On the 12th day of Christmas my iTunes gave to me, DRM Free tracks? Well folks, that seems to be word that has been grinding in the rumor-mill. Apple is apparently removing the DRM on a huge number of tracks that the online-music store giant is currently offering. This rumor has been pretty much confirmed. We have heard news that that Sony, Universal and Warner will start selling their contents unprotected starting tomorrow. This means that we will no longer require that absurd authorization to play our music on our friends and families’ computers that have not been authorized. This news comes from ElectronLibre, a French site that accurately predicted the French iTunes TV shows.
Another big news that we have heard with regards to the iTunes store is Big Christmas Giveaways. That’s right guys, dubbed the Twelve Days of iTunes, this give-away will extend to Applications, Songs, TV Shows and Movies. According to our sources this is set to launch in the European Countries from the 26th of December to the 6th of January. This is very unusual of Apple. Besides their weekly offerings of 2 free songs, some TV Show episodes and a Music Video, they have never done anything of this scale. And free app offerings are usually done by the App Makers themselves. These free stuffs are also usually a means to drive sales of unpopular or upcoming artists.
I’m not sure about you, but if this proves to be true, I’m sure as hell going to down load as much as I can stuff into my Hard-disks. I also hope that these offer doesn’t remain locked within Europe, but extends to the US and other countries as well. After all, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving.
We have just heard from our source in China, that there are iPhone prototypes on the way! Be warned that as with all China-based sources, we cannot accurately proof this to be absolutely true. However, from previous experience, it can be said that Apple is not keeping secrets as well as they used t0. So as usual, we are the first to bring you the latest scoops.
First of all, let us take a look at some of the physical features (or lack thereof) that have kept Apple fans wanting for more:
– Poor Battery when using 3G
– Lack of front-facing camera for Video Conferencing
– Lack of support for volume controls with new in-ear headphones
Well, now that we have seen some of the problems, take a look at what our source has been able to gather.
Of the many software improvements that Apple has released, a few of them have actually addressed this issue in a variety of ways. These include improving the overall energy efficiency of the Core OS, as well as increasing the maximum allowed voltage into the device to increase charging time. However, the biggest problem faced by Mobile phone manufactures lies with the fact that most 3G chipsets and radios available in the market are not power efficient by themselves. Those that are actually energy efficient tend to be more expensive, and thus, impractical for companies to use in their products.
Things are about to change ladies and gentlemen. Our source tells that according to an anonymous tipster, an unnamed Chinese battery pack supplier has made claims of a cheap yet energy efficient battery that ” will be able to power an iPhone 3G for up to 8 hours of talk-time on 3G and 15-20 hours on 2G.” The tipster also boasts and incredible claim of 450 hours of stand-by. If any of these claims are true, I’m sure Apple will garner a lot more faithful fans. Our source claims that the prototype model utilizes this pack.
iChat and Video Conferencing
When word of the iPhone 3G hit the rumor mill, the most anticipated of all features was the front-facing camera. There is a common misconception among many people around the world that if a phone is 3G enabled, it comes with video-chatting capabilities. In fact, 3G merely refers to the type of high-speed connection that the phone has access to. The iPhone in this case, did not have the front-facing camera.
However, we have been heard differently. It seems that the prototype model does in fact have a front facing camera. In fact, the camera, dubbed iSight, appears on the prototype just like it does on the current iMacs and UniBody MacBooks. The camera is located on the right, just next to the speaker. Another cool thing about the camera module manufactured by Altus Technology is that its actually a 3 megapixel camera. The mystery here is that 3G networks does not support videos of such high resolution. The answer that our source provides says that the video chat software uses a lower resolution capture during a conference. This leads me to only one conclusion – the forward-facing camera may be triggered by a setting in the “Camera” application to shoot self-portraits. We currently have no news of the Video Chat application.
The lens of the front-facing camera is tastefully hidden beneath the clear glass that covers the face of the iPhone and houses the multi-touch display. There is however, no lamp indicator to show that iSight is running. I am assuming that wouldn’t be necessary seeing as to how the iPhone OS does not support the camera being launched in the background. The only problem I for-see with this setup would be the need for the user to keep the glass above the iSight clear and free of grime as this would affect the clarity of the chat.
This is all that our source could get for us. Notice the sliver of the forward facing camera showing on the top-right corner. Also notice other strange read-outs from the About section on the screen. Click for larger picture.
Other Hardware Upgrades
Other juicy details that our source revealed to us include upgrade to many hardware feature sets in the iPhone. Samsung apparently manufactured a low-power consumption Flash Nand chip. The capacity used in the prototype is a whopping 128 GB. However, it is highly unlikely that the final version will include such a capacity as it is highly impractical, given the current cost of high-capacity flash chips. It would be safe to assume a 64 GB version, however.
Our source also gives us the news that the prototype iPhone does indeed support the volume controls on the new generation Apple In-Ear Headphones. On the other hand, I do not think that new iPhone will ship with the in-ear headphones, but it could be an optional upgrade.
It also seems that Sharp has been kept quite busy by Apple. The prototype apparently has a native display resolution of 840 by 560 pixels. That’s pretty huge for a mobile device. The new multi-touch panel, built under specifications from Cupertino, boasts high energy efficiency levels as well as a brighter as crisp display. We cannot tell for sure about this one, but HD Videos for the iPhone will be a killer. Our source tells us that the software used in the prototype is one that has not been seeded even to developers. It supports the resolution independence technology that is currently being developed for Snow Leopard. This means that games and apps developed for the other iPhones would easily be run on the prototype. Our source did not elaborate on the rumor of a dual back-light system for future iPhones.
With regards to cameras, not only do we have the smashing forward facing camera, we also have news from our source of a 5.0 Megapixel camera mounted on the back of the phone. There is still however, no news of flash for the iPhone. But the word from our source is that the picture quality has indeed been improved. Darker conditions are apparently no longer an obstacle as well.
Last but not least, running such wonderfully upgraded systems will definitely require a faster and more powerful processor. Well, not exactly new. The Infineon Technologies chip used in all of the iPhone and iPod Touch devices is used in the prototype as well. However, with a major adjustment to the clock-speed. This may be due to the different firmware being used in the prototype device. The new clock-speed of the iPhone prototype stands at 600 MHz. It is common knowledge that the iPhone’s ARM processor supports speeds of up to 640 MHz. Once again, this clock-speed may not see the light of day when high device temperature and battery life become and issue with performance and customers.
Well, folks. That’s the news that we have so far. We have no information on the dimensions of the new phone, but we do have a picture to leave you with. How many of these features in the Prototype will make it on the final product? No one knows. We are not even sure if the new phone will be released in 2009. There are still many countries that are yet to receive the iPhone.
So, we’re extremely sorry that we couldn’t get all the updates done in time!
So let’s get back to the start of the MacBook Events, where 3 new products (MacBook Air revised) were released by Apple probably for the holiday season. The biggest change in the MacBooks was the use of the Aluminum Unibody, which essentially means that the casing is machined from one solid block of aluminum which fundamentally makes it stronger and more durable from everyday bumps.
The laptops have become significantly lighter, and are also more appealing to the user in terms of an LED Backlit display, which provides the “instant-on” which a student or businessman would need in those sticky situations.
iPhone Software + iTunes + Safari
The long awaited 2.2 has arrived! However, this update was merely a bug fix for most of us in other countries and the availability to see street views has also been added as a feature into Google Maps. A significant update was the downloadable podcasts on the fly feature, which we find excellent as we finally don’t have to rely on iTunes. Could a wireless syncing come in the future? We don’t know, what do you think?
iTunes has also been revised to 8.0.2, adding an update to iPod Nano. It has allowed the earphones with Mics to be used, and the turning off of cover flow while the Nano is rotated which I find a stupid function as you always have to rotate it back before it can be used. And Yes, Infinitech does own a Black 8GB Nano-Chromatic.
Safari has been pounded with security updates and stability updates to all users.
According to Gizmodo, it seems that AT&T has given the promise of GPRS Tethering to the iPhone “soon”. What would this mean for the once alive application NetShare? Would Apple perhaps include an option in settings. Could this be a feature reserved for the final build of 2.2? No one can really be sure with Apple. But if AT&T was the only thing stopping Apple from including tethering, well, it’s about time.
Well we all know how Jobs and Co revealed to us the latest in Apple Innovations, the Glass MultiTouch Trackpad, just the other day during the Apple Special event. But what if the fancy new TrackPad had a higher purpose? Or more precisely, a Mobile Purpose. Yes, I have been giving this a lot of thought recently and I have kind of come to a conclusion about this.
Since the launch of the iPhone, there have been busloads of ex-blackberry people asking the same question. Where is the heptic feedback? For those of us who don’t know what this fancy lingo means, well, basically, it just means that you get a real life tactile feedback off a virtual screen or in the case of the iPhone, keyboard. Since Jobs had actually said that the entire Glass Trackpad is clickable at any point, it will work as an excellent feature to introduce heptic feedback onto the iPhone. What do you guys think?
There’s only gonna be one topic on the lips of the technoscenti in the next 24 hours: Apple’s new MacBook and MacBook Pro. It’s been leaked online, but mystery still surrounds its hidden connector, track-pad and docking skills… read on for all the gossip!
The new MacBook and MacBook Pros have leaked! The latest spy shots show the laptops sporting slick new aluminum cases, as well as side-mounted optical drives and expansion ports down their left side.
It’s these details that have led some to predict that the new laptops will be dockable inside brand new Apple monitors.
We’ve all experienced the buggyness of the iPhone 3G, the memory leak during texting, and the slow Maps. Now with Firmware 2.1, everything changes, including the extension of battery life which I find pretty amazing. It could last (and is still lasting) a whole day with 3G turned on, and frequent syncs with MobileMe.
Microsoft Exchange has become significantly faster, with calendars moving very zippy. The new Genius function for the iPhone is quite remarkable, making the decisions of which tracks go together, rather than you do it yourself. There are now the artist’s names under each of the songs, and the scrolling is just marvelous.
It appears that every time, Apple finds something wrong, they fix a whole bunch of things we would never have expected. I had almost regretted buying an iPhone, but now with the firmware update, things could never have been faster and easier to do.
However, The App Store in Singapore, still needs some working on. For instance, there are no gift cards to redeem, and for some of us without credit cards, this could get quite frustrating. There should be an option for no credit card, and just the pure value on the gift cards.
The full review for iPhone is coming soon… and so with the new 4th Generation, iPod Nano 16GB!