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Apple taps TSMC for next-generation mobile processors

Apple has signed a foundry partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to a new report. Citing industry sources, Digitimes reports that under the new agreement, TSMC will use its 28nm and 20nm process technologies to produce Apple’s next-generation CPUs. Reports linking the two companies date back to as early as June, as tensions between Apple and A5 manufacturing partner Samsung became increasingly evident. The report goes on to state that Apple and TSMC have not yet discussed backend manufacturing, and suggests that Apple may have TSMC and other dedicated packaging and testing houses split the orders due to TSMC’s limited backend services capacity.

TweetDeck update removes Deck.ly posting

TweetDeck has released an update to its iPhone app removing support for its Deck.ly extended posting service. Redesigned and released earlier this year as an entirely new app, TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch incorporated its own tweet shortening service known as Deck.ly that allows users to write tweets longer than 140 characters, posting as many characters as possible within the tweet followed by a link to an online page to display the full length of the tweet.

At the time that the new app was released, TweetDeck also promised that a similar iPad update would be coming. However, shortly after this the company was acquired by Twitter and despite claims that the company would continue to provide “the same focus and products” all references to the iPad app were removed from the company’s web site. There have been few TweetDeck updates since the acquisition, and this latest update appears to have been released primarily to remove Deck.ly support “as part of the process of making TweetDeck more consistent with Twitter.com & Twitter’s mobile apps.” TweetDeck for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download.

Ex-Samsung manager admits to sharing iPad details

An ex-Samsung Electronics manager has testified that he disclosed confidential shipping data for iPad components to investors prior to the device’s release, Businessweek reports. Testifying in the insider-trading trial of Primary Global Research (PGR) exec James Fleishman, Suk-Joo Hwang, who worked for 14 years at Samsung’s U.S. division, told jurors that he had lunch with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager in Mountain View, CA, four months prior to the iPad’s launch, at which he shared the information. “One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,” Hwang said. “This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.” Hwang was working for PGR as a consultant at the time.

Hwang went on to say that a man at a nearby table was staring at him, and he became concerned that the man might be an Apple employee; shortly after the lunch, he was told by a colleague that Samsung had lost a supply contract with Apple. “I thought, ‘Oh that guy was an Apple guy and they found out,’” Hwang said. “I was scared.” Hwang was granted immunity from prosecution by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in return for his testimony.

iPad increases tablet market share in Q2 2011

Apple’s iPad increased its share of the tablet market in the second calendar quarter of 2011, according to new research from IDC. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker, demand for the iPad 2 gave Apple a share of 68.3 percent in Q2, up from 65.7 percent in the prior quarter, while Android’s share of the market slipped from 34 percent in Q1 to 26.8 percent in the second quarter. Overall tablet shipments were up 88.9 percent over the prior quarter an 303.8 percent year-over-year to 13.6 million units; IDC is predicting second-half 2011 tablet shipments of 62.5 million units.

SkyGrid redesign improves UI, adds Photo Grid to all sections

SkyGrid has released an redesigned version of its iOS news aggregator app improving the user interface and navigation. SkyGrid 2.2 now allows users to select the Photo Grid view across all sections and provides a separate Following Grid for every source and topic being followed. Image quality has also been improved throughout the app and users can now swipe between home screens and take advantage of more seamless scrolling to view additional stories. The new version also includes an updated Choose Your Interested Guide providing more content and allows users to add more topics or sources to their following grid from any page simply by tapping on the green ribbon in the top right corner. SkyGrid is available from the App Store as a free download.

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.

Parallels Mobile adds Host Mac Remote Control + more

Parallels has updated the iOS companion application for its recently released Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac adding support for remote control of the Parallels host Mac in the same manner as remotely controlling virtual machines. The new version also adds audio support, allowing users to play back music and audio remotely from the host Mac or other virtual machine, and iOS clipboard support for copying and pasting text between the iOS device and the remote computer. Additional improvements in the update include better support for external displays and keyboards, the ability to limit connections to Wi-Fi only, and a number of general stability, performance and usability improvements. Parallels Mobile is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is currently available from the App Store for an introductory price of $5, reduced from the normal price of $20. The app requires Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac or later; remote control of the host Mac requires Parallels Desktop 7.

Samsung, Apple file new suits in France, UK

Both Samsung and Apple have filed new patent infringement suits against each other in France and the UK, respectively. Samsung’s suit, filed in a Paris district court, accuses Apple of infringing three Samsung patents related to UMTS technology, and specifically targets the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and 3G-enabled iPad and iPad 2 models. Apple’s suit against Samsung was filed in the UK; details on it are scarce, as the patents in question have not yet been identified. Finally, Samsung has also filed an appeal against a German ruling from last week that saw sales of its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet barred in the country. Samsung and Apple are involved in a large number of patent disputes worldwide.

iOS 5 beta 8 arriving Friday, GM on 23rd?

Apple intends on releasing its eighth beta version of iOS to registered developers this Friday, according to a new report. Citing a trusted source, Boy Genius Report claims that following the release of iOS 5 beta 8, Apple plans to release the Gold Master (GM) build of the software on or around September 23, and that that build will be loaded onto already-assembled iPhone 5 hardware that is waiting for final software. Finally, the report claims that Apple will then request carrier partners to give technical acceptance to the GM by October 5, although it remains unclear what Apple plans to do should the GM fail to receive acceptance.

Penultimate adds image support

Cocoa Box Design has released an update to Penultimate, its digital ink notebook app for the iPad, adding support for importing images and improving the wrist protection features. Penultimate 3.1 now allows users to insert photos and images directly onto notebook pages from either the iOS photo library or the iPad 2 camera. Images can be moved, resized and rotated using standard touch gestures and users can also make handwritten notes on top of an image which will move with the picture as it is repositioned on the page. A new paper collection, “Photo Pages” has also been added as an optional in-app purchase to provide several simple, useful templates for photo albums that provide automatic layout features when working with images.

The update also improves the application’s Wrist Protection feature making it more natural for a wider variety of stylus users, particularly left-handed users and those with unusual writing grips. Users can now simply select their preferred writing position from an illustrated settings panel to avoid inadvertent wrist interaction while working with a stylus. Penultimate 3.1 is available from the App Store for $1.

Planetary adds graphic enhancements, playlist support

Bloom Studio has released a major update to Planetary, its visual music explorer for the iPad. Part visualizer, part music player, Planetary allows users to explore their music collection as a 3D trip through the galaxy, zooming in on artists displayed as solar systems, albums as planets, and tracks as moons. Version 2.0 adds several significant graphical enhancements with new galaxy detail, solar flares, eclipses, atmospheric glow, accretion disks and more detailed textures for planets and moons. Additional graphic detail has also been added for the more powerful iPad 2 capabilities.

The new version also the ability to select playlists and toggle shuffle and repeat modes directly within the app along with automatic camera motion during playback, gyroscope support for the iPad 2 and scale and speed sliders to adjust the view. Several bug fixes and performance issues have also been addressed in the update. Planetary is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple wins ruling against Samsung in Germany

Apple has won another court battle in its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung. Reuters reports that a German court has upheld an injunction barring Samsung from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablets in Germany. In the ruling, Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman said that the overall impression of the Tab 10.1 was too similar to the iPad, stating that it “is distinguished by its smooth, simple areas.” The decision limits retailers to sales of existing stock and or obtaining new supplies from Samsung’s parent company Samsung International. Samsung can object to the decision.

Netflix now limits concurrent streaming? (Updated: No)

According to a new report by Stop the Cap, Netflix has recently started to enforce streaming restrictions on subscribers, limiting streaming content to one device at a time. Although the Netflix Terms of Use previously included this limit as an official policy, it was not enforced, enabling users to stream multiple movies or TV shows at once to different devices.

While the policy applies to all Netflix-capable devices, it would appear that it is not yet being consistently enforced within the Netflix iOS app. Our testing today demonstrated that different Netflix content could concurrently stream on up to three iOS devices over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections, or on an Apple TV and a single iOS device, provided the Apple TV stream was already running when the iOS stream began. It is unclear at this time whether this behavior is intentional or not, however the Netflix Terms of Use do not provide any exceptions for specific devices. [via Mashable]

Update: A follow-up report from GigaOM indicates that this seems to be the result of a technical glitch rather than an actual policy change, citing an e-mail from Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey in which he stated that “No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams. A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.”

iPad 3 to sport thinner, lighter battery

The iPad 3 will feature a thinner, lighter battery module, according to a new report. Citing Institutional investors, the Taiwan Economic News reports that the component, expected to be manufactured by Simplo Techonology and Dynapack International Technology, is also expected to cost 20-30 percent more than the same component int he iPad 2, and will also offer a longer service life. Notably, a recent Digitimes report claimed that the iPad 3’s expected high-resolution, 2048 x 1536 display requires a much larger backlight than prior models, which may offset thickness gains earned from using a thinner battery. In addition, the report claims that the new battery will be required to meet CTIA IEEE 1625 standards for better quality and safety reliability, with deliveries to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. [via AppleInsider]

Verizon airs new ad for iPad 2

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Verizon Wireless has started to air its own TV advertisement for the iPad 2. The 30-second spot highlights the use of the Verizon model’s 3G connection to download books, stay connected when away from Wi-Fi, post to Twitter, and take pictures. The new spot is available for viewing on YouTube or in embedded form below. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple using two suppliers for iPhone 5 camera lenses

Apple is using two Taiwanese companies as suppliers for the iPhone 5’s camera lens, according to The Taiwan Economic News. The report claims that Taiwan-based Largan Precision and Genius Electronic Optical will share orders for lenses for the iPhone 5’s expected eight-megapixel camera, with Largan supplying a slightly larger portion. According to the report, the two companies also shared orders for the iPhone 4’s five-megapixel lens and the iPad 2’s higher-resolution lens, while Genius is said to produce nearly all the VGA lenses for iPhones and iPads.

GameStop to sell iOS devices in stores?

Video game specialty retailer game stop may soon begin offering the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in its stores, according to a new report. Citing several unnamed sources, 9to5Mac reports that the announcement was made to dealers at a recent trade show in Las Vegas. GameStop also recently began accepting iOS device trade-ins for store credits, and may be planning to offer used products before phasing in new offerings. Such a move by GameStop would likely bolster iOS’ growing reputation as a viable gaming platform.

3G iPad 2 receives regulatory approval in China

Apple has received regulatory approval for the WCDMA-compatible Wi-Fi + 3G model of the iPad 2 in China, according to a Wall Street Journal report. China’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center has issued the network license required for official sales to an Apple device with 3G wireless data capabilities, listed as model number A1396—the same model number as the standard GSM iPad 2. The report notes that the model is already available through the company’s partners in Hong Kong, where it will soon open its first retail store in the upscale IFC mall, but that sales in mainland China have been limited to the Wi-Fi-only models. When released the 3G iPad 2 will be compatible with and will likely be sold by Apple’s current iPhone parter China Unicom.

Solar Walk adds 3D TV support

Vito Technology has released an update to Solar Walk adding support for displaying content on an external 3D TV. Solar Walk is a 3D interactive virtual model of our solar system that allows users to navigate through space and time exploring the planets and their moons along with several of Earth’s satellites and hundreds of named places on Earth’s Moon, Mars, Earth and Venus. A Time Machine feature allows users to adjust time back or forward moving planets and satellites along their real trajectories. Version 1.8 adds support for connecting to an external screen including 3D TV support along with 3D models of Earth’s ten main satellites with real-time trajectories and more detailed Earth textures. The update also adds three new educational movies: Tidal Phenomena, Major Circles of Latitude and Zodiacal Constellations. Solar Walk 1.8 is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.

Hulu Plus brings back HDMI output - in standard-definition only

Hulu has released an update to Hulu Plus adding limited support for displaying video content on an external display over HDMI on the iPad 2. With the release of the iPad 2 in March, Hulu Plus was originally able to provide HDMI output via the new display mirroring feature, however the company quickly moved to block this capability, releasing an update in April that disabled display mirroring when using the Hulu Plus application, presumably due to content licensing restrictions.

The release of Hulu Plus 2.4 adds HDMI output capabilities back into the application; rather than using the display mirroring feature, however, the app sends a separate, standard-definition video stream to an HDMI connected display. The update also adds the ability to save an entire season to the queue, adds closed captioning support to some content and renames “Subscriptions” to “Favorites.” Hulu Plus 2.4 is available from the App Store as a free download. HDMI output requires the Apple Digital AV Adapter and an iPad 2.

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