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.

Apple posts job listing focused on improving cloud services

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 03:07
Category: Mobile, Rumor, Software

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When the job listings go up, things become interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is building a small team to write software which will lay the groundwork for the company’s future Web services, which it has advertised as “the future” of its cloud-based offerings.

This week the company posted a new job listing for the position of “Cloud Systems Software Engineer.” The full-time role at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., campus will join a “small team” that is said to be building “the future of cloud services at Apple.”

That small team writes “software which forms the foundation” for some of Apple’s “most exciting new products and services,” the job listing reads. In keeping with Apple’s legendary secrecy, the listing does not reveal what services the company’s cloud-driven future will include.

The company is apparently looking to hire an engineer with experiencing in scalable and extensible systems. The ideal candidate will collaborate with other engineering teams at Apple to build the platform frameworks and systems that will power Apple’s next-generation Web services.

Apple has offered cloud-based services for some time with its US$99-per-year MobileMe service. According to unconfirmed rumors, Apple is expected to unveil an enhanced version of MobileMe this year, featuring a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos. That content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones, eliminating the need for a large amount of local memory on devices.

In particular, Apple is believed to be working on a cloud-based music service that would allow users to stream their music from anywhere. Such a product could be powered by Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina, expected to go online this spring.

This week’s latest job listing from Apple comes only months after the company sought to add software engineers to its iOS development team with an emphasis on remote storage for data access. Cloud support is rumored to be a major component of iOS 5, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad. One report from March said Apple plans to release iOS 5 this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s component suppliers say Retina Display might not arrive for iPad devices in 2011

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Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:45
Category: iPad, Rumor

As nifty as Apple’s Retina Display is, it might be hard to put in all of its devices.

Per DigiTimes, component makers for Apple’s iPad claim that the company has released its roadmap for higher-resolution touchscreen tablets, but the project is still at the “initial planning stage” and an upgraded iPad is unlikely to come later this year, according to a new report.

Insiders suggest that Apple could choose AMOLED technology or a high-resolution standard as part of its plan to upgrade the image quality on the iPad.

“Sources from touch panel makers pointed out that Apple recently released its latest tablet PC plan and is asking the panel makers to provide products that are capable to support higher image quality than the current iPad 2,” the report read.

“Apple may even choose AMOLED panel or panel that support Full HD standard to accomplish the plan. However, since the project is still at the initial planning stage, the actual products are unlikely to appear in 2011.”

Sources also cautioned that Apple may hold off on moving to AMOLED because rival Samsung mostly controls the technology. “If Apple is adopting AMOLED panel into its device, Apple would be facing a great risk having the key technologies being held by its competitors,” the report noted.

Upstream component makers pointed out that, given the production ramp up for the iPad 2, launching an iPad 3 this year would “simply bite off share” from the iPad 2.

Further quashing rumors of an iPad 3 in 2011, sources said that they have yet to receive “any notice for next generation iPad products” and do not believe the iPad 2 is a “transitional product.”

Even before the iPad 2 had been announced, rumors emerged earlier this year that Apple would release an iPad 3 in 2011.

Those rumors appeared to have been put to rest after Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared 2011 “the year of iPad 2.” However, intermittent reports since then have continued to suggest that Apple could release an iPad upgrade in 2011.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with Concorde Securities, Apple faced supply constraints and cost limitations that prevented the iPad maker from adding an improved display to the iPad 2. Kuo has suggested that a Retina display is still in the pipeline, and could make its way into the iPad 3 in early 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iOS 4.3.2 to feature FaceTime, Verizon iPad, WebKit fixes and changes

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Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:31
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

If iOS 4.3.1 is driving you mildly nuts, there’s hope down the line.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple is rumored to issue its next mobile operating system update, iOS 4.3.2, for the iPhone and iPad in the next week, addressing problems with FaceTime and connectivity issues related to the Verizon iPad 2.

The web site allegedly obtained an early copy of the iOS 4.3.2 software and loaded it on an iPhone, but apparently didn’t notice any standout changes with the incremental software update. Even so, a tipster reportedly said that the new software will pack a fix for FaceTime, as well as security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities, among other minor changes.

The update is also said to resolve connectivity issues with the Verizon CDMA iPad 2. Last Friday, Apple said in a statement that it is looking into connection problems users have reported with the 3G-capable Verizon iPad 2. The issues have not been reported by users of the AT&T-compatible 3G iPad 2.

Rumors of an iOS 4.3.2 update first surfaced earlier this month. It was said that the security and maintenance update would include bug fixes, but no additional details were given at the time.

iOS 5.0 is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has said that this year’s conference will be used to “unveil the future of iOS,” and rumors have indicated that Apple will preview iOS 5, but will not announce a new iPhone as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3.2 in next couple of weeks

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:06
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Apple is rumored to be prepping another incremental update to its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 4.3.2 within the next few weeks, the update having been said to include bug fixes and enhancements.

Per Boy Genius Report, the company is currently working on iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Tipsters allegedly indicated that the software will arrive in about two weeks.

“It’s said to include a few enhancements, address security issues, and it will also fix several bugs that have affected users,” the report said. It provided no specifics on what bugs or improvements the update might include.

The same site reported on iOS 4.3.1 in March, and said it would also arrive within two weeks. The actual software arrived just four days later, and was a minor release with fixes for cellular networks and a resolution for an occasional graphics glitch on the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Apple has already revealed that it will “unveil the future of iOS” at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled to start on June 6. It is widely believed that Apple will officially unveil the next major update for its mobile operating system, iOS 5, at that event, though rumors have suggested the company has no intention of showing off new iPhone hardware, as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.