Apple Stores and corporate campus to celebrate 2014 Earth Day

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 17, 2014

Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores in the United States and around the world will celebrate the upcoming Earth Day next Tuesday, April 22. According to a new report Thursday, Apple’s Cupertino, California campus will also join the celebration with a major internal event on April 22 focused on 2014 Earth Day.

This year’s Earth Day, prefixed with Green Cities, is focused on environment-friendly buildings, transportation and cities. Apple Stores will change their logo color to green to mark the occasion. More info right after the break… Read More

 

Amazon smartphone head-tracking and 3D UI detailed, possible device prototype leaks

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2014

As we told you this past weekend, The Wall Street Journal has it on good authority that the online retail giant Amazon is gearing up to launch its rumored smartphone with a 3D screen around September, after entering the crowded living room market with its own $99 set-top box, the Fire TV.

TechCrunch is now chiming in with new details regarding the handset’s head-tracking capabilities that are thought to offer up some “limited 3D effects” via a few built-in gestures. Also, a scoop from BGR claims to show a prototype Amazon smartphone device that may or may not have entered in production… Read More

 

Claimed photos of 4.7″ iPhone 6 front panel and batteries surface

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2014

Another day, another iPhone 6 leak. Two separate reports Tuesday claim to show what seem to be iPhone 6 components in a production setting. The first set shows off a genuine looking front panel part, depicting the size difference between the current four-inch form factor and the upcoming iPhone 6, said to come in 4.7 and 5.5-inch flavors.

The other purported leak depicts some sort of batteries on a production tray that appear to share more than a passing resemblance to other iPhone batteries.

I’ve included the photographs below the fold so give them a look and tell us what you think in the comments… Read More

 

Rumor: iWatch with flexible LG screen to start rolling out by September in two sizes

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2014

Earlier this week KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note to clients that Apple’s rumored wearable device – which was dubbed by the press the iWatch – should come in two sizes, featuring wireless charging and “fashionable” design.

Corroborating the analyst report, a new story has it that the device is indeed coming later this year in two sizes, outfitted with a flexible screen made by LG Display, a company thought to be the sole display supplier for the device… Read More

 

Apple bans UK’s iTunes Radio competitor from iAd

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2014

Bloom.fm, a London-based music streaming service, on Friday made it known on Twitter that Apple’s blocked it from advertising on its iAd platform, citing competitive reasons.

“Apple just banned our ads because we’re ‘a competitive service to iTunes Radio and it is against Apple policy’”, reads the tweet.

The service has a catalog of 22 million tracks that can be streamed for as low as £1 a month (about $1.67).

It’s easy to see why Apple has taken a stance against the service: its own iTunes Store sells individual song downloads for the price of a month’s worth of unlimited streaming on Bloom.fm. The development has prompted Bloom.fm to boast that “We must be big time now”, adding the team was surprised to learn that Apple even noticed what such a small company was doing… Read More

 

Apple confirms iPhone UI creator’s departure, shoots down ill-founded power struggle claim

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 10, 2014

Yesterday, blogger Mark Gurman reported that Apple’s Vice President of Human Interface, Greg Christie, will be leaving the company. Christie’s name is on a hundred Apple patents, among them the famous slide-to-unlock invention asserted in its second California patent trial against Samsung.

The herald of Apple’s iOS design aesthetic, his departure was framed as a significant loss for the company based on Gurman’s assertion that Christie was forced out due to his falling out with Jony Ive, Apple’s SVP of Design, over iOS design direction.

However, turns out that Gurman’s sources were wrong: Apple on Thursday denied the claim of an internal power struggle. Christie’s departure after 18 years of service was planned and is part of a leadership transition inside the Human Interface group, Apple said in a statement to several media outlets… Read More

 

iPhone UI creator Greg Christie departing after falling out with Jony Ive over iOS design direction

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2014

Ever since Tim Cook took the reigns at Apple, the firm’s been in a perpetual shakeup mode. The most famous change at the top occurred on October 29, 2012, the day a press release was put out saying “Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple” the following year.

The unexpected change saw Apple’s lead hardware designer Jony Ive assume a greater role as he got to “provide leadership and direction” for Apple’s Human Interface (HI) group across the company, on top of his longtime role as the leader of Industrial Design.

With Ive in charge of all design at the company, Apple has ushered in a new era of visual simplicity with the release of iOS 7 last September, representing the biggest rethinking of the iPhone’s user interface since the handset’s inception.

However, a new report asserts that collaboration between Ive and Apple’s Vice President of Human Interface, Greg Christie, has been a rocky one

In fact, Christie is rumored to be leaving Apple soon as a result of his falling out with Ive over the iOS’s design direction… Read More

 

Apple poaching Broadcom talent as rumors of in-house baseband chip development intensify

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2014

Following talk of Apple’s rumored initiative that would have it develop its own baseband chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads in-house, AppleInsider has learned the firm’s recently poached a pair of longtime semiconductor engineers from chipmaker Broadcom.

Both men are experienced at building RF hardware and have led the effort to produce baseband transceivers used by Nokia and Samsung devices.

Apple counts Broadcom as its supplier: the iPhone 5s uses a Broadcom touchscreen controller and the handset’s Wi-Fi chip by Murata is based on Broadcom’s BCM4334 module, according to a teardown analysis by repair experts over at iFixIt… Read More

 

Rumor: mass production of 4.7″ iPhone 6 in July, 5.5″ version in September

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2014

It used to be that 2014 would see a simultaneous double-iPhone launch until Reuters earlier this week asserted the larger model could get delayed due to production issues with 5.5-inch screens. As a result, only the rumored 4.7-inch model is said to be ready for a launch in September.

A new report from Japan echoes this notion. Apparently mass production of the 4.7-inch iPhone has been tipped to start in July. As for the 5.5-inch model, the story claims the bigger handset is scheduled to enter full production in September, meaning Apple may not be able to release its phablet before the holiday quarter… Read More

 

iWatch rumors: UV light exposure sensor, August-September release

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2014

Apple’s rumored wearable device, dubbed by the press the iWatch, is said to include a plethora of sensors to help measure not only a user’s vital signs and blood oximetry levels but also stuff like the amount of harmful ultraviolet light you’ve been exposed to – presumably in order to ping you when you’ve had enough – according to a new research note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis.

This should help both folks with elevated risk of sunburn and those who are simply concerned about excessive sun exposure. And if you ask Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Apple has been lining up suppliers for months now and is targeting a third-quarter launch, around the August-September timeframe… Read More

 

Apple allegedly working on its own baseband chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2014

As you know, Apple’s in-house teams have been designing the engine that drives the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices for years now. However, the company still sources one crucial piece of silicon from a third-party: it buys baseband modems that provide the iPhone and iPad with cellular connectivity from Qualcomm. But even that could soon change, if a new rumor is an indication.

DigiTimes, the hit-and-miss Taiwanese trade publication, is reporting that Apple is planning to form a research and development team to engineer baseband processors for iPhones fully in-house. The move would empower the firm to take an even greater control of its chip destiny.

In years past, Apple acquired several fabless semiconductor makers such as PA Semi and Intrinsity for their talent and technology. Apple now has over a thousand silicon and wireless engineers who design A-series of chips in house by licensing CPU and GPU blueprints from ARM and Imagination Technology, respectively, optimizing their designs for speed, low power consumption and iOS… Read More

 

Rumor: Apple buying Renesas SP Drivers to improve iPhone battery life and image sharpness

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2014

The Japanese business site Nikkei is reporting that Apple is in discussions with chipmaker Renesas Electronics concerning taking over their division that builds mobile display chips, Renesas SP Drivers.

The deal should enable Tim Cook & Co. to bring another technological piece under their roof and help Apple’s engineers “improve image sharpness and battery life” on iPhones.

Renesas Electronics is included on the official list of Apple’s suppliers. Apple is known for investing in its partners and suppliers when it makes sense. For instance, the company holds a ten percent stake in UK’s fabless semiconductor maker Imagination Technologies which provides blueprints for GPUs used in iOS devices… Read More

 

Alleged iPhone 6 production images show protruding camera lens, rounded LED flash

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 31, 2014

Is Apple’s next iPhone really going to have an unsightly camera bulge on the back akin to Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and many other Android handsets out there? You bet it will, if questionable images said to depict an iPhone 6 in trial production are anything to go by.

While there’s no way of determining the veracity of these photographs, we’ve managed to spot a few discrepancies which cast doubt on their legitimacy, so you too are advised to apply some skepticism… Read More

 

Apple partner claims iPhone 6 heading for Russia in September

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 31, 2014

Apple’s business partner in Russia has just blurbed out that the next-generation iPhone – the iPhone 6, if you will – is scheduled to become available in the 144 million people market this September.

Proceed with caution: we’re having a hard time believing a third-party retailer would be privy to such a crucial piece of information.

For all we know, this guy could be looking for free press or could be taking us for a ride. On the other hand, we’ve heard about a September launch before.

For instance, Japan’s Nikkei agency last week said that a 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone are due as early as September of this year, a notion echoed previously by the credulous Wall Street Journal, a few analysts and other sources.

Also, the September timeframe does coincide nicely with Apple’s Fall release schedule for iPhones established since the iPhone 4s’s release back in 2011… Read More

 

Swiss watchmakers complain about Apple courting their talents

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 28, 2014

Earlier this month, we relayed reports asserting Apple may be looking to build its rumored wearable project, dubbed iWatch, in Switzerland. The iPhone maker reportedly created a company in the country for this purpose, prompting watchers to speculate that the iWatch could potentially carry the ‘Swiss Made’ label.

Sources claimed Apple had approached some of the world’s finest watchsmiths and attempted to poach talents employed by such watchmaking groups as LVMH.

The Financial Times is now corroborating these reports in a story Friday, writing that Apple’s been courting high-level executives and craftsmen at Swiss watch brands to help build the iWatch, in one instance even attempting to recruit a horologists directly.

However, Swiss watchmakers have apparently rejected the possible iWatch project collaboration as they reportedly have no time to enter into any kind of partnership agreement with any of Silicon Valley’s technology giants… Read More

 

Apple apparently expanding operations at Arizona plant to increase sapphire output

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 28, 2014

As rumored yesterday, looks like Apple is indeed planning an expansion at its Mesa, Arizona plant to boost sapphire output ahead of the next-generation iPhone production. According to a new report Friday morning, the company is looking to double the number of high-tech furnaces that make sapphire boules in bulk.

Whereas previous records claimed Apple and its partner GT Advanced would use about 950 furnaces at the site, sources are now saying the firms want to equip the facility with some 1,700 furnaces. That could mean bolstering of yields to increase the plant’s output beyond an estimated 100 to 200 million sapphire displays per year.

Apple has poured a cool $576 million into the Mesa facility to secure an exclusive, multi-year output of sapphire products. It’s widely believed Tim Cook & Co. have found a way of strengthening the next iPhone’s screen by applying a thin layer of sapphire material on top of the handset’s cover glass… Read More

 

Rumor: Retina MacBook Air and iPad Pro due in second half of 2014

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 26, 2014

Following a forum post by a reputable user on the Chinese website WeiPhone claiming Apple could soon release a new 12-inch MacBook model without a fan and featuring the Retina display and a redesigned trackpad, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes is now reporting that a new version of the company’s ultra-thin notebook, the MacBook Air, is getting a Retina display treatment later this year, around the same time when a rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro is reportedly dropping as well… Read More

 

Report: upcoming Apple TV refresh to serve as full-on cable box replacement

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2014

Two months ago, the reliable blogger Mark Gurman was first out of the gate with a report painting a pretty rosy picture of an upcoming Apple TV hardware refresh, said to include full-blown downloadable games via an Apple TV App Store of sorts.

He also learned from sources that the box could sport a built-in TV tuner to effectively control your existing cable boxes and TV stations, helping put the real TV into Apple’s $99 set-top box.

A new report yesterday by former WSJ writer Jessia Lessin’s new outlet, The Information, provides additional tidbits regarding the gaming and cable box functionality… Read More

 

Apple and Comcast mulling streaming TV service for next-gen Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 24, 2014

Apple’s $99 media-steaming box last year raked in more than a cool $1 billion in combined hardware and related content sales, prompting CEO Tim Cook to argue during Apple’s annual shareholders meeting that “it’s a little more difficult to call the Apple TV a hobby these days.”

The company is reportedly updating the Apple TV hardware sooner than later with refreshed internals, allegedly adding gaming functionality via an Apple TV App Store for downloadable games and a built-in TV tuner to control your existing cable boxes and TV stations.

On the other hand, Apple thus far has been unable to obtain content rights for an a-la-carte TV service due to licensing negotiations and other issues. A report by The Wall Street Journal last night now claims that Apple is negotiating with Comcast using its infrastructure for optimal delivery of a streaming service for the next-gen Apple TV… Read More

 

Rumor: Pegatron to start assembly of large-screened iPhones and iPad Airs this Fall

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 24, 2014

The Commercial Times newspaper reported last week that Apple’s contract manufacturer Pegatron is gearing up to kick off mass production of the iPhone 6 in the second quarter of this year at its China-based plant in Kunshan.

On Monday, The China Times newspaper claimed new information saying that Pegatron has landed orders for both large-sized iPhones and iPad Airs.

However, contrary to The Commercial Times story, Pegatron is actually said to start the operation of the Kunshan plant, which is located in China’s Jiangsu Province, in the third quarter of this year.

That facility will be solely dedicated to churning out Apple products. For reference, Pegatron is the primary manufacturer of the iPhone 5c and iPad mini… Read More

 
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