MWSF: SHAPE Introduces Mobiola Headset App, Allows for iPhone/iPod Touch to Become Wireless Headset

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Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 16:34
Category: iPhone, Macworld Expo, Software

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This could be nifty.

Over at Macworld Expo, developer SHAPE Services introduced Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC.

According to iLounge, the application connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application.

The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later to function.

Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for US$2 and requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

QuickerTek Releases Wireless nCard for Older MacBooks, Mac Minis

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Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 06:31
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, wireless

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It’s not quite as cool as whatever the iPad will become, but it’s useful stuff.

The cool cats at QuickerTek have released a new wireless nCard accessory for older MacBook notebooks and the Mac mini. The nCard extends Wi-Fi compatibility on the A, B, G and N standard and installs in the internal Airport card slot, with similar complexity to installing RAM chips. Per MacNN, the components are claimed to offer higher signal sensitivity and transmission power for potentially faster speeds and a wider reception area. Reception can also be further improved with an optional external antenna.

The nCard is compatible with 2006 through 2009 Mac minis but not the G4-based Minis, however and the 2006 through 2009 black and white plastic MacBook notebooks. The nCard also works in the 2006 through 2008 MacBook Pros in both the 15″ and 17″ inch models, excluding the unibody models.

The nCard is now shipping and is available for US$90.

Rumor: Foxconn Prepping WAPI iPhone for Chinese Marketplace

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Date: Friday, January 29th, 2010, 08:12
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Long-time component supplier and Apple partner Foxconn is reportedly preparing a WAPI-based iPhone handset that will be distributed to China Unicom. Per Cloned in China, WAPI is the local wireless standard that is compatible with Wi-Fi, unlike the current iPhone version which omits the Wi-Fi functionality due to government regulations.

The lack of Wi-Fi has been considered a significant factor in the modest sales numbers following the iPhone launch in China. China Unicom reportedly sold only 300,000 iPhones by the end of 2009, moving only 5,000 handsets sold during the launch weekend.

Instead of buying the official Chinese version of the iPhone, which begins around US$1,025, many customers instead opted to import a standard iPhone from another country and unlock the device upon arrival.

Final pricing and launch information for the WAPI iPhone remains unknown.

Updated iPhone SDK Now Allows VoIP Calls Over 3G Connections

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Date: Thursday, January 28th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple’s iPhone SDK update didn’t just bring iPad support, the SDK is now permitting VoIP calls to be made over 3G networks. In the past, this option had only been available via a Wi-Fi connection. Per iCall, Apple has revised its SDK to allow VoIP calls over cellular networks. This is a major change from Apple’s previous agreement with AT&T which only allowed VoIP communications over a Wi-Fi connection.

Last October, AT&T announced that it would open up its 3G network to VoIP applications on the iPhone, the action apparently coming to fruition.

Previously, as part of a concession made to AT&T, Apple’s terms for software approval on the App Store prohibited VoIP-based applications like Skype from utilizing networks operated by wireless carriers.

In April, internet advocacy group Free Press asked the FCC to investigate both AT&T and Apple over claims that both companies were violating federal net-neutrality protection.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Second iPhone Worm in the Wild

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 06:24
Category: iPhone, security

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We told you not to jailbreak your iPhone, but you had to be super cool and rebellious. Per BBC News, jailbroken iPhones could be vulnerable to a new, malicious worm that can allow remote access and control without the owner’s knowledge or permission. It’s been estimated that hundreds of users are currently affected by a worm that targets users of “jailbroken” iPhones who live in the Netherlands and use the bank ING Direct. But security company F-Secure told stated that the currently isolated issue could easily jump to thousands of handsets. The worm is reportedly spread between phones when they share the same Wi-Fi spot.

In order for an iPhone to be vulnerable to the new worm, they must have willingly modified their handset’s software to allow them to run unauthorized code. Phones can be jailbroken to run applications or modify the system in ways not approved by Apple.

The worm only affects jailbroken phones that have SSH (secure shell) installed, without the default password — “alpine” — changed. It employs the same method as a previous worm, Ikee, that was not malicious. Instead, the wallpaper-changing prank simply changed the user’s background to a picture of 1980s pop star Rick Astley, who sang the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The new worm reportedly has botnet functionality and connects to a Web-based command and control center based in Lithuania.

For now, the worm is only aimed at customers who live in the Netherlands and bank with ING Direct. The company has stated that it intends to put a warning on its Web site.

United Airlines Begins Wi-Fi Rollout

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:02
Category: News, wireless

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United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. Per the Chicago Tribune, the rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United’s fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Like similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell’s Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.

All the proposed flights so far will be long-haul trips and so will use the higher end of Gogo’s existing pricing plans. Those with notebooks or netbooks will pay US$13 for access during the entire flight, while owners of iPhones and other handhelds/smartphones pay US$8 for the same period. Voice over IP remains off-limits as a consideration for other passengers.

Echoing the strategies of Delta and US Airways, United so far is using the service in trial form and will wait for feedback before it decides to bring Wi-Fi to all of its flights.

Elgato Announces EyeTV for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 05:00
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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Software developer Elgato has announced the release of EyeTV for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. The iPhone application lets Elgato EyeTV users view TV recordings wherever they are. EyeTV also gives users on the go control over remote recording, scheduling as well as providing a TV guide.

Per Macworld UK, the application requires a Wi-Fi connection for watching live TV on your iPhone or iPod touch.

EyeTV for iPhone connects to any Mac running the latest version of Elgato’s software, EyeTV 3.2, and will automatically find a Mac on the local network using Bonjour.

The application can also find and access a remote Mac via “My EyeTV”, a free locator utility introduced as part of the latest EyeTV 3.2 software update, which sets up any router that supports UPnP or NAT-PMP protocols automatically.

Users can manually configure their routers and/or use a dynamic DNS service.

The application is available from the Apple iTunes App Store EyeTV, retails for US$4.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and an EyeTV 3.2 or higher TV tuner.

China Unicom Reported to Have Purchased Five Million iPhone Handsets

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Date: Thursday, August 13th, 2009, 10:00
Category: News

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Apple appears to have more-or-less officially gone with China Unicom as its exclusive iPhone wireless carrier and according to an article in International Business Times, the carrier has purchased five million WCDMA iPhones without Wi-Fi from Apple at a price of 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion).

China Unicom is slated to begin selling the 3G phones in September at company stalls in Carrefour stores, as well as at several large China Unicom retail outlets. The phones are expected to sell for 2,400 yuan (US$352 as of this writing) for an 8GB model and 4,800 yuan (US$704) for a 16GB iPhone. It’s estimated that Apple’s profit from each sale is about 1,100 yuan (US$161).

The carrier currently faces stiff competition from black market iPhones, which are selling for as low as 400 yuan (US$59) and the article notes that Apple made large concessions to China Unicom in order to enter the massive Chinese market. To give some scale to the size of this sale, Apple reported during the 3Q 2009 conference call with Wall Street analysts that they had sold a total of 5.2 million iPhones in the last quarter.

Apple, China Mobile Apparently Reach Terms Regarding Chinese iPhone Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 06:06
Category: iPhone, News

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After about two years of negotiation, wireless carrier has allegedly landed a three-year contract for the exclusive rights to local iPhone distribution, according to MacNN and a Shanghai Securities News report. The deal, described by unnamed sources, is said to extend for three years and guarantees annual sales of 1 million to 2 million units.
Apple recently acknowledged that bringing the iPhone into the Chinese market held a top priority. The recent report suggests the potential carriers could not come to agree on revenue sharing terms. Soon after the first iPhone was released, sources claimed AT&T was paying between US$150 to US$200 per purchased phone and an additional US$9 for each month of the standard two-year duration of a customer subscription.

Beijing reportedly objected to the idea of revenue sharing, although the carrier has agreed to purchase the devices for 3,000 yuan (~US$439 USD) each. The terms also mandate a minimum overall revenue of at least 5 billion yuan (~US$732 million USD) every year.

China Mobile, with a much larger subscriber base than China Unicom, was also involved in negotiations for the iPhone.

The Chinese iPhone is expected to be customized for the local market, although specific details remain unconfirmed. An anonymous source recently claimed that component provider Foxconn has already begun mass production. The device is said to keep 3G and Bluetooth, while omitting Wi-Fi to comply with local regulations.

Finally, Agence France-Presse has quoted a Unicom spokesman as saying that while the carrier is close to a deal, there are still problems to be negotiated. “Both sides have their own timeframe for an agreement but essentially it depends on the practical progress of the negotiations,” according to the spokesman. He adds that proper negotiations with Apple began in January, when the Chinese government began issuing 3G licenses.

iPhone OS 3.1 to Support Augmented Reality Applications, New Snow Leopard Seed Distributed

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Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009, 04:16
Category: Software

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Recently, Apple released word that its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware will be the first to officially support augmented reality apps that support the iPhone 3GS’ camera. Such programs would allow for more extended use of the iPhone 3GS’ improved camera and overlay information and controls on top of real-world objects seen through a camera.

Per AppleInsider, iPhone OS 3.1 has so far only been known to expose some video camera controls for developers, third-party producer Acrossair was told by Apple that the future release would be needed for its Nearest Tube and future Nearest Subway apps to work properly.

These applications are already highly dependent on the built-in compass and autofocusing camera of the iPhone 3GS, both of which are needed to alternately recognize the direction the iPhone is facing as well as to get a detailed enough look at a subject to tag it with information. As a demonstration of the technology, Acrossair’s software can show the subway stops visible in a particular direction and their distance relative to the user.

iPhone OS 3.1 is anticipated to be ready by early September, just in time for Apple’s by now yearly iPod updates. The release could also dovetail with the seemingly probable release of an iPod touch with a camera that could take advantage of augmented reality when using Wi-Fi.

On Friday, Apple distributed Mac OS X Snow Leopard build 10A421. The update comes just ten days after 10A411 and is said by people familiar with the changes to be very modest on the surface, including general compatibility, security and stability fixes.

Apple’s increased frequency in providing updated Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) builds is expected with just weeks left before the revision is due to reach stores, as the company will now be looking to isolate and fix the remaining obvious bugs instead of changing functionality.