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Apple posts media event, iPhone 5, EarPods videos

Apple has posted full videos of Wednesday’s media event, as well as separate videos focusing on the iPhone 5, and EarPods. The iPhone 5 video is nearly seven minutes long and shows a brief demonstration of its LTE network in action, in addition to detailing new features of the phone. The EarPods video concentrates mainly on the design and development of the earphones, which will be packed in with some iPods and the iPhone 5, as well as sold separately.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint unlimited LTE data plans differ

AT&T customers who were grandfathered into the company’s unlimited 3G data plan can continue to receive unlimited data on the iPhone 5’s 4G LTE network, a press release has confirmed. Unlimited data customers can keep their current data plans, though LTE users who exceed 5GB of data per month will be throttled—a jump from the 3GB throttling cap of prior AT&T data plans. AT&T will apparently not offer FaceTime Over Cellular video calling functionality or Personal Hotspot tethering to unlimited LTE users.

As previously announced, grandfathered unlimited 3G data customers will be able to get unlimited Verizon LTE data, but won’t be able to buy an iPhone 5 at a lower subsidized cost. However, the carrier will be offering FaceTime Over Cellular and Personal Hotspot over all of its data plans. AT&T will require subscribers to join a data-sharing plan to use FaceTime over cellular.

Like Verizon, Sprint is offering FaceTime Over Cellular to users, and the company will offer unlimited data on its 4G LTE network—a seemingly major advantage over rivals. However, Sprint’s LTE network is tiny by comparison to Verizon’s, meaning that its unlimited data speeds for iPhone 5 will be no better than the iPhone 4/4S in most U.S. markets.

Apple releases iOS 6 GM seed to developers

Apple has released its Gold Master seed of iOS 6 to registered developers. Listed as build 10A403, the GM build is normally the last to be seeded prior to the software’s official launch, expected on September 19, and as such can be used to submit iOS 6 applications to the App Store for review. It is unclear whether the iOS 6 GM seed will be made available as an over-the-air software update, as has been the case with past iOS 5 and iOS 6 beta releases, however Registered Developers can download the iOS 6 GM seed and the accompanying SDK from the iOS Dev Center now.

iTunes 10.7 becoming available via download

The latest update to Apple’s iTunes software, version 10.7, is now available for download from the company’s website although as of press time it hasn’t yet appeared as a software update.

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Although no new features were mentioned during Apple’s iPhone 5 keynote presentation today, this update likely adds support for iPhone 5 and iOS 6, to be released next week. It also adds support for the latest iPod nano, shuffle, and touch models.

Apple shows EarPods earphones, Lightning cable, adapters

Confirming previous leaks, Apple today officially unveiled the names of its new earphones and miniature Dock Connector replacements. EarPods is the name chosen by Apple for its earphones, which will be bundled with the seventh-generation iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod touch starting in October, as well as sold separately. Like earlier Apple earphones, the EarPods will include a three-button remote control and microphone unit; new to the design are waveguides to channel the speakers’ output into users’ ears. They’ll sell for $29.

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Apple also announced the Lightning moniker for its new Dock Connector, which will appear on the bottoms of new iPods, iPhones, and iPads going forward. A $19 Lightning to USB Cable will be included with each compatible device, while two Lightning to 30-pin Adapters will be sold. The first is a hard plastic adapter, sold for $29, while the second is 0.2m long and sells for $39, starting in October.

For European users, a Lightning to Micro USB Adapter is now showing up in Apple’s online store with a lead time of three days. Selling for £15—about $24—it allows Apple to comply with EU regulations. 

 

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Of brief note: Apple has also renamed the prior USB Power Adapter to 5W USB Power Adapter, further differentiating it from the Apple iPad 10W USB Power Adapter, and listing it as compatible with all recent iPods and all iPhones, including today’s newly-introduced models. Notably, however, the 5W USB Power Adapter does not include Apple’s new Lightning to USB Cable or any cable, and now sells for $19 on its own.

Apple debuts fifth-generation iPod touch at $299/$399

  • September 12, 2012
  • iPod,

The fifth-generation iPod touch was introduced today by Apple at a media event in San Francisco. Confirming part leaks and rumors, the new model includes a 4” Retina display, a new aluminum back with a rear flash and microphone alongside the iSight camera, and an A5 processor. It weighs only 3.1 ounces, and measures 4.86 × 2.31 × 0.24”, the thinnest and lightest iPod touch yet released.

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In addition to black and white versions of the new iPod touch, pink, blue, green, and red versions have been added as firsts for the family, each very similar from the front to the fourth-generation model thanks to the use of only white or black painted glass bezels. Headphone port and speaker holes on the bottom are joined by a new Lightning connector port, replacing the prior 30-Pin Dock Connector and requiring an adapter for old accessories. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n dual-band support are now included, along with major camera improvements—a 720p FaceTime HD camera on the front and 1080p / 5-Megapixel iSight camera on the rear. Siri and AirPlay mirroring have been added for the first time in an iPod touch.

Unusually, a swirled metal button on the bottom left of the back turns out to be a camera hole-sized nub for a wrist strap called “iPod touch loop” to attach. Each iPod touch comes with a color-matched loop wrist strap, as well as EarPods, Apple’s newly redesigned earphones, and a Lightning to USB Cable.

The new iPod touch will be available in October for $299 (32GB) or $399 (64GB), with pre-orders to begin on September 14. Apple will continue to sell fourth-generation iPod touches for $199 (16GB) or $249 (32GB).

Apple shows seventh-generation iPod nano, new shuffle colors

Apple has introduced the completely redesigned seventh-generation iPod nano, capturing many of the best features of the prior-generation fifth- and sixth-generation models. Now complete with a 240- by 432-pixel resolution (202ppi) 2.5” touchscreen and Home Button, the new nano has integrated volume and track control buttons, widescreen video capabilities, and a Lightning port at the bottom. Support for photos has been added back, while fitness, pedometer, and FM radio features remain from prior generations. Bluetooth 4.0 has been added as well.

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Audio playback of 30 hours is promised, with video playback of up to 3.5 hours. The new device measures 3.01 × 1.56 × 0.21”, with a total weight of 1.1 ounces.

Eight colors of the new nano are available, including silver, blue, green, yellow, black, purple, pink, and red. The new model will be available in October for $149, with a 16GB capacity as the only initial option.

Apple’s previously-released fourth-generation iPod shuffle has also received a number of new colors—black, silver, pink, red, yellow, green, blue, and purple versions will be available for $49, each at 2GB capacity. Notably, the orange iPod shuffle has disappeared from the lineup, and some of the prior pink, blue, and green versions appear to have been replaced with new tones. The silver version appears to be unchanged from the original model.

Apple announces major iTunes update

During today’s iPhone 5 event, Apple also unveiled a major update to iTunes, its iconic media management application. Designed to be “dramatically simpler” the new version provides a much more simplified user interface presented primarily as a grid view, with album content expanding in place in a style similar to iOS folders and deeper links into the iTunes Store for browsing and purchasing additional content. A new split screen view allows users to see their full library while working with playlists, a new popup and drop down dialogs provide access to now playing queues and search results, providing more effective navigation without taking the focus away from the main screen. Improved playlist management allows users to move effectively drag and drop tracks directly into their preferred playlists and a new mini-player interface has been added providing album artwork with basic controls and search capabilities.

The new version of iTunes will also provide direct iCloud integration allowing users to stream previously purchased content from iCloud such as Movies and TV shows, with playback positions automatically synced with iOS devices via iCloud. Tighter iTunes Store integration also allows artists to share photos and other information and allows users to access artist pages to look for information such as concert dates and scheduled new releases. The new iTunes is expected to be available in late October.

Prices drop for iPhone 4S, 4; 3GS dropped from lineup

With the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple’s other iPhone prices have dropped. The 16GB iPhone 4S will now be sold for $99 on contract, and the 8GB iPhone 4 will be free. The iPhone 3GS has been removed from the lineup.

Apple announces iOS 6 release, demos new features

During today’s iPhone 5 event Apple announced the official release dates for iOS 6, the next major version of the company’s operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Originally announced at WWDC in June, iOS 6 is expected to add over 200 new user features. During the event, Senior iOS VP Scott Forstall took the stage to demonstrate several of the major new features in iOS 6 running on the new iPhone 5, including the new Apple Maps application with turn-by-turn navigation, a database of 100 million points of interest and integration with Yelp for photos and reviews.

Forstall also demonstrated the new 3D Flyover feature in iOS 6 Maps, new Safari features such as full-screen view and iCloud tabs, VIP support in the new Mail app, the new Passbook digital coupon and ticket app and Shared Photos Streams. Forstall also highlighted new Siri features such as the ability to request sports results, get movie recommendations, find restaurants and make reservations via OpenTable and post Facebook updates by voice. iOS 6 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, second- and third-generation iPod and fourth-generation iPod touch and will be available for download via iTunes and OTA update on September 19th.

Apple officially announces iPhone 5

Following months of heavy leaks, Apple today officially introduced the iPhone 5, the sixth-generation version of its groundbreaking 2007 smartphone. Housed in a new aluminum and glass frame first revealed by iLounge in May, the iPhone 5 now sports a 4” Retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, jumping to 1136 x 640 resolution from the prior 960 x 640. Thanks to the added real estate, it’s able to display six rows of icons at a time, and will run older iPhone applications centered in the middle of the screen.

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As expected, the new phone is 7.6 mm thick, making it the world’s thinnest smartphone, and with a 3.95-ounce weight, it’s also 20 percent lighter than the shorter iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 accomplishes some of its thinness by using in-cell technology, as the touch sensors are integrated into the display rather than requiring a separate layer. Battery life is billed at 8 hours for LTE calling or browsing, 10 hours for Wi-Fi browsing and video, and 40 hours for music.

A newly developed A6 processor powers the new iPhone, and is said to be twice as fast as the previous A5 processor across multiple tasks, yet 22 percent smaller. The phone also comes equipped with 4G LTE technology, and Apple has again partnered with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in the U.S. as initial LTE carriers, with HSPA+ and DC-HSPDA support as cellular fallbacks in areas without LTE coverage. A unique dynamic antenna, a single chip for voice and data, and a single radio chip are included inside, reducing power consumption and enabling the reduction in thickness. Newly enhanced Wi-Fi for the device features dual-band networking — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz on 802.11n for speeds up to 150 Mbps.

The new iSight rear-facing camera remains at its predecessor’s 8MP resolution, and is backside illuminated with a hybrid IR filter and durable sapphire crystal lens. Panorama mode has been added as a software feature, allowing very high-resolution images to be captured and seamlessly stitched together to create up to 28MP-wide photos. The camera also features face detection, a new dynamic low light mode with improved low light image quality, and precision lens alignment. Photo capture is said to be 40 percent faster than before. Users can now take pictures while recording video, as well. Apple’s front-facing FaceTime camera is now FaceTime HD capable, with video recording at up to 720p, backside illumination, and superior low-light performance. FaceTime over Cellular is also possible on supported networks.

For the first time, a total of three microphones are featured on the iPhone 5: one each on the back, front, and bottom. The iPhone 5 now supports wideband audio for higher-quality telephone conversations, a feature that will be supported by at least 20 carriers. Additionally, Apple claims the bottom speaker is better and smaller than before.

Of course, the device will run iOS 6, which prominently includes the new Maps app. The app will include a built-in search engine capable of perusing more than 100 million points of interest. Satellite imagery featuring 3-D modeling and turn-by-turn directions are also included in the app, which was shown for the first time months ago. Thanks to extra room on the screen, Mail and Calendar apps can show more information on the iPhone 5, and Apple’s Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand apps have all been updated and optimized for the new device.

Somewhat controversially, Apple’s new nine-pin, reversible dock connector replacement is featured on the iPhone 5’s bottom, and named Lightning. The iPhone 5 will be electronically incompatible with all prior-generation docking accessories made for Apple’s devices, however, Apple will release a new adapter to let the iPhone plug into some but not all 30-pin Dock Connector accessories. This adapter will notably be released some time after the iPhone 5, breaking compatibility in the process.

The iPhone 5 is priced at $199, $299, and $399, for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively, with a two-year contract. Pre-orders start Friday, Sept. 14. It comes in a black with “slate” metal version or white with silver metal version, each shipping on Sept. 21.

A6 processor, Qualcomm LTE on iPhone 5 logic board

Seemingly confirming previously released but underexposed and fuzzy images, newly leaked photos from HDBlog.it show that an A6 processor is visible on the iPhone 5’s logic board, along with Hynix flash memory and a Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE modem. Notably, the MDM9615 was announced in February 2011, promising to “support LTE (FDD and TDD), DC-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA” standards, using a 28nm process and new technologies to reduce the chip’s interference, power consumption, and physical footprint, with optional support for on-board Wi-Fi hotspot creation.

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The specifications for the A6 processor are likely to be revealed later today at Apple’s media event in San Francisco. Although rumors have suggested that the iPhone 5 may pack a quad-core processor, or follow the third-generation iPad’s A5X in coupling a dual-core CPU with a quad-core graphics processor, keeping power consumption low will be a major consideration in the new iPhone’s actual specifications. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple site leak confirms iPhone 5, new iPod touch + nano

Searches for “iPhone-5” on Apple’s site ahead of today’s media event have revealed a number of search results, apparently confirming that the sixth-generation iPhone will indeed be called the “iPhone 5.” The results include a now-inactive PR announcement and tips section, as well as an inactive press release announcing a new iPod touch and new iPod nano. [via MacRumors]

Updated: iLounge has confirmed that a new version of iTunes is also amongst today’s scheduled announcements.

STM, Hard Candy, Musubo + PDair show iPhone 5 cases

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Just ahead of the new iPhone’s launch event, four companies have announced cases for the impending device. STM Bags has introduced three cases, led by the Harbour ($35), a handsome-looking slider case that comes in five colors. The company also announced the one-piece Opera case ($30) and kickstand-laden Arvo shell ($40). Hard Candy Cases has introduced its ShockDrop case ($40), a boxy, ruggedized case with an included screen protector and no-slip texture. It ships Sept. 21.

Musubo has launched its Retro case ($35), which comes in four colors and features a classic 1950s microphone-style design, coming bundled with a folding stand; it will be available in late September. PDair has also announced a number of very simple sleeve-like cases, including a Leather Case ($30) that comes in either a horizontal or a vertical style — the latter comes with an included belt clip. Aluminum, silicone, and other leather cases will also be available, says PDair.

Google Drive app adds editing support

Google has updated its Google Drive app for iOS adding several new features including the ability to upload photos and videos and edit Google documents from directly within the application. Initially released earlier this summer, the Google Drive universal iOS app allows users of the online storage service to access and manage their documents and other files directly from their iOS device. The initial release was somewhat limited in scope, providing support only for viewing Google documents, however the latest release now allows users to more effectively collaborate with the ability to make edits in almost real-time, complete with formatting control. The update also improves Google presentations, adding support for animations and speaker notes and now allows users to create new folders and Google Documents from directly within the application. Users can also now upload photos and videos from the iOS Camera Roll or directly from the camera and can now move and delete files from their account. Google Drive is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Report: New iPhone pre-orders to start this Friday

Tossing water on long-spread but highly questionable rumors that Apple will begin pre-orders for the new iPhone immediately following the device’s introduction, MacRumors claims that pre-orders for the new iPhone may not start until Friday morning. The iPhone 4S was scheduled for a Friday launch following the device’s media event, and the new iPhone is believed to be on a similar timeframe, with a one-week window for advance ordering. According to the report, Apple is increasing sales support staffing for 6 a.m. Eastern on Friday, in preparation for a “major surge” in orders that day.

New iPad mini, iPhone cases compared to existing devices

A set of comparison photos on Flickr illustrates the size differences between the iPad, iPad mini, new iPhone, and iPhone 4S. In one photo, the iPhone 4S rests inside a pre-production case for the new iPhone, which is taller, but not wider, matching the rumored 4” screen.

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These items are compared to a pre-production case for the impending iPad mini — believed to have a 7.85” screen — which is seen fitting easily within the footprint of an existing iPad case. The designs are based on leaks, and as always, subject to change when the actual devices are unveiled over the coming weeks. [via MacRumors]

Apple designers at odds over skeuomorphic apps

  • September 11, 2012
  • Apple,

Internal Apple tension over the looks of the company’s applications is becoming public, according to a Fast Company report, with key executives and designers disagreeing about the aesthetics of software designs. Most of the criticism revolves around the company’s occasional penchant for skeuomorphism—ornamental designs inspired by real-world materials and products — that sometimes appears in software, such as in iCal’s “leather” stitching and Game Center’s wood-and-green-felt casino look. The skeuomorphic interfaces arguably make some users feel more comfortable with software, while offending the visual tastes of others.

The report suggests that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and current Senior iOS VP Scott Forstall have aggressively promoted skeuomorphic interfaces, while Senior VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and other designers believe the traditional visual metaphors are no longer necessary and create confusion. “There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible,” a former senior UI designer at Apple reportedly told Fast Company in reference to the leather look of iCal, which reportedly was inspired by Jobs’ personal Gulfstream jet; another former designer is quoted as claiming that many Apple employees “think it’s gone too far.”

Google releases YouTube app

Following reports that iOS 6 will remove the built-in YouTube app, Google has now launched its own official standalone YouTube app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Although Apple has included a native YouTube app on the iPhone since the beginning, the built-in version was developed by Apple rather than Google and has generally seen only modest updates as new iOS versions are released, failing to keep pace with newer YouTube features. Recent iOS 6 betas now suggest that the built-in app will disappear when Apple releases iOS 6 later this month, and while Google introduced an iPhone optimized web version of YouTube back in 2010, this still relied on Safari and like many web apps lacked native iOS integration.

The new YouTube app has been developed for the iPhone and iPod touch to provide a more integrated experience along with improved performance and exploration features, allowing users to access YouTube either as a guest or with their own YouTube account, view playlists, subscribe to video channels, and discover content via a new integrated YouTube channel guide. Users can also play videos via AirPlay and share on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Messages and e-mail. The new app also provides access to a greater range of content by allowing users to view videos with pre-roll advertising—a requirement that barred many videos from being displayed in the built-in app. YouTube is an iPhone and iPod touch app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. An iPad optimized version is reportedly under development and expected to be available in the coming months.

AT&T offers iPhone unlocking, T-Mobile pitches plans

Ahead of the next-generation iPhone’s launch, AT&T is offering to unlock iPhones for AT&T customers who have fulfilled their contracts, so long as the iPhones were not reported as stolen. Users can fill out a request form to unlock an AT&T iPhone, and will receive a response from the company within several days. According to one report, some iPhone users with current contracts have had success, as well. [via Ubergizmo]

Spurned by Apple as an official iPhone carrier, T-Mobile is actively attempting to solicit users of unlocked iPhones to use the devices on their network. As part of a pitch to recruit iPhone users, T-Mobile notes that customers will be able to use their iPhones with T-Mobile’s recently unveiled unlimited 4G data plan, which is offered at a $20-$30 cost over standard voice and messaging plans. However, only AT&T iPhones will work on the T-Mobile network, so users of Verizon and Sprint devices need not apply. [via TmoNews]

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