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Will Apple be making a larger screened iPhone

Published on April 23, 2013 by in Apple, News, Rumors

Will Apple create an iPhone with a 5″ screen?

According to Apple Insider Apples CEO is hinting that there may be a potential new iPhone with at least a 5″ screen, but says that Apple would not release one until the screen technology improves.  As we know technology is ever changing and moving quickly… so I wouldn’t be surprised if an iPhone with a larger screen is released at the end of this year or before mid next year.  Rumor does have it that thee may be secretly working on a new smart phone with at least a 5″ screen now.

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iPhone 5S Rumored For August Launch

Published on March 6, 2013 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, News, Rumors

Well kids, here we go again: another day, another Apple rumor story.  This time, it’s about iOS devices; specifically a release date for the next iPhone model.  According to i-everything blog iMore, the folks in Cupertino are eying an August launch for the iPhone 5S.  The phones are reportedly already in the manufacturing pipeline at Foxconn.  This is because the 5S doesn’t appear to be a major design departure from the current iPhone 5. Rather, it’s a spec speed bump, and is said to include a more advanced processor and a better camera.

The next interesting rumor floating about involves an “April-ish” launch for new iPads.  Even iMore said they weren’t sure what to make of this, given that we just saw a new release in October, with the iPad mini. They report that new cases for iPad 5 have begun to leak, and so they believe that it’s more believable than Retina for the iPad mini anytime terribly soon.

Apple Insider also noted that Jeffries analyst Peter Misek predicted that Apple will be launching a second smartphone alongside the 5S, possibly the widely-whispered low-cost version targeted at developing markets.  Time will tell if these rumors have an validity, but it looks like we won’t have long to find out.

 
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iWatch Rumor Watch

Published on March 5, 2013 by in Apple, News, Rumors

Apple fans who’ve spent any time at all following the company know that intense speculation precedes any major product launch from the folks in Cupertino.  It’s true whether the product in question already exists or is merely being strongly hinted at in the tech press.  It’s also well-known that Apple is one of the most secretive companies around.  In fact, Steve Jobs famously denied that Apple would ever create an App Store for iOS or Mac OS X, or create any product in the tablet space.  Of course, the company went on to do all 3 of those things, to amazing acclaim.

So now there are rampant rumors about an “iWatch”, and have been for several months.  We have something of an idea of what such a device might look like, based on the clever 6th-generation iPod nano.  It ran a stripped-down version of iOS and gave users several cheerful watch faces from which to choose (my own is permanently set to Mickey Mouse), and sported a clip on its underside that allowed users to attach the iPod to any of myriad third-party watch bands.

Bloomberg is pointing to an end-of-year launch for this as-yet unconfirmed device.  We don’t know if the thing even actually exists yet (nor what kind of product it will be if and when it does), but there seems to be a great deal of pressure on Apple to prove it can still do “insanely great” things after Steve Jobs’ death in October 2011. Sources close to company say that the iWatch will run a full version of iOS, unlike the previous iPod nano, and designers are still working to get better battery life out of the device.

One other fascinating bit of iWatch info circulating on the web is that both Bloomberg and Business Insider are reporting that Apple design guru Jony Ive ordered boxes of Nike watches in the mid-2000s.  He was specifically interested in the Nike Presto Digital Bracelets and the Oregon Series Alti-Compass watches, which were manufactured in 2002–2004. Both of these models feature minimalistic designs, using translucent plastic and aluminum.  That should sound quite familiar to anybody who’s looked at an Apple product in the past half-decade.

 
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Unlocking mobile phones is now illegal (sort of)

For the past week or so, the major buzz across the Internet has been about how it’s suddenly against the law to unlock your cell phone from whatever carrier it’s attached to before the contract runs out.  There’s been a good amount of fear-mongering and ranting about the amount of corporate influence on American law.  While I think much of the outcry has been justified, some of it hasn’t, and I’d like to take a careful look at what this announcement is and is not, and what it will mean for mobile phone users going forward.

First we need to define our terms.  Just what is “unlocking” and how is it related to “jailbreaking” or “rooting”?  “Unlocking” refers to using a code to remove a software or firmware lock in a mobile phone, allowing it to be used on more than one provider’s network. It has little to do with how the user interacts with the phone’s OS.  “Jailbreaking” refers to using software or hardware exploits to gain root access to the operating system on iOS devices.  “Rooting” is essentially the same process, except as practiced on Android devices.  They’re only related insofar as the sorts of folks who are interested in jailbreaking or rooting devices are also often the same folks who want to unlock them from specific carriers.

So now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s specify what this law doesn’t do: it does not make jailbreaking or rooting illegal.  Those processes are still exempted from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as they have been since the Electronic Freedom Foundation won said exemptions in July 2010. However, the US Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress began reviewing those exemptions (and others) last October, and decided that the original exemption for unlocking phones was no longer necessary, given how much easier it is for consumers to either purchase unlocked devices in the first place, or  just have their carriers unlock their phones for them. (Having worked for several mobile phone carriers, I can tell you that one of the first things they teach you is how to tell customers that “we’re sorry, we won’t unlock your phone; so sorry for the inconvenience…thanks and have a nice day!”)

Once the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress arrived at this decision, they granted a 90-day grace period for users to get their phones unlocked.  That time ran out on Saturday.  So, what this means as of now is that only “legacy” phones are still eligible to be unlocked with no penalty.  Newly-minted phones, not so much.  After all, mobile providers are selling these phones (that are really miniature computers) for a ridiculously subsidized fee, knowing that they’ll recoup their money over the life of a 2-year contract.  If consumers were able to unlock their phones, why would they be motivated to stay with a carrier if they didn’t want to?

You’re probably not going to have Johnny Law knocking on your door if you do decide to unlock your phone before your contract runs out with your carrier.  However, you may have a little harder time finding a third-party business to help you with that unlock.  Those third-party businesses could also face civil and criminal penalties of anywhere from $200 to $500,000 for unlocking phones.  It all comes down to whether carriers intend to try to root out phones with unsanctioned unlocks – and if they do so, how aggressively.  We’ll be watching, because it’s our money too.

 
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iPhone Rumor Roundup – Let’s Do the “Math”

The ink has barely dried on the credit card bills for Christmas and already there are rumors in the air of new Apple hardware for the year to come.  Specifically, gadget fans and investors alike are speculating about a smaller, lighter iPhone. This hypothetical device is said to be less expensive, although Apple has historically not paid too much attention to price points – and certainly can’t be accused of producing anything that would belong in a bargain bin!  However, CEO Tim Cook seemed to have put  damper on the idea of such a device, commenting at the D10 conference:

“Our North Star is to make the best product. Our goal isn’t to make the design for this price point or this schedule, or line up other things, or to have x number of phones. It’s to build the best. There’s not a policy or commandment that ‘I shalt have one phone…’, it’s about making the best. If we find we can do more than one… but do we have to? … One thing is that we’re not fragmented. Look at the percentage of users who upgraded to iOS 5. We have one App Store. We have one phone with one screen size, one resolution. So it’s pretty simple if you’re a developer.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg then asked Cook, “Why can’t you make a more affordable new iPhone?” to which Cook replied, “We could do that. I’m not going to conjecture.”

As if that rumor weren’t enough, there are now stories coming from China of a device called the “iPhone Math”. Chinese and Taiwanese media sources have reported that this device would feature a 4.8-inch touchscreen and an 8-megapixel camera. On top of all that, there’s a report of even a third mystery iPhone, said to have a 12-megapixel camera. (Incidentally, there also questions about the name “Math”, and reports that it could have been a mistranslation from Chinese to English…)

We may hear announcements of either new hardware or new software (iOS 7) at WWDC 2013, and the longest we’ll have to wait is for the customary iPod/iTunes/music event in the fall.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what the folks in Cupertino have in store.

 
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