Rumor: Apple shipping white iPhone 4 units to U.S. locations, will launch model on April 27th

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 03:38
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you’ve been dreaming of a white iPhone 4 unit, it’s just about here.

Per AppleInsider, Apple this weekend began preparing its retail segment for the imminent launch of the company’s much-anticipated white iPhone 4 models, signaling the end of a somewhat embarrassing delay that has seen the handsets elude eager buyers since last July.

According to sources close to the story, Apple’s U.S-based retail stores began receiving promotional information overnight that features the white iPhone 4, expected to launch for both Verizon and AT&T subscribers “within the next week.”

In addition, several stores are said to have received shipment notifications for the various white iPhone 4 SKUs and have been instructed to hold those shipments in the back of the house until further notice. All indications point to an official announcement by Wednesday, April 27th.

Word that white iPhones are finally en route to Apple stores in the U.S. comes just days after the inventory systems of U.K.-based wireless carrier Vodafone indicated stock of the handsets while photos of a 16GB model in official retail packaging — carrying model number MC604B/A — were published online.

The arrival of white models is expected to serve as a boon for iPhone sales during a time of year when customers have historically held off purchasing new iPhones under the expectation of next-generation models making their debut during the summer.

This year, however, Apple is widely reported to have decided to forgo a summer iPhone introduction in favor of introducing so-called fifth-generation models in the fall, much closer to the holiday shopping season. According to sources, these new models will go into production in September and sport a unified Qualcomm baseband capable of serving both GSM and CDMA networks.

Such a move is also expected to allow Apple to align fifth-generation iPhones for a simultaneous release on both GSM and CDMA networks, meaning both AT&T and Verizon customers should be able to buy the new handsets later this year at the same time.

Apple has publicly pushed back the release of the white iPhone 4 several times over the past 9 months. In late July of last year, the company revealed that it would not be able to launch the handset alongside black models that month as it had originally planned. Instead, Apple rescheduled the launch for “Late 2010″ only to concede a few months later that it would miss that self-imposed deadline as well, telling customers not to expect white models until the Spring of 2011.

Last month, Apple was said to have finally begun production of the white models, which would become available to customers by April. The company was said to have made changes to both the handset’s original “film material” and paint mixture that were resulting in the production of a “huge” number of defective units.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple “completes” cloud-based music streaming service, users unsure what to expect

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 22nd, 2011, 03:10
Category: iTunes, News, Software

blueituneslogo.jpg

For those of you wondering what the future of Apple’s music plans may be, we might have a hint.

Per the All Things Digital blog, a new report claims that Apple has succeeded in procuring deals with at least two of the four big music labels in the last two months, possibly signaling that the rumored iTunes streaming music service is imminent.

The story reported Thursday that Apple is “actively seeking licenses” for a new cloud-based music locker service and is willing to pay labels for the privilege.

According to author Peter Kafka’s sources, Apple has inked deals with two of the for major labels, which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI within the last two months. One source claimed Apple VP Eddy Cue will be in New York on Friday in an attempt to solidify remaining deals.

“They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it,” Kafka reported an industry executive as saying. “It feels like they want to go pretty soon.”

Kafka’s sources have yet to see the service for themselves, but say they’re aware of the “broad strokes.” “The idea is that Apple will let users store songs they’ve purchased from its iTunes store, as well as others songs stored on their hard drives, and listen to them on multiple devices,” Kafka wrote in his report.

The report comes on the heels of a Reuters report earlier Thursday that claimed Apple had “completed work” on a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service. Citing anonymous sources, the report said Apple is “set to launch” the service, which would store users’ songs on a remote server and allow them to access them from “wherever they have an Internet connection.”

However, a Reuters report claimed that Apple had yet to arrive at new licensing agreements with the labels.

Rival Amazon launched a digital music locker last month without new licensing approval. The online retailer has reportedly faced a backlash from the music industry as a result.

According to Kafka, Apple would be able to create a more “robust service” than Amazon with re-negotiated licenses. That service could include “better user interfaces, sound quality, and other features,” said Kafka.

For example, Kafka has heard that Apple’s new deals with the labels would allow the company to “store a single master copy of a song on its servers and share it with multiple users.”

Apple’s upcoming music streaming service could come in the form of an enhanced version of MobileMe. In February, it was reported that Apple plans to revamp its MobileMe offerings by adding a free ‘locker’ service for storing photos, music and videos.

In 2009, Apple bought streaming music service Lala for $85 million, prompting speculation that iTunes streaming was in the works. However, Apple shuttered Lala last year and the rumored service has yet to materialize.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iBooks 1.2.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 22nd, 2011, 03:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released a minor update to its iBooks e-book and PDF reading app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Per Macworld, iBooks 1.2.2 includes “a number of important stability and performance improvements” for playing video with enhanced books from the iBookstore, incorrect fonts being displayed, and navigational responsiveness.

The new version’s fixes and changes include the following:
- Addresses issues playing video included with enhanced books from the iBookstore.

- Resolves a problem where some books open with a different font than expected.

- Makes iBooks more responsive when navigating books with many items in their table of contents.

iBooks requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later to install and run.

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

iPad 2 ship times drop to 1-2 weeks in some locations

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 21st, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPad, News

If you wanted an iPad 2 but were waiting for it, the wait time just got shorter.

Per AppleInsider, new iPad 2 orders placed through Apple’s online store are now estimated to ship within one to two weeks, as availability of the popular touchscreen tablet continues to improve.

Shipping times of one to two weeks are not just limited to America. Other countries, including Canada, Mexico and Australia, also ship in the same timeframe. Apple’s online stores in Europe, however, still estimate a wait of two to three weeks.

The improved shipping times are yet another sign that supply for the iPad 2 is catching up with demand. Since the device launched in the U.S. and 25 other countries around the world in March, Apple has seen huge demand for the second-generation device.

Wednesday’s change to shipping times comes weeks after they improved to two to three weeks in early April. Prior to that, new buyers had to wait over a month for their iPad 2 to ship from Apple.

The improved shipping times also come as Apple has expanded retail availability of the iPad 2. On Sunday, some Toys R Us locations in the U.S. began selling Apple’s tablet, and in late March, the iPad 2 went on sale at 500 stores owned by RadioShack.

This month, the iPad 2 is scheduled to launch in Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore, as well as additional yet-unnamed countries. Like retail availability in the U.S., international expansion of the iPad 2 has occurred at a much faster pace than with the first-generation iPad.

If you’ve seen your iPad 2 ship time improve, please let us know.

Apple reports $24.67 billion in revenue, $5.99 billion profit for second quarter

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, 15:05
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

As irked as you may be with Apple from time to time, there’s no doubting this: the company makes a profit and is around for the long haul.

Per Macworld, Apple announced the results of its second fiscal quarter, citing sales of US$24.67 billion and a net profit of US$5.99 billion, according to figures announced by the company Wednesday.

The company’s quarterly revenue, a record figure for the second quarter, beat year-ago sales by 83%. Profits also set a record for the quarter, and improved 95% over the US$3.07 billion in profit the company tallied in the 2010 second quarter.

Apple earned US$6.40 per share, beating last year’s second-quarter earnings of US$3.33 per share by 92%. Apple’s performance also blew away analyst estimates. Analysts were looking for the company to report US$23.34 billion in revenue and earnings of US$5.36 per share for the quarter.

During the conference call, Apple stated that it had sold 18.65 million iPhones during the quarter, which ended March 26. This figure represents an increase of 113% from the 8.75 million phones Apple sold over the same period last year. The company recorded recognized revenue of US$12.3 billion in the just-completed quarter, an increase of 126%.

All told, Apple ended its fiscal second quarter with the iPhone available in 90 countries through 186 carriers, compared to 185 carriers in 90 countries at the end of the first quarter; Apple Chief Financial Office Peter Oppenheimer noted that there had been some carrier contraction during the last three months that offset the addition of new partners such as Verizon in the U.S., SK Telecom in South Korea, and Saudi Telecom in Saudi Arabia.

Apple sold 3.76 million Macs during the second quarter, an increase of 28% over the 2.9 million Macs sold during the year-ago period. That set a record for Mac sales during the March quarter, Oppenheimer said. In particular, Mac sales compared favorably with the overall PC market, which contracted at a rate of 3% during the quarter, according to figures from IDC. That marks the twentieth consecutive quarter that Apple has outgrown the PC market, although sales numbers were below those posted by Apple for the last two quarters.

Notebooks continue to be the big driver for Mac sales, with the 2.7 million portables making up 73% of the Macs sold during the quarter. In addition to the February revamp of the MacBook Pro line, Apple also reaped the benefits of last year’s MacBook Air updates. The 1 million desktops sold were only more than during one of the last five quarters.

Apple also made notable gains internationally with Macs, seeing 76% growth in the Asia Pacific region on a year-over-year basis.

The iPad 2 shipped at the end of the quarter, on March 11 in the U.S. and on March 25 in 25 additional countries, which helped spur sales of Apple’s tablet. All told, Apple sold 4.69 million iPads during the quarter, though it didn’t break down those sales between the iPad 2 and the original model. In total, Apple has sold 19.48 million iPads since the product was released in April 2010.

Unfortunately, iPod sales continued their decline, though Apple says that the product line’s performance was ahead of expectations. The company sold 9.02 million iPods during the quarter, a drop of 17% from last year’s second-quarter figures. More than half of the iPods sold during the quarter were the iPod touch, according to Apple’s figures.

Despite that decline, Oppenheimer said that the total iPod sales were ahead of Apple’s expectation, and that the iPod remains the top-selling MP3 player in most of the countries where that data is tracked, and continues to hold onto its market-leading position in the U.S.

Apple found a silver lining in the performance of its iTunes online business, however. That segment tallied US$1.1 billion in revenues, its best quarter ever, according to Oppenheimer.

With Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail outlets approaching their 10th anniversary next month, Oppenheimer noted that the retail chains should see their 1 billionth visitor in a matter of days. During the second quarter, 71.1 million people visited the app store, up from 47 million visitors in the 2010 second quarter.

Revenue from the retail stores grew 90% to US$3.19 billion. Apple says it sold 797,000 Macs through its retail outlets, an increase of 32% from last year. About half of the Macs sold at the Apple Store were to newly minted Mac users.

Apple still plans to open 40 new stores during the 2011 fiscal year, with two-thirds of those outlets opening outside of the U.S. That includes a fifth Apple Store in China.

For the third quarter ending in June, Apple expects revenue of about US$23 billion and earnings per share of US$5.03. That compares to US$15.7 billion in revenue and earnings of US$3.51 a share for the third quarter of 2010. Prior to Wednesday’s call, analysts were looking for sales of US$23.8 billion and earnings of US$5.25 per share for the June quarter.

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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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.

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

Posted by:
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.

Apple releases iTunes 10.2.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011, 03:14
Category: News, Software

blueituneslogo.jpg

Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 10.2.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Addresses an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad.

- Resolves an issue which may cause syncing photos with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to take longer than necessary.

- Fixes a problem where video previews on the iTunes Store may skip while playing.

- Addresses other issues that improve stability and performance.

iTunes 10.2.2 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Newer MacBook Air notebooks arriving with faster Blade solid-state drives

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 18th, 2011, 04:27
Category: MacBook Air, News

You may be getting a bit more than you paid for with some of the latest MacBook Air notebook units.

Per AnandTech, Apple eventually included a commercially available Toshiba Blade X-gale solid state drive module, model TS128C with the notebook.

Reports have surfaced showing MacBook Airs equipped with a second, even faster SSD with a SM128C part number — the “SM” hinting at its presumed Samsung manufacturing origins. Samsung’s SSD manages up to 260MBps read and 210MBps write speeds compared to Toshiba’s 210MBps read and 185MBps write performance. While it’s hardly unusual for Apple to multi-source components, aa recent decision to source parts from Korea’s Samsung would have been a smart move to keep just-in-time supply lines fully stocked following the spate of disasters in Toshiba’s home country of Japan. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way of confirming which SSD you’re about to purchase without cracking open the retail box and running the OS X System Profiler…

To sum it up, you might get a bit luckier than you expected when snagging the current MacBook Air, it’s just a matter of chance.