- November 29, 2012
The iPhone 5 launch appears to be imminent in China, as an Apple device resembling the headset has been approved for a “network access” license, The Wall Street Journal reports. It appears that the iPhone 5 is on track for a December release, as the phone is compatible with China Telecom’s network standard, and as previously reported, China Telecom has already started taking preorders for the phone. China Unicom might launch the iPhone 5 around the same time, but the regulatory website hasn’t addressed Unicom’s mobile standard as of yet. Speculation that the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, could sell the phone, has yet to be verified. Apple has yet to make an official statement on the iPhone 5’s Chinese release date.
- November 27, 2012
General Motors will be the first automaker to implement Siri’s Eyes Free feature, as it officially announced plans to incorporate the technology into its Chevrolet Spark and Sonic subcompact cars early next year — as first indicated by an independent report in June. An iPhone 5 or 4S running iOS 6 will connect via Bluetooth to Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system — drivers can activate Siri’s Eyes Free mode using the steering wheel voice activation button. Once in Eyes Free mode, drivers can perform a number of tasks without taking their eyes off the road: make voice-activated, hands-free calls to contacts; play iTunes songs and switch music sources from radio to iPod mode; listen to, compose, and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or a saved contact; access Calendar and add appointments.
While in Eyes Free mode, driving distractions can be minimized by keeping the iPhone’s screen from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions — but Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page. Eyes Free can eventually be expected to turn up in vehicles from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda, as all eight automakers were initially announced as partners.
- November 26, 2012
China Telecom has started taking preorders for the iPhone 5, according to a new report from Global Times. A customer service employee said “China Telecom’s version (of the iPhone 5) will go on sale sometime in December,” as the reported December launch for the iPhone 5 in China appears all but certain. China Unicom has yet to start taking preorders for the phone. In addition, Taiwan’s major telecom carriers have confirmed the iPhone 5 is “very likely” to be released Dec. 14 in Taiwan, according to Focus Taiwan News Channel. There’s been no official word from Apple on the release date. [via 9to5Mac]
It appears that a growing number of AT&T users now have access to FaceTime over Cellular, including those who have grandfathered unlimited data plans, according to a MacRumors report. AT&T recently announced that FaceTime over Cellular would be accessible to those with tiered data plans, but no such announcement was made regarding customers with the unlimited plans. Not all users seem to have access yet, so it’s possible that AT&T is rolling the service out gradually. AT&T has made no new official announcement regarding FaceTime over Cellular as of yet.
- November 12, 2012
According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, China Telecom may be offering the iPhone 5 for sale in China as soon as early December or even late November. Both China Telecom and larger rival China Unicom have been waiting for approval from the Chinese government to begin selling the iPhone 5, and although government officials have been quiet on when such approval may be granted, Chairman Wang Xiaochu of state-controlled China Telecom suggested it could be right around the corner. In a brief interview on Friday, Mr. Wang indicated that he expected it to by early December “if not sooner” although China Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing was reportedly less certain, indicating that his company hopes “to offer it this year” and is simply waiting on the government to grant the necessary licenses for the device’s release in China.
The Wall Street Journal report goes on to note that China has become an extremely important part of Apple’s business as a result of the country’s growing middle class, with China sales totalling $5.7 billion in Q4 2012, or 16 percent of the company’s total revenue for that quarter. The release of Apple iPads and iPhones in China has typically lagged behind launches in other countries, possibly due to need to meet demand in the U.S. market along with the tests and licensing restrictions required by the Chinese Government.
Apple has seeded developers with a second beta version of iOS 6.1. As with prior iOS beta updates, beta 2 is available as an over-the-air software update or as a direct download from the iOS Dev Center, and is accompanied by a new beta version of the Apple TV software, as well as an updated version of Xcode and the iOS 6.1 SDK. The new version is listed as build 10B5105c; it is unclear what changes may be contained in the release. iOS 6.1 beta 2 is available now to registered iOS developers.
AT&T has announced that it will begin allowing FaceTime over Cellular at no additional charge for customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan. Apple added the ability to use FaceTime over a cellular data connection in iOS 6, however AT&T originally announced that only customers on Mobile Share plans would have access to the new feature on the AT&T network, a move that sparked a complaint to the FCC. Notably, AT&T is the only iPhone carrier that required users to be on specific data plans to use the FaceTime over Cellular feature.
AT&T now expects to roll out this additional functionality during the next eight to ten weeks. In a post on the company’s website titled “A Few Thoughts on FaceTime”, AT&T’s Jim Cicconi wrote that AT&T initially took a “cautious” approach — limiting FaceTime over Cellular to specific shared data plans — because the company’s engineers couldn’t effectively assess network impact. Several recent billing plans also allow deaf and hard of hearing customers to use FaceTime. Cicconi anticipates AT&T will “expand the availability of FaceTime to our customers on other billing plans in the near future.” Note that this policy change applies only to tiered plans; FaceTime over Cellular will remain unavailable for customers still on unlimited data plans.
Apple has updated its Apple Store iPhone and iPod touch app adding Siri integration for compatible devices and rolled out its EasyPay feature to five additional countries. With the latest version, users can now make requests to Siri such as “I want to buy an iPad mini” or “Find prices on MacBook Pro” directly opening the Apple Store app to the appropriate page. Users in Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany can also now take advantage of EasyPay, a feature that allows purchases to be made in an Apple Retail Store with an iPhone 4/4S/5 by scanning the barcode with the camera and completing the transaction directly within the app. Apple Store 2.4 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Foxconn chairman Terry Gou said the company’s Hon Hai unit is having trouble keeping up with iPhone manufacturing demands, Reuters reports. “It’s not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand,” Gou told reporters. He declined to comment on reports that another unit, Foxconn International Holdings, has taken on some production. More than a month after the iPhone 5’s initial release, Apple’s website still shows the smartphone as available to ship in “3-4 weeks.”
Microsoft will release a version of Office for iOS in early 2013, according to The Verge. Office Mobile will debut as free apps, and users will be able to view documents with a Microsoft account. At first offering basic viewing functionality, an Office 365 subscription will allow users to edit documents. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that “Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android.” First reported in early October, it’s now expected Office Mobile for iOS will debut in late February or early March.
Apple has lost the exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Mexico, according to a report from El Universal. The Mexican company iFone, which registered its brand in 2003, has been confirmed as the legitimate owner of the trademark. Apple originally sought to prevent iFone from using its name.* It’s unclear as of yet what the fallout from the decision will be, though iFone corporate lawyer Eduardo Gallástegui said iFone is entitled to compensation for damage to the brand. [via 9to5Mac]
* Updated: The Verge reports that the Mexican court’s ruling does not as yet prohibit Apple from using the iPhone name for its own products, but rather permits iFone to use its name as it was previously registered for a somewhat separate class of products, regardless of Apple’s opposition.
Alongside the user release of iOS 6.0.1, Apple has released iOS 6.1 beta to developers. The release supports a number of iOS devices, though the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini are absent from the list.
Apart from a change to a developer-side searching capability for Maps, other changes in the beta version are not immediately known. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released iOS 6.0.1. The update contains various improvements and bug fixes, including:
* a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air;
* a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard;
* an issue that could cause the camera flash not to go off;
* improved reliability of iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks;
* an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances;
* consolidation of the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match;
* a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen; and
* a bug affecting Exchange meetings.
iOS 6.0.1 can be updated directly from your iOS device using Settings > Software Update, or downloaded from iTunes.
Updated Nov. 2: The iPad mini also has iOS 6.0.1, available now.
- November 1, 2012
Alongside the release of iOS 6.0.1 today, Apple also pushed out iOS Updater, a 69.7MB updater to fix “a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air.” iOS Updater is downloaded when an iPhone 5 uses the Software Update feature in its Settings menu, appearing as a new icon on the Home Screen; when launched, the app replicates the functionality of a standard software update, bringing iOS 6.0 up to iOS 6.0.1.
Presumably, iOS Updater will not be needed for future updates. After iOS 6.0.1 is installed, the icon disappears the first time it’s tapped.
- November 1, 2012
iFixit has conducted an iPad mini teardown, finding a Samsung LCD and confirming stereo speakers — making the iPad mini the first handheld iDevice to have stereo speakers. It’s noted that though the teardown unit uses a Samsung LCD, some other iPad minis likely use different manufacturers. The battery is marked with confusing labels — it’s marked as a 3.72V, 16.5 Watt-hour, 4400 mAh battery. But elsewhere, it appears to be marked as a 3.78V, 16.9 Watt-hour battery. Apple’s tech specs list the battery as 16.3 Watt-hour.
Hynix 16 GB NAND Flash and 512 MB of RAM are included in the iPad mini, which reminds iFixit of a larger iPod touch. iFixit gives the iPad mini a low repairability score — 2 out of 10. The fifth-generation iPod touch didn’t fare much better, earning a 3 out of 10.
iPhone 5 is closer to launching in China, as two models have been approved for use on Chinese mobile networks by State Radio Management, Chinese blog Sina Tech reports. The A1429 model can support the networks of China Unicom and China Mobile, while the A1442 model supports China Telecom’s network. There’s long been speculation that Apple could finally reach a deal with China Mobile — China’s largest mobile carrier. Once the iPhone 5 secures a network-access license, it can be sold in China. No launch date has been announced as of yet. [via CNET]
A Facebook post questioning AT&T’s restrictions on FaceTime over Cellular has gone viral, racking up more than 690,000 “likes” and more than 51,000 comments as of this writing. In a Facebook post directed at AT&T, a customer named Wynter Farmer notes her disappointment with AT&T forcing customers to switch to a more expensive, limited data plan in order to use FaceTime over Cellular on the iPhone 5. “In order for FaceTime to be used without WiFi a Family Share Plan is required. That plan has limited data. It took me a second to wrap my head around that,” Farmer wrote, noting that she currently has an unlimited data plan.
The post ends with Farmer writing, “If AT&T doesn’t delete this post please like it to show them you also think it is an underhanded, unfair and despicable way to treat their loyal customers.” The post was written on Oct. 14 and is still racking up comments and likes by the minute, illustrating that user anger over AT&T’s restrictions has not subsided.
During Apple’s fourth quarter 2012 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod businesses.
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, noted that the iPod touch continued to account for over 50% of iPods sold, and continues to account for 70% of market share, according to NPD. This is despite declines in overall iPod sales.
Oppenheimer also noted that the demand for the iPhone 5 continues to outstrip supply and the company continues to work as hard as it can to get an iPhone into the hands of every customer who wants one.
Additional details are available by clicking on the title of this article.
Reporting its fourth quarter 2012 financial results today, Apple said it sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, a 58 percent increase year-over-year, up somewhat from 26 million units in the prior quarter. Apple sold 14 million iPads during the quarter, up 26 percent from the year-ago quarter but down from 17 million units in the third quarter of 2012. Finally, the company said it sold 5.3 million iPods during the quarter — a 19 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Unit sales of iPhones, iPads, and iPods bring the cumulative totals for the three device categories to 271 million, 98.08 million, and 356.38 million, respectively, though Apple did note at a media event several days ago that iPad sales have since surpassed the 100 million mark.
Apple posted revenue of $35.97 billion and net quarterly profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $28.27 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share in Q4 2011. Revenue from Other Music Related Products and Services, which includes revenue from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore in addition to sales of iPod services and Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories, was 2.29 billion for the quarter, up 43 percent year-over-year and 29 percent from the prior quarter. Apple’s Board of Directors also declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on November 15, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 12, 2012.
“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”
“We’re pleased to have generated over $41 billion in net income and over $50 billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75.”
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]