Apple releases iPhone OS 4.0 beta 3 to developers, focuses on orientation lock and iPod features

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Date: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, 03:23
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple released the third beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware to developers on Tuesday. The new build, specified as build 10M2247, closely follows the release of beta 2 just two weeks ago. Both last year’s iPhone OS 3 and the 3.2 release for iPad went through five beta cycles before being released publicly.

iPhone 4 is expected to be release to the public in June for iPhone and iPod touch users, with an iPad version due for release in the fall.

Shortly after being published on Apple’s developer site, the new update was pulled temporarily to fix an issue believed to be related to an installation problem according to Gizmodo.

The new beta makes it easier to quit apps running in the multitasking drawer by giving each icon a red quit quit button, similar to the Home screen method of uninstalling apps with a touch.

Also new is a widget controller for iPod music playback, and an orientation lock that works similar to the physical switch on iPad. However, since the iPhone’s user interface is oriented toward portrait by default, with apps supporting landscape only optionally, the lock only sets orientation in portrait.

In contrast, the iPad presents no default orientation, making the lock more important and functional in both landscape and portrait directions.

The beta 3 release still does not support push messaging features for remote location, messaging, lock, or secure wipe as Apple prioritizes its beta releases to be relevant to the issues developers face in testing their apps with the new firmware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they come in and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new beta, let us know.

Survey: 28% of women blame Blackberrys, iPhone for intrusions into love life

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Date: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, 03:20
Category: Fun, iPhone

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You might want to put the gadgets away a bit more often.

Per Telegraph.co.uk, a recent survey indicated that 28% of women claim that email and Internet are disrupting their love lives, with hand-held devices particularly to blame.

Other factors which prevent couples enjoying intimacy include long working hours (55%), tiredness (83%) and being too busy (74%).

The research by pharmaceutical firm Bayer also shows that many women are missing their sexual peak by a decade and that more than one in two feel sexiest during their 30s, yet two in three have the most sex in their 20s.

One in ten women say their fear of pregnancy inhibits them in the bedroom, with one in five women admitting they shun contraception.

The survey found that on average British women have sex 1.4 times a week, but six in ten women aged between 25 and 34 would like a more active sex life.

51% of women believe they reach their sexual peak in their 30s, but 66% say they had their most sex during their 20s.

65% say their partners do not make enough effort in the bedroom, however, one in three women never initiate sex and always let their partner make the first move.

Four in ten women say it only takes a compliment to put them in the mood for sex, while one in three saying having more time to themselves would boost their sex life.

Perhaps disappointingly, more than a third of women say they have not felt sexy for at least a month and 14% claim they have never felt sexy.

Personally, I’m not pointing any fingers here and I’d like to think that the Blackberry users are letting the ladies down more than the iPhone users, though I’d have no proof to back it up.

Either way, put the iPhone down once in a while. And remember to do some sit ups and bring her a delicious sandwich once in a while.

Because everyone loves a good sandwich.

Apple alters Chinese iPhone Wi-Fi protocol to adopt government standard

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Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple fought for years to break the iPhone into the Chinese marketplace and appears to be doing what it takes to stay there.

Per Macworld UK, the company appears to have tweaked its iPhone to support a Chinese security protocol for wireless networks. This follows suit as companies increasingly adopt Chinese government-backed technologies and standards to stay on the nation’s store shelves.

The move suggests Apple may soon launch a new version of the iPhone in China with Wi-Fi, a feature that regulations previously barred.

Chinese regulators last month approved the frequency ranges used by a new Apple mobile phone with 3G and wireless LAN support, as noted by China’s State Radio Monitoring Center. The device appears to be an iPhone and uses GSM and the 3G standard WCDMA, just like iPhones currently offered in China by local carrier China Unicom.

Apple removed Wi-Fi on the iPhones now sold in China because regulators there began approving mobile phones with WLAN support only last year. These units are only supported if they use a homegrown Chinese security protocol called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure).

The new Apple phone does support WAPI, according to the Chinese regulatory site. If an iPhone with WAPI goes on sale, Apple would be one of the highest-profile companies to offer a device using the protocol.

The new Apple phone may also support standard Wi-Fi. The Chinese security protocol is an alternative for just part of Wi-Fi, and devices can support both it and the technology it is meant to replace.

China has promoted the protocol, along with other homegrown technologies like the 3G standard TD-SCDMA, as part of a vision to produce more of its own technology and have it adopted by international companies.

Earlier this year, China Unicom chairman and CEO said the company was in talks with Apple about offering a version of the iPhone with Wi-Fi.

The new Apple device, like all mobile phones, still must obtain a network access license from regulators if its maker wants to sell it in China.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts results of iPad 3G teardown, finds changes to antenna structures

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Date: Monday, May 3rd, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPad, News

If a new Apple product comes out, you tear it apart and report the findings.

The cool cats at iFixit did exactly this by performing a full teardown of Apple’s newly-released iPad 3G tablet, which went on sale in the U.S. on Friday. Per the report, the following discoveries were made:

- The immediate visible difference is the inclusion of a black plastic RF window on top of the iPad for better antenna reception.

- The black RF window significantly changes the opening procedure. You cannot start separating the display using the notches on the top (à la the Wi-Fi version), since that will undoubtedly break the RF window. You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.

- There are actually FIVE antennas in this iPad.

- Two antennas handle the cell reception — one is in the RF window on top, the other attaches to the LCD frame.

- A single GPS antenna is also housed in the RF window on top.

- Just like the iPad Wi-Fi, there are two antennas that handle Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connectivity, one in the Apple logo and another to the left of the dock connector.

- Apple looks to be using the entire LCD frame as an antenna. This approach draws parallels the company’s decision to also mount a wireless antenna to the frame of the optical drive on its new MacBook Pro notebooks.

- Apple uses the same 3G baseband processor in both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G.

- The baseband processor in question is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC. It was actually white-labeled on the production unit, but with enough sleuthing iFixIt was able to confirm its true identity.

- The iPad 3G has a Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution, whereas the iPhone 3GS uses an Infineon Hammerhead II package.

- Apple did not change any major suppliers between manufacturing the pre-production unit they provided the FCC and their final production run.

AT&T holds back on data tethering for iPhone, cites potential traffic spikes

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Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2010, 04:59
Category: iPhone, News

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You’ve wanted data tethering on your iPhone for years now.

And AT&T may one day provide this.

Per MacRumors, Engadget received a comment from AT&T stating that installing data tethering could create high traffic usage that could hamper network performance:

“iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature –over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing – before we will offer the feature.”

Tethering is the process of using your iPhone as a wireless internet modem for your other devices such as your laptop.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in on this one.

Legality of Chen/iPhone raid called into question

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 09:13
Category: iPhone, News

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Following the police raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen (the editor who wrote about the now-infamous fourth-generation iPhone prototype), the examination of Chen’s seized computers has been put on hold.

Gizmodo had paid US$5,000 for an iPhone prototype that had been accidentally left behind at a Silicon Valley bar and written extensively about the device.

Per BBC News, Chen’s lawyers have argued that Chen is protected by California’s shield law and State lawyers are considering whether the raids in Fremont were legal.

The shield law states that journalists have the right to protect their unpublished material from examination.

In the meantime, San Mateo county chief deputy district attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he was considering the matter and expected to issue a legal memo later this week.

Wagstaffe cited that the computers would not be examined until then and that the laptops, hard-drive and USB memory sticks that belong to Mr Chen are currently being held by the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (React), the state’s high-tech crime taskforce that conducted the raid.

They ordered the search after Apple reported the phone stolen.

Earlier, Wagstaffe had defended the raid, saying prosecutors had considered whether reporter shield laws applied to the case but decided to proceed.

He also said that police knew the identity of the person who took the phone and that they had talked to him.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple purchased of chip maker Intrinsity confirmed

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 03:32
Category: News, Processors

Late Tuesday, the New York Times confirmed a rumor that Apple had purchased Intrinsity, a privately owned ARM chip design firm.

Citing “people familiar with the deal,” the report also included an estimated US$121 million purchase price, provided by Tom R. Halfill, an analyst with Microprocessor Report.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling indirectly confirmed the purchase, stating that the the hardware maker “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” However, he added that Apple does not reveal “purpose or plans” with any acquisition.

Sources close to the story also confirmed to the Times that Intrinsity helped to design the custom A4 processor found in the recently released iPad. Weeks ago, one analyst suggested that only Intrinsity could have delivered the A4 processor with its snappy 1GHz clock speed. The Cortex-A8 reference design on which the A4 is based can only be clocked up to 650MHz.

In early April, rumors first surfaced that Apple purchased Intrinsity to help build the A4 chip. Evidence to support the acquisition surfaced when a number of Intrinsity employees changed their company status on LinkedIn to Apple on the first of the month.

The purchase follows similar acquisitions and in 2008, Apple also bought fabless chip designer P.A. Semi for US$278 million in 2008.

Apple also bought a 3% stake in 2008 in Imagination Technologies, maker of the PowerVR mobile graphics chip found in the company’s mobile devices, including the iPhone. Last year, Apple bumped its share to 9.5%. In addition to partnering with Apple, Imagination also competes with ARM Holdings, which makes the reference designs for chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Gizmodo editor’s home raided by police, equipment seized

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Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPhone, News

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It might be fair to say that Apple isn’t happy with Gizmodo about that iPhone story.

Per AppleInsider, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home last week and seized four computers and two servers in its felony investigation of an obtained prototype iPhone.

Gizmodo revealed the information, along with a copy of the warrant issued by a judge of the superior court in San Mateo County, Calif. In response, the website’s post argued that it believes the warrant was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.

The warrant states that there was probable cause that Chen’s computers were “used as the means of committing a felony.” The REACT authorities entered Chen’s home without him present, according to Gizmodo.

A full inventory of the seized material includes a MacBook, MacBook Pro, 32GB iPad, 16GB iPhone, an AirPort Extreme, IBM ThinkPad, a Dell desktop, external hard drives, and many more. The items were removed from numerous rooms in his home.

An account of the events by Chen was also filed. The Gizmodo editor said he and his wife came back home from dinner around 9:45 p.m. when they noticed their garage door was half-open. When he tried to open the door, officers searched him and informed him that his property was under their control.

Chen’s front door was reportedly broken open so the authorities could enter, and those on the scene informed him that he could be reimbursed for the damage. Chen was provided with a copy of the warrant, and declined to comment to the authorities. He was not arrested.

Last week it was revealed that police are investigating the Gizmodo purchase of a prototype iPhone from Apple. The publication’s parent company, Gawker Media, has openly admitted it paid US$5,000 to obtain the device from a man who claimed he found it at a California bar.

The prototype was allegedly left at the Redwood City establishment by an Apple engineer. The employee frantically searched for the device, calling the bar multiple times to see if it had been returned, but the owner of the bar said no one ever contacted him to say they had found an iPhone. Gizmodo claimed that the person who found the phone attempted to call Apple and did not receive a response.

Gizmodo returned the iPhone to Apple after the company requested it be given back, but not before the publication wrote numerous stories about the device and revealed the name of the engineer who allegedly lost the device. The website also disassembled the hardware to confirm it was manufactured by Apple.

Apple opens up video decoding APIs to Adobe, other developers

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a well-publicized conflict between two large companies can actually lead to something good. Per Macworld, Apple has released information on how third-party developers can take advantage of hardware acceleration for graphics, a previously unavailable feature that’s been blamed for Flash’s poor performance on the Mac platform.

Traditionally, Flash hasn’t performed nearly as well on Mac OS X as it has on Windows, especially when it comes to video playback despite the fact that these days both platforms run on comparably-powerful hardware. Adobe has been adamant thatany performance issues in Flash are the result of Apple not making the necessary video decoding application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers, thus preventing them from taking advantage of hardware acceleration on Macs that support it.

However, a recently released Apple Technical Note for Mac OS X 10.6.3 details a new Video Decode Acceleration Framework that may help developers. The framework seems to be a relatively simple and straightforward set of APIs to do precisely what Adobe wants: use hardware acceleration to decode raw H.264 video.

“We will be enabling support for hardware accelerated video decoding for Flash Player on Mac,” said Adobe spokesperson Matt Rozen. “Now that the required APIs are available, we are working on an additional Flash Player release to follow shortly after Flash Player 10.1 to include this functionality for the hardware configurations supported by the new APIs.”

Until now, the only way to take advantage of hardware acceleration when decoding video was to use Apple’s QuickTime APIs, which only work with video that is stored in a “traditional” H.264 container, such as an MP4 file. By letting developers use the raw hardware-decoding capabilities of the graphics processors available in many Macs, Apple allows decoding video that is stored in any format, even if it’s not considered “standard.” By communicating directly with the hardware, an application can now decode video regardless of where or how it’s stored.

Unfortunately, the Video Decode Acceleration Framework has its limitations in that it can only take advantage of hardware video decoding with those GPUs that support that functionality. These GPUs include NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M graphics chipsets and, because they require Mac OS X 10.6.3, the new APIs are only available on Intel-based Macs.

Even with these limitations, Apple may be lending Adobe and other developers the access they need to help improve Flash on Mac OS X or even bring it to the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad somewhere down the line…

Hacker brings Android to iPhone

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Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, 04:05
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

Amidst stolen iPhone prototypes and very influential companies arguing, it’s cool to see that there are people just out there working on cool hacks for other people’s enjoyment.

Per CNET, David Wang managed to boot Google’s Android operating system on an iPhone 3G handset. Wang, the “planetbeing” member of the iPhone Dev Team posted a video demonstrating Android on an iPhone Wednesday.

The demo shows the boot process and Wang using Android for browsing, receiving a text message, answering a phone call, and playing music. The phone is set up with a dual-boot configuration and indeed the video begins with it running iPhone OS.

“It’s not really production quality yet,” Wang said on the video. “I’d say it’s alpha quality. But pretty much everything works.”

The Android-on-iPhone hack is a notable technical accomplishment and does indicate what’s possible. Wang has been working since at least 2008 to boot Linux on the iPhone, according to his blog. The demonstration uses a first-generation iPhone, but newer models should be supported at some point.

“It should be pretty simple to port forward to the iPhone 3G. The 3GS will take more work,” Wang said on the blog. “Hopefully with all this groundwork laid out, we can make Android a real alternative or supplement for iPhone users. Maybe we can finally get Flash. ;)”

Still, there’s work to be done. “It’s slightly buggy because I didn’t bother to implement all the Android-specific driver extensions,” he said in the video demonstration. And it’s slow, since Wang can be seen using a debug version of Android.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander: