MacRumors

Back in March, the State of Texas announced that Apple would be pursuing a major expansion of its facilities in Austin, committing to spend over $300 million to add 3,600 more workers at a site adjacent to its current campus dedicated to customer support, sales, and accounting.

With the final approval of tax incentives for the project coming in early May, Apple has officially begun moving forward with its plans. According to the Austin Business Journal, Apple purchased three tracts of land on June 21 to provide a site for the project.

Records at the Travis County Clerk’s Office show that McShane Development Co. LLC, through its Riata Vista LP entity, sold three tracts of land to Apple on June 21. The exhibits indicate that the land is in the Milwood Section 20 subdivision near Parmer Lane and Delcour Drive.

While the purchase price of the land is currently unknown, real estate records show that the land is indeed the 38.67 acres located between Apple's current facilities and Parmer Lane. The vacant land is currently assessed at nearly $7.4 million.

apple campus austin

Business Insider points to a Bloomberg bulletin indicating that a UK judge has ruled Apple must display on its UK website and in British newspapers a notice acknowledging that Samsung did not copy the design of the iPad with its Galaxy Tab 10.1. The UK court had previously ruled that the Galaxy Tab did not infringe upon Apple's design, with the judge observing that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is simply "not as cool" as the iPad.

galaxy tab 10 1 revised
According to the news flash, Apple will need to post the notice on its UK website for six months. Apple can presumably still appeal the ruling, although that information has not yet been disclosed.

We'll update this article once the full Bloomberg report is available.

Update: Bloomberg's article has gone live with additional details on the situation.

The notice should outline the July 9 London court decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s registered designs, Judge Colin Birss said. It should be posted on Apple’s U.K. website for six months and published in several newspapers and magazines to correct the damaging impression the South Korea-based company was copying Apple’s product, Birss said.

The order means Apple will have to publish “an advertisement” for Samsung, and is prejudicial to the company, Richard Hacon, a lawyer representing Cupertino, California-based Apple, told the court. “No company likes to refer to a rival on its website.”

Samsung had also requested that Apple be barred from making public statements claiming that the Galaxy Tab had infringed upon the iPad design, but Birss ruled that Apple is within its rights to make such claims in line with the company's belief that the ruling is incorrect.

Related Roundup: iPad
Tag: Samsung
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)
Related Forum: iPad

Disputing a report from last weekend claiming that Apple has begun production on the next-generation iPhone, BGR now claims that the device is still in engineering testing and has yet to enter production.

Apple goes through multiple stages before a product is manufactured, and two of these include the “engineering verification test” stage and the “design verification test” phase. Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone is currently in the EVT3 stage, the third revision of the engineering test stage, and has not yet entered the DVT stage.

white iphone 2012 front
Claimed front panel from next-generation white iPhone

The report also claims to have confirmed several hardware details on the forthcoming iPhone, including the unsurprising inclusion of LTE connectivity, a bump to 1 GB of RAM from the 512 MB found in the iPhone 4S, and near field communication (NFC) technology that could significantly enhance the utility of Apple's Passbook app for iOS 6 unveiled last month.

Tag: bgr.com
Related Forum: iPhone

Network World's iOnApple reports on a recently-unsealed deposition given by Apple design chief Jonathan Ive in the ongoing patent war between Apple and Samsung, a session in which Ive was shown photos of Apple's earliest iPad mockups that apparently date to some time between 2002 and 2004. From Ive's testimony:

My recollection of first seeing it is very hazy, but it was, I'm guessing, sometime between 2002 and 2004, some but it was I remember seeing this and perhaps models similar to this when we were first exploring tablet designs that ultimately became the iPad.

early ipad mockup 1
As the report notes, the mockup is quite similar to what was eventually released as the iPad well over five years later, although it was significantly thicker given the state of the technology at the time.

early ipad mockup 2
Notably, the mockup lacked a home button but in other respects from the general form factor to the presence of a dock connector certainly mirrors the final shipping product.

Additional photos are included in the original report.

Related Roundup: iPad
Tag: Samsung
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)
Related Forum: iPad

Apple has added a new feature to its online store, now offering a text message alert notification service to keep shoppers up-to-date on their orders. Apple will send users a text message once their order ships or is ready for pickup at a retail store. Texts are only send between 8AM and 9PM in the recipients' time zone.

Trackyouritems

Apple Notifications is a text-message-based alerts service designed to keep you up-to-date on your shipment and/or pickup notification status. In addition to standard email notifications, you can also request text message updates when you're in Checkout. The number of messages you'll receive will vary depending on the orders you placed.

As noted by The Next Web, Apple Notifications are only available in the US and Canada. Customers can choose to receive text messages notifications during the order process.

Following Verizon's move to shared data plans last month, AT&T announced its own shift scheduled for late August. The new system offers a similar setup to Verizon's, with all plans including unlimited talk and text and monthly service pricing being based simply on the total data allotment and number and type of devices being used.

With AT&T Mobile Share plans, customers start by choosing how much data they want each month, then choose up to 10 devices to attach to their shared plan, one of which must be a smartphone. Each plan includes tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones and basic or quick messaging phones. The larger the data bucket you choose, the less you pay per gigabyte and the less you pay for each smartphone added to the shared plan

att shared plans
One wrinkle for AT&T's plans is a decreasing monthly smartphone device access cost as customers step up to higher data plans. While Verizon charges a flat $40 per month per smartphone, AT&T's starts at $45 for customers using just 1 GB of data but decreases to as low as $30 for accounts with 10 GB of data or more per month. Access costs for other devices are the same between AT&T and Verizon, with feature phones requiring a flat fee of $30 per month, laptop connections $20, and tablets $10.

AT&T undercuts Verizon at the simplest level with a single smartphone on a 1 GB data plan costing $85 per month ($40 data + $45 device), compared to $90 on Verizon ($50 data + $40 device), but adding additional smartphones to that 1 GB plan is more expensive on AT&T ($45 versus $40). Verizon's and AT&T's pricing are identical at the 4 GB level, while AT&T again takes the lead on higher-level plans with more data and devices. As an example, an account with four smartphones sharing 10 GB of data would cost $240 per month on AT&T ($120 data + 4 x $30 devices) versus $260 on Verizon ($100 data + 4 x $40 devices).

AT&T is launching its new plans as of "late August", and current customers will not be required to switch to shared data, although they may do so without extending the length of their contracts. New customers will have the option of selecting from the new shared data plans or the carrier's existing individual or family plans.

tall
Smaller bottom dock, and headphone jack

Cydia Blog notes the appearance of "iPhone 5" cases from TVC-Mall that correspond to circulating rumors about the next generation iPhone.

The case design lines up with the many part leaks and schematics that have been floating around for the past several months.

IPHONE5 601B 2
The appearance of case designs shouldn't be that surprising given the numerous leaks we've already seen. The cases, however, do represent some small level of confidence by Chinese manufacturers that the next generation iPhone will match the circulating rumors. This includes a slightly taller/thinner design with a smaller bottom dock connector and a bottom-placed headphone jack.

The next generation iPhone is already said to be in production for an expected fall launch.

att logoFollowing yesterday's discovery of a dialog box in the latest iOS 6 beta suggesting that AT&T users may be subject to restrictions or additional charges if they wish to use the FaceTime video calling feature over the carrier's cellular network, the company issued a brief statement simply acknowledging that it was working with Apple and that more information would be released in the future.

TechCrunch now reports that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was specifically asked about the issue at Fortune's Brainstorm conference today, with Stephenson saying that it is simply "too early" to discuss how AT&T will handle FaceTime over cellular networks.

“I’ve heard the same rumor,” he said, insisting that for now, AT&T is focused on working with Apple to get the technology stabilized, so “it’s too early to talk about pricing.”

Stephenson's comments certainly do not rule out the idea of additional charges for the feature, and it is even unclear what the carrier's timeline is for supporting it at all. AT&T has on several occasions delayed support of similar features such as tethering and iPad personal hotspot connectivity.

In a separate report today from The Wall Street Journal, Sprint indicated that it will not be charging additional fees for cellular FaceTime usage, considering it part of the customer's existing data package. Verizon, the third major iPhone carrier in the United States, declined to comment on the issue.

Last year, Apple unveiled a new, streamline Fifth Avenue cube that reduced the number of glass panes from 90 to 15. This year, Apple Retail revamped the SoHo store with an extensive expansion into space once occupied by a United States Post Office.

Along with adding more sales space, Apple's architects redesigned the famous glass staircase. Apple first unveiled the glass staircase design at the SoHo location in 2002, a design that has made its way to dozens of high-profile stores.

glassstairs
With the SoHo redesign, Apple has done to the iconic staircase what it did to the Fifth Avenue Cube. Instead of stitching three pieces of glass together to make the sides of the staircase, Apple has built a 30-foot long, zig-zagging single pane of glass. The sides are made out of 5 single sheets of glass laminated together.

Core77 has a number of other photos of the new staircase that are worth exploring.

andy miller leap motionLeap Motion today announced (via The Next Web) that Apple's former iAd chief Andy Miller is joining the company as President and Chief Operating Officer. Miller was the founder of mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless, which Apple acquired in January 2010 to form the basis of its iAd platform. Miller left Apple last August to take a position in venture capital.

Leap Motion has introduced innovative new touch-free technology that will allow users to control their computers by gesturing in space above an iPod-sized USB peripheral sensing device. Leap Motion is currently taking pre-orders for the $70 device, which is compatible with OS X and Windows and is expected to begin shipping late this year or early next year

"I've been fortunate to work with some of the most influential figures and companies in the technology industry, and I'm as excited about the Leap as I've ever been about a technology," said Miller. "The potential for the Leap is limitless, as it is going to fundamentally change the way we interact with so many devices in our lives. I'm thrilled to come on board and looking forward to growing Leap Motion into the technology powerhouse it's on the road to becoming."

serletAs noted by AllThingsD, former Apple senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet has joined the board of directors at software virtualization company Parallels. Serlet left Apple in March 2011 and was revealed just weeks ago to be working on a new cloud-focused startup called Upthere.

Serlet will serve as a non-executive director, bringing to Parallels his distinctive professional experience of having led the development of Mac OS X from its inception until his departure from Apple in 2011. Serlet’s distinguished background and unique insights will help Parallels accelerate growth and continue creating software that simplifies life for consumers and businesses. [...]

"With Parallels Desktop, Parallels became a critical developer for the Mac platform, and I got to know and appreciate the Parallels leadership team. I also discovered Parallels deep involvement with the cloud, represented by its rich portfolio of products. I look forward to drawing on my career at Apple to help guide Parallels as it continues on its impressive growth trajectory," said Serlet.

Parallels has been one of the most popular software solutions for Mac users seeking to run Windows in a virtualized environment rather than relying on Apple's Boot Camp solution.

Last month, we highlighted a number of device restrictions regarding Apple's high-profile features for iOS 6, noting that many of them would not be compatible with the iPhone 3GS while smaller subsets would not be supported on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

ios 6 compatible iphones
But with yesterday's release of iOS 6 Beta 3 for developers, Apple has improved feature support for the iPhone 3GS, adding shared Photo Streams and VIP mail filtering. The change was noticed by a number of iPhone 3GS users, and Apple has confirmed the removal of those restrictions on its iOS 6 preview page.

While the iOS 6 preview page previously contained eight footnotes outlining various restrictions on features, that number has been reduced to six following the release of iOS 6 Beta 3. The two removed footnotes include:

- Shared Photo Streams requires iOS 6 on iPhone 4 or later or iPad 2 or later, or a Mac computer with OS X Mountain Lion. An up-to-date browser is required for accessing shared photo streams on the web.

- VIP list and VIP and Flagged smart mailboxes will be available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.

The fact that iOS 6 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS at all marks a significant step for Apple, as the device was also the minimum requirement for iOS 5 released last year. But with Apple still selling the three year-old device, the company apparently felt that it needed to bring many of the new features of iOS 6 to the iPhone 3GS and is still working to add as many as it can within the constraints of the older hardware's capabilities.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the next generation iPhone will use "in-cell" technology to make the screen thinner. In fact, they claim that mass production of the screens has already started.

Japanese liquid-crystal-display makers Sharp Corp. and Japan Display Inc.—a new company that combined three Japanese electronics makers' display units—as well as South Korea's LG Display Co. are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology, the people said.

The technology integrates touch sensors into the LCD thereby removing an separate component layer just for the touch-screen. Aside from reduced thickness, it would also improve the image quality. The Wall Street Journal also claims it will help reduce Apple's costs by eliminating separate suppliers for each component.

Reports of Apple's interest in "in-cell" technology is not new with the first reports back in April. KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo took a detailed look at the technology and suggested that the new iPhone could be at least 1.4mm slimmer than the iPhone 4S.

iphone in cell thickness

While part of the thickness savings would come from the in-cell technology, Apple could also reduce the thickness of the battery and use a thinner metal back casing.

The next generation iPhone is widely expected to be launched this fall.

As noted in our ongoing iOS 6 Beta 3 discussion thread, it appears that AT&T will be restricting and possibly charging for the new FaceTime-over-3G-network feature in iOS 6. Prior to iOS 6, FaceTime was a Wi-Fi-only service.

The following error message appears for AT&T customers in iOS 6 when trying to activate FaceTime over cellular networks:

facetime3g
The error message is similar to one given to AT&T customers who wish to enable data tethering under iOS. AT&T requires users to pay for a separate tethering data plan to enable that feature.

At the time of the original iOS 6 announcement, we had reported that many carriers were quiet of the prospect of allowing FaceTime over their cellular networks. An AT&T spokesperson said that they were "working closely with Apple on features disclosed for iOS 6, and we'll share more information with our customers as we get closer to launch." We are reaching out to AT&T for an update or statement on their plans.

9to5Mac also notes the same behavior on AT&T networks and found the same error message did not appear when trying to activate FaceTime over Verizon's 3G networks.

Update: AT&T issued this statement, which is very similar to the one issued back in June:

We're working closely with Apple on the new developer build of iOS 6 and
we'll share more information with our customers as it becomes available.

The Apple Store Passeig de Gracia is opening soon in Barcelona, Spain. However, instead of the traditional black plywood walls that are generally put in front of store locations under construction, Apple has elected to be a bit more vibrant:

NewImage
In a style honoring Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, Apple has made a Trencadís mosaic with a brilliant multi-colored Apple logo and a number of other fanciful designs that appear to be inspired by iOS app icons.

VilaWeb, a Catalan news site, has more:

Apple will open in a few days the new Apple Store in downtown Barcelona. Will be the second biggest one in Europe and a surprising logo has been discovered today featuring an Antoni Gaudí Style -the iconic Barcelona architect, master of the Sagrada Familia.

[…]

The new store is located on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, near Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, two famous buildings by the architect.

iPordelante has a number of other photos from the store.

Following the selection of Apple's proposed design as the new nano-SIM standard last month, Financial Times reports that European carriers have begun stockpiling the new nano-SIMs in expectation that Apple's next-generation iPhone will be launching using the new standard in the coming months.

Operators expect that the iPhone will feature the nano sim in a slimmed down design, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, and have begun to store millions of the cards in warehouses in anticipation of high demand for Apple’s iPhone. Apple declined to comment.

Operators were caught off guard by the adoption of the micro Sim for the iPhone 4 as well as the original iPad two years ago, with some struggling to meet demand with their own micro-Sims in the first weeks of sale.

One informed person said that the major networks were keen to be ahead of demand this time, however. He added that the iPhone 5 was likely to be similar sized as the iPhone 4 although slimmer and with a fully metal body.

nanosim
Apple's nano-SIM design next to current micro-SIM (Source: The Verge)

Back in May, however, one iPhone parts vendor posted what was said to be the SIM tray for the next-generation iPhone, with the part appearing nearly identical to the micro-SIM tray found in the iPhone 4S. If that part is genuine, it would appear that Apple has either chosen to continue using the micro-SIM standard or has quickly changed course with the ratification of the nano-SIM standard to embrace the smaller design.

Tag: ft.com
Related Forum: iPhone

icloud icon textWith today's release of iOS 6 Beta 3 to developers, Apple has revealed in the update's change log that it is beginning the first stages of transitioning users from the me.com email addresses and Apple IDs available under MobileMe to new addresses using icloud.com.

icloud.com email addresses are now available for iCloud mail users. Users signing up for new Apple IDs, or enabling Mail on their iCloud account for the first time, will automatically receive an @icloud.com email address instead of a me.com email address. iCloud users with @me.com addresses that have been used with iOS 6 beta 3 will receive an @icloud.com email address that matches their @me.com address.

Apple discontinued MobileMe in favor of iCloud as of June 30, although MobileMe users are still able to transition their accounts to iCloud for a limited time.

MobileMe and its me.com addresses were themselves transitioned in 2008 from mac.com addresses available under Apple's previous iTools and .Mac services, with MobileMe users able to send and receive email from mac.com and me.com versions of their addresses using either account.

Apple today released the third beta of iOS 6, the company's next-generation mobile operating system set to launch "this fall", presumably alongside new iPhone hardware in the September-October timeframe.

devcenterbeta3
The third beta, which arrives as Build 10A5355d, comes three weeks after the previous developer version of Build 10A5338d.

We'll update this post with additional information on the new release as it surfaces.

Users are tracking new changes both in the forum thread associated with this article and in this thread. One key addition observed so far is a new section in the Settings app for Maps, allowing users to change the volume of the navigation voice, set distances to display in miles or kilometers, set map labels to display either in the local language or always in English, and set map label sizes to either "normal" or "large".

ios 6 beta 3 maps settings
Other changes include:

- Roadwork and traffic accidents showing up in Maps app
- Answer and Decline buttons for FaceTime calls have returned
- iMessage on iPad now accepting phone number as valid contact info
- Greater 3D Flyover coverage in Maps
- Glyphs for bookmarks, Reading List, and history in Safari
- Auto-brightness changes gradually

Update: Also released today: Xcode Developer Preview 3 and Apple TV Software beta 3.