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Apple's Low-Cost iPhone Design Said to Be Mix of iPhone 5 and iPod Touch with iPod Classic Curves

iLounge follows up its reports from last week about Apple's future iOS device plans with a new report sharing details on Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone. According to the report, the new device will indeed be constructed primarily of plastic and offers design similarities to the iPhone 5, iPod touch, and even the iPod classic.From the front, the new iPhone looks almost identical to the iPhone 5—the same exact shape, with the same sensor, camera, and button arrangement. The 1136 x 640 screen isn’t a surprise, but will be a nice step up in specs for the lowest-cost iPhone. Rather than making the display flush with the enclosure, as it was in the plastic iPhone 3G/3GS, the front glass sticks out a little, just as it does with the iPhone 5 and iPod touch. Despite the shift to plastic for the rest of the enclosure, our sources believe that Apple will continue to use Gorilla Glass for this model’s screen. Differences become more obvious when the new iPhone is turned on the side. The circular volume buttons of the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 will shift to elongated, pill-shaped designs closer to the iPod touch and iPhone 3G/3GS.The device is reportedly about half a millimeter taller and wider than the iPhone 5, but also about one millimeter thicker. Similarities to the iPod classic are said to arrive in the form of the curves on the rear edges of the device. The report indicates that the sides and rear of the device will all be flat and connected by distinct curves rather than extending the curves all the way through the rear shell of the device.Unlike the plastic iPhone

iPhone 5S Said to Feature Upgraded Rear Camera, iPad Mini Update Targeted for October

Following up on his report from earlier today about Apple's plans for the full-size iPad and iPhone, iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz has a new article sharing additional information on Apple's mobile device plans. The information comes from a "trusted source" and discloses product code names for the various devices as well as plans for an upgrade to the rear camera system for the iPhone 5S.The iPhone 5S is still months away from mass production, but our source suspects that the star feature will be an upgraded rear camera—perhaps featuring Sony’s 13-Megapixel sensor, plus the aforementioned flash upgrade—along with a processor bump. Current prototypes are codenamed N51 and N53, with July mentioned as the target date.The source indicates that the code name for the fifth-generation iPad is J72, while the second-generation iPad mini has a code name of J85. The report indicates that the second-generation iPad mini is unlikely to appear until October of this year, roughly the same timeframe as for the next full-size iPad. Sources have scant information on the actual device, but suggest that it is likely to retain essentially the same form factor as the current model and add a Retina display. A move to a Retina display without increasing the physical size of the device would almost certainly necessitate a change in the display technology such as the adoption of new IGZO panels. Some previous reports had indicated that the iPad and iPad mini could see updates as soon as March as part of an effort to accelerate the product development cycle, but iLounge's claims of an October

iPad 5 Set for October Debut with Design Similar to iPad Mini? iPhone 5S and Lower-Cost iPhone Moving Forward

iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz has filed a new report offering a few new details on the fifth-generation iPad, as well as on Apple's work toward future iPhone models. Most notably, Horwitz says that he has inspected what is said to be a shell designed for the fifth-generation iPad, and that the device will adopt many of the features seen in the iPad mini's design.What does it look like? Well, it’s a lot smaller than one would guess was possible: in portrait orientation, picture a 9.7” screen with virtually no left or right bezels, and only enough space above and below the screen to accommodate the mandatory camera and Home Button elements. Beyond that, it’s noticeably thinner, as well, which is to say the the fifth-generation iPad will be smaller in every dimension than its predecessors. As it will have the same chamfered edges and curves, calling it a “stretched iPad mini” is very close to entirely accurate.The report notes that the upcoming iPad is so much smaller and thinner than the current design that it seems to require a complete redesign of the interior, likely including a shift in display technology to IGZO panels and smaller chip components. Horwitz says that while Apple had originally hoped to push the fifth-generation iPad out in March, it now appears that an October launch is more likely, perhaps due to issues with component yields. On the topic of the iPhone, Horwitz says that the iPhone 5S will unsurprisingly appear nearly identical to the iPhone 5, although it will have a slightly larger rear flash. The rumored lower-cost iPhone with a plastic shell

Apple Keeping Tight Control Over Lightning Connector, Requiring Approval of Third-Party Factories

iLounge reports that Apple is continuing to keep strict control over its new Lightning connector found on the iPhone 5, moving to tighten its Made For iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) program policies for accessory manufacturers relative to the previous 30-pin dock connector design. According to the report, Apple is demanding that all MFi vendors seeking to launch Lightning-related accessories manufacture the products in Apple-approved facilities, but the company has yet to approve any such plants.One source notes that Apple is planning an MFi “seminar,” where it will discuss changes to the program and the rules for Lightning accessory development going forward. The seminar will be held in November in China, notes the source, after the point at which third-party Lightning accessories could be manufactured in time for holiday sale. Sources have further noted that the Lightning connector has proved difficult to copy, reducing the near-term likelihood of unauthorized third-party connector cables. Apple's Lightning connector uses adaptive technology to permit a significant range of functionality with only eight contact pins, sensing what kinds of devices are being connected and dynamically assigning the pin functionalities needed for a given pairing. This dynamic assignment requires controller chips embedded in the Lightning connector cable, chips that have stymied third-party companies seeking to get a jump on the Lightning accessory

Apple's New Dock Connector with 8 Pins? Cross-Device Integration via Bluetooth 4.0?

iLounge shares a new report highlighting a couple of tidbits of information it has received about Apple's upcoming iOS device plans. According to the report, the new dock connector set to to debut on the next-generation iPhone will contain just 8 pins, compared to the 30 pins used on the current connector and the 19 pins that have been rumored by several sources for the upcoming connector.According to two sources, Apple’s new Dock Connector features only 8 pins, seemingly contradicting claims of “16-pin” and “19-pin” connectors. [...] Both of our sources concur that there are eight pins in a line within the new Dock Connector, which may well receive a different name going forward.One of iLounge's sources also claims that the new connector will include several other design features, "potentially" including the ability to mate devices with docks and cables in either orientation, eliminating the need to determine which side of the cable is the front before connecting. The report makes mention of Apple's MagSafe standard used for power connectivity on its notebooks, but this appears to be in relation to the connection orientation options rather than a specific claim that the new iOS device dock connector will use magnets for attachment. Case openings for dock connectors on iPhone 4S (left) and claimed next-generation iPhone (right) On a separate note, Apple is also said to be working on an as yet undisclosed iOS 6 feature that would take advantage of the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity available in Apple's recent products to provide new levels of inter-device

Apple Working on Standalone Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera?

In Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder was quoted as saying that his desires for the future involved the reinvention of three industries: television, textbooks, and photography. With Apple's iBooks Textbooks initiative for the iPad underway and the company reportedly working on television from both hardware and content sides, it has been unclear exactly what Jobs and Apple might have had in the works to address photography. Isaacson's biography did note that Jobs had met with the CEO of Lytro, creators of an innovative new light field camera system, although it is unclear how much direct interest Jobs and Apple had in Lytro's technology. Earlier this week, iLounge released its comprehensive New iPad Buyers' Guide, an overview of accessories, apps and other information associated with the new iPad. As noted in the announcement about the guide's release, it includes a two-page spread arguing that Apple may be working on a camera product of some sort. According to iLounge, the speculation in the guide is informed by claims from a source, although the information was not considered reliable enough to make concrete assertions at the time.Take special note of pages 152 and 153—“Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera.” I’ll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I’ll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn’t feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it’s therefore billed as

More Claims of Taller, Thinner Next-Generation iPhone with 4-Inch Screen and New Dock Connector

iLounge reports on information it has received regarding the next-generation iPhone, claiming that Apple will indeed be making the move to a 4-inch display by increasing the height only has had been previously speculated. To accommodate the taller screen, the body of the device will also become slightly taller, but it will also see an approximately 20% reduction in thickness.What we’ve learned: the new iPhone will indeed be longer and thinner than the iPhone 4 and 4S. Approximate measurements are 125mm by 58.5mm by 7.4mm—a 10mm jump in height, nearly 2mm reduction in thickness, and virtually identical width. 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. Our artist’s rendition provides a rough idea of what this change will look like; it echoes the current-generation iMac design, to be sure. The report also claims that Apple will be adopting the rumored smaller dock connector for the device, which will be "closer to a pill shape" than the existing connector. iLounge has offered some correct information in the past, and was rather accurate in its claims regarding the latest iPad. Not all of the site's claims came to fruition, however, with the new iPad's front-facing camera failing to gain HD resolution and Apple offering no sign of an enhanced smart cover for the

Enhanced Smart Cover with Rear Protection for iPad 3? Glass-Backed iPhone 5 in the Works?

iLounge shares a few items of interest from a "repeatedly reliable source" addressing the possibility of a new Smart Cover-inspired case for the iPad 3 and Apple's work on a new glass-backed design for the iPhone 5 due later this year. The first claim addresses Apple's plans for protection of the iPad 3. While the current Smart Cover for the iPad 2 is said to still work with the iPad 3, Apple is said to be working on a case that incorporates a Smart Cover-like front panel with a rear shell providing protection for the entirety of the device.Said to be similar to Incase’s Magazine Jacket (and a host of subsequent alternatives that have appeared for the iPad 2), this new case has a folding magnetized Smart Cover on the front, and a rear shell made from fiberglass covered with PU/bicast leather.The report notes that it is unclear whether the new case will be for only the iPad 3 or if it will also be compatible with the iPad 2. Incase's Magazine Jacket for original iPad The source's second claim relates to the iPhone 5, which is rumored for release later this year. According to the report, Apple is planning to once again use a glass or ceramic material for the rear of the device, countering rumors of a switch back to a metal rear casing. By incorporating thinner Gorilla Glass from Corning, Apple will reportedly be able to make the iPhone even thinner.Despite the well-established “aluminum-backed iPhone 5” rumors that have continued to circulate since the iPhone 4 was released, Apple is nonetheless continuing to experiment with glass and ceramic rear shells for

Report of Hands-On with iPad 3 Rear Shell and Other Components

iLounge, which just last week updated its claims regarding details of the next-generation iPad with mention of improved cameras, today reports that it has viewed what appear to be at least prototype parts for the device. The parts, which seem to include the rear shell and front glass bezel, reportedly corroborate iLounge's earlier claims of an almost imperceptibly thicker body and an upgraded iPhone-like rear camera.The new iPad’s body is so slightly thicker than the iPad 2 that the change is unnoticeable on first inspection; a roughly 1mm increase will barely be perceptible to users. We’ve heard that the only accessories that might have issues are cases, and then, only cases that were precisely contoured to fit the iPad 2’s back. On the rear, the camera in the upper left corner has become bigger—noticeably so when placed alongside the iPad 2, but not so huge that anyone would think they were different at a distance. The new camera hole is silver-ringed, and does in fact look the same size as the iPhone 4S’s much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash.iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz reports that some accessory manufacturers are claiming that the iPad 3 will come with a slightly smaller screen, but a front glass bezel seen by Horwitz fails to support that notion. Otherwise, the locations of all external features of the iPad 3 remain identical to those on the iPad 2. Previous leak of claimed iPad 3 display Horwitz cautions that the rear shell part he was able to view seems to have been produced at least six months ago and thus may not represent the final design

iPad 3 to Gain Improved Cameras? iPad 2 to Carry On at Lower Price?

iLounge offers a new series of notes sharing information from a source about Apple's plans for the iPad 3. Among the most interesting notes is the claim that the next-generation iPad will carry significantly improved cameras on the front and back, moving to a FaceTime HD camera on the front and a higher-resolution iPhone-like camera on the rear. The source also reiterates iLounge's earlier claim that the next-generation iPad will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2 while retaining the same general form factor.1) A few next-gen iPad notes, ahead of the show. Both cameras are getting upgrades. Front goes HD, rear becomes iPhone 4/4S-like (bigger). 2) Body of the next iPad is, as we previously reported, getting just a little thicker to accommodate new parts - little = 1mm give or take. 3) Curve radiuses on the body will change only a little to accommodate the added thickness, not dramatically. Think iPad 2 Pro, not a redesign.iLounge's source also follows some other current lines of thinking in reporting that Apple will continue to offer the iPad 2 alongside the iPad 3, dropping the price of the current model in order to tackle increasing competition from lower-priced competitors such as Amazon's Kindle Fire. Horwitz offers a $399 base price for the iPad 2 as a possibility, although that number appears to be pure speculation. Finally, the iPad 3 is said to be in line for another March release, similar to that seen with the iPad 2 last

March Launch for Slightly Thicker iPad 3? iPhone with 4-Inch Screen in Summer?

iLounge offers a series of tidbits from its "most reliable source" regarding Apple's product plans for 2012, reporting that the iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Pro will all be receiving redesigns. - iPad: The source indicates that the iPad 3 is planned to launch in March and that it will be approximately 0.7 mm thicker than the iPad 2 due to the need to incorporate a dual light bar system for the higher-resolution display. The iPad 2 currently checks in 8.8 mm thick, which would make the iPad 3 approximately 8% thicker than the iPad 2 but still substantially thinner than the 13.4 mm original iPad. Previous "iPhone 5" mockup based on leaked case designs - iPhone: iLounge's source claims that the next-generation will not resemble the teardrop "iPhone 5" design that circulated ahead of the iPhone 4S introduction last month. The next iPhone is, however, said to carry a 4-inch display (up from 3.5 inches in the current iPhone) and be 8 mm longer than the current form factor. Apple is said to be targeting a summer launch for the device, which would mark a short interval from the iPhone 4S launch last month. - MacBook Pro: The source indicates that 2012 will indeed see the launch of a thinner MacBook Pro form factor, barring any last-minute problems. We've been hearing for some time that Apple has been finishing up work on just such a redesign, although the company did sneak in one last minor refresh using the current form factor just last month. Recent reports have claimed that an ultra-thin 15" Mac notebook, whether it be a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, is on target

AirPlay and Thunderbolt May Be Limited to High-End Devices to Start

Earlier today, we noted that LaCie is preparing to roll out its first Thunderbolt-enabled Little Big Disk external hard drives, although the initial models will be limited to higher-end SSD-based devices. iLounge now reports that slow roll-out of Thunderbolt and the lack of consumer-based options may be due to high pricing for incorporating the technology, an issue that appears to also be affecting third-party peripherals compatible with Apple's AirPlay streaming technology. According to the report, the inclusion of Thunderbolt or AirPlay compatibility can add as much as $100 to the price of these devices, limiting their ability to address mainstream consumer markets.Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple's standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved. We similarly have learned that the price of the components required to add a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive is roughly equal to the cost of a low-end hard drive itself, a high cost that one developer has suggested will limit Thunderbolt's near-term use to products aimed at the professional market.For the time being, announced Thunderbolt products do seem to be coming in at price points above those typically within range of mainstream consumers, as evidenced by Promise's 8 TB Pegasus RAID R4, which briefly appeared on Apple's store priced at $1399.95 before being pulled. That price is only $100 more than

MobileMe Revamp Set for April Launch? Existing Support to Continue for One Year?

iLounge reports that Apple is planning to roll out its revamped MobileMe service next month, potentially unveiling a new cloud-based service allowing users to store their music, photos, and other content for access from any of a number of Internet-connected devices. The source, who works for a major educational institution, claims the schools supplier has said the current version of MobileMe is no longer available, and that Apple is suggesting new students sign up for the 60-day trial to cover the gap between the final MobileMe shipment and the launch of the new version.The source also indicates that Apple plans to support the existing MobileMe service for the next year, suggesting that the new service may be different enough from existing offerings to allow the current program to continue for those who have already paid up for a year's subscription. While we have reservations about the secondhand nature of the information originating from a "supplier", an April launch for the new MobileMe would fit with a report from earlier this month claiming that Apple will hold a media event early next month to preview iOS 5 and unveil the revamped MobileMe services. Apple has been said to be working on an overhaul of MobileMe, and the company last month discontinued the retail box versions of MobileMe and removed the option for bundling discounted MobileMe service with new Mac purchases, suggesting that Apple may be downplaying its current MobileMe services ahead of the

Another iPad Coming Later This Year? Total MacBook Pro Revamp in 2012?

iPad 2 mockup iLounge reports on several items of interest in light of today's MacBook Pro and iPad news, most notably claiming that some questions have arisen about just what Apple will be able to show at next week's iPad media event and when a true "second-generation" iPad will become available. Two reliable sources are suggesting that next week's "iPad 2" event has some serious cliffhanger potential - as in, consumers may not see the real "iPad 2" for some time. There's apparently some truth to the reports of production problems with the new model, and as a result, no one is really sure at this point what Apple is going to be shipping as the "iPad 2," or when.The report lends credence to a theory put forth by Daring Fireball's John Gruber several weeks ago stating that Apple could release another new version of the iPad as soon as September. iLounge's report takes the angle that Apple could be preparing to release something that could be more accurately considered an "iPad 1.5" with a camera and other tweaks to carry consumers through to a more substantial upgrade later this year. In any case, our sources aren't sure whether Apple is going to release the iPad 1.5 now and call it the iPad 2, hold off a few months and release something dramatically better, or hold off a few months and release the iPad 1.5. The sources strongly believe that Apple cannot possibly ship enough truly "new" iPads to meet a late March or early April release date. One expects that Apple will only preview the next iPad at next week's event, then release it widely around June. A price drop for

iPod Nano and iPod Touch Dimensions Revealed?

iLounge claims to have dimensions of the new iPod Nano and iPod Touch which are expected to be released at next week's September 9th media event. The new iPod Nano resembles circulating rumors, though the front display does not appear to be as curved as previously depicted. The new iPod Touch will be receiving a tapered design much like the new iPhone 3G. The new case appears to be slightly thicker than the existing iPod Touch and also reveals physical volume controls which are absent on the current iPod Touch. Case manufacturer XSKN is already selling cases for the 4th Generation nano which match the design and does suggest a very rounded design. Apple is expected to release these new iPods on September 9th,