A pair of mobile forensic researchers who independently identified a location tracking system on the iPhone 4 several months before it was publicized earlier this week say that law enforcement agencies are currently using data from a hidden iOS file called "consolidated.db" in criminal investigations.
Evidence from the location tracking database stored on iPhones "has been used in actual criminal investigations and yes, it's led to convictions," said Alex Levinson, a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher and technical lead for iOS forensics consultant Katana Forensics.
But Levinson and Christopher Vance, a Marshall University digital forensics specialist, also contend that Apple probably included the technology in its iOS operating system to deliver location-based services like iAds rather than to create dossiers on the whereabouts of iPhone users.
A great deal of buzz has surrounded a Wednesday O'Reilly Radar blog post by researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan that highlighted a hidden file on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad which includes latitude-longitude coordinates and a timestamp to track where such devices have been geographically and when.
But Warden and Allan apparently weren't the first to discover the file.
This will be the second LTE phone on Verizon's network, following the HTC Thunderbolt. The Droid Charge will be running Android 2.2 and powered by a 1-GHz processor. It will feature a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, as well as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for photos and video chatting.
The Droid Charge's Web browser will support Adobe Flash, and the phone will come loaded with Samsung Media Hub, which features movies and televisions shows to rent or buy.
Verizon claims that users can expect download speeds of 5 – 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 – 5 Mbps when connected to the 4G LTE network. The Droid Charge will also feature a mobile hotspot mode that allows up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to tap into those 4G speeds, or up to five devices to connect when on the 3G network. Even better, Verizon is including the mobile hotspot feature at no additional cost for a limited time.
The Droid Charge will be available in Verizon stores and online for $299.99 with a new two-year contract. Verizon is also offering a $25 credit to the Samsung Media Hub for users purchasing the phone.
Gear Live has tested a number of devices on Verizon's 4G LTE network, and it is indeed fast. We will soon be testing the Droid Charge and will post a full review.
Verizon said Thursday that it sold 2.2 million iPhones in its first two weeks and sold out of the iPad 2 in early March.
Verizon also sold 260,000 HTC Thunderbolt devices, the first smartphone for its 4G LTE network, and another 250,000 4G LTE Internet devices, Fran Shammo, president and CEO of Verizon Telecom and Business, said during a Thursday earnings call.
About 22 percent of iPhone activations were for people new to Verizon Wireless, while 78 percent were existing Verizon customers who upgraded.
Overall, 60 percent of phones sold during the quarter were smartphones, up from 36 percent last year. About 65 percent of those were new to the smartphone category, meaning they upgraded from a feature or multimedia phone or were new to Verizon. Overall, 32 percent of Verizon Wireless's retail post-paid customers are now using smartphones, up from 28 percent last quarter.
AT&T has revealed its first-quarter earnings, and things certainly smell like they're coming up roses for the carrier. That's probably expected considering it's destined to soon become the nation's largest wireless provider thanks to its recent move to acquire T-Mobile. But there was one part of the company's results that was a bit surprising: the debut of the Verizon iPhone appeared to have little effect on AT&T's iPhone subscriber base. Were there really that few people switching when AT&T finally lost its exclusive grip on the device?
AT&T said it activated 3.6 million iPhones last quarter, the first quarter the Verizon iPhone was available. It also said iPhone subscriber "churn," or the number of iPhone owners ditching AT&T for another carrier, was unchanged from the same period last year. During a call this morning, company executives said the impact was, "significantly less than many in the financial community and the media expected and, frankly, they were less than we expected."
After a close look at the numbers, an X factor becomes apparent: the iPhone 3GS. In January, AT&T reduced the price of the 8GB iPhone 3GS from $99 to $49, and it's been pushing the discounted phone hard. The 3GS is a very capable smartphone and looks extremely cheap next to the iPhone 4, which starts at about $200 on both Verizon and AT&T. Of course, Verizon doesn't offer the iPhone 3GS, so any iPhone cravers not willing to pony up a couple of C notes will be going to the AT&T store (or eBay where you can get them cheap without contract.)
Looks like Reuters is the latest to add to the tally of iPhone 5 rumors. Citing three anonymous sources "with direct knowledge of the company's supply chain," Reuters claims Apple's fifth-generation iPhone will have a faster processor, and begin shipping in September.
Reuters' report is the latest in a series of rumors about the release date of Apple's next iPhone. Most rumors about the fifth-generation iPhone have focused on when the official announcement and launch date will be, which may face delays caused by the Japanese crisis.
In case you haven't been paying close attention, here's every what various sources have reported about fifth-generation iPhone in the last few months:
Samsung may be developing phones that run so fast, they'll leave today's most cutting-edge dual-core phones in the dust. The company apparently has dual-core 2GHz smartphones in the works, which would theoretically be capable of 4GHz speeds, says Korea's Maeli Business Newspaper.
"We are planning to release a 2GHz dual-core CPU-equipped smartphone by next year," the paper reports a "high-ranking official" from Samsung said. "This product will have the data processing capacities of a regular PC."
The report comes as dual-core 1GHz phones such as the Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X, which was the world's first dual-core phone, are just beginning to become available. A phone running with two 2GHz chips would technically be capable of running at speeds up to 4GHz, though real-world tests almost never match specs.
The HTC Thunderbolt is the world's first 4G LTE smartphone. It's available on Verizon Wireless in the US, and also acts as a 4G mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to the 4G signal. It ships with Android 2.2, sports a 4.3-inch display, and even has a kickstand around back. In this video we give you a look at the Thunderbolt, perform a speed test, and also do a speed test comparison with an iPhone 4 on AT&T.
As you'll see, the device is ridiculously fast, especially when compared against an AT&T 3G smartphone like the iPhone 4. The screen looks great, and the phone feels good in your hand. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, this is definitely one to consider, as long as you have a charger in the car and/or at the office, as this thing will eat through a battery like it's nothing. Check the video for the full scoop.
Perhaps having exhausted all the iPhone 5 rumors, it's back to the fabled white iPhone. Reuters reports that Apple suppliers have started production on white iPhones, which could be available within a month.
Apple has not yet made any annoucements; Reuters cited people familiar with the situation. Foxconn's Hon Hai Industry Co. would assemble the devices, the report said.
Chatter about the white iPhone 4 got reignited last month after Apple released the white iPad 2, with no iPhone version in site. Phil Schiller, senior vice president for worldwide marketing at Apple, later tweeted that the white iPhone would be available soon.
"Hi Eric. The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!)," Schiller said in response to a follower's question about where he could get the white iPhone.
Speculation is growing that Apple won't release the iPhone 5 this summer as expected. In fact, according to a Digitimes report, Apple hasn't even released a production roadmap to component suppliers yet.
Citing "sources at Taiwan-based touch panel makers," Digitimes said part of the reason Apple isn't releasing a next-generation phone is because demand for the iPhone 4 has been consistently strong. Parts shipments have also remained constant, and Apple hasn't given manufacturers a timeframe for when production of the iPhone 4 will wind down.
Apple could release a slightly modified version of the iPhone that isn't a full update, as it did with the iPhone 3GS about two years ago. It's likely that Apple wants to continue riding the momentum of its hugely popular iPhone 4 smartphone, especially as Google's Android platform gains ground. However, the company could skip releasing any kind of phone at all. The rumors, at least, suggest it's highly possible.
HTC's beautiful new smartphone for T-Mobile, the HTC Sensation 4G, has a great-looking case, a super-sharp screen, a dual-core processor, and the latest version of Android, dressed up with some terrific HTC enhancements. It's all enough that you can overlook the one big thing it doesn't have: 4G.
As we mentioned earlier, the Sensation is HTC's follow-up to the excellent MyTouch 4G, and it looks like a more professional model than the somewhat cute-and-cuddly MyTouch. It's a gray slab phone with a gray, cosmetic stripe up the middle of the back. The Sensation is comfortable to hold, and it's similar in size to Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt, although it's thinner.
All of the Sensation's specs have been boosted from the previous model, except one. The phone has a super-sharp, super 4.3-inch 960-by-540 LCD screen and a Qualcomm dual-core 1.2-Ghz Snapdragon processor. It runs Android Gingerbread 2.4, and has an 8-megapixel camera on the back capable of recording 1920-by-1080 video at 30 frames per second. There's a VGA front-facing camera for video chat, an HDMI output port, 1GB of built-in storage along with a MicroSD card slot, and a very strong 1520 mAh battery keeping it all running. It will be very interesting to compare this to the somewhat similar LG G2x, another high-end, dual-core Android phone arriving on T-Mobile soon.