Additional Perks, Features Emerge in iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware Betas

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 08:00
Category: iPhone, iPod shuffle, Rumor, Software

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Developers working with recent betas of Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 software have uncovered some impressive new features such as changes to Safari’s user interface, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.
According to AppleInsider, the following changes have been the most prominent:
Safari:
Safari now allows the user to close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.
The iPhone OS 3.0 beta apparently allows the user to close out the lone remaining page. Once the “x” icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view.
Battery Indicators:
Improvements have apparently been made to the battery indicators, showing the remaining battery life left on your iPhone or iPod touch as a numerical percentage.
Resource files contained within the new version of the device’s Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a “%” sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.
Though this has yet to be confirmed, users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar — such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only.
Push Notification preferences:
A new Push Notifications preference pane allows users to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole.
Data Detectors:
Apple has enabled Data Detectors for several new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses and allow users to execute actions on those fragments via touch selections — like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.
Finally, the iPhone OS 3.0 beta firmware apparently also allows users to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.
“You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds,” a person familiar with the software said. “There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen).”

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Rumor: Apple May Have Ordered Four Million Additional iPhones for Chinese Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 08:40
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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This is a bit strange but there may be something to it.
According to ChinaTimes, component suppliers have stated that Apple has placed orders for shipments of four million iPhone units expected to be ready by the end of the quarter.
The units will allegedly be a combination of three new models, consisting of an EDGE-only device, a 3G-capable model and a model made for the market in China, possibly on TD-SCDMA.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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Rumor: Apple Places Mass Order for 100 Million Flash Chips

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Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 07:55
Category: Rumor

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Recently, Apple placed a massive order for flash memory chips, the quantity of which seeming lower in density than one would expect from the company.
Citing supplier-based sources, DigiTimes has stated that Apple has ordered 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips for delivery later this year with the bulk of this order to come from Samsung. Other suppliers such as Toshiba, Hynix, Intel and Micron may also provide some of the order.
The order is suspicious in that it’s for very low density chips. Contrary to some inaccuracies being reported around the Web, the parts in question are 8 gigabit chips, representing 1 gigabyte of storage each, not 8 gigabytes of storage each.
Though these parts could theoretically be used to facilitate the production of 6.25 million 16GB iPhones or 12.5 million 8GB iPhones, Apple has historically purchased higher density chips for its handheld offerings due to space constraints.
Apple is also thought to be using a single high-density 32Gb NAND chip in its most recent 4GB iPod shuffle, though this has yet to be confirmed . A tear-down analysis of the player performed last month found only a single chip inside — a multi-layered stack containing the CPU, RAM, and flash memory — making a face value determination inconclusive.
It’s also unclear from the report whether the 8Gb NAND parts are finalized chip packages, or bare memory chips that will later be stacked to form a higher density package.
Their inclusion in future Macs is yet another remote possibility, though rumors of Apple adopting small flash chips for an implementation of Intel’s Robson technology (which promised faster startup, application launching, and battery life by caching key pieces of code in the solid-state memory parts) fizzled some years ago. Apple now offers customers the option of configuring a handful of Macs with much larger flash drives, doing away with the need for a traditional hard disk drive entirely.

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Rumor: Video Recording Features, Voice Dialing Features Noted for iPhone OS 3.0 and Next-Gen iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009, 07:09
Category: Rumor

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After weeks of speculation, some new finds have brought additional credibility to Apple’s plans to include video recording features as well as Voice Dialing within the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 firmware as well as the next-gen iPhone.
According to MacRumors, an interface similar to the existing iPhone camera application has been discovered along with the addition of a digital toggle switch in the lower right-hand corner of the app for switching between still photos and video captures.
“The video recording is not presently functional in iPhone 3.0 beta, and the interface is not accessible by default,” according to the report. “Only when configuration files were modified telling the firmware that a Video Camera was present will this interface appear.”
In addition to the toggle switch, a square interface element on the left-hand side is also visible. This doesn’t appear to be specific to the video capture component of the application and is actually a fixture of the new Camera application due to ship as part of iPhone Software 3.0. It will display a thumbnail of the most recent image or video captured by the user.
Other new discoveries regarding the camera include “auto-focus camera”, “magnetometer” (digital compass), and “Voice Control” features.
Over on Boy Genius Report, additional screenshots of the iPhone OS 3.0 software show a large video camera icon with the caption “You can take videos using the camera.” The site also shows a screen in the “International” preferences panel of the beta software with the aforementioned “Voice Control” changes, which it believes may have something to do with Voice Dialing features.
Yet another leaked iPhone 3.0 screen hinting at video features (left) and another that could imply voice dialing capabilities.
Meanwhile, control icons for an iPhone video editing application were also uncovered in betas of iPhone Software 3.0, further corroborating reports that Apple would allow users to make rudimentary edits to their videos in a similar manner to the way the company’s new Voice Memo application allows trimming of audio recordings.

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Rumor: Apple Seems Likely to Add Video Recording Features to Next-Gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 07:40
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Apple seems certain to add video recording capabilities in the next iPhone hardware revision per a source close to AppleInsider.
Though the details are currently limited, there is no suggestion of current hardware being able to support video recording. Given this fact, only an upgraded iPhone with a new built-in camera should support the feature. The source stated that the new revision is expected between late spring and early fall this year and could add video support and improved gaming hardware via multi-core PowerVR chips as the headlining features.
Oddly enough, a screen capture from the forthcoming iPhone Software 3.0 on Engadget’s website shows a MobileMe panel for uploading images titled “Upload Video,” thereby adding strength to the rumor.
An additional rumor has speculated that faster iPhone internet speeds are en route, AT&T confirming that the company currently has HSPA 3G peaking at 7.2 megabits per second, twice the current speed of the network. The extra speed would help to handle video transmissions via iPhone handsets.
A final rumor has stated that Apple will release a new iPhone App called “Movies” which will offer rudimentary video editing similar to the new “Voice Memos” iPhone app that Apple recently previewed. The software would allow for sharing video via e-mail and MMS messaging.
Even so, Apple may only offer the video capabilities as a premium feature only on a high-end model when it releases new iPhones this summer. References to four different multi-touch handheld products which were found in the new iPhone 3.0 software beta seem to indicate two distinct model lines, possibly one with video capability and one lacking the feature.
Stay tuned for details as they emerge and please let us know if you’ve heard anything on your end in the comments or forums

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Rumor: AT&T Stores May Begin Selling Refurbished iPhone 3G Units for US$149

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 08:18
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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AT&T store locations in the New York and New Jersey region appear to be getting their hands on a stock of refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G units. While this isn’t unusual, the guys over at Boy Genius Report appear to have gotten some screenshots of shipping manifests citing a US$149 price tag.
The deal seems to require a 2-year contract and customers must be opening a new activation, as the refurbished units are not available for upgrades and are limited to one per customer.
If anyone catches wind of this in the tri-state area, please confirm this and let us know in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: iPhone OS Update Could Bring Copy and Paste, Multitasking Features

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Date: Monday, March 16th, 2009, 08:19
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It came from Rumorville, so some of it may be true: Per a live episode of the Diggnation video podcast recorded at Austin’s South by Southwest festival, Digg founder and show co-host Kevin Rose claimed to have confirmation that Apple will release copy and paste and multitasking features for the iPhone OS 3.0 software on Tuesday.
To select text, he said, users would double-tap on a word to bring up the iPhone’s magnifying glass and then extend the “quotes” to cover the necessary text and perform the relevant action. It’s currently unknown as to whether this would be limited to copying and pasting or would include cutting text outright.
Rose also hinted that many of the software efforts in the year since iPhone 2.0 will bring the device up to the level of the Palm Pre, which while unreleased has a number of software advantages over Apple’s platform. Rose then made mention of “multitasking” before being interrupted during the segment.
Finally, Rose offered only moderate hope that Apple would incorporate video capture for the iPhone, explicitly warning that it wouldn’t be part of the feature set for 3.0.
Rose has had a mixed track record for Apple-related rumors: while he accurately leaked the fourth-generation iPod nano and key components of iTunes 8, he has also been inaccurate regarding Blu-ray support and some iPhone features in the past.
Separately, web site Gizmodo also claimed to have two similar tips relating to copy-and-paste that were received independently from Rose’s comments.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: O2 May Drop iPhone 3G Prices in May Prior to Release of New Model

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Date: Friday, March 13th, 2009, 08:27
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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UK phone carrier O2 may drop prices on Apple’s iPhone 3G handset come May according to Mobile, a regional technology-centered magazine. The publication cites exclusive information, pointing to the device becoming free with £35 or £45 per month subscriptions. The 8GB iPhone is currently available for free with £45 and £75 plans, while the 16GB model is free only at the £75 level.
The purpose of such a move is thought to be aimed at clearing inventory space ahead of a new generation of iPhone, which is generally expected to be released in June or July in the same manner as the first and second generations of the handset’s hardware. Mobile sources also claim that Apple is in negotiations with O2 rival Orange, which may finally result in a second official carrier for the UK.
Additional information on a new generation of iPhone hardware is expected on March 17th, when Apple will preview its iPhone OS 3.0 firmware at a press event in Cupertino. Potential features may include true background processesing, vector-based GPS positioning, and possibly tethering or MMS messaging.
Some analysts and sources have speculated that Apple may intend to release a cheaper companion iPhone, serving a role similar to the iPod nano in comparison to the iPod classic.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Apple May be Building Netbook

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Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 09:09
Category: Rumor

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Despite its public comments regarding the issue, Apple may in fact be working on a netbook which could be released sometime this year.
According to the DigiTimes newspaper, Apple has ordered displays from a well-known touch-panel supplier for use with such a system sometime in 2009.
According to the report, Taiwan-based Wintek will start shipping the panels to the Cupertino-based Mac maker sometime during the third quarter of the year for an official launch at an unknown date.
“Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for,” the DigiTimes report said. “Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year.”
In the original report, the Commercial Times stated that Quanta Computer would be responsible for assembling the netbooks.
Such a move would appear to be contradictory to comments made by Apple executives, who in recent months, hav downplayed the market for stripped down, sub-US$600 notebooks.
“As we look at the netbook category, that’s a nascent category,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. “As best as we can tell, there’s not a lot of them being sold.”
Other criticisms have gone on record from Apple chief operating office Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are “principally based on hardware that’s much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays.”
“We don’t think people will be pleased with those products,” he added. “It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with.”
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update May Feature Nehalem, Radeon HD 4000 Support

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Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 07:27
Category: Rumor

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Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update may go beyond its usual complement of expected fixes and incorporate support for Intel’s new Nehalem hardware architecture as well as the ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics chipsets.
According to netkas, a recent discovery located just five kernel extensions for the video cards and doesn’t appear to work perfectly in a bootleg installation for 10.5.6 meant for hacked Mac OS X installations. The retrofitted version doesn’t recognize DVI ports fully and doesn’t even recognize widescreen resolutions without third-party utilities to force the expanded screen area.
Even so, the extensions are enough to identify support for the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 chipsets by name but also to enable Core Image and Quartz Extreme acceleration of the Mac OS X interface, which would require the direct involvement of AMD, Apple or both firms to work. They also support the full OpenGL 2.1 specification for 3D graphics.
And while screen captures currently aren’t available to support the claims as with the video hardware, the slip also hints that 10.5.7 is the first edition of Mac OS X to recognize Intel’s Nehalem architecture.
The Nehalem architecture is a major overhaul to Intel’s standard hardware approach to processors and leaves aside the standard system bus in favor of an interface that lets the processors talk directly to memory, peripherals and each other.
Although it’s unknown as to whether Apple will formally include the new hardware support in the release of Mac OS X 10.5.7, such add-ons will eventually become necessary. It’s been rumored that Apple is looking to use Intel’s Nehalem-based Xeon processors at the heart of its next generation of Mac Pro workstations and will eventually filter the technology down to its portables and mainstream desktops through Core i7 processors, which share the same essential design.
Apple has also remained comparatively dormant in its support for AMD’s ATI Radeon graphics and hasn’t used hardware newer than the Radeon HD 2600 found in the iMac and as an option for the Mac Pro; the technology is now approximately two generations old.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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