If you’re a faithful original iPhone or iPod Touch owner then it’s about time you deserved a reward for sticking by yesterday’s iDevice. That’s where Whited00r has stepped in, serving up a custom-made OS based on iOS 5 which will work with Apple devices running on iOS 3.1.3.
Whited00r 5.1 is said to optimise your old iPhone to nearly 3G-like speeds, allowing multitasking, custom backgrounds and even a Dropbox storage solution as a stand in for iCloud.
Sadly iOS 5′s notification centre is not included as part of Whited00r 5.1, but if you fancy taking it for a spin then head on over to Whited00r where you can jailbreak your device – and breathe new life into your trusty old iCompanion.
A new coating technology — tested on an iPhone — purports to seal a smartphone so well that it can go swimming. But how did this publicity stunt become a viable rumor for the iPhone 5?
Over the course of time that I’ve written on this blog, I’ve heard numerous commenters make their share of witty comments about zany rumors. Usually it goes like this: “Yeah, and the next iPhone will do my laundry,” or “Yeah, and the next iPhone will give psychiatric advice.” (Actually, with the evolution of Siri, you never know).
When I saw a rash of new rumors of a waterproof iPhone 5 pop up, it reminded me of the (much wittier) above-mentioned quips from the much saner readers and commenters of this blog, and how the rest of the iPhone 5 rumor mill didn’t seem to get the joke. In case you missed it, here are a collection of headlines from syndicated tech sites: “Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 To Be Waterproof?” (Mobile Magazine), “iPhone 5 Will be Waterproof?” (International Business Times), “Samsung and Apple looking at new waterproof smartphone tech” (Pocket-Lint). That last one has enjoyed the “highly cited” tag on Google News.
In case you missed it, there’s this video — a publicity stunt by Zagg (and a very effective one at that) — to promote a new kind of synthetic coating that can virtually seal an iPhone’s internal hardware to the point where it can keep water from getting inside the chassis. The video managed to spur a viral media movement (as in bowel movement — or maybe bowl movement is more like it, but more on that in a second) that let to this flurry of articles.
Let’s get the synopsis right from the horse’s mouth — The Daily Mail – who says the following: “The new ‘nanotech’ spray coating is applied to the circuitry inside phones and lets you dunk phones entirely underwater, and still takes calls.” The Mail gives this rumor the “real newspaper” treatment, citing completely unfounded claims like “Up to a million phones are water-damaged every year worldwide,” and “Fifty-two per cent of UK smartphone users who have water-damaged their phones admit to having done so by dropping them down the toilet.”
Really? “Up to a million?” So, that could be a million smartphones, or, like, seven.
And regarding the other statistic — that “Fifty-two per cent of UK smartphone users who have water-damaged their phones admit to having done so by dropping them down the toilet” — seems like it’s in the wrong article. Shouldn’t that be included in the whole U.K. Public Drinking Problem Issue article set?
All kidding aside, I don’t doubt that dropping your smartphone in the toilet or having it otherwise ruined by water is a real drag. And if smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung could fortify their products’ ability to withstand and repel moisture, no one would argue that it would be a bad thing. But to imagine that these two smartphone giants are necessarily going to make a waterproof iPhone 5 or Android phone a major focal point in 2012 is crazy. The fact is, the source of these reports is the video itself, which in its own right is impressive: to see an iPhone get dunked in water and continue to function is a sight to behold, and precisely the kind of thing that makes geeks really excited (excited enough to imagine that this will be a pressing feature for the iPhone 5). But it does not constitute a reliable source.
I for one would not put a lot of stock into this report as a viable rumor for the iPhone 5. First, as you can probably read parenthetically from my sarcasm and mirth surrounding the whole toilet thing, I don’t think that Tim Cook loses sleep at night at the “up to a million” people worldwide who drop their smartphone in the potty. In fact, Mr. Cook, knowing how committed iPhone users are to their phones, is probably lobbying the toilet industry to widen the bowl diameters in order to increase submerged iPhones, leading to secondary purchases.
Second, it remains to be seen how practical this new technology is. Assuming that the iPhone 5 will continue to not give access to the battery as others have not, it is by definition a good candidate for such a sealant. But the sealant apparently coats the actual interior components — not the chassis itself. So, while after spending six minutes in your bathtub, your iPhone 5 will still work just fine, but you’ll hear water sloshing around in the chassis for the next six months.
And what about the cost? Would it be worth adding production costs to the iPhone 5 for this sort of sealant? How about just not putting your iPhone 5 near water sources?
By Michael Nace
Deep in the darkest secret caverns of Cupertino, teams of Apple [AAPL] experts are asking themselves the question: “When everybody we compete with seems to be copying our user interfaces, how do we stand out?” The answer’s obvious: with iPhone 5, the company will re-invent the smartphone. Again.
This isn’t such an audacious suggestion. Android seems so similar to Apple’s iOS, and while the cultists from Google’s robot army will point to small UI elements such as Notifications as evidence that Cupertino sometimes seeks inspiration too, it was the iPhone which came first. And while it was in development, Google’s then CEO sat on the Apple board, reclused or not, that’s a pretty good position to seek inspiration from.
He’s not on Apple’s board any more. Google has no insight into Apple’s plans, beyond a few potential mavericks couched inside the secretive firm. And Apple knows it must fight back. Change is the answer.
I’m not talking about a wholesale transformation of the iPhone, due out around November 2012, I’m talking about small, incremental changes which will deliver a user interface far more sophisticated and user-focused than anything anyone else has to offer.
That’s why the company’s thought-leaders will free themselves from the rubber-clad restraint of simply following any predictable formula, and dare to be different. If this works, the competition will have no choice but submission.
The first evidences of such change are emerging:
– What we already expect
Features and improvements we’re already expecting in Apple’s next smartphone include:
- A fast quad-core A6 processor;
- Massively improved graphics power (using the PowerVR Series6 GPU core family);
- NFC support;
- LTE support (this first appears within the iPad 3 next month).
– The Home button
There’s been months of rumors claiming Apple intends abandoning the Home button in order to maximize the size of the iPhone’s display.
We’ve expected the physical button to be replaced by a haptic display, but when every other smartphone now boasts a little button on the front, why not put it elsewhere. Why not put the Home button on the side of the device? That’s a concept that’s ably articulated in the video above.
[ABOVE: Thanks to Patently Apple for this image for future security improvements.]
– Siri on steroids
Apple already pumps the iPhone full of assistive technologies. Siri, its intelligent assistant, is already learning a huge amount about how people speak, what people want, how they express themselves and what they need. It won’t be too long until Siri will let you do more. You’ll use it to control your phone. This technology is supremely important as it will eventually enable the company to introduce smaller intelligent connected devices for those of us who don’t need the app superpower of an iPhone (I believe).
Oh, and expect built-in dictation using Apple’s recently-patented speech-to-text and text-to-speech converter ideas and Nuance’s technology. In future this inevitably becomes a translation engine. Rather like the Babel Fish in Hitchiker’s Guide.
– Touch and gesture support
A recent report looked at Apple’s work to develop a 3D user interface for iOS devices. The new UI will work with proximity sensor arrays and will respond to hovering gestures, that report claims.
This tech will, “…automatically determine and display a perspective projection of the 3D display environment based on the orientation data without the user physically interacting with (e.g., touching) the display. In some implementations, the display environment could be changed based on gestures made a distance above a touch sensitive display that incorporates proximity sensor arrays.“
I’m not holding my breath for too much in the way of the legendary 3D interface Apple is said to be developing. Except in Maps.
And more than just maps, built in apps within the next iteration of iPhone should include first sight of the company’s long in development Google Maps killer. I’ve written extensively on this in the past. These maps will be laden with information. They’ll be available in multiple formats (satellite, local, augmented reality). They will unlock local information and tie in directly with the relevant tourist guide apps and translation widgets you may already have on your device.
These Maps will be horribly accurate and will be a delight to use on an iOS device. With a set of those Apple TV 3D glasses you’ll likely see next year, you’ll even be able to wander round far away places, almost as if you were there. Though the only people you might see around will be those avatars for other iOS users in the same area. Like Second Life. If it was good.(OK, the level of speculation just then grew a little feverish). Google would just populate its virtual environments with ads for performance-enhancers and “shop here” links.
I mentioned NFC support, which unlocks the iPhone as an iWallet. Apple is already working away to develop its own payment technologies. Soon these will be ready, potentially introduced as a public beta, with limited spending amounts and a limited number of potential retailers.
– Does your face fit?
Security will be the smartphone topic of the year in 2012. Analysts are expecting serious attempts to undermine existing operating systems, and this will include Apple’s. Do you really think the people behind what is arguably already the world’s most secure smartphone OS are standing still? Of course not, and with plans for mobile payments in the frame, the company is already working hard to develop systems to protect your pocket-sized passports to the digital high-life. Expect face and presence security detection as described here.
– iPhone as a projector?
An August 2011 US PTO patent explained Apple’s ideas for the integration of pico projectors within iOS devices.
If you aren’t familiar with these things, a brief explanation: these are mini video projectors capable of casting small moving images at a flat surface. Resolution/quality on these things isn’t always superb, but the technology inside pico components is improving fast.
I’m not certain Apple’s ready to deploy these things in the next 12 months, but I’m interested to note a report claiming “Asia Optical expects to ship one million LCoS pico projector modules built in smartphones and one million LCoS external pico projectors in 2012.”
Described as for use in smartphones “made in China“, I’m wondering if this means the tech is ready for prime time. This isn’t an iPhone 5 prediction exactly, but I can see these things appearing later down the line.
– Slim machines
All I’ll say here is the new iPhone Thunderbolt connectors enable new breeds of super-slim devices.
– Sweat the small stuff
Expect little innovations. Tiny improvements in the device which you just won’t find elsewhere. My favorite recent example? Apple’s newly-published patent which describes an iPhone headset which automatically pauses your music when you take it off, and automatically plays it again once you put the headset back on. There will be many little features like this, the kind of features Apple’s lost and lamented co-founder, Steve Jobs, knew how to introduce with such style. Also expect faster list, file and folder editing, and superb improvements in iCloud.
I’ll end this item with a thought.
Think on all these technologies and you’ll see that many of them could have a life beyond the iPhone, or the iPad, come to that.
You can imagine some — Siri, for example — used as part of the Apple television we’ve been expecting. I think the dream goes beyond that. I believe we’ll see the firm introduce devices for wearable computing, and continue to see a future opportunity for it to produce and license an iOS-based system for controlling connected domestic devices, automotive applications and potential uses in healthcare or education.
Final thought: Just because Apple files a patent doesn’t mean it will make a product. Just because speculation says it’s possible doesn’t make it’s real. But I think it wise to expect some surprises inside iPhone 5.
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I’d like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.
Carlo Raphael Diokno at popherald.com believes that the next-generation iDevices will have to integrate a heavier battery if they are to feature LTE technology. In an article published on Monday, Diokno writes that Apple will need to insert a heavier battery if it plans on introducing Long-Term Evolution to its gadgets in 2012. Reports have long speculated that the future iPhone 5 and iPad 3 will integrate LTE for faster uploads and downloads. The analyst notes that even though Apple’s rival, Android, is already providing faster wireless technology, a major drawback for Android LTE phones is their poor battery life. Diokno also concludes that if the Cupertino company decides to add either the 4G/3G toggle or 4G, there is a high possibility that the next-gen iPhone and iPad will be thicker due to antenna and the battery.
Carlo Raphael Diokno at popherald.com believes that the next-generation iDevices will have to integrate a heavier battery if they are to feature LTE technology.
In an article published on Monday, Diokno writes that Apple will need to insert a heavier battery if it plans on introducing Long-Term Evolution to its gadgets in 2012.
Reports have long speculated that the future iPhone 5 and iPad 3 will integrate LTE for faster uploads and downloads.
The analyst notes that even though Apple’s rival, Android, is already providing faster wireless technology, a major drawback for Android LTE phones is their poor battery life.
Diokno also concludes that if the Cupertino company decides to add either the 4G/3G toggle or 4G, there is a high possibility that the next-gen iPhone and iPad will be thicker due to antenna and the battery.
If you’re hankering for a shiny new iPhone 4S, you won’t have to wait much longer. Ship times for the smartphone have dropped to between three and five business days, Electronista discovered.
Since the latest iPhone launched in October, wait times have been hovering at or above a week’s time. Checks on the Apple site show that wait times have decreased for all versions of the iPhone 4S on all three carriers (Sprint, ATT, and Verizon). Ship time has also fallen for all unlocked iPhone 4S devices.
If you want to buy an iPhone 4S at your local Apple Store, Apple recommends that you reserve one online first. Walk-in purchases are available on a first-come, first-served basis, Apple has said.
Apple has struggled to meet demand for the iPhone 4S since it hit stores about three months ago. The company sold more than 4 million units of the iPhone 4S in the first weekend of availability. That’s more than double the 1.7 million in sales the iPhone 4 did in its first three days back in 2010. It’s also a huge jump from the “more than a million” iPhone 3GS’s sold on its opening weekend.
Earlier this month, Apple rolled the iPhone out to another 22 countries, including most notably, mainland China. The device is now available in more than 90 different countries.
Nielsen on Thursday said that according to its research, the iPhone 4S has caused Apple to take a bite out of Android’s lead in the U.S. smartphone OS race. Prior to the phone’s launch, Apple had about a 25 percent market share, compared to Android’s 61 percent. Since the phone’s debut, that gap has narrowed significantly, with Apple’s share jumping to nearly 39 percent, and Android’s falling to about 49 percent.
For more, see PCMag’s review of the iPhone 4S and the slideshow below.
For more from Leslie, follow her on Twitter @LesHorn.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399053,00.asp
Hints that Apple is working on a tight integration of Facebook into future iOS devices were discovered in the last beta circulating among developers. Codes in the iOS 5.1 beta 3 firmware seeded to developers shows that Apple could plan introducing Facebook into the contacts, just as the current version does with Twitter. Baked-in Facebook would give users the opportunity to post pictures and videos to their accounts directly from iOS, without having to open the Facebook app. Tech site iMore was the first to discover the reference to Facebook in the iOS 5 beta late last week. The team found that the operating system features a field for a Facebook user name in the contacts app and came up with a demonstrative screenshot. As the caption shows, users can add info to their Facebook account in the same way they can currently add Twitter usernames. However, this is pure speculation and it’s still uncertain if Apple will make the feature available, or even if they will release it one day.
Hints that Apple is working on a tight integration of Facebook into future iOS devices were discovered in the last beta circulating among developers.
Codes in the iOS 5.1 beta 3 firmware seeded to developers shows that Apple could plan introducing Facebook into the contacts, just as the current version does with Twitter.
Baked-in Facebook would give users the opportunity to post pictures and videos to their accounts directly from iOS, without having to open the Facebook app.
Tech site iMore was the first to discover the reference to Facebook in the iOS 5 beta late last week.
The team found that the operating system features a field for a Facebook user name in the contacts app and came up with a demonstrative screenshot.
As the caption shows, users can add info to their Facebook account in the same way they can currently add Twitter usernames.
However, this is pure speculation and it’s still uncertain if Apple will make the feature available, or even if they will release it one day.
By Quentin Fottrell
Crowds grew unruly outside Apple’s flagship store in Beijing last Friday. But they weren’t there to protest over working conditions at Apple’s Asian manufacturers — they were after the new iPhone 4S.
That day, Apple released a report stating that 62% of its suppliers failed to comply with working-hour limits and five facilities employed underage workers. There has also been a spate of worker suicides at a major Apple supplier, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. in Taipei, Taiwan. Apple, which declined to comment, has not been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the suicides. “We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn,” Apple said in a statement last year (Foxconn is the trade name of Hon Hai.) And the company’s 27-page report into working conditions in its factories says, “We require that our suppliers provide safe working conditions” and “treat workers with dignity and respect.”
But while Apple says it’s taking the report seriously, experts say consumers have been far less concerned. In fact, many are just as worried about the battery life of the iPhone 4S, what the voice-activated search engine “Siri” will or won’t and whether the iPad 3 will be released by Feb. 24 – the birthday of the late founder Steve Jobs. Indeed, many fans are more interested in getting their hands on new gadgets than what goes into making them, says Tina M. Lowrey, professor of marketing at the University of Texas in San Antonio.
Here are 5 possible reasons our experts say Apple’s report has been largely overlooked by consumers:
1. Convenient Technology Trumps Controversy
The unauthorized concept videos for what the iPhone 5 might look like when it’s released – extra thin, holograph images, a laser keyboard –attracted over 47 million hits on YouTube. “Most people are not asking, ‘was the factory in compliance when they made this?’” says Rick Singer, CEO of GreatApps.com. Only if the upgrades stopped coming, or failed to impress, would their focus change, says Yung D. Trang, president of TechBargains.com. “Then, consumers might take working conditions in Chinese factories into consideration.”
2. Apple Is Part of the American Dream
Consumers see Apple as a powerful symbol of American innovation and regard the manufacturing problems as par for the course or even a price worth paying, says Robert Passikoff, co-founder of marketing consultancy Brand Keys. Even older products like the iPod will have value as collector’s items, he says. As SmartMoney.com reported, the death of Steve Jobs last October sealed Apple’s place in U.S. corporate history, according to L. J. Shrum, president of the Society for Consumer Psychology. “Jobs was one of the few people who had that rock star status in a quintessentially non-hip industry.”
3. iFans Are Tweeting About Other Issues
While Apple fans appear to be to be the very type of consumer who would be a little more activist-oriented, Lowrey says, many of these consumers are busy campaigning against more populist issues like bank fees and high earners on Wall Street – or the so-called “1%” as described by the Occupy Wall Street protests. “This is ironic,” she says. “Appleites don’t want to believe that their beloved company could possibly be engaged in such practices.”
4. People Are Addicted to their iPhones
Many customers are simply unwilling to part with their iPhones, which means they have less reason to care where or how they are made, experts say. According to a new study by the University of Worcester in the U.K., many owners are addicted to their smartphones, become obsessed about checking their email and hear phantom rings/buzzing in their pockets. It’s easier to persuade people to give up fur than a smartphone that connects them to the world, says Seth Rabinowitz, partner at management consultancy Silicon Associates: “Apple has created a desire for new products that people didn’t know they wanted.”
5. Apple Is Good At Damage Control
Experts point out that Apple’s report on its suppliers will help steal the thunder from any independent reports or news stories, says Rick Singer, CEO of GreatApps.com. “Apple is saying all of the right things and seems to be taking the proper steps to full disclosure,” he says. Plus, as long as Apple outsources its production, the problem remains thousands of miles away from the Apple brand, he says. The title of Apple’s report makes this clear, he says. It’s called “Apple Supplier Responsibility” – not “Apple Responsibility.”
Android had quite a proud
moment in October, when Nielsen reported that, in the previous three months,
61.1 percent of recent smartphone acquirers had chosen an Android smartphone,
compared with the 25.1 percent who purchased an Apple iPhone. After
considerable delay, however, the iPhone 4S—expected to be an iPhone 5,
frankly—went on sale in October. In a similar December poll, however, Nielsen
found the playing field more leveled, with 44.5 percent of buyers having chosen
an iPhone while 46.9 percent purchased an Android-running smartphone.
Among those consumers who
bought an iPhone in the three months leading up to December, 57 percent
purchased the iPhone 4S.
BlackBerry handsets from
Research In Motion, meanwhile, were purchased by 7.7 percent of those surveyed
in October and by 4.5 percent in December.
Despite the Apple comeback,
the game goes to Android, whose overall market share during the fourth quarter
was 46.3 percent, compared with 30 percent by Apple, 14.9 percent by BlackBerry
and 4.6 percent by Windows Mobile. Hewlett-Packard’s webOS managed to grab a
1.4 percent share, as did the all-but-extinct Symbian from Nokia. Windows Phone
brought up the rear with 1.3 percent, though it will, no doubt, climb a few
rungs in 2012—if not jiggle all the numbers a bit—once the duo of Nokia and
Microsoft begin releasing devices in earnest, which is something they
say will happen “soon.”
All the above also helped to
grow the overall number of U.S. mobile consumers now toting smartphones. In the
December survey, 60 percent of consumers who said they’d purchased a new device
in the last three months chose a smartphone, bringing the total of U.S. users
to 46 percent.
In September, Nielsen
reported that—in smartphones, as in politics—it’s these new adopters, who are
open to considerations and more easily swayed than upgraders, who are a major
focus for manufacturers.
“Among those who say
they are likely to get a new smartphone in the next year, approximately
one-third say they want their next smartphone to be an iPhone and one-third say
they want an Android device,” wrote Nielsen’s Don Kellogg, director of
telecom research and insights. “However, among those who say they are
usually the first to embrace new technologies, ‘Innovators,’ or the earliest of
early adopters, Android leads as the ‘Next Desired’ Operating System—40 percent
for Android, compared to 32 percent for iOS.”
Among those manufacturers
courting feature-phone converts is Samsung, which this week announced that it will
pair its in-house Bada platform with Intel’s Tizen.
“Bada will turn
Samsung’s conventional customers into smartphone users by providing
cost-effective smartphones,” Samsung announced in its early introduction
of Bada. “This means that Bada will open and extend a new smartphone
market, which does not exist in the current mobile market.”
Arguably more so than Apple,
HTC and Motorola have likewise been courting the feature-phone set. HTC and
Motorola offer a variety of Android-running phones, including lower-cost units.