Apple’s Tim Cook takes TV project from hobby to ‘intense area of interest,’ says the industry is 20- to 30 years behind

Tim Cook NBC interviewApple CEO Tim Cook’s much hyped NBC interview is set to air tonight at 10 p.m. EST, but we are already learning much of what will be discussed during the conversation that took place in, among other places, Apple’s Grand Central retail store location in New York. Earlier today, a profile from Bloomberg revealed Cook’s plans to bring at least some production of the Mac back to the United States in 2013, but he also hinted that the company has big plans for a next-generation Apple TV product. According to a preview of the interview on NBC’s website, Cook referred to the project as an “intense area of interest”—opposed to the “hobby” that the company has considered the product since its inception:

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Another US government agency drops BlackBerry, plans switch to iPhone 5

Following the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announcing it would end its contract with RIM and purchase $2.1 million worth of iPhones, Bloomberg reported today that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will also make the switch. The agency said in a notice posted to its website that BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate” while announcing plans to purchase iPhone 5’s as replacements:

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane accidents, disclosed its plan to switch to Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 in a document posted last week to a federal website. The BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate,” according to the NTSB’s notice.

While the agency only has about 400 employees, last month’s announcement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs agency means RIM will lose additional 17,600 government employees to the iPhone in the near future. According to the document posted by the Transportation Safety Board, the agency “requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations.” RIM, however, is still counting on many government customers to upgrade to BlackBerry 10… Read more

iPad 3 with quad-core A6, LTE to be announced on March 7th?

iMore‘s Rene Ritchie reports that Apple currently plans to announce their next-generation iPad on Wednesday March 7th. We recently noted that March 7th was an open day for events at San Fransisco’s Yerba Buena Center (and the first Wednesday of the month). This is the hall in which Apple introduced both the first iPad and iPad 2.

iMore also adds its voice to the string of iPad 3 Retina Display confirmations, and also says the new iPad will have a quad-core A6 processor. This agrees with both our own code findings and Bloomberg’s report. iMore says Apple is working on LTE mobile devices, they mention the iPhone 5 specifically, but LTE is noted as a possibility for this new iPad.

Notably, iMore provided correct iPhone 4S launch and feature information.

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Debug tool shows quad-core A6 and LTE capabilities on iPad 3

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Following reports earlier this month from Bloomberg that iPad 3 production kicked off in anticipation of a March launch, BGR today claimed a source is in possession of an iPad 3 prototype that has provided more information on the device.

A source claiming to be in possession of an iPad 3 prototype provided BGR with images containing details about Apple’s highly anticipated third-generation tablet. From the data in the photos, which contain the output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot, we can infer plenty of information about the upcoming iPad 3.

BGR claimed the debug reports from the iPad 3 prototype in question have model numbers J1 and J2 (iPad3,1 and iPad3,2), with one being the only Wi-Fi model and the other an LTE/CDMA/GSM combo “for all carriers.” This echoes 9to5Mac‘s findings from last year.

The reports also provided confirmation of an A6 processor (model number S5L8945X) that most have expected Apple to include in the device.  We first broke news of a Quad-core chip in the iPad 3 via code snippets in iOS 5.1B software.

According to the BGR report, the processor will be a quad-core variant, “making the upcoming iPad 3 the fastest iOS device ever.”

We’ve seen previous mentions of the Samsung S5L8945X in iOS 5 dumps from the iPhone 4S:

So, while nothing in the report is new, the means by which these were found, reportedly from a prototype iPad 3, seem to confirm previous findings.
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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 executives knew Jobs’ condition at iPhone 4S Launch

According to Palo Alto police department spokeswoman Sandra Brown (via Bloomberg), Apple executives may have known Steve Jobs’ condition at the time of the iPhone 4S launch event. Apple informed police that Steve Jobs passing was close, days before Apple’s official statement confirming he had passed.

As a result of the meeting, police apparently put plans in place for officers to patrol Jobs’ home after the news of his passing had broke. Of course this was to keep crowds under control when Jobs’ supporters inevitably visited his home following the news. From the report:

The Apple representatives told the police department there was “a possibility that it could happen this week,” Brown said in a phone interview. “It’s common sense for us to work together. If you think about who he was and his contribution to the world, people might come out in masses.”

Apple was apparently supposed to inform police of his death before issuing a public statement, but according to Brown, police found out through Apple’s press release on October 5th.

According to the WSJ, Jobs’ funeral is today.

Many have speculated that the empty chair marked “Reserved” next to Apple execs at the recent iPhone 4S unveiling may have been a silent tribute to Jobs. Long time Jobs confidant Jony Ive (they were so close many called the two ‘Jive’) was notably absent from the event.

Cook, Cue, Schiller and Forstall, though subdued, were nevertheless somehow able to put on a great show in the face of knowing their mentor and boss for over a decade was in bad condition.