Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/09/apple_rumors/

Upgraded iPads, iPhone, and Apple TV reported

Verizon iPhone closes Antennagate

By Rik Myslewski

Posted in Hardware, 9th August 2010 19:48 GMT

An avalanche of Apple rumors has hit, starring two upgraded iPads powered by ARM Cortex A9–based processors; an AMD-powered, cloud-centric Apple TV; and a redesigned, metal-backed, CDMA iPhone from Verizon that would break AT&T's subscriber-vexing exclusivity.

While none of the rumors are entirely new, a Monday report by the research arm of the Taiwanese market-watchers at DigiTimes added a wealth of intriguing details.

ARMed iPads

Rumors of a seven-inch iPad have been floating around the web since at least last December, and were bolstered this April by another DigiTimes item that the The Reg told you about.

Monday's report fleshes out those speculative musings by noting that the miniPad will be powered by an ARM Cortex A9–based processor and will have an IPS display with a 1024-by-768 pixel resolution.

The displays in both the current iPad and the iPhone 4 use IPS technology, which improves both color fidelity and viewing angles, so the adoption of IPS for the miniPad should come as no surprise.

What is of interest, though, is the rumored seven-inch iPad's display resolution: it matches that of the current 9.7-inch iPad, which means that current iPad apps will run on the li'l guy with no resolution problems. The iPhone 4's "Retina Display", by the way, has a resolution of 960-by-640.

An upgraded 9.7-inch iPad will ship in the first quarter of 2011, DigiTimes says, and will have 512MB of RAM, up from the current 256MB and thus helping to support the multitasking capabilities of iOS 4.

As might be expected, the new full-size iPad is said to also be equipped with an ARM Cortex A9–based processor — the A4 chip in the current iPad and the iPhone 4 are based on the ARM Cortex 8. The Cortex 9 can be built with either single or multiple cores, but DigiTimes offered no hints as to the number of cores planned for the new chip — to be called the A5, perhaps?

There have also, by the way, been rumors that Apple has 13 and 15-inch iPads in he works, as well — but those maxiPad speculations have gained far less traction than the ones for the miniPad.

Apple TV that connects

In May, The Reg reported that Apple was working on a $99, cloud-based revision of its Apple TV "hobby" device. A month earlier, AppleInsider had said that Apple was in discussions with AMD about using its processors.

Those two threads came together in Monday's DigiTimes report, which claims that a new Apple TV is in the works that will be powered by "AMD's Fusion solution" — a reference to AMD's long-planned accelerated processing unit (APU) line of hybrid CPU/GPU chips.

The device, DigiTimes claims, will use Apple's mobile iOS operating system, and will include "support for social networking websites, network multimedia and the App Store." Since the device is purported to not have a hard drive, it will presumably be tightly coupled to Apple's $1bn data center, which Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said during the company's most recent earnings report would be completed by the end of this year. According to Monday's report, the new Apple TV will go into full-scale production this December.

Post Antennagate iPhones

Last but certainly not least among Monday's rumor trifecta is DigiTimes' claim that a CDMA-based iPhone is in the works, and that it will be built with "a back plate [that] will be forged from metal materials and will feature an integrated antenna" — an interesting detail, if true, considering that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs insisted that "there is no Antennagate" when defending the iPhone 4's unique exposed-antenna design during a press conference last month.

As to whether those "metal materials" will be the "amorphous, non-crystalline" metal alloys for which AppleInsider says Apple has obtained "a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license" isn't known — or even rumored.

As The Reg has reported in multiple articles, rumors of a CDMA-based iPhone have popped up repeatedly since as early as September 2008. In the US, this mythical beast is identified as the "Verizon iPhone" due to the fact that the largest stateside mobile-phone service provider, Verizon Wireless, uses CDMA technology, and not the GSM-based alphabet soup of the iPhone's current exclusive US provider, AT&T.

Monday's rumor states that the CDMA iPhone will be manufactured by Taiwan's Pegatron, offered by both Verizon Wireless and China Telecom, and will be revealed to world+dog at January's CES 2011.

For American iPhone owners, a Verizon-supplied iPhone will be a welcome addition to their choices of providers of the Jobsian handset. According to a recent small-scale survey by ChangeWay Research, when iPhone owners were asked: "What do you dislike most about your iPhone 4?", the number-one complaint was "requirement to Use AT&T's Network", followed closely by "coverage/speed/quality of AT&T's 3G network".

What's more, according to ChangeWave, AT&T's service is deteriorating: "Since September 2008," they wrote in their report, "Verizon's [dropped-call] rating has improved slightly while AT&T's has continued to worsen."

If Monday's DigiTimes report is correct, US fanbois may soon have a choice of carriers. Having followed the Verizon iPhone's long trail of fruitless rumors, however, The Reg remains skeptical — but we'll be at CES 2011 with our fingers crossed. ®