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iPhone Goes on Sale in China

The iPhone finally goes on sale Friday in China, and Apple (NSDQ:AAPL), along with legions of fans, industry analysts and media members, are anxious to see if the device’s success continues in the biggest mobile phone market on the planet. But there are some big obstacles for mobile carrier Unicom’s iPhone in China, including the lack of a crucial feature.

First, Unicom’s iPhone won’t have Wi-Fi capability. In a country that has an incredibly huge demand for Wi-Fi, the lack of this feature is expected to have a significant negative impact on iPhone sales.

How did this happen? You can blame the Chinese government, which put a ban on Wi-Fi earlier this year so that a rival system could flourish (and you thought U.S. government regulators were bad). China relaxed its ban last spring, but unfortunately Unicom’s iPhone’s had already gone into production. Chinese consumers are as demanding, if not more, as Americans when it comes to technology. So how would a Wi-Fi-less iPhone go over here in the States?

Furthermore, there are already an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million Wi-Fi-enabled iPhones in China that have been purchased in the country or bought via the gray market. If the iPhone takes off in China, it’s likely that gray market sales will increase and put a big dent in Unicom’s sales estimates (5 million units sold in three years, according to reports). Unicom says it plans to add Wi-Fi capability for the next line of iPhones, but there’s no word on when exactly that will be.

Price is another issue, as it often is with Apple. Unicom’s iPhones will start at 4,999 yuan, or approximately $730, for the 8-GB model, while the 32-GB model will cost 6,999 yuan, or $1,025. And that’s without the 3G wireless service plan, which can run from $18 a month to $130 a month. Couple this with the lack of Wi-Fi and you have to believe that the Chinese iPhone is playing with a serious handicap.

At the very least, the iPhone launch in China will heat up the smartphone war in the world’s largest mobile device market. Unicom’s iPhone will be competing with rival carrier China Mobile’s forthcoming Ophone, which is scheduled to launch next year.

And Unicom is a big underdog in the battle, since its 143 million mobile subscriber base is dwarfed by China Mobile’s mammoth 580 million subscribers. Still, demand for Apple’s products has never been higher, and the iPhone has already proved a number of doubters — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — wrong.

Source: Crn.com

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WordPress Launches iPhone App 2.0

The first version of the WordPress iPhone app showed a lot of promise as mobile blogging tool, but it was too slow and too buggy to use. It didn’t know what to do with dropped connections — all too common, when you’re blogging from an AT&T iPhone — and the UI was clunky and unintuitive. Round 2! WordPress is back for another try at the iPhone thing, and this time they’re far closer to doing it right: bug fixes, persistence, auto-saving and a better UI make WordPress 2 a viable option for blogging on the go.

The single most important new feature in WordPress 2 is persistence. That means you can close the app, and reopening it will take you back to the post or comment you were working on. In the old version, it was nearly impossible to finish a long post without being interrupted by a crash or a phone call, or without needing to pop into Safari to grab some text from a webpage. Speaking of those crashes, they’re nowhere near as frequent as they were in WordPress 1, and the new autosave feature makes them less damaging.

Photo uploading is smoother, too, and you can also preview a post while you’re editing it. Aside from all the improvements to posting, comments now have their own tab, so you can moderate your site with ease. I’d still love to see liveblogging support in the iPhone app, though, because it seems like such an ideal use of a mobile blog client. All in all, WordPress 2 is a workable solution for mobile blogging.

Source: Downloadsquad.com

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Apple App Store Hits A Milestone of 100K Apps

Apple has approved more than 100,000 applications in its App Store, according to latest figures from App Shopper, an industry tracking firm. That number of approved apps dwarfs the number of apps offered by mobile app store competitors Android Marketplace, Windows Mobile Marketplace, BlackBerry App World, and Nokia’s Ovi Store. Apple’s next closest competitor, Google’s Android Marketplace, offers a relative pittance of 10,000 mobile apps, according to App Shopper. BlackBerry App World hosts 3040 apps.

App Shopper released data Tuesday stating that Apple has approved 101,887 apps, with 93,118 actually available to download or purchase as of October 28. Apple is expected to announce the milestone officially when the actual number of applications available in the store reaches 100,000.

Out of the apps available now via Apple App Store, tracking site Yappler approximates that 19,788 are free, and the average price per app is $2.55 ($3.25 excluding free apps).

In September Apple announced that selection in its store exceeded 85,000 applications and reported more than 2 billion downloads of App Store applications since the App Store opened in July 2008.

Nokia’s Ovi Store hosts 660 applications, out of which 221 are free. Palm’s App Catalog holds just under 100 apps, and there are 280 “homebrew” unofficial apps available to download for the Palm Pre. Of BlackBerry App World 3040 apps, a total of 747 are free.

Mircosoft’s Windows Mobile Marketplace is also toward the bottom of the rankings, despite the mobile operating system being on the market for over six years. Windows Mobile Marketplace holds only 246 apps. Microsoft has stated publicly more than 753 software developers are working on more apps.

The sheer number of applications in the Apple App store has proven to be popular among customers.

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Apple Intends to Group Ads in Operating System

Imagine this scenario. While you are booting your computer or notebook, an advertisement pops up and the screen freezes for some time. The ad could be an audio or a plain visual one.

Regardless, it may offer you some product or could even offer the operating system (which enables you to start or boot your computer) free or at a lower cost. Tying you down for a few more seconds, the ad automatically fades away and allows you to continue with the booting process.

If Apple Computer has its way, this is precisely what you may get in some years to come. Steve Jobs, the chief executive officer and co-founder of the company, has aptly titled the patent application as ‘Advertisement in an Operating System’. And he has listed himself as an ‘inventor’ of the application.

Jobs is credited with 133 patents — unusual for a CEO of a large company who may have other important issues to handle — of the 1,250-odd patents that Apple has been granted till date.

The current application became available for public inspection on October 22. Apple’s current patent application, drafted and filed by the attorneys at Fish & Richardson in Minneapolis explains that ‘the operating system can disable some aspect of its operation to prompt the operator to pay attention to the advertisement’.

The advertisements may include, for example, a rectangular banner ad, an audio ad, a video clip, an image file, executable code, embedded information, or any other media, content, or interactive advertisement.

The application does not appear to be restricted to computer operating systems. The patent application mentions that in some implementations where the computer device is a cellular phone or music player, the user may be prompted to press a certain button in order to confirm that he is paying attention.

In some implementations, a user may dismiss an advertisement presentation prior to completion, for example, by clicking on the advertisement (or on an unoccupied screen area outside the advertisement if the presentation occupies only a portion of the screen).

Apple is known for building a mystique around its products like the Mac, iPod and iPhone.

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Gmail’s New ‘Autoexpand’ Composition Box for iPhone

Even with the most practiced digits, composing long e-mail on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is the slow, awkward pits compared with typing on a desktop keyboard. However, Google released a small new feature on Monday just for long-winded iPhone e-mail authors that makes typing lengthy Gmail messages easier on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Before, the composition box was fixed. Starting today, verbose e-mailers will see blank lines appear below the cursor as you reach the bottom of the window. If there’s a limit to how many lines you can add in a Gmail message, we haven’t found it yet. We went crazy with the carriage return and created an estimated extra 100 lines for text without trouble. To review your message, just swipe up and down to scroll.

At this point, Gmail’s composition window won’t contract when you delete lines; expansion alone is the name of the game.

The expanding Gmail composition box is part of Google’s iterative Web project for slowly introducing new features to Gmail mobile one at a time. The composition feature is available to iPhone and iPod users who reach Gmail via Gmail.com from the Safari browser.

Source: Reviews.cnet.com

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