Fat Phones, Jailbreak Scams & One Boy’s Dream Job

It's Ken!When it comes to jailbreaking iThings I will say — with 100 percent honesty — I am fearful.

So much so that I’ve never jailbroken an iThing… Well, it’s partly fear, and partly with over 350,000 apps in the App Store it’s hard to see why I’d want to. But there’s a healthy amount of fear in there, where I’m concerned.

Not apparently with a lot of other people, and that lack of fear came close to serving them poorly last weekend.

Macworld UK says an anonymous coder released what he said was an iPad 2 jailbreak on Saturday, along with a YouTube video that appeared to show said jailbreak in action. But it doesn’t do that. In fact, it apparently doesn’t do anything, except freak people out.

The hacker MuscleNerd, a member of the iPhoneDevTeam, points out to people that “The fake (jailbreak) … was designed to fail,” adding, “It could have been worse and wrecked your files.”

The anonymous coder, who goes by the name d0nfyxn on Twitter, responded to MuscleNerd saying, “It was a test, people are too naive, long life to the dev team … sincerely.”

Macworld UK says “The code apparently was designed to run on a Microsoft Windows PC, and enough people downloaded it that MuscleNerd tweeted: ‘I’m astonished how many Windows users are rushing to run a random EXE from known [JailBreak] fraudster (malicious payload possible).”

Meanwhile d0nfyxn’s Facebook page is rife with discontent. Everything from disappointment to anger, to what seems to approach threat.

I think I’ll stay frightened.

Does this iPhone Make Me Look Fat?
So it looks like the white iPhone is NOT thicker than the black iPhone 4. Well, I mean it looks like it is, but it apparently isn’t. This according — not only — to Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, but also of Consumer Reports: Friend of iPhone 4 at least 50 percent of the time.

Reports the day after the Ghost-phone materialized said the white version of Apple’s latest phone was 0.2 millimeters thicker than the black version. There were also picture posted hither, tither, and yon that show the two devices side by side, and yes, the white one looks a wee bit thicker.

This prompted someone to send a message via Twitter to Apple Senior VP Schiller, asking what the deal was with the difference. No deal, no difference, said Schiller. Or, what are reportedly his exact words from a direct message on Twitter:

It is not thicker, don’t believe all the junk that you read.

And Consumer Reports backs him up. The product review site has pulled out the big guns -0 in the form of small calipers -0 and found that both color iPhones are the same size. Additionally it had three separate cases to try on both devices, and all combinations fit just fine.

Funny thing about Consumer Reports: They gave iPhone 4 the highest rating of any smartphone on the market last year, and said they could not recommend it because of antenna attenuation issues. So, maybe we should wait a week or so before we’re sure they’re sure about the thickness.

Can I ask a dumb questions? Well I know I can, but may I? Is it possible that some of the white iPhones are a wee bit thicker where others aren’t? Problems with or differences in the manufacturing process maybe? Something’s gotta account for the two accounts, right?

Amazon: The New Tablet Guys. Maybe
Have you guys heard that Amazon’s making a tablet? Nothing official of course, but it’s being talked about with the kind of certainty that accompanies Apple rumors these days. I’m not going to bother recounting all of the rumors since, by most accounts, we are months away at the very least. But just in case you haven’t heard: Amazon is apparently making a tablet.

We’ll see what we see when we see it.

iPhone 5, On Hold
More word this week that, no Virginia, there won’t be a new iPhone this summer.

One AT&T customer noticed that his eligibility for a subsidized phone upgrade had been pushed back by about five months. He got in touch with the Death Star, one of who’s reps reportedly told the him,

Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July timeframe, though there will be a newer version in the future. Unfortunately, we have not been given a release time for the new phone. We will release this information on our website when it is available to us.

Holes… holes… holes in story…

One: When Apple releases the next iPhone really should have nothing to do with one’s eligibility for a subsidized phone from AT&T.

Two: Right. AT&T’s rank and file are gonna be able to say no iPhone this summer?

I’m pretty convinced we won’t get a new iPhone this summer, based on other rumors and reports we’ve heard for the last few months, but this story does nothing to make me more certain.

iPad Killers, Take a Seat
Companies looking to kill the iPad may end up sitting on a lot of unsold iPad killers.

DigiTimes says tablet makers besides Apple are “at high risk of facing excess tablet PC inventory in the second half of 2011,” as everyone and his brother try their hand at the space.

Unnamed market watchers pointed out to Digi that there will be more than ten companies competing to sell tablets, while those same market watchers are only expecting about 20 million tablets to be sold.

I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing here. 20 million tablets in 2011 sounds a bit low to me. At the same time, I saw a headline recently — can’t remember where — that argued that there is no explosion in demand for tablets right now; there’s an explosion for demand for iPads.

Either way, the watchers DigiTimes was watching say there are already too many tablets muddying the water now. They expect at least a few of them to start phasing themselves out of the tablet space by the fourth quarter of this year.

Rinse, Spin, Software Upgrade Cycle
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty got to meet with a few Apple execs at their Cupertino-clubhouse recently… and boy was she impressed. Fortune says the analyst left the meeting with increasing confidence in her price target for Apple shares of 5-hundred-40-dollars.

I’m sorry… was she just guessing before?

Hangin’ with the Hube were CFO Peter “The Payday” Oppenheimer, Ron “The Retailer” Johnson, guy behind Apple’s retail empire, and Eddy The Tunes” Cue, Apple’s man for Internet services. I reduce them all to a scene from Goodfellas.

What secrets did Payday, The Retailer, and Eddy “The Tunes” impart? None. They wouldn’t talk timeframe for the next iPhone.

In fact, the piece says they painted with a pretty broad brush, alluding to expanding the iPhone’s reach from today’s 90 countries and 185 carriers to more at some point. Building more and bigger stores, maybe as many as many as 50 a year, and “following a product cycle that’s driven more by software than hardware.”

They apparently paint well no matter how big the brush. While the execs didn’t talk about these specifically, Huberty’s stoked about a few future possibilities including an “LTE iPhone upgrade cycle and lower priced 3G iPhone in 2012,” an increasing tablet market and Apple’s long-term dominance of it, more and bigger moves into China, and the “Potential for Apple to enter the Smart TV market in 2012” or 2013.

I’ve gotta say that whole, “following a product cycle that’s driven more by software than hardware,” is pretty interesting. New operating systems, for computers as well as smartphones and tablets, can practically make an old device new by adding features — provided, of course, that that old device is able to handle the new operating system hotness.

The Dream Job
And finally this week, a story that — seriously — nearly made me cry the first time I read it.

Geekwire has the story of Owain Weinert, a nine-year-old boy with pre-B Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Owain is part of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which basically grants wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses.

Wishes I spotted on the foundation’s site included things like, “I wish to meet Michael Jordan,” “I wish to meet Ringo Starr,” “I wish to go on a Disney Cruise,” and there’s nothing wrong with any of those.

But none of those make me want to cry. Owain Weinert did.

Quoting Geekwire: Weinert simply wanted to learn from the masterminds behind Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. As part of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the fourth grader at Loyal Heights Elementary School got a unique opportunity to develop his very own Apple iOS game with help from the experts at PopCap Games.

Weinert spent “several weeks working with PopCap developers to create a third-person shooter game called Allied Star Police.”

From the game’s description:

Players assume the role of the base commander, rapidly deploying a variety of automated battle machines and targeted ballistic ordinance to thwart the invading alien “Flamion” forces. The game name, theme, unit and faction names are all products of the incredibly talented and energetic Lead Designer, Owain. The gameplay and pacing are in turn specially crafted for him so that he can literally get lost in his very own world.

Still screws me up a tiny bit.

The game will hit the app store in the coming months, proceeds will go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. And I wish I could go ahead and buy it now.