Additional Verizon/iPhone rumors flare, January release date mentioned

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:00
Category: iPhone, News

verizonlogo.jpg

A good rumor never dies. Per a recent Bloomberg report, two anonymous sources have stated that Verizon will be getting its own version of the iPhone come January. The addition of the iPhone would provide a boost to Verizon, as the device has shown itself to be both a hit with the critics and with the general public. The iPhone 4, which first launched last week, has already sold 1.7 million units in the span of three days.

Rumours of Verizon snagging its own version of the iPhone have been around for years now, as no one has been quite sure of when AT&T’s exclusivity agreement with Apple was slated to end. Despite the fact that Apple and AT&T’s relationship on the iPhone has been hugely profitable for both companies, Apple could expand its share of the smartphone market even further by offering its device to Verizon’s 93 million wireless subscribers. The fact that Verizon and AT&T will both be supporting the GSM-based LTE by the start of 2012 also makes offering the iPhone on multiple carriers more enticing, since Apple won’t need to build two different models that work on CDMA and GSM networks.

A Verizon version of the iPhone would still initially have to operate on a different wireless standard than the current version of the iPhone, which is designed to run on AT&T’s GSM-based HSPA network. Verizon’s 3G services employ the CDMA-based EV-DO Rev. A standard and would likely still be used as the company’s predominant wireless data network early next year despite the fact that it plans to launch its LTE network commercially later this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4 proximity sensor under fire for dropped calls, other issues

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, News

As the iPhone 4 sells like hot cakes, there may be some additional issues to sort out. Per CNET, some users are citing proximity sensor issues when attempting to make phone calls.

Over on the Apple Support Discussions forums, comments about the issue run twenty pages deep and counting. The details of this issue vary throughout the forum posts, but essentially the proximity sensor (the one that shuts down the screen functionality when your iPhone is close to your face or in your pocket) seems to be malfunctioning.

Some users have reported that the sensor does cause the screen to go black, as expected, but that the functionality of iPhone remains intact, causing anything from mid-call hangups to inadvertent three-way calling, accidental FaceTime initiation attempts, or muting calls.

So far, the best advice to come out of this is to sync your iPhone and backup your information. Perform a restore to your backup and see if that solves the issue. If it persists, do a restore and set your iPhone 4 up as a new phone. Keep in mind, this will not save your information (like text messages), so be sure to have them backed up elsewhere.

Should restoring your iPhone 4 not solve the proximity sensor issues, many users are reporting that contacting AppleCare (by phone at 1.800.APL.CARE) or visiting an AppleCare certified technician or the Genius Bar at an Apple Store to get their iPhone replaced has been a fairly painless process. iPhone 4 is still a new product and replacement supplies may be limited, so be sure to check your iPhone out quickly and take it in as soon as possible.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know and hopefully an iOS 4.0.1 update will fix this. And make your new iPhone 4 paint the house as well.

iSuppli breakdown report arrives, estimates true cost of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

Apple tends to sell a zillion iPhones and, once again, the question of cost versus profit has been looked into.

Per BusinessWeek, an iSuppli breakdown of the components that make up Apple’s iPhone 4 has found that the most expensive item in the device is its high-resolution Retina Display, with an estimated price of US$28.50.

In its recent report, iSuppli found that the components inside cost an estimated US$187.51. Apple’s latest phone starts at US$199 with 16GB of internal memory and a two-year service contract in the U.S. The cost breakdown applies to the 16GB iPhone 4.

The most expensive component is the highly touted Retina Display found on the iPhone 4. Supplied by LG Display, the component costs US$28.50, iSuppli said. The custom-built A4 processor, assembled by Samsung, cost an estimated US$10.75.

The newly added gyroscope in the iPhone 4 was said to cost another US$2.60, in addition to the 65-cent accelerometer found in the current phone as well as previous models. The new gyroscope is made by STMicroelectronics of Geneva.

Other suppliers of the internal hardware include touch-sensitive panels from Wintek and TPK, and chips from Skyworks Solutions and TriQuint Semiconductor.

Neither Apple nor its carrier partners would comment on how much is paid by wireless providers for the unsubsidized handset. Historically, the average selling price of previous model iPhones has been around US$600.

The total estimated cost is slightly higher than the iPhone 3GS, first released last year. The 2009 handset cost an estimate US$179 in parts for Apple.

In fact, the price of Apple’s phones has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2008, iSuppli found that the iPhone 3G carried a components cost of US$174.33.

Even so, there may be some room for error. The TechCrunch web blog noted in its coverage of the report that “iSuppli is well-known for low-balling these numbers in an effort to convince manufacturers to contact them in order to connect with their preferred suppliers, so grains of salt must be taken.”

Apple drops hint at iOS 4 for iPad in November, iWork for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:04
Category: iPad, News, Software

When iOS 4 hit, I was a little disappointed to see that it had yet to arrive for the iPad.

This may change as Apple has quietly hinted at a launch window for iOS 4 on the iPad, while the company’s website has slipped another clue that iWork is on its way to the iPhone. An AdAge report suggests that Apple has been telling marketers that the iAd platform will extend to the iPad sometime in November.

Steve Jobs initially pointed to iOS 4 availability on the iPad sometime “this fall.” The iAd platform is known to be directly integrated with iOS 4.

Many of Apple’s international online stores posted a “Learn more” link for iPhone AppleCare warranties, which includes software support for “iWork for iPhone” among other topics. The iOS 4 pages briefly included an iPhone interface image showing an option to open an attachment in Keynote, although the company quickly replaced the iWork reference with an iBooks selection.

Cool stuff either way and you have to wonder what iOS 4 will bring for the iPad.

iPhone 4 sells record-breaking 1.7 million units in three days, also blends

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 08:58
Category: iPhone, News

Following 600,000 pre-orders and impressive lines, Apple today announced that the companyt had sold over 1.7 million iPhone 4 units. In other words, since releasing the iPhone 4 to customers on June 24 (and including the pre-orders that were delivered in the mail), the device was selling at a rate of nearly seven per second.

“This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, said in the press release. He also apologized to customers who have been turned away because Apple is having trouble meeting demand.

As of Monday morning, an iPhone 4 ordered from Apple’s U.S. Website won’t ship for three weeks. If you’re trying to find one, Apple retail stores are probably the best bet, as they should receive steady trickle for customers on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In other news, Techxilla is hosting a fairly impressive cache of iPhone 4 destruction videos, including the following snarky-but-clever video from the cool cats at Blendtec…



iPhone 4 “Death Grip” analyzed, iOS 4.0.1 update expected this week to resolve issue

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

Following reports of reception issues observed by new iPhone 4 owners (tagged the “Death Grip” across the Internet), additional insight reveals that this may actually be a software issue that could be cleared up in the near future.

In terms of identifying the problem, clear observations of mobile signal strength and how they are affected by the placement of users’ hands are difficult to perform in part because there are multiple factors involved in receiving a mobile radio link, including outside interference and the conductivity or mass of different people’s hands.

Additionally, cellphones in general (and in particular the iPhone) have always only presented a very rough approximation of signal strength in the signal bar display, averaged over time. It appears that iOS 4, more so than previous iPhone software, presents a less accurate signal meter, showing less signal at times than an iPhone 3GS while still being able to achieve the same or better call quality.

Per AppleInsider, this has led some to jump to the conclusion that the reception problems noted by some iPhone 4 users are the sign of a hardware design flaw related to its stainless steel band antenna design. Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs stoked a whiplash of blogger frenzy when he reportedly responded that users “were holding it the wrong way,” blocking the signal with their hands.

A variety of people have demonstrated identical problems with other phones, from the Android based Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS. However, the fact that problems observed in the iPhone 3GS are much more pronounced when the device is upgraded to iOS 4 indicate that there is also a software issue involved in the matter. iPhone 4 users can’t downgrade to earlier versions of the core software, making it impossible to compare its relative performance.

According to the article, several messages have arrived from Apple’s tech support forums confirmed that a iOS 4.0.1 software fix addressing the issue would ship early next week (as early as Monday).

The fix is expected to address a issue in iOS 4 related to radio frequency calibration of the baseband. Readers who saw the original forum discussions say that the issue is believed to occur when switching frequencies; because the lag is allegedly not calibrated correctly, it results in the device reporting “no service” rather than switching to the frequency with the best signal to noise ratio.

iOS 4 introduced some enhancements to how the baseband selects which frequencies to use, so it makes sense that the error may have crept into those changes. Additionally, this explains why iOS 4 has also caused similar problems for iPhone 3GS users.

The core software problem is likely augmented by hand placement, as Jobs noted in pointing out that holding the new phone (or any mobile device) in such a way that attenuates the signal should simply be avoided.

If you’ve seen the “Death Grip” issue on your end or have anything to add, let us know.

iPhone 4 yellow tint could fade after a few days of use, source says

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 02:31
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on yesterday’s story regarding a yellow discoloration found on some of the iPhone 4 screens, this may be a temporary problem at best. Per the AppleInsider forums, a user posted yesterday that Apple’s component manufacturers are involved in pitching the Z-6011 bonding agent to Apple that is found in the iPhone 4. The material is used to bond the layers of glass in the device during the assembly of the hardware.

“Apple is using a bonding agent called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011 to bond the layers of glass,” austingaijin wrote. “Apparently, Apple (or more likely Foxconn) is shipping these products so quickly that the evaporation process is not complete. However, after one or two days of use, especially with the screen on, will complete the evaporation process and the yellow ‘blotches’ will disappear.”

Users began to report on Wednesday that the Retina Display on their new iPhone 4 has a discoloration in the bottom corners of its screen. On those affected units, the screen’s corner has a warm yellowish tint to it.

An issue that could go away after a few days…not the worst thing ever.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple responds to iPhone 4 wireless signal complaints, offers advice to avoid issue

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 02:26
Category: iPhone, News

Following a slew of well-publicized launch day complaints regarding the loss of signal strength when held a certain way, Apple has released official advice for iPhone 4 owners to overcome the problem of the device losing signal when held by the lower left corner.

Per the BBC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs responded to a query about the problem from one owner by saying: “Just avoid holding it in that way.”

The official advice is to “avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band”.

Alternatively, said Apple, customers could buy a case to shield the antenna.

In a statement, Apple said: “Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas.”

Steve Jobs issued his response in a message responding to an e-mail from the Ars Technica news site. Mr Jobs wrote that “All phones have sensitive areas”.

The problem is thought to be particularly acute for left-handed owners who naturally touch the phone in the sensitive area.

The casing of Apple’s latest phone is made of stainless steel, which also serves as its antenna.
Apple sells a rubber “bumper” that shields the sensitive area.

Richard Warner, one of the first to buy an iPhone 4, contacted BBC News, saying that he thought the phone was “useless in its current state”.

“Apple have created a phone that has an antenna on the bottom left-hand side of the phone.”

“This means that when you hold it in your left hand, the signal bars slowly fade until there is no signal,” he wrote.

A number of videos have been posted on video sharing site YouTube complaining about the reception issue.

One video had an American user running a speed test, with hands on and hands free.
In it, the user ‘awington’ says that, while holding the phone “it won’t even run the test when I am holding the phone… once I let go, it makes a connection and runs the test.
“Hold it a second time, and the upload test will not start.”

The issue might stem from the way the integrated antenna is constructed. One section provides mobile reception, while another is for wi-fi.

Some users have speculated that touching the bottom of the phone bridges this gap, affecting signal strength.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen the issue on your end, please let us know.

iFixit posts early teardown of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the hardware teardowns that make technology fun and apparently a member of the fabled iFixit team planned to fly to Ginza to camp out at a Japanese Apple Store location. Instead, FedEx delivered an iPhone 4 two days early, allowing for an ahead-of schedule teardown of the handset, as posted here.

The teardown posted by iFixit of an early delivery reveals the new model’s A4 application processor with 512MB of RAM, the new Retina Display, dual front and rear cameras, a secondary mic for noise canceling, an oversized new battery, and custom gyroscope which along with the accelerometer provides full six-axis motion control.

The two rear exposed Phillips screws now release the back panel rather than the front glass, a design that “makes replacing the rear panel trivial, but unfortunately means that replacing the front glass will likely be rather challenging,” iFixit says.

Inside the back panel, the larger new 3.7V 1420 mAh Li-Polymer battery consumes all available space, while the new 5 megapixel still camera (capable of 720p, 30 fps video capture) anchors one corner and the vibration motor holds down the other.

The logic board packs Apple’s A4 application processor, a “new 3-axis gyroscope that we believe is designed and manufactured by STMicro” and not yet commercially available, STMicro’s 33DH 3-axis accelerometer, and an Apple-branded Cirrus Logic 338S0589 audio codec that is also used in iPad.

Going deeper, iFixit pulled the top mic used for noise cancelation to quiet ambient sounds, the front facing VGA camera used for FaceTime video chat, and the primary mic used in the mouthpiece.

Some iPhone 4 users report dropped signal bars, yellow tint on screen

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Date: Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 03:06
Category: iPhone, News

Apple’s iPhone 4 hits the shelves today and while the handset has received good reviews across the Web and in print, there may be some issues to contend with.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a number of customers have commented that their shipped iPhone 4 units are experiencing problems with yellow tinted displays and disappearing signal bars.

Specifically, some users who received an iPhone 4 early found that the Retina Display on the new handset has a discoloration in the bottom corners of the screen.

“In the bottom 10% of the screen there are three blotches about the size of shirt buttons that discolor the screen a brown/yellow color,” one user wrote.



The issues are remniscent to a problem that plagued early adopters of the iPhone 3G who found their whole screen had a warmer, yellower hue than the original iPhone. Apple later said that the color tint was a deliberate decision.

In addition, others have said that the iPhone 4 occasionally drops signal bars when held in the hand. The same issue was also noted by Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal in his iPhone 4 review. He said the device sometimes registers no bars, or fewer bars than the iPhone 3GS, even though a call can still be placed.

“Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix,” Mossberg wrote, “and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.