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    China Mobile still in talks with Apple

    China Mobile, China's biggest wireless provider, is still in discussions with Apple to carry the iPhone. There's broad speculation in the cell industry that the two companies are about to announce a deal, according to Reuters.

    Xi Guohua, China Mobile's chairman, told reporters at a conference today that his company had no announcement to make today regarding Apple's products. Speculation about when Apple and China Mobile will team up has been bouncing around for months. Such a deal would open a huge new market for Apple - China Mobile's subscriber base alone is 750 million customers - more than twice the entire U.S. wireless market combined.

    The Wall Street Journalreported earlier this month that the deal would happen around December 18th, when China Mobile was scheduled to launch its 4G LTE network.

    Tim Cook has speculated that China may become Apple's single largest market in the future. A deal with the country of more than 1 billion people's largest wireless service provider would certainly bolster Apple's fortunes. Regardless, it's important to remember that no matter what kind of deal China Mobile strikes with Apple, the iPhone will likely only be affordable to a relatively small number of China Mobile's customers.

    Source: Reuters

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    Back when the very first iPhone was announced in 2007, it took many of us by surprise, including Google. What Steve Jobs held in his hand on stage that day was unlike any smartphone we'd seen to that date, and it set the precedent for what we see today not only from Apple. In yet another excerpt for Fred Vogelstein's Dogfight, the The Atlantic, says what happened next:

    By January 2007, they’d all worked sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months—some for more than two years—writing and testing code, negotiating soft­ware licenses, and flying all over the world to find the right parts, suppliers, and manufacturers. They had been working with proto­types for six months and had planned a launch by the end of the year . . . until Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPhone.

    Chris De-Salvo was an engineer working on Google's early Android project:

    Chris DeSalvo’s reaction to the iPhone was immediate and visceral. “As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’”

    And perhaps best of all, Andy Rubin, then director of the Android team at Google:

    “Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

    The first iPhone was a revolutionary product, that much is certain. But it's intriguing to see such candid disclosure about how it affected another company from one of its very own. Ultimately, the consumers won out because in the iPhone and Android, we're blessed with two amazing mobile operating systems.

    The question that continues to float around in my head is; what would the smartphone world look like had the iPhone not been what it was? Check out the rest of the story via the link below, or if the topic interests you, pick up Dogfight from Amazon or iBooks.

    Source: The Atlantic via The Loop

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    Update: Apple has made a statement disavowing any knowledge of the exploit or collusion with the NSA.

    Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum claims to have discovered what he describes as "an iPhone backdoor" exploited by the National Security Agency (NSA). Appelbaum discussed the exploit during a speech he gave at this week's Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, according to The Daily Dot.

    According to a leaked document, The software, called DROPOUTJEEP, enables users to push and pull files to and from the device, retrieve SMS message, retrieve contact list data, voicemail, geolocation data, captures camera images, and more, as well as enable a "hot mic" - a microphone that will transmit audio without the user's knowledge or consent.

    "You think Apple helped them with that?" asked Appelbaum. "I don't know. I hope Apple will clarify that. I think it's really important that Apple doesn't. Here's the problem: I don't really believe that Apple didn't help them. I can't prove it yet, but they [the NSA] literally claim that any time they target an iOS device, that it will succeed for implantation."

    "Either they [the NSA] have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce, and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves," said Appelbaum.

    "Not sure which one it is; I'd like to believe that since Apple didn't join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it's just they write...that they write shitty software. We know that's true," he said, to laughter and applause from the audience.

    Appelbaum, who goes under the Twitter nickname @ioerror, is a core member of the Tor project - free software designed to enable online anonymity by directing traffic through thousands of Internet relays. Appelbaum has fallen under the Department of Justice's scrutiny and has represented Julian Assange's WikiLeaks organization at past conferences.

    Some of Appelbaum's revelations were also posted in an article published by German news magazine Der Spiegel.

    Appelbaum discusses the iPhone exploit at around the 44 minute and 30 second mark in the video embedded above.

    In June, Apple published its Commitment to Customer Privacy:

    "Two weeks ago, when technology companies were accused of indiscriminately sharing customer data with government agencies, Apple issued a clear response: We first heard of the government’s 'Prism' program when news organizations asked us about it on June 6. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order."

    Appelbaum's allegations are an entirely different situation, however: this would enable the NSA to eavesdrop on iPhone users without any knowledge or cooperation with Apple. Appelbaum's snide commentary about the quality of Apple's programming notwithstanding, it's a troubling development, if true.

    Update: Apple provided a statement disavowing knowledge of any such exploit, and also disavowing any collusion with the NSA. They said in part:

    Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

    Source: The Daily Dot

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    It's not unusual for prototype devices to find their way out in to the big wide world, but the latest is of particular interest to iPhone nerds. An apparent early prototype of the very first iPhone has just been sold on eBay for $1499 and is running an internal diagnostic software build:

    "I am selling a very rare original iPhone engineering prototype. These were used to test the iPhone's various features. To do so, a special test software was installed, which is still running on the device perfectly.

    This is device is especially rare, as it shows the initial iOS version installed and the signal strength values etched on the back. This was done by Apple internally and is guaranteed genuine."

    While the authenticity of the device hasn't been confirmed, it's a little surprising it wasn't removed from the auction site has others have been in the past. But, someone has parted with a bunch of cash to pick it up, so maybe we'll hear more about this nerdtastic device more in the weeks ahead.

    Source: Macrumors

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    Typo, a company founded by entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and TV host and media personality Ryan Seacrest, announced the Typo Keyboard attachment for iPhone would be available for pre-order this month but they seem to of have run into some trouble with BlackBerry's legal team. BlackBerry has now filed a lawsuit against Typo Products LLC asserting that the company has blatantly copied BlackBerry's keyboard with its iPhone keyboard case.

    This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design. From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations

    That according to Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. Much like how Steve Jobs boasted about having plenty of patents for the iPhone, BlackBerry has plenty for their iconic keyboard and does have a bit of history putting them to use. We'll obviously have to wait and see the outcome of this one but there's certainly some visual similarities there.

    Source: BlackBerry Via: CrackBerry

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    7 years ago today Steve Jobs put sneaker to Macworld stage in what was arguably the greatest keynote in his and Apple's history of keynotes. Following the industry changing Mac and the iPod, Jobs claimed Apple was going to introduce 3 more revolutionary products - a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and revolutionary phone, and a breakthrough internet communicator. He asked if we got it. We did. We got the hell out of it. Not 3 products but 1. The iPhone. And nothing in consumer electronics has been the same again.

    Instantly everything that came before was rendered obsolete. Google pivoted on a dime and went from Android competing against BlackBerry and Windows Mobile to targeting Apple. Palm rebooted with webOS and the Pre. BlackBerry tried to make a go of the Storm. Microsoft started over with Windows Phone 7, and then again with Windows Phone 8c. BlackBerry 10 launched.

    7 years ago screens were mostly square, keyboards were mostly hardware, web browsers were mostly unusable, the most basic of apps were $30 and crashed, a lot, and simply getting email to work while mobile was considered magic. Now we have computers in our pockets as powerful or more than the ones on our laps and desks were back then.

    As I watched him show off the interface, my Treo 680 felt more and more like an obsolete lump in my hand. I wanted it immediately. I was sold on this new vision of mobile.

    Steve Jobs is no longer with us, but his 2007 keynote will live on forever. Here it is again. Watch it, and let me know — what phone were you using back then, and looking back now, how much has changed for you?

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    Both Apple and China Mobile have put a ton of work into getting a partnership off the ground, and as of today the hard work pays off as sales of the iPhone on the worlds largest carrier finally begin. Apple CEO Tim Cook joined his counterpart from China Mobile, Xi Guohua at the carriers headquarters store in Beijing, handing out autographed iPhones in the process. From Bloomberg:

    “Today is just the beginning of China Mobile and Apple coming together to deliver the best experience in the world,” Cook said as a few dozen people came in to look at the iPhones on display. China Mobile said Jan. 15 it signed a multiyear agreement with Apple containing “broad potential” for future cooperation.

    Tim Cook's presence alone signifies the importance of this deal for Apple. With Apple's first 2014 earnings report due in just 10 days, we might need to hang tight for a few months to see any real figures. But, we'll be listening out all the same for anything to indicate how successful the launch has been.

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    Apple's Q1 2014 earnings are out, and an early highlight on the conference call was talk of how well iPhone has been doing in Japan. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer cited the new partnership with NTT Docomo, along with continuing strong relationships with KDDI and Softbank for the strong growth iPhone showed in the country.

    Better yet; Oppenheimer also declared that iPhone accounts for 69% of all smartphones in Japan. With domestic giants like Sony around, that's a pretty amazing figure for Apple.

    The conference call continues, so come join us for the liveblog!

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    Alas, poor iPod! We knew him, Horatio: A lament for Apple's music player

    Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?

    • (Hamlet Act V Scene 1)

    The writing is on the wall, and has been for some time: The iPod is on a downward slope. Apple saw a sharp year over year decline in iPod sales - down 52 percent, from 12.7 million iPods sold to 6.05 million. This isn't the first quarter that iPod sales have dropped precipitously, either. What's going on?

    Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle

    Apple's just-reported quarter ended in December, so that included holiday sales. It's understandable, then, that Apple saw a sharp uptick in iPod sales compared to the quarter before. But the trend is clear when you compare the 2013 holiday season to 2012: people just aren't as interested in iPods as they once were.

    And why should they be? More and more people are carrying iPhones and other smartphones in their pockets, which can play music just fine. Sure, the iPod touch works with the same apps as the iPhone. But the iPod touch costs $229, which is more than many people will pay for an iPhone 5c on contract.

    Apple's other iPods, the shuffle, nano and classic - all offer different storage capacities and price points, at $49, $149 and $249 respectively, but with more limited functionality: The iPod shuffle can only play music. The iPod nano has an FM radio and other functions, but lacks Wi-Fi or downloadable apps.

    Then there's the iPod classic. The venerable iPod that started it all, back in 2001. The Click Wheel iPod is an anachronism - a physical hard drive inside, with a small screen. Apple's kept the device just barely on life support, a moribund legacy product that has gone untouched for several years.

    For $249, the iPod classic can store 160 GB of music, which is fine if you have a big music library, or want to take videos with you and watch them on a small screen. But even Apple itself has pushed its customers towards relying on cloud connectivity with iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match, services that help Apple make up for the limited storage capacity of most iOS-based devices by relying on Internet connectivity through Wi-Fi or, in the case of phones, cell service.

    Not so vile a sin as self-neglect

    And that really goes to the root of the problem: At least part of the decline in iPod sales can be blamed to Apple's own ambivalence over the product line.

    The iPod touch fifth generation model is getting pretty long in the tooth, too. It was first introduced in 2012, three months after the iPhone 5 went on sale, introducing a revamped seventh-generation iPod nano at the same time.

    Apple followed up the following summer with a less expensive iPod touch that excised the rear-facing iSight camera and other features. Since then, however, the iPod line has gone untouched. It was something that raised eyebrows last September when Apple didn't bother to update them - something it's done almost every fall for years.

    The clip-on iPod shuffle hasn't really changed very much in a while, either. You get 2 GB of storage for $49, small enough to clip to your shirt. But outside of changing colors, the iPod shuffle is still the same device that Apple's been selling since 2010.

    Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die

    With over 6 million units sold in the holiday quarter, it's probably premature to declare the death of the iPod today. But the trend is definitely heading in one direction - the iPod isn't doing the business it used to, and, barring any major changes, probably won't.

    But at the same time that iPod sales were faltering, the iPhone had another record-setting quarter. So did the iPad. The iPod's waning appeal may simply be an indicator of changing consumer tastes, and one that Apple's already compensating for by offering more appealing products with different functionality.

    I, for one, still love the capacity of the old iPod classic. It's the only device besides a laptop big enough for me to transport my entire music collection, without having to resort to iCloud sync. But I don't love the click wheel or the old, busted interface - I'd much prefer to have an iPhone with all that storage capacity.

    Until then, I'll settle for what I can get. But once Apple is able to get there, I'll join the exodus of customers who have moved exclusively to iOS devices and don't look back.

    How about you? Do you still use an iPod, or is the iPhone enough? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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    Apple's new 1.24.14 video not only honored the Mac's 30th anniversary but showed how the iPhone was making computing even more personal. But how did Apple pull off a 15 camera crew shoot across 10 countries in just one day? Oh, and entirely on the iPhone?

    The video up top shows us just exactly how. Hit play. Enjoy. And then tell me — If the iPhone can be the best camera because it's the one you have with you, why not the computer?

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    Will the iPhone be as recognizable in 30 years as the Mac is today?

    Throughout the 30th anniversary of the Mac, one thing become clear — as much as many of us love and adore OS X, we're now living in the age of iOS. If the differences in worlds needed to made any more clear, Apple recently celebrated the anniversary of their epic 1984 Superbowl TV commercial by releasing the 1.24.14 video, shot entirely on the iPhone, and broadcast on the internet. However, that the Mac remains recognizable today, vibrant and important, leads me to wonder, in another 30 years, how recognizable will the iPhone be? Of what and on what will a 1.24.44 be "shot" and "broadcast"?

    John Gruber, writing on Daring Fireball:

    Amidst all the well-deserved accolades celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Macintosh, what has struck me is how very Apple that product — and the team that made it — was.

    For one thing, they sweated the details. The greatest testimony to their genius is just how much of that original design is recognizable in today’s Mac OS X 10.9. A Mac user from 1984 could sit down in front of an iMac or MacBook today and recognize it as a successor to that original machine. That’s simply amazing.

    Emphasis mine. The opposite is also true. A Mac user today could sit down in front of the original Mac and not feel lost or alienated. That's because, for the end-user, the interface is the app and consistency is a feature. OS X Mavericks is very different than the original Mac OS, yet the windows are still there. The mouse still points and clicks. The File and Edit menus are right where they've always been. That's the human interface — the way a person experiences a machine. Change all the plumbing you want, from kernel to driver, and as long as the interface remains recognizable, the human remains comfortable. Leave the plumbing the same and change the way the interface works, and the human will be lost.

    That's why the Mac endures so well — the elements that the human being sees and interacts with remain familar. It's also why iOS 7, despite its radical visual overhaul, remained usable — the icons were still in the same place on the Home screen, lists still scroll the same way, taps and swipes work the same way now as they did before. For all the changes, the way the human interacts with the machine remains largely unchanged.

    The human interface for handhelds has been largely the same for a long time as well. Early personal digital assistants (PDAs) had grids of icons that, when pressed, launched apps. Smartphones too. The Treo and Windows Mobile. The iPhone, the late webOS, BrackBerry then and now, even Android in its drawer, have grids of icons. There's a reason for that. Icons are iconic. They're easy to recognize and differentiate at a glance. Windows Phone uses titles instead, which offer some increased informational capacity, but at the expense of consistency. But will that consistency endure for as long as the desktop has?

    Benedict Evens:

    So I have very little idea what precisely I would mean if, in 5 years, I were to say 'I installed an app on my smartphone'. Further, I'm pretty sure that if it's an Apple smartphone it will run an iteration of iOS but I'm rather less sure what Google will have done with Android and Chrome by then. And of course I might be running a fork of Android from Amazon or, perhaps, Microsoft.

    If you'd asked me 30 years ago, when I first touched a Lisa or Mac, whether desktops would be largely the same now, today, I would have thought you mad. With visions of science-fiction dancing in my head, I would have thought — hoped — that they wouldn't last out the decade. But here they are.

    When it comes to mobile, I likewise can't imagine picking up anything even resembling an iPhone or smartphone, iOS or Android, 10 years from now, much less 30, in anything resembling the same way, shape, or form. The velocity of mobile just seems so much faster than desktop. But maybe it just seems that way?

    Natural language interfaces and sequentially inferring sensors like Siri and Google Now are always coming but never quite arriving. Yet the contextual awakening and internet of things is looming on the horizon. Slowly but surely, push interface is starting to appear. But will these lead to fundamental changes in human interaction, or simply a rounding out of the experience?

    It's 2037 or 2044 and you want to get in touch with a loved one, will the device you reach for — if indeed you still need to reach — and will the apps and/or services you interact with be in any way be recognizable to an iPhone user today? Even harder to imagine: If Apple were to honor the iPhone then the way they have the Mac now, how would that honor be captured and broadcast?

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    Tylt PowerPlant portable battery pack with Lightning connector review

    Wi-Fi. Cellular. Games. The more you use your iPhone, the more you're going to run down the battery. As advanced as the iPhone gets inside, there are still practical limits for the capacity of its internal batteries, and sometimes what comes with it simply isn't enough. That's where a device like Tylt's PowerPlant, a portable battery pack, can really make a difference.

    The PowerPlant contains lithium ion battery cells which hold a 5,200 mAh charge - enough to completely charge up your iPhone twice, or to completely charge two devices once, simultaneously. At 2.1 amps and 5 volts, the PowerPlant is technically able to charge up your iPad, too, though the capacity is much less than an iPad can hold.

    The PowerPlant integrates a built-in USB connection to charge a device that has its own sync cable, along with either an integrated Lightning, 30-pin Dock Connector or micro USB cable connected on a flexible arm that bends away from the body. I tested the Lightning version.

    The universal USB charging socket and the micro USB input socket are both ensconced at one end of the PowerPlant, hidden beneath a port cover made of the same flexible material as the Lightning charging cable. Expect to plug it in overnight to recharge the PowerPlant: It takes about six to seven hours to fully charge after being depleted.

    Clad in glossy black plastic with matte lime green accents, the PowerPlant is handsome and even a bit eye catching. Four green power status LEDs are hidden on one end of the device; depress a recessed button and see how much charge your PowerPlant has at a glance. (You also press that button to turn on the PowerPlant once you've connected your device for recharging.)

    When you charge up the PowerPlant using the equipped micro USB cable, the power status LEDs will flash as the device tops off. Tylt says the PowerPlant can take about 500 complete charge cycles before it begins to lose capacity. (So if you run it down to 50 percent one day, recharge it, and then use 50 percent the next day, that'd be one full charge cycle.)

    The PowerPlant measures roughly three inches long and about an inch and a half wide and deep, making it about the size of 4 AA batteries taped together in a brick. The weight is about 5.4 ounces.

    Tylt's stuff is well made and looks great. The small size of the PowerPlant makes it super to stick in a bag or backpack for juicing up my iPhone on the go, though its square dimensions make it a bit awkward for a jacket or pants pocket. I love the integrated Lightning flex cable. It's one less thing to lose in my bag, and one fewer cable I need to keep with me to make sure my phone's at peak power.

    Let me know if you have any questions about the PowerPlant - I'll be happy to answer them in the comments.

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    US Air Force begins transition, swapping 5000 BlackBerry devices for iPhones

    The United States Air Force is replacing 5000 legacy BlackBerry smartphones with Apple's iPhone, and eventually all of their BlackBerry users will have to make the changeover. The announcement, reported by Defense News, comes as the future of BlackBerry within the Department of Defense is debated, with the chips seeming to fall on the side of transitioning away from a network supporting a mish-mash of BlackBerry 6 and 7 devices to a mix of modern devices — though apparently without BlackBerry 10 in that mix. The situation has changed dramatically since this time last year, when the Department of Defense was adamant they weren't dropping BlackBerry.

    Brigadier General Kevin Wooten, the communications director for Air Force Space Command (which manages the Air Force's IT infrastructure), said that "in order to keep costs down and save on network resources, BlackBerrys will be turned in and shut off once the user is transitioned to an iOS device." Additionally, anybody who hopes to activate a new BlackBerry on the Air Force network will require approval from the Air Force Space Command. The general that's attached to his BlackBerry is going to have to write an awfully compelling memo justifying why he should get a new one.

    Both iOS and Samsung's Knox-enabled Android smartphones have been approved for use on Department of Defense networks, though the process of adding those new devices has been slow. Given the nature of government purchasing contracts, that's little surprise. BlackBerry 10 has also received DoD approval. Transitioning the tens of thousands of BlackBerry smartphones onto iOS and maybe Android will take time and money, the latter of which the US government has been more prudent about than in recent years.

    But it seems that either way, BlackBerry hasn't presented a compelling case to the U.S.A.F. The Air Force has long led the advancement of technology in the Department of Defense (they are the ones with stealth planes and satellites, after all), so where the airmen go, so too will the Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the United States Armed Forces.

    Source: Defense News

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    Apple shortens return window for iPhones to 14 days-is that enough time?

    Apple has altered its iPhone return policy, shortening the return period for devices from 30 days to 14. Nothing else in the policy has changed, and devices returned to Apple must still be undamaged and contain all included accessories. Previously, anyone looking to return or exchange an iPhone after 14 days had passed since their purchase would be subject to an early termination fee from their carrier, as Apple's carrier partners in the U.S. have a 14-day return policy. An internal document says that the change in returns is to bring Apple more in line with carriers, thus avoiding customer confusion, according to 9to5Mac:

    According to the document, Apple is making this change in an effort to have one universal return policy across all products and to match the carrier’s 14 day policy.

    Do you think this change will be more beneficial to customers, or should people have more time to make a decision? Sound off below in the comments.

    Source: Apple, 9to5Mac

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    United Airlines

    If you fly with United Airlines then your iPhone or iPad is about to get a whole lot more useful onboard with the news of its new in-flight video service. Rolling out in stages from next month, the service will offer up 150 movies and 200 TV shows that can be streamed through the United iOS application.

    Most planes will be equipped with the new system very soon, and we’ll have it installed on most domestic aircraft by the end of 2014. We’ll begin on Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and select 777-200 aircraft, followed by additional fleets. In the end, all United-operated flights will have some form of entertainment.

    The videos will be streamed using United's own in-flight wifi but won't require you to purchase any. If you don't have the United app installed on your iPhone or iPad, you'll also be able to do this on the flight before you watch any videos. Additionally, it looks like you'll be able to take advantage using a laptop and a web browser, with Android and "other mobile devices" not being supported initially.

    It's an interesting proposition, and we'll be interested to hear from folks who've used it once it starts rolling out. Many of us travel with our iPhones and iPads, and they're certainly better quality displays to watch videos on that traditional headrest monitors.

    Are you a frequent United flyer? Does this sound like something you'd like to use while travelling?

    Source: United Airlines

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    China Mobile

    Apple's new iPhone partnership with China Mobile looks to be off to a good start with the carrier announcing it added around 1 million iPhone customers to its 4G network in just February alone. Better still, the iPhone accounted for the large majority of customers joining China Mobile's 4G service. From the Wall Street Journal:

    "We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," China Mobile Chairman Xi Gouhua told The Wall Street Journal.

    1 million is a drop in the ocean to the worlds largest carrier, but for Apple that's 1 million iPhone sales it didn't have 12 months ago. Also consider that China Mobile's 4G network is still only available in a handful of cities across the country, and things are looking extremely positive. It'll be interesting to hear whether Apple singles out China for a mention on its next quarterly earnings call.

    China Mobile has around 776 million subscribers, so there's plenty of scope for huge iPhone sales there. Exactly why it was such an important deal for Apple to put together.

    Source: Wall Street Journal

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    The history of the first iPhone is an interesting tale and no matter who tells it, it often involves some never before heard situations. This time around, it's one of the original iPhone engineers, Greg Christie who was made available to the WSJ ahead of the latest Apple vs. Samsung legal battle to discuss some of the development process behind the original iPhone.

    A lot of what has been detailed was known previously but some of it, such as the ultimatum posed to Greg Christie and his team at the time, are new and interesting highlights. Struggling to figure out how things should look and be able to work together as device, Jobs noted to Christie that the team had two weeks or he would assign the project to another group.

    "Steve had pretty much had it," said Mr. Christie, who still heads Apple's user-interface team. "He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts."

    That ultimatum prompted Christie and his team to work harder and eventually come up with many iPhone features, such as the now widely used swipe to unlock as well as the touch-based music player according to the report.

    Keeping the stories of just how secretive Apple really is as a company alive, Christie also recounts how he was recruited to work on the iPhone and highlights, without giving out any number, how shockingly small the team was in late 2004 and how employee's working on the project were to handle working on the project outside of Apple.

    Mr. Christie was working on software for Apple's Macintosh computers when Scott Forstall, a senior member of the company's software team, walked into his office, closed the door and asked if he wanted to work on a secret project, codenamed "purple."

    Mr. Jobs ordered employees working on the project at home to use a computer in a secluded part of the house to prevent anyone from accidentally seeing details. He also demanded that employees encrypt digital images of the device.

    The article goes on to cover what most folks already know. Steve Jobs was obsessive over every little thing on the iPhone and rightfully so. Things such as what music was to be shown off during the demo and even feature changes such as the removal of a split screen email view were being discussed only six months before the final unveiling.

    It's a fascinating read, if you happen to have a WSJ account you can hit the link below to check out the full article.

    Source: WSJ

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    Trade In

    Following on from several other locations around the world, Apple has launched its own iPhone trade-in program in Germany. According to the folks at 9to5Mac German Apple customers are beginning to see the option displayed inside the Apple Store app for the iPhone, but the website hasn't yet been updated at the time of writing to reflect the same.

    Under the trade-in program, certain iPhone models are eligible to swap for in-store credit towards a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c of up to €230. If this is something you've been waiting for in Germany, fire up the Apple Store app and take a look.

    Source: 9to5Mac

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    iOS 7.1.1 update now available

    Apple has pushed out iOS 7.1.1, updating the recently-released iOS 7.1 with a few bug fixes. Those include additional improvements to the already improved Touch ID and a pair of other fixes for responsiveness and Bluetooth connectivity. Unspecified security fixes are also included. The full changelog for the whopping 26.1MB update follows.

    New items include:

    • Further improvements to TouchID recognition.
    • Keyboard responsiveness
    • Fixes issue with Bluetooth keyboards when voiceover enabled.

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    iPhone 5s

    The latest smartphone consumer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power still shows the iPhone coming out with the highest marks on all four major U.S. carriers. The survey, which asks thousands of customers on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon about their satisfaction with their current smartphone, was conducted between September 2013 and February 2014. Across all four carriers, Apple's devices came out on top with high scores — 850, 857, 853 and 849 on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, respectively, on a 1000-point scale.

    Samsung devices came up close behind Apple on all four carriers, but still fell somewhere between 1 and 5 points behind the iPhone. Both Apple and Samsung beat the average satisfaction of phone customers on each carrier by a solid margin, with Apple as high as 20 points over the average in the case of customers on Verizon. The survey notes that an increasing number of people still place "price" as a driving factor in their smartphone purchase, making the overall preference of iPhones even more impressive.

    Source: J.D. Power

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