Apple outs unlocked iPhone 5s in the US, starting at $649
After seeing international availability in select markets over the past several weeks, an unlocked variant of the iPhone 5s has made its way to the US Apple online store.
You can now get the iPhone 5s in either gray, gold, or silver in either 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB variants. The new unlocked pricing will run you $649, $749, or $849, respectively.
The unlocked model will let you insert a nano-SIM of your choosing. You still have the option of shipping your unlocked model with a T-Mobile nano-SIM preinstalled which you can then activate for use on T-Mobile’s network.
Shipment times vary between 3 days and 2 weeks depending on which option you choose, so no matter which one you choose, you’ve got plenty of time to get one in time for the holidays.
Unveiled back in October, the Mac Pro is starting its retail journey from tomorrow, December 19. Apple redesigned the Mac Pro entirely and has packed it with some of the best hardware you can find around.
Packing a 3.7 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 CPU with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, the new Mac Pro also has dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of VRAM each. RAM is 12GB, while storage is 256GB of PCIe-based flash memory. This configuration is the cheapest of them all and comes for $2,999.
You can order the Mac Pro with a 3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 CPU, 16GB of RAM and the same 256GB storage for $1000 more at $3,999. Apple also offers a more powerful 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors with 6GB AMD FirePro D700 GPUs and up to 64GB of RAM and 1TB of flash storage.
Apple boasts that all units are assembled in the US. The futuristic casing of the new Mac Pro offers great connectivity with dual Ethernet ports, HDMI, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and four USB 3.0 ports.
Apple has huge Saphire crystal factory, possibly for making iPhone displays
There were some reports last year about Apple opening a Sapphire Crystal furnace factory in Arizona.
It turns out that the Cupertino-based tech giant is pushing hard to get the factory up and running as soon as possible. So why the rush from Apple?
All we know is that the building will be making “new” and “critical” components for future Apple devices. But we do have some information that can give us a pretty detailed guess as to what these components will be: iPhone displays.
It’s been rumored that Apple plans to make sapphire-crystal displays for future iPhone models. According to leaked documents from analyst Matt Margolis, it’s evident that Apple has purchased Sapphire display inspection tools in a partnership with GT Advanced technologies. This new information, coupled with previous rumors, means that it is safe to say Apple is planning on using the facility for the production of new iPhone displays.
Also, a recent SEC filing indicates that nearly all of GT Advanced’s recent work is exclusively done with Apple. This rules out the possibility for GT Advanced providing Sapphire-Crystal technology displays to any other tech company.
GT Advanced also purchased multiple Sapphire-Crystal furnaces and chambers, 518 of them to be exact, and an expected 420 additional units have already been ordered. With the initial 518 in the factory now, Apple can produce anywhere from 103-116 million displays a year. With the extra 420 machines, they could be producing well over 200 million.
The benefits of Sapphire-crystal displays are improved strength and scratch-resistance. Something that would be a significant selling point for Apple’s next iPhone, seeing as their screens are ranked as some of the most fragile in the business.
The latest Android Jelly Bean build has surfaced for the former Sony flagship, Xperia Z, and its softshell variant, the Xperia ZL.
The 4.3 build has recently leaked through xda-developers as a version which was destined for commercial outlets and members of the press.
The Android 4.3 firmware versioned 10.4.B.0.569 brings many features introduced by Sony in their Xperia Z1 flagship. Highlights include:
Performance enhancements and bug fixes
Themes and wallpapers from Xperia Z1
Xperia Z1-style white UI
Updated Camera app from Xperia Z1
Xperia home 6.1.2.A.0.1
Album app 5.2.A.1.26
Movies app 5.3.A.0.18
Updated keyboard interface
Screen calibrated for brighter displays
The best part is, you don’t have to have your Z or ZL rooted to sideload the update. Keep in mind, though, that although this is a near final release, it’s not official, so there are the usual risks associated with flashing ROMs through unofficial means.
You can find a link to the .FTF file in our source link, while instructions on how to install it can be found here.
Apple Boosts Over-the-Air App Store Download Limits to 50 MB
With the launch of the 3rd Generation iPad, Apple has increased the over-the-air download limit for the App Store to 50MB, up from 20MB.
As noted by AppAdvice, the change is presumably to accommodate larger app sizes due to the new iPad’s Retina display and faster cellular data available with 4G LTE. The download limit is now 50MB across all devices, as shown in the above screenshot. This limit affects the maximum size of an App that can be downloaded over 3G or 4G networks.
Developers frequently work hard to keep their apps under the over-the-air download limit, as they believe going over that limit reduces the likelihood of spontaneous purchases.
Apple iPhone 4 proximity sensor acts weird, we’ve got the video to prove it
The Apple iPhone 4 went off to a flying start in terms of numbers alone, but its stellar performer reputation certainly took quite a lot of hits. First it was the yellow spot issues (which luckily disappeared all by themselves), then it was the new antenna design that backfired spectacularly and now it’s the proximity sensor that’s causing troubles for early adopters.
As you will see in the video below the new proximity sensor fails to do its job very well, allowing the screen to turn on when there IS an object nearby. In practical terms this means that it doesn’t lock the screen every time you are in a call and you might press some of the on-screen buttons with your cheeks.
There are several topics on the Apple’s website forum with users complaining how they kept hanging up by accident. Having experienced similar issues ourselves we decided to check out if there was something wrong with the iPhone 4 proximity sensor. We placed it next to an iPhone 3G on a table (the iPhone 4 is raised by a few millimeters to compensate for its slimmer profile), made them call each other and took a simple mouse pad to cover their proximity sensors and see how they react.
The result is there for everyone to see, the iPhone 4 kept switching on its screen on many occasions when its 3G predecessor remained locked. Check out the video and see for yourselves.
We are hoping it’s just a software imperfection on the Apple side that they will fix soon and not a faulty sensor to blame for this. Those issues may not be a deal breaker but are certainly annoying for anyone using the iPhone 4 for making calls (and we though this was one of its key features, you know). After all when you pay this much for a phone, we do believe that such annoyances should be avoided.
Update: We just did the same test with a couple of iPhone 3G units – one was running on the iOS4, while the other was on iPhone OS 3.1.2. They both performed identically so we can confirm that the problem isn’t in the Apple latest smartphone platform. Obviously the iPhone 4 uses a different proximity sensor, which causes the issues. This is not to say that Apple won’t be able to fix it in software – it’s still possible that a future update will find a workaround to the hardware deficiency. The thing is this is much harder to do than just fix a few variable values in the source code (which would be the case if it was a software issue) so it will probably take more time to figure out.
Apple tells ITC that Andy Rubin took Android framework from them
Related to its case against HTC, Apple just filed some more paperwork with the International Trade Commission. In the filing, Apple said that while HTC would like the ITC to believe that Andy Rubin’s career started at Danger or at General Magic in the mid 1990′s, the truth is that he was a low-level engineer with Apple in the early 1990′s and took the framework for Android from them.
Apple said that evidence at a previous hearing showed that Rubin actually worked as a low-level engineer at Apple in the early 1990′s where he reported to the inventors of the ’263 patent, which has to do with real-time API. According to the filing, Apple claims that the Android platform uses the subsystem process from the ’263 patent which allows for a flexible design and allows Android to be, as HTC puts it, ‘highly customizable and expandable‘.
Instead of directly accusing Google of patent infringement, Apple simply is pointing out that HTC is not being totally truthful with the court. So far, the Cupertino based firm has sued handset manufacturers and not Google directly. If Apple decides to take Google to court, Rubin’s days at Apple might receive more scrutiny. The whole statement from Apple would certainly change the history books if Apple’s statement is true, that Android came from Apple. Even more serious, if the ITC upholds the ruling that the ’263 patent is valid and Apple does decide to turn against Google, it is possible that Apple could get an injunction against Android sales.
As it currently stands, Apple’s legal focus in this case is on HTC which means that Rubin’s employment history is a moot point, except-as we already pointed out once-just to show that HTC is not being totally truthful.
Boost Mobile today announced that it’s now carrying the LG Optimus F3, a phone that hit parent company Sprint in June 2013. The Optimus F3 (See our hands-on) sports a 4-inch display and runs Android 4.1. Boost is selling it for $129. [Boost]
Beats Pill XL by Dre Bluetooth speaker hits the FCC
A larger Beats Pill wireless speaker has appeared in the FCC website. Dubbed the Beats Pill XL, the latest sound bar from Dr. Dre packs more punch and a similar design to the first Pill.
The speaker is yet to be officially announced, but the FCC docs reveal it boasts Bluetooth connectivity and NFC for easier pairing.
On top of that, there’s a 4,400mAh battery inside. As you’d imagine, it’s used for not only providing juice to the Pill, but can also charge your mobile phone.
As the Beats Pill XL by Dr. Dre isn’t yet official there’s no info on pricing and availability. Judging by its size, I presume it’s going to be a bit pricier than its smaller brother, which currently retails for under $200 on Amazon.