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Apple Outlines Smart Wristband with Phone Connectivity and Gesture Control in New Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes a wrist-worn device containing sensors and wireless radios that allow it to communicate with other devices such as the iPhone, iPad or Mac (Via AppleInsider). It is a comprehensive patent that describes some of the core features of Apple's rumored iWatch device.

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Front view of a device similar to a sixth-generation iPod nano docked into wristband

The invention details a modular device, identified in the patent as the "iTime", that features a wrist-worn, sensor-laden strap and potentially removable modules. The modules, such as a media player, can snap into a wristband, which contains add-ons like GPS and a Wi-Fi radio that increase the functionality of the device. The system is reminiscent of the sixth-generation iPod nano, which fits a wristband to become a wearable media player.
The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch. According to one embodiment, an electronic wristband can provide additional electrical circuitry or devices that can be made available for use as or with an electronic device. In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices. Advantageously, the electronic device can utilize the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment the capabilities of the electronic device. In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices.
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Side view showing wristband with docking connector (314)

Apple also describes a method of connecting the smartwatch to a mobile device that allows for the display of incoming calls, text messages and other alerts on the wrist-worn display. In another embodiment, the device can alert the user when it is out of range and thus at risk of being lost or stolen. The patent also contains provisions for movement-based controls of the wristwatch device.

Apple is rumored to be working on the iWatch, a smartwatch device that could debut later this year. Rumors suggests the wristband may include sensors to monitor activity levels, heart rate and other vital health functions. The device likely will share its data with iOS via the new Health app in iOS 8.

Apple Preparing Between 70 and 80 Million 4.7 and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Units to Meet High Consumer Demand

Apple is asking its suppliers to manufacture a massive number of 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones in anticipation of high consumer demand, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company is seeking between 70 and 80 million units combined of the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by December, its largest order to date and a major jump from last year, where it ordered between 50 and 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models.
Its forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C--which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.
With high iPhone 6 numbers, Apple is likely hoping to avoid the supply/demand crisis it saw last year with the iPhone 5s. After the iPhone 5s launched in September of 2013, Apple saw unexpectedly high demand for the flagship device, likely due to its new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The phone was in short supply for much of 2013, and Tim Cook later admitted that Apple had expected a more balanced demand between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

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4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

Demand for the iPhone 6 will likely be extremely high, as it marks both a redesign and the introduction of a larger screen, a long-awaited feature that could cause a massive spike in upgrades from both iPhone upgraders and those switching from Android. According to analyst estimates, Apple could see a 15 to 20 percent jump in unit sales year over year.

Apple partners Foxconn and Pegatron are said to be hiring massive numbers of new employees to help assemble the iPhone 6, with main supplier Foxconn taking on an additional 100,000 employees and Pegatron adding 10,000.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is expected to enter production in July, while production on the 5.5-inch version will begin in August or September. At this time, it remains unclear if the two iPhone 6 models will launch simultaneously, as rumors have suggested production issues may push back the launch of the 5.5-inch iPhone to late 2014 or early 2015.

In-cell display technology for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been said to be causing significant problems and The Wall Street Journal suggests there may be additional complications if the larger device also uses a sapphire display. Apple is reportedly asking component makers to prepare enough parts for up to 120 million iPhone 6 models in order to compensate for high failure rates.

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

Apple Launches New 'The Notebook People Love' MacBook Air Ad

Apple has launched a new television ad for the MacBook Air, "Stickers," showing off an array of customizable decals placed over the Apple symbol on the back of the notebook.

Decals shown include various sunglasses, hats, and headphones, along with nods to Breaking Bad, Peanuts, Ice Age, Snow White, Pac Man, Chi the Cat, The Simpsons, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Tasmanian Devil, Hello Kitty, Catwoman, and Mickey Mouse.

There are also cameras, record players, trees, faces, cityscapes, planets, scuba divers, 8-bit games, a variety of abstract designs and patterns, and more, plus a Beats logo. The new spot ends with a side view of the MacBook Air and the tagline "The notebook people love." Apple has also posted a "Stickers" page on its website detailing some of the decals in the video.

A celebration of all the many ways people love the MacBook Air, featuring music from artist/producer, Hudson Mohawke.
Apple's MacBook Air, last refreshed in April of 2014, is known for its portability and ultrathin size, weighing in at 2.38 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.96 pounds for the 13-inch model. The MacBook Air is also Apple's most affordable notebook, with prices beginning at $899.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Intel Launches New Core i5, i7 Haswell Processors Possibly Slated for Retina MacBook Pro Refresh

Intel yesterday launched new Haswell processors designed for high-end notebooks, which could be slated for use in an upcoming refresh of the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models.

As detailed by CPU World, Intel has released three new Core i5 chips and three new Core i7 chips that are all successors to the chips currently used in the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. The new processors provide a modest 200 MHz speed boost over existing Haswell chips.

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The Core i7-4770HQ chip at 2.2 GHz is a direct replacement for the Core i7-4750 used in the lower-end 2.0 GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, while the Core i7-4870HQ chip at 2.5 GHz is a direct replacement for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro's existing Core i7-4850 chip at 2.3 GHz. The Core i7-4980HQ chip at 2.8 GHz replaces the high-end build-to-order Core-i7 4960 processor at 2.6 GHz.

As for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, the Core-i5 4278U, the Core i5-4308U, and the Core i7-4578U all offer the same 200 MHz jump over the existing Core i5-4258, Core i5-4288, and Core i7-4558 used in the three processors available for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, bringing the low-end up to 2.6 GHz, the mid tier to 2.8 GHz, and the high-end build-to-order option to 3.0 GHz.

Earlier this year, an Intel roadmap revealed direct Haswell successors for the MacBook Air and the iMac, but at the time, there did not appear to be any chips available for a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro update. The chips in the roadmap designed for the MacBook Air were used in the April refresh as we expected, and the newly released chips are likely destined for an upcoming Retina MacBook Pro update.

As these chips only offer a small 200MHz boost over existing chips, the fall Retina MacBook Pro refresh that has been previously rumored is likely to be only a minor update. A major Retina MacBook Pro update is unlikely until Intel's Broadwell chips are ready in 2015.

Last week, a rumor suggested redesigned 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models were slated to enter production in August, but it is unclear what chips those machines might utilize as Intel has not yet released another set of Haswell chips suitable for a MacBook Air refresh.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro

Samsung Launches New 'Screen Envy' Anti-iPhone Ad

Over the past several weeks, Samsung has released three different ads pitting its Galaxy S5 and its Galaxy Tab S against Apple's iPhone and iPad. Now the company is back today with a new anti-iPhone ad that highlights the Galaxy S5 as having the "screen your friends wish they had."

The spot depicts an iPhone user sitting next to a Samsung user, with the two discussing the rumored larger screen of the upcoming iPhone 6. "iPhone might be getting a bigger screen," the iPhone owner tells his S5-toting friend. "That hasn't happened yet?" the friend replies as the two go on to compare their phones.

You know that thing you've been waiting on for like two years and how it's supposed to be awesome and how it's going to blow your mind? Well, it's been here this whole time. But maybe you just like waiting.
Immediate gratification is an advertising tactic Samsung has used before, with its new ad harkening back to its well-known 2011 commercial series that depicted iPhone owners waiting in long lines for new iPhones while enviously eyeing Samsung devices. The ad also includes Samsung's tagline "The Next Big Thing is Here," which reportedly infuriated Apple in the past.

The company's Galaxy S5, introduced in back in February, includes a 5.1-inch display, but Samsung devices have had larger-sized screens for several years running. Apple is planning to address growing consumer demand for bigger displays with the iPhone 6, introducing two new models with 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is set to launch in September, while the larger 5.5-inch version may come somewhat later in 2014 or early 2015.

iOS 8 Beta 4 Tidbits: Tips App, Control Center Redesign, New Display Options

Apple today released the fourth beta of iOS 8, which brings a number of improvements, changes, and bug fixes to the beta software that was first introduced on June 2.

iOS 8 beta 4 includes several minor interface tweaks and modifications that make the beta feel both faster and more polished. We've gathered up a comprehensive list of the enhancements that have been bundled into the release below, and to find out about all of the under-the-radar tweaks in iOS 8 so far, make sure to check out our iOS 8 Hidden Features Roundup.

Tips: The Tips app that was first hinted at during WWDC has surfaced in iOS 8 beta 4, giving users tips on how to use iOS 8 on a weekly basis. For example, there are directions on using quick notification responses, sending voice messages, using notifications for Mail responses, activating Siri hands-free, and more. The Tips app is a default iOS app and cannot be uninstalled.

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Control Center: The Control Center has seen a redesign that removes the black borders around the icons on the top and bottom and turns icons white when activated.

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Display Settings: There's a new Display & Brightness section that's been unbundled from Wallpaper, with options to adjust screen brightness, text size, and activate bold text.

HomeKit: The Privacy section of the Settings app has gained a new Home Data icon.

Messages: The Messages section of the Settings app has new options for Message storage that includes separate expiration options for Audio and Video Messages. The Text-to-Type option in Messages now displays spoken text in real time rather than waiting for an entire message to be complete before displaying text.


Bug Reporter: The Bug Reporter app that came installed by default in previous betas has been removed.

Handoff and Suggested Apps: There are new options in the Setting app to toggle Handoff on and off, but it does not appear to be present on the iPhone 4s. There's also a new section that allows users to toggle on Suggested Apps, which offer app suggestions relevant to location. This setting can be used to show only installed apps, or both installed apps and App Store apps.

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Safari Bookmarks: The icon for Bookmarks within Safari has been tweaked slightly. In the image below, the new version is on the top and the old version is on the bottom.

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Contacts: Under the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars heading in the Settings app, there's a new option to toggle off Favorites and Recents for Contacts within the App Switcher.

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Keyboard Settings: The option to toggle on the QuickType keyboard within the Keyboard section of the Settings app is now labeled as "Predictive" instead of "QuickType."

Spotlight Search: There are new options to remove Voice Memos and Bing Web Results from Spotlight Search in the Settings app.

Mail: Swipe left and swipe right gestures in the Mail app can be assigned to different functions in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars section of the Settings app.

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Health: The Calories section of the Health app has been split into Active, Dietary, and Resting calories.

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Emoji Keyboard Icon: The icon for Emoji on the keyboard has been updated with a happier smiley face.

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iCloud Photo Library: It's now possible to select a length of time when pausing iCloud Photo Library in the iCloud section of the Settings app.

Additional features in iOS 8 beta 4 will be added here as they are discovered. Apple is likely to continue pushing regular updates to iOS 8 at two or three-week intervals to bring minor performance boosts and changes ahead of the operating system's launch. iOS 8 is expected to be released to the public in the fall. For more information on iOS 8's features, major and minor, make sure to check out our roundups.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4, Public Beta Coming Later This Month

Alongside iOS 8 beta 4, Apple today released a new version of OS X Yosemite to developers, two weeks after releasing the third Developer Preview and over a month and a half after introducing the new operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store or through the Mac Developer Center. Apple has also released iTunes 12.0, Yosemite Recovery Update 1.0, OS X Server 4.0 Developer Preview, and Apple Configurator 1.7 beta. iTunes 12 includes an "elegant new design" and introduces support for Family Sharing, a feature first announced during WWDC. The update also includes improved playlists and a redesigned Info Window.

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OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency and redesigned dock, windows, and more. It also includes a multitude of new features, such as improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity, a new "Today" view in Notification Center that offers integration with third-party apps, a retooled Spotlight search with new data sources, and several new features for apps like Mail, Safari, and Messages.

Yosemite is currently only available to developers, but Apple plans to offer a beta version of the software to Mac users at some point during the summer, possibly as early as this month. A source that spoke to 9to5Mac suggests the beta is coming in late July, though it could be pushed back until early August if Yosemite is not ready in time.

New Features:

iTunes 12 - The newest Yosemite beta includes a revamped version of iTunes with a simple, streamlined design and support for Family Sharing.

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iTunes 12 icon - The icon for iTunes has also changed with the new iTunes 12 beta.

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Calculator - The Calculator app in OS X Yosemite has been redesigned.

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Dark Mode Settings - Dark Mode settings have been tweaked slightly and there's a new checkbox to turn the feature on and off for the dock and menu bar.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Apple Releases iOS 8 Beta 4 to Developers

Apple today released the fourth beta of iOS 8 to developers, two weeks after releasing the third beta update and more than a month and a half since unveiling the new operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update, build number 12A4331d, is available through Apple's over-the-air updating system on iOS devices and can also be downloaded via the iOS Developer Center. Apple has also released Xcode 6 beta 4 and a new Apple TV beta.

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iOS 8 introduces a range of new features, including improved integration with OS X through Continuity, a Health app, Family Sharing features, interactive notifications, a new QuickType Keyboard and improvements to several apps like Safari, Mail, and Messages.

iOS 8 beta 4 includes several new features, like a redesigned Control Center and the introduction of a new Tips app. For a full list of changes in the beta, make sure to check out our iOS 8 Beta 4 Tidbits post.

iOS 8 beta 4's Monday, July 21 release date was accurately predicted by BGR earlier in July.

Currently, iOS 8 is only available to registered developers, but the operating system is expected to be released to the public this fall after several beta iterations. Based on past history, iOS 8 will likely be launched alongside new iPhones, and possibly the much-rumored iWatch.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Forensic Expert Questions Covert 'Backdoor' Services Included in iOS by Apple

iOS7-smallAs part of a recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference presentation, forensic scientist and iPhone jailbreak expert Jonathan Zdziarski detailed several backdoor security mechanisms that are secretly included in iOS by Apple. These mechanisms make covert data collection easier for Apple and governmental authorities, reports Zdziarski via ZDNet.

Zdziarski confirms that iOS is reasonably secure from attack by a malicious hacker, but notes that the mobile OS includes several forensic services and noticeable design omissions that make the OS vulnerable to snooping by forensic tools.

These services, such as "lockdownd," "pcapd" and "mobile.file_relay," can bypass encrypted backups to obtain data and can be utilized via USB, Wi-Fi and possibly cellular. They also are not documented by Apple and are not developer or carrier tools as they access personal data that would be not used for network testing or app debugging purposes.

While detailing these backdoors, Zdziarski makes it clear he is not a conspiracy theorist, but does want to know why Apple appears to be deliberately compromising the security of the iPhone and opening the door to professional, covert data access.
I am not suggesting some grand conspiracy; there are, however, some services running in iOS that shouldn’t be there, that were intentionally added by Apple as part of the firmware, and that bypass backup encryption while copying more of your personal data than ever should come off the phone for the average consumer. I think at the very least, this warrants an explanation and disclosure to the some 600 million customers out there running iOS devices. At the same time, this is NOT a zero day and NOT some widespread security emergency. My paranoia level is tweaked, but not going crazy. My hope is that Apple will correct the problem. Nothing less, nothing more. I want these services off my phone. They don’t belong there.
Zdziarski also notes that he isn't the only one aware of these backdoors. Several existing forensic software companies, such as Cellebrite and Elcomsoft, are already exploiting them as part of the forensic services they provide to law enforcement.

Consumers who want to limit access to these backdoor services are advised by Zdziarski to enable a complex passcode in iOS and use the enterprise Apple Configurator application to set Mobile Device Management (MDM) restrictions and enable Pair locking which will delete all pairing records. This solution will block third-party forensic software, but won't protect the device contents if it is sent to Apple for analysis.

Update 7:00 PM PT: Apple has released a statement to Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times, denying Zdiarski's claims.
We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers, and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues. A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.

As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell with Embedded Apple Logo Shown in New Photos

Earlier this month, we shared some high-quality photos and a video of what has been claimed to be the rear shell of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in rough form. uSwitch has now obtained a pair of photos showing the part in its completed state, revealing a polished finish and the removal of several interior physical features that had been part of the manufacturing process.

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While the part shows a much cleaner look now that it has been polished and cleaned up, the antenna breaks at the top and bottom, previously reported to be made of a non-conductive polymer, remain quite prominent.

uSwitch primarily focuses on the shell's Apple logo, which as seen in previous leaks will change to an embedded version similar to that found on iPads rather than the printed version used in previous iPhones. The report suggests the embedded logo shown in the photos is indicative of a lighted Apple logo as has been speculated ever since the first leaks showing a cutout for the logo surfaced nearly two months ago.

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We do not, however, see any significant evidence that the logo on the iPhone 6 will be lighted. It seems more likely to us that the embedded logo is for aesthetic and/or radio transparency reasons.

Unlike the in-progress shells seen earlier this month, the finished shell also shows the full set of camera holes, including the main one for the camera itself and smaller ones for the flash and rear microphone. Consistent with previous leaks, the flash hole is round, which some have considered suspect as Apple moved to a pill-shaped flash in the iPhone 5s to accommodate the new "TrueTone" dual-LED system. It is possible, however, that Apple and its partners have developed a new round version of the TrueTone flash.

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

Apple Announces 8th Annual iTunes Festival in London Scheduled for September

Apple today announced that it will hold its eighth month-long iTunes Festival in London this year, featuring 30 nights of concerts at The Roundhouse throughout September. Artists set to perform at this year's iTunes Festival include Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, Beck, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and more.

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"The iTunes Festival in London is back with another stunning line-up of world class performers and tremendous new acts,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “These live shows capture the heart and soul of iTunes and we love bringing them to our customers in the Roundhouse, as well as to the millions of people watching all over the world for free."
As with past years, free tickets for the concerts will be avaliable through iTunes in a lottery system. The iTunes Festival will also be broadcast via Apple TV, iOS app, and the iTunes desktop application.

The 8th annual iTunes Festival follows the first U.S. iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) this past March, which was held at the Moody Theater. The iTunes Festival in London last year featured performances from a number of artists including Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson, and Jessie J.

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Front Panel Subjected to More Rigorous Scratch Tests, May Not Be Sapphire

Last week, a video posted by YouTube user Marques Brownlee showed the alleged front panel of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 being put through a number of scratch tests and significant bending. Now, Brownlee has released another video putting the same display through more rigorous scratch tests, this time with two different types of sandpaper.


Brownlee cites the Mohs scale of mineral hardness in his testing, which is a scale rating mineral hardness from 1-10. The iPhone 5s' Gorilla Glass display is rated at a 6.8, while sapphire crystal, which Apple uses for the iPhone 5s Touch ID home button, is rated at 9. The two sandpapers used for the test include garnet, which is rated at a 7 on the Mohs scale, and emery, rated slightly above an 8.

Upon testing, both types of sandpapers were able to scratch the iPhone 6's front panel, but it did show better resistance than the Gorilla Glass display for the iPhone 5s. Notably, the sapphire Touch ID home button on the iPhone 5s did not display any marks after being scratched by the sandpaper. This would indicate that the alleged front panel from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is not sapphire crystal, but instead perhaps a next-generation version of Gorilla Glass. It is also possible that the panel could be a hybrid sapphire coated display, which was patented by Apple last year.

A report last month claimed that Apple would only be using a sapphire display in the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 over concerns about high cost and limited supply. Earlier rumors had indicated that Apple would have enough sapphire glass for production of both iPhone 6 models and the iWatch in 2014.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 in early September with a release coming a few weeks later. It is unclear whether the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the device will launch at the same time, with recent reports claiming that the larger iPhone 6 will be released later this year or in early 2015. In addition to a larger display, both models of the iPhone are expected to include a faster A8 processor, a thinner profile, an improved camera, and Apple's new iOS 8 mobile operating system.

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

Apple May Push Back Launch of Rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Due to Broadwell Delays

macbook_air_mavericks_roundup_headerIntel's continued Broadwell delays may cause Apple to push back the release of its rumored 12-inch MacBook, reports Taiwan's Economic Daily News [Google Translate].

According to the site, the device will not ship until late 2014 or early 2015 as it is expected to use Intel's 14-nanometer Broadwell chips, which have been delayed numerous times. The most recent rumors have suggested the U series Broadwell chips designed for use in Apple's MacBooks may not ship until February of 2015.

Apple's 12-inch MacBook, which is said to include a Retina display, has been described as a successor to the MacBook Air. Rumors originally pointed towards a fall 2014 launch date with mass production beginning in the third quarter.

News of the 12-inch MacBook first surfaced in October of 2013, with KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo describing the device as a MacBook with the portability of the 11-inch MacBook Air but the productivity of the larger 13-inch model, with a high-resolution display.

Rumors have also suggested the 12-inch MacBook will have a redesigned ultrathin chassis with a revamped trackpad design that doesn't incorporate a mechanical button as well as no fan assembly for quieter operation.

Along with the 12-inch MacBook, Intel's Broadwell delays are likely having an impact on several of Apple's planned product releases. The first chips designed for Apple products are not expected to begin shipping until early 2015, and the chips designed for the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac may not ship until mid-2015, meaning Apple will be unable to launch significant product updates until the chips are ready.

Though the 12-inch MacBook is delayed, a separate report from Economic Daily News [Google Translate], suggests new 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models are set to enter production next month with new processors, chassis, screen, and other components.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Analysts Predict Flat iPad Sales for Q3 2014, Slight Increase in iPhone Sales

Six months after the launch of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, analysts are expecting a slight rise in iPhone sales from last year, with little growth in sales of the iPad, according to new reports from Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Fortune.

Q3 2014 iPhone sales estimates from 15 Wall Street professionals and 11 amateurs range from 31.8 million to 42 million, averaging 35.88 million. During the year-ago quarter, Apple saw 31.24 million iPhone sales, and the estimated year-over-year change is 4.64 million or 14.85 percent growth.

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Q3 2014 iPad sales estimates from the 26 analysts range from 12.3 million to 16 million, averaging 14.43 million. During the year-ago quarter, Apple saw 14.62 million iPad sales, and the estimated year-over-year change is -0.19 million, or a slight -1.27 percent decline, which may not be as dramatic as the dip in sales during Q2 2014.

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Did sales bounce back in Q3? The 26 analysts Fortune polled are almost evenly divided on the question, with slightly more expecting iPad sales to be lower this quarter than they were the same quarter last year.

The average estimate -- 14.35 million -- suggests that iPad sales were down sequentially and flat year over year. But behind that average is a rather wide range, from a high of 16 million (submitted by Asymco's Horace Dediu and Hilliard's Stephen Turner) to a low of 12.26 million (from Canaccord's T. Michael Walkley).
Thus far in 2014, Apple has not released new iPad or iPhone models. The company is expected to launch several new devices in the fall, however, including the iPhone 6 and updated models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display, which will lead to much stronger sales later in the year.

Apple will announce its earnings for the third fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter) of 2014 on Tuesday, July 22. The earnings release is posted just after 4:30 PM ET following the close of regular stock trading, and the conference call is scheduled to follow at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.

EU Finds Apple Lacking in Efforts to Address In-App Payment Issues

in-app-purchaseThe European Commission announced today that Apple has not adequately addressed the issue of unauthorized in-app purchases, providing "no concrete and immediate solutions" to the problem, reports Reuters. This subject of in-app purchases within free apps was the focus of a recent EU investigation following complaints from several consumer groups in European Union member countries.

Apple said in a statement that it would address these concerns, but failed to disclose when and how it would make any necessary changes.
Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use and help ensure a great experience for parents and children on the App Store. The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable. And over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked. We've also created a Kids Section on the App Store with even stronger protections to cover apps designed for children younger than 13.

These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry. But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we're adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.

Our goal is to continue to provide the best experience for our customers and we will continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns.
Apple faces legal action from European Union member countries if it is found to be in violation of the EU consumer protection law. The company currently is being investigated by Italy's Antitrust and Competition Authority, which is reviewing in-app purchasing policies for apps that are labeled as "free." Apple faced similar scrutiny in the US, recently settling with the FTC in an agreement that provided $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items.

Apple's lawyers had tattled on Google to the FTC in an effort to point out that Apple was not alone in experiencing issues with unauthorized in-app purchases by children, but the EU today praised Google for its changes to address the problem, including moves to ban the use of the word "free" when referring to apps with in-app purchases.

Apple has implemented a series of changes in recent versions of iOS that prevent errant in-app purchases. iOS now requires users to enter their passcode before initiating an in-app purchase, notifies consumers before an in-app purchase is made and obtains express consent from consumers before billing them for an in-app purchase. More recently, Apple added an "Offers In-App Purchases" disclosure to app detail pages and inserted an "In-App Purchases" label for apps listed in its featured Top App Charts

Amazon Officially Announces 'Kindle Unlimited' E-book and Audiobook Subscription Service

Following the premature posting of information about the program, Amazon today officially announced Kindle Unlimited, a new e-book and audiobook subscription service that provides unlimited access to 600,000 Kindle titles and thousands of Audible audiobooks for $9.99 per month. Subscribers can access the content on any Kindle device or via the Kindle app on the iPad, iPhone or Mac.

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The Kindle Unlimited service includes high-profile Kindle titles such as The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series as well as popular audiobooks like The Hunger Games trilogy and Life of Pi. The service includes popular Kindle features including Highlights, X-Ray and Whispersync for Voice, which allows users to switch between listening and reading a book without losing their place.

Amazon is offering Kindle Unlimited with a 30-day free trial that also includes a free three-month membership to the full Audible service with access to more than 150,000 audiobooks. After this trial period is over, subscribers must pay $9.99 per month for the Kindle Unlimited service and can opt to continue the additional Audible membership for $14.95 per month.

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Set to Begin Mass Production This Month, 5.5-Inch in August

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is set to begin mass production on the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 this month, according to local media cited by Reuters. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will begin production a month later, in August.

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Mass production of a 4.7-inch successor to the wildly popular iPhone 5 series of smartphones will begin during the third week of July, Taiwan's Economic Daily News said, without citing sources. Production of a 5.5-inch version will begin during the second week of August, it said.
Foxconn is also set to hire around 100,000 additional workers to help meet future demand for the device, according to a Chinese state-run news agency. Fellow Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron is also ramping up hiring, recruiting over 10,000 for its own facilities to help manufacture the iPhone. Additionally, it was reported last week that Foxconn was planning on deploying 10,000 robots to help employees with less intensive tasks like tightening screws.

Apple is widely expected to announce the iPhone 6 in early September, with a release coming a couple weeks later in late September. While it's unclear whether both the 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models will launch at the same time, the one-month delay in mass production could mean that the 5.5-inch is either available in lower quantities at first or will be announced at the same time as the 4.7-inch model and launch shortly after. Previously, it's been rumored the 5.5-inch model had been experiencing production issues.

Other than larger displays, the iPhone 6 is expected to include a thinner, iPod touch-like design, an A8 processor, and an improved camera, potentially measuring 13 megapixels. The larger model is expected to come with a $100 price increase, optical image stabilization and greater storage capability.

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

Bill Campbell Reflects on 17 Years on Apple's Board of Directors

Alongside his resignation from Apple's board of directors after 17 years of service, Intuit chairman Bill Campbell spoke with Fortune about his time with the company, sharing some insights about the company he first became associated with over 30 years ago as a marketing executive.

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Bill Campbell at Apple's "Celebrating Steve" event relating the story of Steve Jobs trying out Siri

Among the topics touched on by Campbell was the conflict he faced while serving on Apple's board while also assisting Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt, a situation not always embraced by longtime friend Steve Jobs.
“Steve would say, ‘If you’re helping them you’re hurting me.’ He would yell at me,” recalls Campbell, whose normal banter typically needs to be sanitized for most publications. “ I’d say, ‘I can’t do HTML, come on. I’m just coaching them on how to run their company better.’” He continued in both roles for years.
Long seen as "Steve's guy" on the Apple board, Campbell also had praise for Tim Cook, who has been officially at the helm of Apple for nearly three years now.
“Apple is an institution now,” he said. “Tim’s done an amazing job of building bench strength within the organization. There’s a whole set of new and smart people who are taking over. You’re watching that company grow up.” [...]

“Tim is a calm, thoughtful guy,” he said. “He studies things and thinks about them, makes a decision, and moves on.”
Highlighting his feelings on Cook, Campbell notes that Cook has thoughtfully offered to make a contribution in Campbell's honor to recognize his service to Apple. That unspecified contribution will involve Campbell's home town in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

BlackRock's Susan Wagner Joins Apple's Board of Directors, Replacing Bill Campbell

suewagnerApple today issued a press release announcing that Susan Wagner, founding partner and director of BlackRock has joined its board of directors. BlackRock, which owns 2.82 percent of Apple, is a well-known investment management corporation, co-founded by Wagner in 1988.

Wagner will replace Bill Campbell, who has served on Apple's Board of Directors for 17 years.
"Sue is a pioneer in the financial industry and we are excited to welcome her to Apple's board of directors," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We believe her strong experience, especially in M&A and building a global business across both developed and emerging markets, will be extremely valuable as Apple continues to grow around the world."
Wagner has been recognized as one of Fortune Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and has also been honored by the National Council for Research on Women. She supports the Women's Initiative Network at BlackRock, which is designed to "foster the full potential of women" within the company.

Earlier this month, a report from The Wall Street Journal suggested Apple CEO Tim Cook was looking to add new members to Apple's Board of Directors, as several members of the existing board are older than 63 and have served for more than a decade.

Apple has faced criticism over its lack of female leadership, which Cook has been aiming to remedy. Wagner's appointment to the board follows the high-profile hire of Angela Ahrendts, who joined Apple as head of retail earlier this year. Wagner is the second female on Apple's board, joining Andrea Jung, who has served since 2008.

Art Levinson, Apple's chairman, said in the company's press release that the board "conducted an exhaustive search" for someone who could strengthen the board's "breadth of talent and background." Wagner herself says she's always admired Apple and is "honored to be joining [the] board."

(Image courtesy of TIME)

Amid Sapphire iPhone 6 Rumors, Kyocera Announces Plans for New Smartphone With Sapphire Display

Smartphone manufacturer Kyocera, known for its line of rugged phones, is developing a new smartphone that utilizes a sapphire display, according to new teaser video published today.

The video teases a product called "Sapphire Shield," which Kyocera says is a "truly affordable pure sapphire display." According to a Kyocera representative that spoke to MacRumors, Kyocera's Sapphire Shield display will be used in upcoming Kyocera smartphones, giving the devices a competitive edge when it comes to durability.


Kyocera's official video follows an unofficial video leaked last week by a YouTube user and shared by CNET, comparing Kyocera's sapphire display to a piece of impact resistant glass. The two displays are scratched with rocks, presumably concrete, and while the glass is irreversibly marred, the sapphire comes away unscathed. The sapphire display also manages to survive a drop test that shatters the standard glass.


Kyocera is the first mainstream smartphone company to officially announce plans to utilize a sapphire display, but rumors have suggested that Apple is also planning to use a sapphire display in at least some models of the iPhone 6. Stress tests on the rumored front panel of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 were published earlier this month showing the panel's extreme durability as it withstood scratching and bending, but it remains unclear if the front panel is indeed sapphire or the almost-equally-tough Gorilla Glass.

Major smartphone companies like LG have researched sapphire, but have largely said that sapphire is impractical due to the material's limited supply and its high cost. In a report last week, one smartphone representative suggested the only reason to use sapphire was for marketing purposes, given the much lower price of Gorilla Glass.

Currently, luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu uses sapphire displays in devices that cost upwards of $10,000. Apple's partnership with GT Advanced, however, reportedly allows it to create sapphire at a much lower price point and Kyocera also claims that its own sapphire is "affordable."

Kyocera has not released details on when its sapphire-covered smartphone might debut, but we may get our first look at a mainstream sapphire smartphone later this year if Apple's upcoming iPhone 6, due to be introduced in September, does indeed utilize the material.