iNews Review

iPhone 4 Antenna Denial, End of iPod Era, Phone 4 vs. 3GS Speed Test, iPad in Business, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.07.09

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

iPads in Business

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apple in iPhone 4 Denial

The Register's Rik Myslewski says:

"Apple released a surreal missive on Friday morning that said the only thing wrong with the iPhone 4 is the way it calculates signal-strength bars. That letter is either an honest explanation or total bullshit and it's high time that a competent, unbiased antenna-engineering team found out.

"On the face of it, Apple's letter . . . appears ludicrous in the extreme. Like an alcoholic in deep denial, Apple says that it's not their fault, it's the bars'."

Editor's note: For a detailed analysis of the iPhone 4's antenna problems, see The Real Story on iPhone 4's Antenna on AnandTech. Apple's missive has everything to do with misleading strength bars on the iPhone and nothing to do with the antenna problem. dk

Apple Needs to Rush iOS 4.0.1 to Fix Problems

PC World's Tony Bradley says:

"Officially, Apple seems to be in denial about the serious and mounting issues being reported by its customers. However, complaints of the antenna 'death grip', battery power vampire, proximity sensor, and other issues are flooding online forums. Thankfully, unofficially, the rumor is that Apple is hard at work resolving these 'non-issues' with an update to the iOS software coming soon...."

Apple Drops iPhone 4 Return Fee Due to Reception Complaints

MacNN reports:

"Apple has decided to drop its 10 percent restocking fee for customers dissatisfied with the new iPhone 4. The device has achieved extremely brisk sales in the first few weeks of availability, however many customers have complained of poor reception, dropped calls, or a complete loss of signal when the phone is held in a certain way."

Why Apple's $29 iPhone 4 Bumper Case Is a Rip-off

Ars Technica's Aurich Lawson says:

"Much has been made of the iPhone 4's antenna woes and whether or not a bare-handed grip will send you spiraling into no-signal limbo. Even if you are not the type to normally consider a case for your new iPhone, reading those reports might give you second thoughts.

"While the third party market is quickly stepping up to provide options, the obvious first choice is the Apple Bumper case. Minimal and Apple-engineered, what could go wrong?"

The End of Apple's iPod Era

AppleInsider's Andy M. Zaky, says:

"After years of serving as Apple's main source of revenue, the iPod's influence on the company's financial health has diminished to the point of being effectively irrelevant as a revenue driver, marking an end to the 'iPod era.'

"As the halo effect of the iPod reached its maximum potential, reinvigorated Macintosh sales and deep market penetration by the iPhone have completely taken over as the main source of Apple's revenue and earnings. Even the iPad in its inaugural quarter will post more revenue and earnings than the iPod, pushing the device to Apple's 4th largest source of income. What's more, the iPod as a percentage of Apple's total revenue will drop below 10% in 2011."

Editor's note: Four years ago the iPod accounted for over half of Apple's total revenue (fiscal Q1 2006), and by last holiday quarter it had declined to around 20%. That said, Zaky shows how the iPod remains a consistent source of revenue. dk

iPhone 4: Machined to Perfection?

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Let's be honest here, what really makes the the iPhone 4 stand out is its new 'Retina Display'.

"Yes, Apple has crammed in some other new features too - gyroscopes, extra microphones, video calling, better WiFi, multi-tasking and yet more megapixels for the camera - but these alone don't raise the iPhone 4 above the shoulders of its peers."

Cell Phones Still Driving Us to Distraction

InformationWeek's Eric Zeman reports:

"Driving while distracted - by anything - is dangerous. According to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, 38% of drivers say they've been hit or almost hit due to others who won't get off their cell phones while driving.

"The same poll also shows that 40% of drivers admit to using their phones - whether it be to check email, Facebook, GPS, or send text messages - while driving."

For more pertinent reading on this topic, see Hang Up and Drive on Road & Track.

Lobbyists Try to Reframe Distracted Driving Issue

The New York Times' Matt Richtel reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was alarmed by a lobbying effort to reframe the debate over the dangers of distracted driving, with a major electronics industry trade group and a Washington lobbying firm pushing separate efforts to reframe the debate over the dangers of distracted driving in response to moves by state legislators and regulators to restrict motorists use of cellphones and other devices.

God on the Go: How iPhones Are Changing Religion

TechNewsDaily's Stuart Fox reports:

"From the printing press to the radio to the Internet, advances in communication technology have almost always instigated rapid and profound changes in religious practice. The proliferation of mobile devices like the iPhone is currently provoking a similarly profound change, simultaneously allowing worshippers to craft a personal religious environment in an otherwise secular world, but also diluting many practices central to all religions."

iPhone Fashion Shoot: Lee Morris Shoots with iPhone 3GS

Lee Morris says, "I try to preach the same message to people who always say 'You must have a really expensive camera' when they see some of my photos. I do understand that you're making a point about the camera but just like some comments before me this is a bit of a shot in the foot."

iPhone 4 vs. 3GS Speed Test

ObamaPacman Editor reports:

"Apple 2010 iPhone 4 vs. 2009 iPhone 3GS. Both phones are brand new in terms of OS. iPhone 3GS running official 3.1.3. 5 tests are conducted in this video.

"Note this speed test illustrates the relative speed of iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 3GS in terms of web browsing. It is not designed to show the speed of mobile 3G which might vary depends on your location."

"Result: even though iPhone 4 is rendering 4 times the pixels on its new, high resolution Retina display, it does more faster than the recent iPhone 3GS!"

iPad 3G: Worth the Extra Cost?

The Register says:

"The problem of choice when buying an iPad is compounded not just by the size of the storage, but the issue of whether or not to shell out an additional hundred quid for the 3G version. It's not as simple as the choice between an iPod touch and an iPhone, since the iPad 3G doesn't include phone capabilities: it all depends on where and how you want to use it."

"Unlike a laptop or a phone, the iPad is an unknown genre of device: you can't run desktop applications on it, so it's not a laptop substitute. As a wholly new type of machine, you don't really know how you're going to use it until you've had one for a while. Register Hardware has already reviewed the entry-level WiFi-only 16 GB iPad, so now it's time to find out if a 32 GB 3G iPad is worth the extra."

Deposit a Check with Your iPhone

9 to 5 Mac's Seth Weintraub says:

"I know a few banks have been doing this for awhile but one of my banks, Chase, is now allowing you to take pictures of your checks and submit them through your iPhone. Huzzah...."

How to Erase an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch

Cnet's Donald Bell says:

"For most people, the idea of having their iPad erased sounds like a nightmare. There are times, however, when it can be handy to wipe all your personal data from an iPad and restore it back to its factory settings.

"...here's a video demonstrating two methods for erasing and restoring an iPad. This same technique also works on an iPhone or iPod touch, and can be used to move a grown man to tears if executed on someone's device without warning. Proceed with caution, and be sure to double-check that all your data is backed up to your computer."

Reading an iPad and Kindle Is Slower Than Reading a Real Book

Jakob Nielsen, of product development consultancy firm Nielsen Norman Group, reports on his study of people reading long-form text on tablets, which found higher reading speeds than in the past, but still slower on the electronic devices than reading print.

Going in, it was presumed that various types of tablets ought to do better than desktop computers, because they offer higher-resolution screens and a more comfy reading posture, but the question remained whether tablets are as good as printed books.

Nielsen tested people reading fiction on the two highest-profile tablets - Apple's iPad (first-generation) and Amazon's Kindle 2 - and found that hard copy books are still read faster than tablets, with the iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed page, and the Kindle 10.7% slower.

However, users subjectively preferred the iPad and Kindle. When asked to rate their satisfaction with the devices respectively on a 1 to 7 scale, with 7 being the best score. iPad, Kindle, and the printed book scored 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6, respectively, with traditional PCs scoring a mediocre 3.6.

iPhone 4 Gyroscope Teardown

iFixit's Miro says:

Apple 4 gyroscope
Photo Courtesy iFixit

Apple first announced the iPhone 4's gyroscope at WWDC 2010, but it was largely overshadowed by other big players inside the phone - the A4 processor, Retina display, and external antennas. A lot of technology gets stuffed into vibrational gyroscopes (the type found in the iPhone 4), yet a casual observer may barely notice the chip itself, let alone the phenomenal contents within it. iFixit and Chipworks have partnered to show you exactly what's inside these little gems.

Vibrational gyroscopes have a ton of practical uses, including automotive yaw sensors, game controllers, and image stabilization in cameras. Now, iPhone 4 applications and games can also benefit from their superb accuracy. The teardown covers not only the iPhone 4's gyroscope, but vibrational gyroscopes in general. We tried our best to explain how vibrational gyroscopes function and have documented their internals at a microscopic level.

As always, we're available to field any questions you have regarding the iPhone 4, or vibrational gyroscopes.

Thank you,
Miro
iFixit

Samsung Tablet to Take on iPad This Year

T3's Chris Smith reports that Samsung has revealed it will join the tablet PC circus later this year by launching a rival to the Apple iPad that will have the processing power of a netbook PC and will focus heavily on connectivity, with more inputs and outputs than its rivals. Smith cites Samsung exec Philip Newton telling the Australian site APC: "I do feel that that slate-type platform has legs, but I think the legs need to be far more powerful, for example an Atom-based product which has far greater flexibility, not to mention inputs and outputs. This has more potential than an iPad," also noting that Samsung's Australian chief Emmanuele Sinaneseu reckons tablet PCs can overtake the smartphone as the dominant gadget on the planet.

Asus Plans to Challenge iPad with Eee Pad and Detachable Keyboard

Electronista reports that Asus CEO Jerry Shen outlined how his company plans to tackle the iPad in a talk on Monday, explaining to Poland's RP that the iPad's runaway success has "inspired" his company and others to make touchscreen devices, but that it would also try to overcome the iPad's limitations with an enhanced Eee Pad netbook, announcing that an optional detachable keyboard section will "breathe new life" into netbooks by letting the EP121 work as a tablet - with the option of becoming a Windows 7 netbook with a hardware keyboard.

iPads in Business

iPad Invades Corporate America

PC World's Tony Bradley reports:

"Despite all claims by PC purists that the iPad is a toy that has no real purpose - especially in the corporate world, there are large enterprises embracing the tablet device. It may be designed as a portable media consumption device for consumers, but the iPad also provides a unique mobile computing platform for business as well."

iPad Woos Business Users Despite Security Worries

MSNBC's Rachael King reports that Wells Fargo, SAP, and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz are all using iPads for everyday tasks, and cites Forrester Research vice-president and principal analyst Ted Schadler observing: "This iPad thing has taken the world by storm. It came in as a consumer product, and very quickly the people who actually bought them were businesspeople."

However, the article notes that with their smaller screens, inability to multitask [coming in iOS 4 later this year - ed], and lack of keyboards, tablets are not likely to replace full-featured computers for many work-related tasks anytime soon, with Forrester projecting that even by 2015, less than one-quarter of personal computers sold will be tablets.

On the other hand, iPad challengers coming soon from Hewlett-Packard, Dell, LG Electronics, Cisco, and Samsung may well address some or all of the iPad's shortcomings as a serious work computer cited in the previous paragraph.

Editor's note: The "security worries" hinted at in this article's title have more to do with connecting to Microsoft's Exchange Server, not issues such as viruses, Trojans, and other malware that are prevalent on Windows and almost unknown on other platforms. dk

Enterprises Adopting iPad for Business Tasks

Sci-Tech Today's Barry Levine reports that Apple's iPad is finding increasing acceptance in enterprises as tablet computers begin to transform business computing. Wells Fargo Bank and SAP AG are utilizing the iPad for a variety of tasks despite its introduction as a media-consumption device. More tablets, including Cisco's Cius, are coming and are expected to join Apple's iPad in businesses.

iPads in the Board Room

VentureBlog's David Hornik says:

"I don't know about the rest of the country, but Sand Hill Road has clearly embraced the iPad. There was a time when every VC on Sand Hill proudly carried the latest, greatest Palm Pilot. No self-respecting VC would be caught without one....

"Fast forward a decade and that tool of choice for the VC world is the iPad. Since its launch, the iPad has taken over the board room. I have not attended a single board meeting since the day the iPad shipped in which at least one iPad wasn't present...."

"Prior to the launch of the iPad, VCs would arrive at a board meeting and promptly set up their laptops. Anyone who's attended a meeting of laptop users knows that it is not the most conducive environment for discussion . . . the VC community has realized that an iPad lying flat on the table does not have the same effect . . .. Less distraction. Less interruption. Better board meetings."

Apps & Services

iPhone 4 Repair Manual

PR: Good news: you no longer have to use our teardown to take apart your iPhone 4. Our engineers worked 12-hour shifts for five days to bring you a comprehensive repair manual for Apple's newest creation. Ten guides, 122 images, and 181 bullet points later, our manual shows you how to replace all the major components that may break or fail in your iPhone 4. We hope you never have to use our guides, but we've got you covered if you do.

During our teardown, we investigated the repairability of the front and back glass panels. It turns out that you'll be able to swap the back glass with little effort, but you won't be able to replace the front panel without also replacing the LCD.

The LCD, glass panel, and digitizer come as one unit in the iPhone 4, and they are inseparable without damaging the LCD. We're going to keep investigating potential methods of separating the LCD from the rest of the front panel, but the outlook isn't good.

We don't have iPhone 4 parts in stock - yet. All parts that end up on iFixit's shelves are thoroughly tested, and we're especially cautious when parts come out for a new product. Sometimes suppliers create parts based on preproduction gadgets, which may differ slightly from the final product. Apple has been known to switch things around at the last minute; for example, compare the 5-pointed star screws on Apple's iPhone 4 gallery images with the Phillips screws in our teardown. Accordingly, we'll have a great selection of iPhone 4 parts soon at our iPhone parts store: http://www.ifixit.com/iPhone-Parts

The good news is that whatever goes wrong with your beautiful iPhone 4 - whether you crush the home button, damage one of the cameras, or short out the iPhone logic board while taking a swim - you can fix it, and we can help.

On an iPhone-related note, we created a YouTube video slideshow of the teardown for those who prefer moving pictures.

Thanks,
Miro
iFixit

iLookGood iLookGood: A Real iPhone Mirror Wherever You Go

PR: iLookGood, the first of iLook app optimized for the iPhone and specifically the iPhone 4 is now available in the App Store. This is a true mirror built especially for iPhone 4 (with old school black mirror for other devices). iLookGood is the simplest of several upcoming releases and turns iPhone 4's front facing camera into a true mirror. With iLookGood you're never more than a quick glance from seeing just how good you look. iLookGood also takes advantage of iPhone 4's Retina display to present a high fidelity presentation that looks almost as good as you do.

Need to check your makeup or your hair while you're on the go, but forgot your makeup mirror. Never fear iLookGood is here. By using the iPhone 4's front camera (or a solid black screen on other devices), your iPhone becomes a perfect mirror. Great for checking:

  • iLookGoodmakeup
  • hair
  • lipstick
  • eyeshadow
  • anything else you need to see

Choose from a selection of frames to find the one that best accentuates your look, or turn the frame off altogether to fill the entire screen with your lovely face. Whatever you choose, iLookGood is the perfect high tech mirror replacement.

Price: 99¢

System requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.

Create Your Greeting Card Using iPicEd for iPad

iPicEdPR: Moobila, a mobile cloud computing company, has launched iPicEd for iPad, which can be purchased at the iPad App Store.

iPicEd for iPad offers 32 useful filters, 11 overlay effects, 6 borders, and 12 photo frames to enhance your photos. There are also options to zoom features, crop, apply filters on a selective area, and save in original dimension.

According to Jauher Zaidi, CEO of Moobila, "iPicEd for iPhone has been extremely popular among iPhone users, and we at Moobila believe that iPicEd will be even more popular among iPad users who will enjoy editing their photos on a slightly bigger surface that supports 12 megapixel photos.

iPicEdiPicEd for iPad has all the same features that iPicEd version 2 for the iPhone has and more, making it an ideal application for the user who enjoys editing photos wherever and whenever they want. According to Farooq Ahmad, CTO of Moobila, This version for the iPad features a new custom greeting card template where you can edit your photo, add text, and then send the greeting card to all of your friends and family. iPicEd allows users to upload their photos to their email, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa accounts in just one click.

For a demo on how to use iPicEd for iPad, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jTcog9lWYM

Accessories

Wooden-look Hard Back Cover Case for iPad

Wooden-look Hard Back Cover Case for iPadPR: Features:

  • Featured with Wooden-look Back Graphics
  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Protected from bumps and scratches
  • Light weight
  • Perfectly fit
  • Anti-dust
  • Easy access to all ports, buttons and sockets

This case is suitable for iPad

Note: This is not made of Real Wood.

$16.99

Cool iPhone Soap

PR: Do you love the iPhone or know someone who does? This is the perfect gift for iPhone lovers.

This iPhone soap is roughly the same size as the actual iPhone. It has the black button at the bottom and the "screen icons" in its "flat screen". The top layer of the soap is dark grayish black and the bottom layer is white.

iPhone SoapIt weighs about 4 oz. and it is scented with a delicate Amaretto fragrance. (I'm happy to provide a list of available fragrances to customize it as well.) Not only does it look cool, it is also infused with shea butter. It can also be made without fragrances or without shea butter.

All of Two Eggplants' soaps are made with vegan-friendly and animal-friendly vegetable soap base, cosmetics-grade colorants, shea butter, essential oil/fragrance oil, and a lot of imagination and loving care.

Cool iPhone Soap scents available: Amaretto, Bacon, Croque Monsieur, BBQ Pork,Apple Martini, Macintosh Apple, Strawberries & Champagne. 7-Up Scent, Aged Merlot, Beer, Chocolate Frosted Cupcake,Orange Sherbet Milkshake, Creme Brulee, Mojito, Apple Cinnamon, Rice Krispies, Bourbon and Coke, Cabernet Sauvignon.

You will receive the soap in a clear plastic box with a matching ribbon.

Price: $9.99

The iPod Soap Collection

iPhone SoapPR: I love my iPod :). This fun white iPod soap looks a lot like the real thing! It weighs about 2.0 to 2.5 oz. and is made of 100% vegan and animal friendly vegetable soap base, fragrance oil, and cosmetic-grade colorant.

  • The white iPod soap is scented with a a fun Milk and Honey fragrance.
  • The Cool White iPod Soap is French Vanilla scented.
  • The orange iPod soap smells like orange truffles.
  • The cool fuchsia iPod soap smells like botanical garden and nectar.
  • The lime green and yellow iPod Soap is scented with a hint of Botanical Garden fragrance.
  • The pastel green iPod soap smells like peppermint.
  • This pastel pink iPod soap smells like tropical fruits.
  • This cool teal iPod soap smells like ocean and breeze.
  • iPhone SoapThis cool gray iPod is scented with Peppermint. Unlike the others in the collection, it has a black control pad in addition to the black screen.
  • This clear green iPod soap smells like peppermint.
  • This Sky Blue iPod soap is scented with an Ocean and Breeze fragrance.
  • This new purple iPod soap is scented with English lavender.
  • This new sleek black iPod soap is the newest color to the collection of iPod soaps and scented with Chai Tea.

All orders can be made with no fragrance or another fragrance.

Price $6.50

iPhone SoapiPhone + iPod Soap Combo Gift Set

PR: This gift set is perfect for someone who loves the iPhone and iPod. You will receive an iPhone soap with a fragrance of your choice and an iPod soap with a color and fragrance of your choice as well.

They can be shipped with different clear plastic boxes or in 2 separate boxes with matching ribbon.

$14.50

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