Apple announces iPhone 4 at WWDC keynote

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Date: Monday, June 7th, 2010, 12:39
Category: iPhone, News

In his long-awaited Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the fourth-generation iPhone, termed the “iPhone 4″. Per Macworld, the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick, or 24$ thinner than the iPhone 3GS and includes new camera with an LED flash on the black, but a second, front-facing camera as well. There are new volume buttons, a mute button, plus a second microphone on the top for noise cancellation. Just like the iPad, it now incorporates a micro-SIM tray.

Apple has also engineered three integrated antennas into the design: one for Bluetooth, one for WI-Fi and GPS, and one for UMTS and GSM.

The iPhone 4 features a new screen technology called a “retina display” which operates at 326 pixels per inch, double the 163 pixels per inch resolution of the iPhone 3GS.

The new display measures the same 3.5″ inches diagonally, but at 960 x 640 it has four times as many pixels as the previous model with an 800:1 contrast ratio that’s also four times that of the iPhone 3GS. It uses the same IPS display technology as the iPad and the iMac for good color fidelity, brightness, and viewing angle.

The new handset also sports the A4 chip, which boasts both a small footprint and good power management. Apple went with the micro-SIM design to save space, mostly for a new battery that, coupled with the new chip, Apple says provides 40$ more talk time. The company says talk time is up from 5 hours to 7 hours; 6 hours of 3G browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing; 10 hours of video; 40 hours of music; and 300 hours of standby.

Environmentally, the new iPhone is arsenic free, BFR-free mercury-free, PVC-free, and made from highly recyclable materials.

The handset includes quad-band HSPDPA/HSUPA networking with a maximum of 7.2Mbps down and 5.8 Mbps up.

There’s also 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, an improvement from 802.11g in the previous model.

The iPhone 4 also add a three-axis gyroscope for measuring angular velocity and can figure out pitch, roll, and yaw; and rotation about gravity. The gyroscope plus the accelerometer provide six-axis motion sensing which can be combined with new CoreMotion APIs that developers can call for extremely precise position information.

The iPhone 4 has a new, 5-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and an LED flash. It also adds 720p HD video capture at 30 frames per second. The company has also created a version of its iMovie consumer video-editing application for the iPhone. With it, you can record or edit you videos (and add photos as well). Once the video has been recorded, users can add titles, changes themes, and use music from your iTunes library.

iMovie for iPhone will be available for US$5.

For Jobs’ “One More Thing” moment, he sat down on a chair to show off the iPhone 4’s video chatting capabilities. Using either of the two cameras, you can make video calls via a feature called FaceTime between iPhone 4 phones over Wi-Fi only (at least through 2010). Users can also switch between cameras and chat in landscape or portait mode.

The iPhone 4 will be available in both black and white, at US$199 for 16GB and US$299 for 32GB (with the same qualifications and two-year contract with AT&T as in the past). Apple will also add an 8GB iPhone 3GS for US$99.

Jobs said that AT&T is going to make “an incredibly generous upgrade offer.” If your contract expires any time in 2010, you’re immediately eligible for that pricing, for up to six months early eligibility. The iPhone 4 will be available from Apple and AT&T’s retail and online stores, as well as at Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores.

The iPhone 4 goes on sale in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24th, with pre-orders starting on June 15th. It will ship in 18 more countries in July, in 24 more in August, and in 40 more by the end of September.

Apple also showed off some accessories: a US$29 dock and a US$29 case called a Bumper that comes in white, black, blue, green, orange, or pink.

Review: Street Fighter IV for iPhone

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Date: Friday, June 4th, 2010, 05:01
Category: iPhone, Review

By Joshua Simmons

If someone had told me over a year ago when I picked up Street Fighter IV for the consoles that I’d play a near identical version for my iPhone, I would have feared for my hands and the onset of arthritis from trying to play such a complex fighter on the small touch screen. Thankfully, Capcom decided to have mercy on my digits and took the time to adapt the controls to a more comfortable scheme. It is worth stating I am also continually surprised by the games that are being release on the iPhone, Street Fighter IV being the latest example with its gorgeous graphics and little to no slow down. Of course, being one to enjoy Street Fighter games, and Capcom’s latest offering, I had to download this iPhone iteration and check it out for myself. So, how does it measure up to its big brother counterpart?

As mentioned, the graphics are superb and transfer well to the iPhone screen. Capcom effortlessly translates the new graphically style they employed in the console versions for this port; these aren’t your Street Fighter II 16-bit graphics. Even more impressive is they manage to do so with no slow down, or lag. I currently own the iPhone 3G model, which is typically slower and gets the shaft when it comes to higher profile games, and Street Fighter IV runs as smooth as possible whenever I pick it up. A few details in the character models are lost to fit the resolution of the screen, but this is still one of the best looking iPhone games to date. The soundtrack and audio are also excellent and what one would expect from a Street Fighter game. Something I am also thankful for in this game, that most iPhone games I have played don’t do, is the screen being orientated so that my hand isn’t covering the primary speaker the audio is coming out of while I am playing.

The gameplay and control scheme have been wisely adapted for this version, saving the screen from being cluttered with buttons. Instead of six attack buttons (light, medium, and heavy), we are given just two: punch and kick. There is also an onscreen joystick, as well as a button for specials and one for SFIV’s focus attack. This simplifies the gameplay a bit, and may seem disappointing to the hardcore, but it allows for an ease of play on the iPhone that is needed yet still leaves room for exploration. For example, Supers and Ultras can now be pulled off by not only performing a specific combo, but also by simply moving the stick in a certain direction and hitting the SP button, or Ultra meter. Lastly, a nice touch to the game is the allowance for customization of the control layout by individual buttons, not to mention the ability to adjust the transparency of the on screen buttons; which is useful if you prefer to see more of the action.

As great as the game is on the iPhone, it is not without its flaws, however. It is difficult to decide if the US$10 price tag justifies the amount of content in the game. On one hand, the game’s presentation exceeds that of anything else on the iPhone, but on the other it is limited in just what the gamer is getting out of it. With an offering of only eight fighters for the iPhone version versus the 25 in the console iteration, and 35 in the recently released Super Street Fighter IV, the roster is petite by comparison. As far as the game modes are concerned, the offerings are also scarce. You can play solo, which includes tournament, free sparring, and training modes yet lacks any story, time attack or survival. There is also a versus option via Bluetooth, however you will need a friend with an “idevice” as well as the game to play with. More desirable would have been a wifi versus option, but it stands to reason that it is just not possible at this time unfortunately. The game also lacks any unlockable extras, somewhat dampening its replayability.

Despite these few flaws and gripes, Street Fighter IV is an excellent game for the iPhone that offers something for everyone. The load screens can be a little too lengthy at times, but it is still easy to just pick up and jump into a fight while on the go. Regardless of a simplified interface and limited roster, the hardcore will be for the most part pleased with this offering. The graphics and audio are superb, and at just US$9.99, this is a most own game that will show off the power of your particular idevice. If anything, Street Fighter IV makes me even more excited to see just what else is in store for Apple mobile gaming in the future, especially considering the potential power of the soon-to-be announced 4th gen iPhone. Perhaps we will even be seeing a mobile version of Super Street Fighter IV? One can only hope.

Based on a 1 out of 5 point rating system, I would give Street Fighter IV for the iPhone a 4 out of 5.

Recent support document points to forthcoming iPad Wi-Fi fix

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Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 08:24
Category: iPad, News, Software

iPad users who’ve been tormented by Wi-Fi connectivity issues could see a forthcoming fix from Apple in the near future.

Per AppleInsider, a newly updated support document from Apple explicitly states that the iPad maker will issue a software update to address the issues. The document does not, however, provide a timeline for the planned fix.

“A very small number of iPad users have experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity,” the document reads. “This article outlines workarounds for these issues. Apple will also address remaining Wi-Fi connectivity issues with a future iPad software update.”

In the interim, Apple offers a number of potential fixes for the issue:

-Verify your Wi-Fi router firmware is up to date

- If your router’s security encryption is WEP, try WPA or WPA2, as WEP can cause intermittent disconnects with the iPad which requires retyping a password.

- Make sure the iPad screen brightness is not at the lowest level.

- Obtain a new IP address by going into Settings, Wi-Fi, accessing the settings of the current network, and choosing “Renew Lease.”

- Finally, if these steps do not work, users are recommended to try turning Wi-Fi off and back on.

If none of the above methods address connectivity issues, users are asked to contact Apple support.

Just days after the iPad launched, AppleInsider noted the Wi-Fi issues reported by numerous users. Problems have occurred with a variety of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort Extreme, and range from a weak signal to an inability to connect to a network.

Apple quickly set up a support document for users who have problems getting their iPad to rejoin known Wi-Fi networks after a restart or waking from sleep. The company said issues were known to occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable. Apple recommended creating separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band, such as adding ‘G’ to the 802.11g network name, and ‘N’ to the 802.11n network. It also recommended using the same security type, such as WPA, for both bands.

The iPad’s Wi-Fi issues were pegged as a software problem by Princeton University last month. The school’s Office of Information Technology reported that a software glitch in the device causes it to use a network-assigned IP address after its lease has expired.

Princeton suggested that the problem comes from within iPhone OS 3.2, as the iPad will incorrectly continue using an IP address without renewing its lease, usually for hours. The issue is resolved when the iPad asks for a new DHCP lease, or the device disconnects from the network. The university found that more than half of all iPads on the campus demonstrated the malfunction.

The university offered the following temporary workaround until Apple issues a software update: reconfigure the iPad’s settings so that the screen never locks. This can be done by going to Settings, General, Auto-Lock and choosing “Never.” Users must also turn off Wi-Fi before they manually lock the screen. Other options were to turn the iPad completely off, rather than just locking it, or to simply leave the iPad on without locking the screen.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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

3gs.jpg

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.

Developer submits App Store application for program that allows wireless iTunes syncing

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Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, this could be cool if Apple approves it.

Per Engadget, developer Greg Hughes has submitted an application that allows the iPhone and iPod touch to sync wirelessly with iTunes over Wi-Fi, and plans to submit the software to the App Store later this week.

The software, dubbed “Wi-Fi Sync,” requires a separate desktop application on either a Mac OS X or Windows machine that allows the sync to occur over a wireless network. Hughes, released the following video that shows the syncing process with the application, which must first be approved by Apple before it could be released for the App Store:



The first sync includes a pairing process that must only be done once to verify that the iPhone is to be synced with the computer. Once a handset has been paired with a computer by accepting prompts on both devices, iTunes is then launched on the computer and begins syncing with the mobile device.

It’s unknown as to whether Apple will approve the application or if it violates the company’s development rules on any level.

Apple may include printing support in iPhone OS 4.0, other update

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Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:34
Category: News

A recently discovered clue is hinting that Apple may add printing support to iPhone OS 4.0 or another update of the operating system. Per AppleInsider, support notes for the iPad’s iWork apps all note that “printing directly from iPad is not currently available” and imply that it will be an option at a later date. Rumors so far haven’t confirmed whether or not it would appear in Thursday’s special event, though it presents the first clear opportunity.

Pure touchscreen tablets have been rare, but most non-Windows tablets have traditionally had printing as a key weakness. Neither Android nor iPhone OS currently have built-in faculties for printing, and many also lack USB ports. Any Apple solution would most likely involve connecting either directly to a printer over Bluetooth or over a local network using Wi-Fi.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users reporting Wi-Fi connectivity issues with iPad, routers

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Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 06:47
Category: iPad, News

A number of users who purchased their iPads on April 4rd have reported that their tablets have experienced wireless connectivity issues, complete with reports of weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals and difficulty connecting to a network.

Per AppleInsider, a number of threads have emerged on the Apple Discussion Board with dozens of posts about Wi-Fi connection issues, ranging from a weak signal to an inability to connect to a router. Issues have been reported with a variety of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort Extreme.

“I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad,” user tdbc wrote. “Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router. So there is definitely a wifi signal issue here with the iPad.”

Another user, Dr. JB, said their iPad is getting just one bar of Wi-Fi signal, while a nearby MacBook Pro has strong, full reception. They said their iPad was also experiencing slow downloads due to the weak signal.

A post from powerguru revealed bandwidth data from the Speedtest.net application, which showed an iPad with 1.83 megabits per second download, compared to 14.77 megabits on the iPhone 3GS. The user also noted that the iPad uses 802.11n while the iPhone 3GS is 802.11g.

Others said their signal sometimes fluctuated, and some said resetting the network settings or restarting the iPad would temporarily fix the issue. But others who commented said they have experienced no Wi-Fi issues, suggesting the problems are not universal.

In response to some issues, Apple has set up a Knowledge Base article for users who have problems getting their iPad to rejoin known Wi-Fi networks after a restart or waking from sleep. The issue is known to occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable.

To resolve the issue, Apple recommends creating separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band, such as adding G to the 802.11g network name, and N to the 802.11n network name. It is also recommended that both networks use the same security type, such as WPA. If the issue persists, users can reset their network settings under Settings, General, Reset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue or discovered a fix or workaround on your end, please let us know in the comments.

iFixIt performs complete iPad teardown, finds extended battery, other goodies

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Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPad, photos

The moment they got their mitts on one, the cool cats at iFixIt performed a complete teardown on Apple’s new iPad tablet to look at its components.

Per AppleInsider, the company’s teardown reveals that the iPad’s battery has 5.5 times the capacity of the iPhone. It’s actually two battery packs wired in parallel, the company reports, providing a total of 24.8 Watt-hours. “In contrast,” the report notes, “the iPhone 3GS has a 4.51 watt-hour battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour battery.”

On average, the device “sips just 2.5 Watts. That’s 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb,” the report states. Even so, the larger battery demands more charging power than standard USB ports provide. It needs its included 10 watt charger, and won’t charge while syncing with a standard USB-equipped Mac or PC.

“The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other,” the site notes. Apple’s “A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They’re all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.

“The iPad RAM is inside the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies. We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days.”

The A4 contains “256MB of memory per die, for 512 MB total” the company’s teardown notes. That’s twice the system RAM of last year’s iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch.

Update: iFixit updated their report to note that the iPad actually incorporates the same 256MB of system RAM as the iPhone 3GS.

Physical features:
“The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device,” iFixIt reports, adding that “the empty void in the upper right corner [of the WiFi-only model] is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad.”

The iPad’s “touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS,” the teardown revealed. “Chipworks informed us that ‘there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn’t need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones.’”

Additionally, the rumored slot that was once imagined to be for a camera “is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor.” iFixIt also noted that the iPad’s “glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone’s 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel’s large size.”

The WiFi antennas on the iPad are mounted facing both the front corner and the back, where they penetrate through the solid aluminum back via the window provided by the black plastic Apple logo.

Apple to sell iPad from all U.S. Apple Store locations, “most” Best Buy locations this Saturday

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Date: Monday, March 29th, 2010, 11:14
Category: iPad, News

Apple on Monday announced that its iPad tablet will go on sale this Saturday, April 3rd, at all of its 221 U.S. Apple retail locations, as well as “most” Best Buy stores.

“iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release. “We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend.”

Per AppleInsider, Apple will offer free personal setup service to all customers who purchase an iPad in-store. The service will help users to customize their iPad by setting up e-mail, loading software from the App Store and more.

All U.S. retail Apple stores will also hold special iPad workshops Saturday morning. The sessions will allow customers to learn more about the capabilities of the product.

In addition to Apple retail stores and Best Buy locations, Apple stated that the iPad will be sold through Apple authorized resellers and campus bookstores.

Best Buy’s also revealed its iPad sales information this weekend and went on to state that about 675 Best Buy locations with designated Apple departments will begin selling the device on April 3rd. The retail chain has also reportedly planned a promotion for the device on April 11th.

The April 3 launch will be for the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, which costs $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The 3G-capable versions will be available in late April and carry a $130 premium.

Apple exhausts supply of U.S. iPads available for pre-order, pushes ship dates back

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Date: Monday, March 29th, 2010, 04:17
Category: iPad, News

Apple has apparently exhausted its supply of iPads for the U.S. market per the company’s online store.

According to Macworld UK, Apple’s store noted that pre-ordered iPads might not ship until April 12th, more than a week after the tablet goes on sale. People who placed orders before the March 27th cut-off will still receive their iPads for Saturday, April 3rd, an Apple sales representative said on Sunday.

Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12th, when it also allowed customers to reserve the tablet for pickup at Apple US retail stores. At the time, it promised to ship pre-ordered iPads so that they would arrive 3 April.

US retails stores contacted by Computerworld said that they had also exhausted their supplies of iPads available for pick-up next Saturday. However, a salesperson at a Portland, Ore. store said that reserved iPads that are unclaimed by 3 p.m. local time would be put up for sale to walk-in customers.

iPad sales have been the target of substantial speculation since Apple started taking pre-orders three weeks ago. Investment blogger Daniel Tello has been using iPad order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity message board to estimate pre-sales. Last Friday, Tello upped his estimate to 240,000 units , a number that did not account for in-store reservations or bulk orders by businesses, schools and other organizations.

Apple will release the WiFi-only models on April 3rd in the US. The more expensive tablets that support both WiFi and 3G connectivity can be pre-ordered, but are not scheduled to ship until later, according to Apple’s online store.

If there have been any changes in your iPad order, please let us know.