Mockups of a 4.94-Inch ‘iPhone Plus’ Show Why a Larger iPhone Might Make Sense

Amid rumors of a significantly larger „iPhone Math“, Instapaper developer Marco Arment has spent time developing some speculation and a few mockups showing how Apple could achieve an iPhone with a nearly 5-inch without disrupting the existing app ecosystem.

The recently rumored, larger-screened “iPhone Math”, or more likely “iPhone Plus”, is plausible as an additional model (not a replacement) alongside the 4” iPhone. And there’s a good chance that it would have a 4.94”, 16:9 screen.

The theory is easy to understand: perform John Gruber’s Mini-predicting math backwards. The iPad Mini uses iPhone 3GS-density screens at iPad resolution. What if an iPhone Plus used Retina iPad screens with iPhone 5 resolution, keeping the rest of the design sized like an iPhone 5?

In the scenario put forth by Arment, an 1136×640 screen matching the iPhone 5’s resolution but blown up to the Retina iPad’s 264 pixels-per-inch resolution would measure 4.94 inches diagonally.

Left to right: iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, „iPhone Plus“, Galaxy Note II
Arment notes that such an iPhone Plus maintaining the same relative proportions as the iPhone 5 but with the larger screen would measure somewhere between the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II, but that Apple would likely be able to trim down the chin and forehead of the device somewhat to bring the device closer to the Galaxy S III’s overall size.

At an iPad-like pixel density of 264 ppi, Apple could have a hard time positioning the iPhone Plus as a Retina device given that a phone is assumed to be held closer to the eye than a tablet, but some consumers may still prefer the option of having a larger screen to offer more flexibility such as being able to zoom out further on text or view small text with the device held further from the eye.

Arment offers several other mockups showing what Apple’s iOS device lineup would look like with a larger iPhone in it, as well as how users could take advantage of smaller font sizes on the larger screen to show more text.


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Mockups of a 4.94-Inch ‘iPhone Plus’ Show Why a Larger iPhone Might Make Sense

Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad Talk ‘Jobs’ at Macworld

Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad kicked off the Macworld/iWorld conference in San Francisco this morning, talking about their new feature film ‘Jobs’ that premiered at Sundance. Kutcher plays the iconic Jobs, while Gad takes on the role of Steve Wozniak.

The Next Web wrote up much of the conversation, including this part about how Steve Jobs affected Kutcher:

“Steve believed it was possible to do something impossible,” says Kutcher, alluding to the third thing that he took away from the film. He made reference to [a] famous quote that Jobs gave in an interview.

Kutcher says that this stuck with him. “When I heard that,” says Kutcher, “he was talking to me, and he was talking to you. He was saying ‘don’t settle’ for what life gives you, make life better.”

And this, addressing criticisms aimed at the movie, including from Steve Wozniak himself:

“There will always be debates about what we got right and what we got wrong,” says Gad, “but if I had a chance to sit down with him I’d explain that it was done with the utmost love, admiration and respect. And I hope when he sees it…in its entirety, that he can understand that.”

“We weren’t there,” says Kutcher. “Part of it is, in filmmaking, you have to make a narrative that plays. If you look at the events of these guys’ journey together, there were probably a lot of moments where there was nobody else there. You have to ride the arc of entertainment of the film and stay true to who the people were, how the people were and what the intent was.”

‘Jobs’ premieres nationwide on April 19th.


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Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad Talk ‘Jobs’ at Macworld

Apple Acquires 18 ‘Axis-Based User Interface’ Patents from Maya-Systems

Canadian firm Maya-Systems today announced that it has sold a group of 18 user interface patents to Apple. The patents appear to be related to Maya-Systems’ work with axis-based interfaces in which documents and other files can be automatically grouped into timelines based on tags or other attributes and made accessible via the cloud.

Maya-Systems’ technology offers an intuitive way to display any virtual content in a superior manner. This transaction attests that Maya-Systems axis-based user interface is ahead of the growing demand for axis-based user interfaces.

„We dealt with a significant number of sophisticated buyers,“ noted Mathieu Audet, founder of Maya-Systems and patent agent. „We are pleased to have secured the transaction with Apple.“ „Our patents have been analyzed thoroughly by many potential buyers. We are confident that they are strong assets.“

Maya-Systems’ key product is I am Organized, a platform for organizing, viewing, and sharing files.

IamOrganized’s uniquely distinctive, patented feature is its axes-based interface. Intuitive and elegant, axes herald a new era in content management. They show and manage content more meaningfully than ever.

Unlike folder trees based on file location, axes group files by subject (any attribute, really) and display them along a timeline.
Scroll an axis to view more files. Zoom in. Zoom out. Navigate swiftly between projects by displaying several axes on your screen.

Attribute-based, orderly and relational, axes give users a meaningful and integrated view of their files.

It is not entirely clear exactly what aspect of Maya-Systems’ patent portfolio Apple was interested in controlling, but Apple has been making a significant push into cloud-based document and file storage and sharing, including such features Documents in the Cloud and Photo Stream.


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Apple Acquires 18 ‘Axis-Based User Interface’ Patents from Maya-Systems

Temple Run 2 Fastest Downloaded Mobile Game Ever, 50 Million Copies in Two Weeks [iOS Blog]

In the two weeks since Temple Run 2 launched on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Marketplace, the app has been downloaded more than fifty million times, the fastest downloaded mobile game in history.

The previous fastest downloaded game was Angry Birds Space, selling 50 million copies in under six weeks – though Angry Birds Space was a pay app, not a free download like Temple Run 2.

Temple Run 2 originally launched exclusively on the App Store on January 17 and quickly rose to the #1 slot in Free Apps, earning over six million downloads in less than 24 hours. Following a release on Google Play and Amazon Marketplace, the sequel continued its record-breaking success, racing to the #1 spot, respectively, in each store. Following in the footsteps of Temple Run, which has been downloaded over 170 million times, Temple Run 2 has cemented itself in mobile gaming history.

“Temple Run has evolved into something so much bigger than us,” says Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi. “The game has performed beyond our wildest dreams, and we are thrilled that gamers and fans have embraced Temple Run 2 in such a short period of time.”

Temple Run 2 is available as a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Temple Run 2 Fastest Downloaded Mobile Game Ever, 50 Million Copies in Two Weeks [iOS Blog]

Apple to Halt Mac Pro Sales in Europe Effective March 1 Over Regulatory Requirements

Apple today issued a notice to European distributors indicating that it will halt sales of the Mac Pro in Europe and select other countries as of March 1 due to new regulatory requirements going into effect on that date. The move will affect all European Union countries, as well as EU candidate countries and the four European Free Trade Association countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

As of March 1, 2013, Apple will no longer sell Mac Pro in EU, EU candidate and EFTA countries because these systems are not compliant with Amendment 1 of regulation IEC 60950-1, Second Edition which becomes effective on this date. Apple resellers can continue to sell any remaining inventory of Mac Pro after March 1.

Apple will take final orders for Mac Pro from resellers up until February 18th for shipment before March 1, 2013.

Countries outside of the EU are not impacted and Mac Pro will continue to be available in those areas.

It is currently unclear exactly what aspect of the regulation the current Mac Pro will fail to meet.

Apple has uncharacteristically announced that a redesigned Mac Pro is due in 2013 after a lackluster update in June 2012 that included still-outdated processors and no other seemingly obvious improvements like USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

Update 10:17 AM: Macworld provides a bit more detail on where the current Mac Pro fails to meet the new regulation.

[U]nfortunately for EU customers, the Mac Pro does not comply with this standard, due to issues with power provided to its I/O ports and the placement of its fan guards. The Pro is the sole Apple product to fall under this ruling, likely due to its build – the desktop computer hasn’t had an overhaul since 2010, with a minor speed bump last June.

Update 10:21 AM: Apple has issued a statement to The Loop confirming the halt for Mac Pro sales, but not offering any additional detail on the situation.

„Due to evolving regulatory requirements, Apple will stop selling Mac Pro in EU, EU candidate and EFTA countries on March 1, 2013,“ an Apple representative told The Loop. „After that date, resellers can sell existing inventory but Apple will no longer ship Mac Pro in those countries.“

Update 10:24 AM: Macworld UK has even more on the issue:

„The Mac Pro met the previous standards prior to the amendment 1 addition. Obviously it’s a very safe and very reliable product,“ added the company.

At issue are the large fans within the Mac Pro. Since they are unprotected, it would be possible to touch the fan blades.

„The new requirements necessitate fan guards and some increased protection on the ports on the electrical system,“ explained Apple.

Apple representatives also confirmed to Macworld UK that the company will continue supporting existing Mac Pro machines after March 1, including replacement parts.


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Apple to Halt Mac Pro Sales in Europe Effective March 1 Over Regulatory Requirements

Penultimate Updated With Evernote Integration, Price Cut to Free [iOS Blog]

The excellent iPad notebook app Penultimate has received its first major update since it was purchased by Evernote in May of last year.

The update adds Evernote integration, as well as a new feature to make handwritten notes in the app searchable. The app uploads notes to Evernote, which does all the handwriting recognition server side.

One of Evernote’s magic features is its ability to make handwriting searchable. We’ve applied this to Penultimate to help you find the notes you’re looking for. Just tap on the new magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen to begin searching your notes. Search results fly in with either a yellow rectangle around the identified words or yellow highlighting in the note title.

Penultimate is a free download on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Penultimate Updated With Evernote Integration, Price Cut to Free [iOS Blog]

Apple’s Share of Worldwide Tablet Shipments Slips to 43.6% in 4Q 2012

Research firm IDC today announced its preliminary estimates of worldwide tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2012, finding that Apple’s share of the market slipped to 43.6% even as the iPad mini drove a nearly 50% growth in units for the company. Apple had held a 50.4% share in the previous quarter and a 51.7% share in the year-ago quarter.

„We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,“ said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. „New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.“

Apple’s iPad once again led the market, and the firm’s shipment total of 22.9 million units was exactly in line with IDC’s forecast for the period. A strong iPad mini launch, plus availability of the fourth generation full-sized iPad, led to solid 48.1% shipment growth over the same quarter last year. However, strong competition in the market led to Apple’s market share declining for a second quarter in a row (down to 43.6% from 46.4% last quarter).

Samsung and Asus were the biggest winners in the surging tablet market, with Samsung seeing 263% year-over-year growth to seize 15% of the market. Samsung’s share was, however, down from 18.4% in the third quarter.

IDC notes that Microsoft did not qualify for the top five vendors in the fourth quarter, but the company did ship 900,000 units of its Surface tablet with Windows RT. It remains to be seen, however, whether those shipments and the upcoming Surface Pro tablet will translate into strong sales for the company.


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Apple’s Share of Worldwide Tablet Shipments Slips to 43.6% in 4Q 2012

Apple Once Again Blocks Java 7 Web Plug-in

Earlier this month, Apple took the unusual step of remotely blocking Oracle’s Java 7 browser plug-in due to a major security vulnerability, using the „Xprotect“ anti-malware system built into OS X to enforce a minimum version number that had yet to be released. Within days, Oracle updated Java to address the issue, with the new version number making the Java plug-in usable on OS X systems once more.

As noted by French site MacGeneration [Google translation] and the Apple discussion forums, Apple has once again blocked the Java 7 plug-in using Xprotect.

The updated blacklist enforces a minimum Java plug-in version of 1.7.0_11-b22, while the latest version of the plug-in is 1.7.0_11-b21.

The exact reason for Apple’s renewed block on the Java plug-in is unknown although reports immediately following the release of Update 11 earlier this month indicated that it fixed only one of the two bugs that contributed to the security vulnerability. In the wake of that news, cybersecurity officials recommended that most users disable Java even with the up-to-date plug-in installed.

Oracle Security Alert CVE-2013-0422 states that Java 7 Update 11 addresses this (CVE-2013-0422) and an equally severe, but distinct vulnerability (CVE-2012-3174). Immunity has indicated that only the reflection vulnerability has been fixed and that the JMX MBean vulnerability remains. Java 7u11 sets the default Java security settings to „High“ so that users will be prompted before running unsigned or self-signed Java applets.

Unless it is absolutely necessary to run Java in web browsers, disable it as described below, even after updating to 7u11. This will help mitigate other Java vulnerabilities that may be discovered in the future.

If this continued issue is indeed the reason for the new block by Apple, it is unclear why the company waited several weeks to update its plug-in blacklist.


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Apple Once Again Blocks Java 7 Web Plug-in

Apple Issues SMC Firmware Update for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air Models [Mac Blog]

Apple has issued updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air notebook models to fix a rare battery issue. The updates are available via Apple’s software updates page or through Software Update and the Mac App Store.

This update addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning.


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Apple Issues SMC Firmware Update for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air Models [Mac Blog]

Apple Seeds Build 12D61 of OS X Beta 10.8.3 to Developers [Mac Blog]

Apple today seeded build 12D61 of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 to developers, marking the ninth beta iteration of the newest version of Mountain Lion. 10.8.3 was first seeded to developers back in November.

Build 12D61 has been released less than a week after build 12D58. The new build asks developers and testers to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

As with previous builds, Apple mentions that it has significantly improved WiFi performance, as noted by 9to5Mac. Registered developers can download the update on Apple’s Developer Page.


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Apple Seeds Build 12D61 of OS X Beta 10.8.3 to Developers [Mac Blog]