Apple receives RFID tag reader patent, iPhone 5 possibilities seen on horizon

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Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, 07:25
Category: iPhone, Patents

If it’s not the rumors that keep things interesting, it’s the patents for stuff that might be coming down the line…

Per AppleInsider, a patent recently granted to Apple detailing a method of incorporating a Radio Frequency Identification tag reader into the screen of a portable touchscreen device in order to save space has furthered speculation that Apple plans to add RFID features to the iPhone.

The patent, entitled “Touch Screen RFID Tag Reader,” describes “the efficient incorporation of RFID circuitry within touch sensor panel circuitry. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the filing on Tuesday.

RFID allows devices to sense embedded chips in nearby objects without the requirement of contact or a visible line of sight.

In the filing, Apple documents a process by which the touch sensor panel of a device can be modified to double as an “RFID transponder,” thereby eliminating the need for a “space-consuming RFID antenna.”

According to the invention, loops for the antenna of the RFID circuit can be formed from “metal on the same layer as metal traces form in the borders of a substrate” without requiring a separate metal layer.

Apple’s method for employing RFID tag reader technology within a touchscreen joins a growing collection of RFID patent applications, which include the invention of a mobile “ID App” for reading RFID tags and a method of using RFID to sense and connect to WiFi networks.

The proposed “ID App” would utilize an RFID reader, camera and an IR image capture device to identify objects, such as a painting in a museum, and search a set of databases to gather more information.

Last August, rumors emerged that Apple was planning to bring near field communications technology, such as RFID, to the next-generation iPhone. Further evidence of Apple’s alleged plans for an RFID-capable iPhone came in October of last year when reports suggested that an Apple partnership with chip manufacturer Gemalto could pave the way for contactless transactions on the iPhone via RFID.

In January, Apple web site visitors discovered a job listing for an iPhone hardware engineer with RFID experience. It has been suggested that Apple will implement an e-wallet feature to take advantage of the rumored NFC-capabilities in future iOS devices.

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities claimed in February that the next iPhone will utilize NFC for a ‘unique’ twist that would go beyond just e-wallet functionality. After a suprising contrary report suggested that NFC would not make it into the next iPhone, Forbes reported in March that, according to a trustworthy source in the NFC market, the iPhone 5 will indeed have NFC contactless capabilities.

Michael Nathaniel Rosenblatt and Steve Porter Hotelling are listed as inventors of the patent.

Rumor: iPhone 5 to hit in September, sport faster processor

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Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumor mill that keeps things interesting. Per Reuters, Apple will begin shipping the iPhone 5, complete with a faster processor, in September.

This September shipping date rumor contradicts earlier ones that the iPhone 5 wouldn’t begin production until September with an October or later ship date. Current industry speculation states that with Apple apparently focusing WWDC solely on software this year, it makes sense that the company would hold off introducing an iPhone 5 until September when iOS 5 will likely launch. Other opinions have stated that the delay allows for better product line syncing between the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available and you’ll know as soon as we do.

HBO Go to launch in early May, stream content to mobile and iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011, 03:08
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you love the HBO Go online streaming service that allows subscribers to watch their shows as they please, you’ll like this. Per Engadget, HBO Go is slated to hit smartphones and tablets early next month. Android and iOS HBO Go apps have been teased by a new video on HBO’s YouTube channel, with promises of “instant and unlimited access” to “every episode of every season” of your favorite shows, garnished with a selection of hit movies.



The apps and streaming will be free to HBO subscribers, who’ll be able to get their content over both 3G and Wi-Fi connections. May 2nd is the date on which the teaser video ends, though it doesn’t explicitly say that the service will go live then.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release white iPhone 4 in UK on April 20th

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Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011, 03:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been hankering for the white iPhone 4.

And if you’re in the United Kingdom, you’ve got a semi-definitive arrival date.

Per The Next Web, a briefly-posted page on UK retailer Three’s website seemingly revealed the long-awaited launch date for the white iPhone 4, though the page was quickly taken offline. The page suggested an April 20th launch prior to being pulled.

There has been a great deal of speculation that the launch of the white iPhone 4 was imminent, with reports from the US suggesting that it would launch by the end of the month.

However, Three has jumped the gun with the white iPhone 4 before – back in January, the white iPhone 4 appeared on Three’s site though the company later stated that this was only a holding page.

But this week pricing and delivery information appeared briefly on Three’s site, only to be hastily removed.

It is thought that number of manufacturing issues have held up the release of the white iPhone 4, which was supposed to launch alongside the black iPhone 4 in July 2010, including paint that peeled under extremes of heat.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also speculated that paint was part of the problem back in January, though Woz reckoned it was letting too much light in to the body of the phone, ruining photographs and videos captured by the device’s camera.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: White iPhone 4 to arrive on April 26th

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Date: Monday, April 18th, 2011, 03:26
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been wanting the white iPhone 4 since, well, last summer.

And it may only be days away.

Per Italian iPhone site iPhoneItalia, a “reliable source” has stated that the white iPhone 4 will launch in Italy on Tuesday, April 26. Recently, Bloomberg confirmed that the white iPhone 4 would be shipping by the end of April. Yesterday, white iPhone 4 part numbers began appearing in Verizon’s inventory.

While Apple has yet to confirm an exact launch date, it has confirmed that the white iPhone 4 will be launching this spring. If iPhoneItalia’s sources are correct, it’s highly likely that Apple has sufficient supplies of the white iPhone 4 to launch in multiple countries, which would mean that the US launch of the white iPhone 4 will also occur on April 26.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.2 update

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Date: Friday, April 15th, 2011, 03:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released iOS 4.3.2, the latest update to its mobile operating system for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The update includes the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call.

- Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G.

- Contains latest security updates.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches. To download and install it, connect your device to your Mac or PC and click Check for Updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: White Apple iPhone could arrive in “next few weeks”

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 04:17
Category: iPhone, Rumor

This better live up to the delay.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will finally begin selling the white iPhone 4 by the end of April after having resolved manufacturing challenges that resulted in a 10-month delay.

According to sources close to the story, the white iPhone is nearly ready for launch on both AT&T and Verizon, corroborating an earlier report that the device would launch in April.

The report was updated by Reuters on Thursday that Apple’s suppliers have begun production of the white iPhone 4, according to “two people familiar with the situation.”

In March, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a full-lamination problem had prompted necessary changes to the film material on the white iPhone 4, resulting in a now 10-month delay.

The report also tracks with a Twitter message posted by Apple VP Phil Schiller last month. “The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!),” Schiller said.

Earlier this year, it was learned that Apple had turned to a Japanese company to craft a new paint material in order to overcome the manufacturing problems of the white iPhone 4.

Apple repeatedly delayed the product in 2010, citing manufacturing issues. Last October, the company announced that the white iPhone 4 would not arrive until spring 2011.

The extended delay of the white iPhone 4 has prompted speculation that Apple will hold off on releasing a redesigned iPhone this summer. Numerous rumors have now suggested that Apple will instead release the so-called iPhone 5 this fall, with one report suggesting that Apple would not release a next-generation iPhone until after Apple’s fiscal 2012 begins in late September.

The Feb. 10 release of the CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon has also fueled rumors that Apple will choose not to refresh the iPhone this summer. Pundits questioned whether an iPhone update just 4 to 5 months after the Verizon iPhone launch would anger customers who signed 2-year contracts.

Apple has historically released a new version of its bestselling smartphone every summer in June or July. Last week, analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities noted that Apple is “keeping its iPhone 5 cards extra close to the vest” in order to avoid a slump in iPhone 4 demand ahead of a refresh.

Insiders connected to Taiwan-based touch panel makers indicated Wednesday that Apple has yet to provide them with a production roadmap for the next iPhone. The sources were split, however, as to the interpretation of the situation. Some believe that Apple will release a slightly modified iPhone 4 this summer, while others speculated that a “major overhaul” would come at a later date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iOS 4.3.2 to feature FaceTime, Verizon iPad, WebKit fixes and changes

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Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:31
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

If iOS 4.3.1 is driving you mildly nuts, there’s hope down the line.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple is rumored to issue its next mobile operating system update, iOS 4.3.2, for the iPhone and iPad in the next week, addressing problems with FaceTime and connectivity issues related to the Verizon iPad 2.

The web site allegedly obtained an early copy of the iOS 4.3.2 software and loaded it on an iPhone, but apparently didn’t notice any standout changes with the incremental software update. Even so, a tipster reportedly said that the new software will pack a fix for FaceTime, as well as security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities, among other minor changes.

The update is also said to resolve connectivity issues with the Verizon CDMA iPad 2. Last Friday, Apple said in a statement that it is looking into connection problems users have reported with the 3G-capable Verizon iPad 2. The issues have not been reported by users of the AT&T-compatible 3G iPad 2.

Rumors of an iOS 4.3.2 update first surfaced earlier this month. It was said that the security and maintenance update would include bug fixes, but no additional details were given at the time.

iOS 5.0 is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has said that this year’s conference will be used to “unveil the future of iOS,” and rumors have indicated that Apple will preview iOS 5, but will not announce a new iPhone as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

FCC vote could compel Verizon, AT&T to share data networks

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

The US Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted to require big mobile carriers to contract with smaller competitors to share access to their mobile data networks, as they are already compelled to do for voice service.

According to Businessweek, the FCC’s 3-2 vote, the vote mandates that leading carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless must reach “commercially reasonable” agreements with smaller carriers.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the new requirement would promote competition and investment, noting that “roaming deals are simply not being widely offered.”

Wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon opposed the measure, complaining that they have scores of roaming agreements and that there’s no need for regulation. AT&T executive Robert Quinn said in a statement that “a data-roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment,” and complained that proponents of the new regulation were not just seeking to foster roaming agreements but to “regulate rates downward.”

AT&T’s vocal opposition to the measure is ironic given its interests in seeking approval of its mega-merger acquisition of T-Mobile, which competitors are complaining will reduce competition and reduce choices for consumers.

If AT&T is legally compelled to resell access to its data network, the merger becomes far more attractive to all parties involved, as it puts T-Mobile’s underutilized public spectrum licenses to better use while supporting more avenues for competition, not fewer.

AT&T has indicated that it wants to eventually turn off T-Mobile’s non-standard 3G service and repurpose the smaller firm’s AWS bands for 4G LTE service, ostensibly supporting high speed data service roaming with carriers such as MetroPCS, which already use AWS for LTE data.

In addition to MetroPCS, the report also noted Sprint Nextel, Leap Communications, and other independent carriers as being potential beneficiaries of the new ruling.

Steven Berry, president of the Rural Cellular Association that represents nearly 100 small American mobile carriers, said in a statement that “consumers will benefit from a more competitive marketplace, and carriers will be encouraged to invest in advanced networks.”

For hardware makers such as Apple, the ruling encourages the development of compatible, standardized networks that facilitate roaming, and enables consumers greater choice in mobile providers rather than being locked to a specific carrier as Apple’s iPhone has been for the last four years due to technical incompatibilities that prevented roaming agreements between carriers.

The buildout of new, next generation LTE networks by both AT&T and Verizon and smaller regional carriers promises to finally return the US back to the potential for inter-carrier roaming once common under the old AMPS mobile networks in place before the last decade of incompatible barriers arose between the digital networks of GSM, CDMA, and iDEN mobile carriers.

Stay tuned for additional news as it becomes available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3.2 in next couple of weeks

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Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:06
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Apple is rumored to be prepping another incremental update to its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 4.3.2 within the next few weeks, the update having been said to include bug fixes and enhancements.

Per Boy Genius Report, the company is currently working on iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Tipsters allegedly indicated that the software will arrive in about two weeks.

“It’s said to include a few enhancements, address security issues, and it will also fix several bugs that have affected users,” the report said. It provided no specifics on what bugs or improvements the update might include.

The same site reported on iOS 4.3.1 in March, and said it would also arrive within two weeks. The actual software arrived just four days later, and was a minor release with fixes for cellular networks and a resolution for an occasional graphics glitch on the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Apple has already revealed that it will “unveil the future of iOS” at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled to start on June 6. It is widely believed that Apple will officially unveil the next major update for its mobile operating system, iOS 5, at that event, though rumors have suggested the company has no intention of showing off new iPhone hardware, as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.