Princeton University analyzes iPad Wi-Fi bug, offers workaround

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 10:13
Category: How-To, iPad

Following up on the notorious wireless glitch in the iPad wherein an Internet Protocol (IP) address of the iPad fails to correctly refresh, or “lease”, its address, the Office of Information Technology at Princeton University looked into the issue.

On Tuesday, Princeton issued a report stating that the iPad will incorrectly continue using an IP address without renewing the lease, usually for hours. The issue is resolved when the iPad asks for a new DHCP lease, or the iPad disconnects from the network.

The information suggests it is a software issue within iPhone OS 3.2, and is likely something that Apple could repair through an update to its mobile operating system.

The problem was found to be common on Princeton’s campus, with 25 out of 41 of all iPads demonstrating the malfunction as of April 18th. If that ratio bears out on a larger scale, there are likely a huge number of iPad owners experiencing similar issues, as Apple sold more than 500,000 devices in its first week.

The report noted that some devices have demonstrated the malfunction several times, and eight devices were outright blocked from the university’s network.

“When a DHCP client malfunctions this way repeatedly, Princeton blocks the device from using those campus network services which rely on the device’s DHCP client respecting lease times,” the IT office said. “These include our wireless services. We do this to protect other customers of those services from the disruptions caused by the malfunctioning devices.”

The university has published a temporary workaround for the issue, but has stated that it is working with Apple and providing them with technical data in hopes of solving the problem. That data was sent to Apple on April 7th.

The Information Technology office also noted that it has been incorrectly attributed with diagnosing the cause of Wi-Fi signal issues or connectivity issues that have been widely reported by iPad users. The university noted that information is inaccurate, as its documentation relates only to a DHCP client issue, not Wi-Fi signal or connectivity issues.

Princeton has been able to replicate the problem regularly by allowing the iPad to lock its screen before the DHCP lease renewal time, and allowing it to remain locked, with the screen off, until the DHCP lease has expired.

The current workaround has users reconfigure the iPad’s settings so that the screen never locks. This can be accomplished by going to Settings, General, Auto-Lock and choosing “Never.” Users must also turn off Wi-Fi before they manually lock the screen, turn the iPad completely off (rather than just locking it), or simply leave the iPad on without locking the screen.

Soon after the iPad was introduced earlier this month, users began to report connectivity issues with the device. One of the most common problems experienced relates to rejoining a Wi-Fi network after the iPad has been restored from sleep. Apple responded by issuing a support document.

iPad 3G to arrive in stores on April 30th

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 08:29
Category: News

In the midst of the delays surrounding certain pre-ordered iPad 3G units, Apple announced on Tuesday that the 3G-enabled iPad would arrive for those who have pre-ordered it on Friday April 30th, the same day that it will make its appearance in stores.

According to Macworld, the rush will begin at 5 p.m. at Apple Stores, most Best Buy locations, some Apple Authorized Resellers, and campus bookstores. As with the Wi-Fi models, customers will be able to set up their iPad in the store for free with the help of an Apple employee.

The 3G model comes in at 1.6 pounds to the Wi-Fi iPad’s 1.5. That and a small black plastic antenna window along the top of the unit make up the only real hardware differences between the two. As mentioned before, the 3G model arrives at a US$130 premium and will be available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities retailing for US$629, US$729, and US$829 respectively.

While some have wondered about the impact the 3G capability will have on the iPad’s otherwise stellar battery life, Apple is promising nine hours of battery life while browsing the Web on 3G.

Users will be able to subscribe to and manage 3G service from the device itself, with AT&T offering a US$15 per month plan with a 250MB data cap and a US$30 per month plan offering unlimited usage. Unlike the iPhone, users can subscribe to and cancel 3G service whenever you like.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple pushes iPad 3G pre-order ship date back to May 7th, ships camera kit

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Date: Monday, April 19th, 2010, 06:32
Category: iPad, News

Right, this is NOT going to make you happy.

Over the weekend, Apple began e-mailing customers to tell them that their iPad 3G orders had been pushed back to May 7th to reassure them that their hardware will ship on schedule in late April. In addition, the company has also begun shipping the iPad camera connection kit to some who ordered.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s online store has been updated to reflect that new orders of the iPad with both 3G and Wi-Fi will not ship until May 7th. But while those ordering new iPads with 3G connectivity will not get their device until a few weeks later, original preorders are still on track for a late April release. To confirm this, Apple began sending the following e-mails to customers who already ordered:

“To Our Valued Apple Customer:

Thank you for your recent order of the magical and revolutionary iPad 3G.

We would like to confirm that your order will be shipped in late April as communicated at the time you placed your order. You will receive a confirmation notice when your order has shipped.

You can get up-to-date information about your order, including shipping status and tracking number, at http://www.apple.com/orderstatus

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Sincerely,
The Apple Store Team”

The 3G-enabled iPad models carry a US$130 premium and offer wireless connectivity with the AT&T 3G network in the U.S. No-contract data plans are available for US$15 per month for 250MB of data, and US$30 a month for unlimited access.

Though U.S. orders remain on track to ship on time, last week Apple announced that international customers will have to wait, as a shortage of devices caused the launch to be delayed until the end of May. Apple shipped more than a half-million Wi-Fi only iPads in its first week of availability in the U.S. alone.

In the U.S., online orders of the Wi-Fi-only iPad ship in five to seven business days. All orders remain limited to just two per customer.

Finally, some who preordered the camera connection kit for the iPad have been notified that their order has finally shipped. Apple first gave the connection kit a shipping date of late April on its Web site at the end of March.

Fourth-Generation iPhone prototype discovered, analyzed

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Date: Monday, April 19th, 2010, 05:19
Category: iPhone, photos, Rumor

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A series of new photos of an alleged fourth-generation iPhone prototype surfaced over the weekend, the device sporting dual cameras with flash, a high-resolution screen, and a slot for a MicroSIM card.

Per Engadget, the device was allegedly found laying on the floor of a San Jose bar and sports a front-facing camera, 80GB of storage, and aluminum sides. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber spoke with sources who reaffirmed to him that the device is legitimate, and “Apple is very interested in getting it back.”

“I am not certain this is the actual production unit Apple intends to ship to consumers,” he wrote. “I think it’s a testbed frame — thicker, with visible (un-Apple-like) seams, meant to fit into 3GS cases so as to disguise units out in the wild. It’s hard to tell from the photos. But I think it is the real deal in terms of the internals and the display being next-gen hardware, and the new glass back.”

He also went on to mention a patent regarding radio-transparent zirconia CE casings. Such casings could allow wireless signals to pass through an enclosure uninhibited and could improve reception on future iPhone models. Gruber theorized that the glass-looking back seen on the iPhone prototype could be a “high-durability” ceramic enclosure, similar to what was mentioned in the patent, as having glass on both sides of the new iPhone would make it very fragile if dropped.

The alleged prototype iPhone, reportedly dubbed “iPhone HD,” sports a double-resolution 960 x 640 pixel display. Previous reports suggested the new handset would, like the iPad, sport a custom-built processor from Apple.

The back of the device has Xs in place of certain numbers, such as the amount of storage and Federal Communications Commission ID number. It was also said to be previously running with a “decidedly new” operating system, though it is no longer booting. The device also has a “button” on its side, which sources told Engadget is for holding a MicroSIM card for connectivity with a GSM network, suggesting it is not the CDMA compatible model Apple is purportedly working on.

When Apple introduced the developer preview of its forthcoming iPhone OS 4 mobile operating system, users found references to iChat and frameworks containing the strings “front facing” and “back facing,” providing even more potential evidence of a new model with video chat. Apple was also said to be looking to secure large quantities of LED camera flash components for a forthcoming iPhone, and data discovered in the iPhone OS 4 beta suggests that the next-gen device will indeed include a camera flash.

Apple is expected to introduce the fourth-generation iPhone at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Last week the head of a Canadian wireless carrier said Apple will ship the device that same month, while AT&T employees have been restricted from taking vacations in the same month.

Boxee posts job listing for iPhone/iPad/Android OS development position

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:30
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

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Speaking of job listings, a new listing at media company Boxee has confirmed the firm’s plans to enter into mobile apps. Per Electronista, the startup is hoping to begin work with a Lead iPhone and iPad App Developer that would bring the company’s media front end to Apple’s handhelds. It also dropped a hint that an Android version is next, as the new hire’s experience with Google’s mobile OS would be “a plus.”

Differences between the mobile version and the large-screen versions didn’t show up in the posting, but it would likely handle much of the same media sharing. This could include streaming media from computers on the local network as well as accessing Internet-specific features while away from home.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts position for iPad camera expert

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Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPad, News

If you’re hankering for your iPad to have a built-in camera, you may not have too long to wait. Per Cult of Mac, Apple is apparently searching for a performance quality assurance engineer to work on still and video capture in the iPad Media department.

The job, posted back on February 9th is for a “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media,” to work within Apple’s Interactive Media Group. The software quality engineer must have a strong technical background in order to test still, video and audio capture and playback frameworks.

“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,” the job description reads. “You will work together with the development team to ensure quality. Your focus will mainly be on performance testing and developing performance measurement test tools.”

The full-time position is based in Cupertino, Calif., at Apple’s corporate headquarters. It requires candidates have a bachelor of science in computer science or equivalent experience, with three or more years experience in software quality assurance.

The job listing is yet another piece of evidence that Apple has plans for a camera in future iPads. A potential spot for a forward-facing camera was found in a replacement part for the iPad soon after the device was unveiled. But later, a teardown of the iPad post-release found that spot was actually used for the device’s ambient light sensor.

The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK has also been found to include mentions of video chat, suggesting that Apple explored the possibility of a forward-facing camera in its multi-touch device.

Introduced last week, the beta of iPhone OS 4.0 also features references to iChat, including framework strings referencing “front facing” and “back facing.” Evidence of iChat sounds has also been found in the pre-release software. While it will hit the iPhone this summer, iPhone OS 4.0 is scheduled to be available for the iPad this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of this from your end.

Mid-2010 MacBook Pros selling well, 13″ model becoming harder to find

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The new MacBook Pro notebooks are out.

And if you can find a 13″ one, you’re in luck.

Per AppleInsider, demand for Apple’s newly upgraded line of MacBook Pro notebooks was strong on the first day, with scattered reports of the low-end 13″ model selling out in some retail locations.

Analyst Maynard Um with UBS Investment research said checks with various Apple stores indicated that the Mac maker is sold out of the new 13″ MacBook Pro model, introduced Tuesday. The Core 2 Duo-equipped machine has the Nvidia GeForce 320M, a graphics processor created especially for Apple’s new low-end MacBook Pro machine.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at US$1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at US$1,499. It has graphics 80 percent faster than its predecessor, and offers an Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

Customers ordering the new 13″ MacBook Pro from Apple’s online store have also reported that shipping times have lagged to between one and three business days, instead of a standard 24 hours according to MacNN. The 24-hour cap still applies to Apple’s more powerful and expensive 15- and 17-inch systems.

Um said he has also found that some stores are out of stock of iPads, supporting the announcement made earlier Wednesday by Apple, that a hardware shortage would delay the device’s international launch until late May. The analyst said this news means it is likely his estimate of 1.2 million iPads sold in the June quarter will likely prove conservative, depending on manufacturing constraints.

Review: Flick Fishing HD

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Date: Monday, April 12th, 2010, 04:38
Category: iPhone, Review, Software

Those kooky game guys from Manhattan N.Y., Freeverse, released four apps for iPad just in time for the April 3rd debut. Two apps, Warpgate and CastleCraft, are exclusively for iPad. The other two are popular iPhone/Pod touch favorites, NBA Hotshot HD and Flick Fishing HD. I got to play with Flick Fishing HD just minutes after my iPad arrived via UPS.

Flick Fishing has become a very popular angling game at the iTunes App Store. First developed for the iPhone, the game features real motion casting. The new HD edition for the iPad includes all the extras from the iPhone version including the Fishing Pro pack and a MegaGuide. Freeverse has done a nice job with the game’s graphics and music. It’s obvious Flick Fishing HD has been tailored for iPad and it looks – and sounds – spectacular

Don’t know a Plaice from a Pike? Don’t worry, Flick Fishing HD has lots of help while you fish. Tap the game’s colorful icon and you’re presented with four options on an animated background – New Game, Help & Options, Photo Album and Village Shop. Select New Game and you’ll see three game play modes: Go Fishing, Tournament (play against other fishermen locally), and Fish Net (play with others over the internet). Chose your location to fish from a map, flick the iPad and start fishing. The game prompts you to complete the task at hand while you are serenaded with Carribean-style Island music. Somebody hand me a cold beer!

The experienced fisherman can plunge right in and select a challenging location, select the desired bait from their tackle box and cast away. Actually Flick Fishing offers many challenges and you can really get into the tournaments and Fish Net gameplay modes. The MegaGuide, included free with Flick Fishing HD, goes in to the details of the Island, suggesting different bait for each variety of fish, explaining the various locations and even some cheats if you like. Since the game is continually expanded with new content you can look forward to some exciting playtime.

If I had to pick nits with Freeverse I’d ask for more variety to the music – the steel drums get boring after a while. Thankfully you can turn off the music when you tire of it. And I’d like to have a way to search the MegaGuide. As great as the graphics are on this game I found a minor flaw – a few stray pixels were wandering around at the bottom of my iPad’s screen.

Flick Fishing HD is an graphically-rich and entertaining game for the iPad. For US$2.99 you really can’t afford to pass it up.

Flick Fishing HD requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later to install and run.

Apple debuts iPhone OS 4.0 in San Francisco

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Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 12:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Over in San Francisco, Apple gave iPhone developers and the media a sneak preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, announcing major changes in multitasking capabilities, changes to the Mail application, and a built-in advertising system highlight the features that make up iPhone OS 4.0.

Per Macworld, developers could get their hands on a preview of the 4.0 update on Thursday although users will have to wait until at least the summer. Owners of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users will be able to take advantage of all the features, while second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G models will only support some of the update’s enhancements. iPhone OS 4.0 won’t be available for the iPad until the fall.

The iPhone OS 4.0 update will reportedly introduce 1,500 new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers and more than 100 new user features, including playlist creation, 5x digital zoom in the camera app, tap-to-focus for video, auto photo-geotagging, and support for Bluetooth keyboards. During the preview, Apple focused on seven new aspect that it called “tentpole” features: multitasking, folders, Mail improvements, iBooks for the iPhone, enhancements for business users, a social gaming network, and iAd.

iAds, perhaps the newest thing, functions as Apple’s new advertising platform designed specifically for the iPhone OS. The architecture allows developers the functionality to build ads directly into their apps; the ads, written using the HTML5 standard, are designed to provide a rich promotional environment, complete with what are essentially mini apps-inside-the-app.

Camera for iPad allows iPad users to borrow iPhone, iPod touch cameras via Bluetooth

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Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

The iPad currently lacks a built-in camera.

And some of you are combining your pitchfork technology with your torch technology and planning on waving flaming pitchforks outside 1 Infinite Loop (and Steve’s office) about this.

Still, there might be a solution to this.

Headlight Software’s Camera for iPad [App Store, US$0.99] allows iPad users to take photos on their iPad using their iPhone camera. Per iLounge, users load the Camera for iPad app on both their iPhone and iPad and can then establish a Bluetooth connection between the two devices.

Once connected, users can take photos on the iPad from the iPhone camera. A live view is shown on the iPad screen and users can zoom in and out and rotate the view using standard pinch and swipe gestures. Photos are taken at the maximum resolution of the iPhone camera and automatically transferred to the iPad over Bluetooth and stored in the iPad’s Saved Photos album.

The application can also be used with a second- or third-generation iPod touch or another iPhone 3G or 3GS although the original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are not currently supported.

Camera for iPad is a Universal app and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later to install and run.