After a series of updates that brought fullscreen video calling with “dynamic quality” and cheap calls to landline and mobile phones, the latest version of video calling + IM service fring for iPhone, released earlier this week, allows users to switch between the rear and front-facing cameras. Like in Apple’s FaceTime, you can switch cameras with the tap of a button and show your friend on the other end what’s around you and what are you looking at.
Another new feature of fring 1.2 is the possibility to purchase fringOut credit using your iTunes account. The developers have complied to Apple’s terms and have enabled in-app purchases as the easiest way to buy additional call minutes without even leaving the app.
This update also includes bug fixes and “improved battery efficiency”, but it’s no universal yet. We don’t know if the fring developers are planning to release an iPad 2 version, but we think it’d be perfect to extend the service to other iOS devices. You can find fring for free in the App Store.
Either a persistent iOS bug that hasn’t been fixed on iOS 4.2.1 or a real issue on my device, the proximity sensor isn’t working well on my iPhone 4. I accidentally drop and / or mute calls every once in a while, but not because or low signal or a bad interface scheme I don’t understand: when I bring the iPhone to my ear during a call, the proximity sensor doesn’t dim the screen and prevent skin contact on phone’s buttons as it should. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does — it’s pretty annoying.
A new tweak available in the Cydia Store at $0.99, CallLock, changes the behavior of the power button during an outgoing / incoming call to make sure that the phone is actually locked, so that the faulty proximity sensor won’t get in the way and no accidental taps will be registered. CallLock locks the iPhone during a call, simple as that.
CallLock comes with two activation methods: manual and auto-lock. The auto mode will lock the iPhone’s screen as soon as a call is connect, manual will override iOS’ default settings to make the power button lock a call, and not end it.
I found CallLock to be a good compromise when it comes to avoiding calls to be dropped and muted, even though you’ll have to unlock your iPhone after each call. If you can accept the trade-off, CallLock is available at $0.99 in the Big Boss’ repository.
According to several reports surfaced on iSpazio, fscklog and Apple’s discussion boards, hundreds of iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac users received random FaceTime calls from themselves or one of their contacts in Address Book on Saturday. Most specifically, it appears that a bug triggered these FaceTime calls to go out at 6:30 PM PST, 9:30 PM EST, 2:30 AM GMT and 3:30 AM GMT +1 on Saturday, November 27th (United States) and Sunday, November 28th (Europe).
Basing on the reports from iSpazio and Apple’s forums, it seems like these random and “fake” calls (not initiated by users, coming randomly from iPhone numbers and email addresses associated to FaceTime on iPod Touches and Macs) happened on devices running iOS 4.2.1 and iOS 4.1 (both regular and jailbroken devices). FaceTime for Mac, on the other hand, is currently in beta and available for download on Apple’s website. (more…)