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HardCandy Cases debuts new Nano Clip

HardCandy Cases has announced its Nano Clip ($20) for the new seventh-generation iPod nano. The Nano Clip is a snap-on case with a clip on the back, filling the void for those who were used to the clip on the previous iPod nano—or the original iPod mini.

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It comes in red, graphite, or white, and can be pre-ordered now for shipment in mid-November.

 

Report: Apple to stop using Samsung tech

Apple is actively taking steps to stop using Samsung’s technology in its devices, a senior Samsung official told The Korea Times. Industry sources claim that Apple used Samsung only to manufacture the A6 microprocessor found in its iPhone 5 — the design and development were done by Apple alone. By comparison, Samsung is believed to have previously contributed to the design of Apple’s A-series chips to some extent.

Apple’s recent deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing for the future production of quad-core processors could completely sever the connection between Apple and Samsung, which is already strained due to patent battles between the two companies. A report claims TSMC will produce Apple’s A7 processors free of Samsung technologies, starting in 2014.

2012 Readers’ Choice Awards update, vote now!

Voting in our 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards has kicked off, and current votes in three of the four categories are very close indeed. For Accessory Maker of the Year, there’s a three-horse race between Speck Products, Incipio, and Griffin Technology. Application Developer of the Year is being hotly contested by Apple, Google, and Mundomono, while EA, Rovio, and Zynga are dominating early voting for Game Developer of the Year. There’s also some exciting voting going for Apple Product of the Year, and we want to see your votes!

Plenty of other nominees are still in the mix, as well, and based on past voting trends, every one of the categories is up for grabs. The four-question survey can be completed in less than a minute. Voting ends at 12:01 a.m. Eastern, October 27, so cast your vote today!

iPad mini: 4490mAh battery, priced 249-649 Euros?

A few more iPad mini rumors have surfaced prior to the device’s expected unveiling on Oct. 23. MacRumors has published two photos that claim to show the iPad mini’s battery — a 4490 mAh cell. Not surprisingly, this would be lower than the battery capacity of the new, power-hungry iPad by roughly two-thirds, a difference attributable to the smaller screen size and related power optimizations in the 7.85” model.

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Another report, from Flo’s Weblog, via German site Mobile Geeks, claims to show internal screenshots of iPad mini models and pricing. The screenshots are believed to have come from German electronics retailer Media Markt, and purport to show both Wi-Fi and Cellular models of the iPad mini, listed from 249 to 649 Euros, though the Euro prices in Germany are generally close to their dollar equivalents. Wi-Fi models are listed as 100 Euros lower than their Cellular counterparts, suggesting a smaller price gap than the current $130 difference between Wi-Fi and Cellular iPads.

While these prices would logically fit within Apple’s current iPod/iPhone/iPad matrix, the sheer number of models—8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, each in black and white, and separate versions for Wi-Fi and Cellular—would be a massive manufacturing challenge for a brand new product, and an even wider variety of options than for the full-sized iPad.

Japanese carrier SoftBank to buy 70% of Sprint

Japanese carrier SoftBank is buying a 70% interest in U.S. carrier Sprint for $20.1 billion, as announced at a Tokyo press event. The deal is expected to close in mid-2013, during which time SoftBank will purchase $8 billion in new shares and $12.1 billion in existing shares from Sprint. 

The two companies will have the third-highest mobile service revenue of any company, and the combined subscriber base will be one of the world’s largest. Sprint’s Dan Hesse will remain CEO of the new Sprint, and notes that the deal will allow Sprint to build out its LTE network, which has struggled by comparison with Verizon’s and AT&T’s growing LTE footprints. [via The Verge]

Woz calls Apple ‘arrogant,’ ‘defensive’ over iPhone screens

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak opines that Apple has been arrogant regarding the iPhone 5, during a podcast interview with TechCentral. “Part of me wishes that Apple had not been so … kind of arrogant and feeling, ‘We’re the only ones with the right clue,’ ” Wozniak said, noting that he wishes Apple would have made a wider version of the iPhone 5.

“I think Apple tricked itself and said, ‘Oh, you can reach everything with one thumb’ and I don’t see anybody having any trouble using the larger screens,” Wozniak said. “So you can do everything with one thumb, but Apple said that as a defensive move, because when the other phones came out, they all had larger screens. And now Apple had to get defensive.”

“I see all the modern smartphones, big, big, big, big, big and then there’s the iPhone,” he said. “…You get a feeling you’re getting more with a larger screen.” The interview covers a number of other topics, as well, including Wozniak’s wishes for a more open Apple and thoughts on the ongoing patent wars. [via Macworld UK]

Apple licenses copied Swiss clock design

Apple and the Swiss national railway (SBB) have reached a licensing agreement for Apple’s use of the iconic SBB clock design, the SBB announced. Following the release of iOS 6 with a new iPad-specific Clock application, Apple was accused of stealing the SBB design, and similarities between the software and SBB’s clocks were obvious. The SBB looked for credit and/or compensation from Apple, which apparently didn’t take long. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [via The Verge]

Report: iPad Mini to be unveiled October 23

Apple will likely unveil the iPad mini at a special event on October 23, according to AllThingsD. A claim from Fortune that Apple planned to send out event invites on October 10 for an October 17 event turned out to be false, but sources tell AllThingsD the iPad mini will indeed be revealed within two weeks. There is still no word on an official launch date.

Apple releases iPod nano 7G software 1.0.1

Though the seventh-generation iPod nano is only just beginning to appear in stores, there’s already a software update available for the new media player: Apple has just released software version 1.0.1. The software update simply lists, “Support for iPod nano (7th generation)” as the only feature; iPod nanos shipped with 1.0 installed, so it’s unclear as to what bugs were addressed.

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To update the new iPod nano, plug the device into iTunes, and the new software should be discovered automatically. You can also go to the iPod nano manually under Devices, choose the Summary tab, and hit the Update button under the Version section.

Apple patent aims to hide and reveal device features

An Apple patent filing reveals a technique that would allow certain components of a device to be concealed until needed. The patent suggests that components could switch between transparent or opaque states, with the user instructing the device to reveal a component, which could contain a biometric sensor, image capture device, or strobe flash, among other possibilities.

Regarding the prospect of a concealed biometric sensor component, recent news indicates that Apple has been actively investigating fingerprint recognition technology. Apple recently struck a deal with Microlatch, a company that has patented technology for registering fingerprints on a device for financial transactions, and in July, Apple agreed to purchase AuthenTec, a company that makes chips for mobile phones, fingerprint recognition, and near-field communication. [via Patently Apple]

iPod nano 7G unboxing, comparison gallery posted

iLounge has posted a complete unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s seventh-generation iPod nano to Flickr. Photos of the redesigned seventh-generation iPod nano showcase the device’s new body and 2.5” display, as well as the variety of different colors now offered, and comparisons to past iPod nanos.

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Our First Look at the seventh-generation iPod nano is now available, and our comprehensive review will be posted in the near future.

iPod touch 5G teardown finds 512MB of RAM, 1030mAh battery

iFixit has torn down the fifth-generation iPod touch, and confirmed that the device contains 512 MB of RAM — just as reported by Geekbench testing, and the same as the iPhone 4/4S, but more than the 256MB of RAM found in the previous generation iPod touch. Apple’s A5 processor and 32 GB of NAND flash from Toshiba were also found in the new iPod touch. The battery notably has jumped to 1030 mAh, more than the fourth-generation iPod touch’s 930 mAh cell. The device’s display is claimed to be “a much simpler, cheaper design” than the iPhone 5 display.

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Also in the teardown, iFixit found a weaker, rubber-membrane design on the iPod touch home button, when compared to the iPhone 5. The iPod touch was given a repairability score of 3 out of 10, meaning the device will be hard to repair. By comparison, a score of 7 was awarded to the iPhone 5.

Google’s Schmidt talks Apple, Maps

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt had plenty to say about Apple in a recently posted interview with AllThingsD. Schmidt said the Android-Apple platform fight is “the defining contest” in the industry right now, mentioning there are “four times more Android phones than Apple phones,” and noting that consumers are benefitting from the companies’ competition.

Schmidt also suggested that Apple should have kept Google’s maps, noting that “They’re better maps,” while mentioning that Apple’s decision to make its own maps was made long ago. He underscored that a new Google Maps app would need Apple’s approval, and that not all Google apps have been approved by Apple in the past.

Among other comments in the interview, Schmidt said the patent wars “are a disaster for all of us.” And when asked if he’d rather be a CEO again, if choosing between Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, he said, “I was on Apple’s board, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them,” ultimately answering the question with, “Which one has the most cash? That would be Apple.”

iPod touch 5G unboxing, comparison gallery posted

iLounge has posted a complete unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s new iPod touch to Flickr. Photos of the fifth-generation iPod touch focus on the new aluminum body and 4” Retina Display, in addition to comparison shots with earlier iPod touch models, and the iPhone 5.

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For a more focused collection of images, check out our iPod touch (fifth-generation) First Look. A comprehensive review will follow in the near future.

MS Office coming to iOS in 2013

Although Microsoft’s Office applications were rumored to be coming to the App Store this year, the company now plans on releasing Office in a native iOS version next year, according to reports. Product manager Petr Bobek told Czech site IHNED that Office 2013 would hit the market in the first quarter of next year, and that iOS would be among the included available operating systems for the productivity suite. Although the iOS Office release was apparently confirmed in a press release spotted by The Verge, a Microsoft US spokesperson claimed that the company has yet to announce retail availability for the new Office. [via The Verge]

ECOXGEAR debuts ECOXBT waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Grace Digital Audio’s ECOXGEAR label has introduced the ECOXBT ($130) Bluetooth speaker, compatible with iPads, iPhones, and Bluetooth-capable iPods. The ECOXBT is a portable, ruggedized, 100 percent waterproof speaker that floats, uniquely equipped with handles for easy in-pool use. Somewhat amazingly, it also includes a built-in waterproof mic so iPhone users can answer calls using its speakerphone function.

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Weighing 1.5 lbs., the ECOXBT promises up to 10 hours of continuous battery life with a rechargeable lithium battery. The speaker comes in orange, red, and black. It is available now.

New scratch standards slow iPhone 5 production

Production of the iPhone 5 is slowing as Apple aims to reduce obvious damage to units leaving its factories, confirms Bloomberg, noting that Apple has indeed instituted tighter quality control standards at contract manufacturer Foxconn. Customers have reported scratches and nicks on their brand new iPhones, which Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller claimed was “normal”. According to the report, the new, stricter benchmarks have caused a shortage of parts, even halting production at a factory in Shenzhen for a day. Notably, an earlier report had claimed that workers at contract manufacturer Foxconn briefly went on strike in response to the new quality control demands, though Foxconn denied that a stoppage had taken place. Apple has not made an official statement on the quality control changes.

iPhone 5 poll ends, iPod touch vs. iPad poll begins

With over 4,700 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“What are you planning on doing with your current iPhone when the next-generation iPhone is released?”—has ended. Readers were asked to indicate whether they planned on selling or trading in their current iPhone, giving it to a friend or family member, keeping it in addition to purchasing the new model, keeping their current iPhone and not buying the next-generation model at all, purchasing the new iPhone as their first iPhone or neither already owning nor planning to buy the next-generation iPhone.

Over 70 percent of respondents indicated that they planned to purchase the new iPhone, with the majority split pretty evenly between either selling/trading in their current iPhone or giving it to a family member while 13 percent of readers indicated that they were planning on keeping their current iPhone in addition to purchasing the new model and 10 percent planning to purchase their first iPhone with the new model. Twenty percent of respondents expressed no interest in upgrading their current iPhone at all, and 8 percent indicated that they neither owned an iPhone currently nor had any intention of purchasing the new one.

Our new poll focuses on Apple’s other iOS devices: the iPod touch and iPad. Would you consider buying a new iPad or iPod touch today, and if so, which device would you be most interested in purchasing? The older fourth-generation iPod touch with a 3.5” screen, the new fifth-generation iPod touch with the 4” screen, the reportedly upcoming 7.85” iPad mini or a standard full-sized iPad with the 9.7” screen? Or do you simply have no interest in the iPad or iPod touch, either because you already own an iPhone, or Apple’s iOS devices just don’t appeal to you in general?  Our new poll—“Which one of the following four products would you be most likely to purchase today for your own use?” lets you answer that question. As always, you can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com homepage. Cast your vote today!

Third-party Lightning dock offered; Apple chips cracked?

The first electronic dock claiming compatibility with Apple’s Lightning standard has surfaced courtesy of iPhone5mod.com. The Chinese company has made the iPhone 5 Flash Lightning Dock — a dock ($20) and illuminated Lightning cable ($20) for the iPhone 5. According to reports from M.I.C Gadget and MacRumors, iPhone5mod was somehow able to obtain official Lightning chips from Apple’s supplier, but the company claims that it has also obtained cracked authentication chips, as well.

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As we previously reported, Apple has tightened its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) policies to exert more control over the manufacturing of Lightning accessories. Apple will apparently host third-party manufacturers at a November seminar before allowing developers to produce new accessories, but if Apple’s authentication chips have actually been cracked, unauthorized third-party accessories may be on the way sooner. [via 9to5 Mac]

New iPods: EarPods included, but no remote or mic

Unboxings of the new iPod touch and nano by Japanese blog Macotakara have confirmed a point that Apple obscured during last month’s iPhone 5-focused launch event: although EarPods are included with both of the new iPods, neither iPod’s earphones include the Remote and Mic functionality found in the $29 standalone accessory and the version packaged with the iPhone 5—the model Apple is now calling EarPods with Remote and Mic. The new iPods’ versions feature the newly redesigned earbuds with standard cabling and a 3.5mm audio connector; they do not include the carrying case included with the iPhone 5’s EarPods.

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Macotakara confirms that the remote and microphone features from the standalone EarPods with Remote and Mic model do work with both of the new iPods. A full review of the EarPods with Remote and Mic is available here.

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