Apple unveils new Apple TV: Streamlined UI, 1080p video output, full HD iCloud movies, same $99 price

Apple just announced at a media event occurring in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that an updated Apple TV set-top box is capable of 1080p video output. Of course, 9to5Mac was the first to call that one. What is better: iCloud now streams movies in 1080p—an upgrade from the previous and often criticized 720p video resolution. Even more importantly, you can now access purchased movies in iCloud any time you want, just like with music and television shows.

Also updated is the Apple TV’s user interface. It is now more streamlined and taking advantage of the full 1080p video resolution. The new interface takes clues from iOS with its shiny new icons and the beautiful Cover Flow view. The new Apple TV has the same low price of just $99 and is available for pre-order today with shipments beginning March 16. In addition to the new Apple TV, Apple has tweaked its pricing matrix for movies and television shows on iTunes to reflect 1080p content. More on that below.

Read more

Tim Cook: Post-PC devices made up 76 percent of revenues

Apple is having a media event underway at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco to unveil its third-generation iPad tablet. The company’s CEO Tim Cook just took the stage to share news about the new iPad. The executive noted that Apple has three post-PC products: The iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.

“Now any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices,” he said. “At Apple we’re fortunate to have all three.”

In total, 172 million post-PC devices were sold last year, accounting for 76 percent of Apple’s revenue. He remarked:

We have our feet firmly planted in the post PC future.

Apple now has 362 retail stores that greeted 110 million visitors just during the holiday quarter of last year alone. The company sold a whopping 62 million iOS devices last quarter and 315 million in total—the same numbers Apple shared while announcing the winner of the 25 billionth App Store download.

Read more

Apple reportedly planning late-January event in New York, media to be the focus

AllThingsD reported that Apple is planning an event for late January to be held in New York, not in Cupertino or San Francisco, Calif. The event will not be huge nor will it cover any iPad or Apple TV related announcements.

But, for sure, several sources underscored that the event is not related to an upcoming version of the iPad 3, the next iteration of the popular tablet device that many expect to be available in 2012. Also unlikely,?the rollout of Apple’s large-scale rethinking of its interactive television initiative currently in the works. While the company is expected to launch a new Apple TV product later in 2012, such an event would also certainly be held in the heart of the industry in Hollywood or at least in Silicon Valley. That leaves some kind of advertising or even publishing announcement…

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Services and Software Eddy Cue is said to be involved in the event, and the event is reportedly “media-related.” On a side note, Apple has an office for their iAd business in New York, the business that Cue is now in heading.

Update: Jim Dalrymple from the Loop seems to agree with a “yep.”

Read more

AT&T still commands a (shrinking) majority of U.S. iPhone base, says Localytics

.

According to Localytics, AT&T continues to be the dominant iPhone carrier in the US, even with the Verizon entering the market strongly last year, grabbing 40% of the users in half the time.

As the 4S was launched on Sprint as well with truly unlimited data plans, one would have thought more of AT&T’s marketshare would have been diminished.  However, it appears that sprint is taking more away from Verizon.

Sprint’s share of the 4S market now stands at 12% according to the figures.  AT&T, though coverage is spotty in urban areas like New York and San Francisco, does have a significant speed advantage over Sprint and Verizon’s 3G as well as the ability to talk and use data at the same time.

Looking at iPhone 4 distribution as a comparison, Sprint seems to have eroded more of Verizon’s market share than AT&T’s – of the previous-generation handset, 60% are on AT&T versus 40% on Verizon.

A likely driver for these differences is the fact that AT&T can mine its existing base of iPhone users. Because all Verizon iPhone users are in the first year of their wireless contract, the cost of upgrading will be high. However, many longer-term AT&T users, especially those holding iPhone 3GS and earlier devices, are off-contract or nearing the end of their contract. AT&T has been aggressively leveraging the iPhone 4S to sign these customers to new two-year contracts, and the data in this study suggests that tactic may be working.

That data strongly lines up with our poll which we’ve been tracking since before the iPhone 4S launch…

Read more

Apple Ship to Store goes live in San Francisco

Yesterday it was revealed that Apple would begin to offer a ship to store option on its online store and it appears that it has just gone online. We heard it would be hitting San Francisco first:

…now we’re hearing it’s going live tonight/tomorrow (depending on your time zone) in the San Francisco area. The pilot program will reach other parts of the Bay Area within the next couple of days or so, and will gradually make its way throughout the United States over the upcoming weeks and months.

As you can see from the screenshot above, it is now live. Apple Store online shoppers now have the option of sending their item(s) to a physical Store in San Francisco. Others soon will follow leading up to the holidays.

Can you imagine how great this will be for the new Apple Store inside Grand Central Terminal?

Read more

Apple begins new program lending iPads to retail employees

It pays to work at Apple! As CNET mentions, Apple has begun testing a new program that lends iPads to Apple Store employees. The new program works like a library book: retail employees can take an iPad home for one week, but then have to return it for other co-workers to use. For now, this program is only taking place at the San Francisco Apple Store. But just wait, there is more coming with Apple Store employees and iPads.

Read more

SFPD launches investigation into how officers assisted Apple in search of missing iPhone

In search of the missing iPhone, a man claimed Apple came to his home impersonating police to conduct a search. It was later reported by SFWeekly that Apple didn’t impersonate officers, and was rather accompanied by four member of the San Francisco Police Department, as two Apple security guards entered the home. Interestingly, there was no police report filed as such. Today however, Cnet is reporting that the SFPD has begun an investigation to determine what role the officers actually played in the search.

Lt. Troy Dangerfield, of the San Francisco Police Department told CNET today that an internal investigation has begun into learning how officers assisted two Apple security employees search a home for the handset in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood in July.

There’s definitely some sketchy areas around this case that we’d like to be uncovered, and we’ll let you know when we hear more. Check out SFPD’s statement from this weekend after the break:

Read more

Man claims police impersonators searched home for lost prototype iPhone (Updated)

Update: SFWeekly is now reporting that SFPD did in fact assist Apple in the search of the Bernal Heights man’s home.

A Bernal Heights man claims six men claiming to be San Francisco Police searched his home in July alleging they had traced a prototype next-gen iPhone to the location, this according to a report from SFWeekly. This comes after a report from CNET yesterday detailing the story but claiming police and Apple employees were actually involved. San Francisco police later denied the incident.

SFWeekly reports:

“Calderón said that at about 6 p.m. six people — four men and two women — wearing badges of some kind showed up at his door. “They said, ‘Hey, Sergio, we’re from the San Francisco Police Department.'” He said they asked him whether he had been at Cava 22 over the weekend (he had) and told him that they had traced a lost iPhone to his home using GPS”

After an extended search of the man’s property turned up nothing, the intruders allegedly offered $300 for the device’s safe return and also left a phone number. SFWeekly says they’ve called that number and claim it was answered by Apple Senior Investigator and former San Jose Police sergeant Anthony Colon who declined to comment. 9to5Mac discovered that Colon has just deleted his LinkedIn profile, which confirmed his status as an Apple employee (saved image of that profile embedded below the fold).

While there is no proof that the men involved were associated with Apple in any way, Caldeorn reports, “They made it seem like they were on the phone with the owner of the phone, and they said, ‘The person’s not pressing charges, they just want it back, and they’ll give you $300″. There have been allegations that the original story posted by CNET was a publicity stunt, possibly orchestrated by Apple. However, we cant’t help but feel like Caldeorn’s description of the men doesn’t sound very Apple-employee like.

Read more

CNET: iPhone prototype lost in Mexican bar, Apple employees offer cash to finder?


Back in July, someone sent in this photo described as portraying a prototype phone, presumably iPhone 5, in the hands of an Apple employee on his way from work in San Francisco.

We find it hard to believe Apple would be foolish enough to lose another iPhone prototype – and at a bar, too – but this comes from CNET and they’re vouching for it. An iPhone prototype – probably for an upcoming model,  allegedly went missing last month in Cava22, a Mexican restaurant and bar in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The device may have been already sold on Craiglist for $200, the publication has it. CNET has learned that the errant phone “sparked a scramble by Apple security to recover the device over the next few days”. Apple representative allegedly contacted the police, the story goes, to tell the device was “priceless” and that Apple “was desperate” to see it recovered. No details were provided about the phone’s looks or what iOS version it was running. Here’s the thriller part:

Apple electronically traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to the source. When San Francisco police and Apple’s investigators visited the house, they spoke with a man in his twenties who acknowledged being at Cava 22 on the night the device went missing. But he denied knowing anything about the phone. The man gave police permission to search the house, and they found nothing, the source said.

And this is where the story gets interesting:

Before leaving the house, the Apple employees offered the man money for the phone no questions asked, the source said, adding that the man continued to deny he had knowledge of the phone.

Could it be just us or does that last bit make the entire story less believable. Apple last year pushed the police and FBI into raiding a journalist’s house and now they bribe someone to get their stolen property? Read more

No iPhone event until Oc … to … ber says a combative Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher, exactly one year to the day ago:

According to several sources, and as has been widely expected, Apple will once again be holding its annual autumn special event, closer to mid-September this time. Apple (AAPL), which has had a fall hello-there confab every year since 2005, waited until August 31 last year to announce its “Let’s Rock” event on September 9 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.

The event turned out to be on September 1st. – 9 days earlier, rather than later, than the previous year’s September 9th launch.

Miss.

Bloomberg, a fairly reliable publication, also missed that one, but only by a week.

With that in mind, AllThingsD‘s Kara Swisher lashed out at bloggers belligerently this evening (right) saying the iPhone 5 event would be held in “Oc … to … ber”, not September as had been forecasted and then shot down earlier today.

She didn’t take kindly to attempts at clarification. She cited a previous AllThingsD report which said the iPhone 5 would launch in October.

For the record, we do believe that the iPhone 5 will launch in October.

At this point, it is a good to keep in mind that Apple’s release schedules are fairly fluid and any forecasting is dangerous because of unforeseen setbacks that can delay launches.

Read more

Have we found the iPhone 5?


Click to enlarge

Last evening, a tipster sent us some pictures of what he now thinks is the iPhone 5.  He caught what he said was likely an Apple employee hunched over the device on the way home from work in San Francisco earlier this week.  He told us he was able to get a very good look at the device but the pictures he snapped “didn’t do it justice”.

We contacted the tipster by phone and checked his background.  We believe he saw a totally new Apple device, probably a prototype iPhone 5.  He contacted us because when he got home, he doubted what he saw was legitimate until he looked at the green cases we posted.  Then it all came together for him.  Our tipster has had an iPhone 3GS and currently has an iPhone 4.  He knows his iPhones and iPods and this was like nothing he’s ever seen.  He said it would fit perfectly into the case below.

“Almost EVO-like” in screen size, this iPhone also appears thinner than the current iPhone 4 but also wider.  The edges are rounded metal like the edges of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but could still function as an antenna.  The back is a curved/tapered glass or plastic.  He couldn’t tell but if he had to guess he’d say glass.  He said it looked too amazing to be built by anyone besides Apple (fanboy!).

Our tipster wasn’t able to see the front/home button and the man holding the device was covering the Apple logo for all but a brief moment when the above picture was snapped.  It seemed apparent that he was trying to hide what he had more than the average smartphone user.

We aren’t certain if this is legitimate or not but it is too thin and flat to be an iPhone 3GS and too rounded to be an iPhone 4.  The black back with Apple logo would seem to rule out an iPod touch.  Our tipster is all but certain it was a new Apple product and the iPhone 5 would be the most likely scenario.

Would Apple let employees out into the world with these over a month before launch?  Apple has acknowledged that they real world test this way in the past (ahem, Gray Powell).  They’ve also indicated that the cases the iPhone 4s came in may have been a factor in not diagnosing the finger spot/antennagate fiasco ahead of time.  So perhaps this is legit?

Another picture below: Read more