MacRumors

The front of the next iPhone
iMore reports that they have heard that the next generation iPhone, new iPod nano, and all new 7.85" iPad mini will be announced on September 12th. They also pinpoint the actual launch date for the next iPhone as September 21, 2012.

iMore has heard that Apple is planning to debut the new iPhone at a special event on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, with the release date to follow 9 days later on Friday, September 21. This information comes from sources who have proven accurate in the past.

The next-generation iPhone, which is frequently referred to as the "iPhone 5", is expected to have a taller 4" screen as shown in the above photo. Rumors have also suggested the inclusion of high speed LTE wireless networking.

While we generally refer to the next iPhone as the "iPhone 5", if Apple follows the example of their most recent iPad release, they may drop the numbering scheme with every new iPhone release. The 3rd generation iPad was simply called "the new iPad" in all press materials. Similarly, it seems likely that Apple will simply refer to the next iPhone as "the new iPhone".

While the 7.85" iPad mini has been long rumored, there has been a notable increase in the frequency and volume of rumors related to the product. The smaller iPad is believed to help Apple fill a cheaper price point in their tablet lineup.

iMore has been an accurate source of release date information in the past. They previously pinpointed the iPad 3 launch date as well as pre-order date for the iPhone 4S.

Related Roundup: iPad mini
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Neutral)
Related Forums: iPad, iPhone

Japanese website iLab has posted a set of high-resolution photos (via CydiaBlog) of what is alleged to be the next-generation iPhone.

The front of the next iPhone
CydiaBlog gives this assessment of the images:

The leaked parts shows the bigger screen, different internals (such as a new flex cable holding the Home button in place), and the camera modules (front and rear). The camera module cutout looks to be larger, there is an enhanced version of speaker and microphone configuration at the bottom, new smaller dock connector (instead of 30-pin Dock Connector, 16-pin connector could be introduced). Another notable design change in the new iPhone front panel shows the FaceTime camera has been moved to a centered position above the earpiece speaker (it is currently to left of the earpiece in iPhone 4S and iPhone 4).

Rear image of new iPhone
The photographs mirror reports from this past May that the next iPhone would sport a taller 4" screen, but would remain the same width. The next iPhone is expected to be released this fall along with iOS 6.

TwitterApple is either actively considering purchasing a major stake in Twitter or discussed making an investment with the social company more than a year ago and the talks have since ceased, depending on which newspaper one wishes to believe.

The New York Times reported tonight that Apple and Twitter were talking "in recent months" about a major strategic investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Apple has considered an investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars, one that could value Twitter at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, these people said. They declined to be named because the discussions were private.

There is no guarantee that the two companies, which are not in negotiations at the moment, will come to an agreement. But the earlier talks are a sign that they may form a stronger partnership amid intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.

However, within several hours of the posting of the Times piece, The Wall Street Journal posted a rebuttal of sorts, saying that the Apple/Twitter discussions took place more than a year ago and didn't go anywhere:

Apple Inc. held discussions with Twitter Inc. more than a year ago about taking a strategic investment in the short-messaging service, according to a person familiar with the talks.

People familiar with the matter said there are no current formal investment or acquisition discussions between the companies.

News of the investment talks was first reported by the New York Times.

Apple has run into difficulties in its social media efforts with the Ping social network on the chopping block according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs' biographer, said recently that social was one nut that Steve Jobs couldn't crack.

In the past year, rather than building its own social product, Apple has partnered with both Twitter and Facebook to integrate their API's into the new versions of both the iOS and OS X platforms.

Apple debuted three new ads tonight during the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremonies featuring an "Apple Genius" helping a Mac owner on a plane, and another while his wife is giving birth. A third ad features a Genius telling a customer who thought he bought a Mac that he really purchased a knock-off because it doesn't come with iPhoto, iMovie, or GarageBand.


The ads are a departure from previous ad campaigns -- they don't feature products and they don't mention any specific service that Apple offers. Instead, they hint at the training services provided at Apple Retail Stores by the Creatives (Geniuses are used for tech support, rather than training) and the fact that just because a computer looks like a Mac, it isn't necessarily one.

They are also a bit of a throwback to the 'Get a Mac' ads featuring Justin Long and John Hodgman. By emphasizing the personal aspects of Apple's services, it appears that the company is looking to humanize itself and make it less about the products and more about the entire Apple ecosystem, including the personal services offered at the Apple Retail Stores including the Genius Bar and One-to-One training service.

NewImageGoogle and Apple are once again going head to head in bidding for a major collection of patents owned by a bankrupt corporation. According to The Wall Street Journal, two consortiums have formed to bid for the patents owned by camera giant Kodak, which is currently in bankruptcy.

Apple, Microsoft, and patent-aggregation firm Intellectual Ventures are teaming up, while Google, Samsung, LG, HTC and RPX Corp are forming the second alliance.

The people familiar with the discussions cautioned that work on bids could continue over the weekend, with alliances changing and other bidders potentially emerging.

[…]

A bankruptcy court supervised auction of Kodak's patents is set for Aug. 8. The patents are being sold in two lots: the digital-capture portfolio related to capturing and processing images on cameras, smartphones and tablets; and the Kodak Imaging Systems and Services patents related to storing and analyzing images, among other things.

The two teams are unsurprising. A consortium consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM, and Sony purchased 6,000 patents from Nortel last year, beating out a group that included Intel and Google. For the Kodak patents, we see Google paired up with Samsung, LG and HTC -- three major Android handset makers -- along with RPX Corp., another patent aggregation firm.

Apple and Kodak have filed a number of lawsuits and countersuits against each other in the ongoing tech patent wars.

NewImage
Apple has issued a system management controller (SMC) update for the MacBook Pro with Retina display, enabling Power Nap support in OS X Mountain Lion.

This update fixes several sleep/wake issues to improve the stability of MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012) computers and is recommended for all users running OS X v10.7.4. It also enables Power Nap support for users running OS X v10.8 or later.

The update is available via Apple's software download webpage, Software Update for those under OS X Lion and via the Mac App store for those with OS X Mountain Lion installed.

Research firm IDC yesterday released its estimates of global mobile phone and smartphone shipments for the second quarter of 2012, revealing that Apple's slower year-over-year iPhone growth and booming sales from Samsung have caused the company's share of the market to slip compared to previous periods.

In the smartphone market, Apple's shipments of 26 million iPhones were up 27.5% year-over-year, but with the market growing at a 42% clip, Apple's share slid from 18.8% to 16.9%. Apple's share had registered at 24.2% in the prior quarter when the company was still riding high on the relatively new iPhone 4S that was expanding into new markets such as China.

idc 2Q12 smartphones
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments in 2Q12 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)

While Samsung has ceased releasing data on smartphone sales for competitive reasons, IDC's estimates peg the company at having shipped 50.2 million smartphones during the quarter, up 172.8% year-over-year and allowing Samsung to easily take the crown in a booming market that topped 150 million shipments during the quarter.

Apple posted an expected sequential decline last quarter, similar to years past. The quarter-over-quarter shipment decline came six months after it unveiled its latest iPhone. The decline is not unusual as iPhone shipment volume is highest in the first two quarters after its release. The company’s once-a-year release cycle usually results in two quarters of lower volumes leading up to the next-generation model introduction. Nonetheless, Apple made significant inroads into new markets and segments, including smaller regional carriers and prepaid service providers.

Looking at the mobile phone market as a whole, Apple's performance looks a bit better, with the company's 27.5% year-over-year growth approaching Samsung's overall 29.7% growth as the feature phone business has continued to erode with the consumer shift to smartphones. The mobile phone market as a whole grew by only 1% year-over-year, meaning that the smartphone segment's strong growth was almost entirely offset by losses in feature phones on a unit basis.

idc 2Q12 phones
Worldwide Mobile Phone Shipments in 2Q12 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)

Apple's share of the total mobile phone market registered at 6.4% for the quarter, up from 5.1% in the year-ago quarter but down from last quarter's 8.8% share.

AllThingsD reports that just over 48 hours after launch, OS X Mountain Lion is already accounting for over 3% of web traffic coming from the Mac platform. The data, which comes from analytics firm Chitika, shows that Mountain Lion's share has risen quickly from roughly 0.25% prior to the public launch.

“Moreover, based on Apple’s June 2012 announcement that there are currently 66 million Mac users in the wild, we can infer that 2.11 million Mac users downloaded OS X Mountain Lion in the past 48 hours,” Chitika said. “Using this figure, if we assume that 90 percent of these users paid to upgrade, OS X Mountain Lion generated $38 million in revenue for Apple in the past 48 hours.”

chitika mountain lion 48 hours
Adoption has been even faster among those who closely follow Apple news, with 9to5Mac reporting yesterday that over half of its Mac visitors were already on Mountain Lion after hitting 10% even before the public launch.

Last year, Apple touted one million downloads of OS X Lion in the first day of availability, but the company has yet to release any official early figures for OS X Mountain Lion.

With Apple having just released new and updated models of its popular MacBook Pro and MacBook Air machines last month, many users are eligible for Apple's Up-to-Date program, which offers a free upgrade to Mountain Lion. Apple has, however, been experiencing some issues with the program, with a number of users only just now receiving redemption codes to allow them to download OS X Mountain Lion.

Gizmodo points to a newly-discovered product page from case manufacturer Shenzhen Coolzone Technology displaying what appears to be a high-quality physical mockup matching up with rumors and leaked parts for the next-generation "iPhone 5".

coolzone iphone 5 1
Case manufacturers have become increasingly sophisticated with their physical mockups created for design and testing of new cases, giving their mockups very realistic appearances that have led to uncertainty about whether they are genuine devices or not. While the device shown in the photos certainly does look realistic in many regards, the low-quality photos leave many details unclear and we indeed believe the item to be a physical mockup rather than a leaked genuine iPhone.

coolzone iphone 5 2
Regardless, the photo provides a reasonable glimpse of what the next iPhone may look like, albeit with iOS 5 rather than the iOS 6 that the device will undoubtedly ship with later this year.

Update, August 2: Neowin has posted photos of an identical mockup, confirming that it is a "non functional replica prototype".

neowin iphone 5 replica

logoReuters reports that Apple will be acquiring AuthenTec for $356 million.

AuthenTec Inc (AUTH.O), which makes fingerprint sensor chips used in personal computers, said it agreed to be bought by Apple Inc (AAPL.O) for about $356 million.

Reuters describes AuthenTec as a maker of fingerprint sensor chips. AuthenTec recently had announced a partnership with Samsung as their VPN Security provider.

ATRIX AES1750 AuthenTec
From their fact sheet, AuthenTec describes its technology:

AuthenTec's award-winning smart fingerprint sensors provide multiple touch-powered features that extend beyond user authentication to include convenience, personalization and touch control. The Company's TouchChip area fingerprint sensors and modules comply with government and industry standards and offer the ruggedness, strong security and ease of integration needed for quick and broad deployment. TouchChip sensors dramatically lower the size, cost and power of fingerprint sensors versus optical-based fingerprint solutions.

AuthenTec's "swipe sensors" is described to use sub-surface technology to read the live layer of skin beneath the skin's surface.

Notably, one sensor is marketed for use specifically for authentication for mobile wallets. Apple has been rumored to be looking into mobile payments. Their Passbook technology in iOS 6 is a first step, but Apple has yet to deploy a more full scale system. Fingerprint authentication could fit into a larger payment strategy.

SeekingAlpha had recently speculated that AuthenTech may supply security chips for the next generation iPhone.

Apple is not going to the trouble of adding a biometric sensor just so that you don't have to use a four digit password. They are adding a biometric sensor so that the iPhone can become a safe and secure payment device.

As we noted, The Verge has come across a number of photos of iPhone prototypes in court documents related to Apple's lawsuit with Samsung. One of the early prototype images seemed particularly familiar to us.

This two-tone design with a central aluminum backing looks like an early version of the rumored next-generation iPhone:

iphoneprototype
On the right is a prototype iPhone design posted by the Verge. The image on the left is a rendering of the next generation iPhone by Blackpool Creative. The rendering was based on leaked parts of the upcoming iPhone. The parts were also shown on video here:


Similar parts have been circulating for a couple of months now. One early report described it as such:

According to our source, Apple will make one major change to the rear casing, adding a metal panel to the central back of the new iPhone. This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic.

It seems possible that the new iPhone has evolved from some of the early Apple prototyping of possible designs.

The plethora of court cases between Apple and other companies over trademarks, design decisions, and patents have only occasionally offered anything of interest to the average observer. Today, however, The Verge has dug up a treasure trove of images of early iPhone and iPad prototypes.

NewImage
Early designs include an eight-sided iPhone with diagonal corners, early Sony-inspired designs, and another model that has the same aluminum-based design as the old iPod Mini.

Of particular note are multiple iterations of the iPad featuring different types of kickstands, what appears to be a 16:9 model with wide handles on either side, and an eight-sided iPhone with diagonal corners. Also of interest is a slim, sleek iPhone prototype labeled the N90. The N90 was widely believed to be the codename for the iPhone 4, and while this narrow device definitely bear some aesthetic similarities to Apple's glass-and-metal design, this variant appears to feature a much smaller screen.

NewImage
One Sony-inspired design from 2006, which bears a "JONY" logo in honor of Apple chief designer Jonathan Ive, looks strikingly similar to the iPhone 4 that debuted years later.

The Verge has a number of other images scattered across two different posts. They're worth a look.

With the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics set for tomorrow in London, Apple is preparing to offer an extra bonus to some customers visiting its stores in the area during the roughly two-week event. The company has produced a series of four lapel pins commemorating the London Olympics, displaying the flag of the United Kingdom in place of the screen of both black and white iPhones and iPads.

apple london olympics pins 1
The pins are distributed attached to larger sheets of cardboard that appear as five iOS device flags hanging on a line, with the center one being the actual lapel pin.

apple london olympic pins 2
We have not confirmed the exact details on distribution of the pins, but we've heard that select stores will be distributing the free of charge while supplies last on select days. Also unclear is how broad the distribution will be: Apple has a total of six retail stores inside the M25 motorway encircling London, with several others just outside and a total of 33 in the United Kingdom.

Apple offered a similar promotion during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, distributing an iPod nano pin with the Canadian maple leaf at one store and a pair of pins showing off the maple leaf and the Apple logo at the other Vancouver-area store open at the time. Apple now has four stores in the Vancouver area.

SafarilogoAs part of the streamlining of Safari 6, Apple removed a number of items from the main toolbar including the dedicated Google search box and the button that allowed users to easily subscribe to RSS feeds right from the toolbar.

The lack of a Google Search box doesn't affect much as users can now search by typing within the address box, much like in Google Chrome. The lack of an RSS button is a bit trickier, however.

Safari no longer includes RSS detection and one-click subscriptions to RSS feeds. For users looking to get that button back, Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software -- makers of software products like MarsEdit and Black Ink -- has created a "beta-quality, more-or-less unsupported" Safari Extension called Subscribe to Feed.

[The] extension adds a handy button to the toolbar that, when a page offers RSS or Atom feeds, can be clicked to easily open the feed:// link, which should automatically open your favorite news reader.

The extension works as advertised, however it falls flat when used on a website with multiple RSS feeds. MacRumors, for example, has four RSS feeds listed -- one for the Front Page, two more for the Mac and iOS Blogs, and one feed that lists every post to the site.

We've reached out to Jalkut to ask if this limitation is something that could be easily remedied.

Update: Daniel Jalkut, the designer of the extension, says he'll "be looking into" the multiple RSS feed issue.

Last week, we highlighted the unique construction barrier art in place at Apple's forthcoming Passeig de Gràcia retail store in Barcelona, Spain. The art, which consisted of tile mosaics using images of Apple iOS app icons and honoring the style of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, surrounded the store during the final phases of construction leading up to grand opening scheduled for this Saturday, July 28.

With the grand opening just two days away and Apple making preparations to open the store for the media and then the public, the construction barriers have come down and Cult of Mac has been able to shoot some photos through the windows of the new store.

barcelona passeig gracia 1
barcelona passeig gracia 2
Despite the Gaudí-influenced signage promoting the store's opening, Apple appears to have maintained its usual style for the store itself, using its typical stone, wood, and metal finishes to create a clean, open feel inside the store. With three levels, the large store offers a full range of Apple products on display, as well as a large Genius Bar and a theater.

On the ground floor of the Barcelona Apple Store, about half of the available floor space is taken up with iPhone and iPad displays, spread across twelve tables in three rows. The other half of the floor is taken up by various models of MacBooks, with only a single table devoted to iMacs.

Higher up, the glass staircase leads to the Genius Bar, as well as an in-house theater.

In the basement is where Mac and iOS accessories are stored, which Apple retail employees are now hard at work filling the shelves.

barcelona passeig gracia 3
Apple's new Passeig de Gràcia store opens to the public at 10:00 AM on Saturday.

NewImageAutodesk has issued a support document outlining which of its products do not work with the just-released OS X Mountain Lion:

The following products are currently NOT supported on the Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) operating system:

- AutoCAD 2013 for Mac
- AutoCAD 2012 for Mac
- AutoCAD LT 2013 for Mac
- AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac

If any of these products are installed on Mountain Lion, undesirable side effects can occur, including issues with Installer re-start, resetting applications, cursor missing when printing to PDF, and more. Our engineers are working round the clock to support Mountain Lion for these products, however no support is currently available.

Until such time as a service pack is available, we highly recommend NOT installing Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) on any machines where AutoCAD 2013 for Mac, AutoCAD 2012 for Mac, AutoCAD LT 2013 for Mac, or AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac is required.

Autodesk also says that a Beta program adding support for Mountain Lion to AutoCAD 2012 and 2013 will be coming shortly, though doesn't include any specifics about a timeline.

As always, it is recommended that those using their computers in a professional, production environment should hold off on any upgrades to either software or operating systems until the makers of all the products they use confirm that everything works as it should.

greenbytes logoEarlier this week, we reported that the ZEVO solution for bringing the ZFS file system to the Mac had been acquired by storage appliance company GreenBytes. With ZEVO having been pulled from sale with the transition, the future of ZFS on the Mac has been in question, although GreenBytes indicated at the time that it was still committed to the project.

GreenBytes has now announced that it will be launching a free "Community Edition" of ZEVO on September 15.

We wanted to take a few days to nail down the specifics, but we are happy to announce that beginning on September 15, 2012, GreenBytes will offer the ZEVO Community Edition as a freely downloadable binary!

As we approach the September 15th launch date, we will reveal more details about the functionality in the ZEVO Community Edition -- and you should expect enhancements from the prior commercial version!

Support for the new Community Edition will be handled through discussion forums, with forum members and GreenBytes staff helping users of the free edition there.

Don Brady, the former Apple engineer who worked on ZFS at the company before leaving to develop the project on his own after Apple canceled it, will be providing more information on GreenBytes' plans for ZEVO in upcoming posts on the company's blog.

iphone 4s boxChinese news agency Xinhua reports that consumer organizations in the country are taking a closer look at Apple's warranty repairs, criticizing the company over a number of policies including the use of reconditioned parts rather than new ones.

According to the company's after-sale clauses, customers have to agree that Apple repairers utilize used or reconditioned parts to replace damaged parts on the products of iPhones or iPads during the repair process, the provincial consumers' council found in an industrial investigation and released the result on Tuesday.

The customers also have to agree that replaced parts will be retained by Apple, which is believed to probably reuse these parts to repair other products, the result said.

Apple has faced similar criticism in other countries, with Apple executive Farrel Farhoudi having testified before the South Korean parliament on the company's use of refurbished devices as warranty replacements. Apple ultimately changed its policies in South Korea, with customers whose iPhones are deemed defective during the warranty period now receiving new units rather than refurbished ones as replacements.