Rumor: Fifth-gen iPad production to begin in July-August time frame

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Date: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013, 07:11
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

There’s gotta be a kernel of truth in here somewhere…

Per DigiTimes, sources in Taiwan-based supply companies have stated that production of the fifth-gen iPad is slated to start in a July-August window. The sources added that the display is expected to be manufactured by Sharp and LG Display, while touch panel assembly will be done by TPK, and ITO thin film will come from Nitto Denko and Teijin. Some earlier rumors had an iPad announcement taking place as soon as this month.

The DigiTimes sources repeat views that the fifth-gen tablet will be thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and moreover use a slimmer bezel, similar to the one on the iPad mini. The fourth-gen iPad was little different than the third-gen model, mainly gaining a faster processor, a Lightning connector, and broader cellular support. It was also released just months later, whereas it now appears that the fifth-gen device may resume Apple’s normal annual update cycle.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked Blackberry product roadmap shows potential iPad competitor on the horizon

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Date: Monday, April 1st, 2013, 06:45
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

blackberry

You may not love and adore Blackberry, but it looks like the company intends to stick around long enough to release a tablet competitor to the iPad.

Per @BB10Leaks and TechnoBuffalo, Canadian manufacturer BlackBerry appears to be readying another go at the tablet sector, as an image purporting to be a leaked product roadmap shows a potential iPad competitor slated for a late 2013 release.

The supposed product roadmap appeared Friday in a tweet and appears to show BlackBerry’s forthcoming products through the second quarter of 2014. In addition to the already released Z10 and its hardware QWERTY keyboard sporting counterpart, the Q10, the roadmap shows a tablet, a phablet, and a phablet-esque device with a hardware QWERTY keyboard of its own.


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The iPad competitor appears to be named the B10. The roadmap gives no details on its dimensions or specifications, but it looks to be a large tablet in the vein of Google’s Nexus 10 and Apple’s full-size iPads. Should the device materialize, it would represent BlackBerry’s second attempt at breaking into the tablet segment.

The Canadian manufacturer previously released a 7-inch PlayBook tablet, meant to provide enterprise-minded customers with a more portable alternative to Apple’s iPad, which dominated the tablet segment then as it does now. Poor software implementation and developer support, though, doomed the PlayBook to sluggish sales even as Apple’s tablet moved to greater heights. Eventually, then-RIM’s inventory of unsold PlayBook units caused the company to take a US$485 million charge.

With the launch of BlackBerry 10, though, the manufacturer has seen encouraging signs. BlackBerry’s most recent financial figures revealed one million Z10′s shipped since the device’s launch in February. That, in combination with drastic cost reductions, led to BlackBerry’s first profitable quarter in some time.

A new tablet would help flesh out the range of devices BlackBerry offers, making it a more capable alternative for customers looking outside of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Speaking earlier in March, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company would have to do something “really substantial and meaningful… [and] profitable as well,” if it were to enter the tablet space again.

Should the leaked roadmap prove accurate, BlackBerry’s tablet will see release some time in either the third or fourth quarter of 2013. It would be followed shortly thereafter by a large-screened BlackBerry 10 device, apparently dubbed the U10. That device — likely a “phablet” in the vein of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II — may be the rumored Aristo device that surfaced late last year. Following the phablet’s release, another large-screened model would follow quickly thereafter, this one sporting a hardware QWERTY keyboard much like BlackBerry’s forthcoming Q10.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Belkin announces 6.4mm thick Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad

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Date: Thursday, March 28th, 2013, 06:35
Category: Accessory, iPad, News

If you were looking for a mucho-skinny iPad keyboard case, Belkin might just have it.

Per iMore,

Belkin has officially announced the availability of is Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad. The case is presently 6.4mm thick and weighs in at just 17 ounces.


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Featuring Belkin’s award-winning TruType keys, the Ultimate Keyboard Case provides a smooth, laptop-like typing experience to minimize errors and maintain typing speed. It also offers a fully protective back cover to keep your iPad safe from scratches, scuffs and everyday wear and tear when the keyboard is attached.

The Ultimate Keyboard Case boasts features such as fold flat hinges that let you fold the keyboard flat and allow you to use the iPad as a tablet without the need to remove the keyboard. It also incorporates Belkin’s SoundFlow design which it claims will dramatically enhance the sound from the iPad’s speakers.

The Ultimate Keyboard Case can be pre-ordered from Belikin today with shipping estimated to be sometime in May. The unit will be available to suit either the black iPad at a cost of US$99.99 or the white iPad which will set you back a little more at US$129.99. It is compatable with the iPad 2, iPad third generation and iPad 4th generation.

If you’ve tried Belkin’s new case of have an iPad keyboard case of choice that you’d like to mention, please let us know over in the comments.

Rumor: ABC working on subscriber-based streaming app to bring network’s live programming to iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 07:26
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

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You can’t knock additional streaming options if they’re offered to you…

The Walt Disney Company, while sorting out the future of the online video Web site Hulu, has an app in the works that may render Hulu passé for some people.

Per the New York Times, the app will live stream ABC programming to the phones and tablets of cable and satellite subscribers. The app could become available to some subscribers this year, according to people briefed on the project, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it publicly.

With the app, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, will become the first of the American broadcasters to provide a live Internet stream of national and local programming to people who pay for cable or satellite. The subscriber-only arrangement, sometimes called “TV Everywhere” in industry circles, preserves the cable business model that is crucial to the bottom lines of broadcasters, while giving subscribers more of what they seem to want — mobile access to TV shows. The arrangement could extend the reach of ads that appear on ABC as well.

Disney already distributes similar live streaming and on-demand apps, known as “Watch” apps, for ESPN and the Disney Channel. Special hurdles exist, however, for the ABC app, in part because of contracts between the network and the companies that produce some of its shows that were written before mobile phone video streaming was even possible. Other complexities involve ABC’s local stations, which might — if not courted properly — feel threatened by an app.

But ABC, seeing shifts in consumer behavior, is pressing forward. The network has started to talk with stations about how to include them in the live streaming app. Illustrating the difficult contractual issues, ABC offhandedly first mentioned a forthcoming Watch ABC app in a news release nine months ago, when it signed a deal with Comcast to make several Watch Disney apps available to Comcast subscribers.

But the network live streaming ability is inching closer to fruition, the people briefed on the project said. A spokesman for ABC declined to comment.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release next-gen, Retina Display iPad mini in 2013

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Date: Monday, March 18th, 2013, 07:28
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The next-gen iPad mini could be that much spiffier as well as arrive with a Retina Display screen.

Per CNYes and Macotakara, Apple is reportedly planning to ship 55 million iPad mini units in calendar 2013.

But Apple has also reportedly cut its shipment projections for its full-size 9.7-inch iPad, the report said, from 60 million units to 33 million. In all, Apple is rumored to have revised its expected iPad shipments downward from 100 million to 88 million.

Those numbers are identical to what was reported by the NPD Group in February, which claimed that full-size iPad sales “collapsed” in January. It’s expected that the 7.9-inch iPad mini will become the market leader this year, cannibalizing sales of the 9.7-inch iPad.

Monday’s report also indicated that Apple is planning to debut a new fifth-generation iPad with a redesigned aluminum alloy metal chassis. It’s expected that the new hardware will feature the a design similar to the iPad mini, with a thinner bezel and lighter frame.

But the report suggested that Apple is likely to face yield problems with its sixth-generation full-size iPad, much like the company saw in ramping up production of the iPad mini last year.

If Apple does launch new iPads in the third quarter of this year, it would be later than recent predictions have stated.

Prior to 2012, the iPad was updated by Apple on an annual refresh cycle. But late last year, the company surprised by launching the fourth-generation iPad about six months after the third-generation model debuted. The hardware was upgraded to an A6X processor and added the new, smaller Lightning port.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple receives patent for Smart Cover wireless charging system

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Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2013, 07:25
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, Patents

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It’s sort of a weird patent application, but apparently it’s been pushed through.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple on Thursday published an Apple patent application that details a system of inductively charging an iPad through the Smart Cover. The idea is that rather than plugging in the iPad, the Smart Cover would include an inductive power transmitter that would allow it to pair with an inductive power transceiver embedded into the iPad. The result is the Smart Cover would become a wireless charging station, connecting to an external power source, and allowing you to power your iPad in various positions. Apple also explained that it could use “ambient power gathering devices, such as solar cells, can be used to gather ambient power (such as sunlight) to be stored internally in the flap for later inductive transfer.”

A method for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.

Apple described the advanced Smart Cover as including multiple power transmitters to allow the iPad to charge even when using the case, for example, as a stand to prop up the device. Alternatively, the cover could continue charging the device when in the closed position or when an iPad is placed on top:

The method as recited in claim 10, the method further comprising: determining that the tablet device is positioned relative to a flat surface at a viewing angle; and enabling a second wireless power receiver circuit only when it is determined that the tablet device is in the portable mode and is positioned relative to the flat surface at the viewing angle and the tablet device is configured to present video by the display. An apparatus for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: means for determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; means for enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and means for wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.

13. The apparatus as recited in claim 12, the tablet device further comprising; a battery; a display; and a sensor arranged to detect an external stimulus only when the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the display.

The system described in the patent would be similar to wireless charging systems already available on the market, something that Apple’s Phil Schiller recently described as “more complicated” than Apple’s current solution:

As for wireless charging, Schiller notes that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said. “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Canadian thieves rob Vancouver-area Apple Store location using bear spray as weapon

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Date: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, 08:15
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail

If you’re going to steal thousands of dollars worth of Apple products north of the border, remember to bring along bear spray.


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Per the National Post, thieves armed with bear spray hit the Oakridge Mall Apple Store in Vancouver just before closing in Monday, spraying roughly 40 people and making off with an unknown number of iPods, iPads, and notebooks.

The robbery, which saw three men bearing a caustic, cayenne pepper-based chemical attack the Apple Store. There were roughly 40 customers in the store, of which five would later need treatment by paramedics for exposure to the spray. The robbers are said to have fled by car.

Most of the valuable Apple electronics are likely to have been out of reach of the robbers, as Apple Stores keep most stock in hidden storage rooms behind closed doors. Vancouver police say that the thieves made off with only “a small number of electronics.”

Rumor: Next-gen iPads could arrive in April, iPhone 5S to hit in August

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Date: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, 07:03
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

The rumor mill continues, but this time it offers a name for the next-gen iPhone as well as potential release dates.

Per iMore, Apple is planning the release of the iPhone 5S for this summer, currently for August. Next generation iPads, presumably the iPad 5 and potentially the iPad mini 2, may also debut as soon as this April.

Sources familiar with the plans have stated that the iPhone 5S does indeed have the same basic design as the iPhone 5, with a more advanced processor and an improved camera. With the iPhone 5, Apple reduced the thinness of the casing but managed to keep essentially the same, if not slightly better, overall quality. With the iPhone 5S, the aim is to once again raise the bar in terms of iPhone optics, including a much better camera in essentially the same casing.

Sources have pointed towards an April-ish launch for the next-generation iPads, albeit this has yet to be confirmed. iPad 5 casings have already begun to leak, although it’s unknown as to whether the iPad mini will receive a Retina display.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Oxford University developing iPad-controlled self-driving car

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Date: Friday, March 1st, 2013, 07:10
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

Ok, this qualifies as beyond cool and thus makes the British that much niftier through their efforts.

Per iMore, Oxford University has modified a Nissan Electric Leaf to become a robotic car controlled by an iPad. The project which it is called “auto drive” enables the car to drive itself for short stretches which could mean a stress free school run for parents or a productive work commute for others.

The system has been developed by the University and uses small cameras and lasers built into the cars bodywork which all link back to a trunk mounted computer. The iPad becomes the front end and is fitted within the car’s dashboard.


robotcar

The whole user experience is provided by an iPad which quickly guides the user through the few checks that are needed to induce autonomy. When it is safe to do so, the car offers the drive the chance to be driven automatically. At any time the driver can take back control of the car by touching the brake – it’s exactly like cruise control in an existing vehicle – only this time the car sees obstacles, controls speed and steering.

And since video tends to be awesome, here you go:



There are three computers onboard. The iPad, the LLC (Low Level Controller) and the MVC (Main Vehicle Computer). The iPad runs the user interface and demands constant attention from the LLC. If any of these computers disagree the driver will not be able to start autonomous driving. If at any point there is a problem when the car is in control the human driver is prompted to take control, if they fail to do so the car is automatically brought to a stop.

The car is based on a modified Nissan Leaf which is powered solely by electricity. When you run out of fuel you just need to find a suitable power point rather than a gas station.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent application explores idea of magnetic stand that could hold iPads in new ways, configurations

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Date: Thursday, February 28th, 2013, 08:23
Category: iPad, News, Patents

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If you ever need to hang an iPad upside down, Apple may just have you covered.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office and TechCrunch, a new patent application by Apple published this week describes a stand for the iPad that uses magnets to hold the Apple tablet in place. iPads already come with fairly powerful magnets built into their frames, something Apple introduced along with the very first model to make the iPad compatible with its smart cover. The patent describes a magnetic stand which would be able to hold the iPad firmly in place in a number of different settings, and perform various functions.

Some examples provided in the patent include mounting the iPad to a tripod, a treadmill, or a music stand, and even attaching two iPads together via a hinge that would allow iPads to be used together in a book-style configuration. The patent text says that the mounting device would work together with a shielded, in-built magnetic component on the target device (which the iPad already has), thus enabling for a much stronger connection that would normally be possible, since powerful unshielded magnets could have an adverse effect on internal electronic components.

The mounting system described in the patent does more than just provide for a stand that can grip the iPad firmly: different permutations also include data connections, so that in the book type instance, for example, both tablet devices have a wired connection built in to their portion of the hinge, making communication between the two tablets possible. That would mean things like flipping pages in a book would actually have an effect on both tablet displays simultaneously, instead of each acting independently.

The patent also goes into a lot more detail about how an in-car mount might work with an iPad. A rotational sensor could be used to activate and deactivate the tablet, for instance, meaning the iPad could have an on and off position (likely portrait and landscape respectively), and there’s also potential to have a tablet-to-vehicle connection initiated when a car detects a specific “magnetic signature.” That, combined with wireless connection direct to a car’s communication system, would effectively render a person’s iPad a unique and personalized in-car entertainment device and control console.

The patent describes a driver issuing voice-based commands to the iPad, which are passed on to the car to change the car’s “configuration.” The communication would be two-way, too, with the car feeding ”car status information “ back to the iPad, which would also be able to handle navigation duties and play back music through the connected car’s stereo.

Cool stuff and it could help integrate the iPad into even more areas than before.

The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed with the USPTO in August of 2011. The invention is credited to Matthew D. Rohrbach.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.