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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #1001

    Anandtech: iPod Nano and iPod Touch Receive Small Updates

    Apple today announced a handful of minor updates to its iPod line: the iPod Nano and iPod Touch have received modest upgrades and price cuts. The iPod Classic, however, is MIA.

    The Nano ($129 for 8GB and $149 for 16GB) will retain the same basic form factor of last year's model, but is given bigger icons to improve navigation, improves Nike+ support, and is given some new clock faces for people who want to use it as a watch. It seems like a firmware update could do all of this for the old Nano, but no such update was introduced.

    The iPod Touch (8GB for $199, 32GB for $299, 64GB for $399) remains the same on the inside, but gets new capabilities courtesy of iOS 5 (reinforcing the software-centric nature of these updates), but it now also comes in white. Apple’s decision not to use the A5 in the iPod Touch reflects both the fact that the A4 is still Good Enough for most tasks, and the fact that Apple needs all the A5s it can get for its phones and tablets.

    I expect the iPod Classic will be discontinued, but cannot confirm or deny this at this time - the product was absent from Apple's slides, for what that's worth. The iPod shuffle remains the same - last year's 2GB player for $49.



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    #1002

    Anandtech: Apple iPhone 4S includes HSPA+ 14.4, GSM/CDMA Dual Mode, Diversity

    Apple got up on stage today and announced the iPhone 4S, and alongside it confirmed that the smartphone will have a reworked cellular architecture complete with dual-mode HSPA+ and CDMA2000 compatibility, making it a world-phone device.

    Photo courtesy gdgt liveblog
    The iPhone 4S supports HSDPA 14.4 and HSUPA 5.76 for GSM-based carriers, alongside CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev.A for 3GPP2 based carriers. The iPhone 4S also appears to have an antenna band structure which mirrors that of the CDMA iPhone 4, and likewise includes what appears to be a combination of Rx diversity and the ability to switch between antennas for transmit. This is virtually identical to what we talked about in the CDMA iPhone 4 review which mitigates the infamous iPhone 4 GSM deathgrip.
    Apple hasn't said confirmed things yet, but Qualcomm's MDM6600 appears to be the baseband inside the iPhone 4S, given its presence in the CDMA iPhone 4 and exactly matching specifications. More on this as it becomes available.



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    #1003

    Anandtech: iPhone 4S Launches October 14th

    As expected, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 4S at its media event this afternoon. It’s available for pre-order on October 7th, and will begin shipping on October 14th. Availability on the 14th will be restricted to the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany and Japan. Twenty two more countries will get the phone by the 28th, and 70 by the end of the year. The 4S will be available on Sprint, AT&T and Verizon networks in the US. Contrary to rumors that indicated a complete overhaul of the phone, the 4S is a predictable progression from the iPhone 4.

    It uses the same Apple A5 SoC as the iPad 2 (though, as usual, Apple didn’t reveal its clock speed or the amount of on-board RAM) and is now universally compatible with CDMA and GSM networks (making it a "world phone), but is visually similar to the iPhone 4 and uses the same 3.5” 640x960 “Retina Display” as its predecessor. It will be available in 16GB ($199), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) capacities in both black and white with a 2-year contract. The iPhone 4 will remain as an 8GB phone for $99, while the 3GS will also stick around for free with contract.

    Antenna diversity, a feature originally introduced in the CDMA iPhone 4, is now standard on all models of the iPhone 4S. As we found in our review of the Verizon iPhone 4, antenna diversity fixes the infamous antenna issue with the iPhone 4's design. The wireless stack has been upgraded to support HSPA+ 14.4, likely courtesy of Qualcomm's MDM6600.

    As was widely predicted, the iPhone 4S sports a new 8MP camera sensor with a five element f2.4 lens. The new lens is apparently 30% sharper than the previous iteration. The camera subsystem itself supposedly has better color accuracy and more color uniformity. Apple talked about their custom designed Image Signal Processor (ISP) on the A5 SoC, however previous versions were also Apple designed. Apple claims 1.1 seconds to the first photo and 0.5 second shot-to-shot latency on the iPhone 4S. The camera can now shoot 1080p video due to the ISP upgrades in the A5 SoC.

    Wireless display mirroring via AirPlay is also supported on the iPhone 4S.

    The new iPhone will debut with iOS 5, which will also be available to users of older devices on October 12. Exclusive to the new iPhone is iOS 5’s Siri voice assistant, which promises to bring new precision and utility to voice commands on the phone. The iPhone 4S with Siri will be able to understand natural language requests (e.g. "Wake me up tomorrow at 6AM) and act accordingly (e.g. create an alarm for 6AM tomorrow).

    Expect a full review from us as soon as possible, and in the meantime you can always re-read our in-depth iPhone 4 review to get a better idea of what has changed since last summer.




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    #1004

    Anandtech: Apple Seeds iOS 5 Gold Master to Developers

    Along with today's other iPhone news, Apple has also seeded the Gold Master (GM) of iOS 5. This was widely expected since it's common for Apple to seed the final beta release of an upcoming OS shortly after the announcement keynote. The build carries the name 9A334 and it's also expected to be the build that will ship on October 12th. Registered developers can download the build from Apple's developer center. Although iOS 5 will provide over-the-air updates, the GM must be installed via iTunes.
    Source: MacStories



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    #1005

    Anandtech: Why No LTE iPhone 5 in 2011? Blame 28nm Maturity, Check Back In Q2/Q3 2012

    Along the road leading up to today's iPhone 4S reveal were many rumors about the iPhone 5 coming out this year boasting a new thinner, teardrop profile - potentially even with LTE. Despite attempts to convince people otherwise, magic doesn't actually exist and fitting the existing iPhone 4 internals (not to mention a larger A5 SoC) in a significantly smaller chassis with no impact on battery life isn't really possible.
    The iPhone 4 PCB is already incredibly small, not leaving any room for an extra chip to enable LTE without shrinking the size of the battery (or increasing the thickness of the phone to accomodate both a larger PCB and a big battery). Today, Qualcomm is a leading provider of LTE baseband silicon and unfortunately they don't ship any baseband hardware that supports both LTE and voice (over 1x/WCDMA) without extra silicon. In order to support both you need to be using something Qualcomm calls SoC Fusion. By leveraging a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC in combination with Qualcomm's MDM9600 LTE modem you can deliver both voice and LTE data. Otherwise the MDM9600 is only good for data, which is admittedly useful in things like USB modems or MiFis. Apple obviously doesn't use Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs so enabling LTE on the iPhone isn't possible using Qualcomm baseband unless you make the phone's PCB larger (which Apple obviously wasn't going to do). Note that no one else seems to deliver a single chip LTE + 1x/WCDMA voice solution either, so this isn't just a Qualcomm limitation.
    While the MDM9600 is built on a 45nm process, its successor due in 2012 is built on a 28nm process. Qualcomm's current roadmaps show the 28nm MDM9615 arriving in Q2 2012. The 9615 finds itself in a smaller 10x10mm package and is voice enabled as well. Apple (and all other smartphone makers) could replace the MDM6600 with the MDM9615 and have a "single chip" LTE solution for smartphones. I put single chip in quotes because there are obviously other components necessary such as a PMIC and in the case of the MDM9615, an external transceiver. But next year (Q2 to be exact) should be when we can finally get LTE into something iPhone-sized.
    These modems are pretty power hungry DSPs, the move to 28nm should not only help reduce die size and allow for more integration but it should also decrease power consumption. Phones based on the MDM9615 will likely increase LTE battery life to reasonable levels rather than what we've seen from the first generation of devices.
    As you may have heard however, the move to 28nm at both TSMC and Global Foundries isn't really going all that smoothly. The jump from 4x-nm to 28nm is a very big one, so it's not unexpected to have pretty serious teething problems as the process ramps up. I suspect that an aggressive 28nm roadmap that didn't pan out probably caught a lot of SoC and smartphone vendors in a position where they couldn't ship what they wanted to in 2011.
    If you're waiting for an LTE enabled iPhone 5 (or just better battery life out of an LTE smartphone), you'll have to wait until late Q2 next year at the earliest. While I don't like participating in the rumor garbage, if I were to guess at the release date of the rumored iPhone 5 I'd say early Q3 2012.



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    #1006

    Anandtech: ASUS Eee Pad Slider Review

    I understand the appeal of tablets. Regardless of OS, they all provide a far more intimate experience when browsing the web and reading emails. I genuinely prefer doing both of those things on a tablet than on a notebook or desktop. Then there are the apps. Photos, maps, ebooks, videos and even IP cameras are comfortably accessible from tablets. Obviously you can do the same on a notebook or desktop, the tablet form factor combined with a responsive touch UI simply means you can do these things in a more relaxed position.

    What has always frustrated me with tablets however is what happens when you have to give any of these apps a significant amount of input. While the virtual keyboards on tablets are pretty mature, the form factor doesn't allow for quick typing like on a smartphone. A smartphone is easily cradled in both of your hands while your thumbs peck away at the keyboard. A tablet however needs to be propped up against something while you treat it like a keyboard. Put it on your lap and you have to hunch over the thing because the screen and input surface are on the same plane (unlike a notebook where the two are perpendicular to one another). Try to type in a reclined position on a couch and you end up lying awkwardly with your thighs and thumbs supporting the tablet. Ever see the iPad billboards and note the really awkward leg placement in them?
    ASUS' latest attempt to deal with this issue is the Eee Pad Slider. The follow-on to the Eee Pad Transformer integrates a sliding keyboard into ASUS' Honeycomb tablet. How does it fare? Read on to find out in our full review!


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    #1007

    Anandtech: Portal 2 Free “Peer Review” DLC Now Available

    In case you haven’t been solving testing chambers incessantly since April, Valve’s offering a free reason to dust off your copy of Portal 2. A new DLC pack, titled “Peer Review,” is up for download now via Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network.
    “Peer Review” expands Portal 2’s co-op mode with a new test track, once again pitting the adorable P-Body and Atlas against GLaDOS. The DLC also includes single player and co-op Challenge Modes, each with their own leaderboards.
    As an added bonus, Valve has lowered the price of Portal 2 on Steam to $14.99 until Thursday. You can also purchase two copies for $27.49. Act quickly and grab a copy of one of the best games released this year.



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    #1008

    Anandtech: BitFenix Merc Alpha: Just How Much Can $39 Buy?

    While we've had a chance to check out a few cases in the $200+ club and the majority of the enclosures we've tested have floated around the $99 price range, we haven't really put the screws (so to speak) to a truly budget case. That changes today, when we tackle the least expensive case we've yet tested: the BitFenix Merc Alpha. At just $39 it would be reasonable not to expect much, but as you'll see this case can hang with enclosures at twice the cost or better.

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    #1009

    Anandtech: Samsung Teases Nexus Prime in Video Form

    Samsung has teased us a few times about the Nexus Prime which is expected to get a full debut at CTIA Enterprise. We got the invite and will be at Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2011 on October 11th with full coverage of everything going on there. Not to be outdone by today's iPhone 4S announcement, Samsung has released another teaser today in video form which possibly gives a quick glimpse of the upcoming Nexus Prime.
    Just from looking at the video, right at the 20 second mark we get a glimpse of what's quite possibly the device itself. It appears that Samsung will continue the curved front glass trend that started with the Nexus S, with a display that has an even smaller radius of curvature. There's a small trademark bulge at the bottom, three contact points possibly for a dock (just like the Nexus One used to have), and finally a power button.
    For those not following the Nexus Prime, the device is expected to arrive with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and be powered by a 1.5 GHz OMAP 4460 SoC.
    Source: YouTube



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    #1010

    Anandtech: Intel Releases Two Pentium and Two Core i-series CPUs

    Intel has updated their product database (ARK) with four new CPUs. Two of these are branded as Pentiums: 967 and B960. The former is a low-power model with only 17W TDP for BGA-1023 socket. The latter is a regular 35W TDP for rBGA-998 socket. The two new Core i-series CPUs are i5-2430M and i7-2670QM. As the naming suggest, the i5 part is dual core whereas the i7 is a quad core chip. All these CPUs are mobile variants and based on Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. Below is a table with more in-depth specifications:
    Pentium 967 Pentium B960 i5-2430M i7-2670QM
    Core/Thread Count 2/2 2/2 2/4 4/8
    Frequency 1.3GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 2.2GHz
    Max Turbo N/A N/A 3.0GHz 3.1GHz
    L3 Cache 2MB 2MB 3MB 6MB
    Graphics Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000
    Graphics Frequency 350MHz 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz
    Max Graphics Turbo N/A N/A 1.2GHz 1.1GHz
    TDP 17W 35W 35W 45W
    Socket BGA-1023 rBGA-998 rBGA-998 rBGA-998
    Pentium 967 is the only newcomer, the other three CPUs are just slightly higher clocked versions of their predecessors.
    Source: Intel, Intel, Intel, Intel



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