Tag Archive | "apple iphone 4"

Apple iPhone 5 / iPhone 4S Event Coverage

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iPhone 4S available starting October 14th on Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T in:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
(pre-orders begin on the 7th)
iPhone 4S Pricing (on-contract):
  • $199 – 16GB
  • $299 – 32GB
  • $399 – 64GB
If you don’t need the bleeding edge, Apple is lowering the price of the 16GB iPhone 4 to $99 on-contract and the 3GS will be free in the same manner.
On the 28th, it’ll hit 22 additional countries, and be in 70 countries by the end of the year on over 100 carriers. Apple says this is their fastest iPhone rollout ever.
iPhone 4S specs:
  • dual-core A5 CPU, providing up to 2x CPU performance and up to 7x graphics performance (over iPhone 4)
  • iOS 5 with Siri voice assistant
  • Same outer design as iPhone 4 but with redesigned antenna
  • 8MP camera capable of 1080p recording. No mention of front camera so we’re assuming it’ll be the same 0.3MP front camera
  • World phone – CDMA and GSM in one phone
  • Everything else is pretty much the same as the iPhone 4 except there is now a 64GB option for the iPhone 4S
Thanks for sticking around. Credit must be given where it is due. Props to the excellent live coverage from Slashgear, Enagdget, and ThisIsMyNext.
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17: Event is done. No mention of the iPhone 5 or Steve Jobs, and no explanation of that missed call notification from the event invitation… something fishy is going on here.

16: Apple store still down. Apple.com not updated to show anything new yet. Pricing for the iPhone 4S is the usual but they’re adding a 64GB option finally: $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), and $399 (64GB), all on contract of course. Availability for the iPhone 4S is October 14th. Pre-orders start on the 7th. Still nothing about Sprint or an iPhone 5. I’ll be completely blown away if the BRG story is true. For those due for an upgrade, Apple is dropping the iPhone 3GS to free and the iPhone 4 to $99, pretty sweet. Oh hey they just said the iPhone 4S will be on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

15: Still showing more Siri stuff. Reminders can be set through voice which will integrate with the Reminders app that’s coming with iOS5 (something I used to use the old Siri app for frequently). If Siri doesn’t know what you’re talking about, it’ll use Wolfram Alpha to try to give you some info. Examples given are currency exchange rates, definitions, and “how many days until X”. Now they’re showing dictation through Siri. Siri learns your voice according to Apple. Apple is calling Siri beta at launch. Dictation processing happens remotely on a server, which means it might have to fall back to less precise methods when you don’t have a connection, or maybe it won’t work at all.

14: Apple demoing the assistant software which is using the original name (before Apple purchased the company) “Siri”. Some of the queries you’ll be able to ask it: What’s the weather like today? What time is it in Paris? Set an alarm for 6am. Stocking checking, restaruant finding, directions, lots of functionality. The key here is that the user doesn’t need to know what they can or cannot ask. Just ask it something reasonable and it can probably do it. A cool demo of a text coming it: Siri reads it, user asks if they have any appointments at 12pm on Friday, Siri responds that there is nothing on the calendar, then the user asks to reply to the text, all by voice and the button on the Bluetooth headset. Pretty cool… will this only be available with the iPhone 4S?

13: Hoping we have the option to choose between 720p and 1080p video capture, as the larger size is sometimes not necessary for both storage and editing reasons. Apple isn’t always big on choices though…. Apple now talking about their new Assistant software which has been detailed pretty heavily in the media already. This is Apple’s version of voice control, which will use natural language to do a lot of stuff. Don’t know about you folks, but I’ve always found voice-control to be underused because I don’t like looking like an idiot in public. Great for the car and when you’re alone, but otherwise it’s just weird. If anyone can make is socially acceptable to talk to your phone without a real person on the other end, it’s Apple.

12: The iPhone 4S is a world phone, featuring both CDMA and GSM technology in one model. International travelers rejoice. New 8MP camera, backside illumination (for better low-light performance). Apple says the iPhone 4S camera can collect 73% more light than the iPhone 4 which should mean even better photos. There’s also a hybrid IR filter, but I’m not sure exactly what that does! The 4S takes pictures way faster than other smartphones on the market. 1.1 seconds to first photo for the iPhone 4S compared to 3.7 seconds for the Droid Bionic, then 0.5 seconds to a second picture, compared to 1.6 seconds for the Bionic. Ouch. 1080p video recording for the iPhone 4S along with video image stabilization (probably software-based).

11: [No mention of Steve Jobs yet. I can’t imagine that won’t say something about him.] Infinity Blade 2 is launching 12/1/11. Apple manages to increase processing power and also raise battery life, they won’t launch a phone without increasing these it seems, wish other companies would follow that lead. Wow finally, an antenna redesign; but I thought you said it wasn’t broken, Apple? iPhone 4S has HSDPA for up to 14.4 Mbps download. Upload is still at 5.8 Mbps (that’s IF your carrier supports those speeds.) Apple says their technology is just as fast as the HSPA+”4G” phones that some carriers have been pushing. The real question is whether or not the carrier will support such speeds through HSDPA…

10: iPhone 4S is official. Same design outside, new guts inside. Apple’s dual-core A5 CPU (same as the iPad), up to 2x faster than the current CPU in iPhone 4 (A4). Dual core graphics as well which Apple says can provide up to 7x increase in performance. President of Epic Games (they make the Unreal Engine, which powers Infinity Blade, and others) is on stage to talk about the iPhone 4S and gaming. They just announced Infinity Blade 2. The first one was pretty good, but the on-rails aspect killed the experience. Next one appears to be set in an Asian location.

9: Finally looks like they’re moving onto the iPhone. Nothing new before recapping the success of the iPhone 4. They’re calling it the “#1 portable game player”. I call BS on that one. Now recapping iMessage which will work across iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. There’s a white version of the iPod Touch coming. Cool?

8: Moving back to the iPod. I could have sworn that the invitation said “Let’s talk iPhone”. Oh hey look up there at the top of the post, it most definitely does. I’m starting to think that the missed call notification is telling us that Apple didn’t make it’s deadline and won’t have any iPhone to show off today! Showing 16 new virtual clock-faces for anyone using the iPod Nano as a watch.

7: New app from Apple called Find my Friends. It’s like Google’s Latitude, except from Apple. Time location sharing so you are only sharing where you are at certain times during the day. Oh lord, now they’re recapping iTunes match. I hope the folks there at the conference know what they’ve signed up for. All of this seems to be building to something underwhelming… we’ll have to wait and see.

6: They are going over big iOS 5 features, nothing new so far. This feels like a lot of filler information…. Oh here’s something new, iOS5 is coming on October 12th. Why not today?! iCloud info coming right up. More recap… maybe Apple thinks that they waited so long for their usual iPhone announcement that we forgot what they said at WWDC? Engadget says jokingly “Lots of wonderful things to be found in these clouds.” Agreed.

5: Moving onto iOS. They’ve got a chart up for mobile software market-share and Android is colored green, isn’t that cute! iOS is 43% while Android is 33%, they aren’t far behind and Apple isn’t trying to cover that up. Rim is the next shown on the chart at 17% and everyone else is 7%. Wait a minute, Fusion Garage’s Grid OS isn’t on here, there must be a mistake! Apple says there are 500,000 apps in the app store now (last we heard was some 300,000); 140,000 of those are iPad specific. Honeycomb-specific apps are now somewhere in the thousands still, I think.

4: Now onto iPhone stats. 125% growth year-over-year for the iPhone, compared to the rest of the market which grew 74% (according to Apple). #1 in satisfaction followed by HTC, Motorola, LG, etc. (yada yada). Moving on to the iPad. I want to tell Apple we (tech folk) don’t need a recap, but I suppose this is all for investors, analysts, and the like.

3: Still chatting about growth. Anyone with Apple stock will be please, as usual. Some of these things remind me of the book “How to Lie with Statistics”. Surprising to see Apple talking so much about the iPod; this is an iPhone event after all… right, Apple?

2: Talking about retail stores and just pointed out that Apple’s store in Shanghai saw 100,000 people visit in the opening weekend… a recent LA store took a month to reach that many people. Also noting that the Hong Kong store sold more Macs on opening day than in any other Apple store in the world. Clearly there is going to be some big Apple+Asia news coming up.

1: Apple store is down. Par for the course. iCloud.com is still up and offering login for developers. Event is beginning with a lot of talk about how Apple has grown and released a number of bar-setting products. Classic Apple event format so far!

Today is the big day for Apple to show the world its latest iPhone. We’ll be updating this post with the major developments as Apple’s event proceeds. Rather than doing a minute by minute live-blog, we’ll be watching the live-blogs and updating in numbered chunks. Be sure to refresh every now and then.

Rumors are swirling about the possibility of an iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5, or perhaps both. There’s also been pretty wild stories about Sprint getting a short-term WiMax exclusive on the iPhone 5, leaving AT&T and Verizon out of the loop until a few months later. I don’t think Apple would strike such a deal and frustrate loyal customers on the other carriers, but BGR says they got the info from a rock solid contact, so we’ll have to wait and see.

My own predictions for which (if any) 4G networks the iPhone 5 will feature are here, though I didn’t include Sprint as not much had been heard at that point about the carrier getting the iPhone.

I for one am hoping that iOS 5 launches today for those devices that will support it. Feels long overdue. Aside from software and phones, there is going to be a lot of reading between the lines to be done. Steve Jobs’ recent resignation from the CEO position is well known by investors and tech folk alike. This event will be as much about the iPhone as it is about showing that Tim Cook is a more than qualified and inspired CEO.

Oh and don’t forget, if you are going to trade-up for the next iPhone, you can sell your old device pretty darn easily through Gazelle. If you go start the process now, you can lock in the current trade-in price (with no commitment) before it drops following the announcement.

Apple Won’t Fix My iPhone, But Jailbreaking Will

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cydiaHere’s one more reason I’d be using Android if I couldn’t jailbreak my iPhone:

The home button on my iPhone 4 has crapped out. Not entirely, but enough so that sometimes it doesn’t recognize when I press the button. For you non-iPhone users, the home button is the one you use every time you want to get back to the home screen (where all your apps are located), which means you use this button a lot.

Double pressing the button is also used to get to the task-switcher which lets you jump between apps, and holding it down activates voice control. The button has about a 50/50 chance of working, which means getting the double-press to work happens about 25% of the time.

Because the button is used so much, having it inconsistently work makes using the phone extremely frustrating!

So what to do? I call up Apple support. They generally have really good support with one major caveat, you better have a warranty!

Naturally, my phone is 20 days out of warranty (Murphy’s Law tells us that things won’t start breaking until your warranty period is over). The support person asks someone if they can give me an exception since I’m only 20 days out of warranty, but I’m turned away. The only option is to have them repair the phone out of warranty, which costs the same amount as buying a new iPhone, which I’m not interested in doing for a phone that’s still mostly functional.

So Apple won’t fix my phone. Fortunately, as a jailbreaker, I’ve got access to tools that regular iPhone users do not.

Jailbreaking is the de-facto term for describing the process of hacking your iPhone to release it from the restrictions that Apple imposes on it. Once jailbroken, you’ve got access to Cydia, which is essentially the jailbreak version of the App Store. Through Cydia, you can install apps and tools that Apple won’t allow in the app store because they do things that Apple doesn’t want official apps to be able to do.

Thanks to the awesome (and free) Activator app which is installed through Cydia, I can reprogram any of the phone’s buttons (or even software gestures) to do pretty much anything I’d like, including, simulating a press of the home button.

So as of now I’ve used Activator to reprogram my volume-up button so that a short hold simulates a press of the home button (a single tap still works as you’d expect).

Viola! Problem pretty much fixed (better than Apple could do for me out of warranty, anyway). While at it, I’ve also taken the liberty of making a short hold of the volume-down button compose a new text message in a pop-up (through another jailbreak app called iReal SMS), and I’ve set a short hold of the lock button to take me directly to the settings app for quick access to WiFi connection management and more.

The people responsible for jailbreaking, and developing the apps that are accessed through it, are providing extremely useful tools to those who want to take advantage of them.

This is why it’s upsetting that Apple tries to block jailbreaking at every update.

Jailbreaking has saved me money, provided support where Apple could not, and provides a bunch of functionality that I use daily that Apple’s iOS doesn’t support by default.

Not only this, but jailbreaking has been the birth place of many great improvements to iOS that Apple has stolen, or at least taken ideas from. It seems that Apple should be fostering the jailbreak community, not hindering it.

The iPhone Has Finally Come to Verizon, with a Catch. Why I’m Happy About the iPhone on Verizon as an AT&T Customer

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iphone verizon 4So today is the big day for people who have been predicting that Apple would launch a Verizon iPhone at every single Apple event since the original iPhone announcement in 2007. Nice work guys, your “predictions” came true 4 years later. For those who didn’t follow any of the live blogs, the Verizon iPhone 4 will be, for the most part, aesthetically identical to the AT&T version, and is priced the same. And while it’s still just the iPhone 4, there’s actually some advantages over the AT&T version. Engadget is pointing out that the Verizon iPhone has some slightly changed notches on the steel antenna band, which points to an antenna redesign. I think this is likely because Apple surely doesn’t want a repeat of “antenna-gate”. Also, the Verizon iPhone 4 is going to feature Verizon’s mobile-hotspot which will let you share the device’s 3G CDMA connection to up to 5 other devices over WiFi (this feature comes with a costly monthly fee, of course). If you’re interested in the iPhone 4, you can order it from Verizon on February 10th, or if you’re a “qualified” Verizon customer, you’ll be able to pre-order it on the 3rd of February.

The Catch

One downside to the iPhone 4 on Verizon is actually one of the reasons that compelled Apple to go with AT&T in the first place. That is: Verizon’s CDMA technology doesn’t allow for simultaneous data and voice. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on a call with someone on my iPhone 4 and also been referring to emails/attachments/websites/apps that were pertinent to the conversation. With Verizon’s iPhone, you’ll end up with a lot of “Hey did you get that super important attachment?”, “Uh…. let me call you right back”. Still, for those already on Verizon and who prefer it’s service to AT&T, a slightly compromised iPhone is better than no iPhone at all.

Why I’m Glad the iPhone Has Come to Verizon as an AT&T Customer

It’s about damn time that AT&T had some competition! The city in which I live must have the worst iPhone service ever. I’m lucky if I break 10kbps up and 5kbps down in some places. Thank the lord that there’s usually WiFi. With the iPhone now in Verizon’s hands, there will finally be competition for the best iPhone service, and AT&T is going to be forced to step up their game if they don’t want new cellular customers going straight to Verizon for the iPhone. After being recently called out by consumer reports as the worst carrier in the US, AT&T won’t be able to hide behind it’s claims of “Nation’s fastest 3G network” for long. I’d much rather have Verizon’s 3G reliability than AT&T’s 3G, which is fast in well covered rural areas, but horrendously slow in densely populated places. There’s finally someone to give AT&T the kick in the pants that it’s needed for several years.

There’s also FaceTime. More people with iPhone 4’s means more people with FaceTime, the simple to use — but so far under-deployed –  video calling service that’s built right into the iPhone 4 and latest generation iPod Touch. With more people having access to the service, it will become more widespread, which is always good for users. Still, it won’t be until the carriers feel that their networks are fast enough to remove the WiFi ball and chain from FaceTime that we really see it take off. And hey, what do you know, maybe this would be a good opening move for Verizon against AT&T… I love competition!

viphone search graphAnd furthermore, I’m glad that the iPhone 4 has come to Verizon because I don’t have to listen to the same Apple rumor over and over! Four years was long enough. Now that the iPhone is on Verizon and the iPad has been released, the Apple rumor mill will have to devote it’s attention to something else. I just hope I’m not hearing about touchscreen iMacs for the next four years….

iPhone 4 Auto-HRD Comparison and Tips for Use

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final shotMy apologies for not getting to this post sooner. Apple released a very cool HDR mode for the iPhone 4 with the iOS 4.1 update. As tempting as it was, HDR wasn’t enough to get me to jump on the upgrade right away and I instead decided to wait for 4.1 to be jailbroken. But now that iOS 4.1 has been freed of Apple’s restrictions and I’ve had some time to play with the iPhone 4’s HDR mode, I’d like to share with you some comparison photos and tips on get the most out of the feature.

First up, let’s talk about what HDR does and how it works on the iPhone.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR photos fuse together shots of multiple exposures to get the most exposure detail out of a given scene. The idea is that in one shot, a static exposure could lead to a particular area of the photo being under-exposed (too dark), or over-exposed (too bright). By capturing multiple exposures and selectively combining them into a final photo, you can achieve a photo that is more realistic to what is being seen by the human eye as each part of the photo is exposed properly.

How does it work on the iPhone? I don’t have access to it’s inner workings, but from my testing, I have happily concluded that this is actual HDR, not simulated. I say “actual” in the sense that the iPhone 4 is fusing multiple photographs into one, rather than taking a baseline shot and doing some post-effects to simulate HDR. The selection of the various exposures of each photo and the fusing/alignment of the photos together is all handled automatically; the algorithms that power this process are very good. Unless you are trying to capture moving subjects, you’ll probably never find a poorly fused or aligned photo.

Snapping a photo with the HDR mode takes barely longer than taking a regular photo which is very impressive. The aligning/fusing process takes just a few seconds after the shots are captured. There is a very high rate of return when it comes to quality shots because of how quickly each of the individual photos are captured. With a slower capture process, the HDR mode would be subject to any slight movements during the duration of the capture process. If Apple wasn’t able to make HDR photo capture this quick and have such a high return of properly aligned/fused photos, they wouldn’t have implemented the feature.

So what does it actually accomplish? Let’s take a look:

1010 (2)

6 6 (2)

1 1 (2)

44 (2)

9 (2)9

It’s important for me to note that most of the above examples are some of the more drastic ones that I’ve seen. You should be able to see how the improperly exposed areas are removed and replaced with properly exposed regions from other shots. The overall effect tends to be more natural looking photos with more accurate lighting and more detail revealed compared to under/over-exposed photos.

Apple isn’t usually one for options, but you can actually toggle to keep the original photo and the HDR shot in your photo roll if you’d like (you’ll find this options in the Settings app). This is handy because you can compare the two afterword and decided which you like best. I tend to leave HDR mode on all the time. The process is that quick and simple that it’s worth it to keep it turned on for every shot.

Knowing how to utilize HDR on the iPhone 4 can help you capture the most properly exposed photos. Here’s how I do it:

With HDR mode enabled, I use tap-to-focus (which focuses and adjusts exposure) to select the darkest park of the scene. This blows out anything that’s lighter than the darkest part, but the HDR mode seems to compensate better by decreasing exposure on the blown out portions of the scene (as opposed to increasing exposure on the darker/under-exposed parts). I used this technique on the first photo, which combined very dark and very light areas, in order to dramatically demonstrate HDR capabilities.

By recognizing this and using it to our advantage, it’s possible to take shots that capture photos that are exposed properly across all parts of the scene, and recreate a scene with much more detail and depth than is possible with a single photo. I hope to see similar implementations on upcoming competitor devices, but I’d be surprised if they were this good.

Never Judge a Camera By Its Megapixels

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As nearly every smartphone is expected to have a camera these days, there is an important lesson that people must heed. Cameras are more complex than a simple megapixel rating. It’s a common belief that when it comes to megapixels, bigger is better. But I’m here to tell you that you need to look deeper if you are basing your smartphone decision on which has the best camera. Megapixels have their use. A pixel dense picture is great if you want to crop it down and still retain good quality, but beyond that there is more to be considered.

Case-in-point, the Droid 2 [portal page] and the iPhone 4 [portal page]. Both phones have 5MP sensors. This means that they capture 5 million pixels in a given image. Both phones might capture the same number of pixels, but the quality and size of the sensor dictates how accurately each pixel is sampled and how much light it can capture. Another important factor is focus. Without a good focus algorithm (and no ability to manually focus), you’ll end up with a blurry shot no matter how many megapixels your camera can capture.

To demonstrate this, have a quick look at the two photos below. One is taken with the iPhone 4 and the other with the Droid 2. Both were taken under the same lighting conditions and were focused as accurately as possible (click for full size):

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You may have to click for the full-sized images to see, but the image taken with the Droid 2 is blurry and has inaccurate colors.

This is a result of the Droid 2’s camera not being able to capture as much light as the iPhone 4, as well as the inability to focus as accurately. This is all despite the fact that both phones have the same megapixel rating.

But what can you do if you don’t have the phones to try before you buy? A bit of research may go a long way if a camera is important to you. I’d recommend checking Flickr’s camera page. Find your desired smartphone and then browse the photos to get an idea of the photos that the phone is capable of taking. And of course we’ll always do our best to give you camera comparisons and tips right here at Carrypad.

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