Shocking News from Apple: Earbuds will Zap You, Apps Contain Easter Eggs, OS 3.0 Detailed Spec
Article by George Norman
On 20 May 2009
Following yesterday’s news about Apple Store staff not looking kindly at devices running on iPhone OS 3.0 that experience hardware issues (details here), we have more shocking news about the Cupertino-based company’s hardware – and when I say shocking I mean that in the literal sense of the word. Apple has issued a support document in which it states users may get an electric shock from the iPod or iPhone’s earbuds.

According to Apple’s support document (view in full here ), “It's possible to receive a small and quick electrical (static) shock from your earbuds while listening to iPod or iPhone.” This happens because static electricity builds up in areas where the air is very dry; consequently, the energy that builds up will be discharged through the headphones and you will get a static shock. This is not an indication that the iPod, iPhone or the earbuds are defective, Apple stated, noting that it is a common problem with other hardware as well, not just Apple’s products.

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“This condition is very similar to dragging your feet across a carpet and receiving a static shock by touching a door knob. However, instead of the static charge building up on your body, the charge builds up on the device that the earbuds are connected to. Likewise, instead of the static buildup discharging through your finger when you touch a door knob, it discharges through the earbuds,” explains Apple.

The next piece of news is a bit more electrifying (pun was intentional) – it seems that app developers can bypass the App Store’s approval system by inserting Easter Eggs into their apps. The simple truth of the matter is that the App Store has rules; you cannot for example expect some types of “offensive” apps to be admitted, but non-offensive apps will get right through. But if that app contains an Easter egg, with a simple gesture or a secret code the aforementioned app will become a treasure cove of offensive material.

This is precisely what happened with an iPhone app called “Lyrics” developed by Jelle Prins that, as the name so adequately points out, provides the user with lyrics to some of the most popular songs out there. Initially the App Store approval team denied the app on the grounds that it contains offensive content (the lyrics included profanity); once the profanity was removed by the app’s developers, it was granted access to the App Store. Here’s the kicker: the app contains an Easter egg that allows the user to unlock the offensive content (the profanity); and it is as simple as going to the About page and swiping down three times.

Jelle Prins comments: “It’s almost impossible for Apple to see if there’s an Easter egg because they can’t really see the source code. In theory a developer could make a simple Easter egg in their app and provide a user with whatever content they want.”

Even though this is a viable method of bypassing Apple’s sometimes strict approval process , one has to wonder: Is this a means of delivering other things to iPhone users? “Things” like malware for example? And, as TiPB’s Rene Ritchie points out, will this mean that in the future the approval team will take even more time approving submitted apps because they will start looking at the code base? On the other hand, Apple may just rely on the upcoming parental controls in the iPhone OS 3.0 to restrict access to “offensive” apps.

Here is the last piece of news to electrify your day (pun, again, intentional). The Apple iPhone Apps web page claims to have gained access to the detailed iPhone OS 3.0 specs from a “source who is closely connected to Apple’s hardware development team”. The specs, which we’ve reproduced below, are accompanied by what the “inside source” claims to be the official release date of the operating system: the 17th of July.

Apple iPhone OS 3.0’s specs, as reported by the Apple iPhone Apps web page, are:
“- 32GB and 16GB to replace current capacities
- $199 and $299 price-points to be maintained
- 3.2 Megapixel camera
- Video recording & editing capabilities
- Ability to send a picture & video via MMS
- Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device
- OLED screen
- 1.5X The battery life
- Double the RAM and processing power
- Built-in FM transmitter
- Apple logo on the back to light up
- Rubber-tread backing
- Sleeker design
- Built-in compass
- Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps to identify photo and inform about photo locations.
- Turn by turn directions.”



Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod, Earbuds, Easter egg, iPhone OS 3.0, App Store
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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