Toshiba Announces 64GB Flash Memory Modules, iPhone Likely Candidate for New Component

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Date: Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 06:20
Category: iPhone, News

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Electronics manufacturer Toshiba has announced its new 64GB embedded flash memory modules (created via a 32nm process technology and featuring a dedicated controller) which should become available in the first quarter of 2010. The chips seem likely to find their way into a future model of iPhone.

The new chips are available for sample now, and mass production of them is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010. Per AppleInsider, Toshiba said the product will be used in smartphones, mobile phones, netbooks and digital video cameras.

Likely to be a customer is Apple, which has doubled the maximum capacity of the iPhone with a new release every summer. Given the current 32GB iPhone 3GS, next year’s iPhone is likely to offer 64GB of capacity.

In addition, the new 64GB iPod touch, introduced in September, uses a pair of 32GB NAND chips to achieve its maximum capacity. Toshiba’s new chips would allow Apple to release a 128GB iPod touch sometime in 2010.

Toshiba said its new 64GB chip offers up to 1,070 hours of music at 128Kbps,8.3 hours of full-spec high definition video, and 19.2 hours of standard definition video. The chips are said to be 30 micrometers thick, giving them the highest density of NAND flash in the industry.

Rumor: Foxconn Tapped to Build Next-Generation iPhone for Mid-2010 Release

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Date: Friday, December 11th, 2009, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Taiwanese manufacturer and Apple favorite Foxconn has reportedly received an order to build the next-generation handset, likely to arrive in mid-2010. Per Mobile Review editor Eldar Murtazin’s Twitter post on Thursday: “Foxconn received order for next generation iphone.”

The timing makes sense, as Apple’s first three iPhone product debuts hit a June launch.

Despite there being some time yet until the next-generation iPhone debuts, there are plenty of rumors surrounding the anticipated device. In November, the first signs of a model “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by a developer in its software usage logs, suggesting Apple was testing a new handset.

Apple has indicated it intends to overhaul its iPhone maps application with in-house developers. The company’s purchase of worldwide mapping company Placebase over the summer would likely play a part in any new features.

Reports have also said Apple is testing RFID swipe support in next-generation iPhone prototypes. Such technology would allow the phone to sense embedded chips without making direct contact. The feature could allow swipe payments with the phone at checkout at a store, or obtaining information from kiosks.

Apple is also expected to build its own proprietary iPhone chips based off of ARM’s A9 reference designs, thanks to the US$278 million purchase of chip designer PA Semi in 2008. The new iPhone could have multi-core ARM chips powering it.

Finally, the question of a Verizon-capable CDMA iPhone has surfaced. Conflicting reports have differed on the possibility of a dual-mode CDMA and GSM world phone debuting in 2010, though Verizon and chipset maker Qualcomm are said to have been in talks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T Releases Mark the Spot App to Help Report Network Troubles

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Date: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009, 07:59
Category: iPhone, News

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On Monday, wireless carrier AT&T released its Mark the Spot application, a free app which allows users to report any network shortfalls or missed calls on their iPhone.

The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Now whether AT&T will actually pay attention to the network issues reported via the app, that’s another story…

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

BBC Quashes iPlayer App Rumor

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Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 08:50
Category: iPhone, News

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The BBC network has moved to quash reports that a native iPhone BBC iPlayer application is in the works. Per Macworld UK, weekend reports suggested the BBC’s popular iPlayer might be coming to the iPhone after a mock-up was used on a BBC iPlayer Data Pack report, showcasing October’s facts and figures for the catch-up TV service.

However, BBC blogger Nick Reynolds in response to questions about the iPhone images used in the report wrote: “Antshez and AllAboutiPhone – the images are old images and should not be taken to mean that anything is likely to happen soon. Since the images seem to have provoked unnecessary speculation we’ll probably update the pack later today and remove them.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

Second iPhone Worm in the Wild

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Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 06:24
Category: iPhone, security

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We told you not to jailbreak your iPhone, but you had to be super cool and rebellious. Per BBC News, jailbroken iPhones could be vulnerable to a new, malicious worm that can allow remote access and control without the owner’s knowledge or permission. It’s been estimated that hundreds of users are currently affected by a worm that targets users of “jailbroken” iPhones who live in the Netherlands and use the bank ING Direct. But security company F-Secure told stated that the currently isolated issue could easily jump to thousands of handsets. The worm is reportedly spread between phones when they share the same Wi-Fi spot.

In order for an iPhone to be vulnerable to the new worm, they must have willingly modified their handset’s software to allow them to run unauthorized code. Phones can be jailbroken to run applications or modify the system in ways not approved by Apple.

The worm only affects jailbroken phones that have SSH (secure shell) installed, without the default password — “alpine” — changed. It employs the same method as a previous worm, Ikee, that was not malicious. Instead, the wallpaper-changing prank simply changed the user’s background to a picture of 1980s pop star Rick Astley, who sang the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The new worm reportedly has botnet functionality and connects to a Web-based command and control center based in Lithuania.

For now, the worm is only aimed at customers who live in the Netherlands and bank with ING Direct. The company has stated that it intends to put a warning on its Web site.

TomTom App Updated to 1.2, Adds Support for iPod Touch and First-Gen iPhones

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Date: Thursday, November 19th, 2009, 06:08
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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GPS software firm TomTom has released version 1.2 of its popular iPhone application. The update adds support for both the iPod touch and the first-gen iPhone when used in conjunction with its car kit.

Per AppleInsider, version 1.2 was submitted on November 12th and was released Wednesday. The new version contains updates to maps and IQ Routes. Added features include advanced lane guidance, text-to-speech, integrated iPod player support, and support for the iPod Touch and first-generation iPhone.

The new version includes the following fixes and changes:
- Improved search and route summary screens.
- Updated map from v8.30 to v8.35.
- Updated points of interest database.
- Updated IQ Routes database with millions of new measurements.
- Added Advanced Lane Guidance in both portrait and landscape mode.
- Added Text-to-speech in English US, English UK, English Australia, French Canada, Spanish Latin America.
- Added Help Me! emergency menu.
- Added iPod player support.
- Added support for original iPhone and iPod touch (all models).

In order to successfully use the app on the newly supported Touch and 1st-gen iPhones, TomTom’s car kit is required. This is due to the fact that both devices lack an integrated GPS receiver.

TomTom’s car kit is a cradle which contains a GPS module, integrated speaker, charger, and line out. It is not required when the TomTom app is paired with the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The kit retails for US$119.95.

The updated application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

Firefox Web Browser Unlikely to Come to iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, November 18th, 2009, 05:55
Category: iPhone, News

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Representatives from Mozilla, the company responsible for Firefox, have announced that the web browser will not be coming to the iPhone. Responding to questions from ElectricPig.co.uk, Mozilla’s European president, Tristan Nitot, said that Firefox on the iPhone isn’t an option with Apple’s current restrictions on web browsers that would compete with Mobile Safari.

“The issue is more with Apple than with us because they control the App Store and because they refuse applications which compete with something that is already on the phone. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a version of Firefox running on the iPhone,” said Nitot.

Nitot also stated that Mozilla is so sure it isn’t going to happen that he said the foundation isn’t even looking in to making a version for just in case Apple changes their mind.

“We’re not investing time and energy in this direction because we’re pretty sure it would be blocked by Apple, so we’re better off using our time in terms of development to do things on open platforms”.

“[Firefox for mobile] is a modern browser with all the bells and whistles that you’ll find in your desktop browser so you need a powerful operating system such as Android or Maemo or Windows Mobile,” he said. “The list of operating systems we want to support in the mobile world is already pretty long – I guess BlackBerry would be one of the last in our priority list”

Firefox Mobile will be launching on Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile, and Nokia Maemo tablets in December.

Google Earth iPhone App Reaches Version 2.0

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Date: Tuesday, November 17th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iPhone, Software

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Late Monday, Google released version 2.0 of its Google Earth for iPhone app. The new version lets you add user-created maps from your Mac or PC to your iPhone, adds visual feedback when you select certain locations, provides easier browsing and adds new language support.

The application is available for free and requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later to install and run.