Saturday, July 17, 2010

TheAppleBlog (5 сообщений)
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  • White iPhone 4 Due to Ship End of July

    Apple has announced that the delayed white iPhone 4 will finally start shipping at the end of July.

    When the iPhone 4 was originally revealed at WWDC, it was shown in both black and white, however when the anticipated launch date rolled around on the 24th of June, the white iPhone 4 was nowhere to be seen. Apple vaguely stated that the lack of availability of white iPhone 4′s was due to a manufacturing problem, providing little else in the way of detail, and until today Cupertino has said little else on the matter.

    At today’s press conference, Steve Jobs took to the stage to clarify the company’s stance on the recent “antennagate” reception problems. However, the press conference also delivered a few other interesting tidbits.

    The Apple CEO detailed that the iPhone 4, which has already sold more than three million units, will finally be available in white — with shipments of the white model on track for late July. Jobs also added that once on sale the white model would only be available in limited quantities, with production slowly ramping up as time goes on.

    Are you one of those who have been waiting for a white iPhone 4? If so be sure to let us know how your patience is holding out in the comments! Of course, there are always extreme alternatives.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • iPhone 4 Press Event: You're All Getting Cases

    Apple today sent out the big guns (read: Steve Jobs) to disarm the potential PR disaster that is the iPhone 4′s highly publicized PR issues. It held a special press event, possibly the only one it’s ever had that hasn’t been a product announcement, to address the rising number of concerns and complaints, which culminated in Consumer Reports’ removal of its buy recommendation for the iPhone 4.

    So what did Steve do to try to make things right for its users? Well, he actually took the advice of popular opinion on the Internet. Apple will be giving away free cases to all iPhone 4 customers. Even ones who’ve already bought cases. Starting late next week, you can fill out a form on Apple’s website to either request a new case, either a Bumper or one of Apple’s officially selected partner cases, or apply for a refund for your already-purchased case.

    You can also get a full refund within 30 days of purchase if you’re not happy with the iPhone 4, or with the free case solution Apple’s offering to the problem. Regardless of your opinion of the iPhone 4, you have to admit, there isn’t much more it could do beyond that except for a full product recall, which would be costly, annoying to users, and arguably unnecessary, since the iPhone 4 isn’t actually dangerous.

    Before Jobs announced what steps it was taking to remedy the problem, however, he went to great lengths to explain just why Apple is confident there really isn’t a problem to begin with. The rhetoric was clear: All our data says this isn’t anything unusual among smartphones, but we love you so much, we’re going to give you free stuff anyway! While some of this might have to do with Jobs’ inability to admit that his company can make a huge gaffe, it’s much more likely that Apple is preemptively trying to cover its tail in terms of legal liability. Suits will have a harder time sticking if people can’t demonstrate that it’s not a problem common to all smartphones.

    Personally, I’m happy with what Apple did to remedy this situation, but I’m not thrilled about the way it went about it. The approach taken in the press conference today was incredibly defensive, and it’ll probably leave customers having real issues with the iPhone 4 feeling belittled and talked down to. Whatever the approach, at least Apple’s making good out of its own pocket. I know I’ll be buying an iPhone 4 when it comes to Canada again, even though I’d previously decided not to.

    Other announcements at the event included a solid release date for the iPhone in the next 17 countries it will come to. That’ll be July 30, as many speculated. The white iPhone 4 is also on track for a late July release, presumably for all countries in which the iPhone 4 will be available.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Apple: iPhone 4 Issues Blown out of Proportion

    Apple is hosting a press event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. I am here with about 50-odd media folks, waiting for Steve Jobs and other Apple executives to show up for the conference. Actually, the townhall isn’t as full as you would expect — in other words, let’s not expect much.

    10:04: They are showing a video called the “iPhone Antenna Song.” Dismissing all the noise as a lot of hoopla.

    10:06: Steve Jobs is out and is saying he is going to make a 15-minute presentation and then will take questions.

    Steve says: We are not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We want to make all our users happy. We love to make our users happy and that is what drives us today.

    We have sold 3 million phones in three weeks. This is the best smartphone we have built.

    Gizmodo showed the video and we got what others are calling an “antenna-gate.”

    We have been working our butts off for 22 days to figure out and fix what is wrong. I think we learned that antenna-gate is not unique to iPhone.

    10:12: Jobs is showing videos of other phones that lose their signal. Blackberry Bold 9700 — 5 bars to 1. HTC Droid Eris goes down to zero. If you take your hand away from where there is an antenna weak spot, it goes down. Showing Samsung Mobile phone with Windows.

    Jobs: Most smartphones have that problem and we have that as a challenge, which the entire industry faces. Takes a dig at Gizmodo — described as “a certain site.”

    Jobs: We screwed up with our algorithms. We got a sophisticated antenna lab and we are looking at antenna reception from all angles. Says Apple has spent $100 million in antenna lab with 18 Ph.D. scientists and engineers. We didn’t think this would be a big problem. All smartphones have that problem.

    Jobs: What we have learned is smartphones have weak spots, not unique to iPhone 4. All smartphones have weak spots and you will drop calls. AppleCare data shows that 0.55 percent of all iPhone 4 users have called about antenna or reception. If you read all these articles, half our customers have called and are angry. One half of one percent — 0.55 percent! Historically, this is not a large number. Doesn’t jive with what you read about this problem.

    10:20: What are the return rates on AT&T for iPhone 4 and compared with iPhone 3GS. iPhone 3GS had a return rate of 6 percent, below the smartphone average. From the articles you would read, half the people might be returning the iPhone. The hard data says 1.7 percent.  That is a third of iPhone 3GS. That is returns at our largest iPhone 4 reseller.

    10:22: AT&T call drop rates — when compared to additional calls dropped per 100 calls compared to iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 when compared to the 3GS.

    10.25: Jobs: We can’t make enough bumper cases.

    10:28: Jobs: We think there is a problem and it is affecting a small percentage of users. We care about every user and we are not going to stop till every customer is happy.

    10:29: Jobs: It is all blown out of proportion.

    10:30: Release iOS 4.01 which fixes the bars and Exchange issues.

    10:31: Jobs: Free case for every iPhone 4 and giving it away through September. We are giving them away, but can’t make enough. So we are going to send you another case from our website and, if you are still not happy, you can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase. No restocking fee. We want everyone to be happy.

    10:32: Shipping white Wi-Fi phones by end of this month in limited quantities. Will introduce the iPhone 4 in 17 countries, slight delay in South Korea.

    10:33: Jobs: How we operate and how we make decisions … We love our users and we work our asses off to delight them. We make some interesting products for them. There are 300 Apple stores across the world. 60 million people in the stores during the last quarter. When we fall short, we try harder.

    Jobs: And when we succeed users reward us by staying our users. That is what drives us. When people are criticizing us, we take it very personally. When users have a problem, it is our problem. We have been working for 22 days to figure out the real problem and then solve it. Instead of putting a band-aid, we want to fix the real problems.

    Jobs: There is no antenna-gate, there is a challenge for the entire industry. We are dedicated to fixing that and that is in the future.

    10:37: Tim Cook and Bob Mansfield join Steve Jobs on stage for Q&A.

    Q: How are you Steve? How is your health?

    A: I am doing fine. I was having a vacation in Hawaii and it was important enough for me to come back.

    Q: Will you change the antenna design in the future?

    A: We are busy with this problem. The touch-me grip made it obvious for the iPhone. We are getting reports that it is a lot better than iPhone 3G. Maybe our wizards in the antenna may come up with something new. Right now it is not something we are considering.

    Q: Is this a PR problem?

    A: If we could do this again, we would have tried to mitigate the problem.

    Q: Were you told about the design concerns by engineers and did they talk to you?

    A: Bloomberg article is total crock. We have challenged them to prove beyond rumors. The best ideas win here. Healthy debates in this company. We debate how to tie shoe laces. We argue about what great is. Reuben said it is total bullshit.

    Q: Apology to investors, considering what happened to the stock. Are you willing to make that apology?

    A: There are some customers who are happy. There are some customers who are not happy. And I apologize to them and we are going to try and make them happy. We want investors who are in it for the long haul and are for the character of the company, not investors who saw us across the news on the wire.

    Q: Do you make people choose between from and function?

    A: No. We try and make our products a great size. iPod Touch is thin enough to fit in your pocket. Retina display is the best electronic display ever created. It cost a little more and ramp up productions. We like great design and great performance.

    Q: AT&T plans canceled?

    A: People can return the phones and get out of their AT&T contracts.

    The problem is that we didn’t understand that there would be these problems. I don’t know what it was, what we could have said. We could have pointed it out. Right now, it is not possible to make a smartphone without weak spots. You can make a Hummer that you can’t get their hand around it. We are advanced smartphone. Antenna design that is smarter than most. Everyone thought we were perfect and saw that it was a chance to jump on us. We are not perfect. We are human. We make mistakes. We take care of our customers. We appreciate them and we don’t take them for granted.

    Q: September 30 limit?

    A:  Maybe we have a better idea. We will re-evaluate in September.

    Q: Is the free bumper offer for devices that were bought from Apple?

    A: We will not replace third-party cases. If I tell the world our products, what are our future products, they stop buying our current products. It has a whole bunch of negative consequences.

    Q: What have you learned?

    A: I don’t know yet, we need some distance. One thing we didn’t need to learn — how much we love our customers. We were embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff that came out. We didn’t need to hear that to take care of our customers. We have been in the labs to figure things out.

    We are an engineering company and we think like engineers and scientists and solve hard problems. It is operating like more.

    We can’t run any faster. Cars in parking lots. I don’t know how we could be working harder. One of the things I have learned is that it is human nature: when a group or an organization gets successful, people want to tear it down. People are doing that to Google. It is a great company. Some people are jumping on us. You want us to be Korean companies and not be an American company. You don’t want us innovating here. Of course we are human, we make mistakes.

    In search of eyeballs, people don’t care what they leave in their wake. Antenna-gate … in 34 years haven’t we earned trust and get benefit of the doubt? I am not saying we are not at fault. We are not just innocents in this.

    Q: Will there be a hardware redesign to solve this problem? Will you do it in this generation.

    A: What I am saying is that, you can see videos of phones with stickers that show don’t search there. We are not saying all our customers experiencing this problem and for those customers who are experiencing it, we want to get them a case or a new phone. Working on a new antenna design and working hard on this.

    Q: Is there a software fix for the attenuation problem? (Question is based on the New York Times article this morning about a possible software fix.)

    A: Is there a software fix for smartphone attenuation problem which impacts all smartphones? Can we leapfrog them? I would love that.

    Q: Any change in iPhone 4 messaging in 80-plus markets around the world?

    A: The antenna-gate is predominantly a U.S. problem and most of the feedback is from the U.S. We will market as planned. We can’t make them fast enough. We are way behind demand. Sometimes it reminds of a joke in a Woody Allen movie — food is so awful and the portions are so small. We are selling every phone we can make.

    Q: Financial impact?

    A: It will be announced during our conference call after the earnings.

    When someone owns the primary technology, they are going to beat you on it. In computer business, software was the most important thing. The big insight we had was that software was going to be very important. We are pretty good at making software for iPods, PCs and the cloud and making them work together. We brought back to the phone business. Other pioneered, Palm. Everyone is copying Apple now.

    Q: Emails? Do you write them.

    A: Some people are making them up. Don’t believe everything you read. I try and reply to some of them because they are our customers.

    Q: Free bumper offer outside U.S.?

    A: The answer is yes.

    Related GigaOM Pro research (sub req’d): Why Carriers Should Care About Customer Care

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Mobile Uses for Evernote's Trunk

    My infatuation with Evernote is not new. Evernote is my dumping ground for research ideas, quick notes, and web pages I’ve come across on the Internet and want to save for future reading — while I love Instapaper and use it daily (often to send content into Evernote), I also like knowing a page saved into Evernote is there for what passes for digital forever these days.

    When Evernote announced its new Trunk service on Wednesday, I was immediately skeptical and derisive. As I IM’d a friend, “Trunk? As in ‘Junk in the?’” Evernote has had an API for apps to connect to it available for a while. While the Trunk has been jokingly referred to as the Evernote App Store, that’s pretty much what it is. I don’t, however, think they are copying the Apple Store model; Trunk is more of a way to promote services that are Evernote-ready — as well as market some of its own for-pay services.

    You can check out Evernote-enabled apps here. I’ve found most of them stretch Evernote integration. It seems most of them consider the ability to save a photo to your iDevices Photo Library, and use Evernote to create a photo from said graphic “integrates with Evernote.” I say hogwash.

    I’m focusing on mobile apps here because my MacBook has become a stay-at-home computer since I got the iPad. So, my focus here is on apps I can use on my iDevice while away from my Mac.

    These are the ones I’ve spent some time with: Seesmic, AP Mobile, and Egretlist.

    Egretlist is a to-do manager that integrates with Evernote and it can build lists based off your Evernote tags. If you’re project heavy, this can be a nice way to track all materials and tasks associated with it. For example, if you’re working on a research paper, you can tag in Evernote all the source material and tasks and in Egretlist, create a project based on that tag. While I love the interface, I’m not sold this is a good replacement for Cultured Code’s Things. For starters, Things is a Universal App; Egretlist isn’t. However, Egretlist will allow for cloud syncing, something Things lacks.

    Seesmic is a social media client that integrates with Twitter and Facebook. You can have up to four accounts associated with it. I tend to over-use the Favorites feature of Twitter to mark tweets. With Seesmic, I can send those right into Evernote now. That said, a lot of my marking is for later referral, not for keeping for later, so I’m more inclined to send a linked article to Instapaper.

    AP Mobile is, as you’d assume, the iPhone app for the AP News Service. Sending an article to Evernote opens the Evernote app and clips the text into the new note. You can then assign tags and what notebook you want it in. I’d love to see more news apps use the Evernote API.

    The Future

    It’s my hope that iPhone app developers will see Trunk as another way to promote their app. There are a lot of apps I can see as Trunk candidates. RSS readers, for one. None of the RSS readers on iOS I’ve tried can directly clip into Evernote; I have to send them to Instapaper and have Instapaper e-mail the contents to Evernote. There are a few Bible apps that claim to be Evernote-ready. I’d love to see a Wikipedia and traditional encyclopedia app have the ability to send content into Evernote.

    The easier it is to get content from your app into a service I use would be a big selling point for me. It’s my hope developers will see a listing in the Trunk as a way of separating their app from the noise of the App Store.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • iPhone 4: Recall, Software Update, or Something Else

    With hours to go until the iPhone 4 press conference, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting what we can expect (or rather, not expect): a recall. Instead, yet another software update may be coming to address the hardware problem of the antenna. If so, that update may be the biggest risk Apple has taken since the Mac went Intel.

    Regarding the decision not to issue a recall for the iPhone 4, the New York Times cites “a person with direct knowledge of Apple's plans” who is not surprisingly “not authorized to speak for Apple.” Further, another informed individual desiring anonymity asserted the iPhone 4 “exposed a longstanding weakness in the basic communications software,” a weakness that apparently existed in previous iPhones. Presumably, that weakness can be addressed with a software update separate from iOS 4.0.1. Even if true, one wonders how this could have happened, especially with a micromanager like Steve Jobs at Apple.

    According to the New York Times, Steve Jobs was blissfully unaware of the issue. However, the Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple industrial design superhero Jonathan Ive almost certainly knew, having worked closely with lead antenna engineer Ruben Caballero. Earlier this week Bloomberg News reported that Caballero not only knew about the antenna issue, but brought the issue to the attention of Jobs, which quickly brought a stern denial from Apple, not that who knew what when really matters.

    What really matters is exemplified in this ChangeWave Research survey from May showing the iPhone 4 with an insanely high rate of customer satisfaction. If the iPhone 4 antenna is a problem beyond the media hype, we might not know about massive numbers of returns and complaints, or a potential drop in sales, but Apple certainly would.

    Two months after the original iPhone was launched, Apple unexpectedly dropped the price $200, and offered a $100 Apple Store credit to those who already purchased an iPhone. While the company asserted the reason for the price change was to make the iPhone affordable for as many people as possible, the more skeptical among analysts suggested the higher price was impacting sales.

    In the same way, the antenna may or may not be an issue impacting a significant number of people, and certainly Apple will never admit if it is, but Apple will act regardless. With the original iPhone price drop, Steve Jobs himself wrote of the loyalty of Apple consumers, saying that “we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.” In a couple of hours, Apple will face another of those moments, and it’s unfathomable that the company will risk the reputation of the iPhone for years to come through action as feeble as a software patch.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »

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