MTS secures Russian iPhone deal – Reuters

Apple has reached a deal to sell the iPhone in Russia, with sales set to begin in October, Reuters explains.

The company has signed up Mobile TeleSystems  (MTS), Russia’s largest mobile phone carrier, as a partner for bringing the iPhone 3G into the country.

Russia already has a huge and burgeoning market for unlocked iPhones, with the leading lights and trend-setters there already prepared to pay huge sums to have the device.

Citing sources, Reuters informs: ""MTS has made an agreement with Apple on the sale of i-Phones," the source said. "Sales are likely to begin in October.""

Neither Apple nor MTS would comment on these claims, when approached by Reuters.

The news follows claims earlier this week that VimpelCom, Russia’s second-largest mobile-phone company, and MegaFon, the third, may soon also sign deals to start selling iPhones. We’re not clear yet if this means all three companies were competing for this, or if Apple plans a blanket strategy for the country.


New "Get a Mac" Ads: Thoughts

 I just watched the new Mac and PC ads Apple posted, and thought I’d share my thoughts on each one.

Off the Air

This was my least favorite of the four. Boring, nothing really new, but it did get across a point that they are adamant about getting out: a Mac genius will move your files from your PC to your Mac.

Pizza Box

This one would have been good except for one key thing: Apple is doing what they are making fun of PC for doing! With every Mac for students comes a free iPod! It would have been great if Mac had made fun of the Pizza by comparing it with the iPod that Mac buyers get, but instead they said that Apple has its users pick a Mac just because its better, when in fact, they aren’t. Weird…

Throne

My favorite of them all. It was so obvious that the guys at Apple wanted to poke fun at the monopoly Microsoft has over the industry, and it came through in this ad. Once again, they mentioned how a genius will move the files over from one computer to the other. The banishment at the end was really funny as well.

Calming Teas

Funny, but I found it compared perfectly with another buggy product: iPhone 2.0. Simply replace "Vista" with "iPhone", and it works exactly the same! I never thought I would say that as a blogger, but I’ve had some serious issues…

What do you think about the ads? Tell me in the comments, or hit me up on IM.

Facebook 2.0 coming for iPhone in September…

 

Facebook users are getting a sneak peak at the Facebook 2.0 app that will go live in September.  In case you aren’t a Facebooker, we’ve pasted all of the details below. 

It’s been a few weeks since we released Facebook for iPhone 1.1, and many of you are wondering what’s next. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming features in version 2.0, which will arrive in the App Store in September. You’ll be happy to know that this release brings the app a lot closer to matching all of the functionality of the Facebook website.

News Feed

In version 1.1, the News Feed contained only status updates and mobile photo uploads. In version 2.0 you will have the exact same News Feed experience as on the Facebook website. You will be able to see your friends’ Posted Items, new interests and relationships, photos, and all other stories that pass through News Feed. You’ll be able to comment on every story, and filter the feed by certain categories, applications, and friend lists, just like on the new Facebook.

 
 

 

Notifications

You’ll be able to see all of your Notifications on the Home tab, and new Notifications will arrive in real-time while the app is running. We’re preparing for the release of Apple’s new push service, which will allow us to deliver Notifications to your iPhone even when you’re not running Facebook for iPhone. I expect that to be one of the features in the next version after 2.0.

 

Profile Redesign

Profiles now have a tabbed design, like the new Facebook website, and a combined Wall and Mini-Feed.

 
 

 

Search for and Approve New Friends

This has been a popular request. You will now be able to search for people beyond your own Friends, request their friendship, and approve your own friend requests.

 

Inbox

In version 1.1, you can only see the first 30 messages in your Inbox. In version 2.0, you will be able to see older messages, all the way back to the beginning. You’ll also be able to search your Inbox and see your Sent folder.

iTunes Unlimited to be announced at September iPod event?

The Financial Times reported last March that Apple was in the midst of lining studios up for an unlimited subscription plan to offer iTunes customers at a flat rate.  Jordan Golson at the Industry Standard is reporting that numerous websites have been receiving word that this is set to go down soon, with half of the currently available iTunes library at subscriber’s disposal.

 

The subscription will be for one-year and be available through iTunes or a retail box, similar to how MobileMe/DotMac is sold. The subscription would cost $129.99 on its own, $179.99 with MobileMe or $99.99 for existing MobileMe subscribers. The site claims a late September announcement with late October rollout, just in time for the holiday season.

We know there will be an iPod event next month.  What better time to announce the service?  Would any of you be interested in this type of service to go along with MobileMe?  It might just fit into the master plan.

First shots of Nike+iPhone show Google Map, location?

Apple and Nike are definitely cooking something up for Nike+, with both companies working together on a batch of initiatives to popularise their integrated solutions, and new and enhanced software in the works.

Today we’ve seen leaked screenshots of the application, and have learned that a future version of the Nike+ software will integrate support for Google Maps inside its in-development application for the iPhone.

"We’ve known that Nike+ has long been in development for the iPhone. Now we’re finally getting a peek at the first shots of the interface. From what we can skim, Nike+ users will get all of the nifty performance graphs right on the phone," Gizmodo says, revealing the plans.

We’re already imagining that the new support may even extend to GPS, meaning teams of runners will conceivable be able to race against each other while keeping track of their position in the field. We’re also curious as to the social networking features that may, or may not, debut in the future device – will friends and family be able to watch your progress as you run through their computer?

Oh yes, even the most athletic reader shouldn’t hold their breath for the release of this application – iPhone France (which revealed the shots) says the software is still unstable.


iPhone usage (surprise!) way up since 3G launch, on weekends

According to NetApplications, iPhone browsing marketshare is on a strong upward trend since the release of iPhone 3G (no surprise there).  What is interesting is the usage patterns by day.  If our calculations are correct, iPhone usage on the weekends sees a 50-70% spike. 

That means that iPhone users might be *gasp* using their iPhones for pleasure and not just work.  We’d expect to see an opposite trend for corporate email-focused devices such as blackberries.

 

Metallica make UK iTunes assignation

Napster-suing digital laggards, rock band Metallica, have finally made their complete catalogue available through iTunes outside of North America.

The band last month quietly made the entire Metallica back catalogue available through iTunes in the US and Canada, saying of the lack of international availability: "Our record company overseas doesn’t seem to want to play ball with us on this at the moment. Hopefully this will get sorted out ASAFP, but we didn’t want our fans in North America to have to wait any longer while our overseas record company tries to get their shit together!

On the move to make music available through iTunes after years working hard to control online access to their music, the band said, "Over the last year or so, we have seen an ever-growing number of Metallica fans using online sites like iTunes to get their music. So, in continuing with the tradition of offering our albums for sale online (which we’ve been doing for a few years through various sites), as well as making our live concerts available for download in their entirety (through the livemetallica.com site), we are now offering fans the opportunity to obtain our songs individually."

The band has also boosted the catalogue by adding a selection of previously unavailable tracks to the collection included within their first four albums.

Meanwhile, in related news, a track from the bands soon-to-ship album, Death Magnetic, has appeared across file-sharing networks. The band’s ninth album is set for official release on September 12.


Uh oh, those Gen 1 nano batteries ARE bad

OK, we gave Consumerist guy a bit of sass when he said his iPod Nano blew up and almost burned his neighborhood down.  Turns out he might have had something there.  Apple today admitted that a very small percentage of Gen 1 nanos might have a defective battery:

 "Apple has determined that in very rare cases batteries in first generation iPod nanos sold between September 2005 and December 2006 can overheat causing failure and deformation of the iPod nano. Apple has received very few reports of such incidents (less than 0.001 percent of first generation iPod nano units), which have been traced back to a single battery supplier. There have been no reports of serious injuries or property damage, and no reports of incidents for any other iPod nano model.

Any first generation iPod nano customers who have experienced their battery overheating should contact AppleCare for a replacement. Any other customers who have concerns about their first generation iPod nano battery should also contact AppleCare."

We wonder if they will give out the rainbow Nanos as replacement?

El Jobso: Fix for iPhone connectivity problems en route: Affects 2%

Our iPhones seem to work pretty well.  Sure there are a few zones around town where there is no data and it does tend to hang every now and again.  But, that is to be expected.  Overall it is as stable as any desktop OS out there and when it does crash it comes back pretty quick.  But maybe this isn’t normal? 

Apparently 2% of the iPhones out there got some bad software and need to get an upgrade. 

According to a Macrumors forum member, Steve Jobs wrote:

We are working on some bugs which affect around 2% of the iPhones shipped, and hope to have a software update soon.

      (Luv), Stev(o)

So, how do you know if you got some bad iPhone software? 

Is this the baseband software only?  Wouldn’t the 2.0.1 updater have fixed this – it did update the baseband?  Dunno?  Now paranoia sets in.  Are you in the 2%? Every time your connectivity doesn’t work, you’ll have to wonder…

Realistically, if all of this is true, there will likely be a fix  showing up in the next software update.  Just don’t expect push notifications as well.

Apple: No push apps for you…come back next year!

It looks like developers who were interested in making their iPhone apps function in the background are going to have to wait longer than they originally anticipated.   Apple has taken the push functionality out of its latest iPhone 2.1 Beta 4 software and it will likely be omitted from the final 2.1 iPhone software.  While this key capability was scheduled to be delivered in September, it looks as though Apple will most likely bypass this deadline and wait until version 2.2 of the iPhone is released – probably around Macworld.  Apple has recently botched its MobileMe release and is probably more risk averse to releasing what could be buggy software without properly QA testing it first..

No word from Apple yet on these developments. 

First generation iPod Nano "explodes", no survivors

The Consumerist has a tale of an iPod Nano that apparantly blew up while connected to a users PC.  While we can concede that an electrical short can cause sparks, even when connected to a relatively low powered USB port on a PC, it is hard to believe that this thing "exploded."

According to the user, the iPod continued to spit sparks after it was unplugged from the machine:

I am writing this in regards to an issue I have had with an iPod nano, first generation. I have included the relevant pictures of my iPod after this incident and links to related issues.

 

I had plugged the iPod in to charge on Saturday August 16, 2008. I was using the USB cable that came with the iPod and charging via the USB port on my PC. After being plugged in for somewhere between 5-10 minutes I heard a sizzling sound. I looked down on the iPod just in time to see it explode open and start shooting sparks and spewing smoke. I managed to unhook the iPod from my computer’s USB port immediately. I had noticed that a small fire had started on the table I had the laptop and the iPod sitting on, and I managed to extinguish those flames quickly before any apparent damage could be done to my laptop. Unlike in other cases, I’ve read about, my iPod continued to spew smoke and spit sparks while throwing out some kind of sooty substance from the inside of the iPod for several minutes after removing the cable from the computer. I moved the still spitting iPod from the table and placed it on a book case across the room. I noticed that while doing this, the iPod was still extraordinarily hot to the touch.

Pictures are included in the original article.  For all of the fireworks, it looks more like a normal short.

However, we did find a guy who was able to cook with a USB port…though not very well.  Apparantly it takes 50 usb ports to cook a piece of beef :/

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/1582942/diy_usb_cooking_pan.swf