Apple delays iPhone 4S China retail launch as result of unruly lines, crowds

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Date: Friday, January 13th, 2012, 05:42
Category: iPhone, News

It never hurts to keep a crowd under control.

Per AllThingsD, after an unruly crowd disrupted the release of Apple’s iPhone 4S at its flagship location in Beijing, Apple has decided to postpone the sale of its best-selling handset at its official retail locations in China, though the device will still be available through its carrier partner and authorized resellers, albeit the company has confirmed that it will delay sales of the iPhone 4S at retail locations in Beijing and Shanghai.

“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible, and our stores in China have already sold out,” an Apple spokesperson told the publication. “Unfortunately we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being. Customers can still order iPhone through the Apple Online Store, or buy at China Unicom and other authorized resellers.”

Apple retail staff at the Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing put signs out Friday afternoon with a note saying, “This store will not be selling the iPhone in the recent future.”

Apple had previously announced that the iPhone 4S would go on sale at its Sanlitun retail store in Beijing at 7AM local time (6PM Eastern), but altercations between scalpers and line-waiters have allegedly delayed the launch. As of 8AM, the store had yet to open.

The imminent launch of Apple’s latest handset in China had attracted thousands of customers outside the company’s five stores throughout the country. Security barricades had originally been set up to manage the crowd at the Sanlitun store earlier in the week, but they were taken down sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning.

Remnants of the crowd outside Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing early on Friday, Jan. 13.

One journalist on location in Beijing claimed that Apple had canceled the launch because fights had broken out during the night, while some crowd members claimed Apple would take orders for the iPhone 4S at the store on Friday without distributing the devices.

Groups of professional line-waiters and scalpers could be seen congregating outside the store early Friday. As the 7AM launch time came and went without Apple opening its doors, a number of them became disgruntled. Shouts of “Open the door!” rang periodically rang throughout the crowd. At one point, a group of unhappy line-waiters left shouting profanities at Apple. Several individuals were forcefully escorted away by security officials, though it was not immediately clear why they were being removed.

It was reported on Friday that some angry customers pelted the Apple Store with eggs after it was revealed that the device would not go on sale. According to the publication, the Apple Store in the Pudong district of Shanghai opened an hour early and has begun selling the iPhone 4S.

The 16GB iPhone 4S is selling for 4,988RMB (US$790) on Apple China’s online store, while the 32GB and 64GB models sell for 5,888RMB and 6,788RMB, respectively. Estimated shipping time is currently two weeks. China Unicom is also offering iPhone 4S for free with a multi-year contract on plans starting at 286RMB (US$45).

The well-organized secondary market in Beijing has led to conflicts at the Sanlitun store in the past. Last year, the release of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 was marred by an incident that resulted in a broken glass door and several injuries.

In addition to China, Apple is scheduled to launch the iPhone 4S in 21 more countries on Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Corning unveils Gorilla Glass 2 at CES, material now 0.8mm thick and withstands 121 pounds of pressure

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 09:13
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

Because you always wanted your iPhone to be nigh-on-invincible.

Per Gizmodo, Corning unveiled its new Gorilla Glass 2 at CES this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the original Gorilla Glass was about 1 millimeter thick, the new material is 20 percent thinner at just 0.8mm.



Corning said Gorilla Glass 2 will enable device makers to build thinner and sleeker devices with brighter images and greater touch sensitivity. Gorilla Glass is widely believed to be used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, though the company has not revealed its suppliers for recent products like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Product qualification and design implementation for Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is said to be underway with Corning’s customers. Devices featuring Gorilla Glass 2 will reportedly be unveiled over the coming months. While the new glass is just 0.8mm, it can withstand 121 pounds of pressure without cracking.

Corning’s special glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, thanks to a chemically strengthened alkali-aluminosilicate material. It is the most widely used cover glass, featured in more than 30 major brands and 575 different product models, with more than 500 million units sold worldwide.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4S approved by China’s Radio Management Agency, moves closer to market

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re over in the orient, you might appreciate this.

Per the Wall Street Journal, an iPhone 4S model compatible with China Telecom’s network has been approved by regulators.

The newspaper reported that an Apple device, model number A1387 — the same number as current iPhone 4S models — was approved by the national telecom regulator’s China Radio Management agency, and is listed as being compatible with CDMA-2000, the same 3G network technology used by China Telecom.

The device must still receive other certifications, including a network access license, before it can be sold in the country, but the approval does signal that the handset should be available on China Telecom in the near future. Currently, China Unicom is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in China; it will launch the iPhone 4S this coming Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple may leave iPhone 4S call drop bug in final build of iOS 5.1

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Date: Wednesday, January 4th, 2012, 04:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes the bugs tend to stick around.

Per GigaOM and a 109-page thread on the Apple Support Communites forum, the problem cropped up when the iPhone 4S was launched in November 2011 only to remain unfixed when iOS 5.0.1 was released a month later to deal with battery life complaints, and a look at the new build of an update seeded to developers shows that the audio issues will likely remain unresolved.

The issue was first identified when a number of Apple Community forum members began to complain that the audio on their iPhone 4S was intermittently failing when placing calls, forcing them to hang up and dial again. Interestingly, recipients on the other end were unaffected and could reportedly hear the iPhone user who originated the call.

The reports are fairly widespread as the Apple forum thread alone is still very active and now has well over 1,600 replies. Some are reporting a 1 in 10 audio failure rate, while others are seeing multiple back-to-back calls experiencing the problem.

It is unclear what is to blame for the audio failure, and although most calls go through without a problem, some users have reported the issue becoming bad enough that they needed to reboot their device.

Some forum members posit that the iOS software is to blame as the problem is not exclusive to the 4S and has been seen on previous generation iPhone 4 models running iOS 5. Others suggest the issue arises from new hardware in the 4S and its inability to communicate with carriers’ networks.

Affected users were hoping that the issue would be resolved when iOS 5.0.1 was released, though it seems that the problem remains. The newest build of the iOS, now in the hands of developers, also reportedly doesn’t address the situation.

Although no conclusive solution has been found for “Audiogate,” as some forum members have taken to calling it, workarounds have been found and include using a bluetooth headset, placing the call through Siri and completing a full restore of handset software.

Apple has yet to make any official statement regarding the matter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Argentina enacts ban on iPhone, BlackBerry imports as part of effort to boost local production

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 07:10
Category: iPhone, News

If you were planning on hitting up Argentina any time soon, snagging an iPhone there just got that much harder.

In an attempt to rectify issues with Argentina’s economy, the South American country placed a temporary ban on imports of foreign-made electronics. Two of the most well-known of those electronics are the iPhone and BlackBerry devices. Apple and RIM collectively account for 60 percent of Argentina’s smartphone market, so the ban is going to have a substantial impact on its mobile industry.

According to Electronista, Neither of the operating systems nor the hardware manufacturers were affected because they — Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Microsoft, etc. — have manufacturing facilities within Argentina. Android and Windows Phone will very quickly see a boost in sales, while iPhone and BlackBerry sales will drop to zero, unless of course Apple and RIM open up local plants or partner with other manufacturers.

In all actuality, the iPhone and BlackBerry markets have been struggling in Argentina for a while. A law was already in place that added a 20.48 percent tax on electronic imports on top of the standard 21 percent sales tax.

The government of Argentina says they will lift the ban on iPhones and BlackBerrys when the economy shows significant signs of stabilization, but there’s no telling just when that will happen.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Spire hack allows Siri to operate on jailbroken iPhones, requires proxy server

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Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:38
Category: Hack, iPhone

One day, Siri will run on everything (the toaster included).

Per The Mac Observer, pre-iPhone 4S owners that like to jailbreak can add Siri to their combo smartphone and iPod thanks to a new tool called Spire from chpwn. The hack apparently works around copyright concerns by letting users install the Siri files from Apple’s own servers instead of copying them from an iPhone 4S.

While Spire may side step some copyright issues, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to keep Siri running on your jailbroken iPhone.

“Spire is not a complete solution. Apple still requires authorization to use Siri, so information from an iPhone 4S is still required,” chpwn said on his blog. “To insert this information, Spire allows you to enter your own proxy server address.”

The trick to keeping Siri running on a jailbroken iPhone is to set up a proxy server, and then to connect an iPhone 4S to it on a regular basis since the needed authentication keys change often.

Spire isn’t a perfect solution for hackers wanting to try Siri on an older iPhone, but it tends to be easier than previous methods. For now, however, this looks like an option for more tech savvy iPhone owners.

Spire is available as a free download through the Cydia app only on jailbroken iPhones.

If you’ve tried the Spire hack and have any feedback about the process or its results, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

iPhone 4S to arrive in mainland China come January

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Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:52
Category: iPhone, News

The iPhone 4S is en route to the easy…just wait about a month.

Per Chinese web site People’s Daily, Apple has met all of the requirements for the iPhone 4S to launch in mainland China, and the handset will reportedly debut before the Chinese New Year in late January.

The web site reported this week that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. That means Apple has met all of the requirements necessary to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China.

The report said the handset will debut “at the beginning of January 2012,” and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

Filings with the Chinese government show a WCDMA phone manufactured by Apple was granted approval. Though it does not specifically reveal that the device is the iPhone 4S, it is listed as model number A1431, which is the same number Apple used to obtain a network entry permit for the iPhone 4S.

The approval process and anticipated release of the iPhone 4S has dragged out in China as Apple has quickly launched its latest smartphone in other major markets around the world. It’s been the fastest rollout ever for a new iPhone model.

The iPhone 4S did debut in Hong Kong in the first week of November, and sold out within minutes. Some regional branches of China Unicom in mainland China have been taking advance bookings for the iPhone 4S for weeks in anticipation of the device’s launch as it goes through China’s approval process.

One of the major selling points of the iPhone 4S is Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant application. Rumors have suggested that Siri will gain support for Mandarin, the most popular form of the Chinese language, by March of 2012.

If you have two cents to hurl in on this, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Apple may be paving way for Siri to be used by other devices, says hacker

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Date: Friday, December 16th, 2011, 05:59
Category: News, Software

This is kind of interesting.

Following yesterday’s update to iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone 4S handset and its apparent lack of specific changes, Cult Of Mac and well-known jailbreak hacker MuscleNerd revealed on Thursday that the update allowed a user to collect the files needed for a Siri port without having to break Apple’s copyright, the report noted.

“It’s the first public 4S ipsw where the main filesystem keys are obtainable (due to non-encrypted ramdisks),” said MuscleNerd.

But, given that Siri requires communication with Apple’s servers to function, it’s not immediately clear whether a port of the virtual voice assistant would fit within all applicable terms of service and license agreements for the device in question.

A number of members of the jailbreak community have been hard at work trying to port Siri to other devices. In late October, two hackers claimed to have gotten a limited functionality version of Siri working on a jailbroken iPhone 4 and iPod touch. Doing so, however, required custom information from an iPhone 4S device. Also, Apple has warned that jailbreaking an iOS device may void its warranty.

Apple released Siri as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 4S after acquiring the app last April. The Siri team has since grown to become one of the largest development teams at the company.

Full Siri functionality may also require minor hardware modifications. A teardown of the iPhone 4S revealed that the proximity sensor on the handset has a new infrared component built to work with Siri’s raise-to-speak feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Apple TV 4.4.4, iOS 5.0.1 update for iPhone 4S model

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Date: Thursday, December 15th, 2011, 12:57
Category: Apple TV, iPhone, News, Software

Firmware: It’s nifty and it makes a difference.

Per MacNN, Apple has released two minor firmware updates for iOS devices. The first is v4.4.4 for the Apple TV, which implements what Apple terms as “general performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue that displayed an error when playing some video content.” The update can be installed automatically via an Apple TV’s normal update functions, or manually by technically savvy users with access to the IPSW file.

Unusually, Apple has also published a slightly different version of iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone 4S. The new build is listed as 9A406. Why Apple would push out such an update is unknown, although any changes are likely to be extremely small given the same version number, and the need for compatibility with apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen any changes in your device(s) after installing the updates, please let us know in the comments.

Apple receives final clearance to sell iPhone 4S in China, handsets expected to arrive this month

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:29
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re traveling to the far east and need to snag an iPhone 4S, things just got a bit easier.

Per MIC Gadget, Chinese regulators have issued the final permit required for Apple to launch the iPhone 4S in the country, with wireless operator China Unicom hoping to begin selling the device by the Christmas and New Year holidays.

A new report claims that the MIIT network permit may actually be for the 8GB iPhone 4, as noted by Penn Olson. Insiders from China Unicom have allegedly stated that the iPhone 4S is still awaiting approval.

According to the report, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the necessary network access permit for the iPhone 4S earlier this week. The certificate remains valid for three years and The permit was believed to have been the last obstacle for Apple.

In response to the news, China Unicom said it expects to launch the device by the end of the month. The carrier reportedly estimates the 16GB iPhone 4S will cost 4,999 yuan (US$786) off contract.

The company revealed in late November that it had already finished preparations for the iPhone 4S and was simply awaiting the final permit from the government.

Financial analysts have indicated that their estimates of 28 million iPhone units shipped in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 will see a strong upside if Apple manages to launch the iPhone 4S in the world’s most populous country by the end of the quarter. According to Apple, there are already 7,000 points of sale for its smartphone in the country.

As for Greater China, the iPhone 4S arrived in Hong Kong to frenzied crowds in November. The handset is set to launch in Taiwan on Dec. 16. Apple has been on a tear in the region as of late. The company saw record sales of US$4.5 billion there last quarter, making it the company’s second-largest market in terms of revenue.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available