Apple iOS 4

iPhone 4 launch day came and went and Number Four has taken over. Today, as the dust settles, we hope to move away from the hype and take a clear-headed look at what’s new in the iOS4. No, this isn’t a full-featured iPhone 4 review, nor is it intended to introduce you to the OS basics.

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Apple iOS 4

Instead we’ll stick to the new stuff. And Apple promised lots of that: multitasking, homescreen wallpapers, a revamped email app, and more. Here is our brief scoop on all the new stuff and all that’s still missing.

What’s new:

  • Homescreen wallpapers
  • Folder organization of the homescreen icons
  • Multitasking and fast app switching
  • Google/Wikipedia search in Spotlight
  • Bluetooth keyboard pairing support
  • SMS character counter
  • SMS search
  • Email threading
  • Unified Email inbox
  • Email archiving is now available when you setup Gmail
  • Spell checker
  • iPod music player can now create, edit and delete playlists
  • 5x digital zoom in still camera
  • Touch-focus in video capture (for video enabled iPhones)
  • Keyboard layouts span over QWERTY, QWERTZ, and AZERTY
  • Minor icon design facelifts
  • Video call support (only in iPhone 4 and only over Wi-Fi)
  • iBooks e-book and PDF reader

What’s still missing:

  • No Flash support in the web browser
  • No true multitasking for all applications
  • iOS4 for iPhone 3G has limited new feature set
  • Poor performance on iPhone 3G
  • No quick toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 3G
  • No social networking integration
  • No info widgets on lockscreen or homescreen
  • SMS tones are still not customizable
  • No mass mark emails as read
  • No proper file browser or access to the file system
  • No USB mass storage mode
  • No vibration feedback when touching the screen
  • No Bluetooth file transfers to other mobile phones
  • Contacts lack a swipe-to-delete or mass delete feature
  • No SMS/MMS delivery notifications
  • No smart dialing (but Spotlight is a somewhat of a substitute)
  • No DivX or XviD video support and no official third-party application to play that
  • The whole iPhone is too dependent on iTunes – you cannot add the same type of content (video, photos, apps) to the phone from two computers, a regular file management interface would have been much better

With the iPhone it’s never about what the phone can or cannot do. The iOS 4 however seems finally determined to catch up with most of the today’s smartphones. You’re not to expect miracles though – such as a file browser, USB mass storage mode, web Flash support, and other stuff that seems irrelevant to Apple.

Anyway, we’ve tested iOS 4 on both an iPhone 3GS and a 3G. It’s worth noting that a lot of the new features aren’t available on the now discontinued iPhone 3G. Worse yet, the iOS 4 is heartbreakingly slow on the 3G. We somehow feel though that the average iPhone user is way more likely to go straight to Number Four than bother install the latest OS on an older device. Or at least that’s what Apple would prefer.

Blacklisted Phones

What is it all about?

A phone may be blacklisted (or barred) for many different reasons, but the most common reason is that it has been reported either lost or stolen! Mobile Service Providers in Pakistan have the facility to blacklist a handset.

If you are unfortunate enough to either lose or even worse have your phone stolen you should report it to your service provider (your network) immediately! Your service provider can then blacklist the handset so that it can no longer be used to make or receive any calls. The networks do this by adding your phones serial number onto a national blacklist database (CPLC). Effectively the handset becomes absolutely useless and the thief is in possession of a pretty paper weight! 🙂

So How does blacklisting Work?

Every mobile phone has a unique serial number. This serial number is called the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity). It can normally be found underneath the phones battery and it is 15 digits long.

Now each time you switch your phone on or attempt to make a call the network systems check the IMEI number of the handset you are using. At this point the IMEI number of your handset is cross referenced with the CPLC. If the IMEI number of your handset is on the CPLC then the network will either:

1) Refuse to send a signal to your phone (No signal strength at all)

2) Or will supply a signal but will not allow any outgoing or
incoming calls.

If your IMEI number is on the CPLC your handset is blacklisted and therefore useless. By spreading the word that “stolen handsets will not work” it is hoped that street crime can be reduced!

How to check if your phone is blacklisted?


If you place an active SIM into a blacklisted handset you phone will not show any signal strength at all! If the handset is a Nokia then a “SIM card registration failed” message will also be displayed. If your handset is an Ericsson then an “Invalid Mobile” message will be displayed. For most other manufacturers the handset will simply show no signal!

How Do Criminals Get Around The Blacklisting Scheme?

So now that handsets are blacklisted on all networks what do the criminals do to get around this? They find ways to change handset IMEI numbers! Never the less it is possible to change IMEI numbers on certain handsets. So if an individual obtains a blacklisted handset, they can change the IMEI number and the handset will then work again!!

In my opinion the responsibility now lies with the handset manufactures. They need to make it as difficult as possible to change IMEI numbers. To be fair some manufactures are doing their bit (but some are not!). For example Nokia’s older DCT 3 range of handsets have been well and truly cracked. Anyone that searches the Internet for a short period of time would be able to find an IMEI change solution. BUT Nokia’s new DCT4 range of handsets remains un beaten with regards to changing the IMEI. This is largely down to the type of memory used to store the IMEI number. Nokia have chosen to use OTP (one time programmable) memory, which by its very name indicates that data cant be over written. (unless you change the UEM/memory chip – technically this is out of the realms of most criminals!)

The criminals do have an alternative to changing IMEI’s, and this is to send the barred handsets overseas!  A mobile phone that is blacklisted in some other country may work in Pakistan and vice versa.

The solution to this exporting problem is simple. Rather than a national database the mobile industry is now looking to build an international database. If/when this is introduced blacklisted handsets will not work anywhere in the world! (The international database idea sounds good! But it does have obstacles to overcome, as many African networks claim that it would be too expensive to upgrade their equipment to support such a system)

IMEI CHANGERS

A little time on Google and i found many IMEI changers free of cost, though i never tried any because i didn’t have any cable or an old phone to play with. I have  a few friends who work in Saddar Mobile Market, when i inquired them about blacklisted phones, i was amazed , they already knew about such stuff and are themselves repairing blacklisted phones. For a Nokia N95, they were charging Rs. 1500. I’m still searching the internet, may be i might find something that may help us recognize such phones.

How To Block Your Stolen Phone?

To block your mobile phone call at 021-5682222, 6583334 to CPLC (Citizen Police Liaison Committee) or to 15, you can also call directly to PTA at the following number 0800-25625. They will get some basic info and the IMEI number of your lost mobile set. They will register IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) of your cell phone and will request all the mobile operators to block this IMEI on their networks. You can also fax your complaint to CPLC at 021-5683336 or can send an email to PTA at imei@pta.gov.pk or visit the site which is http://www.cplc.org.pk.