Rumor: Apple prepping iOS 6.1 beta, build expected to go Golden Master

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Date: Monday, January 14th, 2013, 07:51
Category: iOS, News, Software

Just the term, “golden master”, it pretty much sounds awesome.

Per German web site iFun, Apple is said to be internally testing a new beta of iOS 6.1 that is expected to be the golden master build, suggesting the software is nearly ready to be released to the public.

Citing a “reliable source,” the web site reported Friday that the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 is about to be released to developers. The software is said to have gone through “extensive internal testing,” and if all goes well it will be the golden master of the software.

The software is expected to be released to developers either on Friday or potentially on Monday.

Apple began supplying beta builds of iOS 6.1 to its development community in early November. To date, there have been four betas seeded, the most recent arriving in mid-December.

Changes in iOS 6.1 are mostly minor, with the most significant user-facing additions including the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri, and a new prompt that asks users to enter security questions for iCloud when setting up their device for the first time.

For developers, iOS 6.1 includes an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow third-party applications to search for map-based addresses based on points of interest. For example, a user could search the term “coffee” and the new framework would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

iOS 6.1 builds released to date have been compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS; fourth-, third-, and second-generation iPad; iPad mini; and fifth-and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release updated iPad, iPad mini models in March

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Date: Friday, January 11th, 2013, 09:42
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

Come March…you may buy the next generation of iPad.

Per AppleInsider, a new rumor has pegged both the full-size iPad and iPad mini as due for updates in March.

Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets said his checks with industry sources at this week’s CES event in Las Vegas, Nev., indicated both the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini will debut this March, just five months after the last update was announced.

White was told that the new “iPad 5” will be lighter and thinner than the fourth-generation model Apple released late last year. The updated model features a new A6X processor and Apple’s smaller Lightning chip but maintained the same design as the third-generation iPad released last March.

As for the iPad mini, White said the second-generation device is expected to have the same form factor. A new model would likely just have upgraded components, such as a faster chip.

No mention was made of a potential high-resolution Retina display in a new iPad mini. One report from last month claimed Apple was focused on boosting the resolution of the next-generation iPad mini.

Though many industry insiders attend CES, Apple does not have an official presence at the annual event. White did not indicate the source of his information aside from unnamed “checks” at the show.

White also reported last week that Apple is expected to debut new iPhones this summer in more sizes and colors, expanding the lineup from the current black and white options. He expects the new iPhones to debut in the May-June timeframe, which would be earlier than the last two years.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

27-inch iMacs see production delays, difficult display lamination process cited

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Date: Friday, January 11th, 2013, 08:25
Category: iMac, News, retail

You know that 27-inch iMac you’ve been wanting for a while? You might have to wait a little while longer for your order.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is still facing manufacturing issues with its new big-screen 27-inch iMac, though a report claims the issue could start to improve in February.

Citing industry sources, the publication reported on Thursday that mass production issues can be pinned on iMac panel supplier LG Display. The problem apparently stems from full lamination issues in producing the panels.

Apple and LG are only able to produce about 100,000 units a month, according to the report. The issues do not apparently apply to the 21.5-inch iMac, which has reached monthly shipments of between 300,000 and 400,000.

It had been noted that Apple’s iMacs remain in short supply more than a month after the new all-in-one desktop launched. In fact, Apple’s reseller channel remains completely out of stock of the 21.5-inch model.

Apple’s online store advertises that the 27-inch iMac will ship to new orders in three to four weeks. The wait isn’t quite as long with the 21.5-inch model, which ships in 7 to 10 business days.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said publicly in October that there would be “significant shortage” of iMacs in the December quarter. And analyst Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities was first to reveal in August that the new screen lamination process used in building the new iMacs is particularly difficult with the larger 27-inch model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

HP, Brother, release updated printer drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Friday, January 11th, 2013, 07:42
Category: News, Software

The Software Update feature is your friend.

On Thursday, Apple released its HP Printers Drivers 2.13 package. The update, a 450.57 megabyte download, adds updated drivers for assorted HP printers, scanners and multifunction devices.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Also on Thursday, Apple released its Brother Printer Drivers 2.10 package. The update, a 150.56 megabyte download, adds updated drivers for assorted HP printers, scanners and multifunction devices.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.1 or later and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new driver updates and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Patent reveals Apple’s exploration of emergency services app for iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, January 10th, 2013, 08:16
Category: iPhone, News, Patents

You’re never far from help with an iPhone in hand.

Per FreePatentsOnline, Apple has shown continued interest in offering easy access to local emergency services when traveling through the iPhone.

The concept is detailed in a patent continuation published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Entitled “Location-Based Emergency Information,” the proposed invention is credited in part to Scott Forstall, Apple’s former chief of iOS who was chased from the company late last year.

“When a person travels abroad, emergencies can occur,” the filing states. “For example, the person can become injured in an accident, be a victim of a crime, or lose their travel documents. In those situations, having knowledge of contact information for local emergency services or the pertinent consular services can be beneficial.”

Apple notes that the process of gathering local emergency service information before traveling can be time consuming, particularly if a person plans to stop in multiple cities or countries. It’s also likely that a traveler would neglect to gather this information entirely, potentially placing them in a bad situation.

To resolve this issue, Apple’s concept includes an “Emergency” Application for iOS that would give users quick access to local medical, police or fire assistance, based on the current location of their iPhone.

The information could allow users to quickly contact emergency authorities in foreign countries, where users may not know the proper emergency number. Or in the U.S., it might provide direct numbers for non-emergency calls to authorities, preventing unnecessary calls to 9-1-1.

In one illustration, the iPhone app is shown with a unique application “drawer” that Apple said could slide out when selected. This would allow users to then tap on which emergency response service they wish to contact.

In addition to Forstall, the application is also credited to inventors Gregory N. Christie, Robert E. Borchers, and Imran A. Chaudhri. The continuation filing, made in September of 2012, stems from a patent originally filed in June 2007, around the time that the first-generation iPhone went on sale in the U.S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with China Mobile representatives

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Date: Thursday, January 10th, 2013, 08:26
Category: iPhone, News

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Mr. Smith went to Washington, so it’s only logical that Tim Cook go to China.

Per Sina Tech, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook gave an interview with local media, in which he revealed that he met with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier.

Cook declined to say in his interview with Sina Tech what came of his meeting. Rumors of the iPhone becoming available on China Mobile have persisted for years, but no deal has been struck yet.

A spokesman for China Mobile confirmed that the talks took place, and said the two sides discussed “matters of cooperation.” No further details were given, as a confidentiality agreement was reportedly signed.

Currently, the iPhone is available on carriers China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile’s president confirmed a month ago that talks with Apple were ongoing, but a deal had not been reached.

Analyst Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets believes Apple could earn 13 percent of China Mobile’s 75.6 million high-speed 3G subscribers. That doesn’t include the nearly 700 million total subscribers the carrier has, some of which could switch to smartphone plans for the iPhone.

Daryanani predicted in November that a potential deal with China Mobile could add about US$3 to Apple’s annual earnings per share, and US$45 to the company’s stock price.

The number of 3G subscribers in China grew 88 percent year over year in 2012 to 222 million. China Mobile is the only major carrier in the country that does not have a deal for Apple’s iPhone, which market watchers believe has helped to stifle the carrier’s smartphone adoption rates.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.6 for mid-2012 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Thursday, January 10th, 2013, 07:13
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

You can’t knock a useful firmware update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released its MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.6 for its mid-2012 MacBook Air notebooks. The update, a 5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixes a color issue with HDMI displays connected to MacBook Air.

– Resolves an issue with Windows which can prevent MacBook Air from booting properly.

– Resolves an issue where unplugging a Thunderbolt device may cause the system to freeze when waking from standby.

The update, which can be snagged via the Software Update feature, requires a mid-2012 MacBook Air and OS X 10.8.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new firmware and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple may start building lower cost iPhone in second half of 2013

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Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 08:03
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

If you were waiting for the iPhone to become cheaper in the face of increased competition, this might be the year for it.

Per the Wall Street Journal and DigiTimes, Apple is currently working on a cheaper iPhone that could hit the market as soon as this year.

According to people briefed on the matter, Apple is reportedly looking to a new audience with the less expensive iPhone, a move the WSJ claims is in response to slipping smartphone supremacy.

While Apple has supposedly tossed around the idea of building a more affordable iPhone “for years,” the plan is progressing toward a release in the second half of 2013.

The new device could be unveiled later this year and be marketed as an entry-level model to Apple’s flagship iPhone. Sources say the cheaper unit may take on the form factor and design of the current iPhone with a chassis made from less exotic materials like polycarbonate. Other parts could “remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 build 12D50, adds minor changes for developers to look into

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Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 08:12
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.3 is coming, just give it a little while longer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday seeded build 12D50 of OS X 10.8.3 pre-release to developers with no known issues.

The new build comes a little over two weeks after Apple seeded the previous 12D44 build, which itself arrived with no known issues and minor under the hood changes to the upcoming version of Apple’s operating system.

Sources familiar with the release stated that Tuesday’s build notes are identical to the previous two seeds that came out in December, with developer focus areas including AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

Build 12D50 continues to tout the new “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility” tool that allows developers to retrieve new seeds through Software Update. When new builds are made available, Apple sends out notifications to install the update via the Mac App Store. The usual e-mail notices will continue to be sent out if developers choose not to use the Software Update tool.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple looking into Sharp IGZO technology for future iOS device displays

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Date: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013, 10:28
Category: News

It’s a rumor now, but it highlights the idea of a cool thing that could come to the Mac before too long.

Per AppleInsider, Sharp this week Sharp stressed the importance of IGZO technology for the company’s future.



In attendance for Sharp’s event was analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, who lauded the abilities of IGZO technology. Sharp’s advanced displays were described as having twice the resolution of a conventional LCD screen with up to 90 percent power savings.

“Even after turning off the power of a device, IGZO allows the image to continue to be displayed on the screen,” White explained. He said he believes Apple is a “prime candidate” to adopt IGZO in future devices.

Apple has been rumored for years to be interested in Sharp’s IGZO display technology. One report from last year claimed that Apple investigated using IGZO panels in the third-generation iPad, but the technology was not yet ready for mass production.

Rumors again cropped up in December, claiming that Apple is evaluating IGZO display technology for its next generation of iPhones and iPads. The technology’s acronym stands for the materials that make up the advanced panels: indium, gallium, and zinc oxide.

White believes that Apple “increasingly requires new innovative display technologies to compete with Samsung.” A deal with Sharp could also reduce Apple’s reliance on LG Display, which initially struggled to meet required standards for the iPad’s Retina display in early 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.