O'Grady's PowerPage » iPhone

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.

Glowing iPhone 4 causes scare on Australian airline flight

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 08:58
Category: battery, iPhone, News

You’d probably remember seeing this if you were there.

Per PC Mag, an Australian regional airline had to extinguish a glowing red iPhone 4 that was emitting “dense smoke” on an airplane have sparked concerns over the handset’s battery safety.

Regional Express (REX), the country’s largest independent regional airline, said last Friday that a passenger’s iPhone was emitting a “red glow” and smoke on a flight from Lismore to Sydney. A flight attendant extinguished the smoking smartphone and no one was injured during the incident.

Judging by the model number of the device, the handset in question is the GSM version of the iPhone 4.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority have both been notified of the matter. Though the mishap may prompt an investigation by officials, it does appear to be a relatively isolated occurrence.

The issue does, however, come on the heels of an Apple replacement program for the first-generation iPod nano due to potential battery overheating issues. After first rolling out replacement offers in select countries, Apple initiated the program worldwide earlier this month, noting that the problem is “very rare,” though the likelihood of overheating does increase over time.

In April, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill exempting lithium batteries used in consumer electronics from proposed limitations that would classify the batteries as hazardous materials. According to an analysis commissioned by the Rechargeable Battery Association, the limitations would have cost electronics makers US$1.13 billion alone in the first year.

One of the biggest consumer electronic battery scares in recent years occurred in 2006. Sony recalled 9.6 million lithium-ion batteries that year after microscopic metal particles were detected inside the batteries. The incident affected Apple, which had to recall 1.8 million iBook and PowerBook G4 batteries. Sony had also supplied the defective batteries to Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway and Toshiba.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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

Posted by:
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.

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

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


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.

Apple specifies discounts for 2011 Black Friday sales

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 03:01
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail


As mentioned yesterday, Apple will be planning assorted discounts for this year’s Black Friday shopping holiday.

Per 9to5Mac, the discounts are in-line with last year’s prices with only modest discounts on their products. Price drops for their core products are as follows:

iPad 2: US$41 to US$61 Off

iPod nano: US$11 off

iPod Touch: US$21 to US$41 off

MacBook Air: US$101 off

MacBook Pro: US$101 off

iMac: US$101 off

Meanwhile, 3rd party accessories are also seeing some small discounts ranging from US$11-US$101.95 in savings for accessories such as iPad Smart Covers, iPhone battery packs and external hard drives.

These prices should be available for both online and local retail Apple store locations. For those who were planning to purchase from Apple retail anyway, it makes sense to wait until Friday. For those looking for more savings, other online retailers frequently their own Black Friday sales on Apple products as well. Depending on your location, those other online retailers may provide the added advantage of not charge sales tax on online orders. Apple’s online store does charge local sales tax on all orders due to its local presence in every state.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Users report losing Wi-Fi signal strength after updating to iOS 5.0, 5.0.1

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011, 05:35
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Because software updates are either a great thing or a terrible thing.

Per Engadget, a number of users have reported losing Wi-Fi after updating to iOS 5.0 and beyond in the Apple discussion boards.The majority of replies mention intermittent connectivity and/or a significant loss in signal strength. The issue remains unconfirmed by Apple, but it appears to span across a number of devices, including the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS, along with the iPad (and possibly, the iPod Touch).

Through troubleshooting, one user was able to resolve the problem by reverting to iOS 4.3, then cause it to manifest — once again — by upgrading to iOS 5. The recent iOS 5.0.1 update failed to fix the matter as well.

Apple has yet to offer an official reply regarding this issue.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple to delay iOS 5.0.2 update by unspecified amount of time

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Date: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011, 05:23
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor

Backpedaling on a rumor that Apple would release iOS 5.0.2 to address software bugs this week, a new rumor claims the update has been delayed due to memory leaks in the code.

Per German-language site Macerkopf.de in an update on Monday, the site claimed that iOS 5.0.2 requires more testing before it can be released. A source reportedly said that the company doesn’t want to be in a rush to release another minor release in the form of iOS 5.0.3 soon after.

The site originally reported last week that an iOS 5.0.2 update would arrive “no later” than this week to address battery life issues experienced by some iPhone 4S users. Apple already issued one update earlier this month in the form of iOS 5.0.1 to quash bugs, including some related to battery life, as well as Documents in the Cloud.

The rumored iOS 5.0.2 update is said to provide iPhone 4S users with 10 hours of active use. Apple’s official technical specifications advertise 200 hours of standby time, up to 8 hours of 3G talk time, 6 hours of 3G Internet use, 10 hours of video playback, or 40 hours of audio playback.

Last week’s report also claimed that Apple is also working on its next major iOS update, numbered 5.1, with “many changes” related to Siri voice control. But the site said development of Siri is “very expensive,” and the update will not arrive until after the new year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have your two cents to hurl in, please let us know in the comments.

iPhone 4S receives network license in China, will go on sale through China Unicom

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Date: Monday, November 21st, 2011, 10:23
Category: iPhone, Software

The iPhone 4S looks about ready for the big time in the Chinese marketplace.

Per M.I.C. Gadget, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was reported on Monday as having approved the iPhone 4S for sale in China. The HSPA 3G version of the phone has passed government tests, clearing it for sale on China Unicom. It should get a network license this week, Sina claimed.

No mention had been made of the CDMA version that might reach China Telecom, although recent tips have had it arriving in 2012. China Mobile is believed to be waiting on LTE before making the leap.

An approval marks the quickest turnaround between an iPhone’s first launch and its appearance in China. Apple is known to be thriving on Asian sales and will want to both seize on mainland Chinese sales as quickly as possible as well as curb the rise of Android in the country.

The smartphone is already on sale in Hong Kong and helped contribute to high tensions at the launch as bootleggers conflicted with genuine buyers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recent Apple patent points towards shatter-proof, shock mounted iPhone glass

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 21st, 2011, 07:58
Category: iPhone, News, Patents


You can’t knock Apple for trying to make a sturdier product.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a recent Apple patent applications shows the company looking to create a “shock mounting cover glass in consumer electronic devices,” the invention claims a tunable shock mount sandwiched between the phone’s glass and other hardware. There’s also plans for a sensor that can distinguish a “drop event” from normal phone movements and an actuator to prepare the shock mount for impact. Given that it’s only at the application stage, we won’t be seeing bombproof iPhone displays any time soon, but here’s hoping it’ll become a product reality someday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T adjusts iPhone 3GS price to $0.99

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Date: Monday, November 21st, 2011, 07:08
Category: iPhone, News


Wait long enough and things will get, well, unbelievably cheap.

Per Electronista, after making the iPhone 3GS free with contract last month, wireless AT&T has now raised the price of Apple’s two-year-old smartphone to US$0.99.

The iPhone 3GS was originally announced as free with a two-year contract during Apple’s iPhone 4S unveiling in October. It was reported Friday that AT&T has now bumped up that price to 99 cents.

“iPhone 3GS is still available at an incredibly low price and we’re confident consumers will agree that this remains one of the best deals for a leading smartphone,” the company said in a statement.

The second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. has been the exclusive seller of the iPhone 3GS since it arrived in 2009. Sales of the handset have remained surprisingly brisk even after more than two years on the market. According to the NPD Group, the iPhone 3GS was the second-best-selling smartphone in the U.S. during the third quarter of this year, behind only its successor, the iPhone 4.

The reason for AT&T’s minor price hike remains unclear. In the past, Apple has, however, asked its partners not to advertise its products as “free” during promotions in order to prevent its brand from being diluted. It’s possible that the iPhone maker had a change of heart about the iPhone 3GS deal and asked for a nominal fee to be put in place.

Another explanation could be the existence of an obscure accounting rule that would require a token payment for the device. For example, Apple in the past had to adjust its accounting of the iPhone to a subscription method in order to steer clear of laws and policies put into place after the Enron scandal. There’s no indication that this is the case for the iPhone 3GS, however, and offers of free phones on contract have long been a practice among wireless carriers.

It has also been suggested that the new price is meant to curb overwhelming demand, but it seems unlikely that the extra US$1 would deter many prospective customers.

So, yeah…maybe you SHOULD be listening to your ancient/pragmatic relatives when they tell you to wait two years for the smartphone you’re interested in.