Rumor Round-Up: Tomorrow’s iTunes Announcement

Apple dropped a surprising announcement on their site, stating that “Tomorrow is Just Another Day. That You’ll Never Forget.”

iTunes image

Obviously a cryptic message for something rather exciting for fans of iTunes, the page also says to check back at 7:00 a.m. PST.

Such a flamboyant, exciting announcement for something that has really blindsided everyone can only mean one thing: the rumor mill is running non-stop, at full-throttle. Is it music streaming? A subscription service, possibly iOS 4.2? Aliens? Or, maybe the most unlikely, The Beatles making their long-awaited iTunes debut? We’ll all know for certain tomorrow, but hit up that read link to see what some of the blogosphere is claiming, and their ‘proof.’


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Mid-2011 iPhone May Have Dual CDMA/GSM Chip

TechCrunch is claiming that neither the Verizon iPhone (due out early 2011), nor the accustomed mid-year hardware update will support 4g networks like LTE. Instead, their sources say that it will have a dual CDMA/GSM chip, which wil be able to work across every network worldwide.

First things first — the iPhone CDMA model due in January won’t support LTE.  But here’s where it gets really interesting: sources tell me that the iPhone refresh in mid-2011 won’t support LTE either. Instead, Apple will produce a dual mode iPhone containing 3G flavors of GSM and CDMA, which operates on all carriers worldwide. If this holds true, Apple won’t support the LTE standard until some time in 2012.

As Cheney points out, Apple was also slow to adopt 3g, and chose to wait until the technology fully matured to support it. It’s a tough choice for them, considering that there are already a few Android handsets that support 4g on Sprint. The next-gen chips can also destroy your battery life, which is one of the iPhone’s strong points, so waiting until the technology advances may be a good call. Plus, the chances of your area even having LTE are pretty slim – AT&T doesn’t even plan to start their rollout until halfway into next year.

There are pros and cons either way you spin it, but Apple tends to hold off on implementing half-baked features until they can be successfully implemented, for example FaceTime and copy/paste. Apple may be pressured by the competition to change their plans, so there is no knowing what will happen. More rumors and leaks are sure to crop up in the months to come, so stay tuned.


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Apple to Start Blogging?

According to Gawker, Apple held a not-so-secretive meeting with TechCrunch writer Greg Kumparak, and handed him a coveted job offer packet. This could mean that Apple wants to start up a blog of their own to get in touch with users. Don’t get too excited though, an Apple blog would probably be centered around products, not Steve’s love life.

I’m at a restaurant/brewery called BJ’s in Cupertino, which is pretty much right outside Apple HQ’s front door. About one hour ago, three Apple employees came in. You can always tell because of the badges they wear on those extending cable things… What was weird was who joined them: Greg Kumparak, who writes for TechCrunch. Recognized him from his videos.

I could not hear what was going on, but about 10 minutes into the meal one of the Apple employees handed him a folder with an Apple logo on it. From what i’ve seen before, I’m almost certain this was an offer packet. They spent about 30 minutes talking about it. I could be wrong, but it really looked like Apple was trying to court him for a job.

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are used by many companies to spread news about products, and seem more “likable” (though sometimes unsuccessfully), but Apple doesn’t really have a problem in the public relations department; they are one of the most-loved companies in the world. So what would they use it for? Well, I can’t imagine Apple posting about upcoming product releases, they are much too secretive for that. It would most likely be used to pump out information about featured applications on the App Store, enhancements to desktop software, or minor hardware updates to their product line. Commenting on speculation is also not Apple’s style, so there’s little chance that an official Apple blog would be used to squelch rumors on future product releases.

An official Apple blog could be a nice addition to the internet, and may be a great way for Apple to become more personal and get in contact with users through more than just 3-word emails.


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Official Google Voice App Coming Soon?

Sean Kovacs’ GV Mobile + app has received a ton of attention and praise lately, but if TechCrunch’s sources are correct, it’s about to meet some fierce competition. According to a “source close to Google”, an official voice application has already been approved by Apple, and is awaiting an iOS 4-ready update to be released to the public. GV Mobile + does the job nicely, but being a 3rd party application, may never be able to offer every Voice feature that a 1st party application could provide.

At the moment, Google’s work-around to the App Store’s (previously) tight restrictions is an in-browser HTML5 web app, which gets the job done, but isn’t anywhere as nice as a native client. If Google’s official Voice application is approved into the App Store, it will be a complete 180* turn for Apple – and may open the flood gates for other border-line apps.


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Facebook Takes a Jab at Foursquare with “Places”

Tonight, Facebook will be updating their iPhone app and touch website with a geo-location feature called Places. Places will offer features similar to Forsquare, like location check-ins and discovery, so you can let others know what you’re up to and find new points of interest. You will also be able to tag friends you’re with, and publish the story to your profile.

I do feel bad for the other location services, which will likely be crushed by Facebook’s massive user base. Then again, many people don’t use Foursquare or Gowalla because none of their friends do, but since nearly everyone uses Facebook, it will give geo-location the push it needs to break into the mainstream.


Update: If the new Facebook is having issues on your jailbroken device, here is a possible solution.

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Verizon iPhone Coming January, For Real This Time?

Rumors of a Verizon iPhone are a dime a dozen, but TechCrunch seems fairly certain that Verizon will be getting the iPhone this winter.

Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December. This production run would likely be for a January launch, and I’d bet the phone is nearly 100% consistent with the current iPhone 4 (with a fixed internal insulator on the antenna).

Normally, I would take reports like this cum grano salis, but it just so happens that AT&T’s SEC filings strongly suggest that they will be losing their iPhone exclusivity sooner than expected. Apple may also be trying to get into the 4g LTE market before the “we-were-first!” window closes.

I have a feeling that this time it’s more than just a rumor.


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Opinion: Quality and Business

It’s a shame these guys chose business over quality.” – Mitch Barlett

Back in 2008, during the transition from 1.1.x to 2.0, speculation was all the rage on the quality of the App Store applications and whether or not people would stay jailbroken or otherwise. Many people (including the moderating staff) had already upgraded to the 2.0 betas and had the satisfaction of having something that others didn’t: a fancy new calculator. At that point, the 2.0 betas didn’t have that much on them but the promise of potential. That shiny App Store button didn’t actually do anything yet, and SpringBoard extensions and even theming were twinkles in the eyes of many ambitious jailbreakers.

When 2.0 hit the streets, it was gobbled up quickly, and users found that favorite Tap Tap Revenge (formerly Tap Tap Revolution) made a big splash at the top of the iTunes charts. Many said that this was a sign that jailbreaking was more important than previously thought and that jailbreakers would always stay one step ahead of those at Apple. But beyond that, it also signified that there was a definitive move from the jailbroken platform to the wider market of the App Store. Applications like Twinkle, Twitterrific, Tap Tap Revenge, and Raging Thunder were huge hits on the App Store.

When did things go wrong? Hit the jump to find out.


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