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Apple Said To Be Working On a 'Watch-Like Device' 291

The WSJ reports that Apple is "experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort." An excerpt: The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet. Apple's efforts come as companies have introduced various kinds of wearable gadgets, mainly designed to measure physical activity. More sophisticated devices face big technical challenges, but also are attracting investments from large technology companies. Foxconn, as Hon Hai is also known, has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, one of these people said. In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products."

iPad Mini Could Retail For $250, Delete iPad 2 211

Nerval's Lobster writes "If the Apple rumor mill proves correct, the unveiling of the iPad Mini this week could mean sayonara for the iPad 2. At least, that's the prediction of Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra, who wrote in a recent note to investors that he believes Apple will remove the iPad 2 from its lineup to make room for a smaller tablet. Apple insider excerpted parts of Cihra's note Oct. 19. Of course, that's just one analyst speculating about the future plans of a company known for playing things close to the proverbial vest: Apple's Oct. 23 event in California could feature all sorts of surprises. So what do we know about the iPad Mini? First, that it might not be called the iPad Mini — that's a moniker dreamed up by the press. Second, a cheaper and smaller iPad could impact the market for e-readers and 'price-sensitive users,' according to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, which in turn could mean a challenging future for Amazon, Google, and other IT vendors marketing cheaper tablets. Third, the media—driven by unnamed sources and blurry spy photos—seems to have collectively settled on a 7.85-inch screen without a high-resolution Retina Display."

Apple iPad Mini Could Complicate Things For Windows 8 Tablets 200

Nerval's Lobster writes "Current rumor suggests that Apple is gearing up to unveil its iPad Mini Oct. 17, with invitations to media arriving Oct. 10. That's according to Fortune, which obtained the information from an unnamed Apple investor who, in turn, heard those dates from other unnamed sources. While that attribution might prove a bit too vaporous for some people, it does align with earlier reports from AllThingsD that Apple is planning to reveal a smaller iPad sometime in October. If those rumors prove accurate, the unveiling of an iPad Mini in that timeframe could prove very bad news for the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. (Gizmodo offers a pretty complete rumor rundown on the iPad Mini's possible features here.) Unlike the traditional PC market, Microsoft doesn't dominate the market for mobile-device operating systems. Windows 7 tablets never gained much of a toehold among tablet users, who prefer iPads and Android-based devices by wide margins. When it comes to Windows 8 (and Windows RT, the version of next-generation Windows for ARM architecture), Microsoft is starting out as the underdog."

Thoughts On the iPad Mini 214

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a thoughtful piece about the design of Apple's smaller iPad, which the company is expected to announce on September 12. Simply shrinking the current iPad's dimensions to a new form factor is unlikely, he says, and the bezel surrounding the display is more likely to be a cross between an iPad and an iPhone. He also discusses evidence of Apple's PR team getting the rumor mill going immediately after the announcement of Google's Nexus 7, and how Apple has probably bet on having a thinner and lighter tablet than Google, rather than worrying about a better display. Quoting: "Apple product designs are true to themselves. Each thing has proportions suited to its own nature. Consider how the iPad doesn’t look like a blown up iPhone. They share a few similar design elements — a family resemblance, if you will — but the proportions are different. The iPad has a thick bezel surrounding all four sides of the display; the iPhone does not. Why? Because you need a place to rest your thumbs while holding an iPad. ... Should not the iPad Mini fall somewhere in between? Not as close to the aspect ratio of its display as the iPad-as-we-know-it, but also not as far away from its display aspect ratio as the iPhone. You might need more thumb-rest room on the sides than you do on the iPhone, but not nearly as much as you do on the full-size iPad. If that assumption is right, the proportions of a 7.85-inch 4:3-aspect-ratio display iPad Mini are likely not the same as the proportions of the 9.7-inch 4:3-aspect-ratio display iPad."

Valve Boss Expects Apple To Challenge Game Consoles 197

Speaking at a panel during the WTIA TechNW conference, Valve CEO Gabe Newell had some interesting things to say about his expectations for the console business. Quoting: "The living room is the domain of the consoles, and its ability to exist independently from the other platforms is gone, Newell said. Newell expects Apple to disrupt the living room platform with a new product that will challenge consoles, although he doesn't have any particular knowledge of that new product. 'I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear,' he said. Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the 'wrong philosophical approach' but one that people will emulate because of the success of Apple and Xbox Live."

Sprint Bets Big On the iPhone 366

hazytodd was one of several readers to tip news of Sprint Nextel's plan to grab a piece of the iPhone action in order to halt the company's downward slide. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Sprint has committed to buying 30.5 million iPhones over the next five years (summary of paywalled WSJ story), which at retail rates works out to roughly $20 billion. "To sell that many iPhones, Sprint would have to double its rolls of contract customers, convert all of them to the Apple device or a combination of the two." A separate rumor at Boy Genius Report suggests the iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive until sometime next year, with Verizon and AT&T getting the upgraded iPhone 4S until then. Apple is holding an event to unveil the new phone tomorrow.

Apple's A6 Details and Timeline Emerge 123

MojoKid writes "For a CPU that hasn't seen the light of day, there's a great deal of debate surrounding Apple's A6 and the suggestion that it may not appear until later in 2012. The A6 is a complex bit of hardware. Rumors indicate that the chip is a quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU built on 28nm at TSMC and utilizing 3D fabrication technology. While the Cortex-A9 is a proven design, Apple's A6 will be one of the first 28nm chips on the market. The chip will serve as a test case for TSMC's introduction of both 28nm gate-last technology and 3D chip stacking. This is actually TSMC's first effort with an Apple device. The A4 and A5 have both historically been manufactured by Samsung."

Analysis of Google's Motorola Acquisition 311

bonch writes "Pundits have been analyzing Google's Motorola acquisition since its announcement. Dan Lyons, formerly known as Fake Steve Jobs, says Google never cared for the Nortel patents, and that they drove the bidding price up intentionally while negotiating to buy Motorola. This idea is questioned by MG Siegler, who believes buying Motorola for $12.5 billion — almost two years' worth of Google's annual profits — is an act of desperation. John Gruber notes that Motorola was threatening to wage a patent war against other Android partners during the time they would have been negotiating with Google, and that Motorola likely forced them into an expensive buyout rather than a patent license agreement. Google may have also been motivated by the fact that Microsoft was reportedly pursuing a Motorola buyout." S&P researchers apparently weren't a fan of the deal.

Microsoft's Hottest New Profit Center: Android 276

jbrodkin writes "One of Microsoft's hottest new profit centers is a smartphone platform you've definitely heard of: Android. Google's Linux-based mobile operating system is a favorite target for Microsoft's patent attorneys, who are suing numerous Android vendors and just today announced that another manufacturer has agreed to write checks to Microsoft every time it ships an Android device. Vendors paying off Microsoft for the right to use Android now include HTC, Velocity Micro, General Dynamics, Onkyo Corp. and Wistron. Microsoft likely makes more money from Android than its own Windows phone platform, and its latest patent agreement announced Tuesday indicates Microsoft is also going after Google's Linux-based Chromebooks."

Apple To Start Making TVs? 313

timothy writes "Apple might want to sell you your next TV,' says this CNN report. Which makes a lot of sense, considering that Apple's razors-and-blades, vertical-marketplace model for iTunes (and the various iDevices) doesn't make as much sense with the world of TV, where your Sony, Samsung, or (egads!) Westinghouse set is just as happy with a Google TV box, or a Roku, or one of many other media devices, as it is with an Apple TV attached."
Desktops (Apple)

Could Apple Kill Off Mac OS X? 577

Barence writes "When Steve Jobs announced last night that he was 'going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device,' it was the clearest indication yet that Apple is phasing out Mac OS X, argues PC Pro's Barry Collins. 'Over the past couple of months, there have been continual rumours that Apple is testing the iPad's A5 processor in its MacBook range, suggesting Apple believes iOS could stretch further than smartphones and tablets,' Collins argues. Plus, Apple would take a 30% cut on all Mac software if it mandated downloads via the App Store only. 'The only part of Apple's portfolio where iOS doesn't make sense is in the high-end. Yet, Apple's already discontinued its Xserve range of servers and... it's almost exclusively fixated on the consumer market,' he argues."

How the iPhone Led To the Sale of T-Mobile 276

Hugh Pickens writes "Kevin O'Brien writes that Deutsche Telekom's announcement to sell its American wireless unit, T-Mobile USA, to AT&T for $39 billion ended a decade-long foray into the American market that was undermined, in part, by the advent of the iPhone (reg. may be required). Deutsche Telekom had been generating decent sales from its American operation, but after the iPhone went on sale, sold exclusively at first for AT&T in the United States, T-Mobile USA began to lose its most lucrative customers: those on fixed, monthly plans, who defected to its larger American rivals — AT&T and Verizon Wireless. 'The iPhone effect cannot be underestimated in this decision,' says analyst Theo Kitz. "Without being able to sell the iPhone, T-Mobile was in an unsustainable position and T-Mobile USA became a problem child." Ironically, AT&T's acquisition won't help T-Mobile customers get access to the iPhone anytime soon, as T-Mobile will remain independent, albeit under AT&T's stewardship, for around a year, and won't offer the iPhone to its customers during that period."

Apple iPhone 5 To Flaunt New A8 Processor 197

An anonymous reader writes "The release of iOS 4.3 beta for developers has revealed updates to gesture-based navigation, AirPlay and Personal Hot Spot in the next edition of iPad and iPhone. However, not all changes are UI-related; it is reported that Apple is due to add an ARM Cortex A8 processor to its iPhone 5. Apple Daily, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, reported that Apple's iPhone 5 will be powered by a dual core processor with SGX543 graphics. It is reported that Apple is in contact with a Taiwanese component maker for the A8 SoC. Currently Apple uses a custom made A4 SoC in its iPad and iPhone 4 and uses SGX535 graphics and video support."

Apple May Remove the Home Button On the Next IPad 329

An anonymous reader writes "Steve Jobs is notoriously frugal when it comes to buttons so the latest rumor emanating out of Cupertino might not come as a huge surprise. Apple is reportedly planning to do away with the home button on the next-gen iPad and iPhone and replace its functionality with multitouch gestures. And as luck would have it, the newly seeded iOS 4.3 includes support for new multitouch gestures, one of which is the ability to use a four or five finger pinch to go back to the homescreen" The attached video demonstrates the new gestures for switching applications and demonstrates how you could function without the home button.

Money is the root of all evil, and man needs roots.