Recently unearthed iPad configuration policies provide additional evidence to forthcoming camera

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 06:43
Category: iPad, News

You’re hankering for a camera on the iPad and it may be forthcoming.

Per AppleInsider, iPad management profile policies available to corporate users include the capability to disable use of its camera, providing evidence of future intent to include a camera on upcoming models.

Apple’s configuration profile tools for iOS devices include a variety of settings and restrictions that companies can impose to regulate how the devices are used and to configure services such as VPN and wireless networking access or email, calendar and directory services.

These policies can also force strong passwords and set security features such as the number of times a password attempt can fail before the device wipes its data. Similar to parental controls, the policy settings can also be used to block access to features such as the iTunes Store, Safari, YouTube, or the use of its camera.

While iPhones do have cameras to disable, the current iPad lacks this. However, among the profiles specifically included in its iPad documentation, Apple notes the ability to restrict camera use on the iPad.

Prior to launch, it was widely rumored that the iPad might include a camera. When it shipped, Apple only provided the ability to connect to external cameras through its Dock connector, either via USB or using an SD Card reader adapter.

API support for camera, flash, and zoom functions were discovered in developer builds of the iPad-only iOS 3.2 in February.

While those APIs may have been added as part of software development work performed to support iPhone 4, Apple also posted job listings for a “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media” which stated, “Build on your QA experience and knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video) to develop and maintain testing frameworks for both capture and playback pipelines.”

Taken together, it appears likely that future versions of iPad will incorporate a camera, most likely a front-facing unit intended to support FaceTime. That video conferencing feature is currently limited to iPhone 4, but Apple plans to make it a widespread standard among mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone Dev Team releases web-based hack for iPhone 4 handset

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 04:22
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

The iPhone Dev Team raised their hand on Sunday, releasing the first “jailbreak” for the iPhone 4, a browser-based exploit that allows users to run unauthorized code. However, some reported that the modification results in broken MMS and FaceTime functionality.

According to AppleInsider, “comex,” a member of the iPhone Dev Team, released the hack through a website, jailbreakme.com. Users can visit the site in their iPhone browser to begin the jailbreaking process.

The software modification is the first release for Apple’s latest handset hardware, the iPhone 4. Some users reported that the jailbreak managed to break FaceTime and MMS functionality on the device.

Comex announced via a Twitter post that he was able to reproduce the issues, and is working on a fix. The latest jailbreak does not work with iPads running iOS 3.2.1.

Unlike previous jailbreaks, which required users to run software on their Mac or PC and tether their iPhone to their computer, the latest hack is done entirely within the Safari browser. Users simply visit the URL to begin the process, which modifies the iOS mobile operating system found on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The iPhone 4 jailbreak comes less than a week after the U.S. Library of Congress officially made it legal for users to jailbreak their iPhone to run unauthorized software. The government approved the measure as an exemption to a federal law which prevents the circumvention of technical measures that keep users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works.

The jailbreak process, which also voids Apple’s warranty of the handset allows users to run software not approved by Apple, which has no plans to allow users to install third-party applications downloaded from outside its sanctioned App Store. Hackers have created their own custom applications (many free, and some for purchase) from an alternative storefront known as Cydia.

Jailbreaking can also be used to unlock a phone, allowing it to be used on carriers that do not have access to the iPhone.

In addition to allowing access to legitimate third-party software, both free and paid, through services like Cydia, jailbreaking can also be used to pirate App Store software, one major reason why Apple has fought the practice.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you decide to jailbreak your iPhone 4, please let us know how it goes.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 beta 2, focuses on proximity sensor fixes

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:46
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of the pending iOS 4.1 firmware, although the company has not said when the firmware will be generally available for its iPhone and iPod touch products.

Per Cult of Mac, this beta release of the iOS 4.1 software development kit, available at Apple’s iPhone Dev Center, comes about two weeks after the first one and arrives with speculation that the 4.1 software will fix some glitches for the iPhone 4 proximity sensors and introduce Apple’s promised Game Center social service.

The initial report states that the proximity sensor issue seems to have been fixed. “Previously, the iPhone was plagued with proximity sensor issues,” writes Jose Gutierrez. “It would constantly hang up calls when I held the phone next to my cheek. But after installing the iOS 4.1 beta 2 update this afternoon, I couldn’t force the iPhone to hang up calls when lifting it up to my face, no matter how hard I tried.”

He also says the new beta release includes a baseband update, “which seems to fix HSUPA upload speed issues, which slowed video and photo uploads to a crawl.”

According to several online accounts, the newest beta still does not support the iPad touch tablet. The iPad is running an earlier version of iOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Game Review: Pro Zombie Soccer

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 09:03
Category: App Store, Game, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

Pro Zombie Soccer is a game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (still a Pixel-doubled version, not native) distributed by Chillingo and developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team. I’ve never been caught up in the Zombie craze, although I did enjoy Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead, so I was not really excited about this game at first, but a friend assured me that it was a lot of fun and he was right.

Some of the things that made this such a fun game was the artwork and the storyline. While not complicated, the story added enough depth to propel you from scene to scene. The artwork has a punk attitude, similar to what is associated with Gorillaz, and is pretty lively and colorful.

In the game, you are playing the role of Jax, a young, talented soccer player who freezes up while trying out for the big team. While moping about town, the zombie outbreak occurs and Jax is bitten by a zombie who happens to be the star player of the soccer team. Jax soon finds out that his zombie infection has given him super-soccer powers which he decides to use to take down the zombie apocalypse….while he still can.

The controls are simple. You thumb aims the direction that Jax kicks the soccer ball and lifting your thumb fires it off. You have a regular kick, and a super-charged kick at your disposal, but eventually you acquire other “zombie powers” which you can choose from during certain parts of the game. Doing a “head-shot” to a zombie (beheading them) is worth extra points as is several head-shots in a row. Some zombies can only be killed with the super-charged kick, which takes more time to “charge up”. Eventually you run into zombies that can only be killed in a certain way, like ricocheting off a wall, as well as avoiding obstacles like fleeing scientists which, when hit, will end the game. If you finish the game too quickly in Normal mode, you can play through again in Hardcore mode which won’t be so easy. The game’s music is pretty good and in the Extras you’ll find the Music Player which allows you to play back the game’s soundtrack, a total of 16 tracks.

The sound effects and gameplay are great, and everything looks awesome on the iPhone 4′s screen. As of this writing, the game was iOS 4 compatible, but did not take advantage of background app switching. Leaving the game means starting again from the main menu, although it should remember your progress. I didn’t try it on the iPad, but it is compatible with iOS 3.0 and up. I look forward to an HD version, but I hope it’s an Universal app.

The game uses the Crystal gaming network, which I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of, but not because it is a bad system.

I highly recommend this game. It’s fun and relatively easy to play, and the stages make it easy to play a few minutes at a time, or kill 20 minutes or so. Pro Zombie Soccer is a pretty good deal at $2.99.

Apple accepts Library of Congress decision on jailbreaking, still warns of possible warranty violations

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 05:17
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, Software

After years of debate and posturing from both sides, the verdict is in. Per Electronista, the library of Congress has legally sanctioned jailbreaking iOS-based applications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, thereby allowing non-Apple-approved applications to be run on devices such as the iPhone. While Apple didn’t contest the legality itself, the company stated that jailbreaking would still break the warranty by going beyond what Apple can support. It also stressed that it saw the experience as hurting the experience for some by taking away the speed and reliability they may have expected.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone,” commented an Apple spokeswoman. “And we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.”

The representative wouldn’t directly confront the question of whether Apple would try to sue anyone who would sell jailbreaking tools, but she emphasized Apple’s history and that it hadn’t done so before.

Monday’s Library ruling doesn’t require that Apple or other companies must allow third-party apps in their code but also prevents these firms from legally challenging any jailbreak developed for the purposes of running an app or for unlocking access to other customers. It’s unclear whether the new exemptions would allow commercial development of jailbreaking apps; such software would be designed for a profit, but it it would still be used for individual purposes in most cases.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple cites $15.7 billion in sales, $3.25 billion profit for 2010 Q3 financial report

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, 04:37
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

Apple generated its best quarter to date, reporting US$15.7 billion in sales and a profit of US$3.25 billion yesterday with shares accelerating US$3.51 per share, up 75% in the year over year from the same period in 2009. The company’s results beat analyst expectations of $3.10 a share and $14.74 billion in revenue according to Macworld.

The company sold a record 3.47 million Macs during the three-month period ended June 26, 2010, another quarterly record for the company that topped the previous high sales mark by 100,000 units. Mac sales increased 33% over the 2.6 million units Apple sold in the third quarter of 2009. Oppenheimer noted that Apple’s 33% sales growth topped the 22% growth rate market research firm IDC projects for the overall computer market.

As expected, portables drove Mac sales for the three months ending in June. Of the 3.47 million Macs sold, 71% were laptops.

The third quarter also marked the first full quarter of sales for the iPad, Apple’s new tablet. Apple said it sold 3.27 million iPads during the quarter with the company seeing US$2.17 billion in recognized revenue from iPad sales during the quarter. The tablet is currently shipping in 10 countries, and Apple plans to introduce the iPad to 9 more countries on July 23rd. The company also stated that it’s selling iPads just as fast as it’s making them, while attempting to increase manufacturing capacity.

Apple sold 8.4 million iPhones in the third quarter, a 61% jump over last year’s figures. The iPhone 4, which debuted in the waning days of the third quarter, made up about 20% of those sales—or more than 1.7 million units. Apple called the iPhone 4 launch the most successful product launch in its history.

Consumer demand for the new phone has been so great, in fact, that Apple has had trouble filling orders. Last month, the company announced that it would delay the release of the white iPhone 4—it’s expected to ship by the end of July. iPhone 4 orders placed through Apple’s online store list a three-week shipping wait as of this writing. (In contrast, the 8GB iPhone 3GS ships within 24 hours.)

Apple saw recognized revenue from its handsets of US$5.33 billion during the quarter, up 74% from last year’s figures. Apple says the iPhone has a sales value of US$5 billion, for an average selling price of US$595.

Combining the sales of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, Apple sales there are now 100 million devices running its iOS mobile operating system.

iPod sales fell during the third quarter of 2010. Though the company sold 9.41 million iPods, the figure represented an 8% drop from the 10.2 million music players Apple sold in the year-ago quarter. The iPod segment has seen declining growth for some time now, particularly outside of the holiday shopping season. During the fiscal second quarter, iPod sales dipped by 1% while the 2009 third quarter saw a 7% decline in sales.

Despite the decline, the music device remains the top-selling MP3 player internationally and continues to command a 70% market share in the U.S. More significantly to Apple, the iPod touch continues to grow with Apple stating that sales of that product were up 48% from the year-ago quarter, leading to a 12% increase year-over-year in average selling price for the music player. Apple’s iPod segment saw quarterly revenue of US$1.5 million, a 4% increase from last year.

With regard to the iTunes Store, Apple cited more than $1 billion in revenue, a growth rate of 25% year over year. The mobile app segment of the store has grown to 225,000 apps, with 11,000 specifically built for the iPad. Users have download more than 5 billion apps from the App Store, Apple says.

Apple ended the third quarter with 293 Apple Store locations, the company opening seven more during the three-month period. Four of those new stores were opened in the U.S., while two opened in Australia; the remaining new store was in Canada.

Retail stores generated US$2.58 billion in revenue during the quarter, jumping 73% from the year-ago numbers. Apple sold 677,000 Macs via its retail stores, compared to 492,000 last year; half of the Macs sold at Apple Store were to customers new to the platform, Apple says.

Apple plans to open 24 stores during the fourth quarter. In addition to an outlet in Shanghai, China, that opened earlier this month, noteworthy store openings include ones in Paris, London, and Apple’s first two stores in Spain.

Apple ended its fiscal third quarter with US$45.8 billion in cash and short-term investments, up from US$41.7 billion at the end of last quarter.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ending in September, Apple expects revenue of US$18 billion and earnings per share to come in around US$3.44. Analysts were predicting sales of US$17.03 billion and earnings of US$3.82 per share in advance of Apple’s announcement on Tuesday.

Apple said it would defer revenue during the quarter as a result of its decision to offer free cases to iPhone 4 customers. Last week, the company made its free case offer after reports of reception problems related to the placement of antennas in the iPhone 4. Oppenheimer put the cost of the case giveaway at US$175 million; Apple will recognize the cost of those cases as they’re delivered to customers.

Rumor that Apple may charge iPad owners for iOS 4 upgrade debunked

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2010, 04:05
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

A circulating rumor that Apple may charge users to upgrade the iPad to iOS 4 this fall is specifically contradicted by Apple’s own licensing agreement, which states that the next major software update will be free to iPad owners.

Citing “top secret plans” from an anonymous source, Stuff.tv reported on Tuesday that Apple currently plans to charge iPad owners for the software upgrade. The source did not provide a price, but the U.K.-based magazine suggested it would be around £5.

The source reportedly told the magazine that the plans to charge are “definite.” It reached out to Apple for a comment, and the Cupertino, Calif., company responded that it doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.

However, the company’s iPad licensing agreements specifically state that the “next major iPad OS software release” will be free for hardware owners, casting some doubt on the rumor. Releases beyond that, however, may come with a charge.

“For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release,” the licensing agreement reads. “Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.”

While it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Apple to charge for an upgrade, as previous software releases came with a fee for iPod touch users, due to an accounting issue, Apple eventually did away with that fee, as the iOS 4 upgrade is free for iPod touch owners.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Game Review: Predators™

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2010, 11:41
Category: Fun, Game, News, Review, Software

The Predators game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad is a direct tie-in with the recently released Predators movie by Robert Rodriquez (directed by Nimrod Antal) distributed by Chillingo for Fox Mobile. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’ve been told it’s good fun and the game seems to do it’s job of getting me a little more jazzed to see it. Unlike a lot of game-movie tie-ins, this game actually has some solid play value.

One of the things appreciated about this game is that is it a Universal app, meaning the same app plays on all three “i” devices. An issue that bugs me a little is games that require you to buy a completely new app in order to play it in full resolution on the iPad. I understand that developers have to make money, and that they do have to do some extra work, but it just feels wrong to have to pay a second, higher price for a game I already paid for. I wish they would just work out a system to upgrade to a Universal app for the difference of the two. On a side note, I had a problem with the game on my iPad crashing on launch, but rebooting the iPad seems to have fixed it so far.

Off my soap box, and onto the action.

In this game, you are playing the role of the Predator which is a nice switch up. This is probably because he has all the cool gadgets. The first several “missions” teach you the essentials of mauling and beheading humans for trophies. There are also in-play tutorials for learning to use the gadgets like the wrist knives, shoulder cannon, and the cloaking device. Later, you also get other abilities like thermal vision. I really liked how the tutorials played out so you can get used to using just one weapon or combo attack, rather than just being thrown into a melee and having to figure it out.

The game isn’t strictly a shoot ‘em up either. In some scenarios, you get more points for stalking your prey in cloaked mode, and killing humans undetected. There are also human “boss” characters which represent the main characters from the film such as Royce who is played by Adrian Brody in the film. These guys are harder to beat. I haven’t gotten too far in the game, but so far the terrain has just been your basic jungle with some different environmental factors like darkness or rain (with makes you more visible in cloaked mode). I’ve been through about seven levels and it hasn’t gotten boring yet, so I hope it just keep getting better.

The game stays very true to the Predator feel and mythos. Even the crosshair for the shoulder cannon works like it did in the movie and you can shoot people behind you. The graphics can be a bit gruesome if you are worried about younger audiences. There is lots of blood and your Predator very clearly rips people in half and pulls their head off with a nice, wet, ripping sound. Obviously the graphics are very good and optimized for the iPhone 4 and iPad, and the sounds are quite good as well; probably taken directly from the movies. You will also be happy to know that the game is compatible with iOS 4′s backgrounding, so you can leave in the middle of a mission and come back in the same spot and continue. There is also a pause menu too, until the iPad gets iOS 4.

I liked the iPad version the best, but mainly because the controls cover less screen than the iPhone version. Menus are slightly different for the iPad, but the gameplay is identical to the iPhone/iPod Touch version. I liked that none of the combos were too complicated. I find that annoying about some console games because you end up concentrating too much on how many buttons to push instead of the game. The controls are pretty good and straightforward. There is a “joystick” on the left and action buttons on the right. There are also toggles for things like night vision, weapons, and cloaking. It isn’t a problem for me, but I’d like to see more games give people the option of flipping the controls. The only problems I had were the ones inherent in a touch-based system; when the action gets fast, you tend to slide your fingers off the controls and can’t center again without looking away form the action. Perhaps I have more trouble with this than most people, but I can’t really fault the game for this.

Lastly, the game uses the Crystal gaming network. The frustration I have with all the game networking systems could be a whole post in itself. I’m waiting to see how Apple’s Game Center changes things. Developers naturally have investments in tying themselves to particular systems, but I wish you could choose which system to use for each game instead of being forced to use the one the developer picks.

I highly recommend this game. If you like action games, shooters, and anything to do with Predators, this game is a steal at $2.99.

Apple releases iOS 4.0.1 for iPhone, iOS 3.2.1 for iPad, hunts down long-standing bugs

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 16th, 2010, 04:03
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, Software

Following up on rumors, Apple has released iOS 4.0.1 via iTunes. Per MacNN, the update makes just a single major change, that being improved accuracy in iPhone signal display. The company recently promised a software fix in light of reception issues, though it’s now believed the problem is traceable to hardware. The download is only available for the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4.

For iPad owners, Apple has meanwhile posted iOS 3.2.1. The firmware solves several issues, most notably trouble with Wi-Fi connections. It also corrects a glitch with PDF attachments in Mail, and two video bugs: one causing videos to freeze, and another hampering the official iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter. The one feature addition is Bing support for Safari search.

To download and install the updates, which each weigh in at over 300 megabytes, attach your iPhone or iPad to your computer, open iTunes, select the device and search for an update. The process will occur as per usual.

Apple is scheduled to hold a full iPhone 4 press conference today. Stay tuned to the PowerPage for additional details as they become available.

And if you’ve noticed any major changes or would like to offer feedback on this, let us know.

Rumor: Apple to incorporate OLED displays into future iPad models

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 13th, 2010, 06:03
Category: iPad, News, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make the technology business interesting and in spite of the high cost of OLED displays and Apple’s continued support of LCD screens with IPS technology, whispers of a next-generation iPad with an OLED screen continue to resurface.

Per DigiTimes, sources close to the story have indicated that Apple plans to launch a second-generation iPad as soon as the fourth quarter of 2010. The new hardware would reportedly use 5.6-inch and 7-inch OLED displays, with Compal Electronics in the running to supply Apple.

The new models would be in addition to Apple’s successful 9.7-inch iPad, which would receive “some minor changes,” the report said. The smaller 5.6″ and 7″ iPad models would “mainly target the e-book reader market, separating them from the 9.7″ model, which mainly targets multimedia entertainment,” the report said.

It noted that costs of OLED panels are expected to drop, as Samsung Electronics and LG Display have been devoting resources into the development of panels. “With Apple’s brand image and high average selling price (ASP), Apple should have no problem adopting OLED panels, which have higher price than standard panels, into its devices,” the report said.

DigiTimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo responded to the rumors and noted that Samsung cannot currently meet capacity for OLED displays on its own handsets, making it unlikely they would be able to supply Apple by the fourth quarter of 2010. In addition, Compal is “unlikely” to pursue orders with Apple, because its manufacturing gross margins are much less than what is offered by others.

Rumors of an OLED display on the iPad have been present since before Apple even formally announced the device and have continued to resurface since, with DigiTimes also reporting in April that Apple could adopt OLED displays for its second-generation iPad. At the time, the Taiwanese publication also reported the rumors, but simultaneously cast doubt on them through the analysis of Kuo.

The current iPad LCD screen uses IPS, or in-plane switching, technology. It was developed by Hitachi in 1996, and offers improved viewing angles and color reproductions on screens.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.