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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Samsung Display will terminate its existing LCD supply contract with Apple, reports The Korea Times. A senior Samsung source said the company has already reduced its LCD shipments to Apple, and will stop shipping displays entirely next year. Samsung — which no longer believes Apple is a “cash-generator” due to its rigid supply chain structure — plans on shipping more displays to its company’s own handset division, and to Amazon. This move follows a recent report that Apple plans to stop using Samsung’s technology in its devices.
Updated Oct. 23: According to CNET, Samsung is refuting The Korea Times report. A Samsung spokesman said, “Samsung Display has never tried to cut the supply for LCD panels to Apple.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s Apple special event for the iPad mini, pre-event pictures of the California Theatre in San Jose have been posted at Techie Buzz. Apple logo posters can be seen in front of the theater’s lobby.
Following our July report that Apple was working on a new full-sized iPad with improved internals and a Lightning connector, 9to5Mac is reporting that new full-sized iPad will debut alongside the iPad mini tomorrow, preserving the same prices as the third-generation iPad. Separate reports suggest that the updated iPad will have European 4G support, bolstering the UK launch of the EE LTE network, as reported by The Guardian. A leaked image of the updated iPad comes from Apple.pro, via Apple Insider.
Friday, November 2 has emerged as a likely street date for Apple’s smaller iPad, based on a number of reports. Matching an earlier prediction by Forbes that subsequently proved inaccurate regarding Apple’s iPad mini event date, TechCrunch and 9to5Mac have suggested Nov. 2 as the expected shipping date, following a report from Geeky Gadgets earlier this week. A Friday release makes sense given Apple’s normal scheduling, however, official details will be revealed at Tuesday’s special event.
Noted iPhone hacker Nicholas Allegra — otherwise known as Comex — is no longer with Apple after working as an intern at the company for about a year. He tweeted that he was “no longer associated with Apple,” following that with a tweet about how he left because he “forgot to reply to an email.” Forbes contacted Allegra, who said he forgot to reply to an email offer to continue his employment as a remote intern. He also said he plans on focusing on his studies at Brown University, and has no current plans to work on more iOS jailbreaking tools. Allegra became widely known in the hacking community as the founder of browser-based iOS jailbreak tool JailbreakMe before accepting an internship at Apple. He has suggested that contractual obligations to Apple may prevent him from continuing iOS-related jailbreaking efforts, but that he may focus his time on other devices, such as Nintendo’s Wii U, instead.
According to posts on Apple’s Support forums, iPhone 5 owners are continuing to report problems with the phone’s automatic date and time settings. The incorrect time or date will be displayed — anywhere from minutes to weeks different from the correct time and date. The bug was first reported on Apple’s forums on Sept. 24, and responses have continued up to today. Most of the reports seem to come from Verizon users.
The automatic date and time issues are somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone alarm problems users discovered on New Years’ Day 2011, which weren’t fixed right away. According to forum comments, Apple and Verizon both seem to know about the latest issue, but there’s been no official statement or fix from either company as of yet. [via AppleInsider]
Apple plans to acquire the maligned social photo network startup Color Labs, according to a report from TheNextWeb. Sources said Apple’s bid for Color was in the “high double digits” in millions, and the deal is “done,” but has yet to be contractually finalized. TNW speculates Apple may have been drawn to Color’s patents relating to GPS location, battery saving, and possibly a file format for recording HD video. This would be the second startup Apple has purchased from Color co-founder Bill Nguyen — the company purchased Lala for $80 million in December 2009.
Color drew criticism for its $41 million in funding and subsequent launch of its disappointing Color for Facebook app. However, the company’s Color - Live Video Broadcast app is currently averaging a four-star rating on iTunes.
Updated Oct. 17: AllThingsD is reporting that Apple is only acquiring Color’s engineering team — about 20 people, which is almost the whole company. According to the new report, Apple is not acquiring Color, and no “double digits” deal in the millions is involved; instead, a figure in the single-digit millions will be paid to hire the company’s personnel. Color’s technology, intellectual property, domain names, and liabilities will remain with the company, which will be “wound down.” Apple and Color declined comment. The report notes there have been many conflicting stories about the deal within the past 24 hours, likely due to “bad blood” between the many entities involved.
After a U.K. court loss to Samsung over tablet design infringement, Apple also lost its appeal of the verdict, and must now run advertisements saying Samsung has not copied its design. A judge ruled in July that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab did not infringe on the design of Apple’s iPad, and Apple was ordered to post notices in newspapers and magazines stating that Samsung didn’t copy its design. After the initial ruling, Apple received a stay on the court order, but due to the appeal ruling in Samsung’s favor, Apple must run the ads. In the original ruling, the judge said Samsung’s tablet likely wouldn’t be confused with the iPad, because the Galaxy is not as “cool.” [Via BBC News]
Apple has acquired Particle, a San Francisco-based company specializing in HTML5 development, CNET reports. Particle has already done HTML5 work for Apple, as well as Google, Motorola, Amazon, Yahoo, and Sony. Video services Robo.to and Intervue.Me are among the company’s own projects; Particle is said to have developed a robust HTML5-specific rendering engine. Notably, only some of the company’s employees will be working for Apple following the acquisition. The deal went through in late September, and no sale price has been announced.
Apple has officially announced a special event for Oct. 23, 2012, likely to introduce the iPad mini. Previously rumored invites have been sent out to select members of the press, with the tag line, “We’ve got a little more to show you.”
The event will be held at 10:00am Pacific Time in San Jose at the California Theatre, originally known as the Fox Theatre. While the majority of Apple special events have been held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center or Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, with others at Apple’s corporate campus Town Hall, the California Theatre was notably used for the 2004 introduction of the U2 iPod, iPod photo, and iPod Socks accessories.
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn has admitted to hiring underage interns as young as 14 years old, but the company claims that the hiring was somehow accomplished despite its policies. In a statement issued after performing an internal investigation at its Yantai facility, the company found working interns ranging in age from 14 to 16; China’s legal working age is 16. “This is not only a violation of China’s labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions,” the company said.
The Foxconn statement follows a recently-issued statement from China Labor Watch about underage interns working at Foxconn. “The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible (sic), but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers,” China Labor Watch said. [via CNET]
Apple has hired Amazon exec William Stasior to run its Siri unit, according to a report from AllThingsD. With a doctoral degree from MIT, Stasior was recently in charge of A9, Amazon’s search and search advertising unit, which he co-founded, and previously served as an executive with AltaVista. Although Stasior will be in charge of Siri, the report speculates Stasior could also help to boost Apple’s search and search advertising technology. Apple’s Siri unit has notably lost two co-founders in the past year — Adam Cheyer left recently, and co-founder and former CEO Dag Kittlaus left last October — raising further questions about Apple’s ability to retain key personnel after major acquisitions.
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.
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 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]
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.