Rumor: Apple may debut fifth-gen iPad in March, borrow from iPad mini design elements

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:15
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

If you were waiting a while to see if there might be a new generation of iPad coming out the door in a few months, you get to feel both proud and smug.

If you just bought a brand new iPad, you might want to want to gently throttle the friend who waited a bit for the next-gen iPad.

Per Japanese blog Mac Otakara,

Apple is reportedly preparing a thinner, lighter fifth-generation iPad model ahead of a March unveiling, only five months after the most recent version was released in October, claims Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the web site claims the 9.7-inch tablet will surface in March with a new look more in line with the iPad mini.

The exact dimensions of the purported iPad were not divulged by the source, but they did expect the tablet to be thinner and lighter than the current iteration. As with most Apple products, and those of OEMs in general, designs have been trending toward shrinking the device while cramming in as much technology as possible. With the third and fourth-generation iPad, however, the chassis was actually slightly thicker than its predecessor as more internal space was required to hold the circuitry that powers the unit’s Retina display.

While the rumor fits with recent whispers that Apple may be moving to an aggressive half-year product refresh cycle, as seen with the fourth-generation iPad, the company has consistently worked with a year-long rotation for its iDevice lines since their respective introductions.

No mention was made of the 9.7-inch model’s internal specifications, but the publication did note that an upgraded iPad mini is already in the works. The smaller tablet will reportedly fit an all-new 7.9-inch Retina display over hand-me-down innards like the A6X processor from the current full-size iPad. Separate reports have echoed the second-gen iPad mini rumors, though a prospective launch timeline has yet to be established.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to incorporate Foursquare functionality into iOS 6 Maps application

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Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 09:28
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

It may not save the iOS 6 Maps app, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is reportedly in preliminary talks with Foursquare to integrate some of the location-based social network’s date into iOS Maps, with the move purportedly in response to offerings from rival services like Google Maps.

Anonymous sources have stated Apple is looking to use local data provided by Foursquare Labs in a bid to enhance the iOS Maps app.

The sources say Apple Senior Vice President of Online Services Eddy Cue met with the popular social service “in recent weeks,” but failed to detail exactly what was discussed or when the meetings took place.

Although only speculation, Foursquare could provide Apple with a number of business listings, relative popularity and user-generated tips to help enhance the iOS Maps experience. Integration with the social service may also allow iPhone and iPad users to “check in” at various locations, letting friends know where they are around town. Currently, iOS limits such location-based discovery features to Apple’s Find My Friends and Foursquare’s app.

It was reported in June that Apple was working to integrate Yelp reviews and listings, a feature that has already made its way to the Maps app.

Since its release with iOS 6, Apple’s mapping solution has been criticized for its lack of features, most noticeable when compared to Google’s established service which once powered the iOS app, as well as incorrect location information and a number of glitches.

Cue is said to be “racing” to improve Maps after taking control of the project when former iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from the company in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen iPad mini to include higher resolution display

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: there’s a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is rumored to be focusing on upgrading the resolution of its recently released iPad mini to Retina display specifications, with the changes said to be arriving in the next generation of the small form factor tablet’s next generation.

The Taiwanese publication cited sources from the backlighting industry as saying Apple’s next-gen iPad mini will boast a higher resolution display. It is not yet clear if the 7.9-inch tablet will feature a screen on-par with current Retina offerings, but “market observers” said a HiDPI display is likely the next step for the mini.

If the rumors are true, the next-generation tablet will move to a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would yield a higher pixel density than the full-size iPad’s 264 ppi due to the discrepancy in screen size.

Sources also said Apple will be modifying the 9.7-inch iPad’s existing LED backlighting system, going from dual light bars to one in an effort to cut weight and slim down the tablet’s profile.

Although DigiTimes has a spotty record when it comes to forecasting upcoming Apple products, the publication’s sources in the display industry are a bit more reliable. In October, it correctly noted that AU Optronics would be tapped as a suppler of the current generation of iPad mini displays, while a second report said weak yields were delaying the release of the iPad mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the new iMac.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple meeting with Asian manufacturers, testing multiple HDTV designs

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Date: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 08:26
Category: Hardware, Rumor


An Apple HDTV should be en route, they’re just selecting the optimal one.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s most recent efforts have focused on a collaboration with struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp.

According to the Journal’s supply chain sources, Apple has been testing “a few designs” for a large format HDTV, though the publication warns that the Cupertino, Calif., company may not actually build the device.

“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” said one source.

Apple has reportedly been working on prototype designs for years, but the recent collaboration with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known by its trade name Foxconn, and Sharp may signal that the TV is edging closer to production.

The rumors are in line with previous reports regarding Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou’s investment in Sharp’s Sakai LCD plant, which netted Hon Hai a 37.6 percent stake in the facility’s operator. In November, Apple too was said to have invested some US$2.3 billion to keep Sharp alive as the firm is a key supplier of displays used in iDevices and other products.

In an interview with Brian Williams of NBC’s Rock Center, Apple chief executive Tim Cook stoked the “iTV” fire when he was asked about the company’s next big thing.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Hints of an Apple-built TV have been circulating for years, and reports have claimed inside knowledge that the final product will be anything from a full-fledged HDTV to a revolutionary set-top cloud-enabled cable box, but sources have yet to offer tangible evidence in support of their claims.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Apple hiring dozens of Israel-based former Texas Instruments chip engineers

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Date: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, 06:06
Category: Hardware, Processors, Rumor


Never doubt the power of hiring the best engineers you can find.

Per The Next Web, Apple has reportedly hired a number of former Texas Instruments engineers living in Israel, with the new employees said to bolster the tech giant’s research and development resources in the region.

Sources familiar with Apple’s developing Israel-based operations have stated that the company has been hiring “dozens” of engineers to work in the cities of Haifa and Herzliya, the latter of which being the home base of purchased the flash memory maker in December of 2011.

The sources went on to say that Apple is picking up former TI employees who were laid off in a culling of 250 jobs at the company’s Ra’anana location, which itself is part of a larger global workforce cutdown of around 1,700 employees. According to TI Israel’s website, the Ra’anana campus was responsible for wireless connectivity solutions like WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS and OMAP products. OMAP, or Open Multimedia Applications Platform, is a type of system-on-a-chip developed by the Texas-based company currently being used in portable devices like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.

Apple in April was reported to be gearing up for a major hiring campaign to fill spots at its Israel R&D center located in Haifa’s Scientific Industries Center, which boasts a collective of high-tech companies like Google, Intel and IBM. The recent TI Israel hires won’t be the first for Apple, as former Deputy CEO Etai Zaitsman is said to be working on the Haifa initiative headed up by Aharon Aharon, a veteran of Israel’s tech industry.

In May, users discovered a number of listings on Apple’s job board for SoC engineers located in the Haifa and Herzliya Pituah regions of Israel.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iTunes 11 on Thursday, November 29th

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Date: Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 07:45
Category: Rumor, Software”>blueituneslogo.jpg

It’s been a work in progress.

Apple is rumored to release its next-generation iTunes 11 as soon as Thursday following a delay due to “engineering issues” which forced the company to rebuild select areas of the new program’s code.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple could release the media store and player by Thursday, which would make the launch about one month later than originally planned.

The information came in a WSJ profile on Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, the head of Apple’s iTunes group who recently took over iOS Maps and Siri after former iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from the company.

In October, Apple announced that iTunes 11 would be pushed back from its promised debut date, but failed to offer an explanation as to the delay, saying only that it “wanted to take a little extra time to get it right.” At the time, spokesman Tom Neumayr said the new iTunes would roll out sometime in November.

iTunes 11 is expected to sport a clean, iOS-inspired user interface with tighter integration with other Apple services like iCloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Google nearing completion of standalone Maps app for iOS

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Date: Friday, November 16th, 2012, 07:54
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

The great, heralded competitor to iOS’ Maps application may be about ready for distribution.

Per the Wall Street Journal, it was reported on Thursday that Google is distributing a test version of a standalone iOS Maps app to people outside the company, suggesting an application to the App Store may be imminent.

According to a source close to the story, a Google Maps-powered app may soon hit the iOS App Store as the internet search giant is almost finished tweaking the software for Apple devices.

“We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world,” a Google spokesman said. “Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”

Google’s standalone app will reportedly feature turn-by-turn navigation, which was reportedly one of the main reasons Apple ditched the service in iOS 6. According to reports, which were later corroborated by CEO Tim Cook, Apple decided to move away from Google’s service because of disagreements related to offering free turn-by-turn directions, a feature Google had long since included in its own Android operating system.

Google has been working to re-establish its presence on iOS after its YouTube app was also deprecated from the platform, and has offered a number of free apps that return most of that functionality back to Apple’s devices. Maps has been noticeably absent, however, though the company did activate Street View for web apps, meaning mobile Safari users can access the feature in-browser.

In October, photographs of an iOS device running Google’s alleged standalone iOS Maps app were leaked to press, showing what appeared to be a near-final version of the software. It is unclear if and when Google will submit the app for approval.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Samsung initiates 20% price increase for iOS device chips

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Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 08:05
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Processors, Rumor

I think it’s about time we just rename “Apple” and “Samsung” as the “Hatfields” and the “McCoys”, because this is going to drag on for a while.

Per MarketWatch, Samsung has allegedly increased the price of its mobile processors by 20 percent for just one company: Apple.

The details come from an unnamed person allegedly familiar with negotiations between the two companies.

The person indicated that Samsung asked for a “significant price raise” for building chips such as the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 and the A6X processor that powers the fourth-generation iPad.

Apple apparently balked at the terms of the deal at first, but eventually accepted the 20 percent price hike, as it could not find any other company to build its mobile processor.

All of Apple’s application processors for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are made by Samsung. The company produces the chips at its fabrication plant in Austin, Tex.

Samsung is expected to build a total of 200 million chips for Apple this year. The companies have allegedly signed a long-term supply contract through 2014.

Although though Samsung remains the sole supplier of Apple’s custom chips found in the iPhone and iPad, the company has long been rumored to be pursuing a chipmaking partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. One report from last month claimed that TSMC could begin building quad-core 20-nanometer chips for Apple as soon as late 2013.

And in October it was said that Apple was getting “serious” about moving chip production away from Samsung. Around the same time, Apple also hired away former Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard, who also designed and developed chips for AMD for 16 years.

Last week, one report claimed that Samsung was expecting to lose a portion of its future chip orders from Apple. It indicated that the Korean electronics company may put off construction of a new fabrication facility because of the expected decrease in orders.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft to release free Office app for iOS in early 2013, will charge subscription fees for document editing

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Date: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, 08:46
Category: Rumor, Software


This is interesting.

According to The Verge, a version of Microsoft Office designed for Apple’s iPhone and iPad is now expected to arrive on the iOS App Store in early 2013, offering free document viewing, while a subscription will be needed for editing.

Details on the rumored software were revealed on Wednesday, which also obtained screenshots of the software and other details from “several sources close to Microsoft’s plans.” The “Office Mobile” application will be a free option available on the iOS App Store that will require a Microsoft Office account.

Included in Office Mobile will be Word, PowerPoint and Excel support, while those with an Office 365 subscription will be able to edit documents. Office Mobile is also expected to come to Google’s Android platform, though it will debut on Apple’s iOS first.

An Office 365 subscription will reportedly be available for purchase through the application, meaning it will comply with Apple’s in-app purchase rules for App Store content. Wednesday’s report said the subscription will allow for “basic editing” in the application, though it “won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office application.

Those who do not purchase an Office 365 subscription will still be able to use the free Office Mobile application for iPhone and iPad for basic viewing of documents.

Last month, a Microsoft product manager in the Czech Republic indicated that the new version of Office for iOS could arrive as soon as March of 2013. A spokesperson for Microsoft declined to give a date, only saying that its Office suite would “work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android.”

Rumors of a version of Microsoft Office for iPad have swirled for the past year, and a picture claiming to show a screenshot of the iPad application surfaced this February. One report from late May pegged a specific release date of Nov. 10 for Office for iPad, but recent reports suggest that date will not be met.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple web site search reveals possible unlocked iPhone 5 units en route

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Date: Monday, November 5th, 2012, 10:17
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

This is kind of interesting.

With the U.S. Online Apple Store still showing carrier-specific iPhone 5 delivery dates of three to four weeks, a quick search on Apple’s website may have revealed the pricing of factory unlocked units expected to hit stores later this year.

Per AppleInsider, the alleged unlocked units are anything but official and could merely be placeholders in Apple’s database, however the prices are consistent with identical models being sold in Canada where all iPhones are unlocked.

While not listed anywhere else on the site, a query for “iPhone 5 factory unlocked” in the search bar reveals “Apple Store Results” as seen above. The units are priced at US$649 for the 16GB version, US$749 for the 32GB model, and US$849 for the 64GB iteration. While not present in the screenshot, all prices for both GSM and CDMA models can be found by adding the storage size to the search. For example, the price of unlocked 32GB GSM and CDMA iPhone 5s are found by searching for “iPhone 5 factory unlocked 32GB.”

It is unclear how long the purported iPhone 5 search results have been on Apple’s website, but a report in September showed an Online Apple Store iPhone comparison page that revealed the prices of unlocked versions bound for the U.S. and Canada. The prices quoted in that report are in line with the search results found on Apple’s U.S. website.

Currently, Apple does not offer factory unlocked versions of its latest handset in the U.S., however the CDMA version sold by Verizon was found to be compatible with the GSM networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. A subsequent report noted that the AT&T version can be unlocked to operate on T-Mobile’s network via an iTunes reset and nano-SIM card replacement.

Apple is expected to introduce unlocked versions of the iPhone 5 when its worldwide rollout is completed and supply of the handset normalizes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.