iFixit posts results of iPad 3G teardown, finds changes to antenna structures

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Date: Monday, May 3rd, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPad, News

If a new Apple product comes out, you tear it apart and report the findings.

The cool cats at iFixit did exactly this by performing a full teardown of Apple’s newly-released iPad 3G tablet, which went on sale in the U.S. on Friday. Per the report, the following discoveries were made:

- The immediate visible difference is the inclusion of a black plastic RF window on top of the iPad for better antenna reception.

- The black RF window significantly changes the opening procedure. You cannot start separating the display using the notches on the top (à la the Wi-Fi version), since that will undoubtedly break the RF window. You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.

- There are actually FIVE antennas in this iPad.

- Two antennas handle the cell reception — one is in the RF window on top, the other attaches to the LCD frame.

- A single GPS antenna is also housed in the RF window on top.

- Just like the iPad Wi-Fi, there are two antennas that handle Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connectivity, one in the Apple logo and another to the left of the dock connector.

- Apple looks to be using the entire LCD frame as an antenna. This approach draws parallels the company’s decision to also mount a wireless antenna to the frame of the optical drive on its new MacBook Pro notebooks.

- Apple uses the same 3G baseband processor in both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G.

- The baseband processor in question is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC. It was actually white-labeled on the production unit, but with enough sleuthing iFixIt was able to confirm its true identity.

- The iPad 3G has a Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution, whereas the iPhone 3GS uses an Infineon Hammerhead II package.

- Apple did not change any major suppliers between manufacturing the pre-production unit they provided the FCC and their final production run.

AT&T holds back on data tethering for iPhone, cites potential traffic spikes

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Date: Thursday, April 29th, 2010, 04:59
Category: iPhone, News

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You’ve wanted data tethering on your iPhone for years now.

And AT&T may one day provide this.

Per MacRumors, Engadget received a comment from AT&T stating that installing data tethering could create high traffic usage that could hamper network performance:

“iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature –over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing – before we will offer the feature.”

Tethering is the process of using your iPhone as a wireless internet modem for your other devices such as your laptop.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in on this one.

Legality of Chen/iPhone raid called into question

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 09:13
Category: iPhone, News

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Following the police raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen (the editor who wrote about the now-infamous fourth-generation iPhone prototype), the examination of Chen’s seized computers has been put on hold.

Gizmodo had paid US$5,000 for an iPhone prototype that had been accidentally left behind at a Silicon Valley bar and written extensively about the device.

Per BBC News, Chen’s lawyers have argued that Chen is protected by California’s shield law and State lawyers are considering whether the raids in Fremont were legal.

The shield law states that journalists have the right to protect their unpublished material from examination.

In the meantime, San Mateo county chief deputy district attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he was considering the matter and expected to issue a legal memo later this week.

Wagstaffe cited that the computers would not be examined until then and that the laptops, hard-drive and USB memory sticks that belong to Mr Chen are currently being held by the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (React), the state’s high-tech crime taskforce that conducted the raid.

They ordered the search after Apple reported the phone stolen.

Earlier, Wagstaffe had defended the raid, saying prosecutors had considered whether reporter shield laws applied to the case but decided to proceed.

He also said that police knew the identity of the person who took the phone and that they had talked to him.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple purchased of chip maker Intrinsity confirmed

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Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 03:32
Category: News, Processors

Late Tuesday, the New York Times confirmed a rumor that Apple had purchased Intrinsity, a privately owned ARM chip design firm.

Citing “people familiar with the deal,” the report also included an estimated US$121 million purchase price, provided by Tom R. Halfill, an analyst with Microprocessor Report.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling indirectly confirmed the purchase, stating that the the hardware maker “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” However, he added that Apple does not reveal “purpose or plans” with any acquisition.

Sources close to the story also confirmed to the Times that Intrinsity helped to design the custom A4 processor found in the recently released iPad. Weeks ago, one analyst suggested that only Intrinsity could have delivered the A4 processor with its snappy 1GHz clock speed. The Cortex-A8 reference design on which the A4 is based can only be clocked up to 650MHz.

In early April, rumors first surfaced that Apple purchased Intrinsity to help build the A4 chip. Evidence to support the acquisition surfaced when a number of Intrinsity employees changed their company status on LinkedIn to Apple on the first of the month.

The purchase follows similar acquisitions and in 2008, Apple also bought fabless chip designer P.A. Semi for US$278 million in 2008.

Apple also bought a 3% stake in 2008 in Imagination Technologies, maker of the PowerVR mobile graphics chip found in the company’s mobile devices, including the iPhone. Last year, Apple bumped its share to 9.5%. In addition to partnering with Apple, Imagination also competes with ARM Holdings, which makes the reference designs for chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Gizmodo editor’s home raided by police, equipment seized

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Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPhone, News

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It might be fair to say that Apple isn’t happy with Gizmodo about that iPhone story.

Per AppleInsider, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home last week and seized four computers and two servers in its felony investigation of an obtained prototype iPhone.

Gizmodo revealed the information, along with a copy of the warrant issued by a judge of the superior court in San Mateo County, Calif. In response, the website’s post argued that it believes the warrant was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.

The warrant states that there was probable cause that Chen’s computers were “used as the means of committing a felony.” The REACT authorities entered Chen’s home without him present, according to Gizmodo.

A full inventory of the seized material includes a MacBook, MacBook Pro, 32GB iPad, 16GB iPhone, an AirPort Extreme, IBM ThinkPad, a Dell desktop, external hard drives, and many more. The items were removed from numerous rooms in his home.

An account of the events by Chen was also filed. The Gizmodo editor said he and his wife came back home from dinner around 9:45 p.m. when they noticed their garage door was half-open. When he tried to open the door, officers searched him and informed him that his property was under their control.

Chen’s front door was reportedly broken open so the authorities could enter, and those on the scene informed him that he could be reimbursed for the damage. Chen was provided with a copy of the warrant, and declined to comment to the authorities. He was not arrested.

Last week it was revealed that police are investigating the Gizmodo purchase of a prototype iPhone from Apple. The publication’s parent company, Gawker Media, has openly admitted it paid US$5,000 to obtain the device from a man who claimed he found it at a California bar.

The prototype was allegedly left at the Redwood City establishment by an Apple engineer. The employee frantically searched for the device, calling the bar multiple times to see if it had been returned, but the owner of the bar said no one ever contacted him to say they had found an iPhone. Gizmodo claimed that the person who found the phone attempted to call Apple and did not receive a response.

Gizmodo returned the iPhone to Apple after the company requested it be given back, but not before the publication wrote numerous stories about the device and revealed the name of the engineer who allegedly lost the device. The website also disassembled the hardware to confirm it was manufactured by Apple.

Apple opens up video decoding APIs to Adobe, other developers

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a well-publicized conflict between two large companies can actually lead to something good. Per Macworld, Apple has released information on how third-party developers can take advantage of hardware acceleration for graphics, a previously unavailable feature that’s been blamed for Flash’s poor performance on the Mac platform.

Traditionally, Flash hasn’t performed nearly as well on Mac OS X as it has on Windows, especially when it comes to video playback despite the fact that these days both platforms run on comparably-powerful hardware. Adobe has been adamant thatany performance issues in Flash are the result of Apple not making the necessary video decoding application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers, thus preventing them from taking advantage of hardware acceleration on Macs that support it.

However, a recently released Apple Technical Note for Mac OS X 10.6.3 details a new Video Decode Acceleration Framework that may help developers. The framework seems to be a relatively simple and straightforward set of APIs to do precisely what Adobe wants: use hardware acceleration to decode raw H.264 video.

“We will be enabling support for hardware accelerated video decoding for Flash Player on Mac,” said Adobe spokesperson Matt Rozen. “Now that the required APIs are available, we are working on an additional Flash Player release to follow shortly after Flash Player 10.1 to include this functionality for the hardware configurations supported by the new APIs.”

Until now, the only way to take advantage of hardware acceleration when decoding video was to use Apple’s QuickTime APIs, which only work with video that is stored in a “traditional” H.264 container, such as an MP4 file. By letting developers use the raw hardware-decoding capabilities of the graphics processors available in many Macs, Apple allows decoding video that is stored in any format, even if it’s not considered “standard.” By communicating directly with the hardware, an application can now decode video regardless of where or how it’s stored.

Unfortunately, the Video Decode Acceleration Framework has its limitations in that it can only take advantage of hardware video decoding with those GPUs that support that functionality. These GPUs include NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M graphics chipsets and, because they require Mac OS X 10.6.3, the new APIs are only available on Intel-based Macs.

Even with these limitations, Apple may be lending Adobe and other developers the access they need to help improve Flash on Mac OS X or even bring it to the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad somewhere down the line…

Hacker brings Android to iPhone

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Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, 04:05
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

Amidst stolen iPhone prototypes and very influential companies arguing, it’s cool to see that there are people just out there working on cool hacks for other people’s enjoyment.

Per CNET, David Wang managed to boot Google’s Android operating system on an iPhone 3G handset. Wang, the “planetbeing” member of the iPhone Dev Team posted a video demonstrating Android on an iPhone Wednesday.

The demo shows the boot process and Wang using Android for browsing, receiving a text message, answering a phone call, and playing music. The phone is set up with a dual-boot configuration and indeed the video begins with it running iPhone OS.

“It’s not really production quality yet,” Wang said on the video. “I’d say it’s alpha quality. But pretty much everything works.”

The Android-on-iPhone hack is a notable technical accomplishment and does indicate what’s possible. Wang has been working since at least 2008 to boot Linux on the iPhone, according to his blog. The demonstration uses a first-generation iPhone, but newer models should be supported at some point.

“It should be pretty simple to port forward to the iPhone 3G. The 3GS will take more work,” Wang said on the blog. “Hopefully with all this groundwork laid out, we can make Android a real alternative or supplement for iPhone users. Maybe we can finally get Flash. ;)”

Still, there’s work to be done. “It’s slightly buggy because I didn’t bother to implement all the Android-specific driver extensions,” he said in the video demonstration. And it’s slow, since Wang can be seen using a debug version of Android.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander:



Apple replies to Adobe’s plans to stop iPhone Flash development

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Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, 04:04
Category: News

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Sometimes you just wish that the incredibly successful, multi-billion dollar companies you rely on would just say they’re sorry and make up.

Per Macworld UK, Apple has responded to Adobe’s announcement the company has no plans to continue developing iPhone application building technology after Adobe Creative Suite 5.

The decision is blamed on a change in Apple’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement wherein section 3.3.1 that bans “applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited,” including those tools offered by Adobe.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller responded in a statement yesterday: “Someone has it backwards – it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary.”

Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe, earlier said the Apple 3.3.1 clause had: “Has the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5.”

“While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.”

Chambers added that Google’s Android OS was the platform of choice for future development, having become frustrated with Apple’s iPhone restrictions. “Personally, I am going to shift all of my mobile focus from iPhone to Android based devices (I am particularly interested in the Android based tablets coming out this year) and not focus on the iPhone stuff as much anymore.”

Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite 5 earlier this month, with major updates for a range of creative tools including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Flash.

Amidst harsh words, Adobe cancels Flash port work for iPhone OS

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Date: Wednesday, April 21st, 2010, 03:39
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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A lot can change in two week’s time.

Per Mashable, in that span of time, Adobe has gone from touting its technology for building Flash applications that run on the iPhone to canceling future development of that technology.

When Apple altered the terms of its iPhone 4.0 software developer kit license, it effectively blocked Adobe’s move. But in his Tuesday announcement that Adobe will cease future development of the Flash-apps-on-iPhone technology, Mike Chambers, Adobe’s principal product manager for the Flash platform, offered the following quote outlining the conflict between Adobe and Apple:

“As developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at any time, and for seemingly any reason,” Chambers said. “The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms.”

The company also disclosed in a regulatory filing that its business could be harmed if the iPhone and iPad don’t support Adobe technology with one report stating that the company could be considering legal action against Apple, too, according to one report.

Recently, Adobe also gainded an ally in competing against Apple: Google.

“Fortunately, the iPhone isn’t the only game in town. Android based phones have been doing well behind the success of the Motorola Droid and Nexus One, and there are a number of Android based tablets slated to be released this year. We are working closely with Google to bring both Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 to these devices, and thus far, the results have been very promising,” Chambers said.

The upcoming Flash Player 10.1 and related AIR 2.0 programming foundations are currently in private beta testing stages for Android and the software, which is scheduled to arrive this quarter, will work on a variety of other phone operating systems, including Windows Phone 7, the BlackBerry OS, Symbian OS, and Palm’s WebOS.

“I think that the closed system that Apple is trying to create is bad for the industry, developers, and ultimately consumers, and that is not something that I want to actively promote,” Chambers said. “We are at the beginning of a significant change in the industry, and I believe that ultimately open platforms will win out over the type of closed, locked-down platform that Apple is trying to create.”

The Adobe technology for bringing Flash-derived applications to the iPhone is now effectively irrelevant at the very moment when Adobe is bringing it to market in its CS5 product line.

“There is no technical reason that Flash can’t run on the iPhone,” Chambers said.

Apple posts Q2 revenue of $13.5 billion, profit of $3.07 billion

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 15:06
Category: Finance, News

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Delivering its second quarter financial results on Tuesday, Apple announced that the company sold 10.89 million iPods during the quarter (compared to sales of 11.01 million iPods in the year-ago quarter, and down 48% from the previous quarter) and 8.75 million iPhones in the quarter (a 131% increase year-over-year, and up from 8.7 million units in the prior quarter).

Per iLounge, Apple posted revenue of US$13.5 billion and net quarterly profit of US$3.07 billion, or US$3.33 per diluted share, compared with revenue of US$9.08 billion and net quarterly profit of US$1.62 billion, or US$1.79 per diluted share in Q2 2009.

International sales accounted for 58% of the quarter’s revenue and sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 27% from the year-ago quarter, and 14% from Q1 2010, to US$1.3 billion total.

Notably, the numbers from Q2 2009 are different from those originally reported due to Apple’s change in accounting rules that sees the company now recognize “substantially all of the revenue and product costs from the sales of iPhone and Apple TV at the time of sale,” instead of accounting for the sales over a 24-month period.

“We’re thrilled to report our best non-holiday quarter ever, with revenues up 49% and profits up 90%,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve launched our revolutionary new iPad and users are loving it, and we have several more extraordinary products in the pipeline for this year.”

“Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue in the range of about US$13.0 billion to $13.4 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about US$2.28 to US$2.39,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.