AT&T quietly raises upgrade prices, non-iPhone handset purchase prices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, you’re not going to be happy about this one.

According to AndroidCentral, wireless carrier AT&T has quietly raised early and exception upgrade pricing for iPhones and other smartphones. A notice to store staff has warned that, as of Sunday, users are paying US$50 more. The move would change the premature upgrade price from US$249 for an iPhone 3GS to US$299, and up to US$449 or US$549 for an iPhone 4 before normal eligibility comes up.

A separate memo both confirms the price hikes and showed across-the-board pricing increases. With the exception of the iPhone, pricing will go up sharply for anyone buying a phone contract-free or a shortened one-year contract. Those without a contract will pay at least US$50 more, AndroidCentral saw, while one-year buyers will spend US$150 more.

Basic messaging phones are also going up by US$20 off-contract or US$10 on a one-year deal.

AT&T has yet to officially confirm the rate hikes, though they will ultimately have the largest impact on non-Apple hardware. Pricing for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 devices will now mostly be competitive on a two-year plan where the iPhone may be the more reasonable deal on shortened terms.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Rumor: Apple may include 8 megapixel camera in iPhone 5

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 05:59
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s rumors that make technology interesting.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has sparked speculation that the iPhone 5 will have an 8-megapixel camera after making some unguarded comments in an interview.

In the interview, Stringer said that Sony’s camera sensor plant in Sendai had been affected by the recent earthquake and that shipments of sensors to Apple would be delayed.

However, Sony isn’t Apple’s regular camera sensor supplier (this task generally falls to Omnivision).

In February this year it had been suggested that Omnivision might not be able to make 8MP sensors in large enough volumes in time for the iPhone 5′s launch and that Apple may turn to Sony instead. Sony makes 8MP sensors for smartphones such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo.

Apple-watchers are expecting an iPhone 5 announcement at the WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early June, though it isn’t clear if the next-generation iPhone will actually be available to buy at the time.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to include camera in 7th-generation iPod nano

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Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 05:44
Category: iPod, photos, Rumor

A recently leaked photo purportedly shows Apple’s seventh-generation iPod nano with a camera hole, though the report remains unverified.

Per Apple.pro (via Google Translate), a leaked of the alleged next-generation iPod nano was posted on Saturday. However, the author of the report was quick to note that he was unable to verify the authenticity of the image.

The author also hedged the report by asserting that the image was posted mainly for the fun of speculation, especially given that the time difference meant it was still April Fools’ Day in America. As such, no outlets have been able to effectively vouch for the veracity of the rumor and is including it here for discussion purposes only.

The report does, however, remind readers that the website has correctly leaked each of the previous six generations of the iPod nano in past years. The author speculates that Apple could follow the same pattern as with the last design of the iPod nano, where a camera was added during the update from the fourth-generation iPod nano to the fifth-generation without major changes to the form factor.

The addition of a camera to the next iPod nano could be an attempt by Apple to appease critics. Some initial reviews of the sixth-generation iPod nano were disappointed by the lack of a camera, noting that Apple had “given and taken away.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Onyx 2.2.6 released

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 04:30
Category: News, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.2.6. The new version, a 15.8 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

- Deleting Internet Cache improved.

- Deleting the Applications Cache improved.

- Deleting the Diagnostic Reports improved.

- New Safari option: “Enable/disable Safari’s image cache”.

- New Dock option: “Enable/disable the single application mode”.

Onyx 2.2.6 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Poll: The Question of the Ages

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 05:07
Category: Poll

It’s April Fool’s Day and some questions just need to be asked…


Who would win in a fight?
Snooki
Standardized testing
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Samsung ramps up iPad 2 components to meet orders

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 04:14
Category: iPad, News

Your neighbor has an iPad 2.

Your pets somehow managed to get their own.

And, ya know, it’d be nice to get your hands on the one you ordered…

Per EETimes, electronics giant Samsung will hire 300 engineers and technicians for a semiconductor plant in Austin, Tex., in the company’s latest round of expansion largely driven by increased demand for the iPad and iPhone, while AU Optronics has denied rumors that it received orders for flat panel screens bound for the iPad 2.

The web site reports that Samsung Austin Semiconductor plans to create 300 more engineering jobs this spring as part of a US$3.6 billion expansion. According to sources, most of the production at the 300-mm fab is commissioned by Apple.

The 300 new employees will join a large batch of employees from last year’s growth. “In 2010, we hired more than 600 employees as part of the current expansion, bringing total employment to approximately 1,700,” said Charmaine Winters, senior human resources manager at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, in a statement.

Though rumors had suggested that Apple had inked a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for production of the A5 chip for the iPad 2, due to concerns of increased competition with Samsung, X-ray analysis of Apple’s A5 CPU in the iPad 2 confirmed that the chip was still manufactured by the Korean electronics giant.

All told, Apple is projected to purchase US$7.8 billion worth of components from Samsung this year, including liquid crystal displays, mobile application processors and NAND flash memory chips, making Apple Samsung’s largest customer.

In assorted updates, component manufacturer AU Optronics executive vice president Paul Peng has denied rumors that the company received display orders from Apple and no further additional comment was offered.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple may be looking into creating external “quick charge” battery packs for devices

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 03:26
Category: Patents

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Apple has apparently shown an interest in developing an integrated external battery pack into its standard charging cable, providing extra power for devices like a MacBook or iPhone when a power outlet isn’t available.

Per AppleInsider, the potential future accessory was revealed this week in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing for “Power Adapter with Internal Battery” describes a wall charger with an integrated battery pack, allowing users to charge a device at home and give that device extra juice when on the go.

Apple’s application acknowledges that rechargeable external battery accessories do already exist. However, it notes that such accessories are not as advantageous as one that might be integrated with a standard charging cable.

“Such external batteries are generally cumbersome to use, at least because they must be unpacked for use and then repacked for storage,” Apple’s filing states of current options available on the market. “In addition, many users forget to bring the external battery in addition to the adapter while in transit.

“What is needed is a way to combine a power adapter and a battery so that a user does not have to carry an additional battery while traveling with a portable electronic device.”

Apple’s solution would include a “smart” charger with an integrated processor. This would allow the charger to intelligently determine how to distribute charge between the integrated adapter battery, and the battery on a device like a MacBook.

The hardware would also include the ability to share the status of the battery with the device it is charging. This way, users would be able to check the status of the external adapter battery and how much power it has left.

Such a device could be augmented by a “trickle source” for power, such as solar. And it could also include a USB port for charging a device like an iPhone or iPod. The accessory could also include a wireless adapter, allowing a MacBook or other device to access the power adapter even when it is not physically connected.

Apple’s application also notes that its external battery solution could employ current power adapter features, such as its patented MagSafe connector.

The need for such third-party external battery makers could be significantly lessened if Apple were to follow through on its pursuit of power adapters with integrated rechargeable batteries.

Apple first filed the patent application made public this week in September of 2009, and the proposed invention is credited to Duncan Kerr, David Robbins Falkenburg and Michael Nugent.