Apple adds ‘Support Profile’ feature to web site, allows users check warranty info

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011, 05:21
Category: News

applelogo_silver

It’s not the most exciting thing in the world but it could be useful.

Apple on Wednesday added a new feature to the Support section of its web site, dubbed “My Support Profile,” where users can track their repair and support activities, as well as check on the status of a warranty.

Per AppleInsider, users can now log in to the new site at supportprofile.apple.com with their Apple ID and password. From there, all Apple products registered to the person’s name are listed, and more can be added. It can even detect the serial number of a Mac being used to visit the site.

The site lets users initiate a support call with Apple, or set up a repair of a faulty device through AppleCare. It also offers the ability to add an AppleCare Protection Plan to hardware.

Products can be given a “nickname” to make them easier to identify, and information such as the device’s serial number is available. Users can also edit their personal contact information, and set up VoicePass or text message support preferences based on telephone number and time of day.

The site keeps a record of phone support calls, with a recommended list of potential fixes for the issue discussed. Users can also check the status of a repair that may be in progress, or view previous repairs or replacements of products.

The site also tracks repair activities that may have taken place in an Apple retail store, giving details of the user’s request, the service administered, and confirmation that the product was returned.

If you’ve tried the new service and have any feedback to offer, please let us know and thanks in advance!

Unconfirmed iPhone 5/Verizon iPhone photos surface

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011, 05:15
Category: iPhone, Pictures, Rumor

The nice thing about technology: there’s always something nifty on the horizon.

Or at least pictures of the nifty thing on the horizon.

Per SmartPhone Medic, new pictures claim to show a redesigned stainless steel frame for the iPhone, with new placement of black bands on the perimeter of the handset’s frame, the metal band which also acts as the phone’s antenna.

The photos from SmartPhone Medic claim to be from a “very reliable source” and purport to show an “unreleased iPhone design.” The alleged new frame is pictured next to the existing one used in the current iPhone 4.

The photos appear to have been doctored in order to, at the very least, remove shadows and colors from the white background. While no claims about the authenticity of the photos in question, they are reposted here for interest and discussion.

SmartPhone Medic gained attention last August, when it acquired a genuine front panel for the then-unannounced fourth-generation iPod touch, complete with a spot for a forward-facing camera. But unlike that scoop, the alleged iPhone frame published Wednesday is not a hands-on look, just pictures.

Both frames look largely the same in the pictures, but the alleged new part has a few key differences found in the placement of “antenna gaps.” The current iPhone 4 has three gaps — two on the side, one on top — while the pictured part shows four — two on each side, none on top.

The antenna gap on the bottom left side of the current iPhone 4 caused a major controversy last year, when it was revealed that bridging that gap with a hand or even a fingertip could result in degradation of wireless reception. There were numerous rumors that Apple would revise the design of the iPhone 4 to address the issue, but Apple instead held a press conference to explain the situation and offered customers a free “bumper” case to fix it.

The alleged iPhone part also shows the device’s frame with a retained spot for a micro-SIM card, suggesting it could be a redesign of the current GSM handset, or could be a new “world” phone with both GSM and CDMA. Apple is rumored to release a CDMA compatible phone in the near future.

Another possibility, if the frame is legitimate, is for a CDMA phone that also has a micro-SIM slot for 4G long-term evolution connectivity. While CDMA does not use a SIM card, Verizon’s high-speed 4G network does. Finally, it’s possible the alleged part could be for a prototype “iPhone 5,” thought Apple is not expected to release a full-fledged fifth-generation device until this summer.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple confirms iOS 4.2.1 alarm clock bug, says issue will resolve itself by January 3rd

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 3rd, 2011, 06:30
Category: iPhone, News, Software

If you were looking for your iOS device to signal its alarm around New Years, you may have been in for a surprise. Per Macworld, Apple has confirmed an iOS bug where non-repeating alarms fail to ring on the first few days of the new year, recommending that users set recurring alarms until Jan. 3, when the alarms will resume working properly.

As various time zones entered the new year, reports began cropping up from iOS users whose one-time alarms had stopped functioning after the device’s clock had ticked over to January 1, 2011. According to reports, the issue affects devices running the iOS 4.2.1, the latest version of iOS.

Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison stated the following: “We’re aware of an issue related to non repeating alarms set for January 1 or 2,” Harrison said. “Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning January 3.”

The issue is reminiscent of the iOS alarm bug that caused alarms to miss the daylight saving time change that occurred earlier this fall. After Australian users were woken up an hour early because of the bug, Apple stated that the company was “aware of this issue and already developed a fix which will be available to customers in an upcoming software update.”

Stay tuned for additional details and if your iOS device missed an alarm over the past few days, let us know.

Korean wireless carriers deny Nexus S handset, say iPhone remains safe

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 31st, 2010, 09:04
Category: iPhone, News

Korean cell carriers are turning service for down the Nexus S handset both because of Google’s control but also because of Apple, insider tips said late Thursday. According to The Korea Times, both KT and SK Telecom are reportedly upset that Google’s insistence on a pure Android experience won’t let them promote their own proprietary apps and services. Google’s control of the marketing for the Android 2.3 flagship also wouldn’t give them the marketing angle they would like.

The iPhone is also cited as a reason for the lack of any plans. Even SK Telecom, which has often had Nexus S maker Samsung’s blessing as the anti-iPhone carrier, reportedly doesn’t believe that the official Google phone would have any effect. “The Nexus S won’t make a huge impact enough to break the current iPhone stronghold,” an anonymous official from the carrier said.

KT has still said it has “no plans,” though its position may be mixed. Most of its smartphone performance is based on the iPhone, even though it was the only carrier to sell the Nexus One in Korea. The Android device has sold at much lower levels, at 50,000 units since July, but KT is believed willing to keep talking with Google to “recover ailing corporate ties” with Samsung. The electronics chain has allegedly been abusing its dominant position to retaliate against KT for iPhone competition, such as by withholding better phones and dictating harsh marketing requirements.

The absence of HDMI video out and a microSDHC slot were similarly cited as factors in a Korean market that often favors feature-heavy devices, but it’s not certain how likely this might be given that the iPhone has thrived without either. Samsung’s Galaxy S has sold very well in the country despite the absence of an HDMI port.

The similarity between the Nexus S and the Galaxy S may ultimately be the main factor, as the Nexus S’ primary advantages are mostly limited to its newer, unmodified OS, its front-facing camera and its support for NFC wireless.

If you have any experience with the Korean wireless marketplace and want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what you think in the comments.

Skype 3.0 now available for iOS, allows video chat over 3G, Wi-Fi protocols

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 05:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

skypelogo.jpg

As expected, Skype has added a new video calling feature to version 3.0 of its iPhone app, giving users an alternate service from Apple’s own FaceTime video chat standard.

Per Engadget, reports emerged last week that Skype was planning to make “a series of video-related announcements” at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. A support document detailing how to make video calls via iPhone served as further evidence of the imminent release of a video-capable Skype iPhone app.

An update to the Skype for iOS app Thursday allows users to make Skype to Skype video calls over WiFi and 3G with other iOS Skype users or Skype desktop users, Engadget reports. Two-way video calls are only supported on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch, while iPad and third-generation iPod touch users can receive video calls. Video calling on Skype 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or above.

Skype’s launch of video chat on the iPhone and iPod touch will challenge Apple’s efforts to get its FaceTime video conferencing standard to catch on. With over 500 million user accounts, Skype has the user base needed to promote rapid adoption of its video call features over Apple’s FaceTime.

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

If you’ve tried the new video chat feature on Skype and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple could release Verizon iPhone on or prior to February 14th, 2011

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 05:28
Category: iPhone, Rumor

verizonlogo.jpg

Apple is expected to hold an event “very soon,” perhaps by Valentine’s Day on February 14th 2011, to unveil a new CDMA version of the iPhone compatible with U.S. carrier Verizon’s network.

Per Bloomberg Businessweek, the alleged debut of the iPhone on Verizon is portrayed as an “enormous problem” for AT&T, the current exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. While AT&T has had sole access to the iPhone since 2007, problems with its network have caused bad press, including a recent reader poll from Consumer Reports ranking AT&T the worst carrier in America.

“Verizon enjoys a reputation for reliability,” author Peter Burrows wrote. “AT&T is notorious for dropping calls, especially in densely populated places like New York and San Francisco where iPhones are most common and cell towers get loaded.”

The report said that Apple would hold one of its own “splashy product introductions to announce a new version of the iPhone that work’s on Verizon’s network,” and said that event would “maybe” come by Valentine’s Day.

Some have speculated that Apple would instead allow Verizon to announce the product at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, an uncharacteristic move for the typically controlling iPhone maker. But the report specifically stated that a CES unveiling is not in the plans.

“Apple’s introduction of an iPhone for use on Verizon’s network will come sometime after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, according to a person familiar with Apple’s plans who is not authorized to discuss them publicly,” Burrows wrote.

But while the apparently loss of exclusivity on the iPhone is cause for concern for AT&T, the report also suggested that Verizon could experience its own growing pains when Apple’s smartphone arrives on its network.

“At least initially, Verizon’s iPhone may have weaknesses compared to AT&T’s,” the report said. “The expense and hassle of changing carriers could also work to AT&T’s advantage.”

It also noted that iPhone customers may be less likely to switch from AT&T if they are still under contract, as the carrier upped its termination fee to US$325 in May of this year. The carrier also offered early upgrades for some iPhone 4 buyers whose contracts had not expired, locking them in to another two full years.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if a Verizon iPhone is in your heart, please let us know what’s on your mind.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple could produce second-gen iPad with HSPA, EVDO models slated for March release date

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 06:16
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s the second generations of a device where things get really interesting.

Per Electronista, Apple is looking to ship three separate versions of the next iPad and may ship earlier than expected, part suppliers said on Tuesday. The tablet should still have a pure Wi-Fi version but will serve 3G with both a regular HSPA version and an EVDO model for carriers like Verizon. The 3G versions have been unusually popular, at 60 to 65% of shipments and the extra wireless support would help fill demand.

The 3G push is corroborated by a slew of subsidized carrier plans that have been rolled out in recent months. Many cut the price of the iPad by half or less on a contract, and in some cases give the unit away for free.

Along with the known design change and extra wireless support, Apple is also reportedly taking steps to draw in Kindle buyers with changes to the screen. The display would get both an improved oleophobic (oil-resistant) screen to further reduce smudging as well as a more glare-resistant treatment to make it more suitable to the outdoors. A clue as to the anti-glare panel may have come with the new MacBook Air, whose display is still glossy but noticeably less reflective than on earlier MacBooks.

Apple might also be eager to advance the ship date beyond the original April target. Production shipments would start heading out as soon as late January, not the previously suggested February, and would see a small initial batch of 500,000 to 530,000 units arrive, 30% of which would be Wi-Fi, 40% HSPA and 30% EVDO. Additional shipments would continue right up to the release date, which could now include a March release date if Apple doesn’t have to push it back to a previously cited April target.

The release would be ambitious and could see Apple deliver as many as 40 million iPads in 2011, possibly taking hold of as much as 65% to 75% of the market worldwide. Such a ratio would be higher than expected by analysts, as many of them expect Android 3.0 to give Google’s partners a much stronger platform.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Apple to release Q1 financial results on January 18, 2011

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

Apple has revealed that it will publish the financial results of its first fiscal quarter of 2011 on Tuesday, January 18, with a conference call to discuss the results following immediately after.

Per AppleInsider, the news was posted to Apple’s investor website along with the notice that a link to the conference call webcast “will be provided at a later date.” Apple will make the results public at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, 2:00 p.m. Pacific, following the close of the stock market.

The results, which will include the holiday season, are largely expected to be record-breaking.

Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter of 2010 results impressed Wall Street analysts, though limited supply of the iPad resulted in disappointing sales figures for the tablet device. The company’s profits soared 70% year-over-year to $4.31 billion, driven by record sales of iPhones, Macs and iPads.

The iPhone maker projected in October that it will earn US$23 billion in revenue and post diluted earnings per share of about US$4.80 for the upcoming first fiscal quarter.

Analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. predicts that Apple will sell 4.2 million Macs, 6.1 million iPads, 16 million iPhones and 17 million iPods in its first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned on the 18th for additional details as they become available.

Mac OS X 10.6.6 update to include beginnings of Mac App Store integration

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 24th, 2010, 11:03
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

This could be interesting.

Per MacGeneration, Apple plans to include some rudimentary integration between its upcoming Mac App Store and the next maintenance release of Mac OS X 10.6, according to discoveries made a MacGeneration forum member.

Mac OS X 10.6.6, due for release in the next few weeks, will offer users the option of searching the Mac App Store for applications when it runs into an unsupported file type for which no application has previously been assigned.

The Mac App Store — due to launch on January 6th — would return applications capable of opening the specific file.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts about the Mac App Store, please let us know.