Art of the iPhone

Sprint to Offer Unlimited Data Plans for iPhone 5, Starting at $69.99?

Bloomberg is reporting today that Sprint will be offering unlimited data plans for the iPhone 5 when it launches on Sprint’s network in mid October. With the plans, Sprint, currently the third largest wireless network in the US with around 55 million customers, will attempt to lure new business away from rivals AT&T and Verizon, who have ended their unlimited plans.

Sprint already offers unlimited data plans for Android phones on its network. The cheapest plan is priced at $69.99 a month for 450 voice minutes. AT&T’s maximum data plan is 4 GB for $45, which includes tethering, and Verizon’s max plan is 10 GB for $80.

The average iPhone owner uses 492 MB of data a month, according to a recent report by Nielsen released this summer.

New iPhone 5 Case Images

iPhone 5 Cases

Our friends over in China sent over a new batch of iPhone 5 cases images, and unlike previous iPhone 5 cases, these are actually kind of cool. TGBus sent us these photos of 3 new case designs that hint at the iPhone 5’s slick new redesign, indicating the next-gen device will be both wider and longer, perhaps due to a new 4-inch screen.

iPhone 5 Case

TGBus also shows a Samsung Android phone with a 4-inch screen (seen below) next to one of the cases as well as another photo contrasting the case with an iPod touch. It’s also interesting to us how much some Samsung phones look like the upcoming iPhone 5, especially the oblong home button. This similarity has previously led some to speculate that the original leaked iPhone 5 case blueprint could actually be for an Android phone modified for the Apple logo and buttons.

A pair of calipers were used to measure extra space between the frame of the iPhone 5 cases and an iPhone 4 placed inside. This seems to indicate the iPhone 5 with be 3/10ths of an inch longer and 4/10ths of an inch wider.

Check out the gallery below for the full collection of 11 images.

Foxconn Pumping Out 150,000 iPhone 5’s a Day

DigiTimes is reporting today that Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer who assembles the various components of the iPhone into a finished product, is currently putting together 150,000 iPhone 5’s a day. That’s roughly 4.5 million a month. That likely won’t meet demand, but Apple is probably establishing a starting pace for quality control before a major ramp up. iPhone 5 output is expected to reach 22 million devices for the fourth quarter of the year.

In concert with iPhone 5 production, supply of the iPhone 4 GSM and CDMA models is likely to dwindle in the fourth quarter, say sources speaking to DigiTimes. Shipping times for the iPhone 4 have recently increased to 1-3 days, indicating the start of supply contraction.

Review: Fling Joystick Controller for iPad

For those seeking a tactile, hardware iPad game controller, the Fling Joystick for iPad ($30 for 2) offers both good news and bad news. The good news is that when the Fling is compatible with a game, it completely changes the experience for the better. It makes the controls accurate and supplies that reassuring physical feedback of a hardware controller. But the bad news is that the Fling isn’t compatible with as many games as you’d think it would be. Even with games that use a virtual directional pad seemingly suited for the joystick, the Fling often interferes with various game elements to the point the game is unplayable. If you think the Fling will work with your favorite game just because it utilizes a virtual d-pad, think again, as there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed.

Games That Work Well With the Fling

Continue reading…

Concept for Combining the iPhone’s Mute and Volume Buttons

Steve Jobs reportedly hates buttons, so here’s a great way for Apple to combine three of the iPhone’s buttons into one. Why not take the ringer switch and combine it with the two volume buttons into a single volume rocker/switch? Ingenious.

Introducing the iPhone Smart Cover (Video)

Apple makes a Smart Cover for the iPad, so why not the iPhone as well? Here’s a cool concept of how an iPhone smart cover could take things to the next level via a tactile keyboard that overlays the iPhone’s current touch keyboard. By moving the keys lower to cover up the iPhone’s home button, and overlapping the iPhone’s sides, the smart cover supplies both extra room for your fingers and more screen space. An LED backlight means you can type in the dark.

When not in use, the smart cover folds behind the iPhone and doubles as a stand.

Introducing the Apple Desk Phone Concept

Apple may have changed the world of mobile phones, but it hasn’t done a thing for the desk phone…yet. Millions of people like me still have a desk phone at work, waiting for some of that Apple magic to revolutionize it. Right now, it’s only good for phone calls and voice mail, but think of the possibilities with apps.

Who wouldn’t want the convenience of visual voice-mail at their fingertips? A few taps to glance through email. Alerts popping up and organized in iOS 5’s notification drawer. Oh, and text messages are free to fellow Apple Desk Phone users as well as the iPhone and iPad.

Yes, powered by iOS and using the same inexpensive mobile CPU as the iPhone, an Apple Desk Phone could save companies millions of dollars by replacing those expensive Windows desktop computers and Apple iPads.

You can see Apple’s first teaser commercial for the product below:

iPhone 5 Prototype Goes Missing in San Francisco Bar

iPhone prototype goes missing inside Cava 22.

Ready for some déjà vu? In a strange repeat of a similar incident last year, Apple has contacted police concerning a lost iPhone prototype that went missing from their possession in a San Francisco bar in July, according to CNET. The prototype iPhone was in the possession of an Apple employee prior to its disappearance at a Mexican bar and restaurant called Cava 22 in San Francisco’s Mission district.

CNET reports that the whereabouts of the iPhone prototype are still unknown, but claims it may have been sold on Craigslist for $200. They offer no further details on the Craigslist sale, however, so it’s unknown what leads them to suspect it was sold on the popular online classifieds site.

Immediately after the prototype went missing in the bar, Apple tracked the iPhone to a two-story house in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. Apple then contacted San Francisco police, explaining they were “desperate” to have the phone returned and said it was “priceless,” according to a source.

Police then, along with Apple investigators, visited the Bernal Heights home and spoke with a twentysomething man who confirmed he was at Cava 22 the same night as the prototype iPhone went missing. The man denied knowing anything about the phone, however. Police then received permission from the man to search the house. Police found nothing.

Next, Apple investigators offered the young man money for the prototype, promising no questions or charges, but the young man reiterated that he knew nothing of the phone.

The incident is eerily similar to an incident last year when Apple employee Gray Powell lost an iPhone 4 prototype in a German bar in California. The prototype was later sold to website Gizmodo, who took apart the phone and published images of it on their website. Two men not affiliated with Gizmodo were later charged with misdemeanors in the incident.

As far as the iPhone 5 is concerned, this isn’t even the first (or second) purported sighting of the next-gen device in a California bar this year.

In June, we reported on a story told by tech host Leo Laporte on his MacBreak Weekly podcast. He spoke of an account of a possible iPhone 5 sighting in a Silicon Valley bar. The person who spotted the prototype snapped photos of the device, then showed them to Mr. Laporte, who described the device as “slightly curved” and looking slightly like a Nexus S Android phone. Mr. Laporte’s recounting of the iPhone 5 prototype story can be viewed in the YouTube video below beginning around 48 min, 33 sec:

Another dubious “iPhone 5” prototype sighting occurred one month later in July—coincidentally, about the same time today’s report claims Apple’s prototype went missing—only this time the spotter managed to snap a spy shot. That photo can be seen below.

Spy Shot iPhone 5

The photo shows a device that some claim may be a prototype device due to its flat back, round corners, and thin profile. To us, it resembles an iPhone 3GS.

It should be noted, however, that while Apple does put prototype iPhones through real-world testing in public places, the prototypes are usually disguised and wouldn’t be recognizable as a “next-gen” device. For example, the Gizmodo iPhone was hidden in a case that made it look like an iPhone 3GS. An image of that iPhone 4 hidden inside its “3GS” casing can be seen below, courtesy of Gizmodo:

CNET doesn’t offer any updated information on the recent missing prototype other than the recounting of the events that occurred in July. It’s possible that the device is still missing, or Apple investigators could have tracked its trail through the supposed Craigslist sale and had it safely returned. Whatever happened, Apple is unlikely to update us.

Here’s a Cool iPhone Camera Concept. So Why Not an iCamera?

Apple already sells the world’s most popular camera in the form of the iPhone 4 (based on the number of images posted to Flickr). But what if you wanted something a bit more traditional, with a wider lens, dedicated shutter button, etc, yet still be able to take advantage of the iPhone’s photography apps? Black Design came up with this sweet concept of a camera that is powered by an iPhone.

I’ve always thought Apple selling a camera would be a natural fit for the company—even more so now that they seem dedicated to improving the iPhone’s camera software and hardware. Make no mistake, the iPhone 4 has an awesome camera. But why not put all that newfound knowledge into a dedicated product?

It’s clear that Apple is making iOS flexible enough to run on different types of hardware.
What is the AppleTV if not a similar concept? It runs iOS and even uses much as the same internal hardware as the iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s stated mission for new products is that they have to be class defining and offer something no one currently does. It’s the huge number of camera and image-editing apps available for the iPhone that would allow Apple to offer a best-in-class camera experience—developers wouldn’t have to do much to their apps for an iOS-based iCamera, if at all. Just think what apps they’d come up with if given SDK access to the equivalent of a Canon EOS Mark II’s hardware.

Check out the gallery below for all of Black Design’s concept images.

Video: iTunes Match on the iPhone

Apple turned on its new iTunes Match service last night for developers to test out, and there was at least one big surprise revealed. The $25 per year service allows users to mirror their music library in Apple’s cloud without any uploading, then users can stream or download 256 kps versions of the songs on their various devices. Pretty cool feature, especially if you ripped your music catalog with low bit rates or downloaded poor quality versions off bit-torrent. Insanely Great Mac posted a video showing how the service looks on the iPhone:

I’m looking forward to freeing up some memory on my iPhone and iPad. iTunes Match will allow you to access your music on up to 5 different computers, although it’s still unclear if the iPhone and iPad counts toward that number.

Insanely Great Mac also posted a video showing what the service looks like on a Mac: