Rumor: Video Recording Features, Voice Dialing Features Noted for iPhone OS 3.0 and Next-Gen iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009, 07:09
Category: Rumor

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After weeks of speculation, some new finds have brought additional credibility to Apple’s plans to include video recording features as well as Voice Dialing within the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 firmware as well as the next-gen iPhone.
According to MacRumors, an interface similar to the existing iPhone camera application has been discovered along with the addition of a digital toggle switch in the lower right-hand corner of the app for switching between still photos and video captures.
“The video recording is not presently functional in iPhone 3.0 beta, and the interface is not accessible by default,” according to the report. “Only when configuration files were modified telling the firmware that a Video Camera was present will this interface appear.”
In addition to the toggle switch, a square interface element on the left-hand side is also visible. This doesn’t appear to be specific to the video capture component of the application and is actually a fixture of the new Camera application due to ship as part of iPhone Software 3.0. It will display a thumbnail of the most recent image or video captured by the user.
Other new discoveries regarding the camera include “auto-focus camera”, “magnetometer” (digital compass), and “Voice Control” features.
Over on Boy Genius Report, additional screenshots of the iPhone OS 3.0 software show a large video camera icon with the caption “You can take videos using the camera.” The site also shows a screen in the “International” preferences panel of the beta software with the aforementioned “Voice Control” changes, which it believes may have something to do with Voice Dialing features.
Yet another leaked iPhone 3.0 screen hinting at video features (left) and another that could imply voice dialing capabilities.
Meanwhile, control icons for an iPhone video editing application were also uncovered in betas of iPhone Software 3.0, further corroborating reports that Apple would allow users to make rudimentary edits to their videos in a similar manner to the way the company’s new Voice Memo application allows trimming of audio recordings.

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Apple Job Listing Points Out Possibility of iPod Touch Gaining Built-In Camera

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:11
Category: iPod Touch

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A recent Apple job listing points out that Apple may be looking to extend camera functions over to its popular iPod touch handset.
According to AppleiPhoneApps.com, a job listing originally posted on March 16th stated that Apple is “looking for a Camera Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to drive the design, development and integration of camera modules across iPhone and iPod.”
“The EPM is the interface between our internal engineering teams and the suppliers of sensors, lenses and camera modules,” the listing says. “In this highly cross functional role the EPM will work closely together with the HW, SW and mechanical engineering team to coordinate all aspects of the camera module design, production and integration.”
Recent reports have indicated that Apple may be looking to expand its handset camera capabilities and that the next iPhone will see its camera upgraded from 2.0 megapixels to 3.2 megapixels as well as possibly add video functionality.
Per an AppleInsider story, Apple changed the text of its job posting to omit the mention of iPods in the listing.

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Apple Releases iTunes 8.1.1 Update

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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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