iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S: Two Possibilities for Apple Announcement Tomorrow

iPhone 4S or iPhone 5?

There has been no shortage of news, opinions, or rumors circulating about the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, or whatever the next iPhone will be called). Yet despite all the noise about the next iPhone, most people have no idea what Apple will be announcing tomorrow.

Apple has kept the details of tomorrow’s announcement secret, but in a nutshell there are two main possibilities:

  1. iPhone 5: Apple announces a groundbreaking new iPhone with major innovations. The hardware looks much different, and there are many needed improvements, plus impressive new features that no one anticipated.
  2. iPhone 4S: Another possibility is that the next iPhone could be not-so-next-generation, and simply add some improvements such as a better processor, more storage, and only slight hardware modifications. The iPhone 4S would be to the iPhone 4 what the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G.

I consider the second scenario to be more likely, though I welcome the first.

A Third Possibility

It is also possible that Apple chooses a middle-ground between the above two scenarios and introduces a modestly improved iPhone — one that is faster and more spacious, has a similar hardware design, but has one major, game-changing feature that will set it apart from other smartphones.

It’s possible the next iPhone will be called something other than iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S, but I consider the above situations to be the most likely scenarios for the iPhone announcement tomorrow.

Some possible features to be announced tomorrow:

  • 4G network-compatibility
  • Improved camera, more megapixels
  • Faster processor
  • More storage space
  • 1080P video recording
  • Sprint availability
  • A larger screen
  • Thinner body

What do you think Apple will announce tomorrow? Do you plan to buy the next iPhone?

Is the End Near for iPhone Jailbreak?

In light of the news that Apple has hired top iPhone jailbreak hacker Nicholas Allegra (@Comex), some iPhone users are wondering whether the end is near for iPhone jailbreak.

iPhone Jailbreak End is Near Tweet

Allegra is not the first jailbreak developer to be hired by Apple. In June, Peter Hajas, the developer of the Cydia hack MobileNotifier, was hired by Apple. Shortly after that, GeoHot, the infamous iPhone unlocker, was hired by Facebook.

Do These Hires Mark the Beginning of the End for Jailbreak?

iPhone Jailbreak Given this pattern of top jailbreak developers being swallowed by the big Internet players, it is tempting to wonder whether the jailbreak movement is through. But I don’t believe that iPhone jailbreak is going anywhere anytime soon.

While Apple has already adopted a lot of the features that iPhone users want, thereby (theoretically) decreasing the need for jailbreak, the jailbreak culture remains alive and well, and growing, with an estimated 10 percent of iPhone users reportedly jailbreaking their iPhones. Plans are even underway for the world’s first jailbreak convention, which will take place in London this September.

Mark my words: innovation around the iPhone will never cease. There will always be new features that iPhone users want, and that Apple has yet to develop. iPhone jailbreak is the most immediate way for developers to bring imaginative new ideas and applications to iPhone.

As long as there is an iPhone, there will be iPhone jailbreak.

The Truth About the Apple Location Tracking Scandal

There’s been a fuss in the blogosphere in the last 24 hours about an Apple location tracking scandal after the O’Reilly Radar alleged that Apple is intentionally gathering your iOS location data.

However, it was not until 7:45 a.m. the morning after the scandal broke that O’Reilly clarified that there is no evidence to suggest this data is leaving your custody. Due to this glaring omission in the original story, many people around the web have misunderstood the gravity of the situation and are calling this iPhone location tracking discovery a privacy scandal.

Here’s why the location tracking scandal is likely overblown:

  1. As noted above, it should be emphasized that your personal location file is being stored on your computer, and your computer alone. Apple is not collecting your personalized location data and storing it on their servers.
  2. While Apple does collect some location data from iPhone users, this data is collected anonymously and in a way that “does not personally identify you,” according to Apple’s privacy policy.
  3. Apple Location TrackingAlthough your iPhone location data is stored on your computer by default, apps can only access this location data if you opt in to location tracking.

    Recall that location-based apps prompt you with a notification that asks you if you would like to harness your location — to which you may reply “OK” or “Don’t Allow.”

  4. You can turn Location Services off entirely in Settings >> General >> Location Services. Update: Apparently, disabling location services does not stop your iPhone from tracking your location.
  5. Location data is not perfectly precise. After tracking my location history with the free iPhone Tracker app, it appears the iPhone may be merely tracking the nearby cell towers that are used to pinpoint your location.

My iPhone Location Data

Here is an overview of my locations in the last year, as stored on my computer. You can download the iPhone Tracker app to see a map of your own location history.

iPhone Location Tracker

Yes, it can be shocking to see this map and you might naturally elicit a knee-jerk reaction for fear that Apple is building a Big Brother-esque database of individual iPhone users’ locations. However, there is simply no evidence that Apple is storing these personalized maps on their own servers, despite that it is building a database with some broader location data.

Wired notes that the reason Apple collects anonymized location data was explained in a letter last year by Appleā€™s general counsel Bruce Sewell: “Apple must be able to determine quickly and precisely where a device is located. To do this, Apple maintains a secure database containing information regarding known locations of cell towers and Wi-Fi access points.”

Nevertheless, it would not hurt for Apple to respond to these privacy concerns once again and better clarify its privacy position. What is just as worrisome as Apple storing your location data is a malicious person having access to your location file on your computer in the event that your computer is stolen.

Are you concerned about the Apple location tracking scandal? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments.

iPhone 4s on eBay Selling for $1,000 to $2,500

Whether by intention or not, Apple is failing to crank out iPhone 4s fast enough to supply the millions of potential customers who demand one. How else do you explain the high prices that iPhone 4s are selling for on eBay?

An Advanced Search of the completed listings for “iPhone 4” on eBay turns up results for over a thousand iPhones that have recently sold for anywhere between $985 to $2,650.

iPhone 4 on eBay

I estimated about 1,200 iPhone 4s were sold between June 29 and July 12 in the price range of $999 to $2,650. The vast majority of those sold for somewhere between $950 and $1,200.

The ones selling in the $2,000 ballpark usually claim to be unlocked or “unlockable.” It remains tricky (if not impossible) to jailbreak and unlock an iPhone 4, so be wary if you expect an unlocked iPhone from an eBay seller.

I have yet to receive my iPhone 4 in the mail, and will be waiting until August 5, according to my purchase confirmation email from Apple. If the eBay iPhone market is any indication, my patience will save me a considerable amount of money.

What’s the highest you would be willing to bid for an iPhone 4 on eBay?

How Serious Are the Reported iPhone 4 Issues?

iPhone 4 Issues

You may have heard of the critical issues facing a number of iPhone 4s as early as launch day. Most notably, many iPhone 4 owners report a diminished cellular signal when holding the phone by its left bezel (where the antenna is located), others report shattered phones (not just displays), and some people have even had seemingly-permanent yellow spots on their iPhone 4 displays.

Should You Be Worried?

Let me say right off the bat that the iPhone has always had issues, and some of its problems are unresolvable. The iPhone is a stunning piece of hardware, but even Apple engineers can’t create a perfect product. My previous iPhones have suffered from a faulty dock connector, an echoing earpiece, shattered glass, a stained bezel and lately a weakened home button on my 3GS. It is inevitable that iPhone 4 will have its issues, too, especially over time.

Luckily, most of the time I had a problem (with the exception of the shattered glass incident), I got a replacement iPhone from the Apple Store for free. If your iPhone 4 has a serious issue, you will likely have no problem getting a replacement from Apple, as long as the incident is within the terms and timeframe of the warranty. Yes, you may be inconvenienced if you buy a faulty iPhone 4, but in most cases Apple will probably accommodate you and replace your phone without a problem. My experience with the Apple Store Geniuses has overall been positive.

Still, it is worth evaluating the claims made about faulty iPhone 4s, so that you can decide whether or not to take the plunge and buy the new iPhone just yet.

Here is my evaluation of the three main iPhone 4 issues, according to my research and best judgment. Note: As of this writing, I have yet to get my own iPhone 4.

1. Yellowing Screen

Yellow Spots iPhone 4

Some of the alleged problems may actually be non-issues. Consider the Apple support tech who said the yellowing on some screens is “residue from manufacturing” that will disappear in a short time.

Then again, other support technicians told customers to replace their yellowed phones at the Apple Store. We will have to see if these yellow marks disappear over time.

2. Weak Signal

The antenna in the bezel seems like a more serious problem. Many iPhone 4 owners report that covering the bottom left side of the iPhone with your palm or fingers causes you to lose reception and transmission.

Ironically, Apple placed the antenna in the iPhone 4 bezel in an attempt to improve cellular signal, but the placement is affecting the signal when the bezel comes into contact with your hands. However, when you put a case (or an Apple Bumper) on the iPhone 4, the signal issue goes away.

Could this antenna issue trigger a recall of iPhone 4’s? In my opinion, it is doubtful that Apple will admit to the problem, but if they do, I imagine they will simply tell you to put a case on your phone. We’ll see.

Update: Steve Jobs’ response to an inquiry on the issue: “Just avoid holding it in that way.” Or use a case.

3. Cracking Glass

iPhone has a history of cracking, and it seems the problem could be worse this time around, since the entire body is now made of glass.

One iPhone 4 owner, Jared Franklin, shattered the rear glass on his new iPhone after dropping it on the same day he received it. Ouch!

Cracked iPhone 4

I shattered the glass display of my iPhone once, and it cost me $250 at the Apple Store to replace it. Now I have to worry about the back of my iPhone 4 as well as the front!?

Judging by the amount of comments from my readers on that post who also cracked their iPhone screens, it looks like Apple is going to make even more of a killing off of the poor iPhone 4 users who drop their devices.

Don’t expect much to be done about this issue. Apple never has, and probably never will, admit that they are creating easily crackable iPhones. They will simply blame your “negligence” and make you cough up a couple hundred more dollars.

Time Will Tell

Clearly, the question of the iPhone 4’s reliability is a bit hazy right now. There have been early reports of potentially serious issues, but only time will tell whether these problems will plague a significant number of iPhone 4s.

For this reason, if you haven’t yet bought an iPhone 4, I would urge you to consider waiting 2 or 3 weeks to see how all this pans out.

Who knows? Maybe given enough complaints, Apple will acknowledge the antenna issue and correct future shipments. And maybe the yellow hue will disappear and the iPhone 4 screens will be undamaged afterall. But… don’t expect much to be done about the glass — cracked iPhone screens are a common occurrence, and Apple rarely shows mercy when it comes to replacing iPhones that have cracked.

As for me, I am not going to lie and say that I am waiting for the problems to go away before I buy the new iPhone. I actually called all around town today and learned that the iPhone 4 is sold out everywhere. I decided not to pre-order when I read claims that Apple would ship pre-ordered iPhone 4s a week late, but now I am without the new iPhone while preorders actually arrived a day early for many people.

Despite the issues, the iPhone 4 is a remarkable piece of hardware. If you haven’t gotten a chance to drool over it yet, go check out TiPB’s iPhone 4 gallery.

What is Your Experience?

Have you gotten an iPhone 4 yet or will you wait to see if the issues are resolved? Whether you have or have NOT had problems with your new iPhone 4, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

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WWDC iPhone Keynote

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WWDC 2010 Start Time

It took me some searching to find out when the WWDC starts, but I finally found the time here. The WWDC start time is as follows, broken down by time zone:

  • 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time
  • 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time
  • 12:00 Noon Central Time
  • 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • 6:00 p.m. BST
  • 7:00 p.m. Paris
  • 9:00 p.m. Moscow
  • 02:00 a.m. Tokyo (June 8th)

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New iPhone today, get pumped!