Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 5 golden master, updated Mac OS X 10.7.2 build to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 04:55
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Amidst yesterday’s hubbub about the iPhone 4S, Apple on Tuesday issued the golden master build of iOS 5 to members of its development community, along with a new build of Mac OS X 10.7.2.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story said the golden master build of iOS 5 is known as “Build 9A334″. It is said to be labeled as a GM, or golden master, seed, which means that it is likely to be identical to the final version of the software Apple will release to the public.

Those people said there are a handful of fixes contained in the golden master build. For example, the GM build of iOS 5 reportedly fixes an issue that existed when deleting a song or video from the Music and Videos applications on an iOS device, causing it to crash.

Developers are also notified that starting with iOS 5, AirPlay is enabled by default for video content available on applications and websites. Those with access to the golden master have also been advised that the WebKit framework in the latest build more closely matches the engine used in Apple’s Safari 5.1 desktop Web browser.

iOS 5 will be released to the public next Wednesday, Oct. 12. It will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod touch.

On Wednesday Apple released a new build of Mac OS X 10.7.2, known as “Build 11C73″. It is said to not contain any known issues. The forthcoming update to Lion will add support for iCloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Live Blog: Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 09:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, here are the touch points so far, as noted via the cool cats at Mac|Life:

– iOS 5 will be released on October 12th and continue to be free.

– iOS 5 will function on the iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad, iPad 2, and the two recent generation iPod touches.

– Contacts, calendar items and events will all be backed up with iCloud.

– Users will be able to turn location finding on and find friends with a “Find My Friend” feature.

– The iPod app is gone in iOS 5 and has been replaced with the iPod touch’s Music app icon.

– iCloud will debut on October 25th.

– Apple has apparently announced an updated iPod nano with FM radio, pedometer and larger buttons.

– The updated iPod nano will be available at the following price points: 8GB US$129 and 16GB for US$149.

– The updated iPod touch will be available at the following price points: 8GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64GB for US$399.

– The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white upon release.

– The iPhone 4S will be powered by the A5 processor.

– The iPhone 4S will feature dual-core graphics, be 2x faster and function as a much better gaming device.

– Apple is citing eight hours of 3G talk time with the iPhone 4S.

– 50 hours of listening to your favorite tunes on the new battery…

– A new antenna system will switch between transmitting and receiving functions, Apple citing this as more reliable than the current iPhone 4 antenna.

– Apple is citing 2X faster downloads with the iPhone 4S.

– The iPhone 4S will function on both GSM and CDMA networks.

– A new 8 megapixel camera will offer a 3264 x 2448 resolution (Apple is stating that this is 60% more pixels than the current camera resolution).

– Camera: f/2.4 aperture, 30% more sharpness due in part to five element lenses.

– Better white balance and facial detection on the iPhone 4S camera.

– The A5 processor allows for speedier shots, Apple citing that the camera can go from the first shot to the next shot in half of a second.

– The new camera will feature 1080p HD recording, temporal noise reduction and video image stabilization.

– AirPlay mirroring will allow your iOS’s apps to be mirrored to a larger monitor via your AppleTV.

– The iPhone 4S looks exactly the same as the current iPhone 4.

– A “Siri” feature will allow you to give spoken commands (such as “What will the weather be like today?” to the device).

– Siri will allow you to reply to texts while the device is in a pocket and will allow for a reply text with a Bluetooth headset.

– Siri’s interface is both onscreen as well as audio, the feature being hardware-dependent and running on the iPhone 4S only.

– Siri will apparently read a text message to you and ask you questions as to how you’d like to reply.

– Siri can do dictations for emails too, the app placing a microphone next to the space bar in the keyboard. The app will start as a beta in the U.S., U.K., Australia, French and German with more languages and services coming.

– The iPhone 4S apparently features an identical screen size to the current iPhone 4.

– And now, your long-awaited pricing and capacities for the iPhone 4S: 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64 GB for US$399.

– The iPhone 3G can now be purchased new for US$49.

– Sprint has now been added to the list of iPhone wireless carriers along with AT&T and Verizon.

– Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S begin Friday, October 7th.

– The iPhone 4S will be released on Friday, October 14th.

– The iPhone 4S will be available in 22 additional countries on October 28th and reach 70 countries by the end of 2011.

That’s all for now and let us know what you think via the comments.

“iPhone 4S” device name located in iTunes beta reference, points toward possible upcoming product release

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Date: Monday, October 3rd, 2011, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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With all of one day to go prior to its much-anticipated iPhone media announcement, an iTunes beta is telling more than it should about Apple’s forthcoming product line.

Per AppleInsider, references to the much-used “iPhone 4S” moniker could be found in the Info.plist file of the MobileDevices bundle that was included with the ninth beta of iTune 10.5 released on Friday.

Specifically, device preferences for Item 7 and Item 8 in the Info.plist file describe a black and white iPhone 4S whose display icons (below) depict models that look identical to the existing black and white CDMA iPhone 4 introduced earlier this year.

The discovery can be seen as further evidence that Apple is gearing up to introduce iPhones next Tuesday, Oct. 4th that bundle an 8MP camera, 512MB of RAM, support for HSPA+ and the iPad 2’s A5 processor and dual graphics, but do so in a the current CMDA iPhone 4 design.

However, the new iPhone 4S is expected to be a dual-mode phone, meaning the same iPhone 4S can be used on either CDMA or GSM networks. Currently, Apple markets separate iPhone 4 models for CDMA and GSM networks.

Talk of Apple taking a dual-route strategy this year by releasing both an iPhone 4S and a more advanced iPhone 5 began to cool off this week, with leaked parts and casings all pointing to a product dubbed iPhone 4S.

In addition, insider Ming-Chi Kuo reported that his industry checks turned up no sign of a redesigned iPhone 5 in the pipeline. Instead, he stated that Apple was manufacturing a model that looks largely the same as the current iPhone 4, only with an improved antenna design.

Dubbed “N94,” the new iPhone model will reportedly also use the same Gorilla glass for its back panel. Kuo also said it will be available in both black and white models at launch, and 60 percent of units assembled so far have been of the black variety.

Echoing a report from earlier this month, he also said that Foxconn will be responsible for manufacturing 85 percent of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone units. The other 15 percent will reportedly be assembled by Pegatron.

Each will run iOS 5, which is rumored to bundle new voice recognition technology in the form of a new application dubbed Assistant, which will allow users to speak to their iPhone and accomplish a number of tasks through natural language, like sending text messages, looking up information, or scheduling an appointment.

The functionality is believed to stem from Siri, a “personal assistant” application for the iPhone that Apple purchased in April of 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked video shows graphics switching feature on iPhone prototype

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Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 06:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the leaked videos that make life interesting.

Per AppleInsider, a new, unconfirmed video claims to show a prototype iPhone with a software-based developer setting that allows switching between graphics processing units.

While the video’s authenticity has yet to be verified, it claims to show a handset built for testing purposes that allows developers to choose between the SGX535 GPU found in the iPhone 4, and the faster SGX545, which has not yet been seen in any of Apple’s mobile devices.

The PowerVR SGX535 GPU from Imagination Technologies currently handles graphics for the A4 processor that powers the iPhone 4. But the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 has a SGX543MP2 GPU, different from the “545” model shown in the video. The SGX543MP2 has two SGX543 cores.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, so take a gander and see what you think:



The SGX545 GPU was first unveiled in January of 2010, boasting full support for OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL 1.0 with real-world performance of 40 million polygons per second at 200MHz. For comparison, the SGX535 can produce 28 million polygons per second, while the SGX543 pushes 35 million polygons per second.

But the SGX543MP2, with two SGX543 GPUs, is capable of nearly 70 million polygons per second, which would make it much more powerful than the single SGX545 claimed to be in the prototype.

While the video claims to show a prototype iPhone, the hardware displayed looks identical to the currently available iPhone 4. It’s possible that the graphics switching functionality, shown accessed through the iOS Settings application via the Developer Settings section, was enabled through a hack, or has been faked by some other method, such as a jailbreak.

As for the GPU differing from the A5 currently found in the iPad 2, it would not be a new approach for Apple to modify and improve the processor in the iPhone. For example, the A4 found in the iPhone 4 has 512MB of RAM, which is twice that of the A4 found in the first-generation iPad released months before the iPhone 4 was unveiled.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Comcast developing AnyPlay app, looking to stream Xfinity content to iOS devices

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Date: Monday, September 26th, 2011, 08:08
Category: iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

Get it to the iPad and they will love it.

Per a leaked screenshot and article over on MacRumors, Comcast, the largest cable provider in the U.S., is said to be working on a new live television streaming service called AnyPlay, which will let iPad users stream live TV to its existing Xfinity TV iOS application.

The upcoming AnyPlay feature could allow Comcast subscribers to watch most channels included in their Xfinity TV service on the iPad, except for On Demand and Pay-Per-View programs.

AnyPlay will be limited to in-home use, as the service requires iPad owners to be in the proximity of a Motorola-made cable box. That hardware will allegedly send the live cable stream to the Xfinity TV iPad.

In addition to the AnyPlay box, users will also require an active Xfinity TV subscription and a high-speed wireless Internet connection to be able to watch live TV on the tablet.

The service will not work over other any other Wi-Fi or 3G network and will be limited to up to 10 registered tablets per home. Only one device can be used at a time to stream live TV programs.

The Xfinity TV iOS application, available in the App Store as a free download (iTunes link) for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, currently lets users access On Demand programs, browse through TV listings and control TVs and DVRs.

AnyPlay streaming would be accessed from inside the app in the future, although Comcast has not specified any details about the launch and availability of the new streaming service.

Competing companies like Cablevision and Time Warner have similar TV streaming applications — Optimum for iPad and TWCable TV, respectively — which are already available in the App Store. Earlier this year, Time Warner pulled major networks including MTV and FX from its application to placate broadcasters.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple begins canceling vacation days for second week of October, iOS 5/iPhone 5 rumors fly

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Date: Monday, September 26th, 2011, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

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It’s when Apple starts reworking vacation days that things get interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is quietly denying requests for employee vacations during the second week of October, hinting that the company currently anticipates an influx of customers to its stores around that time related to availability of its new iOS 5 and fifth-generation iPhone products.

More specifically, the company has blacked out vacation time for employees in certain locations from October 9th through 12th and October 14th through 15th, according to sources close to the story.

The first block of dates — the 9th through the 12 — could pertain to the release of iOS 5 for existing iOS device owners on Monday the 10th. As discovered and reported last week, certain segments of the company’s AppleCare divisions have been told to prepare for an influx of iOS-related inquiries on that same day.

Twitter has also scheduled a developer event and a pair of “Developer Teatimes” for Oct. 10 and Oct. 12 with a “heavy focus” on the social service’s tight integration with iOS 5, further suggesting that Apple’s non-disclosure terms covering the new mobile OS will have been lifted by then via a public release of the software.

Issuing a major iOS release a few days prior to launching new iPhone that will also leverage the software is not unexpected. For instance, last year Apple released iOS 4.0 on June 21st and then rolled out the iPhone 4 on June 24th. And a year earlier it launched iOS 3.0 (then dubbed iPhone Software 3.0) on June 17th and then followed up with the iPhone 3GS on the 21st.

Assuming hints of an iOS 5.0 release around Monday, October 10th prove accurate, the second block of retail blackout dates — October 14th and 15th — could signal availability of the fifth-generation iPhone hardware by that Friday.

With Apple rumored to hold a media event to first unveil its fifth-generation iPhone plans on October 4th, that would give the Cupertino-based company roughly 10 days to field pre-orders ahead of an official launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 build 11C62 to developer community, includes additional iCloud tools

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Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 06:05
Category: News, Software

System updates: they’re a good thing.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story have stated that Apple has released a new beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied to developers on Thursday with no known issues.

The latest build, coined “11C62″, and weighs in at 740.2MB in its delta form. It comes less than a week after the last beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied for testing.

The latest Lion betas have included iCloud integration, while previous builds required that developers download a separate installer to test Apple’s forthcoming syncing and storage service.

The new beta comes the same day that Apple has warned developers it will reset all iCloud data. The reset is being done in preparation for the launch of the new free service.

Apple has not officially announced a specific release date for iCloud, and instead revealed in June that the service will become available this fall. It will store content such as photos, e-mail and contacts, and wirelessly push it to devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads.

People familiar with the beta issued on Thursday said the latest build again has no known issues. The focus areas are said to remain the same as they were previously, and include Address Book, Graphics Drivers, iCal, iChat, iCloud, the Mac App Store, Mail, MobileMe, Safari, Spotlight and Time Machine.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 will likely be released when iCloud and iOS 5 are made available to the public. They are expected to be released at an event rumored to be scheduled for Oct. 4, where Apple is also expected to introduce its fifth-generation iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple begins ordering NAND Flash memory from alternate vendors, works to curb reliance on Samsung

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Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 03:42
Category: Finance, News, retail

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When in doubt, find another supplier.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is increasing purchases of flash memory from Japanese suppliers in an effort to scale back its dependance on Samsung for components, as the two companies continue their legal dispute.

DigiTimes on Thursday cited industry sources as saying that Apple has tapped Toshiba and Elpida Memory for orders of DRAM and NAND flash.

“Apple has moved to reduce its reliance on memory supplies from Samsung Electronics, the sources claimed,” the report read. “The vendor has procured more NAND flash parts from Toshiba, and mobile RAM from Elpida, the sources indicated.”

The tipsters also suggested that the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Samsung has been “key to encouraging” Apple to broaden its supplier base. According to the report, the Korean electronics giant has been the largest component supplier for Apple’s products in the past.

Last week, reports emerged that Apple had signed a foundry agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to manufacture the next two generations of Apple processors. The deal has been viewed as a significant blow to Samsung, which was contracted to produce the A4 and A5 chips used to power Apple’s iOS devices.

Apple is slated to be Samsung’s largest customer this year with a projected US$7.8 billion in parts, up from US$5.7 billion in 2010. The company has become the world’s largest consumer of memory chips in recent years as it incorporated flash storage into its products.

In 2005, Apple revealed that it had reached agreements with several flash suppliers, including Samsung, to pre-pay more than US$1 billion to guarantee flash shipments through 2010. Earlier this year, then COO Tim Cook called the deal a “fantastic use of Apple’s cash.”

For its part, Samsung currently boasts a more than 40 percent share of the worldwide DRAM market and a 30 percent share of NAND flash production.

The disagreement between the two companies has heightened in recent months. According to Samsung executives speaking on condition of anonymity, the company is already planning to target the as-yet-unannounced iPhone 5 with patent infringement suits when it arrives in Korea. Another recent report said Samsung will also pursue legal action against Apple’s next-generation handset in Europe.

Recent gains made by Apple in Australia have prompted Samsung to fight back with a countersuit against the iPhone and iPad. Apple also won a permanent ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany earlier this month after a court ruled that Samsung’s tablet looks too similar to the iPad 2.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Kazaa resurfaces in iOS form, service recrafted as subscription-based music service

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Date: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011, 05:04
Category: News, Software

It’s usually a better idea to run things above the board.

Per iPodNN, former filesharing service Kazaa has released an app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The app allows subscribers to listen to an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee. It can download songs and save playlists for offline listening. The Kazaa app also provides a social media function that shows subscribers what songs their friends are listening to or recommend.

Earlier this year, Kazaa was encouraging iPad and iPhone owners to use its browser-based service, possibly to avoid the App Store’s 30 percent royalty on purchases.

In its first incarnation, Kazaa was the largest peer-to-peer network in the world. It was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America on behalf of the four major US record labels. Kazaa settled the case five years ago for US$100 million and reinvented itself as a subscription-based digital music service.

The app (free, App Store) comes with a one week free trial, then changes to a US$10 per month subscription and requires iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.