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Apple confirms new 12W adapter charges quicker

All but lost in the shuffle of major new Apple product releases this week was the new 12W USB Power Adapter, which as noted in our earlier story is designed to work with iPads and a number of other recent iPod and iPhone models. The 12W Adapter is an updated version of the 10W USB Power Adapter shipped with all previous iPads, and will be bundled with the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini, as well as purchased separately for $19. According to 9to5Mac, Apple has confirmed that the adapter will charge previous iPads faster than the older 10W adapter, stating that “[w]e don’t have an exact percentage of how much faster it would charge but you should see an increase in speed.”

Calculations run by iLounge suggest that the 12W Adapter could shave off up to two hours of charging time for the third-generation iPad, which notably took 7 or more hours to refuel. It’s unclear how much of an improvement will be seen by older iPads, as well as the iPad mini, which has roughly one-third the battery capacity of current full-sized models.

2012 Readers’ Choice Awards update, last chance to vote!

Voting is about to close for our 2012 Readers’ Choice awards, and it looks like we have three tight races to the end. The top four in each category haven’t changed much over the past week, but their respective standings have, and very few votes separate winners from runners-up. It’s nearly a dead heat in the Accessory Maker of the Year awards, as STM, Speck, Incipio, Griffin, and iHome are all vying for victory. For iOS App Developer of the Year, Apple, Google, Mundomono, and Facebook lead the way, and iOS Game Developer of the Year is down to Rovio, EA, Zynga, and Epic Games.

Don’t forget to vote for Apple Product of the Year, as well. The four-question survey can be completed in less than a minute. Voting ends at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time, Saturday, October 27. Cast your vote now, before it’s too late!

Samsung infringes four Apple patents, ITC judge rules

  • October 25, 2012
  • Apple,

Samsung infringed four Apple patents, according to a ruling by U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender, Bloomberg reports. Among the infringements are a design patent for the front face of the iPhone, and another for touchscreen technology co-invented by Steve Jobs. The findings are subject to review by the trade commission, which should finish its investigation by Feb. 25. An import ban of certain Samsung products is a possibility.

The other two infringements from the ruling include a patent involving translucent images for applications displayed on a screen, and a patent that detects when a headset is plugged in. Wednesday’s patent news saw mixed results for Samsung, as the company won a Dutch court dispute, but was revealed to be the subject of an antitrust law investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. As Bloomberg notes, Samsung has been more successful against Apple outside of the U.S. In the U.K., Apple must run ads stating that Samsung has not copied the design of its iPad due to a recent appeal ruling.

iPad mini, fourth-gen iPad dimensions posted online

Apple has posted detailed official dimensional drawings for the iPad mini — Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions — on its website, and has done the same for the fourth-generation iPad (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular).

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All of the documents are available through Apple’s developer portal. Although they don’t reveal any new information, the measurements enable accessory designers to proceed with their new products, particularly cases that depend upon precise measurements. Apple released drawings for the iPhone 5, new iPod touch, and new iPod nano in September.

Schiller defends $329 iPad mini pricing

In response to early criticisms of the iPad mini’s $329 starting price tag, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller told Reuters that consumers will see the iPad mini as a premium product worthy of its price when compared to similar $199 products like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. “The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we’ve made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those devices,” Schiller said. “…And now you can get a device that’s even more affordable at $329 in this great new form, and I think a lot of customers are going to be very excited about that.”

Some Apple stores offer 30-day third-gen iPad exchange

Multiple sources are reporting that some Apple retail stores are offering recent third-generation iPad customers the opportunity to exchange their device for the new fourth-generation iPad. CNET reports that some stores are allowing the exchange for customers who purchased their third-generation iPad within the past 30 days, and ZDNet reports the same thing is happening in the U.K. Both reports claim that the exchanges are being offered selectively on a store-by-store basis, so readers are encouraged to check if their local Apple stores have made the same decision. The usual return policy is 14 days.

The release of the new iPad prompted immediate concerns from customers on the matter, considering it has completely replaced the third-generation iPad, which was only released about seven months ago. Apple’s iPad support forums are full of users wondering if they can make the exchange. There has been no official word from Apple.

Patents: Samsung wins Dutch decision, draws DOJ investigation

  • October 24, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple and Samsung’s ongoing patent war has taken another two turns, as Samsung won a Dutch court decision, but is now being investigated by the Department of Justice in the U.S. Reuters reports that a Dutch court has ruled Samsung does not infringe on an Apple patent involving multi-touch: using two fingers at a time on the touch screens of some Samsung smartphones and tablets does not constitute an infringement, according to the court.

Back in the U.S., however, the Department of Justice is investigating whether Samsung violated antitrust law through possible misuse of essential wireless patents, Dow Jones reports, a detail revealed by Apple in a legal document. Although the DOJ has not commented on the investigation, a source notes the probe has been ongoing for several months. Apple maintains that some of Samsung’s standard-essential patents are being offered on unfair terms. [via CNET]

iPad mini case roundup: Incipio, Cygnett, Proporta, iFrogz

In the wake of Apple’s unveiling yesterday of the iPad mini, more companies are announcing cases for the 7.9” tablet, including Incipio, Cygnett, iFrogz, and Booq. Incipio has introduced four cases: the hard shell Lexington ($40), the thin snap-on Feather ($35), the NGP ($35), and the hard shell LGND ($35). All cases are either available for pre-order or listed as coming soon. Cygnett introduced five cases: the flexible folding Enigma ($40), the extra-protective Armour ($40), and the soft-feel FlexiGel ($20) are all said to be in stock now, with the shock-absorbing Workmate ($40) and impact-resistant Vector ($20) planned for availability on Oct. 31.

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Proporta has introduced iPad mini five cases: the Swivel 360 ($34) with its rotating stand, the Leather Style Folio ($34), the Leather Style with Aluminum Lining ($40), and the Back Shell ($27), all shipping Nov. 5, along with the now-available Quiksilver Neoprene Blue Checks ($20). iFrogz has also announced two cases, the textured Breeze ($30) and the folding Merge ($50). For more iPad mini cases, see Tuesday’s case roundup.

Apple announces iBooks 3

Apple announced a major new upgrade to iBooks for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch during today’s special event. The new version features an optional continuous scrolling mode for reading, sharing of information via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter and support for over 40 languages, including Korean, Chinese and Japanese, including appropriate font styles and page turning directions. iCloud integration has also been improved, effectively providing users with easier access to their iBookstore purchases in iCloud directly on their virtual bookshelf. The iBooks update is expected to be available on the App Store later today as a free download.

Updated: iBooks 3 has been released.

STM, X-Doria, Hard Candy, iLuv debut iPad mini cases

Today’s official iPad mini unveiling was followed by the announcement of early iPad mini cases, as STM, X-Doria, Hard Candy, and iLuv have all announced accessories for the new tablet. STM has announced the sleek Skinny Mini ($35), the Grip Mini ($40) with kickstand, and the leather Marquee ($80). All three cases have a front cover, and the Skinny and Grip are equipped with hard shell backs.

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X-Doria has announced five cases for the iPad mini, including the puff-printed wraparound SmartStyle ($40), the patterned SmartJacket ($35), the SleeveStand ($30), the leather-like Dash Folio ($40), and the Engage ($20) back cover, which works in conjunction with Apple’s iPad mini Smart Cover. Hard Candy has introduced its ShockDrop Case ($50) for the mini, a rugged hard shell case that comes in black or red and ships Oct. 25. iLuv has also announced a number of accessories for the mini, including five cases: the customizable Pulse, the portfolio-style CEO Folio, the ultra-thin Epicarp, the Snoopy Folio, and the padded Belgique. Prices for the iLuv accessories will range from $20 to $80.

Apple keeps iPad 2 in lineup, pulls 3rd-gen iPad

While Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its lineup, it has surprisingly pulled the third-generation iPad from its online store in the U.S. after today’s announcement of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad.

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The store now shows the iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPad with Retina display — however, the latter is the fourth-generation iPad, essentially replacing the third-generation iPad entirely. For the time being, Apple is selling off refurbished third-generation iPads in its refurbished section of the Apple Store; it’s unclear how and when it will discount the remaining stock of new third-generation models.

Apple introduces fourth-generation iPad

  • October 23, 2012
  • iPad,

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At its special press event today, Apple introduced the fourth-generation iPad. Physically almost identical to the third-generation iPad it replaces, this iPad features a new A6X chip, promising double the performance of the A5X for CPU tasks, as well as a new front-facing FaceTime HD camera with 720p video and 1280x720p still photo support. Other new features include Wi-Fi that’s claimed to be twice as fast, support for new LTE carriers including Sprint in the United States, and the Lightning connector. The fourth-generation iPad retails for the same prices as the third-generation model, ranging from $499-$829. Pre-orders begin on October 26 with sales of the Wi-Fi beginning November 2 and the LTE model coming about two weeks later. The third-generation iPad has been discontinued.

Apple introduces new iPad accessories, cables

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Alongside the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, Apple today introduced a handful of new accessories and cables including a new polyurethane iPad mini Smart Cover, Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Lightning to VGA Adapter.

For the iPad mini, a shrunken version of the iPad Smart Cover was announced. iPad mini Smart Cover functions in the same way as Apple’s previous magnetic lid but forgoes the metal spine. It comes in dark gray, light gray, pink, green, blue, and (PRODUCT) RED variations.

Its iPad Camera Connection Kit, formerly coming with two adapters inside, has been split into two separate adapters: the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. They work with both new iPad models. 

The HDMI port-equipped Apple Digital AV Adapter and Apple VGA Adapter have also been updated with support for Lightning connectors. They’ve been renamed as the Lightning to Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter, respectively, and cost $49 each. This represents a price increase of $10 for the Digital AV model and $20 for the VGA cable.

To support the revised third-generation iPad’s increased charging requirements, Apple also released a 12W USB Power Adapter ($19). The adapter is packaged alone without a Lightning to USB Cable or any other cable, much like the company’s 5W USB Power Adapter. It allows the iPad to charge at a faster rate than the iPad 10W USB Power Adapter that’s been in use since the first-generation model of the tablet, and because it omits the additional cable, it sells for a lower price.

Apple updates iBooks Author

During its special event today, Apple unveiled a new version of iBooks Author, its creation tool for iBooks. The new version of iBooks Author provides a collection of new templates along with the ability to implement their own custom fonts and insert mathematical expressions directly into books. Additional new features include multitouch widgets and the ability to easily update iBooks online when new editions or content updates are released. The latest version of iBooks Author is expected to be available on the Mac App Store later today as a free download.

Apple introduces iPad mini

After months of speculation, Apple today officially announced the iPad mini, a smaller version of its iconic tablet. It starts at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, with a 32GB Wi-Fi model at $429, and 64GB Wi-Fi model at $529. There are also Wi-Fi + Cellular models, priced at $459, $559, and $659 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively. Pre-orders start Friday, Oct. 26. The Wi-Fi version will ship Nov. 2 to a wide number of countries, and the Cellular version will ship “two weeks later” in the U.S., then the rest of the world.

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The iPad mini has a 7.9” screen diagonally and a 1024x768 resolution, packing features that are equal to or better than iPad 2 in every way, according to Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller, who compared the device to 7” Android tablets such as Google’s Nexus 7, spotlighting the differences in build quality — aluminum versus plastic — and screen size. For processing and graphics, the iPad mini packs a dual-core A5 chip. It features a FaceTime HD camera on the front and a 5MP/1080p iSight camera on the back. It has an LTE option, and uses 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, plus Bluetooth 4.0. Borrowing features from the iPhone 5, the iPad mini features both the Lightning connector and nano SIM technology. As with past iPads, battery life is billed at 10 hours, and up to 9 hours of surfing the web over a cellular data network.

Primary physical benefits include a reduction in weight and size relative to the iPad 2. iPad mini weighs .68 lbs — the Cellular version weighs .69 lbs. — 53 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad, and it is 7.2 mm thick, 23 percent thinner than the fourth-generation iPad. It’s capable of being held comfortably in one hand, while the full-sized iPad requires two. The display is covered by 0.2 mm-thick glass, and the device comes in white-and-silver and black-and-slate color combinations.

Apple plans 12W iPad adapter, Lightning video, 2 camera adapters

  • October 23, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple will release four additional Lightning adapters at or after today’s special event, 9to5Mac is reporting. Notably, the company plans to separately sell the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, for $29 each, versus the $29 total price charged for the prior iPad Camera Connection Kit with both pieces using Dock Connectors.

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Also included in the planned release are a Lightning to VGA Adapter ($49), a Lightning Digital AV Adapter ($49), and a 12W USB Power Adapter ($19). The last adapter in the list, likely for the iPad, would represent an increase in wattage from 10W, making quicker charging a possibility.

Update: According to 9to5Mac, advance Apple price lists also appear to show an “iPad mini Smart Cover,” which suggests that Apple will be calling the smaller iPad “iPad mini” after all.

iPad “little more” event to stream live on Apple TV, web

Apple’s special event at 1PM Eastern today will stream live on Apple TV, as indicated by a new Apple Events icon that is now appearing on the Apple TV home screen.

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Apple TV users can click to watch the event, which will introduce the iPad mini and other products. Updated: The event will also stream live on Apple’s website, where it will be viewable via computers, tablets, and pocket devices.

Apple employees share thoughts on leaks, security

  • October 22, 2012
  • Apple,

A new story at Ars Technica details Apple’s issues with product leaks through interviews with anonymous employees. The article suggests that the majority of Apple’s leaks come from contract manufacturers and partners, even though security within Apple may be stricter than ever. Within the story, an employee deemed Apple’s security practices “outdated,” noting that they reflect a focus on training people who aren’t actually responsible for leaks. Similarly, while Apple’s overseas manufacturing methods have led to impressive results, an employee said it will continue to be hard to hide new designs because the manufacturing workers “have no vested interest in keeping it secret.”

According to the story, even Apple’s retail stores have been impacted by tighter security precautions — stores now receive OS X system updates only 12 hours before release. Stores used to receive the updates about a week ahead of launch, making it easier for employees to learn the new features.

2012 Readers’ Choice Awards update, five days left!

We’ve already received thousands of votes for our 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards, and with only five days remaining to cast your ballot, we wanted to update you with the latest standings. Accessory Maker of the Year voting is extremely close, with STM, Speck, Griffin, and Incipio all fighting for the lead, and numerous other candidates are in the mix, as well. iOS App Developer of the Year still sees Apple, Facebook, Google, and Mundomono at the top of the large pile, and iOS Game Developer of the Year is a four-way battle between Rovio, EA, Zynga, and Epic Games.

As for Apple Product of the Year, the iPhone 5 is doing very well, but other nominees can’t be counted out yet. If your favorite product isn’t already listed, you can write in any announced Apple product released this year — in fact, all categories feature spots for write-in candidates. The four-question survey can be completed in less than a minute. Voting ends at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time, October 27. Cast your vote now!

Report: iOS 6.0.1 coming, fixes graphics, wireless, other issues

  • October 22, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple has started testing iOS 6.0.1 for release, according to a BGR report. The update should fix an issue with horizontal lines on the screen while the keyboard or an app folder is open; a problem with the camera’s flash not working; cellular data not working on some occasions; a bug allowing access to Passbook details from the Lock screen; and an issue that cancels Exchange meetings for the entire invite group. Also included in the update will be improved Wi-Fi support, and a consolidated cellular data switch for iTunes Match.

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