NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – A new app hit the iTunes store Friday morning that your carrier probably isn’t too thrilled about.
It’s called CarrierCompare . Developed by Boston-based startup SwayMarkets, it allows you to see which carrier offers the best service for your iPhone in any given location.
The crowd-sourced app is simple to use. After you touch the start screen, the app takes about 15 seconds to analyze your network for signal strength, response time and speed. It then compares your result with other nearby results on the other two national carriers’ networks.
The display is intuitive, telling you where your carrier ranks compared to the competition.
Sounds pretty simple, right? But iPhone carriers Verizon, ATT and Sprint have successfully kept that information out of the public’s view — until now.
Carriers rigorously test their networks and their rivals’ networks, hiring third-party surveyors to perform comparisons. However, those surveys are almost always performed under non-disclosure agreements.
Each carrier provides its own coverage map to customers, and some even offer a street-level view. (Here are the maps for Sprint, Verizon and ATT.)
But that still doesn’t give users the kind of precise detail that CarrierCompare provides — and the carriers certainly don’t offer up direct, pinpoint comparisons against the competition.
“There is an imbalance of information out there,” said Amos Epstein, founder of SwayMarkets. “Each carrier knows its own network and hires people to drive around in trucks to measure its rivals’ service as well. But they haven’t gone as far to release data that’s tangible and useful to the consumer.”
Carriers also get that data from apps they make handset manufacturers install on their devices. Sprint and ATT use an app called CarrierIQ, which sends that kind of information — and more — back to the carriers.
After landing in the crossfire of a giant controversy around the secrecy of that data, CarrierIQ urged its carrier customers to release that information to consumers. So far, none have done it.
Calling CarrierIQ “a cautionary tale,” Epstein said CarrierCompare is designed to make visible metrics that are typically hidden from consumers’ view.
The app tracks three data points.
“Signal” represents a granular, numerical interpretation of service bars, which gives a more accurate reading than a one-through-five bar graph representation.
“Response” measures how long it takes for the network to respond to a request. It’s an important metric for Internet use, such as Web browsing, posting pictures to Facebook and downloading apps. A lower response time indicates a better result.
“Speed” is in indicator of how much information the network allows your phone to download in a second. Good 3G service can be as fast as 2 Megabits per second during non-peak hours, and 4G service can be more than five times faster than that.
Here’s the catch: The app is only as good as its crowd-sourced data. SwayMarkets has a starting data set pulled in from its previously released NetSnaps app, but CarrierCompare will only become really useful if a critical mass of people adopt it.
Right now, the app only performs the one function — touch and compare. But within a few weeks, the SwayMarkets team said CarrierCompare will become much more dynamic.
When the second version is released, the app will allow users to collect network comparison data in the background, while other apps are in use. That will let the app detect network information throughout a user’s day and produce an analysis on the best carrier for that specific users, factoring in things like their typical commute route and work location.
That “set it and forget it” capability will also allow users to check in every once in a while and see how their their network is holding up
CarrierCompare is on sale for $1.99, and an ad-supported version is available for free. The app is only available on the iPhone for now, but the SwayMarkets team said Android versions are in the works.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Apple said today that its third-generation iPad, released in the U.S. and nine other countries last month, will start being sold in an additional countries 21 countries this month.
Consumers in South Korea, Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, St Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela can buy the tablet starting on April 27. Users in India, Israel, Colombia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa and Thailand will have to wait until April 27.
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the new touchscreen tablet, which adds a faster processor, high-resolution display and support for high-speed wireless networks, on March 7, saying it will usher in the “post-PC era” as more consumers opt for a portable mobile device for viewing content, surfing the web and checking their email. Apple said more than 3 million were sold in the weekend after it was released. The company offers six models, starting at $499.
Sales of the iPad, which accounts for about 20 percent of Apple’s sales, are expected to help drive a 47-percent jump in sales in the quarter ended in March, to about $36.3 billion (though some analysts are predicting sales as high as $41 billion.)
Apple probably sold between 12 to 13 million iPads in March (or as many as 812,500 a day), thanks to the new iPad as well as demand for the year-old iPad 2. Apple cut the price of the older model by $100 — giving it a starting price of $399 — to win over cost-conscious buyers.
As for the iPhone, Apple may have sold as many as 33 million. The iPhone, which now represents more than half of sales, got a boost from new buyers in China following a distribution deal for the iPhone 4s with China Telecom in early March.
Apple will announce fiscal second quarter results on April 24, and everyone will be listening out for clues as to when the next iPhone — the iPhone 5 — will be released. Gene Munster, of Piper Jaffray, thinks it will be sometime this summer. But he says it almost doesn’t make a difference, as customers in the market for a new smartphone will likely wait for Apple’s new model instead of buying a rival phone.
“The reality is the “when” question doesn’t matter for shares of Apple as we believe consumer demand for the iPhone is captive,” Munster wrote in a report last week.”Buyers are unlikely to go out to buy a different phone if launch is not until October.”
After touching $644 last week, Apple’s shares were trading down today at $584.98 at 2:08 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq.
Apple is planning this year’s late summer music product refresh. Scratching the rumour machine, its plans could include improvements within iTunes, an upgraded iPod touch, a 7-inch iPad/iPod touch hybrid and a new headset combining iPod shuffle-like music playback with Bluetooth which should work like a dream with iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 headset — an iPod shuffle Apple’s latest patent filing (Wireless headset with integrated media player) takes the iPod shuffle and transforms it into an essential item for any iPhone user. The description is of a device which integrates a Bluetooth headset, microphone and MP3 player.
The headset can be pre-loaded with music over USB, so you get to play music even when you aren’t carrying or don’t own an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
As reported by Wired, Apple already has patents for headsets which switch the music off when you take them off your head, for advanced noise cancellation for headset mics and more. However, as Wired notes the design of this device reflects that of the Bluetooth headset Apple briefly offered in 2007. This makes it possible development of this product isn’t happening, but if it is, now is a perfect time to field a solution like this.
Why? Because there’s approximately 316 million iOS devices in use worldwide. That’s a huge market for an Apple headset, particularly one that integrates strongly with iOS 6, including the capacity to cue up tracks using Siri voice controls if the headset were twinned with an iPhone, for example.
The patent description includes a small display and start, stop and record buttons. The description also includes the capacity to listen to your voice messages.
That you can just use the headset at those times you might choose to leave your iOS device at home is an additional fillip, and means many in the low-end music player market (such as it is, these days) will choose an Apple headset just because they want an iPod or iPhone.
And, of course, it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine a pair of compatible video glasses being bought into this equation at some future point for augmented reality applications and movie playback. Apple has been working on video goggle solutions for years.
The promise of iTunes 11
iTunes has seen lots of evolution since its original incarnation as the audio-focused Soundjam application, (History fans will know Apple acquired the software from Casady and Greene and morphed it into iTunes.) These days iTunes combines media management and acquisition tools, along with device management.
It is to be hoped Apple will be focusing on performance in the software, in an ideal world the device management features would morph into a second application in order to make the software run more smoothly, certainly reports claim the company is focused on under the hood improvements at this stage of development.
iTunes 11 will, of course, support iOS 6 with its iPhone 5 support, Apple Maps, Siri, iCloud and other interesting improvements. Content discovery will also be improved across apps, music and media as the company deploys discovery technologies acquired when it purchased Chomp.
The iTunes Store seems set for redesign, with a focus on user-friendliness. Previous reports have claimed plans to introduce a Spotify-competing music streaming service within iTunes. The introduction of LTE support within the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 could underpin such a service, enabling users to stream whole chunks of music while on the move: likely including all the music you own via iCloud and music you don’t possess in exchange for a small fee.
Apple is also focused on making iTunes more interactive, which will hopefully include Facebook support for its never-used “social network for music”, Ping.
Finally, conjecture suggests iTunes may also gain new micro-payment options, in which users would be able to pop small amounts of cash into an account for use when making NFC transactions using an iPhone 5 as an iWallet.
That’s in keeping with many of the ways in which NFC transactions are being tested globally. Many of these tests support small payments for small items, such as drinks at Starbucks and public transit fees. If Apple does move ahead to the iWallet, I suspect many of these new features will be launched in the US first.
It seems inevitable the iPod touch will be given a new processor, in keeping with the most recently-introduced iPhone 4S. This also implies some form of limited support for Siri.
There’s also been a crop of recent claims Apple has a plan to introduce a 7-inch iPad. This could also be marketed as a dedicated iBook reader and aimed directly at Amazon’s Kindle Fire — a not unreasonable move, given the recent move by the DOJ to launch an investigation into Apple’s relationship with publishers.
So there you have it, all the latest rumor, speculation and fantastical dreams as Apple approaches its late summer music product refresh. Have you heard any more claims which may inform this debate? Let us know in comments below.
iPhone 5: What to expect of the 2012 edition
Although the world is yet to see a true 4G network, anywhere in the world, the LTE brings up the closest alternative to it. According to the International Technology Union (ITU), the 4G should be able to offer a maximum of 1Gbps of downstream data and 500 Mbps of upstream service. However, the most advanced LTE network offers up 70Mbps of downloading. Due to the relaxation from ITU, cell phone carriers all over the world are allowed to use the 4G moniker with LTE and HSPA+, which is a slight on-paper upgrade to 3G HSPA.
The iPhone 4S was release in some dramatic situations. Steve Jobs was on death bed and four days after the release of the 4S, he died of the pancreatic cancer he had incurred five years ago.
However, the calamities aside, the new iOS device had its own miseries to handle. One of them was the battery drainage that heavily aggravated its sales figures. Though the problem was identified as a bug in the iOS and a follow-up was released in the following days, battery problem again surfaced at the fronts of the iOS device.
The battery timing has been an issue with the iPhone, whereas other iOS devices, iPod Touch and iPad offer marathons of battery timing. Now that Motorola has offered a long lasting beast in Droid Razr Maxx, Apple has new challenges to meet for the release of the iPhone 5.
Among other not-so-worrisome expectation for the new iPhone are a new and improved Siri, with a more versatile vocabulary and a vast pool of instructions and suggestions. The screen, though sports the sharpest resolution in the market, still lacks the oomph of AMOLED and Super LCD, should be made more glowing and colourful.
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Monday, April 16th, 2012 6:09:10 by Usman Khalid
The release of the new iPhone will see a fierce competition from other competitors like Samsung and Motorola, who have successfully managed to create an outstanding image of their respective flagship handsets, Galaxy SII and Droid Razr.
Samsung is planning to release the new Samsung Galaxy SIII or S3 in a curtain raiser dedicated solely to smartphone as the current model in the market has become a sensation among Android lovers. The upcoming Galaxy SIII—I am going to address it as SIII since the last model incorporated the Roman numeral—is attracting speculation in the same way iPhone does. Experts have come up with mock-ups and designs for the new SIII.
On the other hand Motorola’s flagship Android handset, Droid Razr, and it’s quick successor with a strong battery, Razr Maxx, has also gathered the same attention among the smartphone users. Although the phone is the biggest in the trio with a 4.7-inch display, it has become a sensation because of its slim chassis and strong built quality. The American company is keeping the new instalment under guard but its alleged name is expected to be Droid Razr HD.
Despite the fact that Android is prone of lag in performance and incorporates bugs, the operating system is slowly becoming a sensation among smartphone users.
In the presence of these two flagship models from two of biggest companies in the world, iPhone’s success depends heavily on design.
All the previous models in Apple’s smartphone line have been 2G or 3G compatible but due to increasing interest of US and European users in the faster HSPA+ and LTE networks, the demand for the 4G handset has beefed up in the last couple of months. The release of the new iPad, 2012 version, has fed the anticipation that the new iPhone will be a 4G LTE phone. If you consider HSPA+ a 4G network, then ATT models of iPhone 4S are already 4G, no pun meant.
- iPhone 5: What to expect of the 2012 edition? – In the light of what we have at hand – Part 3
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Tags: 4g, Apple, display, ipad, iPhone, lte, smartphone
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The last time Apple came out with a true “revolutionary”
product was in 2007 when it released the iPhone. Sure, the iPad created a whole
new market segment in 2010, but its technology was based on the iPhone.
According to respected French designer Philippe Starck, Apple will release a new
“revolutionary” product by the end of this year.
2008, Starck designed wireless speakers for the iPhone and iPod. He has also
designed the interior of private apartments for former French President François
Mitterrand, an optical mouse for Microsoft, and won the 2005 Industrial Design
Excellence Award for his design of a toothbrush sanitizer. In an interview, he
revealed that he visited Steve Jobs once, every month, for seven years and
continues to travel to California to see Laurene Powell.
to say, Starck has a reputation, lending credibility to his statement
that Apple will come out with something “revolutionary.” Here are 2
possible Apple products that may be released in 2012…
“According to sources to Cult of Mac, Apple
is working on a television set with an iTunes-integrated touch screen remote
and Siri-like voice command technology. The TV set will be coming before the
end of 2012. Rumors and patents have said as much for the past year, so
that’s nothing new. But that’s not all we’ve heard.”
Games Console: According to Macworld, Apple
may be working with Valve to create a video games console that complements its
5: A product re-design for the iPhone would be more “evolutionary” than “revolutionary,”
though something that has a high chance of occurring.
also a chance that Starck isn’t working on any Apple products and is, instead,
working on a “revolutionary” yacht, according to Macworld.
Despite the prestige of the French designer, his words are rumor at this point
in time. Furthermore, why would Apple need to outsource design work when it has
Jonathan Ive? Apple itself has said that Starck is not working on any projects
with Apple. Even so, there’s a chance that Starck is on to something. Whether
that is a yacht or a true revolutionary product will be seen this year.
Time and again, we have heard of iPhone users asking for the same thing when it comes to next-generation releases of the popular smartphone – a larger screen. Unfortunately for a lot of them, Apple has stood its ground over the years, sticking with the time-honored 3.5-inch measurement for the iPhone’s display.
Could this be the year Apple bucks the trend with the new iPhone?
Many of the above iPhone users hope this would be the case, as their patience seems to be running thin. According to a survey conducted by MacRumors, 48 percent of all voters stated that they wish to see a larger screen on the iPhone 5.
Numerous devices, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus (4.65 inches) and Galaxy Note (5.3 inches, but take note this is a phone-tablet hybrid, or “phablet”), are going by the “bigger is better” philosophy and not disappointing consumers, as both devices boast of impressive display quality to go with the size.
So would it behoove Apple to increase the iPhone’s screen size once and for all?
Previously, MacRumors ran another poll, where a combined 32 percent of all voters expressed a desire to switch to Android or some other operating system due to the iPhone 4S retaining its 3.5-inch screen.
Other items on the wish list of MacRumors voters in the most recent poll include 4G LTE (16.78 percent), increased battery life (16.61 percent), iOS 6 (5.06 percent), a faster CPU speed (2.79 percent) and 1 GB DRAM (2.62 percent). 572 people took part in the survey, with 272 of them (47.55 percent) voting for a larger screen.
iPhone 5 is in disguise at Apple headquarters and will have 1 Gig of memory
“Apple has internally seeded a prototype next-generation iPhone with the iPhone 4 design,” Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac confidently declares. That seems to be geekspeak for “some Apple employees have a prototype iPhone 5 that looks like the iPhone 4.”
With the assurance of an experienced rumorster, Gurman doesn’t bother to cite even an anonymous source for this conviction.
“The actual next-generation iPhone is specifically said to not include the iPhone 4/4S design, but Apple is testing these new devices in older casings to throw off leaks,” Gurman says. The passive tense “is…said” raises the obvious question of who, exactly, said this. But let’s not get bogged down by Lamestream Media concerns over things like reliability of sources and, you know, facts.
“The purpose of the prototype iPhone that we heard about is to test a variation of the ‘A5X’ chip in an iPhone,” Gurman continues. “The A5X processor in the new iPad was specifically built to drive the new Retina Display, so that chip wouldn’t make much sense in an iPhone.”
The principal change in the new iPad’s dual-core A5X is the addition of a quad-core graphics processor. It drives not just a Retina Display, which the iPhone 4 and 4S also has, but a much larger 9.7-inch diagonal Retina Display, with more pixels than a high-def TV. So, if that doesn’t make sense for an iPhone, then what would the A5X “variation” be? Gurman doesn’t speculate and apparently neither did his source, or sources.
“Like the A5X-powered iPad, these new iPhone prototypes are packing 1GB of RAM,” he declares, again without any attribution.
But perhaps Gurman is relying on the same source that told him, way back in September 2011 that the about-to-be-announced iPhone 5 (which turned out to be the iPhone 4S) would for sure definitely absolutely have 1GB or RAM.
“The new [to-be-announced] iPhone features Apple’s dual-core A5 processor like the iPad 2 for even faster performance, better gaming, and drastically improved graphics,” Gurman wrote then. “Apple didn’t stop there though. Unlike the iPad 2, the new iPhone packs 1GB of RAM, according to a source familiar with the SOC’s manufacturing.”
The great thing about insisting year in and year out that the next iPhone is going to have 1GB of RAM or more storage or a more powerful processor is that, eventually, you’ll be right.
iPhone 5 will have a 3.99-inch (diagonal) screen. Give or take.
Finally. A rumor you can believe in.
Well before the disappointing yet wildly successful iPhone 4S, the technoglitterati have been predicting or demanding a big-screen iPhone. How big, you ask. Well. Big.
The problem with a bigger screen is that iOS applications would have to be redone. Now comes a suggestion, beautiful in its simplicity, which suggests how Apple could increase screen size without forcing developers to rework apps: change the aspect ratio of the iPhone’s screen.
In a post at the Verge, with some intriguing illustrations, modilwar develops an idea first posed by a caller to one of the Verge’s online chats, one Timothy Collins.
Currently, all iPhones have had a 3.5 inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio, with iPhone 4 and 4S having the same Retina Display resolution of 960 x 640 pixels.
If Apple kept that resolution but increased the diagonal screen size to 4.0 inches, it “significantly reduce the ppi to 288″ which as modilwar notes is “well below the 300 mark Apple as touted as retina [display] quality.”
But. … If Apple changes the aspect ratio to 9:5, you could create a screen that would retain the same dimensions and pixels on the shorter side – 1.94 inches, 640 pixels – but the longer side would get…longer: to a smidgen over 3.99 inches, and 1,152 pixels. “I’m sure Apple PR could round this to 4,” modilwar writes.
The result: a 20% increase in the number of pixels compared to iPhone 4 and 4S. That would add another row of app icons on the homescreen, and as the mockups show, significantly increase space for everything from app screens to typing messages. It might also mean that the next iPhone’s external dimensions could remain the same.
iPhone 5 will have a unibody design, just like the MacBook
Apple will pass on glass for the next iPhone and go with a body formed of the same material used in beer cans.
A stock market analyst, traipsing around Taiwan and China talking to component suppliers predicts the next iPhone will have an aluminum unibody design, just like Apple’s MacBooks. So wondrous will unibody be, that “This new, sleek look will be the most important reason that consumers decide to upgrade,” gushed Brian J. White, the traipsing analyst, who works for Topeka Capital Markets. His speculation was in a “report to investors” issued this week, and picked up by various tech news sites, including AppleInsider.
AppleInsider’s post was picked up by still others, such as Simon Thomas, at 3G.co.uk, who cited the Website as a “reputable source” for the unibody rumor, even though all AppleInsider did was parrot White’s comments.
But in any case, the unibody would demolish one of the “major criticisms” of the iPhone 4S, says Thomas. “One of the major criticisms aimed at Apple’s iPhone 4S is that it looks identical to the previous model, which meant it was hard for people to realize [sic] you’d splashed out on a new iPhone.”
Rollup thought that, too. What is the point of buying a new smartphone if the people you want to impress can’t even tell it’s new?
Apple machines the MacBook casing from a single block of aluminum [the process is shown in an Apple video]. Apple execs say the process lets them create an extremely strong but thin and elegantly simple casing.
Based on his chats with the Far East suppliers, White “believes the next iPhone will have a larger screen, which he sees as being 4 inches. He also expects the device will have high-speed 4G LTE connectivity, just like the new iPad,” according to AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes.
The iOSsphere is recycling the iPhone Alumination rumor. Last September, in the run-up to the announcement of what turned out to be iPhone 4S, Hughes wrote of another Wall Street analyst’s prediction that that phone would have an aluminum unibody, echoing speculation that began in March of 2011. In January 2012, Rollup noted that Boy Genius Report’s Jonathan Geller “has learned” that the next iPhone will have an aluminum backplate with a rubberized edge.
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Why? A user reports that *their* phone has been stolen and requests that *their* IMEI is locked. Why does that need a court order?
As long as the person can prove that it is their account, I don’t see a problem. If I walked into an ATT store and gave them 20 IMEIs to lock, without identifying myself, then yes, it is suspicious and they shouldn’t do it. But if I can identify myself and get the phone registered on my account locked, I don’t see a problem or a need for the courts to get involved.
AFAIK, this has been available over here since the mid 90s…
On the other hand, walking into an Apple Store in the UK with an iPhone which has been disabled (IMEI blocked), Apple will swap it out against a new one, as long as it is under warranty!
And the insurance company will then refuse to pay out, because, according to Apple, the phone has already been replaced!
Yet the police seem reluctant to charge Apple with receiving stolen goods or aiding and abetting…
It is making headlines long before Apple makes a formal announcement. iPhone 5 release date is approaching fast. Reports suggest that it will come with 4 plus inch screen and better battery life
iPhone 5 ‘s expected June launch has once again invigorated the Apple fans who are seeking a better smart phone for them who looks as good as some latest top Android smartphones and continues to have an edge over every other phone when it comes to performance.
Reports of bigger screen in the iPhone 5 have given them hope that after a rather long wait they too will have a bigger smartphone with better display. When Samsung, Motorola and HTC have introduced bigger smartphones with great displays including HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Note and Motorola Droid Razr among others with 4 plus inch screen size, Apple continued to stick with its 3.5 inch screen.
But latest reports suggest that finally Apple has decided to discontinue with 3.5 inch screen and introduce a rather big 4.6 inch display. This may have warmed the hearts of Apple fans across the world.
But there are some people who say that Apple fans may not like a bigger screen as they love 3.5 inch iPhone display. But an informed reader has this to say, “I don’t think it is an accurate analysis to say that people don’t want larger screens because they keep buying iPhone’s smaller screen. They keep buying iPhone because they want an iPhone even though they might prefer a larger screen. I suspect many iPhone users would love a slightly larger screen. I also suspect that many would not want a 4″ screen (4.3-4.5) because that size is getting a bit big. But a 4″ screen is probably right-sized. Apple wouldn’t do it unless they felt users wanted it. And given 4G speeds, more people will probably do more web based content which was a bit slow on 3G.”
The improvements in the latest iPad 3 have made people all the more optimistic about the expected improvements in iPhone 5 features. We can now understand that the forthcoming version of iPhone would come loaded with 4G LTE and that it will come with A5X chip. Reports filtering from Cupertino based Apple suggest that the ground is still not prepared for A6 processor in the next iPhone 5. If you thought that iPhone 5 will come with A6 processor, you may feel disappointed again as Apple may not upgrade the technology so soon and so fast. Many people were expecting the latest showcased iPad 3 to come with A6 processor, but their hopes were dashed as Apple refused to toe what fans wanted from it, and went on to put A5X chip in it. Nevertheless the new chip is several times faster than its A5 chip that powers iPhone 4S.
Meanwhile a Digitimes report suggests that Apple is going to improve the battery of iPhone 5. Though experts suggest that it will be very tough with 4G LTE to improve the battery life of the forthcoming version of iPhone, nonetheless Apple fans expect the company to come with a better battery than the existing ones. If Apple can launch the new iPhone with a better battery, it may help the company eke out an edge in the competitive market. Unfortunately for them, Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx sports a Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery, which, according to the company, can give up to 21 hours of talk time. Matching it may be tough, but a better battery may give some more reasons to Apple fans to rejoice.