Apple Hunting Down Feedback from iPhone 3GS Users Citing Poor Battery Life

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Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit Apple is not openly acknowledging the issue, it’s taking the “shy kid” approach to reaching a solution. Per iPhone Blog, Apple is apparently seeking feedback from iPhone users over claims that the recent iPhone 3.1 Software Update is draining batteries.

Short battery life has been a concern since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS amongst many users, despite Apple promising improved performance at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple said the iPhone 3GS would deliver 9 hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge, about a 30% upgrade to the iPhone 3G.

However, a recent teardown by iFixit noted that the iPhone 3GS’s battery was just 6% more powerful than the battery in its predecessor.

Recently, the company has contacted a number of users on Apple’s discussion boards who have posted negative comments asking for feedback. A list of 11 questions – covering e-mail, push notifications, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and application use – is being sent out reports The iPhone Blog.

The note also contains an attachment which, when double-clicked, installs what looks like an unsigned profile, which apparently enables Battery Life Logging on the iPhone.

Once enabled, the iPhone will sync power logs back via iTunes, and they ask that those logs be sent back to Apple reports the The iPhone Blog.

The blog notes this isn’t the first time Apple, via AppleCare, has contacted iPhone users after posts on the company’s discussion boards.

It is not known what percentage of iPhone owners might be experiencing the problem.

Microsoft Offers Windows 7 Upgrade for $30 to Students for Limited Time

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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As much as you may want to burn Microsoft’s headquarters to the ground, they do remain competitive on some levels. According to AppleInsider, Microsoft will allow students to purchase the upcoming Windows 7 operating system for US$29.99, roughly the same price as Apple’s competing Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Per the article, Microsoft this week launched win741.com, a Web site devoted to promoting Windows 7 to students.

“For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 – for only $29.99 USD,” the site reads. “That’s less than most of your textbooks! Hurry — offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST.”

The offer applies to the Home Premium and Professional versions of Windows 7. Students will be allowed to purchase one copy of either from Microsoft’s online store. Similar offers are available in the U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico.

Rather than mailing a disc, the software will be made available for students to download in either 32- or 64-bit versions. The Web site’s FAQ recommends that those looking to do a clean install of the operating system buy a Windows 7 backup DVD.

For all non-students, Windows 7 is less expensive than Vista, but still much higher than Snow Leopard. A retail copy of the Home Premium upgrade will retail for US$120 and the standalone version is US$200. The Professional edition will cost US$200 for an upgrade, or US$300 for the full price. The Windows 7 Ultimate version is US$220 for the upgrade and US$320 for the full copy. Upgrades require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on the machine.

The Windows 7 launch date is set for October 22nd.

Look at it this way: It’s not Vista, it’s gotten good feedback and it’ll happily run under Boot Camp, so there may be a bargain to be had here.

Apple Could Receive FASB Approval for Accounting Changes, Remove iPod Touch Upgrade Fees

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 04:34
Category: Finance, News

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If you’ve ever been irked at the small charges you’ve had to pay for an iPod touch software upgrade, this may be about to go by the wayside. According to Ars Technica, a rule governed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, that’s been heavily lobbied for by Apple and other electronics companies, may be enough to lift the charge that iPod touch owners have had to pay for updates of significant features to their devices. The rule focuses on “subscription accounting”, or devices that gain “significant new functionality” after their sale, like the iPhone, have to be reported over a series of years rather than all at the same time (presumably because the revenues associated with the product were the result of a series of updates, not just one lump sum).

In the case of the iPhone, subscription charges associated with them over two years round out the criteria. The iPod touch is different and because Apple doesn’t want to report the sales of those devices over a period of time, they’ve had to charge minimum fees for updates in the form of the US$10 and other fees that iPod touch owners have paid for the firmware updates. But if the new rule receives FASB approval, then Apple would be able to report sales of the iPod touch all together without having to worry about charging for updates, as well as the dual GAAP and non-GAAP reporting we’ve heard on their conference calls.

Such a chance could also help Apple’s stock price (seeing all of the iPhone’s sales at once would boost investor confidence), and it would help developers who are asking all users of both the iPhone and iPod touch to update right away, as they wouldn’t have to wait until users found the few bucks in question before downloading a large new update.

iPhone 3GS Radiation Measurements Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 05:10
Category: iPhone, News

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You spend a fair amount of time with it next to your head, so you might as well have the facts.

Per a report released by the Environmental Working Group, Apple’s iPhone 3GS handset ranks almost squarely in the middle of smartphones in terms of radiation output. The report notes that according to compiled data, the 3GS produces approximately 1.19W/kg of radiation. The figure is substantially lower than the worst-case examples, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Kyocera Jax S1300, which each produce 1.55W/kg.

The 3GS still produces considerably more output than phones towards the bottom of the scale, such as the Samsung Impression and BlackBerry Storm, which are rated at 0.35 and 0.57W/kg respectively. It also emits more than the 0.97W/kg of the original iPhone, but less than the iPhone 3G, rated at 1.39W/kg. The three best-performing phones on the list, such as the Nokia 9300i, are no longer being sold.

In a new report, the EWG claims that people using cellphones for 10 years or more could develop “serious health problems.” Because of radiation, the report suggests, cellphone users have an “increased risk of developing brain and salivary gland tumors, neurological symptoms such as migraine and vertigo, and neurodevelopmental effects observed as behavioral problems in young children.”

The EWG is pushing for the US government to require displaying radiation levels at points of sale.

Rumor: Apple to Release New iMacs, MacBooks for Holiday Season

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 04:10
Category: iMac, MacBook, Rumor

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A recently report from the Barron’s financial publication alleges that Apple will release new iMacs and MacBook notebooks within a matter of weeks to refresh its offerings before the holiday season.

The report, which surfaced from Wedge Partners, said that the new iMacs will sport a thinner design with smooth edges. However, the MacBook refresh is said to be “limited.”

The document also cited likely price cuts, as tHe company sees the lower prices as a competitive alternative to Windows 7 machines. Wedge Partners predicts that Apple will sell 3 million Macs in the holiday season, riding the wave of price cuts and new products.

While new hardware should come as no surprise, AppleInsider has previously heard word of new iMacs and MacBooks. Last month rumors surfaced that the new Imacs would have compelling new features, one of which was said to have long been on Mac users’ wish lists, and another that would appeal to the semi-professional audio/video crowd.

Other rumors have stated that Apple would retain and redesign its line of plastic MacBooks. With only one non-Pro offering in the lineup, Apple is allegedly redesigning the systems with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture. Analysts have long believed that cracking the sub-US$1,000 notebook market would be a huge boon for Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixIt Teardown Finds 802.11n Chip, Space for Video Camera on New iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 06:32
Category: iPod, iPod Touch

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You’ve gotta love iFixIt and their recent teardown of the new third generation iPod touch has revealed some interesting details pertaining to Apple’s newly-released third generation media player.

Per the report, the new iPod touch features an 802.11n chip as well as enough space to fit a video camera such as the one found in the new iPod nano. In addition, the space is in the center on the back of the device, where the camera was rumored to be located. However, there are no headers on the iPod’s board for a camera cable.

“It appears that Apple left in room for a camera in the top of the device,” the solutions provider said. “There is a 6mm x 6mm x 3mm space between the Broadcom chip and the wireless antenna. There isn’t enough depth for an iPhone-style autofocus still camera, but just enough room for the camera that Apple used in the 5th generation iPod nano.”

The new iPod nano features a video-only camera and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in an interview with The New York Times this week that the iPod touch was not given a camera because the company wanted to focus on promoting the hardware as a gaming machine, and keeping the low-end model’s price under US$200.

The teardown located a Broadcom BCM4329 chip inside the new third-generation device, the chip supporting the 802.11n protocol. The iPhone 3GS features a BCM4325 chip, which only supports 802.11 a/b/g. The new iPod touch does not support 802.11n Wi-Fi out of the box.

“This reminds us of last year when we broke the news that the 2nd generation touch had Bluetooth support in hardware,” they said. “Apple didn’t enable software support until 9 months later with iPhone OS 3.0.”

The new device also features a Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and and a FM receiver and transmitter. However, that does not necessarily mean that the iPod touch will be able to receive and send FM signals. The latest iPod nano, however, does have a built-in FM receiver.

“If they built in the antennas, and if Apple adds software support,” iFixit said, “you could theoretically stream music to your car stereo without any external hardware. But that’s a lot of ifs.”

“While we were all disappointed by Apple’s underwhelming iPod touch announcement, it is clear that there is more engineering effort under the surface of this device than meets the eye.”

Apple TV Price Reduced by $100 for 160GB Model, 40GB Model Discontinued

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 06:58
Category: Apple TV, News

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If you recently purchased a 40GB Apple TV unit, now may be the time to start kicking yourself. According to Macworld UK, the 160GB model’s price has been reduced by US$100 to US$229 while the company has discontinued the 40GB model, as seen in the Apple Store.

Some, including analysts, had anticipated a new version of the Apple TV at last Wednesday’s San Francisco event which saw a iPod refresh and new look in iTunes.

iTunes 9 adds a range of features, including Home Sharing and iTunes LP that would benefit the Apple TV.

AT&T Staggering iPhone MMS Feature Release, Some Users Report Early Activation

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

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A number of iPhone users have reported that the long awaited MMS feature seems to have been enabled on their devices well in advance of AT&T’s declared September 25th start date according to howardforums.com.

The MMS support feature will allow iPhone OS 3.0 users to send pictures, video and audio recordings, contacts, or locations from Maps via 3G-capable iPhones.

In announcing its plans to enable the feature for iPhone users, AT&T explained, “It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one. We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they’ll understand our desire to get it right from the start.”

Rather than turning on MMS service for millions of American iPhone users all at once, AT&T has been selectively activating users across the country. Once activated, iPhone 3G and 3GS users should see a new “Cellular Data Network” menu item within the General/Network page of the Settings app and a new camera icon within the Messages app for sending photos.

It’s possible to install a modified carrier bundle for AT&T to activate MMS software features, but this does not necessarily result in functioning MMS. Without AT&T removing your opt out, MMS messages will queue up with a red exclamation icon as they fail to actually send.

Many users are reporting that there is no correlation between working MMS and either their installed software version, their carrier bundle version, their service or texting plan, or their geographic location. AT&T appears to turning on MMS for users at random to achieve a staggered release up to the September 25th deadline.

Apple Files Patent for iPhone Theft Prevention Technology

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone 3GS, Patents, security

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A recently published patent application filed this week by Apple suggests the company is looking to use the device’s accelerometer to detect possible theft of the hardware. Per AppleInsider, in a application entitled “Acceleration-Based Theft Detection System for Portable Electronic Devices,” Apple describes a system that would analyze movement via a device’s accelerometer to determine whether a theft is present. If the system were to interpret fast movement as a theft, it would initiate an alarm.

“The drive toward miniaturization of electronics has resulted in computer-based systems that are becoming much more portable,” the application reads. “Current portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, hand-held devices such as cellular telephones and personal media devices, such as the iPod from Apple Computer, Inc., and even devices such as compact disc players, are sufficiently compact and lightweight as to make them easily movable. Unfortunately, such ease of transport also implies ease of theft. While the rightful owner of a portable electronic device may conveniently transport it almost anywhere, so can a thief. ”

The patent application goes on to state that traditional theft-prevention methods like mechanical locks are bulky and tether the device, eliminating portability and convenience. In the proposed system, the accelerometer would be used to determine whether the device is currently in a likely theft condition.

“Typically, theft or other large-scale movement of the device results in an acceleration signal having characteristics different from other events such as shock, impact, nearby machinery, etc,” the application reads. “The detected acceleration as a function of time is thus analyzed to determine whether it corresponds to such large-scale movement of the device, rather than an innocuous event such as the impact of a book dropped nearby. If so, an alarm is produced in order to alert others to the theft.”

The described system would have methods to prevent false alarms through “signal conditioning,” which could filter out events such as shock or impact associated with an iPhone being dropped. The system would also allow the phone owner to display a “visual warning” for potential would-be thieves. Such a warning would warn potential thieves that the device “has an active theft detection system protecting it.”

The patent was filed by Apple on May 20th, 2009 and is credited to Paul J. Wehrenberg of Palo Alto, Calif.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009-005 for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 Operating Systems

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Apple released Security Update 2009-005, its consolidated security update containing the four previous security fixes for the Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) and Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) operating systems.

Full details as to fixes and changes within the update can be found here.

The updates are also available as regular downloads for the following operating systems:
- Tiger PPC
- Tiger Intel
- Leopard
- Tiger Server PPC
- Tiger Server Universal
- Leopard Server

As usual, the update can also be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software update feature.