European carriers again offering pre-order Tickets for the next iPhone

Much like in the weeks leading up to the iPhone 4S launch in early October 2011, European carriers are preparing for the expected Sept. 12 introduction of the new iPhone with pre-order tickets now available through various carriers. As noted by reports from German website iPhone-ticker.de, Deutsche Telekom will offer pre-order tickets to interested customers through its distribution partners starting today. The tickets will offer a first-come, first-serve basis for the new iPhone with express delivery of the device to ticket holders on the first available day. Carriers are clearly preparing for the launch of Apple’s next-gen iPhone. Not that we need additional verification, as the most recent reports once again confirm a Sept. 12 unveiling and add the device could actually be available for pre-order on the same day. Last year, Vodafone and other carriers quickly followed Deutsche Telekom by offering iPhone pre-order tickets.

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Chinese rumor roundup: Retina iMac coming in October, 7.85-inch iPad to use Sharp IGZO panel

A few reports have floated around today that we are filing under rumor. The first comes from a Digitimes report that claimed Apple suppliers are prepping for mass production of a new Retina iMac scheduled for July with a possible October unveiling. We told you in May that Retina iMacs were likely on the way when higher-resolution iMac display panels were spotted in Apple’s supply chain before the unveiling of the new Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC in June. Apple quietly updated the Mac Pro lineup after the event, and then it confirmed a redesigned Mac Pro was in the works for 2013, but we have heard nothing official from Apple on future iMacs.

We heard a lot about a possible 7-inch or 7.85-inch iPad, and today there are more roughly translated reports, coming from Chinese publication MyDrivers.com (via UnwiredView), that claim Apple has a 7.85-inch iPad using a Sharp IGZO panel. There have been several reports in recent months claiming Apple is working on the device, and the The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing displays roughly 8-inches in size. Apple looks to be at least testing these screen sizes, but we have no solid proof that anything is planned as of yet. Previous reports indicated a possible October launch for a 7-inch iPad under $250. Read more

Rumor: 7-inch iPad coming in October for under $250?

Following yesterday’s report from DigiTimes claiming Apple had a new 7-inch iPad in the works for August, iMore’s Rene Ritchie today claimed Apple is actually targeting an October release, alongside the next iPhone. He also claimed his unnamed source said the device will launch for $200 to $300 and pack-in a Retina display and specs almost identical to the current iPads:

Apple will be going forward with the 7-inch iPad, currently targeting an October 2012 release alongside the new iPhone, and — here’s the killer — at a $200 to $250 price point… Our source has indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. That seems to include a 2048×1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, the same as the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display.

Ritchie noted his source is not sure of the exact dimensions, but past rumors indicated a 7.85-inch size could work. According to the report, one way Apple will meet the low price point is to offer the new 7-inch iPad with just 8GB of storage. We are taking this report for what it is until we have some solid proof, but we know iMore’s Ritchie has been accurate with several Apple product launches in the past, including the third-gen iPad and iPhone 4S.

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Apple chip supplier TriQuint having ‘challenging quarter’ due to its biggest customer

According to a report from The Oregonian, power amplifier specialists TriQuint Semiconductor is facing a “challenging” quarter due to a temporary drop in revenues from its biggest customer, Apple. The report noted the company’s CEO Ralph Quinsey did not mention Apple by name, but that Foxconn was responsible for 35 percent of TriQuint’s revenue during 2011:

TriQuint said sales in the current quarter will fall at least 19 percent to the lowest point in at least two years… While Quinsey wasn’t specific about where the problem lies, Apple has incorporated TriQuint chips in the last several generations of the iPhone. Apple is approaching its annual iPhone upgrade — the last upgrade took place in October — and sales tend to fall off before new products launch.

We know from teardowns that Apple included TriQuint chips in many generations of the iPhone and iPad, including the most recent iPhone 4S and third-generation iPad. When iPhone component supplier Qualcomm announced last week it was having “trouble meeting demand” for LTE chips likely to end up in a next-gen iPhone, many analysts speculated that was a clear indication of an October iPhone launch.

Quinsey said in a statement to the publication that he expects to return to normal revenue and growth numbers in the second half of this year:

“I believe this dip will be temporary and remain confident about our long term position,” Quinsey said in a written statement. “We have achieved design win success with our new products and I believe we will return to normal revenue levels and growth in the second half of 2012.”

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Apple posts iOS 5.1 Beta 3: Enable 3G toggle is back

Apple just released a third beta version of the upcoming iOS 5.1 firmware (Build 9B5141a). The software is available as an over-the-air update for existing iOS 5.1 beta users, but is not yet available (update: now available) as a standalone download through Apple’s developer portal.

As you might imagine, it contains the obligatory bug fixes and improvements. According to the tips we’ve received, it also restores the Enable 3G toggle in the Settings app which has been strangely absent on the iPhone 4S since it’s mid-October release. This should help save battery by switching to Edge connectivity in order to maintain cellular data for applications that do not require high data throughput. iPhone 4S users are currently forced to choose between having 3G cellular data turned on, which decreases battery life, or turning off their cellular data connection altogether.

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1, Match is available now

Following the recent release of the iTunes 10.5.1 beta 3 to developers, Apple today started pushing out iTunes 10.5.1 to the public. You should see the update appearing in Software Update any second, otherwise it’s already available for download from Apple’s site here.

Apple also confirmed the availability of iTunes Match in the U.S., with the following announcement on their iTunes page. iTunes Match syncs users’ music to iCloud for $24.99 a year. Unlimited songs can be synced and doesn’t affect iCloud storage, but only songs that are available on iTunes can be synced.

Even though it is available to the public, Apple is still labeling iTunes Match as a beta product. Developers who tested Match will still receive a free three months with a year subscription.

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As planned, AT&T increases iPhone Mobile Insurance tiers on October 4th

Remember when we brought you news way back in June that AT&T would be increasing its premiums on iPhone insurance on October 4th?  This was the very first indication that Apple’s iPhone launch event would be on October 4th.

Deductible: A tiered deductible per the terms of your Mobile Insurance Coverage Certificate, will apply as follows:

  • Device Tier 1: Devices will be charged a $50 non-refundable deductible.
  • Device Tier 2: Devices will be charged a $125 non-refundable deductible.
  • Device Tier 3: Devices will be charged a $199* non-refundable deductible. Deductible Tier 3 will become effective October 4, 2011. On this date, certain devices including the iPhone will be moved to this tier.

Now that is out in the open.  Prices for iPhones will increase from $4.99 to $6.99.  Such an arbitrary date may signal that the new iPhones may be ready sooner rather than later after the announcement.  Perhaps as early as October 7th.  See new screenie below Read more

How long from iPhone announcement to launch?

Fortune does a nice look back on how long Apple has waited from announcement (which seems to be October 4th at this point) and actual launch of the iPhones and iPads. Initial launch windows are huge because there weren’t really competitors in the space quite yet.

Importantly, the general trend is towards a smaller window.

Ten days out, October 14th, seems like a reasonable projection, doesn’t it?

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Radically improve iPad 2 video capture with the Makayama Movie Mount

The Makayama Movie Mount is essentially a case for your iPad 2 that allows you to “radically improve video capture” by attaching a number of professional photography related peripherals. Some of the possibilities include third-party wide angle and tele-lenses, microphones and lights, and a standard tripod (not included) for “stable shots, pan & tilt camera movements”.

Simply clip the iPad 2 into the case and attach your third-party accessories to one of the two standard hot shoes or screw fittings. Wide angle lens conversion up to 0.5x and zoom-angle up to 2x comes courtesy of a 37mm screw fitting that allows you to attach conversion lenses and even switch between the attached lens and the iPad’s lens on the fly.


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Amazon prepping Android-powered tablets for “hundreds less” than Apple’s iPad

According to the New York Post (via BGR), Amazon is getting ready to launch their rumored Android-powered tablets with a price tag “hundreds less” than Apple’s current $499 base model iPad 2. “Hundreds less” sounds a lot like $299.

The devices, expected to launch sometime in October, will more than likely be the result of the entry-level tablet codenamed “Coyote” and it’s pro-model counterpart the NVIDIA T30 Kal-El powered “Hollywood”. We told you about these devices back in May, which will most likely be powered by a highly customized Amazon version of Android (bringing with it Amazon services like the Appstore, Kindle eBook store, Amazon Videos, music and possibly brought together by the Cloud Drive).

Amazon is clearly prepping a huge move into the tablet market. We reported this week that the company signed up a third touch panel supplier, and that was after recently becoming the second largest buyer of tablet-related parts – without yet having released a tablet.
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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