Category: iPhone

The Future: Apple in China

Apple Store Pudong (China)

Apple Store Pudong (China) | Image courtesy of Apple

The quiet season is behind us, it was the most prolonged period of quiet from Apple in terms of product releases that I’ve ever known. There’s nothing nefarious to read into; Apple is a company that absolutely loves patterns and consistency and there is no better way to stay consistent than to release products in the same week year after year.

So here we are, the week of Apple’s first announcement event of the season is upon us. I would usually be sat here writing a rumour roundup or something similar. Maybe I’d be having fun shooting down stupid rumours—that’s always a laugh if not sometimes very infuriating.

But life is different for me and spare time is a luxury. Don’t get me wrong I’m still closely watching every rumour, dissecting and calculating the possibilities and the accuracy of individuals. But the rumour game has changed and it’s honestly no where near as bad as it once was. (9to5 Mac and Mac Rumors both have decent roundups.)

Which means I’m going to look at something completely different.

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Apple and Nokia Settle Patent Dispute

After a long running dispute over a number of patents Apple and Nokia have settled the suit. The settlement covers all patent litigation between the companies, including the withdrawal by Nokia and Apple of their respective complaints to the US International Trade Commission.

The dispute first began in October 2009 and was extended a number of times. Apple also countersued Nokia for patent infringement.

The agreement consists of of a one-time payment payable by Apple and on-going royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement. The terms of the agreement beyond this information is confidential.

In a statement Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia said, “We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees” adding, “This settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

iOS 5 Available This Fall With Over 200 New Features

iOS 5 unveiled at WWDC 2011

iOS 5 unveiled at WWDC 2011 | Image courtesy of Apple

Apple has today announced a brand new version of iOS for iPhones, iPads and iPod tocuhes. iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) this fall. The iOS 5 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members.

New iOS 5 features include: Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption; iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices; and Newsstand, a new way to purchase and organise your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box and get software updates over the air with no computer required.

“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”

With iOS 5 and iCloud, you just enter your Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with your apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all of your mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and more, up-to-date across all your devices without ever having to connect to a computer.

Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications―text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you’re doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.

iOS 5 Notification Center

iOS 5 Notification Center | Image courtesy of Apple

Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organise bookshelf displaying the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.

Safari is the world’s most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it’s now even better. New features include Safari Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a web page, so you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on iPad.

iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.

iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G. iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.

iOS 5 running iMessage

iOS 5 running iMessage | Image courtesy of Apple

The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook and are updated automatically.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organise your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go.

With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box with no computer required, and iOS software updates are delivered over the air and installed with just a tap. Wi-Fi Sync in iOS 5 transfers and backs up your content securely over SSL and wirelessly syncs purchased content from your device to your iTunes library.

iOS 5 Rumoured to Drop 3GS Support

iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone 3GS | © World of Apple 2009

In a single Tweet Eldar Murtazin, editor-in-chief of Russian mobile phone blog Mobile-Review has cast speculation on whether the next major update to iOS will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS.

The tweet posted earlier today reads: “Just one comment. Apple iPhone 3Gs wont be upgradable to iOS 5.x. iPhone 4 will.”

Naturally a tweet is very informal and is not attributed to any sources but Murtazin has a good reputation for mobile related rumours but not of the Apple kind.

When Apple released iOS 4 last June it was compatible with the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4, support for the iPhone 3G was dropped earlier this year with the release of iOS 4.3.

Apple Releases iOS 4.3.1

Apple has today released a minor software update for the GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iOS 4.3.1 brings several bug fixes and improvements, labelled build number 8G4 the following notes are included:

This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

- Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on iPod touch (4th generation)
- Resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
- Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
- Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services

iPhone Scoops J.D. Power Award for 5th Time

Apple’s iPhone has won the J.D. Power semi-annual consumer satisfaction survey for a fifth consecutive time.

J.D. Power uses a number of factors to measure customer satisfaction, they are in order of importance: operation (30%); physical design (30%); features (20%); and battery function (20%). For smartphones, the key factors are: ease of operation (26%); operating system (24%); physical design (23%); features (19%); and battery function (8%).

Apple’s iPhone scored 795 and performed well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design. Apple was closely followed by Motorola (763) and HTC (762).

J.D. Power’s survey showed a significant link between “smartphone owners who use their device to access social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook,” amongst those users the report shows that “satisfaction averages 783 on a 1,000-point scale—nearly 22 points higher than among those smartphone owners who do not often use social media sites on their device.”

J.D. Power Award grid

J.D. Power Satisfaction Award grid

Apple Planning Smaller, Cheaper iPhone

Today The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple plans to release a smaller and cheaper iPhone in the future. The report which cites a person who has actually seen the additional iPhone model says that the handset will be “half the size” of the current iPhone.

The device which is apparently internally dubbed “N97″ is also said to be “half the price” of the current iPhone allowing carriers to subsidise all of the handset price.

The story comes not along after a similar report from Bloomberg who last week wrote that Apple was planning to introduce a handset “cheaper and smaller than the most recent iPhone”.

The Wall Street Journal also adds some colour to the details of the device which is said to feature an “edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation”.

iOS 4.3 Expected to Debut February 14

According to MacStories a reliable source has informed them that iOS 4.3 will be released on February 14 at 10 a.m. pacific time.

iOS 4.3 which will be available for the iPod touch (3rd and 4th gen), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPad as well as the Apple TV was first delivered to developers in mid-January.

Included in iOS 4.3 is the new Personal Hotspot functionality that appeared with the unveiling of the Verizon iPhone. Although at this stage it is unknown whether carriers will be able to choose whether they allow access to the feature.

Developers are now able to stream video from their apps and have access to iOS 4.3 for Apple TV to test the feature.

Included in the iOS 4.3 beta is:

  • 4 or 5 finger multi-touch gestures on iPad (not included in final release)
  • Option on the iPad to use the hardware switch as orientation lock or mute switch.
  • Personal Hotspot is enabled, allowing access to a personal Wi-Fi network from up to 5 devices.
  • AirPlay streaming from third party apps.
  • iAds for the iPad
  • FaceTime, Camera and Photo Booth icons found on iPad
  • Evidence of features known as “Find My Friends”, “Media Stream” and “Photo Streaming”

Apple Releases Third Beta of iOS 4.3

iPad iOS 4.3

Settings panel in iOS 4.3 on the iPad showing gesture and hardware switch settings

A little under two weeks after the release of the second beta of iOS 4.3 to developers Apple has given registered iOS developers access to the third beta for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV.

The third beta of iOS 4.3 carries the build number 8F5166b, included in the first beta was new four and five finger gestures for the iPad. Apple has since clarified how the gestures will be implemented in the future:

This feature will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers, but we are providing this preview to gather input on how these gestures work with your apps.

Included in iOS 4.3 is the new Personal Hotspot functionality that appeared with the unveiling of the Verizon iPhone. Although at this stage it is unknown whether carriers will be able to choose whether they allow access to the feature.

Developers are now able to stream video from their apps and have access to iOS 4.3 for Apple TV to test the feature.

Included in the iOS 4.3 beta is:

  • 4 or 5 finger multi-touch gestures on iPad
  • Option on the iPad to use the hardware switch as orientation lock or mute switch.
  • Personal Hotspot is enabled, allowing access to a personal Wi-Fi network from up to 5 devices.
  • AirPlay streaming from third party apps.
  • iAds for the iPad
  • FaceTime, Camera and Photo Booth icons found on iPad
  • Evidence of features known as “Find My Friends”, “Media Stream” and “Photo Streaming”

Future iPhone and iPad Models to Pack NFC Technology

A report from Bloomberg this week highlights the possibility that the next model of iPhone and iPad could include “near field communication” or NFC for short. The technology allows that can send and receive information wirelessly over a distance of about 4 inches.

Bloomberg cites Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group who says that NFC will be embedded in the iPhone 5 and iPad 2, both of which are set to be released later this year.

NFC has many uses but the most popular are the ability to pay small amounts for goods in shops acting as a debit/credit card. NFC is also applied to many transport systems around the world allowing money to be stored on an NFC device and debited by tapping onto gateways at transport locations.

Bloomberg writes that, “Apple has created a prototype of a payment terminal that small businesses, such as hairdressers and mom-and-pop stores, could use to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads”.