iOS 8 questions and discussion
With the Beta release of Yosemite in the hands of a million Mac owners, and questions about that subsiding, the next big question in the MacNN forums is about the future of iOS 8. Forum-goers discuss the future of the Mac desktop in two different threads, one asking if a consumer Mac Pro might surface, and the other questioning the possibility of a Retina iMac.
Suggests significantly different internal layouts
Photos obtained by a French site show what are claimed to be home buttons and connected flex cables for Apple's 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones, sometimes dubbed the iPhone 6 and iPhone Air, respectively. Both differ not only from the iPhone 5s, but each other, with the 4.7-inch phone for instance having a straight cable, and the 5.5-inch device having a slightly bent one. The buttons themselves are also visibly different. Significantly, identification numbers appear to match previous leaks and other parts from Apple.
Stores receiving 'large quantities' of 5s screens
US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January.
Grovemade introduces limited edition metal iPhone docks
Accessories producer Grovemade has announced the introduction of a limited edition run of iPhone docks comprised of metal. Called the Black Dock, the new product is available with a solid steel or brass base, combined with an aluminium cap that is protected with a matte black coating. The Black Dock is designed for iPhone 5/5s/5c and the 4/4s, and weighs 3 pounds.
'Global' switchover will cost nothing extra over normal replacement cycle
Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment system, replacing a previous Microsoft-based one.
Yosemite Beta pros and cons
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the things they like and dislike about Yosemite now that the beta version has been released to the public in a thread started last week by one Mac Elite who wondered why no one seemed excited about this update to the OS. "Does anyone know how much amperage the iPhone 6 will require?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit to the forums.
Supply chain numbers may only support limited run of sapphire models
Supply chain orders so far don't support the idea of the iPhone 6 using sapphire for its display, except perhaps in limited numbers, according to analysts with Trendforce. "Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date. Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass," the firm writes. "The sapphire glass version new iPhone will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and [because of] issues involved in sapphire glass processing."
Expansion campaign continues
In keeping with expansion efforts made during the past year, Apple has brought its AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone and iPad to Mexico and Sweden. Mexican plans cost 1,599 pesos, or about $123. Swedish plans are 799 kronor, or $117. In the US AppleCare+ coverage is $99.
Program expected to be operational in time for next iPhone arrival
Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay customers, who have the freedom to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a slightly higher monthly charge.
Bid for sales ban against 23 copying Samsung products had been denied twice
Two years after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial, the big winner in that case -- Apple -- has dropped a motion to cross-appeal a portion of Judge Lucy Koh's final verdict. The action means that the company has officially given up hope of seeing any product bans on the 23 Samsung products found guilty of copying Apple technology, though the matter is largely moot as none of the products are still offered for sale anyway. Despite the clear victory in the jury trial, Judge Koh twice refused to issue sales injunctions on the infringing Samsung products.
Part of sea change in Apple policies
A Bitcoin trading app, Blockchain, has been allowed to return to the iOS App Store, reports note. The title was one of several removed from the App Store early this year during an Apple crackdown. The company's policy is normally to prohibit apps allowing activities which may be illegal in some countries. Although Bitcoin has become increasingly accepted, it still sits in a legal limbo in many regions.
Parts missing from associated logic board photos
A Chinese repair firm, GeekBar, claims to have obtained photos of the logic boards for Apple's upcoming 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones. The two are noticeably different from each other and the board for the iPhone 5s; significantly, the one for the 5.5-inch iPhone -- sometimes dubbed the "iPhone Air" -- isn't larger than the one for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, but simply has a different layout. In both cases, chips and other installed components are missing.
Bill headed to oval office, with Obama willing to sign
In an unexpected move -- and avoiding a potential fight -- the House of Representatives has passed bill S517, aiming to make cellphone unlocking legal. The amended bill, passed by the Senate last week, was passed with no changes. A controversial clause of the bill previously passed by the House, prohibiting bulk unlocking by companies, was removed from the final passed version.
'Network optimization' should only hurt 5 percent of LTE userbase
Starting October 1, Verizon will begin throttling some of its "unlimited" LTE users, according to an official announcement. The carrier promises that only five percent of that group -- those using 4.7GB or more per month -- will be affected, and "only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand." Unlimited 3G access has been throttled in a similar manner for some time.
App to be discontinued
Beginning with iOS 8 beta 4, Apple is warning owners of iPhoto for iOS that some features may not make the transition to its replacement, at least at first. Much as with iPhoto on the Mac, users will eventually be migrated over to an all-new, native Photos app, a huge overhaul of the existing iOS Photos app. When trying to run iPhoto in the current beta of iOS 8, an error message now appears stating that iPhoto isn't supported; instead, people are offered the choice to migrate data to Photos, with the exception of "layouts and text added to Books, Journals and Slideshows."
4.7-inch iPhone 6 already underway
Although mass production of a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is underway, other Apple products due this fall -- including new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, and the 5.5-inch iPhone -- have yet to begin assembly, according to Chinese-language publication UDN. The new iPads are expected to enter production in September, but there is no reported timeframe for the 5.5-inch iPhone. UDN makes no mention of the iWatch, something generally anticipated in the fall.
If legitimate, would be first tangible evidence of 5.5-inch model
A new set of pictures from a Taiwanese enthusiast site could provide the first evidence of the existence of a 5.5-inch iPhone if legitimate. The images, showing flex cables for the volume-mute button as well as the wake-sleep control, also include an unknown longer flex cable previously unseen in an iPhone model, as well as a set of micro-SIM trays. All are said to be for a 5.5-inch iPhone which has been long-rumored, but to date little credible evidence exists for its production.
System has days to go, and several thousand dollars is still needed
Historically, MacNN and Electronista have covered few, if any, in-progress crowd-sourced projects unless there was something unusual about them, like making 100x their goal. Starting this week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons we're going to look at crowd-funded projects that we find interesting. Keep in mind that we aren't specifically endorsing any projects, or telling you that there aren't any risks in funding a prospective project, we're just pointing out something we found that we like. Please do your research before investing! That all said, our inaugural crowd-sourced project this week comes to us from Kickstarter -- the Pond Wireless Charging device for iPhone 5/5s, Android and Windows.
Expects 'busy fall' with new iPhone, long-awaited 'iWatch' debuts
Despite some disappointments in Apple's latest quarterly earnings report, analysts appear to be satisfied that the company's overall financial picture is in order, particularly on the strength of rising margins and strong developing market sales. The stock closed up $2.47 on Tuesday (an increase of 2.61 percent) to close at $97.19, not far from its 52-week high. On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets raised its year-end target price to $110, joining Barclays and Morgan Stanley in predicting the company would hit an all-time high this year.
May build on iBeacons, Passbook, Touch ID and partners to create truly seamless, secure system
A new report is claiming that Apple is accelerating its plans for a grand "digital wallet" mobile payments system, which could even be ready to debut in the same time frame as the expected "iPhone 6." The company is said to be in talks with Visa to create a partnership agreement that would allow consumers to pay for goods and services using only their iPhone, leveraging the "secure enclave" portion of the A7 chip and Touch ID to create what would be expected to be a seamless mobile payment system.
5.5-inch iPhone might wait until later showcase
Apple is "tentatively" scheduling a press event for mid-September to reveal the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and final launch details of iOS 8, sources say. The people add that the second and third weeks of September are the most likely target, but that uncertainties about manufacturing timetables are a factor. The 5.5-inch iPhone may also be shown at the event, but that has likewise yet to be decided.
Apple could be key client
Sony has announced plans to invest 35 billion yen, or about $345 million, on scaling up production of image sensors for phones and tablets. Manufacturing of stacked CMOS sensors will increase at two factories in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu; meanwhile, the company is planning to complete work on a factory in northwestern Japan that it bought from Renesas. The hope is to boost wafer output 13 percent to 68,000 per month by August 2015, moving towards a longer-term target of 75,000, itself just a mid-term goal.
Tools intended strictly for diagnostics, file capture, company says
In another step to address concerns of possible backdoors in iOS, Apple has published a newdocument explaining what three services are intended to do. The first, com.apple.mobile.pcapd, is said to support "diagnostic packet capture from an iOS device to a trusted computer," something useful for "troubleshooting and diagnosing issues with apps on the device as well as enterprise VPN connections." Another, com.apple.mobile.file_relay, "supports limited copying of diagnostic data from a device."
Air Jacket provides protection while preserving the looks of you iDevice
Finding the right case to protect your gadgets can be an expensive hit-or-miss affair. With plastic smartphone cases typically priced at around $20-$30 and tablet cases typically priced at around $30-$40, it can be an expensive mistake if you end up with one that you aren't happy with. Power Support is a Japanese-based company that has been making Apple accessories for the past few years. In particular, they are known for developing relatively thin and light, translucent polycarbonate cases for Apple's iPhone and iPad range that are popular because they help to preserve the beautiful appearance Apple's products without covering them up completely. Are they worth a look?
Colorful iPhone model continues to be among best-selling smartphones
One of the most surprising things analysts heard on Tuesday in Apple's quarterly earnings conference call that was low on surprises was that year-over-year growth of the iPhone 5c is strong -- so strong, in fact, that its share gain outpaced that of its previous-year rival in the mid-tier "slot" in Apple's lineup, the iPhone 4S, at the same point in the previous cycle. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts that it even outpaced the growth rate of the iPhone 5s vs the iPhone 5, and the 4S versus the iPhone 4, each in their respective tiers.
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
iPhone and Mac units rise, iPad takes a hit
Apple revenues rose 6 percent year-over-year to $37.43 billion in its third fiscal quarter, which ended in June, the company has announced. Profits were up 12.3 percent to $7.75 billion, while earnings per share climbed from $1.07 to $1.28 when adjusted for the recent 7-to-1 stock split. Gross margin increased from 36.9 percent to 39.4 percent.
Case may supplant other solutions costing tens of thousands of dollars
Thermal imaging company Flir will launch pre-orders for its infrared camera-containing case on July 23. Once mounted, the case for the iPhone 5 and 5s displays a live thermal image of the world right on the phone's screen, giving users the ability to "see" in an array of conditions, including complete darkness.
Mac Pro for consumers?
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "PeterParker" was asking fellow forum-goers if they thought that Apple would ever create a Mac Pro in the sub-2K price range for people who aren't quite "pros" who want that style of desktop. Today, Forum Regular "Nassifer" was trying to determine why their notebook was so slow after doing a complete restore to 10.9.4, and turned to the forums looking for advice.
May enable collection of private data by Apple, governments
[Updated with rebuttal from Apple] Apple's iOS platform contains several backdoors that may allow for Apple and/or governments to collect private data, according to a forensic scientist, Jonathan Zdziarski. Presenting at the recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference, Zdziarski said that that there are several conspicuous design gaps -- and some deliberately-included forensic services -- that make it possible to extract data using forensic tools. The services have names such as "lockdownd," "pcapd," and "mobile.file_relay."
Compares to 50-60 million units ordered for iPhone 5s/5c launch last year
A new report citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" claims that Apple has put in orders for its largest-ever initial iPhone run, asking suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron to produce between 70 million and 80 million units for the devices' debut in the fall through the end of the year. Claiming that the order includes both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models (though the latter has yet to reveal solid evidence of actually existing), the new upcoming production run compares to the 50-60 million units ordered for the iPhone 5s and 5c last year.
OS X gets iTunes 12, iOS 8 gets new Tips app
(Updated with other beta releases, more Yosemite changes) Apple is now seeding its fourth betas of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to developers. Perhaps the most significant change is in the latter, which includes the first beta of iTunes 12. The updated media player uses a flatter, streamlined design more in keeping with Yosemite, and is the first version to support Family Sharing, something also present in iOS 8. While Yosemite is still only accessible to developers, sources claim that the first public beta could go live later this month, after Apple has put more polish on it.
Rough edges disappear
New photos show what is believed to be a rear shell for the iPhone 6 from a later stage of manufacturing. The shell notably has an iPad-style inlaid Apple logo, and a smoother overall appearance, unlike some earlier leaked shells. The reason for the switch to an inlaid logo is unclear, but it's speculated that Apple may want it to light up, possibly to serve as a notification light, something present on many non-Apple smartphones.
Does Patriot have the right formula for high quality backup batteries
Mobile device batteries are better than they used to be, but there's always a scenario where users could use more juice. Upgrade manufacturer Patriot has a solution -- it has a line of portable batteries intended for charging devices on-the-go, called the Fuel+. In theory, a booster battery is easy -- implement a battery, some ports, and a way to charge the battery, and done. In actuality, proper execution of an external battery is a bit more complex. Does Patriot have the balance right? Check our review to find out.
Roughly 14.43 million iPads, 35.88 million iPhones expected on average
With just a few days to go before the actual sales figures are revealed, analysts are at a loss to come up with a strong consensus on how many iPhones and iPads the company actually sold in the calendar second quarter, which ended June 30 (Apple refers to this as fiscal Q3). The iPad figures are even more befuddled, since last quarter's drop in iPad sales -- 16 percent year-over-year -- was explained by CEO Tim Cook as changing inventory numbers rather than an actual drop.
Foxconn confirms massive hiring spree for production ramp-up
Taiwain's Economic Daily News, which has been on a spree of sometimes-dubious claims about the forthcoming new iPhone and possible additional models, is now reporting that Apple's alleged 4.7-inch "iPhone 6" model will begin production next week, with the supposed 5.5-inch model starting production in the second week of August for a later launch date. Foxconn has inadvertently supported the report by confirming plans to hire 100,000 new workers.
iOS support comes out of unofficial stage
Google has released v1.1 of LiquidFun, its open-source 2D physics engine. The software now officially supports iOS, as well as desktop versions of Chrome, the latter via extensions. It was previously possible to make LiquidFun run on iOS, but Google didn't enable that compatibility by default.
Should allow game studios to start full-scale iOS 8 development
Epic Games has released v4.3 of the Unreal Engine, code that undergirds many desktop, console, and mobile games. Although most of the changes are of interest only to developers, the update also includes the first support for Metal, Apple's new 3D graphics API. Developers must be using the Xcode 6 beta to compile it, and it's not enabled by default. It can however be toggled on via a game's Project Settings.
Access barred to people without verified accounts
Facebook has launched a new iPhone app, Mentions. Unlike its others, however, Mentions can't be accessed by the general public. Instead users must have a verified account, restricting it to businesses and celebrities such as actors, politicians, and musicians.
Consistent with recent rumor
A photo obtained by French website NWE depicts what's claimed to be a 1,810mAh battery for the iPhone 6. The part is consistent with a recent rumor, and represents roughly a 16 percent improvement over the iPhone 5s. If it's authentic though, any gains will probably be offset by the extra power demands of the 6's 4.7-inch display, and possibly its A8 processor.
Reasons for possible reversal unclear
TSMC will probably lose chip production orders from Apple and Qualcomm to Samsung in the second half of 2015, says KGI Securities analyst Michael Liu, quoted by Reuters. Liu made the comments in a memo issued after a TSMC investor conference. The Commercial Times and the Economic Daily News both suggest that Qualcomm has in fact already started working with Samsung, a claim which has hurt TSMC shares in trading.
Based on popular 30-pin version, includes line-in and USB passthrough charging
A little less than two years after it introduced its first digital 30-pin attachable microphone for the iPhone and other iOS devices, Blue Microphones is finally bringing out a Lightning-based version that works natively with the iPhone 5 and later models such as the iPhone 5s and Retina iPad mini. The new Mikey Digital includes two condenser microphones -- identical to the ones used in its popular Yeti and Snowball microphones -- and thanks to its reversible Lightning connector is now able to pointed either forwards or backwards.
Natural acoustic iPhone dock Eight now available
A new acoustic amplifier has been released for iPhone, composed of a natural wood construction. The Eight is hand sanded and hand oiled, making the wood structure the center of the design. Made of walnut and Birdseye maple, the iPhone dock features a built-in microphone, and its speakers are inspired by the shape of an ear, with conically-shaped chambers that produce aesthetically pleasing sound. The iPhone is accessible for use while in the dock, and its built-in slot includes a Lightning cable that can charge an iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Priced at $300, the Eight wooden dock is available internationally.
Reduces obstacles to cord-cutting
Satellite TV provider DirecTV has announced its first digital-only subscription plans for NFL Sunday Ticket. Subscribers will have to wait until September 7th for the first games, and will only be able to watch out-of-market events, but will have access to them on phones, tablets, computers, and/or consoles without also having to have a satellite or cable package. Costs begin at $200 for a subscription covering phones, tablets, and computers. A separate console-only plan is $240; the $330 Max plan covers all devices, and further includes access to the Red Zone channel and DirecTV's new Fantasy Zone.
Part little different from iPhone 5s incarnation
New photos depict what is said to be the Touch ID sensor for iPhone 6. The part is compared with its equivalent for the iPhone 5s, and appears to be little different, except for a change in where screw holes are located. That's presumably needed to accommodate the phone's new proportions, scaled up to fit a 4.7-inch screen.
Gap between betas shrinks back to two weeks
Apple is currently planning to seed iOS 8 beta 4 to developers on July 21, an inside source has claimed. That date would be two weeks after Beta 3. There was a three-week gap between the second and third betas, which may have been needed to cope with flaws hampering the OS' basic performance.
Car accessory mounts iPhone to air vents
Logitech has announced a pair of new accessories for the iPhone 5 and 5s. The first is the Protection+, a case with a tough external shell and a rubber internal layer to absorb some of the force of impacts. Its edges are deliberately raised to guard the screen. Phones in the case should be able to withstand drops up to 1.8 meters, or roughly 6 feet.
Plans start at $45 per month for contract free unlimited talk and modest data
Verizon announced on Tuesday that it will start offering LTE "4G" support to customers of its prepaid division, Allset, starting on Thursday, July 17. New customers can bring their own LTE-capable devices or purchase a handset through Verizon. The spin-off division supports any device that can use Verizon's CDMA-based network, and offers unlimited talk and text with 500MB of data for $45 per month, contract-free. Those who set up autopay will gain another 500MB of data per month for a total of 1GB.
Samsung takes second, third and fourth place, while iPhone 5c and 4S round out top six
Though it will not come as surprising news to industry watchers, a new report compiling sales channel data from 35 countries puts Apple, Samsung and China-based Xiaomi as the only three companies really selling smartphones. What may be surprising to some, however, is just how well the iPhone line is doing overall; in addition to the iPhone 5s being the clear winner as the top-selling model, the much-maligned iPhone 5c took fifth place, followed by the two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone 4S in sixth place.
One of the last automaker holdouts now planning to add CarPlay to 2016 models
One of the few remaining major carmakers yet to embrace Apple's CarPlay technology is said to be getting on board, holding talks with Apple on embedding the iOS-based technology into its 2016 models, according to an unnamed source with "knowledge of the discussions." The Beetle maker was an early adopter of iPod compatibility with its vehicles, but has done little with Apple since then. The two companies are expected to announce an agreement later this year.