Packing up for CES 2013: Here’s what we’re looking forward to

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This is what CES looked like the last time Apple attended. J/K. Via the Verge

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show is almost here, with official CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opening up next week on Jan. 8. To kick things off, hundreds of companies and the press will invade Las Vegas this weekend for three days of pre-show product demos, press conferences, and more from the majority of the tech industry’s biggest names. Samsung, Sony, NVIDIA, Intel, Toshiba, and LG are just a few of the companies with scheduled announcements, but there will surely be more than a few surprises with over 3,000 exhibitors setting up shop. Apple’s last official appearance at CES was in 1992 with John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton, but its presence at the show remains with hundreds of new Apple-related products unveiled every year.

9to5Mac is on its way to Vegas to bring you full coverage of the best products from the show. But, until then, here’s a wrap-up of what we already know will be there and what else you can expect to see at CES 2013:

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What needs to happen for Apple to turn its watch prototypes into a product

iWatch-concept-02Rumor has it Apple is working on a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smart watch and could even launch the device as early as the first half of this year. This is according to the latest rumor originating from supply chain sources in China. There isn’t much to back up the report’s claim that Intel is collaborating with Apple on the device (perhaps Intel has competitive mobile chips on the way? Or the whole thing might be B.S.), but there is a lot going for the prospect of an Apple smart watch in 2013.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the rumors. In December 2011, The New York Times published an article that noted a “very small group of Apple employees had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices.” One of those ideas was apparently a “curved-glass iPod” that users would wear on their wristand control with Siri.

Evidence from patents exists as well, such as this liquid metal patent, another for a cellular antenna, and many more that mention integrating features into an iPod nano-like wristwatch form factor. Apple also recently refreshed the iPod nano lineup back to the longer, rectangle shape of previous iPods, giving it a 2.5-inch display and moving away from the small, 1.5-inch square design introduced with the sixth gen. The ability to purchase watch straps for the square, sixth-gen nano was a major feature for many customers, so the move back to a rectangle, 2.5-inch nano could indicate Apple is making room for a full-fledged nano watch in the near future.

Apple is clearly experimenting with the form factor, the question is what will it have to do to make a captivating iWatch experience and create a new product market? And is that early 2013 launch realistic?… Read more

Intel leak details chips that will likely go into 2013 Macs

haswell-2013-roadmap

A report from VR-Zone (via Engadget) claimed to show Intel’s plans for its fourth-generation Haswell processors. These are expected to be released in the second quarter of next year and are the likely follow-up to Ivy Bridge for Apple’s next round of Mac refreshes (unless Apple switches to AMD, ARM, or something). Previous leaks showed Intel plans to release the Haswell processors between March and June 2013, and today’s leak, if accurate, gives us a look at all 14 new desktop CPUs expected in the Haswell launch.

The top of the lineup CPU in the Haswell lineup is a 3.5GHz Core i7, 3.9 with Turbo Boost, with a 8MB cache and a TDP of 84W. The low-voltage 35W end of the lineup goes down to a 2.9GHz Core i5. The roadmap also makes a reference to integrated graphics, listing Intel HD 4600 with built-in visuals for all CPU variations. Here is the full first wave of 14 standard and low-voltage CPUs, according to the leaked image:

Standard voltage 84W:Core i7-4770K, Core i7-4770, Core i5-4670K, Core i5-4670, Core i5-4570, and Core i5-4430.

Low-voltage: 35W Core i7-4765T, Core i5-4570T; 45W Core i7-4770T, Core i5-4670T; 65W Core i7-4770S, Core i5-4670S, Core i5-4570S, Core i5-4430S.

Wild Speculation: Why a $2B AMD purchase would be a puzzle piece fit for Apple

Things aren’t looking good for chipmaker AMD…Following another round of layoffs totaling about 15 percent of its employees last month, Reuters reported today that AMD is looking for an investor to sell its Texas campus in order to raise up to $200 million in cash in a multi-year lease back deal. AMD’s cash dropped from $279 million to $1.48 billion in the third quarter, and today the company sits at a market cap of $1.40 billion.

Despite not being the “main option,” with the restructuring and the company’s financial issues, Reuters’ sources claimed an outright sale of the company isn’t out of the question. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard chatter of an AMD takeover. However, with the company sitting at a market cap of $1.40 billion and rumors of Bob Mansfield’s new Technologies group possibly transitioning away from Intel processors, we can’t help but imagine a few things Apple would stand to gain from the purchase…

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Bob Mansfield’s new group implied to be heading transition away from Intel processors on Macs

Apple allegedly plans to one-day abandon Intel to implement a version of chips into Macs that currently power its mobile devices.

Bloomberg first reported the story, citing “people familiar with the company’s research,” and said Apple believes mobile device chips will eventually run its computer lineup. Apple previously mentioned semiconductor development during its management shift announcement on Oct. 29.

Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Apple’s new “Technologies” group, is apparently leading the chip research, and Apple specifically said its semiconductor teams have “ambitious plans for the future.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company first began using Intel processors for Macs in 2005, but two of Bloomberg’s sources noted Apple would continue to rely on the tech for at least a few more years:

As handheld devices increasingly function like PCs, the engineers working on this project within Apple envision machines that use a common chip design. If Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture, according to one of the people.

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Former Apple designer reveals Apple passed on a curved-glass iPhone due to cost

We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
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