Rumormill: Subaru Impreza Hybrid coming in 2012?

Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept – Click the image for the high-res image gallery

by Jeremy Korzeniewski

This much we know: Subaru is ready to get into the hybrid marketplace. This much is a given following numerous rumors and reports that the Japanese automaker, which is currently tied at the hip to Toyota, wants to have its first hybridized vehicle on the market by 2012. Further, Subaru showed off its Hybrid Tourer concept at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year.

Here’s what we don’t know: What vehicle will Subaru use to introduce the world to its hybrid drivetrain? Initial speculation put the fuel-sipping technology into the larger Legacy platform, if for no other reason than the fact that the Legacy is Subaru’s flagship sedan in the States. What’s more, the aforementioned Hybrid Tourer concept wasn’t exactly a little car.

Now, though, Road & Track is reporting that the next-gen Impreza, due quite fortuitously in 2012, will be Subie’s first hybrid. We’d be shocked if Subaru’s hybrid tech wasn’t borrowed from Toyota, which is undoubtedly the world leader in hybrids, and it seems equally as likely that Subaru’s favored flat-four Boxer motor would be featured. Besides that, we’re in the dark.


Next-gen iPhone to feature “homebred” Apple silicon

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will reportedly be powered by a future version of the company’s indigenously developed “homebred” silicon.

According to AppleInsider, the fourth-generation iPhone is expected to meld ARM’s latest multi-core Cortex reference designs with Imagination’s upcoming GPU components into a “fine-tuned,” customized SoC (system-on-a-chip) package.

“These enhancements, along with improvements to the iPhone software, are expected to translate into quantifiable improvements in battery life and the overall speed of the iPhone interface and the software that runs on top of it,” wrote AppleInsider’s Kasper Jade.

Jade added that Engadget has already published a photo of what appears to be one Apple’s fourth-generation [prototype] iPhones.

“Cosmetically, the iPhone in the photo appears without its iconic aluminum bezel. Instead, the device is surrounded by a black plastic of aluminum material.

“Either that, or the handset is wrapped 80 percent of the way in a rubberized protective holder like the iPad prototype it rests on top of, though the quality of the image leaves this assertion to considerable debate.”

Amazon to open bricks-and-mortar stores?

Amazon’s arrows always aim to satisfy. – (Credit: Cc Akira Ohgaki/Flickr)

by Chris Matyszczyk

There’s a wonderful Borders bookstore in the middle of London’s Oxford Street. Or at least there was. I went there in September and suddenly it was no more. Indeed, the U.K. arm of Borders recently reached for a form of bankruptcy protection.

So how interesting that one of the greatest successes in online book retail, Amazon, is rumored to be troubling real estate agents in its search for retail premises in the U.K. According to London’s impeccable Times, Amazon is looking for very fine locations in order to, well, fulfill orders.

Perhaps some might find it a touch amusing that such a dot-com icon has decided to trouble the physical world. However, it appears that the British are suffering from frightful attacks of impatience while waiting for their erudite tomes, wickedly catchy tunes and other more substantial purchases to arrive by ponies that may be less than express.

The Times says that Argos, a U.K. catalog retailer of, oh, useful and useless stuff, has 18 percent of its online orders picked up in store. Indeed, the company believes that 50 percent of its holiday television sales will be transacted in this manner.

Amazon’s customer service has become so progressive that its presence in American, as well as British, malls might serve as something of an inspiration to the more complacent establishments.

And now that Amazon seems to be able to sell you everything from woodworking equipment to vacuum cleaners, it surely puts extra pressure on postal services and that nice man in brown who comes to my house and always looks tired.

What a revolutionary concept it would be to go to a store and know that the thing you want is actually there. It just might catch on.

Rumor: Netflix streaming coming to Wii, iPhone

netflix580logoAn “industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans” tells Multichannel that the company’s streaming service will soon be available for the Wii and iPhone/iPod Touch. Before iPhone folks get too excited, though, the speculation is that the streaming service will only be available across Wi-Fi and not AT&T’s 3G system — which already has enough stability “issues.”

Netflix streaming on the Wii has been alluded to for quite some time, with the company previously telling us that it’s “always looking for ways to expand its service, but for now [its] game platform is the Xbox 360.” As for the PS3 … um, you can always pick up a Bravia.

Update: Netflix has responded to our inquiry with an old gem: “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

Apple Tablet All But Confirmed–Could Retail Around $700

apple-tablet-2-thumbWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire–right? Um, right–at least, we sure hope so! Just a week after we heard some pretty convincing rumors that Apple really was gearing up to give the whole Tablet PC thing a shot, along comes an even more believable report suggesting that a Barron’s analyst has not only confirmed that Apple will be producing a tablet, but that he has actually played with it.

Now, we’ll be the first to admit that this whole thing sounds somewhat fishy. After all, when’s the last time Apple let an outsider play with a brand new device before it was ready for introduction? Maybe an Apple engineer, sure–but an analyst? That said, Barron’s has a solid track record of reporting just the facts, so we’re cautiously hopeful that there’s actually some meat to this one.