Apple News: Tim Cook Reveals iPhone 4S, iOS 5, New iPods And More, GM Partners With Relay Rides, Astronauts Need Apply At NASA

GM, OnStar And Relay Rides Take P2P Car Sharing Mainstream. [hat tip: L.A. Times] General Motors Co. launched a deal with the peer-to-peer car sharing startup, RelayRides, and OnStar on Tuesday that could change the car rental business, Zipcar-style again. Through the deal, the owners of GM cars equipped with OnStar's communication systems, can list their cars for rent when they're not planning to use them, and rent them out, insured, for a few hours at a time via a program run by Relay Rides. The renters unlock the GM cars via their phones, using OnStar. The deal represents more mainstream growth of sharing economy business models. —LK

AppleCare+ Makes iPhones Clutz-Friendly. Along with its new phones and software, on Tuesday, Apple announced it would offer a new kind of AppleCare+ for iPhones. The paid, warranty-like plan covers iPhones with burnt-out batteries, and iPhones that have been busted through some kind of "accidental damage from handling." Basically, if you dropped your phone in the bar toilet, and now it won't work, instead of having to buy a new one at full retail price, you can get it replaced for a fee of $49 if its covered by AppleCare+ for iPhone. Burnt out batteries get replaced with new, or refurbished parts for no fee. —LK

iCloud, iOS 5 Out On October 12. iOS 5, the new mobile operating system Apple announced in June, will become available starting October 12 as a free update for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. It will come with a messeging service, iMessage, Twitter integration, iCloud, and about 197 other features. iCloud is Apple's cloud storage service, which will sync every Apple device you own with each other, storing up to 5 GB of photos, email, and documents for free. —NS

New iPhone Prices, New Carriers. The iPhone 4S will be available starting October 14, in black and white, in 16GB, 32GB, and (the biggest yet) 64GB models, priced at $199, $299, and $399. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS are repriced—the iPhone 4 (8GB) can be snapped up for $99, and the 2-year old 3GS is, well, free. Sprint is confirmed to be the newest carrier for iPhones in the U.S. —NS

Siri Is Your New PA From Apple. Siri is a voice-activated personal assistant, and Apple's most dramatic new feature built into the iPhone 4S (in beta). As Scott Forstall demoed at the Apple event, Siri can check email, update calendars, and execute complex multi-step tasks—all by voice command. Siri will start out fluent in English, French, and German, with more languages to follow. —NS

—Updated 2:33 p.m. ET

IPhone 4S Announced. Apple confirmed its newest iPhone, and it sports all the expected specs: Retina Display, a A5 dual core processor, a familiar glass back, and wholly refurbished insides. Anyone waiting for a world phone can rest easy: The iPhone 4S is CDMA and GSM compatible. The camera's been reworked too—this iPhone gets an 8 megapixel sensor, and five lenses and a super-duper IR filter. More: HD video recording and image stabilization, and HDMI and wireless mirroring so those pics and videos can be beamed onto a bigger screen. —NS

Apple Announces New iPod Nano, Touch. The new iPod nano will come with a slicker touch screen, and will track your walking, running and other fitness habits, and will come with an option for a watch-face screen. The Touch is priced lower, and will run iOS 5. Both iPods have been repriced. —NS

***Here are the fast-fingered folks filling us in on the freshest Apple news straight from Cupertino: Engadget's snappy live blog, msnbc.com's Technolog blog and Wilson Rothman's chirpy Twitter feed, TechCrunch's M.G. Seigler live blogging (okay, from Covent Garden), Mashable's interactive live blog, Gdgt's live blog, and more. 

Apple To Make News Today. The Internet is gearing up for today's 1 PM EST Cupertino show, where Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to get on stage and trot out some new hardware—and maybe this. Check back throughout the day for updates. —NS

Amazon Kindle Fire Preorders Outstrip Other Tablet Sales. Amazon sold 95,000 units of its new tablet, the Kindle Fire, a research firm eDataSource has revealed. The 7-inch 3G-less, camera-less tablet was hugely popular at launch, selling more devices on that day than all the other e-readers combined. —NS

Apple Is World's #1 Smartphone Vendor. IHS iSupply's latest numbers show Apple in the lead as an iPhone seller. Apple shipped 20.3 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2011, beating out Samsung at 19.6 million and Nokia at 16.7 million. Ahead of today's launch (of something), InMobi's study estimates that 41% of mobile users will buy the iPhone 5.  --NS

—Updated 12:50 p.m. EST

Patent Troll Won't Sue Home Wi-Fi Users, Yet. Innovatio IP, patent troll extraordinaire, has sued coffee shops and hotels that offer Wi-Fi to customers. They've staked sole claim to the technology, and consider any use of wireless Internet an infringement on their patent, Techdirt explains. This includes the coffee shops and hotels, but also residences. Caribou Coffee, Panera, and Marriots are among their current targets and the company lawyers have said they intend to leave homeowners out of the spat, for now. —NS

NASA Is Taking Astronaut Applications. Your days of waiting are over. Or maybe they're just beginning. NASA has announced that it will begin taking astronaut applications for its 2013 class starting in November this year, CNET reports. According to the application, successful applicants will have bachelors degrees in engineering, mathematics, or science, and will be put through a two-year training program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. —NS

—Updated 8:45 a.m. EST

Myspace Makes Room For Music. Specific Media, owners of Myspace, are getting ready to announce the social network's new goal—to become the ultimate community music destination. Or, as Specific Media puts it, "The Hulu of Music," AllThingsD has found. Specific Media is expected to make the official announcement at Advertising Week.—NS

—Updated 8:05 a.m. EST

Nokia's Windows Phone Coming This Quarter. Phone maker Nokia has been reinventing itself to try keep up with competition from smartphone and OS competitors Apple and Google. Early this year, the company announced it would partner with Microsoft to create a Windows-based smartphone, abandoning its own Symbian software. At a tech fair in Helsinki, Nokia's chief executive, Stephen Elop, said the phone would be unveiled this quarter, Reuters reports. —NS

—Updated 6:45 a.m. EST

Microsoft Buries Zune HD To Focus On Windows Phone. Microsoft is ending their Zune HD line of music players, TheNextWeb reports. Instead, the company will focus on integrating their video and music features into their Windows Phone—features that smartphone competitors like the iPhone already have. TheNextWeb explains that while the hardware will disappear, the Zune apps may live on in a new guise within the Windows Live system. —NS

HTC Confirms Security Hole, Working On Patch. HTC will release an over-the-air security update to fix a security lapse in some HTC phones. The hole allowed apps to access personal data when they requested access to connect to the web. The flaw was discovered by an independent security expert, who built an app to demonstrate the flaw. As Engadget notes, the flaw by itself is harmless—it only becomes a liability if third-party apps choose to exploit it. —NS

California's Heavy Rare Earths Discovered. China's 99% monopoly on mining and selling rare earths has worried tech companies dependent on these elements for their products. The minerals—light and heavy rare earths—make up the cores parts of wind turbines, electric vehicles, and scores of new technologies. The New York Times has a lead on an announcement that this resource balance could change. Molycorp, America's only producer of rare earths, is setting up a revamped refinery near a Californian site with a reassed ore supply that could let them produce heavy rare earths—the most expensive kind—within the next year. —NS

Updated 5:30 a.m EST

[Image: Flickr user kenny_lex]

Yesterday's Fast Feed: Intel Acquires Telmap For $300 Million, Pottermore Delayed, Google's New Ad Units, Facebook Working With Websense On Security, and more.

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