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