Rumor: Apple purchases iCloud.com domain name for $4.5 million

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Date: Friday, April 29th, 2011, 05:37
Category: iTunes, iTunes Music Store, Rumor

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Moving away from the white iPhone 4 for a moment, Apple is said to have indeed bought the iCloud.com domain for its forthcoming cloud-based iTunes music streaming service, though the rumored US$4.5 million purchase price remains unconfirmed.

Citing his own sources, John Paczkowski of Digital Daily reported Friday that Apple did purchase the iCloud.com domain from Swedish cloud computing company Xcerion. Those sources declined, however, to say whether the rumored US$4.5 million purchase price was accurate.

The report corroborates a rumor from earlier this week in which it was stated that Apple had acquired the domain, likely revealing the name of the company’s forthcoming cloud computing service. The Whois database still lists Xcerion as the owner of iCloud, but the company recently rebranded its service as CloudMe.

Still a mystery is exactly what Apple has planned for the domain. The company already has a name for its current cloud computing efforts: MobileMe.

Back in February, it was reported that Apple is working on a major revamp of its MobileMe service, and is considering making the US$99-per-year product free. The report also said that Apple will offer a digital “locker” that will allow users to store and remotely access personal content, like photos, music and videos.

More recently, Apple is said to have “completed” work on a new music streaming service that it has been pitching to music executives. And one of the four major record labels, Warner Music, is said to have signed a deal with Apple over the service, though the specifics of how it might work remain unknown.

Set to open this spring, a new Apple data center in Maiden, N.C., will support both the iTunes and MobileMe services, which has led to speculation that the US$1 billion facility could be an integral part of Apple’s anticipated cloud services. The 500,000 square-foot data center is five times larger than the company’s current data center in Newark, Calif.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Pictures leaked of iPhone 5 with larger screen

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Date: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011, 05:18
Category: iPhone, Rumor

When in doubt, make the screen larger.

A series of new photos from overseas show a purported iPhone prototype with a larger touchscreen display, similar to the rumored edge-to-edge iPhone 5 screen.

The photos were released Monday by MIC Gadget, which made no claims about their authenticity. The photo from China shows a white iPhone with a body similar to the iPhone 4, but a larger screen on the front squeezed into the same frame.

The front of the device also shows the new proximity sensor spotted on the white iPhone 4, set to finally go on sale this week following numerous delays.

While one photo shows what appears to be an operational unit, a second picture features what is just a front panel and LCD component, without the rest of the phone. It too features the newly designed proximity sensor above the earpiece.

The pictures are supported by similar alleged engineering sketches that were first revealed in March. Those “mold engineering drawings” claimed to be for Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone also featured a slightly larger edge-to-edge display.

The current iPhone 4 sports a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels. Reports have suggested that Apple is looking to expand the screen size to either 3.7″ or 4″ with a next-generation model.

The anticipated fifth-generation iPhone is rumored to arrive later than usual this year, after the typical June launch timeframe. Reports have suggested that Apple will begin production of the device in September, but that the new device’s design will feature only “slight modifications” from the current iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to redesign case for next-gen MacBook Pro

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Date: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011, 05:09
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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While the latest refresh of MacBook Pros are just two months old, rumors of the next update have already begun, with a new report claiming that the next model will feature a newly redesigned case construction.

Per MacRumors, an article citing “reliable confirmation” reported Monday on an alleged plans for a new case design in the next MacBook Pro update. However, the report offers no details on what changes Apple could make to the unibody construction of the current aluminum MacBook Pros.

The article cites a rumor from February which stated that the newly redesigned MacBook Pro notebooks would arrive next year. The rumored all-new design was said to already be in development at Quanta in Taiwan.

The last major update to the look of the MacBook Pro line came in 2008, when Apple updated the line with unibody construction. The unibody MacBook Pros are machined from a single block of aluminum, allowing Apple to create a strong, single-piece shell.

Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line of products earlier this year, adding Intel’s latest-generation Sandy Bridge processors, as well as the new high-speed Thunderbolt data connection port. But the external design of the new notebooks was largely unchanged from their predecessors.

Additional rumors surfaced in February that Apple plans to transition its notebooks in the next 12 to 18 months and add features from its hot-selling thin-and-light MacBook Air notebooks. Major changes to the MacBook Air including instant-on, standard flash solid-state drives, slimmer enclosures, and the omission of optical drives are expected to become more prevalent in the design of many Mac notebooks planned for introduction in the future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked photos surface of supposed T-Mobile-compatible iPhone prototype

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the leaks that make life interesting.

A series of leaked photos of a supposed iPhone prototype indicate that Apple may be testing the smartphone on the T-Mobile USA network.

Per Boy Genius Report, a series of photos allegedly of a white iPhone prototype “with T-Mobile USA 3G bands.” The device appears to be code-named as N94, just two numbers up from the Verizon iPhone 4, which was reportedly called N92.

According to the report, the prototype runs a test version of Apple’s iOS that resembles that of another prototype discovered in a video earlier this week. The fact that the N94 device has Apple test apps scubas Radar and the company’s employee directory app may also serve to substantiate its authenticity.

The front of the prototype looks “a little different” from recent leaked photos of the retail white iPhone 4. “Specifically, the proximity sensor has changed on the retail version,” the report noted. On Friday, photos of an official retail white iPhone 4 from Vodafone U.K. emerged, though Vodafone has reportedly halted sales of the device until next week.

The lock screen of the prototype device contains the message: “Confidential and Proprietary. If Found, please contact +1 408…”, but the rest of the number has been whited out in the photos.

The report goes on to speculate that Apple is “just testing the new T-Mobile-friendly radio with its current iPhone 4 hardware, possibly in preparation for integration in a future device. It’s also entirely possible the internals on this iPhone prototype are being disguised in an iPhone 4 shell, though we doubt it.”

AT&T announced last month a US$39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA from parent company Deutsche Telekom. A subsequent “>FAQ from T-Mobile suggested that the carrier would hold off on offering the iPhone until at least after the acquisition is completed in “approximately 12 months”

A T-Mobile FAQ regarding last month’s announcement of AT&T’s US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA explained that T-Mobile does not yet carry the iPhone and will remain independent for up to a year. According to one official at the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T faces a “steep climb” ahead of it to obtain approval for the deal, which would make AT&T the largest wireless provider in the U.S by a large margin.

We’ll see how this plays out and if you have two cents to hurl in on this, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to start production of Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air notebooks in May

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 03:05
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

Apple next month will reportedly begin manufacturing the first updates to its rejuvenated MacBook Air line as the company looks to maintain the impressive sales momentum generated by the ultra-thin notebooks and limit the market opportunity for would-be competitors hoping to wedge their foot in the door.

Per AppleInsider, sales of the aggressively-priced 11.6- and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs got off to a hot start following their introduction last October, with Apple assembling roughly 1 million units within their first quarter of availability. During those three months, consumers reportedly chose the new MacBook Airs at a one-to-two ratio to the company’s more established MacBook Pro offerings, making for one of the company’s most successful Mac product launches ever.

However, shipments of the Airs declined 51% sequentially during the first calendar quarter of 2011 — including a 40% month-over-month decline in February — as Apple introduced new MacBook Pros that caught consumers’ eyes, according to Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has proven sources within the Cupertino-based company’s Far Eastern supply chain.

Kuo stated that his latest round of checks with suppliers and system builders in the region reveals that MacBook Air shipments are set to rebound during the current calendar quarter, fueled by an upgrade to Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors, integrated Intel graphics, and the expected adoption of the new Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology that made its debut on MacBook Pros earlier this year.

Specifically, he said the new models will “go to mass production in late May,” which corroborates an earlier report that cited reliable sources as saying Apple would be ready to publicly announce and ship to consumers MacBook Airs with Sandy Bridge processors during following month of June.

The upgrade should help boost Apple’s overall notebook shipments between 5% to 10% sequentially for the current quarter, according to Kuo, reversing a 5% decline from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, which he notes was still less than the 11% average decline for notebook shipments from the top 6 OEMs worldwide during the same period.

In moving to Intel’s 32-nanometer (nm) Sandy Bridge architecture, the mid-2011 MacBook Airs will jettison two-year-old Penryn-based 45-nm Core 2 Duo chips for the chipmakers’ new line (below) of low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 chips, which sport between 3MB and 4MB of Smart Cache and support a theoretical maximum of 8GB of internal system memory.

Should Apple follow its current trend of using ultra-low-variants for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air and low-voltage ones for the 13.3-inch models, consumers can expect to see new 11.6-inch MacBook Airs sporting 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz Core i5 and Core i7 chips and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs with 2.10 and 2.30GHz Core i7 processors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple shipping white iPhone 4 units to U.S. locations, will launch model on April 27th

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 03:38
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you’ve been dreaming of a white iPhone 4 unit, it’s just about here.

Per AppleInsider, Apple this weekend began preparing its retail segment for the imminent launch of the company’s much-anticipated white iPhone 4 models, signaling the end of a somewhat embarrassing delay that has seen the handsets elude eager buyers since last July.

According to sources close to the story, Apple’s U.S-based retail stores began receiving promotional information overnight that features the white iPhone 4, expected to launch for both Verizon and AT&T subscribers “within the next week.”

In addition, several stores are said to have received shipment notifications for the various white iPhone 4 SKUs and have been instructed to hold those shipments in the back of the house until further notice. All indications point to an official announcement by Wednesday, April 27th.

Word that white iPhones are finally en route to Apple stores in the U.S. comes just days after the inventory systems of U.K.-based wireless carrier Vodafone indicated stock of the handsets while photos of a 16GB model in official retail packaging — carrying model number MC604B/A — were published online.

The arrival of white models is expected to serve as a boon for iPhone sales during a time of year when customers have historically held off purchasing new iPhones under the expectation of next-generation models making their debut during the summer.

This year, however, Apple is widely reported to have decided to forgo a summer iPhone introduction in favor of introducing so-called fifth-generation models in the fall, much closer to the holiday shopping season. According to sources, these new models will go into production in September and sport a unified Qualcomm baseband capable of serving both GSM and CDMA networks.

Such a move is also expected to allow Apple to align fifth-generation iPhones for a simultaneous release on both GSM and CDMA networks, meaning both AT&T and Verizon customers should be able to buy the new handsets later this year at the same time.

Apple has publicly pushed back the release of the white iPhone 4 several times over the past 9 months. In late July of last year, the company revealed that it would not be able to launch the handset alongside black models that month as it had originally planned. Instead, Apple rescheduled the launch for “Late 2010″ only to concede a few months later that it would miss that self-imposed deadline as well, telling customers not to expect white models until the Spring of 2011.

Last month, Apple was said to have finally begun production of the white models, which would become available to customers by April. The company was said to have made changes to both the handset’s original “film material” and paint mixture that were resulting in the production of a “huge” number of defective units.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPhone 5 to hit in September, sport faster processor

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Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumor mill that keeps things interesting. Per Reuters, Apple will begin shipping the iPhone 5, complete with a faster processor, in September.

This September shipping date rumor contradicts earlier ones that the iPhone 5 wouldn’t begin production until September with an October or later ship date. Current industry speculation states that with Apple apparently focusing WWDC solely on software this year, it makes sense that the company would hold off introducing an iPhone 5 until September when iOS 5 will likely launch. Other opinions have stated that the delay allows for better product line syncing between the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available and you’ll know as soon as we do.

Rumor: Apple to release white iPhone 4 in UK on April 20th

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Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011, 03:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been hankering for the white iPhone 4.

And if you’re in the United Kingdom, you’ve got a semi-definitive arrival date.

Per The Next Web, a briefly-posted page on UK retailer Three’s website seemingly revealed the long-awaited launch date for the white iPhone 4, though the page was quickly taken offline. The page suggested an April 20th launch prior to being pulled.

There has been a great deal of speculation that the launch of the white iPhone 4 was imminent, with reports from the US suggesting that it would launch by the end of the month.

However, Three has jumped the gun with the white iPhone 4 before – back in January, the white iPhone 4 appeared on Three’s site though the company later stated that this was only a holding page.

But this week pricing and delivery information appeared briefly on Three’s site, only to be hastily removed.

It is thought that number of manufacturing issues have held up the release of the white iPhone 4, which was supposed to launch alongside the black iPhone 4 in July 2010, including paint that peeled under extremes of heat.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also speculated that paint was part of the problem back in January, though Woz reckoned it was letting too much light in to the body of the phone, ruining photographs and videos captured by the device’s camera.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: White iPhone 4 to arrive on April 26th

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Date: Monday, April 18th, 2011, 03:26
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been wanting the white iPhone 4 since, well, last summer.

And it may only be days away.

Per Italian iPhone site iPhoneItalia, a “reliable source” has stated that the white iPhone 4 will launch in Italy on Tuesday, April 26. Recently, Bloomberg confirmed that the white iPhone 4 would be shipping by the end of April. Yesterday, white iPhone 4 part numbers began appearing in Verizon’s inventory.

While Apple has yet to confirm an exact launch date, it has confirmed that the white iPhone 4 will be launching this spring. If iPhoneItalia’s sources are correct, it’s highly likely that Apple has sufficient supplies of the white iPhone 4 to launch in multiple countries, which would mean that the US launch of the white iPhone 4 will also occur on April 26.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: White Apple iPhone could arrive in “next few weeks”

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 04:17
Category: iPhone, Rumor

This better live up to the delay.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will finally begin selling the white iPhone 4 by the end of April after having resolved manufacturing challenges that resulted in a 10-month delay.

According to sources close to the story, the white iPhone is nearly ready for launch on both AT&T and Verizon, corroborating an earlier report that the device would launch in April.

The report was updated by Reuters on Thursday that Apple’s suppliers have begun production of the white iPhone 4, according to “two people familiar with the situation.”

In March, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a full-lamination problem had prompted necessary changes to the film material on the white iPhone 4, resulting in a now 10-month delay.

The report also tracks with a Twitter message posted by Apple VP Phil Schiller last month. “The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!),” Schiller said.

Earlier this year, it was learned that Apple had turned to a Japanese company to craft a new paint material in order to overcome the manufacturing problems of the white iPhone 4.

Apple repeatedly delayed the product in 2010, citing manufacturing issues. Last October, the company announced that the white iPhone 4 would not arrive until spring 2011.

The extended delay of the white iPhone 4 has prompted speculation that Apple will hold off on releasing a redesigned iPhone this summer. Numerous rumors have now suggested that Apple will instead release the so-called iPhone 5 this fall, with one report suggesting that Apple would not release a next-generation iPhone until after Apple’s fiscal 2012 begins in late September.

The Feb. 10 release of the CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon has also fueled rumors that Apple will choose not to refresh the iPhone this summer. Pundits questioned whether an iPhone update just 4 to 5 months after the Verizon iPhone launch would anger customers who signed 2-year contracts.

Apple has historically released a new version of its bestselling smartphone every summer in June or July. Last week, analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities noted that Apple is “keeping its iPhone 5 cards extra close to the vest” in order to avoid a slump in iPhone 4 demand ahead of a refresh.

Insiders connected to Taiwan-based touch panel makers indicated Wednesday that Apple has yet to provide them with a production roadmap for the next iPhone. The sources were split, however, as to the interpretation of the situation. Some believe that Apple will release a slightly modified iPhone 4 this summer, while others speculated that a “major overhaul” would come at a later date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.