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Apple’s iPhone 4G: What We Know about the “iPhone HD”


Wondering what’s in store for Apple’s next-generation iPhone, the 4G? We round up all the latest rumors and speculation on the alleged “iPhone HD.”

Steve Jobs just can’t seem to catch a day of rest. With the allegedly world-changing Apple iPad now less than a week out from launch, Apple astrologers with eyes gazing skyward have allegedly caught focus of Apple’s next world-changing product launch: The iPhone 4G. Though still hazy, details that make a startling amount of sense have started to pile up. Have these Internet street preachers really foretold the fourth coming of the Jesus Phone?

We’ll likely find out in sixth months. But in the meantime, here’s the word on the street.

All hail the “iPhone HD”

Engadget apparently has it on good authority that the device we have so longed referred to as the “iPhone 4G” will actually be the “iPhone HD.” As far as naming conventions go, this would actually make a lot of sense and eliminate confusion.

Why? Although “iPhone 4G” would suggest that it’s the fourth generation of the phone, some could also take it to mean it supports 4G wireless Internet, which may or may not be the case. Apple used “iPhone 3G” for its second-generation product, so clearly the convention has more to do with Internet access than generations.

Even if it does support 4G, dropping the sequential numbers in and starting fresh with “iPhone HD” could also help Apple shake the perception that each new iPhone is merely a refresh of the last. And if rumors hold true, it will be far from that.

Speedy A4 processor

The Wall Street Journal hinted at the new iPhone’s “faster processor” in the article that got the ball rolling, but Daring Fireballs’ John Gruber later dropped more details inhis own snide commentary. According to Gruber, the chip powering the iPhone HD will share its bloodline with the A4 system-on-a-chip that powers the iPad.

Considering Apple developed this chip itself (basing it heavily on ARM’s Cortex A9 design), we wouldn’t be surprised to see the fruits of its labor appear in more than one mobile device. The 1GHz processor and onboard graphics should offer a considerable boost in horsepower from the 600MHz Cortex A8 processor currently driving the iPhone 3G S.

960 x 640 Display

Handsets like the Motorola Droid and HTC HD2 have dwarfed the iPhone’s 320-by-480-pixel screen for months now, so Apple will clearly need to take a step forward with the next iteration. John Gruber claims it will take one big step on each axis, essentially quadrupling the number of pixels to 960-by-640.

More pixels always make an intuitive leap for a next-gen phone, but the specific 2x factor here could be strategic as well. By keeping the same proportions as past iPhones, Apple eases compatibility issues between generations: Just turn one pixel on any current iPhone app into four pixels and you have a version that should look identical, without any crazy scaling.

Multi-tasking

You read right, the next-generation iPhone should correct the number one criticism about the phone that even the iPad has not. It will run more than one app at the same time.

This one’s a simple matter of connecting the dots: Apple traditionally ties every iPhone OS update to the launch of a new device, so a fourth-generation iPhone is almost synonymous with iPhone OS 4.0.AppleInsider reports that “people with a proven track record in predicting Apple’s technological advances” have confirmed that iPhone OS 4.0 will support multi-tasking, and Mr. Gruber concurs.

Available on Verizon, Maybe

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a CDMA version of the iPhone that should go into production this September. Unfortunately, we still have no idea whether this and the “upgraded iPhone” are the same device. It could be that Apple will announce the slick new iPhone HD for AT&T this summer, then drop a CDMA iPhone 3G S on Verizon this fall. Because Verizon plans to roll out the first pieces of its 4G LTE network by the end of 2010 and AT&T has been lollygagging behind on 4G, the tables could also turn the other way. Apple could release a mild refresh of the iPhone for AT&T this summer, and offer Verizon a supped-up new 4G version later on.

Front-facing camera

Great, another camera. This little tidbit from John Gruber may sound fairly pedestrian, but it’s really implying a much bigger feature: video conferencing. A front-facing camera will allow you to view the screen at the same time you shoot yourself with it, not only opening boundless opportunities for MySpace photos, but for Skype-style video conferencing on the go.

If you want to take the next logical implied step in sleuthing, a front-facing camera is also a checkmark in support of 4G, since the intense bandwidth used by two-way video communication probably wouldn’t fly too well over typical 3G connections.

Announcement coming June 22, Launch this Summer

When will we actually hear the real deal on this thing? Tuesday, June 22, if any anonymous Engadget tipster can be believed.

Students of history won’t find much to balk about with the general timeframe here. Apple has announced a new iPhone every summer since the first generation back in 2007, and we have no reason to suspect it has gone and changed its act for 2010. However, both the iPhone 3G and 3G S were announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, which sources suggest Apple has booked for June 28 through July 2 this year.

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April 27, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , , | Leave a comment

This Is Apple’s Next iPhone


You are looking at Apple’s next iPhone. It was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS. We got it. We disassembled it. It’s the real thing, and here are all the details.

While Apple may tinker with the final packaging and design of the final phone, it’s clear that the features in this lost-and-found next-generation iPhone are drastically new and drastically different from what came before. Here’s the detailed list of our findings:

What’s new

• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display. It’s unclear if it’s the 960×640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the “Connect to iTunes” screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

What’s changed

• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through. Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could just be the orientation of components inside making for a different sound
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery

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April 22, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft’s Kin challenges iPhone, BlackBerry


Microsoft Corp. unveiled two cell phones on Monday that are meant for social networking-savvy teens and twenty-somethings, in an attempt to revitalize its mobile business and regain ground on iPhones and BlackBerrys.

Microsoft said its new touch-screen phones — a short, square-shaped handset called Kin One and a longer, more rectangular one called Kin Two — will be sold exclusively in the US by Verizon Wireless. They are being made by Sharp Corp., which has produced Sidekick cell phones, whose software comes from Microsoft-owned Danger Inc.

In the past, Microsoft has mostly sold its mobile software to other companies to put it on phones they make. This will be the case with its recently announced Windows Phone 7 Series software, which is expected to be on handsets by the holidays. The Kin phones mark a departure, as Microsoft has sway over the creation of their software and hardware.

Verizon said it will start selling the Kin phones online in early May and in stores shortly thereafter. In the fall, carrier Vodafone Group PLC — which owns Verizon Wireless in partnership with Verizon Communications Inc. — will start selling the Kin phones in Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK Microsoft has not yet announced prices.

Microsoft needs help in the cell phone market. Its software has been losing share while Apple Inc. and Google Inc., which makes the Android operating software, have gained. Microsoft software ran on 13.1 percent of smart phones sold in the US last year, according to research firm In-Stat. That put Microsoft in third after BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. and Apple

April 14, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , | Leave a comment

iPhone set to surpass BlackBerry in mobile market: Forbes


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A customer displays an Apple iPhone 3GS at an Apple store. File photo

Apple’s iPhone is set to overtake Research In Motion’s BlackBerry in the global smart phone market by next year, according to Forbes online.

Currently, BlackBerry enjoys about three percent of the world’s mobile phone market, while Apple’s has about two percent share of the market. But BlackBerry’s lead over iPhone is shrinking and Apple will overtake RIM by early next year, Forbes said Friday.

“We expect Apple’s market share to overtake that of RIM by 2011, and for Apple and RIM to have 11 % and 8% market share, respectively, by the end of Trefis forecast period,” the online issue said.

Trefis has been defined as a new financial platform to know how a company’s products impact its stock.

“We believe sales of the iPhone will eventually outpace BlackBerry sales,” Forbes said.

Giving its reasons, Forbes online said, “Apple’s ecosystem of consumer products (Macs, iPad, Apple TV) and services (iTunes, iPhones apps) make the iPhone a more attractive phone for many consumers compared to the BlackBerry.”

“End of AT&T exclusivity will give Apple’s iPhone wider distribution in the US (comparable to BlackBerry distribution). iPhone is making inroads with business customers that have traditionally preferred the BlackBerry.”

Both the wireless giants have made big gains since 2007, with iPhone increasing its market share from 0.3 percent to 2 percent, and BlackBerry going up from one percent to about three percent.

The Canadian icon BlackBerry captured the world’s corporate market because of secure messaging.

However, with Apple’s sleek iPhone gaining the consumer market, the numbers game is slowly slipping away from the BlackBerry.

Given Apple’s marketing muscle, online reach and multiple cutting-edge products with synergy, analysts say it is only a matter of time before the iPhone overtakes the BlackBerry in the global smart phone market.

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March 25, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , , | Leave a comment

Apple sues rival HTC as phone competition rises


Taiwan’s HTC mobile phones are seen on display near Apple Inc.’s iPhones in a popular                                                  computer market in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. Share Project Smile India BLOG

As Apple Inc.’s iPhone faces stiffer competition in the lucrative market for smart phones, the company is going after one of its main rivals with patent lawsuits claiming theft of touch screen technology and other features.

The complaints, which Apple filed Tuesday, cover a slew of models made by Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp., including the Nexus One, G1 and myTouch 3G – all using the free, rival Android mobile operating software from Google Inc. Non-Android phones include HTC’s Touch series.

But consumers shouldn’t worry about buying or using any of those phones. Patent cases can take months or years to resolve – sometimes longer than the life of these phones – and agreements over licensing and royalty payments often emerge.

Still, it shows Apple’s get-tough strategy as significant competitors emerge.

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. “We’ve decided to do something about it.”

Apple said HTC has infringed on 20 of its patents covering aspects of the iPhone’s user interface and hardware.

Several relate to technology behind touch screens, including one that lets a device’s screen detect more than one finger touch at a time, allowing someone to zoom in or out by spreading their fingers apart or pinching them together, for instance. Another patent refers to using sensors on a device to gather information about a user’s activity or surroundings and letting the device react by, for example, lighting up.

Google, whose software powers many of the HTC phones, was not listed as a defendant.

When the iPhone first came out in 2007, it changed the smart phone landscape by introducing a stylish, easy-to-use device. Apple later followed with an application store that extended the capabilities of the device far beyond just making phone calls, checking e-mails and surfing the Web.

Since the iPhone’s debut, Apple has had a lock on much of the smart phone market, alongside Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular BlackBerry devices.

However, over the last year or so, more competition has emerged from such phone makers as HTC and Motorola Inc., which are rolling out smart phones that use Google’s Android software. Not only do these phones appeal to consumers, but they also work on numerous wireless networks, unlike the iPhone, which is still limited in the U.S. to AT&T Inc.

In a court filing, Apple said HTC’s phones improperly used Apple’s patent—protected technologies without a proper license.

Apple is seeking unspecified damages and court orders to block U.S. sales of HTC’s Android phones and other products that Apple says violate its patents.

The complaints were filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the power to block imports of products and parts made with contested technology, and U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, which can award damages and order HTC to stop sales.

In an e-mail message, HTC spokeswoman Linda Mills said the company only learned of the lawsuits on Tuesday through media reports and hasn’t had time to review Apple’s claims.

“HTC values patent rights and their enforcement but is also committed to defending its own technology innovations,” Mills said.

Technology companies routinely file complaints against competitors over intellectual property. Apple itself faces litigation over the iPhone and other products from the Finnish cell phone maker Nokia Corp., which claims that Apple is using patented technology that helps cut manufacturing costs, shrink the size of consumer gadgets and preserve battery life. Apple responded to Nokia’s complaint by filing a countersuit.

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek noted that Apple has not sued that many companies in the past, so the HTC lawsuit must either be a strategic move or the result of what Apple considers a clear infringement on its patents.

If Apple prevails, HTC would face a big roadblock, In-Stat analyst Allen Nogee said.

Nogee said Apple likely waited for awhile to file the complaints because, with several devices now out, it could see a bigger financial gain in the end.

“If they pounce the first day a phone comes out that infringes on a patent then the biggest take they can have is the revenue from that one phone,” he said.

Shares of Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, slipped 14 cents to close Tuesday at $208.85.

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March 6, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windows Phone 7 Interface: Microsoft Has Out-Appled Apple


16th Feb 2010

I’m sorry, Cupertino, but Microsoft has nailed it. Windows Phone 7 feels like an iPhone from the future. The UI has the simplicity and elegance of Apple’s industrial design, while the iPhone’s UI still feels like a colorized Palm Pilot.

That doesn’t mean that the Windows Phone 7’s user experience would be better than Apple’s. The two user interface concepts—data-centric vs function-centric—are very different, and the former is quite a radical departure from what people are used to.

And if you’re not familiar with Windows Phone 7, check out our hands on and the post where we explain everything about it.

With the iPhone, Apple put together an extremely simple modal interface that works, one that people of all ages and backgrounds understand right away: “This is a device that adopts different functions and gives me access to different kinds of information depending on the icon I click on.”

It’s pretty simple idea, which made it a raging success. In fact, that success is the reason why this model is Apple’s bet not only for mobile phones, but for the future of computing. It is also the reason why the Androids, Palms, and Blackberries of this world are following them.

Clean slate

Microsoft’s approach is completely different. Instead of becoming another me-too cellphone, like Android and the rest, the Windows Phone 7 team came up their own vision of what the cellphone should be. In the process, they have created a beautiful user interface in which the data is at the center of user interaction. Not the apps—specific functions—but the information itself. At some points, in fact, it feels like the information is the interface itself.

Out of the box, this information is organized into areas called hubs, which follow the user’s areas of interest. Accessible through live tiles in the home screen, the Me (the user), people, pictures and video, music, and games—plus the omnipresent search—hubs give views into several data sources, connecting and presenting them into an interweaved panoramic stream. These hubs dig heavily into many databases, both locally and into the cloud.

Rather than accessing an app to get contact information and make a call to a person, open another app to get her Twitter updates, and then another app to get her Facebook updates, and another for her latest mails to you, and yet another one to watch her photos, the Windows Phone’s people hub offers a seamless view into all of it, presented in a very simple and logical way. On a function-centric model like the iPhone, when the user thinks “I want to make a call”, he puts the device in “calling mode” by clicking on an app, selects a contact, and calls. When the user thinks “What’s up with John Smith?” he puts the device in Facebook or Twitter or Mail mode, and so on.

Microsoft has organized the hubs into panoramas, by stitching groups of information as columns of a single landscape screen—bigger than the phone’s display—that can be scrolled with your finger. The solution—tied together with minimalist interface aesthetics and animations that are inviting, elegant, and never superfluous—works great.

What about other applications?

Instinctively, I like Microsoft’s approach to organizing the core of our digital lives—people+social+multimedia+communication all merged into the hubs. I like it better than the “it’s a phone, it’s a mail program, it’s a browser, it’s an iPod” Apple approach. It’s less rigid than the iPhone or Android’s model, offering a richer experience, inviting to explore, and offering data from many points of view in a quick, clearly organized way. It also seems morehuman, and that’s certainly something Apple—or their followers—have to worry about.

Does that mean that function-centric models are worse? Like I said before, not necessarily. Especially because the information-centric panoramas don’t fit every single task people expect their iPhones to perform now. And when I say every single task, I really mean the two gazillion apps populating the Apple store. Microsoft could dress the hub experience in any way they want, but if their devices don’t offer a rich application market, they will fail the same way the current competition is failing against Apple.

Fortunately for Microsoft, the Windows Phone model is not only information-centric, but also function-centric. According to Joe Belfiore, gran jefe of the Microsoft’s Windows Phone Program, applications are not required to plug into the hub metaphor or the panorama user interface. When the development toolkit comes out in a month, it will encourage applications just like the ones you have in the iPhone today. In other words, Microsoft understands that one approach is as important as the other.

They are just hoping that their hubs would be a better, funner, more intuitive way to access and cultivate our digital lives, which is mainly what most consumers want to do nowadays. Looking at what they have shown today, I think they may be in the right track. But, like the Zune HD, it just may be too late.

Send an email to Asam Bangia, the author of this post, at akbangia@in.com

February 16, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment