Apple’s highly anticipated, annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is almost upon us, and there are tons of rumours floating around just waiting to be confirmed or squashed. The conference is schedule to begin with a keynote speech on Monday, June 10th at 10:00 AM Pacific Time. So what can we expect Apple to unveil next week? Here are a few samples of what might be in store:
News For Mobile: iOS 7
Apple has already promised to release a new version of iOS and OS X, so WWDC will likely receive the very first peak at what the new software has to offer. The keynote will likely discuss the updates and changes made to the OS, which will include revealing the details of the new ‘flat design’ and visual makeover propelled by designer Jony Ive. Other rumoured updates include further integration with social networks, Airdrop file sharing, and better vehicle integration of Siri and Maps.
Developers attending WWDC may be lucky enough to receive access to iOS 7 before the public so they can begin creating new apps and test out the OS themselves.
News For Mac: OS X 10.9
So far, Apple has not made any official announcements to the public regarding an upcoming version of its operating system for Mac. However, rumoured updates for Apple’s Mac OS include improvements to Safari, Finder, and support for multiple monitors; as well as potential use of Siri and Maps integration for the OS.
Other Rumours: “iRadio”
There has been a long time rumour that Apple is developing a service for streaming radio, but nothing has yet been confirmed. MacRumours noted that Apple was reportedly struggling to strike a deal with major record labels and publishers, causing huge delays in its radio streaming project, which has been unofficially named “iRadio”. Some reports suggest that Apple has worked out some of the kinks and will be unveiling the service at WWDC next week.
Rumors of an “iPad mini” have been persistent over the past couple of years, despite an early dismissal of the 7″ tablet form-factor by Apple’s Steve Jobs:
There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can’t touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is minimum necessary.
Jobs’ dismissal centers around an interface issue that a 10-inch screen is believed to be the minimum necessary to provide a good user interface.
Still, rumors of a smaller iPad have persisted with the latest rumors pinpointing a 7.85″ screen for such a device. Apple has reportedly received samples of 1024×768 7.85″ screens with rumors of mass production of the device sometime this fall.
AppAdvice digs into this exact screen size and reveals why the 7.85″ size is not as arbitrary as it might seem.
The site calculates the points per inch (PPI) of such an imaginary 7.85″ 1024×768 display and finds it to be 163 PPI. This is the exact same pixel density as the original iPhone and iPod Touch before the Retina Display. Apple’s human interface guidelines for iOS development for both iPad and iPhone outline that the minimum size for tappable user interface elements at 44 x 44 points (0.27 x 0.27 inches on the original iPhone screen).
This 44 x 44 point size recommendation is true for the original iPhone and the original iPad, even though the original iPad was slightly less pixel-dense. (On Retina-enabled displays, the recommendation remains at 44 x 44 points, but with each point represented by 2 pixels)
What this means is that any iPad application that was designed with these guidelines in mind would never drop below Apple’s recommended 44 x 44 point (0.27 x 0.27 inches) when displayed on a 7.85″ miniaturized iPad. As we noted in our paper mockup of a iPad mini, that the user interface elements seemed perfectly usable on the smaller screen, and this would explain why. iPad apps would run without modification on a 7.85″ iPad without any elements dropping below what Apple considers the minimal tappable size.
None of this means that Apple will definitely be producing such a device, but does show the 7.85″ size is not an arbitrary decision. Existing iPad apps would run reasonably well without modification on such a device.
Mapping company UpNext has released a new iPad app with its 3D mapping technology. The app shows uses points of interest and friends Foursquare check-ins to help users navigate on a 3D representation of close to 50 cities. TechCrunch, writing about the app, says:
I am seriously impressed. The resolution is great and the onscreen update speed is amazing. It offers the best of services like Google Maps alongside real city imagery, allowing you to use the map to orient yourself in 3D space. A blinking dot on a 2D street-scape works, but a 3D dot in a 3D city works even better.
The app boasts what UpNext calls “enhanced 3D” for 22 cities, with rich building and road detail:
Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, Washington DC
UpNext HD Maps for iPad is available free on the App Store.
CNET yesterday reported that Verizon has announced a “hard requirement” that all future smartphones released on the carrier support 4G LTE technology for faster data speeds. That requirement has naturally led to speculation that the carrier has all but confirmed that the iPhone 5 will support LTE, which had already been widely assumed and rumored.
Verizon’s statement does, however, come with a minor catch, as there will reportedly be occasional exceptions to the LTE requirement, although those exceptions seem to be planned for the carrier’s push-to-talk business.
From now on, nearly every smartphone, wireless hot spot, tablet, and Netbook that Verizon offers will come with LTE guns a-blazing. Yes, Virginia, that includes Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices, too.
There will be the occasional exception, however. For instance, phones on Verizon’s push-to-talk network are 3G-only for now, and will remain that way until further notice.
Verizon’s clear, unyielding stance on 4G–“a hard requirement,” according to Verizon–may partially explain why it has picked up only one Windows Phone so far.
The report notes that Verizon currently leads the pack among U.S. carriers when it comes to LTE deployment, already covering 200 million people in 190 markets with plans to complete the buildout by the end of next year. Unsurprisingly, Verizon is seeking to use its lead in LTE to its advantage by pushing its users onto devices offering the faster speeds.
Following up on last month’s threat to file suit over the Apple-backed agency model of e-book pricing, the U.S. Department of Justice today sued Apple and a number of book publishers over the practice, Bloomberg briefly reports. Settlement talks had been ongoing, but Apple and the publishers were reportedly unwilling to meet the Department of Justice’s demands.
The U.S. filed a price- fixing antitrust lawsuit against Apple Corp. and Hachette in New York district court over eBook pricing. The government also sued HarperCollins, Macmillan and Penguin, according to court papers.
Settlement talks had centered around dismantling the agency model, which sees publishers set retail pricing and vendors receive a percentage of the sales price. Apple had pushed for the agency model in an attempt to dilute Amazon’s power in the book market, where it had offered vast discounts, even sometimes selling books at a loss, in order to attract customers who would make other purchases through the site.
But the Department of Justice believes that the agency model as implemented by the publishers at Apple’s behest amounts to collusion, with contracts between Apple and the publishers including language that prevented the publishers from offering lower pricing to competitors than they did to Apple. Contrary to the government’s claims of an anti-competitive impact from the agency model, Apple and several of the publishers have argued that the move has fostered competitiveness by limiting Amazon’s stranglehold on the book market. Consequently, the two sides have been unable to reach a settlement.
More than a year after a media event launching News Corp’s tablet news app The Daily on the iPad, the publication has now expanded to the iPhone [App Store].
The Daily took the world by storm in 2011 as the first ever custom daily news app created and designed from scratch for the iPad. By popular demand, it’s now available on the go for iPhones. Get the same amazing content as the iPad app, optimized for your phone.
The app is free to download with a selection of free articles available to read. Full subscriptions are priced at $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year, essentially half the price of the iPad version, which costs $0.99 per week or $39.99 per year. Subscribers to the iPad edition can also access the iPhone edition for free.
MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories
Reuters reports on a new study from mobile network consulting firm Arieso showing that iPhone 4S users consume twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, with new features such as Siri driving the increased demand.
IPhone 4S users transfer on average three times more data than users of the older iPhone 3G model which was used as the benchmark in a study by telecom network technology firm Arieso.
Data usage of the previous model, the iPhone 4, was only 1.6 times higher than the iPhone 3G, while iPad2 tablets consumed 2.5 times more data than the iPhone 3G, the study showed.
The spike in data usage for iPhone 4S users is likely not fully explained by the debut of Siri on the device, as a study by Ars Technica conducted soon after the device’s launch revealed an average of 63 KB of data used per query. With even high-use users reporting making an average of fifteen queries per day, that would equate to approximately 30 MB of usage per month if all queries were performed over cellular networks.
As noted by ZDNet, other factors such as iTunes Match, iCloud, device speeds, larger photos, and “new toy syndrome” are also all likely contributing to the increased data usage.
Data usage has become a major area of concern for carriers as they seek to deal with the surging demand from smartphone users that are growing rapidly in number and in their demands for content. While a number of carriers such as AT&T and Verizon launched the iPhone with “unlimited” data plans, most carriers have now switched to tiered data plans for new customers as they seek to encourage more modest data consumption and extract additional revenue from the heaviest data users.
Consequently, customers have had to become more aware of their data usage needs as they determine which data plan to sign up for in order to avoid what can be significant overage charges.
U.S. carrier T-Mobile has decided to offer “additional support” to customers using the iPhone on its network, reports TmoNews. While T-Mobile doesn’t sell the iPhone, it reports that more than 1 million unlocked iPhones are used on its network and the additional support will be useful to T-Mobile’s less tech-savvy iPhone users.
T-Mobile will support users who have questions about “common procedures, information about feature and specifications and other basic device questions.” Most T-Mobile iPhone users are limited to T-Mobile’s slower EDGE network due to the iPhone’s incompatibility with the 1700/2100 MHz bands used by the carrier for its faster data networks. Late last year, though, some of T-Mobile’s towers were adjusted for its faster HSPA+ network, moving them to the iPhone-accessible 1900MHz band in some “pockets” of the country.
Earlier this month, T-Mobile claimed the next iPhone chipset could be capable of supporting the carrier’s Advanced Wireless Spectrum, but noted that it didn’t have any specific knowledge of Apple’s future products.
Three months after the iPhone arrived on Sprint, the carrier has launched an app allowing customers easy access to their account and to iPhone and Sprint customer support information.
In the US, AT&T and Verizon, the other two iPhone carriers, both have existing account management apps. They all work similarly, allowing customers to pay their bill, track usage, and get contact information for stores and customer support.
Sprint Mobile Zone is available free for the iPhone on the App Store. [Direct Link]
MyAT&T [Direct Link] and My Verizon Mobile [Direct Link] are also available free from the App Store.
Showtime has joined fellow premium television network HBO in offering an iPad app to stream video to its subscribers. The free app, called Showtime Anytime, serves up Showtime’s original programming — TV series like Homeland, Dexter and Weeds, among other things like boxing — and the movies running on the various Showtime networks.
Get unlimited access to full length versions of your favorite SHOWTIME® programs – acclaimed Original Series, uncut hit movies, hard hitting sports, comedy, reality/documentaries and much more, right at your fingertips.
Currently, the app only works for Showtime subscribers through AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS. Comcast subscribers can access Showtime’s content through the Xfinity TV app, but Showtime says the Anytime app will work for Comcast subs “soon.”