Apple Consuming Lion’s Share of NAND Memory, Hesitant to Negotiate with Suppliers This Quarter

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Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010, 09:53
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

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Even as time goes by, tech parts don’t always get cheaper.

Per DigiTimes, Apple, which already consumes the lion’s share of the global NAND flash memory supply, is apparently reluctant to negotiate with suppliers in 2010 due to high prices.

Although the demand for NAND memory in devices such as memory cards and flash drives has been soft, this hasn’t significantly pushed down chip prices. Major chip suppliers like Samsung have given priority to profitable partnerships over shipment volume, which doesn’t work to the advantage of major buyers like Apple.

In addition to the lower demand, the situation has become even more volatile given that tight foundry capacity is expected to disrupt shipments and have an effect on NAND flash pricing, industry sources reportedly said.

“Some NAND flash controller suppliers,” the report said, “have indicated that their supply may not be able to satisfy customer demand in the second quarter if their foundry partners continue to see tight capacity, the sources said. This supply disruption is likely to impact NAND flash prices for the quarter.”

Industry sources expect the situation to improve in the second quarter of 2010, when they believe Apple may start negotiating long-term supply contracts for NAND flash. The report noted that Apple’s consumption of flash memory will “continue to play a significant role” in the industry this year.

Earlier this month, a rumor came out that the possible success of Apple’s iPad could increase prices of solid state drives. Apple consumes nearly one-third of total NAND flash memory supplies, and its share is expected to grow even more with the launch of the iPad on April 3.

Apple was noted multiple times in 2009 as causing a flash memory shortage due to its iPod and iPhone products consuming the largest share of NAND flash. Industry sources expect the price of NAND flash to continue to rise in 2010.

In addition to most of the iPod lineup and the iPhone, in early 2008, Apple embraced the solid state drive by offering it as an option in its MacBook Air notebook.

TomTom Updates iPhone GPS App to 1.3, Adds New Features

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Date: Monday, March 15th, 2010, 04:34
Category: News

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A few weeks ago, we mentioned TomTom’s demonstration of version 1.3 of its GPS application for the iPhone. The new version of the application rolled out recently and has added real-time traffic (an unfortunate US$19.99 add-on according to TiPb), Google local search, updated roadways, automatic music fading between text-to-speech instructions and the ability to add locations from other apps and websites.

The TomTom GPS application retails for US$59.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Full iPhone Third-Party App Multitasking References Located in Latest SDK Build

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Date: Friday, March 12th, 2010, 06:41
Category: iPhone, Software

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Although rumors that Apple will include a third-party multitasking capability in the iPhone are as old as the hills themselves, a reference has emerged regarding a “multitasking dialog box” buried in the new iPhone OS SDK 3.2 beta 4 that apparently didn’t exist in iPhone OS 3.1.3.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, this could be the very first by-product of a new multitasking system for developers that’s being developed for the platform, presumably destined for an appearance in OS 4.0 when it’s introduced along with new hardware this summer. Still, it’s just as likely that Apple will continue to keep the iPhone’s multitasking capability to itself, a function it uses liberally among the phone and music apps, just to name a couple.

AppleInsider is currently citing a tipster claiming that Apple’s got a “full-on solution” to multitasking that would properly address its main concern (battery life issues) for release this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

EFF Publishes Full Apple iPhone Developer Agreement, Blasts Apple Over Key Points

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPhone, News

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation both posted a recent version of Apple’s confidential license agreement to which all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers must agree as well as took a critical stance against the document.

Per AppleInsider, the foundation came to the conclusion that by controlling the App Store and preventing rival competition by blocking competing options, Apple’s “future of computing” is headed towards an era that could stifle innovation. It suggested the Cupertino, Calif., company’s actions have been that of a “jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”

“Overall, the Agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn,” the EFF wrote. “That’s not unusual where end-user license agreements are concerned (and not all the terms may ultimately be enforceable), but it’s a bit of a surprise as applied to the more than 100,000 developers for the iPhone, including many large public companies.

“How can Apple get away with it? Because it is the sole gateway to the more than 40 million iPhones that have been sold. In other words, it’s only because Apple still “owns” the customer, long after each iPhone (and soon, iPad) is sold, that it is able to push these contractual terms on the entire universe of software developers for the platform.”

The EFF noted that public copies of the license agreement are “scarce,” in part because the agreement itself prohibits its release. The foundation managed to obtain a copy by making a request to NASA under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, and presented what it felt were “a few troubling highlights.” They include:

- Developers, including government agencies such as NASA, cannot make public statements about the iPhone OS developer agreement.

- Applications created through the development kit can be sold on the App Store only.

- The iPhone OS cannot be reverse engineered, and the foundation asserts this even applies to methods that courts have recognized as fair use.
- Apple can remove an application at any time. In 2008, a researcher discovered a “kill switch” in the iPhone software that would allow the company to remotely deactivate an application.

- No matter what, Apple is never liable to a developer for more than $50 in damages. “That’s pretty remarkable,” the foundation said, “considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its hands — it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you have something to offer on this, please let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Kit Beta 4 for iPad

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPad, News

Yesterday, Apple released beta 4 of its iPhone OS 3.2 Software Development Kit for iPad development. Per iPhone Alley, the new beta includes several fixes for the SDK, including a fix for Safari’s bookmark feature within the simulator. Additionally, it seems that Apple has removed the “Camera” tab from the Photos app within the iPad simulator. The tab led many to believe that the iPad may ship with a camera, however Apple clarifies by saying in the release notes, “The Camera tab represents photos available via the Camera Connection Kit for iPad, and is not relevant for the Simulator. The Camera tab will disappear after a few seconds.”

Apple is slated to release the iPad on April 3rd of this year.

iPhone “Electronic Key” Patent Surfaces

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Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010, 06:49
Category: iPhone, Patents

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The Daily Telegraph is reporting that a new Apple patent has recently been published which describes a method in which the iPhone, or another Apple portable, could act as a sort of electronic key. The technique could be used for cars, offices, homes, or lockers and almost anything that could have an electronic receiver mounted to it in place of a metal tumbler-style lock could then use an iPhone as a key.

The patent application itself describes a means by which almost “any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock” that could open up any number of physical lock types just by communicating wirelessly.

Electronic key fobs already exist for certain models of cars, most notably the Toyota Prius, which not only allow keyless entry but also allow you to start the car without a traditional metal key. If Apple actually implements this patent and allows iPhones and iPods to act as an “iKey,” carrying a ring of metal keys and fobs around in your pocket could eventually seem as passé as a pocketwatch or pager seems today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPad May Ship Without Standard Apps Such as Stocks, Weather, Clock and Voice Memos

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Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010, 05:38
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple’s recent announcement regarding the iPad’s April 3rd ship date suggests that Apple might not ship the device with the full set of apps that arrive standard on the iPhone. Per Wired, the company may omit several applications such as Stocks, Calculator, Clock, Weather and Voice Memos.

While Apple had pushed several iPad-optimized versions of the apps through internal testing developers reportedlyhad problems scaling up the iPhone-size interfaces without making sacrifices to the overall look and feel of the apps. Sources close to the story claim Steve Jobs was behind the decision to drop the utilities for the initial iPad launch.

Earlier reports suggested that Apple pulled the apps because they would be converted to widgets. The sources claimed iPhone OS 3.2 will also lack the rumored widgets.

It is still unclear if Apple plans to bring the apps or widgets with a firmware update, such as OS 4.0, sometime later in the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve heard anything from your end, please let us know.

Apple Denies iPhone App Which Measures Radiation Exposure, Cites Interface Issues

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News

As cool as the App Store can be, sometimes it’s the rejected applications that prove the most interesting.

Last week, the TechCrunch reported that Apple rejected an application that promises to measure and minimize a user’s exposure to cell phone radiation.

The application, which had been developed by Israeli company Tawkon, had spent 18 months in development with the firm looking to sell it for between US$5 and US$10.

“Our message is moderate, we don’t claim to try to stop users from using their phones,” said Tawkon co-founder Gil Friedlander. “We just say to do so responsibly.”

In rejecting the application, Friedlander was told by Apple the information about radiation levels provided by the application may be confusing for users despite an excellent interface. “They are very clear about the fact that they make content decisions about what they want to post or not.” An Apple spokesman reportedly declined to comment about the issue.

According to the company, Tawkon’s RRI patent pending technology alerts the user when radiation levels cross a predefined threshold and provides simple, non-intrusive suggestions to reduce exposure to radiation. The application leverages various smart-phones capabilities including the built-in Bluetooth, motion and proximity sensors, GPS and compass to determine the results.

The technology collects and analyzes your phone’s dynamic SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels, network coverage, location, environmental conditions and phone usage at any given moment to help determine those results.

New Potato Introduces FLPR Universal Remote Dongle for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:45
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

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With the right software, your iPhone can do just about anything.

On Thursday, accessory developer New Potato Technologies released the FLPR, a hardware dongle for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows the handset to function as a universal remote control capable of controlling a variety of device such as televisions, cable and satellite boxes, stereo systems, lights, ceiling fans and almost anything that requires an infrared remote control.

Per iPhone Alley, the dongle corresponds with the free FLPR app from the App Store. Once the FLPR application has been launched, users can navigate through a device’s type, brand and name before tapping “use it” to search through the remote control codes in the 14,000+ item database, which includes all major electronic brands.

The FLPR has a range of about 30 feet, is available from the New Potato Technologies web site and will appear in-store nationwide at Best Buy starting March 28th, 2010 for US$79.99.

The FLPR app requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Apple Dramatically Lowers Pricing for Mac OS X Developer Program

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:19
Category: News

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Following a brief outage on Thursday, Apple’s developer site came back online offering a restructured developer program for the Mac modeled after the US$99/year iPhone development program according to MacRumors:

“Modeled after the highly successful iPhone Developer Program, we’ve relaunched the Mac Developer Program to offer members technical resources, support, access to pre-release software, developer forums and more, all for just $99 per year. As our developer base continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we’re working hard to ensure we provide our developers with everything they need to create innovative applications for both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X.”

Apple had previously offered assorted tiers at much higher prices (Select and Premier for US$499 and US$3,499 a year, respectively), but also offered hardware discounts and assorted membership perks. The company may be looking to tempt the large number of iPhone developers to easily jump to Mac development. Existing ADC members accounts will continue as is until they expire, at which time members can then join the new $99/year program. Prospective Mac developers can still download the Xcode tools for free, but without access to the pre-release software and technical support.