With a fresh Mac lineup and rumors building, the new Third Generation iPhone 2,1 is on the way

19 03 2009

With the entire Mac line finally brought up to date, the iPhone 3G begins to show age in the Apple lineup.

iPhone case back full

On the first Tuesday of this month, Apple updated the Mac Pro, Mac mini and iMac desktop models, outfitting them with the latest Intel processors and NVIDIA graphics. Finally killing off Firewire 400, including mini Display Port connectors; the changes finally unified Apple’s desktop offerings with the unibody MacBook family, unveiled in October 2008. Since that “Spotlight on Notebooks” event, every Mac has seen an update. The iPod line was updated in September 2008, including the third generation iPod shuffle introduction last week. Even the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule Wi-Fi router and NAS devices saw updates recently. This leaves the iPhone 3G as one of the oldest major offering of Apple hardware on the market- if you can even believe that.

Announced at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2008, the iPhone 3G replaced the original iPhone with a lower price tag (subsidized by the carriers), 3G and 2.5G cellular capability, built in GPS functionality and a refined case and audio components. Since the July 11th launch, over 15 million units have been shipped worldwide giving Apple a surge in marketshare to 8 percent of all smartphones, using the latest numbers from Gartner.

Apple has indicated in the past that early summer is the iPhone refresh period alike early fall for iPods. While the original iPhone was introduced at Macworld 2007, it launched June 29th that year. The iPhone 3G was announced at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 9th 2008 but didn’t launch until July 11th later that year.

In April of 2008, iPodObserver leaked an image of the back of what turned out to be the iPhone 3G. Again in February 2009, iPodObserver published the image (shown, above and a closer up, below) of an iPhone with a curved matte finish back. While leaked images rarely turn out to be accurate, the images do look legitimate and sport a unseen iPhone model number, “A1303”.

iPhone case back bottom

Additionally in late January, MacRumors reported seeing server logs populated with a mysterious iPhone device labeled iPhone 2,1. Apple uses these hardware identity strings to distinguish different hardware models- the original iPhone is designated hardware string iPhone 1,1 while the iPhone 3G was labeled iPhone 1,2. Interestingly, the first generation iPod Touch was introduced with the iPod 1,1 and the second generation iPod 2,1. The second generation iPod Touch added a internal speaker, hardware volume controls, microphone support and a updated processor.

Thus, the 2 in the iPhone 2,1 might reveal that there will most likely be more significant changes in the hardware of the new iPhone than seen with the first generation iPhone and second generation iPhone (iPhone 3G). While it remains unclear at this point what the changes will be, there have been a number of rumors about updated, multi-core processors manufactured by Imagination Technologies. The company is known as the firm behind the PowerVR graphics core used in the iPhone today.

Just yesterday, the company announced new highly efficient PowerVR multi-processor chips that might find their way into the next generation iPhone. Other rumors, left over from the buildup to the iPhone 3G announcement have pointed towards the addition of a second forward facing camera and or video capabilities.

iPhone case back

Whatever the new iPhone will bring us, both from the growing number of rumors and 3.0 firmware and SDK preview, it appears we are all in for a significant revision. As we get closer to WWDC 2009, we will most likely know more about the upcoming iPhone. Stick with The iLife for continuing development and analysis of rumors. But for now check out the following links if you want to learn more about upcoming the iPhone.

PinchMedia iPhone 2,1
New Imagination Technologies chip analysis
Major architectural changes suggested by iPhone 2,1



First Look: Sony Style Store and Comcast Labs

19 03 2009

I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the new Sony Style store and Comcast Labs, located in the Comcast Center (Comcast’s main corporate headquarters) at 17th and Market in Philadelphia.

1-welcome-screens

The Comcast Center is also home to “The Market at Comcast Center”, a area with a bunch of food stalls and shops, and “The Comcast Experience,” a 2,000 square-foot LED screen, with a resolution 500% greater than that of an HDTV. The Sony Style store / Comcast Labs is accessed through a large staircase in the main Comcast Center building, near the giant LED screen. You can see part of the entrance stairway and the LED screen the photo below:


comcast-center-entrance

You can also access it from the Market entrance, either way, you have to go underground, but it is wheel chair accessible.

We will take a look inside the store and lab, after the jump.

Read more…



iPhone 3.0 firmware and SDK previewed and released!

17 03 2009

It’s finally here! Today, Apple released in specific detail the new iPhone 3.0 firmware and new iPhone SDK! Rumors have been flying for weeks about what is to be released this morning and we have all the answers.

iphone-os-30

The waiting is finally over! After weeks of anticipation, apple has previewed the iPhone 3.0 firmware to the public. The new 3.0 firmware has many features that we have been dreaming about since January 9, 2007. They include:

  • Copy and Paste
  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
  • Landscape view in SMS, Mail and Notes (was already in Safari)
  • In-applicationĀ  purchasing, like extra content
  • Access iPod library from your application
  • Spotlight to search your iPhone
  • A2DP (Stereo Bluetooth) Capability
  • And more

The Firmware will be free to all iPhone users but will cost $9.95 for iPod touch users.

New iPhone SDK

The new iPhone SDK has many exciting features that Apple Developers are excited about. The most notable of these is the ability to test your developed apps before releasing them into the open market of iTunes. It also includes over 1,000 new API’s!

All in all, today we witnessed the next generation in mobile devices. Many people were worried that the new Palm Pre would contain many apps that the iPhone did not and become the leader in the smartphone market, but Apple took care of these worries. The new SDK is currently available to registered Apple developers and the 3.0 firmware will be available to the public sometime in June.



iPhone Developers Given Access to iPhone 3.0 SDK and Firmware Starting Today (Updated)!

17 03 2009

After the 3.0 preview Tuesday, Apple has updated the iPhone Developer Connection website to let developers get their hands on the 3.0 SDK and firmware.

We'll be back soon. iPhone Developers

The site which normally hosts the latest firmwares and SDK releases and notes is temporarily down and displays the famous sticky note reading “We’ll Be Back Soon” from the online Apple Store. In the 3.0 event, over 1000 new API’s have been opened up to developers including the Push Notification Service, which is finally making light since the WWDC 2008 preview (and promised September 2008 availability date). Apple promised all current and future iPhone developers will have access to the new firmwares and SDK builds- but is unclear at this time if that extends to non-paid iPhone developers.

Update: [3:22 PM EST] The Apple Developer homepage (developer.apple.com) and other pages (here) has been updated with new iPhone SDK information but the iPhone Developer Center is still down.

Update: [3:37 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center is back up, fresh with new content for 3.0. We are combing through it now and will post up interesting finds soon. Note: the site is being very unresponsive.

Update: [5:02 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center, while up, has not let us log in yet.

Update: [5:42 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center, is still being very temperamental, but we have managed to get a look and begin downloads of 3.0 software!

More information will be coming as soon as we can get it.



Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 10.6 Build 10A286 Exclusive Preview

17 03 2009

In an unusual move late Monday evening, The iLife has received a number of exclusive looks into the latest Snow Leopard build.

about-this-mac-SNOW-leopard-10a286

These screenshots shown in the gallery below detail some small subtitle changes in the latest non internal build of Mac OS X 10.6. The build, titled 10A286 was seeded to Apple Developers earlier this month.

Of the notable changes, is the Cocoa Finder. The source indicates the font is different and there are small animations when selecting a file or renaming a folder or file. There is also a new right click (or control click) menu that includes “Make New Sticky Note”, “Show Address in Google Maps” and “Send Selection” (to Mail) among other additions. The new trash “Put Back” menu option is indeed present and our source says you can even launch trashed items while they are still in the trash. Our source noted everything from web browsing to opening programs ran considerably faster on his MacBook Pro (4,1). This is not surprising considering the new 64 bit Kernel as seen in the Activity Monitor shot.

The new QuickTime X interface is demonstrated in two screenshots below, which is the only instance of the “black glass” interface being used throughout the build, which breaks the Leopard ‘unified interface’. Also the Exchange support implemented within iCal, Mail and Address Book is a new addition. The Calculator application now features a “Convert” menu. The Image Capture, Font Book and Bluetooth Setup Assistant have seen small interface changes, bringing them up to speed with the latest Apple looks. The Trackpad and Energy Saver icons in System Preferences have changed to reflect that of the new unibody MacBooks and more interestingly, the four finger gestures have also been implemented to non unibody MacBooks supporting multi-touch. Finally, when taking screenshots instead of being labeled with “Picture X” (going in sequential numerical order), the screenshots are now titled by default with the date and time.

Happy 300th post and thanks to our anonymous source for the tips!



Newer, Smaller iPod Shuffle

11 03 2009

shufflekey

New to the list of Apple’s recent product revisions is the now smaller $79.00 iPod Shuffle. They sport 4 GB storage in a 1.8″ x 0.7″ x 0.3″ housing weighing less than an ounce. It can play for about 10 hours from a full charge, and as always is compatible with Mac and PC through iTunes.

Apple quietly updated the iPod Shuffle today, closing the online store early in the morning and reopening it with the new iPod. The iPod Shuffle is much like the his older cousins, small, sleek, and uses a clip to hold on to whatever you want. The Shuffle comes only in two colors, silver and black aluminum, and the clip is made of shiny stainless steel.

The major feature Apple is pushing for this new iPod Shuffle is VoiceOver, which can tell you the song you are playing (without interrupting the song), recite playlists you have loaded onto it, and warn you when your battery is low. This is a great improvement over the old shuffle, where you were stuck with one playlist, and there was no way to find out what song you were listening to. However, the computerized voice may get on your nerves if you are sensitive to it.

Lastly, when you buy the shuffle, you are stuck with Apple’s earbuds. They have removed buttons from the actual device, and have placed them on the right side earphone cord. Although this is handy, if you don’t like Apple’s earbuds, there is nothing you can do about it until an adapter comes out, and that adapter will be a separate purchase. Not to mention the controls you will have to memorize a combination of controls just to use it, take a look:

shufflecontrol

Pros: VoiceOver, Smaller, Long Battery Life, Very Nice Look

Cons: Proprietary Headphones, unknown Adapter price-tag, VoiceOver voice can be irritating, only 2 bland colors (black and silver)

If you plan on buying an iPod, the Shuffle is the cheapest and does music like all the other iPods. You lose out on the screen and video that the 8GB $149.00 iPod Nano would give you, though if you only want the music in a small package, Apple has the answer in a fashionable package.