Author Archives: Arnold Kim

First Generation Apple TVs Unable to Connect to iTunes

appletv-326x-tjlApple's first generation Apple TVs have lost their ability to connect to iTunes and appears to be affecting users worldwide.

A lengthy Apple Discussions page shows that the problem started on the 17th of April and has persisted for 1st generation Apple TV users. Forum poster georgevargas describes the issue:
As of last night I had full access to the iTunes Store. Since this morning I was getting an Itunes Store Not Available message, and after unplugging the AppleTv the iTunes Store access completly disappeared except for movie trailers.
Users have gone through the usual diagnostics, including rebooting and restoring, but have found that nothing has restored connectivity. MacRumors has confirmed the issue on our own 1st generation Apple TV.

The initial timing of the outage corresponds to the FaceTime not working for iOS 6 users, suggesting some internal changes by Apple has affected both services. Some users are speculating that internal communication upgrades related to the Heartbleed security issue could be related. Apple denied that Heartbleed affected any of its "key services" but did not elaborate on what those might be.

Apple has not provided any statement on if and when 1st generation Apple TV functionality will be restored or not. The first generation Apple TV was released in January, 2007 and was sold until September, 2010.

Update 4/22 12:00 PM PT: Apple appears to have resolved the issue preventing first-generation Apple TVs from connecting to iTunes. Many users are reporting that their Apple TVs are once again functional.


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How Apple Could Make the Move to 4.7″ iPhone Displays

Amidst the flurry of iPhone 6 rumors coming from KGI Securities' report last week, Ming-Chi Kuo presented the first possible screen resolution for Apple's 4.7" iPhone 6. Kuo lists it as a 1334x750 Retina display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Historically, Apple has been very cautious with resolution changes in their iOS devices. The original iPhone was launched with a 320x480 resolution. Eventually, Apple moved to 640x960 Retina display, doubling the linear resolution in each dimension. That allowed existing apps to simply be pixel-doubled to fill the entire screen. Developers could then take their time to update their apps to fully support the higher resolution display. When Apple moved from 3.5" to 4" screens in the iPhone 5, they simply added vertical resolution. This allowed existing apps to run in a letterboxed format with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

iphone-screen-sizes
Relative iPhone display sizes by Redtech

Right before the 4" iPhone releases, Apple began encouraging developers to use AutoLayout in designing their apps:
Auto Layout is a system that lets you lay out your app’s user interface by creating a mathematical description of the relationships between the elements. You define these relationships in terms of constraints either on individual elements, or between sets of elements. Using Auto Layout, you can create a dynamic and versatile interface that responds appropriately to changes in screen size, device orientation, and localization.
AutoLayout paves the way for apps to more easily adapt to changes in display sizes and resolution in the future.

If Apple were to adopt a 1334x750 4.7" display as predicted by Kuo, it would preserve the same pixel density (326 ppi) as the iPhone 5s. That means that all existing user interface elements, such as icons, would be the same size but would allow for more screen space.

Our designer found that using the exact same icons and spacing them out to fill the screen, 1334x750 pixels allows Apple to fit exactly one extra row of icons onto the iPhone home screen. This mockup shows the relative size of the 4.7" iPhone screen and how much extra room there would be using the exact same icons as on the current iPhone:

iphone5s-64" home screen (left) vs 4.7" home screen (right)


Meanwhile, existing unoptimized apps could function in a "letterbox" style with black borders for unused screen space. TheVerge forum user Pi is exactly 3 created a mockup showing this exact scenario. This image shows how an "unoptimized" app would appear (left) compared to one that has been optimized for the 4.7" display (right):

settingsMockup by Pi is exactly 3

Given Apple's past reluctance to blur or break existing apps, it seems that this resolution choice could provide Apple and developers a reasonable upgrade path for a larger factor iPhone. Apple has acknowledged that customers want larger iPhones and all iPhone 6 rumors are pointing to a larger iPhone device this year.


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Apple Confirms ‘Heartbleed’ Security Issue Did Not Affect Apple Software and ‘Key Services’

heartbleed_200Apple today released a statement to Re/code confirming that iOS, OS X and "key web services" were unaffected by the widely publicized security flaw known as Heartbleed which was disclosed earlier this week.
“Apple takes security very seriously. iOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable software and key web-based services were not affected,” an Apple spokesperson told Re/code.
Heartbleed was a security flaw in the popular open-source software OpenSSL which helps provide secure connections between clients and servers. Due the ubiquity of OpenSSL, Heartbleed is believed to have affected approximately 66% of the internet.

Security blogger Bruce Schneier describes the issue as "catastrophic" and on "the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11." The flaw allowed servers to leak server memory to a malicious attacker, allowing hackers to extract login/password and other private data from a server. Users are recommended to change their passwords on all services that may have been affected. Mashable provides a list of services where you should change your password. Fortunately, MacRumors Forums were unaffected by the security flaw.


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12″ Retina MacBook Air and Low-Price iMac Likely in 2014

In an extensive research note covering Apple's product roadmap for 2014, KGI Securities Ming Chi Kuo reiterated expectations that Apple is working on a ultra slim 12" MacBook Air but also revealed a new low-cost iMac in the works.


Kuo's predictions for the 12" MacBook Air match what was leaked in March from a reliable Chinese forum source. The new 12" MacBook Air will "redefine notebook user experience":

- Thinner than current models
- No fan
- Buttonless trackpad
- Higher resolution Display

Kuo first predicted this ultra thin 12" MacBook Air late last year.
We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.
Besides the 12" MacBook Air, Kuo reiterates his earlier claim that a "low-priced" version of the iMac is coming. The new model will help compete with companies such as HP and Lenovo as well as grow market share in Asia.

The 12" MacBook Air is not expected until late 2014, while the low-cost iMac may come mid-year.


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iPhone 6 Renderings Based on Leaked Schematics Highlight Larger Displays

Late last month, a set of alleged design drawings was published by Japanese magazine MacFan, showing dimensions for upcoming 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch iPhone models. It's not uncommon for us to see design and case leaks in the months leading up to the new iPhone release.

In some cases, as with the iPhone 5C, early design leaks turn out to be quite close to the final product, though in other instances they turn out to be inaccurate.

iphone47

Based on those drawings, MacRumors commissioned designer Ferry Passchier to create some full product renderings of the rumored iPhone 6. While these aren't the first renderings, we asked Ferry to also show how they would compare in size to existing devices such as the iPhone 5s and iPad mini.

iphone-6-side
iPhone 6 (4.7") and iPhone 6 (5.7")


The iPhone designs in the drawings include several differences compared to the iPhone 5s. The top power button has been moved from the right side to the left side of the device. The rear camera on the larger model is also shown as protruding slightly from the rear shell, as is the case with the current iPod touch. The camera flash has also reverted back to a round-design unlike the one found on the iPhone 5s.

iphone-6-all
Left to Right: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 (4.7"), iPhone 6 (5.7"), iPad mini

This image shows how the new iPhone 6 design compares to the existing product line. The iPhone 5s is depicted on the left with a 4" screen, while the iPad mini (7.9") is on the far right. In between are the rumored 4.7" and 5.7" iPhone 6 from the design document.

Over the weekend, an Apple slide deck from April 2013 surfaced from the ongoing Apple-Samsung patent trial, illustrating Apple's awareness that smartphone growth was coming from the low end of the market and in phones with screens larger than the iPhone's 4-inch display. With the slides noting that "customers want what we don't have", it's clear why Apple is reportedly planning to increase the size of the iPhone's display with this year's models. The iPhone 6 is expected to debut this fall, although a recent report from Reuters claims that the larger version may not be ready to launch at that time.

We can't be certain these schematics are accurate, but Apple clearly sees the need to address the larger smartphone market. We expect more leaks in the future as production of the iPhone 6 begins ramping up.


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Apple Acknowledges Consumers Want Larger and Cheaper Phones

The latest internal documents coming out of the Samsung/Apple trial show some candid insight into Apple's analysis of the future of the smartphone market.

The documents posted by Re/code include an Apple slide deck from April, 2013 for 2014 planning. The document includes graphs showing that Apple's growth rates are slowing quarter after quarter. The main reason for the decline amongst consumers? Consumers want less expensive and larger screen smartphones:

whatsgoingon
In a further breakdown, Apple acknowledges that "consumers want what we don't have" -- which shows that the majority of smartphone growth is in both >4" screen sizes and < $300 markets.

donthave
Apple has been heavily rumored to be introducing a larger iPhone 6 this fall. The size of the new iPhone has been thought to be 4.7" or 5.5" with the 4.7" model coming first. While rumors have been consistent, Apple's own insights from 2013 explain why such a move is likely to happen.


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WiFi Performance to Improve As FCC Opens Unlicensed Frequencies

logo-5In February, the Wall Street Journal reported on the formation of a new lobbying group called WifiForward that advocated the opening up of unlicensed frequencies to alleviate Wi-Fi congestion and improve performance. The group consisted of industry partners including Google, Best Buy, Microsoft, and many others.

On Monday, the FCC announced that it was freeing up more airwaves for Wi-Fi usage in the U.S. The WiFiForward group wrote in response to the ruling:
Today, the FCC voted unanimously to unleash more unlicensed spectrum will support all the things we already use and further drive investment and experimentation—a 50% increase in spectrum available for Wi-Fi, to be exact. Consumer devices are already equipped to operate in the band, so they can easily be adapted to quickly take advantage of new 5 GHz channels. And a new Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, has just been approved for the 5 GHz band. 802.11ac’s wide channels will allow for a better consumer experience.
The group indicates that consumer devices will be "easily" adapted to take advantage of the new 5GHz channels, and that 802.11ac will be able to take advantage of the new bandwidth.

802.11ac or "Gigabit" Wi-Fi offers speeds up to three times as fast as existing 802.11n wireless networks. 802.11ac has been introduced into Apple's Mac line starting in 2013, and is expected to be included in the iPhone 6 later this year.


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