It looks like Apple is keeping a closer hold on the iPhone’s apron strings than anyone thought, if information uncovered by Jonathan Zdziarski is to be believed. Speaking on iPhone Atlas on Wednesday, Zdziarski – author of a book on iPhone application development – explained that he was performing “forensic examination of an iPhone 3G” when he discovered a suspicious configuration file in the CoreLocation section of the memory. Upon investigating, he discovered a link to a page on Apple’s website which appears to contain the skeleton for a future application blacklist. The page, called ‘unauthorizedApps’, seems to exist so the iPhone can occasionally download a copy and check the signatures of banned applications against installed applications – if a match is found, the app is disabled immediately. Zdziarski believes that this functionality exists “to disable applications that the user has already downloaded and paid for, if Apple so chooses to shut them down.”
Clearly, there are legitimate reasons why such functionality should exist – although slightly fewer for why it’s undocumented and downright concealed – including the possibility that Apple can update iPhones with a sort of anti-malware by listing known ‘bricking’ programs in the blacklist. However, it demonstrates that even a ‘jailbroken’ iPhone might not escape Apple’s clutches for long – and how sure can you be that Installer.App or your favourite non-Apple approved software won’t hit the blacklist once it’s activated? Anyone here worried about the possibilities of a hidden remote app killer developed by Apple, or does the Cupertino company just have your best interests at heart?
Source: Bit-tech, Martin
The launch of Apple Inc.’s much-anticipated new iPhone turned into an information-technology meltdown on Friday, as customers were unable to get their phones working. “It’s such grief and aggravation,” said Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Mass., after spending two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T Inc., trying to get his new iPhone to work. In stores, people waited at counters to get the phones activated, as lines built behind them. Many of the customers had already camped out for several hours in line to become among the first with the new phone, which updates the one launched a year ago by speeding up Internet access and adding a navigation chip. A spokesman for AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., said there was a global problem with Apple’s iTunes servers that prevented the phones from being fully activated in-store, as had been planned.
Instead, employees are telling buyers to go home and perform the last step by connecting their phones to their own computers, spokesman Michael Coe said. However, the iTunes servers were equally hard to reach from home, leaving the phones unusable except for emergency calls. The problem extended to owners of the previous iPhone model. A software update released for that phone on Friday morning required the phone to be reactivated through iTunes. When the first iPhone went on sale a year ago, customers performed the whole activation procedure at home, freeing store employees to focus on sales. But the new model is subsidized by carriers, and Apple and AT&T therefore planned to activate all phones in-store to get customers on a contract.
Souce: AP, Martin
According to a preliminary analysis by iSuppli Corp., the new Apple iPhone 3G materials and manufacturing cost is $173. The initial retail price of the phone announced by Steve Jobs will be $199. iSuppli has performed a breakdown of the costs using insights from its analysis staff to develop estimates of iPhone content, suppliers, and costs. “The new iPhone is significantly less expensive to produce than the first-generation product, despite major improvements in the product’s functionality and unique usability, due to the addition of 3G communications,” said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli.
“The original 8Gbyte iPhone carried a cost of $226 after component price reductions, giving the new product a 23 percent hardware cost reduction due to component price declines.” Tina Teng, wireless communications analyst at iSuppli, added that if the 3G iPhone design is unchanged, the cost should drop down to $126 in 2012. Although the base iPhone 3G will sell for just $199 at retail, Apple will receive far more than that with AT&T footing the bill as it does with most phones. Wireless carriers subsidize much of the cost of devices and make up the difference with revenue from new and existing subscribers.
Source: Betanews, PC World, Martin
After Singapore Airlines claimed to be the first to the market in offering passengers connectivity for the Apple iPod personal electronic devices, United says it is taking the honors as the first US carrier to offer the amenity. United today is debuting the feature on a transatlantic flight from Washington Dulles to Zurich that allows passengers to connect iPods and iPhones to its IFE system, which features a 15.4-inch widescreen flat panel monitor. The US major has previously said it is engaging in a $165 million revamp to equip premium cabins of its international widebody fleet that includes new Panasonic IFE systems to allow iPod and iPhone connectivity in first and business class, and lie-flat beds on the aircraft.
Last month, Singapore Airlines flew its first flight offering iPod connectivity on an Airbus A340-500. The carrier is reconfiguring five of the aircraft to all-business class layouts. “Our guests may now watch or listen to what they want, when they want, with programming they choose,” said United Airlines executive VP Graham Atkinson in a statement today. “United will continue to provide services and technology that makes our customers’ travel experiences more relaxed and enjoyable.”
Source: PC World, Ars Technica, Martin
In his keynote address to open Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) on Monday, Steve Jobs officially announced the iPhone 3G. Perhaps the most important revelation was the price, which at $199 for the entry level (8GB) model is half the original’s current $399 pricetag. He indicated that the price was based on research where consumers who have so far passed on the iPhone said cost was the biggest barrier. Not surprisingly he didn’t talk about his previous prediction of 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008. Why is that significant? Maybe because at the current (pre-iPhone 3G) prices it appears unlikely to happen.
In fact despite “selling out some number of weeks ago,” Jobs said only 6 million have been sold in the approximately 11 months since the initial launch on June 29 of last year. Jobs showed off the speed difference between the iPhone 3G’s “amazingly zippy” performance on newer 3G networks, compared with the EDGE connection available to owner’s of the original. The same web page that took nearly a minute to load using an EDGE connection took just over 20 seconds across 3G. He also compared it to a Nokia N95 and Treo 750, which reportedly took 33 and 34 seconds respectively to load the same page (using 3G) while delivering it in a less complete mobile format. He also pointed out that 3G speed is “actually approaching Wi-Fi.”
Other changes include the use of plastic instead of aluminum for the back (presumably to bring production costs down), as well as the addition of a 2 Megapixel camera and GPS. Near the end of his presentation a map showed 70 countries where the 3G iPhone will officially be available while ‘It’s a Small World’ played in the background. By contrast, the original iPhone is only offered in 6 countries. The iPhone 3G’s initial launch, on July 11, will actually only include 22 countries, with the other 48 planned by year’s end.
Source: Afterdawn, Martin
Samsung Electronics South Korea released on early Monday preview details on the company’s new smartphone, before the mania of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference begins in California. The Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900) is similar in looks and function to the Samsung Instinct (SPH-M800), but with a few more bells and whistles. For starters, it sounds like it has a very promising camera. With five megapixels and anti-shake technology, this may be the first camera on a phone that produces pictures you would actual think of printing, not just posting to Facebook. This is an improvement over the 2-megapixel cameras on both the first-generation iPhone and on the Samsung Instinct.
The touch-screen smartphone, which runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 and features Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Opera 9.5 as its Web browser, will also have Wi-Fi. That’s something the Instinct also lacks. Like the Instinct, the Omnia has visual voice mail, 3G capability, Bluetooth, an FM radio, and GPS functionality. The smartphone, of course, also doubles as a music player and, with 16GB, will be able to hold up to 4,000 songs or 100 minutes of video, according to Samsung. The Omnia (SGH-i900) will become available in Southeast Asia first and then be launched to other markets over the second half of 2008, according to Samsung.
Apple has staked a strong claim in the smartphone market. And it’s a good space to latch onto, as the worldwide smartphone market grew more than 29 percent and the North American smartphone market doubled in the first quarter of 2008 compared to a year ago, according to new research from Gartner. Apple, Cupertino, Calif., is the No. 3 vendor of smartphones, selling 1.7 million units worldwide to grab a 5.3 percent share of the market, Gartner said. Apple has built that share up from nothing, offering no smartphone in its portfolio until the debut of its iPhone in June, 2007. In the U.S., Apple is the No. 2 vendor, grabbing 20 percent of the market. Still, the vendor has a ways to go if it wants to hit No. 1 worldwide. Nokia, Espoo, Finland, holds that spot, selling 14.6 million units in the first quarter and grabbing 45.2 percent of the market. Research in Motion, Waterloo, Ontario, sits at No. 2, selling 4.3 million units to grab 13.4 percent of the market.
Globally, buyers snapped up 32.2 million smartphones in the first quarter, an increase of 29.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007. In North America, unit sales more than doubled to 7.3 million. “Despite economic concerns, the smartphone market continued to expand in the United States, driven by heavy advertising and strong marketing promotions as more devices reached mass market price points,” said Hugues De La Vergne, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, in a statement. “North American operators are giving these devices strong support, as they provide higher average revenue per unit (ARPU). We expect operators to continue to make these devices the focus of 2008 promotions.”
Source: CRN, Martin
High Tech Computer on Tuesday launched a more powerful version of its popular Touch smartphone, hoping to lure consumers from better-known rivals such as Apple’s iPhone. The Touch Diamond, which supports carriers’ 3G broadband-like networks, includes features that focus on Web browsing and checking e-mail. The device, which runs on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, includes a 2.8-inch VGA touch screen that the company claims provides near-print-quality viewing. The smartphone’s Web browser can zoom and pan Web sites. In addition, turning the device sideways automatically rotates the page view from portrait to landscape.
HTC has also developed its own YouTube application to watch video from the popular site. The software also optimizes the use of Google’s mobile mapping service for accessing street maps and getting traffic data. The Touch Diamond weighs less than 4 ounces and includes a 3.2-megapixel camera. The device comes with 4 GB of storage, and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. Talk time is up to four hours on a fully charged battery, according to HTC. Its size is roughly 4 by 2 by 0.4 inches. HTC plans to offer the Touch Diamond through all major European carriers in June, and later this quarter in Asia and the Middle East. The device is scheduled to ship in North America and Latin America in the second half of the year.
Source: ComputerWeek, Martin
Adobe Systems Inc. says it will license its video-enabling Flash software for free for mobile devices to help developers make mobile Internet experiences more closely resemble the experience on computers. The world’s fifth-largest software maker is launching what it calls the Open Screen Project with support from phone makers Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba Corp., from chip makers Intel and Qualcomm, and from content providers including NBC Universal, MTV Networks and the BBC, among other companies. With the Open Screen Project, Adobe said, it aims to improve Internet experiences on all electronics, including computers, TVs and digital video recorders. But mobile devices are a particular focus.
Many mobile applications have met with disappointment from consumers. And game and video developers have been burdened with cranking out numerous versions of applications for mobile devices, said Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s chief technology officer. “You have to make over 100 different versions of that game in order to actually make it work across all these different phones,” Lynch said. Notably missing from the list of industry supporters for Adobe’s project is Apple Inc. The iPhone maker does not use Flash on its smart phones, and Chief Executive Steve Jobs has publicly criticized Flash for being too slow. Adobe says it’s working on a version of Flash for the iPhone — now that Apple has released the information needed to custom fit the software to Apple’s operating system.
Source: AP, Martin
The 3G iPhone will be announced June 9, the likely date of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, analysts said in research notes on Thursday. The 3G iPhone will be the “first of an impressive wave of new products” from Apple, wrote Citi analysts Richard Gardner and Yeechang Lee. They also expect an updated Mac laptop and iPod lines. The Apple conference is scheduled for June 9-13 in San Francisco. In addition to a 3G iPhone release in early June, the 2.5G model could have a “minor casing change” and a price drop to between US$299 and $349, compared to the current $399, wrote Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, in a research report.
Those predictions are consistent with a February prediction Gardner made that 3G iPhones will be announced by midyear. The 3G iPhone release will help Apple meet its target of shipping 10 million iPhones in 2008, Gardner wrote at the time. Apple is confident it will sell 10 million iPhones this year, officials said during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings. Apple sold more iPhones than expected during the quarter and iPhone inventories were not enough to meet the strong demand.
Source: Yahoo, Martin