Report: Apple to launch 11- and 13-inch Retina MacBook Air in Q3

MacBook AirAccording to a translated report from Taiwanese publication Economic Daily (via Macotakara), Apple is apparently in the process of preparing suppliers for the launch of a Retina MacBook Air in Q3 2013. The report appears to claim that both 11- and 13-inch variants of the MacBook Air will launch with Retina displays in addition to an upgrade from Intel’s new Haswell platform. Apple supplier Quanta is expected to begin receiving shipments of the new components in the second quarter, according to Economic Daily.

Today’s report of course goes against recent claims from analysts predicting the next-gen MacBook Air would land in Q2 or Q3 without a Retina display. We heard last year that Apple was working on MacBook Airs with Retina displays, but sources indicated the power drawn from the Retina Displays combined with the thin and light form factor of the MacBook Air may pose challenges for Apple and its product manufacturers. Read more

Apple ready to release additional iPad model; likely 128GB version (Updated: Pricing)

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 6.31.06 PM

We’ve gotten word from sources that Apple is preparing to release (in some fashion) a single, additional iPad model. This would be a new SKU for the current fourth-generation iPad with Retina display line. At this point, we do not have pricing information, so it is definitely difficult to pinpoint exactly what this new iPad model is.

Here is what we do know:

  • It is a fourth-generation iPad, not a new design.
  • It comes in both the current black and white color options.
  • It comes in both WiFi-only and WiFi + Cellular versions.
  • It is a more premium SKU that will join the current line of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB fourth-generation iPads.
  • 10-pack deals (in both colors) for educational institutions will be offered.

With developers finding code in the soon-to-be-released iOS 6.1 that points to 128GB iOS devices, and with recent findings of 128GB references in Apple’s recent iTunes 11 release, speculation naturally points to Apple releasing a 128GB iPad in the very near future. While it is certainly plausible that this new iPad model is the 128GB iPad, we are currently not confident enough to outright claim that, but it seems likely based on the evidence.

Update: We’ve received pricing information for this new iPad model. The pricing is in line with a higher storage capacity, coming in at around $799 for the WiFi-only model and $929 for the Cellular-compatible model in the United States. So, new capacity sounds even more likely.

Here are the new SKUs via a source at a high-profile U.S. retailer:

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Watch the iPhone’s accelerometer pick up keystrokes from an invisible keyboard (Video)

A student at Goldsmiths, University of London has apparently been able to create an invisible, virtual keyboard for iPhones by using the device’s built-in accelerometer to pick up vibrations caused by tapping or typing on a surrounding surface area. As you can see from the video demonstration above, the “Virbrative” software developed by Florian Kraeutli (on a jailbroken iPhone 4) allows him to measure the strength and frequency of vibrations and then map them to iOS’ onscreen keyboard. The Telegraph spoke with Kraeutli about the software developed for a project on user interfaces:

“The signals I’m collecting are very weak,” said Florian Kraeutli, a computing student at Goldsmiths, who created the system as part of his work on user interfaces.“At the moment it’s more of a proof of concept but if you made the accelerometer more sensitive you could improve the accuracy quite easily.”

In the video above, we see the developer use a keyboard drawn on a piece of paper to train the system before tapping directly on the table underneath. Kraeutli noted users would ideally “train each key, but you can do just a couple.” According The Telegraph, the system “determines the intended key correctly about 80 per cent of the time, so the data is also fed into an auto correct dictionary to ensure the words are spelled correctly.” Kraeutli suggested that access to more powerful accelerometers could allow him to increase the accuracy of the system: Read more

Apple already catches up with fourth-gen iPad demand, now ‘in stock’

Last time we checked in, the new fourth-generation iPad with Retina display was listed as shipping in “3-5 business days” from Apple’s U.S. website. That was down from the estimated one-week shipping time Apple had listed for the device in the weeks leading up to the device’ official Nov. 2 launch alongside the iPad mini. Since then, Apple announced it sold 3 million new iPads (iPad 4 and iPad mini) over the first three days that the devices were on sale. While CEO Tim Cook confirmed Apple is “practically sold out of iPad minis,” it appears it has now caught up with supply/demand for the iPad 4. At least Apple’ s U.S. and Canadian online stores now list all Wi-Fi models of the iPad 4 as “in stock”, meaning Apple has supply ready to ship immediately. LTE models are still expected to roll out over the next couple weeks.

This comes a week after Apple sold out of initial iPad 4 supplies on its website. Apple did, however, begin allowing personal in-store pick-ups for new iPads ordered after 10 p.m.

It’s unclear what percentage of the 3 million iPads Apple sold were made up of iPad mini and iPad 4 models, but it looks like Apple is having a much easier time with supplies of iPad 4. It remains to be seen whether Apple can catch up with iPad mini demand leading into the holidays. Apple’s website still currently lists the device as available in “2 weeks”, with online stores in different countries listing the LTE models as available in mid- to late November. There is no word when Apple Stores will get additional supplies, but many we checked with have remained sold out since launch day.

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Apple unveils 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starting at $1,699, ships today

We had many of the details for the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro ahead of today’s unveiling, but Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller just confirmed the device’s specs and pricing. As we told you earlier, the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro comes in two base configurations (with a third 2.9GHz dual-core i7 upgrade option available) and gets many of the enhancements that the 15-inch version received. Schiller noted that the device is 20 percent thinner than the previous generation 13-inch MacBook, and it includes a 2,560-by1,600 Retina display with 29 percent higher color contrast and 75 percent reduced reflection.

Apple also announced that the device would start at $1,699 for the base configuration, and it will start shipping today. Apple also showed a second configuration would be offered for $1,999. Both options below are configurable to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7.

  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache

Some of the device’s specs—that Apple is now listing on its website— are below: Read more

Apple shows off new iBooks, available today

Apple CEO Tim Cook is live on stage at the company’s special media event in California, and he just announced a new version of iBooks.

News and features:

  • 400 million iBooks downloads
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better integrated with iCloud— purchased books show up on shelf
  • Fantastic new ways to share — tap favorite quote and share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Supporting over 40 languages— new Korean, Chinese, Japanese
  • Available today, free download

Education news and iBooks Author:

  • iBooks textbooks reinvent the textbook full screen gorgeous layouts, interactive
  • Textbook available for 80 percent of high school
  • 2,500 US classrooms with iBooks textbooks
  • Publishers can now take own fonts and provide custom look
  • Multitouch widgets
  • 94 percent of fortune 500 is testing or deploying iPad—seeing similar in smaller business

Read more