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Apple Reportedly Weighing $400 Price Range for Upcoming Wearable Device

iwatch_concept_ifoyucouldseeIn the latest of a string a reports regarding Apple's plans for its upcoming wearable device, Re/code reports company executives have "discussed" a rough price of $400 for the device. That is merely a range, however, with cheaper models perhaps also in the works.
Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device.

Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year. Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.
The report indicates that it is unclear whether Apple will have the pricing issue settled in time for its September 9 media event where it will reportedly show off the device, popularly referred to as the iWatch. If not, the company would remain silent on pricing for the time being and announce it a later date closer to launch, which may not occur until early next year.

Rumors regarding the wearable device have been inconsistent over time, making it unclear where on the spectrum of health and fitness band to true smart watch it will fall. Apple may, however, have altered its announcement schedule in order to better position the device as an iPhone accessory rather than as a standalone product.

(Image: iWatch concept from ifyoucouldseethefuture.com)

Related roundup: iWatch

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Built From Parts Supports Theory of 1334 x 750 Display

Yesterday, we shared a video and some photos from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] apparently showing a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 built from parts actually booting to the "Connect to iTunes" recovery mode screen.

A Tweet today from developer Steven Troughton-Smith points out that the graphics shown on the display during this booting process "*seem* to confirm" John Gruber's arguments in favor of the device being equipped with a 1334 x 750 display at the same 326 pixels per inch density of previous Retina displays. More specifically, the evidence points toward an approximately 667 x 375 point display, which would presumably arrive in the form of a 2x Retina display at 1334 x 750 as Gruber suggests.

Sparked by Troughton-Smith's observation, we have independently examined photos of the booting device provided to us by Feld & Volk and come to the same conclusion.

iPhone 6 (left) and iPhone 5s (right) shown booting to recovery mode. Letterboxing on iPhone 6 visible below Lightning cable.

The method relies on the fact that the "Connect to iTunes" image does not completely fill the display on the iPhone 6, with the Lightning cable ending above the bottom edge of the screen whereas on current iPhones it extends all the way to the edge. Assuming this "letterboxing" is due to the image not being optimized for the larger iPhone 6 display, it would correspond to the image filling an area equivalent to a 4-inch screen centered on the device's 4.7-inch display.

This would account for the margin of black seen between the cable and the bottom of the display, and measuring the ratio of the space (plus a presumed equal one at the top) to the overall display size should yield an approximation of how much larger the viewable area is in points on the iPhone 6.

4.7-inch iPhone 6 display showing apparent letterboxed areas (red) with image optimized for 4-inch display (blue)
(Click for larger)

By our calculations, the border areas not covered by the image together suggest that the iPhone 6 display carries approximately 17.5% more points in the vertical dimension than a current 4-inch display. This would move the current 568-point height of the iPhone 6 (1136 pixels at 2x Retina) to 667 points (1334 pixels assuming 2x Retina) on the iPhone 6.

Assuming the aspect ratio of the screen remains the same as in the iPhone 5s, which by all indications it does, this would mean a 667 x 375 point (1334 x 750 pixels Retina) display for the iPhone 6. Performing the calculation in the horizontal dimension is more difficult due to nature of the recovery mode image, with no portion of the visible graphics extending to the side edge of the overall image to determine how much letterboxing space is on the sides.

Some observers have questioned the legitimacy of the video given the unfamiliar gear icon at initial startup and the blue iTunes logo that does not match the new red logo used on iOS 8, but Troughton-Smith notes the device is likely simply running Apple's BurnIn tool rather than full iOS 7 or 8.

This analysis obviously addresses only the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 that Feld & Volk has acquired parts for. Gruber suggests the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will likely contain a 2208 x 1242 display at a sharper 3x factor than the current 2x Retina. As pointed out by developer James Thomson and 9to5Mac, the current iOS 8 beta is indeed showing some behavior indicating a preference for displaying 3x images when available.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Logic Board Equipped With Qualcomm's MDM9625 LTE Modem

Amid all of the leaks today based on photos and videos from luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page], one additional point worth mentioning is the device's LTE modem. While photos posted to reveal the existence of an NFC chip from NXP has seen identifying marks on many of the other components blurred, a portion of the text printed on the LTE modem is visible, confirming the board does indeed contain Qualcomm's MDM9625M as had been previously rumored.

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MDM9625M boxed in red

The MDM9625 is a Category 4 LTE modem, supporting speeds of up to 150 Mbps, compared to the MDM9615 Category 3 modem at up to 100 Mbps, which is found in the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. Some observers had been holding out hope that Apple might use Qualcomm's even faster MDM9635 Category 6 modem as is reportedly lined up for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Alpha handset, but with Apple's history of conservatism in choosing its cellular technology and questions about production ramp-up for the MDM9635 make it unsurprising that Apple has opted for the MDM9625.

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Likely WTR1625L boxed in red and WFR1620 boxed in blue

Part of the speed benefits of the MDM9625 and new LTE-Advanced technology compared to earlier generations of modems comes from the use of carrier aggregation to combine channels for greater bandwidth. With the MDM9625, this carrier aggregation requires a pair of companion chips, a WTR1625L transceiver chip and a WFR1620 chip. These chips appear to be located on the opposite of the iPhone 6 logic board from the LTE modem itself.

On the whole, the use of the MDM9625 in the iPhone 6 sets the stage for faster cellular data connectivity as networks are built out to support its capabilities, and Apple will likely tout some of these improvements during its media event scheduled for September 9.

(Thanks, chrmjenkins!)

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

A8 Chip From 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Appears to Carry 1 GB of RAM

Last week, a wiring schematic said to be for the iPhone 6 was initially interpreted to be referring to the device's RAM, showing the same 1 GB of memory for the A8 as found in the current A7 chip. That was quickly determined to be an incorrect interpretation of component being shown in the schematic, however, and Apple's plans for RAM in the iPhone 6 have remained uncertain.

A new photo leak from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] and Sonny Dickson showing an assembled logic board from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has revealed a number of pieces of information already, and it appears from one of the photos that the A8 chip on the board does indeed include 1 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

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As pointed out by MacRumors forum member commander.data, a silk-screened part number on the A8 reveals that the package-on-package contains Hynix RAM. Based on Hynix's part number format, the character in the eighth position reveals the amount of RAM in the package, with an "8" denoting 8 Gb (1 GB) and a "B" denoting 16 Gb (2 GB). While it is a bit difficult to read the part number clearly given the distance and angle in the photo, our staff and several posters in our forum agree that the character very much appears to be an "8", indicating 1 GB of RAM.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Inside Apple's PR Practices, From Media Control to Attitude Shift Under Tim Cook

In a lengthy 9 part exposé, 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman delves into the inner workings of Apple's PR team. While much of what Gurman covers is already fairly well known, his coverage provides an expansive look at the way Apple's PR team operates, from its organizational structure to its efforts to control Apple's perception through media manipulation.

Despite Apple's size and its position as one of the most profitable companies in the world, its PR team is relatively small, comprised of approximately 30 employees in Cupertino along with a few dozen scattered around the world. In Cupertino, Apple PR is divided into seven teams: Momentum, Mac, Corporate Communications, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, and Events.

Along with organizing events and controlling product placement, Apple's PR teams keep a close eye on the media, despite its apparent indifference, and take steps to correct negative perceptions when deemed necessary.
So it's a surprise that Apple actually isn't that detached from the media: it's more like a teenage girl obsessively keeping her fingers on the pulse of coverage. Members of Apple PR seek tabloid photos of celebrities holding iPhones, while others read Apple-focused blogs actively, and keep tabs on prominent Apple beat writers using anonymized social media accounts. [...]

This oversight is so important to Apple that a few times a week, top executives are sent a document detailing the company's latest press coverage. When Apple is not pleased with coverage, it sometimes works to shift the narrative, even attempting to undermine giant news organizations.
For example, Gurman claims that Apple recently attempted to discredit Reuters over a story about Apple's accessibility practices that the company was not happy with. Gurman also points Apple's penchant for discrediting competitors, pointing towards an email Apple PR sent to 9to5Mac on an anti-Android story.

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Along with giving tidbits of information to various reliable media outlets, Apple also gives review units and review guides to columnists and journalists who Gurman claims have a largely positive view of the company and its products.
Also likely contributing to which publications get early access to products is the nature of pre-coverage -- angles taken by writers during the product rumors cycle. As Brian Lam put it, "Apple can already tell what a review is going to say from [a publication's] pre-coverage, and they're not going to give you a review unit if you're not going to play ball." In other words, Apple feeds the writers who will do its bidding, and starves the ones who won't follow its messaging.
In addition to delving into details about Apple's apparent media manipulation, Gurman also covers the shift in attitude as the company has transitioned from Steve Jobs' leadership to Tim Cook's. This has included the retirement of Katie Cotton, who was reportedly seen as a "tyrant" by her employees. Cotton, who was close to Steve Jobs, apparently did not mesh well with Tim Cook's desire to portray Apple as a "friendlier" company, leading to her departure.

Apple is said to be searching for a new head of PR to replace Cotton, and in the meantime, Apple's PR teams are run by two longtime employees who report directly to Cook. Under Cook, Apple's internal policies have shifted somewhat, from his direct apology for the Apple Maps app to his efforts to discredit Yukari Iwatani Kane's anti-Apple narrative Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs.

Gurman's full examination of Apple's PR team is well worth a read and covers a large range of topics. A list of links to the 9-part series is below:

- Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets
- Introducing the Teams: How PR is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop
- Strategies: The "Art of Deep Background" and Controlling the Press
- The Departure of a "Tyrant"
- Two Heads in Place of One
- Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires
- Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer's Guides
- Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases
- A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

iPhone 6 Built From Parts Apparently Shown Booting to 'Connect to iTunes' Screen

Following its leak of photos showing the iPhone 6 logic board that have revealed the device's NFC chip and 16 GB of storage, luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page] has now shared some photos and a video showing the device in operation and booting to a black screen requesting the user to connect the device to iTunes.


Feld & Volk says it has been able to piece together this iPhone from various components it has obtained as part of its effort to build its own luxury version of the iPhone 6 for its customers, and remarkably enough, the device is at least capable of turning on.

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While it seems surprising that a functional iPhone 6 could be built from individual components, Feld & Volk has demonstrated that it has been able to get its hands on rare parts, and thus it is possible they may have acquired everything necessary to build the device.



Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Logic Board Shown With 16 GB Flash Storage

Over the past several months, there have been a few rumors of Apple increasing storage capacities for the iPhone 6, perhaps doing away the 16 GB option at the low end and introducing a 128 GB model at the high end, at least for one of the two rumored models.

A set of schematics leaked in pieces over the past week and a half has included reference to various 16, 64, and 128 GB flash storage modules from several vendors for the iPhone 6, although it is unclear why there is no 32 GB option included on that list.

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A new set of photos from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] and Sonny Dickson today that revealed the NFC chip present on the logic board of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 also offers a good look at the flash storage module on this board. Based on the Toshiba part number, as seen on similar modules, the "7" indicates that this is a 16 GB module, suggesting the low-end iPhone 6 will continue to offer that amount of storage.

There are a few caveats, however, such as the possibility of this being a prototype or testing board using a 16 GB module not intended as a production option. Also, being a board for the 4.7-inch model, it is not yet known whether the rumored larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model will offer the same capacity options as the smaller model.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

NFC Chip From NXP Confirmed for iPhone 6

With rumors claiming the iPhone 6 will include a near field communications (NFC) chip from NXP to potentially support a mobile payments initiative from Apple flying in recent days, the existence of the chip now appears to have been confirmed. Luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page], which has shared a number of claimed parts from the iPhone 6 in recent weeks, has now gotten its hands on a complete logic board for the device.

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iPhone 5s logic board (left) and 4.7-inch iPhone 6 logic board (right)

The firm has shared a few photos of the logic board with Sonny Dickson, revealing the board's NFC chip from NXP.

iphone_6_nfc_board

Apple has confirmed that it will be holding a media event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino on September 9, and the company is naturally expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at the event with a launch coming shortly after. Apple is also said to be showing off its wearable device, commonly referred to as the iWatch, although it is unclear when that device will be available for sale.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple's Upcoming Wearable Device Not Likely to Ship Until Early 2015

iwatch_concept_setWhile Apple is expected to unveil its new wearable device, popularly referred to as the iWatch, at its media event scheduled for September 9, the device will likely not begin shipping until early next year, according to Re/code.
Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months. “It’s not shipping any time soon,” said one. So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That’s not clear, but my understanding is that we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015.
Word of a significant gap between unveiling and launch is not a surprise, considering the company's history when entering new product segments. The iPhone and iPad both launched a number of months after their unveilings. With no existing Apple product of its type to see sales plummet ahead of a launch, Apple has more flexibility to announce early and ship somewhat later.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is among those who recently reported that a 2015 launch is likely for the iWatch, also having predicted last month that production on the device would not begin until November. Part leaks for the device have also been non-existent, supporting the notion that production has not yet begun.

Apple's September 9 event is expected to focus on the iPhone 6, with the iWatch sharing the stage. Early rumors had suggested Apple was looking to show off the iWatch in October, but it may have altered its plans to better position the device as an iPhone accessory rather than a standalone product.

(Image: 2.5-inch iWatch concept by SET Solutions)

Related roundup: iWatch

Sapphire's Durability Put to the Test Head-to-Head Against Gorilla Glass

Repair experts at uBreakiFix have examined the impact resistance, scratch resistance and strength of sapphire glass in a series of tests that were published today. The tests were designed to determine whether sapphire is suitable for use as a smartphone display.

glass-sapphire
The repair technicians conducted three different tests -- a scratch resistance comparison using a tungsten carbide drill bit, a drop test with the sapphire display of the newly released Kyocera Brigadier, and a a four-point bend test to compare the failure stress and strain of sapphire glass with that of Gorilla Glass.


The results of uBreakiFix's tests show that sapphire is significantly more scratch resistant and 25 percent stronger than Gorilla Glass, but it is much more susceptible to impacts due to its brittleness. The glass is so brittle that it shattered the first time it was dropped face down from a height of only three feet.


The technicians conclude that sapphire does not necessarily offer any advantage over Gorilla Glass, as the material's superior scratch resistance and strength is offset by its low impact resistance. Phone manufacturers that include a sapphire display may choose to employ other protective measures such as a raised bezel to help protect the phone during impact with other surfaces.

Apple is partnering with GT Advanced Technologies to produce sapphire for use in future products. The exact details on how Apple will use the material is not known, but the company is rumored to be using sapphire as a display cover in future iPhone models and possibly its iWatch wearable product.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

More High-Quality Photos Show 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell with Colored Bands

New high-quality photos said to be of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6's rear shell have been shared by Nowhereelse.fr (Google Translate), showing us what may be a finished back from the device. Notably, this newest component appears to have its rear bands colored in to fit with the rest of the device, perhaps suggesting that the different color options of the iPhone 6 will feature a similar treatment.

iphone6_rearshell_hq112
Besides its colored bands, the rear shell shown in the photos appears to be consistent with previous looks at the component, displaying a rounded chassis, embedded rear logo, and more. The shell also appears to adopt redesigned speaker holes and a rounded True Tone LED flash, which join the typical Lightning port, headphone jack, and rear camera.

rear_shell_i6
Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, where it will also likely unveil its wearable device for the first time. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will likely launch a week or so after the event, while the bigger 5.5-inch version of the device may be held back due to production issues. In addition to a larger screen, the iPhone 6 is expected to feature a faster A8 processor, a revamped camera system, iOS 8, and near field communication (NFC) technology for mobile payments.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Samsung Asks NYC Street-Goers to Compare Galaxy Tab S and iPad Air in New Ad

Samsung has debuted a new video on its YouTube channel comparing its new Galaxy Tab S to the iPad Air on the streets of New York City. As first spotted by iGeneration (Google Translate), the video involves a host asking street-goers to use the Galaxy Tab S, highlighting the tablet's display, weight, and camera.


When matched up side-by-side, some users claim that the Galaxy Tab S is "definitely thinner", while others express that the tablet's screen "looks brighter" when compared to the iPad Air. The host claims that the Galaxy Tab S has "one million more pixels than the iPad Air", which is presented alongside small text on the bottom noting the 4,096,000 pixels of the Galaxy Tab S compared to the iPad's 3,145,728 pixels. The video ends with a group of users choosing the Galaxy Tab S over the iPad Air, as Samsung ends the video with the tagline of "Thinner. Brighter. Lighter." before showing the tablet from its front.

Samsung launched its first round of Galaxy Tab S ads last month, which mocked the iPad's screen and lack of multitasking. The Galaxy Tab S was originally announced this past June, with Samsung touting the tablet's high resolution (2560 x 1600) Super AMOLED display, fingerprint sensor, 11-hour battery life, and multitasking capabilities.

Related roundup: iPad Air

Another Report Suggests NFC Support for iPhone 6, Chip to Be Provided by NXP

NXP_fc Apple will feature near field communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 6 with a chip provided by Dutch company NXP Semiconductors, according to a report from the Financial Times. The chip will allow the iPhone to be scanned by payment terminals and ticket systems, while also allowing for further integration with other methods.

Throughout the past week, a number of rumors and reports from various sources have claimed that the iPhone 6 will gain NFC support. Evidence of NFC capabilities provided by NXP first surfaced earlier this week in a claimed schematic, which showed the company's PN65 chip on the iPhone 6's logic board.

Yesterday, technology news website WIRED and Apple blogger John Gruber also suggested that the iPhone 6 would feature NFC, with the latter stating that Apple's NFC-based mobile payment system would use a new secure enclave coprocessor built into the company's new A8 chip, which was also suggested by previous reports.

Last month, it was reported that Apple was in talks with major credit card companies like Visa over a mobile payment solution that would utilize the credit card data already stored in millions of iTunes accounts. Apple also was said to be interviewing senior payments industry executives to take on roles within the company, possibly indicating that the company has been hard at work on creating its own mobile payments service.

Apple is expected to debut the iPhone 6 and a wearable device at an event on September 9.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple Blogger John Gruber Hints at NFC For iPhone 6 [Update: iWatch Too]

applestore.pngFollowing a report from Wired suggesting NFC-based mobile payments will be a "hallmark" feature of the iPhone 6 and a confirmation from Re/code, Apple blogger John Gruber has now thrown in his two cents, with a cryptic post hinting Apple is indeed planning on including NFC in the iPhone 6 as part of a new mobile payment solution.

Gruber's post references an earlier "joke" that pointed towards a wearable device debut in September, which turned out to be accurate in light of recent rumors also suggesting a September introduction for the device.
I've been working on a new joke -- about NFC and a new secure enclave where you can store your credit cards, so you can pay for things at brick and mortar retail stores just by taking out your iPhone, but only if it's one of the new iPhones -- but no one seems to get my sense of humor.
Gruber suggests Apple's NFC-based mobile payment solution will take advantage of a new secure enclave coprocessor built into the company's new A8 chip, which is in line with previous reports. The secure enclave would likely store credit card details, allowing users to pay for physical goods with their iPhones and it would presumably work in conjunction with Touch ID.

Though rumors of NFC support in the iPhone have occurred for every new iPhone release over the past several years, NFC rumors have been especially prevalent ahead of the iPhone 6 launch. Back in April, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested the iPhone 6 would include an NFC chip, as did a follow up report from BrightWire.

At the same time, multiple reports have suggested Apple is gearing up to launch a mobile payment solution designed to leverage credit card data stored in millions of iTunes accounts. Apple is said to be partnering up with major credit card companies like Visa, and the company has also been interviewing senior payments industry executives to take on new roles within the company.

While Apple has previously viewed NFC as "not the solution to any current problem," it may be changing its opinion on the subject in light of its new mobile payment initiative. The company is expected to debut the iPhone 6, and possibly its new payment solution, at an upcoming event on September 9.

Update 8/29 10:20 AM PT: John Gruber has updated his original post, also hinting that Apple's upcoming wearable device will include support for NFC. "Follow-up joke: It would be cool, and would make a lot of sense, if the new wearable thing had the same magic payment apparatus."

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

More Claims of September 9 Debut for Apple's Wearable Device, Likely Positioned as iPhone Accessory

iwatch_concept_setYesterday, Re/code broke the news that Apple planned to introduce its upcoming wearable device alongside the iPhone 6, and now Bloomberg is seconding that rumor, pointing towards a simultaneous debut of two different iPhones and a wearable device at Apple's September 9 event.

According to Re/code, Apple had originally planned to introduce its wearable device at an October event separate from its September iPhone event, but later ended up changing its plans. Bloomberg speculates that Apple's plan to debut the wearable device alongside the iPhone may be the company's way of limiting expectations for the device, positioning it more as an iPhone accessory rather than a standalone device.
Apple will give the new wearable a boost by pairing its debut with its flagship product, the iPhone. The company also may be trying to manage expectations for the new device, signaling that it's more of an accessory instead of a category that stands by itself. By contrast, when the iPad was introduced in 2010, Apple held a special event just for that product.
Apple does appear to be planning a major affair for the debut of the wearable device and the two iPhones, however, holding the event at the Flint Center at De Anza College where it introduced the original Macintosh thirty years ago and the first iMac in 1998. The company is building a massive structure on the site, the purpose of which remains unclear.

Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and iTunes chief Eddy Cue have also heavily hyped Apple's upcoming product lineup, with Cue saying it's the "best product pipeline" in 25 years and Cook promising "really great stuff" in new product categories.

It is likely Apple is planning to unveil its wearable device, which has commonly been called the iWatch in rumors, several months before it becomes available to consumers. A distinct lack of product leaks and tangible rumors have suggested the device is not yet in production, and an introduction before a deluge of part leaks allows Apple to debut the device while it's still largely a surprise.

Though we've not seen images of Apple's wearable device, rumors have suggested it will have a heavy focus on health and fitness with an array of health-related sensors that measure metrics like steps taken, sleep quality, heart rate, and more. It's said to come in multiple sizes and at multiple price points, and it is also said to be heavily integrated with the iPhone and iOS 8 features like the Health app.

(Image: 2.5-inch iWatch concept by SET Solutions)

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple Building Massive Structure at Flint Center for iPhone 6 Event

Apple today issued invitations for its upcoming iPhone 6 event on September 9, which is also said to include its much-anticipated wearable device. According to the invitations, Apple is planning to host the event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College in Cupertino, the same location where Steve Jobs introduced the original Mac 30 years ago.

For the occasion, it appears that Apple has been building a massive structure on the campus, which has been kept under tight wraps with a white barricade. A MacRumors reader has sent in images of a mysterious structure at the Flint Center, which appears to span three stories and is protected by "scads" of security people. Administrators had previously declined to comment on what the structure is for, stating only "We are not at liberty to discuss that due to client wishes."

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Image of mysterious structure taken on August 20

Apple has not held an event at the Flint Center in many years, so the company's return to the site of the original Mac unveiling suggests its upcoming announcement will be a major one. The Flint Center has a much higher seating capacity than other venues where Apple has unveiled products in the past, including the Yerba Buena Center and its own Cupertino campus.

Earlier this year, Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue said that Apple's got the "best product pipeline" he'd seen in his 25 years at the company in the works, and Tim Cook promised "really great stuff" in new product categories.

Despite the cryptic "Wish we could say more" message on the media invitations, rumors have suggested Apple is planning to unveil both the iPhone 6 and a new wearable device at the September 9 event.

It is unknown whether Apple has plans to broadcast the event on the web and Apple TV as it has done for recent events, but MacRumors will provide live coverage both on MacRumors.com and through the MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iWatch

Apple Issues Media Invitations for September 9 Event: 'Wish We Could Say More'

As noted by The Loop, Apple today issued media invitations to the previously rumored September 9 event where the company is expected to show off not only the iPhone 6 but also its first wearable device, popularly referred to as the iWatch. The invitations carry the tagline "Wish we could say more."

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The event will take place at 10:00 AM Pacific Time at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iWatch

NFC-Based Mobile Payments Said to Be a 'Hallmark' Feature of iPhone 6

nxp_pn65_nfcApple's next iPhone may indeed include a mobile payment platform, claims WIRED in a report released Thursday. Wired's sources didn't not reveal how the system would work, but the publication was told that near field communications (NFC) technology will be part of the system.
The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.
Rumors of NFC support in the iPhone have been an annual occurrence over the past several years, but things may finally be coming together for Apple with NFC and its rumored mobile payments initiative. Additional evidence for NFC was spotted in schematics leaked by GeekBar, which suggest Apple may be using a version of the PN65 NFC package from NXP, which measures 5 mm x 5 mm and has 32 terminals for connectivity. A comparison of this component with alleged iPhone 6 logic boards published recently by Nowherelse.fr reveal an unused spot on the board that could accommodate this NFC chip.

A growing body of evidence suggests Apple is working on a mobile payments solution with NFC as an important component. NFC has been mentioned along with Bluetooth LE in patent applications that describe possible mobile payment solutions. Analysts from Morgan Stanley and Brightwire, as well as high-profile KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo all believe Apple will be adopting NFC as a core technology for the iPhone 6.

Apple is rumored to be working on an upcoming mobile payment solution that leverages the credit card data stored in millions of iTunes accounts. Apple is said to be working with credit card companies such as Visa about a possible partnership that would allow it to bypass third-party payment processors. Apple CEO Tim Cook also alluded to mobile payments earlier this year, noting that mobile payments were "one of the thoughts" behind Touch ID.

Update 10:17 AM: Re/code's John Paczkowski says he has "been hearing the same" about the iPhone 6 coming equipped with NFC technology needed for a mobile payments solution.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

New Photos of Claimed iPhone 6 Parts Show Closer Look at Rear Logo, Revamped Speaker

New photos of various components said to be from the iPhone 6 have been shared by Nowhereelse.fr (Google Translate), giving us a glimpse at both internal and external parts to be used in the device.

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The first set of images show SIM card trays and home buttons in a range of three different colors, which may indicate that the iPhone 6 will keep the same space grey, gold, and silver options from the iPhone 5s. This is in line with a previous leaks, including one from last month which also showed SIM trays in three different colors. The SIM trays shown in the photos also appear to be slightly curved, and was likely designed with the iPhone 6's thinner, rounded chassis in mind.

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Another set of photos shows the embedded Apple logo, which has also surfaced in other leaks. However, Nowhereelse indicates that the logo scratches under regular pressure with a knife, and contrasts prior speculation that the logo was made of scratch-resistant metal. Apple has not used an embedded Apple logo on its mobile devices since the original iPhone back in 2007.

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Finally, the last set of photos show the internal speaker and vibrator motor of the iPhone 6. Both components appear to be different than their predecessors found in the iPhone 5s, as the internal speaker appears to be larger while the vibrator motor now sports a rectangular design.

According to Re/code, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, September 9. It is likely that the 4.7-inch version of the device will go on sale about a week later, while the 5.5-inch version may be released at a later time due to production delays. A report yesterday from Re/code also stated that Apple will unveil a wearable device at the event.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple to Unveil Wearable Device on September 9 Alongside iPhone 6

Apple has plans to unveil its upcoming wearable device in September, alongside the iPhone 6, reports Re/code. The site previously suggested Apple had planned to debut the device at an October event, but now says that Apple's plans have changed.

iwatch-concept-nike
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton, based on the Nike Fuelband
Remember back in June when I said Apple hoped to schedule a special event in October to show off a new wearable device? Remember how I also said this: "Could things change between now and fall? That's certainly possible." Turns out that was a prescient hedge, because things have changed. Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhones we told you the company will debut on September 9th.
According to Re/code, the device will "make good use" of both HealthKit and HomeKit, two sets of APIs that were introduced during WWDC. HealthKit, which ties into Apple's iOS 8 Health app, focuses on health and fitness, while HomeKit is a home automation platform designed to allow users to control a variety connected devices.

Though Apple has plans to introduce a wearable device in September, there is no word on when the device might ship. Given a lack of part leaks and rumors pointing towards a late 2014 or early 2015 launch, it is likely the device will be shown several months before it will be available to consumers.

Apple's upcoming wearable device has been frequently referred to as the iWatch by both MacRumors and other rumor sites, but it remains unclear what Apple will call the device at launch. It is expected to be a wrist worn device, however, and rumors have suggested that it will come in multiple sizes with several different designs available at multiple price points.

It is also expected to incorporate an array of different health and fitness sensors to measure various health-related metrics like steps taken, sleep quality, heart rate, and more.

Related roundup: iWatch