Leaked Screenshots of iOS 6 Maps App Showing 3D View

Submitted by lalit on May 29, 2012 - 9:14am.

BGR claims that they have obtained from a trusted source exclusive info and photos of the upcoming Maps app, which will be one of the main features of iOS 6. Jonathan Geller wrote on BGR:

The app features a refreshed user interface including a brand new navigation bar. This bar, we’re told, is silver instead of blue. Since the current Maps app follows the standard blue iOS color scheme, we think it’s possible Apple might shift toward a silver color theme in iOS 6 like on the iPad.

The iPhone version of Maps has a floating locate me button (it sounds very similar to Android’s Google Maps app) in the bottom left corner. To access 3D mode, which will make use of Apple’s C3 Technologies acquisition, you have to peel back the lower right corner of Maps just like the current version and enable 3D mode. Once enabled, you can switch in and out of 3D mode by tapping a 3D icon in the lower left corner. A photo of this feature can be seen in our gallery.

Apple is now putting the finishing touches on its 3D mapping functionality, and it is currently being tested in build 10A3XX of iOS 6.

Apple has already announced that they will reveal details about upcoming iOS 6 at WWDC 2012, which starts on June 11th in San Francisco. You can check out more blurry photos on BGR that show change in maps layout design when compared to Google’s Maps that iOS uses now.


Rumor: Apple Starts Trial Production of HDTVs at Foxconn

Submitted by lalit on May 28, 2012 - 5:08pm.

Since it was revealed in Steve Jobs biography that he was working on a TV as one of his last projects and he believed that he had cracked the secret to a simple HDTV, rumors have been going round that Apple will soon launch a smart HDTV. And now a Chinese newspaper China Business News claims that they have heard from “informed sources” that Foxconn, Apple’s well know manufacturing partner has started trial production of the much rumored Apple HDTV, with aim to start mass production by end of this year. AppleInsider posted the following from translation of China Business News’ report:

In particular, the publication cited its sources as saying that this initial build plan is taking place in one of Foxconn's Shenzhen plants as a trial production run, which typically produces a small number of assembly-line-quality prototypes for Apple to put through its design test verification stages. No further details were reported.

The only thing we have heard from our sources about Apple HDTV is that Apple is looking at different screen sizes ranging from 40-inch to 60-inch. We haven’t heard anything about when the production will start or how much it will cost.


Ultra High Definition Television Standards Drafted by ITU

Submitted by lalit on May 28, 2012 - 1:27pm.

ITU has announced a new Recommendation that represents a major advance in television broadcasting that will create an entirely new television broadcast environment with the advent of ‘Ultra High Definition Television’ or UHDTV. ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) has developed the standard – or Recommendation – in collaboration with experts from the television industry, broadcasting organizations and regulatory institutions in its Study Group 6.

The quality of television pictures that viewers see has improved dramatically since it was invented in the 1930s. A dim black and white screen in the corner of the room has become the sparkling ‘high definition’ colour picture that we see on today’s large ‘flat panel displays’. But technology does not stand still. ITU-R Study Group 6 has now agreed a draft new Recommendation on the technical details for ‘Ultra High Definition Television’ or UHDTV which is now being submitted to Administrations for approval.

The ITU-R Recommendation lays out the quality standards for UHDTV in two steps. The advances made with each of these quality steps are roughly similar to the step from the old ‘standard definition television’ to ‘high definition television (HDTV)’. HDTV pictures today have the equivalent of between 1-2 megapixels. The first level of UHDTV picture levels has the equivalent of about 8 megapixels (3 840 x 2 160 image system), and the next level comes with the equivalent of about 32 megapixels (7 680 x 4 320 image system). As a shorthand way of describing them, they are sometimes called the ‘4K’ and ‘8K’ UHDTV systems. Ultra high definition picture quality is accompanied by improved colour fidelity, and options for higher numbers of pictures per second than for today’s television systems.

Check out the introductory video posted by ITU describing the new UHDTV standards.


LG Develops World’s First 5-inch Full HD 1080p LCD Smartphone Panel

Submitted by lalit on May 28, 2012 - 9:10am.

LG introduced today a 5" Full HD LCD panel for smartphones – the highest resolution mobile panel to date. Though many LCD makers including Toshiba and Samsung have promised and shown prototypes of 1080p smartphone display, but LG will be the first to actually ship a 1080p smartphone panel. LG has already started sampling the new 5-inch full HD display.

LG’s 5-inch Full HD LCD panel is based on AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching) technology features 440ppi and 1920x1080 resolution, providing for the first time Full HDTV quality on a smartphone. With 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, the panel is also 0.5 inches larger, 2.2 times denser in pixels, and 1.3 times more advanced in ppi than the preceding 4.5" panel at 329ppi and 1280x720.

The 5" Full HD LCD panel from LG Display is expected to be released during the second half of this year, and will be on exhibit for the first time at SID 2012 Display Week in Boston starting June 4.


Apple’s Higher Demand for New MacBook Parts Causing Supply Chain Labor Shortage

Submitted by lalit on May 28, 2012 - 7:31am.

Apple hopes to see a big jump in MacBook demand with launch of new models in June. The company is planning to see about 50% jump this year and plans to ship 16.24-19.2 million units compared to 12.79 million units in 2011, because of the new thinner and lighter MacBook models. According to DigiTimes, this increase in demand is causing labor shortage in upstream supply chain players. Aaron Lee wrote on DigiTimes:

As Apple's new MacBooks are expected to launch in the near future, related upstream supply chain players are reportedly facing labor shortages because of strong orders from Apple, while some supply chain makers are even outsourcing their orders to meet shipment schedules, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Component manufacturing plants in eastern China have been suffering from labor shortages for a long time, and although May and June are the IT industry's traditional slow season when shortage issues are usually not as significant, the strong orders from Apple's new MacBook are leaving many upstream makers unable to satisfy demand. The MacBook supply chain started delivering products in April with shipments for chassis seeing obvious growth in May.

It is rumored that Apple will announce the new MacBook Pro lineup at WWDC 2012 on June 11, along with next generation OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6. June is going to be a big month for Apple with WWDC and new hardware launches.


Intel Developing True Companion Computers That “Learn” About Their User

Submitted by lalit on May 24, 2012 - 9:11pm.

Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Computational Intelligence is working with Technion in Haifa and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on small, wearable computers that can offer new applications to enhance daily life. The system can continuously monitor human functions from the brain, heart, blood, eyes and more, and send this data to a remote server that will combine them with other data such as environmental weather conditions, along with historical data, and could proactively warn people about a potential headache or dizziness during driving.

The system won’t be just for monitoring our health, it will act as a companion that will remember our habits and help in day-to-day tasks. For example, if you have a habit of forgetting your keys in the house the system will in first week remember where you left the keys, and by second week it will start reminding you to take your keys while leaving the house.

“Despite their name, smartphones are rather dumb devices. My smartphone doesn't know anything more about me than when I got it,” Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, told reporters in Tel Aviv. “All of these devices will come to know us as individuals, will very much tailor themselves to us.”

Intel says such devices/systems will come to the market by 2014 or 2015. [Via Reuters]


LG Reveals Final Design and Price Tag for Upcoming 55-inch OLED TV

Submitted by lalit on May 24, 2012 - 9:51am.

LG today revealed the final design of 55-inch OLED TV, which they claim is the world’s largest and slimmest OLED TV. LG also officials vowed to develop the most advanced commercial OLED TV in the market and to be the first company to bring these TVs to European consumers in the second half of the year.

"In the history of television, there have been very few innovations as impactful as the coming of OLED TV," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company. "We say THE ULTIMATE DISPLAY because LG OLED TV is truly above all expectations and beyond everyone's imagination with uncompromising picture quality and beautiful design. This year, we plan to make OLED synonymous with LG."

In the new OLED TV, LG used WRGB technology - a 4 Color Pixel technology that relies on a white sub-pixel to perfect the color output. LG says that they used carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for the exterior, which helped them to create a final product with a thickness of only 4mm (0.15-inch) and weighed only 10kg (22 pounds).

LG will ship the 55-inch OLED TV in second half of 2012 in Europe. LG aims to price the TV around Euro 8,000 ($10,000).


Android and iOS Capture 82% of Global Smartphone Market

Submitted by lalit on May 24, 2012 - 8:14am.

International Data Corporation (IDC) has published their quarterly worldwide smartphone market share report and it’s bad news for everyone except Android and iOS. Android and iOS were the only two smartphone platforms that saw a rise in market share. Android market share jumped from 36.1% in Q1 2011 to 59% in Q1 2012 and iOS market share jumped form 18.3% in Q1 2011 to 23% on Q1 2012. Every other smartphone platform including Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 saw a drop in market share.

According to IDC, Android finished the quarter as the overall leader among the mobile operating systems, accounting for more than half of all smartphone shipments. In addition, Android boasted the longest list of smartphone vendor partners. Samsung was the largest contributor to Android's success, accounting for 45.4% of all Android-based smartphone shipments. But beyond Samsung was a mix of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

On the other hand, iOS recorded strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S following the holiday quarter and the addition of numerous mobile operators offering the iPhone for the first time. Although end-user demand remains high, the iPhone's popularity brings additional operational pressures for mobile operators through subsidy and data revenue sharing policies.

You can read the complete report on IDC’s website.


iPhone Charger Teardown Shows Apple’s Attention to The Details

Submitted by lalit on May 23, 2012 - 11:42pm.

We all know the amount of emphasis Apple gives to design and quality while making devices like iPhones, iPads and Macs. However, Apple’s attention to the details doesn’t just end there, they focus on making everything related to the product perfect. And this is clearly shown in the design of iPhone charger, as revealed by a teardown done by Ken Shirriff’s blog. Ken concluded his iPhone charger teardown report by saying:

Apple's power adapter is clearly a high-quality power supply designed to produce carefully filtered power. Apple has obviously gone to extra effort to reduce EMI interference, probably to keep the charger from interfering with the touchscreen. When I opened the charger up, I expected to find a standard design, but I've compared the charger to the Samsung charger and several other high-quality industry designs, and Apple goes beyond these designs in several ways.

The input AC is filtered through a tiny ferrite ring on the plastic case (see photo below). The diode bridge output is filtered by two large capacitors and an inductor. Two other R-C snubbers filter the diode bridge, which I've only seen elsewhere in audio power supplies to prevent 60Hz hum; perhaps this enhances the iTunes listening experience. Other chargers I disassembled don't use a ferrite ring and usually only a single filter capacitor. The primary circuit board has a grounded metal shield over the high-frequency components (see photo), which I haven't seen elsewhere. The transformer includes a shield winding to absorb EMI. The output circuit uses three capacitors including two relatively expensive tantalum ones and an inductor for filtering, when many supplies just use one capacitor. The Y capacitor is usually omitted from other designs. The resonant clamp circuit is highly innovative.

Apple's design provides extra safety in a few ways that were discussed earlier: the super-strong AC prongs, and the complex over-temperature / over-voltage shutdown circuit. Apple's isolation distance between primary and secondary appears to go beyond the regulations.

Apple's iPhone charger crams a lot of technology into a small space. Apple went to extra effort to provide higher quality and safety than other name-brand chargers, but this quality comes at a high cost.

Apple could have easily bought and shipped a third party charger with Apple’s logo on it for the iPhone, but they went one step further and designed the best USB charger available on the market for the iPhone. You can read the complete explanation about how the iPhone charger works and how Apple designed it on Ken Shirriff’s Blog.


McAfee: Mobile Malware Grows Four Times, 80% on Android Platform

Submitted by lalit on May 23, 2012 - 9:58am.

McAfee today released their “McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2012” and in first quarter alone mobile malware has grown four times when compared to 2011. The news is worst for Android as over 80% of that malware growth was on Google’s mobile platform. McAfee reported the following:

This quarter we report a large increase in mobile malware. The jump was targeted almost solely at the Android platform. Hundreds of Android threats in the middle of 2011 have moved into the thousands this year. Due to significant improvements in our ability to collect, process, and detect mobile malware, the count further accelerated this quarter: Android threats now reach almost 7,000, with more than 8,000 total mobile malware in our database.

The great majority of mobile attacks, and their malware, stem from and attack third-party markets, particularly in China and Russia. In most cases, we do not find this malware in the official Android market. Google’s app store has suffered from some incidents, but so far those counts are moderate. McAfee Labs advises customers to use install software only from the official market. That step should greatly reduce the risk of compromising your Android device.

This is bad news for Android users and if you are an Android user, you should download applications from reliable sources only. You can read the complete McAfee report here.