According to a new report, Apple has placed orders for “millions” of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a new iPhone production run in December. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, TechCrunch reports that the production run would likely be for a January launch, with both Verizon and Sprint possible carrier partners. Digitimes adds that Pegatron Technology is expected to manufacture the phone, and that it could end up on China Telecom as well as Verizon. It also expects Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to announce the device at CES 2011, with units shipping in January.
In the same report, Digitimes claims that Apple will launch an updated 9.7-inch iPad with a new ARM Cortex-A9-based processor and 512MB RAM in the first quarter of 2011, alongside a new 7-inch model sporting the same processor and a 1024x768 IPS display; this matches up with information reported by iLounge last week. Finally, the report claims that a new Apple TV will begin production in December, and will use AMD’s Fusion technology, will lack a hard drive, and will offer an iPhone-like interface with App Store support.
Mark Papermaster, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering, has left the company following a number of highly publicized stumbles with the iPhone 4 launch. The New York Times, which broke the story, reports that it is not clear if Papermaster quit or was asked to leave; Papermaster has until this point declined to comment. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told the NYT that Papermaster “is leaving the company and Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, is assuming his responsibilities,” while adding that Mansfield already oversees several iPhone-related technologies, including the A4 chip, the retina display, and touch screens.
In a separate report, the Wall Street Journal suggests that the reasons for Papermaster’s departure went beyond the iPhone 4, however. Citing people familiar with Papermaster’s situation, the report says his departure was driven by a “broader cultural incompatibility.” It also claims that Papermaster had lost the confidence of Apple CEO Steve Jobs “months ago” and hadn’t been involved in the decision-making process for some time. Papermaster was announced as a replacement for “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell in late 2008, but didn’t actually start working for Apple until April 2009 due to a lawsuit by ex-employer IBM.
iOS 4.1 Beta 3, the latest beta version of Apple’s upcoming software update, has a new feature that allows for FaceTime calls to be associated with an email address instead of a phone number. Mac Rumors reports that in the beta’s version of the Contacts application, the software gives you the option of connecting the call via a cell phone number or an email address. Notably, this addition suggests that iOS 4.1 will be expected to support some non-iPhone FaceTime-capable devices, such as the iPod touch or iPad. A supposed fourth-generation iPod touch front panel with a hole for a front-facing camera appeared online earlier this week.
A large number of iPhone 3GS users are experiencing random reboots during phone calls after upgrading to iOS 4. An Apple discussion thread dating back to June 22 and now over 900 replies chronicles the issue, which sees most affected 3GS units rebooting without any provocation from the user roughly 4-5 minutes into any telephone call. The only proven solution, according to several of the affected users, is to have the phone replaced. Coincidentally, a Los Angeles Times story from today quotes Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison as saying, “we’re not receiving any reports regarding [iOS 4] being an issue with the iPhone 3GS.” Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the problem. [Thanks, Palia]
A newly published Apple patent application is causing controversy online as it contains a screen illustration that is very similar to the interface of a third-party iOS application. The patent application, titled “Systems And Methods For Accessing Travel Services Using A Portable Electronic Device,” describes an app offering services such as “reserving a travel itinerary, checking-in remotely for a reservation, providing airport information, providing for social networking, obtaining dining or entertainment during travel, controlling and requesting cabin services, providing arrival notifications to third parties,” and “providing destination location information.”
The issue stems from figure 6 of the patent application, which contains an illustration of a screen virtually identical to the main interface of WhereTo? from FutureTap. As the app has been available since day one of the App Store and the application was filed in December 2009, it is unlikely that Apple didn’t know of WhereTo? prior to the filing—in fact, the app’s name appears in the illustration. “At first, we couldn’t believe what we saw and felt it can’t be true that someone else is filing a patent including a 1:1 copy of our start screen. Things would be way easier of course if that ‘someone else’ would be really an exterior ‘someone else.’ Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” said Ortwin Gentz of FutureTap. “We’re faced with a situation where we’ve to fear that our primary business partner is trying to ‘steal’ our idea and design.” While the text of the patent application doesn’t completely overlap with the idea and purpose of the WhereTo? app, its very appearance in an Apple patent application without prior notice or warning is cause for concern; Apple has yet to comment on the matter.
Apple has updated the iPad App Store to add its Genius Recommendations feature for iPad apps. Introduced to the iPhone and iPod touch App Store last year in iOS 3.1, the Genius for Apps feature for the iPad provides personalized recommendations on additional apps that users may be interested in based on their existing purchases, installed apps and how often and how long existing apps are used for. As with the Genius feature in iTunes and on the other iOS devices, users must specifically opt-in within the iPad App Store application to enable Genius for Apps on their device and agree to additional Terms of Service. Notably, the Terms of Service indicate that Apple will anonymously collect information related to the applications installed on a users’ device, including time spent with each application and the number of times each application is launched, as well as users’ application download histories. This information is aggregated with similar information from other users who opt-in to the Genius feature along with customer ratings of applications on the App Store to provide personalized recommendations through the service. Users who have enabled the Genius feature may also later opt-out from the App Store Account settings page on their device.
Truphone has released an update to its voice-over-IP application for the iPad, adding the ability to make VoIP calls over a 3G connection. Truphone provides VoIP apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad allowing users to place voice calls to other Truphone users as well as Skype and Google Talk users as well as instant messaging support for Truphone, Facebook, Skype, AIM, Google Talk and MSN. Truphone for iPad 2.0 adds full VoIP over 3G support, a new Truphone Directory search, an integrated TruFriends and IM listing, multi-chat instant messaging capabilities and the ability to send and receive SMS messages, including group SMS. Truphone for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download; some calling features may require purchase of Truphone credits.
Apple has been ordered to post an “easy to understand” statement on its website explaining how users of first-generation iPod nano can receive a replacement battery, Reuters reports. The Japanese trade ministry issued the order after a recent incident caused the same group to ask Apple to explain what caused 27 incidents of overheating in some models of the first-generation iPod nano. Apple has said that the issue has been traced back to a single battery supplier, and that safety is a high priority for the company; Apple released a similar statement in 2008, telling any user who saw signs of overheating to contact AppleCare for a replacement.
Vonage has released a new app that allows iOS device users to make free voice-over-IP calls to their Facebook friends. Vonage Mobile for Facebook uses Facebook Connect to link users with contacts on their Facebook profile and then make free calls to any of their Facebook friends who are also using the Vonage Mobile for Facebook app on their iOS or Android device. Users can make and receive calls on their iPhone or iPad or on an iPod touch using an external headset and mic. Calling is supported over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks anywhere coverage is available and calls can be made to any user regardless of location with no international calling fees or airtime charges—only data usage applies when using a 3G connection. The application uses Push Notifications to allow users to receive calls when the app is in the background; it does not support iOS 4 background VoIP features at this time. Vonage Mobile for Facebook is available from the App Store as a free download.
MagneticNorth has debuted its MoviePeg stand for the Apple iPad. MoviePeg is a portable two-piece iPad stand made from TPE, capable of holding an iPad at different angles in either landscape or portrait orientation. Each piece attaches to an unencased iPad via a slot molded in the MoviePeg itself, and the two pieces are molded such that they can be connected to each other for easy portability. MagneticNorth’s MoviePeg stand for the iPad is available in black and, for a limited time, orange, and sells for $20.
New images of what is claimed to be a fourth-generation iPod touch LCD and front panel, with a hole for a front-facing camera, have appeared online. According to Mac Rumors, the photos were sent in by an iPhone parts supplier, and show both the front and back of the panel assembly. In addition, the part is also stamped “Apple (c) 2010” and “April 29, 2010,” indicating that it was built recently. Information provided to iLounge in the last week indicates that Apple plans to release a new iPod touch in the next two months.
iSkin has introduced its new solo and revo4 cases for the iPhone 4. The solo is a form-fitting translucent case made from a “phthalate-free” polymer, featuring a glossy back and button covers, matte finished sides, open access to all ports, controls, and the camera, and embedded Microban antimicrobial protection. It is available in five colors and will sell for $15 during August, rising to $30 on September 1. The revo4 is another form-fitting case, made from hypoallergenic, Microban-treated silicone, and featuring integrated port and push-through button covers, two-tone color schemes, and a hard-plastic VISOR that snaps over the screen to protect it when traveling. It is available in four color combinations and is priced at $40.
According to the July ChangeWave survey, iPhone 4 users reported a better dropped call rating than users of the iPhone 3GS. iPhone 4 users reported a dropped call rating of 5.2%, compared with 6.3% for the iPhone 3GS. Despite this encouraging statistic, the iPhone 4’s customer satisfaction ratings were significantly lower than the iPhone 3GS’ one month after its release. 72% of iPhone 4 owners reported being very satisfied with the device, compared to 82% of iPhone 3GS users who reported the same level of satisfaction in August 2009. 21% of iPhone 4 owners said they were somewhat satisfied with the device, compared to 17% of iPhone 3GS owners last August. The iPhone 4’s screen resolution ranked as the top thing iPhone 4 owners like most about the device, while the requirement of using AT&T is their biggest dislike, by a small margin over the coverage/speed/quality of AT&T’s 3G network and antenna issues. ChangeWave’s survey is based on the reactions and opinions of 213 Apple iPhone 4 owners.
China Unicom will start selling a Wi-Fi capable iPhone in China beginning next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing a China Unicom official familiar with the matter, the Journal reports that the new offering could help boost Unicom’s sales of the iPhone, which have been slow thus far and have faced competition from gray-market iPhones brought into the country from other places. Notably, the Journal’s report does not make clear whether this new iPhone uses traditional Wi-Fi or WAPI, the Chinese-specific wireless networking technology, although an iPhone with the latter technology received regulatory approval in May. The report also states that Telstra’s Hong Kong unit, CSL, is facing iPhone 4 supply issues after selling through its initial inventory within hours of the device’s midnight launch.
Shacked Software has released an update to Flickpad, its online photo viewing app. Flickpad is designed to allow users to easily browse through their friends’ online photo albums in a unique interface where photos are stacked on a desktop area. In addition to the original Facebook support, Flickpad 2.0 adds the ability to browse Flickr photosets as well as posting comments on photos from either service. The update also adds a new fast user switching feature for shared iPads that allows users to quickly switch between Flickr/Facebook user accounts. Users can navigate through all available photos by date, search for photos from individual friends or hide all photos from friends they don’t want to see. Photos can be saved to the iPad Photo Library, marked as favorites or shared via e-mail. The new version also adds a slideshow feature that allows users to turn the iPad into a digital picture frame. Flickpad 2.0 is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Proporta has rolled out its new Shine Case for the iPhone 4. The Shine is a flip-style case featuring a glossy patent leather exterior, an internal mirror on the lid framed in one of three patterned fabrics, open access to all ports and controls, a strap closure, and side grips to hold the iPhone in the case. Proporta’s Shine Case for the iPhone 4 is available in three colors and $37.
Apple has already completed a patch that fixes the PDF-related iOS security hole discovered earlier this week. “We’re aware of this reported issue, we have already developed a fix and it will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet. It is unknown when Apple plans on releasing the update, or if the same update will also alleviate proximity sensor issues for some iPhone 4 users.
Brightkite has released an update to its social networking app for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding iOS 4 support and several other enhancements. Brightkite 2.8 now provides native iOS 4 support including Fast App Switching and background posting and photo uploads. The new version also allows users to view badges that they or their friends have earned and limit notifications on friends’ checkins to only when they are nearby. New high-resolution icons are now included for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and the post screen now accepts 140 Japanese characters. The update also includes a “cornucopia of bug zaps and feature tweaks” and performance improvements. Brightkite 2.8 is available from the App Store as a free download.
iOS developer Max Weisel has released MiTube, an application for viewing and downloading videos from YouTube on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Although a version of this app named MxTube has been available for jailbroken iOS devices for some time, this represents the first official App Store approved version of the app. MiTube is a universal app and allows users to stream and download videos from YouTube Mobile in any available quality, including HD versions. The application provides a basic YouTube search capability to locate videos and users can choose to stream or download each video in low or high quality, with HD versions where available. Downloaded videos are stored within the app and can be transferred to the user’s PC or Mac over USB via the File Sharing feature in iTunes. MiTube is available from the App Store as a free download.
Update: Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the app has been removed from the App Store.
Vaja is now offering immediate shipping on its Messenger Bag for the iPad, as well as its new Leather Agenda 2 case. The Messenger Bag is made from textured brown leather and features an adjustable leather strap, two main interior compartments, two front flap pockets, a large outer zip pocket, and a cushioned front flap with metal latches for fastening. Unusually for Vaja, the Messenger Bag is available exclusively in a Brownie & Birch color scheme, and is priced at $280. The Leather Agenda 2 is a folio-style padded leather case featuring an embossed interior lining, open access to all ports and controls, and the ability to function as a stand in two different landscape positions. It is available in a variety of different colors and sells for $220. Also new is the company’s Matelasse case for iPhone 4, which retains the flip-style and port access of the company’s iVolution series but adds a quilted front pattern. It sells for $135.