According to MacRumors, Apple is currently working on the ability to merge multiple Apple IDs into a single ID. Currently those who have (for whatever reason) multiple Apple IDs are unable to merge them, even when contacting Apple support directly.
In an article posted yesterday however, it is revealed that a MacRumors reader had emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook and promptly received a phone call from an Apple executive relations employee regarding the issue. According to their account, the employee contacted the team responsible who said that they were aware of the issue and were concerned with iCloud exacerbating the problem. It was noted by the executive relations employee that they are working on it and in the meantime to pick a single account to use for all future purchases.
In an update to their article, MacRumors notes that a second reader has come forward, noting that they received a similar response over the issue. This prompt reaction by Tim Cook in responding to email from a customer is not his first and is consistent with his dedication to work.
As the official announcement of the iPhone 5 inevitably creeps closer there has also been a flurry of activity in the past 24 hours with more rumors, supposed leaks and speculation from a wide variety of sources. Most recently, Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote that a “fairly different” iPhone 5 with 8 MP camera is just weeks away.
Bilton’s suggestions are by-and-large consistent with most frequent of past rumors regarding the iPhone 5. Noting this, 9to5 Mac last night reported that they have heard that there will be two different iPhone models coming next month – a low-end, iPhone 4 look-alike and the new iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 itself is a sight to behold, we’ve been told. It is impossibly light, yet much firmer than Samsung Galaxy phones which are backed in plastic. The camera rivals point and shoot cameras and will be a major marketing point for this device.
There isn’t anything inherently unique in their report either, claiming that Apple’s lower-end iPhone will be similar to the current iPhone 4 whilst the iPhone 5 will be tear-drop shaped, which has been claimed before. However they do say that this lower-end iPhone (the iPhone 4S if you will), is already being produced in high quantities, with 10 million expected on launch day. The iPhone 5 though, is apparently seeing “continued design and production delays, at least on one assembly line” with 9to5 Mac speculating there could be slight delays and shortages until 2012.
[Via 9to5 Mac]
According to VR-Zone Apple has been investigating third party USB 3.0 host controller chips and may be considering to add support for the latest USB standard in upcoming Macs. Many had presumed that with Thunderbolt Apple may not opt to support USB 3.0, but given that USB 3.0 chips have negligible cost (below $3) it may be seen that Apple embraces the standard as a complement to their Thunderbolt ports.
Intel has yet to add support for USB 3.0 on their chipsets and support is not expected until next Spring, which may explain why Apple is reportedly talking to other manufacturers. Compared to USB 3.0, Thunderbolt controllers are much more expensive at $10 to $15 per chip with corresponding chips on the device also required. This cost associated with Thunderbolt is an inherent limitation in the technology that could be compensated by supporting USB 3.0. As Electronista explains “USB 3.0 would, as a result, still be useful as a catch-all for faster devices that don’t need Thunderbolt in addition to the USB 2.0 devices it would inherently recognize.”
Apple may be aware of Thunderbolt’s current obstacles, the sources added. Apple is supposedly talking directly with some of its hardware partners, most likely early Thunderbolt supporters, to have them develop external drives more suited to the home or to small companies. [Electronista]
[VR-Zone via Electronista]
Apple may be preparing to launch a revised iPhone 4 that would feature a smaller 8 GB flash drive within weeks according to a report by Reuters today. It suggests that Apple may be preparing to launch an iPhone that would be priced at a lower level to help target emerging and the pre-paid mobile markets – something which Apple has expressed interest in utilising.
Most recently Apple’s COO, Tim Cook, said that Apple wanted to do “clever things” to attack the prepaid market so that the iPhone could be “for everyone”, not “just for the rich”. The obvious question is whether this iPhone 4 is more than just the old iPhone model at a lower price point with reduced storage – as was the case with the iPhone 3GS. It could just be that Apple decides to aggresively lower the price of this iPhone model – going further than what they have done with the iPhone 3GS and 3G when they were deprecated. Alternatively it could mean a new iPhone “4S” that is cheaper but also features some minor feature additions.
Reuters doesn’t specifically put a date on when this model could be released but past trends and common sense would suggest it launches alongside the new iPhone 5. They concur with previous iPhone 5 rumors and suggest it will feature a larger screen and better camera – they also note that Hon Hai and Pegatron have been told to prepare production capacity for 45 million units.
A report in DigiTimes today claims to reveal new estimates of iPhone production for the rest of 2011. In their report, DigiTimes says that Apple has increased the number of orders for iPhones from 50 million units to 56 million units – roughly a 12% increase. Furthermore, they note that iPhone 5 production would represent roughly 26 million units for the rest of this year.
Looking more closely at iPhone 5 orders, DigiTimes says that Apple has revised down their third quarter (July, August and September) orders from 7 million units o 5.5-6 million units. The fourth quarter (October, November and December), however, has seen an increase in orders from 14 million to 20 million units. Production of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 would also alter between the third and fourth quarters, reducing from 20 million units to just 8 million units in the fourth quarter.
Continued production of the iPhone 4 in the fourth quarter would suggest that Apple is interested in following its recent trend of making the ‘old’ iPhone a cheaper option for those looking to purchase an iPhone. If these suggested forecast figures become reality, it would mean that Apple produces, and likely sells, 95 million iPhones (any generation) over the course of the 2011 calendar year.
[Via DigiTimes, Image via MacRumors]
Last month a flurry of reports suggested that Apple might release a new model of the iPad that would be targeted at ‘Pro’ users and featuring a Retina display – many dubbed it the iPad HD. That suggestion (or at least the schedule) seems less reliable today with Taiwan Economic News citing sources within the chipmaking industry that claim the A6 processor won’t be available until at least the second quarter of next year with trials of the A6 only just beginning in earnest now.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor foundry by market shares now, has allegedly started trial production of the A6 processor in cooperation with Apple Inc., with the production design to be taped out in the first quarter of next year and scheduled to be publicly unveiled in the second quarter at the earliest, according to industry sources
As previous reports have noted, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) is producing the A6 chip, which would be the central component of the iPad ‘Pro’. The chip is said to be extremely-low powered whilst far exceeding the processing capabilities of the A4 and A5 chips because of a new 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies. Darrell Etherington of GigaOm explains that this differs from the previous layered designs because “the 3D stacking tech will allow layers to be integrated vertically and horizontally into one single circuit”.
For months there has been discussion of a Fall media event for Apple to reveal the iPhone 5 and according to a report by Kodawarisan Apple has scheduled the event for Wednesday, September 7th. The date falls in line with previous years in which the traditional iPod event was held on September 1st in 2010 and September 9th in 2009 and 2008.
MacRumors clarified with Kodawarisan that the September 7th date was not a “product of guesswork, but came from a source in the know”. They also note that Kodawarisan has had a long history of rumors (nearly a decade) but had recently been pretty quiet – with the last “sucessful” rumor arising in 2009 in whcih they correctly predicted the Mac Mini launch date.
If this date does come true and the event includes the announcement of the iPhone 5, it would differ from reports earlier this month in which AllThingsD claimed an “October surprise” for the iPhone 5 launch.
Just about everyone is talking about the iPhone 5, and while I remain skeptical of most rumors, I have to give MacRumors some props for commissioning CiccareseDesign to create a mockup based on a leak of the phone’s design specifications. Before we dig into the MacRumors’ render, I’m going to put my thoughts on the table (might as well at this point — all the cool kids are doing it). We don’t talk about these iPhone 5 rumors too often.
When This Is My Next published a crude mockup of the iPhone 5, Joshua Topolsky introduced his take on a tapered design — that the next iPhone would have a shape similar to the MacBook Air with a fat top which tapers down to a smaller edge at the bottom of the phone. But I think the tapered design means this: that the next iPhone is going to follow the iPod touch 4th gen’s design in that the buttons are going to be hidden underneath the display along the curved edges. Apple re-used the iPod touch’s 4th generation design with the iPad 2, and I see them continuing this design ethos with iPhone. When you look at the front of the phone, I do think Apple only wants you to see the display. Apple wants the lines of the phone to be very clean. I also agree with the idea that Apple will move away from the glass backing since it’s fragile and easily cracks when dropped — Apple doesn’t want damaged phones in the press or in Flickr photos online.
MacRumors’ “take-it-to-the-max” mockup of the iPhone 5 is interesting simply because it matches my idea of what Apple will do with the next iPhone. It nicely takes most of the rumors we’ve heard about for the last months and wraps it one nice package that looks believeable: you’ve got your oval home button (which could very well be a gesture area for flicking between apps as suggested by Gruber on The Talk Show), your edge-to-edge display (although MacRumors shows a 4″ display — I think it’ll be smaller), and tapered edges which hide the volume buttons underneath the glass of the phone.
The final dimensions of the new design are calculated to be: 4.33″ x 2.36″ and .27″ thickness at the top and .21″ at the bottom In comparison, the iPhone 4 dimensions are: 4.5″ x 2.31″ x .37″. So the new design is actually shorter than the existing iPhone 4, but slightly wider and thinner.
I think MacRumors’ mockup captures the idea that the next iPhone will be thin, a little wider, and more comfortable in the hand. The phone can’t be too thin — battery technology is still going to be a concern with iOS 5 between the Notification Center and new uses for location based data. We’re at point now with these rumors where we’ve gotten the general idea of what the iPhone will look like, and a lot of sites have shifted focus to release dates instead of speculating on features. Federico and I have been very careful not to spew a lot of these rumors onto the site (they’re not interesting enough most of the time), but MacRumors took a lot of these bits and pieces and actually did something very cool with it.
My concern — as always with rumors — is that it sets us up for a lot of false hope. “Man this iPhone looks so good I hope it looks just like this!” Then when the iPhone comes out, people are disappointed when a site’s mockup doesn’t turn out to be the real thing that they wanted. My suggestion is to look at the MacRumors’ mockup as the summary (but not the conclusion) of where we are with rumors and speculation on the iPhone. They’re confident that their rendering is very close to the final product, but I think seeing the final product will ultimately be more impressive.
After meeting two Apple executives on Wednesday, RBC Capital Markets has revealed a set of “key takeaways” and have noted that Apple wouldn’t introduce a low-end iPhone unless the device is an “innovative, category-killer experience”. Analyst Mike Abramsky met with Apple COO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer and notes that the condition is Apple’s primary requirement for a low-end iPhone.
It certainly sounds like a fairly obvious statement when looking at Apple’s recent product releases but it is well worth noting after numerous reports of a ‘cheaper’ iPhone launching this year – most of which cite financial reasons and developing country markets for the introduction of such a device.
Some of the other takeaways from Abramsky’s meeting with the Apple executives includes the fact that iCloud will be ready for “significant scale” when launching this fall after Apple learnt lessons from MobileMe. He also says that despite Android’s success in recent years, Apple has maintained “sustained advantages” over their competitors and should be able to do fine despite an “expected explosion of low-priced Android smartphones”.
Concluding his notes from the meeting he agrees with Apple’s executives that the company has an “untapped global opportunity” and maintains a $500 price for Apple stock and ‘outperform’ rating for the company.