Rumor: Apple looking to incorporate Near Field Communications into next-gen iOS devices, allow for easier purchases on the fly

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Date: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, 05:41
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

A recent Bloomberg report claims that Apple will be incorporating NFC (Near Field Communication) hardware in the next iPhone and iPad, allowing customers to use the iPhone and iPad to make purchases:

The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4″, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, said Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.

Apple could potentially tie this payment system into people’s existing iTunes accounts. The technology has been described as allowing customers to walk into a store and make payments directly from their iOS device. Apple may also incorporate loyalty rewards and credit systems into iTunes as well. Other possibilities include using location-based transactions to improve iAd targeting.

According to the source, Apple has already made created payment terminals intended for small businesses to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads. These terminals could be subsidized or even given away to encourage adoption.

Apple has been hiring NFC experts as well as applied for several patents on the technology. A couple of previous reports have also pegged the next generation iPhone as having NFC technology built in.

Stay tuned for any information on this as it becomes available.

Apple releases second iOS 4.3 beta to developer community, states multitouch gestures on iPad “just a preview”

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Date: Thursday, January 20th, 2011, 05:36
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released to developers the second external beta of its upcoming iOS 4.3, as well as a new pre-release copy of Apple TV software designed to support the mobile operating system’s new AirPlay feature for third-party programmers. The company also informed developers that some features present in the initial beta won’t make it into the 4.3 release.

Per AppleInsider, the new beta of iOS 4.3 carries build number 9F5135d and is available for all three of Apple’s iOS devices. At this point, it’s too early to tell what changes may come baked into the release when compared to the first beta, released exactly one week ago.

The first beta of iOS 4.3 introduced a personal hotspot control panel, new multitouch gestures for the iPad, and updated SMS alert settings. Resource files accompanying the release also provided hints at a handful of new iPad and iPhone models, as well as a potential “Find My Friends” social networking feature.

It should be noted, however, that the multi-touch gestures that made their debut in the first beta won’t be ready for prime time by the final release of iOS 4.3, according to a note to developers accompanying the release of the second beta.

“This feature will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers,” the documentation reads, “but we are providing this preview to gather input on how these gestures work with your apps.”

Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words and gestures on the iPad could prove interesting:



As always, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

iBooks app changes point towards quadrupled pixels for iPad 2 screen

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Date: Monday, January 17th, 2011, 06:17
Category: iPad, Rumor

Assorted rumors have suggested Apple will give the second generation iPad a much higher resolution screen, although short of the ppi density of the Retina Display of iPhone 4. New graphics discovered within Apple’s iBook app suggest this is true.

Per AppleInsider, last summer, iPhone 4 doubled its screen resolution in both directions (from 320×480 to 640×960), resulting in four times the pixels and an industry-leading pixel per inch density of 326. Apple called the new screen the “Retina Display,” because it exceeded the typical resolution of the human eye, making individual dots all but impossible to discern.

The original iPad offered a 1024×768 resolution (at 132 ppi), leading many to guess that the next version might also get a similar Retina Display. However, a 300+ ppi display covering a 9.7 inch screen would require a fantastically high resolution.

Instead of aiming for a specific pixel density, it appears Apple will instead simply quadruple the iPad’s native resolution as it did when it introduced iPhone 4, resulting in a very high resolution display with a pixel density of around 260 ppi, short of “Retina” status but still higher than most high end smartphones.

Evenly quadrupling the resolution makes it easy for developers to ship apps that take full advantage of both existing and new screen resolutions by simply including two versions of graphic assets, one labeled (by Apple convention) file.png and and a higher resolution version named file@2x.png.

Apple has reportedly slipped multiple examples of “@2″ graphics in versions of its iBooks app, one targeted at iPhone 4 and another at a high resolution future iPad, according to tweets and a separate developer report. This includes “bookmark-ribbon-iPad@2x.png” and a “Wood Tile@2x.png” background image that covers 1536×800, rather than the standard 768×400 image used on iPad.

Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

Rumor: iPhone 5 could feature souped-up processor, Qualcomm baseband

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Date: Monday, January 17th, 2011, 06:53
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor, Software

If there’s one nifty thing about iOS beta releases to the development community, it’s that they do a great job of highlighting what may be around the corner.

Per MacRumors, the recently-released iOS 4.3 beta shows calls for the OpenCL-capable PowerVR SGX543 from Imagination Technologies.

Apple has been using Imagination Technologies’ older PowerVR SGX535 GPU since the iPhone 3GS, eventually including the GPU on the custom Apple A4 System on a Chip (SoC).

Apple currently holds a 9.5% stake in Imagination Technologies and has been using the company’s chips in some of its iOS-based devices.

According to the report, the upcoming version of iOS contains a driver bundle for the next-generation SGX543.

The SGX543 can push 35 million polygons per second at 200 Mhz and 1 billion pixels per second and is capable of handling Apple’s OpenCL standard. The GPU also supports multi-core configurations.

On Friday, Apple Daily reported that the iPhone 5 could sport a new Apple-developed processor, reportedly called the A8, and a Qualcomm baseband.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if something’s on your mind, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple may remove “Home” button from future generations of iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011, 05:12
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

An unverified report claims that Apple is planning to remove the home button on the iPad and iPhone as early as later this year, the company opting towards multitouch gestures to return to the home screen.

According to Boy Genius Report, an anonymous source has claimed that Apple is already testing iPads and iPhones without home buttons on its Cupertino, Calif., campus. However, since the report itself admits the information is “pretty wild,” readers should take it with a grain of salt.

“We are told that Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad’s design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher,” the report predicted.

“It’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year,” wrote author Jonathan S. Geller.

The report also cites new multitouch gestures from a beta version of iOS 4.3 released Wednesday that enable a 5-finger pinch gesture for accessing the home screen. Other gestures new to the beta include a swipe up to reveal the multitasking tray and a swipe left or right to switch between open applications.

Apple’s iLife and photo-taking application Photo Booth could also make their way onto the next iPad, the report speculated.

Right now it’s just a rumor, though anything’s possible.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

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Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple could produce second-gen iPad with HSPA, EVDO models slated for March release date

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Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 06:16
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s the second generations of a device where things get really interesting.

Per Electronista, Apple is looking to ship three separate versions of the next iPad and may ship earlier than expected, part suppliers said on Tuesday. The tablet should still have a pure Wi-Fi version but will serve 3G with both a regular HSPA version and an EVDO model for carriers like Verizon. The 3G versions have been unusually popular, at 60 to 65% of shipments and the extra wireless support would help fill demand.

The 3G push is corroborated by a slew of subsidized carrier plans that have been rolled out in recent months. Many cut the price of the iPad by half or less on a contract, and in some cases give the unit away for free.

Along with the known design change and extra wireless support, Apple is also reportedly taking steps to draw in Kindle buyers with changes to the screen. The display would get both an improved oleophobic (oil-resistant) screen to further reduce smudging as well as a more glare-resistant treatment to make it more suitable to the outdoors. A clue as to the anti-glare panel may have come with the new MacBook Air, whose display is still glossy but noticeably less reflective than on earlier MacBooks.

Apple might also be eager to advance the ship date beyond the original April target. Production shipments would start heading out as soon as late January, not the previously suggested February, and would see a small initial batch of 500,000 to 530,000 units arrive, 30% of which would be Wi-Fi, 40% HSPA and 30% EVDO. Additional shipments would continue right up to the release date, which could now include a March release date if Apple doesn’t have to push it back to a previously cited April target.

The release would be ambitious and could see Apple deliver as many as 40 million iPads in 2011, possibly taking hold of as much as 65% to 75% of the market worldwide. Such a ratio would be higher than expected by analysts, as many of them expect Android 3.0 to give Google’s partners a much stronger platform.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to receive iPod touch-like back, wide-ranger speaker system

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Date: Thursday, December 23rd, 2010, 03:21
Category: iPad, Rumor

The second-generation iPad may have a smaller bezel, a flat back panel and a wide-range speaker, a new unverified report claims.

Per Japanese Mac blog MacOtakara, an “anonymous Chinese source” has stated that the LCD screen on the next-generation iPad will stay the same size, while the new tablet will be 3mm smaller, reportedly measuring 239mm by 186mm. The current iPad, which measures 242.8 mm by 189.7 mm, was criticized for its wide bezel when it was first unveiled in January.

Apple will reportedly change the back of the new iPad to be “flat like an iPod touch,” which would also resolve criticisms that the iPad’s curved back is impractical. According to the report, the Ambient Light Sensor has been moved to the “upper center of the rear panel” and has a new 3mm slim hole.

The rumor also suggested that a slot on the bottom of the device, which was spotted in early case designs, is actually a “large wide-ranged speaker unit covered with metal mesh.”

Production of the new iPad has allegedly already begun, with a tentative shipping date of mid to late January, the report noted. Recent reports have suggested that Foxconn will begin shipping the iPad 2 to Apple in January or February. Apple could ramp up production capacity of the iPad to as much as 6 million per month.

A second rumor that the next iPad will have two cameras–a front camera for FaceTime and a rear camera equipped for recording video, was labeled as “unreliable information” by the blog.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.

Apple releases iBooks 1.2, folds in AirPrint, organizational changes

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Date: Thursday, December 16th, 2010, 06:05
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released version 1.2 of its iBooks app for its iOS devices. The new version, available through the App Store, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Experience fully illustrated books, from children’s picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.

- Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.

- Print PDF documents and notes you’ve written in iBooks using AirPrint.

- iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.

iBooks 1.2 is available for free and requires iOS 3.2 or later to install and run.

Apple looking for possible Verizon iPad engineer in recent job post

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Date: Tuesday, December 14th, 2010, 06:40
Category: iPad, News

verizonlogo.jpg

While a Verizon iPhone is still up in the air, a new job posting on Apple’s web site shows that the company may be looking to put the iPad on the Verizon network according to Engadget.

While Verizon began selling the iPad back in November, the company uses a Mi-Fi style device to provide the wireless data connection as opposed to a direct, contracted connection.

According to the job description on Apple’s site, “The iPad System Engineer will work with the carrier business teams, business customers, and Apple sales resources to drive the adoption of iPad in enterprise accounts. Partnered with the iPad Sales team, the SE will be responsible for developing carrier relationships within the carrier technical teams and must have exceptional technical, project management, presentation and communication skills. He/She must also possess the ability to work without direct supervision or detailed direction. The successful candidate will have enterprise sales experience and must have an existing knowledge of the mobile market and the technologies that support it. Individual must have strong IT knowledge in the areas of enterprise messaging and collaboration, VPN, WiFi and enterprise security technologies. Hands-on experience with Microsoft Exchange Active Sync and Exchange Server is a plus. Must have the ability to effectively work with all levels in an organization including corporate CIOs and IT departments. Ability to work across a matrixed team is required.”

So, if you’re hankering for an iOS device on Verizon’s network, you may be one step closer to seeing this become a realization.