The iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 will arguably be the biggest smartphone launches of 2012. While the quad-core HTC One X was officially announced, and leaked pictures of the Motorola Blade surfaced, they can’t seem to hold a candle to the hurricane that is the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 rumors.
iPhone 5 Samsung Galaxy S3 home button conundrum
Now the latest reports coming in suggest that both smartphones will be doing a little ‘flip-flop’ when it comes to the home button. As we know, both the predecessors, Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S, feature physical home buttons. However rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 will drop its physical home button in order to make available more real estate for a larger display.
At the same time, the Samsung Galaxy S3 which is expected to launch with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich preloaded, will get a home button. This is peculiar given that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phones don’t require physical navigation buttons (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Nexus). The reason behind this is because ICS features on-screen buttons. According to the report, Samsung made a last minute decision to include a physical home button after already deciding to drop it.
Home button or not, we’re sure both smartphones will be hot sellers. We’ll keep you posted as more develops.
If you’re looking to have your iPhone unlocked from ATT’s service, you can do so over the company’s online chat and Apple is the one actually doing the unlocking. These new details come courtesy of iPhone hacker and developer Grant Paul, and have been verified by The Next Web in a chat with ATT.
We reported Friday that ATT was beginning to unlock out-of-contract iPhones as of April 8th, today. Now a few more details of the process are available.
First, you can do this in-store, but you can also do it in an online chat at ATT’s website. The process is painless and only takes a few minutes in the chat. The only piece of information required by ATT is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which can be found under SettingsGeneralAbout on your device.
Once you’ve completed the procedure, Apple pushes the unlock code during the next 72 hours to your email address, so the code comes from the mothership, not from ATT. Once Apple completes the unlock request, a customer has to back-up and restore and tether the device to iTunes to complete the unlock process. This process is detailed in an Apple support document that was referenced by the ATT representative we talked to.
Some users, like Juan Tarrío, have been told that a case would need to be opened and that it would be resolved by April 16th, rather than a code being delivered by email within 72 hours. The iMore forums also has a variety of different experiences with the unlock here, so that’s a good resource if you’re having issues.
Multiple device unlocks must be submitted through ATT customer care and the maximum unlock codes that can be given for any account in a year is 5. For used devices, ATT will check the account history of the original owner to make sure that the contract has been completed.
Remember that this is a service that ATT will only perform if you have completed your original contract for the device.
This should allow for users to easily unlock older ATT iPhones for use with international roaming or pay-as-you-go plans. iPhones will now operate on a handful of other carriers in the US like T-Mobile.
Adding a new definition to infatuation over gadgets, a Chinese teenager had sold one kidney in April last year to buy an iPhone and an iPad. The Xinhua News Agency of China reported the incident on Friday after charges were brought against five people involved in the incident.
The 17-year old teenager, Wang, hails from Anhui, one of the poorest provinces of China. Wang’s mother got concerned over her son’s new iPhone and iPad, and when she asked her son where he got the money, the teen admitted to selling one of his kidneys. He now suffers from renal deficiency.
The accused include people who arranged for the transplant and operated upon Wang. One of the defendants received about $35,000 to bring in the teen and paid about $3,500 to Wang. The rest of the money was split by the broker with the surgeon and other medical staff. The defendants have been charged with intentional injury.
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There has been no report of who paid for and received the kidney.
Apple Inc products are beyond the reach of most Chinese youth but are extremely popular. In China, sale of iPhones begin at $633 and iPads at $474. Apple Inc also enjoys local popularity as there are many large factories and plants run by Apple suppliers like Foxconn in China.
Finding organs for transplant is difficult in China and most patients travel abroad for such operations spawning a huge black market. The situation is a direct consequence of the conflict between legal forces and market forces that came into being after China banned the trading of human organs in 2007.
Several other suspects are being investigated in the case while the situation of the teenager is constantly deteriorating according to prosecutors.
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LTE patents to flourish
Companies like Motorola have been in a good position in recent years with strong patent portfolios for GSM and WCDMA, but that power will shift over the next five years to those with strong 4G positions, including Samsung and Panasonic.
“Samsung’s strength in LTE patents will suit it well as one of the strongest LTE handset vendors,” says Solis.
“Companies like Ericsson, Nokia, InterDigital, and Qualcomm will retain their patent position as the market shifts.”
“Mobile wireless royalties for GSM, WCDMA, and LTE smartphones were just under $20 billion in 2011 but the increase to 65 million LTE smartphones will help push the 2012 royalty total higher,” states ABI Research director Philip Solis.
“Even though LTE handsets will only total 4 percent of the total handsets shipped in 2012, total royalty rates will be 14 percent higher.”
Although some 2G royalties are expiring, the growing base of 3G handsets and acceleration of LTE handsets – with combined, but not quite additive, royalties for 2G, 3G, and 4G patents – will keep total mobile wireless royalties growing.
Over the past several years, annual handset shipments have gone from hundreds of millions to more than a billion, while the market has shifted toward 3G handsets.
The rising participation of Chinese companies in patent filing and participation in standardization is also a notable trend.
Huawei and ZTE, among other Chinese companies, are very cognizant of the importance of 4G patents.
Chinese companies, as well Japanese and South Korean companies, will shift some of the patent power from Europe and the US to the Asia-Pacific.
According to Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, the new iPhone will boast of a revamped design, which includes the larger display, and should bear resemblance to the iPhone 5 many were expecting when the iPhone 4S was released late last year.
He stressed that Apple would be working on what should be the “most significant” update ever for the Cupertino, CA firm’s successful smartphone line, citing information gleaned from a visit with Asian suppliers.
There have been conflicting reports regarding the new iPhone’s tentative launch date. Foxconn employees have told some tech sites that consumers can expect the new handset to arrive in June. However, other sources are sticking to a possible October 2012 launch, which would be in line with rumors of a twelve-month interval between iPhone releases.
Some of the device’s other rumored specs include Retina Display, support for 4G LTE and NFC and improvements to the camera and Siri voice recognition system.
As far as existing iPhones are concerned, ATT had approved a new policy change last Friday that is now allowing off-contract users to unlock their phones. This change had taken effect on Easter Sunday, and analysts are predicting T-Mobile would be the number one beneficiary of this policy change.
T-Mobile is in the process of improving their 4G network, though there is a good possibility any improvements in network speed would be felt closer to the end of 2012.
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Spencer Caldwell created a beautiful mock-up of the iPhone 5 that features a 4-inch display that seems to have expanded vertically.
And to some Apple fans, this is the direction the company needs to take with the upcoming device.
“I’ve always, well, for the last 2 years proclaimed that this is the way Apple should go: grow the screen vertically without increasing it horizontally,” said 9to5Mac reader UnisZuurmond.
Other readers felt the device should stick with the same design as its predecessors.
“The iPhone doesn’t need a bigger screen, it’s perfectly fine the way it is,” said Nitouryuu. “If I need something on the screen to be bigger I will just zoon in. If that doesn’t work I will use the iPad. The size of the device is perfect, fits into my hand and pocket perfectly.”
Some critics of Apple feel that the company would only increase the iPhone’s screen size in order to compete with Android devices that normally feature larger displays.
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“I personally don’t think that Apple has to do everything that the Android vendors do in order to gain customers,” said Steffen Jobbs. “It’s OK if they can get a larger screen in the same size factor as the current iPhone, but I doubt there’s a need to go larger than that.”
The new mock-up adds another row to the apps list which would make the user be able to access more applications through one screen.
It is possible that Apple will choose to use a larger display just to differentiate the new iPhone from the previous versions.
The sixth-generation iPhone is rumored to be launching in October of this year.
However, the device could arrive as early as June, according to some industry insiders.
The only feature that can be confirmed at this time is that it will be a 4G LTE device.
Except if you’ve been shacked up in a cave prior to Monday, you probably know that Facebook recently purchased Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app which is now available for Android phone users. That happened just last Monday, as Mark Zuckerberg and company decided it would be in the best interest of both companies that working together would be beneficial for both sides.
That said, Instagram will apparently remain independent in its actions immediately following Facebook’s buyout of the start-up company.
But will Instagram continue its rapid growth despite the buyout?
That is probably one of the most interesting questions floating around these days, even more interesting than what could feature on the year’s most-anticipated smartphones.
Speaking of such high-end smartphones, which would include, but not be limited to the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, they just might be the key factor in ensuring Instagram’s growth. That’s right, even if Instagram is now owned by Facebook, the social networking giant’s buyout might not play as large a role as the continued growth of the smartphone market.
The world’s smartphone sales just might exceed 500 million this year, according to analysts, and chances are a good percentage of these sales would be iOS or Android-powered smartphones. That in itself should be good enough to guarantee Instagram a banner year in 2012.
And we haven’t even mentioned the features of these smartphones. As a lot of these handsets may contain improved camera quality, that should give users more initiative to jump on the Instagram bandwagon. So in conclusion, we’re still predicting great things for Instagram, buyout or no buyout.
April 11, 2012, 9:10 AM —
Image via Ars Technica.
April is the cruelest month, breeding iPhone 5 rumors out of the (temporarily) dead gadget realm, mixing memories of gee-whiz product launches with desire for some competition, and stirring inventory issues with overseas rumor. Let’s get into it.
Apple’s next iPhone is shaping up, testing in Cupertino
Details: There are so many! First, testers at Apple are being given iPhones that have the iPhone 4S body, but with an upgraded “A5X” chipset, including a doubled ram capacity. Next, the actual body of the phone is likely to be entirely new, or at least new enough to require new cases and peripherals–likely larger, like 4 inches. Adding 4G service is almost assumed at this point. And finally, the launch date is said to be, variously, the third quarter of 2012, October of 2012, or June of 2012.
Likelihood: I should really create an automatic text script that adds this line to any Apple-related rumor: “It’s entirely possible that they’re testing (X), or building prototypes of (X), but Apple makes many tests and prototypes that get discarded with ruthless discern.” That said, there does seem to be consensus around a new form factor, and the June date is the standard for iPhone launches.
Get excited?: At least about the doubled memory amount! Otherwise, sure, get amped about the device Apple has you wondering about the other six months of the year, now that the iPad is long since past.
Google pushing back its co-branded tablet to July, cutting price and tweaking design
Source: The Verge
Details: It was all but confirmed that Google would launch a 7-inch tablet at their Google I/O conference in late June, at a low, probably subsidized price. That price was rumored around $149-$199, but the last word out was $250. So now, according to The Verge’s “sources close to the project,” Google is pushing back to July, and trying to get the price lower, as well as tweak the design.
Likelihood: Google has “launched” a product at Google I/O before and not had it actually available to hand out as a goodie, as they did last year with Samsung Chromebooks. So entirely possible, but … what does a company do with extra time to lower a price? Beg, cajole, and mow Asus’ lawn for a month?
Get excited?: I’m really intrigued by the idea of a very slimmed-down, Kindle-Fire-esque tablet that might have a bit more oomph behind it.
Android device due out this year that’s out of Google’s hands
Source: Technology Review, which is inferring from a discussion with CEO Ted Morgan of Skyhook Wireless, provider of geolocation services to many devices.
Details: Many manufacturers are looking at how Amazon pulled together their own version of Android with Google’s apps and input almost entirely removed and crafted it into the Kindle Fire. At least one big firm is looking at doing the same. Facebook? Or Amazon again, but this time with a phone, or that bigger tablet that was supposed to ship with the Fire?
Likelihood: Hard to say. Technically, cheap-o tablets have been made without Google’s blessing for a while now, with manufacturers adding their own (awful) email apps and app markets. But for a big player to step in? Maybe Amazon again.
Get excited?: It’s an interesting move, unless it’s a last-ditch move by Best Buy. Then it’s just kind of funny.
–>Time for the latest iPhone 5 release date and features rumors. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is said to be readying a phone with a bigger screen, unibody case, more RAM, better camera, 4G LTE, NFC, iOS 6… Oh, and ponies. Lots of ponies. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers yell SUATMM!
By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: all you do is press one butten the entier time!..
Mark Gurman has learned new details about the iPhone 5:
Much like they did last year, Apple has internally seeded a prototype…in older casings to throw off leaks. The purpose of the prototype…is to test a variation of the “A5X” chip.
Like the [new] iPad, these new iPhone prototypes are packing 1GB of RAM. [It's] labeled N96 internally.
Brian White is just back from quizzing Apple’s Asian suppliers:
The buzz around the new iPhone 5 is growing…speculation around the timing of the launch has begun. …[T]his will be the most significant iPhone upgrade with a four-inch screen…a Unibody case…[and] the addition of 4G. We believe the iPhone 5 ramp…could be extraordinary, dwarfing previous launches.
Our sense is that some suppliers will begin production…during the month of June. … In our view, a August/September launch may make…sense.
But June? August? September? Which is it? Jonny Evans knows:
October is…broadly in line with what I’ve been expecting. … It just makes more sense to introduce the new product just in advance of [the holidays]…pre-season pent-up demand…part of Apple’s secret recipe.
What else might we expect? … [I]nternationalized version of Siri…4G networks outside of North America…Apple Maps…payments support via NFC…coupled with numerous improvements within iOS 6.
Brian Ashcraft crafts this triangulation:
South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper…asked the head of human resources at Foxconn’s Taiyuan factory…[who] told the paper, “We just got the order…[the release] will be around October.”
[There are] many Foxconn hiring notices throughout Taiyuan…The paper followed up with Foxconn’s head of publicity… [but] was told the PR head was “on vacation” and unavailable for comment.
And John McCann opines on optics:
Sony has developed…image sensors [that] are smaller in size [for] thinner handsets [with] higher quality images. … The new cameras have been optimised for bright and low light conditions…to deliver improved snaps.
The iPhone 4S currently uses a Sony 8MP camera, so we could well see this new tech in the iPhone 5. … This may put a nail in the coffin of rumours which suggest [it] will sport a slightly thicker chassis.
Meanwhile, some are saying the screen ratio will change. A.T. Faust III has one word for that:
The potential for fragmentation is overwhelming. … Apple could simply increase the…size without changing its aspect ratio. Which is, you know, exactly what [it's] likely to do.
I’ve got no time for a display as tall and unwieldy as [that]. … I don’t want to use both hands to open apps…search through contacts…check email and call my friends.
pepole think this review is worthles
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He’s the creator and main author of Computerworld’s IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi’s full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.
Apple is busy building its sixth-generation iPhone, likely called the iPhone 5, and the company is reportedly testing the new device within older cases, presumably to bring the new smartphones out in public without drawing attention.
Apple’s camouflage tactic is nothing new: When Apple software engineer Gray Powell lost the iPhone 4 prototype in a San Francisco bar in 2010, the phone was cleverly disguised as an iPhone 3GS. The person who found the iPhone only learned it wasn’t a 3GS when he removed the 3GS bumper and realized the phone’s exterior was different from any other previous iPhone.
And so, Apple is reportedly far along enough with the iPhone 5 that it can be taken outside. When the iPhone 4 prototype went out into the open the first time, the hardware was completely set and ready, but there were a few software bugs, particularly with the camera. However, if Apple is willing to take its prototype out into the open, that would mean Apple has settled on a general design for the phone’s exterior.
In mid-March, the Maeli Business newspaper said Apple had ordered 4.6-inch screens to be featured in the company’s next iPhone. Two days later, a report from iMore’s Rene Ritchie said the iPhone 5 would retain the current 3.5-inch screen – the same size screen as all previous generation iPhones. If the prototype can fit into an older case, the phone may not be larger than 4 inches as previously reported, and the truth may be closer to Ritchie’s report.
Ritchie has a terrific record with Apple news. Last August, Ritchie correctly reported Apple’s next iPhone would be unveiled in the first week of October and would be called “iPhone 4S,” while all other reporters at the time called the speculative device the “iPhone 5.” Ritchie also correctly pegged the new iPad’s unveiling on March 7. If Ritchie says the iPhone 5′s screen isn’t bigger, it may not be, but Apple may have enhanced the visuals to work with a 3D camera, one of the company’s recently-granted patents.
On the interior, the iPhone 5 prototype is reportedly testing the viability of the A5X chip, which is the quad-core graphics processor used to power the new iPad. The company has also packed in 1 GB of ram into the prototype, internally labeled “N96.” Given that the A5X chip is a graphics powerhouse, Apple may be enhancing the quality of its display, and needs a chip that can do the heavy lifting.
So why does Apple want the A5X chip for an iPhone? If Apple doesn’t change the physical size of the screen, it may be changing the display’s overall quality. On April 4, the Korea Times reported that Apple is interested in switching from LCD to OLED displays for its next round of iPhones and iPads. The reason behind the potential move would be Samsung, which recently launched its spin-off company called “Samsung Display” that aims to pivot away from LCD to focus more on OLED technology.
“Thanks to the increased volume, chances have been raised to ship Samsung’s OLEDs for Apple’s iPads and even iPhones,” said The Korea Times, citing unnamed Samsung executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Apple is by far Samsung’s biggest customer. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company bought $7.8 billion worth of components from Samsung in 2011, ranging from memory chips to LCD panels, but the company will reportedly buy $11 billion worth of parts this year, which could mean Apple is buying more expensive display material.
Apple has plenty of money to afford OLED screens in an iPhone-sized display. The company recently announced its most successful quarter in its 35-year history in January, and Apple is expected to announce another killer quarter on April 24. Analysts even believe Apple will be the first company in history to achieve a $1 trillion market cap, even though that’s somewhat unlikely.
There’s an excellent chance Apple will return to Samsung to help build displays for the next-gen iPhone. Samsung knows how to build big, beautiful screens for any size device: Arguably the company’s best offering, the Galaxy S II, features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. Just imagine what Samsung could do with Apple’s Retina technology implemented into an OLED. Apple would effectively put distance between the iPhone and all other smartphone competitors for another five years, at the very least.
iPhone 5: Other Likely Features
It’s already a foregone conclusion that Apple will implement radio bands for 4G LTE in the iPhone 5, given that Apple introduced the high-speed network on its new iPad, released on March 16, which was likely done as a “practice run.”
LTE features significantly higher download and upload speeds compared to 3G technologies, but previous implementations of LTE in smartphones tended to ravage battery life, which was a major complaint from users. If Apple wanted LTE in the iPhone 4S at the time, it would have been forced to increase the phone’s thickness to accommodate a larger circuit board and a bigger battery. Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a company earnings conference call in April 2011, said ”first-generation LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises.”
“The iPhone 4 PCB [printed circuit board] is already incredibly small, not leaving any room for an extra chip to enable LTE without shrinking the size of the battery,” said Anand Shimpi, a chip expert and CEO of Anandtech.
Fortunately, Qualcomm recently unveiled the fifth iteration of its new chip, which supports TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, HSPA+, EV-DO, embedded GPS, and LTE on TDD and FDD networks worldwide. The chip works with Android and Windows 8 devices, but there’s a great chance this will be the chip inside the iPhone 5.
Apple’s next iPhone may also include a number of the company’s recently granted patents. Apple won a major patent on March 6 for a piece of technology called the “iWallet,” which is a digital system that gives users complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts on their iPhones, and also leverages Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions directly on the phone as well. The iWallet has many different features, including giving users the ability to see their entire credit card profiles, view statements and messages from their banks, and even set parental controls for their children, should they also want to use their iPhones as digital wallets. Outside of the iPhone, users can keep track of their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which keeps credit card information and records safe and secure. There’s a possibility that iWallet could also work with other Apple utilities, which could allow users to buy things like movie tickets directly within the apps, but only time will tell with that one.
The iPhone 5 might also be the first phone to feature a new piece of software for multi-player gaming. On March 15, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that describes a system for multi-player gaming, which allows groups of people to play the same game together and even see it from different perspectives according to the devices’ physical relation to one another. The system actually mimics that of the “Find My Friends” app, in which a user’s device detects other nearby devices that it recognizes as “friends,” and invites them to all join a common application. The technology also determines the relative position of those devices, so some games — like turn-based role-playing games or card games — can be played in a specific order.
The best patent of them all, however, may be Apple’s patent for crack-resistant glass, granted on Nov. 15. Basically, the crack-resistant glass solution utilizes the same alumino silicate glass used in the iPhone 4 and 4S, but by chemically treating it with potassium and sodium ions, the glass can then achieve greater compression thresholds on the surface and edges of the glass, making it less susceptible to cracks. The patent also involves a shock mount between the glass and the body of the device that will instantly inflate if the device senses it’s falling, which is determined by the device’s internal accelerometer. An actuator within the device sucks in the cover glass as it accelerates to the ground, protecting it from damage.
iPhone 5: When Is The Release Date?
While it’s unclear if this latest rumor can be trusted, previous reports also said Apple would release the iPhone 5 in June. In March, Reuters reported that Apple plans to unveil the next iPhone “around the second quarter” of 2012. While this report would mean a release in June or July, it did contradict an earlier report from Japanese blog Macotakara, which believed, citing inside sources from the supply chain, Apple would release the iPhone 5 in September or October, effectively abandoning mid-year iPhone launches for a 11-month upgrade cycle starting in the fall.
Macotakara’s report of a fall release date is bolstered by iMore’s editor-in-chief Rene Ritchie, who said on March 23 that the iPhone 5 will be released in October 2012. Ritchie has a solid track record with Apple news. Last August, Ritchie correctly reported Apple’s next iPhone would be unveiled in the first week of October and would be called “iPhone 4S,” while all other reporters at the time called the speculative device the “iPhone 5.” Ritchie also correctly pegged the new iPad’s unveiling on March 7.
Apple’s last iPhone, the iPhone 4S, was the first Apple smartphone released outside the summer months; the original iPhone, as well as the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4, were all released in either June or July. While there is no clear reason why the 4S was the only iPhone released in the fall, analysts believe the Cupertino, Calif.-based company attempted to implement LTE into the phone, and failed. Now, it would seem the company wants to wait a full year until releasing its next iPhone.
Moving the iPhone’s annual release date to October makes sense, given the wild success of the iPhone 4S. Although the phone was largely unchanged from the iPhone 4, Apple added a couple of features like Siri and an 8-megapixel camera, and it became the most-popular and fastest-selling iPhone of all time. No one should be surprised, then, if Apple wants to repeat that formula, releasing its “best smartphone yet” around the holiday season.
While the report from Foxconn should be recognized, if any report about “release dates” is to be believed, it should be Ritchie’s. Ritchie has valuable sources from within Apple, and his reports have always been highly reliable and accurate. Given that Apple just released its new iPad in March and it will reportedly release a new line of MacBooks in April or May, it would make for Apple to hold onto the new iPhone, let it continue to build hype for several months, and then release it in October, making it a great Christmas gift.