WWDC Banner Confirms iOS 6 Announcement

Instagram user Zac Altman has posted a photo showing a new banner going up at the Moscone West convention center confirming that Apple will be unveiling iOS 6 at next Monday’s keynote address. 


iOS 6 has been assumed to be a major topic of discussion for the event, but Apple has so far mentioned only that it will discuss the “future of iOS” at the event. The banner also displays a silver-colored theme that has been rumored to making its way to the iPhone to replace the blue theme present in many of Apple’s apps. The silver theme has already been showing up on the iPad, but rumors of an Apple mapping app have suggested that the silver theme will moving to the smaller screen as well. 

With Apple having dropped numbering and other descriptors from its latest model of the iPad earlier this year, there has been speculation that the company may follow suit with other products such as the iPhone. Today’s banner indicates that the company will at least continue marketing iOS using its version number. 

Update: A clear shot from CNet



iOS 6 icon cropped from CNet’s image shows the background is water ripples: 

T-Mobile USA Testing iPhone-Compatible 4G HSPA+ Service at Moscone West

Yesterday, 9to5Mac reported that an iPhone user running on T-Mobile’s network had observed the curious phenomenon of 3G connectivity showing up on his device when in the immediate vicinity of the Moscone West convention center where Apple is holding its Worldwide Developers Conference next week. The user, who frequently passes by the convention center, had never seen 3G network support there before. 


iPhone users on T-Mobile USA have historically been limited to the carrier’s slower EDGE network due to frequency incompatibility, but late last year the carrier began refarming its spectrum in select areas to move 3G service over to the 1900 MHz frequency band compatible with the iPhone. Just one month ago, T-Mobile announced that it would betaking the initiative nationwide, making the carrier ready for the iPhone by the end of 2012. 

In response to the observation of 1900 MHz 3G service showing up specifically at Moscone West to beef up service for its users and speculation that Apple could make some sort of announcement about a T-Mobile iPhone at the event, the carrier issued a statement acknowledging the testing but calling its alignment with Apple’s WWDC keynote “coincidental”.

While upgrading coverage inside the West side of the Moscone Center, T-Mobile has also deployed 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band to test the live network on a small scale. As part of the company’s previously announced $4 billion network modernization effort, T-Mobile plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year, which will make our 4G network compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone. 

NOTE: The time and location of this test is just coincidental.

T-Mobile is the only one of the four major U.S. carriers to not offer the iPhone, due to its current frequency incompatibility, and the carrier has been increasingly disadvantaged as even small regional carriers and prepaid networks have begun rolling out the device to an increasing number of customers.

Apple to Introduce Third MacBook Line with Retina Display at WWDC?

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today issued a new report outlining his belief that Apple’s thinner, Retina-equipped Mac notebook will arrive next week as a new model, referring to the machine simply as a “MacBook”. Kuo believes that this MacBook will be offered alongside upgraded versions of the existing 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, with Apple being reluctant to do away with the current 13-inch design in particular due to its massive popularity.

We expect Apple (US) to unveil a new MacBook series independent from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. We expect the new MacBook to have the following features: 

(1) Basic 13” model to be priced at US$1,199 
(2) No disc drive 
(3) To come in both SSD and HDD 
(4) Lighter and slimmer than MacBook Pro, with equal computing power 
(5) Retinal display with tapered edge, larger battery capacity

Kuo also reiterates his earlier claims that Apple will discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Prothis year, citing estimates that the model makes up only 1% of Apple’s notebook sales. 

The introduction of this new “MacBook” model would leave Apple with a lineup of six notebooks, although Kuo predicts that issues with display yield and heat dissipation will push the release of the 13-inch MacBook back until August, leaving only the 15-inch model to make its debut next week. 

 
Mention of an independent graphics chip on 13″ MacBook Pro is an error – should be integrated graphics


We should note that this configuration of models is not accounted for in our speculation on part numbers that leaked earlier this week, but we did receive an unconfirmed tip of a different configuration that would match up with Kuo’s claims fairly closely. In that scenario, new iMacs are not accounted for in the list and the J30/J31 model numbers represent updated 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models while the D2 model represents this new Retina-equipped 15-inch MacBook. 

Kuo believes that Apple will wait until next year to re-simplify its notebook lines with Intel’s Haswell platform, at which point the company will merge the MacBook Pro and this new MacBook model, leaving a set of four models: 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks. 

We do find Kuo’s claims to be somewhat difficult to believe, as we fail to see how this new “MacBook” model is substantially different in performance from the MacBook Pro and thus do not see why users would be interested in a non-Retina MacBook Pro given the existence of this new MacBook line. Given the scenario outlined by Kuo, the only “advantage” of the thicker MacBook Pro would be an included optical drive, but users are finding such a feature to be increasingly unnecessary and easily replaceable by digital downloads such as through the Mac App Store, direct file transfers, and cloud-based storage, with an external optical drive available to be connected only on the rare occasions when necessary. 

Still, Kuo has offered accurate information on Apple’s notebook plans in the past, being the first to outlined the MacBook Air redesign that included the new 11-inch model, and thus we feel that his claims are worth some consideration and discussion.

Claimed Rear Shell with Sides for Next-Generation iPhone Surfaces

9to5Mac reports that iPhone repair firm iFixyouri has received information on a new part claimed to be the rear shell for the next-generation iPhone. The part is reportedly made of an aluminum alloy that integrates both the rear panel and sides for the device. 


Notably, the part is relatively consistent with previous claims that the next-generation iPhone would integrate a “metal panel” to the center section of the device’s back, but in reality the panel appears to simply be a different finish applied to that portion of the casing. 

With the part also including the device’s edges, a port for a smaller dock connector can also be seen, as well as larger speaker and microphone grills. The part’s source claims that Apple will take advantage of the space freed up by shrinking the dock connector to enhance speaker performance in the next-generation iPhone. 

Finally, the supplier claims that the part is showing up not only in black and white, but also in two other unspecified colors, although it is unclear whether those colors would make it to final production. 

Update: The part appears to show the headphone jack being on the bottom of the device as on the current iPod touch, rather than along the top edge as found on all iPhone models to date. That observation would fit with a recent part leak of what was claimed to be the headphone jack and earpiece. But many observers suggested that the center feature on that part looks more like a dock connector than an earpiece assembly. Moving the headphone jack to the bottom of the device would explain the layout of this component. 


Update 2: Repair firm uBreakiFix has also received photos of what may be the same part in white. The “iPhone” font on the shell appears to be somewhat suspicious, seemingly of a lighter stroke and/or looser spacing between the letters. But otherwise the part appears identical to the previously-posted part, which seems to carry a more typical “iPhone” typeface. 





9to5Mac has received more photosshowing these same parts in black and white, as well as a mid-frame plate. 

 
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In addition, the source has also provided a photo of what is claimed to be the next iPhone’s front panel in black, which shows that the FaceTime camera has been moved from beside the earpiece to above it. 

 
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