Apple releases iOS 4.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices

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Date: Thursday, March 10th, 2011, 04:02
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you missed it yesterday, Apple released its latest version iOS on Wednesday, the long-awaited iOS 4.3 update becoming available through iTunes and introducing the following new fixes and features:

– Personal Hotspot – Share iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB).

– iTunes Home Sharing – Play music, movies and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2).

– New Airplay features – Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party appsand websites on Apple TV – Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV.

– Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine.

– HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter – View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display
Ping features.

– Push notifications for comments and follow requests.

– Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen.

– Parental controls.

– New Settings.

– Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert.

– iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects.

– Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode.

– Bug fixes.

Amongst the biggest inclusions are Home Sharing (the ability to stream audio and video from iTunes on a local network to the iOS device); AirPlay (the ability to stream audio and video from the iOS device to an Apple TV or computer) for third-party developers; and the ability to create a personal WiFi hotspot from an iPhone or iPad with 3G support.

Per Macworld UK, users may need a qualifying data plan from your carrier and any necessary hotspot or tethering options to enable the much-anticipated Personal Hotspot feature. Users with an unlocked iPhone can use the feature without restriction. However, we advise users of this feature to keep a close eye on data charges as some mobile phone companies are now restricting data usage.

A couple of minor features snuck into iOS 4.3. Users can now enable Push Notifications for Ping activity, and the iPod app’s Now Playing screen offers the options to post about songs and like them on your Ping profile. Also new is a preference to specify how many times an SMS alert is repeated, as well as a conference dialing option to add a pause for entering a passcode.

Missing from iOS 4.3, however, are the new multitouch gestures that Apple asked developers to test on the iPad during the beta period. Gestures like four- and five-finger swipes could switch between apps and reveal the multitasking bar, and a pinch could exit an app and return you to the Home Screen. With the second iOS 4.3 beta, however, Apple clarified that these features were only for testing and would not ship to consumers in the final version. Obviously, they could return in a future iOS update or upgrade, but Apple hasn’t stated any plans.

iOS 4.3 is available now as a free update in iTunes for the iPad, iPhone 3GS, the GSM iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. As for the Verizon iPhone 4, it runs a custom version of iOS 4.2.6 that includes some features like hotspot support. Comments from an Apple representative at the iPad 2 event suggest that it might take a little while for Verizon’s iPhone 4 to converge with the same iOS version as Apple’s other mobile devices.

If you’ve snagged the iOS 4.3 update, please let us know how it’s working on your devices, for better or for worse.

AT&T confirms Personal Hotspot support for iOS 4.3, iPhone

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Date: Friday, March 4th, 2011, 05:18
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier AT&T has confirmed that it will support the 3G/WiFi hotspot features that will come to the GSM iPhone 4 on March 11. Per ars technica, the company said that the pricing would remain the same as the current tethering model—AT&T customers must subscribe to the US$25 data plan that gives them 2GB per month, plus the extra US$20 tethering charge that gives them an extra 2GB. In all, that will make it US$45 per month for 4GB of data plus hotspot sharing when the feature arrives in iOS 4.3.

The iPhone’s hotspot feature first made its debut with the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone last month. Verizon iPhone users can currently pay US$30 per month for unlimited 3G data, and US$20 extra to use the hotspot feature with a 2GB cap. So, although the iPhone itself currently has no monthly data limit, those who decide to tether or share their 3G with other devices will have a lower hotspot data limit than AT&T’s comparable plan. And, if you use the hotspot sharing feature on your AT&T iPhone, it won’t pause your Internet connection when you receive a phone call.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think about the Personal Hotspot feature in the comments.

iOS 4.3 en route, will be delayed for CDMA iPhone

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Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011, 09:41
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The good news: iOS is on its way.

The bad news: You might have to wait for the CDMA version of it for your Verizon iPhone.

Per AppleInsider, the announcement of iOS 4.3’s on March 11 had Apple explicitly exclude CDMA iPhone 4 from the list of supported devices, indicating that a separate build will be provided afterward.

The new iOS 4.3 release will officially support the 2009 iPhone 3GS, the GSM iPhone 4, third and fourth generation iPod touch, and iPad models. This leaves out the CDMA iPhone 4 as well as Apple TV (which is normally updated on its own, independent schedule).

The Verizon iPhone 4 was released using its own software build, labeled iOS 4.2.5. Other iOS devices remained at iOS 4.2.1, which was released in November. Apple subsequently updated Verizon iPhones to iOs 4.2.6 to fix a bug related to its new Personal Hotspot feature.

Apart from the brief exclusive of its Personal Hotspot feature, the Verizon iPhone is being updated separately because it uses a different baseband chip than other iPhones, requiring a separate firmware. Apple may be waiting for Qualcomm to deliver a specific update for the chip before integrating the new firmware into the iOS release for that model.

Apple hasn’t announced a date for the Verizon iPhone release version of iOS 4.3, but it is likely to follow shortly after the initial release for GSM iPhones because the new build packs a variety of features and improvements.

The general features provided to all iOS devices by iOS 4.3 include Personal Hotspot (WiFi tethering), which Verizon iPhone users already have. However, there are also a number of other significant new improvements Verizon iPhone users will want, including:
– Improved Safari JavaScript performance using the Nitro engine, which Apple says boosts JavaScript execution up to twice as fast. JavaScript powers much of the interactivity of modern web apps.

– Support for AirPlay video streaming by third party apps, as well as videos within the web browser or within the Photos app. Streamed photos also use slideshow transitions.

– The ability to locally stream (without downloading or syncing) any content from your iTunes library via Home Sharing: music, movies, TV, podcasts, or audiobooks.

New minor features in iOS 4.3
– A new Noteworthy font in Notes

– Fixes a slideshow stop after 15 image when using AirPlay

– The ability to cancel and delete an app that is downloading. It is currently only possible to delete an app that has been installed.

– A slightly redesigned keyboard; missing accented letters in European keyboard popups; increased font size for China and Pinyin inputs

– A new Parental Controls setting for the iTunes Ping social network

– A new menu for scrubbing in videos, with Fine Scrubbing by seconds/frames; Quarter Scrubbing by second; Half Speed Scrubbing by minute and Hi-Speed Scrubbing by minutes.

– A new Updates section in the App Store and new Accounts section in the Store menu.

– Location Services settings moves from General to Settings Menu, and both Location Services and Mail accounts ON/OFF button is changed to a lock symbol.

Some minor features (outside of Personal Hotspot) and bug fixes are also targeting just GSM iPhones:
– Baseband is updated to 05.16.00 (for iPhone 3GS), 04.10.01 (for GSM iPhone 4).

– Enabled Traffic Volume Indicator IE in CELL UPDATE; fixes issue with integrity protection failing after SRNS relocation and iPhone units deactivating and not activating after baseband logging is enabled.

– A control to set repeat of text tone (up to 10 times).

– Automatic refresh of information displayed in Field Test Mode (removing manual refresh).

– Slideshow options have moved to Photos app.

– New Contact photo user interface.

– Dual vibrate when receiving a text message.

A variety of minor changes and bug fixes are also addressed in iOS 4.3:
– Accessibility: Voice Over now reads the entire chart in stocks app while in landscape mode. Fixed issues that prevented controls from being dismissed, or that prevented the keyboard from returning when highlighting and swiping through search results.

– Calendar: deleting a recurring event now make the alarm go away; fixed an all-day alarm going off an hour early. Canceled recurring CalDAV calendar events now removed on the event list. Fixed Exchange calendar event duplicating when passing Israeli daylight savings time.

– Language: updates inconsistent translations in Chinese, Finnish, Norwegian, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese; fixes auto-correction issue when switch back from Emoji to English keyboard.

– Mail: fixes orientation of Mail not following device orientation under specific conditions; fixes popover when drilling into a thread while the empty search field is focused; fixes mail message view and orientation when quickly selecting a message and hitting edit mode.

– Safari: addresses issue that caused browser to crash after loading certain websites.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon executive indicates that company will end unlimited iPhone data plans by summer

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Date: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, 04:32
Category: iPhone, News

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A Verizon executive hinted Tuesday that the carrier will cease offering unlimited data plans for the iPhone handset as early as the middle of this summer, while also fueling speculation that Apple will release an updated Verizon iPhone later this year.

Per Reuters, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo made the remarks at an investors conference. According to Shammo, the carrier will probably transition to tiered pricing data plans in the “mid-summer time frame.”

Shammo also told investors Tuesday that Verizon had kept the unlimited plan for the iPhone launch because it “didn’t want to put up a barrier” to consumers looking to try out the handset.

Rumors emerged in early January that Verizon planned to offer unlimited data to iPhone customers. Rival AT&T began limiting its data plans last year, but quietly began offering some of its iPhone customers unlimited data again in January in an effort to keep them from switching to Verizon.

After a leaked memo revealed that new iPhone 4 customers on Verizon would be offered just a US$30 unlimited data plan, Verizon COO Lowell McAdam went on record as saying the unlimited data plan would only be a temporary offer, with tiered pricing coming in “the not too distant future.”

The report noted that shares of Verizon fell 2.4% Tuesday after Shammo warned that a new iPhone could negatively affect profit margins. “There could be some (margin) lumpiness when you launch the phone,” he said. “If there happens to be a new one that comes out, that quarter might not look so good (either).”

According to one analyst, Shammo’s remarks serve as evidence that an updated CDMA iPhone would arrive later this year. “I would take that comment as a pretty strong signal there’s an iPhone refresh coming to Verizon in the third quarter,” said Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin.

Last week, Verizon CEO Dan Mead hinted that an LTE-capable iPhone from Apple is in the works. The executive also reassured investors by revealing that the iPhone 4 launch had been the largest in company history, contrary to reports that had suggested a more lackluster launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Modest lines reported for Verizon iPhone 4 launch

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Date: Thursday, February 10th, 2011, 06:06
Category: iPhone, News

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After months of anticipation and years of speculation, both Apple and Verizon itself today marked the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4. Initial reports suggest mixed lines at both locations. Regardless of whether it’s an Apple, Best Buy or Verizon store, some report very few in line, even at Apple’s 5th Avenue flagship, where others are seeing significant queues. Staff have been on hand to guide launches where queues existed.

Per Electronista, the modest turnout is roughly in step with past Verizon launches but may be affected both by Apple’s own launch strategy. Many if not most existing Verizon customers already bought the phone through online reservations and led to the carrier’s best-ever first day sales just by themselves. Early adopters have the option of getting the phone at Best Buy and Walmart today as well, where past launches have often removed one or both of these chains as options.

Timing is also likely to have guided many buyers’ decisions. Apple’s choice to launch at 7AM, mid-week in February has deterred some from standing in line in the cold. The knowledge that a CDMA iPhone 5 is likely to ship in four to five months’ time is known to have stopped technology enthusiasts or more patient buyers from signing up.

Even so, the sales have been enough that they triggered a slowdown in Motorola sales at Verizon as a significant number of customers held off on Android phones. An unusually large number of buyers are moving from the original Droid and the Droid X as well as BlackBerry devices, especially the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm.

If you have any Verizon iPhone 4 line stories to share, send them along.

Also, this whole “choice of carriers” thing…you could get used to it.

Verizon iPhone 4 now available via Apple Store, Walmart web sites web site (updated)

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Date: Wednesday, February 9th, 2011, 05:32
Category: iPhone, News

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It’s finally here.

Or just about.

At midnight, Apple replaced a “be back soon” notice on the Apple Store web site with an active online storefront offering the new iPhone 4 on both US carriers: AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Starting today, U.S. shoppers buying an iPhone 4 can now choose between AT&T and Verizon for service, with the Apple Store offering links to both carrier’s plans and service maps.

Per AppleInsider, wait times for AT&T are still listed as shipping within 24 hours, while the new Verizon iPhone 4 model is currently stating an shipping availability of February 18th for orders set to be mailed to the user.

When we placed an order for the new phone, the shipping receipt stated our order would ship “by February 18th,” and be delivered “within 5 business days after shipping,” potentially as late as February 25.

A choice to reserve a Verizon iPhone for pickup in a retail Apple Store was not listed as an available option, and the black model remained the only version currently listed for sale. Buyers who prefer to pick up their new phone will want to “check back soon.”

Apple offers free shipping on its online orders, while in-store pickups are stated to include free setup. Existing AT&T customers who enter their account information will have their phone number switched over to new Verizon service when they receive their new phone and connect it to iTunes to initiate setup. Users who purchase or pickup a new phone in the store will be switched over in the store. The actual switchover process may take between one to three hours, according to Apple’s site.

If you’ve snagged a Verizon iPhone 4 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know and thank ye!

Updated: We’ve just gotten word that Walmart has stepped in and users can order the Verizon iPhone 4 via the retailer’s web site.

Verizon iPhone dissected, interesting chipset, revised battery found

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Date: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 05:50
Category: iPhone, News

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If there’s any doubts as to a new Apple product, just let the cool cats at iFixit tear it apart and they’ll tell you all about it.

This is exactly what’s happened with the company’s teardown of the new Verizon iPhone. The procedure located several interesting things including Qualcomm’s MDM6600, a chipset that can handle not just the CDMA and EVDO needed for the network but also GSM and up to 14.4Mbps HSPA+. The part suggests Apple could have designed a dual-mode phone but didn’t for the iPhone 4, likely due to space constraints in the existing frame.

The examination also showed that Apple is using a different battery. Although it has the same capacity, the new battery is over a gram lighter and should lead to a slightly easier to carry phone. The absence of a SIM slot also expectedly helps reduce the weight and changes the layout inside. The mechanical vibrator has been removed. Since a vibrator still exists, it’s likely the vibrator has been pulled or built into another part.

An empty solder contact point on one side of the board is unusual, but it may be the SIM slot’s connection.

Other details are still being determined as the teardown continues, but the phone doesn’t have any known fundamental changes so far underneath apart from the cellular hardware. Apple’s redesign has mostly focused on tuning reception and adjusting for the newly shuffled components.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon iPhone 4 preorder stock sells out on first day of availability

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Date: Friday, February 4th, 2011, 06:37
Category: iPhone, News

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It came and it went.

Per AppleInsider, initial demand for the Verizon iPhone was strong enough for both Apple and Verizon to appear to have run out of pre-sale stock of the new CDMA iPhone and are directing customers to wait until February 9 to purchase the device online or February 10 for in-store purchases.

Preorders for the Verizon iPhone began at 3 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, but only for existing Verizon customers. Initial interest appeared heavy, as some customers reported difficulty accessing the Verizon website.

Though it is unclear exactly how many units were offered during Wednesday’s preorder, Apple and Verizon have stopped taking orders for the device. Customers interested in purchasing the iPhone 4 on Verizon are directed to log back on to either the Verizon or Apple website starting at 3:01 a.m. Eastern on February 9. Retail stores will begin offering the handset at 7 a.m. on February 10.

If you went to order the Verizon iPhone 4 and have a story to tell, please let us know how it went in the comments.

AT&T to include two free gigabytes of data to tethering plan come Feb. 13th

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Date: Thursday, February 3rd, 2011, 06:02
Category: iPhone, News

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For the first time in a long time, AT&T has competition for the iPhone and has to offer some incentives to keep its customers coming back.

With that in mind, the company announced on Wednesday plans to add 2GB of data usage to its smartphone tethering plan. According to iLounge, current tethering customers will automatically get the additional 2GB of monthly data usage added to their plans at no extra charge as of February 13; customers who sign up for tethering afterwards will get the additional data from the start of their tethering plan. The total cost for 4GB of data plus tethering capability will be US$45 per month, the same price iPhone users paid for 2GB of data plus tethering in the past; users who exceed their data limits will be charged an overage fee of US$10 per gigabyte.

The plan change coincides with the release of an “AT&T Mobile Hotspot” app and the launch of the HTC Inspire 4G, however, the announcement makes no mention of whether a similar app will be offered for iPhone users, or if the company plans to make use of iOS 4.3’s Personal Hotspot feature. Notably, Verizon Wireless has said that it will also charge US$20 for use of the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature, but the 2GB of data included in the Verizon plan is for Personal Hotspot use only, while AT&T’s extra data will be applied to collective use across all devices.

iOS 4.3 may hit on February 13th, could bring Personal Hotspot feature to AT&T users

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Date: Thursday, February 3rd, 2011, 06:35
Category: iPhone, News

Apple is set to launch iOS 4.2.6 for Verizon’s CDMA iPhone 4 on February 10, but a 4.3 update may be made available just days later, bringing Personal Hotspot WiFi sharing to AT&T users.

Per AppleInsider, David Pogue of the New York Times noted that the new Personal Hotspot feature would come to existing AT&T iPhone users on February 13, a date that no longer appears in his review.

The reader said that Pogue’s review originally stated, “the single new feature in Verizon’s iPhone is Personal Hotspot, where the iPhone becomes a Wi-Fi base station. Up to five laptops, iPod Touches or other gadgets can get online, using the phone as a glorified Internet antenna.

“That’s incredibly convenient. Many other app phones have it — AT&T’s iPhone gets it on Feb. 13 — but Apple’s execution is especially nice. For example, the hot spot shuts itself off 90 seconds after the last laptop disconnects. That’s hugely important, because these personal hot spot features are merciless battery drains.”

The review now simply states, “AT&T says its iPhone will get it soon” without mentioning a date. While the February 13 date falls oddly on a Sunday, making it an unlikely date for an iOS release, it appears that iOS 4.3 will at least be released around that day.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.