Analytics Firm Spots iPhone OS 3.2 Traffic from Possible Apple Tablet Devices

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Date: Monday, January 25th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News

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Mobile analystics firm Flurry claims to have discovered evidence of 50 tablet-class devices accessing web sites from Apple’s campus. Per the Flurry blog, the researchers noted that all of the devices are running the as-yet-unreleased iPhone OS 3.2. The move suggests tablets may have a significant update to the interface but not necessarily a major overhaul.

The report also mentions that the devices appear to be using existing iPhone apps but that the bias appears to be towards games, suggesting a heavy entertainment focus. It also has a significant daily media component, such as e-readers and Internet radio. In many cases the downloads were for very recent apps. Media sharing, social networking and travel guides were also common app categories among the 50 devices.

Additional features remain unknown while the questions and speculations should end on Wednesday at Apple’s Yerba Buena press event.

Flying Jalapeno Software Releases ScareBear Trail Companion for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 06:41
Category: iPhone

You have an iPhone and that’s fine, but bears still roam through America’s forests, eager to eat you and your iPhone.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Flying Jalapeno Software has released something that could save your life against these furry terrors; the ScareBear Trail Companion.

ScareBear Trail Companion is an iPhone app that replicates the sounds of bells, clapping, and rocks in a tin can which could help scare bears from your path before you even encounter them. Should you happen to come across a bear immune to these charms and wards, ScareBear Trail Companion still has you covered – in an emergency, you can use the app to sound an emulated air horn, which may terrify the creature and send it scurrying away.

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While this isn’t guaranteed to save your life, it’s designed for the iPhone user who fears being eaten by bears (which we all should on one level or another).

ScareBear Trail Companion retails for US$0.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple Could Release Verizon iPhone at Jan. 27th Media Event, Additional Tablet Specs Emerge

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Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 05:03
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

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Albeit a new generation iPhone isn’t expected until June, Apple could use its January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena to announce a Verizon handset next week.

Per AppleInsider, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek has stated that he expects Apple to announce a Verizon iPhone as well as introduce iPhone OS 4.0. The Verizon iPhone could fall under the category of Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing…” used at the end of his product announcement speeches.

Misek said he believes tiered data plans are imminent with most wireless carriers in the U.S., but his checks with industry sources indicate that a Verizon-capable iPhone would still carry an unlimited data plan. He also said that the new handset will run on both CDMA and GSM networks.

“Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June,” he said.

In addition, he predicted the new handset will have different pricing than Apple’s current model. However, he said, sources have not provided any details on prices.

Misek also stated that he expects Apple to release an LTE-capable “4GS” iPhone in June 2011.

Per Apple’s long-anticipated tablet, analyst Ashok Humar of Northeast Securities has stated that he believes the tablet will be available in a subsidized model through Verizon at launch.

Kumar has offered his thoughts as to the tablet’s specs, which he believes will be manufactured by Samsung and will be based on the Cortex-A8 ARM architecture, rather than the new Cortex-A9, with a speed of about 1GHz.

As for a Verizon-compatible iPhone, Kumar disagrees with Misek that the handset would be a world phone capable of both CDMA and GSM networks. Kumar has stated that dual-mode chips from Qualcomm will not likely see enough availability for a June iPhone launch. Instead, Kumar expects a separate CDMA-only phone to be introduced in 2010, alongside the existing GSM-only models.

Six days and we’ll see what’s what, homegeese. Six days.

Rumor: Apple to Release iPhone OS 4.0 at Jan. 27th Media Event, Details Leaked

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Date: Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, 09:08
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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You’ve got to admit, it’s the rumors that make life interesting.

Boy Genius Report has reportedly received information from a source close to the story claiming iPhone OS 4.0 will be introduced at Apple’s press event next week at the Yerba Buena on January 27th. Per the source, iPhone OS 4.0 will be limited to the iPhone 3G and 3GS (presumably including at least more recent iPod touch models and omitting the original iPhone) and will incorporate solutions for multitasking by running applications in the background and a revamped user interface for easier navigation.

Other changes will include the following:

- There will be multi-touch gestures OS-wide.

- “A few new ways” to run applications in the background — multitasking.

- Many graphical and UI changes to make navigating through the OS easier and more efficient.

- The update will supposedly be available for only the iPhone 3G and 3GS, but will “put them ahead in the smartphone market because it will make them more like full-fledged computers” more than any other phone to date. Everyone is “really excited.”

- A brand new syncing ability for the contacts and calendar applications.

The ability to run iPhone applications in the background has been near the top of many users’ wish lists, but Apple has yet to implement full backgrounding and multitasking due to its effect on performance and battery life, instead opting to deploy push notifications as a means for closed applications to serve data to users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: iPhone Developer Hints at “Imminent” iPhone OS 4.0 Release

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Date: Monday, January 18th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Additional evidence of iPhone OS 4.0′s release being just on the horizon emerged Friday when Rick Broid of CNET’s iPhone Atlas stated that he received an e-mail from a “prominent app developer” regarding an update to the iPhone operating system. “Just wanted to give you a heads up that we’ve submitted an updated app for the new iPhone OS 4.0 software,” the e-mail allegedly said. Additional details on the supposed software were not given.

Earlier this month, it was alleged that Apple’s rumored January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena could include the introduction of iPhone OS 4.0. One report claimed the new software developer kit includes a “simulator” that makes it easy for developers to adapt to different screen resolutions.

Apple is widely expected to introduce its long-rumored tablet device at the event. This week, one rumor claimed that Apple has not issued any updates for the iPhone in some time because the next version has many tablet-related references that the company did not want to leak in advance of its planned unveiling.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

AT&T, Verizon Drop Calling Plan Rates, Unlimited iPhone Plan Reduced by $30 Per Month

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Date: Monday, January 18th, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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The pot shots between wireless carriers Veizon and AT&T continue with Verizon Wireless on Friday cutting the prices of its unlimited talk and text plans and AT&T immediately following suit. The end result benefits iPhone customers, who can now opt for an unlimited voice and data plan that costs US$30 less per month.

Per Macworld, iPhone users paid US$100 per month for unlimited voice plan plus another US$30 for unlimited data. Starting Monday, however, AT&T is charging US$100 a month for unlimited voice and data. Family Talk plans feature unlimited voice and data for US$180 (assuming two iPhones). Texting prices remain unchanged, at US$20 for unlimited plans and US$30 for Family Talk Plans.

An AT&T spokesman stated that the pricing changes only affect unlimited voice and data plans. Full details as to the new pricing structures can be found here for reference.

For users looking to move over to the new plan, they can make the move starting today without penalty or contract extension using AT&T’s online account management tool.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Go Into Production Earlier, Feature Magic Mouse-Like Casing

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Date: Friday, January 15th, 2010, 07:26
Category: News

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If it wasn’t for rumors, things would be factually accurate.

And sort of boring.

Per Bloomberg News, Apple will introduce a new iPhone in 2010 that will employ a touch-sensitive plastic back casing similar to the one used on the company’s new Magic Mouse, one analyst has said.

In a recent interview, Robert Chen with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the new iPhone will go into production as early as April, and will be available to customers in June or July. Chen said the plastic back panel of the phone could have a touch-sensitive solid shell, much like on the Magic Mouse.

The new hardware could also include an updated version of the iPhone operating system, Chen said.

“Apple’s going to put a lot of innovation, not just on the hardware, but also on the software of the new iPhone,” he told Bloomberg.

Chen’s predictions are more in line with conventional thinking than a report from earlier this week, in which executives at a South Korean wireless provider claimed a fourth-generation iPhone could see a limited debut in April with a dual-core processor and potentially a removable battery.

Contrary to that rumor, Apple typically announces new iPhone hardware at its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference. It is believed Apple could hold that event starting June 28, coinciding with Chen’s claims of a June or July debut for the new iPhone.

The Magic Mouse, which was introduced in October, lacks any physical buttons on its solid acrylic surface. It allows multi-touch controls that are closer to that of a MacBook trackpad, allowing secondary clicks and finger-based gestures.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of the scheduled Yerba Buena media event on January 27th.

Apple Releases MobileMe Gallery App for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, January 15th, 2010, 07:19
Category: iPhone, Software

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On Thursday, Apple released its MobileMe Gallery app, an application which allows users to view photos and videos from the cloud-based service on their iPhone or iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the MobileMe Gallery app allows users to select an album with a tap and flick back and forth through photos, pinch to zoom, or rotate into landscape view. The software also automatically stores photos that have been viewed, so they can be accessed again even without a network connection.

Users can access publicly shared content by choosing names from contacts or entering their MobileMe member name. The application also includes a scrolling sampler at the top that gives users access to recent photos.

Users must enter their MobileMe member name and password to see their list of published movies and photos. A MobileMe subscription is required.

The application is available for free and requires iPhone OS version 3.1 or later.

Apple Patent Applications Discovered for iPhone Stylus, Contextual User Interfaces

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:03
Category: Patents

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A series of recently published patent applications shows that Apple has been looking into creating a stylus for use on a touch-sensitive panel like the iPhone, and creating dynamic user interfaces for mobile devices that would adapt to location and use.

Per AppleInsider, the first patent application addresses the idea of a conductive tip for a stylus that would be recognized by such a screen.

“A metallic or otherwise conductive disk may be attached to one end of the stylus,” the application reads. “The disk may be sized so as to guarantee sufficient electrical interaction with at least one sensory element of the touch sensor panel.”

The application also presents the option of a powered stylus that would provide the stimulus signal required by a capacitive touch screen. A powered stylus could also include sensors that would measure elements like force and angle that would transmit additional information to the device.

“This additional data can be used for selecting various features in an application executing on the host device (e.g., selecting various colors, brushes, shading, line widths, etc.),” the application reads.

The invention is credited to John G. Elias, an Apple employee and co-founder of FingerWorks, the firm acquired by Apple during the development of the original iPhone. The application is titled “Stylus Adapted For Low Resolution Touch Sensor Panels.” It was submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 11th, 2008.

The other application focuses on the idea that future portable devices could have different input methods and user interfaces depending on where they are located.

For example, using the device in the car or in the gym could show a different design on the screen. Devices could also be controlled in different fashions when they are docked and less portable, and a different design and input method might make more sense.

“Each mode may define different features and content that are customized for a particular mode,” the application reads. “Based a selected mode, the media player may provide access to only content, features, hardware, user interface elements, and the like that the user wishes to have access to when the mode is enabled. The media player may provide the user different experiences, looks, and feels for each mode.”

Users would be able to customize each of the different GUIs available. The goal, the application states, is to create a “cleaner, more focused user experience.”

Custom layouts and playlists could be created for use at the gym or while driving, which would automatically be reconfigured when a particular mode is enabled.

“The mode may further specify how applications relevant to the mode may be displayed, such as backgrounds, icons, style information, themes, or other information that provides a visual indicator of the active mode,” the document reads.

The application, entitled “Multi-Model Modes of One Device,” is credited to William Bull and Ben Rottler. It was submitted on Sept. 9th, 2008.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Include OLED Screen, Dual Core Processor, Other New Features

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Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 06:27
Category: News

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What’s life without rumors?

Aside from, you know, accurate and filled with information that’s been solidly confirmed by sources and publications.

Per the Korea Times, high-ranking executives at wireless carrier KT, Apple’s exclusive carrier in South Korea, have commented that the next-generation iPhone will include an OLED screen, support video chat and – perhaps most surprisingly – have a removable battery.

The unit will reportedly feature a dual-core processor, more powerful graphics and an improved camera. The officials say that KT’s corporate clients will get the new phones in April as a “litmus test” before they’re provided to local distributors in June.

International availability isn’t specified in the report, but an upgraded iPhone in June would fall in line with Apple’s history.

Following the feature-by-feature breakdown, an OLED screens seems likely. This feature was rumored for the iPhone 3GS and never came to fruition. Competitor Google’s Nexus One handset has just arrived with an OLED screen, thereby perhaps pushing Apple to include one as well.

The removable battery on the other hand seems less likely, as Apple has a history of non-removable batteries in its iPhone and current notebook lineups. Last February, The Register dug up a few battery-related Apple patents, one of which describes a method for removing batteries from mobile devices and charging them in a host computer, so Apple might have a trick up its sleeve.

Video chat could arrive in the next iPhone, but prove to be a double edged sword, as wireless carrier AT&T might express concern about potential bandwidth use. This feature would also require a front-facing camera, which could be valuable even without video conferencing.

Korea Times says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones, though this has yet to be confirmed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.