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Apple announces iPhone OS 4 event on April 8

Apple has begun sending email invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a “sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone OS software.” The invitation features a large graphic with a large “4” shadow spread across a blue background, with “Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS” overlaid in white text. The event will be held on Apple’s Cupertino, CA campus and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 8.

iPad twice as fast as iPhone 3GS, say benchmarks

According to benchmarks performed on the iPad by Iconfactory developer Craig Hockenberry, the device is roughly twice as fast as the iPhone 3GS when running native applications. In native performance tests, the iPad bested the 3GS in each, ranging from 1.5x to 3.91x faster. The same improvement was not seen in the Javascript performance tests, in which the iPad was 1.2x to 2.43x as fast as the 3GS. Hockenberry attributes the results to possible “just-in-time compilation or other similar types of caching are affecting the results.” He also notes that the iPad reports having 247MB of physical memory and 200.5 available to the user, suggesting the device is using 256MB memory chips with a portion of the total being used for other purposes. Hockenberry tested the devices using the OS version they shipped with; iPhone OS 3.2 for the iPad and iPhone OS 3.0 for the iPhone 3GS.

iPad OS hints at future iPhones, iPod touch, iPad

Following the device’s release on Saturday, one iPad owner has discovered pointers to a number of upcoming iPhone OS devices within the iPad’s filesystem. The Boy Genius Report states that two references were found for new iPhones; iPhone 3,2 and iPhone 3,3 are both new, with the iPhone 3GS being identified as iPhone 3,1. A new iPod touch model, iPod 4,1—compared to the third-generation touch’s iPod 3,1—has been found, as has a reference to iProd 2,1, believed to be a next-generation iPad. While these references offer little in the way of information about these upcoming products, they have generally correctly indicated that a given product is coming, as with the iPad, which first surfaced as a prototype—iProd 0,1—in March 2009, then again in August as iProd 1,1, which is believed to be the currently shipping product.

Developer claims Apple stole, patented game control idea

Craig Rothwell, inventor of the iControlPad peripheral for jailbroken iPhones, has taken issue with a recently-published Apple patent application that appears to describe a device much like his own. Entitled “Accessory For Playing Games With A Portable Electronic Device,” the application describes a controller-like accessory—with standard game controller buttons—with a recess in the center into which a user can place a touchscreen gaming device. Variations on the design include one with a rotating dock connector for connection to the device, one which connects wirelessly, and one that offers wireless connectivity to other devices.

In a post titled “An extremely sinister development,” Rothwell said he and his colleagues “were very very surprised to see that Apple have [sic] allegedly filed a patent for our original iControlPad design some 6 months after we revealed it,” promising to give “More updates once we get a more clear picture of what the h—- is going on.” Development on the iControlPad dates back to May 2008, while Apple’s application was filed in September 2008. [via Pocket Gamer]

ITC to investigate Apple’s claim against HTC

The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it is launching an investigation into whether HTC is guilty of patent infringement, as Apple claims. According to the announcement, the products being investigated “relate to hardware and software used in mobile communication devices, including but not limited to cellular phones and smartphones.” Apple filed a complaintand an accompanying lawsuit against HTC in early March, claiming infringement on “20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” HTC later released a statement saying it disagreed with Apple actions and that it would “fully defend itself.”

Apple posts new iPhone 3GS TV ad ‘Commute’

Apple has posted its latest iPhone 3GS television commercial online. Entitled “Commute,” the ad continues Apple’s recent trend of iPhone advertisements that are more testimonial in nature, and features a male narrator explaining how he missed his train, was able to check on the next one from the phone, received a phone call asking about a document that he was able to retrieve and email while on the call, and spent the rest of his commute watching streaming video. The new TV ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.

Kleiner Perkins doubles iFund to $200 million

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has announced that it is doubling its iFund to $200 million of venture capital for iPhone apps. Originally announced in March 2008, the iFund is pool of funds designed to help KPCB find and back budding iPhone developers. According to the company, the entire original $100 million iFind is now fully committed across 14 companies, accounting for more than $100 million in 2010 mobile revenue, more than 100 million aggregate mobile downloads, and 18 titles that reached the Top 10 on the App Store. In addition, iFund-supported companies have more than 20 applications in development for the iPad, 11 of which will be available on April 3: seven games from ngmoco including We Rule, GodFinger and WarpGate, Doodle Buddy and Star Smash from Pinger, textPlus from GOGII, and Shazam from Shazam Entertainment.

iPhone OS 4.0 to offer Exposé-like multitasking management

Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 will allow users to run multiple third-party applications at once, managing these through an interface similar to that of Mac OS X’s Exposé feature, according to an AppleInsider report. Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new software, the report states that users will employ a key combination—possibly a double-tap on the Home button, which currently triggers a user-definable action—to trigger an Exposé-like interface that will present a series of icons representing currently running apps, letting users switch in between them. Once a selection is made, the interface reportedly zooms out and transitions to the selected application. Additionally, the report claims that the new software sports a global mailbox view and the ability to add contacts directly to the home screen, although it notes that either one, or both, of these features could be cut before the software is released. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentioned iPhone OS 4.0’s third-party multitasking capabilities in a brief posting earlier this week, while Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently confirmed in an email to a customer that a universal mailbox would be coming to the iPhone.

Elan files complaint against Apple with ITC

Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The AFP reports that the complaint alleges that Apple is violating Elan’s patents related to touch-sensitive input devices with multi-touch capabilities, specifically with the iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook laptops, the Magic Mouse, and the iPad. “We have taken the step of filing the ITC complaint as a continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple’s ongoing infringement,” Elan said in a statement. “A proceeding in the ITC offers a quick and effective way for Elan to enforce its patent.” Elan requesting that the ITC bar Apple from importing the products into the United States, and prevent it from selling any of the products in the United States that it has already imported. Elan filed a lawsuit against Apple in April of 2009 over the same alleged infringement. [via MDN]

New details of next-gen ‘iPhone HD’ emerge

Apple is working to build a pair of iPhones for release this year, one a sequel to the company’s prior GSM handsets, and the other built to work on CDMA networks, according to a new report. Citing people briefed by the company, the Wall Street Journal reports that the CDMA iPhone will be built by Pegatron Technology Corp., the contract manufacturing subsidiary of Taiwan’s ASUSTeK Computer, and is scheduled to go into mass production in September. This new model would allow Apple to offer the iPhone on both Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the U.S., along with a small number of carriers in countries including South Korea and Japan. The new GSM model is being made by Hon Hai Precision Industry, the same company that produced Apple’s prior iPhones, and will likely be thinner and have a faster processor, according to the report.

Following the publication of the WSJ report, Engadget was informed by an anonymous source that the next-generation iPhone would be announced on Tuesday, June 22, and would be dubbed the iPhone HD. In a separate report calling the WSJ out for lack of details on the next-generation iPhone, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggested that the next-gen iPhone would be powered by an A4-family CPU system-on-a-chip, and sport a 960x640 quadruple resolution display, second, front-facing camera, and third-party multitasking thanks to iPhone OS 4.0. These reports follow the appearance of images and video of a supposed fourth-generation iPhone replacement faceplate, which was slightly taller than that of current iPhone models and featured a prominent hole next to the handset speaker, supposedly for a front-facing camera.

Photos, video show supposed iPhone 4G faceplate

New photos and a video have appeared online claiming to show the LCD, digitizer, and faceplate of the fourth-generation iPhone. Photos appearing on Apple.pro (Translated Link) show that the glass face, LCD, and digitizer are in fact all one piece, like the original iPhone, and not separate components as they are on the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The faceplate is slightly taller than that of the iPhone and iPhone 3G/3GS, and features a circular hole to the left of the handset speaker that is supposedly for a front-facing camera. While an iLounge source with a trusted track record did not know whether the component was legitimately from the fourth-generation iPhone, a new video from Colombian repair shop SmartPhoneMedic shows what appears to be an identical part, which is again claimed to be the faceplate of a fourth-generation iPhone and is compared with that of an iPhone 3G. As Mac Rumors notes, while it is not unusual for Asian suppliers to offer claimed future-generation Apple product parts, many of the claims have not held up when compared with the actual product. Continue reading for more pictures and the video in embedded form.

Radio Shack set to expand iPhone sales

Radio Shack is preparing to offer the iPhone in 3,000 of its 4,500 stores across the U.S. beginning March 28, according to an AppleInsider report. The report states that the expansion will see Radio Shack become the second-largest third-party retailer of the iPhone in terms of retail locations, second only to Walmart and ahead of both AT&T and Best Buy. According to the report, the retailer will promote the rollout in its March 28 circular, with pricing for each iPhone model set at roughly $5 off the MSRP, or $95 for the 8GB iPhone 3G, $195 for the 16GB iPhone 3GS, and $295 for the 32GB 3GS. Radio Shack began selling the iPhone in a limited number of stores in November 2009.

Apple job listing calls for LTE expert

A new Apple job listing suggests the company is planning to include Long Term Evolution (LTE) “4G” cellular radio technology in future devices, such as the iPhone and possibly iPad. The listing for a “Cellular Technology Software Manager” calls for “[e]xpert knowledge of one or multiple cellular technologies: WCDMA/UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE etc.” Applicants must also “understand the development cycle of phone, IOT, and certification process and carrier approval process.” Both AT&T and Verizon have announced plans to move to LTE networks over the coming years, with Verizon expected to begin its rollout later this year and AT&T expected to begin deployment in 2011. [via Engadget]

Vodafone to sell iPhone 3GS in India

Following rival carrier Bharti Airtel’s announcement that it would begin selling the iPhone 3GS in India today, Vodafone has announced that it too is offering the iPhone 3GS in the region starting today. Airtel is offering the 16GB model for 35,500 rupees (roughly $780) and the 32GB model for 41,500 rupees (~$913) and is also giving iPhone 3GS customers 500 MB of free data every month for a year from the date of activation; Vodafone’s pricing has yet to be announced. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone launched the iPhone 3G simultaneously in August 2008.

AdMob: iPod touch driving MID traffic growth

According to the latest data from mobile advertising firm AdMob, the iPod touch is playing a large part in the growth of traffic from mobile Internet devices (MID). The company’s newly-published February Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link) states that traffic growth from MIDs is outpacing that of smartphones and feature phones, increasing 403% over the last year to account for 17% of AdMob’s traffic in February. The iPod touch is by far the leader in the category, accounting for 93% of this traffic. Likewise, strong growth in iPhone and Android traffic, fueled by heavy application usage, helped boost overall smartphone traffic by 193% year-over-year. Smartphones now account for 48% of AdMob’s worldwide traffic, with the iPhone accounting for 49.5% of that traffic, a figure that’s down 0.9% from January. AdMob’s numbers are based on ad requests for more than 15,000 mobile Web sites and applications worldwide.

U.S. Army visits Apple to discuss iPhone, more

Several members of the U.S. Army’s technology command recently visited Apple headquarters to discuss the use of Apple products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, in Army business and battlefield operations. Army.mil reports that Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, Research, Development and Engineering Command commanding general and key members of his staff traveled to Apple’s Cupertino, CA headquarters on March 5, touring the company’s facilities and discussing current military use of Apple products. “The Army is moving away from big-green-box solutions and toward those that will adapt along with our warfighters on the battlefield,” Justice said. “We’re continuing to leverage commercial technology for battlefield uses; we can’t ignore that kind of existing knowledge. Our job, as stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar, is to adopt and adapt appropriate commercial technology and offer the best possible solution to the warfighter.”

Currently, the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research and Development Center (CERDEC) is helping to develop and transition two iPhone applications, one used to collect information on counter-insurgency, and the other offering a combined planning and social networking environment. “Apple technologies offer unique and proven solutions with intuitive designs that allow users to learn quickly without a training manual,” said Ron Szymanski, CERDEC’s lead computer scientist on the project. “The Army would like to leverage Apple’s experience when designing military applications.”

iPhone again tops rivals in touchscreen test

After its initial, human-based touchscreen stress testing saw the iPhone besting three rival Android handsets—the HTC Droid Eris, the Motorola Droid, and the HTC-built Google Nexus One—the MOTO Development Group has performed another set of tests using a laboratory robot to remove any inconsistencies caused by human error. The new tests again found that the iPhone bests its rivals in both “medium” and “very light” touch tests, using 7mm and 4mm test fingers, respectively. Notably, this new round of testing included the Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm 2 in addition to the four phones that were included in the original test; the Pre was “second to iPhone in linearity in [the] ‘medium’ test,” while both the Droid Eris and Nexus One offered “solid performance” with “some waviness.” Additionally, the Droid, Pre, and Storm 2 all showed significant signal loss during the “very light” test; the Droid exhibited signal loss in the “medium” test as well. MOTO notes that “what matters most isn’t the performance of the touchscreen itself, but how well a touchscreen performs in combination with its operating system and user-interface,” but says it’s useful to look at touchscreen performance in isolation, because “it is a central ingredient in the mix and a good indicator of how satisfying a touchscreen experience is likely to be.”

Bharti Airtel to launch iPhone 3GS on Friday

Just one week after announcing that it had reached a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone 3GS in India, Bharti Airtel will officially launch the handset on its network. According to Reuters, the 16GB model will sell for 35,500 rupees (roughly $780) while the 32GB model will be priced at 41,500 rupees (~$913). In addition, all iPhone 3GS customers will receive 500 MB of free data every month for a year from the date of activation. Bharti Airtel first launched the iPhone 3G in India in August 2008.

Rogers/Fido announces official tethering policy

Rogers Wireless and Fido in Canada have announced their official smartphone tethering policy, which extends to the iPhone. According to a post on Rogers’ RedBoard blog, “[e]ffective immediately, tethering will continue to be included at no additional charge for Rogers and Fido customers who subscribe to data plans of 1 GB and above.” This announcement essentially makes the company’s prior tethering promotion its ongoing policy. The post also notes that tethering “cannot be used with the new 1 GB+ One Rate Roaming plans (except Rocket stick plans), Family Shared Data & Voice Plans and Smartphone & Rocket stick shared data plans.” Tethering capability was added to the iPhone in iPhone OS 3.0, but only select carriers have thus far enabled users to take advantage of the feature.

Apple CEO Jobs confirms universal iPhone mailbox?

In a brief reply to a customer email, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly confirmed that the iPhone will soon offer a universal email inbox. A TUAW reader asked Jobs “will iPhone ever have a universal mailbox just like Mail has on my Mac? It would be so much easier and efficient,” to which the notoriously terse CEO replied “Yep.” Notably, the email was apparently sent from an iPad, as was a reply to a separate inquiry asking whether there was a way to transfer Google Docs to an iPad using iWork.com or iDisk—Jobs responded positively to this question as well. Jobs has been known to respond to customers’ emails on occasion, normally with short, one sentence answers.

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