iNews Review

iPhone 3GS Tops at Consumer Reports, Replacing an iPhone Screen, Inconsistent WiFi, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.07.10

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.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

Protection

iPod and iPhone Deals

These price trackers are updated regularly.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

iPhone 3GS Tops Consumer Reports Smartphone Ratings

Consumer Reports says:

"The iPhone 3GS tops our new smart-phone Ratings (available to subscribers), with strong performance in everything but voice quality, an area in which few phones score well. It's not a runaway winner, though. A number of other phones ranked close to the iPhone, including the Palm Pre, which turned in a fine performance, as we expected from our head-to-head review of these two highly publicized rivals."

Smartphone Deathmatch: iPhone vs. Pre

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"Two top-of-the-line smartphones were released in June: the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3GS. If you're eyeing them, you'll have to choose one or the other - no one in their right mind owns more than one smartphone. So which one is worthy of your pocket or purse?

"To answer this question - and since it can be easily argued that I'm not in my right mind - I got one of each. For the past couple of weeks, I've been bouncing between them, hammering on their hardware, slapping about their apps, and generally using them as their designers intended: as phone-call handlers, email senders, message messagers, webpage viewers, pocket-sized entertainment centers, and the like.

"And now I'm ready to tell you which one you should buy."

HackBook Useless Now Thanks to iPhone 3GS

Wired's Brian X. Chen says:

"After a mere nine months, I'm dumping my Hackintosh netbook . . . by far the shortest relationship I've ever had with any of my gadgets . . . Oddly enough, the puny, low-powered computer didn't fit into my lifestyle. And my recent purchase of an iPhone 3GS made the netbook completely lose relevance.

"Allow me to explain...."

iPhone 3GS Users Report Slow/Inconsistent WiFi Connections

TUAW's David Winograd reports:

"A number of iPhone 3GS owners have reported slow and inconsistent data speeds, along with widely varying amounts of signal strength, when using Wi-Fi."

Powerful Flaw with the iPhone 3GS's Battery

The China Post says:

"The new, high-octane iPhone 3GS is loaded with features that could light up your life - but its battery isn't one of them.

"Buyers are finding that the phone, introduced two weeks ago, has trouble making it through a work day without a rest stop at the electrical outlet. It's proving to be something of an Achilles' heel on Apple Inc.'s flagship device, more than 1 million of which were sold in the first weekend."

Editor's note: One option is a third-party external battery, such as the $45 QuickerTek one covered below, which triples battery life. dk

How to Replace a Cracked iPhone 3G Screen

Tidbits' Jeff Carlson says:

"Since having a child last year, my wife and I often find ourselves confirming that gravity does, in fact, continue to function well. Our toddler trips, sits down abruptly, and drops things from all heights as one would expect from someone still figuring out how her body is working.

"You can see where this is going.

"One day recently, my daughter reached for something shiny and swiped the corner of my wife's iPhone 3G, spinning it off the table and onto one of its corners against the floor."

Apple Stores Can Replace iPhone Displays While You Wait

The Apple Blog's Chris Ryan reports that with an increasing number of iPhones in need of repair, the good news for consumers is, the majority of those repairs can now be done by your local Genius Bar.

Phone 3GS Stop-Motion Take Apart Video

PR: All shiny things must be taken apart. TechRestore has posted a stop-motion disassembly video of the new iPhone 3GS. The video shows all internal parts of the iPhone as well as a complete take apart and reassembly by a TechRestore gaming Technician.

iPhone disassembly videoAlmost a million people have viewed TechRestore's videos that show various consumer electronic devices, MacBooks, iPhones, and iPods being taken apart and worked on by a TechRestore Technician. The videos are enjoyed and used by viewers all over the world that want to learn more about their gadgets. The iPhone 3GS video joins our video library that includes stop-motion take apart of the ModBook, Nintendo DSI, Kindle 1 & 2, MacBook Air, Apple TV, PSP, and more. All the videos can be found at TechRestore's YouTube channel. In addition, all videos are available for download from the TechRestore Download center. We hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it.

TechRestore performs repairs and upgrades on MacBook, MacBook Pro, PowerBook, and iBook computers. In addition, our consumer electronics division performs overnight repair on iPhone, iPod Classic, iPod touch, iPod Video, iPod Nano, Sony PSP, and other gaming systems. Our network of over 2000 local pickup locations offers convenient pick up of your product in your neighborhood. TechRestore is certified by and follows the strict guidelines of the Bureau of Electronics Repair and all TechRestore technicians are highly trained and many carry advanced electronics degrees.

Created out of a passion for the products we sell and service, TechRestore brings together an unmatched repair and product expertise team to provide repairs, upgrades & recoveries for mobile devices such as Mac & PC laptops, iPods, iPhones, and PSP's. With more than 20-years of experience providing award winning solutions for our customers, we've still kept our sense of wonder about how fortunate we are to work with these fantastic products and people each day. TechRestore customers can rest assured that while their products may fail them, TechRestore never will.

Newest Macworld iPhone and iPod touch Superguide Covers 3.0 Software and iPhone 3GS

PR: Macworld has announced the release of "Macworld's iPhone and iPod touch Superguide, Third Edition," the latest addition to its popular Superguide series. This book is one of the very first iPhone guides to be completely updated for the iPhone 3.0 software update and the iPhone 3GS that were released last month.

Macworld's iPhone and iPod Touch Superguide, Third EditionIn this 172-page book, Macworld editors offer the latest advice and top tips for mastering the first generation iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and the iPod touch. Macworld released the latest version of the iPhone Superguide just four months ago. But after the release of the new 3.0 software update, and the iPhone 3GS, Macworld's editors went right back to work and updated the book cover to cover.

"In the Apple world, a constant pace of innovation means that if you snooze, you lose," said Jason Snell, VP/Editorial Director of Macworld. "That's why we buckled down and updated this book in record time."

"Macworld's iPhone and iPod touch Superguide, Third Edition" covers everything an iPhone or iPod touch owner needs to know, including:

  • How to quickly master the new iPhone 3GS and the 3.0 software update
  • Ways to save time with new, classic, and hidden shortcuts
  • The best methods for syncing data and media - including all types of video files
  • Solving common iPhone and iPod touch hiccups with easy-to-follow troubleshooting advice
  • Recommendations for the coolest accessories and third-party apps to protect and enhance the iPhone or iPod touch

"Macworld's iPhone and iPod touch Superguide, Third Edition" is an indispensable resource for both Mac and PC users. It's available in two formats: as a downloadable PDF for immediate access for $12.95 or on CD for easy offline storage for $12.95 (includes shipping and handling). All versions are available now. To see the Table of Contents and to get a taste of what the book has to offer, go to http://files.macworld.com/files/downloads/iphonesg3-preview.pdf. (High-resolution cover image available upon request.)

"Macworld's iPhone and iPod touch Superguide, Third Edition" is the 16th release in the Superguide series. Other Superguides currently available for sale include:

University of Florida's PharmD Program to Require iPod touch

Appleinsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"The University of Florida is the second school in as many months to announce that students enrolling in one of its curriculums this fall will be required to own either an iPhone or iPod touch, highlighting an increasing role for Apple's multi-touch devices in higher education.

"'All entering PharmD students must have a iPod touch (or iPhone) and a computer meeting minimum UF and College of Pharmacy (COP) requirements,' the university said on its College of Pharmacy website."

For the full report visit here:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/07/01/florida_universitys_pharmd_program_to_require_ipod_touch.html

Keeping iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS within Acceptable Operating Temperatures

A new Apple Knowledge Base article explains about the operating temperatures and temperature management of iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, noting you should operate iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a place where the temperature is between 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F). Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly.

Store iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a place where the temperature is between -20º and 45º C (-4º to 113º F). Don't leave the device in your car, because temperatures in parked cars can exceed this range.

If the interior temperature of the device exceeds normal operating temperatures, you may experience the following as it attempts to regulate its temperature:

  • The device stops charging
  • Display dims
  • Weak cellular signal
  • Temperature warning screen appears with the message "iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it"

This message appears when the operating temperature has become too hot. This is a safety mechanism that protects the components of your device. If this message appears, you should turn the device off, move it to a cooler environment, and allow it to cool before resuming use.

Note: When this message appears, the device may still be able to make emergency calls.

Some conditions and activities that may activate the Temperature warning message:

  • Leaving the device in a car on a hot day.
  • Leaving it in direct sunlight for extended amounts of time.
  • Using certain applications in hot conditions or direct sunlight for long periods of time, such as GPS tracking in a car on a sunny day or listening to music while in direct sunlight.

iPhone 3GS Oleophobic Screen Coating Causing Problems for Some

Geek.com's Matthew Humphries reports:

"The iPhone 3GS introduces a number of new features one of which is an oleophobic coating on the touchscreen. Such a membrane repels liquids such as the oil on your fingertips therefore allowing the 3GS screen to remain smudge free. But it seems adding such a coating is not without its problems."

Apps & Services

Speed Trap App Goes Free with Launch of Location Based Ad Engine

PR: Njection LLC, the maker of Njection Mobile (NMobile), their worldwide speed trap notification system for iPhone 3G, is releasing version 1.1.3 for free before the 4th of July weekend. In addition, Njection is releasing a Ad Placement engine that uses GPS to display discounts and coupons from local "Brick and Mortar" stores. This will allow them to compete for business with a lower entry cost than traditional advertising means.

iPhone Speed TrapDesigned specifically to take advantage of the 3G's unique abilities and interface users can be alerted to coupons and discounts in their vicinity. This will give the option to consumers to rate and choose between buying online or from a local "Brick and Mortar" store that may have a lower price. The benefit is having something that they wanted to have in hand within minutes rather than days.

Store are now able to create a coupon and upload the locations of their stores. Bar codes can be used to scan their iPhone coupons to take advantage of offers from companies. Stores that would like to sign up and participate can do so for free. Signing up will allow companies to upload store locations and have them geocoded for use with Njection Mobile. Companies and business with coupon offering can be attached to any participating store and store locations for a fee. The Njection Mobile iPhone update that will include the ad engine will be available July 20th, 2009.

Coupons added to Njection Mobile's Ad Engine have two hard requirements:

  1. The store most have a "Brick and Mortar" location for geocoding and so that users can get what that want immediately.
  2. There must be a discount included in the offering. This will make it more enticing for users to take advantage of the stores offering and drive customers to the store.

Designed specifically to take advantage of the 3G's unique abilities and interface, NMobile was built from the ground up for drivers so they can be notified to the location of speed traps, red light cameras, and speed detection devices. With the addition of the ad engine, Njection Mobile will build itself as a one stop app for saving money in more ways than one.

Accessories

New Battery Triples Battery Life of iPhone/iPod

Apple Juicz External iPhone/iPod BatteryPR: QuickerTek has announced the Apple Juicz External iPhone/iPod Battery that works for the first, second generation iPhones and 3G iPhones, iPod, and iTouch. Users get up to three times the battery life.

Rick Estes, QuickerTek, Inc. said, "This new battery extends the mobile experience of Apple portables from the G3 iPhone to the iPod. Our users asked us to extend the battery line from laptops to the "i" products and we have. Our testers loved the 30 extra hours of music, 6 hours of video and 3 extra hours of talk time on the iPhone," Estes stated.

Free yourself from the limited battery life that cuts short your mobile life. Get more performance, more fun and more Apple goodness that makes life fun and practical.

The Apple Juicz external iPhone battery simply attaches to the iPhone/iPod device. To recharge the battery simply use the USB charging cable that comes with iPhone/iPod device taking 3 hours to charge. The External Battery features a high capacity 2200 mAh Polymerized Lithium-ion battery, LED status indicator and is compatible with all iPod models with a 30 pin connector, iPhone and iTouch.

The new Apple Juicz external iPhone/iPod battery is available from QuickerTek and resellers. Extra accessories are available Dock Extender-so that you can use the earphone jack and external battery. QuickerTek backs the Apple Juicz external iPhone/iPod battery with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. Additional product information is found at QuickerTek online.

Zgrip iPhone Pro Video Handgrip

Zgrip iPhone ProPR: Zacuto has the first serious solution for shooting video with the iPhone 3Gs. It's all about the stability and our solution adds just that. There is far too much side to side movement when shooting with an iPhone 3Gs even when trying to hold it with two hands very steady.

Zgrip iPhone PRO is a completely adjustable, quick releasable handgrip system for shooting professional stable video using the iPhone 3Gs. The iPhone 3Gs snaps into the iPhone cradle, the cradle snaps into the Zacuto Zgrip and you are ready to shoot. The handgrip fully articulates, and all of the red levers allow you to adjust every angle to get those interesting creative smooth shots.

There are also a couple of great accessories to help you shoot better sound, lighting & for getting up real high above people standing right by you and crowds. Add a 10" rod below in order to extend the iPhone over crowds. In order to mount a light or sound recorder, pick up the Zacuto Zicromount. We also have a tripod mount for your iPhone 3Gs so you can quickly go from your Zgrip iPhone to tripod in seconds, if desired. Please see the detailed pictures for pictures of the tripod mount. The tripod mount can be added below for $5). The iPhone tripod mount includes a Zud and a 2" female rod.

All Zacuto products are designed and made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty.

Includes:

  • iPhone Cradle
  • Zgrip handle with 2" F/F rod
  • Z-mount II
  • Modified Zud 1/4 20"

The consumer version is coming soon and will be substantially less expensive but will lose a lot of the adjustability to get to that lower price point. Keep an eye out for Zgrip Iphone Consumer.

Price: $295

K-box Gel Speaker Makes Whatever Surface It's Sitting on a Soundboard

PR: Introducing the K-box Gel Speaker, available only from kerchoonz.com.

Plug it into your laptop, phone, mp3 or portable gaming device and experience it turn surfaces into sound.

K-box Gel SpeakerUsing patented 'gel-audio' technology when placed upon any solid flat surface, a wall, table or even windows, the K-box turns the surface into sound with powerful bass response (40-20KHz).

  • High Quality Audio
  • Full Bass response 40Hz-20KHz
  • Compact and Portable (115x55x20mm)
  • Up to 20 hours battery life (recharge via USB)

Price £39.99 + £5.00 P&P (ships worldwide)

Protection

Safeguard Your iPhone 3G & 3GS with OtterBox

OtterBox DefenderPR: With increased memory, video recording capabilities, voice control, a compass and other clever features, it's no surprise that the new Apple iPhone 3GS has sold over one million units. So don't leave your new device vulnerable; safeguard your investment with OtterBox Defender and Impact Series cases, compatible with both iPhone 3G and 3GS models.

Want a case that offers 99 percent coverage to keep your iPhone 3G/3GS looking new? The rugged dust, drop, dirt and scratchproof Defender Series offers interaction with volume control, camera, touch-screen, silent switch and phone functions.* Protection consists of three layers:

  • Layer 1: safeguards screen from scratches, dust and dirt
  • Layer 2: polycarbonate shell fortifies device against drops or impact
  • Layer 3: robust silicone skin absorbs shock and keeps dust and dirt out of all ports and plugs

OtterBox Impact

Looking for simple, everyday protection? Rely on the silicone Impact Series with inner coring that dissipates impact away from your iPhone to protect from bump and shock.

An included, self-adhering screen cover adds additional protection from scratches. Case offers complete interaction with device functions so even on-the-go your iPhone is protected and handy.


OtterBox Defender

Customize your case with colors; the OtterBox Defender Series comes in black, yellow/black, white or pink and the Impact Series is available in black or white. OtterBox provides an ideal iPhone 3G/3GS solution for extreme lifestyles or everyday casual users.



Founded in 1996, OtterBox is highly respected in the design and production of rugged and semi-rugged cases to safeguard technology and other valuables.



Built upon fundamentals of hard work, creativity and perseverance, OtterBox is the innovator of premier protective solutions for leading global handheld manufacturers, wireless carriers and distributors.

For more information, visit www.otterbox.com or call 888-695-8820. We've got technology covered.

*Defender Series cases do not protected against water. Will provide some added protection against drop, bump and dust. not intended for protection against water intrusion.

**Impact Series cases do not protect against water. Will provide some added protection against bump and shock.

Anti-slip Silicone Skin Case for 3G iPod touch

PR: Give your 3G iPod touch the best protection against scratches and stains. Made from high quality silicone material that is lightweight yet durable, this customized case allows you to get a strong grip on your iPod to lessen the chances of dropping accidents.

Anti-slip Silicone Skin CaseFeatures:

  • Brand new silicone skin for New iPod touch 3G
  • Anti-slip design for more safe to carry.
  • Red iPod touch Skin is compatible with iPod touch 3rd Gen. 8GB & 16GB
  • iPod touch 3G Case is made of soft and durable silicone material.
  • iPod touch 3GSilicone Skin provide a comfortable grip.
  • Protect your iPod touch generation against any scratch, bump, and dirt.
  • Allow easy access to all buttons without removing your iPod from the case.
  • Has a hole for a camera on the back.
  • Light weight, easy to attach and remove.
  • Weight: 22.5g

Price - $1.69

Shipping Fee: $5.49 first item, $2.39 any additional item

Uniea Reintroduces Cases for iPhone 3Gs with New Look and Features

U-Suit PremiumPR: Universal Electronic Accessories ("Uniea"), a designer and manufacturer of innovative electronic accessories, is set to unveil updates of four classic Uniea cases that will work with the newly-released iPhone 3Gs from Apple. The collection of cases includes the U-Suit Premium, U-Skin, U-Motion, and the U-Suit Folio Premium, all popular Uniea cases offered for previous generations of the iPhone that will now join Uniea's new U-Glance iPhone hard case. A classic hip-case with leather-clip on the back will also be available as an alternative option.

U-MotionThe U-Suit Folio Premium will offer improved features, allowing easy-access to the headset plug-in and the volume-control, while still ensuring total protection in style. As always, the U-Suit Premium and U-Suit Folio Premium both feature soft, lavish leather construction that is classic and elegant to the touch and works well for the casual and business user alike. The U-Suit Premium comes in three leather options, the signature leather model, a Napa leather model, and an Intrecciato leather model, all in black.

U-SkinAdditionally, the other two cases in the new iPhone 3Gs series, the U-Skin and the U-Motion, will still retain their unique and time-tested features, with the U-Skin still offering a unique embossed texture in its rubberized exterior, but now with three more added color options in metallic red, blue, and green. The U-Motion will retain its soft neoprene construction and sporty armband as well, making it perfect for exercising, bicycling, or doing anything else on the go.

Finally, Uniea has just added one final model to the new line of iPhone 3Gs cases, a unique leather hip case. Designed for those looking for a roomy case that attaches to their belt and provides quick access to their iPhone, this case promises to be a popular accessory for the iPhone, given its unmistakable fashion appeal and functionality.

Uniea sees the release of the iPhone 3Gs as a key opportunity to reintroduce their most popular iPhone accessories to a larger audience, and plans on bolstering new interest in the U-Suit Premium, U-Skin, U-Motion, and U-Suit Folio Premium. While the cases will not be available until a further official announcement from Uniea, they will eventually be available for purchase both at the online store as well as through the various vendors and resellers of Uniea products worldwide.

Flower Pattern Scarlet Plastic Back Case Cover for iPhone 3G

Flower Pattern Scarlet Plastic Back Case Cover for iPhone 3GPR: Designed with beautiful flower pattern engraved the case, this iPhone 3G plastic back cover molds perfectly to the the back of your iPhone and it highlights its beauty while providing full access to all controls.

The iPhone 3G Back Case protects the back of your phone from scratch, bump, fingerprints and other daily damage.

Anti-slip surface, quite comfortable to grip

The Flower Pattern iPhone 3G Case features the scarlet appearance and with beautiful flower pattern engraved the case.

The iPhone 3G Back Cover is dust resistant and and it keeps dust from absorbing on the case for much static charge.

Made of durable hard plastic material

The iPhone 3G Plastic Back Case is washable and quite easy to remove.

This is a non-OEM generic product.

Compatible with: Apple iPhone 3G.

$12.99

Carabiner Zipper Design Bag Case Pouch for iPhone and iPod touch

PR: Provide full protection for your device with this stylish pouch. The sturdy carabiner attached at the top of the pouch clips easily to your belt loop or purse strap. The large Velcro flap closure ensures your phone will stay safe.

Carabiner Zipper Design Bag Case Pouch for iPhone and iPod touchFeatures:

  • Carabiner Zipper Design Pinkish Bag Case Pouch for iPhone iPod touch
  • Pinkish Bag for iPhone made of fabric with flowers pattern, two layer design, not only for iPhone, but also for earphones
  • Velcro closure of external cover, Provide full protection for your device
  • A zipper design, for install small articles
  • Fabric cloth material made
  • iPod touch Pouch with a back carabiner, convenient to carry and comes with a black string
  • Bag w. Carabiner is ideal for travel and shopping use
  • Suitable for most mobile phones
  • Size: 12.5 x 8.2 x 1.7cm
  • Color: pinkish
  • Weight: 34g

Price - $4.69

Shipping Fee: $5.49 first item, $2.39 any additional item

Bold Hard Case for the iPhone 3Gs Set to Join the Uniea Lineup

PR: Universal Electronic Accessories ("Uniea") has also announced the unveiling of a brand-new hard case to protect and hold the new iPhone that debuted on June 19th. Uniea's new U-Glance promises to deliver an innovative list of new features to complement the buzz surrounding the iPhone 3Gs, both in styling and function. The release of the case will follow soon after the new iPhone.

U-Glance hard casesOffered in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Black, and Transparent, the U-Glance's construction features a unique combination of TPU and PC plastic components, such as the back plate, which is constructed of PC, but is lined with TPU in order to protect the edges of the case. The use of these two materials makes the U-Glance remarkably lightweight while remaining highly protective from scratches, drops, and dirt. The profile of the case is designed to add a minimal amount of weight and dimension to the iPhone, preserving the look and feel of the device itself. Adding to this is the U-Glance's unique open front feature, which allows the user to have unfettered access to the touch panel of the phone while fully protecting the sides and back of the device and providing quick access to ports and switches. A unique rubberized button cover that allows for easy use also protects all switches and buttons.

Uniea believes that the U-Glance is poised to become a premiere accessory choice for the new generation of iPhones. Both its lightweight yet protective construction and its unmistakable design and style features reflect the unique and one-of-a-kind features of the new iPhone.

While the U-Glance will not be available until a further official announcement from Uniea, the case will eventually be available for purchase both at the online store as well as through the various vendors and resellers of Uniea products worldwide.

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