Apple Releases iTunes 8.1.1 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 06:17
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.1.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 68 megabyte download, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

  • Adds support for renting HD movies.
  • Provides a number of bug fixes, including addressing issues with VoiceOver and syncing with iPhone or iPod touch.
  • iTunes 8.1.1 is available for free, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be snagged using Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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    App Store Number Finally Reaches 77

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 13:37
    Category: App Store, Apple

    On March 17, Apple announced that the App Store would be available for iPhone/iPod Touch customers in 77 countries. Through the end of March, the count stayed at 62, but finally over the April 4th weekend the additional 15 countries appeared on iTunes.

    The 15 additional countries are as follows:

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    • Dominican Republic
    • Ecuador
    • Egypt
    • Estonia
    • Honduras
    • Jamaica
    • Kazakstan
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Macau
    • Malta
    • Moldova
    • Nicaragua
    • Paraguay
    • Uruguay

    The Italian site setteB.IT reports that this works out to potentially 161.8 million new customers for Apple, the App Store, and software developers. Of the 15 countries, Kazakstan is the only one where the iPhone 3G is not available yet. The countries where the iPhone 3G is available but without an App Store are: Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Montenegro, Niger, Reunion (France) and Senegal.

    The original article can be read (translated from Italian) here.

    Next-Gen iPhone, iPod Touch Models to Support Faster, Low-Power 802.11n Protocol

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 10:02
    Category: iPhone

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    A list of wireless radio component specifications found within beta distributions of the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware offers details for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n bound for the third-generation iPod touch handset. According to AppleInsider, the chip is also likely to be en route for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models.
    The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329 in the description. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
    Current iPhone and iPod touch generations provide support for 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, pushing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That resulting push forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often-crowded 2.4GHz band.
    Apple’s latest firmware update for its AirPort base stations added support for dual-band networks, allowing both slow and fast devices to hook into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals at the same time.
    New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification as well as channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.
    The new device also focuses on efficient power management, with a special integrated PMU (power management unit) and a shared Bluetooth and WiFi receive signal path, which “eliminates the need for an external power splitter while maintaining excellent sensitivity for both Bluetooth and WLAN.”
    The new component could dramatically speed up WiFi throughput and flexibility as AT&T and other providers also upgrade their 3G networks to take advantage of parallel improvements in mobile 3G speed capacity expected in the new iPhone.

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    Microsoft Drops Hints Regarding Office for the iPhone

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 3rd, 2009, 08:37
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Microsoft apparently still holds aspirations of delivering a version of Office to Apple’s iPhone handset, though some more development time may still be necessary.
    According to TechCrunch, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on Wednesday, dropped hints to suggest that Office was bound to turn up on the Apple handheld device sometime soon.
    Elop later hedged his remarks when interviewer Tim O’Reilly probed him over the comments, admitting that the software isn’t ready quite yet and stating that hopefuls should “keep watching.”
    Over a year ago, Microsoft expressed “confidence” in its ability to deliver applications for the iPhone. At the time, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of the company’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, indicated to Fortune that Office applications were a natural choice.
    “It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone,” he said. “To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.”
    Although the iPhone ships with built-in support for viewing Office documents, users wishing to make changes to those documents have had few options prior to this week’s announcement of Quickoffice, which will support editing (as well as creation of) Word and Excel documents when it’s released later this month.
    To date, Microsoft has become the largest software developer for the Mac outside of Apple, its Mac Business Unit estimated to generate revenues in excess of $350 million and profits of over US$200 million each year.

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    Equity Firm’s Report Points Toward Two Architecturally Unique iPhones in Development

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 08:53
    Category: iPhone

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    A report released by little-known equity research firm Lazard Capital Markets could points towards two architecturally distinct models of iPhone being developed for release this year.
    “Our checks confirm that two versions of iPhones will be introduced this year,” Lazard Capital Markets semiconductors analyst Daniel Amir wrote in the opening paragraph of the report. “Production of the new phones should start at the beginning of April and will ramp in May.”
    According to AppleInsider, the analyst stated that both models are likely to be introduced in June, one being a “high-end” model while the other represents a “low-end” version.
    Unlike analyst reports earlier this year, which suggested Apple was developing a scaled down iPhone in addition to a new high-end model as part of a volume play, Amir said he believes the two models will target different geographical regions rather than different classes of consumers.
    “We believe it is possible that the two phones will be aimed at different regions,” he wrote. “The high-end version is expected in North America and Europe, and the low-end version may be for the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India, and China] or China only.”
    Amir suggested that the high-end version will have video capability, a better camera and 32GB of storage. Tthe low-end version will include less storage, no video functions, and possibly lack Wi-Fi (a move which could potentially cater to the demands of Chinese wireless carriers).
    Last fall, stories emerged that wireless carrier China Mobile had asked Apple to supply iPhone handsets with both Wi-Fi and 3G features disabled.
    In addition, various code strings present in the first external beta of iPhone OS 3.0 have been titled “iPhone 2,2″ and “iPhone 3,1″. Apple makes changes to the first numeral in these kind of identifier strings to distinguish products from their predecessors or family members only when there’s a significant architectural difference between the two.
    Within the report, Amir also told clients that iPhone shipments for the first calendar quarter of the year ending tomorrow could come in as high as 4 million thanks to record shipments for the month of March.
    “Our checks suggest that March iPhone shipments have been much stronger than previously expected and may reach 1.5 million units, which is the highest level over the past five months,” he said. “Total iPhone shipments in [first quarter of 2009] are therefore tracking slightly higher than Street expectations of 3-3.5 million units and could reach 3.8 to 4 million units.”
    The analyst then went on to suggest that second quarter shipments could surge as high as eight million units.
    “April shipments, including both the current and new versions of the iPhone, could increase 40%-50% month-over-month, and be up another 20%-30% month-over-month in May,” he wrote. “Accounting for the new versions of the iPhone shipping in April, total iPhone shipments in [the second quarter] could reach 7-8 million units, which equates to approximately 3-4 times last year’s shipments during the same period.”
    If you have anything to add to this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 2 to Developer Community

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 08:13
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Late Tuesday, Apple officially released iPhone OS 3.0 beta to to its developer community. According to Engadget, the new beta includes push notifications and in-app purchasing, giving developers a chance to play with these features. The report also cites significant stability improvements within the new build.
    While MMS and tethering are also included within beta 2, Apple has apparently asked developers not to try these features as of yet.
    Per the Apple Core, Apple has also made the following changes in beta 2:

  • B2 killed a lot of the typing lag, and scrolling problems.
  • Some speed improvements.
  • Some stereo bluetooth controls are working (play and pause). Others (rewind and fast forward) are not.
  • There’s a new Store option under Settings, but it’s empty.
  • New icon in the left side of the menu bar to indicate when call forwarding has been enabled.
  • Despite Apple’s warning against MMS and tethering, they can be enabled by modifying the ipcc file (the carrier settings). They both work in b2 in the U.S. although some countries have trouble getting them to work at the same time, but they work, regardless of the firmware.
  • The exchange email bug that prevented you from syncing to your corporate email was fixed.
  • New way to open a new page in Safari: Tap and hold on a link and a menu pops up allowing you to open, open in new page or copy the link (or cancel).
  • The iPhone OS beta 2 build can be downloaded from here upon signing up for an ADC account.
    If you’ve tried the new build, please let us know what you think of it in the comments or forums.

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    Sprint Adds 4G Service to More Cities

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, March 31st, 2009, 13:42
    Category: Mobile, Services

    In a press release, Sprint announced that they are expanding their 4G network coverage in 2009 to cover more cities. Along with the service will be announcements, later this year, of new 4G devices and offerings.

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    Sprint advertises that its 4G service is good for peak download speeds of 12 Mbps and average download speeds of 2-4 Mbps. This is available today on its Baltimore network, which was the rollout city for 4G in mid-2008.

    Sprint’s 4G network relies on the WiMAX standard for mobile broadband. Recently, Google and Sprint had announced a formal partnership in deploying WiMAX technology, with Google providing search content along with Sprint. Sprint is aggresively pushing for deployment and adoption of the 4G technology to help gain leadership in the race to beat out other carriers to control the fastest mobile data network. To this end, it would seem that the 3G network technology is being left behind in spite of insufficient coverage and bandwidth across the country.

    It will be interesting to see how competitors like AT&T and Apple’s iPhone will respond to Sprint’s efforts, and how they will manage to remain the leaders of “the internet in your pocket”.

    iPhone OS 3.0 Beta Bricking Pirated iPhones

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, March 30th, 2009, 10:56
    Category: Hack, iPhone

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    This was sort of to be expected, but it’s interesting.
    According to the Los Angeles Times, users installing a pirated version of Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 firmware are finding their iPhone handsets effectively bricked, wherein the handset loads to the activation screen.
    At this point, they’re in trouble.
    Per the story, the version of iPhone OS 3.0 floating around the Web checks with the mother ship to make sure that the user has an active and paid up Apple Developer Connection account.
    Once in place, there’s no way to roll back to version 2 of the software.
    As mentioned on the Apple Core, a few YouTube videos have sprung up purporting to offer solutions. The first suggests that you can simply disconnect from the Internet when interfacing with iTunes to bypass the authentication process. The second video involves data files and appears far more involved.
    Fortunately, users can get their iPhone swapped out under warranty at the Apple Store, or pony up the US$100 for an ADC account in order to resolve the issue.
    If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Skype for iPhone Expected Tomorrow

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, March 30th, 2009, 06:33
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    Months after an initial preview at CES in Las Vegas, Skype for iPhone is expected to hit Apple’s App Store sometime tomorrow.
    According to C|NET, which was able to sit down and play with the application, the program will sport standard features generally found in mobile applications as well as a few iPhone-only perks.
    For starters, the screens are well organized and use the iPhone’s ability to add filters, for instance, to sort your contacts alphabetically, or by who’s online. The application also allows for chatting and a relatively cheap per-minute fee to landlines. The application only allows calls if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi network and calls will not work over the cell phone network on the iPhone (but chatting will.) Assuming your connection is solid, you can dial a number or quickly call a contacts stored in your address book. iPod Touch users will need earphones with an embedded mic to talk. During a call, users can mute the line, go on hold, or put the call on speakerphone.
    The current build of the program can accept incoming conference calls. While you won’t be able to initiate a call, users will be able to jump on one if a buddy invites you in.
    Features missing from the first release of the app on the iPhone include SMS, setting up a conference calling group, purchasing SkypeOut credit directly, and being able to field a second incoming Skype call are a few as well as file transferring and getting Skype voicemail.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think of Skype on the iPhone in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Begins Selling Contract-Free iPhone 3G at Full Price

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, March 27th, 2009, 09:40
    Category: iPhone

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    As of Thursday, Apple retail locations have begun selling unrestricted quantities of the company’s iPhone 3G handset at the non-subsidized price of US$599 for the 8GB version and US$699 for the 16GB version. Once sold, the buyer does not need to have an existing AT&T contract.
    According to AppleInsider, activation can completed by the customer at home through iTunes.
    Though the handsets are still technically (and legally) locked to AT&T service, it’s possible (but not supported) to unlock the phones for use with other mobile service providers such as T-Moble and Metro PCS, although both GSM providers do not support the 3G network the iPhone 3G needs to connect at faster than EDGE speeds.
    Apple’s change in sales policy comes as the company is working to sell off remaining inventory to prepare for the upcoming launch of the new 2009 iPhone, which is expected to be released around the middle of June.
    The launch may be expected to take place around this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which will take place yet again in San Francisco, California.
    If you’re en route to pick up a contract-free iPhone, please let us know about the experience in the comments or forums.

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