Are You Giving, Getting An iPhone 5 For Christmas? How About An iPad Mini?

iphone 5 and ipad mini Apple’s late-set releases for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini were clearly positioned to reap big sales rewards for the Christmas rush. With that in mind, are the iPhone 5 and/or iPad Mini going to be under the Christmas tree this year? We wish you a Merry Christmas, iPhone 5 and iPad mini — and a Happy New Year! Two years and fours months (and three Christmases) after the establishment of this blog, we’re still talking about the iPhone 5. Who would have thought? uniea iphone 5 and ipad mini case saleLately, it has been hard to reconcile some of the middling news about the iPhone 5′s sales performance throughout the world. In spite of a prolonged rumor cycle and the most frenetic buzz ever generated for an iPhone release, the iPhone 5 has not necessarily performed up to snuff in some markets. In addition, Wall Street has stressed over some the supply and demand issues that plagued the early release of the device, causing Apple stock to shed some of its value heading into Christmas. One now wonders if the Christmas holiday shopping season will right the ship for Cupertino. By contrast, the iPad mini’s launch has been smooth sailing for Apple: there have been no widespread complaints about the device, and all of the top tech analysts agree that it dominating the tablet market, in spite of its premium price compared to competing models like the Kindle and Nook. The only real criticism of the iPad mini has been a question of whether or now it is cannibalizing regular iPad sales. But one would imagine that Apple had anticipated this in its revenue models. With the iPad Mini selling like hotcakes, and with the iPhone 5 supply and demands issues worked out, one would have to assume that it is going to be a big holiday season for Apple. How about you? Are you giving the iPhone 5 and/or iPad mini as a gift to anyone else this Christmas? Or do you think that you might be getting one of Apple’s shiny, new gadgets for Christmas? It will be interesting to gauge the answers, since, for all intents and purposes, many of the readers of tech blogs are early adopters of new technology; we might be an outlier group of electronics consumers. But even if we’ve already onboarded to the iPhone 5 and/or iPad mini, it stands to reason that not everyone in our families have as well. You’ll recall that several of the top electronics retailers in the U.S. — Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target — all launched aggressive iPhone 5 sales in the run-up to Christmas, fueling speculation about what those sales might mean. While the rumor mongers see an early sale as potential proof that the iPhone 5S or 6 could arrive sooner rather than later in 2013, the less optimistic tech pundits see the sales as an example of flagging iPhone 5 sales in the U.S. Still another possibility is that the top retailers in the U.S. are using an on-sale iPhone 5 as bait to get consumers into their stores to do more Christmas shopping, recognizing that the iPhone 5 still remains one of the most popular products on the market today. Regardless, by the first week of January, 2013, we’re likely to hear more about how Apple, the iPhone 5, and iPad mini have done. But maybe if we share our iPhone 5 Christmas stories, we’ll have a better sense of how big a Christmas season it’ll be for Apple. Or maybe not. Merry Christmas!

iOS 6.0.2 Update Prompts Battery Drain Complaints From iPhone 5 Users

iOS 6.0.2 and iPhone 5 battery drain A recent update to iOS 6 was meant to target wi-fi issues experienced with the iPhone 5. The new patch, however, may have afflicted the new iPhone with iPhone 4S-esque battery drain issues. It’s deja vu all over again with respect to battery drain and the iPhone 5. After the iPhone 4S release was tarnished in 2011 with widespread battery drain complaints — and initial grumblings from early iPhone 5 adopters that Apple had not done enough to improve battery life on the new iPhone — now, the new iOS 6 patch appears to have negatively impacted battery life. According to a CNET report, iOS 6.0.2, which was released largely to deal with some wi-fi issues experienced by many users, has had some kind of adverse effect on the software side of battery usage, with a number of iPhone 5 users taking to the Apple forums to complain. Tech Radar: “Curiously, the battery drain appears to only affect the iPhone 5 and not the iPad mini, which was also updated to iOS 6.0.2 this week; other devices didn’t receive the minor update. Initial speculation points to a change in Wi-Fi antenna behavior under iOS 6.0.2, although this theory doesn’t explain why most iPhone 5 devices – and all iPad mini tablets – remain unaffected.” There’s an obvious cause-effect going on here, with the wi-fi fix affecting battery usage on the iPhone 5. Most likely, the patch is also having some kind of effect on the iPad mini as well, but seeing as the device has not been fraught with battery drain issues in the past, the effect might be much more subtle than on the iPhone 5, which sports an already undersized battery. It still remains odd that Apple has not aggressively moved to improve battery design for the iPhone since the release of the iPhone 4. The 4S saw no increase or improvement in the device’s battery, and the iPhone 5, while utilizing a slimmer battery design to accommodate the device’s slimmer profile, did not substantially increase its capacity, all while outfitting the 5 with 4G LTE and other battery- sucking hardware components. A possible explanation for this design decision by Apple is that Cupertino sees the iPhone user base keeping their device docked more frequently throughout the day, thus providing several daily auxiliary charges that augment the nighttime charge, thus precluding the need for higher capacity batteries. Also, Apple’s software designers may feel like they can continue to optimize iOS for battery life, seeking a software solution to a hardware problem – a long-held Apple ethic. However, it can be argued that Apple has not done a great job at doing this since iOS 5 and the 4S was released. With the eventual release of the iPhone 5S in 2013, it is unlikely that the next iPhone device will see any substantial overhaul of its battery. At the same time, it’s also unlikely that the 5S will feature new hardware components that would put an undue stress on the current battery. Chances are, Cupertino will make marginal upgrades to battery capacity to meet the demands of the A6 chip. One would hope, however, that eventually Apple is going to take battery life seriously once again, since a mobile device is only as good as its battery.

Too Much Of A Good Thing: Apple Shares Blunted By iPhone 5 Supply Chain Shortages

apple-stock-iphone-5Having blistering sales would never been thought of as a bad thing for Apple. But supply chain strains caused by unprecedented iPhone sales are starting to take its toll on Apple’s stock prices. Because rumors of the iPhone 5 have been around for so long, we’ve had years to contemplate its arrival. In the interim, you’ll recall multiple surveys and polls that suggested the iPhone 5 would go on to become the most successful smartphone in the history of the market. Heck, there was even one study that revealed that 35% of all consumers would eventually come to own an iPhone. With all of this in mind, it’s hard to believe that Apple is having supply chain issues in keeping iPhone units stocked on the shelf. But that is exactly what is happening — and the lack of a steady flow of inventory is actually taking its toll on Apple stock prices. I guess that there is such thing as “too many sales” if the company falls way short of meeting demand. The New York Times today reports that: “The scarcity of iPhone 5s is the main reason Apple’s shares, after bursting through the $700 mark in late September, have tumbled nearly 10 percent over the last several weeks, analysts say. On Tuesday, Apple’s stock closed at $635.85. Although it’s better for Apple that it appears to be suffering problems of supply rather than demand, both situations result in lost or delayed sales. Analysts who have poked around in Apple’s supply chain believe that the holdup could be the result of a shortage of the new displays that Apple is using in the iPhone 5. Apple’s online store now shows a shipping delay of three to four weeks for the new iPhone. 10% is no laughing matter for Apple, and while Cupertino may imagine that they’ll make up that ground on Wall Street once supply chains stabilize, it is a concern: the lack of planning may indicate to investors that Apple has grown too big in the marketplace, and that their hype outweighs their actual production. Of particular note, however, is that the sundry scandals that have marred the iPhone 5 early on in the press — such as the Apple Maps flap, the scratchy metal back, and now the purple flare issue with the new camera sensor, have appeared to do little to slow sales. It proves that the “bad press” that circulates in the tech media — something that admittedly engulfs us as iPhone enthusiasts — fails to reach the masses. And that’s a good thing for Apple, no doubt.

Purple Flare Camera Problem On The iPhone 5: It’s Your Fault — Again

iphone 5 purple flareApple has released an explanation for the bizarre, frustrating “purple flare” problem associated with the iPhone 5's camera and flash, and once again, they’re blaming the problem on user error. If you ever buy a new iPhone and something doesn’t seem right about it, chances are it’s all your fault. Or at least that seems to be the prevailing explanation that Apple gives its customers whenever epidemic problems arise with its mobile devices. As far back as the iPhone 4, the “antennagate” problem was caused by the way users held the phone, the battery drain on the 4S was caused by silly-hearted, capricious users running too many apps at once, and now, with the iPhone 5, “purpleflaregate” (just made that up — not really an official “gate” yet) is, according to Cupertino, a byproduct of users just being really lousy at taking pictures. TGDaily explains that: “many users have been complaining that their photographs are marred by a purple flare near the edge. It shows up when there’s a light source just outside the image.” And the problem has been widespread enough for Apple to address the issue, which they did so in this statement. Here is the crux of what they had to say: “Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources,” says the company in the statement. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor.” So, this problem, according to Apple, is not a hardware issue with the iPhone 5's new camera sensor, but rather the iPhone user’s lack of understanding in the craft of photography. Simply put, if you’re having this problem, you’re not enough of an artiste to understand how to manage light in your photos. Apple offers a lesson in iPhone 5 photography to correct the problem: “Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.” The thing is, users who are complaining about the problem on the iPhone 5 have not had this problem on the 4S — the 4S appears to deal with off-camera light sources. And you don’t have to use your hand to shield the light. One would think that the most advanced smartphone in the world wouldn’t need a fleshy appendage to adjust the light. What Apple’s little “best practice” on iPhone 5 photography amounts to is a workaround for a flaw in the iPhone 5's camera sensor. We know that Cupertino invested in a new lens, which Tim Cook boasted about in his iPhone 5 announcement on September 12th. I think we’ve learned that when Apple has an issue with hardware, they blame it on the users, and use that explanation to buy themselves time to fix the problem on future models. Antennagate is a perfect example: after the first few months, the problem appeared to go away. Is this because the millions of iPhone 4 users finally learned how to hold their device properly while making a call? I doubt it. The more likely explanation is that Apple fixed the hardware issue. Same goes with the battery issues on the 4S. Apple made some kind of adjustment to mitigate the problem (though I don’t think it was ever completely fixed). And for as much as they tried to blame the problem on apps running in the background of iOS 5, Apple appeared to have replaced quite a number of early adopters’ iPhone 4Ss (can I get a witness?). We will see tweaks to the iPhone 5 over the going months to iron out all of the bugs. But Apple will never admit to them. This is their strategy: when their hardware has flaws, blame the users. They do this because Apple prides itself on quality and reliability; while Android users expect their smartphones to crash ten times a day, take crappy photos, and fall apart over time, the iPhone is expected to perform steadfastly. Apple can admit software failures, since they are easier to fix. But hardware failures are big enough that they are worth denying. Finally, a postscript: even if a phenomenon like the purple flare is 100% the user’s fault, there’s something to be said for bad design if a plurality of the users are “doing it wrong.” If a teachers gives his class a test, and 90% of the students fail the test, doesn’t the teacher need to consider whether the test was faulty? Or that he did a lousy job teaching the lesson? The same is true for a situation like this: if widespread numbers of users are complaining, then maybe that points to a flaw in design, not in the average user.

Metal Back(ache): Early Adopters Say Aluminum On iPhone 5

iphone 5 scratchedApple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the beautiful look and feels of the iPhone 5's sumptuous aluminum back. But with new users reporting that the metal scratches and dings easily, it looks like the metal-backed iPhone 5 is fated to be covered up by plastic iPhone 5 cases. While some have been frustrated with what the iPhone 5 did and did not deliver, many have taken some solace in the fact that Apple did follow through with the metal-backed rumor that has persisted over the past two years. With the iPhone 4 featuring a glass back with sleek metal trim on its sides, iPhone users have long imagined that the expanded use of metal on the back of the iPhone 5 would only enhance its good looks. And that’s exactly what Apple did: the back of the iPhone 5 is a unique combination of glass and metal and, while the early leaked images of the iPhone 5's back seemed awkward, users say that in person, it’s a really pretty smartphone. Apparently it is also really easy to scratch the new metal as well. There are a wide range of new reports outlining some of the shortcomings of the new iPhone, such as the lackluster launch of Apple maps, issues with wifi, and a few other software bits and bobs, most of which will be addressed in subsequent iOS 6 updates. But the scratchy metal problem — there’s no “fix” for that design flaw. According to TechCrunch: “A good amount of iPhone 5 early adopters took to the Internet over the weekend, reporting that their brand new iPhone 5 has scuffs and dings out of the box. Or, even if the phone was perfect out of the box, it did not stay that way for very long. It seems the black iPhone 5 shows scratches more easily than the white. Apple has yet to comment on the issue.” Right out of the box? Ugh. At first, I thought that “right out of the box” meant “days/hours after using it.” And that has been the case — new users are complaining that after just a weekend of pulling the iPhone 5 in and out of pockets and purses, it is showing signs of wear. But an article on Forbes makes the point that some iPhone 5s are arriving “pre-scratched:” To make matters worse, some claim that their handset was scratched straight out of the box, with the damage having occurred at the assembly plant before the iPhone 5 was put into the box. The damage was underneath the protective film that Apple applies to its devices and couldn’t have been caused in transit. “To make matters worse, some claim that their handset was scratched straight out of the box, with the damage having occurred at the assembly plant before the iPhone 5 was put into the box. The damage was underneath the protective film that Apple applies to its devices and couldn’t have been caused in transit. Scratches and scuffs appear to range from tiny ones of the edge of the handset, to massive Freddy Kruger style scratches on the back.” It remains to be seen what kind of effect if any this bit of bad press might have on the iPhone 5. iPhone users are well-documented as being quite fond of showing off their favorite mobile device; the iPhone’s form factor matters a great deal to iPhone users. And since one of the central selling points of the new iPhone is its overhauled form factor, if iPhone enthusiasts are faced with the prospect of having to cover their iPhone 5 in a third-party plastic case or risk early wear and tear on the aluminum back, they may opt to wait for a future iteration of iPhone that might include a tougher metal alloy, such as the long-rumored LiquidMetal. In the meantime, prospective customers might take and “wait and see” approach to see if Cupertino responds by adding a protective layer to the iPhone 5's metal backing in order to minimize scratches and dings.

50 Million iPhone 5 Sales By December?

Following in the steps of its staggering pre-order and launch sales, the iPhone 5 is said to be poised to sell 50,000,000 units by the end of December. Yes, that’s the right number of zeros. 50 million. Blogs like the iPhone 5 News Blog still have a b it of work left to do in terms of reporting on the iPhone 5: discuss whether the iPhone 5 turns out to live up to its hype, and to track its sales and success. While there is still plenty of conjecture as to whether the iPhone 5 will live up to its hype, early reports confirm that it will indeed go on to be the most successfully marketed smartphone ever. There are a myriad of recent reports that show the iPhone 5 breaking all previous iPhone sales records. Take, for example, this report from CNET, which claims ”A new report from ComScore, which finds that the first three days of iPhone 5 preorders equaled the earlier Apple record set by the iPhone 4S over the course of a month.” Pretty astounding. But considering all of the pent-up excitement and anticipation surrounding the iPhone 5, it remains to be seen if this current excitement will continue to sustain itself over the months ahead, into 2013. What are the financial analysts saying? Well, they expect nothing less than 50 million iPhone 5 sales by the end of December. According to USAToday: “FBR Capital forecasts that more than 50 million iPhone 5s could move in the fourth quarter of 2012, and that 250 million could be sold over the phone’s lifespan.” Even more astounding. Given the fact that many tech enthusiasts and journalists have had little nice things to say about the iPhone 5, it’s hard to reconcile the new iPhone’s middling press with such astronomical sales volume. Perhaps, however, the answer is simple: that Apple has much more control over the buzz and excitement surrounding its products than the online tech community does, and that the average iPhone user has less-lofty expectations for new iPhone iterations than those who follow iPhone rumors avidly. In the areas that some feel the iPhone 5 has failed to deliver on, such as next-generation features and a more proportionally-expanded display, the new screen and form factor are proving to be major selling points for the iPhone 5 among mobile users. It remains to be seen if early hiccups like the lackluster launch of Apple Maps will stall iPhone 5 sales, but since the new hardware and look for the 5 appear to be what is propelling its incredible sales, it would take a seismic disaster to slow down sales and excitement anytime soon.

Purported, New Earbuds For The iPhone 5 Emerge

Newly leaked photos of what are said to be the iPhone 5's earbuds show a new design. But is this just another fabricated ruse?
I’m not sure if earbuds are much more exciting to talk about than dock connectors. In my opinion, Apple’s current earbuds are pretty great compared to the other crappy earbuds you get with even some of the higher-end Android smartphones. That being said, earbuds are a means to an end — much like a dock connector — and changing the earbud design isn’t something that I’ve ever heard people calling for.
Even still, that’s what’s on the iPhone 5 rumor-disucussing agenda today.
According to MacRumors, the “Vietnamese site has posted a video of what it claims to be redesigned headphones for the new iPhone which is expected in September.” I don’t know what to make of the fact that the video has seen been made private — that’s either indication that Apple is extremely angry that these photos were released, or that these bogus photos are bringing way too much attention to the site in question. Take your pick. But the captured photo above gives us a good glimpse at them nonetheless.
iphone 5 earbud cable

This is a translated transcript of the now-defunct video:
In my hands are the new earphones for the iPhone 5 that is about to come out – Apple’s next generation of iPod [sic]. These will replace the current earphones that are on the market. These are manufactured at Phax Co factory in Vietnam. They have the appearance of a horse’s head, not like earbuds. When they are worn, they have a much smaller profile. They have the appearance of a fully integrated, single unit – there’s no part that looks like it would come apart – not like earbuds; the integrated design is characteristic of Apple products. Here I have the old earphones for comparison. The new ones are much smaller; when they are worn, they do not hurt the way earbuds do. You can see on the old ones the surface is a separate part that looks like it can be detached – not like the small surface of the new one. The old earphones were mostly made in China, with some in Vietnam. But the new ones are clearly made in Vietnam. (Reading from the wires): “Designed by Apple in California, assembled in Vietnam.”
MacRumors doesn’t really make any comments themselves on earbud design, but I would agree that the idea of “unibody” earbuds is very Apple. But there are some oddities to the design that call it somewhat into question for me.
First is the ize of the speakers built into the earbuds — they are remarkably small. There are examples of how very expensive, boutique speakers, from companies such as Bone, can produce big sound even when the speakers themselves are small. But in the case of earbuds, the size of the speaker and sound source would have a profound impact on the sound quality. A tiny speaker like the one used in this design would mean that the soundwaves would expand out into the eardrum from a considerably narrow starting point, meaning that the coverage of the wave would not necessarily be as expansive as traditional earbuds. A good example of the difference is between large, studio-style headphones that envelop the ear versus earbuds — the former has provocatively better sound.
Another strange design is the divot in the side of the earbud.
There would be no reason to have a second speaker on the side of the earbud, pushing up against the side of the ear canal, would there? The sound wave should shoot freely into the eardrum, not be muted by the side of the ear.
Finally, I’d take issue with the reviewer’s claim that this is a seamless earbud design. This photo appears to show a seam, making it a two-piece assembly like most other earbuds that I’ve ever seen:

iPhone 5 earbud side
The claim is that these earbuds are being produced in a Foxconn facility in Vietnam. Is that possible? Certainly, it isn’t hard to imagine that an accessory like earbuds could be easily smuggled out of the factory where they are being produced. But I think it’s also very possible that these are third-party earbuds that have been dressed up to look like Apple products.
It’ll be interesting to see if these earbuds really show up along with the iPhone 5.

i Phone © 2012 | Designed by Prasad