iPhone 5 could feature 4″ screen, A5 processor

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Date: Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, 05:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The iPhone may be getting a bit bigger.

Per Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, upstream component suppliers report that Apple will expand the screen size of the fifth-generation iPhone to 4 inches in order to compete with a growing class of ‘super phones’ in the 4- to 7-inch range. By comparison, the iPhone 4 sports a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels.

The screen bump could also serve to push the iPhone toward the smaller end of the tablet market. “The component suppliers noted that the production lines for Apple’s next generation iPhone have begun testing, and Apple is interesting in expanding the screen size to 4-inches to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market,” said the report.

If accurate, the report could dovetail with recent rumors of an “iPhone nano,” as Apple may be looking to differentiate its iPhone lineup with bigger and smaller displays. Though rumors of a smaller version of the iPhone have persisted for years, recent reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal of an upcoming cheaper, smaller iPhone have lent credence to the rumors.

A second report from DigiTimes claims that Apple is hoping to outsource the production of its A4 processor and the next-generation A5 processor, which will likely utilize the ARM Cortex A9 design, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company due to concerns over increased competition between Samsung and Apple. At this week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung has shown a number of new products, such as the Galaxy S II smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, that will directly compete with Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Though Apple’s A4 processor is currently exclusively produced by Samsung Electronics, Apple has tapped TSMC for help producing the A4 in the past when Samsung’s capacity was unable to meet demand for Apple’s devices. Sources indicated to DigiTimes that “the move at that time was perhaps to test TSMC’s capability.”

“According to Digitimes Research,” the report continued, “the iPad 2 will support an enhanced version of the A4 and the A5 will power the iPhone 5. TSMC will initially produce the improved A4, and could likely become the exclusive manufacturer of the A5.”

The report echoes rumors from January suggesting that the next iPhone will run atop “Apple’s new A5 CPU (a Cortex A9-based, multi-core chip).”

It’s speculation at this point but it’s still interesting.

If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Rumor: iPhone mini could drop internal storage, rely extensively on MobileMe streaming

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 10:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that keep technology interesting.

With that in mind, the iPhone mini is making the rounds with the cool cats at Cult of Mac stating that the smaller iPod smartphone combo may rely on the also rumored MobileMe cloud-based iTunes storage server for streaming content from user’s media libraries.

Access to music, video and photos on the iPhone mini “would be a mostly cloud-based iOS,” according to Cult of Mac’s anonymous sources.

The rumored changes to Apple’s MobileMe service include a new Internet-based iTunes library storage system for iPhone users. Since content would be pushed wirelessly to them, the need for large amounts of RAM for local data storage would go away.

The notion that users would be able to stream their entire iTunes library may not, however, go over well with cell service providers. Relying on 3G data connections instead of Wi-Fi networks at least some of the time would push up iPhone user’s wireless data usage dramatically, and carriers may not want to deal with the extra network traffic per the Mac Observer.

Streaming content libraries would also a problem in places where data connections aren’t available, such as many flights. Unless the iPhone mini includes at least some local storage for media, users won’t be able to listen to music or watch movies when they can’t get an Internet connection.

It’s been presumed that an iPhone mini would have at least some built-in storage so users could load apps and store their contacts and appointments on the device.

As of now, Apple has yet to offer any comment, leaving the rest of this up to speculation…

Rumor: Updated MacBook Pro units could arrive on March 1st

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 05:45
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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You’re eagerly waiting for the next MacBook Pro refresh.

And it could happen on March 1st.

A report from Danish blogger Kenneth Lund has claimed that Lund has had heard from retailers in the country that a limited supply of the new MacBook Pros will be available from March 1st.

Last week, it was reported that supplies of MacBook Pros were running low in Japan, following on from January’s news that U.S. stores were also facing dwindling stocks.

It was anticipated that problems with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors could delay the MacBook Pro product line refresh, though if the reports about a March 1st launch are correct then it seems that any delays were minor.

Other rumors include the possibility that the new MacBook Pro notebooks could contain solid-state drives as opposed to conventional hard drives. This has yet to be confirmed and only time will tell.

Rumor: Apple looking to place Sandy Bridge processor in MacBook Air line this June

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Date: Saturday, February 12th, 2011, 06:22
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

If you’re hankering for an upgraded processor in your MacBook Air, just wait a bit.

Per CNET, Apple is looking to replace the Core 2 Duo chip found in the current MacBook Air, a processor that is two generations behind Intel’s recently released Sandy Bridge processors. The MacBook Air was updated with a new, thinner design, flash memory drive, and an 11.6-inch model was added to the mix in an update released last fall.

In December, CNET claimed that future MacBooks from Apple with Sandy Bridge processor would not use Nvidia graphics processors in at least some models 13 inches and under. It is rumored that the smaller models will switch to Sandy Bridge-only integrated graphics, while Apple’s larger, higher-end MacBooks with screen sizes of 15 and 17 inches will allegedly rely on GPUs from AMD.

Intel began its roll-out of the Sandy Bridge next-generation processors in January, but the company quickly discovered an error in the chipset that accompanies the processor. That forced Intel to halt production of Sandy Bridge processors while it works on a fix for the 6 Series chipset code-named Cougar Point.

The error affected both desktop and mobile chips, leading to concerns that the issue could have an impact on Apple’s anticipated MacBook Pro refresh. Apple last updated its MacBook Pro notebooks in April of 2010, meaning an update for those products is likely to precede the alleged June refresh for the MacBook Air.

Intel announced this week that it has resumed shipment of chipsets for systems not affected by the Cougar Point design issue, which can lead to poor performance of devices connected to certain SATA ports. The chipmaker also said that it will meet its deadline to begin shipping dual-core Sandy Bridge hips on their previously announced launch date of February 20th.

Intel to ship dual-core Sandy Bridge processor for notebooks on February 20th, MacBook Pro version may not be far behind

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Date: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 06:47
Category: Processors, Rumor

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The bad news: Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor was delayed, the announcement coming in last week.

The good news: Intel’s dual-core Sandy Bridge processor, which is widely expected to power the next MacBook Pro line is finally shipping this month.

MacRumors is reporting that Intel will begin shipping its dual-core Sandy Bridge CPU chips for notebooks on February 20th. The processor is specced as using between 17 watts and 35 watts of power while running at speeds between 1.4GHz and 2.7GHz. The Dual-Core chips follow on the heels of a quad-core version launched last month.

“The first Sandy Bridge processors to ship were quad-core chips, mainly for high-end laptops,” PC World writes. “The dual-core chips will likely go into end-user and ultraportable laptops, many of which were shown at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Fujitsu said it plans to use dual-core Core i7 chips in its high-end ultraportable laptops.”

The dual-core chips are also likely candidates for upgrades to the existing MacBook Pro lineup, with rumors swirling about updates in the near future, the chips offering a better integrated graphics performance as well as better power usage.

One question that remains is how Intel has addressed complaints of a design flaw in early versions of the Sandy Bridge controller. MacRumors notes “the issue didn’t directly affect the CPUs, but affected SATA-II connectors found on the chipsets,” which manufacturers (including Apple) use to connect the CPU to the rest of the system. Intel previously announced they would begin shipping corrected controllers in mid-February.

Rumors: Apple to hold low-key iPad 2 release event in March, include NFC feature in upcoming iPad/iPhone 5 devices

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Date: Monday, February 7th, 2011, 03:28
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple may be keeping its press event for the much-anticipated second-generation iPad on the succinct side during its release next month. In a two-line report published early Saturday by macotakara.jp, it’s claimed that the Cupertino-based company “seems to open a small event to introduce next generation of iPad.”

Such an event appears to be on track for March, the report added. Still, it cautioned that the device may only see an announcement during that time frame in the United States, with shipments and international availability possibly following at a later date.

Meanwhile, a related report filed Friday by iLounge appears to reinforce earlier rumors that both the new iPad and fifth-generation iPhone will include near-field communication technology, giving users the ability to have their device serve as an electronic wallet for quick wireless transactions.

More specifically, the report claims that Apple is actively developing new accessories that will communicate with the NFC radio chips inside the future iOS devices. For example, “an accessory could announce its presence and potential functions to an iPad or iPhone without the need for a Bluetooth or similar connection,” the report adds. The source of the tip further suggests “that an otherwise simple case could include a radio chip so that an inserted iPhone or iPad could go into power-saving hibernation mode automatically.”

Of all the rumors, the inclusion of NFC capabilities in the second-gen iPad appears most likely, especially given AppleInsider’s discovery last month that Apple was seeking hardware engineers familiar with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and an external report that claimed the electronics maker is actively testing NFC-enabled iPhone prototypes using hardware from NXP Semiconductor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3 update on February 14th

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Date: Friday, February 4th, 2011, 13:11
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Ok, Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday.

In fact, almost no one likes it.

Still, there may be something good to come out of it this year.

Per MacStories.net, a source has claimed that Apple will release its iOS 4.3 update for the iPhone and iPad on Monday, February 14th, at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

The update is expected to bring AirPlay functionality to third-party applications and the new Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi tethering feature, in 10 days. Apple usually releases its iOS updates around 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

In the past, the website correctly predicted that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion would adopt various features and user interface elements from iOS, which powers the iPad and iPhone. But last November, the site also incorrectly reported that Apple would release iOS 4.3 in December with recurring application subscriptions.

Apple issued the first beta of iOS 4.3 to developers in mid-January. It introduced the new Personal Hotspot tethering feature for iPhone, as well as new multi-touch gestures on the iPad for quickly multitasking and accessing the home screen.

However, Apple later informed developers that the new multi-touch gestures in the iOS beta are just a preview for developers to test compatibility with their applications. The Cupertino, Calif., company indicated that the functionality will be included with a later update to iOS.

So far, Apple has released a total of three betas of iOS 4.3 to developers, with the most recent one issued this week. Other reports have speculated that iOS 4.3 could be released within two weeks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

And if this Valentine’s Day’s choices come down to buying your significant other something nifty to express how you feel and clicking the “Check for Update” button in your iTunes device list menu, play it safe and buy her something nice.

Analyst cites iPad 2 components, specs, expected supply numbers

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 05:25
Category: iPad, Rumor

Per AppleInsider, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities has prepared a report indicating that iPad 2 won’t receive higher resolution screen this year, using the same 1024×768 of the original iPad.

“The improvement of iPad 2 display,” the report notes, “focuses on thickness and anti-reflection, not resolution. iPad 2 display module is 30 – 35% thinner than iPad 1 and it’s helpful for better form factor.

“Thanks to anti-reflection, iPad 2 could have better sunlight readable experience and it’s helpful for Apple to compete with Amazon’s fast growing Kindle business.

“The most important reason why iPad 2 won’t have retinal display is yield rate of panel making. At this point, making high resolution and bright IPS/FFS panel is not easy and the production volume and cost couldn’t meet Apple’s requirements.”

The new iPad model is also said to pack much higher processing power, graphics and more RAM and faster memory access. The greater computing power of of the revised iPad “could ensure iPad 2‘s competitive advantage for coming tablet war this year,” the report notes.

“iPad 2 will use [ARM] Cortex-A9 dual core processor running at 1.2GHz. Increasing 1-2% single core processor clock results in a 3-5% power increase and dual core could get a better balance between computing power and power consumption. That’s the reason why Apple will use dual core for iPad 2.”

As expected, the report also states “iPad 2 will also have a GPU using Imagination’s SGX543 dual core graphics technology which is 200~300% powerful than iPhone 4.”

RAM is also on the rise, the report says. “For making full use of GPU upgrading advantage, iPad 2 needs bigger memory bandwidth. So iPad 2 has 512MB RAM, same as iPhone 4 and twice as much as iPad 1, but running at higher clock 1,066 MHz for getting bigger memory bandwidth (iPhone 4 memory clock is 800 MHz).”

The report also stated that “iPad 2 adds one new CDMA model and it could bring more market share to Apple. Project IDs of Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA iPad 2 models are different. GSM iPad will use Infineon chip and CDMA iPad will use Qualcomm chip. More suppliers could reduce the risk of component shortage.”

The possibility of an SD Card slot is mentioned, but not confirmed, but the report notes that the iPad 2 will have two cameras, but with components shared with iPad touch, rather than the higher quality iPhone 4 cameras.

“There are more and more photo and video editing applications for iPad in App Store. The SD slot could let users easily transfer photo and video files made by DSC and DV to iPad and edit them,” the report observed, falling short of actually confirming whether a card slot will be present.

“iPad has two cameras. Front camera is 0.3 mega-pixel [VGA, like iPhone 4] and rear one is 1 mega-pixel [like iPod touch, rather than iPhone 4]. Front camera is for Facetime and Photo Booth and 0.3 mega-pixel is enough because the resolution of iPad 2 is 1,024×768. Rear camera is for applications such as video recording and augmented reality.”

Finally, the report notes that Foxconn will remain the iPad’s sole maker, noting that production began this month and will result in “at least 4.5 – 5 million units for Apple in 1Q’11. iPad 2 will likely go to market in late 1Q’11 or early 2Q’11 based on supply chain shipment status.”

Rumor: Updated MacBook Pro units may be in the pipeline

Posted by:
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

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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.