Home / News / Mobile Phone News / Apple Unleashes 'iFrame', iPhone FM Tuner & Phones4U

Apple Unleashes 'iFrame', iPhone FM Tuner & Phones4U

Gordon Kelly


Apple Unleashes 'iFrame', iPhone FM Tuner & Phones4U

Something of an Apple-orientated round-up here, so hold on tight.

First up Apple has offered up a new video format. Yes, we don't need another one, yes all we wish is Apple would bring native AVI support to the iPhone and iPod lines, but instead we have 'iFrame'.

iFrame offers "improved compatibility with camcorders using the iFrame video format" - err great and comes as part of an iMovie '09 update Apple pushed out this week. It is based on H.264 and AAC has boasts a standard resolution of 960 x 540. Of course the big question is which camcorders are "using the iFrame video format"? Just two so far: the Sanyo VPC-HD2000A and VPC-FH1A. Whether others will hop aboard is unknown, but I rather hope they don't. Life is complicated enough. Thanks Apple...

In related news 9to5Mac claims Apple is planning a software update which will re-enable the FM tuner bizarrely crippled in iPhones and iPod touches. Whether this brings iPod nano-style song tagging (to buy in iTunes) is unknown, but would seem likely and while there are many excellent Internet radio apps for iPhone OS it would be nice to have something that could run in the background like many core Apple functions can. Never one to miss a revenue stream.

Speaking of which, O2 and Orange have announced they will expand sales of the iPhone 3GS to Phones4U in addition to current partner the Carphone Warehouse. Quite how the other new iPhone UK network Vodafone will react to this we don't know, but probably by doing the same. At this rate we'll be seeing iPhones in cabinets at Burger King.


iFrame Apple support page

via 9to5Mac



October 14, 2009, 6:35 am

yey I've wanted apple to enable the hardware in their devices for ages then give us the choice whether to use it or not, now lets get that FM transmitter and wifi N enabled too


October 14, 2009, 7:50 am

iFrame! Pff - gave me a heart attack for a second there!


October 14, 2009, 10:21 am

ipod touch users will probably have to pay. never understood why apple added functions to the ipod touch, disabled them, then charged users to pay more for a software patch that unlocks that feature.


October 14, 2009, 1:15 pm

I'm guessing the new iFrame video format uses intraframe compression which would probably explain why it's only 960x540 @30fps. This would definitely be a good thing for movie editing as it preserves the recorded quality of each frame. This is not the case when editing formats based on interframe compression like AVCHD. There is AVC-Intra but bitrates are huge!


October 14, 2009, 1:53 pm

Quick, watch all the fanboys swoon in adoration as if they've re-invented the wheel again by giving functionality present in every other (notable) phone for the last 5 years.

You know what? Apple are actually becoming predictable and boring and losing sight of things. Apart from coming up with the friendliest touch interface a couple of years ago, they're done nothing to innovate (and if anyone suggest they invented "apps", I'll shove their head down a toilet).


October 14, 2009, 4:54 pm


I do agree with you mostly. After making a big leap with the iPhone Apple have pretty much stood still. They definitely didn't invent apps but the App store was another big innovation. Since moving from WM to Android I really do appreciate how I don't have to hunt down CAB files any more but simply go to the market and download what I need all from one place. So much easier and more convenient.

In general I do think that their lock down atitude is the enemy of (non-Steve sanctioned) innovation.


October 14, 2009, 5:30 pm

@drdark: Yeah, that's right, when they implemented Cut'n'Paste thousands of fanboys all claimed that Apple invented it. In fact didn't Apple invent the mobile phone and oxygen?. Anyway, not sure why Apple enabling FM would get Apple haters so upset, but then that is something else that's very predictable. "Oh look, Apple story what's the bet's drdark will be preparing some pointless stab at Apple".


October 14, 2009, 6:11 pm


"what's the bet's"? That's new to me; Ta.

Oh, and a pointless stab wouldn't do much damage. I prefer a sharpened tip.


October 14, 2009, 6:40 pm

I love the reality distortion field that surrounds people who think that a reality distortion field surrounds anyone that speaks favourably of Apple products...

Apple didn't invent the App store. They didn't invent the touch screen phone, they didn't invent portable music players (nor did Sony), and they didn't invent most of what they produce. Invention and innovation aren't the same thing. They innovated each of the above, and in doing so caused innovation in the respective market.

Cut'n'paste wasn't even innovative, no level headed person would have claimed as much. It was just a great relief to have it on our phones at last!

@Keith - I think you'll find *I'm* more predictable than DrDark. He (I assume) just gets here before me :)

"After making a big leap with the iPhone Apple have pretty much stood still" What exactly are you after? They've made big improvements with the OS - whether that be adding new features, filling in gaping holes, or enhancing an SDK that is unmatched on any other mobile platform. If they made it look wildly different (the standard way of a manufacturer "refreshing" their phone range) then people would be up in arms because they had to buy a new case to accommodate it. They could up the spec... Oh, wait, they have done yearly so far. Or is their cycle just not often enough. They could possibly release a phone every 3 months but then they'd be accused of screwing over people that purchased the last one.

Oliver Levett

October 14, 2009, 7:06 pm

@Cub: can you please explain what features the iPhone SDK has over any other mobile OS SDK? Apart from you need to buy a Mac to use it, and can only release applications via the marketplace.


October 14, 2009, 7:59 pm


Surprisingly, I /can/ actually think of one feature which does make it friendlier to new developers:

If all you do is create an app that makes fart noises, it'll still pass the approval process.


October 14, 2009, 9:51 pm

@Oliver - It's not so much about nit-picking individual features of the SDK, it's the package as a whole (dev tools, APIs, debuggers, App Store, and all). Surely the number of people that have never developed software before that have become developers (whether their only app is a fart app or not) speaks volumes to that...

There's no denying that Apple have sold computers through this, but to port their development suite to Windows would be an immense project, and it may well be something that they're working on - people complain enough about iTunes on Windows, and that's a tiny app in comparison! I can't speak for the latest versions, but in the past to develop Flash based things, you needed to shell out £400-£500 (you can get a Mac for that) on a piece of software. To develop for the PSP you have to spend thousands on license fees, development kits, hardware. Why is Apple the only company to get a hard time over this?


October 14, 2009, 9:56 pm

man oh man when do i start with this one? talk about being handed to it on a plate. itll probably extend to over 50 comments and have the feeling of attempting to flush out moles from a field. sod it

Oliver Levett

October 14, 2009, 10:13 pm

That's the IDE rather than the SDK, and as far as I know, the VS2008 SDK is pretty much unmatched in terms of support, APIs, debuggers etc, and supports whatever level of programming your up to from Drag'n'drop VB up to fully blown C++ OpenGLES UIs.

Before developing software for WM, I'd never touched code. I started with VB .Net which gets what you want done very very quickly, and I've now progressed to writing applications with more than a fart noise in them, which apparently most of the people that write for the iPhone haven't.

For WM, you don't even need to buy VS at all, there are free and open source C compilers, free VB and C# compilers, and even some things like BASIC/other programming languages. You can also develop on whatever platform you feel like, with Linux and even Mac users getting the chance to develop. It's clear then, that ARM compilers that run on Macs can be run on Windows or Linux machines, so why must Apple lock down the Objective C ARM compiler for Mac only? iTunes is crap on Macs, not just PCs so that's not a great comparison either.

The PSP is a far more locked down platform, and you know those homebrew applications? I don't see anyone shelling out thousands on license fees.

Also, do you remember the bit in the original SDK EULA that said something along the lines of: you're not allowed to publish tutorials, sample code or anything that might be vaguely useful to new developers?


October 15, 2009, 4:25 pm

Apologies for my misuse of terminology, I'm not an application developer so wasn't aware of the differences in acronyms. Obviously, on this matter, I'm only looking in from the outside. I know a couple of people that are developing apps for the iPhone but I'm not interested in doing so myself.

All fair points you make, Oliver. But I still don't believe that if I had an App I wanted to make, that it it wouldn't be easier to develop, distribute, and update for mobile OS X. With Visual studio do I have easy access to the APIs for the devices accelerometer or GPS hardware? Can I easily add chargeable, downloadable content? If I want to make two devices running the app communicate, can I do so with just a few lines of code?

Then more importantly, do I know what devices my customers are going to be using? The hardware available? The resolution required? Do I have hundreds of thousands of potential customers ready and willing with the right device and easy access to means of downloading my shiny new app. When I need to update my application, can it be done, by myself and by the user, without barely thinking about the process or them having to manually check?

Have you developed for the iPhone yet? You obviously know your stuff with development, certainly on the Windows side of things, but do you know both sides?

By homebrew applications, do you mean people that have hacked their PSPs?


October 15, 2009, 4:43 pm

Oh yes, and "iTunes is crap on Macs" is your opinion, by no means fact. I've been using it since version 2, have a huge library of music and videos, and have never had a problem with it. I've used other applications, and none have bettered iTunes.


October 15, 2009, 5:39 pm

Sorry to be posting so many messages on here without awaiting a reply to my last, but I've just been doing a bit of googling for WinMo apps and thought I should report back... Handango, always a favourite of mine to discover new titles back in my Palm Treo days...

SPB Weather 2 - $19.95

Resco Keyboard (a replacement for the standard keyboard!) - $19.95!

HiCalc - (do be considerate of the fact that this is at a special 50% off deal) - $12.95

Generic Tower defence game - $14.99

Sudoku - $19.95... No, seriously, here's the link - http://www.handango.com/cat... - it really is $19.95 for a Sudoku game

Lance Uppercut

October 17, 2009, 3:58 pm

Have I read this right that iPhones have FM radio receivers in them that aren't switched on? I would love to be able to receive FM radio on my 2G iPhone - why would Apple not have it switched on by default?


October 19, 2009, 6:01 pm

@drdark: Did you have a point to make there?.

@Lance: Because just enabling a bit of hardware doesn't automatically make the software to go with it. It's like installing a new piece of kit in windows, without the Software/Drivers part your not going to get anything useful from it. Believe it of not it can take some time to develop software, some people seem to think it's a double-click here and a double-click there and heh presto you're done. Now considering Apple had never created a phone before the Iphone, they wouldn't have a library of code to use to apply this either, so the people who claim that Nokia would have had the FM radio from the start forget that Nokia have been in this game since the dawn of time (a massive library of code they can instantly re-use). Now taking into account there is only 24hrs in a day, and so much of that development time, Apple would have had to priorities the development, and I assume there were far more important things to concentrate on than a FM receiver.

comments powered by Disqus