Category: iPhone 4

iPhone 4: What Is a Gyroscope?

Apple is making a fuss over the new front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 by featuring it prominently in early promotional materials. But personally, I think the addition of a gyroscope to the iPhone is much more interesting, important, and useful.

But what exactly is a gyroscope? It’s actually difficult to explain how it works, but the video below does a great job of it:

And Steve Jobs had a nice game demo showing how it will change iPhone gaming (appears toward the end of this clip):

Even the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote didn’t originally ship with a gyroscope. It wasn’t until the recent WiiMotion Plus Wiimote addon did it get the full spatial-tracking capabilities that combining a gyroscope with an accelerometer brings. And the Wiimote’s gyroscope is only 2-axis, the iPhone’s is 3-axis.

And just think, the addition of the gyroscope could make it possible for the iPhone to function as a WiiMotion-like controller for a new Apple TV with gaming capabilities. A new Apple TV with an App Store and downloadable games would be a bold move into console gaming by Apple.

AT&T Raises Early Termination Fee to Deter iPhone Users from Switching to Verizon?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T Wireless plans to raise the early termination fee for smartphone contracts from $175 to $325 starting June 1, 2010. The change will apply only to new contracts signed after that date. Via WSJ:

AT&T Inc. (T) plans to raise the fee it charges customers trying to get out of their smartphone wireless contracts early, a move that comes amid expectations that the carrier will lose exclusivity on the iPhone over the next year.

The Dallas telecommunications provider will raise its early termination fees to $325 from $175 on contracts signed for smartphones, as well as cellular-connected netbooks.

The change could be interpreted as a preemptive move by AT&T to deter iPhone customers from switching to Verizon once the device becomes available on that network. A recent flurry of rumors indicates that a Verizon iPhone could arrive as early as this fall.

The cost for Verizon switchers who buy a 4G iPhone on AT&T this summer may be more than just the $325 early termination fee. They will also likely have to purchase an entirely new 4G iPhone. The Wall Street Journal and others have reported that Verizon will get its own separate model of iPhone for their CDMA network (AT&T has a GSM network).

It may not be what Apple wants you to do, but if you’re interested in buying a 4G iPhone this summer but rather have it on Verizon, it may be best to wait a until the fall.

*Update* A reader notes that Verizon increased their early termination fee to $350 in the winter, which may indicate AT&T’s increase is just keeping pace and not further evidence of a Verizon iPhone.

Finder of iPhone 4G Prototype Identified, Says He Regrets “Mistake” has identified the person who found the prototype fourth-gen iPhone as Brian J. Hogan of Redwood City, California. Wired discovered Mr. Hogan’s identity by following clues on social networking sites, then confirmed it with a source closely “involved in the iPhone find.”

According to his lawyer, Jeffrey Bornstein of K&L Gates, Hogan was at the Gourmet Haus Stadt with friends when someone at the restaurant handed him the prototype iPhone and asked if it belonged to him. The person then left. Hogan asked around for the phone’s owner, but no one claimed it. Hogan then left the Haus Stadt with the phone.

According to his lawyer, Hogan’s only efforts to return the phone came when a friend offered to call Apple Care on his behalf. It’s unclear if that call was actually made, although secondhand retellings have said it was.

Mr. Hogan has been interviewed by police but has not yet been charged with a crime.

A statement released by his lawyer says that Hogan now regrets his actions after finding the phone, but clarifies that he did not sell the phone to Gizmodo, but rather granted them temporary access for $5,000:

He regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone. Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so that they could review the phone.”

In addition to questioning Hogan, authorities have also pursued a search warrant against Gizmodo journalist Jason Chen, raiding his home and gathering evidence. No charges have been brought in the case so far.

The Dude Who Lost a Prototype iPhone 4G

He works (worked?) at Apple as a software engineer. He’s a talented amateur photographer. He looks like Seth Rogen. His pain at the bar? Beer.

You’ve got to feel sorry for Gray Powell, the guy who, according to Gizmodo, left a prototype iPhone 4G on a barstool at Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City, California, after partaking in some fine imported German beers. Gizmodo‘s tale of how they ended up with the iPhone is an interesting read (although they leave out the part where they pay big cash for it), so head on over there for the latest in this ever-expanding drama.

But looking at Powell, nice guy that he seems, we have doubts that Apple would give him a final production model to take out to bars. We’re siding with those who think that the phone will undergo some major visual tweaks before it ends up on Apple Store shelves, and Powell was given a rough working version for QA testing.

iPhone 4G Saga Continues: Gizmodo Buys “Stolen” Prototype?

All signs now point to the “iPhone 4G” prototype making the Apple rumor-site rounds as being a real Apple device. The phone, first unveiled to the world through photos published by Engadget on Saturday, has now fallen hand into the hands of rival Gizmodo, who purchased it from the person who “found it” in a bar in Redwood City, California. Gizmodo posted a review of the device today along with videos:

But the plot thickens thanks to a little backstory provided by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who has been known to have good Apple sources in the past. Perhaps Gruber’s most interesting comment is that “Apple considers this unit stolen, not lost.” Gruber also said that it’s been “an open secret to those of us in the racket that Gizmodo purchased this unit about a week ago.” (Did Engadget‘s photos force Gizmodo to reveal the device, lest they lose the story?)

Info from Gruber’s sources makes him believe that it is indeed a prototype iPhone, although he’s not certain whether the final production unit will look like this device. He pointed to an Apple patent for high-durability ceramic enclosures that have a glass-like appearance as further evidence the device is real, as the back of the prototype seems to be made of the material. Apple could be looking to improve the iPhone’s reception by switching to the ceramic material. (And more proof that they’re sticking with AT&T for a while?)

Previously, the only evidence pointing to the prototype being fake was provided by website Applesfera, who posted grainy pictures of the prototype from a reader who said it was a Japanese knock-off.

Image from Applesfera.

Applesfera then posted an update saying that reader admitted the photos were fake (translation via Google):

Final Update: One of our readers (Ivan Meneses) sent us photos of a possible Japanese clone of the iPhone, which apparently had the same shape of the device which we discussed here. We have pushed our reader Ivan Meneses (user “meneses_pro”) to send us more information about the pictures of the prototype that we sent, requesting a video, and ended up confessing that their pictures are fake. We are sorry to all the confusion, but we wanted to continue to the end to finally know if your photos were genuine. We therefore continue with the mystery of whether the photos from Engadget are the new iPhone 4G or not …

Applesfera did not state exactly how the pictures were faked, but a commenter on our site suspects the buttons at least were photoshopped on. We also noted that the screen shows only 4 rows of apps when normally there are 5:

Rumored iPhone 4G shows only 4 rows of apps. Normally there are 5.

Gizmodo‘s review of the device indicates several new hardware additions, including:

  • Front-facing video chat camera
  • Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
  • Camera flash
  • Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
  • Improved display. It’s unclear if it’s the 960×640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the “Connect to iTunes” screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
  • What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
  • Split buttons for volume
  • Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

Gizmodo was unable to activate the iPhone because Apple had remotely wiped it, erasing the firmware (there is no publicly known pirated version of the firmware available), but they could see the iPhone’s USB-cable graphic and noted that the screen’s resolution seems improved.

A few other items of note from Gizmodo’s review:

  • Xcode and iTunes recognized the device as an iPhone
  • It’s thinner than previous iPhones
  • Components are a tight fit inside and were designed specifically to fit into that casing
  • Components inside are labeled APPLE

Gizmodo was suspiciously silent about the type of chip inside. Is it Apple’s A4, like in the iPad? Or is it something else, perhaps contrary evidence?

Reaction to the design of the prototype has been mixed. My research on various popular Apple forums like MacRumors shows a mostly negative view, with many seeing it as a regression in design. One MacRumors poster asked, “Was Mr Ive on holiday when it was designed?” Gizmodo, however, doesn’t think the device is a departure at all, but rather “gets back to the simplicity of the iMac and the iPad.” Personally, I think they’re reaching. I think it looks like a Kodak V507 camera: