Dwindling supplies of Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumper case in certain regions may be pointing to an impending discontinuation of the line, according to a new report. Citing information received from informant “Mr. X”, 9to5Mac reports that stock of Apple’s in-house iPhone 4 case is constrained in certain regions, which it takes as an indication that Apple plans to either update or discontinue the line. The report notes that the next iPhone may require an updated Bumper, or may feature an all new design. With some form of the iPhone 4, whether it be a simple change to 8GB capacity or a new iPhone 4S moniker, likely to be sold long after the iPhone 5 is announced, it seems unlikely that Apple would discontinue the product altogether. Instead, it seems possible that it is drawing down current stock to be replaced with a slightly updated revision, or to indicate on the accessory’s packaging its compatibility with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, should the latter become a reality.
Apple has signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to a new report. Citing industry sources, Digitimes reports that under the new agreement, TSMC will use its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs. Reports linking the two companies date back to as early as June, as tensions between Apple and A5 manufacturing partner Samsung became increasingly evident. The report goes on to state that Apple and TSMC have not yet discussed backend manufacturing, and suggests that Apple may have TSMC and other dedicated packaging and testing houses split the orders due to TSMC’s limited backend services capacity.
Altec Lansing is showing a pair of new speaker systems at the IFA show in Berlin, according to Engadget. The inAir 5000 is a tabletop AirPlay speaker featuring a teardrop design and 110 watts of total power, but lacking the built-in dock of the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin line with which it is likely to compete. The second system is the iMT630 Classic. It offers a retractable dock, a built-in stand on the back, and a magnetic remote control that can be secured to the unit’s metal front grill for safe keeping. Neither price nor availability information has been released for either system.
Update: Altec has released details of its inMotion iMT630 speaker system for the iPhone and iPod. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts for up to seven hours, the 630 features an integrated dock, dual two-inch drivers, an included wireless remote with dedicated magnetic storage space, and compatibility with Altec Lansing’s free iOS apps. Altec Lansing’s inMotion iMT630 speaker system for the iPhone and iPod is available in a black Classic model or in red or teal Sport models and sells for $150.
Citing an Apple employee who asked not to be named because he was not allowed to speak publicly for the company, the New York Times reports that Apple’s iPhone announcement is “just weeks away,” and that the case mockups seen online are possibly spot-on. From descriptions I’ve heard of the new iPhone from Apple employees, the images seemed potentially authentic,” Nick Bilton writes, adding, “an engineer familiar with the new iPhone said it would be fairly different from the iPhone 4 — including on the inside.” The report goes on to predict an eight-megapixel camera and dual-core A5 processor for the phone, and also speculates on the inclusion of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to serve as the basis for a mobile payments system tied to iTunes, although it notes that the feature might not debut until the iPhone 6. Apple is widely expected to release the iPhone 5 next month.
Belkin has unveiled its new lineup of kitchen accessories for the iPad 2. The lineup includes the Chef Stand + Stylus, which consists of a chrome-finished, dual-angle stand and a touchscreen-friendly stylus with its own holder and a magnetic tip for activating the iPad 2’s automatic sleep/wake functionality. It is compatible with most cases, hand-washable, and priced at $40, and the Fridge Mount, which is also priced at $40, and uses maximum-strength 3M Command strips to snap the iPad 2 firmly in place and attach it securely to the fridge. Rounding out the lineup is the Kitchen Cabinet Mount, a $50 accessory that uses an adjustable clamp to attach itself to any cabinet or shelf, securely suspending the iPad 2—whether or not it’s in a case—in the air. The Kitchen Cabinet Mount sells for $50; release information for the three products has yet to be announced.
Case-Mate has posted, and since removed, a page offering up images of what it claimed to be upcoming cases for the iPhone 5. BGR reports that the cases appear to follow speculation that the iPhone 5 will sport a totally new design, as they feature volume buttons on one side, two openings on the opposite side, large openings for a rear camera and flash, access to the sleep/wake button and headphone jack on top, and to the 30-pin port, speaker, and microphone on the bottom. While the photos themselves have since been removed, the company has left up its iPhone 4S/iPhone 5 landing page, on which it predicts the release of a wider, thinner iPhone 5 with an A5 dual-core processor, eight-megapixel camera, and wireless charging, as well as an iPhone 4S retaining the basic design of the iPhone 4 but with upgraded components, including an A5 processor and eight-megapixel camera.
TweetDeck has released an update to its iPhone app removing support for its Deck.ly extended posting service. Redesigned and released earlier this year as an entirely new app, TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch incorporated its own tweet shortening service known as Deck.ly that allows users to write tweets longer than 140 characters, posting as many characters as possible within the tweet followed by a link to an online page to display the full length of the tweet.
At the time that the new app was released, TweetDeck also promised that a similar iPad update would be coming. However, shortly after this the company was acquired by Twitter and despite claims that the company would continue to provide “the same focus and products” all references to the iPad app were removed from the company’s web site. There have been few TweetDeck updates since the acquisition, and this latest update appears to have been released primarily to remove Deck.ly support “as part of the process of making TweetDeck more consistent with Twitter.com & Twitter’s mobile apps.” TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download.
Capcom has released two new classic game titles for the iPhone and iPod touch: Final Fight and Street Fighter II Collection alongside an update to Street Fighter IV: Volt adding two new fighters, Fei Long and Yun.
In Final Fight, the player takes on the role of a character who must rescue a kidnapped young woman named Jessica from a ruthless street gang. The beat-‘em-up action side-scrolling action game allows the player to choose from one of three characters—Guy, Cody or Hagger—each with their own unique fighting style and abilities. The iOS version also adds an additional finishing move button that allows the player to blow up enemies when in danger. Two players can also team up for co-op gameplay via Bluetooth. Final Fight requires iOS 4.1 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $1.
The Street Fighter II Collection combines the original Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting into a single app with features optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch interface. The game also includes support for cooperative multiplayer Bluetooth games and an easy-to-use one-button finishing move. Street Fighter II Collection requires iOS 4.1 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store for $4.
Massive Damage has released an update to Please Stay Calm, its location based MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod touch first released in Canada last week. The update adds integration with Apple’s Game Center for achievement tracking and makes several fixes and improvements to the game play. Players can now easily retaliate against duel attacks by other players, receiving a retaliation bonus if done quickly enough. The update also reduces time and distance penalties for collecting goods from outposts, provides a local notification when a player’s energy returns to full and puts locked rooms and random encounters on a one-hour timer.
The latest version also provides important fixes for Foursquare location tracking that previously limited playability for users in less populated areas and makes several other fixes and improvements to duelling modifiers, defensive items, location types, and general game stability. Please Stay Calm requires iOS 4.1 or later and an online connection to play and is available from the Canadian App Store as a free download; the game is expected to launch in other countries in the coming weeks.
An ex-Samsung Electronics manager has testified that he disclosed confidential shipping data for iPad components to investors prior to the device’s release, Businessweek reports. Testifying in the insider-trading trial of Primary Global Research (PGR) exec James Fleishman, Suk-Joo Hwang, who worked for 14 years at Samsung’s U.S. division, told jurors that he had lunch with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager in Mountain View, CA, four months prior to the iPad’s launch, at which he shared the information. “One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,” Hwang said. “This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.” Hwang was working for PGR as a consultant at the time.
Hwang went on to say that a man at a nearby table was staring at him, and he became concerned that the man might be an Apple employee; shortly after the lunch, he was told by a colleague that Samsung had lost a supply contract with Apple. “I thought, ‘Oh that guy was an Apple guy and they found out,’” Hwang said. “I was scared.” Hwang was granted immunity from prosecution by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in return for his testimony.
Kensington has introduced several new accessories for the iPhone and iPad. Among them are the BungeeAir Power Wireless Security Tether & Battery for iPhone and BungeeAir Protect Wireless Security Tether for iPhone, two new products which combined a small remote fob, 30-pin accessory, and downloadable app to maintain an active wireless connection between the fob and the iPhone, alerting the user should one travel too far from the other while simultaneously password-protecting the phone. The app also lets the accessory serve as a key-finding mechanism. The BungeeAir Power integrates the 30-pin transmitter into a slim battery case for the iPhone 4, offering 1500mAh of extra power and a built-in slot to allow a credit card to serve as a kickstand when viewing the iPhone in landscape orientation. It sells for $100 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. The BungeeAir Protect instead includes a small 30-pin dongle for communication with the included fob as well as a case designed to hold the iPhone 4 with the dongle attached. It sells for $80, and is available for pre-order directly from Kensington.
Finally, the new SecureBack Security Cases for iPad 2 allow users to secure their iPads while also offering protection. The standard SecureBack Security Case features three-piece construction, open access to all ports and controls, and an adjustable slider bar that offers quick access to the ClickSafe Security Anchor while also serving as a typing stand, while the SecureBack Security Case with 2-way Stand adds an extendable stand to the rear of the case, offering a 20-degree typing angle and 60-degree landscape viewing angle. Both cases are available for pre-order now for $50 and $60, respectively, and are also available in bundles with a ClickSafe Lock for an additional $30 each.
Apple’s iPad increased its share of the tablet market in the second calendar quarter of 2011, according to new research from IDC. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, demand for the iPad 2 gave Apple a share of 68.3 percent in Q2, up from 65.7 percent in the prior quarter, while Android’s share of the market slipped from 34 percent in Q1 to 26.8 percent in the second quarter. Overall tablet shipments were up 88.9 percent over the prior quarter an 303.8 percent year-over-year to 13.6 million units; IDC is predicting second-half 2011 tablet shipments of 62.5 million units.
Images of a screen protector claimed to be for the iPhone 5 have appeared online. The photos, posted by unwire.hk, show a protector that covers an area wider and slightly shorter than the iPhone 5, with a wide hole at the bottom for the rumored elongated home button and a thin strip at the top, which presumably would provide an opening for the handset speaker and FaceTime camera. As noted by Mac Rumors, while several cases and a design image have appeared sporting such a form factor, no actual part leaks have yet appeared to suggest that the design is that of the iPhone 5.
SkyGrid has released an redesigned version of its iOS news aggregator app improving the user interface and navigation. SkyGrid 2.2 now allows users to select the Photo Grid view across all sections and provides a separate Following Grid for every source and topic being followed. Image quality has also been improved throughout the app and users can now swipe between home screens and take advantage of more seamless scrolling to view additional stories. The new version also includes an updated Choose Your Interested Guide providing more content and allows users to add more topics or sources to their following grid from any page simply by tapping on the green ribbon in the top right corner. SkyGrid is available from the App Store as a free download.
China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou recently made several comments regarding his company’s ongoing talks with Apple over the iPhone, Bloomberg reports. “China Mobile and Apple hope to find a solution for close collaboration” on the company’s fourth-generation TD-LTE network, Wang said in an interview with Dalian. “We discussed this issue with Apple. We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.” Talks between the two companies date back to 2007; Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly spotted visiting the company’s headquarters earlier this year. China Mobile is the world’s largest cellular provider with over 600 million subscribers. [via MDN]
Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, has made comments suggesting that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 on October 15. Hardmac reports that Richard was being interviewed by a French TV business channel when he said that he had received information on the iPhone 5 and its planned release date, which he claimed was October 15. While it remains to be seen whether Richard was referring to the France-specific or worldwide release, the date—a Saturday—does track with prior reports of a mid-October launch for the device. [via TUAW]
New code discovered in Apple’s iChat instant messaging client suggests that the company is preparing to add iMessage support to the app. Citing information provided by a developer, Mac Rumors reports that the version of iChat in OS X Lion contains properties for “_timeDelivered” and “_timeRead,” suggesting that the application will offer the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Such features, however, are not offered by any of iChat’s current native messaging services, but are offered by iMessage. As noted in the report, support for iMessage in OS X Lion would allow Mac users and iOS 5 users to exchange messages with one another in real time, and would serve as a compliment to Apple’s FaceTime video chat service, which also allows for direct communication between Macs and iOS devices.
Parallels has updated the iOS companion application for its recently released Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac adding support for remote control of the Parallels host Mac in the same manner as remotely controlling virtual machines. The new version also adds audio support, allowing users to play back music and audio remotely from the host Mac or other virtual machine, and iOS clipboard support for copying and pasting text between the iOS device and the remote computer. Additional improvements in the update include better support for external displays and keyboards, the ability to limit connections to Wi-Fi only, and a number of general stability, performance and usability improvements. Parallels Mobile is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is currently available from the App Store for an introductory price of $5, reduced from the normal price of $20. The app requires Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac or later; remote control of the host Mac requires Parallels Desktop 7.
The developers of the popular iStudiez class and schoolwork management apps for iOS devices have released iTeacherBook, a new app focused on providing class management tools for teachers. Created in response to multiple requests from teachers using iStudiez Pro, iTeacherBook now only allows planning a teacher’s schedule and tasks but also provides options for tracking and recording student attendance, sending assignments out via e-mail and marking and tracking student progress and grades for multiple courses and classes. A variety of grading systems are supported and attendance and grades can be entered in real-time or for past events and assignments and the app provides various types of built-in reports for attendance, grades, and student information as well as the ability to export data in CSV format. The application also provides notifications for events, assignments to hand out and scheduled tests and exams. Integration with iStudiez Pro is also planned for a future update. iTeacherBook requires iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Priceline.com has launched an iPad native version of its hotel and travel reservations app for iOS devices. Priceline Hotel & Car Negotiator allows iPad users to easily locate hotels at a given destination using an interactive map and make room reservations directly from within the app. Users can view the hotels plotted on the map tagged by price, star level, guest satisfaction score and Name Your Own Price zones; users can zoom and pan the map view using standard touch gestures and tap on a hotel label to see a full detail view for that hotel including guest satisfaction ratings, photos, guest reviews and room rates. Priceline Hotel & Car Negotiator is available from the App Store as a free download.