Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to Offer Warning for Near-Dead Notebook Batteries

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Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 18:06
Category: Software

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While the immediate charge on a Mac notebook’s battery has been available for years, Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) users will be able to see when their batteries are nearing the end of their useful lifespans.

According to AppleInsider, the Mac OS X 10.6 build offered to Worldwide Developers Conference sports a feature in which clicking the battery icon in the menu bar now shows a new, one-word “battery condition” summary in addition to the energy for the current charge and the power source.

When the battery has been used often enough that it ‘s losing capacity, the icon is overlaid with an exclamation mark warning and the battery condition changes to “poor” — both signs that the pack is due to be replaced. While not every condition is known, Snow Leopard presumably reports varying degrees of battery status when the pack has only been moderately used or is like new.

Though Apple has yet to document the reasons behind the change, the most logical explanation is simply that the company’s decision to seal in most notebook batteries makes it more important to have an early notice that a battery is near failing.

Apple has lately been paying closer attention to battery life on all its devices and with iPhone OS 3.0 will add a numerical percentage to the iPhone’s previously icon-only battery indicator.

iPhone OS 3.0 to Hit Today

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Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, 08:14
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

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Per CNET, current iPhone owners will be able to download the software from iTunes for free while iPod touch users will have to pay a US$9.95 fee for it.

Though its exact release time is currently unknown, iPhone OS 3.0 will offer features such as multimedia messaging (to be supported by AT&T later this summer), voice recording, buying and renting movies and TV shows over the air, full system search, tethering and push notifications.

The update will be available through iTunes and users are advised to hook their handhelds to their Mac or PC later today, mount the device in iTunes and click the “Check for Update” button to download and install iPhone OS 3.0.

Apple has also bundled in some extras, like landscape virtual keyboard for certain apps, more extensive parental controls, in-app purchasing, and a feature for MobileMe customers called Find My Phone.

There will also be stereo Bluetooth available, as well as the capability to create applications specifically for interfacing with third-party hardware.

The new iPhone 3G S is scheduled to hit stores such as the Apple Store retail locations, Best Buy and the AT&T stores Friday morning.

AT&T States Data Pricing to Hold Steady, Faces More Competitive Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 18:05
Category: iPhone

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Data pricing plans look to hold steady for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S handsets in the near future per an article in the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve been very happy with our pricing,” said AT&T spokesman Mark Segal, who went on to mention the average monthly bill for an iPhone user was within US$90 to US$100. The article went on to suggest that AT&T could charge an additional US$10 to US$40 per month for MMS and tethering featured on the new iPhone 3G S. AT&T is currently facing pressure to offer lower priced data plans by both consumers facing the financial crunch and competitors setting aggressive data pricing.

Last month, AT&T’s wireless chief Ralph de la Vega stated that the company was considering a lower tier of pricing plans. These packages would include limits over the amount of time spent on the Internet or the number of applications that could be wirelessly downloaded.

Sprint Nextel has said its Palm Pre data plans cost US$600 less per year than AT&T, while Verizon wireless offers an unlimited data plan for US$70 per month. AT&T offers a similar plan, charging an additional US$5 for text messages.

AT&T could lose money if it does decrease its data plan pricing, as users commonly purchase unlimited data plans which AT&T then must pay to transfer across the network. The company must also must pay hundreds of dollars in subsidies to Apple in order to maintain iPhone exclusivity. In addition, current upgrades being installed to double the network speed for the iPhone 3G S have raised costs even further for AT&T.

Best Buy to Offer iPhone 3G S Accident Insurance Plan

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Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 17:34
Category: iPhone

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For those of you planning to snag a new iPhone 3G S unit from Best Buy, you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase the chain’s rare (and somewhat pricey) accident insurance plan. According to AppleInsider, Best Buy stores nationwide on Friday will begin selling the next-generation Apple handset on launch day, albeit at the big-box retailer’s usual 10 a.m. opening time instead of the early hours both Apple and AT&T promise.

In contrast to these more direct channels, however, Best Buy plans to continue offering Geek Squad’s Black Tie Protection service with the new iPhone, people familiar with the plans say.

While Apple has never offered more than a standard two-year extended AppleCare warranty and AT&T has specifically exempted the iPhone from its insurance offerings, the Black Tie plan covers regular technical problems as well as drops, spills and other failures that would normally require a costly repair service or the purchase of an entirely new device.

Under Best Buy’s offering, any instance in which the phone can’t be fixed or replaced on the spot will see those customers offered a temporary phone until the repair or replacement is ready within three days or less. Battery replacements aren’t as likely due to Apple’s sealed-up design, but the company vows anti-lemon protection for devices that have to be brought in four times due defects.

Opting for Black Tie will reportedly still be expensive. For other cellphones, the program costs between US$7 and US$10 per month depending on the model, but the iPhone’s rate rises to US$15 per month, leaving iPhone owners paying about US$180 per year.

Sources close to the story say the added cost of iPhone protection comes from the heavy subsidies attached to Apple’s products. Since the actual, retail price of a phone without a contract is between US$599 and US$699, it becomes prohibitively expensive to offer Black Tie when customers may use it more than once.

Rumor: AT&T iPhone 3G S Pre-Order Stock Reportedly Sold Out

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Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 17:44
Category: Rumor

Per a document received over on Boy Genius Report, AT&T has reportedly sold out of its iPhone 3G S pre-order stock. A new memo sent along to retail locations provides instructions to tell all customers who pre-order the device on Saturday, June 13th or later that they will have to wait “7-10″ days before they can fulfill the pre-order–which will be sometime after the official launch on June 19th: “Only preorders placed [on] Friday, June 12, 2009 or earlier are expected to arrive in time for the 7:00 a.am. opening on Friday, June 19th, 2009. Customers will receive an email notification when their new iPhone 3G S has arrived and is available for pickup.”

The article also notes that AT&T retail locations, which open early on Friday, will have some stock for those willing to wait in line to make the purchase. AT&T, however, is encouraging customers to continue using the pre-order process as it will “guarantee that they receive their iPhone 3G S as quickly as possible.”

Apple Nearing Completion of Chinese iPhone Deal

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Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 17:52
Category: iPhone

Apple may be making progress towards a Chinese iPhone deal, as noted by signs on the company’s web site as well as that of a Chinese government organization.

According to Macworld, an Apple handset that uses one of the next-generation mobile standards offered in China has appeared on the approved product list of the State Wireless Inspection Center, a government-managed industry arbiter. The handset, apparently an iPhone, was cleared last month to use its assigned frequency range for five years, according to the center’s Web site.

Unicom, a Chinese carrier currently negotiating with Apple about offering the iPhone to the Chinese market, operates a network based on the standard used by the approved Apple handset, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

Separately, Apple has also posted an ad on its Web site for a <a href=”http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=1&method=mExternal.showJob&RID=35658&CurrentPage=1″>Beijing-based job</a> overseeing “iPhone training” across Asia. The job’s tasks include designing training for carrier partners that sell the iPhone.

Apple has stated that it hopes to begin selling the iPhone in China in 2010. Still, talks with China Unicom have hit disputes over whether the phone will use Wi-Fi and whether China Unicom will be allowed to pre-install non-Apple programs, such as a media player other than iTunes, analysts say.

The Chinese government appears to have lifted a long-standing ban on Wi-Fi in handsets in recent weeks. Still, it has gone on to require phones with Wi-Fi also to use a China-developed security protocol for wireless LANs, said Liu Ning, an analyst at BDA, a telecommunications research company.

The protocol, called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), can also be used without dual support for the equivalent Wi-Fi protocol, Liu said.

The iPhone might require an additional chipset to support WAPI, though a software upgrade might also make it compatible, he said.

The frequency approval is just one of three government tests the iPhone must pass to receive a network access license. But the “major difficulty” for Apple is still the terms of cooperation with China Unicom, Liu said.

The argument as to how to split revenue from sales in the iPhone’s App Store is another snag in discussions about what applications the carrier can put on the phone, said Liu.

Apple Posts WWDC 2009 Keynote

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Date: Tuesday, June 9th, 2009, 10:48
Category: News

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If you wanted a gander at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote from yesterday, the company just placed a link here, complete with Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall and a bevy of iPhone developers.
Eight days until iPhone OS 3.0, definitely not a bad thing.

iPhone 3G S Earns FCC Approval

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Date: Tuesday, June 9th, 2009, 10:35
Category: iPhone 3GS

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With Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 3G S handset yesterday, the FCC has released the full approval of the handheld, including hundreds of pages of specific absorption rate plots for GSM, UMTS / HSDPA, WiFi, and Bluetooth in both 16 and 32GB flavors of the iPhone 3G S.
The story comes via Engadget and though it’s not likely to tell you anything beyond the ultra-technical and boring, Apple’s new baby has gotten the green light and is ready to go in eight days.

AT&T Cripples iPhone 3GS By Not Offering Features At Launch

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Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 21:09
Category: iPhone, News

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Today’s WWDC Keynote brought some surprises, and some disappointments. Perhaps the announcement generating the most vocal jeers was that AT&T would not be offering MMS and tethering services even though the iPhone’s 3.0 software was ready to support it.

The iPod Observer reported in a report that AT&T spokesperson, Mark Siegel, indicated that tethering would be coming to the iPhone, but that no timeframe was determined for its availability. Also reported was that MMS was unavailable because, “AT&T hasn’t decided yet how to handle MMS on the iPhone.”
These blatant omissions from AT&T coupled with other questions including AT&T allowing video streaming on other platforms besides the iPhone, brought to light by their insistence that SlingMedia cripple their iPhone app to only work over wifi, has many people scratching their heads and asking AT&T…WTF??!! Rumors of Apple striking a deal with Verizon has many iPhone owners already vocalizing their desire to hold off purchasing the new iPhone 3GS until they can also defect to another provider.

Is AT&T committing suicide with these moves, or is this how they give the finger to Apple for courting other vendors? Discuss it in the forums!

Apple Announces iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware, June 17th Ship Date

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Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 17:56
Category: iPhone, News


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At the core of the iPhone is its firmware and after months of waiting, Apple senior vice president of iPhone software Scott Forstall user the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to announce details of iPhone OS 3.0, which will be released on June 17, 2009.
Per the Apple Core, iPhone OS 3.0 will be a free release for all iPhone customers and support first all iPhone and iPod touch models, though iPod touch users will need to purchase the update for US$10.
Current iPhone software developers will be able to download the new release on Monday, as the software has gone “golden master” today.
Forstall then went on to mention the 100+ new features to be found in the iPhone OS 3.0 update, incuding Cut, Copy, and Paste as well as Landscape mode in all key applications, including Mail, Notes and Messages. Apple has also included Spotlight support across the entire device as well as ubiquitous searching.
Other new features include peer-to-peer Bluetooth-based multiplayer gaming, push notification and in-app store support.
Multimedia Messaging Support (MMS) has long since been demanded on the iPhone and, unfortunately, it appears that iPhone users in the United States will be waiting longer. Forstall noted that while iPhone OS 3.0 is capable of MMS, it requires carrier support to implement, which AT&T seems to be hesitant on.
Twenty-nine carriers in 76 countries will support MMS at the time of iPhone 3.0′s launch, according to Forstall. AT&T, Apple’s U.S. carrier partner, isn’t among them, at least not initially. AT&T will be ready to support MMS “later this summer,” according to Forstall. That news that elicited boos from the crowd.
Fortall then moved into tethering (the ability for a Mac or PC to share the iPhone’s Internet connection), another feature AT&T seems to have dropped the ball on. The upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 tethering feature will work over USB or Bluetooth, and works on Mac OS X and Windows.
“Find My Phone” is a new feature in iPhone 3.0 that helps you locate your iPhone if you’ve misplaced it wherein users can log in to MobileMe and it will show you where you left your phone. Users can also send a message to the phone, and will play an alert, even if you left the phone in silent mode. A remote wipe feature will also allow “Find My Phone” to erase all your data if your iPhone falls into the wrong hands.
The new iPhone OS supports HTTP-based streaming audio and video that will pick the right bit-rate depending on your phone’s data connection quality. Autofill has been added for the Mobile Safari software, to save you from having to fill out forms manually.
Another hotly-anticipated capability for the iPhone is turn-by-turn GPS-based directions. To that end, TomTom demonstrated an iPhone 3.0 application that delivers real TomTom navigation on the iPhone. The software also works with a cradle device that suction-cups to your vehicle’s window. The device is apparently more than just a holder and securely docks the iPhone, and can enhance the iPhone’s GPS capabilities, and give you hands-free calling capabilities, power and a loudspeaker. TomTom plans to release both this summer, with a range of maps.