id’s Carmack to bring graphics-heavy 60fps game to the iPhone

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on August 15th, 2010

At this year’s QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas id Software co-founder John Carmack revealed that he’s bringing Rage (a first-person shooter that wowed critics at E3) to the iPhone.  With the announcement came a very brief tech demo for those in attendence.  Get this: the game will run at 60 frames-per-second!  All of the lighting, texture, and detail look phenomenal.  This game is basically gonna blow away the App Store games competition.  What started as an experiment on the Nintendo Wii quickly became an app for the iOS platform, according to Carmack.  About two years ago Carmack stated that the iPhone is “more powerful than a Nintendo DS and PSP combined” and today he is backing that up with this impressive tech demo (it’s embedded above).  He says that the demo was running off an iPhone 4 and that the game will run fine on the iPhone 3G and feel best on the iPad (thanks to the larger display).  He promises that Rage for iOS will be released this year, before the game drops on major consoles sometime in 2011.  It’s about time these games-on-the-go got beefier, more graphically intense, and exciting, wouldn’t you say?

[Via Joystiq]

Eligible for a free iPhone 4 case? Here’s how you get it.

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 30th, 2010

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.

[Via Apple; Engadget]

Apple’s answer to iPhone 4 deathgrippers: free cases

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 16th, 2010

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.

What led Apple to making this decision to offer free cases?  Read on to find out. (Click here for more…)

iPhone 4 sales, international ship date, proximity sensor update & white model get discussed [Update: White iPhone delayed until end of year]

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 16th, 2010

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.”

[Via Engadget, here & here]

iPhone 4: 600,000 preorders, 1.7 million sold, reception & screen issues addressed

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 2nd, 2010

iPhone 4 launch day has come and gone so let’s discuss how it all went down.  At WWDC ’10Apple CEO Steve Jobs called iPhone 4 “the biggest leap since the original iPhone”, piquing the interest of his most devout followers, so much so that they lined up in droves to preorder and purchase the latest gadget to come out of Cupertino.  On June 15, Apple, AT&T, and other authorized Apple retailers begain taking preorders for iPhone 4.  On that single day, iPhone 4 preorders maxed out at 600,000.  According to AT&T, that’s ten times as many orders as it took for last year’s iPhone 3GS.  Due to this insanely high number of preorders, Apple and AT&T were forced to halt all preorders until the phone hit store shelves one week and two days later.  And that brings us to launch day.  On June 24 iPhone 4 launched nationwide and in the UK, France, Germany and Japan to an excitable population ready to get their hands on the shiny, sleek new handset.  At Apple Retail Stores those who preordered waited in line to nab their guaranteed iPhone while overnight campers tried their luck at receiving the leftovers.  The latest tallies reveal that Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s through June 26 (that’s just three days on the market!).  In an official PR, Jobs stated, “This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history.  Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”  According to the Apple Online Store, more iPhone 4 units will ship in about three weeks.  Soon enough, Apple Stores will be chock full of new iPhones for everyone who missed out on the initial launch supply.

What began as a cheery launch quickly turned into a melancholy situation when iPhone 4 users started to cry foul about reception and screen issues.  Let’s start with the latter issue that has seemed to disapate as of late.  A number of iPhone 4 users are discovering slight yellow spots at the bottom right-hand corner of their retina displays.  An AppleInsider forum poster has come up with the best explanation for this:

Apple is using a bonding agent called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011 to bond the layers of glass. Apparently, Apple (or more likely Foxconn) is shipping these products so quickly that the evaporation process is not complete. However, after one or two days of use, especially with the screen on, will complete the evaporation process and the yellow “blotches” will disappear. How do I know? I was involved in pitching Z-6011 to Apple.

Since the time this explanation was outed (just a couple hours after the launch on the 24th) the desperate cry for help has waned.  It appears that those affected with the yellow spots will notice them disappear after a day or two of use.

The same cannot go for the next (and more dire) iPhone 4 problem: the tale of reception woes.  iPhone 4 users first noticed this problem when they gripped the phone in a certain way (in a very common way, mind you).  On the affected devices, if you hold the phone in any way that covers the lower left-hand side where the black strip is located (pictured above) you will notice your signal drop almost immediately from five to zero bars.  Preposterous!, you’re thinking.  But it’s true, so let’s dive into this a bit more.  At WWDC ’10, Jobs announced that the new iPhone packs a new antenna system that actually wraps around the outside phone so as to provide better signal strength.  The metallic band that wraps around the phone contains one piece for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS and the other for UMTS & GSM.  When you cover the bottom left-hand side of the phone where the GSM band wraps the phone all signal is lost.  What’s rather ironic is that what Jobs called “brilliant engineering” has turned into an engineering EPIC FAIL in the minds of many iPhone 4 users. (Click here for more…)

Durex condom app rubs two iPhones together to make a baby

Posted in Design,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on June 7th, 2010

Sure, it’s a fake app but the advertisement is very real and it’s downright hysterical!  This ad for the “Anti Knock-Up Application” was entered into the Cannes Future Lions 2010 competition that challenged designers to “advertise a product from a global brand in a way that couldn’t be conceived five years ago.”  This ad does a pretty damn good job at showing how such an app could scare young men into using condoms.  Ah, what a hoot!

[Via AdFreak; Gizmodo]

Official Twitter for iPhone available now

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 20th, 2010

The official Twitter application for iPhone (and iPod touch) is available for download today.  It’s called Twitter for iPhone and it comes directly from Twitter, Inc. and aquired developer Atebits.  Get it for free at the App Store.

[Via TwitterBlog]

Music video: IZABO – “On My Way”

Posted in Music,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on May 13th, 2010

This music video from Israeli band IZABO uses the iPhone in all kinds of funky ways.  The music…eh.  But watch it for the visuals.

[Via Gizmodo]

Ellen parodies the iPhone, Apple makes her apologize

Posted in Hilarity,Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 4th, 2010

Oh c’mon, Apple.  Learn to take a joke!

[Via Engadget]

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The next iPhone is leaked into the wild

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 19th, 2010

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…

[Via Gizmodo]

(Click here for more…)

Flash, where are you?

Posted in Hilarity,Image cache,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 17th, 2010

Can’t get enough of these Flash-less Apple jokes.

[Via Walyou; TheDuty]

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Twitter aquires Atebits, Tweetie becomes ‘Twitter for iPhone’, free

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 10th, 2010

Since its inception Twitter (the company) ran its website at and left Twitter applications for desktop and mobile clients to third party developers.  On Friday Twitter announced a significant change in its overall game plan.  Twitter is no longer taking a backseat to developers when it comes to running Twitter in applications outside the main Twitter website.  Twitter has aquired Atebits, the company behind one of the most popular Twitter clients for Mac desktops and iPhones, Tweetie.  Loren Brichter, the man behind Atebits, is part of the deal and will become a vital member of Twitter, helping the company retool the app for the iPhone, other mobile devices, and eventually the iPad.  Twitter’s reasoning behind the move: “People are looking for an app from Twitter, and they’re not finding one. So, they get confused and give up. It’s important that we optimize for user benefit and create an awesome experience.”  Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and its price tag will fall from $2.99 to free.  A release date was not disclosed.

So what do we think about this?  It’s great!  Now there’s going to be an “official” Twitter app that all iPhone (and other mobile device) users can download and share similar experiences with.  If you’re new to Twitter, this will likely be the go-to app.  If you’ve been part of the community for some time, third party Twitter apps aren’t going anywhere, so dipping your toe into different user experiences will always be an option.  What this merger of sorts does is give Twitter a major boost against naysayers who believe Twitter is a fragmented service with too many varying apps for it.  Now the company can say there’s a streamlined Twitter experience waiting for those who want to take that route.  It’s a win-win for all of us.

[Via Twitter]

Apple details iPhone OS 4: Multitasking! & more

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 9th, 2010

Today Apple unveiled the developer preview of iPhone OS 4, the next major release of the iPhone operating system.  OS 4 includes over 1500 new APIs for developers and over 100 new user features.  Of these new features, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall talked about seven “tentpole” features.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

1. Multitasking: Apple has finally figured out a way to implement multitasking for third-party apps that preserves battery life and overall performance of the iPhone.  The user interface for multitasking is simple.  When you are inside an app, just double tap the home button to raise the window and reveal a new dock at the bottom of the screen.  This dock houses all of your running apps, and you can jump in and out of them by clicking on them.  When asked about how to close applications, Forstall replied, “You don’t have to.  The user just uses things and doesn’t ever have to worry about it.”  Though that sounds nice and cheery, there actually is a way to close out of an app if you are not using it.  Tap and hold an app in the multitask dock and tap the minus button that appears; this confirms the app is now closed.  Seven multitasking services were detailed:

Background audio – Now you can listen to third-party music players in the background just like you could with iPod.  At the keynote, Pandora was demoed and worked without a hitch.  While listening to your custom playlist in Pandora you can jump into Safari to browse a site or jump into Mail to check your inbox for new messages.  Also, if you are in the lock screen you can double tap the home button and use the audio buttons to control Pandora.

VoIP – Now you can receive and hold onto VoIP conversations even if you jump out of the VoIP third-party app.  At the keynote, Skype was demoed.  Once a call is initiated, you can leave the app and jump into another without losing the call.  A double-high status bar appears at the top of the screen that shows your still on the call.  Also, you can still receive Skype calls even if you are in the lock screen; a notification bubble alerts an incoming call.

Background location – Apple says there are two classes of applications that like to use your location in the background:  turn-by-turn direction apps (like TomTom) and social networking apps (like Loopt).  With an app like TomTom becoming location-aware in the background, now you can leave the app and still receive turn-by-turn directions.  For example, you can set and begin your route, jump into iPod to select a song, and TomTom will still read aloud the directions using GPS.  Turn-by-turn direction apps are fairly power intensive apps, but most users have them running in the car when their device is connected to a power source.  An app like Loopt, which is used more often when an external power source is not charging the device, will use cell towers rather than GPS to find your location.  Privacy concerns are also addressed.  Today, whenever an app wants to use location services, a notification bubble asks you to approve the service.  In OS 4, a new status icon (shaped like an arrow) will appear in the status bar at the top of the screen to inform you exactly when an app is tracking your location.  In the settings menu you can enable or disable location services per app.  Also, an icon will appear next to the app name in the settings menu if that app has tried to access location services within the last 24 hours.

Push notifications – We already know all about Apple’s Push Notification service.  A third-party sets up a server, they send their notification to Apple’s Push Notification server, then Apple sends it to the phone.  Building on push notifications is a new service called…

Local notifications – These are just like push notifications except you do not need a server.  The notifications can come right from the phone.  For example, a TV Guide app can alert you to the premiere of a new TV program you wanted to be reminded of, and all this can be done right on the phone instead of going through back-end servers.

Task completion – This service works just like Xbox’s Active Downloads feature.  Say you are uploading photos to your Flickr account.  Today if you were to exit the Flickr app, the upload would stop immediately.  With OS 4, if you leave the app the photos will continue to upload in the background.

Fast app switching – This is what allows an app to pause and save its state in the background when you leave it for another app.  When you return to it, the app will resume exactly where you left off.  So if you are playing a game of Tap Tap Revenge and decide to check your missed calls, when you return to the game it will start right where you left off.  All this is done without using any CPU power. (Click here for more…)

iPhone-to-iPad converter

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 1st, 2010

If you’ve already got an iPhone, forget the iPad.  All you have to do is place your iPhone into the the back panel and the Pad-Dock iPhone to Tablet Converter uses a touch-screen magnifier to enlarge your iPhone screen to the exact dimensions of an iPad.  That’s all there is to it!  And unlike the iPad, this converter device will be able to make phone calls since your iPhone powers it.  Available to purchase here for a price of £89.99.

[Via IWantOneOfThose]

Apple iPhone rumor roundup: iPhone HD, CDMA iPhone coming to VZW, & more predictions

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on March 30th, 2010

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is “developing a new iPhone to debut this summer.”  This bit of news isn’t too surprising if you look at Apple’s track record; since the inception of the iPhone, new handsets have been announced each and every summer.  But wait–there’s more!  Apple is also “working on another model for US mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless.”  In other words, the best smartphone is coming to the best network.  We’ve heard these rumors before, but hearing it come from the WSJ make it sound that much sweeter.

Some manufacturing details have surfaced as well.  According to “people briefed on the matter” and relayed by the WSJ, the “next iPhone is being manufactured by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry” (the same company behind all previous iPhones) and the first CDMA iPhone (purported to go to VZW) will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology.  Mass production of the CDMA iPhone could start as early as this September.

Engadget was tipped about a June 22 unveiling for the next-gen iPhone, dubbed the iPhone HD.  Long-time Apple product seer John Gruber added his latest predictions to the mix.  He claims the next-gen iPhone will feature the A4-class system-on-a-chip, a 960×640 display, a front-facing camera, and third-party mulititasking support with iPhone OS 4.0.

To sum up: A new iPhone (possibly the “iPhone HD”) will be announced this summer; said iPhone will boast a high-res display and front facing camera (among other predictions); and a CDMA version of the iPhone is headed to Verizon Wireless, with manufacturing to commence as early as September, ending AT&T’s death grip on what is arguablly the world’s best smartphone.  Sounds about right to me.  Now it’s time to start the waiting game.  Summer isn’t that far away, is it?

[Via WSJ; Engadget; DaringFireball]

Dr. Horrible comic comes to the iPhone

Posted in Comics,News by Scott Meisner on March 25th, 2010

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a hit 3-part web series.  Then Dark Horse Comics brought the hilarious, musically-inclined story to the comic book world.  And now you can read Zack Whedon’s piece on the iPhone, iPod touch, and soon on the iPad.  Just as a refresher:

In this one-shot comic, Zack Whedon and artist Joelle Jones (Token) establish how a young, impressionable, but brilliant Dr. Horrible was drawn into a world of crime. Readers are reacquainted with the charming, brawny, crime-fighting superhero extraordinaire Captain Hammer when Dr. Horrible crosses paths with his greatest enemy in an all-out showdown of immeasurable proportions. Special guest appearances include Dr. Horrible’s love interest, Penny; his sidekick, Moist; and a meter man.

Though its comic form lacks the music it’s still a great read if you’re a fan of all things Horrible.  And though the iPhone format lacks features like zoom and tap-to-turn pages, the promise of comic book readers for the iPad is all the more exciting.

SkiFree is back! On the iPhone!

Posted in Technology by Scott Meisner on March 23rd, 2010

This itty bit of news has just made my week.  Remember that game SkiFree that came preloaded on Windows 3.1?  It was a very simple game; you used the arrow keys to direct the skier speck to the bottom of a hill, trying your best to not run into obstacles like trees and rocks.  Today gameplay utilizes iPhone goodies like the built-in accelerometer for steering and the touchscreen for jumping.  The developer promises a future update will add a new slalom mode, easter eggs from the original SkiFree, and the absent and totally necessary Snow Monster.  That little basterd would always get me once I reached near the bottom of the hill!  Download SkiFree here; it’s free!

[Via BusinessInsider; Gizmodo]

The Creepy La-La-La Guy gets an app

Posted in Technology by Scott Meisner on March 23rd, 2010

We all knew this was coming.  The latest Internet meme is now featured in an app for the iPhone/iPod Touch.  Edward Anatolevich Hill is ‘The Creepy La-La-La Guy’ you’ve seen belt out those lalala’s and get impersonated by the great Christoph Waltz.  You can now bring the nightmare-inducing man to your iPhone with the Trololo app.  In it Hill sings his tune over and over again as you try to unlock the following powers: Applause, Funny Hat, Tone Invasion, Lava, Earthquake, and Chicken Of Death.  Normally priced at $1.99, the app is free today!  So go on and download it.  Or don’t.

[Via Krapps; Gizmodo]

AT&T & Sling make nice; Slingplayer to stream live TV over 3G

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 6th, 2010

When Sling released the $29.99 Slingplayer app for the iPhone back in May, AT&T restricted it from streaming live TV over its 3G service because they were worried the overload of data would bring its cell service to its knees.  Poor AT&T.  This week AT&T has come out and stated they have been working closely with Sling to optimize Slingplayer’s streaming capabilities so that it would not hurt AT&T’s customers.  As soon as Apple approves it, a free update will allow Slingers to stream their content over 3G, in addition to WiFi.  With news of AT&T approving VoIP calls and now Sling streaming over 3G, it seems as if AT&T at long last has come to accept the fact that restricting significant features on its most popular device is a major no-no.

[Via Engadget]

Apple reports 2010 Q1 earnings: $3.38b profit, Macs up 33%, iPods down 8%, iPhone sales double

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on January 27th, 2010

Apple recently announced their first quarter financial results and per usual, they made quite a hefty profit.  $3.38 billion to be exact (or $3.67 profit per share).  They brought in revenues of $15.68 billion.  Note that these numbers are up from last quarter’s profit of $2.26 billion on $11.88 billion in revenue.  More to the point, this is the best quarter they have ever had.  Let’s break it down by product: Apple sold 3.36 million Macs (representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter), 8.7 million iPhones (representing 100 percent unit growth), and 21 million iPods (representing an eight percent unit decline).  No surprise there; iPod sales have been declining for some time now.  Note that this decline factors general iPod sales; iPod touch sales were up 55 percent.

According to the earnings PR, “The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about.”  *Cough–Apple Tablet–cough.*  Sorry, I was just clearing my throat.  Might as well throw in a possibility of seeing the next iLife, iPhone OS 4.0, and maybe even witness AT&T’s iPhone exclusitivity fall by the wayside to Verizon.  Remember to check back here tomorrow night for all Apple announcements.

Every quarter seems to surpass the last financially for Apple.  With Steve Jobs at the helm, what else more could you expect?  The man is an inspiration, and his company is his vision.  “Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”  Watch as Steve Jobs (in shorts!) motivates the industry in a video captured about ten years ago when he returned to Apple.

[Via Apple; Engadget; Gizmodo]