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.

Apple leaves out vibration feature on fourth-gen iPod touch

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 06:45
Category: iPod Touch, News

In spite of earlier references on the Apple website to a “vibrating alert” for the fourth-generation iPod touch, the new device lacks a vibration motor.

Per AppleInsider, Apple originally promoted the vibrator feature on the accessibility page for the iPod touch, but has since removed the reference.

“If somebody wants to start a video call with you, you’ll receive an invitation — along with a vibrating alert — on your iPod touch asking you to join,” the page used to read.

Teardown specialists at iFixit confirmed the lack of a vibration motor when they took apart the new iPod touch.

“Contrary to Apple’s initial claims on their FaceTime marketing page, the iPod Touch does not have a vibrator,” reported the site.

The part from the FCC teardown originally believed to be a vibration motor was discovered by iFixit to be a microphone.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 update for iPhone, iPod touch

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Date: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, 11:51
Category: iPhone, News, Software

After a fair amount of anticipation, Apple released its long-awaited iOS 4.1 update for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Per iLounge, the update adds a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor, Bluetooth issues, patches for security holes and performance problems on the iPhone 3G.

Notably, the iPhone 3G is left out amongst its iOS 4.1-capable peers in support for Apple’s new Game Center social gaming service, which is also included in the update, along with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography on the iPhone 4, HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and support for TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. iOS 4.1 is available now as a free upgrade for all compatible devices via the update feature in iTunes and weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download.

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

iFixit posts full teardown of 2010 iPod Shuffle

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Date: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, 05:56
Category: iPod shuffle, photos

Once again, the cool cats at iFixit have gotten their hands on Apple’s new hardware to perform a full teardown of the fourth-generation iPod shuffle.

Per AppleInsider, the new hardware carries a model number of A1373, updated from the A1271 designation of the previous generation hardware.

The updated iPod shuffle marks the return of buttons to the media player, which were absent from the previous generation. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs even conceded last week that “people clearly missed the buttons.”

The tightly packed hardware is particularly difficult to open, iFixit noted. “It took us a good half hour of prying and heat-gunning to open the little guy,” they said. This is because back clip was is press-fit and glued onto the body of the device.

Other details noted by the solutions provider in its teardown:

- The new iPod shuffle has smaller retail packaging, but the box it ships in was not particularly small. “Apple could have shipped 30 iPod shuffles in this box,” they said. “Literally.”

- The fourth-generation hardware has a height of 1.14 inches, width of 1.24 inches, depth of 0.34 inches, and weight of 0.44 ounces.

- The control ribbon cable is just 1/8 of an inch wide, and the logic board is held in place by just one screw. The battery is soldered to the logic board.

- The 3.7V lithium-ion battery has a listed capacity of .19 Whr, which is good for 15 hours of audio playback.

- The manufacture dates on the die indicate the hardware was built in late June and early August of 2010.

For additional photos and details, check out the full teardown at the iFixit web site and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new Shuffle, let us know what you make of it, for better or for worse.