iNews Review

iPads Hard and Costly to Make, Unlocked GSM iPhone 4, Retina iPad Anticipated, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.06.17

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

iPads Easy to Sell, Hard to Make

VentureBeat's Mikko Torikka says it seems that manufacturing iPads is not as good a business as selling them, with Apple selling as many iPads as it can get from suppliers at a good profit, but their Chinese contract electronics assembler Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn) has seen its profits go down with the growing demand for Apple products, according to Hon Hai's founder and chairman in a Bloomberg report.

Apparently iPads are extremely difficult and expensive to manufacture.

Apple Releases Unlocked GSM iPhone 4 in US

PR: Apple has released an unlocked iPhone 4 that you can activate and use on the supported GSM wireless carrier of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.

If you don't want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, Apple suggests that the unlocked iPhone 4 is your best choice. It an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.

How the unlocked iPhone 4 works

The unlocked iPhone 4 ships without a micro-SIM card, so you'll need an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier. Insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone, connect to your Mac or PC using the USB cable, and launch iTunes on your computer to complete the setup.

Mac system requirements

  • Mac computer with USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later
  • iTunes 10.1 or later (free download from www.itunes.com/download )
  • iTunes Store account
  • Internet access

Windows system requirements

  • PC with USB 2.0 port
  • Windows 7; Windows Vista; or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later
  • iTunes 10.1 or later (free download from www.itunes.com/download )
  • iTunes Store account
  • Internet access

iPhone 4 works with micro-SIM cards from supported GSM carriers. Contact your carrier for a micro-SIM card.

A micro-SIM card is a small memory card used in the iPhone 4 and other cellular devices that stores your wireless account information. With an unlocked iPhone, you will need to obtain a micro-SIM card directly from your GSM carrier.

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, and is an industry standard for wireless communication that's used by most carriers around the world, including AT&T in the United States. Other carriers use a different technology called CDMA.

The unlocked iPhone will work on supported GSM carrier networks around the world, including the U.S. Because the unlocked iPhone is sold without a contract commitment, you can establish service and use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier at your destination. Or check with your U.S. carrier regarding international roaming and associated charges.

Buying an unlocked iPhone 4 allows you to choose your own GSM carrier, change carriers at any time, and even use multiple carriers if you travel frequently. Check with your carrier regarding the length of commitments or contracts.

Note that an iPad micro-SIM card will not work with your iPhone.

Price:

  • 16 GB, $649
  • 32 GB, $749

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 'Head of the Android Pack'

ITBusiness.ca's Melissa J. Perenson says that the first Android tablet to market with the Honeycomb 3.1 OS offers a slick design and a brilliant display - and is also lighter than the iPad.

Perenson contends that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi is the first Android tablet to effectively challenge Apple's iPad 2 at what Apple does best, design, and at CAN$499 for a 16 GB version (the 16 GB WiFi iPad is CAN$519), the Samsung device has that in spades, moving to the head of the Android pack.

She observes that the Tab 10.1 achieves perhaps the greatest design compliment an Android tablet can hope for in that it was often mistaken at first glance for being an iPad 2, even by iPad users.

Images in iOS 5 Framework Anticipate iPad with Retina Display

ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady says there's good news for the resolution-obsessed in the form of new high-resolution (1536 x 2048) images that were discovered in a Twitter .framework in the new iOS 5 SDK: iPad 3 is getting a Retina Display.

The big question: When will iPad 3 be released? O'Grady leans toward March/April 2012 despite persistent rumors that Apple might fast-track a Fall 2011 release.

Editor's note: I agree that an iPad 3 release is unlikely for later this year. cm

mindWireless Study Shows iPhones Cost Enterprises 80% More than Blackberries

PR: A recently completed mindWireless study analyzing costs of business users with an iPhone or BlackBerry provided by AT&T and Verizon found the average total cost for a BlackBerry was $103 per month compared to $183 per month for an iPhone. For an enterprise considering allowing 1,000 users to switch from BlackBerry to iPhone, they can expect their upfront costs to rise by over $100,000 and their annual wireless expense to increase by over $900,000.

The higher cost comes primarily from the wide use of features and international data on iPhones. International travelers have 50% higher charges for data roaming on their iPhones. Increased data usage does not always equate to higher costs, because 95% of users are on unlimited or 2 GB data plans for domestic use.

"Data use is clearly the driver for the cost variance between iPhone and BlackBerry," says Brian Hall, manager of Financial Analytics for mindWireless. "By analyzing actual data drawn from our wireless telecommunications expense management clients, we validated a belief that iPhones were inherently more expensive to the enterprise. We found that iPhone users send/receive 66% more text and picture messages, with twice as many users requiring a text message plan over 1,000 messages/month."

Key comparison findings of the study included:

  • Average Monthly Cost: BlackBerry $100, iPhone $183
  • Average Equipment Cost: BlackBerry $136, iPhone $262
  • Average Monthly Data Consumption: BlackBerry 22 MB, iPhone 232 MB
  • Mobile Device Management: BlackBerry - Available, iPhone - Difficult
  • International Data Roaming: iPhone 50% higher
  • Device Discounts: BlackBerry - Frequent Incentives, iPhone - Rare Incentives
  • Text & Picture Messages: iPhone 66% higher
  • Enterprise Server Costs: BlackBerry Yes, iPhone Optional

However, as data pricing moves away from unlimited pricing and becomes tiered for domestic plans, iPhone users are expected to pay even more in the future based on their higher usage. With the introduction of tiered international data pricing, we found that the 10-fold increase in data usage played a much bigger factor in the international wireless market.

Another major factor in the Smartphone arena is the growing Android user base. According to ComScore, of the 72.5 million Smartphones in use in the US in the first quarter, 34.7% were Android devices, BlackBerry's share dropped to 27.1%, and Apple's share increased only slightly, to 25.5%.

Hall also noted, "But, then again, the iPhone does have Angry Bird."

Publisher's note: The report only analyzes cost differences, not differences in productivity. With ten times the average data consumption, it appears that iPhone users are making much more use of their equipment than BlackBerry users. This is a significant factor that may be of more value than the dollars and cents of price analysis. dk

Apps & Services

Voxofon Gives iPhone Users Contract-Free, High-Quality International Calling Starting at a Penny-Per-Minute

PR: Voxofon now offers a native application that makes it simple and inexpensive for iPhone users to make international calls from their iPhone Contacts directory, Voxofon Call History, or Contacts. International calling with Voxofon is a low-cost, high-quality, contract-free way to stay in touch with friends, family, and business associates for pennies per minute.

Mobile and landline callers commonly experience a trifecta of international calling challenges: Exorbitant rates; long term contracts; and complicated dial sequences, said Alexey Goloshubin, president of Voxofon. Often, they feel as though they're writing a blank check to their phone service provider. In many situations, the process of remembering and dialing correctly the long sequence of numbers to make that international call can be frustrating.

With Voxofon, iPhone users download a free app and are able to use their iPhones contacts directory to reach anyone internationally by simply selecting them no need to enter complicated codes or dialing sequences. Also, the app displays the exact cost to that precise destination number even before the user starts the call, so users can validate the exceptionally low rates we give them every time - there is total transparency and no surprises.

Key features of every Voxofon call include:

  • Simplicity - Calling abroad from any phone is exceptionally easy. There's no need for PIN codes - just dial and talk. Access to Contacts and Call History enables redialing with the touch of only one key. The Voxofon SMS user interface is easy to navigate, even for the mobile phone novice.
  • Affordability - Voxofon prices start at a penny per minute, allowing users to call abroad and spend more time talking with friends, family and business associates.
  • Quality Voxofon always uses connections with reliable, high quality routes for connecting calls abroad.
  • Security - Voxofon protects information so that users can make calls abroad safely.
  • Efficient Customer Support Access to our multilingual support agents for timely resolution of any customer issue or concern.

Used by thousands of people every day, Voxofon provides high quality Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) international phone calling services from any land line, mobile phone or computer, including the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and HP Palm WebOS. Voxofon's low-cost international calling rates start at only 1 cent per minute, with no setup or monthly fees.

PhoneIt-iPad Hack Turns Your iPad 3G into a Fully Functional Phone

PhoneIt-iPadPR: PhoneIt-iPad from iPhoneIslam.com, the biggest Arabic, Islamic community website for iOS Apps, News & Hacks, turns the 3G iPad into a fully functional phone.

You will need a jailbroken iPad running iOS version 4.3.3 and a standard phone SIM card which, if it can make phone calls on phones, it will make phone calls on the iPad as well.

When iOS 5 comes out and Is inevitably jailbroken, the developers say they will work to make their app support it and offered a free update.

PhoneIt-iPad is not yet MMS ready.

Adobe Updates Photoshop Touch Apps with New Camera Support and Enhanced Photoshop CS5 Interaction

PR: Adobe has announced that the Adobe Photoshop Touch apps - Adobe Eazel, Adobe Color Lava, and Adobe Nav - have been updated and are available immediately for download, with expanded capabilities that take advantage of interaction between Photoshop and tablet devices. Due to popular demand, Adobe is also offering Adobe Eazel at a discounted price of $2.99 - for a limited time only - to give more iPad owners an opportunity to try the innovative painting app.

New Enhancements to Photoshop Touch Apps

The following new features that unite the interactive iPad experience with the power and precision of Photoshop are being added to Adobe Eazel, Adobe Color Lava and Adobe Nav:

  • Adobe Eazel - Digital artists now have easy access to the paintings they create with the new Eazel image gallery and are able to save and open artwork within the app.
  • Adobe Color Lava - Using the iPad 2 built-in camera, creatives can now capture images from within Color Lava, and then pick their color inspiration from captured images to dab, swirl and mix into custom color themes.
  • Adobe Nav - Users can now transfer images directly from their iPad photo library into Photoshop CS5 for editing, designing and retouching.

Initially made available in the Apple App Store in early May 2011, the Photoshop Touch apps allow tablet device users to be creative anywhere. Digital artists use Adobe Eazel to create rich, realistic paintings with their fingertips that can then be sent directly to Photoshop CS5 for further refinement. Adobe Color Lava allows for tactile color mixing directly on the iPad to create custom color swatches and themes that can then transfer into Photoshop CS5. With Adobe Nav, users can view and select up to 200 open Photoshop files, even when working offline, and also create a custom toolbar to drive Photoshop CS5 from the iPad.

The Photoshop Touch apps were developed using the Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit (SDK), which gives developers the ability to create apps that interact with Photoshop CS5 for mobile and tablet devices including iOS, Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. The Photoshop Touch SDK has been a very popular download among the Photoshop community of publishers, trainers and plugin providers, enabling them to innovate and redefine the Photoshop creative workflow.

The updated Adobe Photoshop Touch apps (versions 1.0.2) are available through the Apple App Store. Pricing and download links are as follows:

To experience interactivity between Photoshop CS5 and tablet devices, current Photoshop CS5 customers can download and install the free update from within the software. Instructions are available at http://adobe.ly/e2WJhj

Developers can access the free Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK for Windows and Mac OS platforms at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop.html

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are available through Adobe Authorized Resellers, Adobe Direct Sales, or the Adobe Store.

Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is $699, and $999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

These apps are iPad only.

Accessories

Nuu MiniKey Keyboard Compatible with iPhone 4

NUU MiniKey iPhone 4 KeyboardPR: Sicj of makung stupad spulling mistooks on your iPhone? Check out the Nuu MiniKey, a Bluetooth-friendly iPhone 4 case feathering a flip-out keyboard that facilitates texting, emailing, blogging and tweeting using proper tactile analog keys, not feedback-less pixels.

Thanks to various navigation and symbol keys you won't need to keep flicking between onscreen keyboards. And because the MiniKey eliminates the need for the iPhone's virtual keyboard, your typing area gets supersized. You can also toggle between the MiniKey and your iPhone's virtual keyboard via an integrated button.

NUU MiniKey iPhone 4 KeyboardNuu Mini-Key Features include:

  • The backlit keyboard makes typing in poorly-lit areas a breeze. The backlight may be toggled on or off to suit your own preference.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts let you quickly and easily edit text on your iPhone 4 with shortcuts such as Command + C to copy, Command + V to paste, Command Z to undo.
  • Convenient Toggle Button allows for smooth switching between the physical QWERTY MiniKey and the onscreen keyboard.

Nuu MiniKey Specifications:

  • 42 key slide out keyboard with backlight
  • Broadcom Chipset (Bluetooth V2.0 Compliance)
  • FCC/CE/C-Tick/BQB Certified

Battery

  • Li-Polymer (380 mAh)
  • Charges in 3-4 hours with Micro-USB cable

Note that the Nuu MiniKey contains a magnet in the sliding mechanism which may affect the compass in your iPhone. Before using the compass feature in your iPhone, you need to remove the iPhone from the Nuu MiniKey case.

The Nuu MiniKey iPhone 4 Keyboard sells for $79.99.

Proprietary Process Developed to Create Metal MeeMojo iPhone 4 Case

MeeMojo Edgy iPhone4 CasePR: MeeMojo has created a proprietary process of fabricating aluminum phone cases that it says will not jeopardize the phone's functionality. The process is being used to create aluminum iPhone 4 cases for its online company.

"Metal cases were plagued with signal degradation problems. With our extensive history of custom fabrication, I was confident that we could create a solid case that would preserve phone functionality," says MeeMojo principal Petar Todorovic. "Once we designed our proprietary RF Neutral Polymer Isolator, we knew we had the right fix."

MeeMojo Slick iPhone4 CaseTodorovic brought more than three decades of custom fabrication experience, ranging from aerospace work to custom after-market truck accessories to the task of producing the innovative phone cases. "From my involvement in the after-market custom truck accessories sector, we know a solid market exists for cutting edge, premium products, but we also know that consumers demand high functionality. Once we established the quality and flawless operability, our designers provided the edgy, dynamic look," he notes.

MeeMojo has released two case styles for its initial launch, the Edgy and the Slick, with additional metals, styles and color options still in the R&D phase. Each case is assembled using polished stainless steel fasteners, assuring a precise fit for the iPhone 4. Cases can be seen and purchased at:

Wrangler Military-Grade Case for iPhone 4

IvySkin Wrangler iPhone case in blackPR: IvySkin USA have debuted Wrangler Case, based on the award-winning Quattro4 and SmartCase for iPhone 4 and iPad 2. Rugged, triple coated and precisely engineered, the all new Wrangler Case provides the ideal balance of sharp protection, antiglare front glass guard and smooth lines. Its exceptionally rigid body extensively uses ultra-high-strength Polycarbonate, aluminum and TPU. IvySkin's signature Glass Touch-Thru screen guard completes the all around protection.

IvySkin Wrangler iPhone case in redThe Wrangler Case leads it boldly into a new era. From its Touch-Thru grille to its muscular body and impeccable material, it's an ultramodern classic. Rugged, Triple coated and precisely engineered, the all new Wrangler case provides the ideal balance of sharp protection, Antiglare front glass guard and smooth lines. pressure-sensing power and home buttons with our innovative Direct-TPU system offers quicker iPhone response, crisper hold-grip feel, and high impact control.

IvySkin Wrangler iPhone case in whiteThe Wrangler raises the bar for iPhone safety engineering. Its exceptionally rigid body extensively uses ultra-high-strength Polycarbonate, aluminum and TPU. Its dual snap bars are fiber-reinforced. Six point advanced Adaptive lining acts as airbags for the iPhone in case of a drop. IvySkin's signature Glass Touch-Thru screen guard completes the all around protection.

Wrangler Case for iPhone 4, $49.99, is now available at Verizon Retail Stores and directly from IvySkin online. Dr. Bott is a direct wholesale distributor of all IvySkin products in the US and Europe.

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