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Apple iPhone 5 to feature thinner design, according to new leaks

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Speculation surrounding Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S sure isn't slowing down, and with Apple expected to take the wraps off the company's latest smartphone lineup within weeks, more rumored iPhone 5 parts have started to leak out. According to the blog Greek iPhone, which published photos of what it is claiming to be new components from Apple's upcoming iconic device, the iPhone 5 will be thinner than the current model and it will also feature volume buttons on the opposite side of where they sit now on the iPhone 4. Additionally, the camera module is “quite different” and thinner than the existing part, and it reportedly supports a higher resolution than the current module - it looks like an 8-megapixel sensor is all but confirmed. Hit the jump for additional images of the parts in question.
source: Boy Genius Report

Facebook launches Messenger chat app for Android, iPhone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has released a new application called “Messenger” for Android and the iPhone. Messenger allows users to quickly chat with friends, create group chats, share their location or photos and more. It doesn't appear that Facebook will tie it in with its Facebook Chat application just yet, but you can access your Facebook inbox from the new app. Unfortunately, it does not offer the same delivered/read alerts that competing services such as BBM, iMessage and WhatsApp offer. The free application is available in both the Android Market and the iTunes App Store now. Facebook acquired a messaging platform called Beluga in March and this is likely the preliminary fruit of that purchase.
source: Boy Genius Report

Optimum launches iPhone app, allows full TV viewing, remote controlling

Cablevision launched a unique implementation of TV viewing with the company's iPad app a few months back. In short, the iPad actually sits behind your home network, connects through your Optimum cable model directly to the company's internal network, and essentially acts as a TV tuner. This delivers every channel you're subscribed to that you can view on your TV, and now Optimum is bringing this capability to the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to TV viewing, you're also able to use the iPhone as a remote control giving customers even more flexibility and control over their shows. We've been playing with the app for a little while and it ‘s pretty solid - watching TV on the iPhone is crystal clear, and it's sure better than digging for the remote control every few minutes. Optimum's updated app is available for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in the App Store.
source: Boy Genius Report

Man in UK to line up for a month for the iPhone 5

Rumors of a September/October iPhone 5 have been running amok. Some have chosen to hold on to the possibility and the chance that it might be revealed in June during WWDC, but alas they were disappointed which makes it appear that perhaps those initial September release rumors might be true after all.

Well here's a man by the name of Rob Shoesmith, who's decided that the iPhone 5 will be released in September and has decided to go all out and get ahead of the queue by lining outside the Apple store in the UK for a month. He's also banking on the amount of power outlets along with numerous free public WiFi to keep his devices charged and also allows him to do his job, which is as a marketer.

In fact he even left all of his money at home and is banking on the kindness of strangers for gifts and sponsorships. For example he's been loaned a car, solar powered iPhone chargers, webcams, shampoo, aftershave, candy and even a box of garden gnomes! He also plans to get a security guard who will watch over his items while he sleeps.

If you ever needed a good PR stunt, this would be it. It would be a pity if the iPhone 5 did not come out as his efforts would have been for naught.
source: Ubergizmo

Lower-priced iPhone launching soon?

Monday, August 8, 2011

According to an analyst over at RBC Capital, who were reported to have recently spent time with Apple's CFO, Peter Oppenheimer and COO, Tim Cook; he he's got some interesting news to share. As reported by BGR, the analyst, Mike Abramsky, was said to have discussed a whole range of topics, from Apple's patent battles to the possibility of a budget-priced iPhone. Judging by what he had to say, it seems like the low-cost iPhone should be on its way.

Corroborating with previous reports, the low-cost iPhone is said to be the iPhone 3GS that will be sold for $350 off contract. Given that the 3GS is old news and outdated by now (it will be 2 generations old when the iPhone 5 is released), Apple should have no problem selling it at low prices, since it will cost cheaper to make as well. With a range of differently priced iPhones, this should give Apple consumers more devices to choose from when picking out an iPhone, which should give the company an answer to low-priced Android phones.
source: Ubergizmo

Low-cost iPhone could launch soon; Apple execs hope to settle patent disputes

RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky recently sat down in a meeting with Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer and chief operating officer Tim Cook to discuss a range of topics, from Apple's patent battles to the possibility of a budget-priced iPhone. “Apple's primary criterion for launching a lower-end iPhone is an innovative, category-killer experience,” Abramsky wrote in a recent note to investors. The execs said that the components sector is currently a “buyers market,” which means it has the upper hand when it comes to negotiating for parts. In addition, Abramsky said Apple is interested in settling a number of patent lawsuits against Android phone makers such as Samsung and HTC, in an effort to strike favorable agreements in countries like China that have less firm patent protection. We recently reported exclusively that Apple has plans to launch a $350 contract-free iPhone, which could very well be the iPhone 3GS. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone in the coming months for a September or October launch.
source: Boy Genius Report

Leaked Telus Document Shows October 1st As iPhone 5 Canada Release Date!

According to a report by BGR which claims to have seen an official internal Telus document , the Canadian release of presumably the world's most awaited iPhone is due on the first day of October. That gives us two things to infer : firstly, it could be possible that Apple may launch the iPhone 5x4S in Canada just days after the expected US launch in September.

Secondly, Apple may be a little poised in maintaining the international launch schedules of the new iPhone to be as close as possible to be in the shadow of the US launch date. A "reliable source" claims courtesy of the Canadian carrier Telus claims that 1st October is the day of iPhone 5 launch in Canada.

It is more or less synonymous to how we learnt about the AT&T iPhone 5 launch date by the way of a leaked internal document. Isn't it? Skepticism is in the air even as the allegedly Canadian launch date falls on Saturday, which is usually not the day when Apple releases its iPhones.

We presume Apple may launch its next iPhone first in the US (end-September release date is also possible) closely followed by international launches elsewhere including Switzerland, Canada, Australia, India, China, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries where Apple has made the previous iPhone models available, China being an exception.

Rumors about the launch of the next iPhone have been one of the dominating work of words on the web. Multiple various sources have contributed to the as-yet-unofficial set of features and technical specifications that we are likely to see in Apple's next generation iPhone.

As a rumor round-up refresher, the next generation iPhone (iPhone 4S/iPhone 5) is expected to feature a larger edge-to-edge display, an 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, powerful dual-core processor with suitable RAM storage, Apple iOS 5, support for iOS OTA updates, and much more. Not to mention, high-speed 4G connectivity and built-in NFC sensor are also inclusive of expected features.

While all the sources and reports so far suggest an early October release, it will be interesting to see what Apple has charted as the release schedule for one of the most-hyped and sincerely most-awaited phones in the history.

We will keep you posted as more details surface. Stay tuned!
source: Technology Nerd

Fly an RC Helicopter with your iPhone

A lot of us have played with those tiny remote controlled helicopters, but now you can control one with your iPhone. The iHelicopter comes with a special transmitter that plugs into the dock connector of an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The iHelicopter app turns your device into the remote control. The toy also comes with 2 spare rotor blades and a spare tail propeller, because you know you're going to crash it more than once. The app is free and the iHelicopter/transmitter is $59.95 and is available in Black, Silver or White.
source: The Gadgeteer

DollyCam app lets you stabilize iPhone 4 videos, we go hands-on

Apple's iPhone 4 can serve as a great little camcorder when you're in a bind, but it's never been our go-to cam for video shoots. Not only is its small sensor not best suited for high-quality HD shooting, but the smartphone form factor can be awkward to hold, resulting in shakier than normal footage. A new app called DollyCam, which also supports iPad 2, helps soften the blow of the latter, letting you successfully stabilize videos -- with a few drawbacks.

We took our iPhone 4 out to test a watermarked free version of the app in New York City, shooting a scene first with the phone's native app, and then with DollyCam. It won't replace a hardware solution like the Steadicam Smoothee, but it's significantly cheaper and more convenient. The only major issues we noticed were related to softened sound capture of all things (pay close attention in the video past the break), and the fact that the app can't process in real-time, so a minute-long video clip will need about five minutes to process. The app does crop your footage slightly, as can be expected. You'll also need to remain in the app as it's processing, though you can also stabilize videos later, after completing your shoot. Overall, it's an acceptable solution, especially considering the $2.99 price tag.

Press Release:
Scientists release unique app for video enhancement

"DollyCam is the best software for automagic video stabilization"

August 3, Linkoping, Sweden. Scientists at Linkoping University in Sweden recently launched DollyCam for iPhone and iPad. The app is based on patent pending technology that automatically stabilizes video captured with CMOS video cameras, such as found in new mobile phones, and tablet devices. The result is astonishing and lets amateurs create professional movies without expensive equipment.

Anyone who has tried to capture video with a mobile phone knows how easily the result becomes shaky and wobbly, with skewed objects and an overall amateurish feeling. The poor result is caused by the rolling-shutter technology used in low-end consumer cameras, and by the fact that you hold the camera in your hand. Professional filmmakers use global-shutter cameras, rails and dollys for smooth camera movements.

DollyCam is based on leading research in computer vision. The unique algorithm uses three-dimensional data from the gyroscope and accelerometer sensors on the iOS device to correct tilted objects and remove wobble. A video stabilizer then adds smoothness and makes the movie stable. DollyCam is also adaptive and adjusts its parameters dynam- ically to the movie processed. The scientists have conducted a blind user study among students on campus. The study demonstrated that participants preferred DollyCam output to that of its competitors.

"With this app you get a professional and smooth video from a cheap consumer camera", says Per-Erik Forss ́en, assistant professor at Linkoping University who presented the underlying algorithm at the international IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in San Francisco 2010.

The scientists recently founded the company FR Vision AB, with support from the Innovation Office at the University. DollyCam is their first product, but the company also intends to disseminate the technique as professional products for video editing pack- ages like Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut, as well as application programming interfaces that allow integration in other products.

"Our vision is to integrate our technology in hardware from big players like Apple, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung, to let a bigger audience experience better movies", says Erik Ringaby, doctoral student at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Link ̈oping University. "We also hope service providers like Google and Facebook will be interested in licensing our technology."
source: Engadget

iNoxCase for the iPhone 4 – Hot or Not?

Friday, August 5, 2011

What is it about metal iPhone cases that people seem to love? We've reviewed several ourselves (with more to come), but what do you all think of the iNoxCase from Columbia River Knife and Tool? This case is made of stainless steel and is available in several colors including Camo. The price isn't too bad at $59.99 – $69.99. But it's the 180 degree rotating visor lid that has me wrinkling up my nose. It's designed to protect the front display while still allowing views of the time and incoming calls. But all I can help but think when I see it is this. I guess it's true that everything old is new again at some point.
source: The Gadgeteer

Rumor: new iPhone 5 will arrive in early October in Canada (via Telus)

Although we've recently heard that Apple would not launch the iPhone 5 until late October, this may not be true. And, well, we'll probably not know the real truth until the day Apple decides to officially announce its new smartphone. Meanwhile, we have enough rumors to keep us busy.

The latest rumor comes from BGR, which claims to have “confirmed information” “received from a reliable source at Canadian carrier Telus.” According to the info, Telus is planning to launch the new iPhone 5 in Canada on October 1. Theoretically, this could happen – although October 1 is a Saturday, and Apple has released its previous iPhone models either on a Friday, or a Thursday.

Anyway, assuming this launch date is accurate, the iPhone 5 will also be out in the US on October 1, or even earlier – since it wouldn't be the first time when Apple intros a new iPhone in Canada only after launching it in the US.
source: Unwired View

Elecom latest NENDO wonder is in fact an iPhone/Smartphone Stand

JAGUCHI, Elecom latest NENDO piece of art that represent a faucet pouring water on the floor, in in fact a "stylish" stand for all kind of smartphones and even tablets! Available in two size and four different colors in tis smartphone version and two colors in its tablet version the JAGUCHI are schedule to be on sale in Japan shortly!
source: Akihabara News

iPhone 5's launch date the biggest internet debate right now?

Apple missed its usual June time-slot to debut a new iPhone and, up until now, rumors have widely pointed toward a September release for the device. Even as recently as last week we were hearing talk of a September release. Gizmodo cited an AT&T employee in reporting that the carrier was rejecting all applications for vacation time during the last two weeks of September “due to an event blackout.” The employee went on to say that in the past this has only been done for iPhone launches. However, contesting that rumor is a post over on All Things D that was published yesterday.

John Paczkowski cites sources with knowledge of the situation that say reports claiming AT&T has blacked out employee vacations during the last two weeks of September in preparation for the new iPhone are incorrect.

“I don't know why AT&T's calling for all hands on deck those weeks, but it's not for an iPhone launch,” Paczowski's source said, adding that the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, or whatever you want to call it today), is not expected until October.

No other details (such as a date or location for the launch event, or the phone's release date) were provided, and, as always, Apple is staying quiet. We'll keep you posted.

Carriers reportedly testing iPhone 5?

We'll agree that lately our posts seem to contain quite a bit of iPhone 5 rumors, and to be fair given the number of rather interesting rumors/news regarding Apple's next-generation iPhone we just can't help ourselves. We've reported on iPhone 5 clones, fake iPhone 5s spotted in China, and even what appeared to be the device being spotted aboard a train.

Given that the device was slated for a mid-year release, its delay, which rumors are pointing towards a September/October release, have only added on to the hype and frenzy surrounding the device.

Considering that we're only a couple of months away from the purported release, the rumors have only increased and have shifted from being feature rumors to rumors of the device being spotted, and it seems that the latest rumor is now pointing at carriers who are reportedly testing out the device. According to the source of the rumor:

"My carrier sources tell me that the boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carriers for testing. This is an important step in the release cycle for any phone. … The next iPhones go for their testing inside locked and sealed boxes so that the carriers can carry out checks on their network compatibility in their labs. It's very high security, as you could guess; my understanding is that barely anyone inside the carriers gets to open those boxes, and even when they do the hardware is encased in a dummy body which means there's no clue to what the actual phone will do."

If the previous release rumors of September/October are to be believed, then it's not a stretch of the imagination to think that carriers are currently testing out the devices to make sure that if and when the device is launched, it will be launched without a hitch.

So what do you guys think? A rumor of opportunity or a rumor that corroborates the September/October release? Since it is only a couple of months away from those rumored dates, I guess we will have to wait and see for ourselves.
source: Ubergizmo

The Perfect iPhone and iPad cases for college students

We're guessing there's probably plenty of reasons why you bought your iPhone, but we can bet you probably never would've imagined you would be opening beers with it. Australian designers Rob Ward and Chris Peters first turned to Kickstarter for help with their ‘Opena' case concept, but after reaching funding goals the product is finally going into production.

Although a bottle-opening iPhone case could sound like a disaster, the case is actually surprisingly well thought out. The durable bottle opener slides right out of the case, designed specially to avoid straining the phone itself. The placement of the opener is even designed to keep bottle foam from escaping and entering any iPhone ports. When the bottle opener is hidden inside the case, the Opena just looks like a regular, sleek iPhone case.

Available in a black or white pre-order, you can order yours here for $39.95.

If the bottle-opening iPhone case is for the partying aspect of your college career, then the BinderPad iPad case is the perfect solution for your academic needs. This simple and minimalistic case allows you to safely store (or hide) your iPad in an ordinary three ring binder. Created by ZooGue, the BinderPad Case claims to be “the thinnest most convenient iPad 2 pouch” weight in at 3.5 oz and a 1x2 inch thick.

With more and more textbooks coming in e-book form and schools beginning to integrate iPads into curriculum, the BinderPad Case could be the perfect iPad accessory for students. It allows you to keep everything nice and organized in a single three ring binder, eliminating the need to carry both a binder and an iPad separately.

You can order your BinderPad case from ZooGue here for $29.99.

Syncomatic Automatically Beams Photos from iPhone to Mac

Syncomatic runs in the background and sends photos an movies to your Mac when you get near

Syncomatic is an iPhone app which runs in the background and talks to a companion app running on your Mac. Using a mystery mix of network info and location information, Syncomatic will detect when you are near your computer and then send any new photos and movies to it.

There are plenty of apps that will send photos back to your Mac (or PC). I use the quite excellent PhotoSync already. But Syncomatic's background feature is something like magic. You can set it, forget it and have all your new photos automatically show up on your computer. You can also choose to have it send new pictures to iPhoto or Aperture next time they are opened.

Syncomatic will transfer anything in your photo roll, including pictures imported from a camera via the camera connection kit. That means you could end up with quite a few RAW images coming across the network. This shouldn't be a problem, though, as Syncomatic only kicks in on Wi-Fi. Until then, the amount of photos waiting to be transferred is shown in a badge on the app's icon, so you don't even need to open it to check.

The developer doesn't say how the app is kept running in the background, but does promise low battery usage. I'll keep an eye on that and update this post if there is any unexpected juice drain.

I like the app a lot so far, mostly because it just works. That and the fact that it is a way faster, and way more reliable that my sucky Eye-Fi card. Syncomatic costs $2, and is available now. The Mac companion app is free.

Syncomatic product page [Syncomatic App]
source: Gadget Lab

Pegatron ships iPhone 5 in September?

Pegatron, one of Apple's manufacturing partners for the upcoming iPhone (currently known as the iPhone 5 for continuity and simplicity's sake), is said to start shipping the fabled smartphone when September rolls around, which is similar to what we have heard before.

Digitimes were the ones who broke this piece of news, with Pegatron joining Foxconn as an iPhone 5 manufacturer, where the former actually secured an order for 10 million units to date. There were also whispers that Pegatron actually picked up a deal with Apple to manufacture the next version of the iPad, although component shortages have thrown a spanner in the works which might result in a delay.

Hopefully we won't have to see any more iPhone 5 clones hit the news anytime soon from now until September, but rather, legit iPhone 5 nuggets inclusive of leaked images, screenshots and specifications.
source: Ubergizmo

Elecom's faucet-inspired iPad/iPhone stand

Looking for a stand for your iPad? If you're not really in need of a stand that has built in speakers, or an additional display or one that can put into your car, then perhaps this Elecom stand designed by Nendo could just be what you were looking for.

Judging by its looks, this stand appears to focus more about design as opposed to being featured packed or being practical. In fact judging by the photos, propping your iPad or iPhone up against the stand does not guarantee that it will not topple over, but if form over function is your philosophy then this iPad/iPhone stand will definitely make a statement in your room's decor.

Made out of polycarbonate and ABS faucet parts, the stand was designed to look like an old fashioned faucet with the illusion of water flowing out of it and into a puddle. It will be available in clear, black, blue and white, with the clear and blue versions looking particularly convincing.

Unfortunately if you were planning to get your hands on one of these stands, Elecom's website does not seem to have stated the price or the availability but perhaps some time down the line they will. For now it looks like you will just have to be content with photos.
source: Ubergizmo

DollyCam lets your iPhone record professional-looking videos

Got a case of the shaky hands? If so, you're going to appreciate what the folks over at Linkoping, Sweden have come up with. Some scientists at the Linkoping University recently launched DollyCam for the iPhone and iPad - an app that helps people with unsteady hands record professional-looking videos on their iOS devices.

Sometimes even if you have a steady hand, you still get amateurish-looking footage due to the rolling-shutter technology used in iOS devices. Professional video cameras use global-shutter cameras, rails and dollys for smooth camera movement - most of us amateur folk don't have access to such equipment. DollyCam is designed to eliminate the need for all that. Here's how it works:

DollyCam is based on leading research in computer vision. The unique algorithm uses three-dimensional data from the gyroscope and accelerometer sensors on the iOS device to correct tilted objects and remove wobble. A video stabilizer then adds smoothness and makes the movie stable. DollyCam is also adaptive and adjusts its parameters dynamically to the movie processed. The scientists have conducted a blind user study among students on campus. The study demonstrated that participants preferred DollyCam output to that of its competitors.

So if you're looking for professional and smooth video from a cheap consumer camera - you could give DollyCam a try, it's $2.99 from the Apple App Store.
source: Ubergizmo

Strapya new Hand iPhone Case is just... Creepy

Here you are another "wonder" from Strapya with the "Hand iPhone Case" featuring a "Fake" yet really realistic hand stuck to the back of a very basic iPhone case giving you not only a really creepy unique iPhone Case but also the unique chance to old someone's hand while using your iPhone.

Want one? Don't waist your time on eBay and follow the link below to place your purchase!
source: Akihabara News

iPhone price cuts coming to Radio Shack and Target tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Although it may or may not be a sign that a new iPhone is on the way, several tipsters have revealed that the price will drop on both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 at Target and Radio Shack starting tomorrow.

Radio Shack plans on cutting the price on the 16GB iPhone 4 from $199.99 on a new two year contract to $169.99. The 32GB version will also drop $30 from $299.99 to $269.99 on a new two year contract. The 8GB version of the iPhone 3GS will be available for $19.99 on a new two year contract at Radio Shack as well. Target is also slashing their prices: the 16GB iPhone 4 will be available for $149.99 on a new two year contract on both Verizon and AT&T. Verizon is also cutting the price by $50 on the 32GB model at Target, but apparently AT&T is not.

You'll also be able to get another $100 off your iPhone 4 if you trade in a iPhone 3GS at Target. It may not be news of a new iPhone, but everyone loves a price cut, especially on an item such as the iPhone 4.
source: Unwired View

Pixeet Turns the iPhone into a Panoramic Camera

Wanting to take panoramic photos with your iPhone, but couldn't because it can't? Pixeet has your back! This floor-to-ceiling panorama lens made from aluminum and glass works with the iPhone, although its manufacturer announces that Android and BlackBerry-compatible counterparts will be released soon.

The Pixeet works by sticking it right on the smartphone and scan the space from left to right. It can pick up a full 360-degree panoramic shot and even let you post the photo on Pixeet's own servers.

Apart from the iPhone, the Pixeet can also be used to other devices like digital cameras and webcams. The lens holds in place to the device using a magnetic ring. Although there are a lot of convenient panorama lens out in the market, the Pixeet's compatibility with a lot of devices is its ace.

The Pixeet is now available on its online store for $50.

iPhone 5 launch only in late October

The iPhone 5 launch guessing game continues.

A few weeks ago, everyone has pegged September as a most likely release date for next generation iPhone. There were even rumors about AT&T cancelling all employee vacations for the launch.

Now AllThingsD has it that there won't be any new iPhone this September. Instead, Apple will have a surprise event sometime in the second half of October for iPhone 5x4s.

And it sort of makes sense.

Apple usually does have a major launch event in September. But more often then not - the launch is mostly about music business/iPods. With a promised September availability of iCloud service, it will make sense for Apple to put a spotlight on it's music service/iPods at that event.

With iPhone 4 still selling like crazy, with no slowdown in sight, there is no need for Apple to rush the next generation iPhone. Just have it ready before holiday shopping season starts, and sales will explode.

On the other hand, there was that major product transition that may affect Apple's numbers in Q3, mentioned during earnings conference call. It's hard to see what other product except for iPhone could have such impact. It will also be strange to see a next generation iPod Touch announced before we get a chance to see the new iPhone.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in September.

The only thing I'm sure about right now, it's that this is not the last iPhone 5 launch date rumor we are going to see in the next couple of months. And we will keep guessing /obsessing right until the time the next generation iPhone launches.
source: Unwired View

LifeProof iPhone 4 cases are waterproof, dirtproof, snowproof, and shockproof

If you're planning to keep your iPhone 4 safe and sound - at least until the next one arrives, you're probably going to need a case to keep it safe. How about investing in something that keeps your iPhone 4 safe especially if you live in a place with harsh weather conditions? LifeProof for the iPhone 4 is designed just to do that.

This new case is said to be the only iPhone case that is waterproof to a depth of 6.6 feet and it is tested to military specifications (MIL-STD-810F-516.5) for its drop protection up to a height of 6.6 feet onto concrete - so if you want to take your iPhone swimming with you or keep it in your pocket during your Parkour runs, let's just say you're well prepared.

The LifeProof iPhone 4 case is also dirtproof, snowproof and is sleek enough to keep in your pocket. The LifeProof case is available in black, pink and white and will set you back $69.95 each.
source: Ubergizmo

iPhone Maker Foxconn Employs 1M Robots to Do Grunt Work

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou addresses journalists at aproduct-testing facility.during a media tour of the factory. Photo courtesy of Thomas Lee

Foxconn has a reputation as maker of our much-beloved iDevices. It also has a reputation for inhumane living and working conditions for employees in its Shenzhen-based plants.

One way to potentially fix that tarnished image: replace some of those workers with robots.

One million robots, in fact, hopefully all in place within the next three years. The robots will be tasked with mundane tasks such as welding, spraying and assembling, which humans currently do. Foxconn currently uses 10,000 robots to supplement its 1.2 million human workers in its production process.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said in a statement Friday that he wanted to shift the company's employees “higher up the value chain, beyond basic manufacturing work.” This would enable the Shenzhen factory to improve its overall working conditions, and create increasingly sophisticated products, he said. IDG News was first to report the news.

The worker conditions in China's Foxconn industrial compound have come under scrutiny in the past few years, since the suicide deaths of 17 workers, and other suicide attempts. Workers have described conditions to be much like working in a “prison” or a “cage.”

Foxconn's horror stories are symptomatic of a larger problem in China's components industry, where factory employees reportedly endure harsh working conditions comparable to a sweatshop. Hourly wages of less than a dollar, illegal overtime hours and firings without notice are common among most gadget factories, according to a six-month investigation by GlobalPost.

Workers, whose overtime hours (according to Chinese labor laws) should not exceed 36 hours per month, averaged between 50 and 80 hours each month. Besides grueling hours, if workers made a mistake, they were often humiliated rather than simply being reprimanded. Foxconn is not the only factory whose workers endure such conditions, but due to its connection with Apple, it is probably the most notable. The company says it now has a 24-hour hotline in place, nets surrounding many buildings and a new policy that allows only a 60-hour maximum work week.

Manufacturing robots and humans typically do not work side-by-side in industrial facilities due to the possibility of injury or death to human workers. Current manufacturing robots are unable to sense the whereabouts of humans wandering nearby, but researchers are working to fix that problem.

Will increasing the number of robots in Foxconn's factories (by a factor of 100) help solve the company's worker woes?

If the company does in fact shift workers from assembly line manufacturing positions to higher level roles, perhaps workers would be happier — as long as those roles involved increased responsibility and a more varied daily schedule. But would those workers be skilled enough for more advanced positions? Will the company actually spend time and capital training workers in these new or different roles?

It would certainly be easier for Foxconn to just lay the affected workers off: Then money is saved, any overcrowding-related issues are resolved, and working conditions could theoretically improve for the remaining workers. Historically, robots tend to just replace human workers in factory settings rather than complement their duties. They are more efficient than their human counterparts, and don't require costly things like food, lodgings, or even a paycheck (maybe just some routine maintenance and a bit of supervision).

Hopefully Foxconn can find a solution that doesn't involve laying off thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of its workers.
source: Gadget Lab

Hack turns your iPhone 4 into an NFC capable device

With Google rooting for NFC to be a standard to be used as payment services in the US, what with the launch of Google Wallet, it seems that certain Android devices (along with upcoming Blackberry devices) will be able to enjoy those services as they are NFC enabled, leaving iPhone users to watch their friends utilize NFC technology with envy.

If you're not opposed to ripping your iPhone open and putting an NFC enabled credit card (such as the Tap & Pay card from the Bank of America) between the battery and the casing, then perhaps this could very well be the hack that you would be required to perform if you wish to make your iPhone NFC capable.

It looks like a pretty cool hack although we're not sure if the majority of iPhone 4 users will be willing to mess around with their shiny new hardware, but if you're up for the challenge and you know what you're doing, Unplgged has the details of what you would be required to do in order to gain NFC function on your iPhone.
source: Ubergizmo

Do these photos reveal Apple's new iPhone 5 design?

The sleek, slender smartphone pictured above is absolutely not Apple's next-generation iPhone. It is entirely possible, however, that the iPhone 5 could feature the same design. Images of a fake iPhone 5 were published this past weekend by, and they show a strikingly thin 7mm-thick handset that has all the makings of an Apple design. The device itself is certainly not built of the same high-quality materials or components Apple would use, but as has been noted by several sites that picked up the story, it is possible - perhaps even likely - that the above clone is based on Apple's actual iPhone 5 design. Manufacturing has probably begun at this point, and employees of Apple's manufacturing partners leak parts and information left and right. So, a Chinese iPhone clone maker obtaining Apple's designs (or even a working device) and building a clone is hardly far fetched. The design also looks like it would fit perfectly into some of the iPhone 5 cases that have surfaced, though that doesn't necessarily say much. Nothing is certain until Apple makes it official, but this could very well be the design we see Apple executives showing off when the iPhone 5 is finally unveiled in the coming months.
source: Boy Genius Report

Verizon Subscribers Holding Out for iPhone 5

The iPhone 4 launched on Verizon in Feburary, but many customers are waiting to switch to the iPhone with the iPhone 5

Of Verizon customers planning to buy an iPhone in the future, many are skipping the iPhone 4 and going straight for the yet-to-be-released iPhone 5.

According to a small survey by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, 74 percent of Verizon subscribers are holding out purchasing an iPhone until the iPhone 5 comes out.

“We believe that many Verizon customers made the decision to wait and purchase the iPhone 5 when it launches instead of buying the mid-cycle iPhone 4,” Munster said with regards to initial sales figures for the Verizon iPhone earlier this year.

The survey was conducted across 216 Minneapolis-based mobile phone users across multiple carriers.

Trends for the past year have shown that Android is up in popularity over the iPhone, despite the latter smartphone's launch on Verizon. But perhaps as this survey indicates, a good deal of subscribers simply weren't ready to jump on the iPhone bandwagon until the iPhone 5's release.

Currently, rumors of the iPhone 5 are all customers have to go on. The phone is purported to feature a speedy A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a flat metal back and curved glass front, and possibly NFC technology.

Most of the latest iPhone 5 rumors have pegged its launch sometime in September. But according to AllThingsD, we may not see the iPhone 5 until October.

Other results of the Piper Jaffray survey include a high iPhone-user retention rate (94 percent of current iPhone users expect to buy another Apple-branded handset in the future), and split feelings amongst Android users — 47 percent plan to stick with Google's OS, while 42 percent plan to switch to iOS.

Obviously, 216 mobile phone users is a very small sampling, but if the pattern is consistent across Verizon customers, that could mean big news for Apple. “The iPhone's market share could more than double throughout the next round of phone purchases,” Munster said.

As reported previously, close to 35 percent of consumers plan to purchase the next iPhone sight unseen, according to a recent poll. As far as Wired readers go, that figure was closer to 20% based on results from a Facebook poll.

What phone do you want to buy next? Sound off in the comments section below.
source: Gadget Lab

Gakufu Camera, let you play music thanks to your iPhone Camera

A huge thumbs up to James on this one! I wonder how I succeeded to miss this one, but here is Gakufu Camera, a little iPhone application from Kawai that will play notes written on a partition. Simply scan your partition and let Gakufu Camera do the rest... Sure this application is not perfect since you have to do a lot of modification regarding tempo and other musical goodies (Good lord, I don't even remember anything from my 7 years learning Flute)... but at least this little app will be really useful for anyone who's learning music and needs to practice their technique.
source: Akihabara News

Gakufu Camera iPhone app lets you scan printed music notes and play them back

There are musicians out there in the world who are able to play out a song's melody on their instrument just by looking at the music score sheet. Unfortunately not all of us are as musically gifted or that proficient in our theory and instruments to be able to accomplish a similar feat, but that's what technology is for, right?

Japan-based instrument maker, Kawai, seems to agree with that logic and have come up with an iPhone app titled "Gakufu Camera". With the company boasting that the app is the first of its kind, what the app does is that it has the ability to "scan" a printed musical score using the phone's camera and then play it back to you. So for example when you're given a musical score and asked to play it and if your ears are somehow better than your sight-reading, a quick playback of the melody should give you just about enough to work with.

The app apparently works with handwritten notes too and also features the ability to store the notes that you scanned, allowing for playback at a later time. Something tells me that music bookstores will start banning the use of cellphones while browsing song books.

If you have plans on getting your hands on the Gakufu Camera app you will be disappointed to find out that it is only available on the Japanese App Store, although given the international status of Kawai we won't be surprised if it did eventually make its way to the rest of the world in the near future. If you're fortunate enough to be living in Japan you can buy the app for ¥350 (about $4.50).
source: Ubergizmo

Fake iPhone 5 Appears in China

What you are seeing right now is not an iPhone 5, but rather another fake iPhone being sold in Shenzhen, China. However, unlike other fake iPhones, this one has a catch: Its design is supposedly stolen from the actual iPhone 5.

Leaked photos of the alleged iPhone 5 have since appeared, but they look blurry and tough to examine, much less confirm. There are also rumors about its supposed specs, but have no photos to prove them.

Although we are a bit skeptical about this, we shall go through some features seen in this “fake iPhone 5.” Its volume rocker, for instance, consists of one long button like in the iPhone 3GS, as opposed to iPhone 4's two separate buttons. The phone measures around 7mm thick, which speculations say would fit just right to the supposed iPhone 5 cases that were leaked a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, it has rounded edges in both the back and the front, which may be the reason why it has a rather thick bezel. Past rumors claim that the iPhone 5 will have an edge-to-edge screen, which would contradict the thick bezel seen in the photo.

The guys in TechCrunch are sure this phone cannot be based on the real iPhone 5, saying that whoever built it may have looked through supposed leaked specifications and worked his way backwards, then “cut some corners” to be able to use materials at hand.

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