Category: News

Apple Launching Cheaper iPhone 4 With 8 GB Flash Drive

Reuters is reporting today that Apple has placed orders for a smaller 8 GB flash drive destined for a cheaper version of the iPhone 4—the current iPhone 4 comes with a 16 GB or 32 GB drive. Sources speaking to Reuters say the flash drive is being built by a Korean company but declined to specify which one. The manufacturer is likely South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, which builds flash drives for the current iPhone along with Japan’s Toshiba.

Apple made a similar move in June 2010 when it released a cheaper 8 GB version of the iPhone 3GS alongside its new iPhone 4. The 3GS has remained the second best-selling handset in the US behind the iPhone 4.

Reuter’s report also claims that the 8 GB iPhone 4 will “launch within weeks.”

MacRumors added further color to the today’s report by claiming a “low-cost iPhone 4 screen” is already making the rounds with third-party suppliers.

Google Catalogs for iPad Is the Best Catalog App So Far

Google Catalogs

Google Catalogs for iPad (free) isn’t perfect, but it’s the best catalog app I’ve seen yet. The major problem so far for publishers trying to bring print content to the iPad has been horrible download times. The large file sizes required for sharp readable print and high-res images makes it tough to get them down to a more manageable level. I’m not sure how Google did it, but Google Catalogs just a great job at straddling the line between image resolution and manageable file sizes—although you’ll still have to wait a minute or two for each catalog to download.

And unlike some other poorly designed catalog apps, Google Catalogs feels like flipping through each store’s print catalog, as opposed to navigating through an online store.

There are catalogs from several dozen stores available, including:

  • Urban Outfitters
  • J Crew
  • Patagonia
  • Macy’s
  • Eddie Bauer

Another neat feature is that the app organizes the catalogs by date. Want to find the latest fall fashions? Just browse the August catalogs. The sheer number of catalogs allows you to power through dozens of stores—you’ll get an idea of what’s hip and trendy in no time. The app also adds graphical links to the individual products that you can tap on and navigate to an online store where you can buy it.

The app is not without issues though. I frequently experienced crashes, even after restarting my iPad. Hopefully Google will get these bugs ironed out in the next update.

Pieces of iPhone 5 Internal Hardware Available for Purchase?

Tired of waiting for the iPhone 5 to arrive? You may be able to build your own from scratch. Online retailer TVC-Mall is claiming to be selling pieces of the iPhone 5’s internal hardware, at affordable prices, we might add. Customers can buy the parts in lots of up to 5,000. The more you buy, the cheaper they get. The iPhone 5 battery can be had for around $12, not bad.

TVC-Mall isn’t necessarily doing anything wrong or illegal here. Most of the iPhone’s parts are “generic” in the sense that they are available to anyone who wants to build a phone. Some of these parts will likely appear in Android and other phones as well.

It’s impossible to confirm that these are indeed iPhone 5 parts without access to a real iPhone 5, but TVC-Mall does have ties to Shenzhen, China, manufacturers. The iPhone is assembled in Shenzhen by Foxconn.

iPhone 5 back camera part?

iPhone 5 front-facing camera?

iPhone 5 proximity sensor?

iPhone 5 headphone audio jack?

WSJ: iPad 3 to Get Trial Production Run in October, Release in Early 2012

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Apple and its Asian component suppliers have organized a trial production run of the next-gen iPad 3 in October. Sources speaking to the paper claim that Apple has ordered all necessary components and chips for a launch of the device in early 2012. A separate source speaking to the Journal who works for a component supplier claims that Apple has ordered enough parts for about 1.5 million iPads to be built in the fourth quarter.

One of the rumored new features of the iPad 3 is a high-res QXGA screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, double that of the current iPad. Previous rumors had placed the iPad 3 launch in the fourth quarter of this year, but recent rumors claim poor yield rates for the iPad’s new LCD screen have delayed the launch until next year. A source speaking to the WSJ claims manufacturers are working on improving yield rates for the new screen:

Suppliers will ramp up production and try to improve the yield rate for the new iPad in the fourth quarter before its official launch in early 2012,” said a person at the supplier.

A separate report today from Digitimes claims that LCD screen manufacturers are having a tough time meeting Apple’s quality requirements for its next-gen tablet. Taiwanese company CMI was one of the companies bidding to build the screens for Apple but failed to become a supplier due to technological hurdles:

The sources noted that the iPad 3’s resolution requirement of 2,048×1,536 pixels is also a challenge even for iPad panel regular suppliers such as LG Display (LGD) and Samsung Electronics. Apart from the two Korea makers, Japan’s Sharp has [also] been selected to supply panels for the iPad 3, the sources said.

Digtimes’ report seems to be a reiteration of a similar report from just a few days ago that claimed Apple was canceling plans to release the iPad 3 later this year due to poor manufacturing yield rates for the new high-res screen.

AT&T iPhone Text Messaging Plan to Increase to $20 a Month

AT&T iPhone owners now have another reason to grouse about their choice of carrier. On August 21, AT&T Wireless will double the cost of its only text-messaging plan from $10 to $20 a month. Along with the price increase, the company will also raise the number of text messages included with the plan from 1,000 to unlimited. AT&T will also offer a $30 unlimited family plan that offers unlimited messaging for up to 5 family members. Customers can also choose to go without a text message plan altogether and pay $0.20 per message, or $0.30 per MMS message (text messages with photos/videos).

An AT&T spokesman explained the change to MSNBC:

Starting Aug. 21, we’re streamlining our text messaging plans for new customers and will offer an unlimited plan for individuals for $20 per month and an unlimited plan for families of up to five lines for $30 per month.

The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers. Existing customers don’t have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets.

In January, AT&T also did away with a $5-a-month plan that included 250 messages. The change will only affect new customers. Current customers can keep their old messaging plans, even if purchasing a new phone.

Some speculate that price increase is AT&T’s way of anticipating a drop in revenue from text messages due to Apple’s upcoming iMessage feature that will allow iPhone owners to send free text messages to each other. Text messages have long been a highly lucrative business for mobile carriers.

Want More iPhone 5 “Nano” Concept Images? Here You Go

iPhone Nano Concept

Ever since Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal claimed earlier this year that Apple was working on a smaller, inexpensive version of the iPhone destined for prepaid phone markets, the flame of the iPhone Nano has been revived. Today we’re featuring some cool mockups from based on the “edge-to-edge” screen concept from the rumors.

iPhone Nano

This version of the iPhone Nano features a home button made of a thin sliver of metal that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner for security purposes. This fingerprint recognition could also be used for mobile NFC payments that all the phone carriers are desperate to get set up.

The screen remains the same 3.7-inch screen in a regular iPhone, so Apple will have to shrink, cram, or otherwise remove some of the internal hardware to get this phone to work.

It’s just a concept, but it’d be cool if Apple could pull it off. Check out all the images in the gallery below.

Tip: How to Cheat at Freemium iPhone Games

Almost all freemium iPhone games have some type of in-game currency, and to obtain it, players either have to pony up real money or earn it at an excruciatingly slow pace in the game. And sometimes there’s another option where the game asks you to download an app, open it up, and when you come back, it’ll give you some in-game currency. Here’s a simple way to exploit that option for some quick and easy game cash.

1. Scan the list of apps for any you already have on your iPhone.
2. Tap the link to the app.
3. After it opens up in the iPhone’s App Store, do not download it. Close the App Store.
4. Open the requested app.
5. Go back to the game.

There you go, quick and easy cash. Rinse and repeat. It works best for people with large collections of apps on their iPhone. Sometimes freemium games give extra large rewards for paid apps, so be on the lookout for any paid apps you already own.

Leaked iPhone 5 Production-Line Photo Shows Off New Home Button?

An alleged photo of an iPhone 5 production line from China appears to confirm, among other things, that the iPhone’s home button will indeed undergo a major change when the iPhone 5 is released this fall. The leaked photo, which came to us from a user on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, seems to show a row of iPhone screens going through quality testing and assembly in a manufacturing plant in Taiwan. At the bottom of each iPhone screen is a large rectangular cutout for the iPhone’s home button—a major departure from the iPhone 4’s round home button.

Rumors of a change to the iPhone 5’s home button first cropped up in a report by This Is My Next, who claimed the home button area would be “enlarged, but not scrapped altogether.” The mock-up of their iPhone 5 home button can be seen below.

new iPhone 5 home button

Recent leaked iPhone 5 case diagrams also hinted at a new button:

The idea of the home button becoming a touch-sensitive strip, or in our opinion, gaining touch capabilities in addition to continuing to function as a tactile button, was later added via speculation by rumor sites.

The production-line photo also appears to show that the iPhone’s screen size will remain at 3.7 inches, although it’s difficult to 100% confirm that from the photo. The size of the screen’s bezel appears to be about the same as the iPhone 4’s, indicating the size will remain the same.

This Is My Next’s report from April also had this interesting tidbit:

Our source says the company is doing very “interesting things” with bonded glass technology, and has been exploring designs where the earpiece and sensors are somehow behind the screen itself.

Judging from the production-line photo, cutouts for the earpiece and sensors do appear to be missing, although, again, it’s difficult to confirm this from the photos.

Starbucks Giving Away a Free iPhone App a Week

Starbucks is extending their free “Pick of the Week” iTunes music program to iPhone apps. This week, they are giving away Shazam Encore ($5.99), a neat little app that identifies any song playing in the environment around you. To get the free Pick of the Week app, you’ll need to visit a Starbucks store and log-on to their Wi-Fi (see full instructions below).

Previously, Starbucks had been giving away a free iTunes music track a week, but the company has now expanded to iPhone apps.

To get the free apps, you’ll need to head to your local Starbucks, connect to their Wi-Fi network, and click into the Starbucks Digital Network. A shortcut for iPhone owners is to use the official Starbucks app (free), which has a direct link into the Starbucks Digital Network.


Apple Cancels iPad 3 Plans for Late 2011?

A report today from Digitimes claims Apple has canceled its supply schedule for the manufacturing of the iPad 3 for late 2011. Sources speaking to the website claim poor manufacturing yield rates for the iPad 3’s 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 high-res screen are the major reason for the delay.

The report notes that high-res QXGA screens like the one destined for the iPad 3 have been, in the past, mainly supplied by Japan’s Sharp Electronics, whose manufacturing costs are much higher than what China’s Samsung and LG Display typically charge Apple. In addition, because a high enough level of supply of the screens can’t be maintained, Apple is canceling the near-term plans for mass production of the iPad 3, claims Digitimes.

Sources also told that site that the high-res screens are creating technological complications that could further delay a launch. The source claims that because the resolution of the 9.7-inch LCD panel requires a more powerful backlight source than what a single-edge light bar can supply, and because Apple insists on a thin design and exceptional requirements for the iPad screen’s color quality and durability, the complications could further add to a delay as the companies search for solutions.