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Apple will allow you to trade in your older iPhone for a new one

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September 2, 2013

The rumored launch date of Sep. 10 for the next iPhone 5S is fast approaching, and Apple on Friday began allowing iPhone owners to trade in their older devices at the company's Apple Retail Stores in the U.S.

"Our iPhones hold great value," an Apple spokeswoman told the AFP news service.

"So, Apple Retail Stores are launching a new program to assist owners who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhones for reuse or simply to recycle them," she added.

Apple's own stores aren't the first to accept trade-ins of older iPhones. Other retailers, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Walmart offer very similar programs.

Even wireless carriers are getting in on the action. In July, fourth-ranked mobile carrier T-Mobile launched its Jump program, which allows customers to swap their devices for new ones as often as twice a year.

AT&T and Verizon quickly followed suit with competing offers. Interest in similar trade-in programs is expected to be high this fall, given that Apple is expected to announce its next iPhone 5S and possibly a second, lower-cost model at a press event on September 10.

The rumored iPhone 5S (actual model name is still unknown) is believed to include a snappier, 64-bit processor, more data storage, and a much-improved camera.

Some say it will even be available in gold. Some people think that the 5S will be joined by a less expensive, multi-colored iPhone 5C, but as is typically the case before major Apple product launches, precise details have been very difficult to come by.

The Apple spokeswoman declined to say how much the company would be willing to pay for a used iPhone at its Retail Stores, but Apple already offers a trade-in or recycling program via its website.

Under that program, a 16 GB iPhone 4S in good condition can net you a $220 Apple Gift Card. Depending on the specific model and its actual condition, your old iPhone could bring you a fair amount of cash.

However, in-store trade-ins may have a catch. Forbes reports that trades at Apple Retail Stores will only be accepted if the customer also buys a new iPhone and signs up for a new or extended wireless contract at the same time.

It's also not immediately clear whether Apple plans to expand its Retail Store trade-in program to include other iDevices besides iPhones, or when the trade-in program might be available at stores outside the United States.

In other mobile news

Huawei said earlier this morning that it has already placed a fairly large part of its team to work on upcoming 5G technology, and that it could provide up to almost 100 times faster speeds than with 4G.

Ken Hu, Huawei’s deputy chairman and chief executive officer, said in an email that his company has hundreds of engineers working on the next generation of mobile technology.

Huawei is also hoping that it can deploy 10 GHz wireless connections by 2020. Around 2020 is widely regarded as the timetable for when 5G technology will begin to deploy commercially, but 5G still lacks a strict definition of standards and features that the wireless industry can't seem to agree on for now.

However, considering how Cisco is predicting that internet traffic from mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices as early as 2016, it stands to reason for companies like Huawei to speed up plans for mobile networks that can handle all the demand.

And Huawei is already advancing fast on 5G. Earlier this week, the company and Saudi Arabia CSP Mobily announced the deployment of a 400 Gbps IP core network to serve UMTS, LTE and FTTH users in that country.

In other mobile news

Intel said earlier this morning that it has released its new C++ compiler version 13 for the Android operating system, its first attempt at delivering an optimizing C and C++ compiler designed specifically for Google's popular mobile platform.

And the release is notable for a number of good reasons. First, the overwhelming majority of Android devices are currently built around chips based on the ARM architecture.

Intel's compilers can only output code for its own chips, including its Atom line of mobile CPUs.

Secondly, the majority of Android app development is done not in C++ but in Java. Specifically, developers use Oracle's Java SDK to compile their code and then run it through a further tool that converts it into Android's unique Dalvik binary format, which can be executed by virtual machines running on a variety of chips.

Still other developers build Android apps using HTML5 and related technologies, which typically don't require a compiler at all.

But Intel said it won't try to lure developers away from any of these methods. Instead, its new C++ compiler for Android is designed for mobile apps that take advantage of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK), which is typically used to develop components for performance-intensive apps, such as games.

The current version of the Android NDK uses version 4.6 of the open source Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) toolchain by default. However, Intel's compilers include lots of proprietary optimizations for its own chips, and can often output executable code that performs better than that produced by third-party compilers such as GCC.

According to Intel's FAQ, its C++ Compiler for Android provides drop-in source code compatibility with Gnu C++, but it outputs more efficient code that executes faster and helps keep devices cool and power consumption low.

The new compiler can't be used to generate code that runs on Windows, OS X, desktop Linux, or any other operating system. It can only produce code for Android and specifically, Android version 4.0 and up.

And you can't use the compiler on just any development machine, either. Neither Windows nor OS X is supported. The tools are only certified for use with Ubuntu 10.04 or 11.04 (the latter version being nearly two and a half years old).

In an unusual move, Intel is making this first version of its Android compiler available as a free download for a limited time. By comparison, Intel C++ Composer XE 2013, Chipzilla's C++ tools collection for desktop operating systems, retails for $699 (£450) for Windows, Linux, or OS X.

The company isn't saying how long the tools will be available for no charge, or what will happen after that. To get the compiler, head on over to Intel's registration site where you will be asked to submit your email address to receive a personalized download link.

Versions for other platforms may be forthcoming-– Intel says it will update us as to when.

In other mobile news

Apple is expected to hold an important event that will soon unveil its new iPhone 5S on September 10. Japan's Nikkei said sales of the device will begin September 20 in that country.

Then Chinese newspapers chimed in with a release date there of late November, due to China's verification process.

Here's what we've heard about prominent specs. First for the camera, probably the most important feature for the consumer is a better lens system for the camera.

The latest speculation on the camera claims it will get a larger f/2.0 aperture that would match the HTC One with dual LED flash.

If accurate, that aperture would be significantly larger than the iPhone 5 that way it is now. That means more light gets through, improving image quality and low-light performance.

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Then there's the fingerprint scanner/reader in the home button. That technology is likely coming from AuthenTec, a fingerprint sensor technology company that Apple acquired last year.

The larger point is that the iPhone 5S' mainstream biometric technology, improving electronic payments and making it easier to get music and sensitive data from the Cloud.

Then, a 128 GB flash storage option is the freshest speculation. That seems like an overkill for most consumers but then again 16 GB seemed like a lot when the iPhone 3G came out, remember?

An updated A7 processor is also expected. If you recall, the iPhone 4S got the new A5 processor when it was released in October 2011.

The new iPhone 5S is also expected to feature new 3G/4G standard support. Versions of the 5S (and the 5C) may support China's 4G TDD-LTE standard.

That could mean a huge boost in market penetration in China and global market share for Apple. That support may also include China's TD-SCDMA at this point in time.

It's almost needless to say that there may be a gold iPhone 5S along with the standard black and white versions. The important point to remember is that it most likely won't be a garish gold but a more subtle champagne color.

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Source: Apple.

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