Rumor: Third-generation iPad to be slightly thicker, retain same screen size

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:47
Category: iPad, Rumor

There’s a bit of truth to every rumor.

Per Macotakara, Apple’s third-generation iPad will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2, but will have the same 9.7-inch screen size, and will continue to support the magnetic Smart Cover.

Citing an Asian supplier who is allegedly crafting components for Apple’s next iPad, Japanese blog Macotakara reported on Wednesday that the next iPad may be thicker for an “unknown reason.” That means third-party cases that cover the back side of the device will not be compatible with the next iPad.

However, Apple’s first-party magnetic Smart Covers will remain compatible with the third-generation iPad, the source reportedly said. That’s because the new iPad, despite being slightly thicker, will have the same rounded side as the iPad 2.

In addition, two back covers (1, 2) claimed to be from prototype iPad hardware are available for sale on the global commerce site Alibaba.com. The plain aluminum backs do not show an Apple logo.

One reason for a thicker frame on the third-generation iPad could be the components necessary to include a high-resolution Retina Display. Numerous rumors have pointed toward Apple increasing the screen resolution of its iPad with a new model anticipated in 2012.

Apple introduced the Retina Display branding with the iPhone 4 starting in 2010. By packing more pixels onto the same screen size, Apple has boasted that the individual pixels are so small that they cannot be distinguished by the human eye.

In order to include a Retina Display, Apple may adopt entirely new display technology. One report in November suggested Apple would use IGZO displays from Sharp to reach a 330 dots-per-inch screen resolution. But that report claimed the IGZO display would also allow for a future iPad to be thinner, not thicker.

Other reports, however, claimed that Apple would utilize a dual-LED light bar system to illuminate the Retina Display of a third-generation iPad. Apple’s apparent difficulties with the higher resolution displays and new LED backlight designs were said to have already affected the launch schedule of the next iPad.

Some of the confusion surrounding the next iPad coming from Apple’s supply chain could be explained by a report from early November, which alleged that Apple has tasked its suppliers with the development of two tablet projects, code-named “J1″ and “J2.” Both of the new models were said to have different sizes, specifications and technologies from the current-generation iPad 2.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Upcoming Apple television sets to arrive in three sizes, including 32″ and 55″

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Date: Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, 05:06
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that help make life interesting.

Per Australian web blog SmartHouse, Apple’s full-fledged television set will arrive at the end of 2012 in three screen sizes, maxing out at 55 inches, a new rumor claims.

Citing sources in Japan, the web site reported this week that the new Apple television will also come in an entry-level size of 32 inches. It did not indicate exactly what screen size the third model would feature, falling somewhere between the low end with 32 inches and maximum size of 55 inches.

The report said it’s a “major Japanese company” that’s involved in manufacturing Apple’s rumored television set. Echoing previous claims, the report said that the Apple television will feature Siri integration, allowing users to control the TV set with their voice.

Powering the rumored television will be a new processor expected to debut in Apple’s third-generation iPad, which the publication said will arrive “midway through 2012.” Presumably that processor will be an “A6″ custom-built ARM-based CPU.

Apple’s anticipated high-end 55-inch model is expected to compete with “smart TVs” from established television makers like Samsung and LG. Those companies’ next-generation TV sets are expected to have new features like faster processors, a “combination of OLED display,” and “Super HD” from LG, the report said.

Rumors of an Apple television set have picked up steam since the release of the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. In that book, Jobs hinted to biographer Walter Isaacson that Apple was at work on a completely new device that would feature “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

Reports have suggested that Apple’s anticipated television set could arrive as early as mid 2012, while others have seen Apple announcing it in late 2012 for an early 2013 sale date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Cox TV Connect streaming app goes live in App Store

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 11:13
Category: iPad, News, Software

You’re fond of your cable service and you’re fond of your iPad, so maybe it’s time for the two of them to finally tie the knot.

Per Electronista, Cox on Monday rolled out its Live TV streaming app in the form of its free Cox TV Connect for the iPad. As with those from most other cable providers, it lets those with the Apple tablet watch live TV as long as they’re on Wi-Fi paired up with a Cox Internet connection and the right level of TV service. The app has a full programming guide and lets viewers watch through an inset while they check the full guide, or else launches a pop-over to show other currently running shows while minimizing the effect on the full-screen view.

The access isn’t a full range of channels but includes 35 more frequently watched channels, such as AMC, Bravo, History, and Spike.

Anyone who uses the app can get away with watching through at least a Cox TV Essential bundle, but they also need a Preferred, Premier, or Ultimate Internet connection. The app itself requires any iPad that can run at least iOS 4.3. No mention has been made of Android or iPhone ports.

As with most such services, the in-home requirement is likely to appease TV producers that see tablet TV as a second use, even if it’s the same feed. Viacom has tried suing providers like Cablevision, even for service within the home.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve tried the app on your end, please let us know how it went in the comments.

Rumor: Microsoft may ship Windows 8 public beta in late February

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 05:27
Category: Rumor, Software

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Windows 8: It’s on its way, though it might take a little while to get here.

Per TNW, Microsoft’s Windows 8 public beta might have been moved further into the year. A rumor from “sources close to Microsoft” has the release tentatively slated for late February, more than a month after the CES expo intro hinted earlier. It’s not known if this was a delay or always part of the schedule.

The developer preview version released in September was in a rough state, missing e-mail and otherwise being in a state only really suitable for third-party app testing. A beta is defined as feature-complete, however, and it’s likely that any delays might be to polish the release for regular users.

A public beta so late would rule out an April release to manufacturing. Microsoft always produces at least one release candidate build and rarely turns so quickly. Talk of a June or later completion date and a second-half 2012 release are more likely.

If true, the timing could create problems for Windows 8 and Microsoft’s attempts to reclaim the tablet space. The first truly touch-native Windows tablets may not be on the market until 2.5 years after the iPad, and possibly months after the iPad 3 appears.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

BBC iPad Player app comes to Canada, should arrive in U.S. market soon

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Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2011, 06:28
Category: iPad, News, Software

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It’s been in the works forever but it may just be close to done.

Per the BBC, the BBC’s long-awaited iPad app has been updated to version 1.2.5 and is becoming available in Canada. The app debuted back in July bringing iPlayer streaming access to tablets across Western Europe, before taking its programs to Australia back in September. The app is currently retailing for $8.99 per month in the Canadian market for access BBC shows like Fawlty Towers, Whitechapel, and Hustle, but viewers in all 16 territories with access can snag one free episode per day through December 25th. The long wait has been stated as year-long pilot phase with a next step of opening it up to US audiences.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple in discussions with wireless carriers over LTE-capable iPads, iPhones

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Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011, 12:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

What a difference a year might make.

Per Macotakara, Apple is gearing up to release new iPad and iPhone models in 2012 that will connect to long-term evolution 4G high-speed data networks, according to a new report.

Japane’s Nikkei Business reported that carrier NTT DoCoMo is in talks to release an LTE-capable iPad in the summer of 2012. That would be followed by a new 4G LTE iPhone in the autumn, or one year after the iPhone 4S launched.

Executives with the wireless carrier were said to have visited the U.S. in mid-November to talk with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. The two parties allegedly agreed to begin “full-scale negotiations” for the sale of LTE-capable iPhones and iPads.

That runs in contrast to an earlier report this month from The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that negotiations between Apple and NTT DoCoMo came to a standstill. It was said that the two parties reached an impasse over the carrier wishing to install proprietary applications on the iPhone, something that Apple would not agree to.

NTT DoCoMo President and Chief Executive Ryuji Yamada said it was difficult for his company to offer the iPhone because of large commitment requirements and Apple’s control over the iOS platform. But the latest report claims that Yamada came to the U.S. in mid-November to discuss Apple’s apparent next-generation LTE products and a potential partnership.

Claims of a 4G LTE iPhone and iPad are not new, and rumors have persisted for years that Apple plans to build such devices. There were even scattered reports claiming that the iPhone 4S would feature LTE, though most reports prior to the device’s announcement pegged 4G as a feature more likely to appear in 2012.

Reports from earlier this year claimed that Apple had eyed building an LTE-capable iPhone in 2011, but opted to push back the launch of such a device in 2012. It was said that the implementation of LTE networks had not yet matured enough to satisfy Apple.

In a quarterly conference call earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company’s chief operating officer, said that poor battery life and other issues with current LTE technology were enough to dissuade the company from pursuing an LTE iPhone at the time.

“The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make,” Cook said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft developing Office update for Lion, Office apps for iOS

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Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011, 05:19
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Give Microsoft time and it’ll eventually get its products to new platforms.

Per The Daily, Microsoft is preparing a new edition of its Office suite for Apple’s iPad, as well as an updated Office for Mac OS X Lion users.

According to the report, Microsoft is “actively working on adapting its popular software suite for Appleā€™s tablet,” in recognition of the fact that iPad now accounts for the vast majority of tablets sold, and now represents a market nearly as large as Mac OS X itself.

The report also notes Microsoft is working to complete Office 2012 for Windows, already in beta, for release next year. An updated edition for Lion would presumably be made available through the Mac App Store. The existing Office 2011 only supports Snow Leopard officially.

By adding support for Lion document features such as Auto Save and Versions, Microsoft could bring its Mac Office into parity with Apple’s iWork suite, which has been updated for Lion but hasn’t been significantly revised since the release of “iWork 09″ nearly three years ago.

On iOS, Apple has enjoyed an uncontested run at providing its iWork productivity software for the iPad, as well as the smaller screen of the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s Pages, Keynote and Numbers apps for iOS have remained at the top of the App Store’s highest grossing iPad apps.

While failing to predict the popularity of Apple’s iOS as a mobile platform, Microsoft has made some efforts to bring its apps and services to the App Store.

The company has delivered an iPad version of its Bing search app as well as MSN Onit and OnPoint apps, and has released a Tag barcode scanner, OneNote and Windows Live Messenger clients for iPhone.

Microsoft also just announced a deal to license its enterprise protocols involved with Remote Desktop Services, Windows Azure, Active Directory and SharePoint, to third party developer Agreeya Mobility, which plans to build apps for Apple’s iOS as well as Android and other mobile operating systems.

While Microsoft has largely ignored Apple’s iOS as it worked to improve Windows Mobile 6, then build Windows Phone 7 as a viable competitor, its own mobile platforms have failed to gain traction.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 SDK beta, Xcode 4.3 preview, references upcoming iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 03:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

The next major iOS update: it’s usually a pretty cool thing.

Per Electronista, Apple has released a new iOS 5.1 beta for developer testing on all iPad, iPod touch and iPhone models that support iOS 5.0. The beta contains references to next-generation iPhone and iPad models with references to a next-generation iPhone, “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2″ and “iPad3,3″ located via Twitter user Filippo Bigarella.

References to an apparent unreleased iPad 2 model, labeled “iPad2,4″ have also been discovered in the beta release. Current second-generation iPad models range from “iPad2,1″ to “iPad2,3.” It has been suggested that the unreleased version may have been developed for an additional carrier partner, such as Sprint.

The new build, designated as 9B5117b, must be downloaded from Apple as it is not yet available through over the air updates as previous developer builds have been.

The 5.1 software includes enhanced dictation support during text input “on supported devices,” something that has currently been limited to iPhone 4S, the only iOS device that supports Siri. Nothing in Apple’s notes to developers suggests that Sir will be expanded to other devices, but the phrasing leaves open the possibility that at least the speech recognition portion of Siri’s technology could be added to iPod touch, iPad and earlier iPhone models.

Adding basic speech recognition features across all iOS 5 devices would bring Apple’s offering into parity with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, both of which include basic speech recognition features, although reviewers note that Apple’s Siri performs both more accurate recognition and far more sophisticated actions based on recognized speech.

Apple warns developers that the new build, once installed on a device, cannot be rolled back to previous versions of iOS, likely due to baseband firmware changes. The company also warns that unauthorized use of the developer beta could result (for the same reasons) in an unstable device, possibly necessitating repairs that are not covered under any iOS device warranty.

The latest version of iOS requires the use of the newest Xcode 4.3 developer preview toolset for building third party apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new builds please let us know what you make of them in the comments.

Apple announces free shipping, free gift wrapping for online orders

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Date: Monday, November 28th, 2011, 13:11
Category: News, retail

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You can’t argue with Cyber Monday.

Or free shipping.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that all orders for any product placed at its U.S. online store through Dec. 22 will ship for free, while customers in other countries can also receive free shipping for one day only.

The announcement was made on Apple’s online store on Monday, also known as “Cyber Monday,” or the first Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Apple does not have any Cyber Monday deals, though it did participate in Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year, last week.

Apple’s free shipping promotion through Dec. 22 applies only to the U.S., but customers in other countries — including Canada, the U.K., France, and Spain — receive free standard shipping on all orders placed Monday. The free shipping offer in those countries does not extend beyond Monday.

Monday’s free shipping offer does not extend to all other countries. For example, Apple’s official online store in Australia simply advertises that customers can receive free gift wrapping on iPod and iPad purchases through Christmas, on Dec. 25.

Assorted resellers of Apple products also offer Macs and other products at discounted prices with free shipping, including MacMall, MacConnection, B&H, Amazon, Best Buy and DataVision.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Hitachi and Sony collaborating on unknown Apple iOS device, iPad 4 to receive new display connector technology

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Date: Monday, November 28th, 2011, 03:06
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that keep life interesting.

Per Macotakara.jp, Hitachi and Sony are reported to have teamed up to supply Apple with 4-inch LCD displays for an unspecified iOS device that will hit the market in 2012.

Citing sources within Apple’s Far Eastern supply chain, macotakara.jp claims that Hitachi Displays, Ltd. and Sony Mobile Display Corporation have begun shipments of 4-inch LCD panels to Apple for unspecified iOS device due next year.

The two companies are further reported to merge their business with Toshiba Mobile Display Co., Ltd. to form “Japan Display” in 2012 spring.

The report arrives on the heels of claims last week that Sharp will also produce panels for the iPad 3 at its Kameyama No. 2 plant in central Japan; Apple typically sources its components from multiple partners.

A person familiar with the matter further claimed Apple has invested an unspecified amount in Sharp’s factories. The investment is believed to help support Sharp’s production capacity for IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) LCD panels for the next iPhone and iPad that will allow for thinner designs and improved battery performance.

The web site also cites the same sources as saying that an unspecified Taiwanese company will soon be “providing LCD technology faces” to Apple for a “fundamentally changed” iPad 4 that will be manufactured by a new process.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.