Apple’s suppliers prepping materials for second-gen iPad due in first quarter 2011

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s component suppliers are said to be preparing for the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011.

Per DigiTimes, the suppliers are completing validation for the second-generation iPad, which will maintain the same 9.7″ screen when it debuts in the first quarter of 2011.

“Component suppliers of iPad are expected to start shipments for the second-generation iPad at the beginning of 2011,” the report said.

Specifically cited suppliers were TPK Touch Solutions, WinTek, Cando, Cimei Innolux. Together, they are said to be validating “ultra-thin glass-based touch panels with Apple.”

As reported last week, Apple plans to move aggressively on adding FaceTime functionality to its entire line of iOS devices, leaving the iPad as the last device to receive the upgrade. A source close to the story indicated that an iPad equipped with a forward facing camera is already in the advanced testing stages at Apple.

Though Apple typically follows an annual upgrade pattern for its devices, it was said that Apple could refresh the iPad line ahead of this year’s holiday season. That person indicated that the FaceTime-equipped iPad was tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad to hit five Latin American countries on Friday, September 17th

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 11:55
Category: iPad, News

China won’t be the only country to get the iPad on Friday. Per Macworld, Apple announced that the iPad will also arrive in five South American countries on September 17th.

The countries that will receive the iPad on Friday are Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Unlike China, however, customers in these countries will get a choice between the iPad’s Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models.

Customers can check availability and pricing at Apple’s Latin American store finder.

Apple posts first external iOS 4.2 betas, new features on the way

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 04:06
Category: iPad, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday released the first external betas of iOS 4.2, which will debut features like AirPlay and AirPrint for iOS devices while also delivering a slew of long-awaited bells and whistles for the iPad, including multi-tasking, folders and threaded mail.

Per AppleInsider, a handful of more subtle refinements will ship along as well:

The biggest new feature for iPhone and iPod touch users is AirPrint, which allows wireless printing via a shared printer, or directly through some HP branded printers. The functionality is accomplished through a new Print Center application that is only available on iOS devices that can multitask, which means the iPhone 3G will not be able to print.

iOS 4.2 for the iPhone will debut a new icon for Apple’s Voice Memos application, a new version of modem firmware, and some new font additions for the Notes application, detailed later in this article in relation to the iPad. It will also add support for importing .ics files directly as a way to add events to the native Calendar application.

Multi-tasking:
iOS 4.2 introduces to the iPad many features that iPhone and iPod touch users already enjoy, including multitasking and folders. Just like on current devices that run iOS 4, users can run tasks from compatible applications in the background, and manage those applications by double-tapping the home button.

20-app Folders:
By dragging icons atop one another on the iPad homescreen, iOS 4.2 also automatically creates a folder. This will allow iPad users to have less clutter on their homescreen, and to easily sort their downloads from the App Store. The iPad’s larger screen real estate allows for a total of 20 applications per folder rather than 12.

New Spotlight Preferences:
Apple has added a new Spotlight Search preference pane under the General Settings panel with options to include or disallow search results based on the following categories: Contacts, Applications, Music, Podcasts, Videos, Audiobooks, Notes, Mail and Events. Users can also reorder those categories to force search results to display in the order of their liking.

New Restrictions:
In addition to allowing or disallowing Multiplayer Games through Game Center, iOS 4.2 for iPad will enable users to allow or disallow changes to Location settings and Mail Account settings.

A new setting in iOS 4.2 for iPad 3G allows users to disable 3G access and revert to EDGE, trading speed for battery life.

Check Spelling:
Like iOS 4.1 for the iPhone, iOS 4.2 for iPad will deliver the option to turn Spell Checking on or off.

Accessibility: Larger Fonts:
Handicapped and elderly users will notice the addition of a “Large Text” option in the accessibility preference pane which offers the option to set font sizes for Contacts, Mail, Messages, and Notes in one of the following sizes: 20pt, 24pt, 32pt, 40pt, 48pt, 56pt.

New Notes Preferences:
Like iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, Apple has added a Notes preference pane that lets users choose between Chalkboard, Helvetica, and Marker Felt for their notes fonts. It also lets users set a default email account to which new notes can be tied.

Wireless Printing:
Of course one of the most highly anticipated features of iOS 4.2 is support for AirPrint, Apple’s wireless printing technology. Apple is updating all of its applicable default apps to support the AirPrint feature.

Game Center:
iPad users will also gain access to Game Center, Apple’s social networking application for games on iOS devices. Game Center allows users to invite friends to play a game, compare scores and achievements with others, and more.

New Orientation Lock and Brightness Controls:
With iOS 4.2 for iPad, Apple will convert the physical orientation lock button on the right hand side of the iPad into a volume mute toggle. Orientation locking will be facilitated through the iPod widget like on the iPhone. iOS 4.2 will also add a display brightness interface slider on the left hand side of the iPod widget (to fill space?).

AirPlay:
AirPlay (formerly AirTunes), is also on its way to the iPad and iPhone via iOS 4.2. In addition to music, the technology will then allow users to stream video and photos over Wi-Fi, as can be seen in this screen capture of the new Photos application for the iPad.

Universal, Threaded Mail App:
For Mail on the iPad, iOS 4.2 will offer a universal mailbox and the option (via the Mail preference pane) to organize mails by thread. Like on the iPhone and iPod touch, messages in an inbox will automatically be combined into a threaded view where applicable, saving space and making the Mail application more efficient.

iAd:
Apple’s iAd interactive advertisements will also begin appearing in iPad applications after the release of iOS 4.2. iAds offer an “app within an app,” allowing advertisers to deliver content to users without forcing them to open a browser and leave their current application. With the iOS 4.2 beta, developers can now begin working to integrate iAds into their iPad software in time for its November release.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the iOS 4.2 beta for the iPad and can offer any comments of feedback, please let us know what you think.

Rumor: Apple crafting newspaper subscription plan for iPad

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 04:26
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s hard to say whether the iPad will save the newspaper industry, but it looks like Apple might try.

Per the San Jose Mercury News, Apple will soon announce a newspaper subscription plan for the iPad, introducing a revenue sharing model similar to the one that has been employed for applications sold on the App Store, according to a new rumor.

Per sources close to the story, Apple has agreed to implement an opt-in function to allow subscribers to share their personal information with publications. Print publications rely on that information to share demographic data with advertisers.

Earlier this year, before the iPad was even released, publishers and Apple apparently struggled to reach a deal, as Apple was reluctant to share consumer data beyond sales volume. Advertisers and publishers, on the other hand, consider demographic data to be the “most valuable asset.”

Author John Boudreau spoke with Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Mo., who said that the anticipated plan will likely resemble the current App Store model, which would give Apple a 30% cut of all subscriptions sold through the digital download service. In addition, Apple could take as much as 40% of the advertising revenue from those applications.

Fidler also indicated that publishers are not pleased with the deal, as they would rather pay Apple a fee than a cut of their subscription and advertising revenue.

“They had hoped to offer app editions as part of subscription bundles that include print versions of the paper,” the report said. “Instead, they must use Apple as an intermediary with subscribers.”

Publishers have struggled with Apple in bringing their content to the iPad. At first, Apple did not allow subscriptions to magazines through the App Store. This impasse was broken in August, when People magazine became the first publication to offer subscribers free access to its iPad application.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad to arrive at U.S. Best Buy locations on September 26th, may be sold at Walmart and Target by end of 2010

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Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

If you’re looking for additional stores to purchase an iPad in, factor in Best Buy later this month.

Per AppleInsider, the Best Buy retail chain will begin carrying Apple’s tablet on September 26th, amounting to 1,093 of the company’s U.S. retail locations selling Apple’s device.

Best Buy announced the expansion on Tuesday, the same day that the company revealed its strong quarterly earnings. Those sales were buoyed by demand for devices like the iPad, the company said.

The iPad was available at Best Buy when the device launched earlier this year, though it was limited to 673 retail stores with Apple Shop locations. Now, All 1,093 stores in the U.S. will carry both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models on September 26th.

Best Buy officials indicated that stores experienced “constrained inventory” when the iPad launched earlier this year. But with supply issues apparently alleviated, Chief Executive Brian Dunn anticipates that the iPad, along with other tablet devices, will be “big for us during the holidays.

In addition to selling the iPad, Best Buy stores will also carry a range of accessories for Apple’s touchscreen tablet.

Apple is also rumored to make the iPad available for sale at Target in the coming weeks, as recent evidence has suggested the device could see a launch in stores on October 3rd. Earlier this year, Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., also indicated it hopes to sell the iPad by the end of 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Wi-Fi iPad to launch in China on Friday, September 17th

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Date: Tuesday, September 14th, 2010, 03:40
Category: iPad, News

Apple announced on Monday that it will be releasing the Wi-Fi models of the iPad in China on Friday, September 17th. The iPads will be available from Apple Stores and selected Apple Authorized Resellers in the country, starting at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Per Macworld, prices will start at CNY3988 (US$589) for the 16GB model, CNY4788 (US$708) for the 32GB model, and CNY5588 (US$826) for the 64GB model. Apple Stores will offer a Personal Setup service as well as hold iPad workshops to help buyers get familiarized with the device.

There is no word, however, as to when the Wi-Fi + 3G models will arrive in China. It seems that, at least for the moment, Apple has yet to reach a deal with any of the local carriers, even though it already has a deal with China Unicom to distribute and sell iPhones.

Apple also announced that the iPad is coming to more countries by the end of the year, though it didn’t specify exactly which ones.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Fifth-gen iPhone may swap Infineon baseband chip for Qualcomm model

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Date: Monday, September 13th, 2010, 06:47
Category: iPhone, News

The fifth-generation iPhone may forgo an Infineon baseband chip in favor of one from Qualcomm, according to an unconfirmed report.

Per the Commercial Times report, Infineon will not provide the baseband chip for the fifth-generation iPhone. Infineon’s wireless unit was sold to Intel for US$1.4 billion in August.

According to the report, the next-generation Apple smartphone, which is expected next year, will still be manufactured by the Hon Hai Group and Foxconn, and will include a Qualcomm baseband chip this time around.

A move away from Infineon would break with precedent. Infineon has supplied Apple with the baseband chip for the iPad 3G and all of the Cupertino, Calif., company’s iPhone models since the smartphone was first released in 2007.

There has been little indication of trouble in the relationship between Infineon and Apple. After the Intel-Infineon deal, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told Fox Business that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was “very happy” with it.

On the other hand, relations between Apple and Intel have been tense as of late. Otellini made comments earlier this week criticizing the newly released Apple TV as a “step backward,” especially when compared to the Intel-powered Google TV products set to be released this month.

A Qualcomm broadband chip would match rumors that Apple is developing a CDMA iPhone. Qualcomm invented the now widely-used CDMA technology. A cryptic “iPhone developer guru” job posting on the Qualcomm website in August claimed that respondents would work on “the most challenging product” of their lives.

Several analysts see a switch to Qualcomm by Apple as the right move. In light of the Intel-Infineon deal, “Apple may want to diversify its supplier base to reduce dependency on a single supplier,” said Manikandan Raman with the Motley Fool.

With a 69% share of the CDMA mobile phone chipset market, Qualcomm would be the “logical choice” to help Apple expand to other networks, said Barclays Capital analyst Andrew Gardiner. “Infineon’s wireless unit doesn’t offer chips for CDMA technology.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Voice-enabled apps to go through resubmission process for App Store approval

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Date: Friday, September 10th, 2010, 03:38
Category: News, Software

In spite of software companies nipping at each other’s heels, there tends to be second chances.

Google has received confirmation from Apple that its voice-enabled app will “most likely” be re-approved for the App Store.

Per AppleInsider, Sean Kovacs, the developer behind the GV Mobile app, posted the news on Twitter Thursday. The resubmission process may take as long as a week, said Kovacs.

Apple announced Thursday that it had was making “important changes” to its iOS Developer Program license. In response to criticism about the openness and lack of transparency of the App Store, Apple also released the company’s App Store Review Guidelines.

Kovacs posted a Twitter message Thursday speculating that GV Mobile complied with the changes to the license. “Since GV Mobile complies with all 110+ guidelines newly posted by Apple, it should get approved?”

Several hours later, Kovacs received “confirmation back from Apple that it will most likely get back in” once he resubmits the app.

In July of last year, Apple removed third-party Google Voice-enabled apps, including GV Mobile, from the App Store. Kovacs was later contacted by an Apple representative, but was given few details about the takedown. He responded by moving the app to Cydia, an alternative app store for jailbroken devices.

The app removals by Apple prompted an investigation by the FCC. A ‘he said, she said’ debate ensued, with Google claiming that Apple had rejected its Google Voice app, and Apple claiming that the app was still “under review.”

In a filing with the FCC, Apple said it had not consulted with AT&T in reviewing the Google Voice app. Apple took issue with Google Voice because it “replaced the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail” and uploaded the user’s contacts to Google servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple publishes patent for practically-bulletproof composite laminate

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 07:00
Category: News, Patents

applelogo_silver

If you ever dropped your Apple device and rued gravity, this might help.

Per the mighty Patently Apple, Apple appears to be working on an improved composite laminate that could someday make future devices practically bulletproof.

The company has recently won the patent for an improved composite laminate, which the website claims “could consist of a wide range of materials including glass, synthetics, metals (such as aluminum or titanium) or even epoxy.” The patent doesn’t reveal exactly what Apple plans to do, but the website notes that such material is commonly used in “real-world products ranging from an iPad cover to all manner of sporting equipment such as golf clubs, baseball bats, canoes, bikes, skateboards and more.”

According to Wikipedia, the use of such materials could even be used to make a portable device literally bulletproof.

The article theorizes that “Apple could also be rethinking their use of polycarbonates in their MacBook for a much lighter material and using the sandwich method as shown above,” they propose. “Hmm, who knows — maybe the new Apple TV is already using one of the material variants. I haven’t been able to find out exactly what they’re using. Is it a thermosetting plastic as mentioned in this patent?”

As is often the case with patents such as this, only time will tell.

Apple opens iOS development to third-party tools, introduces Review Board

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 06:30
Category: News

Apple on Thursday announced that the company would no longer ban intermediary development tools for iOS as long as App Store software does not download any code, potentially paving the way for third-party software to convert applications from other formats like Adobe Flash.

Per Macworld, the company revealed that it had made “important changes” to sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 of its iOS Developer Program license, relaxing some of the restrictions that were put in place earlier this year. The company has also published the approval guidelines for its tightly controlled App Store, in which all software must be reviewed before it is released.

The changes come just weeks after evidence surfaced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was looking into a complaint from Adobe over Apple’s banning of Flash from iOS devices. The FTC denied a public records request related to the case, stating that the release of such documents could interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this year, Apple updated its iOS 4 SDK to ban intermediary tools that would allow the porting of applications from Adobe’s Flash, Sun’s Java, or Microsoft’s Silverlight/Mono.

The change was made after Adobe announced that its Creative Suite 5 would include an application that would allow developers to port their applications to the iPhone from Flash. Adobe eventually abandoned further development of the application following Apple’s announcement. That was also when the company filed a complaint with the FTC.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs publicly commented on the matter in an open letter published in late April, in which he slammed Adobe Flash as a Web tool that is unfit for the modern, mobile era of computing. He also said that an intermediary tool for converting Flash applications to the iPhone would produce “sub-standard apps,” and would hinder the progress of the platform.

At the time, Jobs said he knew from “painful experience” that allowing developers to become dependent on a third-party tool, such as Adobe Flash, rather than writing natively for the iPhone is restrictive. “We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers,” Jobs wrote.

As for the publication of App Store approval guidelines, Apple has repeatedly come under fire for not being open enough with developers. Some who write for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have complained that it is unclear what software is acceptable.

The most high-profile App Store review incident came in 2009, when Apple refused to approve the Google Voice application, a telephony service from the search giant. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and Apple at the time denied that it had rejected the Google Voice app, but said it was continuing to “study it.”

The full statement from Thursday is included in its entirety:

“The App Store has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world’s largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.

We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”

Finally, Apple also revealed the formation of an App Review Board, with the goal of giving developers “the opportunity to appeal the rejection of an application if [they] believe that the functionality or technical implementation was misunderstood.”

This new board should help address the accusations often made about the arbitrariness of the app approval process by providing developers with a way to formally ask Apple to review a rejection, based on criteria that may not have been anticipated by the approval guidelines; that’s often been the source of embarrassment for the company.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.