPhone 4 and found it was made by STMicroelectronics. The three-axis MEMS gyroscope is made by the same company that produces the accelerometer found both the iPhone and iPad.

Steve Bitton, senior analyst with TechInsights, noted that there is an empty slot on the iPad motherboard, perfectly sized to fit the gyroscope found in the iPhone 4. It is also located next to the accelerometer, and within proximity of the application processor.

The discovery suggests that Apple originally planned to have a gyroscope in the iPad, released in April in the U.S., but ultimately decided to leave the sensor out of the first-generation hardware.

But the pin out on the iPad motherboard doesn’t match the STMicroelectronics gyroscope found in the iPhone 4 — instead, Bitton said, it resembles a competing three-axis sensor made by InvenSense.

“When Apple’s iPad first came out, the InvenSense gyro was the only three-axis digital gyro on the market, so Apple may have designed its board with that component in mind,” the report said. “Indeed, Apple may have included it in the iPad initially, but may have ultimately decided against using it in either device.”

The cool cats at iFixit have also conducted a closer look at the iPhone 4 gyroscope, with the help of Chipworks. It also revealed that the gyroscope is made by STMicroelectronics, labeled AGD1 2022 FP6AQ. The microelectromechanical system (MEMS) integrates electronic and mechanical components at a very small scale to measure the orientation of the device.

X-ray photos of the gyroscope found that it is nearly identifcal to the off-the-shelf STMicroelectronics L3G4200D model. It includes a “proof mass” that is displaced in X, Y and Z directions by Coriolis forces when a user rotates the phone. Another die found inside converts those capacitive signals into a digital form that can be interpreted by the iPhone 4.

The gyroscope allows for far more precise movements with the device. One of the first App Store offerings to demonstrate this capability is Eliminate:GunRange, a US$0.99 title from ngmoco, Inc. The software allows users to conduct virtual target practice by aiming their onscreen gun with precise movements of the device, something that is only capable with the gyroscope found in the iPhone 4.

iPhone 4 proximity sensor under fire for dropped calls, other issues

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, News

As the iPhone 4 sells like hot cakes, there may be some additional issues to sort out. Per CNET, some users are citing proximity sensor issues when attempting to make phone calls.

Over on the Apple Support Discussions forums, comments about the issue run twenty pages deep and counting. The details of this issue vary throughout the forum posts, but essentially the proximity sensor (the one that shuts down the screen functionality when your iPhone is close to your face or in your pocket) seems to be malfunctioning.

Some users have reported that the sensor does cause the screen to go black, as expected, but that the functionality of iPhone remains intact, causing anything from mid-call hangups to inadvertent three-way calling, accidental FaceTime initiation attempts, or muting calls.

So far, the best advice to come out of this is to sync your iPhone and backup your information. Perform a restore to your backup and see if that solves the issue. If it persists, do a restore and set your iPhone 4 up as a new phone. Keep in mind, this will not save your information (like text messages), so be sure to have them backed up elsewhere.

Should restoring your iPhone 4 not solve the proximity sensor issues, many users are reporting that contacting AppleCare (by phone at 1.800.APL.CARE) or visiting an AppleCare certified technician or the Genius Bar at an Apple Store to get their iPhone replaced has been a fairly painless process. iPhone 4 is still a new product and replacement supplies may be limited, so be sure to check your iPhone out quickly and take it in as soon as possible.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know and hopefully an iOS 4.0.1 update will fix this. And make your new iPhone 4 paint the house as well.