Digitimes: Apple to begin producing 7.85-inch iPads in Q2 2012

Digitimes has published an interesting report this evening, saying Apple will begin the production of a 7.85-inch iPad in Q2 2012. Apple will reportedly begin selling the smaller iPads prior to Q4 2012, but will also sell another iPad in Q1 2012 — presumably the iPad 3.

Apple is likely to launch a 7.85-inch iPad prior to the fourth quarter of 2012 in addition to a new iPad scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter, according to sources in the supply chain.

In order to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire — which has been selling very well — Digitimes says their sources say Apple has been persuaded to manufacture the 7.85-inch tablet to compete.

However, in order to cope with increasing market competition including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors, Apple has been persuaded into the development of 7.85-inch iPads, the sources indicated.

LG Display and AU Optronics will reportedly be the manufacturers for the 7.85-inch panels, and will hit the supply streams in Q2 2012.

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iPad 3 parts leak as rumored 2012 release comes closer

As the rumored early 2012 iPad 3 release draws closer, Cydia Blog discovered a part for the iPad 3 on TVC Mall’s website. What you see above is apparently a replacement part for the microphone on the iPad 3, and shows some pretty major changes compared to the iPad 2′s microphone — namely the shape. The apparent dock connector and ribbon cable for the iPad 3 also leaked this summer. Cydia Blog reports:

The new part, when compared with iPad 2, shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry, hinting a major re-design. The tail end of the part makes a “U-turn”, whereas the iPad 2′s Microphone Mic Flex Cable makes almost 90-degree turn both ways. Except for few details, the leaked part so far doesn’t offer a tantalizing tease.

The iPad 3 is rumored to launch early 2012 — maybe February — with a rumored higher res display and thicker form-factor. Other specs are rumored to be a dual-mode wireless chip for both CDMA and GSM, Apple’s A6 processor, and more RAM. Citi’s analyst Richard Gardner says he’s heard from sources that a February launch is coming, but some have pointed to mid-summer. The updated mic form-factor above could point to pretty major internal changes. It should be worth noting, however, that manufacturer replacement parts aren’t always in the final version. (via MacRumors)

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Top Google searches in 2011: iPad 3, iPhone 5, Steve Jobs and yes – Rebecca Black

As originally reported on our sister blog, the search Goliath has published its annual list of top search queries, a tradition that started eleven years ago. It comes as little surprise that ‘iPad 3′ and ‘iPhone 5′ were among the fastest-growing search terms of the past year. More specifically, ‘iPhone 5′ was the sixth fastest-growing search term on Google.com in 2011, while ‘iPad 3′ ranked tenth.

Feverish iPhone 5 speculation hit its highest point in search the week of September 25, just a week ahead of the October 4 iPhone 4S presser. Searches for ‘iPhone 5′ rose 1,658 percent between 2010 and 2011, easily outnumbering those for the iPhone 4S, as seen in the above chart from the Zeitgeist site. Searches for ‘Steve Jobs’ grew 982 percent in 2011, enough to score the ninth spot.

Called Zeitgeist, the project “sorts billions of Google searches to capture the year’s ten fastest-rising global queries and the rest of the spirit of 2011″, per the official Google blog post. In a testament to the popularity of the Kindle Fire, positioned as an inexpensive iPad alternative, Amazon’s tablet placed ahead of Apple’s new phone, the iPhone 4S, which ranked second in the fastest-rising consumer electronics category, followed by the HTC Sensation, the Samsung Nexus Prime, Sony NPG and the yet-to-be-released iPad 3 (#9).

Two unreleased products piquing such a commanding interest – the cell phone that never materialized and the forthcoming tablet – wow, talk about the power of the Apple hype machine. More below the fold.

Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs made the list (mark 1:50) was the ninth fastest-growing search term on Google.com in 2011.

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Japan rumor: LTE iPad 3 coming in summer 2012, LTE iPhone 5 in Fall (UPDATED with statement from NTT DoCoMo)

UPDATE [Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:50am ET]: Carrier NTT DoCoMo has issued an official statement addressing the Nikkei Business report, included at the end of the article.

According to the Japanese blog Macotakara, which relayed a Nikkei Business story, Apple is gearing up for a 2012 release of both 4G LTE iPhone and iPad on NTT DoCoMo, the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan. According to the machine-translated article:

NTT DOCOMO releases iPad for LTE in the summer of next year and releases iPhone for LTE by autumn.

The Fall 2011 timeframe for a 4G LTE iPhone 5 sounds right as it’s about a year since the October 14 debut of iPhone 4S. The carrier’s president Takashi Yamada and vice president Kiyoyuki Tsujimura allegedly met with Apple CEO Tim Cook mid-November to discuss the deal. They reportedly “agreed in principle” to sell both the next-generation iPhone and iPad. The executives apparently pinned down the rules of the game at the meeting, including order commitment.

Despite the rumor-mill insisting that Apple was readying a 4G LTE iPhone, the company’s management downplayed the fourth-generation Long Term Evolution radio technology because the current crop of 4G LTE chips are not fully optimized for low power consumption on mobile devices. Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said on an April 2011 earnings call:

The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.

The Wall Street Journal reported mid-November that negotiations with carriers in Asia came to a standstill because Apple was requiring iPhone sellers to commit to too large a volume. Additionally, NTT DoCoMo wanted to control what software goes on users’ iPhones, a concession Apple was unwilling to make.

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Analyst: iPad 3 Retina Display production “has started”

Mere hours after we verified the connection between DigiTimes display predictions and the J2 prototype found in iOS 5 code strings, DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim told CNET that production of a QXGA 10-inch 2048-by-1536 Retina Display for iPad 3 “has started”, as previously hinted:

It’s happening – QXGA, 2048×1536. Panel production has started [for the next-generation iPad]. There’s three suppliers. [...] It takes a couple of weeks for the production to go to the ODMs (the manufacturers). Then the manufacturer puts them in the housing. Then, that goes off to shipment. We could start seeing finished devices produced in December. And then being ready to be shipped in January. With volumes gearing up in February and March

J1 and J2 are code-names DigiTimes outed as next-generation iPad models allegedly in the works for 2012. Acknowledging possible issues with volume manufacturing of such a high-resolution display, the analyst stressed Apple should be able to meet targets because it is sourcing parts from three display manufacturers: Samsung Electronic, LG Display and Sharp.
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iPad 3 to be 3D? Probably not

Business Insider says they have a friend who knows some Apple employees who say that the iPad 3 will have a 3D display.

We’re definitely not convinced.

What we have heard however is that Apple is working on 3G gestures which they’ve patented and could be used in iOS devices – though those would be more for an Apple TV type device.

There was an app that used the iPad 2 camera to figure out where your head was and made 3D objects appear on the screen.

Perhaps the person making up the rumor got those confused.

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Slightly thicker iPad with higher-res display in March, aluminum iPhone with 4-inch display this summer?

iLounge reports that their most reliable source has spilled some details on what’s to come – in terms of redesigns – in 2012 from Apple. First on the roadmap is the iPad 3. The report says the tablet will be slightly thicker in order to make room for a “higher-res” display (Retina Display?) and for that rumored dual-light bar display system. Although it’s possible that this new iPad will be introduced in January, it’s reportedly on track for a March launch (which makes sense).

Looking into the summer, iLounge says Apple’s working on a new iPhone for the summer – a launch timeframe we’ve heard whispers about, too – with a four-inch display and an aluminum casing. The new iPhone is said to not be that fabled teardrop design we saw several times this year, but is something entirely new. It is a bit longer than the iPhone 4S, just like the prototype teardrop design was.

iLounge is also sticking to their original rumor that we’ll be seeing a thinner MacBook Pro sometime in 2012 which seems all but certain at this point.

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Qualcomm’s 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chips shipping to OEMs, likely to land in next-gen iPad

Qualcomm has just issued a press release announcing the commercial availability of their Gobi 4000 chips for 4G LTE and HSPA+ capable devices, a variant of which could very well ship in a next-generation LTE-capable iPad. In August we discovered Apple had possibly begun field testing a next-gen LTE iPads with LTE code floating around the iOS builds, and it’s likely Apple would go with Qualcomm’s chip, as almost every 3G iOS device since the Verizon iPhone has used their Gobi platform, the exception being the the AT&T iPad which uses an older Infineon chip.

“The Gobi 4000 platform allows customers to offer both LTE/HSPA+ and LTE/EV-DO designs to meet the growing demand for embedded 3G/4G connectivity in mobile devices worldwide… System designers now have the flexibility to choose an embedded Gobi 4000 platform for high-speed 4G LTE support, or an embedded Gobi 3000 platform for worldwide 3G connectivity.”

The new chips, now shipping to OEMs with modules available through Novatel Wireless and Sierra Wireless, are based on Qualcomm’s MDM9600 and MDM 9200 3G/4G wireless modems, and as the company notes, have been specially designed for deployment in devices utilizing Snapdragon dual-core and quad-core processors. In addition to HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, and LTE support, the Gobi 4000 platform is also backwards compatible with HSPA and EV-DO. On top of a possible variant of the chip coming to a future 4G LTE iPad, the Gobi 4000 platform will also be included in Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops, and Dell’s Latitude E6420 laptops, in addition to other Windows and Android powered mobile devices.

Qualcomm’s senior vice president of produdct management for CDMA Technologies, Cristiano Amon, had this to say about the announcement:
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Refurbished iPad 2′s now available in Apple’s Online Store

It looks like Apple has just started offering refurbished iPad 2s via the Apple online store, as noted by Dealnews and MacRumors. We aren’t going to jump to any upcoming iPad 3 conclusions just yet, but the discount is definitely a welcomed entry price point for new iPad owners in the midst of tablet makers looking to go after the low-end tablet market.

The only iPad 2s currently available include the 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi+3G models going for $679 and $779, and the 64GB Wi-Fi only model going for $649. It looks like both black and white models are currently available as well as all four carrier options for the 3G models. If you can get your hands on one before they’re gone, it’s listed as shipping in 1-3 business days.
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Macotakara: iPhone 4S and iPad 3 may land in September, public release in October

Digitimes previously reported that manufacturers have already begun preparing for production of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, which would be unveiled in September and reach customers as early as October. Now, adding more weight to these claims, Macotakara is reporting that an iPhone 4S variant along with a new iPad will arrive in the same timeframe.

According to the rough translation, it appears sources have provided information on a possible iPhone 4S based on the current CDMA iPhone 4. The report doesn’t rule out an iPhone 5 saying it “can not be confirmed”. It also briefly suggests a new iPad will be released in October as well. Could it be possible Apple is planning on releasing an iPhone 4S as the rumored entry-level model in addition to an iPhone 5?

Of course the mention of a new iPad is less than likely. Apple appears to be quite a long way from releasing a refreshed model, especially if you are counting on them including those new 28-nanometer, TSMC-built A6 chips that just started trials. Read more

Apple begins testing TSMC A6 processor with 28-nanometer process, coming Q2 next year

Taiwan Economic News is reporting that local Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (TSMC), the company slated to supply Apple with the A6 processor after a shift from Samsung, has begun trials of the new chip made with the company’s “newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies”. However, dont expect to see the A6 in a new iteration of the iPad anytime soon, as the report suggests the processor wont be officially unveiled until Q2 of next year, at the earliest.

Included in the report:

TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies. Industry insiders said that the manufacturing will help to pump considerable momentum into TSMC’s business growth starting next year, though the company has yet to comment on the deal for the moment.

This contradicts an earlier report thru Reuters which stated that test production had already begun in July.  Both reports agreed that the final A6 processors would be complete and ready for iPad 3 in early 2012.  EETimes had reported the move back in March which was said to involve Apple’s current A5 chip but that never materialized.

An Apple switch to TSMC would obviously be a huge blow to ‘frenemy’ Samsung who currently makes the iPad CPU, DRAM and supplies Flash storage as well.

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Report: iPhone 5 to launch second week of September, iPad 3 later this fall

According to a report (via MR) from The China Times, the iPhone 5 will launch the second week of September (6-15), and the iPad 3 launch will be delayed until Thanksgiving due to component issues. This iPhone 5 report lines up nicely with reports from Reuters regarding a September launch and an earlier report saying right after Labor day (Sept 5th).

If a September launch were to be the case, we assume the iPhone 5 would be announced at Apple’s annual music event in September. Obviously, iOS 5 would accompany it. The China Times’ report regarding a fall launch for the iPad 3 trails behind with what we’ve already heard.

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