Apple iPad Air Demo model catches fire in Australian Vodafone store!

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A Vodafone retail store in Canberra, Australia was forced to evacuate earlier this week after an iPad demo unit burst into flames, according to News.com.au. While no one was injured, the news outlet says that the “explosion” was large enough that the city’s firebrigade was called to the scene….

Here’s News.com.au with the report:

” A burst of flames” appeared from the charging port of an iPad demo model, a Vodafone spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au.

The firebrigade was called in after the store filled with smoke and sparks continued to appear from the charging port.

No staff members or customers were injured during the incident, Vodafone confirmed.” 

The site goes on to say that an Apple representative visited the Vodafone store on Wednesday to collect the device to try and determine what exactly caused the incident, but not much else is known. And as you can imagine, the company has thus far refused any requests for comments.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time that an Apple device has caused safety concerns this year. Back in July, a Chinese woman died after reportedly receiving an electric shockfrom her iPhone. And just a few weeks later, a Chinese man was left in a coma after a similar incident.

Apple went on to blame “unauthorized third-party adapters” for the incident, and launched its‘Takeback’ initiative, which discounted official power adapters to $10 with trade-in. But with this device being in a retailer store, it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, it has to say this time.

Note that the original News.com.au story said the tablet that caught fire was a new iPad Air demo model, but it has since changed it to simply “an iPad demo model.”

Apple launches iPad Air: the lightest iPad ever, new iPad mini with Retina display, iOS 7.0.3 and more!

Apple thus far has shared some interesting business stats (such as 1 million apps on the App Store, 60 billion app downloads and 64 percent of iOS devices on iOS 7, to mention just a few), announced that OS X Mavericks will be launching later today as a free download, confirmed that the new Mac Pro pro desktop is due in December starting at $2,999, shown off the new 64-bit versions of iWork and iLife apps for the Mac and iOS with full file compatibility across these platforms and refreshed the new 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros with faster PCIe storage, Thunderbolt 2 I/O, fourth-generation Intel chips, both also available today at more affordable prices than ever.

And now onto the main thing – the new iPads. Say hello to iPad Air.

What’s an iPad Air?

It’s your fifth-generation full-size iPad, rebranded for the new age to reflect its dramatically improved design. The device still has a 9.7-inch Retina display, but also includes the 43 percent skinnier side bezel, iPad mini style.

At just 7.5mm, the iPad Air is 20 percent thinner.

It’s also substantially lighter (28 percent lighter, to be precise) compared to its predecessor. at just 1.0 pound versus 1.4 pounds for the previous-generation product, the iPad Air is it’s the lightest iPad in the world, period.

It’s powered by the Apple-designed 64-bit A7 chip that just launched with the iPhone 5s and also contains the M7 motion coprocessor to track your movement in a battery-friendly manner. In addition to CPU/GPU speeds gains, the A7 chip also allows for improved still image and video capture with faster auto-focus, up to three times video zoom, five times still zoom, better dynamic range and automatic image and video stabilization.

Graphics performance is 72 times faster compared to the original iPad and 3D rendering is two times faster over the iPad 4. As for CPU performance, the new iPad opens apps twice as fast though I should mention that customers will start seeing some substantial speed increased after developers optimize their apps for 64-bit computing.

The three times faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking is also inside this new iPad Air – it’s the first iOS device with MIMO (Multiple-In-Multiple-Out) wireless technology. On the cellular front, the new iPad Air benefits from the expanded LTE support we’ve seen on the iPhone 5s.

On the downside, there’s a five-megapixel iSight camera on the back that captures 1080p video versus the eight-megapixel shooter the rumor-mill has been hoping for. Out the front is the improved FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors featuring larger pixels for better low-light performance.

Luckily, the iPad Air still delivers the ten-hour battery life the previous models are famous for.

The tablet also has dual microphones for better reception and improved Siri performance. The iPad Air comes in Silver and Space Grey finishes – no, there’s no gold colorway – and starts at the same $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi configuration ($130 extra for the cellular variant).

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The 32/64/128GB Wi-Fi variants are $599/$699/$799 (a $130 extra if you need cellular).

The 16GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi remains on sale for $399.

Apple said the iPad Air will start shipping on November 1 in a few dozen countries, including China.

Reiterating the original pitch – “our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price” – Tim Cook said the iPad has gone on to become one of the most successful products in Apple’s history.

iPad Air availability

Cumulative iPad sales have topped 170 million units this past month, he said while jokingly remarking that even some of the doubters are now building tablets.

The iPad is great because people use it and love it – it’s rated #1 in customer satisfaction and is used four times more than all of the other tablets put together, said Cook The Numbers Guy.

Finally, there are 475,000 high-quality apps created specifically for the iPad, of the one million applications on the App Store.

It’s hard to compete with that and it’s no wonder that Apple has sold 170 million iPads in three years time.

Apple unveils new iPad mini with Retina display, A7 processor

Now that he’s finished up his staggering ‘iPad Air’ announcement, Apple’s Phil Schiller has turned his focus to the smaller iPad mini. It too is getting a big refresh today, with the long-awaited display bump.

As expected, Apple has managed to squeeze its Retina screen in the tiny tablet, giving it the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as its larger sibling. And it’s also added its 64-bit A7 processor, and other goodies…

With the new hardware, Apple says the second generation mini is up to 4x faster on CPU and 8x faster on the graphics. It also features 2x faster Wi-Fi, expanded LTE support, and the same 10-hour battery life.

The new iPad mini will come in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB flavors, starting at the [more expensive] price of $399 for the Wi-Fi only model. Interestingly enough, Apple just says ‘November’ for availability.

Apple will be keeping the first gen iPad mini around, though, and has slashed its price to $299.

iOS 7.0.3 is out with iCloud Keychain, iMessage fixes and more

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Though there was no mention of it during the iPad event this morning, Apple has just released a new version of iOS. The update, which brings the firmware to 7.0.3, brings about a number of improvements.

On the new feature front, Apple has re-added in support for iCloud Keychain. And as for bug fixes, there are several of them, including ones for iMessage, iPhone 5s sensor calibration issues, and much more…

Here’s the monster change log for iOS 7.0.3:

– Adds iCloud Keychain to keep track of your account names, passwords, and credit card numbers across all your approved devices
– Adds Password Generator so Safari can suggest unique, hard-to-guess passwords for your online accounts
– Updates lock screen to delay display of “slide to unlock” when Touch ID is in use
– Adds back the ability to search the web and Wikipedia from Spotlight search
– Fixes an issue where iMessage failed to send for some users
– Fixes a bug that could prevent iMessage from activating
– Improves system stability when using iWork apps
– Fixes an accelerometer calibration issue
– Addresses an issue that could cause Siri and VoiceOver to use a lower quality voice
– Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode
– Enhances the Reduce Motion setting to minimize both motion and animation
– Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver input to be too sensitive
– Updates the Bold Text setting to also change dial pad text
– Fixes an issue that could cause supervised devices to become un-supervised when updating software

You can find the update by either syncing your iOS device with iTunes, or opening up the Settings app on your device and navigating to General > Software Update for the OTA (over the air) download.

As usual, folks hoping to jailbreak iOS 7 at a later time should probably hold off on the 7.0.3 update until it has been cleared by the evad3rs, who are currently working on a hack for this fall’s firmware.

UPDATE:

Yes, it’s safe for jailbreak hopefuls to update to iOS 7.0.3

Nearly one-third of iOS users upgraded to iOS 7 in the first 16 hours!

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Adoption of Apple’s new version of iOS is off to a fast start. Nearly a third of iOS device owners have already upgraded to iOS 7 just 16 hours after the software was released. According to Mixpanel, by Thursday at 10:28am ET some 31.8 percent of iPhones, iPads and iPods had adopted the new operating system, noted for its flat design and a number of new features. Apple officially released the software on Wednesday at 1pm ET…

The Mixpanel announcement can be found here.

Go here for the interactive chart of iOS 7 adoption

By comparison, 24 hours after iOS 6 was released just fifteen percent of iOS device owners had adopted the new OS. Rival platform Android is saddled with a reputation of being fragmented due to the slow pace of OS adoption.

Compare this to Google’s most recent snapshot of Android OS version distribution.

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As you can see, less than half of Android devices (or 45.1 percent) were on Android Jelly Bean version 4.1.x or 4.2.x, per data collected during a seven-day period ending on September 4, 2013.

Keep in mind that Jelly Bean was released alongside Google’s Nexus 7 tablet in June 0f 2012. Also important: Google’s data only counts Android devices that access its Play store, excluding gizmos that use forked Android version such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and no-name Chinese cheapos.

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In this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek cover story, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned both a NetAppliations survey that gave iOS devices a 55 percent share of all mobile web activity and an IBM research note saying iPads accounted for more than 88 percent of online shopping traffic from tablets during last Black Friday:

“For us, it matters that people use our products,” he said

And commenting on the widespread Google fragmentation, Cook said:

It will show up in developers. It will show up for people that no longer have access to certain apps. It will show up in security issues because if you’re not moving your customer base to the latest version, then you have to go back and plug holes in all of this old stuff, and people don’t really do that to a great degree.

Indeed, for developers, the solid support of iOS 7 means they can be assured apps written for the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS will be widely installed. While the vast majority of Apple’s user base quickly adopts the latest and greatest version of iOS, some people still use older hardware.

For them, Apple’s made it possible to download the last app version that was compatible with their hardware and iOS build. Also, the company today issued a note telling developers they can easily manage availability of apps’ previous versions using the iTunes Connect web portal.

How to get ready for today’s iOS 7 Public Release?[Updated!]

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Last week, Apple announced that it would be releasing the latest version of its mobile operating system on Wednesday, September 18th. That’s today! And honestly, we couldn’t be more excited.

This will be the largest update to the platform since it was first introduced in 2007, bringing about an all-new design and several new features like Control Center, AirDrop sharing andiTunes Radio.

Of course, Apple has been seeding betas of iOS 7 to developers since June, but this is the first time it will be open to the public. So we thought we’d put this list together of things to help you get ready…

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As usual, our first responsibility is to warn you that iOS 7 has not been successfully jailbroken yet. The evad3rs are working on it, but there’s no ETA. If you update, you will not be able to jailbreak.

It’s also worth noting here that we have seen some signs of an impending iOS 6.1.3/6.1.4 jailbreak being released to the public. So even if you’re not currently jailbroken, it may be worth it to wait.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s some useful tips for those that plan on updating:

  • Save your SHSH blobs – if you’ve ever jailbroken your device, or plan on doing so in the future, save your SHSH blobs. It just takes a couple of seconds, and it’s your only hope of ever being able to downgrade, should that ever become an option in the future.
  • Check device compatibility – while iOS 7 will be available for a number of devices, not all of them will support all of its new features. AirDrop, for example, is only supported by the iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5. Click here for the complete list of device compatibility.
  • Back up your devices – it’s always a good idea to backup your devices before updating to a new firmware. Sometimes, though it’s not common, updates can error out while installing, thus wiping out all of your data. You can backup your device either by syncing it with iTunes, or through the iCloud menu.
  • Download the latest version of iTunes – right now, iTunes 11.0.5 is the latest version of the software, but we expect to see iTunes 11.1 land today. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you have the most recent version available so that you’ll have all the latest features and bug fixes.
  • How to download iOS 7 – if Apple follows previous patterns, and we have no reason to believe that it won’t, iOS 7 will be available to users via both an over-the-air update and a full download through iTunes. If you’re unsure about which to go with, tune into iDB tomorrow for more information.

It’s also worth noting that not all apps have been updated to be compatible with the new firmware yet. So if you have an app, or apps, that you use everyday, it’s worth looking into them before you update.

We expect Apple to release iOS 7 around 8:00 PM ( Beirut Time ) . We’ll let you know as soon as it hits, and will be providing updates on new features and other commentary on the software throughout the day.