Apple may leave iPhone 4S call drop bug in final build of iOS 5.1

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Date: Wednesday, January 4th, 2012, 04:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes the bugs tend to stick around.

Per GigaOM and a 109-page thread on the Apple Support Communites forum, the problem cropped up when the iPhone 4S was launched in November 2011 only to remain unfixed when iOS 5.0.1 was released a month later to deal with battery life complaints, and a look at the new build of an update seeded to developers shows that the audio issues will likely remain unresolved.

The issue was first identified when a number of Apple Community forum members began to complain that the audio on their iPhone 4S was intermittently failing when placing calls, forcing them to hang up and dial again. Interestingly, recipients on the other end were unaffected and could reportedly hear the iPhone user who originated the call.

The reports are fairly widespread as the Apple forum thread alone is still very active and now has well over 1,600 replies. Some are reporting a 1 in 10 audio failure rate, while others are seeing multiple back-to-back calls experiencing the problem.

It is unclear what is to blame for the audio failure, and although most calls go through without a problem, some users have reported the issue becoming bad enough that they needed to reboot their device.

Some forum members posit that the iOS software is to blame as the problem is not exclusive to the 4S and has been seen on previous generation iPhone 4 models running iOS 5. Others suggest the issue arises from new hardware in the 4S and its inability to communicate with carriers’ networks.

Affected users were hoping that the issue would be resolved when iOS 5.0.1 was released, though it seems that the problem remains. The newest build of the iOS, now in the hands of developers, also reportedly doesn’t address the situation.

Although no conclusive solution has been found for “Audiogate,” as some forum members have taken to calling it, workarounds have been found and include using a bluetooth headset, placing the call through Siri and completing a full restore of handset software.

Apple has yet to make any official statement regarding the matter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Nintendo to create Wii U app store, work to draw business from iOS App Store

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Date: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 10:05
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

You know all those nifty profits Apple seems to be making from the App Store? Nintendo might want some of it for itself.

Quickly coming on the heels of talk of a full Wii U app store is a rumor late Monday of Nintendo actively courting iOS developers. The gaming giant was said by a developer talking to Forget the Box to be offering “assistance” porting apps for Apple’s platform to the Wii U. The titles would by necessity played on the controller’s 6.2-inch touchscreen.

Per Forget the Box, Nintendo may also be dipping into e-reading on its mobile devices for the first time, the source said. It would make e-reading catalog with books, comics, magazines, and other periodicals. The aim would be to let owners read even when the TV is occupied, since the ultra-wideband wireless controller would let users treat the Wii U controller as a tablet while within range.

To stand out, Nintendo would bring some of its own content into the fray. Every issue of Nintendo Power ever released would be available, as well as its Players Guides and manuals for Virtual Console games. Titles would be available on both the Wii U and the 3DS, presumably taking advantage of the 3DS’ second screen for extra reading space.

All of this remains a rumor, but combined with talk of an app store point to Nintendo hoping to get away from its reputation solely as a child-oriented game system developer. Both Microsoft and Sony have made their systems media hubs with access to several or more music and video services and, in Microsoft’s case, an revenue losses to Apple from those using their iPads and iPods both for gaming and for apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intel could release Ivy Bridge-based Xeon chips in spring, provide new processor offerings for Mac Pro lineup

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Date: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 05:48
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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The upcoming Mac Pro units could get that much niftier, even with a slightly older technology.

Per DigiTimes, Intel’s Xeon E5 launch early this year could be matched by a handful of Ivy Bridge-based models soon after based on a tentative roadmap. After releasing 18 E5 chips based on the current Sandy Bridge architecture, Intel would have 11 Xeons arrive in the spring based on the 2012 design. Billed as Ivy Bridge-H2, these would include Xeon E3 chips like the E3-1290v2 in bulk costs of US$189 to US$884 as well as E5s from US$192 to US$1,440, one of which would be the E5-2470.

The exact specifications of the Ivy Bridge models aren’t apparent. The Sandy Bridge E5 chips were already known to range from a 1.8GHz quad-core processor to 3.1GHz in eight-core varieties.

If sustained, the Xeon lineup could create dilemmas for workstations like the possible Mac Pro refresh. It may push Apple and others into either picking Sandy Bridge models and going for a slightly older but wider range, choosing from a limited Ivy Bridge range, or having to split the computer lineup between the two Intel architectures.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple NYC media event to focus on publishing

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Date: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, 04:36
Category: News

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If there’s something nifty about to happen in the publishing world, it might as well happen in the heart of New York.

Per TechCrunch, reports have emerged of an Apple media event in New York City later this month, one insider has claimed that the event will feature industry-related announcements for publishers about the iBookstore platform.

The website reported on Monday that a source had independently confirmed plans for the end-of-January event, which was first noted by All Things D.

“According to the source the event will not involve any hardware at all and instead will focus on publishing and eBooks (sold through Appleā€™s iBooks platform) rather than iAds,” report author Alexia Tsotsis wrote, adding that attendance would be “more publishing industry-oriented than consumer-focused.”

The tipster also said Apple would take the wraps off of new improvements to its iBooks platform at the event, though the source described the announcement as not “major.”

Given that the original report had claimed that Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue will play a part in the event, speculation had arisen that the event would be related to either advertising or publishing.

Apple made minor improvements to the iBooks app last month with the release of version 1.5. The updated software added a night reading theme, full-screen mode and new fonts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS alarm bug resolved under newer versions of iOS, Apple recommends updating if possible

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Date: Monday, January 2nd, 2012, 12:06
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes Apple can pin things down from their end.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a problem with iOS alarms breaking on January 1st or the 2nd appears to been solved by Apple, at least in part. In 2011 the glitch caused some iOS devices to stay silent despite alarms being toggled on in the Clock app. Most iOS 5 devices have been working normally in 2012.

Still vulnerable though are devices running iOS 4.2.1. The gap is important mainly because v4.2.1 is last version of iOS supported by the iPhone 3G and the second-generation iPod touch. Those devices will likely never have fully-functional alarms, since Apple has never retroactively updated iOS, unlike OS X.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve seen this bug on your end, please let us know.

Developers unveil demo of MobileX hack, allow Apple TV units to run full-screen iOS apps

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Date: Monday, January 2nd, 2012, 05:19
Category: Apple TV, Hack, News

This could prove really nifty.

Per AppleInsider, hackers have developed a workaround that enables full-screen versions of iOS apps for the iPad to run on a jailbroken Apple TV device.

Steve Troughton-Smith and a developer known as “TheMudkip” published over the weekend photos and video of the hack, dubbed MobileX, for Apple’s set-top box.

“MobileX is a window manager for iOS that replaces springboard with the added bonus of letting iPhone and iPad apps run on the Apple TV,” Troughton-Smith said in the video, adding that “any apps just run and scale up to the 720p resolution adequately.”

The hack appears to be in its early stages and has yet to be released to the public. In order to run the utility, the developers first performed the “Seas0nPass” jailbreak on the Apple TV. Apple has warned in the past that the jailbreak process, which allows users to run unauthorized code and apps on iOS, may void a device’s warranty.

Given that the Apple TV doesn’t include a full-featured input method such as a touchscreen, the pair used a combination of Virtual Network Computing (VNC), Secure Shell (SSH) and the Apple Remote to control the device. According to them, MobileX features a built-in menu that allows users to “quit apps, launch Safari, connect to Wi-Fi or show multiple apps side by side” from the Apple Remote.

Troughton-Smith demoed the iPad version of the FaceBook app and claimed that any of Apple’s own apps, such as Safari, Maps and YouTube also work well. VNC did, however, cause some sluggishness in some of the apps, though Troughton-Smith noted that a direct input method such as a remote or a mouse or keyboard would make performance “much smoother.”

Rumors of an AppleTV model that would allow access to the App Store have swirled for years, but developers appear to have taken matters into their own hands.

“If Apple isn’t going to give us a way to make real AppleTV apps, then I guess we’ll have to make one ourselves,” Troughton-Smith wrote in the video’s description on YouTube.

Apple released the latest version of the Apple TV in September 2010. The $99 set-top box runs on the company’s A4 processor and is a fourth the size of the first generation Apple TV.

The hack comes even as speculation on an upcoming Apple television set has heightened considerably. The release of late co-founder Steve Jobs’ biography set off a flurry of rumors after revealing that Jobs believed he had “cracked” the secret for a connected TV interface. Since then, reports have suggested that an Apple television will run on custom-built chips similar to those powering the iPhone and iPad and may come in three sizes.

Take a gander at the video and please let us know what you think in the comments:



Rare photo of Steve Jobs surfaces, expresses his opinion regarding IBM at the time

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Date: Friday, December 30th, 2011, 11:56
Category: photos

We miss you, Steve.

Per Andy Hertzfield, a new image from 1983 has been released of Steve Jobs, clad in blue jeans and a leather jacket, expressing his affection for then rival IBM while walking the streets of New York City in the lead up to the launch of the first Mac.

Andy Hertzfield, one of the original members of the Macintosh team that helped pioneer the personal computer revolution alongside Jobs and Steve Wozniak, published the photo to his Google+ page on Thursday in memoriam of the late Apple co-founder and his rebellious spirit.

The 28-year-old Jobs had flown to New York City with Hertzfield for a quick meeting with Newsweek in December of 1983, as the publication was putting together a cover story for the launch of the Macintosh the following month.

“The photo was taken spontaneously as we walked around Manhattan by Jean Pigozzi, a wild French jet setter who was hanging out with us at the time,” Hertzfield said. “Somehow I ended up with a copy of it.”

Although his editor begged him to include the photo in his 2004 book Revolution in The Valley, Hertzfield admitted that he was “too timid” to ask Jobs for permission, especially given that IBM was still supplying processors to Apple for its Mac product line at the time.

Leak points out possible AMD graphics cards for upcoming Mac Pro models

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Date: Friday, December 30th, 2011, 08:20
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

It’s not truly mobile news, but you’ve gotta love it when the graphics card on a Mac Pro could get an ample boost.

Per Fudzilla, a detailed leak may have given out details of AMD’s mid-range Radeon HD 7000-series desktop graphics. The 7750 and 7750 would sit on the new mainstream Cape Verde Pro and XT cores and each scale back considerably from the higher-end but more expensive Radeon HD 7970. Both would drop from 384-bit to 128-bit memory interfaces and 900MHz core clock speeds.



The differences would come out of shader (visual effect) core counts, texture units, and memory. The 7750 would carry 832 shader cores and 52 texture units fed by 1.25GHz GDDR5 memory (5GHz effective), while the 7770 would up these to 896 cores, 56 texture units, and 1.38GHz GDDR5 memory (5.5GHz effective).

Little was mentioned about the 7850 and 7870 that would sit at the higher end. The two would have wider 256-bit memory buses, additional cores, and higher clock speeds. Either would share the new Pitcairn architecture sitting in between Cape Verde and the Tahiti design in the 7970.

Pricing would be close on the range, most of all in the lower end cards. The 7750 and 7750 would barely be separated at US$139 and US$149, suggesting that one is intended to only show in some retailers or in pre-assembled computers. AMD would reportedly price the 7850 and 7870 at US$249 and US$299 each to appeal to the lucrative upper mid-range gamer segment.

The chipsets wouldn’t arrive until February. If so, they would help determine when many mid-range desktop lines are updated. Apple may use one or more in the Mac Pro, since it’s already supporting the 7900 series in Mac OS X code and would likely want a lower-end graphics card for its base configurations.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent for iOS device facial recognition goes live

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Date: Friday, December 30th, 2011, 05:59
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Patents

At least your iPad will remember who you are.

Per Free Patents Online, a recently published patent application shows how future iOS devices could use a forward-facing camera to recognize an individual user, whereupon the device could automatically customize applications, settings and features to a user’s personal preferences once they pick up the unit.

Entitled “Low Threshold Face Recognition,” the patent describes a low-computation solution for quickly and accurately recognizing a user.

The filing provides a simple way for multiple users to share a single device, like an iPad. Each user could customize their personal profile with unique wallpaper, applications and settings, and that profile would be immediately accessed once the iPad recognizes a user’s face.

Apple’s application notes that robust facial recognition systems that work in various lighting conditions and orientations can be taxing on an electronic device, requiring resources and draining battery life.

Its solution would reduce the impact of lighting conditions and biometric distortions on an image. The filing describes a “low-computation solution for reasonably effective (low threshold) face recognition that can be implemented on camera-equipped consumer portable appliances.”

Rather than aggressively analyzing a user’s entire face and using up time and resources, Apple’s concept would rely on a “high information portion” of a human face. Potential high information portions could include eyes, a mouth, or the tip of a user’s nose.

By recognizing the individual features on a user’s face, the system could scale the distance between someone’s eyes and their mouth. That distance could then be measured against the reference image originally captured by the user in order to confirm it is in fact the same person.

Apple’s application notes that its facial recognition capabilities could be constantly active due to lower power consumption. This means a user could simply point an iPhone or iPad at their face, without pressing a button, and have the screen automatically turn on and unlock the device.

This could be accomplished through an “orange-distance filter,” which would capture the “likely presence” of a human face in front of a camera. This filter would also be used to detect a person’s skin tone, and measure the distance of their face from the camera.

Once a user has been recognized, the facial recognition technology could not only grant them access to the device, but also customize its settings based on a unique user profile. Each user would be presented with a personalized configuration, as an iPhone or iPad would be able to “modify screen saver slide shows or other appliance non-security preferences,” the application reads.

The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in June of 2009. It is credited to Robert Mikio Free.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPad 3 to retain Apple dock connector

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 11:10
Category: iPad, Rumor

If there’s one universal constant, it’s the Apple dock connector.

Per Macotakara, new components claimed to be from Apple’s third-generation iPad show continued use of the 30-pin dock connector, potentially dispelling rumors that it would be replaced with a smaller form factor.

The web site ordered a handful of components claimed to be from prototype builds of Apple’s anticipated third-generation iPad. The so-called “replacement parts” purport to be a microphone flex cable ribbon, power on/off flex cable, and dock connector charging port.

The dock connector is the most significant of the trio of components, because the 30-pin port still fits with Apple’s existing iPod cable used on current iPhone, iPad and iPod models. The hands-on look at the part found that the cable sticks slightly shallower into the port, and the connector is shorter than before.

An earlier rumor about the next iPad’s dock connector surfaced in October from the same website, suggesting Apple’s third-generation iPad would feature a new, smaller dock connector. It was then claimed that the port would include the same 30-pin input and electricity specification internally, but it would be redesigned and smaller on the outside.

The current 30-pin dock connector was first introduced in Apple’s iPod lineup back in April of 2003. It has been largely unchanged ever since, and Apple has even managed to squeeze the port onto its diminutive touchscreen iPod nano.

As for the other alleged third-generation iPad components, the power on/off flex cable includes a power button, rotation lock button, and volume button, suggesting all of those hardware features will be retained in the next iPad. The microphone flex cable is also said to be redesigned from the iPad 2.

The parts were obtained from reseller TVC-Mall.com, which gained attention earlier this month when it was found to be selling the microphone flex cable ribbon replacement. Because the part shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry than with the iPad 2, it led to speculation that the internal components of a so-called “iPad 3” may feature a significant redesign.

The first purported iPad 3 part surfaced in July, and it too hinted at material design changes with the next-generation tablet, at least internally, due to different part numbers on a hardware component.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.