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Reality Check: iPhone vs Palm Pre Launch

Some times it’s easy to be carried away by our tech enthusiasm, and lose perspective of what the general public is really interested in. Here’s an example: The launch lines for the original iPhone and the Pre. [Peter Yan—Thanks Alicia]

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First iPhone 3G 2009 Screens Look Very Real To Me

I’m looking at these images from a Hong Kong blog, and they totally look like The Real Thing™ to me. Sure they are blurry, but those applications’ user interface definitely screams Apple design. The gallery shows the compass and autofocus in action—which can’t work in current hardware.

These could very well be the first shots of the new iPhone, featuring the new compass in action—which the current iPhone lacks—and video functions, as well as the autofocus in the camera. They look like polished new Apple applications. You can also see how the camera app can change between video and still modes, as well as the autofocus overlay—I wonder if you could change focus with your finger—and MMS screens.

The more I look at these images, the more I’m convinced they are the real deal. The compass and the autofocus are hardware functions which are not supported by the current phone, which explains why these apps are not part of any of the iPhone OS 3.0 betas. As we get closer to WWDC, it seems that some stuff may be starting to leak. We saw potential parts from the next-generation iPhone 3G and what may be a new finish.

And I like the shot of the car’s dashboard—which in theory was taken with its new camera. [UMPC Fever via The iPhone Blog]

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The First iPhone Clock App I Actually Paid Money For

FlipTime is a clock and calendar app designed to look and work and go *clickclickclickclick* like the old-school flippy information boards at train stations and airports. Simple, but watch and see why I paid 99 cents.

[iTunes, omletworks via Soup]

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Get Girls Half-Naked in Your iPhone

I’m not a fan of the Suicide Girls—although I’ve a crush for Gwen, a waitress at the Blackbird Parlour who looks like one, only prettier—but I love their iPhone application.

It works like those naughty pens with pin ups that fascinated me when I was 11 years old. They were one of my first fetishes: Turn them around and the girl will go from dressed to naked instantly. The ones I was obsessed with used water and floating french lingerie, which disappeared magically, thanks to Archimedes’ principle, at the flick of the wrist. The day I saw one of these, I became obsessed with pin ups and corsets… but I digress here.

Instead of water, the Suicide Girl application uses the gyroscope in the iPhone. When you flip the iPhone the girl will get half-naked, turning around at the same time. I wish I could tell you that if you flip it again, she would get completely naked, but no, it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even allow you to pinch either, which is basically the main reason why the pinching gesture was invented. You know, Steve got one of the first iPhones and asked the dev team why the hell he could touch Diane Keaton’s boobies but he couldn’t pinch her. And right there, the pinch gesture was born.

I know. Too much wine for lunch. [iTunes App Store]

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AT&T’s Network State of the Union: It’s Getting Faster, If Not Better

Okay, if you live in New York or San Francisco, it means approximately dick, but AT&T’s still tryin’ real hard, with HSPA 7.2Mbps 3G going nationwide this year (in time for the new iPhone) and finishing up in 2011.

There’s also more penetrate-y 850MHz wireless going around (that would be the “doubling” their wireless spectrum in metropolitan areas part of the press release, a trick they’ve been touting for a while), and more backhaul (bigger pipes) at cell sites, hopefully resulting in fewer occasions where those five bars of signal on your iPhone or Bold still result in a data that trickles more slowly than a snagged catheter. This is all, of course, leading up to LTE trials next year, though they’re still taking their sweet time compared to Verizon.


Initiatives will Deliver Faster Speeds, Enhancements to Mobile Broadband Performance, Availability

DALLAS, May 27, 2009 – AT&T* today announced plans to upgrade the nation’s fastest 3G network to deliver considerably faster mobile broadband speeds. The network upgrades are slated to begin later this year, with completion expected in 2011.

The upgrade to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is part of AT&T’s plan for continued investments to deliver the nation’s best mobile broadband experience – the ideal combination of speed, coverage and best device line-up. AT&T today has the nation’s fastest 3G network and has attracted more than twice the number of smartphone users than any other competitor.

With its network built on the 3G UMTS technology that is commonly deployed throughout the world, AT&T can boost the speed of its mobile broadband network and offer a wide variety of devices to take advantage of it well in advance of 2011-2012, when most industry observers expect 4G LTE networks and device availability to scale. AT&T plans to begin LTE trials in 2010, with deployment beginning in 2011.

In addition to the planned speed upgrade, AT&T is enhancing its mobile broadband coverage by nearly doubling the wireless spectrum dedicated to 3G in most metropolitan areas to deliver stronger in-building reception and more overall network capacity. Also, AT&T is adding thousands of new cell site backhaul connections to support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by HSPA 7.2 and LTE.

“AT&T’s network infrastructure gives us a tremendous advantage in that we’re able to deliver upgrades in mobile broadband speed and performance with our existing technology platform,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “With the array of smartphones, laptops and emerging devices taking advantage of AT&T’s 3G network today, we know that customers are excited to experience higher mobile broadband speeds, and we are deploying the right technologies at the right times to help them get the most from that experience.”

The upgraded network platform could allow for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2Mbps. Typical real-world downlink and uplink speeds experienced by customers with upgraded 3G will be less than the theoretical peak and will vary based on a number of factors, including location, device, and overall traffic on the local network at a given time.

AT&T’s 3G mobile broadband network is now available in nearly 350 U.S. major metropolitan areas, with about 20 additional metro areas planned for deployment in 2009. The HSPA 7.2 technology will be deployed widely in the network, with the benefits of the network upgrade to be announced on a local basis as the faster speeds are turned up. AT&T will introduce multiple HSPA 7.2-compatible laptop cards and smartphones beginning later this year.

The speed upgrade is one of several ongoing initiatives to expand and enhance AT&T’s mobile broadband service. Other key projects in 2009 include:
• Near-Doubling Radio Frequency Capacity. In 2008 and 2009 to date, high-quality 850 MHz spectrum has been deployed in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year.
• More Bandwidth to Cell Sites. We are adding fiber-optic connectivity and additional capacity to thousands of cell sites across the country this year, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network. These upgrades will support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by both HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
• More Cell Sites. Deployment of about 2,100 new cell sites across the country.
• Wi-Fi Integration. Many AT&T smartphones will be able to switch seamlessly between 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans have access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network – more than 20,000 hotspots, including locations in all 50 states – at no additional charge. AT&T’s global Wi-Fi footprint covers more than 90,000 hotspots, and AT&T also can create permanent or temporary extended Wi-Fi zones in areas with high 3G network use, like a grouping of hotels or a festival.
• MicroCells. Customer trials leading toward general availability of AT&T 3G MicroCell offerings, which utilize femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.

Capital investment for these projects fits within AT&T’s previously outlined expectation of total capital expenditures for 2009, targeted toward the $17 billion to $18 billion range. AT&T matches this network investment with unsurpassed choice in the range of devices, services and applications compatible with its 3G network. AT&T offers a wide variety of devices from more than a dozen manufacturers, including handsets that are compatible with six different operating systems and five different e-mail applications. Our Media Mall 2.0 offers more than 90,000 content options, and customers can download additional applications over the Internet. Additionally, AT&T supports a community of more than 20,000 application developers via its devCentral portal.

HSPA 7.2 is part of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies, which include GSM and UMTS. Emerging LTE technology is also part of the 3GPP technology roadmap, enabling AT&T’s network to offer backward compatibility, or the ability for users with qualifying devices to seamlessly switch among 4G LTE, 3G and 2G service areas to maintain the fastest-available connection. This availability will be critical for customers in the early years of LTE deployment across the industry, when access to LTE service will be geographically limited.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. AT&T offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verseSM and AT&T ?DIRECTVSM brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T’s Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations are known for their leadership in directory publishing and advertising sales. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at

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The First Fuzzy Shot of the Sirius iPhone App

The Sirius XM iPhone app hasn’t arrived as quickly as predicted, but according to CEO Mel Karmazin’s PowerPoint presentation, it’s at least in the final stages of planning.

The exact details are unclear from the slides, but it appears that a $2.99 monthly streaming fee may apply. Additionally, there’s a shopping cart in the app. Exactly what will Sirius XM subscribers be buying?

We’re guessing more details will surface shortly, but what do subscribers in the audience think? Is this an progressive move from the company, or a somewhat sad, last ditch effort to stay alive? (My guess is that it’s a bit of both, but if they think that subscribers will buy music a la carte for use in a single app, they are nuts.) [Sirius Investor via Silicon Alley Insider]

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iPhone Getting Direct iTunes TV and Movie Downloads

Supposedly discovered through a Twitterfon ad, these are screens of an iTunes video store for the iPhone, which would let you download movies and TV shows directly to your iPhone or iTouch. AllThingsD found actual links to the skeleton store, suggesting it’s indeed legit, and presumably Wi-Fi only. [AppleInsider, AllThingsD]

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This Week In iPhone Apps: Deer Carcasses and Browser Tabs

This week, we revisit some classics from your (and your grandfather’s) childhood, iPhone browsing gets upgraded, and I play what it probably the best 3D multi-animal hunting game available for the iPhone.

Boulder Dash!: Whether you’re just leaving college or having your third kid, there’s a pretty good chance that you played Boulder Dash as a kid. The official 25th anniversary iPhone edition is as faithful as you want it to be: you can choose either classic, spritey graphics or a modern, cartoonish look, and opt for either an overlaid d-pad control scheme or a new swipe-based system. The game looks great and both control system work a treat, so collecting jewels on the iPhone feels about as natural as it did on the Commodore. $4.99.

Deer Hunter 3D: A hunting video game! What kind of bizarre nerd bumpki—oh, wait, this is actually pretty fun. Deer Hunter 3D for iPhone, licensed from the Walmart-famous Deer Hunter PC franchise, takes you on hunting trips to various locations to shoot various animals with various types of guns. It looks great, and the aiming system—the core of the game—is executed well. The walk-aim-shoot routine seems repetitive at first, but the game has enough unlockable content to keep it interesting for a while. $5.99.

Nightglow: This browser brings proper tabs, more gestures and a few other little odds and ends to your iPhone. Its tab switcher is definitely faster than Safari’s, though the app as a whole can be a bit sluggish, and the screen grab feature, which lets you explore the page while still maintaining focus on a text field, is sometimes useful. It kinda reminds me of one of those old Internet Explorer tabbed shells from 2003: it’s mildly attractive for power users, but wouldn’t be necessary at all if Safari was just a little bit better. $0.99.

Pickin’ Stix
: A vintage vintage game, this app asks you to do precisely one thing. Doing that one thing is easy, and strangely gratifying. It feels like it ought to be free, but $0.99 isn’t so bad.

HDR Camera: No, you can’t take DSLR-grade, hyper-realistic dynamic range photos with your iPhone. You just can’t. That said, HDR Camera does do a convincing fake. The app coaxes some decent pseudo-HDR imagery out of the iPhone’s sad little camera, albeit with filters and effects you could easily just apply in Photoshop. Its $1.99 pricetag is too high.

UpNext 3D NYC: If your life revolves around NYC, there really isn’t a better way—wait, let me rephrase that: a prettier way—to navigate the city on your iPhone. If it doesn’t, UpNext 3D’s exquisitely detailed view of the city is still great eye candy. It does everything you could want from a mapping app: subway schedules, local listings and basic mapping functions and restaurant reviews. Tapping buildings even tells you what’s inside (but only sometimes). Sorry, Brooklynites, it’s Manhattan only for now. $2.99.

This Week’s App News on Giz:

Card Master Pro iPhone App Exposes Brian Lam’s Poor Gambling Skills

8Bitone Chiptunes Synthesizer App Lets You Mix It Like Mario

Kindle 1.1 for iPhone Now Available

New Slacker iPhone App Works Harder to Smack Pandora

iPrivus Brings Reverse Call Lookup App To The iPhone

This list is in no way definitive. If you’ve spotted a great app that hit the store this week, give us a heads up or, better yet, your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps: see our previous weekly roundups here, and check out our Favorite iPhone Apps Directory and our original iPhone App Review Marathon. Have a good weekend everybody.

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Kindle 1.1 for iPhone Now Available

If you are into the whole book thing, go and download the latest update. It’s worth it.

• Read in portrait or landscape mode
• Pinch to zoom images in books
• Select alternate background and text colors to improve
reading comfort in low light conditions.
• Tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages

You know what would be really funny, Jeff? That Apple introduces a 10″ iPod touch at WWDC. [Kindle for iPhone]

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AT&T Uses Semantics to Justify Locking Down SlingPlayer For iPhone

We all know that tens of thousands of iPhones streaming TV 3G from their Slingboxes would slow down AT&T’s already saggy network. What we don’t get is how AT&T is justifying their position.

Here’s AT&T’s stance:

Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirects a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.

That said, we don’t restrict users from going to a Web site that lets them view videos. But what our terms and conditions prohibit is the transferring, or slinging, of a TV signal to their personal computer or smartphone.

The Slingbox application for the iPhone runs on WiFi. That’s good news for AT&T’s iPhone 3G customers, who get free WiFi access at our 20,000 owned and operated hot spots in the U.S., including Starbucks, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, hotels, and airports. AT&T is the industry leader in WiFi.

They’re saying that watching regular video on the internet is fine (it better be, since YouTube is bundled right on the damn phone), but Sling is not because it “redirect[s] a TV signal to a personal computer.” Ignoring the personal computer part (others phones are still able to stream Sling over 3G, which is kind of an insult to Windows Mobile phones and BlackBerry phones), Sling is not a TV signal. It is streaming video, which happens to be TV, but is really no different from a YouTube video.

Seriously, there’s no actual difference other than the fact that people would use a lot more bandwidth when they’re using a SlingPlayer for their iPhone because they’re watching full shows instead of 2 minute clips, and that would kill the AT&T network. Why are customers paying for unlimited internet when it’s not unlimited? Thanks, AT&T. [Sling for iPhone review]

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iPhone Battery Saving Tips