O'Grady's PowerPage » AT&T

Consumer Reports vouches for Apple’s Bumper as resolution to iPhone 4 antenna bug

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Date: Thursday, July 15th, 2010, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Apple’s iPhone 4 reception issues. On Wednesday, Consumer Reports announced that Apple iPhone 4 owners can eliminate reception problems by enclosing their phones in the “Bumper” case Apple sells.

The findings could presage a decision by Apple to offer iPhone 4 owners a free Bumper, as the publication confirmed yesterday that it has been in contact with Apple over its testing results.

Per Macworld UK, the consumer testing organization said it could not recommend the iPhone 4 because of major reception issues when users touched the external antenna, the publication’s engineers went back into their lab to retest with iPhones equipped with Bumpers.

Apple’s Bumper, which retails for US$29, represents the company’s first efforts to move into the iPhone case market.

“With the Bumper fitted, we repeated the test procedure, placing a finger on the Bumper at the point at which it covers the gap [on the lower left side of the case],” said Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports’s electronics editor, in an entry on the magazine’s blog on Wednesday afternoon.

The publication tested only Apple’s Bumper, although another Consumer Reports editor said yesterday that it was planning on evaluating several different cases.

“The result was a negligible drop in signal strength – so slight that it would not have any effect, in our judgment.”

On Monday, Consumer Reports explained its could-not-recommend decision by describing testing of three different iPhone 4s in its radio frequency (RF) isolation chamber, where a cell tower emulator simulates real-world signals.

The magazine’s engineers also tested several other AT&T-sold phones, including the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre. None of those phones showed the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and I’ll happily trade you my first born for a Bumper should the need arise…

AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent release joint statement regarding slow iPhone 4 upload speeds

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, 10:48
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on the recent frenzy of news since iPhone 4 users began reporting crippled upload speeds on AT&T’s 3G network at the start of the holiday weekend, AT&T and component supplied Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect that’s apparently triggered under certain conditions.

Per MacRumors, the following joint statement has been released:

“AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect – triggered under certain conditions – that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment. This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices.”

There is no word on a timeframe for deployment of the software fix for Alcatel-Lucent’s equipment.

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

Posted by:
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.

Rumor: AT&T may be capping iPhone upload speeds

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

Over on the MacRumors forums, they’re comparing their recent iPhone upload speeds and they’re not happy. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, users are experiencing uploads that appear to be capped at 100 kbps rather than the 1.6mbps that was a previous norm. Users have been comparing rates captured with tools like Speedtest.net’s Speed Test to put concrete numbers on perceived performance drops and it looks like that drop is huge, compared to the way things were just a week or two ago.

According to the thread, affected cities include: New York City, Central Jersey, Boston, Orlando, Seattle, South Jersey/Philly, Columbus, Cleveland, West Houston, Phoenix, Northern Colorado, St. Paul/Minnesota, Suffolk County/Long Island, Quad Cities, South Jersey, Denver, Detroit Metro, and Cincinnati.

TUAW ran a test in Denver, using SpeedTest.net’s application as well as FCC Mobile Broadband Test and iNetQCheck and experienced similar numbers as the ones reported in the MacRumors forum, with several stray data points in iNetQCheck runs — but even those remained below 200 kbps. This stands as a huge difference from the upload speeds reported just a week or two ago where a user test demonstrated upload speeds up to 3.5 mbps.

Wireless carrier AT&T has yet to offer an official comment due to the holiday and a recent guess has stated that the hypothetical upload caps may be a consequence of holiday weekend infrastructure work, and that speeds may return to normal tomorrow.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

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.

Additional Verizon/iPhone rumors flare, January release date mentioned

Posted by:
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.

iPad hacker faces multiple drug charges, spotty past following FBI arrest

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 05:16
Category: iPad, News

Some hackers just have no luck.

Per CNET, one of the hackers in the group that snatched more than 100,000 iPad owner email addresses from AT&T’s servers was arrested Tuesday on felony drug charges after the FBI searched his Arkansas, US home.

Andrew “Escher” Auernheimer was arrested by Fayetteville, Ark., police and was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon, where he is being held on bonds totaling US$3,160.

Auernheimer, 24, faces four felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor drug charge. During the raid, police reportedly found drugs that included cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and Schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals when they searched his home.

Auernheimer, who also goes by the hacker nickname “weev,” is one of 10 members of Goatse Security, a hacking group that used an automated script to collect 114,000 iPad email addresses from AT&T through a public feature of the carrier’s Web site.

Goatse revealed its e-mail harvesting after AT&T closed the hole, then defended its actions as “responsible disclosure” (the term given to security revelations made public only after a vendor has patched a bug). In a letter to customers apologizing for the email address disclosure, however, AT&T said the group “maliciously exploited” its Web site and promised it would “prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”

In recent interview, Auernheimer argued that Goatse’s attack was “ethical” and denied that they did anything illegal . “We love America and did this in the public interest,” Auernheimer said at the time.

Wednesday, the Fayetteville Police Department declined to comment on the charges against Auernheimer, instead referring all questions to the FBI.

Special Agent Bryan Travers of the FBI’s Newark, N.J., division confirmed that the agency had served a search warrant at Auernheimer’s home, but declined to answer any other questions, including whether agents removed computers from Auernheimer’s residence. “This remains an open investigation,” Travers said in an email.

The FBI launched an investigation into the Goatse attack last week, saying then that it was trying to determine if the group broke any laws.

Auernheimer is no stranger to drugs, according to Brian Krebs, a former reporter for the Washington Post and now the author of the Krebs on Security blog. In 2006, said Krebs, Auernheimer started a talk at a security conference by telling the audience that he was tripping on acid.

He has also regularly posted anti-Semitic statements on his LiveJournal blog, where he has claimed that the FCC is “Jewish-run” and that Jews “have long made a sham of the nobel [sic] prize.”

Auernheimer was arrested last March, according to a report by Fayetteville television station KHBS-TV , which noted that city police said he had given them a false name when they responded to a parking complaint.

A court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington County Circuit Court.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

E3 2010: OnLive launch titles, June 17th release date revealed (updated 2x)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 03:18
Category: News

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You’re going to like this.

Even though it sounded like a bit of a pipe dream when it was described last year, the OnLive gaming service will launch on June 17th and allow Macs to play bestselling console titles such as Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed II. Per Macworld, OnLive uses a cloud computing technology to process games and allow any Intel-based Mac to function as a high-end gaming machine.

Where the bottom line is concerned, the service gets a cut of every game downloaded, but also has secured funding through partnerships. The most pivotal of those is AT&T, which has teamed up to become an official partner of OnLive’s Founding Member Program. The program (available to qualified users for a limited time), includes a one-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service. Registration has begun at www.onlive.com/att today at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends on July 15. Members of the program can also sign up for an additional year for US$5 per month.

OnLive is currently offering a free trial in which users can download a 1MB client and can try out all the demos for free. You can “rent” a game for a small fee to try it out, or purchase the game directly from the service. The games range from casual to hardcore, and prices range from US$5 to US$59 for full purchases.

Launch titles will include Ubisoft titles Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, and Price of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. From Square-Enix, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2. From Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Origins. Finally, from Take Two Interactive Entertainment, Borderlands. That’s quite a lineup of games that are not only hugely popular, but fairly recent.

While the potential to play high-end games on any Intel Mac is enticing, there are also lots of less-graphically intensive, casual games as well. Perlman cited Mad Balls, Defense Grid, Brain Challenge, and World of Goo as casual games that will appear on the service for download.

Additional games coming down the pipeline with unannounced release dates include: Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator and Alpha Protocol; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver San Francisco, and Shaun White Skateboarding; THQ’s Darksiders, Homefront, and Red Faction: Armageddon; Square-Enix’s Deus Ex 3, Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s F.E.A.R. 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4; and finally, 2K Sports MLB 2k10. The vast majority of these games have either come out in the last year or will be coming out in the next— and nearly all of them have never before appeared on the Mac.

Perlman is emphatic that his service will work on the Mac. “Every Intel Mac runs OnLive. We’ve tried them all,” he admits. That includes Mac minis, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Unfortunately, PowerPC Macs will not be supported by the service.


What You've Been Waiting For...


The only problem his team has encountered, Perlman concedes, is that the original release MacBook Air has a tendency to overheat but “you’ll encounter those same problems running a Flash video.”

The OnLive service will be launching for the Mac and Windows PC platforms on June 17 and after that you can “expect all games going forward to be Mac and PC.” Simultaneously launches on the service should be music to all Mac gamers’ ears.

For those who can’t wait that long, there’s a chance to sign up for the beta on the OnLive website. Oh, and for those who enjoy using game controllers, like the XBox 360 controller, you can with OnLive’s service. “They’re normally not compatible,” Perlman explains, “But we bridge the gap.”

Perlman claims that OnLive has had successful demos with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One demo included the high-end sci-fi first person shooter Borderlands running on the iPad. “It works beautifully,” said Perlman.

Update:
Dropping by the OnLive booth, I was able to learn the following tidbits as well:

- The booth itself featured OnLive running well on current generation MacBook notebooks that had been closed but attached to power, Ethernet cables and USB controller peripherals. Titles like Red Faction: Guerilla ran without any latency.

- The company is doing a staggered launch and bringing more and more players online. Representatives said that the service had been in beta for months with thousands of users online and no significant delays were expected.

- OnLive is currently recommending a five megabit per second Internet connection. A utility available on the company’s web site allows this to be tested. In cases where the connection is too slow, users might want to look into a better connection through their Internet service provider.

- The company is currently running three data centers throughout the country via the Bay area (west coast), Dallas (midwest region) and Washington, D.C. Representatives said they’d like their data centers to be within 1,000 miles of their users.

- The client requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

- Players can purchase a Full Playpass to buy a game and then have unlimited use for the game, the game itself staying on OnLive’s cloud service and not downloading directly to the hard drive.

- Users can look in on other players’ games to observe gameplay, tactics, etc.

iPhone 4 preorders rescheduled to arrive on July 2nd

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Date: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, 07:09
Category: iPhone, News

Following yesterday’s interesting events in which Apple sold out of launch day preorders for the upcoming iPhone 4 handset, new orders from the company’s website are now said to ship by July 2, more than a week after the handset’s launch date.

Per AppleInsider, the delay for those who didn’t get in on the first round of preorders applies to both the 16GB and 32GB capacities of iPhone 4. Customers can only preorder the black model, as the white iPhone 4 is currently unavailable for any reservation.

As this is happening, the iPhone 3GS is still marked for delivery on the June 24th launch date.

Apple’s update follows news on Tuesday from AT&T, the exclusive wireless provider of the iPhone in the U.S., which also sold out of its launch day allotment. New orders placed directly through AT&T will not arrive until June 25th or later, “depending on when the order is placed,” the company said.

AT&T revealed that the first day of preorders for iPhone 4 was the busiest online sales day in the company’s history. The company’s systems had difficulty authorizing existing customers for upgrades, and Apple also began rejecting callers from its 800-MY-APPLE number.

FBI to investigate AT&T/iPad security breach

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 11th, 2010, 09:33
Category: iPad, News

When embarrassingly hacked, call the FBI.

Per Reuters, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that it has begun a probe into an AT&T security breach that exposed the email address of over 100,000 registered iPad owners.

“The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address the potential cyber threat,” FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

The move comes one day after AT&T acknowledged that a security flaw on its website made it possible for hackers to query its database and uncover the email addresses of customers who had registered to use its mobile broadband service on their iPhone 3G.

“This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday,” the carrier said. “We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose e-mail addresses may have been obtained.”

The attack on AT&T’s web servers resulted in at least 114,000 iPad 3G users’ emails being leaked to Goatse Security hackers when batches of iPad ICC-IDs were entered via specially formatted HTTP requests.

The group automated requests of the email address information for a wide swath of ICC-ID serial numbers using a script. Although the exploit revealed the addresses of several prominent government and corporate officials, no other information was revealed as part of the breach.

A representative for Goatse Security stated that it ‘hasn’t heard from law enforcement and that it didn’t do anything illegal, so doesn’t see why it would.’

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.