Apple triggering iPhone updates via EDGE?

Apple triggering iPhone updates via EDGE?

Ben Wilson
2 min read

Earlier today, a fascinating thing happened. iPhone owners across the country gained a new function without applying any software or firmware updates. The function in question is "Send to Web Gallery," a button that appears in the Camera and Photos applications when clicking the share button (lower left corner when viewing a photo), and did not exist for any iPhone owner (that we know of) prior to today. The button links with new .Mac iPhone integration functionality that allows photos to be sent directly from the iPhone to the new "Web Gallery" function

What makes this situation curious is not only that, as aforementioned, no synchronization process, nor conspicuous software update was applied to enable the new function, but also that some users received the function early in the day, some later in the day, and some not at all. As we noted earlier, you may need to establish a .Mac email account on your iPhone and reset it to make the button appear, but even these steps did not result in successful addition for all users.

So how did the new button appear? One theory is that the Photos and Camera applications were updated by iPhone Update 1.0.1, released on July 31st, and somehow put on a timing mechanism under which they were not enabled until today, August 7th, to coincide with the .Mac announcements. If this is the case, however, why did some iPhones begin showing the function early in the day, and others later in the day? And why do some iPhones still not show the function, even after applying the 1.0.1 update, adding a .Mac email account, and resetting the unit?

Another theory, perhaps more plausible, is that Apple is somehow triggering unlocking of iPhone functionality through the EDGE network. Interesting, but perhaps not evidential, is the fact that one of our in-house iPhones was tethered to a WiFi network all day, and did not display the new button. To experiment, we shut WiFi off on the unit, and let it sit on EDGE for an hour or so. We then reset the iPhone, and lo and behold, the "Send to Web Gallery" button appeared.

While this is far from a conclusive indicator that modifications are being made over the EDGE network, it's certainly something worth considering.

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