This week at 148Apps.com, we kicked off October by interviewing the developer of iOS horror game Organ Trail. Rob Rich writes, “I make no attempt to hide my adoration for Organ Trail: Director’s Cut. I love this game and I’m proud of it. So having the opportunity to ask The Men Who Wear Many Hats – specifically Ryan Wiemeyer, co-owner and designer – a few questions was quite exciting. From the Flash game with over half a million fans to their new Greenlight venture, it’s all fair game for these enterprising haberdashers. Okay so they don’t necessarily make the hats but you get the idea.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games
Nothing nearly as frightening was happening at GiggleApps.com this week. Amy Solomon reviewed Tizzy Seasons, saying, “Tizzy Seasons is a delightful application for young children which teaches about each of the four seasons. Not a word is spoken or seen as text within this application, making this app a very nice selection for children no matter their language background. Start by choosing a boy or girl character and then a season with a tap, each charmingly expressed within four beautifully crafted scenes and each coming together as four corners of a background image, yet showing each season’s differences with the use of color and other details.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-08-22 :: Category: Education
And last, but certainly not least, founder Jeff Scott announced across all 148Apps sites, including 148Apps.biz, “We are very excited to announce that 148Apps and our network of sites have been acquired by our friends at Steel Media! 148Apps joins the amazing network of app related sites such as Pocket Gamer, Pocket Gamer.biz, AppSpy, Padvance, Quality Index, and more.
For more than four years 148Apps has covered the world of iOS apps and games. It started as a passion of mine and has now expanded to include the best writers this side of Mars. Now along with the Steel Media portfolio of sites, we have mobile apps and games covered from every angle.”
From interviews, to reviews, to exciting, game-changing news – this week had it all. Keep track of the latest developments across the mobile app world by following us on Twitter or Liking us on Facebook. See you next week!
Last week, Apple announced the iPhone 5, much to the surprise of everyone I’m sure (that’s sarcasm). The new phone has some pretty nifty features, but not everyone will be waiting in line for days in order to get their hands on one. Those of us who don’t want to trade-up just yet still have a way to scratch that “new Apple gadget” itch, however: iOS 6. This new iOS will be compatible with most older devices, including the iPhone 3GS (Yay!) and above, the fourth generation iPod Touch and up, and the iPad 2 and later. So while I might not be able to get my hands on a 5 just yet, I can still feel special when my phone starts to do new and exciting things!
iOS 6 – Plenty of changes to some old favorites
Before we get in to all the major changes and new features I want to take a moment to go over some of the smaller tweaks to the apps many iOS users can’t live without. The camera has gotten a bit more attention this time around. Users can take panoramic photos now with their iPhone 4S/5 and iPod Touch 4th/5th generation, up to 240 degrees both horizontally and vertically. They have simply to sweep the camera along using a predefined motion and the device and software takes care of the rest. Then, said photos and everything else on the camera roll can be shown off to friends quickly and easily with the Photo app. Video chatting with friends and family via FaceTime has also gotten much simpler now that the app can work over a cellular network and Wi-Fi is no longer required–provided the carrier allows for that sort of thing, naturally.
Even the Notification Center has been revamped with Twitter or Facebook posting allowed directly from the notifications window and the option to quiet those irritating 3am notices, thanks to the new Do Not Disturb feature (more on that later). Last, but certainly not least to the accident prone, Find My Phone has been updated to include a Lost Mode which allows users to remotely lock their misplaced phone with a 4-digit code and display contact information for honest folks to use in order to return the lost device. This goes hand-in-hand with Find My Friends, an app that uses GPS to keep track of friends and family, even going so far as to issue alerts when certain individuals have left or reached specific destinations. It sounds weird, but think of it in terms of the kids leaving school and getting home. Pretty nifty, I know, but this is just the beginning.
iTunes, App Store, iBookstore – Refurbishing the storefronts
iTunes, the App Store, and the iBookstore are also getting adjustments by way of some slightly revamped storefronts, Facebook integration (“like” items in the store or view items that friends like), and a new preview feature that automatically keeps track of any apps/music/books that you browse through. You can view this list from within any of the three stores–and across any of their iOS devices thanks to iCloud–and make purchases from it directly.
It’s quite frustrating to be the owner of older generations of iOS devices. iPhone 3G and 3GS (and sometimes even 4!) owners or original iPad or iPad 2 owners are often kept from using certain apps (mainly games) that require more powerful devices. But now, for some users that were upset that they couldn’t play the 3D audio adventure, BlindSide, that’s no longer a problem. BlindSide now supports older devices for their game.
The game used to only be playable on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the third-gen iPad (this left quite a few iPhone users out). The game has now added the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch (fourth generation) to its list of supported devices. Though, epicycle still highly suggests using one of the original three supported devices for the game as the two new devices are supported using a lower quality mode. So for optimal performance, use a new device.
BlindSide is a 3D audio adventure from epicycle. Players never actually see the world that they explore. The game requires uses to put headphones on and navigate around in the darkness based on what they hear. BlindSide detects where players are in the world based on their movements using the device’s gyroscope.
BlindSide is available for $2.99. Check out the new trailer for the game below.
One of the big drawbacks about the iPad 2 is its camera; identical to the iPod touch 4th generation’s camera, it only takes photos at a 960×720 resolution, paling in comparison to the resolution available from the iPhone 4’s camera, if not all iPhone cameras period. This is such low resolution that it is actually smaller than the iPad 2’s screen resolution of 1024×768. This means that users should not expect to be taking fantastic photographs with the iPad 2; and apparently very few people are.
According to Flickr’s stats, there are an average of 36 users per day uploading photos to Flickr from their iPad. Compare this to the over 4000 that upload daily from the iPhone 4 (which is trending toward becoming the most-used camera on Flickr, period), over 3000 that still upload photos from the iPhone 3G, and just under 2000 that upload from the iPhone 3GS per day. In comparison, the iPod touch 4G, which has an identical camera as the iPad 2, gets 455 users that upload to photos to the site per day, which is enough to make it the 5th most popular ‘cameraphone’ on Flickr; stats are not available for the original iPhone on Flickr.
Granted, there is a definite possibility that the numbers are being skewed by Flickr’s userbase; it may skew more toward photography enthusiasts than the casual photo taker, and the iPad 2’s camera is one that few if any serious photographers would actually use. The percentages may likely be higher on Facebook and Twitter photo services, where casual and convenient photos are more prominent than well-prepared shots, where a higher-quality camera would likely be used.
However, what is clear is that iOS users have definite options to upload photos from the phone to Flickr, as shown by iOS cameras being 4 of the top 5 cameraphones on Flickr. The iPod touch’s inferior camera is still popular enough to make it notable among cameraphones on Flickr. The conclusion is that tablets just may not be devices that users consider as regular cameras. iPhones and iPod touches are devices designed to be carried around in users’ pockets, and can be used to take photos when an opportunity arises. The iPad is usually carried around in a case or a bag, and may not be as immediately available for casual photo taking, and its inferior quality camera dissuades taking high-quality shots as well. Apple may have known this and only put a rear-facing camera in for posterity, rather than for actual usability, because no one is using the iPad 2 to take photos.
So, you’ve broken free of AT&T and now own a shiny new Verizon iPhone 4. How are you going to protect it? Speck has the answer with new fitted cases for the Verizon iPhone 4, and we have ten to give away starting Thursday, February 10th.
All you have to do to win is keep watching our Facebook page. Sometime on the 10th, and then for the next ten days, we’ll post on our wall that the daily contest is on. You then have to “like” our post and comment below it to be eligible to win. We’ll choose one winner at random from all of the commenters, so please keep it to just one comment per contest day.
Winners will need to provide us with a valid email address as well as a physical mailing address, since we can’t electronically transmit your case to you.
Last week, we reported that the white iPhone has been delayed until Spring, and along the way linked to a couple stories with possible reasons why. One of the more outlandish-sounding ideas was that Apple was killing the white iPhone entirely and just waiting for the iPhone 5, but suddenly that idea doesn’t seem so crazy.
Last week, Apple pulled the white iPhone 4 from its online store, basically removing any possibility that it will be available for pre-order or sale anytime in the near future. The device hasn’t been wiped totally out of existence though, as Apple’s iPhone gallery still touts pics of the enigmatic phone alongside other, existent products.
So what are we to make of all this then? From the order of events (Apple posting the phone in the store, announcing the delay and then pulling it entirely), we’re led to believe that the company had every intention of releasing the device for the holidays, but had to pull the plug at the last minute due to undisclosed reasons. We assume the issues are technical in nature, as there have been all sorts of rumors about the iPhone having trouble with pictures, lighting and so forth due to the lighter casing. The actions of the company this week seem to to be the result of slamming the brakes on a locomotive running at full steam; at this point Apple’s just hoping the whole train doesn’t derail.
While a Spring release is still the company’s official line, the idea that the phone may ever come out is looking less and less likely. If the iPhone 5 arrives around June as expected would Apple even bother to release a soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 4 model, or will they just cut their losses and move on to the next generation? We believe that if the snags that have held up the device don’t clear up soon then it will definitely be the latter.
There is great excitement over yesterday being the day when AT&T and Verizon began selling the iPad, but the good feelings between Apple and wireless service providers may not last much longer. Reports out of Europe state that Apple is working on a special SIM card which will allow users to buy iPhones directly from Apple and turn on service via the App Store. The new card will apparently be built directly into the phone and will let users effectively cut out the middleman.
The device is a joint venture between Apple and Gemalto, and the new SIM card will prompt users to select their carrier and activate their phone via an App Store download rather than having to call or physically visit a store to get things set up and working properly. The chip’s built-in ROM already has all the technical and security aspects written on it, leaving space where users fill in the carrier info via download. Thus, your phone is a blank slate, ready to roll as soon as you pop the last piece of the puzzle in place.
This rumor, if true, would basically allow Apple to fling open the doors and let just about any carrier they authorize provide iPhone service. While the device is already available on multiple carriers in Europe, moving from one company to another is still a cumbersome task. With this new SIM card changing to a new wireless plan is as simple as downloading a new bit of software, allowing consumers to be much more mobile with their mobile phones. Imagine that!
Such a setup would be a sweetheart deal for customers, who could easily jump from carrier to carrier in order to constantly get the best deal. Having a permanent, phone-specific SIM card means you’ll never lose your personal information and saved numbers, so all you have to worry about is how to save the most money. The only ones upset by this would be the wireless carriers, but it’s hard to drum up much sympathy for that lot.
Folks who use their iPhones to send naughty messages back and forth may be in for a rude awakening as Apple has recently filed an anti-sexting patent. Basically, the new feature would allow users to block “sexts” (text message containing sexual or otherwise explicit content), or any other content which they deem inappropriate. Users could also opt to have texts delivered, but with the explicit content filtered out before it reaches them.
“Systems, devices, and methods are provided for enabling a user to control the content of text-based messages sent to or received from an administered device,” reads the patent application. “In some embodiments, a message will be blocked (incoming or outgoing) if the message includes forbidden content. In other embodiments, the objectionable content is removed from the message prior to transmission or as part of the receiving process. The content of such a message is controlled by filtering the message based on defined criteria.”
The desire to clean up dirty language in text message falls right in line with Apple’s anti-porn stance, but this new patent is nowhere near as Orwellian as some of the company’s other policies. From the sound of things this will be an opt-in program, and will be aimed mainly at parents who want to restrict behavior of youngsters and teens who may be prone to sending flirtatious messages. In this case Big Brother Jobs isn’t looking directly over your shoulder, but rather peering at you from across the way using binoculars and a series of mirrors.
A brand name like TomTom has become almost as synonymous as Kleenex over the last decade. Just like my grandmother calling any social networking sites, “The Facebooks,” she has similarly christened any mobile GPS unit as a “TomTom.” So with a solid name recognition (and the loving adoration of my Nana), when it was announced to be coming to the iPhone, I wasn’t really that shocked.
What is surprising, however, is the fact that since September of last year, the app has been iterated on and updated four times. A fifth refresh is currently in the works and looks to focusing on the ever-expanding population of iPhone 4 owners. Here are some of the highlights of version 1.5:
Navigate-to-photo – Users can easily navigate to a location by selecting a photo stored in the iPhone gallery. Locations are identified by geo-tags.
Optimization for iPhone 4 – Takes full advantage of the capabilities of Apple’s latest iOS device, the app now delivers high resolution graphics, sharper maps, more-responsive menus and improved positioning even in areas with limited GPS reception.
Latest, most up-to-date maps – Because on average 15% of roads change every year, the TomTom App comes with the latest and most up-to-date map. No mobile signal or data plan is required to browse the map and navigate to a destination.
I would like to take a brief moment to dwell on the statistic that 15% of roads change every year. How is that even possible? This has to be either some kind of drastic miscounting, or Europeans have streets that shift more often than the Grand Staircase in the Harry Potter novels. I really have a hard time knowing that this could be accurate, unless they count construction detours as “road changes.”
At the end of the day, this update will bring the TomTom iPhone application up-to-date with the newest technology available. Here’s to hoping that the next refresh includes auto-driving functionality, lord knows my Grandma could use that too.
Instead of making people go into Apple Stores, or even worse, submit mail-in rebates, for their free iPhone 4 bumpers or cases (if you don’t know why you’re getting a case, click here), Apple has created an app for the process.
The app tracks your phone by its IMEA, so you can’t get a duplicate case or a second case with someones 3G.
Also, be sure to read the policy on the iTunes page so you get the process done in the correct time frame. Don’t expect to hold off til October and get a case, Apple won’t have it.
It’s a shame that every company isn’t so crafty with its rebates.
Widely regarded as one of the prettiest games with the best tactile controls out there, Zen Bound 2 just received a Universal update which makes it… even better. We just got word from Secret Exit that this Universal update has been approved — it might take a couple hours to show up in the App Store.
Zen Bound 2 Universal is an update to the current iPad release that makes it compatible on the iPhone. It supports all devices with OS3.1+ and takes advantage of the graphics capabilities of the iPhone 3G and up.
If you are lucky enough to own an iPhone 4, the app gets the full retina display treatment, as well as extra tactile feedback upgrades that take advantage of the gyro sensor in controlling your rope. With the new update, Secret Exit “firmly stands” by the claim that Zen Bound 2 is the “most beautiful and tactile iPhone & iPad game ever”.
If you don’t own it already on the iPad, check out Zen Bound 2 Universal in the App Store at its new price of $2.99. And if you absolutely can’t get enough of the game, you can now download the soundtrack for free from the website. Just don’t listen at work… it may put you in a trance.
Now Apple has announced that it will be providing free Bumper cases to iPhone 4 users and refunds to existing Bumper owners, there’s never been a better time to get hold of some low cost protection for your device. UK-based case manufacturer Proporta is offering a novel spin on Apple’s generous deal by offering a 20% discount on all of its iPhone 4 cases and screen protectors – if you send them your (now free) iPhone 4 Bumper case that is.
Guy Monson co-founder of Proporta says “We at Proporta think it’s very generous of Apple and admire their commitment to solving the problem. We believe that it’s good for Proporta as it’ll help open people’s eyes to the need to protect their mobile devices – something we’ve been saying for the past 14 years… we realise that a free case is a free case and that a lot of customers will still want fully surrounded protection.”
Whether you see the deal as a handy way to upgrade your iPhone 4 case to fully surrounded protection or a sneaky marketing ploy, Proporta does offer a wide range of cases and the discount will certainly help out those in the market for a more sturdy cover.
Those interested can simply enter the promotional code “CASEFREE” at proporta.com to take advantage of the discount.
Let me set the tone for this article. First, I think the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone ever created. And I think Apple should be proud of it and hold it up as an example of exemplary engineering and design. But it has a small issue that crops up for a certain number of users. That said, Apple has a PR crisis on their hands. They are partially to blame, and this press conference did very little to help their current nightmare.
Apple started off the press conference by showing the following YouTube video. Interesting that they started off with a little bit of humor for something that so many people are so passionate about. Here’s that video.
What’s the problem, Steve?
Next up, Steve Jobs came on stage wearing his usual uniform of acid washed jeans and a black turtleneck, and told the crowd that Apple made a mistake but wants to make their customers happy.
“We’re not perfect. Phones aren’t perfect. We know that, you know that. But we want to make all our users happy. If you don’t know that, you don’t know Apple. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do that.
“We’re going to talk about the problems and the data we’ve got. The iPhone 4 is perhaps the best product we’ve ever made at Apple. We’ve sold well over 3 million since we launched it just over 3 weeks ago. It’s been judged the number one smartphone by a variety of publications (ed. note: including Cosumer Reports) — people seem to like it.
It has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any iPhone, and of any smartphone. However, we started getting some reports about people getting issues with the antenna system. People have been seeing a large drop in bars, and this has been since dubbed antennagate.”
Steve then went on to show video demonstrations of other phones suffering a drop in bars from death grips of their own. This included the Blackberry Bold 9700 dropping from 5 bars to 1, the HTC Droid Eris Android phone going from 4 to 0 bars, and the Samsung Omnia 2 Windows Mobile phone going from 5 bars to 1. “This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren’t perfect.” said Steve Jobs. More details on those test are available on the Apple site.
This wasn’t typical classy Apple. They don’t usually show product faults in others. An interesting PR change from Apple we’ve seen in the last keynote (comparisons with Android), and this one. Apple going on the defensive and not staying on their high ground. I, for one, don’t like it.
But, nevertheless, this is an interesting demonstration. But what they didn’t address is if this drop in bars also had the effect of immediately dropping calls or data connections like is seen in the iPhone 4 under very specific instances.
Again, from Steve Jobs “We screwed up on our algorithm. Again, all smartphones seem to do this — we haven’t figured out our way around the laws of physics. Yet.”
Apple then went on to share some unprecedented data with us on how prolific this problem really is, or in this case isn’t. Of all owners, 0.55% have called AppleCare about the issue. This turns out to be about 16,500 users calling in on the issue. You have to wonder though, how many of those user actually have the problem on a regular basis and how many are calling just because they heard there was a problem.
Return rates are astonishingly low. In the early days of the iPhone 3GS release, AT&T were seeing around a 6% return rate. Pretty low rates for a smartphone. The return rates for the iPhone 4 have been just 1.7% — an amazingly low number.
The final stat shared was drop rates using data pulled directly from AT&T. This is where the iPhone 4 actually has a worse record. According to the records from AT&T, the iPhone 4 has less than 1% more dropped calls per 100 calls. Not a large number. So what, the iPhone 4 drops 98 calls out of 100 and the iPhone 3GS drops 97 out of 100 on AT&T? (that’s humor, folks)
Now the real question — if AT&T can tell the dropped calls, why can’t they automatically credit you for them? Why do you have to call in for each dropped call to get credit? But, back to Apple.
Steve mentioned that he has gotten over 5,000 emails from people saying that their iPhone 4 works fine and can’t figure out the problem. And he re-itterated that Apple cares about all of their users and are not going to stop until every one of them is happy.
And even all this bad press hasn’t hurt the sales of the iPhone 4. They are selling every one that they can make and report this as their most successful product launch ever.
Ok, that’s all good, and falling bars is an issue, true. But it’s not the real issue and Apple failed to really address that the issue was the physical design of the device and some strange body chemistry issues.
Cover up that Achilles heel, but with style.
Apple took a chance with the external antenna design of the iPhone 4. And while in many ways that paid off with an antenna better than any phone ever made — not to mention a pretty striking look — it also exposed a serious weak point. This lower left spot where two antennas meet is the root of the issue. The “spot” is the Achilles heel of the fantastic design of the iPhone 4. And even though Apple failed to specifically say it, for now there’s just one solution. Cover it up. Put a case on your beautiful iPhone 4.
Now the truth is not everyone will need to put a case on their iPhone 4 to insulate it. It depends somewhat on your body chemistry and how you use your phone. But for a certain percentage of users, this is the only workaround. For some people if they touch that spot and bridge those two antennas, you don’t block the signal — it would seem to be impossible to block a signal from a 5 inch long antenna with a 1/4 inch touch from as little as a fingertip. But what you are doing is scrambling something that causes a near instant drop in a call or stoppage of data transfer.
So for those iPhone 4 owners that want it, Apple will be giving free cases for iPhone 4s purchased through the end of September. These won’t all be bumpers — and may not be any bumpers at all. Apple says they can’t make enough bumpers to wrap one around every iPhone 4 so they will have a variety of cases that people can choose from. If you have already bought a bumper from Apple, they will refund the cost to you though.
You will be able to go to the Apple web site starting next week to either request your refund or order from a variety of cases.
Proximity sensor fix coming
Another common complaint about the iPhone 4 has to do the the proximity sensor. That’s the sensor that turns off the screen and stops your cheek from pressing buttons when you put the phone up to you ear. Some users are seeing it stay on or flash on and off and this can lead to ending calls or dialing numbers while on a call. Apple says a fix for that will be in the next iOS update.
Does it come in white?
An update on the white iPhone 4. It will begin shipping in late July in limited quantities.
Where do we go from here?
Following the announcements, Apple opened for a little Q&A with the invited press. The questions were pretty standard stuff with most reporters asking the same questions that has just been answered. Apple specifically invites friendly reporters to events where they will have Q&A sessions at, so nothing too hard ball was thrown. The hardest questions were skirted deftly and without the slightest pushback from the attending press. The toughest question came from Ryan Block of the great gadget site, gdgt. He asked specifically about the Achilles heel issue we’ve seen with a single finger stopping instantly the data connection or dropping a call. This was not really answered but the same mantra reiterated that your body can be an effective signal absorber. I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing in this specific case, as I said above. But that was the answer.
Also asked was why Apple is only providing cases through September. And the answer was that they are looking at other options. I think this means that they are looking for ways to really fix the issue. Perhaps a clear coat on the antenna that will insulate it — or an internal solution to fix the issue. So in September I think we’ll see one of two things happen. Either a revision of the iPhone 4 that fixes the problem, or an extension of the free case program. That will also inform what kind of design we will see for the next iPhone. As I’m sure we won’t see the same design unless the issue can be resolved.
Interestingly, when Steve announced the free cases, Apple stock price jumped up about 4 points or around 2%. Almost immedately after it fell back 3 points.
You can hold it like this, or like this, or like this! (Image source: Engadget)
In whole, I think this whole issue says more about Apple as a company. As they grow, and they have grown considerably over the past few years, the family expands. And as that family expands it will grow from from a tight knit group of informed friendly fans to a group that includes people that like to cause trouble and complain just because that is their nature. You know the kind of person I’m talking about. This is the new problem that Apple needs to figure out. But I think their message to those people was pretty clear today. Apple will give you a way to workaround this issue for free. If you don’t like it, they’ll give you all your money back.
And because of those complainers, I’m not sure if this PR nightmare is over. Those complainers want a hard fix, not a workaround. I hope this has at least informed the majority of people to what the problems are and how Apple will answer those problems. But then again, Apple may not have been as honest with their response as they should have been either. So maybe they didn’t help.
Either way, the answer is the same. If you have a problem with the antenna, put a case on it. If that doesn’t work for you, return it.
Now, can we all move on to something else? Some other topic? Can we start talking about the next iPod Touch? What about Apple TV? Anything, not no more antennas!
Want to watch the press conference? Apple has put it up for all to watch. Though it doesn’t contain the Q&A that followed.
Apple have also put up some information on their $100 million dollar antenna testing labs.
This iPhone 4 signal problem is building to a critical mass and Apple will apparently address the issue at a press conference on Friday.
From the moment the first iPhone 4 owner complained that holding the phone in a certain (fairly normal) way meant reduced signal bars, through Steve Jobs’ clumsy “hold it differently” email response and now Consumer Reports’ review U-Turn, things are not looking good for Apple’s latest device.
To further ignite the issue, Cult of Mac has posted the comments of leading crisis communications expert Chris Lehane who dealt with the worst of President Clinton’s White House mishaps. Yes, he’s THAT good!
Along with other leading crisis management experts included in the post, Lehane’s message is simple: Apple needs to accept blame and deal with the issue as soon as possible.
We’ve received mixed reports on the iPhone 4’s signal issues here with some finding problems and others barely noticing an issue. That said, should the more severe complaints keep coming and major sources like Consumer Reports maintain their hard line on this design flaw, we’re likely to see a big move if not a full product recall very soon.
The Cult of Mac post also brings into question Apple’s “half-loaf” approach at calming matters by proposing a software fix, which the experts feel was rushed. The announcement was perhaps a little hasty, but we’re still waiting for the software update itself, expected later today.
It’s sad that such a seemingly minor design glitch that can easily be remedied with the use of a case has become the thorn in (quite literally) the iPhone 4’s side.
With Apple’s quarterly earnings report coming up later this month, the company needs to make a bold move in order to resolve this issue quickly and, according to Gizmodo, may already be doing so under the radar. Several users have reported that new iPhone 4s, offered by Apple as replacements in the event of accidental damage or non-signal related hardware problems, do not suffer the same signal issues as their original phone. While some have seen no improvement, a large number of testimonies point toward replacement iPhone 4s simply working better, leading to the suggestion that Apple might be quietly pushing out updated devices as replacements.
These revelations arise in the wake of rumors that Apple will be holding a press conference Friday in which it is expected to outline its stance on the problem and a potential resolution. Analysts are pegging the cost of a total iPhone 4 recall at around $1.5 billion, that’s 3.5 percent of Apple’s cash reserves.
An alternate option, suggested by Bernstein Research, would be for Apple to provide free bumper cases, that are known to fix the signal attenuation problem, at a cost to the company of $1 per unit. With Apple’s official bumper case costing $29 retail, it seems the free case route could be far more appealing to Apple than replacing an entire phone with a retail value of over $500.
Apple has refused to comment on the nature of its press conference on Friday, merely stating that it will be iPhone 4 related, but it’s a safe bet that a solution to this PR nightmare will be provided.
With any luck, come this weekend, the bad press will have died down, the world will continue to turn and iPhone 4 signal strength will rise along with Apple’s stock price.
This may come as a shock to the public, so brace yourself. The iPhone has a reception issue that is very real, and has nothing at all to do with software.
According to Consumer Reports testing, “when your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal.” Because of this issue, the highly respected publication does not recommend the iPhone 4, no matter how awesome they thought the phones features were.
Consumer Reports also gives a quick fix to the iPhone problem that involves duct tape and a loss of all shame. All you have to do is simply “cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material”. They follow by stating that a case may fix the problem, but there have been no tests to confirm the claim.
Ed. Note: Even though it does not get a recommended rating from Consumer Reports, according to All Things D the iPhone 4 still tops the Consumer Reports Smartphone list with a 74/100 score. Ahead of the iPhone 3GS and HTC EVO at 72.
While I don’t think that anyone will change their minds about purchasing an iPhone, it would be good for Apple to fix the problem rather than blame it on software.
Since the launch of the iPhone 4, we’ve seen lots of developers release details about their submitted but not yet released iPhone 4 flashlight apps. Apps that trigger the LED flash on the back of the iPhone 4 used to provide extra light for the camera. These flashlight apps trigger that LED to give you enough light to navigate in the dark.
Today it looks like Apple finally decided to approve that type of app and we’ve seen a rush of this new sub-genre. So far we’ve seen at least 11 of them appear in the App Store and I’m sure we’ll see dozens more in the next few weeks. Most of these apps are showing up at $0.99 while just one has been released as free. Since they are allbasicallythesame, you might just want to pick up the free one and put that dollar toward an app that’s a little more original for your iPhone 4.
A huge warning on these apps is that the LED will likely burn through your battery pretty quick. You won’t likely notice much of a problem if you are using it for a few second here and there.
So far no one has released the Doodle Jiggle Bikini God LED Flashlight app. That will be the killer one we’ve all been waiting for. [end sarcasm]
With the iPhone 4 out in the wild along with its super-powerful Retina display, not to mention iOS4, updates to pre-existing apps are almost always necessary. Happily, Pangea Software is keeping up—they’ve updated all of their apps to support the new iPhone 4.
The updates take advantage of the iPhone 4’s display by adding higher-resolution graphics. Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software, says that “the retina display is truly astounding, and the games all look like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” All the games have been tweaked to accommodate the new OS as well.
If you’ve just nabbed an iPhone 4 and own some Pangea apps, make sure to download the updated versions and put that gorgeous display to good use!
Smule, developers of exciting and sometimes unusual music apps for iPhone, has updated the popular I Am T-Pain app for iPhone 4. The 1.5 update is free to all users and takes advantage of the video services available to developers in iOS4 and the new front-facing camera on the iPhone 4.
If you’ve not tried the app before, I Am T-Pain is a novel tool that alters a user’s voice using the popular Auto-Tune effect found in modern pop music. The new version now allows you to capture video on the front-facing camera as you sing into your iPhone to a backing track chosen from a number of T-Pain’s own songs.
Once recorded, songs and video can be shared to the web to sit alongside the over 29 million recordings by I Am T-Pain users so far.
If you fancy sound at least a little bit like the current chart toppers, the app works with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS and is available for a very reasonable $0.99
Check out the big man himself showing off the new app features in the video below
With pre-ordered iPhone 4s arriving early and the big tech pundits having received their models a week in advance, the first reviews and benchmarks for iPhone 4 have begun appearing online.
As you would expect, the usual suspects such as Walt Mossberg, David Pogue and Ed Baig all think Apple’s new phone is the best thing thing since… the iPhone 3GS, and even the tech sites are joining the love in with both Josh Topolsky of Engadget and Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing scoring the device highly.
Mac Rumors has attempted some benchmarking of the iPhone already but has pointed out that its finding aren’t an exact science. Using the GeekBench benchmarking tool on iPhone, however, it appears that the iPhone 4 runs around 31% faster than the iPhone 3GS but likely slower than the iPad which runs the same Apple A4 processor as the iPhone 4. These results are clouded by the lack of iOS4 on the iPad and fuzzy results from the benchmarking tools which are said to have produced a large variance in scores.
Other notable discoveries include the lack of a capacity marking on the back of the new iPhone whereas previous models showed 8GB and 16GB on the rear panel and 512MB of RAM available. For those who really want to delve into the nuts and bolts of the iPhone 4, iFixit has begun its teardown of the new phone and it has been suggested that the screen on the new device comes from a company called Corning who offer durable screens called Gorilla Glass.
Of course, we’ll bring you all of the latest iPhone 4 news as we get it and also provide our thoughts on Apple’s latest device as soon as possible.
The increased resolution of the iPhone 4 has been the point of a lot of conversation from the moment it was first announced. Most of the conversation focusing on if it really is a “retina display,” one with such a high pixel density that the human eye can’t see the individual pixels. And around that, most of the conversation had to do how great text will look on the display. But what about games? How will the increased resolution impact games? Can they actually approach photographic quality? Wow, that would be staggering — and I can’t wait to see it!
In what I believe are the first games to be approved to take advantage of the Retina Display on the iPhone 4, Real Racing and Flight Control updates are now live. They include increased resolution graphics to fit the new display — rather than rely on pixel doubled graphics. In addition, Real Racing control has been updated to take advantage of the gyroscope in the iPhone 4. It should provide for even better control of the steering in the game.
Apple’s servers were completely overloaded today by people trying to pre-order the iPhone 4. Users trying to place their pre-orders were routinely hit with “Failed to open page” and “Server failed to respond” errors today.
While some will just wait and try again late tonight or tomorrow, there is some risk of the first day pre-orders selling out. You were able to pre-order the iPad for first day pickup for a few days, but the demand for the iPhone 4 is expected to be much greater. So it is possible that the iPhone 4 could sell-out much earlier. The real exasperating part is that if the process fails, you have to start back from the very start of the ordering process. Why can’t they just remember your choices and allow you to continue?
Our best suggestion, just keep trying!
Let us know in the comments if you were able to pre-order your iPhone 4. I’ll keep trying, and hopefully I will get my iPhone 4 pre-ordered before they sell out.
Update: I was just able to complete a pre-order, on my first try, using Apple’s new Apple Store app. I suggest you give that a try. It’s only 1.6 MB, so should be downloadable by everyone over Edge/3G.