Europe Going iPhone…Soon.

Europe iphone

With Apple set to announce it’s European iPhone strategy later this week, a lot of questions still remain on the specifics of the deal.  What we know:

  • The carriers will be O2 in the UK, Tmobile in Germany, and Orange in France.  Spain’s Telefonica might also pick up the device because of the O2 relationship.
  • Even with the rampant SIM hacking, the devices will be locked to the carriers initially.  Different Laws in Europe REQUIRE that device manufacturers open up their devices after 6 months of use.  This might not be a huge issue as the phones are likely to be sold with 2 year plans.
  • Apple’s UK announcement will likely open the iPod Touch floodgates as the employees have been asked to stay late the day of the announcement.

What we’d like to know:

  • 3G or not?  It is looking more and more like the 3G iPhone will be hitting the ground around Macworld.  Could Apple be trying to slang EDGE iPhones to the 3G spoiled Europeans?  If so, will that alone cause the iPhone to be poorly regarded in the land of copious Wireless bandwidth?
  • Will the iPhone match the iPod’s 16Gb storage requirements?  If so, how far up can the prices go?
  • Apple traditionally sells its products in Europe with a premium that is also due to its language requirements, different channel density and absurdly high VAT.  What price will it try to fetch with it’s current lineup
  • How will Apple keep the hackers out of the iPhone?  IT is having a hard time doing just that in the States where there is only one other carrier besides AT&T (Tmobile) that carries the iPhone and Americans are used to being screwed by their Carriers.  Europeans are much more accustomed to freedom to move carriers
  • What goodies besides international keyboards, mobile itunes and more hacker prevention will the 1.1.1 firmware have?  iChat?  Copy/Paste?  More photo tools?

The event is just around the corner at the Apple store in London.  Could we also see the long awaited Beatles on iTunes announcement?  Is there anyone left who hasn’t downloaded the entire anthology off of Torrent.  So many Questions….

British iPhone on O2 Announcement Next Week

Apple england

It looks all but certain that Apple will announce its first European iPhone carrier next week.   And some bad news for y’all across the pond (or Channel as it were), it is not going to be carried by Vodafone who is currently launching an iTunes competitor (and whose CTO recently publicly dissed the iPhone).  It will most likely be carried by O2 only.    

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, the recent iPhone hacking will have on the selection of iPhone carriers.  Apple will probably have to secure its iPhone OS from these hacks if it expects to keep exclusivity contracts with the vendors going.

Apple will save its Continental Europe announcement for Apple Expo in Paris where it will announce deals with Orange and Tmobile.

Apple is expected to announce 3G iPhones with 16Gb of storage at some point but next week’s announcement might be too soon for those features.   Perhaps Apple will only announce it’s partner next week and save the specs for Apple Expo?

Let the speculation begin!

iPhone GUI Unlock Released

When it rains it pours! 

Not much else to say
but if you have to unlock your iPhone (like us tomorrow) you now have like 10 less steps to do – Amazing work at http://www.freeiphoneunlock.com/unlock/

It is in Beta still and the coders are off to bed for some much deserved sleep.  Perhaps tomorrow it will be more stable – it looks good enough for us!

Download the application in its current state here.

iPhone Liberation Day Has Arrived

True iPhone liberation has really arrived. Kudos to the people around the World who have used the internet to communicate and solve a problem that not one, or ten people alone could have.

The free version of the software unlock is finally out there. We aim to get a new, wrapped in cellophane, iPhone and document the whole process of activating it, unlocking it, and moving to a foreign carrier.

Further Reading (more after the jump):

http://www.freeiphoneunlock.com/guide/

http://iphone.unlock.no/

http://9to5mac.com/iphone-hacking-roundup-223453452

Plan is this (keep in mind, this will all take place in France from unwrapping to calling):

  • Activate Phone: We are tempted to use DVD Jon’s method but are instead opting for the “TUAW method” which involves entering a nonworking SS# and opting to get the AT&TGO pay as you go plan – but of course, never paying – just “GOing”.  This should activate the phone without costing us anything.
  • Unlock Phone: Unlocking the phone with the buffer overflow “movie file” that the iUnlock application yields.  Again, Amazing work people.
  • Use Phone: We have a work SIM from Vodaphone UK (unlimited EU data) and an Orange France Pay as you go plan.  We hope to use both for both data and calling
  • Install 3rd Party Apps like a IM client, terminal Client and other fun stuff that is out there.  We broke down all of the Hacking sites here.

Our iPhone is currently clearing customs at Charles de Gaul Airport. God speed little guy!

CDG iphone

Hidden Feature Makes iPodtouch and iPhone Physical Storage Limitations (a bit) Obsolete

The iPodtouch’s physical storage limitation of 16GB enraged a lot of people.  Why?  Most were worried that they wouldn’t be able to store much of the video that they wanted to watch on their beautiful new 480×320 screens.  However, Apple allows you to play movies over the net.  Don’t believe us?  Point your iPhone/iPodtouch browser over to:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/iphone

Yep.  Links to Quicktime movies.  Full 480×320.  Full stereo sound and amazing video clarity.  They also start up right away and play fully without having to catch up if you are on relatively speedy Wifi enabled Internet connection.

So what is stopping us from taking our incredibly diverse .mp4 movie collection and putting it on the web?  Not much really.

Just point your Web Server directory to the folder that has your media files.  No index.html page necessary – just enable directory listing on the webserver and allow the web browser to open the mp4 files.  Now we have an iPod with 2TB of storage.  

Technically, this can be done with music files and audiobooks as well.  Anything that is read by Quicktime/iTunes should be compatible.  Perhaps Apple should run with this on a Airport Extreme update?  This functionality would be really easy to build in and make simple for the masses.  

As long as we are near some Wifi – which isn’t that infrequent!  Now Bring on the 3G iPhones!

iPhone Hacking Roundup

So with the steep price drop and the hacking community going nuts on the iPhone, we thought it’d be a good idea to start getting into it. Rather than risk our day to day 8Gb iPhone (which was paid for by the day job), we took advantage of the $200 price cut and snapped up a 4Gb iPhone for $300.

Since I work WAAAY outside AT&T’s coverage range (Paris) and don’t feel like being one of those $3000/month AT&T customers who receive 500 page bills, I’ve decided to get a bit pirate on our little 4Gb beauty.

I wanted to go from end to end without touching AT&T.  I was hoping to not have to pay for iPhoneSimFree but worst case scenario I will settle – it looks like it is going for $50 right now from the Australian carrier.  We’ve found a good roundup here: iPhone unlocking and activation bypass roundup.

As for initial activation, I think DVD Jon’s product is the best.

If you do a Google search for

European iPhones Coming. Rocking the 16GB 3G Specs

Tmobile iphone

MacBidouille, an excellent French-language Macintosh site, has posted what they say is a leaked advertisement for the Tmobile iPhone in Germany.  Of note, the specs indicate 3G speeds and a 16GB capacity.  These specs are in line with our reports from August from our Orange (France Telecom) sources.   They also stated that the Germans and British would get the iPhones slightly before the French were ready to roll it out.

While this image could easily be a fake (they at one point call it an iPod in the advertisement), the specs are likely to be realistic as the next iteration of iPhone will likely match the iPodtouch‘s 16GB capacity.  Additionally, with 3G phones all but ubiquitous in Europe, it would be an embarrassment for Apple to release a EDGE-only phone.  The price point also make sense when one takes into account the Euro/Dollar exchange rate and the absurd VAT Tax rates that add close to 20% of the cost…  There has still been no mention of possible GPS capability.

We are still looking for an announcement at Apple Expo in Paris in late September to give European consumers some lead time in preparing to switch mobile carriers and make a fairly large purchase.  Even if agreements have been reached (and reported on by the Financial Times) the carriers will likely be forced to leave the announcement to Apple.

What Does $149 Get You These Days?

ipod nano

It turns out a whole helluva lot. Apple announced this week that their iPod Nanos were starting out at $149. If you think about it, the amazing thing is what $149 has been able to buy you over the last two and a half years.

In January of 2005, only 32 months ago, Apple unveiled the Gen 1 iPod Shuffle.  They came in at the $99 for 512MB and $149 for One Gigabyte.  The shuffles are screenless and small plastic items that could play music and hold a few files, that’s it.  Still they were a big sellers.

A little over a year and a half ago, Apple released the 1GB nano at $149.  Again, huge success – big seller.  Now you could view your music and navigate your collection.  You’d soon be able to look at pictures, browse contacts and calendar and even play some games.  All for $149.

Last year, Apple doubled the storage on the miniscule MP3 player and added some fun colors and an aluminum enclosure.  For $149 you could get a 2GB Silver Nano.

This week, Apple put a much larger screen and impressive new array of features in a superslim, almost two dimensional package.  These devices are more functionally rich than the original iPod video (sans HD space).   You can watch movies, browse using coverflow, play games. The new video enabled Nano starts out at, yep…

$149

Imagine what your $149 will be able to buy in another 32 months!

iPod Touch. So much more than just an iPod

ipod touchEDIT: This article was picked up by Computerworld – go check it out there.

More Newton than iPod, more tablet than music player, the new Apple Inc. iPod touch unveiled this week by CEO Steve Jobs breaks into a new hardware category that should scare the ultra-mobile PC/Nokia Tablet world.

Apple’s much-anticipated launch of the iPod touch this week heralds a new era for Apple‘s
wildly popular line of music and video players. The iPod, which emerged
first as nothing more than a portable music player — albeit one
dripping in cool — grew up to become a music and video device in
adolesence and is now a semi-full featured Internet tablet device.

The iPod is a mass market device, an international device. One that every high school kid from Tokyo to Paris to Albuquerque absolutely