In brief: Spike Lee helps auctions an iPhone for charity, the mayor of Philadelphia buys one for himself, iStyles releases its first skins, and David Pogue previews "the missing manual." The charitable foundation Keep A Child Alive has posted an eBay auction for the first iPhone from Apple's SoHo store. Bought by director Spike Lee ("Do the Right Thing," "25th Hour"), the package also includes two Jawbone Bluetooth headsets, and two round-trip tickets for the domestic United States. All of the proceeds will go back to the charity, which pays for the anti-retroviral drugs given to AIDS children in Africa.
Smith Micro Software has announced the release of the first Mac version of Morpheus Photo Animation Suite. The program allows users to apply moving effects to still images, such as mixing bodyparts, morphing between one image and another, or warping portions of an image to exaggerate them. The complete results can be exported to Flash, QuickTime and animated GIF videos, or dissected and saved to still formats such as JPEG, PNG and TIFF. The layouts can be exported to XML, and a sample HTML page can be generated for each clip. Photo Animation Suite is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Apple's in-home activation strategy failed for many customers (login required), including early customers who tried to activate their account or transfer numbers from another carrier. Before using an iPhone, users are required to download iTunes 7.3 and connect their iPhone to the computer, but in some cases, customers were not able to activate their phones. Customer representatives said that the cause was due to the high number simultaneous activations, but the online activation process -- a first for the industry -- appears to have marred the "I want the smile" experience for which Apple and AT&T were hoping. In many cases, customers were greeted with the message "your activation requires additional time to complete" and were told that AT&T would send an e-mail message when complete, leaving many with a $500-600 "slick" paperweight (at least until activated).
In addition to our disassembly photos and our initial unboxing photos, a MacNN forum moderator has posted his first impressions of the iPhone along with his in-line experience, unboxing photos and the activation process.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R