iNews Review

Source of iPhone 3G Problems, Army Uses iPods as Field Translators, Gains with Business, and More

This Week's iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.09.05

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

iPhone 3G Does Not Suffer from Faulty Hardware

AppleInsider's Prince McLean reports:

"After lab results demonstrated that the iPhone 3G's antenna actually functions normally, critics complained that the tests didn't represent their own experiences. So the tests were performed again on two phones that had been experiencing severe problems for some users; the verdict was the same: no hardware problems found."

AT&T Source Explains Details of iPhone 3G Problems

Daily Tech's Jason Mick reports:

"The iPhone 3G is one of Apple's flagship products. Many would argue it stands far above its most able competitors in terms of capabilities. Yet, the iPhone has been having some problems.

"The iPhone's problems began when users started to become frustrated with dropped calls and poor call quality. They took their frustrations and poured them out on Apple's message boards. Sources in Apple said that CEO Steve Jobs was unconcerned with the problems as he said they likely only affected 2 percent of iPhone customers, or about 60,000 people.

"Then came the report from Sweden's foremost tech weekly Ny Teknik, saying that it had test the iPhone's 3G and it fell well below the standards set for 3G, and should not be certified and as a 3G product. Many, including sources inside Apple, seemed to place the blame on the Infineon chipset in the phone."

Why iPhone 2.0.2 Fixed Problems for Some Users

ITWire's Stephen Withers reports:

"When Apple released the 2.0.2 software for its iPhone 3G, a proportion of users found it improved connectivity and reduced the number of dropped calls. Others reported no difference. What's going on?

"According to Roughly Drafted, a 'source close to AT&T' reportedly claimed that a faulty power control algorithm caused iPhone 3Gs to request more power than was necessary...."

Behind the iPhone Software 2.0.2 Fix

AppleInsider's Prince McLean reports:

"The recent iPhone 2.0.2 software update addressed a problem with the iPhone 3G's power control that was causing dropped calls, according to a new report.

"Last week, Apple's Jennifer Bowcock told USA Today that 'the software update improves communication with 3G networks.' However, Roughly Drafted is now reporting addition details from 'a source close to AT&T' that explained what the real issue may have been, and why some users didn't notice any immediate impact after installing the iPhone 2.0.2 update."

Critics Give Apple a Pass on iPhone 3G Woes

The position of Associated Press (AP) is that you may not quote more than 5 words from any of its copyrighted articles without paying $12.50 or more for a "quotation license". Rather than pay this fee or risk the wrath of AP, we are removing all AP quotes from the site along with links to those articles.

We regret any inconvenience to our readers, but we will never pay for what is considered Fair Use under copyright law. We consider brief quotations in our news roundups to be Fair Use and a benefit to the site that we quoted from and linked to. (We adhere to the Open Link policy, and our Fair Use policy specifically allows quoting up to 50% or 300 words of our original content, whichever is less.)

UK Bans 'Misleading' iPhone Ad

Yahoo! Tech blogger Ben Patterson reports:

"'All the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone,' the TV ad crowed - well, all the parts except for the Flash and Java ones, that is.

"The BBC reports that the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK has banned the ad, which you can watch right here, from running again in its current form.

"Apple had argued that the phrase 'all the parts of the Internet' meant every page on the Web, but the British ad authority disagreed, concluding that the ad 'gave a misleading impression of the Internet capabilities of the iPhone.'"

iPhone Passcode Bypass a Cinch

ITWire's Stephen Withers reports:

"Did you think putting a passcode lock on your iPhone would help keep your personal information safe as well as stopping people from using the phone without permission? Well think again because it turns out that the iPhone is as easy to crack as a soft shelled peanut."

GM to Offer Radios with USB Ports in 2009 Models

The position of Associated Press (AP) is that you may not quote more than 5 words from any of its copyrighted articles without paying $12.50 or more for a "quotation license". Rather than pay this fee or risk the wrath of AP, we are removing all AP quotes from the site along with links to those articles.

We regret any inconvenience to our readers, but we will never pay for what is considered Fair Use under copyright law. We consider brief quotations in our news roundups to be Fair Use and a benefit to the site that we quoted from and linked to. (We adhere to the Open Link policy, and our Fair Use policy specifically allows quoting up to 50% or 300 words of our original content, whichever is less.)

US Army Using iPods as Field Translators

AppleInsider's Aidan Malley reports:

"Apple's iPod has been easing tensions with Iraqi citizens in a real-world experiment that has seen the music player provide on-the-spot translating for a fraction the cost and size of earlier systems.

"Instead of carrying around a relatively bulky PDA or notebook, the US Army's 10th Mountain Division has for a year been using 260 iPods and iPod nanos modified to run a special app from Vcom 3D known as Vcommunicator Mobile."

iPhone Makes Gains with Businesses

WSJ.com says:

"Apple in July released a software update for its iPhone that was intended to help get the popular device into businesses. A month and a half later, the plan seems to be working, according to two new surveys.

"ChangeWave Research surveyed close to 2,000 technology pros and found that 17% planned to buy iPhones this quarter. That's up from 13% in May. Also, 19% of tech pros said that the July software update made them more likely to buy iPhones for their businesses. The same survey found that those planning to buy Research In Motion's BlackBerry dropped three percentage points from May to 79%. Obviously, the BlackBerry is still far and away the leader, but Apple is starting to make a dent."

Apps

iPhone Users Can Track Hurricanes on Weather Underground

PR: Weather Underground, the nation's first online provider of weather related content, has announced the launch of a Tropical Weather section for iPhone users at <http://i.wund.com/tropical>

Tracking hurricane GustavThe service enables iPhone users to access a wide range of hurricane tracking maps including 5-day forecast maps, computer model maps, satellite maps, wind maps and historical maps. The service also provides a number of text products such as public advisories, marine advisories and discussions.

''We have brought the product to market as quickly as possible in light of the active hurricane season we are experiencing in the Atlantic this year,'' said Alan Steremberg, President and co-founder of Weather Underground. ''People in areas threatened by severe tropical weather can use the new iPhone service, along with our regular mobile site, to keep themselves and their families safe when they don't have access to a computer.''

This iPhone service is the latest in a suite of online products that Weather Underground provides for people wishing to keep track of tropical weather. Its flagship web site www.wunderground.com provides access to an even greater range of hurricane tracking maps and model data. Weather Underground's Director of Meteorology and former hurricane chaser, Dr. Jeff Masters, provides in-depth hurricane analysis and commentary on his widely read WunderBlog. Dr. Masters is currently posting regular updates on Hurricane Gustav at:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

Weather Underground also launched its US Severe Weather service on the iPhone site. This service provides a map of the US highlighting all areas with severe weather advisories - including tropical storms, thunderstorms, heat advisories, winter weather statements, fire alerts, flood warnings and tornado alerts. Text advisories can also be viewed by state and city.

For other mobile users, Weather Underground's Tropical and Severe Weather services are also available on its regular mobile site <http://m.wund.com>

The nation's first online weather service, Weather Underground is committed to delivering the most comprehensive, reliable weather information possible. The company's state-of-the-art technology monitors conditions and forecasts for locations across the world. With thousands of international users contributing local observations from personal weather stations, Weather Underground is able to provide up-to-the-minute weather conditions for the most finely targeted areas. In addition to serving free online weather information to millions of Web users, Weather Underground delivers custom-designed weather page solutions to an array of businesses and media clients - both online and in print.

Plum Record Turns iPhone into an Audio Recorder

PR: Plum Amazing announces their second iPhone application, Plum Record, turns your iPhone into a digital audio recorder which tags sound files with photos and text and costs only $5. Plum Record for the iPhone is now available in the iTunes App Store in English, German, Spanish and French. There is a link below which will open iTunes to the Plum Record page in the iTunes App Store.

Plum RecordThere are so many interesting and important sounds in our lives. Wouldn't it be nice to record them conveniently on your ever present cell phone? Now with Plum Record and the Apple iPhone you can.

Easily record interviews, lectures, songs, shopping lists, medical notes, to do lists, bird calls, legal notes, environmental sounds, meetings, lyrics, car sounds (to play for Clik and Clak on Car Talk), reminders, ideas, audio books, diary entries, your childs first words, singing, instrumentals, street musicians, comedy, sermons, book clubs, choirs, news, podcasts, science notes, observations, the list goes on and on.

Sounds in Plum Record can be tagged with photos, and text. Multiple tags can be added at different locations in a sound file. These tags can then act like bookmarks allowing you to jump to different sections of the sound file instantly.

Once you have your sounds you can transfer them using our (free) Plum Record Server for the Mac (Win and Linux coming soon) which is on our website.

Features:

  • Record, pause, continue, rewind easily using familiar controls and a beautiful interface.
  • Record secs, minutes or hours at a time. See elapsed time and time remaining.
  • The very familiar scroll wheel for interface and controls.
  • Files named automatically, rename sound files easily.
  • Library to keep sounds in and arrange by dragging into folders.
  • Create hot tagged (colored) folders for sounds.
  • Folders and sounds can be selected and deleted or rearranged by dragging.
  • Tag sounds quickly with multiple photos or instances of text.
  • Easy to use and view even outdoors.
  • Plum Record Server to transfer even big files to your Mac and soon Win and Linux.
  • Works with larger interface in rotated mode.
  • Choose the sampling rate for high or lower res (and size) files.
  • Change the skin/interface for recording.
  • Change files recorded on the iPhone to other formats like WAV, MP3, MP4, AAC, 3GP, AC3, AIFC, AIFF, AMR, Next/Sun, Sound Designer II, 3GPP2, etc.
  • Doesn't use a microphone for an icon. :)
  • Big surprises on the way...

Macvide iPod Converter for Mac OS X

PR: MacVide announces iPod Converter 1.7, their video to MP4 conversion utility for Mac OS X. With a focus on ease-of-use, iPod Converter allows conversion of the most popular video files to MP4 iPod video. It fully integrates the process into the Mac experience by allowing human interaction on the content during conversion.

All of the most popular formats are supported, including MOV, 3GP, MPEG, AVI and helps bridge the gap between many video standards. iPod Converter is a great tool for using with Apple's iTunes.

MacVide iPod Converter provides powerful functions to set different settings for your video files. It allows you to select crop video area, the bit rate, frame rate, video resolution. Video preview with "rangebar" allows you to choose the exact video footage you want, anywhere between the first and last frames. With MacVide iPod Converter you will able to convert your entire movie to .MP4 and watch it anywhere and anytime. It's very easy to use and it supports most portable MP4 devices.

Feature highlights include:

  • Input format supported: all popular Video formats including AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG, ASF, DivX, etc.
  • Playback on multiple players including iPod, iPhone, PSP and Apple TV, Creative Zen, Archos, etc.
  • Crop your video area to remove the black video sides.
  • Powerful video/audio output settings
  • Allows to set video resolution and frame rate
  • Allows to set video and audio bitrate.
  • Customizable dimensions for exported video
  • Auto Determination of Movie length
  • User can control Movie over Capturing

Minimum Requirements:

  • Mac OS X Version 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard
  • Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel
  • 19.4 MB Hard Drive space

iPod Converter 1.7 is available for only $29.95 for a Single License, and may be downloaded directly from the MacVide website.

aMaze! Turns iPhone into Wooden Labyrinth Game

PR: International game developer FunGyre has released the iPhone and iPod Touch game, aMaze!. aMaze! is very realistic transition of the classic wooden balance game Labyrinth, where players guide steel ball through a maze avoiding holes, to the iPhone. aMaze! is unique for playing exactly like its real world prototype by tilting device to control the labyrinth attitude thus moving the ball.

aMaze!FunGyre has announced the release of aMaze!, the game that turns iPhone and iPod Touch into a classic wooden balance game Labyrinth, where players move a steel ball through a maze avoiding holes. aMaze! is unique for playing exactly like its real world prototype, by tilting device to control the labyrinth behavior and, thus, moving the ball. It is the most intuitive game control since everyone, who has ever played original Labyrinth game, knows how to play it.

Open AL 3D sound makes aMaze! game even more realistic. The sound models every movement of the ball, adjusting the volume and pitch to reflect the changes in the ball speed and position.

Moving a ball to an exit is just one among potential gameplays. Within this simple scenario, there are levels requiring bonus collection to complete them successfully, which results in longer and more attractive gameplay. More than 100 nicely designed game boards will enable broad audience of players to test their balance sense. Some levels are easy, other throw quite the challenge, while several require all of your skills to pass.

"One of our first feedbacks on aMaze! told us that the player remembers playing this game with a steel ball and the wooden maze, once he was a kid. He was totally astonished by the game. It's a real pleasure for us to ensure the game you've never experienced since your childhood!", said Alex Dubov, FunGyre CMO.

aMaze! is available through App Store at $4.99. More information about aMaze! could be found at their website.

Protection

QuickFlipCase for iPhone and iPhone 3G

QuickFlipCasePR: Grantwood Technology, LLC has announced the release of the QuickFlipCase for iPhone and iPhone 3G, a premium leather case designed to comfortably secure the iPhone in place on your belt or waist.

The QuickFlipCase features a horizontally designed case with a smooth leather exterior with classic contrast stitching and a sturdy permanent belt clip. It also uses a secure magnetic enclosure for the lid, and simple center push-up hole to allow easy removal of your iPhone. When the iPhone is inside the QuickFlipCase, you can still access the headphone jack and sleep/wake button. Furthermore, the iPhone speakers are not covered when inside the QuickFlipCase to allow full speaker volume.

QuickFlipCaseThe soft leather covering was designed to not only to be protective but to allow easy removal of the iPhone with just one hand. The magnetic closure is strong but not overpowering and unlike Velcro, it quietly opens and will not wear out. Simply open the lid and slide out the iPhone with ease. Every aspect of the QuickFlipCase was designed for durability, comfort and style.

"Building on the success of our tuneband armband for the iPhone," states Michael Banks, co-founder and CEO of Grantwood Technology, LLC, "we wanted to have a leather iPhone case designed with all the best features without the expense of competing products."

The QuickFlipCase for the iPhone is compatible with both the original iPhone and the new iPhone 3G, and retails for $18.99.

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