Apple iTunes Integrating With Safari To Increase Browser Market Share?

This is a rumor that you must take with loads of skepticism. Folks at a popular podcast show have claimed that Apple could be working on integrating its popular iTunes service with its Safari web browser in a bid to spike up the market share of the latter.

According to the source, the company may have already thwarted its plans to build cloud-based iTunes service that would be accessible from any browser. Instead, the new plans will make Safari the only browser that could load the music service. The source further adds,

“Moving iTunes organizational side-bar into Safari isn’t a monumental task. Safari would skyrocket in use as a result of integrating the software titles together.”

The news-quote appears dubious not just because of the untrusted source. It’s also because Apple might not be hedging its iTunes market share in its bid to improve Safari’s market share. Although iTunes is a pretty popular application, the software is pretty bulky and might not be ideally suited for use as an internet browsing application – something that would require it to be pretty lightweight.

In any case, this is a very interesting rumor and we look forward to such a move sometime down the line. An announcement in this regard is expected around the iPod Touch media event in September. That’s a long time from now and hopefully, we will hear a lot more in this regard by then.

New iPad 2 Case Design Features SD Card Slot & DisplayPort Jack

Around the time the Consumer Electronics Show was underway, we got to hear a lot of details about the features on the upcoming second generation model of the iPad. This new launch from Apple is expected to come with wide-range speakers at the bottom of the device besides slightly modified edges and back.

Now there are more details about the features on the next gen iPad. A new set of cases that have been made public by a Chinese accessory manufacturer shows a couple of new features – an SD card slot and a mini DisplayPort jack. The iPad 2 case contains a slot on the rear upper left corner that is possibly to house the SD card. Also, another slot at the center of the top edge is shaped in such a way that it indicates the possible provision for a mini DisplayPort jack.

iPad caseiPad 2 case

No word on the authenticity of these pictures. So, we will have to wait for more official word.

Business Impact Of Steve Jobs’ Medical Leave Could Be Significant

Apple CEO Steve Jobs yesterday wrote to all employees at his company noting that he was taking a medical leave of absence. This is not the first time Jobs will be taking time away from his responsibilities as CEO. Steve Jobs is a former pancreatic cancer patient who also had a liver transplant two years back. There was speculation earlier that Jobs – who was becoming increasingly frail over the past few months – could be taking another leave of absence soon.

What has bothered industry observers however is the open-ended nature of Jobs’ letter. Unlike the earlier time, when the company founder had promised to return in a few months time, the latest email from Steve Jobs’ does not mention a possible return date. In addition, he also writes about the “exciting plans we have in place for 2011” – indicating that this time it could be longer.

Steve Jobs has been the face of Apple since he took over the company as CEO in the mid-nineties. The American stock market was closed on Monday that should have helped prevent frantic panic-selling. The Apple stocks (NASDAQ : AAPL) however tanked in Germany falling by over 6%. The impact on immediate stock prices at NASDAQ will be apparent when the stock market opens on Tuesday.

What is concerning though is Apple’s plans for the rest of the year. The company is expected to launch a number of new products including the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 this year. The next few months will be testing times for Tim Cook, the COO at Apple who will take over the company in Jobs’ absence. Steve Jobs meanwhile, will continue being the CEO and will take part in all major strategic decisions.

Is iPhone Jailbreak Legal? Apple Doesn’t Think So

Technically, it is not illegal to jailbreak the software of any device that you “own“. The Digital Copyright Millennium Act had stated last year that jailbreaking an iPhone or any other device for that matter was not illegal. Apple had stated back then that though the process itself might be legal, the company would still stick to its policy of voiding the warranty of devices that indulge in jailbreaking since such hacks were the primary cause of iOS crashes and malfunction.

Now, with the cat and mouse game between Apple and jailbreakers still on, it looks like Apple may be seeking legal counsel on this subject one more time. The company is learned to have to have approached the Copyrights Office of the Federal Government seeking a “crack down” on hackers who offer jailbreak software. In their proposal, Apple has said,

“Current jailbreak technologies now in widespread use utilize unauthorized modifications to the copyrighted bootloader and operating system, resulting in the infringement of the copyrights in those programs”

Specifically, Apple has pointed out that such jailbroken devices are a way for users to pirate copyrighted software and hence the company wants a ban on such processes. The response from the Copyrights office is not known yet.

What is your stand on this issue?

More Details About New iPhone & iPad Hardware

Apple could be bringing some sophisticated display technology to the next generation iPhone and iPad. We had recently pointed out that the price of iPad 2 display screens on third party vendor sites were significantly higher than older versions that hint at a possible enhancement of technology.

Now, artwork included with the new version 1.1 of Apple’s iBooks application gives us more evidence of this upcoming display enhancement. The list of artwork includes icons named iPadx2 and iPhonex2 that have icons sized double that of icons named ‘iPad‘ and ‘iPhone‘. While it may be a tad too premature to comment on this rightaway, indications are that these larger sized icons may be to accommodate the screen resolutions of the upcoming devices that, at 2048×1536 pixels may be double that of the current generation devices.

Not just this, we have also heard about the GPU specifications on iPhone 5 and iPad 2. According to some quarters, the new iPad and iPhone variants will be equipped with a dual core SGX543 GPU and a new A5 multi-core chip as CPU.

While all of this indicates a device much more powerful than the current variants, the only concern now is that of the battery performance. Will Apple be able to accommodate all of these performance enhancements without significantly affecting the battery life of the device? This will be worth the wait.

New iPad Spare Parts Put Online For Sale

More details about the upcoming Apple iPad 2 keeps coming in. Last week, we had heard about a possible launch date of April 2 or 9 for the new iPad that might come without a home button. Now, according to a posting on a third party vendor site, the iPad could come equipped with a vibrating motor – something that the current version lacks.

It is not clear if GlobalDirectParts – the company that has published this part has inadvertently mislabeled an iPhone part as one for the iPad, but given earlier leaks from this vendor, we are tempted to believe that the vibrating motor is indeed one for the iPad.

Besides, the vibrating motor, the site also has an “iPad 2 LCD screen” for sale. Interestingly, this “out of stock” product is priced $218.19 that is significantly higher than the $144.99 that the company charged for the LCD screen on the original iPad early last year. Given these higher costs, there is a likelihood, that the new iPad could actually come with the much rumored retina display. What do you think?

$10,000 Free iTunes Gift Card For ‘Countdown To 10 Billion Apps’

Looking to get some free iTunes gift cards? This week could turn out lucky for you. Apple has launched a ‘Countdown to 10 billion apps‘ site that rewards one of its users with an iTunes gift card worth $10,000. To win the gift card, users can either wait to hit the download button on their favorite app close to the 10 billion mark (the download count is currently hovering around the 9.79 billion mark) or use an alternate entry form to enter the fray without any download or purchase.

The announcement is reminiscent of the contest that Apple held in February last year when the company marked the download of 10 billion songs from iTunes. It is worth noting that the winner back then was rewarded with a similar iTunes gift card. You can check out all the  contest details and rules in the official website here.

Apple iPad 2 Features Include SD Card Slot, Dual GSM/CDMA Chipset?

We have already written quite a bit about the iPad 2 that is likely going to have a release date somewhere around in April this year. Earlier reports have also suggested that the new iPad is going to be thinner and sleeker than its predecessor with a new screen technology similar to the retina display on iPhone 4 – although some sources have speculated that such a move is improbable considering the costs involved.

A fresh report however notes that the new iPad could come with a display similar to the retina display with “super high resolution“.   The source further claims that the screen will stay at 10 inches and will also feature front as well as rear cameras along with a built in SD slot. We also hear that iPad 2 could come with a dual GSM/CDMA chipset manufactured by Qualcomm which will mean both AT&T and Verizon could carry the iPad simultaneously.

This new chipset manufactured by Qualcomm marks Apple’s migration from its existing chipset manufacturer Infineon for all its mobile devices. Reports also suggest that Apple’s new A5 processor which is said to have blazing fast speeds will be making its way to the iPad 2, but there are no confirmations regarding this as yet.

iPhone Mobile Social Networking With iOS 4.3 Update

Apple looks set to roll out another iOS update before the Verizon iPhone hits the store on the 10th of next month.  Those who have gotten their hands to the developer beta version of iOS 4.3 have already been discovering new features like personal mobile hotspot that appears to be made available on the new iOS update.

An interesting discovery is that of a feature called ‘Find my friends‘ on iOS 4.3. While we have no clue about what this feature could eventually turn out to be, indications are that this could be a MobileMe service that could work similar to Google Latitude and could let users check out the location of their iPhone toting friends at any given time.

At the risk of sounding preposterous, the launch of a ‘Find my friends‘ service could also mean that Apple is looking at building some sort of social networking among iPhone users on the mobile front. The company already attempted a network among music lovers with Ping, that incidentally did not bring much success. It will be interesting to see how this new feature fares.

iPad 2 US Launch On April 2 Or 9?

There is still a lot of debate on whether Apple might advance the launch date of the next generation iPad to earlier than April. A few days back, Digg founder Kevin Rose had claimed from sources that the iPad 2 could possibly be announced on February 1 with a possible launch a week or so later.

However, according to a German website, the launch is not expected to happen before April. The site cites from sources that the launch date for iPad 2 is scheduled for either April 2 or April 9. Also, like with the earlier announcements, the iPad 2 is expected to launch first in the United States with an international launch rumored for July.

The site claims that the iPad 2 will feature dual cameras (for FaceTime and for taking pictures) and retina display. However considering that we have already heard a lot of things in this regard, we will just swallow the proverbial grain of salt and move on.