Rumor: Apple to release 7.85-inch iPad this fall at sub-$499 price point

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2012, 06:02
Category: iPad, Rumor

A rumor’s got to be true on some levels…

Per the New York Times, previous rumors have been confirmed saying consumers can expect the as-yet-unannounced iPad to boast a 7.85-inch form factor and cost “significantly less than the latest US$499 iPad” when it debuts later this year.

Previous reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg both claimed Apple was working on the so-called “iPad mini” and said the new device is expected to launch before year’s end.

Most recently, images of purported iPad mini “engineering samples” were leaked and included side-by-side comparisons with the current third-generation iPad. The samples showed a rearranged speaker assembly flanking a diminutive 19-pin dock connector seen before on alleged next-generation iPhone parts.

According to analysts and executives in the technology industry, the smaller iPad is part of an Apple strategy to garner and retain a larger marketshare by introducing a variety of tablet sizes. The publication notes the Cupertino-based company used a similar model with the iPod line which now ranges from the iPod shuffle to the iPod classic.

If and when the iPad mini is announced, it will be facing stiff competition from Google’s recently-announced US$199 Nexus 7 Android tablet as well as expected offerings from Amazon. The online sales giant is rumored to be readying three distinct 7-inch Kindle Fire models for fall as well as an 8.9-inch version that may be released in late 2012 or early 2013. Sunday’s Times report cites sources who claim the larger-screened Fire is being developed as a competitor to Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad.

Yet another new entrant into the tablet arena is Microsoft’s Surface, a Windows 8-powered device set to be the centerpiece to the company’s “PC+” environment despite CEO Steve Ballmer’s claim that the unit is merely a “design point.” Rather than creating hardware and software separately for different tasks, as does Apple with the iPad and iOS, Microsoft believes that a one-OS-fits-all solution is the future of computing. The ARM architecture-based Surface for Windows RT is expected to debut alongside Windows 8 in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: T-Mobile could receive iPhone in 2013

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 06:58
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It had to happen sometime.

Per BusinessWeek, fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile could use a sales agreement from its parent company Deutsche Telekom AG to carry Apple’s iPhone on its network sometime in 2013 which may help the network turn around slumping profits.

In a note to investors on Tuesday, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said Apple and Deutsche Telekom are “increasingly likely” to strike a deal for T-Mobile to offer the iPhone in the U.S. next year.

The iPhone may help T-Mobile retain lucrative post-paid or contract customers after the telecom lost 510,000 monthly subscribers in the first quarter. Contrasting the massive loss was a combined 688,000 gained customers seen by iPhone-carrying networks AT&T and Verizon over the same period. In February T-Mobile blamed a fourth quarter 2011 loss of 706,000 contract customers on not having access to Apple’s smartphone.

“IPhone (sic) availability at T-Mobile USA would likely reduce contract losses at that company, and push Deutsche Telekom U.S. to a net revenue growth position much sooner than the market expects,” Moffett wrote.

T-Mobile was originally looking to bring Apple’s handset over to its network as part of a merger with the nation’s second-largest carrier AT&T, though the agreement fell through in December. As a result of the breakup AT&T was forced to give Deutsche Telekom US$3 billion in cash along with a transfer of US$1 billion worth of spectrum to the German company’s U.S. arm.

With the additional bandwidth T-Mobile plans to upgrade its network to iPhone-compatible 4G HSPA+ by expanding operations in the 1900MHz spectrum. Tuesday’s report is consistent with the carrier’s expansion plans and solves the frequency issues that CEO Philipp Humm referred to as the “key reason” why the company doesn’t currently offer the iPhone.

A deal to sell the iPhone through an agreement with T-Mobile’s parent company would be a change to Apple’s normal operating procedures as the Cupertino tech giant usually makes first-party agreements with carriers. For example, the recent addition of the iPhone on Sprint’s network was a US$15.5 billion commitment for the telecom. It was reported in June that, while AT&T and Verizon retained the most iPhone customers, Sprint gained the most switchers using Apple’s handset.

Representatives from both Apple and T-Mobile declined to comment and no official statement regarding the situation has been issued.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to produce 7-inch iPad in Brazil, currently aiming for fall release

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Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012, 06:38
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

Something nifty could be happening south of the border.

Per Macotakara, Apple is working on a smaller format iPad that will be assembled in Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn’s Brazil factory starting in September for a holiday release.

According to the story, a “reliable Chinese source” said that while CNC machine testing for Apple’s much-rumored 7-inch tablet has completed in China, the actual production of the unit will take place at Foxconn’s plant in Brazil which is currently tasked with building iPhones and certain iPad models.

The source goes on to further detail the manufacturing plans and, contrary to recent whispers, quotes September as the expected production start date which will ramp up in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.

While consensus remains on the tablet’s 7.85-inch screen size the form factor is somewhat up in the air as the source said the new device will be more akin to a third-generation iPod nano than a shrunken iPad. The prototype device is reportedly the same height as Google’s recently-announced Nexus 7 but is slightly wider and manages an iPod touch-like thickness that is said to be slimmer than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Also on tap for the “iPad mini” is 3G wireless connectivity, though the source claims to have seen a handling list of carriers slated to receive the device and it seems not every provider that currently sells the iPad will have access to the device at launch.

The Japanese publication’s source also agreed with a previously reported rumor that claimed a next-generation iPhone would debut in September.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may revise backlight for third-gen iPad before holidays

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Date: Friday, July 6th, 2012, 12:43
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: sometimes they’re true.

Per DigiTimes, Apple may be readying a minor update of the iPad ahead of the holiday season, an unverified report from the same publication claims that Apple is interested in returning to a one-LED backlight module solution instead of the two-LED design used in the current iPad.

DigiTimes claimed on Friday that Apple was making the revisions to reduce the heat output of the iPad.

“The extra LED is reportedly adding to overheating and that using one LED will help solve overheating issues since more backlights along with more power to heat those backlights is causing overheating,” the report read.

The publication’s sources said that switching back to the one LED module would not affect “luminosity and clarity” of the iPad display.

Separate reports also out of the Far East have claimed that Apple will include IGZO technology from Sharp in the next iPad. The iPad maker was rumored to go with an IGZO display for its third-generation tablet, but Sharp was reportedly unable to produce sufficient volumes in time. IGZO displays are expected to allow for a thinner design with better battery life.

DigiTimes claimed on Thursday that Apple would release an iPad with “small revisions” before the end of the year. The earlier report suggested that Apple would change the battery to avoid overheating problems and also enlarge the lens hole on the device.

Shortly after Apple’s latest iPad was released, some reviews claimed the device ran noticeably hotter than its predecessor. Apple, however, insisted that the tablet was operating “well within” its thermal specifications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone to feature quad-core processor

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Date: Friday, July 6th, 2012, 07:14
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

You have to admit: a quad-core ARM processor in your new iPhone would qualify as nifty.

Per a Thursday report from DigiTimes, Apple’s next-gen could feature a quad-core processor according to industry sources. Other details on the rumored processor, including clock speed or graphics processing capabilities, were not presented.

Last year’s iPhone 4S features a custom dual-core processor clocked at 800 megahertz, dubbed by Apple the “A5.” That chip was first introduced months earlier in the iPad 2, where it ran slightly faster at 1 gigahertz thanks to a larger form factor with a bigger battery.

With the third-generation iPad launched this year, Apple didn’t unveil a true next-generation chip, choosing instead to name the processor the “A5X,” suggesting an evolutionary upgrade over its predecessor. That CPU is based around Samsung’s 45-nanometer low-power architecture, also found in the A5 CPU in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

The main change with the A5X was an updated integrated graphics processor. While the CPU remained dual core, the GPU was upgraded to quad core in order to push the 3.1 million pixels found on the tablet’s high-resolution Retina display.

If Apple does build a quad-core ARM CPU for its next iPhone, the upgrade could presumably be significant enough to earn the chip the “A6” distinction. DigiTimes said Apple’s expected introduction of a quad-core iPhone will help “heat up” competition with other quad-core smartphones.

Samsung, HTC, LG and Meizu all launched quad-core smartphones in the second quarter of 2012, most notably Samsung’s Galaxy S III, the latest flagship handset for Google’s Android mobile operating system. However, the quad-core Galaxy S III has thus far only been available in international markets, while the 4G LTE-capable model released in the U.S. features a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. Next week, Samsung will launch a quad-core LTE Galaxy S III, but only in Korea.

More quad-core smartphones are expected to be introduced in the second half of 2012, thanks to volume production of chips from Qualcomm.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple readying changes for next-gen iPad’s battery, camera lens

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Date: Thursday, July 5th, 2012, 06:10
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

Sometimes a few changes are needed.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is planning to make “small revisions” to its third-generation iPad, such as an enlarged lens hole and changes to the battery to keep the device from overheating, later this year.

Supply chain sources have indicated that Apple will likely release the updated iPad “around the holiday season.”

“The sources said the new iPad’s battery is being revised, which will help prevent overheating issues and could possibly make the device slightly lighter and thinner than previously designed,” the report noted.

No reason was given as to what Apple hoped to accomplish by enlarging the iPad’s lens hole. The third-generation tablet, which was released in March, features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a front camera capable of VGA-quality photos.

DigiTimes has a mixed track record and has been criticized for its willingness to report even the most speculative rumors from its sources. The publication did, however, correctly predict the Retina Display on both the new iPad and the new MacBook Pro.

Apple’s new iPad took some heat from product reviewer Consumer Reports shortly after release because it felt “very warm” while running a game. Separate tests also showed the device ran hotter than the second-generation iPad, though one report noted that the tablet was not much hotter than Android tablets or notebook computers.

For its part, Apple dismissed the concerns by stating that the new iPad operates “well within our thermal specifications.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may use IGZO display for next-gen ‘Mini’ iPad

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Date: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, 10:08
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make life interesting.

Per Unwired View and MyDrivers.com, rumors of a smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch display continue have cropped up, with one new report out of the Far East claiming the device will feature a Sharp IGZO display and will cost under US$300.

The latest details claim Apple’s so-called iPad mini will be as thin as the iPad 2, according to anonymous sources. The machine translation indicates that the “endurance has also been strengthened,” perhaps referring to the battery life of the rumored device.

The report also said that Apple’s smaller iPad will feature Sharp’s IGZO display technology, named for its use of indium, gallium and zinc. The new screen would be optimized to reach 330 pixels per inch, according to the latest rumor.

Finally, the new iPad is rumored to have a capacity of 8 gigabytes with a price between US$249 and $299. It was said that Apple’s primary target with a smaller iPad is Google’s newly unveiled Nexus 7, as well as the Amazon Kindle Fire, both of which are available for US$199.

But the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire feature 7-inch displays, while Apple’s rumored new iPad has been said in various reports to feature a slightly larger 7.85-inch display. Rumors of a smaller iPad have lingered since Apple launched its first model in 2010.

Speculation on a smaller form factor iPad gained traction again this year in February when The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple officials have been showing off designs for a smaller iPad that has a similar screen resolution as the iPad 2. The report did caution, though, that Apple could be simply testing new designs and might not actually release the device.

As for IGZO technology, it was also rumored to be featured in the high-resolution Retina display of Apple’s third-generation iPad. But those claims didn’t pan out, and follow-up reports suggested that Sharp’s new screen technology couldn’t meet Apple’s approval process.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iCloud beta web site points out web-based Notes, Reminders

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Date: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, 06:06
Category: iCloud, Rumor, Software

This could be nifty.

Per MacRumors, Apple’s iCloud Beta site on Monday was updated with web versions of the iOS apps Notes and Reminders and joins the two other beta-labeled additions to iCloud.com, Calendar and Find My iPhone.

The web-based Notes is much like the iOS app seen in landscape mode on the iPad complete with skeuomorphic leather and paper flourishes. As seen with the beta, users can write, read and edit notes with changes being pushed down to iOS devices associated with the iCloud account.

Reminders has been taken out of the legacy Calendar web app and now sports its own dedicated icon on the iCloud homepage. The web asset again looks much like the iPad version and offers the same functionality with changes synced across all devices.

Apple is expected to be rolling out access to the revamped iCloud alongside the upcoming release of iOS 6 sometime this fall which will bring system-wide Facebook integration and a host of new features.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Facebook revamping iOS app for July, aiming for significant speed/performance boosts

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, Rumor, Software

You might not be proud to admit how much you use it, but it could prove useful.

Per the New York Times, Facebook is working on a new application for iOS that has been completely rebuilt to address its current, “painfully slow” performance.

Two unnamed engineers working on the project shared the details of the updated application with Nick Bilton of The New York Times. He reported on Wednesday that the rebuilt application will focus on speed and performance.

“One of the Facebook engineers said the new application has been built primarily using Objective-C, the programming language used to build applications for iOS,” Bilton wrote. “Many of the components of the current version of the Facebook app are built using HTML5, a Web-based programming language.”

Bilton tested the unreleased iPhone application and said it delivers “blazing fast” performance. He said the application is being tested by developers and should be released this summer, indicating that it is expected to launch “next month.”

Though it will be rewritten, the application “looks exactly like the old one,” he said. All of the changes have been made behind the scenes to improve performance.

The Facebook application has been available on iPhone for years, but the social networking site released its official iPad application last fall. The iOS software is universal, meaning it has built-in support for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Facebook will also play a major role in the release of iOS 6 this fall. With iOS 6, Apple will add system-wide Facebook integration, allowing users to log in to their account in the iOS Settings application in order to quickly post to their Facebook account and share music, applications and photos with their friends.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iOS 6 Maps feature to include Yelp integration

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Date: Monday, June 25th, 2012, 06:44
Category: Rumor, Software

This could prove nifty.

Per Bloomberg, Apple’s newly redesigned Maps application in iOS 6 will feature built-in support for users to check in with the social service Yelp, according to a new report.

Citing materials distributed to Apple software developers, Bloomberg reported on Monday that users will be able to post information to Yelp without exiting the Maps application and opening separate software. The documents provided to developers include screenshots of Yelp check-ins within the Apple Maps application.

When Apple unveiled its new Maps application earlier this month, it noted that integrated support for Yelp will be a part of the software. But Apple’s information detailed user reviews on Yelp, and did not reveal that further support for other features on the service, like check-ins, will also be integrated.

Monday’s report speculates that integration with Apple Maps could allow Yelp’s check-in functionality challenge similar services offered by Foursquare and Facebook. Using the GPS on a smartphone, these services allow users to share their current location with other approved friends.

The new Maps application in iOS 6 is a major change, as Apple is abandoning Google’s own mapping service for its own in-house solution. The all-new application has been built from the ground up by Apple and includes built-in turn-by-turn navigation, and anonymous, real-time, crowd-sourced traffic data.

Maps in iOS 6 also include new 3D mapping technology that Apple has dubbed “Flyover.” It recreates cities and buildings in an interactive, three-dimensional layout.

The new Maps application also includes Siri integration, allowing users to ask for directions and offer estimated arrival times.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.