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Let’s Talk iPhone Event: The Big Picture

Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.

So far:

iPhone 4S to launch October 14, iPod nano to see update

Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.

iOS 5 is coming October 12. As is iCloud.

Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.

“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.

Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.

iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.

iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.

A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.

Apple rejects Samsung settlement offer in Australia

Apple has rejected an offer from Samsung that would see the patent dispute between the two companies in Australia come to an end. Reuters reports that the offer, made by Samsung last week, would have seen the South Korean company help ensure an expedited court hearing in return for the ability to immediately launch the Galaxy Tab 10.1—currently barred from sale thanks to a preliminary injunction—in the country. Both companies have since made it clear that no such bargain will be reached. “It is one we don’t accept and there is no surprise. The main reason we are here is to prevent the launch (of the Galaxy 10.1) and maintain the status quo,” Apple lawyer Steven Burley told the court. Samsung agreed to withdraw two allegedly infringing features of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, reducing the dispute to a single patent covering touchscreen technology.

Apple iPhone event begins at 10am PT/1pm ET

Apple’s special “Let’s talk iPhone” media event will begin later today at 1:00 pm Eastern Time/10:00 am Pacific Time. At the event, Apple is widely expected to introduce at least one new iPhone model, announce Sprint as a carrier partner in the U.S., provide an update on iOS 5 as well as a release date, and potentially offer an update on its iPod lineup, specifically the iPod touch and iPod shuffle. We will be posting regular updates throughout the course of the event; check back later to catch all the latest news as it happens.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5 beta 9 to developers

Apple has released another update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. The update appears to be primarily targeted at developers testing the iTunes Match service, with iTunes 10.5 beta 7 also remaining available as a separate download for registered iOS developers. This latest release follows reports of iTunes Match data being reset earlier this week for developers testing the service. iTunes 10.5 beta 9 is available for download now for registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.

Click Wheel Games disappear from iTunes Store

Apple appears to have quietly removed Click Wheel iPod Games from the iTunes Store, prompting further speculation that the company is planning to discontinue the iPod classic. A link to the Click Wheel Games section previously appeared on the App Store drop down menu, however that option has recently vanished and attempts to search for or even link from existing Click Wheel iPod Games now returns a response that the item requested is “not currently available.”

Downloadable iPod games were introduced in the fall of 2006 when Apple released the enhanced fifth-generation iPod alongside a firmware update adding support to the prior year’s model. Game support was also added to the third-generation iPod nano when it was released the following year, although the 2007 release of the iPod classic and iPod nano controversially rendered all previous games incompatible, requiring users to repurchase the same titles for the new devices. The selection of games remained relatively limited since Apple never released an open SDK, instead hand-picking select developers to participate, and handling some of the coding on its own. During Apple’s Fall 2010 event, the company released the sixth-generation iPod nano with a revised touchscreen interface and no iPod game support; the company also conspicuously omitted any direct mention of the iPod classic at that event, leaving many to conclude that the older traditional iPods are no longer a priority for Apple. [via AppleInsider]

Next-generation iPhone to support 21Mbps HSPA+

A new report from Japanese Blog Macotakara notes a presentation from a China Unicom executive at Macworld Asia this week where it was indicated that the coming iPhone will include support for HSPA+ technology. Sometimes referred to as “4G” HSPA+ is actually an enhancement to existing 3G technologies that increase the maximum theoretical data throughput to 21Mbps from the standard HSPA speeds of 7.2 Mbps supported by the current iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 models. Japanese site PC Watch also captured a slide from the presentation showing a reference to the “iPhone 5” listed with HSPA+ support indicated.

While not the LTE device that many had hoped for, the increase to HSPA+ speeds theoretically provides a significant performance increase on supported carriers without the additional power consumption required by current LTE chipsets. It is also worth noting that while carriers have only just begun rolling out LTE, HSPA+ has already been in place on many networks for over a year, with AT&T rolling out the intermediary technology in mid-2010 and referring to it as “4G” in its marketing. The iPhone 3GS introduced a similar speed bump when it was released two years ago with 7.2 Mbps HSDPA technology; a moderate but noticeable upgrade from the original 3.6 Mbps speeds found in the iPhone 3G. [via MacRumors]

Apple launches iTunes Store in 12 remaining EU countries

Following a report yesterday that Apple was making plans to expand the iTunes Store in additional European Union countries, the company has now launched in all 12 of the remaining EU countries where the iTunes Store was previously not available. As of today, users can now download and purchase music via iTunes in Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. [via AppleInsider]

Apple expanding iTunes content availability in Europe

Apple appears to be expanding the iTunes Store in Europe, with reports indicating plans to bring the Store to 10 new European Union countries and movie and iBookstore content becoming available for purchase and rent in the existing European iTunes Stores. A report from Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita indicates that Apple is preparing to launch the iTunes Music Store in ten new EU countries, possibly as soon as next month. The report specifies Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but does not name the other countries although at this time there are only twelve EU member states where the iTunes Store is not available.

In a separate report, MacRumors notes that Apple now appears to be rolling out iTunes movie sales and rentals in existing European iTunes Stores, with readers reporting movies now available in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and Sweden and paid iBookstore content in Switzerland. Dedicated content sections have reportedly not yet appeared in these countries, however the content is available via the iTunes Store search function.

Apple confirms October 4 iPhone event

Apple today has invited select members of the press to a special “Let’s talk iPhone” event for the next-generation iPhone. As previously reported, the event will be held on Tuesday, October 4 at Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium on its corporate campus in Cupertino, CA. The invitation includes four classic iPhone icons, showing the Tuesday date, 10:00 (AM/Pacific) event start time, Infinite Loop location, and Phone app with the number “1” next to it.

Apple is widely expected to introduce at least one new iPhone at the event, and will also likely announce a release date for iOS 5, as well as one or more new iPod models, although no specific reports related to the latter have surfaced in recent months. As the company occasionally hides hints in the icons and text of its invitations, it’s possible that the event may focus solely on a single new iPhone model, rather than the two that have been rumored for some time.

Apple denied ‘Multi-Touch’ trademark

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has officially denied Apple’s request for a trademark on the term “Multi-touch.” Mac Rumors reports that Apple originally applied for the trademark on January 9, 2007, the day after the original iPhone was introduced. According to the report, the initial trademark application was denied by a USPTO lawyer, which caused Apple to appel to the body’s Appeal Board. In its decision denying Apple’s appeal, the Board found that “‘multi-touch’ not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device,” but also found that the term has taken on a generic meaning, as it is widely used to describe the capacitive touchscreen technology found on a wide variety of modern devices.

Apple to announce Q4 2011 Earnings on October 18

Apple has announced that it will report its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011 on Tuesday, October 18. As usual, the release will be followed by a conference call to discuss the financial results, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. iLounge will be providing coverage of the call. Depending on the timing, it is possible the call could serve as a platform for Apple to release launch period sales numbers for new iPhone models, assuming they are released prior to the call. In addition, it is also unclear whether Tim Cook will continue his previous appearances on the call given his new title of CEO, or whether Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams will fill Cook’s prior role opposite CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

Verizon sides with Samsung in Apple patent dispute

Verizon Wireless has filed a brief in U.S. District Court in California supporting Samsung in a patent infringement case filed against the South Korean company by Apple. FOSS Patents reports that in the briefing, Verizon argues that issuing a preliminary injunction barring four Android-powered Samsung products from sale in the U.S. “would hinder Verizon Wireless in developing and deploying its next generation high-speed LTE [fourth-generation] network, the job growth dependant [sic] on that network, and will undercut key public policy goals, including expansion of American’s [sic] access to broadband networks and faster communication with emergency personnel.” As noted in the report, the same court holds records for another case, Oracle v. Google, that include a document showing that Verizon and Google promised each other unspecified favors—potentially anti-competitive favors—as part of their cross-promotion of Android devices, many of which have been marked with “Droid” branding. Apple has yet to respond to the filing.

Upcoming iPhone event to be held on Apple’s campus

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Apple will hold its upcoming iPhone event at the Town Hall Auditorium on its Cupertino, CA campus, according to a new report. AllThingsD, citing sources close to the company, claims that the event will be held on Apple’s campus, while reiterating their claim that the event will be held on Tuesday, October 4. As noted in the report, the move would represent a break from the norm for the company, which has traditionally held its fall consumer product events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.

Apple sued by Via Technologies over processor patents

Taiwan-based Via Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPad maker infringes on three of its patents covering microprocessors. Bloomberg reports that the suit, filed yesterday in U.S. federal court in Deleware, is based on three Via patents covering the use of microprocessors in mobile phones and tablet computers. “The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices,” Via said in the complaint. Apple was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by LVL Patent Group against 27 companies, claiming they infringe upon four patents related to the wireless recording of transactions. AppleInsider reports that LVL is seeking a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from selling the supposedly infringing products.

App Store suffers In-App Purchase outage

According to reports from a number of iOS developers, Apple’s In-App Purchasing servers appear to be having problems that are preventing users from buying content within iOS applications. The problem seems to exist with Apple’s receipt verification system which is responsible for validating successful purchases; requests to this system have been returning errors since late list night, thus preventing in-app purchases from being successfully completed. Developers are complaining about lost revenue from users, with one developer reporting that the failure is “losing lots of sales” and is “threatening to more-or-less take down the entire IAP ecosystem.”

There is unconfirmed speculation that the issue may be connected to fake purchase receipts getting into the system, however it is also worth noting that Apple was scheduled to reset iCloud Backups during the daytime yesterday—a process which seemingly did not actually occur until later last night. [via Engadget]

Apple moving away from Samsung as memory supplier

Apple is increasing its purchases of DRAM and NAND flash from suppliers in Japan as part of its ongoing effort to reduce its dependence on Samsung. Citing industry sources, DigiTimes reports that Apple has purchased more NAND flash from Toshiba and more RAM from Elpida Memory. The move comes as Apple and Samsung’s relationship grows increasingly contentious, with the two companies competing in the smartphone and tablet markets, and with multiple lawsuits against each other filed in courts worldwide.

Apple to reset iCloud Backups on Sept 22nd

Apple has posted an announcement on its developer site for both iOS and Mac developers noting that it will reset all iCloud backup data on September 22nd. “On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT – 5 PM PDT,” the message reads. “If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.” Registered developers have had access to iCloud for testing purposes during the iOS 5 beta period, as the service will launch alongside iOS 5 this fall. A report from last week—which incorrectly suggested that iOS 5 beta 8 would be released last Friday—claimed that Apple would release the Gold Master (GM) build of iOS 5 on or around September 23, which would coincide with this iCloud data reset.

Apple launches online Stores in four new markets

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Apple has launched new online stores in four new international markets: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates. The launches are being celebrated with customized graphics on the main Apple homepage in each respective country, complete with national color-matching confetti for each. As noted by Mac Rumors, today’s launches bring the total number of countries in which Apple offers an online store to 37, with several of those being offered in multiple languages.

Apple to discontinue iPhone 4 Bumper case?

Dwindling supplies of Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumper case in certain regions may be pointing to an impending discontinuation of the line, according to a new report. Citing information received from informant “Mr. X”, 9to5Mac reports that stock of Apple’s in-house iPhone 4 case is constrained in certain regions, which it takes as an indication that Apple plans to either update or discontinue the line. The report notes that the next iPhone may require an updated Bumper, or may feature an all new design. With some form of the iPhone 4, whether it be a simple change to 8GB capacity or a new iPhone 4S moniker, likely to be sold long after the iPhone 5 is announced, it seems unlikely that Apple would discontinue the product altogether. Instead, it seems possible that it is drawing down current stock to be replaced with a slightly updated revision, or to indicate on the accessory’s packaging its compatibility with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, should the latter become a reality.

Apple building iMessage into iChat?

New code discovered in Apple’s iChat instant messaging client suggests that the company is preparing to add iMessage support to the app. Citing information provided by a developer, Mac Rumors reports that the version of iChat in OS X Lion contains properties for “_timeDelivered” and “_timeRead,” suggesting that the application will offer the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Such features, however, are not offered by any of iChat’s current native messaging services, but are offered by iMessage. As noted in the report, support for iMessage in OS X Lion would allow Mac users and iOS 5 users to exchange messages with one another in real time, and would serve as a compliment to Apple’s FaceTime video chat service, which also allows for direct communication between Macs and iOS devices.

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