Today Apple released the latest version of their mobile operating system–that is, iOS 4.3–one day earlier than expected. Just about coinciding with the launch of iPad 2, iOS 4.3 brings with it all kinds of goodies including significantly increased Safari performance, iTunes Home Sharing, AirPlay improvements, iPad side switch behaviors, and personal hotspot functionality for iPhone 4; it’s all detailed right here. Bug fixes and the like are bundled in too; hop after the break to find a rundown of what’s included. iOS 4.3 is a free download for all GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and third and fourth-gen iPod touch owners. Connect your iOS device to a computer, fire up iTunes, and you’ll be notified to download and install the update.
In related Apple news, their hobby puck has also received a welcome system update. ATV owners will now be able to stream baseball and basketball games through the ether straight to their TVs thanks to MLB.tv and a NBA League Pass Broadband support. These services require pay subscriptions. In addition, Netflix has received 5.1 audio support. Cheers to that!
Netflix on the iPhone and iPod touch is no surprise; the free app was demoed at WWDC back in June and the iPad has been enjoying its company since launch. On August 26 the Netflix app was updated (to version 1.1.0) to support all iOS4 devices. The app will stream movies and TV shows over WiFi and 3G. Within the app you have access to your personal Instant Queue (which is managable right on the device) and you can search and add new content to your queue using a standard search method or viewing content by genre. You also have the ability to resume watching a show or movie right where you left off on your TV or computer. The app itself is free, but remember you must be signed up for a Netflix membership (which starts at $8.99/month) to login and start streaming. Download the app here and happy streaming! Look after the break for a brief video preview of the app in action.
Similar to Foursquare, Facebook Places gives you the ability to share your location in the world with friends and view your friends’ location. “Checking in” and sharing your location is simple:
Go to Places on the iPhone application or touch.facebook.com site and then tap the “Check In” button. You’ll see a list of places near you. Choose the place that matches where you are. If it’s not on the list, search for it or add it. After checking in, your check-in will create a story in your friends’ News Feeds and show up in the Recent Activity section on the page for that place.
You can even “tag” friends that are with you, just as you can tag a friend in a status update or photo. You can also post an update along with your check-in to tell people more about what you are doing. The “People Here Now” section reveals a list of nearby Facebook users, whether they are “friends” or not. People will only show up in this list if they are checked into the same location as you.
Privacy concerns are an ongoing issue at Facebook HQ, so they made sure to highlight ways to tweak Places options. The default setting shares your location and previously tagged locations with friends only; you have to option to change the master privacy control to “Everyone” if you like. You also have the option whether or not to allow your friends to check you in to places. If you let them do so, you will receive notification every time you are checked into a place. You can always remove yourself from the places you’ve been checked or tagged into, just as you can remove your name from a tagged photo. Want to learn more about controlling your privacy with Places? Watch this helpful and informative video from Lifehacker that goes through the motions step-by-step.
Facebook Places is only available on the iPhone in the US. In order to access the new feature you must download the free update for the Facebook app. Along with Places, version 3.2 brings background photo and video uploads (for iOS4 users), some visual and loading enhancements, and various bug fixes. Got an Android and Blackberry device? Point your browser to touch.facebook.com to access an HTML 5 version of Places to join the fun. Facebook is working on bring Places to other mobile devices and more countries. They have opened up a Places API for third party developers like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp to use in their respective services.
With the fiasco dubbed Antennagate behind us now, it’s time to embrace iPhone 4 with all its advantages and disadvantages and move on. At the impromptu press conference two weeks ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that all iPhone 4 owners (who purchase their phones before September 30) are eligible to get a free Apple Bumper or third-party case. The free case is the solution for your antenna woes; it will cover the vulnerable spot at the lower left corner. Here’s how you go about applying for a case:
1. Download the iPhone 4 Case Program app from the App Store.
2. Launch the app on your iPhone 4 and sign in using your iTunes Store account or Apple ID.
3. Select your Bumper or case.
For iPhone 4 purchases made before July 23, 2010, you must apply no later than August 22, 2010; otherwise, you must apply within 30 days of your iPhone 4 purchase. To qualify for this program, you must purchase your iPhone 4 by September 30, 2010.
It’s that simple, really. All cases come in black only and they include Apple Bumper, Incase Snap Case, Belkin Shield Micra, Griffin Motif, Griffin Reveal, Speck Fitted, and Speck PixelSkin HD. There’s a 3-5 week wait for delivery, so sit tight!
If you purchased an Apple Bumper when you picked up your iPhone 4 at an Apple Store with a credit card, you will receive an automatic refund on your card if you haven’t already (you are notified by email). If you paid with cash you must bring the receipt to the Apple Store to get a refund by 9/30. If you bought one at an AT&T store you can receive a refund if you fill out and send this rebate coupon by 9/30.
Today Apple held a press conference to address the iPhone 4 antenna problem that’s been making waves in the news recently. Just to recap, the antenna problem occurs when an iPhone 4 user grips the lower left side of the phone. AT&T signal strengh drops from five bars to none at a rapid rate when the user touches and/or grips that specific part of the phone. An official statement from Apple advised users to hold their phones differently or slap on a case. A case would cover the vulnerable lower left side and result in better signal strength during day-to-day use. Today Jobs announced that Apple will begin offering their Bumper case for free for all iPhone 4 owners who purchase their device before September 30. In regards to extending the free case offer Apple says they will evaluate the situation again in late September. If you’ve already purchased a Bumper case, you can receive a full refund on it. Since Apple cannot manufacture enough Bumpers fast enough, they will offer a choice of free cases to choose from (these have not been specified yet). Starting late next week you can apply for a free case at Apple’s online store. And if you’re totally unsatisfied with your purchase you can get a full refund on the phone; Apple’s got a 30 day return policy and a restocking fee will not be applied.
At the press conference that formally addressed the iPhone 4 antenna problem Apple alloted some time to discuss other news surrounding the magical (if it’s in a case) phone. Apple has sold over three million iPhone 4s since it launched three weeks ago. He also says the 4 has received “the highest customer satisfaction of any iPhone or smartphone.” Next up, the iPhone 4 will ship in 17 more countries on July 30, including a bunch of European countries, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong. Noticably missing from the list was South Korea who was on the late-July shipping list back at WWDC. Apple also addressed the problem some users are having with the proximity sensor; it involves intermittent malfunctions where the display stays on during a device-to-ear phone call, and this results in accidental hang-ups when the phone is pressed up to the face. The next iOS 4 software update promises to remedy it. Lastly, you can expect the white iPhone 4 to ship at the end of this month, a tad later than expected.
Update: Today (7/23) Apple announced in a brief press statement that the white iPhone 4 model will not ship at the end of this month. Due to manufacturing problems, it “will not be available until later this year.”
Today AT&T laid out a brand new pricing scheme for their data plans. Let’s jump right into the deets, shall we? New AT&T subscribers will be offered two options for a data plan: DataPlus and DataPro.
*DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 150 emails with attachments, view 400 Web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites and 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month. This plan, which can save customers up to 20 percent off their wireless voice and data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the month.
* DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, view 4,000 Web pages, post 500 photos to social media sites and watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month. Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the month.
That’s right, people–it’s the beginning of the end for data plans complete with “unlimited data.” President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets Ralph de la Vega on the change: “To give more people the opportunity to experience these benefits, we’re breaking free from the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ pricing model and making the mobile Internet more affordable to a greater number of people.” And you know what? Unless you’re part of a small bracket of people, these changes will save you money every month. According to AT&T, “65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average,” and “98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.” Much to my surprise I use less than 200 MB of data per month, so I am looking forward to saving $5 on my cell phone bill. I guess constantly checking my Twitter and Facebook feeds plus surfing on Safari every now and then does not eat up thatmuch data; and I am sure I work on a WiFi network more often than I think. And I’d bet you’re in the same bracket, too. To find out how much data you use on a monthly basis, log on to your AT&T Wireless Account web page or download the AT&T myWireless Mobile app to access a chart of your usage. For those of you who tether (or who have been waiting to tether your iPhone) to access the Internet on your laptop via your cell phone and are heavy data users, this move away from “unlimited data” may invoke some anger. Speaking of tethering… READ MORE AT&T intros new data plans, iPhone tethering coming this summer→
Russian art collective Electroboutique has gone ahead and created this impressive, Tatlin’s Tower-inspired constructivist iPhone monument. Says the builders:
A giant distorted iPhone 3G, shaped as Tatlin’s Monument to the 3d International. Tatlin’s work is considered one of the avant-garde icons, whereas iPhone is a bright techno-consumerist icon of today. Back in the 20’s of the last centuries avant-garde artists have invented design as a way to bring art into people’s homes. During the 20’s century designers were gradually taking artistic ideas and implementing them into product design. Today we see companies claiming their products are art objects themselves; art has to re-define its role in the society again. The Monument to 3G links together the beginning and the current state of nearly a century of art-to-design dialogue and follows the strategy of re-claiming the designers’ ideas back into art.
The fellas at Gizmodo have got their hands on the fourth-generation iPhone, confirming Engadget’s initial report on the device being leaked into the wild. The new iPhone is thinner and a bit heavier than its 3GS predecessor (it measures 4.50 by 2.31 by 0.37 inches and weighs 140 grams, three more than the 3GS) and everything is more squared off. The aesthetics of the device go in a different direction with the new model. The back is entirely flat and is composed of either glass or ceramic. Also there’s an aluminium border that runs completely around the exterior. The silent switch, power, and volume buttons are placed in their familiar positions but are now metallic. Notice I said volume buttons; the single rocker has been replaced with two separate buttons for volume up and down. Giz theorizes that this will likely result in one of the two buttons being designated as a shutter button for the camera. The SIM slot is now a MicroSIM slot and its been moved from the bottom to the left side of the phone. There’s also a second mic located at the top next to the headphone port, likely for noise cancellation purposes. The display is slightly smaller than the 3GS’s, but its resolution is much greater. Though Giz cannot determine its exact resolution, they would not be surprised if it sported a 960×640 screen that’s been sitting in the rumor box. On the back there’s an upgraded camera with a larger lens plus flash. On the front next to the earport there’s a *front-facing camera*. Get ready for on-the-go video Skype calls! Some other nuggets of information: its got a 16% larger battery and the internal components have been miniturized.
This prototype model of the next iPhone unfortunately cannot boot up iPhone OS 4. That means there’s no way of finding out its storage capacity, how high-rez the screen actually is, and other secrets hidden within OS 4 built for this device (iChat, anyone?). Do you need proof that this is the real deal? Head over to Gizmodo and read their exhaustive breakdown for proof. Until the final model is (likely) revealed this June at WWDC, bask in the photos and video (after the break) Giz has provided with the world. iPhone HD, you are so close yet so far away…