Rumor: Apple Could Launch Next-Gen iPhone in May, Not June/July

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Date: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 04:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It came from the rumor mill, so it must be true.

Per iPhon.fr, a group of “mobile operators” are citing that Apple is planning to release its next-generation iPhone in May this year as opposed to the June/July release dates that have historically been used in the past.

While this is still a rumor, the article itself was penned by the magazine’s editor in chief, a move which places a fair amount of credibility on the line. Within the article, a source is cited as claiming the early release move would help compete against tech giant Google, which recently released its Nexus One handset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you have to say.

AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”

Apple, Verizon Cited as Disagreeing Over Pricing Terms for 2010 iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPhone

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With rumors of Apple and wireless carrier flying that the two companies are in negotiations over a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, Verizon is apparently angry with Apple over pricing structures.

According to AppleInsider, in a new note to investors Tuesday morning, Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research said that a new iPhone is expected to launch in mid-2010. Whether that phone would be available for Verizon’s CDMA network remains to be seen.

“We believe a CDMA-iPhone is also in the works,” Um wrote, “though believe Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing.”

Um also stated that even if Apple and Verizon can’t arrive at terms, a CDMA iPhone is a possibility in 2010, as China and Japan include carriers which operate on CDMA networks.

Last fall, conflicting reports within chip maker Qualcomm suggested a Verizon-capable iPhone could arrive in mid 2010. Whether that handset would be a dual-mode world phone, or a Verizon-only CDMA model was disputed.

Though Qualcomm plans to release dual-carrier chips that would allow future phones to work on CDMA/EVDO carriers such as Verizon and Sprint, as well as rival 3GPP carriers using UMTS/HSPA+ technologies like AT&T and T-Mobile, those chips will not arrive until the second half of 2010. Some have said that timeframe would not allow Apple to release a dual-mode phone until 2011 at the earliest.

And others believe a Verizon iPhone deal is more wishful thinking than anything else. Given that both companies tend to be focused on consumer control, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers has predicted that the conflicting interests of the two companies would get in the way of an agreement.

Currently, it is estimated that Apple gets a favorable US$700 average selling price per iPhone, subsidized through exclusive carrier AT&T. Compare that with the ASP of the Motorola Droid, exclusive to Verizon, which costs an estimated US$450 per sale.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have your own two cents on this, we’d love to hear them.

Wearable Inc. to Debut AirStash Wireless Storage Device for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, January 5th, 2010, 07:35
Category: Accessory, iPhone

All right, this could be useful.

If you’ve found yourself running low on storage space for your iPhone, the cool cats at Wearable Inc. are about to debut AirStash, an expandable flash drive (via SD memory) that you can remotely access from your iPhone. Per Engadget, simply plug AirStash into your Mac, drag and drop some files to the mounted volume, and head then out the door with the AirStash and iPhone in your pocket.

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Although it’s currently unclear as to how the technology works (a demo is expected at CES 2010), it’s thought that the AirStash automatically syncs its contents with an off-site server, much the same as MobileMe or other cloud-based services. Beyond that, it’s guesswork, but it could be interesting and provide an extra eight gigabytes of iPhone storage when you really need it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Former Google China President Reveals Apple Tablet Details in Microblog Post

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 31st, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, this is somewhat unexpected.

But definitely not unwelcome.

Per GadgetMix, Kaifu Lee, the ex-president of Google China has dropped several hints regarding Apple’s upcoming tablet device on his microblog.

“The Apple Tablet looks like a bigger iPhone that sports an awesome UI packed in a beautiful 10.1-inch screen. The tablet combines the functions of both netbook and kindle, an ebook reader. It has virtual keyboard for text entry and a webcam for video conferencing.”

These details fall in line with recently reported features on the tablet. Earlier in December, analyst Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer predicted that the device would have a 10.1″ multi-touch display using the same technology as the iPhone. He also stated that Apple has been reaching out to book publishers in order to strengthen the position of the tablet as an ebook platform.

All signs currently point to Apple holding an event focusing on the “mobility space” on January 26 at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, where it is believed that the company will finally unveil the tablet to the world.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think.

Additional Evidence of Forthcoming 8GB iPhone 3GS Discovered

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 05:51
Category: iPhone, News

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Additional evidence of an 8GB iPhone 3GS unit replacing the US$99 8GB iPhone 3G has emerged.

Per Electronista, a German customer who purchased a refurbished 8GB iPhone 3G found a label on the back that said “iPhone 3GS v2.2, 8GB.” The model number, A1241, and part number, MB490DN/A, are identical to the existing iPhone 3G, but other materials on the packaging reference an 8GB iPhone 3GS.

Apple currently offers its lowest capacity 16GB iPhone 3GS model for US$199 with a two-year AT&T contract. The unit sports a fast PowerVR SGX GPU core that supports Open GL ES 2.0, which the existing $99 iPhone 3G cannot do.

Recent reports have said Apple has scheduled a special media event for Jan. 26, 2010. New products are expected to be announced at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif.

During the company’s earnings report in October, Chief Operations Officer Tim Cook noted that the $99 iPhone 3G did not impact sales of the high-end iPhone 3GS. In fact, he said, that demand for the iPhone 3GS exceeded the company’s expectations. The average selling price of iPhones last quarter stood at over US$600, demonstrating gravitation towards the iPhone 3GS.

AT&T Resumes Online iPhone Sales in New York City

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Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:02
Category: iPhone, News

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As quickly as they stopped, wireless carrier AT&T has resumed selling iPhones through its Web site to New York City customers with no official explanation as to what prompted the halt.

Per Techmeme, New Yorkers who tried to order an iPhone through AT&T’s Web site over the holiday weekend found themselves unable to given errors in the web site. When customer representatives were asked as to why this was, explanations ranged from network congestion problems to online fraud to this the boilerplate explanation that “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

Come Monday, sales were once again being processed for New York City ZIP codes through AT&T’s site.

AT&T has yet to offer an official explanation for what caused the disturbance.

AT&T Cuts Off NYC-Area Online iPhone Sales, Has Yet to Explain Why

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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As of last night, something odd happened.

It apparently became impossible to purchase an iPhone from AT&T’s online store if you live in New York City, and as of right now, the carrier isn’t saying why. In addition, some online customer representatives have offered comments that New York wasn’t “ready for the iPhone,” while, per Engadget, others were fed a line about credit card fraud causing a ban on online sales.

Hop out of your home and apartment and both New York City-area Apple and AT&T store locations are happily selling the iPhone, which is still in stock.

So far, the closest thing to an official explanation is the following “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

If you’ve experienced this or have any ideas of your own, please let us know.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone Expected to Include 5 Megapixel Camera

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re hankering for a better camera on the iPhone, you may not have too much longer to wait.

Per a report on DigiTimes, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to ship with an improved 5-megapixel camera.

According to the report, OmniVision Technologies is expected to see CMOS image sensor orders for Apple’s iPhone devices grow to 40-45 million units in 2010 from 20-21 million estimated this year, according to sources close to the story. These figures include 5-megapixel CIS orders for the next-generation iPhone model according to those sources.

The company currently supplies the 3.2-megapixel CIS found in the iPhone 3GS.

A next generation iPhone is predicted to be available possibly by June next year with other rumors pointing towards iPhone OS 4.0 testing evidence emerging on the web logs of various larger web sites.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Epic Games Demonstrates Working Version of Unreal 3D Game Engine on iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009, 03:02
Category: iPhone, News

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If you wondered where the iPhone might be going as far as a gaming platform, you might be surprised.

Per AnandTech, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine, demonstrated a working proof of concept to the web site with a playable demo of Unreal Tournament. The game ran a modified level from the popular first-person shooter and employs dual-touch controls.

The game has a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the touch screen to control character movement. Using their right thumb, users can aim and shoot at enemies on screen.

The demo employs Open GL ES 2.0, which is only available on the iPhone 3GS and new iPod touch. The PowerVR SGX GPU has been found to make the hardware, in some cases, to be twice as fast as its predecessors.

The report noted that the game ran with a smooth framerate and the controls worked well. It added, however, that the demo clearly needs polishing, but that it is “just a starting point.”

“Epic isn’t announcing any sort of iPhone engine licenses nor are they entering the iPhone game market,” the report said. “Porting UE3 to the iPhone is simply one of many projects being worked on inside a newer, more svelte and innovative Epic Games (wait till you see what’s next…).”

As Epic Games does on the PC side, the company apparently intends to license its Unreal Engine to third-party companies for use on the iPhone and iPod touch. This will allow an advanced framework for companies to build original games around. Epic, at the moment, has no plans to release any games for the platform.

Rein also told AnandTech that Unreal Engine 3 will be demoed on another mobile platform at CES 2010 in early January. The company reportedly intends to take its plans beyond the iPhone and iPod touch.

“This isn’t a platform specific thing,” the report said, “it’s about bringing Unreal Engine 3 to the entire portable market.”

Recently, Apple exhibited signs that the company may be looking to get more directly involved in game development, the company posting a job opening for a game and media software engineer for its iPhone and iPod touch team. Apple has traditionally backed off from first-hand game development, so some degree of change may be in the air.