ChangeWave poll reports fewer dropped iPhone calls on Verizon network, slightly higher level of satisfaction

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Date: Wednesday, April 6th, 2011, 02:30
Category: iPhone, News

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There may have been a reason for your waiting for the iPhone to come to Verizon’s network.

Per research firm ChangeWave’s report, owners of Apple’s iPhone 4 on the AT&T network are more than twice as likely to report dropped calls than Verizon customers, a new survey has found.

ChangeWave on Tuesday released the results of its latest survey, comparing AT&T iPhone 4 owners and Verizon iPhone 4 owners. The 4,068 respondents showed that 4.8% of AT&T iPhone 4 owners experienced a dropped call on their handset over the past 90 days, compared with 1.8% of Verizon subscribers.

Those results are similar to an industry-wide, non-iPhone-specific poll conducted separately by ChangeWave. In that poll, 4.6% of AT&T subscribers reported dropped calls, compared with 1.4% of Verizon customers.

Also surveyed were prospective future iPhone 4 buyers, most of which indicated they are likely to buy the handset on Verizon’s network while 46% of respondents said they are likely to choose Verizon, 27% said they would sign with AT&T. 27% said they are unsure or did not choose AT&T or Verizon.

“Verizon is still in the very early stages of its iPhone 4 offering to consumers,” ChangeWave said, noting that the CDMA iPhone 4 just launched in February “It remains to be seen how well the Verizon network performs as the number of Verizon iPhone 4 owners ramps up and inevitably puts more pressure on their system.”

Finally, the survey also asked customers about their satisfaction with the iPhone 4, and the results showed near-identical happiness on the part of both Verizon and AT&T customers. Verizon customers were slightly more satisfied, with 82% choosing “very satisfied,” compared to 80% of AT&T iPhone 4 users.

16% of Verizon customers identified themselves as “somewhat satisfied,” while 18% of AT&T customers were of the same opinion. That means that 98% of both AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 users consider themselves “satisfied” at some level with their handset.

If you have any feedback on this or are reclassifying your iPhone as a fairly expensive paperweight today, let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to release iPhone 5 in late June

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Date: Tuesday, April 5th, 2011, 04:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It isn’t the strongest rumor but it’s still a rumor.

Per Korean web site etnews, Apple will be releasing the iPhone 5 arriving in June after all. The device would still miss WWDC but could have a special event with Steve Jobs weeks later. ETNews claimed to know that both KT and SK Telecom would have the new model along with or soon after other countries.

Despite suspicions, the iPhone 5 wasn’t necessarily delayed, according to tips. The unnamed sources didn’t have an explanation for Sony’s Howard Stringer warning that iPhone cameras might be delayed due to the Japanese earthquake.

The assertions are contradict Apple’s usual pattern of Korean iPhone launches, which usually have the device ships to Korea months after everyone else and only just shipped the iPhone 4 to SK Telecom. Even with a July ship date, it would give the current iPhone just over three months on the market.

Apple also rarely has an event so close after WWDC. If a release is close to the event, it usually prefers to mention the new hardware at the event itself and time the release accordingly.

If not at WWDC, the unveil’s actual release date is still a mystery. Although both the initial tip and follow-up rumors have presumed the September media event would be the most likely candidate, they didn’t know for certain and didn’t rule out an in-between event. Apple might want the iPhone 5 to ship as quickly as possible to hedge against Android and could be unwilling to wait any longer than necessary.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.

Rumor: Apple may include 8 megapixel camera in iPhone 5

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Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 05:59
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s rumors that make technology interesting.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has sparked speculation that the iPhone 5 will have an 8-megapixel camera after making some unguarded comments in an interview.

In the interview, Stringer said that Sony’s camera sensor plant in Sendai had been affected by the recent earthquake and that shipments of sensors to Apple would be delayed.

However, Sony isn’t Apple’s regular camera sensor supplier (this task generally falls to Omnivision).

In February this year it had been suggested that Omnivision might not be able to make 8MP sensors in large enough volumes in time for the iPhone 5′s launch and that Apple may turn to Sony instead. Sony makes 8MP sensors for smartphones such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo.

Apple-watchers are expecting an iPhone 5 announcement at the WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early June, though it isn’t clear if the next-generation iPhone will actually be available to buy at the time.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to include camera in 7th-generation iPod nano

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Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 05:44
Category: iPod, photos, Rumor

A recently leaked photo purportedly shows Apple’s seventh-generation iPod nano with a camera hole, though the report remains unverified.

Per Apple.pro (via Google Translate), a leaked of the alleged next-generation iPod nano was posted on Saturday. However, the author of the report was quick to note that he was unable to verify the authenticity of the image.

The author also hedged the report by asserting that the image was posted mainly for the fun of speculation, especially given that the time difference meant it was still April Fools’ Day in America. As such, no outlets have been able to effectively vouch for the veracity of the rumor and is including it here for discussion purposes only.

The report does, however, remind readers that the website has correctly leaked each of the previous six generations of the iPod nano in past years. The author speculates that Apple could follow the same pattern as with the last design of the iPod nano, where a camera was added during the update from the fourth-generation iPod nano to the fifth-generation without major changes to the form factor.

The addition of a camera to the next iPod nano could be an attempt by Apple to appease critics. Some initial reviews of the sixth-generation iPod nano were disappointed by the lack of a camera, noting that Apple had “given and taken away.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Samsung ramps up iPad 2 components to meet orders

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Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 04:14
Category: iPad, News

Your neighbor has an iPad 2.

Your pets somehow managed to get their own.

And, ya know, it’d be nice to get your hands on the one you ordered…

Per EETimes, electronics giant Samsung will hire 300 engineers and technicians for a semiconductor plant in Austin, Tex., in the company’s latest round of expansion largely driven by increased demand for the iPad and iPhone, while AU Optronics has denied rumors that it received orders for flat panel screens bound for the iPad 2.

The web site reports that Samsung Austin Semiconductor plans to create 300 more engineering jobs this spring as part of a US$3.6 billion expansion. According to sources, most of the production at the 300-mm fab is commissioned by Apple.

The 300 new employees will join a large batch of employees from last year’s growth. “In 2010, we hired more than 600 employees as part of the current expansion, bringing total employment to approximately 1,700,” said Charmaine Winters, senior human resources manager at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, in a statement.

Though rumors had suggested that Apple had inked a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for production of the A5 chip for the iPad 2, due to concerns of increased competition with Samsung, X-ray analysis of Apple’s A5 CPU in the iPad 2 confirmed that the chip was still manufactured by the Korean electronics giant.

All told, Apple is projected to purchase US$7.8 billion worth of components from Samsung this year, including liquid crystal displays, mobile application processors and NAND flash memory chips, making Apple Samsung’s largest customer.

In assorted updates, component manufacturer AU Optronics executive vice president Paul Peng has denied rumors that the company received display orders from Apple and no further additional comment was offered.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple may be looking into creating external “quick charge” battery packs for devices

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Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 03:26
Category: Patents

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Apple has apparently shown an interest in developing an integrated external battery pack into its standard charging cable, providing extra power for devices like a MacBook or iPhone when a power outlet isn’t available.

Per AppleInsider, the potential future accessory was revealed this week in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing for “Power Adapter with Internal Battery” describes a wall charger with an integrated battery pack, allowing users to charge a device at home and give that device extra juice when on the go.

Apple’s application acknowledges that rechargeable external battery accessories do already exist. However, it notes that such accessories are not as advantageous as one that might be integrated with a standard charging cable.

“Such external batteries are generally cumbersome to use, at least because they must be unpacked for use and then repacked for storage,” Apple’s filing states of current options available on the market. “In addition, many users forget to bring the external battery in addition to the adapter while in transit.

“What is needed is a way to combine a power adapter and a battery so that a user does not have to carry an additional battery while traveling with a portable electronic device.”

Apple’s solution would include a “smart” charger with an integrated processor. This would allow the charger to intelligently determine how to distribute charge between the integrated adapter battery, and the battery on a device like a MacBook.

The hardware would also include the ability to share the status of the battery with the device it is charging. This way, users would be able to check the status of the external adapter battery and how much power it has left.

Such a device could be augmented by a “trickle source” for power, such as solar. And it could also include a USB port for charging a device like an iPhone or iPod. The accessory could also include a wireless adapter, allowing a MacBook or other device to access the power adapter even when it is not physically connected.

Apple’s application also notes that its external battery solution could employ current power adapter features, such as its patented MagSafe connector.

The need for such third-party external battery makers could be significantly lessened if Apple were to follow through on its pursuit of power adapters with integrated rechargeable batteries.

Apple first filed the patent application made public this week in September of 2009, and the proposed invention is credited to Duncan Kerr, David Robbins Falkenburg and Michael Nugent.

Apple releases Mac OS X Supplemental Update to resolve MacBook Air/iTunes issue under Mac OS X 10.6.7

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 04:43
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

Just over a week after releasing Mac OS X 10.6.7, Apple has issued a subsequent patch aimed at users of the new Late 2010, 13 inch MacBook Air to fix a system crash related to iTunes.

“This update addresses an issue that makes the system unresponsive when using iTunes,” Apple notes on its support page.

Per AppleInsider, the patch is just a 461 KB download and requires Mac OS X 10.6.7 Build 10J869 to be installed first. Both are available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The system lockup problem on new 13″ Air models appeared in Apple’s discussion forums after the release of Mac OS X 10.6.7 as an easy to replicate issue that resulted in having to force reset affected systems, indicating that the problem was inadvertently introduced with last week’s larger update.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any differences, please let us know in the comments.

iFixit performs full iPad 2 3G teardown, finds antennas similar to iPhone 4 units

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Date: Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, 08:14
Category: iPad, News

I think we all have a certain fondness in our hearts for iFixit, as they follow the habit we all had when we were six and took everything apart to see how things worked, even if it meant that our parents invariably wound up screaming at us for the destruction involved.

On the plus side, iFixit is staffed by adults and releases some interesting finds.

And they’re nice enough to clean up the things that they destroy.

The latest iFixit teardown of the iPad 2 3G the differences between Apple’s different versions of the iPad 2, comparing the components of the Wi-Fi-only, GSM and CDMA models and discovering similarities with the iPhone 4.

The comparison shows design decisions similar to the differences between the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4 models. For example, the CDMA version of the iPad 2 has one more antenna than the GSM model, just like the Verizon iPhone 4.

Also like the Verizon iPhone 4, the CDMA iPad 2 features an integrated GPS receiver. On the GSM model, GPS is a separate chip from Broadcom, like with the GSM iPhone 4.

The other major difference between the GSM and CDMA iPad 2 models is the inclusion of a Micro-SIM card slot on the GSM model. Located in the upper left corner of the device, the slot’s inclusion gives that model a unique design.

The Micro-SIM tray is integrated into the headphone jack assembly for the GSM iPad 2. Since the CDMA iPad 2 does not have a space for a SIM card, it uses the exact same headphone jack assembly as the Wi-Fi-only model.

Chips providing 3G connectivity for the CDMA iPad 2 include a Qualcomm MDM6600 Baseband/RF Transceiver, Qualcomm PM8028 Power Management IC, Toshiba Y890A111222KA, Skyworks 77710 Power Amplifier Module, and Skyworks 77711 Power Amplifier Module. All of these are also found in the Verizon iPhone 4.

The GSM iPad 2′s 3G radio has an Intel 36My1EF with 128MB of Numonyx NOR flash and Elpida Mobile DDR SDRAM, Infineon 337Se833 Baseband Processor, Skyworks & TriQuint Transmit Modules, and Infineon 338S0626 GSM/W-CDMA Transceiver. It also includes a Broadcom BCM4751 Integrated Monolithic GPS Receiver, which is an update from the BCM4750 found in the GSM iPhone 4.

Japanese earthquake/tsunami may be leading to lithium supply problems for iPod components

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Date: Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, 08:46
Category: iPod, News

Ya know, they say natural disasters are never good things.

And I believe them.

Apple is reportedly running short of lithium-ion batteries for its iPods as Japanese chemical maker Kureha stuggles to deal with the aftermath of the recent natural disasters to strike the country.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Kureha has a 70% share of the global market for a particular polymer, said to be crucial in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries used by the iPod.

Kureha was forced to shut its factory in Iwaki, close to the epicentre of the recent quake, and is looking to move its production line overseas.

The plant in Kureha is the only place that the polymer is made. The polymer, which is made from resin called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), binds components of the battery together. It is vital to the construction of batteries that are pliable rather than rigid, as they need to be to fit into the small spaces dictated by modern, small designs.

Kureha is reportedly looking to move PVDF production to its existing factories in China or the US, while keeping its research and development plant in Japan. Meanwhile, analysts warned that any mobile gadgets using lithium-ion batteries, including Apple’s iPod, could be affected by the production stoppage.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to expand on voice commands in iOS 5.0

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 08:49
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Because you don’t spend enough time talking to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is rumored to be working on a means of vastly improving voice commands on devices like the iPhone and iPad with the anticipated release of iOS 5 later this year.

Apple’s “deeply integrated” voice control feature in iOS 5 is expected to be demoed at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. The voice control will reportedly be a combination of artificial intelligence and assistance technology, and Apple’s team is said to be putting the “finishing touches” on elements that will be demonstrated at WWDC.

The new features are said to stem from technology and personnel Apple obtained through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. Siri is the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone, and it allows users to speak to the device in plain conversational English to find information and automatically accomplish tasks, like booking a reservation at a restaurant.

The advanced voice control technology owned by Apple and said to be coming in iOS 5 may even be opened up to developers for use in third-party applications. However, author MG Siegler cautioned that information “isn’t quite as concrete.”

The latest rumor corroborates a report filed that went public earlier this year which claimed that Apple is working on “voice navigation” features in iOS 5. It also builds on rumors that circulated in February that Apple hopes to improve operation of the iPhone through voice commands due to some users’ dislike of using a virtual keyboard.

Apple announced on Monday that WWDC will kick off on June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, where the company plans to “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.” The annual developers conference sold out in a record 10 hours.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.