iPhone 4 Proximity Sensor Problem


On July 6, 2010

The proximity sensor tells the iPhone 4 how close your holding the phone to your face and controls whether or not the phone turns the screen off.  This helps to prevent you from pressing some buttons or hanging up on your call with your cheek.

If seems that some users are inadvertently hanging up on calls because the sensor isn’t shutting the screen down during a phone call.  So the question is, does the iPhone 4’s sensor have a hardware problem?  Is the software too sensitive?  Mis-calibrated?

Apple’s support forums are beginning to see a lot of questions about this issue and considering the fact that this has never been an issue for the other earlier iPhone models, I am wondering if it has something to do with hardware.  Our guess is that if it were a software issue, then this would also be happening on other iOS4 upgrades to 3GS phones and 3G phones, but we haven’t heard of any such complaints.

I wonder if Apple knows about this issue and is waiting on rolling out the major OS update to "fix" everything being reported along with the signal bars displayed "bug"?

Don’t get us wrong, we love our iPhones, and its truly an awesome device, but this version seems to have more then its fair share of Version 1 troubles.  Hopefully, Apple can get it together fairly quickly and repair these issues, so it doesn’t affect the growth of the iPhone.


iPad Pressure Sensitive Drawing?!



We all know that pressure sensitive drawing is not currently available on the iPad, but it seems like the developers at Ten One Design have done some extra coding to provide some new functionality to our iPads.

Video released from Ten One Design demonstrates how well they’ve implemented a pressure sensitive application that with their stylus gives users the ability to control the width of the lines. Whats also interesting is that they’ve been able to remove the hand recognition while users are using the stylus during drawing, so you could rest your hand on your iPad and it wouldn’t register as input so as not to disrupt your moving stylus.

One other side note however, is that the app still has to pass the approval of Apple, but check out the video while you wait for that approval… 

Thinking About Selling Your Old iPhone?



Seems like a lot of people are thinking the same thing.  Sell my old hardware and subsidize my new iPhone 4.

Apple’s sell out hit has led to a different type of flood in iPhones, the flood of old model iPhones on eBay, discount sites, and recycler sites.

One such site, Gazelle.com reported buying 20,000 used iPhones in 2 weeks after the launch of the iPhone 4, thats 19,650 more than they typically buy in the same time period before the new phone was released.  The price they pay for a perfect condition 32 gig 3GS iPhone?  $168.  A lot different than the $304 they would have paid a week before the new one came out.  eBay usually averages more $ for old phones, but with such a sudden supply hitting the site, prices have been dropping for the 3GS and 3G phones.  The number of iPhone 3 models on eBay rose 124% between June 5th and June 28th, so there is a lot of competition for people looking for those phones.

So what do you do with your old phone if the value has dropped too low and you don’t want to sell it?  How about using it as an iTouch?  Or a dedicated Pandora receiver on your stereo?  Maybe use it as a 2nd head to head controller for those 2 player games?  Or what about making it your GPS in the car?  I’m sure there are over 200,000 dedicated uses you can find.

If your not selling your phone how will you re-purpose it?  Let us know!

Apple Claims Software Glitch Displays Too Many Bars!?


On July 2, 2010

A public statement was released this morning by Apple regarding the reception issues on iPhone4.  The statement claims that the software calculation for showing the number of bars on the phone is incorrect and that more bars are incorrectly shown.  Apple said…

"Dear iPhone 4 Users,

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same— the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Thank you for your patience and support.


We are not yet sure how this affects any AT&T contracts that might have been signed for service in the US.


My Face Time Experience


On July 1, 2010

One of the major features touted with the iPhone 4 was the front-facing camera and the ability to have portable video chats, designated FaceTime.  I was one of the lucky few who picked up their iPhone 4 on day one and was most curious about this feature, particularly since I video chat on Skype time to time.  What follows is my experience in an effort to get the feature to work.

When I first got the phone, I had SMS disabled via AT&T because I’m not a fan of text messaging plus I have a TextFree account for those who obsessively send me messages.  Apparently, this was a bad idea in terms of activating FaceTime.

To begin, FaceTime is automatically disabled when you first received the phone.  You have to activate it by going into Settings, then Phone, then turning it on.  From there, the system sends a message to AT&T’s servers to activate the service.  This isn’t sent when one disables the SMS.  A quick call to AT&T and that issue was resolved.  Please note that if you ever have to restore your phone, this process has to be repeated.

Then there was the issue that the feature only works between iPhone 4 devices.  My friends are not as daring as I and as a result I knew nobody with an iPhone 4.  Fortunately, Apple set up 888-FACETIME, which I used, and I had a video chat with a courteous woman who explained some of the capabilities of the feature, including the ability to dock your self-image in a different corner of the screen and the ability to switch what your facetime partner is watching by flipping to the rear camera (it was my unmade bed.  Whoops).

The first time you use the service, you must have access to both a cellular and WiFi signal.  The cellular is only necessary the first time so the system can note that your iPhone has FaceTime capabilities.  Future calls would then only require WiFi.

I’m sure the porn industry is all over this feature.  I’m surprised it is taking Skype this long to release a new version that takes advantage of the front-facing camera since video-chatting is their forte.  They don’t even need a cellular signal to initiate.

By now, I’m sure most of you have seen the quality of the image, mine was right up there with all the online demos you’ve seen.  The quality in some ways, makes me wonder how much bandwidth would be used if 3G were supported for video calling.  I’m guessing I would have eaten up the 2GB limit pretty quickly with just a few phone calls a month, which is I’m sure the reason that this is being limited to WiFi for now.

In short, setting up FaceTime for first time use can be a little tedious, but once you get things working, having video chat capabilities in your hand is definitely a feature I can see getting used to pretty quickly.

iPhone 4 Knockoffs Are Getting Better



Wow.  They’re getting better at copying Apple and adding a few things, like removable batteries and easy to get to memory cards… not that you could video conference or anything, but check this YouTube video demoing the knockoff…


Wireless HD Video Uploads Are Coming


On June 30, 2010

Sometimes Steve Jobs responds to direct emails from consumers, and recently a reader from MacDailyNews sent a message to Apple CEO Steve Jobs to ask about the inability to upload HD videos to the web without having to doc first.

Jobs replied to this email with "You can upload them via a Mac or PC today.  Over the air in the future."

Being able to currently send video directly from the iPhone via email or MMS is nice, but the quality suffers greatly due to compression of the files.  Even though Steve Jobs doesn’t give a time frame for such a feature, being able to upload and sync over the air in the future will be a nice addition.  Of course I’m sure it would probably be over the Wi-Fi connection so we don’t start hitting that new 2GB cap on AT&T’s 3G network!

iPhone Insurance Now Available



Insurance for your new glass iPhone is now available, but is it really worth it?

The premium is $12 / month (which on its own is a little high), but the real kicker for us is the $199 deductible.  Since the new price of the iPhone is $599 or $699 to replace one in the middle of a contract, it would basically mean that you would have laid out the $12 monthly and then another $199 to get a refurbished model.

So lets take a for instance case that you use your phone for 12 months, then loose it, you would have paid out $144 monthly and then another $199 for the deductible when it came time to replace the phone, grand total of $343 (half the price of a new one).  In the case of loosing the phone, maybe this isn’t so bad, but what if you simply broke something on your phone?

Currently, you could get a broken screen replaced for $149 in your local repair shop, or fix a broken port for around $99.

Personally, we think if we lost our phones, we would probably pick up one on eBay for the remainder of our contract, or use one of our older phones.

Just seems like a steep deductible to us.

Hulu Plus Released for iOS Devices!


On June 29, 2010

Today Hulu announced its premium subscription based service for streamed television content.  Customers willing to pay $9.99 monthly will gain access to the full library of current Hulu television shows plus an expanded older library of content.  Subscribers will be able to gain access to full seasons of shows in 720p HD format.

In addition to watching shows on the web, iOS devices are now supported, including iPad, iPhone, and iTouch devices.  Streaming will be available over Wi-Fi and 3G.  Hulu had this to say during todays release;

"Hulu Plus is not a replacement for Hulu.com. Hulu Plus is a new, revolutionary ad-supported subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service. For almost all of the current broadcast shows on our service, Hulu Plus offers the full season. Every single episode of the current season will be available, not just a handful of trailing episodes. Now there’s never a bad time to jump in on a hot new show like Modern Family (which I recommend highly). From Family Guy to Glee, from The Office to 30 Rock, from Grey’s Anatomy to Desperate Housewives, from Parks & Recreation to Parenthood, from House to Saturday Night Live, and dozens of other hits, the best time to jump in on any series is any time, and with any episode, that’s right for you."

Currently, Hulu is accepting invitation requests for users to try the service, but a public release date has note yet been announced.


The free Hulu Plus app has shown up in the App Store today and it can also be used to request an invitation, so if your a Hulu fan, we suggest that is the best way to get your name on the list.

Google Docs Updated



 Google announced today that it has updated Google Docs for iPhone and iPad.


Google Docs mobile version now allows you to view PDF’s, PowerPoint files (ppt), and Microsoft Word files (both .doc and .docx).  Obviously, you will need to upload these files to your Google account to view them.

Google also added the ability to pinch for zooming and the ability to quickly flip between multiple pages.  Take a look at docs.google.com (no need to install any apps here and that has to be a little scary for even Apple).