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iPhone 5 Battery Life May Be Impacted Greatly by Cellular Signal Strength

Deep in its lengthy review of the iPhone 5, iLounge has performed an analysis on the battery life of the iPhone 5. The site tested the device under a number of conditions, including both cellular and Wi-Fi web browsing, voice calls, FaceTime calls, video recording, and video and audio playback.

The phone performed fairly well but iLounge found battery life struggled when transferring cellular data or making voice calls, which they speculated was due to a weak signal:

if you’re using your iPhone 5 in places a with a very strong (4- to 5-bar) LTE or 3G signal, your cellular battery life may approach that number, but if not, the cellular antenna will struggle to maintain a signal, and fall well short. Because LTE and 3G/4G towers are in a state of build-out flux right now, our tests suggest that many LTE users won’t come close to Apple’s promised numbers.
iLounge has the detailed results on its battery testing in its iPhone 5 review, but unsurprisingly, mileage will vary greatly depending on a number of factors including health of the battery, signal strength, screen brightness, and other considerations.

Apple Sourcing Carbon Fiber Components for Upcoming Product?

Macotakara reports that it has received information from a source indicating that representatives of Apple and Foxconn have been working to source unknown parts from a company with expertise in carbon fiber materials.
According to my source, some engineer of Apple and Foxconn Technology came on Japanese company, which has carbon production in mid-March, and they requested to develop some sample.

I don't have information which is ordered by Apple, source told the number of parts is too large to be called "sample".
Rumors of Apple's interest in carbon fiber, which offers high strength at low weight, have been circulating for a number of years but have yet to come to fruition. Nearly four years ago there were rumors of a carbon fiber MacBook Air, and Apple patent applications have indicated that the company is at least exploring what could be done with such materials.

MacBook Pro covered by "carbon fiber" stickers

More recently, a pair of reports had indicated that the iPad 2 might gain a carbon fiber body. Those claims did not come to pass, although both reports had indicated that the information was rather sketchy in nature as Apple may simply have been testing the technology during the company's product development cycle.

With the hiring of Kevin Kenney last year as a senior composites engineer, speculation regarding Apple's plans for carbon fiber has continued to surface. Kenney had previously served as president and CEO of carbon fiber bicycle frame pioneer Kestrel Bicycles.

Is Apple’s Desire To Have The Thinnest MacBook Costing You More?

How thin is too thin? A question that used to be relegated to the fashion industry is now seeping into the tech sector as Apple is reportedly sourcing thinner components for the 2013 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

According to Digitmes, Apple plans on accomplishing this by reducing the thickness of the light guide plates for the illuminating keyboards from 0.4mm to 0.25mm. We’re talking splitting hairs here. So, would it really even be noticeable by users?

Kyle Wiens runs iFixit, a company that does high-res teardowns of new products and DIY repair guides. He previously blogged about his experience tearing down a MacBook Pro with Retina Display and points out that because of measures Apple took to reduce its size, it is the LEAST repairable laptop they have ever taken apart. The display is fused to the glass, the RAM is soldered to the logic board and the battery is glued to the case. Translation: No quick fixes by third parties. Customers must mail in their laptops to Apple directly for a $200 replacement.

Wiens also makes an interesting argument:

We have consistently voted for hardware that’s thinner rather than upgradeable. But we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Our purchasing decisions are telling Apple that we’re happy to buy computers and watch them die on schedule. When we choose a short-lived laptop over a more robust model that’s a quarter of an inch thicker, what does that say about our values?

Unless you’re hardcore technology geek, you wouldn’t necessarily know that these are the measures Apple takes to make your laptop thinner. All we see is this sparkly, shinny new device that’s even better and cooler than the one before and for some reason, we LOVE when the new element is “omg it’s thinner!” Maybe it’s just the way the world is wired and now it’s seeping into our gadgets.

Apple had over a year left on Google Maps contract, Google scrambling to build iOS app

Apple's decision to ship its own mapping system in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was made over a year before the company's agreement to use Google Maps expired, according to two independent sources familiar with the matter. The decision, made sometime before Apple's WWDC event in June, sent Google scrambling to develop an iOS Google Maps app — an app which both sources say is still incomplete and currently not scheduled to ship for several months.

Apple decided to end the deal and ship the new maps

As rumors and leaks of Apple's decision to announce the new iOS 6 maps at WWDC in June filtered out, Google decided to respond with a display of strength — the search giant hastily announced its own mapping event just days before Apple's event. Dubbed "the next dimension of Google Maps," the event was designed to showcase new technologies like low-level aerial 3D photography and Street View backpacks — a chest-thumping exercise meant to highlight Google's significant head start in collecting mapping information, but which offered very little in the way of consumer-facing features.

For its part, Apple apparently felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn't have access to turn-by-turn navigation, which Google has shipped on Android phones for several years. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google also wanted more prominent branding and the ability to add features like Latitude, and executives at the search giant were unhappy with Apple's renewal terms. But the existing deal between the two companies was still valid and didn't have any additional requirements, according to our sources — Apple decided to simply end it and ship the new maps with turn-by-turn.

"What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind?"

The reports were validated earlier today by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who was quoted by Reuters saying "what were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call." Schmidt also said that Google had "not done anything yet" with an iOS Google Maps app, and that Apple would ultimately have to decide whether to approve any such app anyway. "It's their choice," he told Bloomberg. Google Maps VP Brian McClendon has also repeatedly said he's committed to offering Google Maps on all platforms, indicating that an iOS app will eventually appear.

Interestingly, Apple either didn't know or didn't expect that consumers would find its new maps to be deficient — when iOS software VP Scott Forstall introduced the new mapping system in June, he called it "beautiful" and "gorgeous" and stressed that "we're doing all the cartography ourselves." The company was forced to adopt a different tone last week as complaints about the maps spread, saying the "new map service is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it." The company also promised "continuously improving" maps, and said that "the more people use it, the better it will get." Indeed, some of the more egregious errors spotted by users are already getting fixed, although New York's bridges are still distorted in Flyover and the Statue of Liberty remains missing.

"This new map service is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it."

Ultimately, maps are just one more front in an increasingly high stakes war between rival ecosystems as PCs give way to mobile devices. Apple and Google both plainly understand that phones and tablets are most powerful when used in conjunction with sophisticated cloud-based services, and both seem determined to own and integrate the entire experience — ownership that will lead to dominance in the next era of computing. A few customers getting lost along the way seems to be acceptable collateral damage.