Apple seeds first beta of iOS 4.3, what you need to know

January 12th, 2011 at 6:06 PM  5 Comments

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 4.3 to developers, hot on the heels of the Verizon iPhone announcement. While it’s probably too late in the game to expect 4.3 to come on the Verizon iPhone, chances are it’ll reach the general public sometime after that. All of the demo phones that the tech press got to play with are running iOS 4.2.5, which is probably going to be a VZW only version, coming all back into sync with the release of 4.3.

If Apple could get away without releasing betas of their operating systems, they’d probably do it, because it’s the first chance many of us outside of their private layer get to have to look at what’s coming down the pipe.

What you should know:

  • Apple has not seeded an update for the second generation iPhone (3G) or iPod touch. Only the iPhone 3GS and 4, iPad and Apple TV. This could mean one of two things —
  1. It’s just not out yet. Apple is either lazy or they’re going to hold off until the next beta release.
  2. There will never be a version released. In which case 4.2.1 will be the end of the line for those devices.
  • The Personal Hotspot feature of the Verizon iPhone 4 is integrated into 4.3 for all models including those on AT&T, however it’s going to cost you extra on your plan.
  • FaceTime has it’s own icon.
  • iPad users can now get a choice between the physical side switch being a mute switch or an orientation lock. In iOS 3.2, which was iPad only, the switch functioned as an orientation lock. When the code tree was unified under iOS 4.2, it was changed to a mute switch. Users complained (rightfully so) and now Apple is giving people an option. Frankly I prefer it as an orientation lock on the iPad and a mute switch on the iPhone.
  • On the iPhone, when in silent mode a text message will generate three quick vibrations and an email will generate one. This allows you to quickly distinguish the difference when it’s in your pocket. Personally, I turn email notifications off completely because I get too many.
  • There are some new font choices as well as some new multi-touch gestures on the iPad. The gestures seem to enable a lot of functionality that would negate the need for a home button. Perhaps a clue to the future of the iPad 2?
  • AirPlay for video in applications is a welcomed addition for AppleTV users. Soon you’ll be able to stream just more than the built in videos application. This will open the door for VLC (if it returns to the App Store) and others to enable this functionality.
  • There have been reports on Twitter about applications not being allowed to update with the beta installed. While I’ve not confirmed this myself use caution before trying out the beta on your primary device.

Really, if you’re not a developer, or a bleeding edge kind of person, stay away. Honestly, if you’re not a developer or testing things for a developer you shouldn’t have access to this anyway (why people risk installing operating systems from public torrents is beyond me) — also, if you’re someone who exercises their ability to jailbreak or unlock the phone, don’t update, because there is no telling if you’ll ever be able to go back to 4.2.1, or if an exploit for 4.3 will even be released.

The mythical Verizon iPhone has arrived

January 11th, 2011 at 10:59 AM  1 Comment

Somewhere deep in the heart of the AT&T headquarters, their executives are huddled around holding a vigil to mourn the loss of the exclusive US contract. Likewise, Google execs are probably throwing chairs at the wall screaming “I thought we had something special!”

No longer a mythical unicorn, the much anticipated Verizon iPhone is now a reality. Available February 3 for existing Verizon customers (props to them for that) and then February 10 for everyone else.

The new device is almost exactly like the old one except for some small differences:

  • CDMA radio instead of GSM, this also means a slightly altered external antenna design
  • Support for Verizon Mobile Hotspot, allowing 5 devices to connect to the iPhone and use Verizon’s data service

There are a few of differences with Verizon and AT&T that should be pointed out:

  1. Verizon’s data network is larger, meaning more bars in more places.
  2. AT&T’s data network is faster, meaning when you get service you’re going to cruise faster.
  3. CDMA technology doesn’t allow for simultaneous voice and data usage. If you’re on a call and want to look up on Google Maps where to meet your friend for lunch? Too bad. Gotta wait for your call to end.

The biggest disappointment, but not unexpected, is that the Verizon iPhone will not support LTE technology, which would have allowed for faster data transfers and simultaneous voice and data. However, given that Verizon’s LTE network just started rolling out a few months ago, this isn’t surprising that Apple chose not to support it. It would have also required further alterations to the iPhone.

The unknown right now is what version of iOS this new CDMA iPhone will run. Will the iOS 4.2.1 guts support it? Will it require a 4.2.2 update? Will we get 4.3? Will the GSM and CDMA phones run the same iOS version? Or will it all be some sort of carrier update that doesn’t involve the a new version of iOS?

Last, Apple COO Tim Cook left the door wide open to future networks when he said this contract with Verizon is multi-year but non-exclusive.

Let the Sprint iPhone discussion commence.

(Or T-Mobile, if anyone still cares about them.)


I can’t wait for the iPhone to come to Verizon, so you’ll all shut up about it

January 9th, 2011 at 10:49 AM  4 Comments

The boys who cried wolf (AKA The Wall Street Journal, et al) are all indicating that Tuesday will be the announcement of the long awaited iPhone 4 on Verizon. I hope they’re finally right.

Not because I’m going to switch, no, I’m actually pretty satisfied with my AT&T service, having been a customer for a long while before the launch of the first iPhone. I’ll just be glad when the noise makers and complainers can have another option. I hope that Verizon’s network works better for them than AT&T (although I kinda also hope it’s just as bad) so that they’ll shut up. I also look forward to another network getting some of the load so that my service will be even more reliable than it already is.

I can’t be alone in this thinking, if AT&T’s network is so god damn horrible across the entire country as the people in San Fransisco and New York make it out to be, no one would use it. Fact is, myself and millions of other subscribers made the choice to use it long before the iPhone. I even used to live down the street from the world headquarters of Sprint, and still used AT&T because I got better service.

I’m not discounting that there are people with horrible AT&T service. I’ve been places where that is the case, I know people who have this problem on a regular basis. It sucks, but chances are no has one forced you to use an iPhone this whole time.

I’ll also be glad when this golden phone finally does arrive, so we can stop obsessing about it. The phone will come out, AT&T’s subscriber numbers will slightly decrease, Verizon will see an increase, Apple’s profits will go up. The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west. Choice is good, but the tech world needs to stop treating this like we’re awaiting the second coming of Christ, and treat this like what it is, like what happens all around the world with the iPhone on multiple carriers. The same phone, on another network.

(Image credit to Gizmodo, from back in 2005, proof people hated them before the iPhone)

Skype now has 3G and Wi-Fi video calling for iOS

December 30th, 2010 at 9:22 AM  No Comments

Skype is now apparently now even more useful for annoying your friends and looking like a total idiot. (See video) I can’t tell you how many times TechVirtuoso’s own Franky Frank Owen has wanted to dance in his underwear on his bed for me while I was in the shower, but our iPhone to Android incompatibility prohibited our special moment. While Facetime over Wifi is Apple’s native and kosher way to do video calling on your iPhone (4 only), they’ve opened the flood gates to now allow video calling through Skype over AT&T’s super fast and stable 3G network.

Devices that lack cameras, such as the iPad and the older iPod Touch can still get in on the video fun, but only on the receiving end. But sometimes, isn’t its more fun to receive.

Get the update (version 3.0) in iTunes or on the App Store of your mobile device.

iOS 4.2 is golden, should be released in the next week

November 1st, 2010 at 7:02 PM  No Comments

Apple has posted the gold master version of the iOS 4.2 firmware to the Apple developers website.

With this release, the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch will all be unified under one code base and have more feature parity. However the most important part of this release is that the iPad will gain the much coveted mutlitasking abilities that have been present in the iOS firmware since version 4.0 on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

As Engadget points out:

if you’ve got a friend with an iPhone Developer Program subscription, now would be a greattime to get cozy

Indeed. Typically the gold master will run on any device, not just ones which are registered to a developer account. Also, the gold master is typically released to the public within a week or so of hitting developers, so expect this to be finalized very soon. Apple promised 4.2 would be out in November and they seem on track to deliver.

And just in time for me to buy an iPad this week.

White iPhone fun for your Sunday morning

October 31st, 2010 at 11:20 AM  Comments Off on White iPhone fun for your Sunday morning

If you’re still waiting on the release of the iPhone 4 in white, you better check out this video from *cough* “Apple”.

Warning: If you’re working on a Sunday, don’t crank the volume on this one up too high if your boss doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Apple plotting to cut carriers out of the iPhone game?

October 27th, 2010 at 6:31 PM  3 Comments

Is it possible Apple is plotting to cut carriers like AT&T out of the iPhone sales process in the next version of the iPhone? GigaOM seems to think so:

Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.

It’s rumored that Apple and Gemalto have created a SIM card, which is typically a chip that carries subscriber identification information for the carriers, that will be integrated into the iPhone itself.

Much like it helped cut operators out of the app store game, Apple could be taking them out of the device retail game. Yes, carriers will still have to allow the phone to operate on their networks, which appears to be why executives from various French carriers have been to Cupertino in recent weeks.

I’m not quite sure I see how this cuts them out, as you’d still need a contract unless everyone is going to start buying an iPhone that costs $700+ again, and the carriers decide to drop the prices of the plans. Yeah, right. Apple is Apple, and they have a lot of power to make people and companies do what they want but I fail to see how this is any kind of huge game changer.

If anything, it creates complications for those who want to unlock their phones. Really, this could be a good thing for the carriers who are locking in customers to their network. Although as exclusivity agreements begin to expire around the world and talk about an iPhone on Verizon in the United States becomes more assured, the market for iPhone unlocking could become less and less popular.

It’s a shame that we’ve come so far towards standardizing things like SIM cards, power chargers, and other technologies for mobile devices yet Apple manages to push everything in a different direction just for the sake of thinking different.

Flaw in iOS allows lock code bypass

October 26th, 2010 at 10:30 AM  No Comments

If the fact that the iPhone and other iOS devices are jailbroken by basically exploiting security flaws in Apple’s programming wasn’t enough to highlight Apple’s lack of security prowess, a Brazilian iPhone hacker by the name of Salomão Filho has found a new and much simpler flaw. This one is in, and it allows anyone to bypass the security lock code on an iPhone to access the phone functions, thus allowing them to make calls and access contact information and voicemail.

And it can be done by just about anyone with thumbs, via Neowin:

To bypass any lock screen simply hit “emergency call”, then enter three pound signs, hit the green call button and immediately press the lock button and you will have bypassed the security feature on the iPhone.

According to Tipb this exploit has already been fixed in iOS 4.2 betas. It’s unknown if Apple will release a pre-4.2 update to correct this issue. For now the only known workaround is not to lose your phone. Good luck!

Thanks to @hasanahmad for the heads up.

Review: Coveroo custom cover service impresses

October 26th, 2010 at 10:00 AM  2 Comments

I go back and forth when it comes to phone cases. On one hand, I want to protect my investment from damage but on the other hand, sometimes they break the aesthetics of a device like the iPhone. With my iPhone 3G, over the course of two years it had two different cases that I used, each for about six months. However with the iPhone 4, due to the much advertised death grip, a “bumper” or full third party case seems to be as much a necessity as a fire extinguisher in a Ford Pinto.

Because of this need, there is an endless possibility of options for cases. But one company aims to give you a case that’s a little more personalized. Coveroo.


Melinda Gates: Only Zune for you!

October 26th, 2010 at 9:44 AM  1 Comment

It seems like this was news last year (it was) but in an interview with The New York Times, Melinda Gates confirmed that Apple products are forbidden in the Gates household. Want an iPod? Zune for you. Want an iPhone? How about a shiny HTC 7 Pro instead?

Do you own an iPod, which is made by Apple?
No, I have a Zune.

What if one of your children says, “Mom, I have to have an iPod?”
I have gotten that argument — “You may have a Zune.”

Do you have an iPad?
Of course not.

Is it true that Bill works on an Apple laptop?
False. Nothing crosses the threshold of our doorstep.

Isn’t there room in this world for both Apple and Microsoft?
Microsoft certainly makes products for the Macintosh. Go talk to Bill.

Also, if you were concerned for Bill’s mental health with the news that he’s no longer the richest man in the world (partly because he’s giving most of his fortune away, and partly because Microsoft’s stock has gone south) you have no reason to worry. The only person it really bothers is his daughter.

By the way, I see he fell this year back to No. 2 on the list of the world’s wealthiest people. How did he feel when the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim overtook him?
The only person that teases him about that is our youngest daughter, our 8-year-old. He couldn’t care less.

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