First Apple iMac teardown reveals Apple’s mastery of component shrinkage

Now that Apple’s (AAPL) redesigned iMac is available for purchase, the only logical thing to do is to pull out the suction cups and take the svelte computer apart. Japanese site Kodawarisan took the first shot at opening the new iMacs up and as expected, found the 21.5-inch model to be very light and very thin. One of the reasons why the new iMacs are so thin is because they don’t have optical drives anymore. Another reason discovered by Kodawarisan appears to be the simplified internal design of the iMac’s components. As can be seen in the teardown photos, the new iMacs have fewer serviceable parts thanks to more components such as the RAM being soldered in now. Even with a bulge on the back that tapers to a 5-millimeter thickness at the edges, the new iMac still has room to get even thinner if the teardown images are any indication. A few more teardown images follow below.


Apple likely to launch streaming radio service in 2013, long before Apple’s TV service

Apple (AAPL) has been rumored to be prepping a streaming radio service for more than a year now, and according to a number of recent reports it looks like 2013 will finally see the company’s Pandora competitor become a reality. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield on Friday issued a note clarifying that Apple’s streaming radio service — or “iRadio,” as he calls it — will launch in 2013. The analyst points to obvious indications in Apple’s iTunes 11 redesign in stating that the service’s launch is imminent. Greenfield also believes that Apple’s radio service will launch “well before” any television services that Apple may currently be working on.

“iRadio appears to be a product that will materialize far sooner than some form of Apple Television product, which continues to be a work in progress,” the analyst wrote.

Greenfield continued, “In August 2012, we revisited the Apple Television debate, where we highlighted three key issues holding the product back: Nationwide Coverage, Are Managed Services Legal and TV Everywhere Usage restrictions as a follow up to our April 2012 blog post, where we stated:

Apple’s pursuit of the television will take longer to come to fruition than investors are likely expecting.

While we believe MVPD/ISPs such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable stand to benefit immensely from opening up their API to enable a premium priced Apple generated user interface, we believe the product could take at least another year to materialize, if not longer due all of the aforementioned challenges.”

In the near future, however, BTIG sees the upcoming streaming music service as an integral part of Apple’s strategy moving forward. “We continue to believe an iRadio product is critical for Apple to create a local advertising/commerce strategy, tying together Maps, Passbook, Siri and a new music service (which we are calling iRadio for now),” Greenfield concluded.

Apple introduces variable cost iTunes Gift Cards to third party retailers for the holidays

Rolling out to your favorite supermarket or retail store this holiday season are new Apple iTunes gift cards which can be bought in any denomination between $15 and $500. We’re hearing that at least one supermarket chain and one retailler are putting these on the shelves today.

You take these cards to the cashier and choose how much to put on them. When the cashier validates the card, the amount paid is tied to the number/code. The receiver can then redeem the code including using the new FaceTime Camera scan for said amount of iTunes credit.

At the moment, there is no place to buy this type of card online, including the Apple Store.

Previously, you had to buy iTunes gift cards in $15, 25, $50 or $100 denominations at retail establishments.  Apple has long had variable pricing for hardware gift card purchases but iTunes has been a relatively static purchasing affair, especially outside of Apple’s official stores.

New job posting suggests Nokia may still be considering Android after all

Nokia (NOK) may finally be crying “uncle!” on its decision to go solely with Windows Phone. Per Gizmodo, Nokia has posted a new job listing on its LinkedIn page for a principle software engineer whose job will be to oversee the development of “embedded Linux device software and hardware drivers for our exciting new products.” As Gizmodo notes, Android is based on a Linux kernel so it’s possible that whatever the new software engineer does, it might involve Google’s (GOOG) hugely popular open-source mobile operating system. Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa said this past summer that his company has a backup plan in place in case Windows Phone doesn’t catch on, so it’s within the realm of possibility that Nokia could be giving Android a second look.

Apple confirms December 14 China launch for iPhone 5, Wifi iPads on Dec 7th

In a press release Apple confirmed today that it would indeed be launching its iconic flagship phone into the world’s biggest market in next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook told an analyst at a earnings conference call in October that Apple planned to launch in China in December. Specific carriers or prices weren’t mentioned.

Apple today announced the Wi-Fi versions of iPad mini and fourth generation iPad with Retina™ display will be available in China on Friday, December 7, and iPhone 5 will be available on Friday, December 14. iPad mini and the new fourth generation iPad with Retina display are currently available in 42 countries, and iPhone 5 is available in 47 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.

Apple has been selling both iPhones and the new Mini and Retina iPads in Hong Kong since launch and many Chinese have bought in the gray market from there (and elsewhere), avoiding China’s high luxury taxes.

The big question remains: Will China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier with over 600 million subscribers, sign on? Apple’s choice in Qualcomm radio would indicate that the possibility is there.

Skype for iOS gets updated, supports 4-inch Retina display

The Skype app has been updated for iOS with support for the new Retina display on the new iPhone 5 and it allows iOS users to integrate their Microsoft account with the contact list of the VoIP account.

The feature to merge Microsoft accounts with Skype contacts will allow users to send instant messages and calls to people in their Outlook, Messenger and Hotmail contacts directly from Skype.
You can also edit instant messages by tapping and holding on texts with this new update. There are many smileys and animated emoticons available with Retina Display resolution support.
This will make managing many contact lists very easy for iOS users as everybody can be contacted from just one app. Android and desktop users of Skype have had this useful feature for quite some time.

These changes are all streamlined for replacing Microsoft’s old Messenger with Skype which Microsoft hopes, will be the center of all messaging needs in the Windows 8 OS.