Skype 2.0 app out the door, adds for bug fixes, 3G call support

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Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Software

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While you were barbecuing and watching the game, Skype released version 2.0 of its Voice over Internet Protocol app for the iPhone. The new version, which is available for free, introduces support for making calls over 3G wireless data networks.

Per Mac Observer, Skype-to-Skype calling over 3G networks is free for now, but the company plans to start charging for the service at the end of the year. While that’s bad news for users hoping to get a free ride, it’s still better than Skype’s original plan to start charging for the service this August.

Skype 2.0 also includes several performance improvements and bug fixes. The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run and is available here.

Apple working to include Bing within iPhone OS 4.0 web services

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Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Per a report by TechCrunch, Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 will also include search and related web services from Microsoft’s Bing as well as inclusion of Google, as per usual.

The new iPhone OS won’t drop Google for Bing entirely, but will expand the number of search options iPhone users see, and apparently make those options more visible.

TechCrunch originally reported that Google would be entirely replaced by Bing search in iPhone OS 4, a claim that was later retracted in an update that said sources clarified “it’s more complicated than this” and that Apple wouldn’t be removing support for Google search.

Apple already provides an option to use Yahoo for web search in Safari, although that option is not obvious and requires visiting system settings to make the switch.

A report by Kara Swisher of the “All Things Digital” blog indicates Microsoft has been asking that Bing search be added to the iPhone’s search options for some time, and also wants to make the choice more visible to users.

Microsoft has also been in talks with Apple to get its mapping services integrated into the iPhone. Individual iPhone apps have already made use of Microsoft’s mapping services, but Apple’s own Maps app on the iPhone and iPad is hardwired to Google’s mapping services.

Last fall, Apple purchased Placebase, a mapping service designed to overlay demographic, economic and environmental data on top of maps. It has since been speculated that Apple planned to use the acquisition to either build an alternative mapping service for iPhone Maps, or more likely, add additional layers of features on top of the current Maps data to differentiate the iPhone from Google’s own map app for Android.

Last fall, TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington stated that “Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google.” He added, “other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.” That comment was repeated in the most recent article regarding Bing.

Arrinton’s dismissal of the iPhone OS as being little more than a client for Google services was further exaggerated by fellow writer Erick Schonfeld, who wrote “in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Videos of possible fourth-gen iPhone components continue to surface

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Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 04:15
Category: iPhone

Apple’s good at a lot of things.

Keeping its upcoming fourth generation iPhone hardware completely under wraps isn’t one of them. Per iPhone Portugal and 9 to 5 Mac, the hardware was “delivered” to the iPhone Portugal web site with the corresponding video focusing on the sub-frame assemblies, the unit having been purchased in China by a reader.

It’s impossible to tell if the apparent iPhone frames are the real deal as they don’t appear to be stamped with an Apple logo or official tag. No actual electronics are included in the video, so there’s also a chance this could come from a Chinese knockoff.

The site goes on to say that the two frames it purchased are “more then (sic) perfect” with “no defects” and that there’s “not even one difference between the 2 we have, this seems to be made in mass production.”

Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so let us know what you think:





International iPad launch underway, line of over 1,200 reported in Japan

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 28th, 2010, 05:49
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s iPad hit the international markets today with initial reports over over 1,200 lined up at Apple’s Ginza flagship store for its 8AM opening. Per Electronista, lines had started as early as Wednesday in Japan and have been matched by similar lines in Australia and Europe. Japanese pre-order numbers aren’t known, but over 900,000 allegedly ordered the tablet in Europe.

The Tokyo queue was helped by the Japanese pre-order campaign, which let customers reserve their iPads in-person rather than online. Shoppers country have also historically been more likely to line up for product launches of many kinds, not just Apple, as NTT DoCoMo saw smaller but noticeable lines for the Xperia X10 handset.

Apple has routinely had a disruptive effect on Japan, as the iPod was the first foreign MP3 player to oust the Sony Walkman from its top spot; the iPhone makes up 72 % of Japanese smartphones and a small but sizeable portion of all cellphones in the country. Few tablets are sold in Japan outside of convertible notebooks, and the relative absence of competitors may give Apple free rein in the short-term future. Sony so far has refused to enter the market quickly but has been one of the few in the region to express interest in building a rival.

Security researchers locate additional iPhone security hole, publish findings

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iPhone, News, security

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Even if you feel absolutely secure in entering your PIN every time you unlock your iPhone, there may still be some security shortfalls. Per a blog post by Bernd Marienfeldt, Marienfeldt and fellow security wonk Jim Herbeck have discovered that plugging even a fully up-to-date, non-jailbroken iPhone 3GS into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx allows nearly full read access to the phone’s storage even when it’s locked.

The belief is that they’re just a buffer overflow away from full write access as well, which would surely open the door to making calls. Bernd believes the iPhone’s lack of data encryption for content is a real problem, and also cites the inability to digitally sign e-mails as reasons why the iPhone is still not ready for prime time in the enterprise.

Still, better that these guys found it and put the evidence in front of Apple than another party locate the security hole.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Walmart drops 16GB iPhone 3GS price to $97 with contract

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Date: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 03:47
Category: iPhone, News

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Retail giant Walmart on Monday announced that the chain would be selling Apple’s 16GB iPhone 3GS model for US$97.

Per The ToyBox, the new price, which becomes effective on Tuesday, May 25th, is for new phones purchased with a two-year contract.

Walmart chalks the price reduction up to its “ongoing aggressive savings announcements,” although a fourth generation iPhone to be released next month. That model was accidentally leaked in April after an engineer for the company left a disguised prototype in a bar.

It’s possible that the price will stick after the official announcement by Apple, which has previously reduced the price of the previous model to $99. (Currently, the iPhone 3GS retails for US$199; the 2008 iPhone 3G sells for US$99.)

Moreover, reports have come in suggesting that Apple is no longer accepting orders for the iPhone 3G, a move that typically paves the way for a new model.

“American Beauty” director to create iPhone ads demonstrating video chat feature

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 03:49
Category: iPhone, News

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This could be nifty.

Per Engadget, “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes is in the process of putting together a series of commercials for Apple’s next iPhone, which according to a tipster is being referred to internally as the “Mammoth/N90″.

Along with this tip, a source has confirmed to us that the ads will feature at least one spot where a mother and daughter are having a video chat conversation using the new front-facing camera that’s been spied on the face of that iPhone floating around Vietnam and Northern California.

Finally, a quick search on Twitter revealed that there’s at least one actress who is up for a role in the “f***ing apple commercial” in New York, and a tweet from another actor reveals that he will be auditioning for spots in California.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Fourth-gen iPhone video conferencing screenshots surface

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 04:17
Category: iPhone, News, Pictures

Ok, this is interesting.

The cool cats at Boy Genius Report have just dug up the following screenshots sent in from an Apple engineer who was part of a field testing effort for the fourth-generation iPhone.

The photos seem to confirm that video conferencing will be available as an option on the new handset:

As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

AT&T raises early termination fee to $350, Verizon rumors abound

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Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T appreciates your business.

And just made it that much pricier to leave early to do business with anyone else.

Per the Dow Jones Newswire, beginning June 1st, new AT&T iPhone customers who wish to cancel their contract with the wireless carrier will need to pay a US$325 early termination fee, up from the existing US$175 fee.

The new fee will apply to all smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, as well as connected netbooks. For feature and messaging phones, the fees will drop to US$150.

Though change comes on the heels of speculation that AT&T could lose exclusivity of Apple’s iPhone over the next year, though an AT&T spokesperson reportedly said that the increase in the early termination fee to US$325 was not related to one specific device.

“The changes come amid increased regulatory scrutiny and class-action lawsuits over the issue,” the report said. “The Federal Communications Commission has expressed concern that onerous fees make it difficult for consumers to switch their service. Wireless carriers argue the fees are necessary to recoup the costs incurred by the subsidies they provide to lower the initial cost of the handset.”

The change follows a previous move by competitor Verizon, which began charging a $350 early termination fee for smartphone users. Google and T-Mobile also charged a combined US$550 fee for those who canceled their contract on the Nexus One. Both of those recent developments have brought early termination fees under scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T and Apple offer the iPhone at a subsidized rate, starting at US$99 for the iPhone 3G, with a two-year contract for the device. Starting in March, Apple began selling contract-free iPhones at a much higher price, as it has done in previous years, to help clear out inventory before the launch of new hardware.

In addition to recouping lost money from a canceled contract, the fees are also designed to deter customers from jumping to another network. The timing of the early termination fee increase will undoubtedly result in speculation about the potential of the iPhone becoming available on a carrier other than AT&T.

Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone when it kicks off the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7th while rumors of a Verizon iPhone have been persistent since March.

Latest iPhone OS 4.0 beta points toward customizable user dictionary

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Date: Thursday, May 20th, 2010, 04:48
Category: iPhone, News

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Yesterday, we mentioned that Apple’s newest beta of its iPhone OS 4.0 operating system included reference to tethering via AT&T. The cool cats at Gizmodo have apparently located a custom dictionary that will allow users to add their own words and unique spellings, and will automatically recommend those words as users type them.

The new option, “Edit User Dictionary,” can be found in the Keyboard section of the handsets Settings application in beta 4 of iPhone OS 4.0. There, users can press the plus button and add their own words.

This will allow users to bypass the “learning” feature found in previous versions of the iPhone OS, where the software will remember when the user chooses to discard a recommended spelling from the built-in dictionary.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.