Let’s Have Some Fun Reading Way Too Much Into the Preliminary Schedule for WWDC 2012

There are always TBA sessions on the preliminary schedule, because there are always some sessions pertaining to new stuff that will be announced on Monday. But this year there seem to be more TBA sessions than usual — particularly in Presidio, the aforementioned biggest room for sessions in the building.

“To Be Announced” sessions are for product features with secrecy. The sessions might be for new features in iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, or as if the rumors have it, a new SDK platform for the TV.

Sharp and Hon Hai (Foxconn) team up for new plant to supply iPhone screen panels

According to Nikkei business daily, Sharp will supply the technical know-how to Hon Hai Precision Industry for a new plant in Chengdu to produce screen panels for iPhone. Hon Hai, being the parent company of Foxconn, invested about 46% stake in Sharp’s LCD plant in Sakai in March.

Apple appears to be the main driving force for the team-up between Sharp and Hon Hai. The partnership is positioned to become a major supplier of displays for Apple, joining Samsung and LG to meet Apple’s demand. The investment of Apple’s long time partners in Sharp in March also roused suspicion of a forth coming LCD TV from Apple. 

Sharp to supply technology to Hon Hai’s China plant: Nikkei

The return of iSight

iSight

Remember iSight camera on your Mac? iSight is the name Apple used for the webcam on Mac computers before its transition to the current “FaceTime” or “FaceTime HD” camera naming. When Apple launched the new iPad, it refers to the new 5MP camera as an iSight camera.  And iSight name is prominent in iPad’s product literature. More than just the new iPad, Apple has just applied the iSight name to the camera in iPhone 4/4S. The camera on both the new iPad and iPhone 4S appears to be the same going by specification.

The iSight branding is expected to extend to the camera on the Mac during their next refreshes later in the year. It is safe to say that the resurrection of the name only make sense when Apple plans to make it a differentiating product feature. To speculate, Apple might be adding motion sensing detection technology into the iSight camera. This new technology might be enabled as part of Mountain Lion and in iOS 6. There might even be a standalone iSight webcam accessory for the AppleTV, with full gaming API support for its motion detection technology. Will Apple play catchup with Kinect? We will know for sure when Apple unveils iOS 6 in June.

Apple to announce iPad 3 on Wednesday March 7?

Base on past announcements, it is a safe bet that Apple will announce iPad 3 in early March. Already, rumor is flying high with a Wednesday March 7 announcement date. Here are some predictions on iPad 3 specification:

  • iPad 3 will have a 2048×1536 Retina Display.
  • iPad 3 will sport either a dual-core or quad-core A6.
  • iPad 3 is likely to sport 4G LTE networking as an option.
  • iPad 3 will have a better camera.
  • iPad 3’s battery will last longer than iPad 2.
  • We hope iPad 3 will include next-gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking.
  • Siri will be standard software.
  • Apple is likely to offer a low cost iPad 2 together.

Update: The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that both Verizon and AT&T will “sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks”.

Mac Pro no more?

macpro

Mac Pro is the only Mac left that has not been upgraded this year. The last Mac Pro update is August 2010. One reason cited for the delay is the lack of a suitable Sandy Bridge Xeon Intel processor, which is said to debut only in earlier 2012. There is also wild speculation at the moment of Apple “rethinking” their Mac Pro line.

Desktop Mac currently consists of Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro. With desktop range of Mac declining in sales in favor of notebook Mac,  there is a possibility that Apple might cancel it’s Mac Pro line, in the footstep of Xserve server line which was canceled end January this year. The truth is, Mac Pro is a very niche workstation class of computer, its sales number might not justify its attention for resource inside Apple.

We are hoping Apple will keep the Mac Pro line, with a brand new case design. A case that is smaller than the current one, and is convertible to be rack-mountable. But we see Apple shifting to be more and more focus on the consumer market, and will not be surprised if the end of Mac Pro is announced.

When will Pages, Numbers, Keynote for Mac support iCloud?

iWork

With the launch of iCloud, many native apps in iOS and OS X are updated to support the latest cloud service from Apple. Apple iOS apps such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are updated as well. Notable missing is an update to Pages, Keynote and Numbers on the Mac to support iCloud.

It is inevitable that Pages, Keynote and Numbers on the Mac will eventually support iCloud. This is just a delay. And we suspect that brand new version of Pages, Keynote and Numbers for Mac is looming on the horizon.

Looks like iPhone 4S is the new iPhone 5

iphone4s

As pointed out by German site iPhone-Ticker.de, German mobile carrier Vodafone is now listing iPhone 4 (8GB) Black & White and iPhone 4S (16GB, 32GB, 64GB) Black & White under the compatibility device listing for an iPhone 4 bumper. This seems to line up with the running rumor that there will be a low end iPhone 4 8GB model together with brand new next generation iPhone. Coming from Apple’s partner, this appears to be what we will see unveiling in about 30 hours in Apple’s October 4 event.

After 18 months of waiting, many fans definitely will be disappointed and underwhelmed by a simply beefed up iPhone 4. Many have expected a brand new design with a bigger screen for next generation iPhone. This does not sound like a good debut for new CEO Tim Cook.

Tim Cook is expected to unveil iPhone 5 on October 4

timcook-iphone5

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingD site is reporting that Apple will unveil iPhone 5 on an event on October 4. Tim Cook is expected to lead the launch. This sounds like a mega launch event as besides iPhone 5, we can also expect iOS 5, iCloud, new iPod touch and iPod models, or even new AppleTV.

AllThingsD

iCloud resets could mean iOS 5 Gold Master release on September 22

icloud

Apple is expected to release iOS 5 within weeks, and one of the main feature is its integration with Apple’s cloud based offering iCloud. It is safe to assume that Apple will release iOS 5 and iCloud together.

iOS 5 and iCloud is currently under beta testing by its developers. Apple in beginning of the week, announced to its developers that all test data in iCloud will be reset on September 22.

On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT – 5 PM PDT. If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.

This is a significant milestone as it hints that iCloud will be reset to a state ready for live data. Which suggests that iOS 5 Gold Master (GM) release will arrive on September 22 or shortly after. A GM release normally precedes the final release. For past iOS release, a final release normally comes within 2 weeks of a GM release.

Rumors: Logic Pro X and 3G-capable iPod touch

LogicPro9

It appears that an update to Logic Pro could come pretty soon. Japanese site Macotakara cited a source that the new update will be named Logic Pro X and will sport similar user interface familiar to its professional users, rather than a dump down GarageBand-style interface.

Apple launched existing Logic Pro 9 in mid 2009, with version 9.1 update in January 2010. There is no mentioned how Apple intend to distribute the new Logic Pro X, but it is safe to assume it will be Mac App Store only.

ipod

It is the season of iPod rumor, typical this time of the year when Apple’s annual iPod refresh is happening very soon. Sites such as AppleSpot.nl are reporting that Apple will be launching a 3G-capable iPod touch, similar to the offering for iPad. But there are also reports stating that the upgrade to iPod touch this year will be minor, very similar to current generation. Rumor is just rumor.