Pre-Orders for Next-Generation iPhone to Start September 12?

Last month, iMore was the first to report that Apple will be holding its media event to introduce the next-generation iPhone on September 12. Now, the blog reports that pre-orders for the device will occur on the same day ahead of the rumored launch date of September 21st.

Usually, Apple’s first launch wave includes the United States and perhaps twenty four other countries. iMore also notes that the upcoming wave of launches after the first launch will bring the device to additional countries is scheduled for the first week of October.

The report also notes that this sequence of events will be similar to last year’s iPhone 4S introduction. Apple’s iPhone 4S was introduced on October 4th and pre-orders began three days later on October 7. Then a week later, the iPhone 4S launched in the United States and six other countries on October 14. Remember, all these dates are speculation and nothing is confirmed until Apple confirms it.

Apple Settles Chinese iPad Trademark Dispute with Proview for $60 Million

Today, The Guangdong High People’s Court has declared an end to the legal dispute between Apple and Proview after making the news of the settlement public, the Associated Press reported. The court had announced that Apple has reached an agreement with Proview to pay $60 million for the Chinese rights to the iPad trademark. The figure being paid is much higher than the $55,000 Apple claimed to have paid for the trademark in 2009.

In late 2010, Proview  began publicly objecting to Apple’s use of the iPad name, with the situation escalating to a point where Proview demanded bans on the iPad in the country and asked for up to $2 billion in compensation.  Earlier this year,  Apple reportedly was willing to offer $16 million to settle the case. However, Proview was apparently holding out for a $400 million settlement that could save the company as it seeks to recover from bankruptcy.

$60 million may sound like a lot, and it is, but Apple should have no problem paying up due to there $100 billion+ in cash. In fact, Apple’s making $1,600 every second. See that, Appel just made another $1,600. Boom! Just like that.

Google Chrome Causing Freezing and Crashing on New Mac Notebooks

This past week,  Gizmodo has higlighted freezing and crashing issues on several of its staff’s new MacBook Air models, linking the problems to Google Chrome. When the staff switched to Apple’s Safari browser, it has eliminated all the issue.

Now, Google has issued a statement to Gizmodo acknowledging that Chrome is the reason for the issues and discussing the steps it is taking to address the issue. Temporarily, Google has disabled Chrome’s GPU acceleration while it works on deploying a permanent solution. Google has also filed a bug report with Apple as such issues should not be able to cause an entire system to freeze or crash.

“We have identified a leak of graphics resources in the Chrome browser related to the drawing of plugins on Mac OS X. Work is proceeding to find and fix the root cause of the leak.

The resource leak is causing a kernel panic on Mac hardware containing the Intel HD 4000 graphics chip (e.g. the new Macbook Airs). Radar bug number 11762608 has been filed with Apple regarding the kernel panics, since it should not be possible for an application to trigger such behavior.

While the root cause of the leak is being fixed, we are temporarily disabling some of Chrome’s GPU acceleration features on the affected hardware via an auto-updated release that went out this afternoon (Thursday June 28). We anticipate further fixes in the coming days which will re-enable many or all of these features on this hardware.”

The issue is affecting all systems using Intel HD 4000 graphics, all of Apple’s notebook models released earlier this month may have the issue and owners of the new MacBook Pro models are indeed also reporting the issue.

Apple Announces Retirement of Bob Mansfield, Senior VP of Hardware Engineering

Apple has announced in a press release that Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield is retiring. His role will be transitioned to Dan Riccio, Apple’s Vice President of iPad Hardware Engineering. Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 and has led Mac hardware engineering since 2005, along with iPhone, iPod, and iPad engineering since 2010. In the recent years, he has contributed to Apple’s success. He oversaw the development of the MacBook Air notebooks,  as well as recent iPhone and iPad designs. He sold off more than $70 million in Apple stock and options in the past few years.

Apple® today announced that Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire and the role will be transitioned to Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering, over several months. The entire hardware engineering team will continue to report to Mansfield until his departure.

“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”

Dan Riccio, the executive who will be replacing Mansfield responsibilities, has been with Apple since 1998. Riccio was the the vice president of product design for 12 years before taking over the iPad division in 2010. Apple’s press release says Riccio “has been a key contributor to most of Apple’s hardware over his career.” Notice, how the company’s new senior vice president of hardware engineering is the vice president of iPad hardware engineering.

Also, in a separate announcement made today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple reported that Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Office, Betsy Rafael, will also be retiring, effective October 19.

Thank you, Bob Mansfield for taking engineering to a whole new level.

Google Releases Chrome and Google Drive app for iOS

Yesterday, Google announced that it has released a version of Google Chrome for iPhone and iPad. The app is available via the App Store for free. . Macquarie analyst Ben Schacter predicted last month that Google Chrome was coming to iOS. The Chrome browser for iOS offers an “incognito” private browsing mode as well as syncing with the desktop version of Chrome. It also offers Google’s own unique tabbed browsing interface. [Direct Link]

Apple’s App Store rules don’t allow third-party developers to offer their own rendering or JavaScript engines. This means that the iOS version of WebKit must be used by all browsers available in the App Store. But Google’s Chrome for iOS will add its own user interface over Apple’s technical browser rules. Google also released an iOS app for Google Drive.  [App Store]

So wait, you can use Google Chrome on more than 90% of existing iOS device, but only 7.1% Android devices? Who would have thought?

Apple Planning Major Overhaul of iTunes for Late 2012

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning a major overhaul of its iTunes software. This rumored overhaul would help integrate its iCloud services and add new features for music. According to the report, Apple will embed iCloud into the iTunes Store so that users can “more seamlessly access” their digital content. It is reported that Apple has been in talks with the record labels to allow users to send songs to friends for listening.

Also, the new iTunes will include changes to how users find new content and how they access what they already own on different Apple devices. Apple is looking to improve organization of users’ content and splitting out some functions of iTunes as it did yesterday on iOS with its new Podcasts app. Hopefully, this happens so that iTunes becomes less bloated. The company is also considering including more multimedia content in the iTunes Store, requesting more photos and music videos from artists to help broaden its offerings.

The revamped iTunes is rumored to launch before the end of the year and is said to be one of the largest sets of changes since the iTunes Store’s debut in 2003.

iPhone Turns Five Years Old the Friday with 250 Million Units Sold, $150 Billion in Revenue

This Friday will mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of the first iPhone. The first iPhone was officially launched on June 29th, 2007. Research firms Strategy Analytics has put together some interesting statistics, noting that has shipped 250 million iPhones cumulatively worldwide, generating $150 billion in cumulative revenues.

“The iPhone portfolio has become a huge generator of cash and profit for Apple,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. “A quarter of a billion iPhones have been shipped cumulatively worldwide in the first five years since launch and Apple reaches its fifth birthday at the top of its game.”

With the iPhone sales continuing to grow, more than 100 million of those unit sales have come during this past year. The iPhone 4S has caused a significant part of the surge, with over 35 million units sold in each of the past two quarters.

Business Insider also points out that the iPhone generates more quarterly revenue than Microsoft’s entire business, generates more profit than GE, Microsoft, or Google, and has remade the technology industry with its dominating position. Wow.

Use whatever you like, but don’t deny that the iPhone didn’t revolutionize many industries.

Apple Wins U.S. Injunction Against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

On the eve of Google I/O, a U.S. judge has issued a preliminary injunction against all sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which gives Apple a huge advantage on its ongoing legal battle against its handset rival. Reuters reports that U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s request to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. This decision comes after Samsung’s petition to rehear the patent case was denied. The report also says that the injunction will be effective once Apple puts up a $2.6 million bond set aside for Samsung if the sales ban is later found to have been in error.

Haha, at the bond Apple had to put down. It is like Apple said “yah, we’ve got that, let me get out my wallet” to Samsung. After all, the company does have over $100 billion in cash.

AllThingsD received a statement from Apple that reemphasized their previous claims that Samsung had copied the iPad:

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

Nope, copy-cat Samsung was not copying Apple at all. Not at all. If Microsoft was able to create its own design for the Surface, why wasn’t Samsung able to do the same for the Galaxy Tab?

Apple to Invest $1 billion in Reno, Nevada Data Center, and Other Facilities

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Apple is considering investing up to $1 billion over the next ten years to build a new data center and other facilities in the Reno, Nevada. The new data center and other facilities would be located in the Reno, Nevada area. Also, the data center would be located in unincorporated Washoe County, while a “business and purchasing center” would be located in a business park in downtown Reno. This project is codenamed “Project Jonathan”, and is said to be planned to create nearly 600 construction jobs and as many as 41 direct and 200 contractor jobs upon opening.

It is also estimated to the boost the local economy by $103 million. The report also says that this project has been in the works for years, but only recently did Apple approach local and state officials about the Sparks center earlier this year.

Currently, Apple has a major data center in Maiden, North Caroline and a much smaller one in Newark, California near the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple is also investing $250 million in a new data center in Prineville, Oregon. The company has  issued a statement to AllThingsD confirming its intent for the area.


Apple Releases New Podcast App for iOS

Earlier this month, it was rumored that Apple will be launching a standalone podcast app in iOS 6. Turns out, instead of waiting for the next version of iOS, Apple has released a brand new Podcasts app on the App Store today. The app is available for free and it is designed both for the iPad and iPhone. The app requires iOS 5.1 or later. [App Store]

“Podcasts app is the easiest way to discover, subscribe to and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch,” Apple’s official description reads. “Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts from the Podcasts Catalog, and play the most popular podcasts, organized for you by topic, with the all-new Top Stations feature.”

Apple has highlighted the full list of features in the Podcasts application:

  • Enjoy all of your audio and video podcasts in a single app
  • Explore hundreds of thousands of podcasts including shows in over 40 languages
  • Try the innovative new Top Stations feature to find new podcast series in a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more.
  • Browse by Audio or Video podcasts, or see what’s most popular in Top Charts
  • Tap subscribe for your favorites and automatically receive new episodes for free as they become available
  • Stream episodes or download to listen while offline
  • Skip forward and back using simple playback controls
  • Turn on Sleep Timer to automatically stop playing a podcast while listening in bed
  • Share your favorite episodes with friends using Twitter, Messages and Mail
  • Optionally sync your favorite episodes from iTunes on your Mac or PC
  • Sync your episode playback for seamless transition between devices

Apple also noted that in order to  optionally sync episodes of podcasts, users must be running iTunes 10.6.3 or later on their Mac or PC. Also, streaming or downloading episodes requires Internet access over Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection.

The app is really well done and makes listening to podcasts in iOS much easier.