Rumor: Updated MacBook Pro units may be in the pipeline

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Date: Thursday, January 27th, 2011, 07:54
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Good things come to those who wait.

Per the cool cats at MacRumors, Apple could be preparing to refresh the MacBook Pro product line amid reports that stocks of the 15″ and 17″ models are running low.

The site is claiming that both Apple Stores and third-party retailer supplies are dwindling, suggesting that stocks are being run down in preparation for new models.

Amazon.com says that customers ordering some variants of the MacBook Pro, particularly the 17″ model, will have a long wait, quoting delivery times of between one and two months.

There appear to be some left on the site, though several lines are down to the last few units.

The MacBook Pro line got its last refresh in April of 2010 with the introduction of Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors. It is widely expected that the next refresh of the MacBook Pro line will happen in the next few months.

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

Posted by:
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.

Rumor: Personal Hotspot feature could come to iPhone 3GS under iOS 4.3

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Date: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, 08:52
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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This could be nifty.

The cool cats at iLounge have received an anonymous tip stating that the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 will work on both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. Per the source, who claims to have tested it using the first beta version of iOS 4.3, the feature works on the 3GS exactly as it works on the iPhone 4, including the ability to share the device’s 3G network connection over Wi-Fi.

While it’ll be up to the individual wireless carriers to support the feature, the feature may be present in the OS but not show up in users’ Settings app unless it has been enabled by their carrier. In addition, while the feature is present in the current 3GS build of iOS 4.3 beta, it is possible that Apple could remove the feature prior to the public release of the update.

Even if it’s just a rumor, this could lead to something useful down the line.

Rumor: Apple prepping glasses-free 3D feature for next-gen iPod touch

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 05:49
Category: iPod, Rumor

It seems that when Nintendo announced Apple as the enemy of the future last year, they may have been on to something. Per Macotakara, Apple could be planning on including glasses-free 3D technology in the next iteration of the iPod touch, putting it in direct gaming competition with Nintendo’s upcoming 3Ds handheld gaming console.

A trusted source has reportedly stated that a Japanese manufacturer is currently preparing to produce a large quantity of glasses-free 3D capable LCD panels for the next generation iPod touch.

Interesting if it proves to be true and we’ll have to wait and see.

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

Posted by:
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.

Rumor: Apple may add Personal Hotspot feature to AT&T/GSM iPhone in iOS 4.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 12th, 2011, 04:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The much-hyped Personal Hotspot feature found on iOS 4.2.5 will not remain exclusive to the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, and will arrive with the release of iOS 4.3 for existing GSM-based handsets, according to a new rumor.

Per iPhoneHellas.gr, (via Google Translate), the feature will be part of a purported update in the works known as iOS 4.3. The rumor was credited to “reliable information” obtained by the site.

The Personal Hotspot feature is included in a new version of iOS, dubbed 4.2.5, that was spotted on pre-release CDMA iPhone hardware shown off at Tuesday’s Verizon iPhone press conference. The feature is found in the Settings application on the phone, where it can be turned on or off and the Wi-Fi password can be changed.

In addition, on Tuesday iPhoneclub.nl also reported that the iOS 4.3 update will only support the mobile hotspot feature, which allows up to five devices to be connected to a 3G data connection over Wi-Fi, will only be available if a carrier offers it.

AT&T famously did not allow tethering on the iPhone in the U.S. even after Apple had added the ability to share a wireless Internet connection via USB or Bluetooth to its mobile operating system. The feature eventually arrived last June alongside new, capped data plans. Tethering with an iPhone on AT&T costs an extra US$20 per month.

When asked on Tuesday whether AT&T will offer the Personal Hotspot feature on its network, a company spokesperson said they wouldn’t “speculate” on potential future features. Apple has not made any mention of the Personal Hotspot coming to existing iPhones since the feature was first revealed on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.

Rumor: Apple may include Genius Bars, display more Macs in Best Buy locations

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011, 06:31
Category: Rumor

Retail giant Best Buy may update its Apple store-within-a-store boutiques to feature a larger display of Macs in addition to staffed Genius Bars that would mirror those found in every Apple retail store.

Per an anonymous tip received by The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the move could come as early as this spring according to a Best Buy employee who had been briefed on the matter by his official Apple representative.

If true, it would be the first time that Apple has expanded its trademark Genius Bars outside of its own brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has long referred to the Genius Bars as the “heart and soul” of his company’s stores. The counters currently operate on a reservation system and are staffed by specially trained and certified Apple “Geniuses.”

Customers can typically schedule a Genius Bar reservation online via their computer, iPod, iPhone or iPad, up to 72 hours in advance, or alternatively choose sign up for an open appointment once they arrive at the store.

Best Buy has worked in close partnership with Apple since 2006, when the two companies agreed to a 7-store pilot program designed to highlight Mac personal computers inside Best Buy retail stores.

The program, which has since expanded to roughly 500 Best Buy locations nationwide, has seen the placement of distinct Apple boutiques — designed to resemble mini Apple stores — inside the specialty electronics retailer’s computer departments.

Best Buy has also been the recipient of other preferred treatment from Apple. For instance, two years ago it became the first independent U.S. reseller to offer the iPhone to its customers. Last year, it was similarly the only retailer authorized to take pre-orders for the inaugural iPad alongside Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Verizon iPhone to be announced Tuesday

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Date: Monday, January 10th, 2011, 06:29
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

With multiple signs pointing towards the imminent release of Verizon’s iPhone, the Wall Street Journal has stated that a new deal will “upend the balance of power in the industry, ending Verizon rival AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the device and leaving smaller players like Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA facing two well-capitalized competitors offering the world’s most popular smartphone.”

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the report said that while “it wasn’t immediately clear when Verison would have the devices in its stores,” the carrier would be announcing details in its press conference scheduled for next Tuesday in New York.

It also said the device “would be similar to the existing iPhone 4, but run on the carrier’s CDMA technology.” Verizon made a big splash at CES surrounding its “4G” LTE deployment plans, but that new network won’t be available for voice calls until 2012.

The report noted that Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T, which started in 2007, “has fueled much of the carrier’s subscriber growth and has given it a solid lead in smartphone customers.”

Additionally, it noted that “the arrangement between Apple and AT&T was groundbreaking at a time when carriers tightly controlled the appearance and function of their phones, and put Silicon Valley companies like Apple and Google in the wireless industry’s driver’s seat.”

At the same time, while “Apple feels it has had tremendous success through its exclusive relationship with AT&T,” the report stated, “it recognized that it needs to partner with Verizon to grow sales faster in the US.” A note filed by analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros in December said the carrier was “still excited” about launching Apple’s iPhone early next year “to combat slowing Android momentum in the US.”

Verizon has partnered with HTC and Motorola over the last year to promote Android phones in a hedge bet against BlackBerry’s inability to deliver a worth competitor to the iPhone. However, the carrier has since seen a drop in Android interest with the arrival of iPhone 4.

Despite its “Droid” branded push in 2010, “Top Verizon executives have continued to meet regularly with their counterparts at Apple, however” the report noted, “and have long expressed interest in carrying the iPhone, which could help add to the carrier’s base of 93 million subscribers.”

AT&T has braced itself for the loss in iPhone exclusivity that it has seen coming for some time, working to lock existing iPhone 4 buyers into two year contracts and relying upon family and business plans that make it hard for individuals to leave the carrier.

Other US carriers may be hit harder, including T-Mobile and Sprint, neither of which are expected to gain access to iPhone sales, even though the new CDMA iPhone should work on Sprint’s network, and the existing iPhone 4 can work on T-Mobile’s, albeit limited to the much slower, 2G GSM/EDGE service.

The report noted that Verizon’s iPhone launch event “threatens to overshadow Verizon’s keynote address Thursday at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, where the carrier touted its new 4G network and announced a number of Google-powered phones and tablet PCs designed to make use of the network’s capabilities.”

Verizon has invited Mac journalists to the event but has notably excluded Gizmodo staff from its invitation list, a move that all but confirmed that the event involved Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.