iPhone 4 “Antennagate” owners beginning to receive settlement checks from Apple

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 06:48
Category: iPhone, Legal, News

It’s not a whopping amount of justice, but it’s still justice.

Or at least a settlement.

Per 9to5Mac, iPhone 4 owners who participated in a class action lawsuit against Apple over antenna attenuation complaints are finally starting to receive settlement checks.

More than a year ago, Apple reached a settlement with attorneys for the class action complaint, agreeing to pay US$53 million to make the problem go away after supposedly “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

Owners who cashed in on Cupertino’s earlier offer of a free bumper or case were not eligible for the settlement, so if you haven’t seen a check, that could be why. According to recipients, the settlement checks for a whopping US$15 were issued on April 17 and must be cashed by July 16, 2013 or they are null and void.

Why only 15 smackeroos? Apparently the class action lawyers took home a US$16 million fee from the settlement, which doesn’t make anyone feel any better…

If you’ve received a settlement check for the iPhone 4 antenna issue, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Purported images of next-gen iPhone camera leaked

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013, 07:50
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

You’ve gotta admit, Apple doesn’t let people down when it comes to its built-in cameras.

Per French Web site NoWhereElse.fr, a leaked image purporting to show off a camera component and another piece of a supposed “iPhone 5S” have hit the Internet, fanning the rumors that Apple’s follow-up to the iPhone 5 is on deck.

One of the components featured in the supposed leak is what appears to be a front-facing camera, similar in appearance to the one built in to the iPhone 5. The serial number shown on the “leaked” part is similar to the one seen on the iPhone 5 part, notes NoWhereElse.fr. The flexible portion where the component connects to a motherboard, though, is apparently quite different from the one seen on the iPhone 5 component.


newcamera

Friday’s report also brought images of another supposed component, though its function is unclear.

The same site previously leaked components that went into Apple’s new Lightning connector, and the site has shown off other parts said to be from an “iPhone 5S” or an “iPhone 6,” as well as a supposed cover glass surface from a fifth-generation iPad.

The new images appear to add to the rumors that Apple will bring a rapid follow-up to its iPhone 5, iPad, and iPad mini, and possibly introduce a lower-cost iPhone model in the near future. Currently, rumors have the Cupertino company releasing new devices some time over the summer.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Foxconn begins gearing up for iPhone 5S mass production

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, 07:38
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Don’t worry…your next-gen iPhone is en route.

Or at least being constructed.

Per iMore and the Wall Street Journal, Apple has been targeting an August time frame for the next-generation iPhone 5S, and while that may or may not include more recently rumored software scheduling issues, it does sound like the general time frame is still accurate enough for Foxconn to start ramping up for production. Lorraine Luk of the Wall Street Journal writes:

[Foxconn] said Monday it has added about 10,000 assembly-line workers per week in Zhengzhou, its major production facility for iPhones, since the last week of March.

“We have been very busy recently as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon,” said a Zhengzhou-based executive who has direct knowledge of production plans.

If Apple sticks to its 2009 and 2011 pattern of keeping the same casing two years in a row and releasing an S-class update, then presumably it’ll be an easier ramp up than last year where the manufacturing technology needed to produce the insanely redesigned iPhone 5 led to the usual transitional hiccups and supply constraints.

If that’s the case, then software and services, namely iOS 7, and iCloud could be the major factors in determining the final release window for Apple next iPhone.

To date, every new iPhone has shipped with a new version of iOS, and the iPhone 4S shipped with iCloud. That coupling makes for greater product impact, but also greater dependency.

Hopefully, if hardware is ramping up, that’s a sign everything else is also starting to line back up.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recent Apple job postings allude to chip development effort in and around Florida

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, 07:00
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

applelogo_silver

If you’re looking to design chips for Apple in sunny Florida, your dream may have come true.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple posted several job openings looking for both hardware and software engineers reveal that Apple is looking to begin its own chip development in Orlando, Florida.

Last week it was discovered that Apple is hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint technology at Authentec in Melbourne, Florida, which is about one hour south of the future site of the company’s development labs.

The job posting are interesting as Samsung, which works with Apple to develop the custom chips used in iPhones and iPads, continues to compete with Apple in the smartphone and tablet space.

Tim Cook mentioned last May that the engine that drives the iPhone was produced in Austin, Texas, which many believe pointed to Samsung’s chip development location.

The job listings range from ‘front end design management’ to ‘3D Graphics Micro-Architect’, all of which were posted in recent weeks.

Notably, the area is already populated with relevant talent as it is home to popular semiconductor company/Apple chip partner Qualcomm which may be the reason for the location.

Apple currently hosts a small office for its “Latin America General Manager” in Coral Gables, Florida, some five hours south of Orlando, Florida, illustrating the Cupertino-based company’s increasing presence in the Sunshine State.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Foxconn ends hiring freeze, hires additional workers to build next-gen iPhone handset

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 07:03
Category: iPhone, News

Not to worry, Foxconn will have enough people on board to construct the next-gen iPhone.

Per Bloomberg, after a brief freeze on hiring, Foxconn has allegedly begun adding employees again at one of its Chinese factories — a move said to be made in anticipation of Apple’s next iPhone.

Foxconn is in the process of gearing up to build Apple’s 2013 iPhone, a source stated to Bloomberg. The handset is commonly referred to as a so-called “iPhone 5S,” though the actual name for the unannounced product remains unknown.

A hiring freeze was instituted by Foxconn in February after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year. Some had speculated the freeze may have been related to weaker-than-expected demand for the iPhone 5.

The new hires at Foxconn were reportedly requested by Apple to boost capacity in anticipation of its next flagship smartphone. In addition to assembling the “iPhone 5S,” the employees are also expected to handle existing models, such as the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.

Rumors as to when Apple plans to launch its next iPhone have been varied, with some expecting a new handset to be unveiled as soon as June, which would mark less than a full year after the launch of the iPhone 5. In contrast, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said last week that he expects Apple to face a number of technical challenges in assembling the “iPhone 5S.”

According to Kuo, Apple is planning to include a fingerprint scanner underneath the home button of its next iPhone. This feature would allow users to bypass password entry and could potentially open the door to e-wallet functionality, but the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner is expected by Kuo to cause the “iPhone 5S” to launch later than some expect.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” Kuo said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone to arrive later than usual launch date, development issues cited

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 12th, 2013, 08:20
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

The next-gen iPhone may be a bit late in arrival.

Per ” target=”_blank”>AppleInsider, Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in revealing Apple’s future product plans, shared a research note on Thursday that suggested Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S,” a rumored low-cost iPhone, and a second-generation iPad mini will all launch later than market consensus expects.

These apparent delays are driven by a variety of issues, according to Kuo. For the “iPhone 5S,” he said Apple plans to include a fingerprint sensor that poses a number of technical challenges. An “iPhone 5S” fingerprint sensor, Retina display for next iPad mini, and ultrathin plastic casing for low-cost iPhone are expected to cause production challenges for Apple.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” he said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

Kuo has previously claimed that Apple plans to integrate a fingerprint sensor beneath the home button the next iPhone. This new technology would allow users to bypass password entry, and could also allow Apple to integrate secure e-wallet functionality.

Another hold-up for the next iPhone, according to Kuo, is the development of iOS 7, Apple’s anticipated next-generation mobile operating system. The analyst said Thursday that more time is likely to be needed for software development and testing, particularly with respect to the fingerprint scanning functions that will be included with the software.

As for the rumored low-cost iPhone said to be in the works at Apple, Kuo said Apple faces challenges with the casing on the device. He expects that the low-end iPhone will have a plastic casing that will be slimmer than such casings regularly are. Kuo correctly predicted the bulk of Apple’s 2012 product lineup. This year, he sees iPhone and iPad sales shrinking to single-digit growth in the third quarter because of apparent behind-the-scenes production delays.

“The slimmer casing may make it more difficult to ramp up production yields of coating and surface treatment, and could slow down the shipment timetable,” he said.

Finally, Kuo said the “iPad mini 2” faces challenges with its display panels, as he expects Apple will opt to include a high-resolution Retina display with the second-generation device. This is expected to make the device more difficult to manufacture, which could delay shipments.

As a result of these issues, Kuo said it’s likely that Apple will see single-digit growth in iPhone and iPad shipments in the third quarter of 2013. That would be well below the market consensus, which sees Apple growing its sales by between 30 and 40 percent with the introductions of new products.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile boosts incentives prior to iPhone launch, begins trade-in program for iPhone 4, 4S users

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, 07:08
Category: iPhone, News

When in doubt, offer all the incentives you can.

Per 9to5Mac, T-Mobile USA announced the latest move in their continuing initiative to lure iPhone users to their network, which currently boasts the smallest subscriber base in the country. The new iPhone trade-in program allows subscribers switching to T-Mo from other carriers to recieve deep discounts on the iPhone 5 by swapping out their older model.

According to a press release from the magenta-branded company, the down payment on the iPhone 5 will completely vanish when customers trade in an iPhone 4 or 4S, and a US$120 credit will be applied to the monthly payment for the phone, essentially cutting the price down to only US$15 a month for the remainder of the two-year don’t-call-it-a-contract “agreement.”

The iPhone 5 doesn’t officially hit T-Mobile until April 12th, but pre-orders have been open since last Friday. Some early buyers may be disappointed to learn that they could have saved quite a bit of money if only they had waited an extra seven days.

The press release specifically lists the 4 and 4S models as being tradeable, which may mean iPhone 5 owners on AT&T won’t be able to get in on the savings by trading in their current-generation devices for the updated versions that work on T-Mobile’s AWS bands. That means those customers will have to stick to their existing handsets with the latest carrier software, which will enable LTE speeds, but will not allow use of T-Mobile’s “4G” network. Instead these models will be forced to use slower speeds due to hardware differences.

If you’ve pre-ordered an iPhone from T-Mobile or want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Apple receives patent for offline purchasing system

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013, 07:46
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Patents, Software

applelogo_silver

Ok, this is interesting.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office and AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for an offline purchasing system that would allow iTunes users to buy music, movies and other media when not connected to the internet.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,417,575 for “On-device offline purchases using credits,” which describes a system involving the purchase of offline credits stored on a given device that can be put toward media in the iTunes store even when not connected to the online marketplace.

Currently, iTunes users must be logged in or have an internet connection to successfully purchase and download content from the online storefront, but Tuesday’s patent lays the groundwork for a type of “pre-loaded” payment system. Beyond the obvious applications for on-the-go iPod touch users and perhaps frequent travelers, the patent could be a harbinger of new never before seen iTunes functionality.

According to Apple, the proposed service involves media stored on an electronic device, like an iPhone or iPod touch, that is not part of the user’s owned library. If a user wants to buy a track, but cannot connect to the Internet to provide a means of payment, they can use pre-paid credits previously purchased through the store and subsequently loaded onto the device. Once a data network is accessed, the appropriate deductions are made to a user’s on-board credit allotment.

Users can add credits to their device accounts either through the device itself or what appears to be a specialized portal on the desktop version of iTunes, along with other options. Multiple forms of payment are accepted, including credit cards, bank accounts and other digitally connected assets a user links to their online profile.

As noted by the patent, in order to play back a purchased song or movie, a device must first have a copy of said media item, as well as authorization to play back the content. The device can retrieve copies of “unauthorized” media in any number of ways, including recommendations downloaded from the media store. Carrying on with the recommendation example, the device can restrict access to the content in any number of ways until authorization, or a purchase, has been detected. In some instances, the media might be played back at a lower quality, or there could be a limit to how many times a track is played.

The locally-stored media can be displayed in a variety of arrangements, including a layout similar to the existing iTunes iOS app, making browsing and buying new content easy. Once a user makes a selection, they can purchase the locally stored media with the credits they bought in advance, which will remove the restrictions previously imposed on the content. In other words, the authorization and playback transaction would be fully completed offline.

The property could be a boon for iTunes users who don’t have ready access to the Internet and, if made real, would likely drive sales for the digital music giant. Specific implementations were not thoroughly discussed, though Apple already has iTunes Match, which allows users iCloud access to their entire music collection, even tracks imported from CDs, for a yearly fee. While mere speculation, further cloud computing integration could bring even more tie-ins with the offline purchasing service, such as music sharing or gifting.

It remains unknown if and when Apple plans to roll out the offline crediting functionality, but the device-specific solution could theoretically be implemented with a firmware update as no hardware limitations were described in the patent.

Apple’s offline purchasing patent was first filed for in 2010 and credits Taido Nakajima, Tyler Mincey, Gloria Lin and Joey Darragh as its inventors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile firmware update to bring Visual Voicemail, LTE access to unlocked iPhone 5 units on carrier’s network

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 8th, 2013, 07:53
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Never doubt a nifty firmware update.

Per TmoNews, a software update released this past Friday will give iPhone 5 users on T-Mobile access to the carrier’s LTE network, in addition to adding a number of other features like Visual Voicemail

T-Mobile on Friday updated its support forums to detail the new features the carrier update will bring. All eligible iPhones using a T-Mobile SIM card will now have access to Visual Voicemail, the Commercial Mobile Alert System, and LTE connectivity on T-Mobile’s AWS spectrum for iPhone 5 users.

The update also brings HD Voice to T-Mobile iPhone 5 users, and it contains device/network optimizations that will improve battery life.

The update is restricted to iPhones running iOS 6.1.x or higher. Rumors of the update leaked earlier this month, and it has rolled out as predicted.

T-Mobile’s network currently hosts roughly two million iPhone customers using unlocked devices, adding about 100,000 more per month. The carrier will begin officially carrying Apple’s smartphone on April 12, with a 16GB iPhone 5 available for US$99. Pre-orders for the device began on Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5 now available for pre-order through T-Mobile

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 5th, 2013, 07:30
Category: iPhone, News, retail

There’s nothing wrong with a good pre-order via an upcoming iPhone carrier.

Per 9to5Mac, customers will be able to order the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile’s newly revamped “un-carrier” unlimited plans for a carrier-exclusive low price.

Along with the low down payment on the pre-order comes a two-year financing plan that totals US$579.99, which is US$70 cheaper than purchasing the phone unlocked. Plans start at US$50 per month for 500MB of high-speed data and throttled data afterward, while US$70 per month gets unlimited high-speed data.

Following the pre-orders this week, all models of the iPhone will be available for immediate purchase on April 12. Customers who purchase a new iPhone 5 through Apple or T-Mobile will be able to take advantage of T-Mobile’s speedy LTE network in markets where it is available, but those who use older AT&T or unlocked iPhone 5 models will need to install an over-the-air update to do so (and won’t get all the AWS HSPA bands without new hardware). T-Mobile also announced that the updated iPhone 5 will receive HD Voice service in a future software upgrade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.