The iOS Central blog is no more. But don’t worry—all of our great iPhone and iPad content remains a part of Macworld.
Instead of putting our iPhone-focused coverage in a single blog, we’ve moved it to our iOS Channel. You’ll find iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad news and how-tos along with reviews of device accessories and mobile apps. Get all of our iOS stories in our iOS Channel news feed.
With the iPhone 4S debuting this week, a number of new cases are hitting the market, and we at Macworld are, as always, on hand to report on them in our weekly iPhone case roundup.
But first, a public-service announcement: In case you've been wondering if existing iPhone 4 cases will fit the iPhone 4, the answer is a firm probably. You may recall that when the Verizon (CDMA) version of the iPhone 4 was released, we noted minor differences in the layout of the phone's Ring/Silent switch. Specifically, on a Verizon iPhone 4, the switch is closer to the bottom of the phone. As a result, some cases made for the AT&T iPhone 4 that have a precision-cut opening for the Ring/Silent switch block that switch on the Verizon iPhone. Well, when it comes to case fit, the iPhone 4S is identical to the Verizon iPhone 4, including the location of the Ring/Silent switch. So any iPhone 4 case designed to fit the Verizon iPhone 4 or both the GSM and CDMA versions of the phone should fit the iPhone 4S fine. See, there's a benefit to Apple keeping the iPhone 4's overall design!
With that out of the way, let's take a look at what's new this week.
One of the most interesting wrinkles in the iPhone 4S—which I review at length elsewhere—is its status as a “world phone.” Unlike previous generations, it supports both CDMA (Verizon, Sprint) and GSM (AT&T, the rest of the world) wireless technology right out of the box. But there are some interesting quirks to this product that may please savvy international travelers.
When Apple released the Verizon iPhone 4 in February, the iPhone 4's product line got a little more complicated. Because Verizon’s network in the U.S. uses a different wireless standard (CDMA) than AT&T does (GSM), Apple had to build different chipsets for each network, and thus, different phones. But the iPhone 4S changes all that: It can access either the CDMA or GSM network, depending on which carrier you sign up for.
For consumers on CDMA networks, this new phone design is a big deal when it comes to international travel. Users of iPhones locked to AT&T have always been able to travel internationally, as GSM is a cellular standard supported all over the world. It uses SIM cards (or, in the iPhone's case, micro-SIM cards) to talk to networks. When it came to the Verizon iPhone 4, however, users couldn’t travel internationally very reliably with their device, since it required a built-in device identification number on the CDMA network, which isn’t that widely used outside of North America and parts of Asia.
The iPhone 4S is here, and with it the inevitable barrage of new cases. Of course, if you've been watching closely, you know that the 4S looks...well, pretty much like the iPhone 4. And that's great news for people who want to upgrade while still using their existing accessories, as well as for those who plan to hang on to the iPhone 4 for a while and want to take advantage of new accessories. In either case, vendors were quick to contact Macworld to let us know about their new products for protecting our favorite handset.
Ballistic: The Universal Sports Rugged Pouch ($30) features tough construction designed to withstand an active lifestyle and the inevitable accidents that come with it. Made of a durable, black material, it features a durable belt clip, an easy-to-open Velcro flap, and the company's exclusive Soundvent opening that channels the phone's sound through the case for maximum output.
Samsung Electronics is greeting the new iPhone 4S with more legal action. The company plans to file preliminary injunction motions in Milan, Italy and in Paris, asking the courts there to block sales of the iPhone 4S, Samsung said on Wednesday.
The iPhone 4S was only announced on Tuesday, and Samsung’s lawsuits could derail plans for it to go on sale on October 14 in France and on October 28 in Italy.
This week's roundup of iOS accessories brings to mind just one word: SOO-EY! Here are a few of the new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch add-ons—porcine and non-porcine—that caught our eye. There's even a new Apple-branded accessory for our European friends.
Apple: Yes, Apple. It was over two years ago that the company agreed to a standard mobile-phone charging interface based on the Micro-B USB connector. At the time, tech pundits wondered how Apple would comply without giving up its proprietary—and much more-functional—30-pin dock-connector port. The answer appeared Tuesday on Apple's UK online store: the Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter. Available on October 14—iOS 5 and iPhone 4S day, for those of us here in the U.S.—for £8, the tiny adapter plugs into the iPhone's dock-connector port and offers up a Micro-B USB port for charging and syncing. According to Apple's site, the adapter works only with the iPhone 3G or later, and it's compatible only with "micro USB chargers in certain regions that comply with applicable mobile phone charger interoperability standards." What's not clear is whether the adapter also passes audio, remote-control signals, and other data to and from the USB cable. (Hat tip to TUAW.)