As Apple event approaches, new iPhone fakes, mockups, and hoaxes become more elaborate

With the September 12th Apple event approaching, anticipation for a redesigned iPhone is heating up. Besides the legitimate information leaking over the course of the past months, there has been fake information, mockups and hoaxes about the device floating around. Over the past few days, the increasing anticipation and speculation for the new iPhone has led to a new level of mockups and hoaxes.

GSMIsrael, this weekend, claimed a world exclusive iPhone 5 hands-0n. Though, their hands were actually on a plasticky mockup built by a case maker.

It gets much worse…

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Bloomberg: iPad 3 production starts for March launch, packs Retina Display, LTE, quad-core chip

Bloomberg reported that the iPad 3 entered production and is tracking a March launch. The report also claimed the new iPad will feature a higher-resolution display, Retina probably, and a quad-core processor. It will also connect to LTE networks.

The company’s manufacturing partners in Asia started ramping up production of the iPad 3 this month and plan to reach full volumes by February, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. The tablet will use a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets users jump more quickly between applications, two of the people said.

 The iPad 3 was previously reported to sport a similar design to the iPad 2. We also previously discovered references to quad-core iOS devices in the latest iOS betas.

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Apple celebrates Year of the Dragon with Jan. 6 ‘Red Friday’ shopping event

Following up on Lucky Bags that were handed out to Japanese Apple customers this weekend, Apple is also celebrating the Lunar New Year with a one day Apple shopping event, dubbed “Red Friday” on Friday, Jan. 6 in China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. In the past, Apple has given modest discounts to its products for the Lunar New Year.

The Lunar New Year celebration starts on Monday, Jan. 23.

Al Gore: “Everyone on [Apple’s] management team could be CEO of a world class corporation.”

Al Gore had some words on the passing of Steve Jobs at the AllThingsD conference in Asia last night. He said that Jobs was “the kind of guy that comes along once every 250 years.”

On Apple after him, Jobs relayed to Gore that Disney, where Jobs’ served on the board after selling Pixar, fell on hard times after Walt Disney died. Often, the board at Disney would ask “What would Walt do?” and trying to figure that out would end up being the wrong answer. Jobs, according to Gore, didn’t want this to happen at Apple. He wanted Apple to make its own decisions moving forward based on the decisions of the current management team.

Gore wasn’t terribly revealing on specifics but he did say “There’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline and the team [Steve Jobs] left behind is really firing on all cylinders”.

Finally, when asked about Apple’s future, Gore said that the management team is the best in the world and that “Everyone on that management team could be CEO of a world class corporation”. Gore acknowledges this is both a blessing and a curse and, as with the case of Ron Johnson, other companies will be trying to pick them off.

Gore also talked about the AT&T&T-Mobile merger during the Q&A answering a question from TIMN’s Joanna Stern saying that the merger would be unlikely, and would be hard to overcome Justice Department’s challenge.

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The competition: Google introduces Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus

The keynote went a little bad over in Hong Kong with both the Facial Recognition and the Quick Response features not working or crashing the device. Overall though, there are some interesting new features that certainly differentiate Android from iOS and Windows Phone 7.

As for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone, it has a 5-megapixel camera which has to be a letdown when compared to 8 megapixel cameras that are standardizing on the high end across the industry. Its most impressive feature (unless you are trying to squeeze it into your pocket) has to be the 4.65-inch 720P display. Although Pentile, which means not every pixel gets RGB dots, it does get close to Apple’s 326 PPI Retina display with a 316 PPI density. Like the as yet unpopular Honeycomb tablets, it doesn’t have any front facing buttons but has screen buttons that shift around as well as all of those new Android 4.0 features.

Check 9to5Google.com for ongoing coverage.

Grand-opening of the flagship Hong Kong Apple Store at IFC Center (Video roundup)

Apple’s flagship Store in Hong Kong just opened in the IFC Center this morning (Hong Kong time). The new Store certainly seems like a pretty big deal to the locals who’ve been lined up for days.

Early this week we published pictures of the beautiful architecture at this new Store. Below, you’ll find some of the videos uploaded around the web showing the excitement in the air at launch:

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KDDI snags Apple’s iPhone in Japan breaking Softbank’s monopoly

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According to a Nikkei Business report (English), another iPhone carrier exclusive country has fallen. Softbank (in blue, above) in Japan has had a monopoly on the iPhone for the past three years in the world’s third largest economy. However, with the release of next iPhone, KDDI/au will carry the device. Both carriers still trail behind the leader NTT, as you can see in the un-translated image above.

According to the report, the iPhone will hit HDDI/au shops in November, a little later than the US expects to see them. If I’m not mistaken, KDDI operates a CDMA network, which is thought to be built into the upcoming worldphone iPhones.

This could still mean big market share gains for Apple in the country that Android hit by storm over the past two years.

KDDI’s shares were up 2.1% at Y642,000, while Softbank’s shares dropped 7.3% to Y2,413.

Wraps come off Flagship Hong Kong Apple Store at IFC center (update: opens Sept. 24!)

We’re hearing it is perhaps weeks from being open but this evening you are seeing the enormity of this store in Hong Kong’s IFC shopping complex.  That is a four story tall red Apple which spans three lanes of traffic for those measuring at home.

Update: Reader Joe send in this shot from inside:

Update 2: Engadget has nabbed some higher-resolution pictures. They also say the store opens September 24th!

Elaborate pulley smuggling system created to get iPhones/iPads over HK border to China

MICGadget reports that some industrious Chinese smugglers devised an elaborate system to get iPads and iPhones across the border into the country where they were once built:

Hong Kong and Chinese customs have cracked an audacious smuggling operation that saw Apple goods ferried along a long cable straddling the border. The iPad and iPhones were transported over a small river that separates the booming city of Shenzhen from the rural northern part of Hong Kong using an elaborate pulley system. The cable was shot across the border using a crossbow [Batman?] and the Apple products were flying across at night, which store in black nylon bags. The cable was suspended to a high-rise building in the Chinese border town of Shenzhen, and goods were moved several hundred meters from a small village house located in Hong Kong

6 smugglers were arrested in the operation, 50’s iPad 2 and 50’s iPhone 4, which worth about three hundred thousand yuan (US$46,583) were seized.

It is startling that Chinese taxes make operations like this necessary, especially in the place where these things are actually produced! Read more

New iPhone 5 cases indicate a thinner but half inch wider and longer frame

Following our post with images of a purported iPhone 5 case, other sources like TechCrunch and Onlinelpnprogram.net have followed up with us with their own cases. This time we not only have a silicone case, but a hard case, too. The image above shows a top view of both of our cases. They both show a ringer switch on the opposite side of the volume keys, which is a shift from previous models of the iPhone. In addition, the bottom of these cases have holes for a separate speaker, main microphone, and USB dock connector. You may have noticed this on our iPhone 5 case post earlier this week, but today comes the more important information.

Our images were admittedly not very clear about the case’s thinness or if there was a “tear drop” as previously described by This is my next. Our new images are clear and there are appears to be a slight – not major – tear drop in the design. The case goes thick to thin from top to bottom. In addition, the sources who provided us with these two new cases have shared some dimensions. According to them, the case is 5 inches tall and 2.8 inches wide. These are tight cases so the iPhone 5 dimensions should only be a few millimeters smaller than those numbers. For comparison, the iPhone 4 is 4.5 inches tall and 2.31 inches wide. This likely will leave room for the rumored bigger screen, as reported by the WSJ, Bloomberg, and This is my next.

Although we are not able to absolutely confirm that these cases will fit the fifth-generation iPhone, the sources of these cases stress that the information used for design and manufacturing came from their own proven industry sources…Sources like the ones that provided amazingly accurate iPad 2 information and dimensions to case manufactures months before the product’s March debut. These cases are also just appearing weeks ahead of the iPhone 5’s debut. With the iPhone 5 most certainly in production, it is prime time for insider leaks to occur in Asia.


iPhone 4 case, left.  iPhone 5 case, right

Full gallery of iPhone 5 cases below: Read more

Next low cost iPhone?

MacRumors is reporting a plastic white iPhone found on Tinhte.vn may be the next value iPhone.

We only have 3 issues with these pictures:

1. It is running Cydia which is unlikely to be an easy install on a new prototype iPhone with a new cellular chip, internal hardware and firmware.  It is doubtful Apple is testing Cydia and it isn’t a cakewalk to jailbreak an entirely new device.
2. Probably most damning, it has the tell-tale old white speaker grill at the top which was phased out as the white iPhone was improved over the past year and a half. It looks like the poster may have tried to blur it as well. It is doubtful that Apple would go back to this flawed design.
3. Plastic?

Some other information that you want to transfer to you is that this machine seems to run faster than the iPhone 4, lighter weight and two glass front and back seem to have been replaced by two plastic sheets, type of sensation and cry other than the iPhone 4.

It is unlikely that Apple would ever replace the glass front with plastic.  Even the $229 iPod touch is glass.  Can you imagine Apple doing plastic face?  Not possible.

More likely there is a matte overlay on the front of it.

Otherwise, this phone has a plastic back which would decrease the weight and cost and increase the durability.  Which actually makes some sense – though the $229 iPod touch gets by with stainless steel.  We were throwing this device around yesterday and concluded it was probably an iPhone 4 prototype that was brought back up to the surface – there is no shortage of those in Asia.  Two more shots below.

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Monster Apple Store in the heart of Hong Kong’s IFC center to open this fall? (update: new California store, too!)


The gigantic glass display spans three 6 lanes of traffic.

Apple’s Hong Kong Flagship store just got the curtain treatment according to a 9to5mac reader Nastypenman.  The IFC center is the gateway to Hong Kong from the Airport rail link (ferry terminal, subways, etc) and is in the heart of Central, Hong Kong’s premiere shopping and business district.  The IFC had evict or relocate about 20 stores on two-three levels, circled below in this Macrumors report from March.  It could be Apple’s most expensive store to date (rent-wise) as Hong Kong’s prices are some of the highest in the world and this is about the most sought-after spot in Hong Kong.

Apple is also rumored to be building another local store, possibly in Pacific Place a short walk away.

A very Apple-like internal picture below: Read more