Apple releases iOS 4.3 Golden Master build to developer community

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Date: Friday, March 4th, 2011, 05:08
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released the gold master build of its iOS 4.3, its forthcoming operating system update for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, just over a week ahead of its scheduled March 11 release.

Per AppleInsider, the download is available to developers through Apple’s official iOS developer portal. People familiar with the software say it is known as build 8F190.

Typically a gold master issued to developers is identical to the version that eventually becomes the final release, though two Golden Masters of iOS 4.2 were released after the first was found to have issues.

Apple announced the mobile operating system software update’s March 11 released date on Wednesday, and also showed off new, previously unannounced features. Among them is improved JavaScript performance, which is now said to be two times faster thanks to the Nitro engine taken from Mac OS X.

Improved iTunes Home Sharing will also allow users to access all of their content directly over Wi-Fi. And enhancements to AirPlay will allow applications and websites to stream over Wi-Fi to the Apple TV set top box. Sharing of photos over AirPlay can also use the built-in slide show options of iOS.

The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets users share their 3G data connection over Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot will work with supporting carriers and monthly data plans on the iPhone 4.

iOS 4.3 also adds the ability to change the purpose of the hardware switch on the right side of the iPad and iPad 2. Users can choose to have the switch mute audio from the device, or have it serve as an orientation lock, as it originally did when the iPad first shipped last year.

The iOS 4.3 update is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iTunes 10.2 has already been publicly released, adding compatibility with devices that are running iOS 4.3

If you’ve gotten your hands on the GM and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Random House may soon bring catalog to iBookstore

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Date: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, 05:16
Category: iPad, News

If you can get the big fish, the others will follow.

Per AppleInsider, Random House, the world’s largest book publisher and most high profile holdout from Apple’s eBook digital download, could soon bring its catalog of top selling novels to the electronics maker’s iOS ecosystem.

In a brief statement to the media Monday, Random House said that it has agreed to “the agency model for e‐book sales” in the U.S. effective Tuesday. That means that going forward, “Random House will set consumer prices for the e‐ books we publish, and […] will provide retailers with a commission for each sale,” the publisher said.

The concession could bring to an end a near year-long standoff between Random House and Apple’s iTunes-based iBookstore, which operates on the so called ‘agency model’ that allows the company serving the content to take a cut of sales. For its iBookstore, Apple employs the same 70-30 split that has seen renowned success on its App Store for software on the iPhone and iPod touch.

“The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms,” Random House said. “We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships.”

The statement appears to imply that the publisher could be on the verge of announcing plans to bring its catalog to Apple’s iOS devices though the iPhone and iPad maker’s iBookstore. Currently, iOS device users can only purchase and download from Random House’s digital catalog through Amazon’s Kindle app for those devices.

In the lead up to the launch of Apple’s iPad last April, Random House executives were said to be exploring the adoption of the agency model with their authors and agents before agreeing to Apple’s terms, which dictate that Apple receives a 30% cut of all sales on the iBookstore. At the time, chief executive Markus Dohle said his company hadn’t ruled out reaching a deal before the April 3rd, 2010 launch of the tablet device, but added that he was proceeding with caution.

Under the traditional business model, resellers have bought books from publishers at discount prices and then marked them up to make a profit through sales. But Apple’s agency approach has the publishers set the prices paid by consumers — something Random House executives were concerned could lead to considerably lower prices, and thus lower profits.

Word that Random House could join on the iBookstore five of its biggest competitors — HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and Simon & Shuster — comes just two days before Apple is expected to take the wraps off its second-generation iPad in San Francisco, a device that is rapidly altering the landscape of the publishing industry.

Cool stuff if it happens and stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

Rumor: iPad 2 to lack Retina Display, SD card slot

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Date: Friday, February 25th, 2011, 06:18
Category: iPad, Rumor

Although Apple is likely to show off a new iPad in San Francisco on March 2nd, the unit will reportedly arrive without a Retina Display or built-in SD card slot, contrary to previous reports that both would be included.

Per Engadget, sources have stated that “engineering issues” led Apple to make last-minute design changes on the device. That’s a change from what the site reported in January.

“It’s worth noting once again that these sources have been dead right on specific Apple plans and specifications for unannounced products in the past, and we have no reason to believe these changes are due to anything more than legitimate engineering decisions made close to launch,” editor Joshua Topolsky wrote.

The report claims that Apple will introduce a thinner iPad next week, with a screen size and resolution identical to the first-generation device. The new model will reportedly include 512MB of RAM, doubling last year’s model and matching the iPhone 4, inside of a new, faster A5 processor.

The new iPad is also widely expected to include at least one forward facing camera camera for FaceTime video chat. Some third-party cases have also shown that the iPad 2 could have a rear-facing camera as well.

Topolsky also predicted that Apple will show off a preview of iOS 5 next week and issue a software development kit for developers. And he believes the company could possibly show off an expansion of its plans to expand services in the cloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple prepping Yerba Buena for March 2 press event, updated iPad expected

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Date: Thursday, February 24th, 2011, 04:51
Category: iPad, News

Following yesterday’s announcement of a March 2nd media event where Apple is expected to unveil the next iPad, the company has begun posting promotional signage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Per MacNN, photos taken at the site show a large Apple logo surrounded by numerous colorful dots.

Invitations to the March 2 event, which contained a calendar date for March 2 being peeled away to reveal an iPad, went out to members of the media earlier this week, confirming earlier reports that had revealed the date.

Apple unveiled the original iPad at the Yerba Buena Center over a year ago. The venue has also hosted a number of other Apple product announcements over the years.

It is widely believed that the next iPad will feature at least one FaceTime capable camera, though several reports have suggested that the device will have both a front- and rear-facing camera.

The touchscreen tablet will also likely have an improved anti-reflection display and will be thinner and lighter. A reliable source has stated that the device will feature an upgraded dual-core SGX543 graphics processor from Imagination Technologies. Apple is also expected to increase the RAM and include a faster CPU on the device.

Customers hoping for a major overhaul of the device next week, however, may be in for disappointment, as reports have surfaced that the upgrade will more closely resemble a version 1.5 upgrade than a full redesign. Earlier this month, speculation arose that Apple is planning a second iPad update for the fourth quarter of this year.

An unverified report on Wednesday suggested that Apple’s initial ambitions for the March 2 iPad refresh had been deferred to an update later this year, with the models set to be released next week serving as an interim solution.

Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that a second update to the iPad will include a double-resolution display, which had originally been rumored to as an addition to the second-generation iPad. Production bottlenecks and unfeasible costs are likely the cause of the rumored delay.

Samsung may supply advanced display for iPad 2 tablet

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 05:41
Category: iPad, News

The iPad 2, it could smack of the niftiness.

Per the Korea Times, the second-generation ipad could trade its “In-Plane Switching” (IPS) display for a new “Super Plane to Line Switching” (PLS) display for improved viewing angles.

Citing industry sources, the report from The Korea Times claims that Samsung Mobile Display will supply LCD panels for Apple’s anticipated “iPad 2.” Apple currently buys LCD panels from a number of companies, including LG Display and others, but that is “expected to change because of the LCD panel’s unit price,” the report said.

Last November, Samsung first unveiled its new “Super PLS” displays, and the panels have reportedly gained the attention of Apple. The report said that Apple has shown interest in Super PLS LCDs, which are geared toward smartphones and tablets, and allow for even more improved viewing angles than the IPS display found in the first-generation iPad.

However, the report stopped short of stating that Apple is interested in using a Super PLS display in its second-generation touchscreen tablet. It only said that Apple has shown interest in the new technology.

The second-generation iPad display, widely expected to be released in the coming months, has been the subject of a great deal of discussions as rumors about the still-unannounced device grow. In January it was suggested that Apple could quadruple the pixels from the current iPad to a 2,048-by-1,536 display, giving the device a “Retina Display” like the iPhone 4.

But other reports have cast doubt on those rumors, suggesting that the power required to run a display at that high of a resolution would result in too poor a battery life for the device. It has been suggested that the next-generation iPad will instead retain its 1,024-by-768-pixel resolution.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.2.6 update for Verizon iPhone 4

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Date: Thursday, February 10th, 2011, 06:33
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you’ve just snagged a Verizon iPhone 4, here’s your first patch.

On Thursday, Apple released iOS 4.2.6, its first update for the Verizon iPhone 4 handset. The update, a 401.4 megabyte download, fixes a bug to ensure Personal Hotspot data usage is accurately reported.

As always, the update can be snagged via iTunes by attaching the iPhone, clicking on the unit in the device window and clicking the “Check for Update” button.

iOS 4.2.6 currently requires a Verizon iPhone 4 to install and run.

Rumors: Apple to hold low-key iPad 2 release event in March, include NFC feature in upcoming iPad/iPhone 5 devices

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Date: Monday, February 7th, 2011, 03:28
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple may be keeping its press event for the much-anticipated second-generation iPad on the succinct side during its release next month. In a two-line report published early Saturday by macotakara.jp, it’s claimed that the Cupertino-based company “seems to open a small event to introduce next generation of iPad.”

Such an event appears to be on track for March, the report added. Still, it cautioned that the device may only see an announcement during that time frame in the United States, with shipments and international availability possibly following at a later date.

Meanwhile, a related report filed Friday by iLounge appears to reinforce earlier rumors that both the new iPad and fifth-generation iPhone will include near-field communication technology, giving users the ability to have their device serve as an electronic wallet for quick wireless transactions.

More specifically, the report claims that Apple is actively developing new accessories that will communicate with the NFC radio chips inside the future iOS devices. For example, “an accessory could announce its presence and potential functions to an iPad or iPhone without the need for a Bluetooth or similar connection,” the report adds. The source of the tip further suggests “that an otherwise simple case could include a radio chip so that an inserted iPhone or iPad could go into power-saving hibernation mode automatically.”

Of all the rumors, the inclusion of NFC capabilities in the second-gen iPad appears most likely, especially given AppleInsider’s discovery last month that Apple was seeking hardware engineers familiar with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and an external report that claimed the electronics maker is actively testing NFC-enabled iPhone prototypes using hardware from NXP Semiconductor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

First iPad 2 screen photographed, seems lighter, better quality than first gen

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Date: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, 10:11
Category: iPad, Pictures

The first iPad 2 screen has been sighted.

And it is nifty.

A series of leaked photos that surfaced from the iFixYouri iPhone 4 repair shop show what is believed is an iPad 2 LCD, fresh out of China. Per 9to5Mac, it’s currently impossible to say if the resolution is higher, though the unit seems to be definitively higher quality in terms of its build. The iPad 2′s display is also lighter, and over a millimeter thinner than the current iPad’s display with a smaller surrounding frame and could lead to an appreciably lighter iPad in the long run.

Analyst cites iPad 2 components, specs, expected supply numbers

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 05:25
Category: iPad, Rumor

Per AppleInsider, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities has prepared a report indicating that iPad 2 won’t receive higher resolution screen this year, using the same 1024×768 of the original iPad.

“The improvement of iPad 2 display,” the report notes, “focuses on thickness and anti-reflection, not resolution. iPad 2 display module is 30 – 35% thinner than iPad 1 and it’s helpful for better form factor.

“Thanks to anti-reflection, iPad 2 could have better sunlight readable experience and it’s helpful for Apple to compete with Amazon’s fast growing Kindle business.

“The most important reason why iPad 2 won’t have retinal display is yield rate of panel making. At this point, making high resolution and bright IPS/FFS panel is not easy and the production volume and cost couldn’t meet Apple’s requirements.”

The new iPad model is also said to pack much higher processing power, graphics and more RAM and faster memory access. The greater computing power of of the revised iPad “could ensure iPad 2‘s competitive advantage for coming tablet war this year,” the report notes.

“iPad 2 will use [ARM] Cortex-A9 dual core processor running at 1.2GHz. Increasing 1-2% single core processor clock results in a 3-5% power increase and dual core could get a better balance between computing power and power consumption. That’s the reason why Apple will use dual core for iPad 2.”

As expected, the report also states “iPad 2 will also have a GPU using Imagination’s SGX543 dual core graphics technology which is 200~300% powerful than iPhone 4.”

RAM is also on the rise, the report says. “For making full use of GPU upgrading advantage, iPad 2 needs bigger memory bandwidth. So iPad 2 has 512MB RAM, same as iPhone 4 and twice as much as iPad 1, but running at higher clock 1,066 MHz for getting bigger memory bandwidth (iPhone 4 memory clock is 800 MHz).”

The report also stated that “iPad 2 adds one new CDMA model and it could bring more market share to Apple. Project IDs of Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA iPad 2 models are different. GSM iPad will use Infineon chip and CDMA iPad will use Qualcomm chip. More suppliers could reduce the risk of component shortage.”

The possibility of an SD Card slot is mentioned, but not confirmed, but the report notes that the iPad 2 will have two cameras, but with components shared with iPad touch, rather than the higher quality iPhone 4 cameras.

“There are more and more photo and video editing applications for iPad in App Store. The SD slot could let users easily transfer photo and video files made by DSC and DV to iPad and edit them,” the report observed, falling short of actually confirming whether a card slot will be present.

“iPad has two cameras. Front camera is 0.3 mega-pixel [VGA, like iPhone 4] and rear one is 1 mega-pixel [like iPod touch, rather than iPhone 4]. Front camera is for Facetime and Photo Booth and 0.3 mega-pixel is enough because the resolution of iPad 2 is 1,024×768. Rear camera is for applications such as video recording and augmented reality.”

Finally, the report notes that Foxconn will remain the iPad’s sole maker, noting that production began this month and will result in “at least 4.5 – 5 million units for Apple in 1Q’11. iPad 2 will likely go to market in late 1Q’11 or early 2Q’11 based on supply chain shipment status.”

BBC iPlayer apps for iPhone, iPad close to release

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Date: Friday, January 28th, 2011, 04:45
Category: iPad, News, Software

BBC-logo

You’ve been hankering for it for a while.

And it’s almost here.

Per PaidContent, the BBC is close to launching its long-awaited iPlayer app for iOS, it has been claimed.

A recent story has suggested that the app will be launched as a farewell ‘present’ to future media and technology director Erik Huggers. Huggers is leaving the BBC for Intel and will take up his new role some time at the end of February.

A web-based beta version of iPlayer for the iPad was launched at the same time as the iPad launched in the UK, in May 2010. At the moment the service is accessible through the iPhone and iPad browser, but a dedicated app should lead to a much smoother experience.

The BBC’s intention to develop iPhone apps was greeted with protests from commercial rivals, with the Newspapers Publishers Association pressurising the BBC to put the plans on ice.

A planned BBC News app for iPhone did eventually launch, but a BBC Sport app, which the corporation had originally wanted to launch before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has still not been released.

The BBC also announced plans in December to roll the iPlayer out to iPad users worldwide, on a subscription basis.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.