iAd details surface, full rollout expected in “a few months”

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Date: Monday, July 5th, 2010, 05:09
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but it affects what you see on your iOS-powered device, so put on your listening caps and pay attention.

In a post on its iPhone Developer News site, has provided some additional details concerning the roll out of its new iAd advertising platform. Per iLounge, the rollout began July 1st, however this initial rollout is limited to North America only, with the service scheduled to be deployed outside of North America in “a few months.” Apple also notes that only a few ads will initially be appearing but the number of ads served will be increased over the next few weeks and months.

A separate post provides additional information for developers on displaying iAds within their applications and cautions developers to take steps to avoid blank banners appearing when ads are not available, noting that apps that display blank iAd banners will not be accepted by the App Store Review Team.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to launch iTunes wireless streaming/sync features in September

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Date: Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 05:52
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, iTunes, Rumor

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Despite everything Apple seems to be fighting with regarding the iPhone 4′s firmware, there may be something cool around the corner.

Per a “reliable” unnamed Apple source, the Boy Genius Report web blog is reporting that Apple will launch new wireless streaming and synchronization features for iTunes at its traditional September iPod event, or possibly sooner, according to a new report.

The report claims that the new features will allow users to stream purchased music and movies from Apple’s servers directly to their devices, eliminating the need for large amounts of local storage, and also stream music and movies from their home computers to their other computers and remote devices over their own Internet connections.

Finally, the report claims that any apps purchased on an iOS device would immediately and wirelessly sync back to the user’s home computers, along with any changes to Calendar, Notes, or Contacts; it is unclear whether this latter feature would supplant or be available in addition to Apple’s paid MobileMe service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what’s on your mind about this.

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

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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.

Apple releases mobile configuration profile update for iOS 4 Exchange ActiveSync bug

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Date: Thursday, July 1st, 2010, 03:10
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple has issued a configuration profile that addresses an issue in iOS 4 that may cause sync problems with Microsoft Exchange or Google Mail and Calendar.

Per AppleInsider, the company notes that “immediately after updating to iOS 4, some users may notice that Exchange ActiveSync Mail, Contacts, or Calendars do not sync, or sync very slowly. In addition, some Exchange Server administrators may notice their servers running slowly.”

The issue, according to a report by the site , is that iOS 4 sets a low 30 second default timeout for server requests that can overwhelm the server.

Apple has published a mobile configuration update file that administrators can distribute to iPhones and iPod touch users running iOS 4. The configuration update can also be downloaded directly to the device from Mobile Safari, using a link Apple provides.

Once installed and the device is restarted, the configuration update sets the timeout to 240 seconds, a change that has proven to fix sync issues for most users.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple releases Epson printer drivers 2.4, HP printer drivers 2.4.1 for Snow Leopard users

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Date: Thursday, July 1st, 2010, 03:00
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released updated sets of Snow Leopard drivers for Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers and scanners.

Per Macworld, the first is version 2.4 of the Epson drivers, which comes in a package listed on Apple’s download page at a whopping 737MB; Epson Printer Drivers 2.4 provides updated compatibility between Mac OS X 10.6 or later and dozens of scanners and printers made by Epson.

On the HP side, the update, dubbed version number 2.4.1, is listed at a significantly smaller 388MB for the full download.) HP Printer Drivers 2.4.1 requires OS X 10.6.1 or higher in order to function and provides support for both printers and scanners made by Hewlett-Packard.

Both updates can be installed through the Software Update built into Mac OS X, or obtained directly from Apple’s Website for Support Downloads.

Additional Verizon/iPhone rumors flare, January release date mentioned

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:00
Category: iPhone, News

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A good rumor never dies. Per a recent Bloomberg report, two anonymous sources have stated that Verizon will be getting its own version of the iPhone come January. The addition of the iPhone would provide a boost to Verizon, as the device has shown itself to be both a hit with the critics and with the general public. The iPhone 4, which first launched last week, has already sold 1.7 million units in the span of three days.

Rumours of Verizon snagging its own version of the iPhone have been around for years now, as no one has been quite sure of when AT&T’s exclusivity agreement with Apple was slated to end. Despite the fact that Apple and AT&T’s relationship on the iPhone has been hugely profitable for both companies, Apple could expand its share of the smartphone market even further by offering its device to Verizon’s 93 million wireless subscribers. The fact that Verizon and AT&T will both be supporting the GSM-based LTE by the start of 2012 also makes offering the iPhone on multiple carriers more enticing, since Apple won’t need to build two different models that work on CDMA and GSM networks.

A Verizon version of the iPhone would still initially have to operate on a different wireless standard than the current version of the iPhone, which is designed to run on AT&T’s GSM-based HSPA network. Verizon’s 3G services employ the CDMA-based EV-DO Rev. A standard and would likely still be used as the company’s predominant wireless data network early next year despite the fact that it plans to launch its LTE network commercially later this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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

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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.

iSuppli breakdown report arrives, estimates true cost of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

Apple tends to sell a zillion iPhones and, once again, the question of cost versus profit has been looked into.

Per BusinessWeek, an iSuppli breakdown of the components that make up Apple’s iPhone 4 has found that the most expensive item in the device is its high-resolution Retina Display, with an estimated price of US$28.50.

In its recent report, iSuppli found that the components inside cost an estimated US$187.51. Apple’s latest phone starts at US$199 with 16GB of internal memory and a two-year service contract in the U.S. The cost breakdown applies to the 16GB iPhone 4.

The most expensive component is the highly touted Retina Display found on the iPhone 4. Supplied by LG Display, the component costs US$28.50, iSuppli said. The custom-built A4 processor, assembled by Samsung, cost an estimated US$10.75.

The newly added gyroscope in the iPhone 4 was said to cost another US$2.60, in addition to the 65-cent accelerometer found in the current phone as well as previous models. The new gyroscope is made by STMicroelectronics of Geneva.

Other suppliers of the internal hardware include touch-sensitive panels from Wintek and TPK, and chips from Skyworks Solutions and TriQuint Semiconductor.

Neither Apple nor its carrier partners would comment on how much is paid by wireless providers for the unsubsidized handset. Historically, the average selling price of previous model iPhones has been around US$600.

The total estimated cost is slightly higher than the iPhone 3GS, first released last year. The 2009 handset cost an estimate US$179 in parts for Apple.

In fact, the price of Apple’s phones has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2008, iSuppli found that the iPhone 3G carried a components cost of US$174.33.

Even so, there may be some room for error. The TechCrunch web blog noted in its coverage of the report that “iSuppli is well-known for low-balling these numbers in an effort to convince manufacturers to contact them in order to connect with their preferred suppliers, so grains of salt must be taken.”

Apple drops hint at iOS 4 for iPad in November, iWork for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:04
Category: iPad, News, Software

When iOS 4 hit, I was a little disappointed to see that it had yet to arrive for the iPad.

This may change as Apple has quietly hinted at a launch window for iOS 4 on the iPad, while the company’s website has slipped another clue that iWork is on its way to the iPhone. An AdAge report suggests that Apple has been telling marketers that the iAd platform will extend to the iPad sometime in November.

Steve Jobs initially pointed to iOS 4 availability on the iPad sometime “this fall.” The iAd platform is known to be directly integrated with iOS 4.

Many of Apple’s international online stores posted a “Learn more” link for iPhone AppleCare warranties, which includes software support for “iWork for iPhone” among other topics. The iOS 4 pages briefly included an iPhone interface image showing an option to open an attachment in Keynote, although the company quickly replaced the iWork reference with an iBooks selection.

Cool stuff either way and you have to wonder what iOS 4 will bring for the iPad.

iPhone 4 “Death Grip” analyzed, iOS 4.0.1 update expected this week to resolve issue

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

Following reports of reception issues observed by new iPhone 4 owners (tagged the “Death Grip” across the Internet), additional insight reveals that this may actually be a software issue that could be cleared up in the near future.

In terms of identifying the problem, clear observations of mobile signal strength and how they are affected by the placement of users’ hands are difficult to perform in part because there are multiple factors involved in receiving a mobile radio link, including outside interference and the conductivity or mass of different people’s hands.

Additionally, cellphones in general (and in particular the iPhone) have always only presented a very rough approximation of signal strength in the signal bar display, averaged over time. It appears that iOS 4, more so than previous iPhone software, presents a less accurate signal meter, showing less signal at times than an iPhone 3GS while still being able to achieve the same or better call quality.

Per AppleInsider, this has led some to jump to the conclusion that the reception problems noted by some iPhone 4 users are the sign of a hardware design flaw related to its stainless steel band antenna design. Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs stoked a whiplash of blogger frenzy when he reportedly responded that users “were holding it the wrong way,” blocking the signal with their hands.

A variety of people have demonstrated identical problems with other phones, from the Android based Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS. However, the fact that problems observed in the iPhone 3GS are much more pronounced when the device is upgraded to iOS 4 indicate that there is also a software issue involved in the matter. iPhone 4 users can’t downgrade to earlier versions of the core software, making it impossible to compare its relative performance.

According to the article, several messages have arrived from Apple’s tech support forums confirmed that a iOS 4.0.1 software fix addressing the issue would ship early next week (as early as Monday).

The fix is expected to address a issue in iOS 4 related to radio frequency calibration of the baseband. Readers who saw the original forum discussions say that the issue is believed to occur when switching frequencies; because the lag is allegedly not calibrated correctly, it results in the device reporting “no service” rather than switching to the frequency with the best signal to noise ratio.

iOS 4 introduced some enhancements to how the baseband selects which frequencies to use, so it makes sense that the error may have crept into those changes. Additionally, this explains why iOS 4 has also caused similar problems for iPhone 3GS users.

The core software problem is likely augmented by hand placement, as Jobs noted in pointing out that holding the new phone (or any mobile device) in such a way that attenuates the signal should simply be avoided.

If you’ve seen the “Death Grip” issue on your end or have anything to add, let us know.