iOS Devices ▪ April 27, 2011

According to GigaOM, Apple has scooped up the domain name http://www.iCloud.com from Xcerion, the maker of a cloud-based service. The deal is said to have gone down for somewhere in the range of $4.5m, and we don’t think Apple would pay that much for a domain name unless they would put it to good use. We think iCloud is a potential name for Apple’s upcoming locker service which should keep your music, photos, videos, and other media in the cloud. This service will likely tie directly into MobileMe and may even replace MobileMe’s long existing iDisk feature.

iCloud.com still points to the old owner’s website and a quick Whois search of the domain still pulls up the information for Xcerion. Apple will likely introduce their new cloud services at WWDC, and if GigaOM‘s report is legitimate, this might just be one of the best pieces of evidence for Apple’s upcoming cloud services yet. Apple’s cloud services will likely include a new music locker and possibly some new cloud features for iOS users. Apple recently stopped selling retail packages and discounted copies of MobileMe.

Update: iCloud changed their company name to CloudMe. Looks like Apple went after the iXXXX. Here’s the email we got last week (“chosen a new name” – ha!):

In order to better reflect the expanded offerings of our service, we have chosen the new name, CloudMe – Your files online with anywhere access. Our Web Desktop is just one of many ways to use CloudMe’s service. We have developed an entire suite of apps and services that allow you to go mobile and access CloudMe on the go.

App Store developer FutureTap just revealed that they have received their first crash report from an iOS 5 device. This means that Apple is currently field-testing their next-generation mobile operating system that runs on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with applications from the iOS App Store. The application apparently crashed in iOS 5 due to the MKUserLocationBreadCrumb. Developer Will Strafach (Chronic) let us know that this API relates to the iOS maps and location functionality.

Just received the first iOS 5.0 crash report. MKUserLocationBreadCrumb sounds interesting.

This could possibly mean that Apple changed up some map and location APIs in iOS 5, causing issues with map-based applications built for current versions of iOS 4. iOS 5 is expected to take on some new cloud-based features and will be officially unveiled at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in early June. Apple is expected to release iOS 5 in September alongside the fifth-generation iPhoneThanks, Peter Silie!

Update: FutureTap sent us the below screenshot of their iOS 5 hits. Their WhereTo application has seen five iOS 5.0 and four of the hits come from AT&T HQ. This means that both Apple and their largest carrier are actively testing the new operating system before its early June preview. The AT&T-based device(s) is the iPhone 4 (iPhone 3,1) and the hit from Apple HQ comes from a first-generation iPad. We don’t learn much, but at least we now know that iOS 5 will seemingly not require the dual-core A5 processor in the next iPhone and iPad 2.

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The headline won’t shock anyone following the mobile space, although there’s more to it than meets the eye. A Distimo survey, relayed by TechCrunch, shows the Android application store rocks more free programs than Apple’s App Store. Utrecht, Netherlands-based Distimo counted 134,342 free items on Android Market versus 121,845 freebies on the App Store.

Even though Apple’s store was the slowest growing mobile bazaar  in March 2011, it still leads in terms of quantity and remains the most vibrant app community on the planet. The number of App Store items is approaching the 400,000 milestone (Distimo counted 367,334 apps). At current 16 percent growth rate, however, Android Market will overtake Apple’s store in app volume five months from now.

Also interesting: iPad submissions grew 12 percent in March to 75,755 apps, with an average daily revenue nearing a cool $400,000. As any iPad owner knows, a larger canvas commands premium prices ($5.36 on average for an iPad app). Another tidbit: Distimo expects BlackBerry App World to overtake Nokia’s Ovi Store by the end of next month. Some insight and more pretty charts after the break.

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Did you ever wonder why it took Apple ten months to produce the white iPhone 4, which finally goes on sale tomorrow? According to The Wall Street Journal’s Mobilized blog, white iPhones need UV protection. Author Ina Fried interviewed both Apple’s boss Steve Jobs and marketing honcho Phil Schiller. The latter said:

It was challenging. It’s not as simple as making something white. There’s a lot more that goes into both the material science of it–how it holds up over time…but also in how it all works with the sensors.

And here’s from Jobs:

We obviously think about this in a generic way because you have a white iPad.

Jobs also confirmed that an upcoming iOS update will address that location tracking issue that Apple earlier today characterized as a “bug” and confirmed Apple will next week testify in a Congress hearing about location-gathering practices.

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The $39B dollar deal isn’t over yet and T-Mobile isn’t ready to drop its guns and surrender.  Today they issued a challenge to iPhone owners (Read: Verizon and AT&T) in the Seattle area to prove that their network was faster than T-Mobile’s.  They’ll give any iPhone owner $1000 if their download speed is faster.

Now obviously this has little to nothing to do with the iPhone vs. Galaxy and more to do with T-Mobile’s “4G” vs. AT&T and Verizon’s 3G which it appears is marginally better as John Patchakosfihskgweo points out in data from Rootspeed Metrics, below:

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Apple engineers went to great lengths to conceal the innards of the iPhone 4 with an elegant glass case that looks like a cool black monolith, but now teardown wizards over at iFixit have tweaked that design in order to expose the guts of the handset to the world. Think circuit boards, the large battery and everything else one normally doesn’t see. iFixIt’s solution rocks camera lens, the flash diffuser and bezel to ensure proper operation of the back camera and pristine appearance of your phone. Read on…
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