Korean wireless carriers deny Nexus S handset, say iPhone remains safe

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Date: Friday, December 31st, 2010, 09:04
Category: iPhone, News

Korean cell carriers are turning service for down the Nexus S handset both because of Google’s control but also because of Apple, insider tips said late Thursday. According to The Korea Times, both KT and SK Telecom are reportedly upset that Google’s insistence on a pure Android experience won’t let them promote their own proprietary apps and services. Google’s control of the marketing for the Android 2.3 flagship also wouldn’t give them the marketing angle they would like.

The iPhone is also cited as a reason for the lack of any plans. Even SK Telecom, which has often had Nexus S maker Samsung’s blessing as the anti-iPhone carrier, reportedly doesn’t believe that the official Google phone would have any effect. “The Nexus S won’t make a huge impact enough to break the current iPhone stronghold,” an anonymous official from the carrier said.

KT has still said it has “no plans,” though its position may be mixed. Most of its smartphone performance is based on the iPhone, even though it was the only carrier to sell the Nexus One in Korea. The Android device has sold at much lower levels, at 50,000 units since July, but KT is believed willing to keep talking with Google to “recover ailing corporate ties” with Samsung. The electronics chain has allegedly been abusing its dominant position to retaliate against KT for iPhone competition, such as by withholding better phones and dictating harsh marketing requirements.

The absence of HDMI video out and a microSDHC slot were similarly cited as factors in a Korean market that often favors feature-heavy devices, but it’s not certain how likely this might be given that the iPhone has thrived without either. Samsung’s Galaxy S has sold very well in the country despite the absence of an HDMI port.

The similarity between the Nexus S and the Galaxy S may ultimately be the main factor, as the Nexus S’ primary advantages are mostly limited to its newer, unmodified OS, its front-facing camera and its support for NFC wireless.

If you have any experience with the Korean wireless marketplace and want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what you think in the comments.

Radio Shack offering $50 discount, additional trade-in credit towards iPhone 3GS, 4 handsets

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Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The holidays are winding down but the deals are still there if you know where to look for them.

Per the mighty Boy Genius Report, Radio Shack is once again offering a US$50 discount on new 16GB iPhone 4 and 8GB iPhone 3GS units, bringing their prices down to US$149 and $49, respectively.

The deal is reportedly good for “new and eligible upgrade customers while supplies last.” The retailer is also offering boosted trade-in credit for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS units. “Qualifying iPhone 3G and 3G S handsets will have a guaranteed trade-in credit of US$75 and US$125, respectively,” reads an email received by BGR. To qualify, the iPhone must “power on, cannot be PIN locked and must be in fully functional, working condition without any broken components.”

This offer does not have a set end date and readers are encouraged to call their local store to check on availability.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

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Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Unofficial iPhone Dev Team releases redsn0w beta, offers initial iOS 4.2.1 jailbreak

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Date: Monday, December 27th, 2010, 07:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The Unofficial iPhone Dev Team has advanced to its next project, posting a beta of redsn0w, its jailbreaking utility for iOS devices. Per iPodNN, the release supports untethered operation in iOS 4.2.1, that is, jailbreaking without having to stay connected to a computer via USB during the process. So far only the iPad, the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch devices are compatible.

The Dev Team warns that because things can potentially go “very wrong,” the software is aimed strictly at beta testers. People are asked to back up any essential content, and avoid the beta entirely if they use the ultrasn0w unlock. The software also requires a separate install of usbmuxd, and that Cydia have v4.2b3 SHSH blobs saved.

Owing to sandbox problems, Bluetooth support is temporarily unavailable. redsn0w 0.9.7b3 is a Mac-only download; the untethered mode can be used by selecting the Jailbreak Monte option. Testers are urged to do a fresh restore before installation in order to rule out variables.

If you’re feeling brave, let too know how it went in the comments.

Apple “Logo Antenna” patent unveiled

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Date: Friday, December 24th, 2010, 06:05
Category: News, Patents

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While embedding an antenna in the external body of an iPhone may not have been Apple’s best idea, hiding it behind the logo may be a little better thought out.

Per PatentlyApple, that’s the idea Apple wrote up in a patent application dated June 17th, 2009, back before we knew antennas and gates could be so wickedly conjoined.

This idea was also used for iMacs, which also have antennas peering through an apple-shaped hole to avoid any reception issues caused by an aluminum chassis. It looks to be a good solution, but not exactly a novel one. The idea was also incorporated in a similar 2003 patent from Dell also called “Logo Antenna,” the big difference being that while Apple’s logo forms a window for the antenna the logo in Dell’s patent actually is the antenna.

AT&T secures rights to US$1.9 billion of 4G wireless spectrum licensing, gearing up new network for 2011

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Date: Monday, December 20th, 2010, 08:47
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier and U.S. exclusive iPhone provider AT&T announced on Monday that it has agreed to purchase US$1.925 billion worth of wireless spectrum from Qualcomm for its forthcoming 4G network.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has agreed to purchase spectrum licenses from Qualcomm in the lower 700 MHz frequency band. The US$1.925 acquisition is said to bolster AT&T’s ability to provide an advanced 4G mobile broadband service “in the years ahead,” the company said in a press release.

The spectrum being sold to AT&T is currently licensed to FLO TV, but that agreement with Qualcomm is expected to be shut down in March 2011.

The available spectrum acquired by AT&T covers more than 300 million people total nationwide. 12 MHz of lower 700 MHz D and E block spectrum is accessible by more than 70 million people in five of the top 15 metropolitan areas, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The remaining 6 Mhz of lower 700 MHz D block spectrum covers more than 230 million people.

AT&T stated that it intends to deploy the spectrum as “supplemental downlink” once compatible handsets and network equipment are developed. AT&T and Qualcomm anticipate they will close on the sale in the second half of 2011.

While AT&T is still building its own 4G network, expected to launch in mid-2011, the company was recently beaten to the punch by rival Verizon, the company’s 4G long-term evolution network debuted earlier this month, offering 10 times faster download speeds in 38 metropolitan areas and more than 60 commercial airports across the U.S.

AT&T will partner with Alcatel and Lucent to build out its LTE network, which will deliver higher broadband throughput and lower latency than the company’s existing 3G network. But even before AT&T’s 4G launches, the company has touted that its existing 3G network is 20 to 60% faster than its competitors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Canada approves local iBookstore, Rogers Wireless to unlock certain iPhone handsets

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Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 06:22
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Canada: Colder but niftier with some of its assorted technologies.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages announced Tuesday that it was granting formal approval of Apple’s iBookstore according to MacNN.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” said Minister James Moore. “Apple has demonstrated how iBookstore Canada represents new opportunities for Canadian authors and publishers, and I have determined that this investment will be of net benefit to Canada.”

According to the press release, Apple has committed to the promotion of Canadian-authored French- and English-language titles in the iBookstore in Canada and internationally; increased opportunities for Canadian publishers and authors; increased access to titles from Aboriginal authors and publishers; assistance to Canadian publishers in streamlining processes of e-book creation and enhancement.

Though a limited version of the iBookstore has been available in Canada until now, offering some US-based paid titles and public domain works, government approval of a Canadian iBookstore should help draw Canadian publishers to Apple’s eBook platform.

In other news, Canadian carrier Rogers has reportedly begun unlocking iPhones for customers who have finished their contracts or bought an unsubsidized handset. The new policy for Rogers sub-brand Fido allows qualifying customers to unlock their iPhones for a US$50 fee plus applicable taxes according to iPhone in Canada.

To qualify, customers must have an account in good standing; have finished their contract or paid the unsubsidized cost for the device 30 days prior and unlock a device that is listed in their equipment history.

Canada, along with the UK and France, was one of the first countries to sell the iPhone 4 unlocked and SIM-free.

Google Latitude released for iPhone

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 06:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

On Monday Google’s Latitude app finally became available for the iPhone, the app fully supporting iOS 4 and optionally providing constant position updates in the background on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Privacy is still a focus as users can selectively turn off both background updates, hand-pick a location or turn off positioning altogether.

Per Electronista, the official release comes roughly a year and a half after Google was forced to release an HTML5 version for the iPhone after Apple rejected the original version for reportedly being too similar to Apple’s own Maps tool. Critics have argued that the initial block was motivated by attempts to punish Google for Android, where Latitude has been a native part of Google Maps itself for most of the platform’s history.

It’s widely suspected that a loosening of App Store rules, prompted by Adobe-backed FTC and EU investigations into approval processes, may have changed Apple’s approach. Apple recently allowed Google Voice after a similar delay and what’s believed to be for identical reasons.

If you’ve played with Latitude and have any feedback, let us know.

Apple quietly removes jailbreak API detection code in iOS 4.2

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This is a bit weird but maybe it makes sense in the long run.

Per Network World, less than six months after introducing it, Apple has quietly disabled its jailbreak detection API (Application Programming Interface) through the iOS 4.2 software update, according to a new report.

The publication reported that the API, which was released in June as part of a mobile device management (MDM) bundle for iOS 4.0, has been disabled in iOS 4.2, leaving perplexed vendors to question why. The API had previously allowed third-party MDM applications, such as AirWatch or Sybase’s Afaria, to check for unauthorized modifications to the system files, author John Cox wrote.

Third-party MDM vendors had created their own utilities to check for jailbreaks, but Apple’s jailbreak detection API granted MDM applications direct access to iOS system information.

“We used it when it was available, but as an adjunct,” said Sybase vice president of engineering Joe Owen. “I’m not sure what motivated their removing that….I’ve not had anyone [at enterprise customer sites] talk to me about this API being present or being removed.”

Though jailbreaking an Apple device voids its warranty, the U.S. government recently legalized the process through a handful of exemptions to preexisting laws forbidding it.

Since the release of iOS, Apple has gone back and forth with the jailbreaking community, both sides working to one up each other with each new update. As vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited by the hacking community, Apple rushes to patch the issues, while hackers secretly move on to the next flaw.

In August, hackers released a high publicity browser-based jailbreak for the iPhone 4 that drew attention to a glaring security flaw that could have exposed users to malicious software just by visiting website.

As hackers became aware of the jailbreak detection API, they may have begun circumventing it, adding another layer to the tug-of-war between jailbreakers and Apple.

“Whatever [Apple] adds [in the OS] to detect the jailbreak, if it is to be queried from the iOS kernel, it must be accessible and have the ability to be changed,” security consultant Jeremy Allen told Cox. “Meaning, if it is going to be a useful detection method it can also be circumvented. It is a fairly intractable problem to solve 100%.”

The use of jailbreaking to pirate App Store software has been a major concern for Apple and developers. Also at stake is Apple’s relationship with carriers, who often sell iPhones locked to their networks. In the U.S., for instance, the iPhone is only available through AT&T, though Verizon is expected to begin selling the iPhone early next year. Users looking to use their locked iPhones on other carriers often jailbreak and unlock their handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: white iPhone 4 spotted in public, Apple working out tech issues though handset due in spring

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Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been hankering for it and it’s almost here.

Though it could need some tweaking.

Per the Seattle Times, a white iPhone 4 was spotted in public, though another handset constructed using leaked alleged official parts demonstrates issues with the camera flash.

Last week, a news producer in Seattle reportedly saw a white iPhone 4 at a Whole Foods store. The owner, an Italian man, reportedly claimed he was testing the device for Apple, and that it would go on sale in Europe in February.

The person claimed that the handset was modified so the iPhone 4 antenna issue which caused headlines earlier this year, no longer exists. According to The Seattle Times, the man also said that Apple was having problems keeping the edges of the device from yellowing.

Apple has repeatedly delayed the white iPhone 4, citing production issues. Rumors have suggested the color of the device has been a problem, though Apple has not clarified.

The news producer also snapped the following photo of the device spotted in the wild:

In other news, German web site MacNotes.de obtained what it says are official parts for Apple’s white iPhone 4. The site took a regular, black iPhone 4 and had the white external glass placed on it.

Though obviously not an official white iPhone 4, the site found that the camera flash had issues with the white glass, causing overexposed photos.

Finally, some Apple retail stores around the country began advertising over the weekend that the white iPhone 4 is set to debut in Spring 2011, according to The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Taking the season literally, that would mean the handset could debut at any point between March 20 and June 21.

Apple formally announced in October that the white iPhone 4 was delayed until Spring 2011. Apple also stopped advertising the hardware on its site after numerous delays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.