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Next week, next iPhone? (Apple Talk Weekly)

Apple's holding what can only be an event for the next iPhone early next week. That and a slew of other Apple news and rumors is the topic of this week's edition of Apple Talk Weekly.


Next week the rumors, the speculation, and the curiosity come to an end. Or at least that's the hope.

Apple on Tuesday is holding an event at its campus with the tag line "Let's talk iPhone." It's been more than a year since the last iPhone came out, and the event is expected to bring a full unveiling of its successor.

Along with the iPhone, next week's event should give us full details, if not the formal release, of iOS 5 as well as iCloud, the latter being the company's backup and synchronization service. Both got their debut in June during WWDC with the promise of a release this fall.

We'll be there to cover the news live, as it happens. Look for more details on how to view our live coverage in the coming days. Now, as usual, here's a wrap up of some of this week's big Apple news and rumors to get you all caught up.

News of the week

Apple sets Oct. 4 as date for iPhone event
As mentioned above, Apple sent out its invites to select press bright and early Tuesday morning, a week from when the event is being held. The invite features a cluster of four iOS icons and the tag line "Let's talk iPhone" (see above). The move is a departure to last year, when Apple took the wraps off a new iPhone at its annual developers conference in San Francisco. This time around, the event is being held at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

iPod click wheel games disappear from the iTunes Store
You might remember that not too long before the App Store, Apple began selling games through iTunes for its click wheel iPods. Even since the popularity of Apple's touch-screen iPods and the iPhone and iPad, those games have remained. But as noted by AppleInsider, Apple quietly removed them from the iTunes Store earlier this week, prompting speculation that the click wheel sporting iPod Classic is well and truly on its way out.

Apple's visual depiction of Multi-Touch.
Apple's visual depiction of Multi-Touch. Apple

Apple denied Multi-Touch Trademark
A filing picked up on this week by MacRumors shows that the United States Patent and Trademark Office denied Apple's application to trademark the term "Multi-Touch," the technology that registers multiple touches at once on touch-screen devices. The filing says the mark was denied for simply describing the feature and not backing up the application with proof that consumers associate the term with Apple. The application itself goes back to when Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007, which made use of multi-touch in apps like viewing photos and navigating through maps.

New European countries get iTunes Stores
Apple's iTunes Store expanded into new territory this week. As noted by MacRumors on Wednesday, Apple's iTunes Music Store launched in a number of new countries, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

Court sides with Apple in Mac clone case
An appeals court this week sided with Apple against Mac clone maker Psystar for infringing on its copyrights. You might remember that as the company that began offering custom-built PCs running Apple's Mac OS X. Apple filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Psystar for doing that in 2008, winning in a ruling a year later. Apple was also awarded a permanent injunction against Psystar, keeping the company from selling any hardware.

Rumors of the week

Next iPhone to sport 1GB RAM, voice assistant
A new rumor roundup of sorts from 9to5mac this week claimed Apple's next iPhone will sport 1GB of RAM as well as a substantially more complex voice-recognition control system that lets users navigate about the phone as well as launch apps with their voice. Apple has long been rumored to be working on such efforts given its pick-up of Siri and its voice-activated assistant application last year. Macrumors piled on, providing mock-ups of what the system is said to look like, as well as a video of how it works.

iPod Classic about to be extinct?
iPod Classic about to be extinct? Apple

New iPhones, iPods in Apple's inventory system
Citing new information from "Mr. X," a frequent leaker of Apple product numbers, 9to5mac this week reported that two new iPhones have appeared in the company's inventory system alongside three new iPod Touch models. Before getting too excited, the blog suggests the iPods could just be white versions of existing models, with the iPhones being a low capacity model of the iPhone 4 aimed at budget-conscious buyers.

iPad shipments cut 25 percent? Not so fast
A report from a J.P. Morgan Chase analyst made waves at the beginning of the week, suggesting that Apple cut fourth-quarter iPad shipments by 25 percent, a signal sales of the device might be slowing. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster disputed the idea, suggesting any drop in Apple's iPad production in Asia could be due to a ramp up in iPad production in Brazil.

A lost Foxconn iPhone 5 prototype the cause for case designs?
What's up with that bevy of iPhone 5 cases that have popped up in the last few months? Well, according to a new report, you can blame that on a prototype of the device that went missing earlier this year. Blog M.I.C. Gadget said that while visiting Shenzhen, China, last week, it heard from an "iPhone accessories supplier" that a prototype of the device had gone missing from Foxconn's factory in that area. The tipster alleged that the device had then been sold to case makers who were eager to get a head start on production.

iPod Classic and Shuffle to be discontinued?
The non-touch based version of the iPod's taken a back seat to the iPhone for years now, but people are still snapping up millions of them each quarter. Nonetheless, that number's long been in decline. A new report from TUAW this week suggested Apple plans to trim some of the fat by shelving its two non-touch-screen based iPods: the Classic and the Shuffle. Following the quiet removal of iPod click wheel games from iTunes this week, this rumor certainly becomes a whole lot more interesting.

See also my colleague Donald Bell's take on why it might not be a bad time to kill off the product that helped turn Apple into a consumer tech giant.

Patent of the week

A snippet from the stabilization patent.
A snippet from the stabilization patent. USPTO

A 2010 application published this week points to some interesting video stabilization technology Apple is seeking to patent.

The filing, picked up by Patently Apple, is for "accelerometer/gyro-facilitated video stabilization." In short, it details a system for making use of the accelerometer and/or gyroscope to track when shaking is happening during video recordings. The patent then describes a system for selectively running that data stream through any stabilization process to smooth out just the bits that register with lots of shakes.

Apple already offers stabilization in its video editing software, including both iMovie and Final Cut Pro X. The first Apple portable hardware to ship with both an accelerometer and a gyro was last year's iPhone 4, though the patent suggests the system could be used in other portable devices like handheld video cameras and portable computers.

Apple Talk Weekly is a roundup of some of the week's top Apple-related news, rumors and answers to your questions (which we skipped in this week's edition). If you have something Apple-related you want answered in next week's edition, drop me a line using the e-mail link below this post.