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First Alleged Leaked Images of 12.9-inch 'iPad Pro 2' Surface

Amidst the recent flurry of videos and images of iPhone 7 mockups coming out of China, one pair of pictures that emerged over the weekend claims to offer evidence of Apple's successor to the first iteration 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Sent in to AppleInsider and said to originate from a Chinese supplier, the combined image below shows a device identified with model number MH1C2CD/F, which has yet to be assigned to an iPad by Apple so far.

iPad Pro 2
While the identifier proves little, the nomenclature is in line with Apple's existing numbering convention for its iPad Pro range, and Apple is due to refresh its largest tablet this fall.

AppleInsider notes that the device's screen shows a 12GB capacity, which is just enough for installing an OS and apps for internal testing and debugging, suggesting the device could be a pre-production model or prototype.

Based on previous updates to the company's tablet range, customers can expect a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro to feature a faster A10X processor and a better camera, with a good chance it will inherit the True Tone display seen in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. 3D Touch is also a possibility, although Apple would need to have overcome the challenges involved in porting the technology to a larger screen.

Apple is also expected to launch thinner and lighter MacBook Pro models this fall, with some rumors suggesting a dynamic OLED touch panel could feature as part of a planned redesign.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Neutral)

CarPlay Now Available in All 2017 Ford Vehicles Equipped With SYNC 3

Ford has announced that its SYNC 3 infotainment system, which includes CarPlay and Android Auto, is now available across its entire 2017 lineup of cars, SUVs, light trucks, and electric vehicles in the United States.

Ford-SYNC-3-CarPlay
The expansion brings CarPlay to already-released 2017 models such as the Fusion, Mustang, and Explorer, while other models like the 2017 F-150, Focus, Edge, and Super Duty will arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year.

Ford confirmed in January that it would be adding CarPlay and Android Auto to all of its 2017 vehicles in North America equipped with BlackBerry's QNX-based SYNC 3 platform, starting with the 2017 Escape in May.

Ford has also added Spotify, Pandora, Ford PASS, AccuWeather, and AAA member services to SYNC AppLink.


In December, Ford retroactively added Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million 2011-2016 vehicles through a SYNC 3.8 software update. The automaker says more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles are on the road worldwide today, although that figure likely includes older SYNC platforms incompatible with CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ford is also adding CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2016 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 this year.

CarPlay brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps, such as Spotify, to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple's in-car software platform can be controlled with Siri and your vehicle's built-in controls for convenient access to common iPhone features. It is compatible with iPhone 5 and later models.

CarPlay widely launched in the second half of 2015, and the rollout has extended to several large automakers this year, including Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep; BMW and Nissan; and Hyundai and Kia. CarPlay is now available in over 100 new 2016 and 2017 models, while two notable holdouts include Toyota and Mazda.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tags: Android Auto, Ford, Ford SYNC

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Launch Predicted to Be Week of September 12th [Updated]

Well-known mobile phone leaker Evan Blass has this morning predicted which week of September that Apple will announce the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

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Blass, who has accurately leaked images and details about unreleased smartphones on Twitter (@evleaks) in the past, tweeted today simply "iPhone 2016 release: week of September 12th."

Blass is better known for leaking Android-based smartphone details ahead of their official confirmation, but his prediction for the iPhone 7's launch falls in line with Apple's typical September iPhone announcements – the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launched on September 9th, 2015 – making it a pretty safe bet.


Blass's prediction follows a tweet by the blogger four days earlier in which he claimed the internal codenames for Apple's upcoming iPhones are "Sonora" and "Dos Palos", without specifying which is which (both are names of cities in California, though the former could refer to the Mexican state). Apple's codenames for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were "N71" and "N66", respectively.

This year's iterations of Apple's flagship smartphones are widely expected not to feature major design changes aside from the removal of the headphone jack, as the company is said to be deviating from its standard tick-tock upgrade cycle in order to introduce major new features in next year's 10th anniversary "iPhone 8" which take time to develop.

This year the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is expected to get an improved camera and optical image stabilization, while the larger 5.5-inch model is thought to be gaining a dual-lens camera and 3GB of RAM.

Other rumored features of this year's iPhones include a faster TSMC-made Apple A10 processor, repositioned antenna bands, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, a slightly larger battery, and a minimum 32GB of base storage. A larger 256GB model may also be available.

Update: Blass has since posted a follow-up tweet which notes that he was referring to the iPhone 7's retail release, and offered the more specific date of Friday, September 16.



Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Evan Blass

Pokémon Go Set App Store Record for Most Ever Downloads During its First Week of Availability

Ultra popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go set a new App Store record during its first week of availability, seeing more first week downloads than any other app in App Store history. Apple unveiled the statistic to iMore's Rene Ritchie this morning.


Pokémon Go was first released in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States on July 5, rolling out to other countries over the course of the next two weeks. Pokémon Go is now available in 30 countries around the world.

pokemon go image
Despite server issues and in-game bugs that have yet to be resolved, Pokémon Go has become a smash hit, luring players outside to explore their neighborhoods in search of Pokémon. Last week, Pokémon Go had earned an estimated 7.5 million downloads in the United States alone, hauling in more than $1.6 million each day, and at two weeks, that number had grown to 21 million daily active users.

On the instant success of Pokémon Go, Nintendo shares jumped more than 25 percent, and businesses and restaurants near PokéStops, where players can collect items and find Pokémon, have reported significant increases in foot traffic.

In Japan, Pokémon Go today launched with a McDonald's sponsorship deal, hinting at future methods Niantic will use to monetize the game. In Japan, McDonald's locations are marked as "Gyms" where players can battle each other for control of the spot to earn daily prizes and experience.

Over the course of the next year, Apple could make upwards of $3 billion in revenue from Pokémon Go, as it receives a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases.

iPhone 7 Again Said to Ship With Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Dongle

With just over six weeks remaining until Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, leaked photos and rumors surrounding the smartphones are starting to become clear and consistent.

Deutsche Bank is the latest group to add its expectations to the mix, issuing a research note obtained by Business Insider that corroborates several previously rumored features coming in this year's refresh.

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New photo of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus rear shell molds (Image: KK低调 on Weibo)

The bank, which allegedly made supply chain checks, believes the 4.7-inch model will have an improved camera and optical image stabilization, while the larger 5.5-inch model is set to gain a dual-lens camera and 3GB of RAM.

Both models are also expected to have no headphone jack, a touch-sensitive home button with haptic feedback, a new darker color, "professional class" waterproofing, and improved sound, possibly by way of stereo speakers.

Perhaps the most interesting bit is Deutsche Bank's belief that the iPhone 7 will ship with a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone jack dongle in the box, rather than Lightning-based EarPods as previously speculated.

Many aftermarket Lightning-to-3.5mm adapters are bulky and clunky looking due to the need for a digital-to-analog converter, however, so it remains to be seen if Apple could create a dongle that meets its high standards of design.

Every single one of Deutsche Bank's predictions have surfaced previously:

- No 3.5mm headphone jack: WSJ, Fast Company, Mac Otakara, and many others
- Dual-lens camera for iPhone 7 Plus: Ming-Chi Kuo, Mac Otakara, and many others
- 3GB of RAM for iPhone 7 Plus: Ming-Chi Kuo
- Touch-sensitive home button: DigiTimes, Cowen and Company
- Improved waterproofing: WSJ, Fast Company, DigiTimes, Commercial Times, Weibo
- Stereo speakers: DigiTimes, Mac Otakara
- A new darker color: Mac Otakara and leaked photo
- Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter: Mac Otakara

Apple is widely expected to announce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September. Other rumored features include a faster TSMC-made Apple A10 processor, repositioned antenna bands, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, a slightly larger battery, and a minimum 32GB of base storage. A larger 256GB model may also be available.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

Apple Takes Top Spot in FutureBrand's Ranking of World's Favorite Companies

FutureBrand recently released the results of a survey that questioned 3,000 consumers about the 100 biggest companies in the world, asking them to score each company on 18 different factors like trust, innovation, individuality, and price premium. The 2016 results crowned Apple as the top company in the world, "in terms of perception strength, rather than financial strength" (via CNET).

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Some of the highest marks Apple received this year surrounded its individuality, authenticity, and purpose, while it scored less well in resource management, wellbeing, and respect among the consumers surveyed. Compared to the second-place entry in the Top 100 listing, Microsoft, Apple edges out ever so slightly in personality and consistency, while customers questioned believed Microsoft to be more innovative than Apple.
Technology companies occupy the top two spots in this year’s rankings and enjoy strong perceptions across our measures. Six of the twenty four ‘future brands’ are in the technology sector – one fewer than in 2015.

A ‘future brand’ is a brand that is more likely to succeed in the future, not just one that is strong now. This is because it perfectly balances strong perceptions of its purpose in the world with the experience it delivers.
Apple's 2016 win comes after it lost the top spot to Google last year, but a bit of behind-the-scenes reorganization seems to be the reason for the search engine company's egress from FutureBrand's list this year. Since Google is considered wholly part of parent company Alphabet, only the latter could appear as a contender for Apple's first place spot. But consumer knowledge -- or lack thereof -- surrounding Alphabet and its relationship with Google most likely led to Alphabet's 21st place ranking.

futurebrand apple 4
The rest of the top spots are rounded out by companies like Disney, Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, and Facebook. Specifically in the Technology Sector, Apple's numbers rise even higher. The Cupertino company is 36 percent above the sector average when it comes to thought leadership, and 33 percent above the average in terms of consistency in producing high quality products. Similarly, many survey respondents confirmed they would like to work for Apple (37 percent above sector average), and that they would buy its products (39 percent above sector average).

You can look over FutureBrand's 2016 rankings here.

CharityBuzz to Auction Off Unique 'Celebration' Apple-1, Could Fetch Up to $1M

During the summer of 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created and sold 175 Apple-1 computers, marking the launch of what is now one of the most valuable, influential companies in the world. Only 60 or so of those original machines are still in existence, fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

This Monday, auction site CharityBuzz is set to auction off one of the rarest Apple-1 computers, which could fetch up to a million dollars.

apple1celebrationauctioncharitybuzz
Dubbed the "Celebration" Apple-1 by computer historian Corey Cohen, the machine CharityBuzz will sell features a blank "green" PCB board that was never sold to the public and was not part of a known production run. CharityBuzz describes it as an original Apple-1 ACI cassette board, pre-NTI, with Robinson Nugent sockets, a period correct power supply, and an early Apple-1 BASIC cassette labeled and authenticated by original Apple employee Daniel Kottke.

celebrationapple1
It also comes with original Apple-1 manuals, original marketing materials, and Apple-1 and Apple-1 ACI Cassette Board schematics, described as the "most complete documentation set" of all known Apple-1 boards.
According to Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, "Only a few Apple I's, on blank (not green) PC boards, may have been manually soldered, although I'm not sure of it. We arranged the wave soldering with the company that made the PC boards. But we may not have wanted to wave solder a run (of maybe 10 or more board) until we manually soldered one or two to debug them."
The Apple-1 is not in working condition but could be restored to full functionality with minor tweaks, something Cohen recommends against in order to preserve the board's uniqueness. "The Apple-1 board is a not just a piece of history, but a piece of art," he says.

apple1board
CharityBuzz's auction will kick off this Monday, July 25, and will last through August 25. Interested bidders or those who want to follow the auction can check out the auction landing page, which features a countdown to kickoff and full details on the Celebration Apple-1.


The Celebration Apple-1 will be on display at the Vintage Computer Festival West, set to take place on August 6 and 7 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. CharityBuzz believes the Apple-1 could fetch up to $1 million, which would be one of the highest prices an Apple-1 has sold for at auction. Ten percent of proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Intel Begins Shipping First Kaby Lake Processors, but Most Macs Won't Get Them Until 2017

intelDuring Intel's second quarter earnings call yesterday afternoon, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told investors and reporters that Intel has begun shipping the first of its 7th Generation Core processors, known as Kaby Lake.

Kaby Lake is the third member of the 14-nanometer process, following Broadwell and Skylake. It is the first processor Intel has released since announcing the company will no longer adhere to the "tick-tock" processor release cycle, which saw it alternating between shrinking chip fabrication processes and building new architectures each year.

Intel's last two chip releases have been plagued with long delays, and moving away from the tick-tock cycle will allow it to push out new chip updates on a regular basis. Apple's Macs, such as the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac, have been impacted by Intel's chip delays over the last few years, resulting in long periods of time between updates and unusual update cycles.

Kaby Lake is a semi-tock with optimized microarchitecture, offering support for Thunderbolt 3, native USB 3.1, and DisplayPort 1.2. Krzanich did not offer details on which chips have started shipping, but an old Intel roadmap suggests low-power Core M chips and U-series chips with GT2 graphics (likely not suitable for the MacBook Air) will be the first to ship out.

Kaby Lake chips appropriate for the Retina MacBook Pro, the machine everyone is most curious about, may not launch until the very end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 and thus may not be released in time for inclusion in this year's rumored update.

Apple's First Retail Store in Brooklyn Opens July 30

Apple has announced that its first retail store in the New York City borough of Brooklyn opens on Saturday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. local time. As rumored since late 2014, the store will be located at 247 Bedford Avenue in the Williamsburg neighborhood. The store hours are 10am-8pm on Monday-Saturday and 11am-7pm on Sunday.

Brooklyn-Apple-opening
Apple is nearly finished renovations at 247 Bedford Avenue (Thanks, Matthew!)

Apple has been renovating the building, situated at the corner of North 3rd Street, since earlier in 2015, and it posted retail job listings for the store in May. The location will mark Apple's 9th store in New York City alongside six locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: New York City

Apple Car's Rumored 2020 Launch Target May Have Slipped to 2021

Apple-car-silhouetteIn an in-depth profile about Brian, Kevin, and Michael Sumner, three brothers said to be working on the Apple Car, The Information reports that Apple's rumored 2020 target for launching the much-rumored electric vehicle, codenamed Project Titan, may have slipped to 2021.
The group has run into challenges, say people briefed about aspects of Titan along with other reports. Its top executive left in January, a sign that things there weren’t going well. One person who worked briefly with the Titan team was told during their tenure at Apple that the company had been trying to deliver a vehicle by 2020 but the target slipped to 2021.
The report refers to the January departure of Apple VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be leading Apple's electric vehicle development efforts since 2014, as one of multiple challenges that may be pushing back the target date for launching the vehicle. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously said the so-called Apple Car is unlikely to be ready by 2020, calling it a "missed opportunity."

With seemingly another three to five years of research and development ahead, Apple's roadmap could change. Last September, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Apple Car was labeled as a "committed project" with a prospective 2019 shipping date. Tesla, meanwhile, has sold the Model S since 2012 and received some 400,000 pre-orders for its lower-priced Model 3 due in 2017.

The bulk of Apple's electric vehicle development is believed to be underway in Sunnyvale, California, a short drive from the company's Cupertino headquarters. Apple has reportedly recruited hundreds of engineers from Tesla, Ford, GM, Samsung, A123 Systems, Nvidia, and elsewhere to work on the project, said to have been approved by Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2014.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: theinformation.com

Apple Watch Remains Nearly Three Times as Popular as Samsung Smartwatches

The latest data from market research firm IDC reveals that Apple Watch sales totaled an estimated 1.6 million units in the second quarter, for an industry leading 47 percent market share, compared to Samsung's estimated 600,000 smartwatch sales and 16 percent market share during the March-June period.

Apple-Watch-vs-Samsung-Gear
The numbers suggest that the Apple Watch remains nearly three times as popular as Samsung Gear smartwatches, nearly fifteen months after launching in the U.S. and eight other countries. Nevertheless, Samsung did close the gap with strong 51 percent year-over-year growth and a 9 point rise in market share.

IDC-smartwatch-sales-Q2-2016
Apple, meanwhile, experienced a 55 percent year-over-year decline, but the year-ago quarter encompassed the Apple Watch's launch and is thereby an unfair comparison. Apple Watch market share has dropped substantially, however, from an estimated peak of 72 to 75 percent following its launch quarter.
Despite a down quarter, Apple remains far and away the market leader in smartwatches. Apple faces the same challenges as other OEMs, but the pure exposure of the device and brand through tactical marketing gives it a leg up on the competition. Watch 2.0, along with updates to watchOS, could help drive existing user refresh and more importantly, a new wave of first-time buyers.
The overall smartwatch market experienced its first-ever decline as shipments fell 32 percent in the second quarter, totaling an estimated 3.5 million units compared to an estimated 5.1 million units in the year-ago quarter. Lenovo, LG, and Garmin rounded off the top five smartwatch vendors in the second quarter, but the trio combined to sell only 700,000 units. All other vendors sold a combined 600,000 units.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the so-called Apple Watch 2 will debut in the third quarter, setting the stage for a possible launch alongside the next iPhone in September. The next-generation Apple Watch could feature a FaceTime video camera, expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, cellular connectivity, and other internal upgrades, while new models and bands are always possibilities.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2, watchOS 3
Tags: Samsung, IDC, smartwatch
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Video Depicts iPhone 7 Mockups in Gold, Rose Gold, and 'Space Black'

Another video has emerged online showing probable mockups of iPhone 7 units, but this time viewers are given a better idea of what the new handset might look like in three colors that Apple may offer this September.

The video was posted to YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone yesterday and shows the iPhone 7 in Rose Gold, Gold, and what the titling calls "Space Black".

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 11.58.03
The mockups depict the now familiar design expectations such as protruding camera, repositioned antenna bands, and no headphone jack, but it's the "Space Black" reference that stands out as a curiosity this time around.

Rumors in June pointed to the possibility that Apple was readying a darker variant of its traditional Space Grey color, described by one source as "close to black, though not quite black". This so-called "new, darker shade" was thought to more closely resemble the look of the "space black" stainless steel Apple Watch, which is darker than the "space gray" aluminum Apple Watch Sport.

However, earlier this month, alleged photographs of Apple's proposed iPhone 7 colorways stuck to showing the company's typical four variants of Rose Gold, Space Gray, Gold, and Silver, similar to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.


The "Space Black" variant depicted in the latest video does look darker than a typical iPhone 6s Space Grey unit, but the poor lighting makes identification a guessing game, and it could be just as likely that the unusual naming convention is simply a botched amalgam of previous rumors.

On the other hand, Apple has used different shades of "space gray" and "black and slate" across its device lineups over the years. The iPhone 6s and iPad Pro, for example, each have a lighter shade of "space gray" compared to the iPhone 5s and original iPad Air respectively.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are expected to be officially unveiled by Apple in the fall. In addition to the aforementioned features, the smartphones are expected to have faster Apple A10 processors, 32GB of base storage, improved waterproofing, and faster LTE and Wi-Fi.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7