Rumor: AT&T blocks vacation days in mid-October, hinting towards iPhone 5 release

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011, 12:07
Category: iPhone, Rumor

attlogo

It’s when companies stop employee vacation time that things get interesting.

Per the cool cats at Boy Genius Report, AT&T has reportedly blocked its employees from taking vacation days in mid-October as the carrier gears up for the launch of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone.

Employees at AT&T retail locations have allegedly been blocked from taking vacations during the first two weeks of October, BGR reported on Tuesday. Employees have reportedly been told they cannot request time off between Monday, Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 14.

In addition, it was said that AT&T’s internal inventory system lists a total of six new product placeholders. The entries are said to be “most likely holding space” for the iPhone models Apple is expected to announce at its event next Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Reports emerged last week that Apple has begun blacking out vacation days for retail employees at some of its stores during the second week of October. Specifically, Apple employees in some locations are said to have been barred from taking time off work Oct. 9 through 12, and Oct. 14 and 15.

Earlier this month, it was said that Sprint also began blacking out staff vacations for the first half of October. The iPhone is currently exclusive to AT&T and Verizon, but Sprint is widely expected to offer Apple’s next iPhone at launch.

As of yet there has not been any word of Verizon employees being barred from vacation time in October. Rumors have pointed toward a sale date of Friday, Oct. 14 for Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

Apple’s fifth-generation handset is expected to become the first iPhone to launch on multiple carriers simultaneously in the U.S. Last June, when the iPhone 4 launched on AT&T alone in America, the carrier was forced to suspend preorders after experiencing demand ten times greater than for its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.

Verizon eventually gained access to the iPhone 4 more than six months later, in February of this year. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said on Tuesday he expects that demand for the so-called “iPhone 5″ will be large at Verizon, as a recent poll conducted by his investment firm found that 74 percent of Verizon iPhone buyers said they are waiting for Apple’s next model rather than buying the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces October 4th “Let’s Talk iPhone” press event

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011, 12:29
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

applelogo_silver

The rumor mill can now take a five minute breather and go grab itself a cup of coffee.

Per Ars Technica, Apple has formally announced its upcoming media event after months of rumors and speculation. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 4 at 10am Pacific Daylight Time on Apple’s campus in Cupertino—just as the latest rumors predicted—and will be led by Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook.

Apple’s invitation graphics include four iOS app icons (Calendar, Clock, Maps, and Phone) along with the quote “Let’s talk iPhone.” Apple doesn’t usually get this specific when sending out its invitations, but apparently it’s trying a new, more direct approach this time around. (As an aside, the icon choices are quite clever. The calendar says October 4, clock says 10:00, map points to Apple’s campus, and the phone icon shows one phone call.)

No specific details have been mentioned of an iPhone 5 release and there’s also been some talk of a white iPod touch—a relatively minimal detail that reminds us that the fall event was originally about iPods.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Facebook to launch iPad-native app at Apple’s October 4th media event

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011, 05:48
Category: Rumor, Software

Don’t worry, Mark Zuckerberg’s empire will soon be in native form for your iPad.

Per Mashable, word on the ground is that Facebook will launch its iPad application and an updated iPhone app at Apple’s Oct. 4 media event. Recent reports suggested that Apple will announce the fifth-generation iPhone next Wednesday and that the event will be hosted on Apple’s campus, although the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has not yet issued press invites for the keynote.

On Monday, Facebook’s former lead developer for the iPad app, Jeff Verkoeyen, revealed that he had left the social networking company in part because of personal frustrations at the slow progress made by the company after the project reached the feature-complete stage in May. The feature-complete phase is usually the final step before beta tests can take place.

In June, it was reported that the Facebook for iPad application would launch in weeks. iOS users even found access to the app hidden inside the current version of the iPhone app in July, but the social networking giant quickly blocked access to it.

The app’s repeated delays were explained by Mashable’s sources as stemming from a “combination of timing and strained relationship with Apple.” Recent disagreements over Facebook integration in iOS and Facebook Connect support in Apple’s Ping social music service are believed to have contributed to the growing tension between the two companies.

Given that the original iPad was announced more than a year and a half ago, the fact that Facebook has yet to release an iPad app has been viewed by some as a slight to Apple. Several reports have suggested that the company held the native iPad app as leverage in negotiations with Apple.

The forthcoming update to the Facebook for iPhone app is expected to offer “design and speed improvements that mimic the iPad app,” the publication noted.

Facebook is also rumored to unveil its own HTML5-based mobile app store, currently known by the codename “Project Spartan,” at the Apple event. Project Spartan is said to be a mobile platform that will offer developers the means of porting Facebook apps to mobile devices via HTML5-based web apps.

First rumored in June, the project has reportedly gained Apple’s support. According to Monday’s report, the company apparently decided not to announce it at last week’s F8 developer conference so as not to distract from new Facebook features such as the Timeline and the Facebook Open Graph.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple begins canceling vacation days for second week of October, iOS 5/iPhone 5 rumors fly

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 26th, 2011, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

applelogo_silver

It’s when Apple starts reworking vacation days that things get interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is quietly denying requests for employee vacations during the second week of October, hinting that the company currently anticipates an influx of customers to its stores around that time related to availability of its new iOS 5 and fifth-generation iPhone products.

More specifically, the company has blacked out vacation time for employees in certain locations from October 9th through 12th and October 14th through 15th, according to sources close to the story.

The first block of dates — the 9th through the 12 — could pertain to the release of iOS 5 for existing iOS device owners on Monday the 10th. As discovered and reported last week, certain segments of the company’s AppleCare divisions have been told to prepare for an influx of iOS-related inquiries on that same day.

Twitter has also scheduled a developer event and a pair of “Developer Teatimes” for Oct. 10 and Oct. 12 with a “heavy focus” on the social service’s tight integration with iOS 5, further suggesting that Apple’s non-disclosure terms covering the new mobile OS will have been lifted by then via a public release of the software.

Issuing a major iOS release a few days prior to launching new iPhone that will also leverage the software is not unexpected. For instance, last year Apple released iOS 4.0 on June 21st and then rolled out the iPhone 4 on June 24th. And a year earlier it launched iOS 3.0 (then dubbed iPhone Software 3.0) on June 17th and then followed up with the iPhone 3GS on the 21st.

Assuming hints of an iOS 5.0 release around Monday, October 10th prove accurate, the second block of retail blackout dates — October 14th and 15th — could signal availability of the fifth-generation iPhone hardware by that Friday.

With Apple rumored to hold a media event to first unveil its fifth-generation iPhone plans on October 4th, that would give the Cupertino-based company roughly 10 days to field pre-orders ahead of an official launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple exploring issues between Thunderbolt, Cinema Display hardware

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 26th, 2011, 08:04
Category: Hardware, News

Sometimes the newest stuff doesn’t always work the way you’d like it to…

Per AppleInsider, a growing discussion thread on Apple’s boards is filled with users who have experienced issues with their 24-inch Cinema Displays when used with a Thunderbolt port on a new Mac. The thread began in February, just after the new MacBook Pros were released, and new posts continue to be added regularly with users who have experienced screen flickering on the discontinued 24-inch display.

Forum user David Batista sent an e-mail on Friday explaining his own similar issues experienced with multiple 24-inch displays that he owns. He said that none of the Cinema Displays can be used with his new MacBook Pro equipped with Thunderbolt.

“I myself have been on the phone with Apple at least six times now over this,” he wrote. “All they can say is that the engineers are looking into it and hopefully they can find a fix soon.”

Batista said he’s surprised a fix hasn’t been issued considering Thunderbolt ports have been added to new Macs released throughout 2011. The 24-inch Cinema Display was discontinued in 2010 along with the 30-inch model. Apple now offers a single display at 27 inches.

An updated 27-inch model, dubbed a “Thunderbolt Display,” was unveiled by Apple in July. It features Thunderbolt I/O and built-in docking cables for Mac notebooks, and is available for US$999. Orders for the display began shipping last week.

Before Thunderbolt was released this year, Apple’s Cinema Displays were driven by the Mini DisplayPort standard Apple has included in its Macs for years. Thunderbolt ports are the same size as Mini DisplayPort, and are meant to be backward-compatible with earlier hardware, while newer Thunderbolt-equipped devices can handle both video and data over the same 10Gbps copper cable.

Sort of weird that there are backwards compatibility issues with this of all things.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Recent Xcode references point towards quad-core ARM CPUs for future iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 09:12
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

While Apple may not always tell you what hardware features are on the horizon where its iOS devices are concerned, the development tools can spill the beans.

Per the cool cats at Ars Technica, a number of references found inside Apple’s Xcode developer tool point towards quad-core ARM CPUs, hinting at next-generation processors that will power Apple’s future iPhones and iPads.

The references specifically point towards the idea that Apple recently added support for Marvell’s quad-core ARM-based Armada XP processor.

Author Chris Foresman concluded that it’s “most probable” that Apple is using the Marvell chip in prototype versions of future iPhones and iPads. The existing chip could serve as a placeholder while Apple works on its own custom-built next-generation processors.

Reports have indicated that Apple’s next anticipated ARM CPU, dubbed “A6,” will be built on a 28-nanometer process and use 3D stacking technology. There has been no mention of a quad-core ARM CPU from Apple in 2012. The A5 CPU found in the iPad 2 is a dual core processor.

It’s also possible that the Xcode references signal that Apple will begin using Marvell chips in future iOS devices, or even a next-generation MacBook Air, something that Apple has been rumored to be testing in its internal labs. However, Foresman noted that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors are built on an advanced 22-nanometer process that will boost performance and reduce battery life, while ditching Intel would require developers to recompile Mac OS X software for ARM-based Macs.

Apple’s so-called “A6″ CPU is believed to be in trial production for a 2012 launch, presumably in a third-generation iPad. The company is believed to have even signed a new foundry agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build an “A7″ CPU, which would be projected to debut in devices in 2013.

Apple began designing its own chips following the acquisition of boutique microprocessor design company P.A. Semi in 2008 for US$278 million. Then in 2010, Apple acquired Intrinsity, another chipmaker, for an estimated $121 million.

Apple’s custom chips debuted last year in the first-generation iPad, in the form of the A4 processor. That same chip later appeared in the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, while the A5 debuted this March in the iPad 2.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 build 11C62 to developer community, includes additional iCloud tools

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 06:05
Category: News, Software

System updates: they’re a good thing.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story have stated that Apple has released a new beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied to developers on Thursday with no known issues.

The latest build, coined “11C62″, and weighs in at 740.2MB in its delta form. It comes less than a week after the last beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied for testing.

The latest Lion betas have included iCloud integration, while previous builds required that developers download a separate installer to test Apple’s forthcoming syncing and storage service.

The new beta comes the same day that Apple has warned developers it will reset all iCloud data. The reset is being done in preparation for the launch of the new free service.

Apple has not officially announced a specific release date for iCloud, and instead revealed in June that the service will become available this fall. It will store content such as photos, e-mail and contacts, and wirelessly push it to devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads.

People familiar with the beta issued on Thursday said the latest build again has no known issues. The focus areas are said to remain the same as they were previously, and include Address Book, Graphics Drivers, iCal, iChat, iCloud, the Mac App Store, Mail, MobileMe, Safari, Spotlight and Time Machine.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 will likely be released when iCloud and iOS 5 are made available to the public. They are expected to be released at an event rumored to be scheduled for Oct. 4, where Apple is also expected to introduce its fifth-generation iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to add KDDI as Japanese iPhone carrier, end Softbank monopoly

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 04:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

A monopoly can’t last forever.

Per The Nikkei, Japanese carrier KDDI will break up rival Softbank’s exclusive hold on Apple’s iPhone in the country early next year, when it will reportedly begin selling the iPhone 5.

The business newspaper said on Thursday it had learned that the company will offer Apple’s next-generation iPhone through its “au” service in the first quarter of 2012.

The report noted that Apple plans to released the device worldwide in “mid-October,” adding that KDDI will begin selling the device next year because “it will take time for preparations. The carrier’s flat rate for iPhone data services is said to cost 4000 yen (US$52), roughly comparable to Softbank’s pricing.

Softbank, the third-largest cellular provider in Japan, has enjoyed boosted profitability because of its exclusive deal with Apple. But, being limited to just one carrier has curbed Apple’s ability to compete with rival Android devices, which are available on first-place NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.

Shares of Softbank tumbled 10 percent on the rumor. One analyst said the increased competition could result in a wave of price cuts. “I’m bracing myself for a huge shake-up in the sector for the next six to 12 months,” remarked Michito Kimura, a senior market analyst at IDC Japan.

The iPhone 5 is expected to include the A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera, while additional rumors have buzzed that Apple will release a retooled iPhone 4 to target the midrange market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple begins ordering NAND Flash memory from alternate vendors, works to curb reliance on Samsung

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 03:42
Category: Finance, News, retail

applelogo_silver

When in doubt, find another supplier.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is increasing purchases of flash memory from Japanese suppliers in an effort to scale back its dependance on Samsung for components, as the two companies continue their legal dispute.

DigiTimes on Thursday cited industry sources as saying that Apple has tapped Toshiba and Elpida Memory for orders of DRAM and NAND flash.

“Apple has moved to reduce its reliance on memory supplies from Samsung Electronics, the sources claimed,” the report read. “The vendor has procured more NAND flash parts from Toshiba, and mobile RAM from Elpida, the sources indicated.”

The tipsters also suggested that the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Samsung has been “key to encouraging” Apple to broaden its supplier base. According to the report, the Korean electronics giant has been the largest component supplier for Apple’s products in the past.

Last week, reports emerged that Apple had signed a foundry agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to manufacture the next two generations of Apple processors. The deal has been viewed as a significant blow to Samsung, which was contracted to produce the A4 and A5 chips used to power Apple’s iOS devices.

Apple is slated to be Samsung’s largest customer this year with a projected US$7.8 billion in parts, up from US$5.7 billion in 2010. The company has become the world’s largest consumer of memory chips in recent years as it incorporated flash storage into its products.

In 2005, Apple revealed that it had reached agreements with several flash suppliers, including Samsung, to pre-pay more than US$1 billion to guarantee flash shipments through 2010. Earlier this year, then COO Tim Cook called the deal a “fantastic use of Apple’s cash.”

For its part, Samsung currently boasts a more than 40 percent share of the worldwide DRAM market and a 30 percent share of NAND flash production.

The disagreement between the two companies has heightened in recent months. According to Samsung executives speaking on condition of anonymity, the company is already planning to target the as-yet-unannounced iPhone 5 with patent infringement suits when it arrives in Korea. Another recent report said Samsung will also pursue legal action against Apple’s next-generation handset in Europe.

Recent gains made by Apple in Australia have prompted Samsung to fight back with a countersuit against the iPhone and iPad. Apple also won a permanent ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany earlier this month after a court ruled that Samsung’s tablet looks too similar to the iPad 2.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 update, works to make amends to Final Cut Pro user base

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011, 04:41
Category: News, Software

Sometimes an app needs a major reboot to make amends to its user base.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued a major update for its recently refreshed Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

The free update to version 10.0.1 was revealed by Apple in a special page devoted to it its official website. The page highlights new features in the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, including media stems export, Rich XML support, and projects and events on Xsan.

Commenting on the update with Jim Dalrymple of The Loop on Tuesday, Richard Townhill, senior director of applications marketing at Apple, said the features were added after the company received feedback from its users.

“We listened to the pros and have taken their top feature requests and put them in this update,” Townhill said.

The full list of features of the new update, which is available free to those who have already purchased Final Cut Pro X, are described by Apple:

Media Stems Export: Traditional, track-based editing systems require you to constantly rearrange and disable tracks to export audio and video stems. With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, flexible metadata removes the burden of track management. Use the new Roles tag to label clips — dialogue, effects, music, and more — then export a single multitrack file or separate stems based on your tags. You can even apply Roles to video clips and graphics for a powerful new way to deliver separate files for versioning and localization.

Rich XML Support: Now you can import and export Final Cut Pro X project and Event information via a rich XML format. XML interchange enables a wide range of third-party workflows, including high-end visual effects, color grading, and media asset management. Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, Square Box System’s CatDV, and many other third-party applications will offer XML-based workflows with Final Cut Pro X.

Projects and Events on Xsan: Create and edit your Final Cut Pro X projects and Events on Xsan. Ideal for multi-user workflows, you can import media through Final Cut Pro X and place it directly on the SAN. Multiple users can access the same source media, and each editor can create separate projects and Events on the SAN. Users can then edit from any system attached to the SAN, making it easy to move between computers and continue working.

Custom Starting Timecode: Set the start time of your project to a custom timecode value to accommodate color bars and tone, or to meet broadcast delivery specifications.

Full-screen view in Lion: Use every inch of your display when working in Final Cut Pro X. And easily navigate to other applications with a swipe.

One-step Transitions on Connected Clips: Add a transition to a connected clip or between multiple connected clips without manually creating a secondary storyline.

GPU-accelerated export: Harness the power of the GPU on your graphics card to speed up foreground export.

New Theme: Tribute: Access the new Tribute theme, with four animated titles and a matching transition.

Camera Import SDK: Camera manufacturers can use the Camera Import SDK to write plug-ins for importing media from a wide range of cameras. For example, Sony is updating their XDCAM EX plug-in to support native import directly into Final Cut Pro X.

Apple has also promised two new features coming in “early 2012:” multicam editing and broadcast-quality video monitoring. No additional details on those features were provided.

In addition, a new free trial of the software is now available from the official Final Cut Pro X site. Users must enter their name and e-mail address and to be allowed to try the software for 30 days.

Apple’s update comes after the company faced user backlash over the new Final Cut Pro X, released in June. The software was quickly met with condemnation from a group of outspoken professionals who believe the new product is vastly inferior to its predecessor.

Apple made a quick transition to Final Cut Pro X, declaring Final Cut Studio, Express and Server — which included Final Cut Pro 7 — as “end of life” products once the latest version was released.

Faced with growing complaints, Apple resumed sales of the previous, US$999 version of Final Cut Studio earlier this month. Orders have only been taken over the phone, and Apple has said it has a “limited quantity” of the end-of-life product. The company has also provided refunds to some dissatisfied customers.

User discontent over Final Cut Pro X proved to be a gain for rival Adobe and its own video editing software for Mac OS X. The company revealed earlier this month that sales of its Mac video editing products saw a 45 percent boost following the release of Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run and retails for US$299.99

If you’ve tried version 10.0.1 of Final Cut Pro X and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.