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FAA to take “fresh look” at permitted onboard electronics, may allow iPad use during all stages of flights

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Date: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, 08:39
Category: iPad, News

Maybe the FAA will get sensible sometime soon.

Per the New York Times, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has indicated it is taking a “fresh look” at the use of portable electronics on airplanes, which could potentially lead do devices like Apple’s iPad being allowed for use during takeoff and landing.

The FAA plans to explore allowing the use of tablets, e-readers and other devices on planes according to The New York Times. The FAA is not, however, interested in allowing fliers to be able to use smartphones in flight.

“With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft,” said Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the FAA.

While the administration is looking into the possibility of relaxing rules for the use of Apple’s iPad, any changes are unlikely to come soon. That’s because FAA rules require that each model of a device be tested on a separate flight with no passengers on the plane for each carrier.

That would leave testing to be done with the first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the new iPad, as well as every version of the Amazon Kindle. And each device would have to be tested on every different model of plane in a carrier’s fleet.

While passengers cannot currently use their iPad during takeoff and landing, Apple’s touchscreen tablet has been approved for use as an electronic flight bag by pilots. Use of the iPad can allow pilots to replace their cumbersome 40-pound paper manuals with Apple’s thin and light tablet.

Now, major companies like American Airlines have begun to use the iPad in the cockpit, thanks to the FAA’s exception to its rules on “class 1” electronic devices being used during takeoff and landing.

When the first iPad was released in 2010, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration decided that fliers who bring an iPad through security would be able to leave the device in their bag without removing it and placing it in a separate bin. Larger notebooks with more components must be removed so they can be adequately analyzed when passing through an airport security checkpoint.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Teardown reveals new A5 processor, second antenna, additional RAM in new Apple TV unit

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:16
Category: Apple TV, Hardware

It’s the teardowns of new products that make technology interesting.

The new Apple TV unit has gone through a full teardown courtesy of XBMC community member “aiciofs” to discover the following components:

– A custom-built A5 processor that, unlike the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S or iPad 2, features only a single processing core.

– 512 MB of upgraded RAM.

– The internal flash memory remains at 8 gigabytes.

– Second antenna (as opposed to the single antenna of the previous Apple TV unit). Its exact purpose is unknown, but it was suggested that the antenna could be to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and speed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts full iPad 3 teardown, finds stronger involvement from Samsung than initially expected

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 16th, 2012, 09:34
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

It’s that time again and the cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of Apple’s new third-generation iPad to discover the following:

– In removing the LCD panel, the solutions provider got a look at the back of the new Retina display. There, they found a model number naming scheme that suggests the panel for that particular model was built by Samsung.

– On the logic board is the new custom A5X processor, which features the same clock speed as the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, but adds a new quad-core graphics processor and a gigabyte of RAM. The CPU was also built by Samsung, and markings on it indicate it was manufactured in the first week of 2012.

– The new 4G LTE iPad, identified by the model number A1389, also sports a larger 11560mAh battery.

– Texas Instruments CD3240 driver device.

– Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and FM Transceiver.

– Epcos B4064 SAW filters.

– Fairchild FDMC 6683.

– Toshiba ZX0730 1123KLD.

– Qualcomm RTR8600 (under the thermal pad).

– Broadcom BCM5973 I/O controller.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple secures 200,000 preorders for iPhone 4S China Unicom launch

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:43
Category: iPhone, News

After a long, drawn-out effort to get the iPhone 4S in Chinese stores, the handset is almost there.

The iPhone 4S had a strong debut on another major carrier Friday, as 200,000 preorders were made ahead of Apple’s launch on the China Telecom network.

The iPhone 4S is now available for use on China Telecom’s network, and is on sale at the carrier’s 2,850 retail outlets across China. Ahead of Friday’s launch, the carrier took more than 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S, according to MIC Gadget.

Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom have only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking orders on March 2. Orders from Beijing alone were said to have topped 10,000, while another 20,000 were purchased by customers in Shanghai.

China Telecom officials reportedly said that demand for the iPhone 4S at launch has been greater than they anticipated. A ceremony to commemorate the launch was held on Thursday in Shanghai.

Apple and China Telecom announced in February that the iPhone 4S would be coming to China’s third-largest wireless operator on March 9. As of last November, China Telecom had a total of 117 million subscribers, 28 million of which made use of the company’s high-speed 3G service.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

The carrier is offering the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for free to customers who sign a two-year contract with a monthly plan starting at 389RMB (US$62 U.S.), which is slightly more than competing carrier China Unicom’s 386RMB plan. However, the China Telecom service offers more data and voice minutes, but fewer text messages, when compared to its rival.

One analysis has projected that the addition of China Telecom as an official Apple partner will add sales of between 3 million and 5 million iPhones. But the nation’s largest carrier, China Mobile, does not yet offer Apple’s iPhone, though there are more than 15 million unlocked handsets on its network.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases long-awaited iOS 5.1 update

Posted by:
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.

Users now able to re-download purchased iTunes Store movies via iCloud

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:46
Category: News, Software

If ya bought a movie once, you can always re-download it at a later date via the iCloud.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday announced that it has expanded its iTunes in the Cloud functionality in iCloud, giving users the ability to re-download movies, and also adding availability of 1080p high-definition TV show episodes.

Previously, the iTunes in the Cloud service only applied to music, books and applications purchased through Apple’s iTunes Store. But now, users will be able to re-download movies they purchase onto another device.

In addition, television content is available in high-definition 1080p format, allowing it to be natively displayed on the new Apple TV. Previously, content maxed out at 720p, which was the highest resolution output of the previous generation Apple TV.

Now, with iCloud, users will be able to buy movies and TV shows on Apple TV, and then watch them on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. Purchases and other content can be synced across all current devices in Apple’s ecosystem.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 press event live blog

Posted by:
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!

C-Spire offers iPhone 4, 4S units at $50 discount with two-year contract

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Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 12:22
Category: iPhone, News

Sometimes you CAN find a decent deal.

Of course, signing a multi-year contract sort of helps as well.

Per 9to5Mac, C-Spire Wireless is now selling the iPhone 4S for US$50 off the standard retail price. The discount, which is only available when signing up for a new two-year agreement, brings the price for the 16GB iPhone 4S to US$150 and the 32GB and 64GB models to US$250 and US$350, respectively.

In addition, the carrier is offering US$25 off the 8GB iPhone 4, bringing the price for that model to US$75. C-Spire launched the iPhone 4S on its network last November.

AT&T publishes full content of company’s data-throttling policy

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Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 07:02
Category: iPhone, News

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After a fair amount of consternation, wireless provider AT&T has published a Web page laying out precisely who will be affected by the policy, and what customers’ options are.

Per Macworld, unlimited data customers on the 3G network will be warned via text message when their usage approaches 3GB within a single billing cycle. If the 3GB ceiling is breached, users will find their data speed reduced for the remainder of the billing cycle; as of the beginning of the subsequent cycle, however, their speed will return to normal. Data quantity is truly unlimited, though, the carrier says—customers can continue to use as much as they want, even after the 3GB ceiling is passed. The company does not specify by how much customers’ speeds will be reduced.

Customers using the carrier’s 4G LTE network have a higher threshold; their speeds will only be dialed down once they hit 5GB.

AT&T says that the speed reductions will only affect the top 5 percent of its customers. The measures have been put in place because of the rapid increase in wireless data traffic created by the increased adoption of smartphones in the past five years; by AT&T’s figures, that number has skyrocketed from 7 million phones in 2006 to 39.4 million in 2011, yielding a wireless data traffic increase of 20,000 percent. According to AT&T, it has invested US$95 billion in its networks over that period, including US$20 billion in 2011; another US$20 billion is earmarked for 2012.

In addition, the network lays out where the majority of that data is getting eaten up, which is to say streaming HD movies. AT&T’s handy chart estimates that streaming HD movies gobbles up 306MB an hour, a sizable increase from the roughly 120MB of data that AT&T says one hour of standard video consumes.

Users can check their current month’s data usage by dialing *data# on their mobile phone’s keypad, or access previous months’ usage at their AT&T account online. The company also offers a mobile app for iPhones that provides the same data.

As for customers’ options, AT&T lays out a few suggestions, including using Wi-Fi when available, since that data does not count against the carrier’s data plans. And, of course, customers can continue using their current unlimited data plan, if they don’t mind the speed reductions. Users can also switch to one of the company’s current tiered data plans, which offer 300MB for US$20 per month, 3GB a month for US$30, or 5GB per month for US$50. But, in those cases, users must pay overage charges for exceeding the data cap: US$20 for another 300MB on the lowest plan, US$10 per gigabyte on either of the higher plans. That would seem to give little incentive for unlimited data customers to switch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple confirms iPad 3 event for March 7 in San Francisco

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Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012, 13:18
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

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As nifty as rumors tend to be, it helps to hear the truth from the horse’s mouth.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday sent out official invitations for a media event to be held next Wednesday, March 7, in San Francisco where it is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad.

The March 7 event will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif., the same place the last two iPad unveilings have been held. The invitation features a finger pushing down on an iOS calendar icon with March 7 as the date.

“We have something you really have to see. And touch,” the invitation reads.

The inclusion that people will “have to see” the new device is likely a reference to the high-resolution Retina Display that Apple is expected to add to its next-generation iPad. Rumors have suggested the display will have a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would be twice the resolution of the 1,024-by-768 screen found on the iPad 2.

In fact, the invitation itself could even be a picture of the new iPad display. The image does show a very crisp iPad screen that could be a higher resolution than the current iPad 2.

Apple’s invitations went out only moments after financial network CNBC incorrectly claimed that the next iPad would be unveiled at an event in New York next week. However, reporter Jon Fortt quickly followed up to explain that he has heard that New York will play a “key” role in next week’s announcement.

The March 7 event date has been expected for weeks now, but Tuesday’s invitations were the first official confirmation of the media briefing from Apple. Recent reports out of the Far East have suggested that Apple could offer near-immediate availability of the new iPad, with claims that the new devices are already being shipped to the U.S as retailers cut prices of existing iPad 2 models by US$50 to US$70.

Other changes to the iPad are expected to be largely internal, with evidence of a faster processor and potential 4G LTE connectivity having surfaced in recent weeks. On the outside, the next iPad is expected to look largely the same, with an external case featuring edges slightly more tapered than the iPad 2.

Another leak showed a purported “iPad 3” logic board, featuring a processor labeled “A5X,” suggesting the chip could be a more powerful version of the A5 CPU currently found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S rather than a full-fledged “A6” upgrade. Reports have also been divided as to whether the next iPad will be powered by a quad-core processor or a dual-core CPU.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.