iPad 3 gains regulatory in China, exact launch date there unknown

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Date: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 07:43
Category: iPad, News

If you’re over in China, the third-generation is en route and has gained government regulatory approval.

And that’s a nifty thing.

Per Engadget China, China’s Quality Certification Center granted iPad model number A1416 last week. That’s a sign that the Wi-Fi iPad could head to retail in China “soon.”

Additional approvals are needed for the 3G-capable iPad model to go on sale in China. There has been no indication as to when any version of the new iPad will become available to customers in mainland China.

China has become a very important part of Apple’s business in recent years, as one report last week highlighted in noting that the nation now leads the world in iOS device activations. Last year, the region was the second-largest market for Apple, behind only the U.S.

Approval of the new iPad comes as Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was spotted in China this week. Cook was there to meet with government officials to discuss plans to further expand operations in the country.

Apple did not reveal the specifics of what Cook and officials spoke about, but the company did say in a statement that “China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth there.”

But the impending launch of the new iPad in China also comes as Apple has been engaged in a series of courtroom battles with a local company over ownership of the “iPad” name. Proview has asserted that it is the rightful owner of the “iPad” brand, and that Apple’s purchase of the rights in 2009 through a Taiwanese affiliate of Proview was not a legal transaction.

Outside of mainland China, Hong Kong was one of ten places the new iPad went on sale when it launched on March 16. It joined the U.S, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple backs royalty-free licensing of “nano-SIM” cards, looks to incorporate the technology in future iOS devices

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Date: Monday, March 26th, 2012, 06:55
Category: Hardware, News

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It never hurts to play nice every so often.

Per Foss Patents, Apple will reportedly offer to license a new, ultra-compact SIM card technology to rival mobile devices makers if they agree back the format as the new industry standard for subscriber identification modules (SIM), a move which could pave the way for more compact and efficiently-designed iOS devices.

The pledge, said to have been outlined earlier this month in a letter to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) penned by a senior member of Apple’s legal council, comes just days before the iPhone maker is expected to square off against opponents of the design at the organization’s Smart Card Platform Plenary in southern France.

Sized roughly a third smaller than existing MicroSIM cards found inside current iPads and iPhones, the proposed nano-SIM design — which is also noticeably thinner than that of MicroSIM — has already garnered the support of most European wireless carriers as part of their own proposals to the ETSI.

However, rival mobile device makers Nokia, RIM and Motorola have each voiced concerns in opposing standardization of nano-SIM — mainly out of fears Apple could eventually claim ownership of the patents behind the format, placing the company in a position of powered where it could command royalties from the broader industry.

The March 19th letter to the ETSI stands to invalidate these concerns, according to independent intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, through “an unequivocal commitment to grant royalty-free licenses to any Apple patents essential to nano-SIM, provided that Apple’s proposal is adopted as a standard and that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.”

“This shows that Apple is serious about establishing the nano-SIM standard rather than seeking to cash in on it,” he said. “Apple is a company that values its intellectual property and rarely gives it away for free. But as far as the evolution of SIM cards is concerned, Apple is clearly being generous and absolutely pro-competitive.”

In 2010, Apple was said to be working on an embedded SIM design that would allow users to select a carrier and service plan directly from their iPhone. But those plans allegedly upset the wireless operators, who felt they could be marginalized by such a move. As such, the Cupertino-based company compromised and began talking with carriers about designing a smaller SIM card that eventually emerged as the existing MicroSIM.

Apple’s continued push towards further miniaturization of SIM cards aims to reduce the space required to house the identification cards inside its future mobile devices, paving the way for devices that are either more compact or free up additional space for other components, such as larger batteries.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Security firm finds hole in iOS 5.1 that could lead to URL spoofing

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 06:45
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, security

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Well, this is the reason they write updates.

Per AppleInsider, a newly-discovered mobile Safari web browser vulnerability allows a malicious website to display a URL that is different than the website’s actual address, and can trick users into handing over sensitive personal information.

The issue, first discovered by security firm Major Security, is an error in how Apple’s mobile Safari app in iOS 5.1 handles URLs when using javascript’s window.open() method that can be exploited by malicious sites to display custom URLs.

“This can be exploited to potentially trick users into supplying sensitive information to a malicious web site,” Major Security explains, “because information displayed in the address bar can be constructed in a certain way, which may lead users to believe that they’re visiting another web site than the displayed web site.”

The exploit was tested on an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1, and it seems that any iDevice running Apple’s latest mobile OS is affected by the vulnerability. Users can test the vulnerability themselves by visiting this web site from a mobile device. After a user clicks the “demo” button on the test page, Safari will open a new window which shows “http://www.apple.com” in the address bar, but that URL is in fact being displayed through an iframe being hosted by Major Security’s servers.

By spoofing a URL and adding some convincing images to a malicious site, users can easily be tricked into thinking they are visiting a legitimate website such as Apple’s online store.

The vulnerability was originally found in iOS 5.0 and reproduced on iOS 5.1 earlier in March. Apple was made aware of the issue on March 1 and posted an advisory regarding the matter on March 20. A patch has yet to be pushed out, though the iPhone maker is expected to do so in the near future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

FaceTime connections on iPad 3 to be limited to Wi-Fi networks, won’t function over 4G LTE networks

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 06:24
Category: iPad, News

It looks like your new iPad 3 won’t allow FaceTime calls over a 4G connection.

And it might not paint your living room as promised.

Per some testing performed over at The Verge, the new iPad will need to connect to a Wi-Fi network to use FaceTime. Though the news hardly comes as a surprise, since Apple’s 3G-enabled iOS devices are unable to use FaceTime over 3G, it does put to rest questions about whether the added download speeds from LTE might open up the feature for 4G cellular networks.

Report author Dieter Bohn found the LTE FaceTime restriction to be “doubly frustrating” because Verion LTE iPads can generate Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi networks that would presumably allow other iOS devices to make FaceTime calls via the same LTE connection.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled FaceTime alongside the iPhone 4 in 2010. The video calling service launched as Wi-Fi only, but Jobs promised that Apple would “work a little bit with the cellular providers” in hopes of bringing it to mobile networks.

Early reviews of the iPad show that LTE service on the device is significantly faster than previous-generation 3G networking. Journalist Walt Mossberg said he averaged download speeds of 17 megabits per second on Verizon, while a colleague averaged 12 mbps on AT&T’s network. The mighty David Pogue tested the iPad in three cities and got speeds ranging from 6 to 29 mbps.

The new iPad goes on sale at 8 a.m. local time in 10 countries on Friday. The device will be available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases third-gen Apple TV, adds 1080p support, new user interface in the process

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:30
Category: News

It may look exactly the same as its previous generation, but some oomph has been added.

Per Macworld, Apple unveiled a new Apple TV model on Wednesday, with support for 1080p video and a new user interface, at a special event in San Francisco.

The new Apple TV model features a redesigned user interface with iOS-like buttons that appear on the home screen below the thumbnail images. The buttons highlight Apple’s movies, TV shows, music, computers, trailers, podcasts, and settings areas, but also better call out the third-party services available on the Apple TV, including Netflix, Vimeo, and live sports subscriptions for baseball, basketball, and hockey.

Still, the good news for current Apple TV owners is that the new interface is available Wednesday as a free software update.

The company also added support for 1080p HD video with the new model. Previously, the Apple TV only supported 720p HD video, and that’s the highest resolution that Apple sold through the iTunes Store. Now the Apple TV can play 1080p video, and movies and TV shows sold by Apple will now be available in 1080p resolution as well.

Users can redownload movies you purchased on any of your devices. Movies and TV shows in the iTunes Store will now support 1080p HD. The higher resolution means better-looking photos too.

Apple has allowed you to redownload (or stream to the Apple TV) TV shows you’ve purchased already. The company has now added movies to the list of content you can redownload as well.

The Apple TV also incorporates Apple’s Genius functionality in order to recommend movies based on your downloading habits.

The new Apple TV looks identical to the previous model, but incorporates a more-powerful single-core A5 chip instead of Apple’s older A4 chip from the second-generation Apple TV.

The new model will be available on March 16 at the same US$99 price as before.

Apple posts streaming video of iPad 3 press event

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:19
Category: Hardware, News

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If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video’s worth even more.

Following its iPad 3 press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple quickly posted streaming video of the event.

The keynote was hosted by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, and featured presentations by other members of the company’s top brass, including Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue.

The biggest news Wednesday was the new iPad, which features a high-resolution Retina Display and a new A5X CPU packing a quad-core graphics processor starting at $499. The cameras have also been improved, with a rear-facing 5-megapixel lens capable of 1080p video, while the wireless-capable models now feature connectivity with 4G LTE networks from carriers like Verizon and Sprint.

Other presentations, such as AutoDesk for iOS, new games and a newly-created version of iPhoto for iOS, are presented in the video and show the bells and whistles of the new tablet.

Click the link, take a gander and if something’s on your mind, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases long-awaited iOS 5.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:51
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

You’ve been craving it for months and it’s finally here. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released its iOS 5.1 update for qualifying iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices.

The update, which can be located, snagged and installed via iTunes, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Japanese language support for Siri (availability may be limited during initial rollout)

- Photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream.

- Camera shortcut now always visible on Lock Screen for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation).

- Camera face detection now highlights all detected faces.

- Redesigned Camera app for iPad.

- Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers.

- Audio for TV shows and movies on iPad optimized to sound louder and clearer.

- Podcast controls for playback speed and a 30 second rewind for iPad.

- Updated AT&T network indicator.

- Addresses bugs affecting battery life.

- Fixes an issue that occasionally caused audio to drop for outgoing calls.

As always, if you’ve tried the new iOS and have any feedback to offer (positive or negative), please let us know in the comments.

iPad 3 press event live blog

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 09:22
Category: iPad, News

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Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here with the iPad 3 press event live blog, as covered via Macworld.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it and see what’s happening:

- The music is playing, people are filing in and the event should begin at 10 A.M. PST/1 P.M. EST.

- Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage and thanks everyone for coming on out. Begins to discuss the idea of a post-PC world and the devices you carry around with you on a daily basis.

- States that the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are post-PC devices and that last year, Apple sold 172 million post-PC devices, which accounted for 76% of the company’s revenue.

- Apple will add Japanese language support to Siri as part of iOS 5.1, which is available today and will be rolled out in Japan over the next few weeks.

- A new Apple TV device is now being unveiled.

- This is nifty: Movies and TV shows purchased/rented in the iTunes Store will now support 1080p.

- Photo Stream appears to be due for an update and Tim Cook is demonstrating how a picture taken with an iPhone is automatically synced over to an Apple TV in the background at full 1080p.

- Tim Cook is now beginning to discuss the iPad, its effect and the company’s sales numbers for the tablet.

- Building the suspense on the iPad 3…Barnum would be proud.

- “Until you see it, you can’t understand how amazing it is.”

- The iPad 3′s new screen resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels. Do some nerd math and this is over 3.1 million pixels to gaze upon.

- Phil Schiller has declared that the 2048 x 1536 pixel display is only the first new feature, which is met with applause.

- The camera has been upgraded and the front of the device will now feature a FaceTime camera, complete with auto face detection, auto exposure lock, auto focus lock and HD video recording now at 1080p resolution.

- Apple has added a voice dictation feature to the iPad 3.

- The new interface features a microphone icon at the bottom of the screen (a la the iPhone 4S) that allows the user to tap and begin speaking.

- Siri will be available on the iPad 3 and the device currently supports U.S., British, Australian English, French, German, and Japanese languages.

- It was expected but you’ll like it: The iPad 3 features 4G LTE with EV-DO support and a maximum downlink of 3.1Mbps while also supporting HSPA (with a maximum downlink of 7.2 Mbps).

- If your carrier supports it, you can turn your iPad 3 into a hotspot and allow up to five users to connect at once.

- Faster processor time: The iPad 3 will use the A5X quad-core chip.

- Apple is citing 10 hours of battery life (nine hours with 4G activated).

- The new iPad is now 9.44mm thick and weighs 1.4 pounds.

- The iPad 3 will be available on March 16 and is priced at US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for 32GB, US$699 for 64GB. And US$629, US$729, and US$829 for 4G (these are the same prices as the iPad 2).

- The iPad 3 will be available in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and more. One week later, 25 more countries.

- From what’s being said, the new resolutions of the iPad 3 look absolutely beautiful.

- Garage Band and iMovie for the iOS have been updated, will remain at their US49.99 price points.

- Ok, this is interesting: The new GarageBand adds smart strings joins smart guitars, smart keyboards, smart drums and a Note Editor. The app can sync in with iCloud to share data and a new “Jam Session” feature allows four iPads to play together to create a new song over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

- The updated GarageBand is available today as a free update for current owners and US$4.99 for new users.

- The updated iMovie for iOS allows users to easily create movie trailers as needed (select styles, templates, etc). The new version is a free update for current owners of US$4.99 for new users.

- Apple is introducing iPhoto for iOS, the current speech highlighting sharing tools, editing tools, brushes, support for both left-handed and right-handed users, etc.

- Once edited in iPhoto for iOS, photos can be shared via Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

- Photos can be shared to your iCloud and then viewed by anyone with a web browser.

- iPhoto for iOS is available for US$4.99 starting today.

- Apple WILL keep the iPad 2 in stock, but drop its starting price down to US$399.

And that about wraps it up. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and thanks for reading!

Updated JavaScript interpreter to help boost WebKit’s performance by 2, 2.5x

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Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 08:22
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t argue that WebKit’s been good for Apple and iOS in general.

Apple’s WebKit JavaScriptCore is now a “triple tier virtual machine,” offering the potential for 2-2.5 times faster JavaScript performance in Safari.

Per webkit.org, recent changes in Apple’s WebKit open source project (used by Safari on OS X and iOS, and to power a wide variety of other browsers) include the incorporation of the efficient new LLInt (Low Level Interpreter), which is now used by JavaScriptCore (JSC) to attempt executing code before passing it to the standard interpreters, either the bytecode virtual machine or the JIT (Just In Time complier) which builds native machine code on the fly.

“JSC will now will start by executing code in LLInt and will only tier up to the old JIT after the code is proven hot,” a change report on the new interpreter describes.

“LLInt is written in a modified form of our macro assembly. This new macro assembly is compiled by an offline assembler (see offlineasm), which implements many modern conveniences such as a Turing-complete CPS-based macro language and direct access to relevant C++ type information (basically offsets of fields and sizes of structs/classes).”

The new interpreter “is 2-2.5x faster than our old interpreter on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken [benchmarks],” the report states. “With triple-tiering turned on [to allow the LLInt to interpret code], we’re neutral on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken, but appear to get a double-digit improvement on real-world websites due to a huge reduction in the amount of JIT’ing.”

JavaScript performance in web browsers is a primary focus for optimization, as the faster and more efficiently code can be executed, the more fluid animations can run and the more sophisticated and responsive cross platform web applications can be.

The LLInt enhancements to JavaScriptCore appear to have been contributed by Filip Pizlo, who joined WebKit as a reviewer in December after acting as a “major contributor” to improvements to the JavaScriptCore JIT and Garbage Collector. Pizlo filed a bug report in January noting that “JSC should be a triple-tier VM,” and subsequently solved the issue by the end of February.

The new changes to JavaScriptCore will take some time to make it into the mainstream version of Safari, following similar WebKit enhancements of previous years. Enhancements in Apple’s next release of Safari 5.2 have been profiled in reports describing its new user interface and sharing enhancements and new privacy settings and website alert features.

In 2008, WebKit announced a rewriting of JavaScriptCore as a direct-dispatch register based, high-level bytecode virtual machine originally named SquirrelFish. It compiled JavaScript into native machine code. The project was later enhanced to gain the codename SquirrelFish Extreme.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases App Store 2.1 update for iOS, includes carrier selection and account management features

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Date: Thursday, March 1st, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most amazing update to ever hit the Internet, but it helps.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released version 2.1 of its Apple Store iOS app on Wednesday, bringing with it a number of new features including iPhone carrier selection for new customers as well as a feature that allows users to change account preferences.

While Apple Store version 2.1 leaves the general user interface of Apple’s virtual storefront mainly intact, the notable updates implemented behind the scenes coincide with the app’s introduction to users in the Netherlands.

Other changes and fixes include:
- Choose iPhone plans from all three U.S. carriers — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint (U.S. Only).

- Make your shopping experience even more convenient with new account management editing and billing options.

- Choosing an iPhone plan is limited to U.S. customers who are purchasing a new handset. With the update, iPhone buyers can now select the capacity, color and carrier without leaving the Apple Store app.

- Account managements allows customers to change billing information and shipping addresses in-app, whereas users previously had to navigate to Apple’s website in order to change these settings. The changes will update accounts associated with a current Apple ID, which will in turn be reflected across any services that use the login data.

- iOS device users in the Netherlands will also be granted access to the app as the final preparations are being made for the grand opening of Amsterdam’s first Apple Store.

The Apple Store 2.1 application weighs in at 7.9 MB and requires iOS 4.3 or higher.

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