Apple has reportedly struck a licensing deal with Microlatch for fingerprint recognition technology. The Australian (registration required) reported the agreement, concluding that it’s “another sign the company is readying its iPhone line for the mobile payment era.” Microlatch’s patented technology apparently can register a user’s fingerprint on a device to authenticate financial transactions, a feature that could add additional security for near-field communications applications such as a digital wallet. It’s worth noting that Apple recently acquired AuthenTec, a company that makes mobile security software and chips for fingerprint recognition and NFC. [via Apple Insider]
Apple is now officially mass producing a smaller version of the iPad, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cites the company’s Asian component suppliers as sources. The report reaffirms that the tablet will have a 7.85-inch display and a lower resolution than the third-generation iPad. This follows yesterday’s apparent leak of iPad mini parts, and a recent report that iPad mini event invitations will go out on Oct 10.
Photos of alleged iPad mini parts have been posted on Ukranianiphone.com, and are claimed to have originated in China.
The photos show the purported inner and outer housing of the iPad mini, as well as a front glass piece. Notably sporting black or slate anodized aluminum akin to the iPhone 5, the inner housing is labeled with circles showing the locations of the headphone port, plastic antenna cover, nano SIM tray, and Lightning connector. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has been awarded a patent for device-to-accessory adapters, notably including an adapter design with wireless functionality. Noting that “media players may have different sized connectors,” specifically that a “newer media player may have a more advanced, smaller sized connector receptacle,” the patent’s abstract notes that the invention would “provide compatibility among incompatible accessories and portable media players,” suggesting that Lightning-equipped devices could be connected to older accessories built with 30-pin Dock Connectors.
Another concept covered in the patent is wireless functionality similar to what iSkin offered years ago in the Cerulean TX+RX Stereo Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver — a Dock Connector-based Bluetooth adapter accessory that Apple reluctantly permitted the company to sell, while denying other vendors the ability to produce similar devices. If similarly designed, Apple’s adapter could allow all wireless iPods, iPhones, and iPads to stream music to older docking speakers without making a physical connection. [via Apple Insider]
Apple has announced that it will release its fourth quarter fiscal results at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, October 25. The conference call will be broadcasted live here. While sales of the new iPhone 5 will surely be discussed during the call, Apple executives may also discuss the new iPods due for October release, and possibly even the long-rumored iPad mini, which may have been announced by then.
While Apple has released a fix for Verizon iPhone 5 users experiencing unexpected cellular data usage while on a Wi-Fi network, AT&T iPhone 5 users are also reporting the same issue, suggesting that an iOS 6 problem is to blame. Apple’s support forum has complaints on the issue from both Verizon and AT&T users, but no fix has been announced for AT&T iPhone 5s thus far. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is expected to send out invitations on October 10 for a special iPad mini-focused event, according to a report from Fortune, citing a “major Apple investor” as the source. While the Fortune report suggests that standard Apple scheduling would place the unveiling event on the following Wednesday, October 17, with a launch on Friday, November 2, a typical nine-day gap would place the launch on Friday, October 26. Apple has already scheduled a new major release of iTunes for “late October,” with releases of the seventh-generation iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod touch taking place at an unspecified time during the same month; iTunes 10.7 already includes support for the new iPods, but makes no mention of the widely rumored but as-yet-unannounced smaller iPad.
A new clause in Apple’s App Review Guidelines could make it tough for third-party services and affiliate programs to promote apps within the App Store. As noted in mid-September on Twisted Logic’s blog, and more recently further examined by PocketGamer.biz, clause 2.25 in the new App Store Review Guidelines reads, “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.” The new clause may be an indication that Apple is putting itself in a position to reject any apps that promote apps from other developers, although it may only be intended to target pure app promotion services such as FreeAppADay, AppoDay and AppGratis. [via 9to5Mac]
Former MobileMe users including iLounge’s editors have noted that Apple’s free 25 GB iCloud storage plans are currently listed as effective through the year 2050. Under Apple’s previously-announced MobileMe to iCloud transition plan, a free extra 20 GB of storage was supposed to expire yesterday, but users have noted that their plans are said to expire on Sept. 30, 2050. Considering the coincidental date of Sept. 30, this could be an error; there has been no comment from Apple as of yet. [via TUAW]
Verizon iPhone 5 users can now download an update to fix issues with the phone’s cellular data usage while using Wi-Fi. Apple’s website notes that the “carrier settings update resolves an issue in which, under certain circumstances, iPhone 5 may use Verizon cellular data while the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.” Many users were reporting cellular data drain with the phone while using Wi-Fi, an issue that may have resulted from a planned but seemingly absent Settings switch to let iOS 6 users fall back to cellular data when Wi-Fi wasn’t working properly. Installation details for the update can be found here.
Apple planned to build its own Pandora-style music streaming service—allegedly as a new iPhone 5 feature—until talks with the world’s largest music publisher Sony/ATV reached a late impasse, according to the New York Post. The two companies couldn’t agree on a per-song rights fee, sources said, dashing the possible deal. While those rights are normally a tenth of a penny per stream, Sony/ATV sought a higher rate from Apple. According to the report, Sony/ATV is also reportedly set to leave the ASCAP and BMI copyright associations, throwing a wrench into future negotiations with other services over streaming rights. [via CNET]
A letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook posted on Apple’s website apologizes for the much-maligned launch of iOS 6 Maps. The letter begins, “At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”
Cook’s letter also suggests trying alternatives while Apple is “improving Maps,” naming apps from Bing, MapQuest, and Waze, as well as mentioning the option to create a home screen icon for Google or Nokia’s web apps. He notes that the new Maps has already been installed on 100 million iOS devices, with “nearly half a billion locations” searched for—interestingly, an average of less than five location searches per device. The letter is currently at the bottom of Apple.com’s front page, as “A letter to our customers regarding Maps.”
Apple has applied for a patent on an inductive charging mat that could perform different functions based on the physical orientation of devices on top of the mat. The application notes that functions such as charging, data transfer, data synchronization, and diagnostic checking could be performed depending on how a device rests on the mat. For instance, an iPhone facing down on the mat could sync, while an iPhone facing up could charge. Physical orientation wouldn’t be limited to face-up or face-down — devices placed sideways or facing specific directions could also activate functions.
The inductive mat could also alert the user to what’s been activated using sounds, vibrations, or on-screen indications, as well as connecting wirelessly to other devices. [via Apple Insider]
Some users of Apple’s new Lightning to USB Cable have been reporting issues with the USB end of the cable getting stuck. A discussion thread on Apple’s support forum started a week ago, and has continued to grow with reports of issues in computer and car USB ports. Some users have found it extremely difficult to remove the USB end of the cable after plugging it in, and various unorthodox methods have been suggested to extract the cable. Notches in the metal USB jacket of the new cable are noticeably deeper than those on the old dock cable, leading users to suggest a variety of unwise ideas to fill in the holes. One forum poster wrote that AppleCare is “aware of the problem,” but there has been no official Apple comment as of yet.
Users of iOS 6 who miss Google Maps already have a workaround to access Google Maps — a workaround that will offer Street View in two weeks, according to the New York Times. Street View will soon be added to the iPhone indirectly, through the Google Maps Safari web app. Like any website on Safari, you can add maps.google.com to your home screen; you’ll be prompted to add it to the Home Screen each time you visit. While this isn’t as easy to use as a native iOS app, it’s a quick way to restore nearly everything Google Maps offers, including written directions and traffic reports.
The Google Maps web app does not, however, offer spoken directions, and All Things D reports the lack of voice-guided navigation on iOS Maps was the true deal breaker between Apple and Google, causing Apple to go its own way with Maps. Prior reports citing Google’s desire to add new features and more prominent branding to Maps were also verified as points of contention in the new report.
Apple opted to switch over to its internally-designed maps application for iOS more than a year before its contract with Google Maps expired, according to The Verge, suggesting that the under-polished Apple Maps software could have been released after additional tooling. The report claims Google is working to develop a new iOS Google Maps app, but it’s incomplete and likely months away. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt recently said his company would need Apple’s approval before bringing Google Maps back to the App Store.
Both companies apparently had their concerns moving forward: Apple was concerned about iOS Google Maps lagging behind Android’s mapping capabilities, as Google’s iOS Maps lacked turn-by-turn navigation that had been available on Android for years. Google sought more prominent branding and the ability to add new features, which Apple wouldn’t allow. Nevertheless, Apple made the decision to end the deal early.
Criticism continues for the new iOS 6 Maps, except perhaps in China. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple made a special version of Maps for the country, and it appears to be an upgrade over Google Maps within China’s borders. Apple used data from Chinese mapping company AutoNavi Holdings to create more detailed maps, though the maps are far from perfect — they don’t offer spoken driving directions or 3D flyover technology, and their detail within other countries is limited.
The discovery of a particular Qualcomm chip in the iPhone 5 has led to speculation that Apple may be planning to make its newest handset available for use on China Mobile — the world’s largest mobile carrier. A report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple could reach a deal with China Mobile due to the presence of a TD-SCDMA compatible chip in the iPhone 5 which could support the 3G networking standard used by China Mobile. A research note from HSBC Holdings PLC says Apple is “clearing the way for a potential iPhone deal between China Mobile and Apple.”
Apple has already offered the iPhone to smaller competitors of China Mobile — China Unicom and China Telecom, and Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China earlier this year and is rumored to have met with China Mobile on a prior trip in 2011. [via Cult of Mac]
Scratches on the iPhone 5’s aluminum body are “normal,” according to an email from Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. The email from Schiller, published at 9to5Mac, is in response to a reader’s concerns about scuffs and scratches on a black iPhone 5. “Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color,” Schiller responded. “That is normal.” Numerous reports — and our own tests — have noted the relative ease at which the iPhone’s new aluminum body can be scratched or dented.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told reporters that his company needs Apple’s approval before it could bring its Google Maps app back to the iPhone. “We haven’t done anything yet with Google Maps,” Schmidt said. He didn’t comment on whether or not Google has submitted an application to sell Google Maps in Apple’s app store. Apple continues to deal with criticism of iOS 6 Maps, and recent reports have stated the company is looking to hire people who have worked on Google Maps in the past. [via Bloomberg]
Apple’s response last week to criticism of iOS 6 Maps hasn’t slowed the flow of complaints and news about the troubled app. TechCrunch reports that Apple is now actively seeking to hire people who have worked on Google Maps. According to TechCrunch, many individuals are eager to accept, as Apple offers the chance to “build new product, instead of just doing ‘tedious updates’ on a largely complete platform.”
Meanwhile, the critiques continue. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told ZDNet Australia that he was “a little disappointed” with the app, but went on to mention that he’s not sure the problems “are that severe.” Also, a new Motorola ad has taken direct aim at Maps. As noted by Apple Insider, the ad compares a search for 315 E 15th in New York City on the Droid and the iPhone, with iOS 6 Maps showing an incorrect result.
Users hoping for an iOS return to Google Maps can look to a CNET report that a hacker has ported the app onto iOS 6. Ryan Petrich was able to get the iOS 5.1 version of Google Maps onto an iPhone 3GS running iOS 6. However, the as-yet-unavailable port is prone to crashing, and the phone must be jailbroken for the hack to work. Google has suggested that it’s working on a new app for iOS.