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MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors - Front Page   more  xml  hide  
last updated: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:59:33 GMT

 Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:38:04 PDT Case-Mate Preps for Release of iPhone 5 Cases with Revamped Design
We've published a number of articles about iPhone 5 cases suggesting that the device will be significantly wider but thinner than the iPhone 4, but most of those cases have been sourced from relatively low-profile Asian suppliers so far. As noted by BGR, larger U.S. companies such as Case-Mate are now getting into the picture with their own cases based on the same rumored design.

Case-Mate earlier today posted a number of different iPhone 5 case designs, only to quickly pull the page as it began to receive publicity. The cases seem to show the same rounded and tapered profile of other iPhone 5 cases, along with the mute switch being move from the left side of the device to the right side.


Concrete evidence for a redesigned iPhone 5 has been surprisingly scant, with case designs being essentially the only sign of such a revamp. Meanwhile, a number of parts have been surfacing for Apple's "N94" iPhone that is based on the iPhone 4 design and has been informally referred to as the iPhone 4S. Consequently, doubts have been raised about whether the redesigned form factor will actually be making an appearance, with supply chain checks reporting no sign of the device and only the iPhone 4S entering production.

It is difficult to point to Case-Mate's posting as further proof of an imminent redesigned iPhone 5, as the cases are likely based on the same leaked design document used by Asian manufacturers, a document whose authenticity has been called into question given the lack of supporting evidence for such a device. But it is interesting to note that even relatively major U.S.-based case manufacturers are investing in designs for cases based on this form factor.


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 Thu, 15 Sep 2011 09:40:20 PDT Intel Details Thunderbolt Spec: New Chips Coming Next Year, But What About Fiber Optic Cables?
This is my next reports on an Intel presentation at IDF yesterday detailing specifications for the Thunderbolt connectivity standard, demonstrating the company's commitment to the platform. The presentation reveals a long list of details on the standard, including the use of a Mini DisplayPort-compatible plug as found on Apple's Thunderbolt-enabled Mac models, officially disapproving of Sony's plans to utilize USB as the connector for Thunderbolt.


The report notes that Thunderbolt cable lengths are currently limited to three meters due to their reliance on electrical connections. Thunderbolt, which began under the codename "Light Peak", was originally intended to offer fiber optic cables, but Intel is continuing to work on that technology to bring it to consumers. The company is apparently planning to make fiber optic Thunderbolt cables available beginning next year, but they will run at the same speeds as with the current copper wire cables.
What about active optical Thunderbolt cables? Intel says that they will be released “sometime next year” and enable lengths of “tens of meters.” Unfortunately, the first round of active optical cables will operate at the exact same speed as current cables, 10Gbps. Intel says that is necessary because it wants those cables to conform to the current spec, but that faster speeds are certainly possible into the further future. All cables have two channels and can work as a Displayport cable (but not, obviously, vice versa).
IDG News takes an opposing view based on an interview with Intel executive Dadi Perlmutter, seeing optical cables as still being years away from being competitive with the copper cables.
The trend of using copper wires could continue, and it could be many years before fiber optics are used in Thunderbolt.

"It's going to be way out," Perlmutter said. "At the end of the day it's all about how much speed people need versus how much they would be willing to pay."

The cost of implementing fiber optics is significantly higher than copper, and copper can transfer data at adequate speeds at this stage, Perlmutter said. There is still more room for data transfers to jump on copper.

"Copper will continue to improve, which happens. There have been many technologies that had been predicted dead 20 years ago that are still making good progress. We'll see," Perlmutter said.
Meanwhile, Intel continues to advance the technology used in its controller chips for Thunderbolt, planning for the successors to its four-channel Light Ridge chip used in the MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac and its scaled-down two-channel Eagle Ridge chip used in the MacBook Air. According to AnandTech, Intel's 2012 Thunderbolt chip is known as Cactus Ridge, and will also be offered in four-channel and two-channel versions. No details on pricing or other improvements have yet been disclosed, but the Intel is said to be planning to offer Cactus Ridge in packages measuring in as 12 mm by 12 mm.


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 Thu, 15 Sep 2011 07:25:52 PDT TSMC's 'Rush Orders' Presumably Fueling Broadcom Part Supplies for iPhone 5
Bloomberg reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has announced a spike in third quarter sales fueled by recent "rush orders", with industry experts suggesting that the demand is almost certainly coming from Broadcom as it fills orders for components of Apple's iPhone 5.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Broadcom’s biggest supplier, last week said third-quarter sales would exceed earlier forecasts because of rush orders from an unnamed customer. Other large Taiwan Semiconductor clients have disclosed disappointing results, suggesting that the customer was probably Broadcom, rushing to meet demand from Apple, according to a supply-chain analysis by Bloomberg.

“Broadcom is the largest link between Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor,” said Richard Davenport, a Bloomberg supply chain analyst, in a report. “Broadcom appears to be a likely candidate for Taiwan Semiconductor’s rush orders.”
Broadcom has historically provided the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip for Apple's iPhone products. It also provides a GPS chip for the GSM iPhone 4, but the need for that chip was eliminated in the CDMA iPhone 4, where the MDM6600 baseband chip from Qualcomm provides integrated GPS control circuitry.

The report notes that these rush orders for the parts presumed to be for Broadcom and Apple indicate that manufacturers are trying to make up for shortages of an existing component in the supply chain rather rolling out a new part. One analyst reasons that Broadcom should have anticipated the demand for its chips for the iPhone 5 and thus the rush order may not be for Apple, but it is possible that Apple is still seeking to boost production of the device as it anticipates strong early sales.


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 Thu, 15 Sep 2011 06:56:38 PDT Former Samsung Manager Reveals Role in Leaking Apple iPad Production Data
Bloomberg reports on the recent testimony of former Samsung manager Suk-Joo Hwang, who has revealed his role in leaking secrets on volumes of iPad displays being shipped to Apple as part of an insider trading trial targeting Primary Global Research executive James Fleishman. Fleishman was one of four insiders charged last year with leaking Apple secrets through so-called "expert networks" such as Primary Global Research, which paid industry insiders to provide confidential information and then traded on and sold the information to their own clients.

Hwang, who has been granted immunity, detailed how he provided information to Fleishman on iPad display shipments in December 2009, before the product had been introduced.
Hwang said that during lunch at a restaurant in Mountain View, California, with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager he identified as “Greg,” he gave them confidential information about Samsung’s shipment of liquid crystal display screens it was supplying to Apple. The iPad made its U.S. debut in April 2010, four months after the lunch.

“One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,” he 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 notes that he immediately "freaked out" about disclosing the information, feeling that he had spoken too loudly in the restaurant and wondering whether a man at a nearby table who may have overheard the conversation was an Apple employee.

Hwang worked on the side as a consultant with Primary Global Research until August 2010, with his consulting fee having been raised from $200 an hour to $350 in February of that year after he expressed reservations about continuing to provide information following a promotion at Samsung. Hwang was fired by Samsung several months ago as the insider trading scandal unfolded.

Back in July, one of the other insiders charged in connection with the case, Flextronics executive Walter Shimoon, pleaded guilty to leaking iPhone and iPad secrets to Primary Global Research.


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 Thu, 15 Sep 2011 03:27:15 PDT iPhone 5 Screen Protectors Show Elongated Home Button Area
Unwire.hk offers the first look at a screen protector that has been designed for the iPhone 5. The screen protector shows off the elongated home button seen in the leaked design document:


A second shot shows how much bigger the screen protector is than the current generation iPhone 4:


While we've seen a number of purported iPhone 5 case designs in the past, none had shown the front of the device. The elongated home button area design, however, was shown in leaked design documents. The design documents only show areas that need to be exposed or open to the user, so it doesn't mean the physical home button will necessarily adopt the exact shape.

The hole for the front facing camera has been included in the elongated hole for the speaker as seen in this image.

There's been some doubts raised recently about what shape the iPhone 5 might actually take. Despite all these case designs emerging from China, we should remind our readers that all these cases have been sourced from a common leaked design document. So, there's been little additional confirmation that this is an accurate image of what the iPhone 5 will look like. We've also seen no actual part leaks related to this dramatic redesign. The only part leaks we've seen come from an iPhone 4-like N94 design.

Apple is widely expected to release the iPhone 5 in September/October.


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 Wed, 14 Sep 2011 14:08:03 PDT Apple Brings Lion Internet Recovery to Current MacBook Pro Models

Apple this week released three firmware updates that include fixes to compatibility with the forthcoming Apple Thunderbolt Display, but the MacBook Pro firmware update released today brings another interesting addition to the company's current models: Lion Recovery over the Internet.
This update enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection and includes fixes that resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on MacBook Pro (early 2011) models.
Internet Recovery debuted as part of OS X Lion to allow users to install the operating system on blank hard drives. The system works using a minimal bootable install on the machine's firmware that then passes off the full Lion install to the usual recovery mechanism, which downloads the operating system over the Internet.

Internet Recovery was initially available only on the new MacBook Air and Mac mini models that launched alongside OS X Lion, but Apple has now extended the capabilities to the MacBook Pro models introduced back in February.


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 Wed, 14 Sep 2011 12:37:17 PDT Acer and Asus to Provide Momentum to Thunderbolt Adoption
IDG News reports that Acer and Asus have announced that they will begin adopting the new Thunderbolt connectivity standard next year, shifting momentum toward the platform developed in a collaboration between Intel and Apple and first released to the public in new MacBook Pro models back in February. Apple has since brought Thunderbolt to its entire Mac lineup with the exception of the Mac Pro, which has yet to be updated since the platform debuted.
A Windows PC with Thunderbolt technology was demonstrated onstage during a keynote address by Mooly Eden, Intel's general manager of the PC client group, at the Intel Developer Forum being held in San Francisco. Solid-state drives from Intel were connected to the PC and transferred four uncompressed videos at 700 megabytes per second.

Thunderbolt has been viewed as an alternative to USB 3.0, but as the technology was exclusively on Macs, only a few peripherals such as storage drives supported the interconnect. The adoption of Thunderbolt by device makers could grow when Acer and Asus adopt the technology in PCs.
Concerns about whether Thunderbolt would become a widely-adopted standard gained strength back in May when HP announced that it would be sticking with USB 3.0 and not adopting Thunderbolt. HP has of course since announced that it will be exiting the PC business.

While Apple had a headstart on Thunderbolt adoption, Intel has been pushing forward to speed adoption of the standard by providing partners with developer kits to help them build products using the platform. Intel has also committed to supporting Thunderbolt alongside USB 3.0 in its next-generation Ivy Bridge processor platform, making it easier for manufacturers to embrace the technology.


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 Wed, 14 Sep 2011 11:34:54 PDT Apple Launches Twitter Account for U.S. iBookstore

Apple today stepped up promotion of its iBookstore by launching a new Twitter account to keep followers updated on new releases, special offers, and other details from the store, as noted in the account's debut Tweet. The account was created back in June, but Apple has just started using the account to send out Tweets today.
Welcome to the Apple #iBookstore on Twitter. Follow us to discover new releases, exclusive book offers, and more.
The account's second Tweet promotes Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus", which is being heavily promoted by Apple. Apple is currently featuring the book on the iBookstore's main page, and Starbucks has also stepped into the promotion by offering a free "extended sample" of the book through its recently-expanded Pick of the Week program.

Apple maintains a number of Twitter accounts to provide updates on new and featured content from the iTunes Store, with the App Store receiving its own account earlier this year. The iBookstore account is not listed as a verified account, but does appear to be official as it is one of only seven accounts being followed by Apple's App Store account. The other six accounts followed by @AppStore are official Apple accounts.

Apple is also increasing its ties with Twitter in other areas, having recently added Twitter and Facebook posting to its online store and bringing systemwide Twitter integration to iOS 5.

Update: The @iBookstore account is now officially verified as belonging to Apple.


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 Wed, 14 Sep 2011 10:03:09 PDT Apple is Building iMessage into OS X Lion's iChat
Back in June, Apple unveiled iMessage, one of the major new features of the upcoming iOS 5 update.

iMessage is a unified messaging service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to send text and multimedia messages over Wi-Fi and 3G with read and delivery receipts and real-time typing indication. But as far as Apple has officially said, there is no way to send iMessages to or from non-iOS devices such as your Mac.

One developer has revealed to MacRumors that there is evidence that Apple has already started building in iMessage support into OS X Lion's iChat instant messaging software.

Buried in the framework of OS X Lion's iChat, are two new properties (highlighted below):
@interface IMMessage : NSObject
{
IMHandle *_sender;
IMHandle *_subject;
NSAttributedString *_text;
NSString *_plainBody;
NSDate *_time;
NSDate *_timeDelivered;
NSDate *_timeRead;
The "timeDelivered" and "timeRead' fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. These features, however, are not supported in any of iChat's native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple's iMessage protocol. These properties were also not present in previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion. We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.

Adding iMessage support into OS X Lion's iChat would allow iOS 5 users and Mac users to easily send text messages to each other in real time. This would not be the first time Apple has added such cross compatibility between its Mac and iOS product lines. Apple similarly extended iOS's FaceTime video conferencing feature to the Mac with the launch of FaceTime for Mac in February.

iMessage for iOS has not yet launched and will be part of iOS 5 which will be released this fall. It's not clear if and when Apple will launch iChat support for iMessage, but it seems work has already started.


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 Wed, 14 Sep 2011 07:41:14 PDT Sprint-Specific iPad Ready for Launch as Soon as Next Month?
Yesterday, a report surfaced claiming that Sprint sales reps are being trained for an iPhone 4 launch next month. The report also included mention of a "4G" iPad in development for the carrier, but the overall report was seen as questionable given that it also claimed that Sprint will not receive the iPhone 5 until 2012, a claim that directly contradicts other recent mainstream media reports.


But the claim of a Sprint-specific iPad has taken on more weight today with a report from 9to5Mac claiming that such a device is indeed ready for launch.
Apple and Sprint have completed work on a version of the iPad for Sprint’s data network. This Sprint compatible iPad appears to be ready for public consumption and will join the family of GSM (AT&T) and Verizon capable Apple tablets before the holidays. With Apple soon launching a Sprint version of the iPhone – which we independently confirmed in June – we suspect that the Sprint iPad will come alongside or soon after that release.
The primary question regarding the Sprint iPad is just what network technology it will support. Apple and Sprint could theoretically simply offer the existing CDMA iPad 2 for use on Sprint's network, so it seems that Apple and Sprint may have some other plans for the device. Sprint operates a 4G network based on WiMAX technology, and so speculation naturally turns to that possibility as an enticing option.

A Sprint-specific iPad 2 would increase Apple's slate of iPad offerings to an overwhelming 24 different models once all color, capacity, and carrier options are accounted for. Just last week the company simplified the layout of its iPad model selection page in its online store, and it would be a relatively clean addition to offer Sprint as a third carrier option within that new layout.


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Turntable.fm Releases iPhone App




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