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Has Apple Lost Another 4G iPhone? More Photos And Video

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 12th, 2010

After the media circus surrounding Gizmodo and its potentially lost/stolen iPhone 4G prototype last month, it seems there's another iPhone 4G in the wild. Possibly not a prototype this time.

Mac Rumors has been provided with a link to a Vietnamese forum, Taoviet.vn, where more pictures of the new iPhone have been posted. According to a Mac Rumors' source, the device was purchased in the USA along with an iPad. The device is shown from a number of new angles and a teardown of the product is also shown.

A video of the device has been posted to YouTube (see below).

Little new information has been provided by these pictures, however the iPhone's casing shows that it's a 16GB model, whereas Gizmodo's featured XXXGB on the back.

The casing appears more polished on this version with no screws found near the dock connector, suggesting that this is a near finished product. However, in the photos and video, the phone appears to be running some kind of diagnostic firmware and doesn't look like it responds to presses on the home button. In the teardown images, what looks like a processor with Apple branding can also bee seen.

This new information is set against the sad backdrop of yet another suicide at Hon Hai Group in China where Apple's iPhones are manufactured. This is the sixth death at Hon Hai this year and follows Hon Hai's suspension of a member of its security team after a worker killed himself when an iPhone prototype was lost.

After Jason Chen, Gizmodo's editor, had his home raided by police and his computers and other items taken as part of an ongoing investigation, this Vietnamese poster is playing a risky game. It also brings into question whether or not the "found it in a bar" story from Gizmodo (and its mystery iPhone seller) is likely to hold up now that two iPhone 4G models have surfaced.

Either people are being extremely careless with these valuable prototypes and two have been "lost" by Apple employees in the US or a more serious crime has been committed. This might also explain the shock and awe of the raid on Jason Chen's house should the police have reason to believe that the Gizmodo iPhone was part of a wider theft.

Either way, our advice to the Vietnamese man in the video above - don't include your face in footage of you holding a potentially stolen product, it never ends well.

[ via Mac Rumors ]

AT&T Actually Rolling Upgrade Eligibility Dates Back

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 11th, 2010

In an effort to keep iPhone users happy and avoid the outcry we heard last year, AT&T has apparently started rolling back upgrade eligibility dates prior to the launch of the next iPhone. MobileCrunch has posted the following image showing an updated eligibility date moved from November to June of this year for a customer who purchased the iPhone 3GS at launch last year.

Last year lots of people were angry that they could not take advantage of upgrade pricing for the new iPhone. But it looks like AT&T is trying to avoid that fury this year and allow many more people to upgrade. Though at this point we don't know if it's universal as there has been no statement by Apple or AT&T.

MobileCrunch is reporting that AT&T has started to roll back upgrade eligibility dates from 18 months to what appears to be 12 months. This would allow customers who are eligible to take advantage of much cheaper upgrade prices for the hardware when the next iPhone is released.

We do not know at this time if that roll back will be for everyone or if that date is only for certain customers and not all at this time. While there are multiple reports of this from AT&T customers, it could be they are only rolling back the dates for customers over a certain service level.

Why would AT&T do this? They must have a reason. Perhaps they are doing it because the iPhone will be available on other carriers soon and AT&T wants to get as many customers as possible under a new two year contract. Or perhaps with the new front facing camera, AT&T will be increasing the monthly unlimited data plan fees, and they want as many new customers as possible on the new plan. Or perhaps AT&T just loves us all and wants to apologize for bad service. Ha!

But it seems as though lots of people are trying to see if they are eligible -- I can't even log into AT&Ts site at this point. Have you checked, has your eligibility date been rolled back? If so, let us know and let us know what plan you subscribe to (number of minutes/month) and how long you've been a subscriber. Let's see if this is universal or not.

[via MobileCrunch :: image credit: MobileCrunch]

Are cheaper iPad 3G data rates the reason we’re still stuck with AT&T?

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 7th, 2010

It seems that AT&T may have made one last Hail Mary play in order to remain the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the US. According to Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall, quoted by Computerworld, AT&T may have been allowed to hang on to the deal until the end of 2010 by offering significantly discounted data plans for Apple’s iPad 3G.

In the run up to the iPad launch, many touted Verizon as a shoe-in to become the next iPhone carrier alongside AT&T as well as to provide data services for the iPad. This never happened.

Although his claims appear unsubstantiated, Marshall, who currently works for BroadPoint AMTech, believes that AT&T, in a desperate bid to hold on to the lucrative iPhone carrier rights, made some serious sacrifices in providing a hugely discounted data contract for iPad owners.

Consumers questioned the need for another 3G contract alongside their iPhone when the iPad was announced with many pundits claiming that the price of the service would be key to Apple’s strategy. By granting an additional six months to AT&T’s exclusivity, it appears Apple was able to meet this target.

AT&T currently offers two data plans for the iPad 3G, one for $14.99 per month for up to 250MB and another at $29.99 for unlimited data. Neither package requires the user to sign a contract and both include free access to AT& Wi-Fi hotspots. By comparison to the competition, this is a very reasonable deal for iPad users and one that will surely have come at a cost to AT&T, which has struggled with wireless data loads since the iPhone was launched.

By contrast to the US, Europe has multiple carriers for the iPhone that are currently fighting to offer data plans for the iPad when it is released this summer.

AT&T’s network has long been criticized for a number of failings including dropped calls and poor coverage, notably so during a very public spat between the company and Verizon. Verizon launched a stinging ad campaign comparing its 3G coverage to AT&T’s while also aping Apple’s iPhone ads with the slogan “There’s a map for that” resulting in a legal back and forth between both companies. In response to AT&T’s suit that claimed the ads mislead the public, Verizon simply commented “the truth hurts”.

Verizon has reportedly conveyed to Apple its desire to carry the iPhone but, at present, it seems they can’t offer the right goods to seal the deal. Not even, it appears, the offer of a better network.

via Computerworld

More evidence that iPhone OS 4.0 is going to rock!

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 6th, 2010

If you haven’t gone ahead and jailbroken your iPhone already, you’re no doubt as excited as us at the prospect of iPhone OS 4.0. So many of the features we’ve long been craving to have on our phones will be at our fingertips, hopefully some time this June.

Whether you’re looking to prevent the RSI-inducing homescreen swiping that occurs when you install more than 50 or so apps or you simply want to change your background image, iPhone OS 4.0 will have the answer.

Music fans will love the ability to run apps like Pandora in the background while browsing the web or checking emails, and non-iPad owners will relish getting hold of their first iBooks for iPhone.

But we know all of the cool new features in the next OS already, don’t we? Apparently not. Sources who have their hands on the latest developer builds of the next iPhone operating system are providing snippets of information on some more great tweaks that weren’t even mentioned during Apple’s “Sneak Peak” back in early April.

New Settings/Controls
In iPhone OS 4.0 a swipe to the left of the first homescreen (which takes you to Spotlight in OS 3.0) brings up a new interface with some new buttons. iPod controls, much like those you see when double clicking the home button in OS 3.0, sit in the center with a quick iPod app launcher button to their right. On the left is the best new feature yet and previously only a plaything of the iPad owner – orientation lock. At last, browsing the web in bed is no longer something you have to do sitting up or lying at an angle only familiar to contortionists. 9to5Mac, who posted images of these new features, suggest that this could be part of a wider plan to introduce “mini-widgets” in the final build of iPhone OS 4.0


File Sharing and more
Meanwhile, over at The Boy Genius Report, even more cool tidbits are surfacing. First is the ability to drag manually add files to your iPhone via iTunes. Simply plug in your phone and access the File Sharing section under the Apps tab in iTunes to drag files to and from your computer and on to your device. Closing running applications (as part of the multitasking feature) has become easier too. In much the same way you currently delete apps from your iPhone, simply holding on an open app’s icon will produce small close buttons for you to click on and shut down the app.

This is about as much that’s out there at the moment but remember, Steve Jobs promised over 100 new user features when showing off OS 4.0, so expect many more neat tricks and enhancements in the coming weeks.

[ via 9to5Mac ]
[ via Boy Genius Report ]

iTunes Streaming Not On The Cards Just Yet

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 5th, 2010

After Apple acquired music streaming service Lala Media at the end of 2009, many believed it would be bringing this cloud-based technology to its iTunes service very soon. While Lala will shut down on May 31st it appears that it may still be a while before a streaming version of the iTunes Store for both desktop computers as well as iPhones and iPads will be launched.

Lala offers a catalog of over 7 million songs that stream directly to users over the internet. In order for listeners to listen to a specific song at any time and as many times as they wish they are required to pay a $.10 fee. Songs are also available to download at prices similar to the iTunes Music Store. Apple acquired the company in December 2009 for an undisclosed fee thought to be around $17 million.

However, after initial excitement at the Lala Media shutdown announcement, it appears not to denote an imminent launch of Apple's own streaming product.

Apple is said to be talking to record labels regarding a streaming service but these discussions have been pegged as "preliminary at best" according Peter Kafka writing for MediaMemo at All Things D.

The success of streaming music and video applications like Spotify and Pandora for the iPhone and the new ABC Player for iPad have added weight to the rumours that Apple will begin to deliver music and movies in the same way via iTunes but it appears this move could still be a way off.

Apple is well aware of the demand for streaming music services after showing Pandora's application streaming music while making use of the new multitasking feature found in the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0.

One of the key factors in such a service is the method in which payment would be made by consumers. While Apple has strong ties with the major record labels it took a long time to thrash out a mutually beneficial deal. Changing the landscape for music delivery may introduce further issues. Streaming music a user already owns on iTunes is one possible outcome however a subscription model may also be made available which would tie in to an iPhone and iPad application.

With Apple's World Wide Developer Conference only a month away, those hoping for an announcement on the topic will likely be disappointed, with many sources claiming the launch of a streaming iTunes service won't happen before the third quarter of this year.


[via MediaMemo ]

Could this be the next iPhone? It's a Definite Maybe Probable Yes! [UPDATED]

Posted by Jeff Scott on April 19th, 2010

Update: 4/19: Gizmodo got the good and has spent some time with this found device. They are now convinced that it's real. And so am I. Check the bottom of the article for more details.

Something very odd happened over the weekend. The next iPhone was spotted. Then it was debunked. Then it was confirmed. And now, we're all confused.

Let's get caught up. Fasten your seat belts, this is a wild one.

On Saturday, Engadget posted some photos of what was reported to be a prototype iPhone. The phone was supposedly found on the floor of a San Jose bar, in an iPhone 3G case. The person that found it sent some blurry (why are they always blurry?) photos of it to Engadget hoping to get a little more money out of them for an in person inspection of the device. How they thought that they would be able to get together with Engadget before Apple's army of lawyers found them, I don't know.

Taking a look at the photos, they look about right. All of the buttons are in the right place, check. Home button looks exactly the same. On the bottom, the speaker and microphone look the same. And it looks like a typical Apple dock connector on the bottom.

The phone had, at one time, powered on and worked. It reportedly ran an OS that was decidedly different from the iPhone OS. But now, supposedly the phone no longer powered on. Odd.

After looking at them, most considered these photos (like the one to the right), a fake. A very good fake, probably a Chinese made knock-off, but a fake.

Read on for even more on this -- is it the next iPhone?

Could The iPad Ship With A Built-In iSight Camera?

Posted by Arron Hirst on February 3rd, 2010

Even though an iSight camera (or its accompanying UI) wasn't shown off last Wednesday's iPad media event, speculation has now fallen to if the iPad will ship with one. These rumors started when Steve showed the device to the media. For a split second (around the 9:24 mark on the video podcast), you'll see the studio lights catch what appears to be a concealed hole in the top center of the iPad's new bezel. Sure, we've been here before. This could be a number of things, an ambient light or proximity sensor for one.

Granted, this "evidence" is pretty sketchy, and probably likely to be debunked, but it gets better. Mission Repair today started to receive replacement Apple iPad parts of which it posted some shots of on their blog. Among the parts was the iPad's outer frame .. and guess what? It has a molded slot which fits the iSight camera part, perfectly. The photo shows the iPad's outer frame (top), an Apple Macbook iSight unit (middle), and the Macbooks inner frame (bottom).

Wired reports the iPad simulator seeded as part of the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK still features a "Take a Photo" OS action, when adding a contact's photo to Contacts.app, for example. There's even speculation that the reason Apple didn't show the camera at the event was due to its then unfinished supporting UI. This image posted by Shaun supports the rumor, suggesting that Apple didn't just leave in the same UI from iPhone OS, but that it has been modified to look and feel dedicated to the iPad, although as you can tell, it's far from final.

Maybe we'll see another event at the end of March, just before they launch the Wi-Fi iPad model. "One More Thing?" .. Or could this be a design choice for a future iPad model? I'm sure we'll find out soon!

Best fake pictures of the new Apple Tablet so far.

Posted by Ryan Filsinger on January 26th, 2010

TechCrunch recently put up an article that showed off some pictures of a "leaked" tablet from a designer named Dustin Curtis. Dustin timed his fakes pretty well, and will probably end up getting quite a few calls for work after this. These in my opinion (and many others) are possibly the best fakes to date. I would not be surprised if this is very close to the actual device itself. With the hype generators going strong leading up to tomorrow's announcement I'm simply amazed at how much information, speculation and intrigue are being produced around a device that technically does not even exist yet.

Some of you may be asking though, why is there so much hype around this device? For me, my interest levels went through the roof after watching some videos of what the device could be capable of. I believe quite a few of the big industry players in film, games, books, and music have all got early access to the device to create remarkable interactive experiences. Some prototypes, and design concepts have been shown.

Tomorrow we'll know for sure though, and it's possible that this thing could change the way we do everything.. all over again. If you have a few extra minutes, take the time and watch the videos I've posted below. You will not be disappointed.

What I Want to See in iPhone OS 4.0

Posted by Jeff Scott on January 25th, 2010

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Apple has a special event scheduled on Wednesday this week. As usual they are very cryptic on what they are announcing. Speculation seems to focus on the much rumored tablet computer and a major update to the iPhone OS.

We know one thing about the tablet, and that is that we don't know anything for sure about the tablet. Apple will only enter the market if they can do things that no one else has thought of. So come Wednesday I'm pretty sure we will see some interesting things from them.

But I want to focus on the update to the iPhone OS. I first started talking about OS 4 on my Twitter stream in November. One of the key indications of an impending major OS update is Apple not releasing new versions of the iPhone OS for a while. We haven't seen an update to 3.1 in many months, and now seems like a good time -- along with the tablet that is rumored to also run the iPhone OS.

Let me say that I use my iPhone a lot. My battery runs down to 10% just about every day, and that's even with it sitting connected to my computer for a couple hours every day in addition to a full charge at night. Here are the things that I'm most looking for in the OS update.

New App Launcher

First and foremost is a new application launcher. The current launcher, called Springboard, is too dated and too hard to use once you have more than a few apps installed. Have 180 apps installed on your phone -- trying to find a single one can be impossible. Apple made a stop-gap change by adding spotlight search in 3.0, but who wants to search for each app they launch?

We're expecting a new way to navigate apps -- something very original. Something that will work on both the tablet and the iPhone. Perhaps voice control will be expanded to launch apps, but then again, I can't see people walking down the street saying "Launch Fart Machine" - or maybe I can.

Canada to get multiple iPhone carriers?

Posted by Ryan Filsinger on October 7th, 2009

Since the iPhone expanded into Canada, we have only had one option as a provider. That carrier has been Rogers (note: Fido also carries the iPhone, but they are owned by Rogers) and they have taken advantage of that market position and currently offer one of the worst contracts world wide of all the iPhone carriers.

Last fall, Canada also had a spectrum auction which allowed other companies to purchase access to the various remaining open wireless spectrum. The CRTC opened up the auction with the intention of leveling out the market and providing competition in the mobile space, which has traditionally been non existent in Canada compared to say the European markets. We have yet to see any of those new players really open up and act on their purchases yet. So those of us who wanted an iPhone, but don't really care for Rogers have been out of luck. Well, an announcement today made by Telus and Bell seem to have changed all of that.

In anticipation for the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver the two carriers have spent a year upgrading their spectrum to allow HSPA phones on their network. Previously they have only run CDMA, which the iPhone does not function on. With this upgrade, they can now offer the device as early as next month, and the news is circulating throughout the internet today.

When these two carriers do jump into the iPhone field, this can only mean good things for consumers who have held out in purchasing the device. This also means many more units moved, more developers making apps, etc. I really hope Telus and Bell take advantage of the situation and offer a blockbuster deal. (Hint: Give me the 3GS in a 2 year contract, $60/month with unlimited data and I'll be getting in line). Previously though these carriers have been somewhat disappointing with their offerings, but perhaps the iPhone will be the spark needed for some missing competition.

Just a word of warning to the two carriers. Don't screw this launch up, much like Rogers did. Get lots of product in, set a competitive contract and rate plan against the world carriers, and don't put fine print rules around the usage of data. The iPhone is changing the world and how we use smartphones. The market is glad to have you here, but please don't screw it up.

Apple Buys a Maps Company, Intends to Use It

Posted by Arron Hirst on October 1st, 2009

Let's face it. We all love Google Maps on our iPhone's. The convenience of swiping here, and flicking there to get directions to where we want to go is all too .. convenient. But, it's been like that for some time now, and it may just be about to change.

Remember when Apple and Google used to be such real good pals? Well, I'm afraid to say that sadly those days seem to be over. After the recent Google Voice saga earlier last month, which managed to generate huge media attention and even managed to get the FCC involved, Google and Apple seem to have been slowly drifting apart from each other.

Today, Gizmodo reports that another recent rumored purchase of Apple's may confirm that this is the case. Uncovered via a tweet posted back in July from the founder of Placebase - Fred Lalonde, it's now rumored Apple have bought Placebase, outright. The acquisition of the company took place in July of this year, but is only coming to light now, due to recent events involving both Google and Apple.

So, what exactly separates Placebase from Google Maps? Well, from this post published on Gigaom in early 2008, we can see Placebase has a few things Google Maps doesn't. For a start, the service allows users to overlay layers upon layers of data on top of each other, to provide an overall richer, fuller experience. On top of this, it's said that Placebase's API is smarter and easier than Google's claiming easier integration into third party products.

But, if Apple now has a maps company which is deemed superior to Google Maps, Why do they need Google? Now, that said I can't see them just dropping Google and the arrangement they currently have for 'native' iPhone maps functionality, after all - it's now one of the iPhone's most prominent features. But you have to wonder. With a maps company under it's belt, Apple could be gearing to compete with Google in this area, in a very big way.

Commodore 64 Emulator from Manomio Approved (maybe)

Posted by Jeff Scott on August 19th, 2009

Manomio, developers of the fully licensed and super fantastic Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone have made an announcement on their Twitter stream that they have been contacted by a senior director at Apple and have some good news coming. We can only guess that this means that they have gotten the go ahead from Apple and will be getting the C64 emulator approved!

This is exciting news and, quite honestly, somewhat unexpected. Emulation is one of the things that while explicitly against the rules for app store approval, has been approved in such cases as the classic Sega games recently released. But emulation apps by smaller developers have been rejected in the past. It's most likely the huge grass roots effort by Commodore 64 lovers that has gotten this effort moving, and we presume now, approved.

Until it's available, which will hopefully be soon, here's a short video that shows all of the fantastic work they have done to give you an idea of what's to come.

[youtube gUQH24c63g8]

It looks fantastic, I can't wait to grab it when it hits the app store. We'll let you know as soon as we see it in the app store or hear more.