comiXology Releases Comics for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:00
Category: iPhone, Software

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Over at San Diego Comic-Con, Iconology Inc. announced the launch of its Comics by comiXology App on the App Store. The Comics by comiXology App is a digital comic library and reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch handsets that is launching with over 100 titles available from twenty popular comic publishers and many independent comic writers.

Comic book enthusiasts can now read their comics in a format designed to preserve the comic book experience on an iPhone or iPod touch, but also locate and connect with local retailers to purchase the printed version of the titles.

The application offers a “guided view” that keeps the entire page of a comic intact, unlike other solutions where the page is cut into individual pictures the user browses like a photo application.

Among the twenty publishers that have already signed up to deliver their titles through Comics by comiXology are many well-known industry icons including:

  • AdHouse Books
  • Arcana Comics
  • Asylum Press
  • Bluewater Comics
  • Com.X
  • Creative Impulse Entertainment
  • Digital Webbing
  • eigoMANGA
  • Evil Twin Comics
  • First Salvo
  • Image Comics (Active Images, Allred, Kirkman, Wagner, Brunswick, Revel and more)
  • Markosia
  • Moonstone
  • Red 5
  • Slave Labor Graphics
  • Th3rd World Studios
  • Zenescope

Additionally, popular comics writer Robert Kirkman has agreed to deliver his titles exclusively through Comics by comiXology making it the only place to get “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” for iPhone and iPod touch.

The Comics by comiXology App is now available, including over 30 free comics, for US$0.99 from the App Store.

Palm Releases webOS 1.1, Restores Pre’s Ability to Sync with iTunes

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:12
Category: News, Software

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One week after Apple disabled the Palm Pre’s capacity to sync with iTunes, Palm has responded by releasing webOS 1.1, an update that again enables Palm’s phone to access media from the current version of iTunes.

Per the company’s blog, Pre users can expect the new software to arrive via an over-the-air update.

“Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync,” the post reads. “That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).”

Last week, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1. In accompanying release notes, the company was vague about what the upgrade actually did, stating only that the update provided “a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

Soon after the new version of iTunes was released, Pre users realized that the update had broken their ability to sync music with the software.

The webOS 1.1 update brings a number of changes focused on business users, including remote wipe, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling and more for Exchange ActiveSync. The update also provides emoticons in the messaging app.

When Palm initially unveiled the handset, the company boasted about the the handset’s ability to transfer media from iTunes. According to AppleInsider, the feature worked by identifying the Pre in its hardware ID as an iPod — a trick Apple warned might not work for long.

Last month, Apple warned Pre users that future software updates may kill sync capability with the device.

“Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store,” Apple warned a document released in June. “Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players.”

In its blog post, Palm declined to elaborate on how they circumvented the changes presented in iTunes 8.2.1.

Apple Facing Constrained iPhone Supplies, Could Delay Some Overseas Launches

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:10
Category: iPhone 3GS

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After selling 5.2 million iPhones in fiscal Q3, including a million units that sold in the first three days, Apple has announced being “unable to make enough 3GSs to meet demand.”

According to AppleInsider, voracious demand for the latest iPhone has helped restrict it to 18 launch countries out of the 80 where Apple currently sells iPhones. With demand for the new iPhone 3GS far outpacing supply, Apple COO Tim Cook admitted that limited stock could briefly delay the planned launch of the new iPhone in more countries overseas.

Cook said Apple expects to have the iPhone 3GS available in most nations where the iPhone 3G is currently available by the end of the September quarter and said channel iPhone inventory was flat sequentially in comparison with the last quarter and that the “channel is not loaded.” He then went on to admit that with demand for the iPhone 3GS currently very high, it’s possible that some overseas launches could be delayed. “In terms of affecting the country rollout, I believe the vast majority of the countries that we are selling the 3G in we will be selling the 3GS I think by the end of the fiscal quarter,” he said. “It may move a date by a few weeks here or there.”

The company also hopes to continue to expand its reach. “The world has more than 80 countries,” Cook said. During a question and answer session, Cook was asked about Apple’s plans to enter China with the iPhone. “Nothing to add today specifically,” Cook answered, “other than it continues to be a priority project and we hope to be there within a year.”

Cook also said wireless carriers worldwide are thrilled by the lower churn rate the iPhone delivers, helping them to retain loyal customers. When asked about other products Apple might tie to providers’ wireless contracts, such as notebook and netbook sales, Cook said the company was currently focused on working with carriers on the iPhone and had nothing else to announce.

With regards to AT&T specifically, Cook said Apple has an excellent relationship with the mobile provider and is very happy with it. When asked about phone sales being constrained by AT&T’s network capacity, Cook deferred the question to AT&T itself, but noted that providers were making more investments in their networks to meet consumer demand.

Cook also said that Apple had initially studied the wireless market and determined that “what we could do really well is build hardware” with features that were “revolutionary,” leaving the service side to companies with more skills in networks. “that’s their business and they’re quite good at it,” Cook said.

Apple COO Tim Cook Defends Company’s Lack of Netbooks

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:00
Category: News

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During yesterday’s conference call to release Apple’s Q3 numbers, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook stood by his previous assertion that Apple’s not in the market to make a netbook. At the same time, he noted that Apple’s recent laptop price cuts have helped move inventory.

According to Macworld, while many industry analysts expect that it’s only a matter of time before Apple competes in this segment of the market, Cook stated that he doesn’t see it happening any time soon.

“Our goal is not to build the most computers, it’s to build the best,” Cook told an analyst with RBC Capital. “At this point, we don’t see the way to build a great product for this US$399, US$499, this kind of price point unit.”

Pressed by a Morgan Stanley analyst for more details on a possible Apple netbook or iPhone-based tablet computer, Cook said, “I never want to discount anything in the future, and never want to specifically discuss new products.”

But Cook said that customers who buy such hardware are often disappointed with their purchases, and that Apple is focused on products with the best value.

“We’re only going to play in things where we can deliver things that are very innovative that we’re proud of,” said Cook.

During the third quarter, Apple sold 1.75 million notebooks, up 13% from the 1.553 million it sold last year during the same quarter. The strong laptop sales were boosted in part by an overhaul of the company’s laptop lineup at WWDC in June that included price drops.

Cook conceded that the average selling price (ASP) of Macs did fall somewhat in the quarter, but added that, “now you can buy a MacBook Pro for US$800 less than last year,” and that customers are happy with that strategy and pricing.

Apple Releases iMovie 8.0.4 Update

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Date: Friday, July 17th, 2009, 01:48
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released iMovie 8.0.4, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 35.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed a problem with incorrect rotation when working with video created by iPhone 3GS.
  • Resolved instability when adding multiple beat markers in some languages.
  • Corrected an issue where iMovie could become unresponsive after using fine-tuning controls beyond the stabilized portions of a clip.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2.1, Cripples Palm Pre iTunes Syncing with Update

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:14
Category: iTunes, Mac, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update offers a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned “verification of Apple devices” toes the line as to which handhelds can sync to iTunes and which can’t. According to Macworld, the fact that the update “addresses an issue with verifying Apple devices,” essentially means that Apple’s drawn up a list of which devices are allowed to sync and which aren’t—and the Palm Pre is public enemy number one on the latter.

Back in May, prior to the Pre’s official release, Palm executives announced that the device would be able to sync with iTunes, pulling down your music, podcasts, and videos. The trick? As far as iTunes was concerned, the Palm Pre was an iPod.

While the media sync worked pretty well in previous tests, it was unclear as to whether Apple would allow it to sync to iTunes should future versions be released. Apple may have toed the line via a Knowledge Base article describing third party media players being supported by iTunes.

With iTunes 8.2.1, Apple seems to have stopped the Palm Pre from syncing to iTunes altogether, a move confirmed by the company in a statement to the Dow Jones Newswire. Also speaking to Dow Jones, a Palm spokesperson seemed to suggest that not upgrading iTunes is a good solution—but it seems unlikely most users will be willing to do that, especially over the long term as Apple adds more iTunes features.

While the Pre also works as a USB drive, it’s possible to just copy songs over manually, though it can be a laborious process. There’s also the option of third-party syncing software, such as Mark/Space’s The Missing Sync for Palm Pre, doubleTwist, and the forthcoming Salling Media Sync 1.1, which is currently in beta.

Apple Posts iPhone OS 3.1 Beta 2, New Mac OS X 10.6 Seed

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:30
Category: News

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Last night, Apple distributed iPhone developers with a second beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware as well as offered Mac developers a new incremental build of its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system.

According to ArsTechnica, iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 is only accessible to those with an existing developer account and provides a number of fixes and features, including the ability to connect to and work with a system wirelessly, without the tether of a USB cable.

No official information is available regarding the upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 as developers are currently under a non-disclosure agreement. The second beta is available at the iPhone Dev Center Web site.

Though the new feature does free up a USB port and allows more flexibility for developers, Apple has reportedly warned that physically tethering is still the preferred method, as it is faster and consumes less power.

As revealed with the first release, iPhone OS 3.1 is expected to add Bluetooth and video features. Users can now invoke Voice Control using a Bluetooth headset rather than a wired headset or the built-in microphone. When editing video clips, users can save a copy of the trimmed video instead of permanently losing the discarded ends.

The article reports that developers cannot install applications from Xcode or debug them via WiFi.

Further additions appear to improve battery life, greater access to video recording features for developers, and possible preparation for adding MMS support for AT&T subscribers.

The first iPhone OS 3.1 beta and SDK reportedly included roughly a dozen new extensions for the OpenGL ES graphics library, allowing developers to improve graphics on the iPhone 3GS. Beta 2 reportedly includes fixes for the OS Xcode, as well as other facets of the software.

Where the conventional Mac OS X operating system is concerned, developers testing Snow Leopard received build 10A411 of the operating system over the next-gen system’s Software Update mechanism.

“This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A402 or later,” Apple reportedly told developers. “This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security.”

The latest update weighs in at roughly 730 MB, about half the size of build 10A402a distributed last week.

T-Mobile, Orange May be Arranging to Sell iPhones to UK Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:56
Category: News

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Across the pond, wireless carrier O2′s exclusivity deal within the UK marketplace may be coming to an end within the next few months. According to MacNN, competitor T-Mobile stated that it’s already in negotiation with Apple and could begin carrying the iPhone 3G within a matter of months. The iPhone 3GS has not been mentioned by T-Mobile so far, nor is it said to have been brought up by Orange, also rumored to be pushing for UK sales.

Like the United States, the UK has had only one official iPhone carrier since 2007, in spite of an increasing number of foreign countries hosting multiple carriers. The existence of competitive iPhone providers is thought to be beneficial to both Apple and the public, driving down prices and forcing carriers to bend to Apple’s restrictions. For carriers however the open market can hurt profit margins, and invalidate millions in currency paid to secure exclusive rights.

Multiple US carriers may not arrive until at least 2011, when LTE (4G) networks are slated to go live through AT&T and Verizon.

iPhone 3GS Upload Speeds Peak at 384 Kbps

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 10th, 2009, 03:23
Category: iPhone 3GS

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The cat may be out of the bag as a recent Macworld article points out that while Apple’s recently-released iPhone 3GS is capable of much faster download speeds than the previous generations, its upload speeds could stand to see some improvement. While the handset boasts a 7.2 Mbps HSDPA downstream, which is twice the iPhone 3G’s 3.6 Mbps HSDPA speed, it was assumed that Apple would also be increasing upstream speeds by finally adding HSUPA, bringing upload speeds to either 1.4 or 1.9 Mbps.

A recent RapidRepair teardown revealed this not to be the case. When the group cracked open their iPhone 3GS, they found that it still only had a UMTS/HSDPA chip. While it had increased HSDPA speeds, it only supported UMTS, the earliest 3G upload protocol in the U.S., which is only capable of peak speeds of 384 Kbps.

While download speeds with the 3GS are quite a bit faster (or will be in the U.S. when AT&T finishes their 7.2 network), upload speeds remain comparatively slow.

iPhone 3GS Users Noticing Poor Battery Life on Handset

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Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, 04:36
Category: iPhone 3GS

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In spite of Apple’s claims that the iPhone 3GS boasts “longer battery life”, some users are complaining that the new handset actually has less battery life than the previous model.

Per The Apple Core and a recent iFixIt teardown, the company noticed the the 3GS battery is 6% larger than the iPhone 3G battery, leading many to suspect that iPhone OS 3.0 may be the culprit.

ComputerWorld followed up on this by noting that users have been reporting worse battery life on all iPhones since the day the iPhone OS 3.0 was released:

“After updating to [iPhone] 3.0 the battery life is very short. It consumes 5%-10% an hour,” claimed an original iPhone user identified as “ukfasthands” in a message posted on Apple’s support forum June 17.

If you’re afflicted you’ll most likely have to wait until Apple releases iPhone OS 3.1, or if we’re lucky, some battery improvement could come with the security update that’s been promised for the end of July. In the mean time, try implementing some of the following iPhone battery savings tips, including:

1. Minimize use of location services
2. Turn off push notifications
3. Fetch new data less frequently
4. Turn off push mail
5. Auto-check fewer email accounts
6. Minimize use of third-party applications
7. Turn off Wi-Fi
8. Turn off Bluetooth
9. Use Airplane Mode in low- or no-coverage areas
10. Adjust brightness
11. Turn off EQ
12. Turn off 3G