The iPad-focused media event is expected to focus on what’s next for the company’s 9.7-inch tablet, alongside the firm’s smaller and more compact 7.9-inch option – the iPad mini. In recent weeks, the web has been positively alight with reports surrounding both the form-factor and functionality that the next iteration of these products could bring to consumers.
Here’s my take on what we could see happen at the event:
It’s pretty much a given from the amount of reports we’ve seen relating to Apple’s next-generation iPads over the last several weeks, and Apple’s recent switch to a fall timeframe for announcements relating to its iPad product line, that we’re almost certainly in for some new tablets.
First, let’s talk about the full-size 9.7-inch iPad. Originally introduced in January 2010, Apple’s iPad has – over the last several years – systematically found its way into nearly every sector of our society. Revamped with a completely new design in March 2011, and gaining a quad-core graphics processor and Apple’s signature super-high resolution Retina display along the way, the latest iteration of Apple’s iPad is a powerhouse and features Apple’s internally developed system-on-a-chip A6X processor as well as the company’s new Lightning Connector.
As for what we can expect see in the next iteration of the iPad? Well, the jury’s out on that one. Considering we haven’t seen a hardware design refresh since the second generation, I’m expecting that Apple will show a change in appearance for the device on Tuesday, possibly in an effort to match the same style as the iPhone 5S. The device will likely be available in the same 16, 32, 64, and 128GB storage capacity options, and there’s a good chance we will also see the device include the new 64-bit compatible A7 processor chip – now also found in the iPhone 5S.
If Apple is serious about eventually letting its developers out there take advantage of its brand-new Touch ID system, then I would bet strongly that we will also see the next iPad(s) feature this technology. Heck, we’ve already seen a number of purported photos which suggest the cut-out for the “home button” on these (rumored) devices was designed to fit Apple’s Touch ID module – perfectly. Transplanting the inner workings of this system to a new iteration of the full-size iPad shouldn’t prove that difficult for Apple, considering the production lines churning out devices carrying Touch ID are already there and waiting.
And then, of course, we have to address the recent chatter about the iPad mini. Introduced as the company’s more affordable iPad, the iPad mini first saw its public introduction in November of last year. The device is capable of pretty much everything Apple’s current-generation full-sized iPad is capable of achieving, with the added benefit being that the device is more portable. In addition, compared to the iPad’s starting price of $499, the iPad mini arrived starting at just $329.
In terms of what we could expect to see if Apple where to choose to reveal a new iPad mini at the event, the device could see a complete revamp to its hardware design. Personally, I’m expecting that we will see the device gain both Apple’s new Gold and Slate Grey color options – although it’s worth noting that a recent report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests this won’t be the case. Apple’s second-generation iPad mini could also arrive featuring a Retina display. This is an aspect of the rumored device which has been speculated about quite heavily over the last year, with the main focus of discussion being on whether Apple can actually afford to keep the iPad mini at its tantalizing price point and offer expensive upgrades such as the jump to a 326-pixels per inch display.
This argument also extends to other recently introduced upgrades such as Touch ID, which again would make sense for Apple to include in the next-generation iPad mini, but whether or not the company would be able to keep the same price point if it did so is unclear. Granted, there’s always the chance that Apple could position the next iPad mini as its “high-end” offering, and leave the existing generation of the tablet to serve as its entry offering as it does currently.
As for other internal upgrades, the question has to be asked as to whether Apple can afford to keep the iPad mini’s dual-core A5 processor for another year, taking into account the new graphical requirements of its iOS 7 operating system. Personally, I’m going to wager that Apple will have no choice but to upgrade the processor on the iPad mini this year – perhaps (at least) to the A6, or A6X.
Things We’re Not Expecting
With all that said, there are some things we’re not expecting to see at Apple’s media event. For instance, Apple’s long speculated about ‘wearable’ product is likely only to see its public introduction (at the earliest) sometime next year. Likewise, Apple’s ‘television’ product is highly doubtful to see its introduction at this event, simply due to reports in recent weeks suggesting the product’s development is a long way off from being final.
Apple’s media event on Tuesday will take place at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, in San Francisco, and is set to begin at 10am (Pacific), 1pm (Atlantic). We’ll be sure to bring you full coverage regarding any products that may be announced at the event. Stay tuned!
Update: It’s been officially announced. Tens of millions of Mac users can now connect to iPhone and iPod Touch users. Facetime for the desktop includes everything you would expect including connection to mobile devices. This is going to rock! Nothing to set up, nothing to configure. Beta release will be out today at Apple.com.
It’s still early in the Apple event, and nothing has been officially announced, but there it is, clear as day. There’s a Facetime icon in the dock of the demo Mac being used to demo iLife 11.
Boom, indeed. More details when they actually get announced.
Apple strikes with a roundhouse kick the gut! But wait, Google fights right back with an eye gouge and a slap to the face! Apple is stunned but isn’t going to give up that easily. What a fight, what a battle; who is going to win, folks? This is the picture much of the media has painted for us, isn’t it? That Google and Apple have locked horns and are doomed to a winless war for all eternity. That’s not really the case though. Truth is, the war is fought mainly with the media and loyal fans who follow the gossip like it’s a WWE match. Yes, the two companies compete with each other on a couple of levels, but at the same time they work incredibly well and profitably together. Based on some recent news, I believe the two have secretly teamed up again in an effort to bring FaceTime to the mainstream for good.
Ok, here’s what we know:
1) Apple is hosting an event on Wednesday and at the very least they’re probably going to announce a new iPod touch with a front facing camera.
2) iOS 4.1 beta has been out for several weeks and contains an option to make FaceTime calls via e-mail address.
3) Apple from the start has said it plans to make FaceTime an open industry standard, potentially allowing communication with other devices.
4) Google just announced last week the ability to use their Gchat feature for video chats. Gchat, if you’re not familiar with it, runs directly through Gmail and uses other user’s Gmail address to authorize chats.
When you combine the first three together along with the timing of Google’s announcement, it seems just too convent to be just a coincidence. I certainly could be wrong but to me the picture is pretty clear, Apple and Google are going to walk us right into the future and by this time next year, iPhone users and Andriod users will be FaceTiming each other everywhere. Finally the world will be at peace and harmony.
Apple regularly schedules a September event to unveil new iPods and other odds and ends in time for the holiday buying season. I think we can assume this year will be more of the same. What will we see and what won’t we see? I’m going to try to put some odds to the various rumors and possible announcements. Note that these are all just my opinion as a guy that watches what Apple does with a rather critical and overly obsessive eye.
New iPod Touch – odds: even money
It’s almost guaranteed we’ll see a new iPod Touch introduced. This, like the iPhone announcement in June, has become a regular event. The question is what are the features we’ll see? I’m hoping we will, as in past years, see feature plurality with the current generation iPhone. So we’ll hopefully see the Retina Display (odds: 2-1), front facing camera with Facetime capability (odds: 3-1), rear camera (odds: 5-1). I’m also wondering if we’ll see the storage capacity increased beyond 64GB (odds: 4-1). And will we see other iPod lines retired like the iPod Classic, perhaps (odds: 8-1)?
iOS 4.1 Officially Announced – odds: even
This is also a given. iOS 4.1 has been in beta for 9+ weeks now and it’s been over 3 weeks since the last beta release. Betas usually come out every 2 weeks. So I think we can guess that it’s done and ready to release. We can expect the release either next week on 9/1 or very shortly after. What features will it have? A fix for the proximity sensor (odds: even) and a Game Center release (odds: 3-1) are the best bets. There’s the possibility that the length of time since the last beta was due to Apple adding in a mystery feature or two (odds: 5-1), or maybe it has to do with….
iOS 4.1 on the iPad – odds: 8-1
While I can’t wait to get iOS 4 on the iPad, it won’t be for a couple more months. I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some details on iOS 4 for the iPad (odds: 4-1), but I won’t hold my breath for that. Features I’m hoping for include support for running iPhone 4 resolution apps (odds: 4-1) and dashboard / icon layout update that takes better advantage of the screen size (odds: 30-1).
Updated Apple TV / iTV – odds: 5-1
This is the big new announcement most are expecting and an update to the Apple TV has been a long time coming. But I think Apple still sees it as too small of a market. I could be way off base here, but I think it’s too early for this rumored update. Apple has had so many leak problems that we tend to know just about every detail of a new device before it’s launched. We haven’t seen anything about a new Apple TV other than a few persistent rumors. While this would be the perfect time to launch it, just before the holidays, I just think it’s too early. But, in case it will be announced, the rumored features are a $99 price tag (odds: 10-1), and iOS based system (odds: 3-2), and App Store support of some kind (odds: 3-2).
This iPhone 4 signal problem is building to a critical mass and Apple will apparently address the issue at a press conference on Friday.
From the moment the first iPhone 4 owner complained that holding the phone in a certain (fairly normal) way meant reduced signal bars, through Steve Jobs’ clumsy “hold it differently” email response and now Consumer Reports’ review U-Turn, things are not looking good for Apple’s latest device.
To further ignite the issue, Cult of Mac has posted the comments of leading crisis communications expert Chris Lehane who dealt with the worst of President Clinton’s White House mishaps. Yes, he’s THAT good!
Along with other leading crisis management experts included in the post, Lehane’s message is simple: Apple needs to accept blame and deal with the issue as soon as possible.
We’ve received mixed reports on the iPhone 4’s signal issues here with some finding problems and others barely noticing an issue. That said, should the more severe complaints keep coming and major sources like Consumer Reports maintain their hard line on this design flaw, we’re likely to see a big move if not a full product recall very soon.
The Cult of Mac post also brings into question Apple’s “half-loaf” approach at calming matters by proposing a software fix, which the experts feel was rushed. The announcement was perhaps a little hasty, but we’re still waiting for the software update itself, expected later today.
It’s sad that such a seemingly minor design glitch that can easily be remedied with the use of a case has become the thorn in (quite literally) the iPhone 4’s side.
With Apple’s quarterly earnings report coming up later this month, the company needs to make a bold move in order to resolve this issue quickly and, according to Gizmodo, may already be doing so under the radar. Several users have reported that new iPhone 4s, offered by Apple as replacements in the event of accidental damage or non-signal related hardware problems, do not suffer the same signal issues as their original phone. While some have seen no improvement, a large number of testimonies point toward replacement iPhone 4s simply working better, leading to the suggestion that Apple might be quietly pushing out updated devices as replacements.
These revelations arise in the wake of rumors that Apple will be holding a press conference Friday in which it is expected to outline its stance on the problem and a potential resolution. Analysts are pegging the cost of a total iPhone 4 recall at around $1.5 billion, that’s 3.5 percent of Apple’s cash reserves.
An alternate option, suggested by Bernstein Research, would be for Apple to provide free bumper cases, that are known to fix the signal attenuation problem, at a cost to the company of $1 per unit. With Apple’s official bumper case costing $29 retail, it seems the free case route could be far more appealing to Apple than replacing an entire phone with a retail value of over $500.
Apple has refused to comment on the nature of its press conference on Friday, merely stating that it will be iPhone 4 related, but it’s a safe bet that a solution to this PR nightmare will be provided.
With any luck, come this weekend, the bad press will have died down, the world will continue to turn and iPhone 4 signal strength will rise along with Apple’s stock price.
Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform looks to be gearing up for its launch on July 1st with test ads and spaces for iAds appearing in apps on the App Store.
iAd offers a way for developers to make money from free applications by including advertising spaces within their apps that are then filled by Apple’s new service. iAd looks to deliver more engaging advertising by comparison the traditional mobile ads that Steve Jobs seems particularly averse to.
iLounge points to a selection of applications from Avantar that are currently showing spaces for iAd adverts and, at one point, included “iAd integration” in release notes before changing the information to “minor bug fixes”. Whether or not Apple had a hand in this change is unclear although the big space within the app interfaces reading “Test Advertisement” next to the Apple logo would be a dead giveaway if they were going for some secrecy.
Tension is building for the Apple Keynote, an annual event to kick off the 2010 WWDC. Let’s take a quick look at the things will will most certainly see, and some that we hope to see.
The Next iPhone
The worst kept secret in Apple history is the next generation iPhone. Most likely called the iPhone HD, this new design has people very divided. It’s a more boxy design with an aluminum band around the middle and a ceramic/glass back. Some love the design while others hate it.
What we do know is that it has a higher resolution screen at 640×960 (4x the pixels of previous iPhones). This should provide for crisper text and in general a smoother look. The next iPhone will also apparently have a higher resolution camera on the back with a flash (finally!). The camera is reported to be an 8 MP camera that also does 720p HD video recording.
The big addition will be a front facing camera to enable video chat. This will, I’m sure, be a big impressive demo on Monday.
There are also, likely, things we don’t know yet about the new iPhone. The device we’ve seen all over the place is likely holding some secrets back for Monday. There has been talk of the back responding to touch as well as the front. That could be interesting yet I struggle to figure out how it would be used.
Let’s hope there are some secrets. Otherwise it will be really hard to Steve to present the new iPhone with his usual ‘proud father’ new device presentation style.
We already know about OS 4, but there reportedly quite a few tidbits that we don’t know about yet. Besides the release date of the final, there are likely features of the OS that we don’t know yet.
In addition, we don’t know how or when it will arrive on the iPad. If there are any iPad specific features, we’ll hopefully hear about those on Monday.
Heading for the clouds
It’s no secret that Apple has been working on cloud services for the iPhone and more broadly iTunes. The have been building a huge new data center on the east coast to support it. But the undertaking is huge. And I expect the keynote will be mainly focused on the iPhone.
Apple is rumored to be holding another event in June that might introduce cloud services and other such interesting services.
Mac Mini / Macbook Air / Desktop Macs
MacRumors is reporting supply shortages for the MacMini. This is generally an indication that a new version is coming. The timing seems logical that we might see updates to the MacMini and the rather aging Macbook Air and Desktop Macs.
Personally I think it’s just about as likely that Apple will turf the Macbook Air as update it. Differences aside, the iPad has taken the glory of the small form factor away.
This hobby project is getting really old now. Theories are that Apple will be releasing an update, this time based on the iPhone OS, not OSX. This would be a fantastic feature as it would open the platform to all of the iPhone OS apps. Apps for TV! This would compete directly with Google TV. The question is, is this a good business to be in?
While I’d like to think that we’ll see this Monday, I think it might be too early. But you never know.
We know one thing, this should be a very huge keynote. While we know a lot, we don’t know everything. The questions that remain and possibilities are huge.
Check back Monday, we’ll give you a few live blogs you can reference to follow the latest info from the keynote. In addition, we’ll tweet a few of the highlights at @148Apps and post a full recap and commentary sometime after the event.
Mac Rumors has received unofficial word that Sprint may become a carrier of the iPhone as early as this summer. The site points to skeptical claims made by a Sprint employee who has been reliable in the past and to a TechUpdate post covering information from a BestBuy employee who has similar information.
We reported recently that AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity may be under threat from other carriers and that it narrowly avoided losing sole rights to iPhone tariffs by offering a very competitive data plan for the 3G iPad. Verizon is the most hotly tipped network to take on the iPhone but, should AT&T’s exclusivity come to an end, Apple may well consider multiple iPhone carriers as it has done in Europe. As Mac Rumors points out, multiple contracts would also see a boost in iPhone uptake as has been seen with Android-based handsets. TechUpdate’s unnamed BestBuy employee feels that AT&T’s exclusivity has already been lost with the blow softened by exclusive iPad tariffs in the meantime.
Steve Jobs is set to host a Keynote at the start of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference on June 7 so perhaps we will find out more then.
Following our report that international iPad App Stores began switching on yesterday, international iBookstores are also now available. Apple initially claimed that iBooks would be a US-only service, likely due to ongoing discussions with international book publishers, but has since announced international launches in countries that begin selling the iPad on May 28th. At present, only free books are available to download on international iBookstores however this is likely to change over the next few days. So far, live iBookstores have been reported in Germany, Italy and the UK with the remaining supported countries likely to follow.
At the time of writing there are 10,023 free books available on the UK iBookstore with new additions apparently stopped for the time being after almost minute-by-minute changes earlier.
UPDATE: The official Twitter app has now appeared in the App Store and is available here.
New features include:
Search all tweets and find local users as well as view Top Tweets and Browse Suggested users.
No account needed
You can now browse Twitter without an account using this app. You will still need to sign up in order to actually tweet.
If you’re not a Twitter user already you can sign-up for an account within the application.
Second accounts can be added using the Accounts and Settings button under the More tab.
Retweet and other popular actions have been given more prominence
Tweets now look more like Twitter.com
We’re playing with this app right now and will have more details for you soon.
After Twitter acquired Atebits, the developer of Tweetie for iPhone, in April this year, many were expecting an official Twitter app to be launched soon after. It appears that day has now come with the disappearance of Tweetie from the App Store and a number of rumors across the web of the official app popping up and then vanishing on iTunes. Most expect the app to be simply called “Twitter” and be offered for free rather than the $2.99 of Tweetie 2.
Twitter launched its official Android app at the start of this month, so it makes sense that an iPhone offering should follow. No details as to the design of the app have been released however, given the short time between acquisition and launch, we would expect the new app to retain many of the features found in Tweetie.
We’ll be scouring the App Store and, of course, Twitter for any news and will bring it to you as soon as we have it. We did and we have.
A forum post over at Mac Rumors has shed a little light on the hugely delayed availability of internet tethering for the iPhone on AT&T. Announced at the iPhone OS 3.0 event (yes, that long ago!) AT&T is yet to introduce the feature that allows users to share their iPhone’s 3G connection with a computer via Bluetooth or USB.
The forum post shows two images found within the iPhone 4.0 Beta that is being seeded to developers and shows a Setup Internet Tethering option as well as a popup screen explaining that in order to enable tethering the user must contact AT&T. AT&T remains the sole carrier of the iPhone in the US and has been dogged by issues with its network including dropped calls and poor 3G coverage. Many believe that its delay in rolling out tethering to the iPhone is due to worries that it may put too much strain on the network.
Will the launch iPhone OS 4.0 be the moment those desperate for tethering have been waiting for? We guess all will be revealed at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference this June.
Something is going horribly wrong with Apple’s legendary veil of secrecy. Following the highly documented iPhone prototype leaks already this year, it now appears that a prototype iPod touch has escaped into the wild as well. The same Vietnamese website that, to the best of our knowledge, still has an iPhone 4G prototype is now posting images of a prototype iPod touch with a built-in 2 megapixel camera. As before, Tinhte.vn has also posted a video of the device in action that appears to be running some kind of diagnostic tool with some very un-Apple graphics, but it does show the camera working. Last time we posted about Tinhte.vn we mentioned the dramas Jason Chen of Gizmodo encountered when showing off video of an Apple prototype and urged a little caution. The guys in Vietnam obviously missed that post or simply don’t care, this time they even include footage of them walking into their office!
While this is clearly a prototype model, it may not be that new. Apple is alleged to have scrapped an iPod touch with a camera shortly before its iPod event in September 2009 where it instead launched the iPod nano with video. Images circulating on the web around that time also looked very similar to these. Mac Rumors claims that the codename N18 on the sticker one of the images makes this model a third-generation iPod touch prototype, manufactured in June 2009. Whether or not Apple is planning to return to the iPod touch with camera remains to be seen but these pictures at least prove that they have tried it.
And meanwhile, across the South China Sea, more iPhone prototype information is being spilled. Taiwanese website Apple.pro has posted what appear to be shots of the next generation iPhone’s front fascia. This isn’t exciting in itself, given that we’ve seen what we expect to be the finished product already, but what is interesting is one of these front panels is white. Apple already sells the iPhone with a black or a white back panel and, if these images are true, now plans to sell a completely white version as well. We’re not sure we like the idea of an all-white iPhone, especially if the aluminum seen on the black prototype is included on this white version. We may well think differently when we see the final product, however, with Apple being a company synonymous with beautiful products. Then again, Apple used to be a company synonymous with pre-launch security…
After the media circus surrounding Gizmodo and its potentially lost/stolen iPhone 4G prototype last month, it seems there’s another iPhone 4G in the wild. Possibly not a prototype this time.
Mac Rumors has been provided with a link to a Vietnamese forum, Taoviet.vn, where more pictures of the new iPhone have been posted. According to a Mac Rumors’ source, the device was purchased in the USA along with an iPad. The device is shown from a number of new angles and a teardown of the product is also shown.
A video of the device has been posted to YouTube (see below).
Little new information has been provided by these pictures, however the iPhone’s casing shows that it’s a 16GB model, whereas Gizmodo’s featured XXXGB on the back.
The casing appears more polished on this version with no screws found near the dock connector, suggesting that this is a near finished product. However, in the photos and video, the phone appears to be running some kind of diagnostic firmware and doesn’t look like it responds to presses on the home button. In the teardown images, what looks like a processor with Apple branding can also bee seen.
This new information is set against the sad backdrop of yet another suicide at Hon Hai Group in China where Apple’s iPhones are manufactured. This is the sixth death at Hon Hai this year and follows Hon Hai’s suspension of a member of its security team after a worker killed himself when an iPhone prototype was lost.
After Jason Chen, Gizmodo’s editor, had his home raided by police and his computers and other items taken as part of an ongoing investigation, this Vietnamese poster is playing a risky game. It also brings into question whether or not the “found it in a bar” story from Gizmodo (and its mystery iPhone seller) is likely to hold up now that two iPhone 4G models have surfaced.
Either people are being extremely careless with these valuable prototypes and two have been “lost” by Apple employees in the US or a more serious crime has been committed. This might also explain the shock and awe of the raid on Jason Chen’s house should the police have reason to believe that the Gizmodo iPhone was part of a wider theft.
Either way, our advice to the Vietnamese man in the video above – don’t include your face in footage of you holding a potentially stolen product, it never ends well.
In an effort to keep iPhone users happy and avoid the outcry we heard last year, AT&T has apparently started rolling back upgrade eligibility dates prior to the launch of the next iPhone. MobileCrunch has posted the following image showing an updated eligibility date moved from November to June of this year for a customer who purchased the iPhone 3GS at launch last year.
Last year lots of people were angry that they could not take advantage of upgrade pricing for the new iPhone. But it looks like AT&T is trying to avoid that fury this year and allow many more people to upgrade. Though at this point we don’t know if it’s universal as there has been no statement by Apple or AT&T.
MobileCrunch is reporting that AT&T has started to roll back upgrade eligibility dates from 18 months to what appears to be 12 months. This would allow customers who are eligible to take advantage of much cheaper upgrade prices for the hardware when the next iPhone is released.
We do not know at this time if that roll back will be for everyone or if that date is only for certain customers and not all at this time. While there are multiple reports of this from AT&T customers, it could be they are only rolling back the dates for customers over a certain service level.
Why would AT&T do this? They must have a reason. Perhaps they are doing it because the iPhone will be available on other carriers soon and AT&T wants to get as many customers as possible under a new two year contract. Or perhaps with the new front facing camera, AT&T will be increasing the monthly unlimited data plan fees, and they want as many new customers as possible on the new plan. Or perhaps AT&T just loves us all and wants to apologize for bad service. Ha!
But it seems as though lots of people are trying to see if they are eligible — I can’t even log into AT&Ts site at this point. Have you checked, has your eligibility date been rolled back? If so, let us know and let us know what plan you subscribe to (number of minutes/month) and how long you’ve been a subscriber. Let’s see if this is universal or not.
It seems that AT&T may have made one last Hail Mary play in order to remain the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the US. According to Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall, quoted by Computerworld, AT&T may have been allowed to hang on to the deal until the end of 2010 by offering significantly discounted data plans for Apple’s iPad 3G.
In the run up to the iPad launch, many touted Verizon as a shoe-in to become the next iPhone carrier alongside AT&T as well as to provide data services for the iPad. This never happened.
Although his claims appear unsubstantiated, Marshall, who currently works for BroadPoint AMTech, believes that AT&T, in a desperate bid to hold on to the lucrative iPhone carrier rights, made some serious sacrifices in providing a hugely discounted data contract for iPad owners.
Consumers questioned the need for another 3G contract alongside their iPhone when the iPad was announced with many pundits claiming that the price of the service would be key to Apple’s strategy. By granting an additional six months to AT&T’s exclusivity, it appears Apple was able to meet this target.
AT&T currently offers two data plans for the iPad 3G, one for $14.99 per month for up to 250MB and another at $29.99 for unlimited data. Neither package requires the user to sign a contract and both include free access to AT& Wi-Fi hotspots. By comparison to the competition, this is a very reasonable deal for iPad users and one that will surely have come at a cost to AT&T, which has struggled with wireless data loads since the iPhone was launched.
By contrast to the US, Europe has multiple carriers for the iPhone that are currently fighting to offer data plans for the iPad when it is released this summer.
AT&T’s network has long been criticized for a number of failings including dropped calls and poor coverage, notably so during a very public spat between the company and Verizon. Verizon launched a stinging ad campaign comparing its 3G coverage to AT&T’s while also aping Apple’s iPhone ads with the slogan “There’s a map for that” resulting in a legal back and forth between both companies. In response to AT&T’s suit that claimed the ads mislead the public, Verizon simply commented “the truth hurts”.
Verizon has reportedly conveyed to Apple its desire to carry the iPhone but, at present, it seems they can’t offer the right goods to seal the deal. Not even, it appears, the offer of a better network.
If you haven’t gone ahead and jailbroken your iPhone already, you’re no doubt as excited as us at the prospect of iPhone OS 4.0. So many of the features we’ve long been craving to have on our phones will be at our fingertips, hopefully some time this June.
Whether you’re looking to prevent the RSI-inducing homescreen swiping that occurs when you install more than 50 or so apps or you simply want to change your background image, iPhone OS 4.0 will have the answer.
Music fans will love the ability to run apps like Pandora in the background while browsing the web or checking emails, and non-iPad owners will relish getting hold of their first iBooks for iPhone.
But we know all of the cool new features in the next OS already, don’t we? Apparently not. Sources who have their hands on the latest developer builds of the next iPhone operating system are providing snippets of information on some more great tweaks that weren’t even mentioned during Apple’s “Sneak Peak” back in early April.
In iPhone OS 4.0 a swipe to the left of the first homescreen (which takes you to Spotlight in OS 3.0) brings up a new interface with some new buttons. iPod controls, much like those you see when double clicking the home button in OS 3.0, sit in the center with a quick iPod app launcher button to their right. On the left is the best new feature yet and previously only a plaything of the iPad owner – orientation lock. At last, browsing the web in bed is no longer something you have to do sitting up or lying at an angle only familiar to contortionists. 9to5Mac, who posted images of these new features, suggest that this could be part of a wider plan to introduce “mini-widgets” in the final build of iPhone OS 4.0
File Sharing and more
Meanwhile, over at The Boy Genius Report, even more cool tidbits are surfacing. First is the ability to drag manually add files to your iPhone via iTunes. Simply plug in your phone and access the File Sharing section under the Apps tab in iTunes to drag files to and from your computer and on to your device. Closing running applications (as part of the multitasking feature) has become easier too. In much the same way you currently delete apps from your iPhone, simply holding on an open app’s icon will produce small close buttons for you to click on and shut down the app.
This is about as much that’s out there at the moment but remember, Steve Jobs promised over 100 new user features when showing off OS 4.0, so expect many more neat tricks and enhancements in the coming weeks.
After Apple acquired music streaming service Lala Media at the end of 2009, many believed it would be bringing this cloud-based technology to its iTunes service very soon. While Lala will shut down on May 31st it appears that it may still be a while before a streaming version of the iTunes Store for both desktop computers as well as iPhones and iPads will be launched.
Lala offers a catalog of over 7 million songs that stream directly to users over the internet. In order for listeners to listen to a specific song at any time and as many times as they wish they are required to pay a $.10 fee. Songs are also available to download at prices similar to the iTunes Music Store. Apple acquired the company in December 2009 for an undisclosed fee thought to be around $17 million.
However, after initial excitement at the Lala Media shutdown announcement, it appears not to denote an imminent launch of Apple’s own streaming product.
Apple is said to be talking to record labels regarding a streaming service but these discussions have been pegged as “preliminary at best” according Peter Kafka writing for MediaMemo at All Things D.
The success of streaming music and video applications like Spotify and Pandora for the iPhone and the new ABC Player for iPad have added weight to the rumours that Apple will begin to deliver music and movies in the same way via iTunes but it appears this move could still be a way off.
Apple is well aware of the demand for streaming music services after showing Pandora’s application streaming music while making use of the new multitasking feature found in the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0.
One of the key factors in such a service is the method in which payment would be made by consumers. While Apple has strong ties with the major record labels it took a long time to thrash out a mutually beneficial deal. Changing the landscape for music delivery may introduce further issues. Streaming music a user already owns on iTunes is one possible outcome however a subscription model may also be made available which would tie in to an iPhone and iPad application.
With Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference only a month away, those hoping for an announcement on the topic will likely be disappointed, with many sources claiming the launch of a streaming iTunes service won’t happen before the third quarter of this year.
Update: 4/19: Gizmodo got the good and has spent some time with this found device. They are now convinced that it’s real. And so am I. Check the bottom of the article for more details.
Something very odd happened over the weekend. The next iPhone was spotted. Then it was debunked. Then it was confirmed. And now, we’re all confused.
Let’s get caught up. Fasten your seat belts, this is a wild one.
On Saturday, Engadget posted some photos of what was reported to be a prototype iPhone. The phone was supposedly found on the floor of a San Jose bar, in an iPhone 3G case. The person that found it sent some blurry (why are they always blurry?) photos of it to Engadget hoping to get a little more money out of them for an in person inspection of the device. How they thought that they would be able to get together with Engadget before Apple’s army of lawyers found them, I don’t know.
Taking a look at the photos, they look about right. All of the buttons are in the right place, check. Home button looks exactly the same. On the bottom, the speaker and microphone look the same. And it looks like a typical Apple dock connector on the bottom.
The phone had, at one time, powered on and worked. It reportedly ran an OS that was decidedly different from the iPhone OS. But now, supposedly the phone no longer powered on. Odd.
After looking at them, most considered these photos (like the one to the right), a fake. A very good fake, probably a Chinese made knock-off, but a fake.
Even though an iSight camera (or its accompanying UI) wasn’t shown off last Wednesday’s iPad media event, speculation has now fallen to if the iPad will ship with one. These rumors started when Steve showed the device to the media. For a split second (around the 9:24 mark on the video podcast), you’ll see the studio lights catch what appears to be a concealed hole in the top center of the iPad’s new bezel. Sure, we’ve been here before. This could be a number of things, an ambient light or proximity sensor for one.
Granted, this “evidence” is pretty sketchy, and probably likely to be debunked, but it gets better. Mission Repair today started to receive replacement Apple iPad parts of which it posted some shots of on their blog. Among the parts was the iPad’s outer frame .. and guess what? It has a molded slot which fits the iSight camera part, perfectly. The photo shows the iPad’s outer frame (top), an Apple Macbook iSight unit (middle), and the Macbooks inner frame (bottom).
Wired reports the iPad simulator seeded as part of the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK still features a “Take a Photo” OS action, when adding a contact’s photo to Contacts.app, for example. There’s even speculation that the reason Apple didn’t show the camera at the event was due to its then unfinished supporting UI. This image posted by Shaun supports the rumor, suggesting that Apple didn’t just leave in the same UI from iPhone OS, but that it has been modified to look and feel dedicated to the iPad, although as you can tell, it’s far from final.
Maybe we’ll see another event at the end of March, just before they launch the Wi-Fi iPad model. “One More Thing?” .. Or could this be a design choice for a future iPad model? I’m sure we’ll find out soon!
TechCrunch recently put up an article that showed off some pictures of a “leaked” tablet from a designer named Dustin Curtis. Dustin timed his fakes pretty well, and will probably end up getting quite a few calls for work after this. These in my opinion (and many others) are possibly the best fakes to date. I would not be surprised if this is very close to the actual device itself. With the hype generators going strong leading up to tomorrow’s announcement I’m simply amazed at how much information, speculation and intrigue are being produced around a device that technically does not even exist yet.
Some of you may be asking though, why is there so much hype around this device? For me, my interest levels went through the roof after watching some videos of what the device could be capable of. I believe quite a few of the big industry players in film, games, books, and music have all got early access to the device to create remarkable interactive experiences. Some prototypes, and design concepts have been shown.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Apple has a special event scheduled on Wednesday this week. As usual they are very cryptic on what they are announcing. Speculation seems to focus on the much rumored tablet computer and a major update to the iPhone OS.
We know one thing about the tablet, and that is that we don’t know anything for sure about the tablet. Apple will only enter the market if they can do things that no one else has thought of. So come Wednesday I’m pretty sure we will see some interesting things from them.
But I want to focus on the update to the iPhone OS. I first started talking about OS 4 on my Twitter stream in November. One of the key indications of an impending major OS update is Apple not releasing new versions of the iPhone OS for a while. We haven’t seen an update to 3.1 in many months, and now seems like a good time — along with the tablet that is rumored to also run the iPhone OS.
Let me say that I use my iPhone a lot. My battery runs down to 10% just about every day, and that’s even with it sitting connected to my computer for a couple hours every day in addition to a full charge at night. Here are the things that I’m most looking for in the OS update.
New App Launcher
First and foremost is a new application launcher. The current launcher, called Springboard, is too dated and too hard to use once you have more than a few apps installed. Have 180 apps installed on your phone — trying to find a single one can be impossible. Apple made a stop-gap change by adding spotlight search in 3.0, but who wants to search for each app they launch?
We’re expecting a new way to navigate apps — something very original. Something that will work on both the tablet and the iPhone. Perhaps voice control will be expanded to launch apps, but then again, I can’t see people walking down the street saying “Launch Fart Machine” – or maybe I can. Continue reading What I Want to See in iPhone OS 4.0 »
Since the iPhone expanded into Canada, we have only had one option as a provider. That carrier has been Rogers (note: Fido also carries the iPhone, but they are owned by Rogers) and they have taken advantage of that market position and currently offer one of the worst contracts world wide of all the iPhone carriers.
Last fall, Canada also had a spectrum auction which allowed other companies to purchase access to the various remaining open wireless spectrum. The CRTC opened up the auction with the intention of leveling out the market and providing competition in the mobile space, which has traditionally been non existent in Canada compared to say the European markets. We have yet to see any of those new players really open up and act on their purchases yet. So those of us who wanted an iPhone, but don’t really care for Rogers have been out of luck. Well, an announcement today made by Telus and Bell seem to have changed all of that.
In anticipation for the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver the two carriers have spent a year upgrading their spectrum to allow HSPA phones on their network. Previously they have only run CDMA, which the iPhone does not function on. With this upgrade, they can now offer the device as early as next month, and the news is circulating throughout the internet today.
When these two carriers do jump into the iPhone field, this can only mean good things for consumers who have held out in purchasing the device. This also means many more units moved, more developers making apps, etc. I really hope Telus and Bell take advantage of the situation and offer a blockbuster deal. (Hint: Give me the 3GS in a 2 year contract, $60/month with unlimited data and I’ll be getting in line). Previously though these carriers have been somewhat disappointing with their offerings, but perhaps the iPhone will be the spark needed for some missing competition.
Just a word of warning to the two carriers. Don’t screw this launch up, much like Rogers did. Get lots of product in, set a competitive contract and rate plan against the world carriers, and don’t put fine print rules around the usage of data. The iPhone is changing the world and how we use smartphones. The market is glad to have you here, but please don’t screw it up.
Let’s face it. We all love Google Maps on our iPhone’s. The convenience of swiping here, and flicking there to get directions to where we want to go is all too .. convenient. But, it’s been like that for some time now, and it may just be about to change.
Remember when Apple and Google used to be such real good pals? Well, I’m afraid to say that sadly those days seem to be over. After the recent Google Voice saga earlier last month, which managed to generate huge media attention and even managed to get the FCC involved, Google and Apple seem to have been slowly drifting apart from each other.
Today, Gizmodo reports that another recent rumored purchase of Apple’s may confirm that this is the case. Uncovered via a tweet posted back in July from the founder of Placebase – Fred Lalonde, it’s now rumored Apple have bought Placebase, outright. The acquisition of the company took place in July of this year, but is only coming to light now, due to recent events involving both Google and Apple.
So, what exactly separates Placebase from Google Maps? Well, from this post published on Gigaom in early 2008, we can see Placebase has a few things Google Maps doesn’t. For a start, the service allows users to overlay layers upon layers of data on top of each other, to provide an overall richer, fuller experience. On top of this, it’s said that Placebase’s API is smarter and easier than Google’s claiming easier integration into third party products.
But, if Apple now has a maps company which is deemed superior to Google Maps, Why do they need Google? Now, that said I can’t see them just dropping Google and the arrangement they currently have for ‘native’ iPhone maps functionality, after all – it’s now one of the iPhone’s most prominent features. But you have to wonder. With a maps company under it’s belt, Apple could be gearing to compete with Google in this area, in a very big way.
Manomio, developers of the fully licensed and super fantastic Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone have made an announcement on their Twitter stream that they have been contacted by a senior director at Apple and have some good news coming. We can only guess that this means that they have gotten the go ahead from Apple and will be getting the C64 emulator approved!
This is exciting news and, quite honestly, somewhat unexpected. Emulation is one of the things that while explicitly against the rules for app store approval, has been approved in such cases as the classic Sega games recently released. But emulation apps by smaller developers have been rejected in the past. It’s most likely the huge grass roots effort by Commodore 64 lovers that has gotten this effort moving, and we presume now, approved.
Until it’s available, which will hopefully be soon, here’s a short video that shows all of the fantastic work they have done to give you an idea of what’s to come.
It looks fantastic, I can’t wait to grab it when it hits the app store. We’ll let you know as soon as we see it in the app store or hear more.