A7

iPhone chips infringe University of Wisconsin’s tech, Apple faces $862M in damages

The Apple-designed, TSMC/Samsung-manufactured A7, A8 and A8X mobile chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices released since 2013 have been found to infringe technology patents owned by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

As a result, Apple is now facing a damages payout of $862.4 million, Reuters reported yesterday. The aforesaid chips power the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4.

Apple to start requiring apps to use iOS 8 SDK, offer 64-bit support in February

Apple sent out a notification to developers today, giving them a heads up on a few upcoming changes to its App Store submission policy. Posted in its developer portal, the bulletin says that beginning in February of next year, iOS applications must meet two new requirements.

Starting February 1, 2015, new apps and updates must be built using the iOS 8 SDK (software development kit), and they must include 64-bit support, otherwise they will be rejected. Apple made a similar announcement around this time last year for iOS 7 app optimization.

Scratch that: iPhone 6 ‘Phosphorus’ component likely barometric pressure sensor

An eagle-eyed member of the MacRumors forum says the “Phosporus”component destined for the iPhone 6, leaked on Monday, isn’t a next-generation version of Apple’s M7 co-processor, but instead a barometric pressure sensor. It makes sense given the several rumors that have cropped up in recent months with word Apple plans a barometer used to measure atmospheric pressure in the iPhone 6.

Rumor: low-powered M7 successor code-named ‘Phosphorous’ to collect health and fitness data (Updated)

An Apple chip internally code-named ‘Phosphorous’ has been identified on leaked schematics and thought to replace the M7, a motion coprocessor which debuted inside the iPhone 5s last Fall. (Update: It’s looking like a barometer pressure sensor instead.)

It’s said to include the M7’s motion tracking functions and thought to be able to collect a number of health and fitness data from various health and fitness accessories and specialized medical devices.

This apparently includes heart rates, calories burned, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and more. It’s believed the chip works in tandem with iOS 8 and the new Health app, which allows users to enter a number of health and fitness-related data manually, or automatically collect these from various HealthKit-friendly accessories and wearables.

TSMC exec says Apple leading move to 64-bit smartphone chips, hints A8 chip production

Apple is responsible for the mobile industry’s move to 64-bit processors within smartphones after it announced the iPhone 5s in September, according to Mark Liu, co-CEO of major chip company TSMC.

This is something many industry pundits have been whispering for sometime, so it’s interesting to hear from such a higher-up in the chip business. Liu, speaking at a TSMC quarterly results meeting, said it pretty bluntly…

An in-depth look at how Touch ID, A7, and Secure Enclave boost iOS security

We know quite a lot about the iPhone 5s’s fingerprint scanner, Touch ID. The advanced sensor works seamlessly and learns more about your prints over time so it continues to expand your fingerprint map as additional overlapping nodes are identified with each use.

It can match prints in any orientation, unless your fingers are greasy or wet, or there’s some dirt or debris on the Home button. There’s a 1 in 50,000 chance of a successful random match with someone else’s print, which is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical four-digit passcode.

The Touch ID sensor doesn’t store actual fingerprint images and instead creates an encrypted profile of your print and stores it on a module on the A7 processor called the Secure Enclave that’s walled off from the rest of the system.

After five unsuccessful fingerprint match attempts, or after every restart, the system asks for your passcode  so that hackers can’t stall for time. These are pretty much key pieces of information on Touch ID that was made public since its inception.

Today, Apple updated its iOS Security white paper [PDF download] with a few previously unknown specifics relating to how Touch ID works side by side with the A7 chip and its Secure Enclave portion to detect a fingerprint match in a highly secure manner. The document also details other security safeguards Apple put in place to prevent tampering with fingerprint data…

Apple renews contract with its mobile GPU provider, Imagination Technologies

The fabless semiconductor maker, Imagination Technologies, has been providing Apple’s iPad and iPhone with its graphics and video hardware since 2007. On Thursday, the UK-based company announced extending its licensing agreement with Apple, giving the iPhone maker multi-year access to Imagination’s current and future PowerVR-branded graphics and video GPU blueprints.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both Apple and Intel are investors in Imagination, with the former holding a ten percent ownership stake in the company…

University of Wisconsin takes Apple to court over A7’s performance-enhancing tricks

The University of Wisconsin via its patent-licensing arm, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging the company’s in-house designed A7 chip infringes the foundation’s patent designed to improve “the efficiency and performance of contemporary computer processors” by introducing a new process for allowing quicker execution of processor instructions.

It’s been reported Monday that Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip, which acts as the primary engine driving the iPhone 5s, the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display, apparently uses this technology without permission…

BytaFont 2 is out with support for iOS 7, A7 devices

Adding to our list of popular jailbreak tweaks that have been updated for iOS 7 this morning is BytaFont. The developers announced yesterday that BytaFont 2 is now available in Cydia with support for iOS 7 and A7 devices.

This is great news for folks who like to really customize the UI on their iPhone or iPad, as BytaFont allows you to change the default font in iOS. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like any of the old fonts are compatible with BF 2…

Qualcomm employee: Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip ‘set off panic in the industry’

In October, Qualcomm’s chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher made headlines when he commented in an interview that Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip was just a ‘marketing gimmick’ that added ‘zero benefit’ for the customer.

Qualcomm was quick to backtrack on the executive’s remarks, and according to a new report, that’s not what it was thinking at all. Speaking with a source inside the company, Dan Lyons says Apple’s 64-bit chip rocked the industry…

Popular Day One journal app updated with new iOS 7 design, M7 support and more

Good news for folks who use Day One this morning. The popular journal app has been updated with a new iOS 7 design and several new features, including support for Apple’s new 64-bit A7 processor.

Additionally, the update, which brings the app to version 1.12, includes support for the new M7 coprocessor. And this allows the app to do things like count your steps and auto-track your daily activities…

Retina iPad mini teardown: LG Display Retina panel, larger battery, A7 and more

Yesterday, I wondered on Twitter what was taking the repair magicians over at iFixit so long to do their ritual teardown of Apple’s stealthily-released iPad mini with Retina display. My prayers have been listened to as iFixit has torn apart the device, revealing its guts and components for the whole world to see. As you could imagine, they found an Apple-designed A7 chip inside, slightly underclocked versus the iPad Air.

On top of that, there are usual suspects in terms of wireless and supporting chips. As for the titular update to this iPad mini – the Retina display – the teardown analysis has identified an LG Display-supplied 7.9-inch in-plane switching LCD with a 2,048-by-1,536 screen resolution.

While the resolution is the same as the iPad 3/4/Air, the images are crisper at 326 pixels per inch (264 ppi on the iPad Air) due to a shrunken form factor, as noted MacStories editor Federico Viticci noted in his hands-on article.

Other tidbits follow…