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Apple to Launch 'Garageband for e-books' on Thursday? [Updated]

Apple's education-focused media event is scheduled for this Thursday, and more details seem to be leaking out. Earlier this evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on this project since last June. Now, ArsTechnica claims that one of the key components of Thursday's announcement is a new publishing tool for eBooks. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand. Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.Apple is said to be announcing support for the ePub 3 standard as well, and hopes to open the door for publishers to easily create interactive e-books. Steve Jobs is said to have been intimately involved with the project for several years. Apple's media event is being held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Thursday, January 19. It is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Eastern / 7:00 AM Pacific, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has been reported to be a key figure in the presentation. Update: Fortune claims that the report by Ars Technica, specifically including information from Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis, was "seriously overhyped". In particular, Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt takes exception to the claims that Apple will release a "GarageBand for e-books" to enable simple digital textbook creation, instead claiming that the reference was to a sample app that will be demoed by Apple

Apple Set to Shift From Samsung to TSMC for 'A6' Chip Production Next Year?

Back in March, a report suggested that Apple was preparing to shift production of its A5 system-on-a-chip for the iPad 2 from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a deal that was claimed to span multiple generations of chips and would reduce Apple's reliance on competitor and legal foe Samsung for iOS device components. Early examinations of iPad 2 chips did, however, reveal that Samsung continued to be Apple's supplier for the brains of the popular tablet device. Talk of TSMC striking a deal with Apple revived late last week, with Merrill Lynch analyst Dan Heyler claiming that the chip manufacturer stands a good chance of winning orders for Apple's next-generation "A6" chip next year. And today Ars Technica weighs in, sharing word from a "plugged-in source" that chatter about an Apple-TSMC deal is "growing deafening".While Apple continues to source components from Samsung for its mobile devices under contracts that were likely signed more than a year ago, Apple presented a huge pile of evidence that Samsung was attempting to copy at least some of the secret sauce that made its iPhone and iPad so successful. So Apple very likely sees moving production to a non-competitor as a strategic business move. Dan Heyler, a semiconductor analyst with Merrill Lynch in Taipei, told the China-based Commercial Times newspaper on Friday that TSMC will most likely be producing "A6" processors for Apple, a next-generation ARM-based design, in 2012. That jibes with what Ars has heard from a plugged-in source -- that the chatter on the foundry grapevine about

New Time Capsules to Run iOS on A4/A5 Processors?

Earlier this week, we noted that a number of Apple's retail stores have run dry of stocks of Time Capsules, AirPort Extremes, and in some cases AirPort Expresses, leading to speculation that a refresh could come at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference. Reports quickly arose claiming that Apple has been known to have at least internally tested new Time Capsules capable of caching software updates for Macs and iOS devices, delivering them quickly to the machines for updating. In a separate report, Ars Technica briefly notes that it has received word that the new Time Capsule may actually follow the pattern of the Apple TV, taking on an A4 or A5 processor from Apple and running iOS to manage the more advanced functions that could appear in the device.Our own source tells Ars that the revised hardware is believed to be built around Apple's own A4 or A5 processor, and will run iOS much like the most recent Apple TV model.Harnessing the power of iOS directly within the Time Capsule device, even if on a scaled-down basis as in the Apple TV, naturally opens the door to further speculation of how Apple could tie together iCloud services with local storage on users' own networks, whether it be caching some iCloud content to the Time Capsule for faster access when on the local network or even pushing some of the Time Machine functions included on the current Time Capsule out to iCloud itself. Separately, we've heard an unconfirmed tip that iOS 5 may finally be bringing wireless syncing to iOS devices, including the intriguing claim that the wireless syncing could be