Rumor: Apple is Building iMessage into OS X Lion’s iChat

iOS iMessageThis year at WWDC, Apple unveiled a new service called “iMessage”. iMessage is a a unified messaging service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to send text and multimedia messages over Wi-Fi and 3G with read and delivery receipts and real-time typing indication. It is also  one of the major new features of the upcoming iOS 5 update. Currently, iMessage is not integrated into iChat.

A developer has discovered strings of code for “timeDelivered” and “timeRead”, which has led MacRumors to speculate that Apple could eventually bring support for its iMessage protocol to iChat.

Buried in the framework of OS X Lion’s iChat, are two new properties (highlighted below):

@interface IMMessage : NSObject
IMHandle *_sender;
IMHandle *_subject;
NSAttributedString *_text;
NSString *_plainBody;
NSDate *_time;
NSDate  *_timeDelivered;
NSDate  *_timeRead;

According to MacRumors, the “timeDelivered” and “timeRead’ fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Currently, these  features are not supported in any of iChat’s native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple’s iMessage protocol. In addition, these properties were not present in  previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion.

We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.

Apple is expected to release iOS 5 this fall. In addition, Apple is expected to send out invites for an upcoming fall event soon.

AppleCare Prepping for October 10th Launch of iOS 5?

iOS 5 Features

Yesterday, it was reported that Apple is expected to release iOS 5 GM to assemblers on September 23rd. Today, a source connected to Apple’s AppleCare customer service call centers has told AppleInsider  that the company is expecting a large number of iOS-related support calls beginning Monday, October 10th, suggesting a release of iOS 5 to current users on that date.

The person familiar with the matter could not say with any certainty what will be released on that Monday, but said that the increase in call volume is related to iOS. This led him to believe that  Apple could release iOS 5 and iCloud on Oct. 10.  Usually, Apple releases major iOS updates  a few days ahead of the new hardware running the operating system.

For instance, one person familiar with the matter said his local AppleCare call center has been told to expect an eightfold increase in customer calls on that day, and that staff are being advised ahead of time for the increased traffic.

The person could not say with any certainty what will be released on that Monday, but noted that the increase in call volume is related to iOS. This led them to speculate that Apple could release iOS 5 and iCloud on Oct. 10.

An October 10th debut of iOS 5 for existing hardware lines up with current rumors of Apple planning for a final carrier certification of the new OS soon.  Apple has said that iOS 5 will become available to iPhone,  iPad  and iPod touch users this fall. In addition, Apple is expected to send out invites for an event soon.

Apple Expected to Release iOS 5 GM to Assemblers During Week of Sept. 23

iOS 5 features

According to analyst Ming-Ghi Kuo, the new iPhone and iPod touch went into mass production in late August, and assemblers are scheduled to receive the golden master of iOS 5 sometime between September 23rd and September 30th. Usually, a golden master version of software is identical to the code that eventually becomes the final release to the public.

Once Apple’s oversea assemblers receive the new software, they will be able to install it on the finalized hardware and prepare it for shipping. The report suggests that iOS 5 will come preinstalled on both the fifth-generation models of the iPhone and iPod touch, set to be released in the coming weeks (honestly, this makes sense).

According to the report, a release of iOS 5 to assemblers will be available in the week of Sept. 23. If true, it means that finalized hardware units for the new iPhone and iPod touch will begin to ship at the end of September.  With an estimated 10 to 12 days for shipping, the two new devices are likely to be available by mid-October, Kuo said.

Apple has said that iOS 5 will become available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users this fall. In addition, Apple is expected to send out invites for an event soon.

Apple Reopens iTunes Match Beta to Additional Developers

The iTunes Match beta was initially opened last month, but closed to new registrations within a few hours after the initial quota of developers was reached. Today, Apple has sent out an email to registered developers notifying them that iTunes Match beta has reopened to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match beta testing has now been expanded to additional developers in the United States.

iTunes Match stores your music library in iCloud and allows you to enjoy your collection from anywhere, any time, on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or computer. Any of your songs, including music you’ve imported from CDs, that matches with the 18 million songs in the iTunes Store will become available in iCloud and will play back at iTunes Plus quality (256 Kbps DRM-free AAC) — even if your original was of a lower quality.

Apple says that developers must upgrade to the new iTunes 10.5 beta 8 in order to use iTunes Match, and continues to warn that all iCloud libraries will be deleted at the end of the beta testing period. So users should be sure to retain copies of their music libraries.

iTunes Match Beta Reopened email

iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers. The service is priced at $24.99 per year, and is expected to launch alongside iOS 5 this fall.

Apple Phasing Out Developer Access to UDIDs in iOS 5

iOS 5 Icon

Yesterday, Apple released  the sixth beta of iOS 5 to developers, and a significant change was introduced within the update. TechCrunch  has discovered  that Apple is phasing out the ability for developers to access a device’s  Unique Device Identifier (UDID)in iOS 5. Instead, Apple is asking developers to create  unique identifiers specific to their apps in order to tie installations to specific users.

This is a big deal, especially for any mobile ad networks, game networks or any app which relies on the UDID to identify users. Many apps and mobile ad networks, for instance, uses the UDID or a hashed version to keep track of who their users are and what actions they have taken. App publishers are now supposed to crete their own unique identifiers to keep track of users going forward, which means they may have to throw all of their historical user data out the window and start from scratch.

Apple’s decision to remove developer access to UDIDs is a big deal, especially for mobile ad networks, game networks, or any app that relies on the UDID to identify users. UDIDs would allow developers to keep track of who their users are and what actions they take, but the developers will no longer have this option in iOS 5. The company wants app publishers to create their own unique identifiers to keep track of users, which may cause developers to discard their historical data and cause them to start from scratch.

In the past, Apple has been sued over their method of handling UDIDs. Even though UDIDs can’t be directly linked to specific users, information tied to a device can be passed along to advertisers to help them in targeting their advertisements. This practice may have caused privacy concerns from people concerned about privacy.

Apple’s decision seems to address those privacy concerns.

iOS 5 Beta 6 Seeded to Developers

It’s time again to sync up your iDevices and try out a new iOS. Only if you are a developer, that is. That’s right, Apple has released the sixth beta version of iOS 5 to registered developers. It was only two weeks ago when beta 5 was released into the wild.

Developers (and non-developers with developer accounts) everywhere are now downloading a whole suite of new beta software form Apple’s Developer Portal. Alongside the new beta of iOS, Apple has also released new Betas for iTunes, iWork for iOS, Xcode, and iOS for Apple TV.  Unfortunately, we don’t have much information regarding the contents of these releases.

For those of us who aren’t devs, news like this is also good. The official release notes is a laundry list of bug fixes and polish, which means Apple is probably getting feature set with iOS 5. That would mean that the beta stage is coming to a close, and a full release is coming very soon.

Like I said, it doesn’t look like anything shiny and new has been built into these betas. However, if we find anything interesting, we will update this post to let you know. Keep your eyes here for more information. If you are  interested, BGR has posted the complete change log.

Are you excited for the launch of iOS 5? Do you plan on using iCloud and iTunes Match? Do you think we will see the iPhone 5 at the same time as the newest version of iOS? Get yourself heard by leaving a comment below.

Apple to Release Redesigned iTunes 11 in September [Rumor]

One of the most hated, yet most used, Apple products on the market right now is iTunes. Even Mac users recognize that Apple’s media management software is more than a little bloated.  Unfortunately, it’s so incredibly powerful that it’s hard not use it. Apple also makes it even more difficult by forcing it on anyone who wants to use an iPhone, iPad, iPod or even a Mac with the Mac App Store.

There may be good news, however. Reports are indicated that Apple is planning on releasing a new version of iTunes in September. While that isn’t a huge deal by itself, there is something more to it. iDownloadBlog is reporting that Apple is planning on  completely  redesigning iTunes with the upgrade to version 11.

Interestingly enough, the basic design of iTunes has not changed since its inception. It has always had the controls at the top, with lists on the left side and content displayed on the right. There has always been that “Now Playing” area in the middle, and a search bar on the top right. It is well overdue for a significant face lift.

The timing of this release makes perfect sense. September is the month that many have pegged for the release of iCloud and iOS 5. There have also been reports that a new version of the iPhone is due to come out around then as well.

iDownloadBlog says that we can expect deep integration of iCloud into this new version of iTunes. They also report that the iTunes Store will become more a part of the app. Currently, the iTunes Store is basically a built-in web browser that navigates only to the store.

iDownloadBlog also claims that iCloud backups will be integrated into iTunes. That means that when you backup your device to the cloud, you will get a local copy as well. This also applies for app data as well.