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iPhone 4S Siri Helps Santa Claus Find People, Distribute Joy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In the latest iPhone 4S ad, Santa Claus uses iPhone 4S to locate people and their homes as he handles gift deliveries on his busiest night of the year. There's drama and a tinge of awesomeness in the ad, and it conveys more than just a message that the new iPhone is indeed a powerful device.

Head past the break to watch the latest iPhone 4S commercial. We've embedded it after the break for your viewing pleasure.

As a refresher, Apple released the iPhone 4S in October this year featuring a faster processor, better graphics, and the amazing voice-based digital assistant called Siri. Ever since its debut with the iPhone 4S, Siri has caught attention of enthusiastic developers, hackers and users alike.

There have been numerous tweaks showing Siri various awesome things that no other smartphone has accomplished till date. And it only grows better with every passing day.

Right now, presenting Santa using his iPhone 4S to manage his 3.7 million appointments is a nice way to showcase the power of the iPhone 4S and Siri, of course — which is a little dramatic too.

Seems like all those willing to purchase an iPhone 4S this reason just got another reason to be sure of their decision.

Click here to know more about Apple Siri.

iPhone app downloads stuttering in the US, but still gold compared to Android

At some point, we'll all have to stop binging on discounted apps and start being reflective - and that's when Distimo's 2011 'App Year in Review' report can serve as a nice digestive. Alongside some predictable trends, such as an impressive 400 percent surge in available Windows Phone apps, it also reveals a few interesting stats about the market leader. iPhone app downloads in the US "have been declining for nearly the entire year," it says, although there was big spike following the launch of the 4S. Regardless of volume, however, top-grossing iPhone apps still made four times as much money as the Android Market's premium performers. By the same measure, even iPad apps on their own generated twice as many dollars. Is this a tale of quality over quantity, or are Android apps simply better value? We'll decide when we're less queasy, and in the meantime there's a fuller summary of the report at the source link - though you'll have to register to view it.

Apple could sell almost 200 million iPhones in 2012

Monday, December 19, 2011

Apple could sell as many as 190 million iPhones next year according to a survey conducted by AlphaWise for Morgan Stanley. The survey results also suggested Apple will sell 31-36 million iPhone handsets this quarter, almost 30% more than estimates from other Wall Street analysts. That figure is also more than the 30 million iPhones Morgan Stanley's chief Apple analyst Katy Huberty expects the company to sell during the fourth quarter. ”Surprisingly, US consumers expect to buy more iPhones in C1Q12 than C4Q11,” Huberty wrote in an email to clients on Wednesday, noting that the survey results suggest consumers could buy as many as 41 million iPhones during the first quarter next year. Huberty also suggested that Apple could sell 15 million more iPads should it decide to drop the price by $100, making the entry-level iPad 2 just $399. Morgan Stanley estimates Apple will sell 52 million iPads during 2012 but the results of the AlphaWise survey suggested consumers are ready to purchase as many as 81 million units, far above the Street's consensus of 54 million units. 

Porting Siri to iPhone 4 now legal following iOS 5.0.1 update

IPhone 4 owners looking to take advantage of Apple's Siri software from the iPhone 4S now have one less barrier standing in their way. Sure, plenty of tricks have been available in the past that allow users to hack Siri onto an iPhone 4, but until now they were illegal. Apple's recent iOS 5.0.1 update, however, has a decrypted ramdisk, which means users can legally port files to the iPhone 4 that were previously encrypted and protected by Apple's public distribution policies. Apple may re-encrypt the files in iOS 5.1, which is expected to launch in the near future, so move quick if you want to take advantage of this loophole. 

iPhone 4S now available in 20 additional countries

Apple launched the iPhone 4S in 20 new countries on Friday. In addition to previously-launch markets, the blockbuster smartphone is now available in Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, according to MacRumors. While U.S. citizens can grab the iPhone 4S for as low as $199 with a new two-year contract, Apple's Brazilian store is reportedly selling the iPhone 4S for as much as $1,845 for the 64GB model. The 16GB version costs $1,410 in Brazil, and pricing in other markets varies. 

Audman Speaker Dock For iPhone

The Audman is claimed to be the smallest speaker dock for Apple's iPhone. Designed by Dean Ekkaia and Sean Solberg, the speaker dock has an integrated high-capacity rechargeable battery, allowing you to recharge your smartphone while on-the-go. The gadget is equipped with a pair of speakers, large analog buttons to control music playback and a pair of headphone jacks for sharing music with your friend. The Audman is currently available for pre-order at Kickstarter for $125 a pop. [Kickstarter]

Griffin and Third Man Records team up to add vinyl to your iPhone case

In the market for a new case for the brand new iPhone 4S that you just pick up today? A fan of all things Jack White? If so, Griffin and Third Man records have teamed up to put a vinyl spin on your next Apple-friendly smartphone case. The pair has introduced a set of accessories that make use of a legit 7-inch record die-cut to protect the back of your mobile device, blending analog and digital without making a sound. Each case is comprised of a two-part frame that wraps those precious edges — with openings for controls and jacks, of course — and a piece of genuine vinyl, pressed right in Nashville. You'll have your choice of three color variants that come with a Third Man-branded vinyl. If that's not enough, you can spring for a set of three inserts, one from each of Mr. White's musical projects. Protip: If you happen to opt for the extras and snag The Racounteur's insert, this collaboration marks the first pressing of “Steady, As She Goes.” Each case is $30 and the set of extra inserts will set you back another Jackson.

Apple to sell record 30 million iPhones in Q4, UBS says

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Apple is on track to sell a record number of iPhone handsets in the December quarter thanks to the launch of its latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S. UBS analyst Maynard Um was one of a number of analysts in recent weeks to raise his estimates on iPhone sales for the fourth calendar quarter, and he now believes Apple will offload as many as 30 million smartphones this quarter. Apple now sells three iPhone models: the new iPhone 4S, which broke Apple's previous record when it sold more than 4 million handsets during the phone's debut weekend alone, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. In the U.S., recent checks indicate that the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are still among the best-selling smartphones in the country, and Apple's iPhone 3GS - which is now free on contract at AT&T - is reportedly still in high demand as well. Um is sticking with his previous iPad sales estimates for the fourth quarter. The analyst believes Apple will move 12 million iPads between October and December, though he did note that strong holiday sales could push that figure up to 13 million units.

Sales of Apple's iPhone, iPad banned by German court

A ruling handed down on Friday by the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany could see sales of Apple's iOS devices banned across Europe. The judgement relates to a patent infringement complaint filed by Motorola last April, when the company accused Apple of infringing a Motorola-owned patent covering ”a method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system.” Friday's ruling is preliminary, however, and according to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, it is only enforceable against Ireland-based Apple subsidiary Apple Sales International. The injunction formally pertains to the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2, though the iPhone 4S is likely covered as well. Apple must now remove the infringing functionality from its iOS devices or successfully appeal to Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court in order to avoid the ban.

Production of Apple's 30-month-old iPhone 3GS to hit 2 million units in Q4

Apple's manufacturing partners are expected to build 2 million iPhone 3GS handsets in the fourth quarter. Thursday of this week marked exactly two and a half years since Apple unveiled the iPhone 3GS during its Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2009. Citing industry sources within Apple's supply chain, DigiTimes on Friday reported that production of Apple's iPhone 3GS has continued at high volumes that should hit 2 million units in the December quarter. In the first quarter of 2012, production of the iPhone 3GS will reportedly slow to between 1.4 million and 1.6 million units. The same report also suggests that production of Apple's CDMA iPhone 4 could top 1 million units in the fourth quarter this year, slowing to between 500,000 and 600,000 units in the first quarter next year. In the United States, Apple's iPhone 3GS is available for free on contract from AT&T while the CDMA iPhone 4 is sold by both Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

iPhone 4S best-selling phone at three top U.S. carriers in November, Samsung sales strong

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Apple's iPhone 4S was the best-selling smartphone at Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint in November according to a report released Monday night by Canaccord Genuity. According to checks performed by analyst Mike Walkley and his team, Apple's iPhone 4S remained a top-seller across the board while Samsung's Galaxy S II picked up momentum ahead of the holidays. Samsung's flagship handset was the top-selling smartphone at T-Mobile and it jumped up into the No.2 spot at AT&T. Sprint's Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch was the second best-selling smartphone at Sprint as well in November, and Motorola's DROID RAZR was No.2 at Verizon Wireless.

“IPhone 4S sales strength continues as distribution increases – Our November checks indicated iPhone sales remained strong in the US, particularly at AT&T and Sprint. Further, our checks indicated strong global share gains,” Walkley wrote. “With the iPhone 4S launching in new markets including China, Brazil, and Russia during December, we anticipate strong December quarter iPhone sales and have increased our estimate from 29.0 to 30.5M units.”

The analyst also noted that Apple's iPad 2 is still the world's top-selling tablet, though he did lower his unit sales estimates to 13 million in the December quarter, down from an earlier estimate of 14 million units.

HTC lost share in November according to Walkley, in line with the expectations set last month when the Taiwan-based vendor cut its fourth-quarter forecast. “Our November checks indicated weaker sales trends for both RIM and HTC, consistent with negative pre-announcements from both companies, as we believe weak trends are company-specific for both OEMs rather than indications of a weaker smartphone macro,” he wrote in his report. “Our checks indicated HTC has lost significant share at all four US carriers following the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II launches.”

Walkley's checks also indicated that sales of BlackBerry smartphones in the U.S. slowed significantly in November, with the high-end Bold 9900 in particular showing slowed adoption. “Following early strength for the Bold 9900, our checks indicated BlackBerry sales slowed significantly during November due to high-end smartphone share losses combined with lower-priced Nokia feature-phones and sub-$200 Android smartphones adversely impacting BlackBerry sales in emerging markets,” Walkley said. 

Syria bans iPhone to stifle protestors

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Syrian government recently banned the iPhone to stifle protestors communicating on social networks. Authorities are to “warn anyone against using the iPhone in Syria,” Syria's finance ministry customs department said in an alleged statement. Protestors first informed the German Press Agency of the ban, which confirmed that an iPhone ban is indeed in effect, but it is unclear if the aforementioned statement from Syria's government is legitimate. Syria also banned imports of the iPhone, BBC said Friday. Other smartphones have not been banned. 

Samsung requests source code in effort to ban iPhone 4S in Australia

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Samsung recently asked Apple to provide it with source code for the the firmware used in its iPhone 4S, ZDNET reported on Tuesday. The South Korea-based phone maker also asked for details on Apple's subsidy agreements with Australian carriers Vodafone, Optus and Telstra. The moves were part of an ongoing lawsuit in which Samsung has accused Apple of infringing on three of its patents. Apple believes Samsung has no need to access the information, but Samsung's lawyer argued that there are fewer subsidies available for Samsung's products if subsidies are given for the iPhone 4S. Additionally, the source code may be just as important in proving that Apple is infringing on patents. Read on for more.

“Based on the accompanying firmware, can tell how the chips are working in the phones,” Samsung counsel Cynthia Cochrane explained to the court. “To form a final view on whether patent 621 is infringed, needs to see the documents that set out the source code for that firmware.” Earlier this year Apple accused Samsung of creating “copycat” devices and successfully banned Samsung's Australian subsidiaries from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Similar lawsuits are ongoing around the world, including in Japan, the Netherlands, France and the United States.

Siri said to be driving force behind huge iPhone 4S sales

Strong sales of Apple's new iPhone 4S smartphone can be attributed in large part to Siri, Apple's new virtual personal assistant, one analyst believes. The Cupertino, California-based company launched the iPhone 4S in just seven markets on October 14th, and it later reported that sales of the new model surpassed 4 million units during the device's opening weekend alone. In the U.S., Sprint said the iPhone launch brought the carrier its "best ever day of sales," and AT&T confirmed that it activated more than 1 million iPhone 4S handsets in less than a week. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu claims Apple's success with the handset is due in large part to Siri. Read on for more.

Siri raised eyebrows and piqued interest when Apple first revealed the new feature during a press conference last month, and many wondered if Siri was enough to distinguish the iPhone 4S from Apple's previous-generation iPhone 4. According to a research note from Wu, the answer is yes.

“Despite global macroeconomic headwinds, Apple continues to defy conventional wisdom with a higher-end product mix,” Wu wrote in a note to investors. “Talking to industry sources, what's driving the 4S is better than expected reception of its new Siri software.”

The Sterne analyst says Siri separates itself from similar solutions on competing devices by working more reliably and by allowing users to speak conversationally. ”What makes Siri unique and different is that its voice recognition works well (unlike competing solutions which are unreliable) and also offers artificial intelligence (AI) in helping interpret user commands and answer questions.”

Wu reiterated his Buy rating on Apple stock, and he believes Apple will sell 26 million iPhone handsets in the December quarter.

Czech carrier refuses iPhone 4S, dumps earlier iPhones citing Apple's business terms

Czech carrier Telefonica Czech Republic will not sell Apple's new iPhone 4S smartphone, one of the fastest-selling consumer electronics devices to launch in recent history. According to a recent report from local Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny, the carrier will also stop selling all prior iPhone models. Details are limited, but a spokesperson for the carrier cited Apple's business terms as the reason for the decision. Telefonica Czech Republic's Hany Farghali did not elaborate, though Apple's iPhone reportedly commands a much higher carrier subsidy than competing smartphone models - as much as 40% higher, reports claim - and that could be a factor. Telefonica Czech Republic's local competition, operated by Vodafone and T-Mobile, began selling the iPhone 4S late last month.

Square updates Card Case, enables hands-free payment on the iPhone

Those of you living in a city graced by Square's Card Case have been gleefully opening tabs and making plastic-free payments at select merchants since May. Starting today, iPhone users will now save precious seconds of shopping time as opening tabs has been automated - as soon as you're close enough to designated establishments, tabs open themselves courtesy of new geo-fencing APIs exposed in iOS 5. For those who are unfamiliar, the previous iPhone and Android apps required users to manually open those tabs from within the vicinity of a Square-approved merchant. After that, users complete purchases as before by simply confirming their name to a store clerk. That's one more step in society's never-ending quest for frictionless payments, but those with an evil twin or a stalking doppelgänger might want to think twice before joining the Square revolution.

Gmail app on iPad and iPhone hands-on

We've been clamoring for a dedicated Gmail app on iOS for so long that, now that there's one available, we couldn't help but take it for a test drive. Once installed the thing differentiates itself from the previous, HTML5-based app by using a darker, more mysterious black background for the app icon. Otherwise it's the same white and red envelope. Open that up and the app inside looks mighty familiar too. Join us after the break for some quick impressions.

On either the iPhone or the iPad the experience is much like the HTML5-based apps we've used before. On the phone (or iPod touch) the main view is a simple list of messages within the current label. Tap "menu" and a black bar pops in from the left, enabling your selection of other labels. We haven't yet found a way to specify which of those is kept in sync for offline viewing, but hopefully that's something coming in a future release.

Composing new emails does allow for attachments, but otherwise this offers little more functionality than we had before, and less than is found on the Android version - most notably, if you have multiple accounts fed into your Gmail account, you can't choose which of those to send a message from.

On the iPad it's the same functionality just presented with a three-column view: list of labels, list of emails within the current label and a view of the current email on the far right. It's clean and workable but sadly a bit buggy. We had to reboot our iPad before it would let us sign in and we got notification-related errors upon launching both apps for the first time. We also had issues with content falling off the right side of the screen, partially obscured from view.

But, the good news is the apps do now support notifications, so you'll always know when someone wants a reply. Ultimately the apps don't rock the boat, but they're a start and an encouraging step toward proper Gmail platform independence.

The official Gmail app for iPhone, iPad is officially official

Well, it's about bloody time. Google has finally taken wraps off of its official iOS Gmail app. It's live now in the iTunes App Store for use with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new app offers a number of "time-saving features," including push notifications for new message alerts, quick message search and email address auto-complete from your Apple device's address book. The iPad version also offers up a split view, to read messages and check out your inbox at the same time. On the efficiency side, the Priority Inbox shows your important messages first, and the app also lets your sort messages via labels and stars. Swiping down will refresh the messages and swiping right gives you a quick view of your labels. Gmail will work with devices running iOS 4 and higher

iPhone 4S Battery Life Woes: Details and Solutions

A growing number of iPhone 4S owners are reporting battery problems with Apple's newest handheld. The device seems to be draining unusually quickly during both regular use and when on standby.

Users in Apple forums are describing battery life drops of up to 20 percent in the span of a single hour of light usage. Others report losing 10 to 15 percent of their battery life while they're sleeping — something very troubling if you rely on your iPhone as an alarm clock.

“My battery life is terrible,” one person in the forum wrote. “I was iMessaging my friend about it (on Wi-Fi) and over the course of 12-15 minutes I lost 10 percent battery life.”

Another said he was issued a new phone after reporting the issue.

The problem is primarily affecting 4S owners, but some iPad and iPhone 4 owners are reporting similar battery problems since upgrading to iOS 5. (We in the Gadget Lab, however, haven't had any problems since making the OS leap.)

Although Apple hasn't yet officially commented on the issue, according to The Guardian, some of those affected by battery life problems have been contacted by Apple's engineers. One individual said that Apple called and, after asking a number of questions about his usage habits, asked him to install a monitoring program so that they could better diagnose the problem.

The iPhone 4S has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It's supposed to provide up to 8 hours of 3G talk time (14 hours of 2G), and standby time of up to 200 hours. For more power-intensive activities, battery life suffers accordingly. Heavy Internet use drops total battery life to 6 hours on 3G, and 9 hours on WiFi. Interestingly, watching video will give you 10 hours of battery life on the 4S — two more hours than continuous phone usage.

Although the 4S has a slightly larger capacity battery than what you'll find in an iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 is supposed to get 100 more hours of standby time. The battery-draining culprit? More demanding hardware. The iPhone 4S has a beefed up A5 processor and several other hardware upgrades. And this isn't the first time an “S” version has vexed iPhone users. When the iPhone 3GS debuted, it also suffered from battery life complaints.

Despite a growing reputation for battery life problems, iPhone 4S sales continue to be strong. The device debuted in more than 20 European countries last week, and on November 11 will begin launching in a slew of other spots around the globe, including potentially big markets like Hong Kong and South Korea. And in case you're wondering: No, the battery life issues have not been pinpointed to one particular service area or geographical location.

If you're suffering from iPhone 4S battery drain, there are a few solutions you can try. Many users have reported improved battery life after draining the device completely (or rather, until the almost-spent device powers off itself), and then letting it fully charge back up, uninterrupted.

Another user in Apple's forums found that disabling the calendar in his Exchange mail account, and then enabling it again, dramatically improved battery life.

If neither of those fixes seem to help, try adjusting your settings. In addition to normal battery-saving techniques like lowering screen brightness, turning off Wi-Fi, and switching to Airplane Mode (if you can handle being off the grid), you can turn off all location-based services, or just those on specific apps. You can also switch off push updating for email, and manually fetch mail instead. Check out this article on Gizmodo for more details and additional tips.

Are you experiencing iPhone 4S battery drain? Share your problems (or lack thereof) in the comments.

Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired

C-Spire Releases iPhone 4S With Unlimited Data

C-Spire is ready to release the iPhone 4S on November 11, 2011 via its online store. The network carrier will offer the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions of the iPhone 4S, as well as an 8GB version of iPhone 4. Pricing starts at $99 on-contract for the 8GB iPhone 4, and going up to $399 for the 64GB iPhone 4S. [Ubergizmo]

GarageBand for iPhone: First Hands-On Impressions

Get ready, street musicians: Today Apple released its popular music-making app GarageBand for the iPhone. Now you can jam away on a set of onscreen drums, or strum a touch-based Smart Guitar, to compose musical masterpieces wherever you may be.

The slimmed down iPhone app has all the features of the iPad app: a multi-touch interface with Smart Instruments (to piece together pre-assembled musical bits) and Touch Instruments (for those who want to play and record their own instrumental tracks). You can also record vocal tracks using the device's built-in mic, and (with the help of an adapter) plug an electric guitar directly into your iDevice and record tunes through GarageBand's amp and stompbox effects.

In total, GarageBand helps you knock out impromptu jam sessions, all without having to lug around a bunch of equipment.

Naturally, the iPhone-version of GarageBand is shrunk down for a 3.5-inch screen.  My app experience on an iPhone 4 was smooth, without any force quits or stutters. And, not surprisingly, it was fun to tap away at the onscreen keyboard and drum set using only my thumbs. I made a complete (albeit heinous-sounding) song in a matter of minutes. So, if you're looking for a solid music-making app to jot down song ideas or even create passable tunes while you're wiling away time on your evening commute, GarageBand is the answer.

GarageBand was first launched as a Mac application, and later ported to the iPad with the launch of the iPad 2 in March 2011. "This is no toy," Steve Jobs said of GarageBand on the iPad. "This is something you can use for real work." Since then, a number of enterprising companies have released capacitive touch tools, such as guitar picks and drum sticks, that you can use with the app.

The iPhone-version of Garage Band is, like the iPad counterpart, a big download. At over 501MB, it took me at least five minutes over a Wi-Fi connection to complete the installation.

The app opens quickly, and operates only in landscape mode. Navigation is intuitive, and will be familiar to anyone who's ever used similar music-making and recording software.

You select an instrument to play, adjust settings like reverb and echo if you're not happy with the app's defaults, and then tap away at a virtual instrument interface, hitting the record button if you're ready to commit your work to, er, memory. Most of the instruments and tools look identical to their iPad counterparts, but there are a few small variations, such as in the piano, which has only eight keys instead of 15.

In the upper right-hand corner of the app, you'll find an icon that lets you make adjustments to a single track, section or song. In the upper left-hand corner, you can click for a pop-over menu that will take you back to the songs or instruments panel, or let you swap between different forms of your current instrument (like for the piano, you can choose between options like Grand Piano, Smooth Clav, Classic Rock Organ, or Electric Piano).

Next to that, there's an icon that lets you switch from instrument view to song editing view. The editing view shows each of your recorded tracks so far, with opportunities to adjust, edit and loop sections.

Using Smart Instruments is a sure-fire way to create a song that doesn't sound like it was hacked out by a team of rabid baboons. In this respect, GarageBand succeeds as a music-making device for people with no musical training whatsoever.

But what if you have musical experience — is GarageBand for iPhone a legitimate composition device? Not necessarily, as the app's puny user interface is quite cramped. Still, this is an iPhone app, after all, and anyone using it to create music should be well aware that the premium music-making experience will be found on an iPad.

As with the iPad version, you can record and combine up to eight tracks, and then export to GarageBand or Logic Pro on the Mac for a bit more polishing. You can also share your iPhone-made masterpieces via iTunes or email.

The app is a welcome addition to any mildly creative person's iPhone or iPod touch. GarageBand is $5 and is now available for iPhone 3GS and up, 3rd and 4th gen iPod touches, and iPads.

Images: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

iPhone 4S to storm 15 new countries, come November 11

As promised, Apple is expanding the iPhone 4S availability. Their latest and greatest was released on October 14 in seven countries, followed by 22 new countries on October 28.

Currently, the iPhone 4S is already available in USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The iPhone 4S gang is now being expanded throughout Hong Kong, South Korea, Bulgaria, Albania, Armenia, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal and Romania. The official launch in these countries will be on November 11, while the pre-order campaign will start on November 4 (not available in Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro and Panama).

According to Apple the iPhone 4S will become available in more than 70 countries until the end of 2011, which means at least 26 more countries are going to start offering it via official channels.


Sprint says iPhone is 50% more network efficient than Android

Friday, October 28, 2011

During the company's earnings call on Wednesday, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse said the iPhone is more than 50% more efficient on Sprint's network than Android devices. “iPhone users are expected to use significantly less 3G data than the typical user of a dual-mode 3G/4G device,” Hesse added, noting that his company has found that iPhone applications take better advantage of offloading data onto Wi-Fi networks and that Android apps are “more chatty” with its network. “If Sprint's claims are true, this could become a new key differentiator in Apple's relationship with the operators that subsidize its phones versus Apple's competitors HTC, Samsung Motorola,” BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk explained, noting that Sprint's report is “short on evidence” and that his firm will continue to test those claims.

iPhone 4S launch drives record number of BlackBerry trade-ins

Gazelle, a website that specializes in buying, selling and recycling gadgets, said on Tuesday that BlackBerry trade-ins recently reached an all-time high. Speaking with CNET, Gazelle chief gadget officer Anthony Scarsella said his company saw a “spike” after Research in Motion's recent BlackBerry service outage, which spanned three days in some areas, but that Apple's latest iPhone is mostly to blame for the surge. “In the grand scheme of BlackBerry growth over the past month, it can be pretty much entirely attributed to the launch of the iPhone 4S,” Scarsella explained. Additionally, Android trade-ins jumped 72% during the past month, the majority from Sprint customers, although Scarsella said he couldn't put his finger on an exact event that caused the increase.

Sprint says iPhone deal is worth $15.5 billion

Sprint on Wednesday stated that it has entered into a four-year deal valued at $15.5 billion to offer Apple's iPhone line of handsets, the GSMA's mobile business blog reports. Additional details were not revealed, but the carrier said it expects iPhone-related revenue to outperform the deal. ”We expect the lifetime value of a typical iPhone customer to be at least 50 percent – yes, at least 50 percent – greater than a typical smartphone user, driven primarily by more efficient use of our network and lower churn,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during the company's third-quarter earnings call. Sprint also said it expects to sell more than 1 million iPhone handsets in the fourth quarter of this year. AT&T revealed earlier this week that it activated 2.7 million iPhones last quarter while Verizon Wireless said it sold 2 million iPhone 4 handsets over the same period of time.

HTC likely biggest loser from Sprint iPhone deal

Sprint finally began selling two iPhone models earlier this month, and while anxious subscribers can now finally get their hands on Apple's sleek cell phone, not everyone will come out of this deal a winner. Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst William Power told clients recently that HTC's market share in the United States will likely suffer from the deal in the near future. And considering Sprint will be selling iPhones for at least the next four years, the Taiwan-based smartphone maker is likely none too happy. The success of Sprint's flagship EVO 4G ushered in a new era of supersized smartphones and its successor, the EVO 3D, continued to attract subscribers with class-leading specs and fast 4G speeds. Sprint's shelves have been lined with HTC smartphones over the past few years in fact, and quite a few have found success according to various sales estimates. Power also notes that Sprint's shift from WiMAX to LTE may hurt HTC's sales, though HTC is currently a 4G LTE device leader in the U.S. and is expected to be among Sprint's premier LTE device partners moving forward.

Unlocked iPhone 4S Goes on Sale Across The World

Unlocked, the iPhone 4S costs the same as the iPad 3G

The iPhone 4S begins its second international wave today, going on sale in much of Europe. And unlike the stateside iPhone 4S, this one can be had unlocked.

Customers in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland can now head to their favorite carrier and sign their lives away for the next year or two.

Here in Spain, the carrier deals aren't bad (from around €35 per month with 1GB data that you can also share with an iPad using a free extra SIM), but the interesting part is the price of an unlocked iPhone, which starts at €600.

€600 is $850, and that's for the 16GB model. It goes up in €100 step to top out at €800, or $1,133 for the 64GB model. For comparison, those are the exact same prices as the 3G iPad lineup, which will give you a rough guide to what the U.S prices will be when the unlocked phone goes on sale there, probably some time in November. Up in Canada, the unlocked prices run at $650/$50/$850 (thanks, Jon!), which should also let you see where things are headed.

I have a feeling that there may be another press release from Apple on Monday, announcing another few million units sold. If this damn rain will stop, I might just head over to the Apple store to check things out.

UBS: Apple to ship 42.5 million iPhones in Q4

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spurred by the iPhone 4S launch, several analysts expect sales of Apple's iPhone lineup to explode during the fourth quarter of this year. “The timing of the 70 launches could have some impact on sales ahead of the launch, the US/International split, and hence, our estimates look conservative,” UBS analyst Maynard Um said in a recent note to investors. “A similar 27.5 percent U.S. / 72.5 percent international split from this quarter would imply 42.5 million units in CY4Q or an upside of 14.5 million iPhones.” Apple shipped 17.1 million iPhones during the fiscal fourth quarter, and the lower-than-expected sales were blamed on rumors and anticipation ahead of the iPhone 4S launch. Um predicts a huge turnaround for Apple in the fourth calendar quarter, and of course he isn't alone. The “resoundingly successful” iPhone 4S launch is expected to result in a big holiday season for the Cupertino-based company, Ticonderoga Securities said in a recent note.

‘Tremendous demand' for free iPhone 3GS, AT&T CEO says

During AT&T's third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, CEO Ralph de la Vega discussed the continued success his company still sees from the iPhone 3GS. ”We have another device that I think is going to dramatically change those people that are on smartphones and quick messaging devices, the 3GS, which is free with a 2-year contract,” de la Vega explained. “We've seen tremendous, tremendous demand for that device even though it's a generation old. And actually, we're getting more new subscribers coming on to the 3GS on the average than other devices. So we have an inventory sold out on that device.” Pretty impressive for a phone that made its debut in June, 2009. AT&T said it sold a total of 4.8 million smartphones during the third quarter, 2.7 million of which were iPhone activations. After the introduction of the iPhone 4S, Apple announced the 3GS was free with an AT&T contract and that the iPhone 4 would fall to $99 with a contract. 

Apple iPhone 4S Now Available In 22 More Countries, Preorder Yours Now!

Soon after its release, the device was made available for preorder in 7 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, UK and US where it scored as many as 1 million preorders on day one. By the end of the week, Apple proudly announced that it was their best iPhone launch ever.

To much demand, the iPhone 4S will now be available to millions of others in countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The device will retain the same original physical factor that was showcased during its announcement at the “Let's talk iPhone” event but will certainly come with support for regional carries according to the geographic locations.

Throughout the globe, it will be available in either black or white colors in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB models while it carries the dual-core A5 processor, enhanced gaming graphics, 8 megapixel camera with enhanced optics, Siri – the assistant and much more.

As of this writing, the delivery times for your preordered device to ship is listed as “1-2″ weeks, however you may confirm that on the online store from here.

Apple also released the first-ever iPhone 4S commercial entitled as “Assitant” showcasing the mettle of your new digital friend “Siri” and how it works on the iPhone 4S.

First-Ever iPhone 4S Commercial Talks About Siri and Siri Only!

People say, it's magical and we too, to an extent, believe it is. Even before we have heard anything about the commercial, I made a point that Siri could be the marketing point for iPhone 4S. Lo, it is. Officially.

We've included the iPhone 4S TV ad after the jump where you'll see people talking their new iPhone: from a girl asking “how does a weasel look like?” to “I'm locked out…”, the Siri has to offer you help on almost everything.

We are sure this is what makes the iPhone 4S the most amazing iPhone till date. Wouldn't you want to give it a glance? We thought so.

Video : The First Official iPhone 4S Commercial!

As a refresher, Apple released the iPhone 4S as a direct successor to iPhone 4 on 4th October, a day before Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away. The new iPhone launched to much demand in 7 countries(so far) and sports the same aesthetics as the iPhoe 4 but with a faster dual-core  CPU, doubled graphics performance and of course, our personal favorite, the voice assistant Siri.

This is certainly the first in the series of iPhone 4S commercials that we are likely to see sometime soon. As time advances, Apple is expected to reveal several such commercials highlighting things that make its new iPhone, well, the new iPhone.

We will keep you posted as more details surface.

Meanwhile, click here to know more.

Spy on nearby keyboards with your iPhone 4's accelerometer

Ever plopped your cellular down next to your laptop? According Georgia Tech researchers, that common scenario could let hackers record almost every sentence you type, all thanks to your smartphone's accelerometer. They've achieved the feat with an impressive 80 percent accuracy using an iPhone 4, and are dubbing the program they've developed, spiPhone. (Although the group initially had fledgling trials with an iPhone 3GS, they discovered the 4′s gyroscope aided in data reading.)

If the software gets installed onto a mobile device it can use the accelerometer to sense vibrations within three-inches, in degrees of “near or far and left or right,” allowing it to statistically guess the words being written — so long as they have three or more letters. It does this by recording pairs of keystrokes, putting them against dictionaries with nearly 58,000 words to come up with the most likely results.

The group has also done the same with the phone's mics (which they say samples data at a whopping 44,000 times per second vs. the accelerometer's 100), but note that it's a less likely option given the usual need for some form of user permission. Furthermore, they explained that the accelerometer data rate is already mighty slow, and if phone makers reduced it a bit more, spiPhone would have a hard time doin' its thing.

The good news? Considering the strict circumstances needed, these researchers think there's a slim chance that this kind of malware could go into action easily. Looks like our iPhone and MacBook can still be close friends…

iPhone 4S pre-orders start in 22 more countries ahead of October 28 release date

The iPhone 4S is already available to buy in 7 countries, and it's been like that since its official release date of October 14. These countries are the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.

And now the iPhone 4S can be pre-ordered in 22 additional territories, where it will be released on October 28, which is next Friday. These 22 countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

If you are in one of these countries and it doesn't have an online Apple store, you should contact your local Apple distributor or your carrier of choice as you may be able to place a pre-order there.

The international Apple online stores all seem to report shipping times of 1 to 2 weeks at the moment, which isn't exactly in line with the date when the iPhone 4S will be available in stores. Still, if you don't like (literally) waiting in line, pre-ordering is probably your safest bet.

Studio Neat Glif iPhone 4x4S Tripod Mount and Stand Review

The Glif from Studio Neat is a handy little gadget for iPhone 4x4S owners that are aspiring photographers and videographers. It allows you to attach your iPhone to any standard tripod and also doubles as an easily adjustable stand. Let me show you how it works.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

The Glif is made of semi flexible recyclable rubberized plastic that has been molded specifically for the iPhone 4x4S.

There's a trough to hold the iPhone securely.

And a 1x4″-­20 threaded socket so that you can attach it to a tripod.

Your caseless iPhone is held in place in either portrait

or landscape orientation as seen here. I have a protector on both sides of my iPhone and it still works with the Glif.

Here we see the Glif attached to the top of a tripod.

It's very handy to be able to use a tripod with your iPhone. I have been using my phone to take short product demo videos and have found the Glif to be the perfect thing to allow me to shoot video easier when it's attached to a tripod.

When you're not using the Glif with a tripod, it doubles as a stand that can be used in portrait orientation as long as you keep the Glif as low as possible. Placing it higher up on the iPhone's side will cause it to tip over to one side.

The stand works best with the phone in landscape orientation as seen above.

The Glif is a simple product that is very useful. It's made well enough that it should last longer than you'll probably own your iPhone. It's handy to keep in your gear bag to use as a stand and for those times when a tripod will help you get that perfect shot or capture video.

T-Mobile's Andrew Sherrard: 'the iPhone is not the only option'

Remember when T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman splashed a bucket of cold water on our hot iPhone 4S dreams? Yeah, well the carrier's back to clarify its glaring lack of the handset in its lineup, and it appears the choice wasn't the company's to make. In a statement released today, SVP of Marketing Andrew Sherrard expressed the operator's desire to play host to Apple's latest device, but claims Cupertino's omission of an AWS-friendly radio is the true culprit. In order for that phone to run competently on T-Mo's 4G network, those 1700MHz bands would need to be serviced. In its stead, the exec points to other more capable phones currently on offer - namely, those bearing Android - while referring to the 4S' apparent network issues. Fighting words or just a case of the sads? Follow past the break for the full quote straight from Magenta's mouth.

T-Mobile thinks the iPhone is a good device and we've expressed our interest to Apple to offer it to our customers. Ultimately, it is Apple's decision. The issue remains that Apple has not developed a version of the iPhone with technology that works on our fast 3G and 4G networks. We believe a capable version of the iPhone for our 3G and 4G networks would offer an additional compelling option for our customers on a fast 4G network. However, the iPhone is not the only option to experience the benefit that smartphones offer.

T-Mobile's 4G smartphones stack up against competitive smartphones in terms of functionality, speed, features offered and overall experience – including the iPhone 4S. Reports continue of iPhones not operating well on some carrier networks, while our latest 4G smartphones offer many advantages vs. the iPhone 4S:

  • Capable of faster speeds
  • Bigger screens
  • Compelling service pricing
  • More advanced camera on the HTC Amaze 4G
  • More choice
We firmly believe that T-Mobile's portfolio will give any iPhone a run for its money. We offer the increased processing power and faster 4G speeds achieved by our fastest smartphones, the most advanced camera of any smartphone on the HTC Amaze 4G, and our industry-leading 4.52" super AMOLED display offered on the Samsung Galaxy S II.

With our portfolio of Android, Windows, and BlackBerry smartphones, fast 4G network, and competitively priced worry-free unlimited talk, text, and data plans, we believe it's a great time to be a T-Mobile customer.

Get A $30+ iPhone 4S Case For Just Under $1.5 Now (Legally)!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Good folks, hurry up! This is no joke. BoxWave, the company that hit headlines after launching a physical keyboard for iPhone 4 is now offering an absolutely irresistible deal on iPhone 4S cases. All of the new product cases on the company’s website are surprisingly listed under $1.50 after discount from their original prices of about $30+.

Some of these cases are priced at just $1 like the Crystal iPhone 4S shell or the Rhino DuroForm iPhone 4S case, etc which despite such low price claim to offer tough protection. And there are several others which are priced at an unbelievably low-price of $1.50 despite claiming a nice of features to their credit.

The amazing thing is that all these cases look really decent and amazing. There are plenty of them, in different designs and textures. Since they are designed for iPhone 4S, they should work perfectly well with iPhone 4 as well which gives you another reason to jump past the break and buy yourself one or some.

The best part is that there are no shipping charges (or at least we were not billed any ), so a brand new case for your new iPhone should cost just a dollar and half. That’s it. There are plenty of types and cases to choose from. For instance, there’s this iPhone 4S Shell case with KickStand (featured below) or other cases with interesting themes like candy coating, color splash, rain drops, azure glimmer and velvet pouches among others.

Most of these have soft fiber coating on the inside to keep your glossy iPhone smooth and shiny for ever. Of course, you can pick your own color. You see, there are options always. Almost, always.

There are no details on the last date for the deal. But, why wait when you can pull the trigger now? Click here to select an iPhone 4S sleeve/case of your choice. Oh and one more thing, if you are looking for some relatively expensive and best-of-the-class cases, you may see our post on 5 best places where you can get one.

We’ve already placed our order and it’s will be with us soon. How about you?

We hope this post was helpful.

You may follow the author of this story by clicking here.

Disclaimer: The author of this story of Tnerd have no commercial interest in the product or its resellers/partners whatsoever. This story for written for the sole purpose of sharing knowledge with our readers. Tnerd or its associates are no way involved in the deal.

Siri Made To Work On iPhone 4, Still Needs Some Polish!

The feature is new in iOS 5 and if you had noticed, it was designed particularly for the iPhone 4S that sports a faster dual-core processor with an enhanced graphics GPU, making all your affairs with Siri possible. Smoothly.

Even as the (now old) iPhone 4 supports the new iOS, it will not be able to run Siri officially (that's putting it nicely). While that has upset many of us, 9to5Mac in collaboration with developer Troughton-Smith has worked to get Siri to work on iPhone 4. It's working now. Head past the break to catch it in action.

At first, the Siri for iPhone 4 wasn't working as smooth as expected. It was rather sluggish, in performance which, by 9to5Mac, is due to the absence of a special graphic driver that's present in iPhone 4S and missing in the iPhone 4.

According to 9to5Mac:

The iPhone 4 hardware can support the Siri artificial intelligence system, as the A4 processor is said to be powerful enough. We are not entirely sure why Apple is making Siri an iPhone 4S exclusive but it could be due to special microphone support, or because the A5 may allow it to run slightly quicker.

However, hard work yielded and Siri was later reported to work almost perfectly fine. Sad, there's no tutorial of how that's done. Nevertheless, we now know that running Siri on iPhone 4 is possible albeit unofficially.

According to a report, Siri for iPad 2 is already in the pipeline. It should render as good performance as the iPhone 4S since both the devices have the same A5 dual-core chipset under the hood.

In the meantime, we are going back to chat with Siri. It's really fun to use and amazing. If you too have been using Siri on your new iPhone, share your experiences or any witty questions that you've asked Siri. We'd love to hear from you, as always.

You may follow the author of this story by clicking here.

Unlocked iPhone 4S (Contract-Free) Already Selling In The United States!

You may either use the AT&T SIM card that comes boxed with the device or push in a SIM card of your choice. But, this special iPhone will cost your $649 for 16GB, $749 for 32GB and $849 for 64GB. While that's a good sum of money, you will certainly have some exclusive benefits for that price.

For instance, you are not bound to any carrier contract when you buy a contract-free iPhone 4S. Getting an officially unlocked iPhone 4S means having nothing to worry about. Right out of the box, the iPhone will be entirely yours.

If you have purchased one already (though it's not easily available as of now),  to unlock your iPhone 4S, just need to connect your iPhone 4S to your computer, launch iTunes and a pop up message will appear on the screen with a “Congratulations, Your iPhone has been unlocked” message.

According to the report:

“Users can activate the contract-free iPhone 4S by simply plugging the device into iTunes. Once plugged in, the above iPhone 4S unlocked popup will appear. Troughton-Smith's unlocked iPhone 4S in the United States successfully connected to T-Mobile's EDGE network via an O2 SIM-card on roaming. The contract-free, unlocked iPhone 4S included an AT&T SIM card, which is of course removable. Apple sells this special iPhone 4S for $649, $749, and $849 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, respectively.”

Right now, the iPhone 4S is currently available on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint at a subsidized price. The 16GB iPhone 4S will cost $199 while the 32GB and 64GB models cost $299 and $399 respectively.

As a refresher, the iPhone 4S features a 3.5″ Retina Display like the iPhone 4, a faster dual-core processor with enhanced performance, improved graphics support, amazing new optics with an 8 megapixel camera that also records HD videos, iOS 5 and of course, Siri – a highly-acclaimed real-like digital voice assistant among other things.

Click here to know more about the new iPhone.

You may follow the author of this story by clicking here.

5 Good Sites That Offer Amazing iPhone 4S Cases/Covers!

Okay, so you’ve got that shiny new piece of hardware from Apple. Yeah, the iPhone 4S, It’s not that new in design but it’s still new and precious because you invested in it, right? If you haven’t already ordered a good iPhone 4S case alongside, here’s our list of 5 good sites that have some amazing iPhonne 4S cases on the shelves.

Oh yes, even you have ordered one already, you may want to check these out. Some of them are accompanied by a nice demonstrative video. Perhaps, that should change your opinion. Here we go:

1. Case-Mate: Yes, you know that brand. It’s been there in this arena since long and with the release of the new iPhone, Case Mate has also released their iPhone 4S cases and protective covers. There are seven of them. Case Mate has named these seven cases as Gelli, Vroom, Pop!, Tough, Brushed Aluminum, Barely There, Emerge cases.

Each one is distinct in its own right and their build involves eye-catching colors and fashion-forward designs. You can also make your own iPhone 4S case by uploading a picture at Case-Mate. When it comes to iPhone cases, Case-mate certainly knows how to play it well.

Check out CaseMate iPhone 4S cases from here. Prices range between $14.99 to $34.99.

2. Otterbox iPhone 4S Cases: Folks at Otterbox have your iPhone 4S cases ready. There are two types of cases here : Otterbox Commuter Series Strength Case which is made up of durable silicon and has high-quality polycarbonate shell. When you purchase this case, 10% of the gains will be donated to Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which is why the case is also available in Pink color.

The other case, known as Otterbox Defender Series marries amazing durable design with belt clip for carrying your device. It’s priced at $59.99 and provides heavy duty treatment from rugged environments. You should check it out from here.

3. iSkin: iSkin also has some decent cases. The most interesting thing about their cases is that there is a special transparent protective cover called “Durable ViSOR (Visually Intact Solid Optical Resin)” that protects your device’s screen from scratches, and it lets you answer phone calls without removing the visor mask. It comes in six amazing colors . Prices start at $39.99, which seems worth considering that it comes with a life-long warranty. Check it out here.

4. GroveMade: Now, these guys have gone an extra mile to stand out in the race. You will find all kinds of hand-made wooden cases for iPhone 4S. Basic or the simple handcrafted models start from $69 while custom-designs can cost $119 or more. But, it’s definitely worth checking out. Not only do these cases look good but with bamboo wood they offer superior protection naturally. Check them out here. There are plenty of them to match your varied tastes.

5. Proporta: Proporta is offering some decent iPhone 4S hard shell cases. The good thing is you don’t have to make the distinction since the cases are already classified separately for both men and women. There are waterproof cases for the device as well and they are for everyone. Prices start from $19.95. Check them out here. It’s quite a good array of them and are unique in variety including the Time Table case, the Doodle Pad Hard Case, Aluminum Lined iPhone 4S Leather Case, etc – to name a few.

Of course, you may also want to check out Griffin Technologies offerings. They have some good iPhone 4S accessories on the showcase. also some has pretty nice deals. It is worth noting that not all iPhone 4 covers/cases are compatible with iPhone 4S even though the two have the (almost) same design. due to slightly different placement of volume buttons but iPhone 4S cases will certainly be compatible with iPhone 4.

Which brand/case type did you purchase for your new iPhone 4S? Know of any good cases that we can add to our list? Feel free to drop a comment below and share it with our readers. We’d appreciate that.

We hope this post was helpful.

You may follow the author of this story by clicking here.

AT&T subscribers complain of delayed, canceled iPhone 4S pre-orders

Apple's iPhone 4S became available to the general public today, and the launch appears to have been an overwhelming success. Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe believes Apple could close out the weekend having sold as many as 4 million new iPhones. We've been hearing from proud new iPhone owners across the country all day - and we've also been hearing about all the crazy things they've been asking poor Siri - but we've also heard from an unhappy minority that seems to have fallen victim to fulfillment problems. Read on for more.

Updated with comment from AT&T.

Beyond an odd complaint here and there, things seem to be going well for Verizon Wireless and Sprint subscribers who emailed us today. We've also heard from plenty of happy AT&T customers, but there appears to have been an issue with pre-sales in some cases, and a number of AT&T customers have emailed us with war stories.

“ confirmed phones would be shipping to customers for arrival on 10x14, but when nothing in my account changed I spoke with 2 others who confirmed all phones will be shipping with a 2 to 3 week delay,” one reader told BGR in an email. “For someone who purchased early the morning of 10x7 this is a complete let down.”

Several more BGR readers offered similar complaints, saying that orders placed early in the morning on October 7th are now being delayed by two or more weeks. A few other readers found that their orders had been canceled with no explanation given.

As it turns out, customers who had their orders canceled often found themselves in a better position than subscribers with delays. Those who tried to cancel their delayed orders with the intention of going to a retail store to purchase a new phone have often times been unable to do so, according to multiple emails we received. Due to the pending order status, customers would be forced to pay full MSRP for new iPhones since their accounts are no longer eligible for subsidized upgrades.

Dealings with customer care have been mixed to this point, according to accounts given by BGR readers. Several emails recount lengthy conversations that led nowhere as customer service was unable to determine the status of iPhone orders. At least one BGR reader said that AT&T offered to waive the $18 upgrade fee on his account, however he was still unaware of the status of his order at the time this article was published.

Customers with war stories always shout louder than those for whom orders have gone smoothly, and considering AT&T took in more than 200,000 pre-orders on October 7th alone, there were bound to be some bumps in the road. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: AT&T provided the following statement to BGR via email: “We are fulfilling orders on schedule in nearly every case.  We are aware of a small number of customers who have questions about their delivery timing and are working with one-on-one with each to answer questions.”

iOS 5: Exploring 7 Hidden New Features

iPhone 4S owners are poised to become members of an elite class. Their new phones boast an improved camera, dual antennae and an unpaid personal intern named Siri — all relevant talking points in “Who's got the real iPhone?” one-upsmanship battles.

Luckily, though, even 4S have-nots can enjoy the benefits of iOS 5, one of the new phone's best features. Released Wednesday, Apple's new mobile OS is a no-brainer download (we gave it an enthusiastic 8 verdict). It's also entirely free, and compatible with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, the 3rd- and 4th-gen iPod touch media players, and iPad and iPad 2.

Downloaded the new OS? Good. The blogosphere is teeming with iOS 5 feature guides, but aside from exposing Easter eggs hidden in Siri voice recognition, many sites are glossing over some of the OS's most hidden or novel new features. Here we explore some of the more notable or quirky additions to grace our iPhone and iPad interfaces.

At first glance, iOS 5 does nothing to address the pain and embarrassment of auto-correction mistakes. But go to your Settings menu, and navigate to General>Keyboard. Scroll to the bottom, and you'll find a prompt to add a new shortcut. Just type in the word or phrase that deserves a shortcut, and then plug in the shortcut itself.

Now, for example, when you type in “fwiw,” iOS will provide an auto-correct prompt for “for what it's worth.” It may not be a Twitter-friendly tool that's compatible with character count requirements, but it can help ease the pain of constantly miss-typing (or miss-tapping, rather) long or vexing words.

And the fun doesn't end there. I see great potential for mischief too: Grab your pal's iOS 5 device, and begin entering shortcuts for common words like “hi” or “siri,” as in the screenshot above. Hilarity abounds as your friend suspects his or her iDevice is suffering demonic possession.

You're in a high-powered business meeting. Your phone volume is mute because you don't want to offend the client. But you really need to receive that critical phone call from your pilates instructor scheduling a rain check. By assigning a unique vibration sequence to any contact, you can leave your iPhone on the table and listen for the sweet euphony of a customized “zizip, zizip” as your device resonates against the table top.

Interested? Go to Contacts, choose a contact and tap Edit. Navigate to Vibration>Create New Vibration. You'll be greeted by the screen above. Simply tap out a new vibration rhythm, save it, and prepare for near-stealth notifications of when special people are trying to reach you.

We all have different preferences when it comes to how we receive iOS notifications. Some people like audible alerts, some like vibrating alerts, some like no alerts at all. But the more flamboyant among us may prefer a new visual alert buried in the Accessibility menu in General settings. Toggling on “LED Flash For Alerts” will prompt your iPhone to trigger your camera's LED whenever you receive a message or email when the phone is set to silent mode.

This feature offers great utility to anyone who can't hear, but we also see great potential for multiplayer gamers who like to create a chilly-spooky vibe in darkened rooms. Huzzah! says the flash. Your pizza has arrived!

Much has been made about iOS 5's new text formatting options. You can select a word or text string, and then make it bold, italic or underline. That's well publicized. But check out all the other options that become available when you hold down a selection of a word.

The Suggest function provides a list of other words you may have preferred to type. Quote Level either increases or decreases the number of vertical lines that appear before text — helpful when you're annotating a threaded conversation. But one of the niftiest options is Define, shown here, which provides a tight (but surprisingly robust) dictionary entry for the selection, complete with a definition, usage examples, and often information on word derivatives and origin.

The new iOS includes a number of key features that foster more private, secure use. In Safari's settings menu (shown above), you can toggle on Private Browsing. Once enabled, Safari will refrain from building a history of your browser activity (hey, we all have something to hide).

Over in the new Message app, which provides for seamless transitions between traditional carrier-hosted text messaging and Apple-hosted iMessages, you can define whether to allow Read Receipts, which notify your friends when you've read their messages. So, if you want to continue the charade of, “Oh, did you send me a message? Never saw it,” then head to Settings>Messages, and turn Send Read Receipts to off.

Finally, you can put an end to those awkward conversations that occur when you leave your iPhone on the table, and someone reads the first few sentences of one of your text messages or emails on the lock screen. Go to Settings>Notifications and turn off Show Preview for both Messages and Mail.

If you fear your iDevice is approaching the limits of its storage capacity, head on over to Settings>General>Usage, and start surveying your worst offenders. Clicking on an app name will provide a bit more detail — specifically, the footprint of the document and data files associated with the app. You'll also see a button to delete the app entirely.

Views of alternate routes have always been available in the desktop version of Google Maps, and now they're finally available on iOS devices too. After defining where you are and where you want to be, just tap Route 1, Route 2, etc., to toggle between Google's recommended directions.

Did I leave out any hidden features that really blow your mind? Please comment below, or tweet me with suggestions. I, meanwhile, will be parsing through the 190-odd other new features released in iOS 5.

Apple's iPhone 4S now available in the U.S.

It's 8:00 a.m., do you know where your iPhone is? The day is upon us and Apple's fifth-generation iPhone is now available for purchase on the East Coast of the United States. Apple Stores that fall in the Eastern time zone are now open for business, and online pre-orders are out on delivery trucks en route to hundreds of thousands of homes across the country. As the sun moves west, retailers will open early and, in all likelihood, quickly sell through their limited launch day inventory. Did you pick up an iPhone today? Are you waiting in line for one right now? Post a comment below or shoot us an email and let us know how things are going. And if you already snagged a new iPhone 4S this morning, feel free to have Siri send that email for you.

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