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4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Screen Put Under Microscope as New 1472 x 828 Resolution Emerges

Amid rumors of both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the iPhone 6, speculation about what resolutions Apple will use for the new devices has generated a number of different theories. The most concrete suggestion so far has been a 1704 x 960 resolution that could see the current "2x" Retina display move to an even sharper "3x" display.

A new photo from Russian luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page] now shows the display of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 under a microscope, with the firm telling MacRumors the panel does indeed carry a resolution of 1704 x 960.

iphone_6_display_microscope
The photograph posted by Feld & Volk does not, however, necessarily appear to agree with that claim, as it seems to show roughly 13 pixels per mm in the horizontal and vertical directions, while a 4.7-inch display at 1704 x 960 should be closer to 16 pixels per mm. The current iPhone 5s display is roughly 10.5 pixels per mm.

A potential answer to this problem arrives in another report today from 9to5Mac, which has discovered references to yet another resolution of 1472 x 828 within recent Xcode 6 beta releases.
This particular file outlines for the system where icons, by default, will be placed on an iPhone’s Home screen. This particular file, which was added in Xcode 6 beta 5 earlier this month and still exists in yesterday’s Xcode 6 beta 6, is optimized for an iPhone with a resolution of 414 (width) x 736 (height). The iPhone SDK parses hardware resolutions via “point values,” so the actual “Retina” resolution is in fact double (or potentially triple) whatever numbers the SDK presents.
While analysis quickly becomes speculative, one way Apple could use both of these rumored resolutions would be to to launch a 4.7-inch iPhone at 1472 x 828 and a 5.5-inch model at 1704 x 960. In that scenario, both iPhone 6 models would have pixel densities of 355-360 pixels per inch. This translates to roughly 14 pixels per mm in each direction, close to what is seen in the Feld & Volk photograph.

Depending on how the rumored 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes have been rounded for convenience, the two iPhone 6 panels could actually offer the exact same pixel density, slightly higher than current iPhones and allowing for efficiencies in the manufacturing process if the same technologies and production methods are used in the two new models.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at a media event on September 9, but it remains unclear whether the company plans to show off both models at the same time, and even it does, there have been rumors that the larger model should ship up to several months later than the smaller version.

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

New iPhone 6 Images Depict Rear Shell and Front Panel Together for the First Time

With the iPhone 6 launch less than a month away, we've been seeing new images of leaked parts on a near daily basis. Multiple images of both the front panel and the rear shell of the 4.7-inch device have surfaced, but for the first time, the two parts have been photographed together, giving us our clearest look yet at Apple's upcoming iPhone 6.

iphone6assembled
Shared by luxury iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page] high quality images of the two parts show the glossy front panel's slightly tapered edges melding seamlessly into the rounded edges of the rear shell for a sleek, continuous curve.

iphone6assembled4
Top view of 4.7-inch iPhone 6

A side view of the two pieces together also gives us a good idea of just how thin Apple's newest iPhone will be. Assembled, the iPhone 6 is expected to be significantly thinner than the 7.6mm thick iPhone 5s, coming in at approximately 7mm.

phone6assembled3
Side view of 4.7-inch iPhone 6

With its softly rounded corners and redesigned pill-shaped volume buttons, the iPhone 6 closely resembles the style of the iPad mini, iPad Air, and newest iPod touch. Shell images also suggest the iPhone 6 will adopt redesigned speaker holes, a round True Tone flash, an embedded Apple logo, and a relocated right-side power button for easier one-handed use.

iphone6assembled2
It's important to note that Feld and Volk's images still depict unfinished iPhone 6 parts that are in rough condition, and Apple's completed device will undoubtedly look even more polished.

Along with the assembled front panel and rear shell, we've seen virtually every other iPhone 6 part, giving us a fairly good idea of what to expect from the device. For a full walkthrough of each aspect of the iPhone 6, make sure to check out our roundup.

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

Apple's iWatch May Not Launch Until 2015

Apple may be planning to delay the launch of its iWatch until 2015, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Echoing several past reports that have also alluded to a 2015 launch date, Kuo suggests that difficulty manufacturing the device will lead to its postponement.
We reiterate our view that iWatch, as compared to existing products, and as Apple's (US) first attempt at a wearable device, represents a much higher level of difficulty for the company as regards component and system design, manufacturing and integration between hardware and software. While we are positive on iWatch and believe that the advantages of the design and business model behind it are difficult to copy, we think, given the aforementioned challenges, that the launch could be postponed to 2015.
In a July report, Kuo predicted mass production on the iWatch would begin in November, with a launch coming in 2015. Kuo has suggested that the iWatch's small form factor, its use of a flexible AMOLED screen, and its sapphire display cover have all contributed to production difficulties.

iwatch-concept-nike
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton, based on the Nike Fuelband

Kuo's language in the report, which suggests the launch of the iWatch "could" be postponed, indicates that he is somewhat uncertain about the target ship date for the device. Though Kuo has a solid track record when it comes to Apple rumors, he has provided inaccurate guesses at times.

While it may seem like a 2015 launch date contradicts rumors that have pointed towards an October debut for the device, it is entirely possible that Apple will introduce the iWatch months before it is available to ship to customers. Historically, Apple has introduced some products in new categories ahead of their ship date.

The Mac Pro, for example, was introduced at WWDC in June before sales began in December. Steve Jobs also unveiled the original iPhone six months before it launched, and the iPad was shown at an Apple event more than two months ahead of its sale date.

Rumors have suggested the iWatch will contain a multitude of health and fitness sensors, measuring metrics like calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels, and more. It's said to integrate deeply with iOS 8's Health app and it may come in multiple sizes and at multiple price points.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple's Share Price Hits $100 for the First Time Since June Stock Split

Apple today saw its stock hit the $100 mark for the first time since its seven-for-one split that took place in early June. Following the split, Apple was trading at roughly $92 a share, but since that time the stock has trended upward until hitting the $100 mark today.

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The company is also very close to an all-time high stock price, accounting for the stock split. Apple's all-time intraday high was set on September 21, 2012 at $100.72 ($705.07 on a pre-split basis), and the all-time high closing price was set just a few days earlier on September 19 at $100.30 ($702.10 pre-split).

Even as Apple sits at almost record high share prices, the company is not ready to set a new high for overall market capitalization, which is calculated as the share price multiplied by the number of shares available. That is due to Apple's aggressive stock buyback program that has seen the company reduce its share count by almost 600 million over the past two years.

The move is intended to boost value to investors by reducing share supplies while also putting to use some of Apple's vast cash holdings. Much of the share repurchase program is, however, being financed by low-interest debt, as the majority of Apple's cash is currently held overseas, and it would be considerably more expensive for Apple to pay required taxes on that cash to bring it home for domestic uses than to simply pay for the repurchase program out of its ongoing domestic earnings over time where tax is already being paid.

The repurchase program has also signaled to investors that Apple has believed its stock to be undervalued, demonstrating the company sees purchasing its own stock as a better use of cash than other investment opportunities. And finally, reducing share counts also eliminates future dividend payments that would have been made on those now-retired shares, providing an additional financial benefit to the company.

Update 1PM PT: Apple's stock price closed at an all-time high of $100.53, breaking its previous closing high of $100.30 ($702.10 pre-split) set on September 19, 2012.

Apple Seeds iOS 8 Beta 6 to Carrier Testing Partners, but Not Broader Developer Community

While Apple released a sixth developer preview of OS X Yosemite yesterday, a corresponding sixth beta of iOS 8 was not provided to developers at the same time. As a result, the company's iOS beta 5 released earlier this month may turn out to be the final build seeded to developers before the golden master release.

Though developers may not see another beta version, a new report from BGR claims Apple has released a sixth iOS 8 beta to its testing partners. The release would explain conflicting rumors as to whether there would be a sixth beta version if this version is made available only to carriers and other partners for testing rather than the broader developer community.

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According to BGR, this beta 6 version of iOS 8 is being released only to testing partners and will not be seeded to developers for testing because the timing is so close to the golden master build. The build change log obtained by BGR is as follows:
OTA Software Update Paths
Carrier Builds
Not Available
User Builds
Not Available

Issues fixed since Seed 5

Baseband & Telephony
Fixed an issue where incorrect pop up message was displayed when SIM was removed
Fixed an issue where clicking on cancel button turned LTE on
Fixed an issue where excessive registration was tried with dual IMSI SIM

Continuity
Fixed an occasional mail continuity failure from OS X to iOS
Fixed an issue causing continuity to fail after opening control center

FaceTime
Fixed an occasional problem where MT call connection quality would be incorrectly treated as “poor”

GameCenter
Fixed an issue where the active photo cannot be deleted

iCloud
Fixed a problem where document sync would sometimes consume excessive cellular data

iTunes Store
URLs for the store app are no longer broken in received mail
Fixed a problem with excessive prompts to sign in to the iTunes Store

Keyboard
Fixed an intermittent issue keyword shifting when rotating the screen
Fixed an issue where the emoji keyboard was unusable on Safari

Mail
Notes are no longer duplicated when opened through Gmail
Fixed an issue where after withdrawing a draft with attachments, browsing to another message resulted in the attachments getting lost
Fixed an issue where forwarding an email without a photo attachment still sends a photo
Fixed an issue when forwarding an email with an attached photo just brought up the original message without a photo
Fixed an issue where email could be deleted from the lock screen without prompting for a passcode

Maps
Fixed a problem where maps would sometimes consume excessive cellular data

Messages
Added support for SMS relay opt-in prompt
Fixed issue that caused devices to receive SMS via relay for unselected aliases
Fixed failures sending current location via MMS
Fixed an issue where messages partially overlap Chinese keyboards
Fixed an issue where changing a group name didn’t propagate to other devices until a message is sent

Phone
Fixed an issue where an incoming call was being relayed back to originating phone
Fixed an issue where options on declining a call didn’t work with call relay

Photos
Fixed an issue where edited photos did not display properly after restoring from backup
Improved full screen photo sharing
Set default to keep all photos on device for users with 5GB iCloud space
Fixed an issue where a user could not select multiple photos and upload to Facebook via Safari

Push Notifications
Improved push connection management upon account logout with multiple associated devices
Fixed a problem where Exchange push notifications would stop after responding to an invitation from the lock screen
Fixed an issue where a user does not receive a notification for incoming messages when the banner for the previous one is pulled down

Springboard
Fixed an issue unlocking an iPhone while on an active call
Fixed an issue where the keyboard would sometimes become unresponsive when the screen is locked

Visual Voicemail
Fixed an issue where Voicemail could not be played under certain error conditions
Fixed an issue where Phone App hanged when tried to check Voicemail
Testing partners with iOS beta 6 must approve the version by September 5, ahead of the final iOS 8 preview and the introduction of the iPhone 6 on September 9. A public release of iOS 8 for current devices will likely come roughly a week later, just a few days before the launch of the iPhone 6 in the first wave of markets.

According to BGR's sources, Apple may still have some work to do, as this build allegedly has already been rejected for an issue with YouTube playback in Safari.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

iPhone 6 Said to Feature Faster Qualcomm MDM9625 LTE Modem with LTE-Advanced Support

The iPhone 6 may incorporate Qualcomm's MDM9625 LTE modem, according to a new photo of the device's supposed logic board shared by GeekBar (Google Translate, via G for Games).

qualcomm_mdm9625_2
Originally announced in 2012 and featuring support for speeds of up to 150 MBPS and improved LTE networking, the Category 4 chip would mark an improvement over the Qualcomm MDM9615 chip found in the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. The MDM9625 is also more durable than its predecessor, allowing for lower temperatures under heavy performance thanks to a refined 28-nanometer production process.

Along with those features, the MDM9625 includes support for next-generation LTE Advanced networks, which have yet to roll out in most parts of the world. News of the MDM9625's inclusion in the iPhone 6 also contrast a detailed yet sketchy report from VentureBeat posted earlier this month, which stated that the iPhone 6 would include a Category 6 LTE modem capable of 300 MBPS throughput speeds. That radio however was said to not include support for LTE-Advanced networks as featured in the MDM9625.

GeekBar also posted a supposed schematic from the iPhone 6 yesterday, which appeared to show support for near field communications (NFC) in the device. The schematic also references a NAND flash chip, which was originally interpreted by the website to be 1 GB of DRAM in the device.

Apple will announce the iPhone 6 at an event on Tuesday, September 9. The launch of the 4.7-inch version will probably follow soon after, as production issues may hold back the release of the 5.5-inch version until late this year or early next year. In addition to a larger display, the iPhone 6 will feature a thinner chassis, a faster A8 chip, an improved camera with stabilization, and more.

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

Apple Expands Lineup for 8th Annual iTunes Festival in London with Lenny Kravitz, Others

itunes_festival_london_2014Apple today announced that it has added 21 more acts to the lineup for this year's iTunes Festival in London, adding artists such as Lenny Kravitz, The Script, Foxes, and more. Those acts will join artists such as Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, David Guetta and many others for 30 nights of concerts at The Roundhouse throughout September.

Free tickets for the concerts in London will be available through iTunes in a lottery system as well as through local radio stations. For those not attending in person, the iTunes Festival will be broadcast via Apple TV, iOS app, and the iTunes Desktop application.

Earlier this year, Apple held the first iTunes U.S. Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, which was held at Moody Theater. The 2013 iTunes Festival in London featured performances from a large lineup including Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson, and more.

Video Shows New Lightning Cable with Reversible USB Connector in Action

Last Friday, a report and photos of a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector surfaced, which was followed by another image from frequent iOS device part leaker Sonny Dickson. Now, Dickson has shared a new short video of the Lightning cable in action, showing its USB connector being reversed and plugged in both ways.


Apple could start shipping a new Lightning cable alongside the next wave of iOS device releases this fall, which will likely start with the iPhone 6 next month. It is unknown if the updated cable will contain any new features aside from a reversible USB connector, although past rumors have pointed to support for high-definition audio playback.

An Apple patent discussing a reversible USB connector was also published last month, and discussed a more user-friendly design compared to current cables. However, it is unknown if this new cable will face challenges from the likes of California company UltraTek, which already holds a patent itself for a reversible connector and currently sells cables through major online retailers.

Sprint Announces New Data-Heavy Family Share Pack Plan With Incentives for New Subscribers

Sprint today announced the debut of a new Sprint Family Share Pack plan, aiming to draw customers by offering significant amounts of data. Sprint's new plan provides customers with 20GB of shared data, which is double the amount that Sprint offered with its previous Framily plans.

For a limited time, customers who switch to Sprint will get the 20GB of shared data plus an additional 2GB of data per line for $100 per month until the end of 2015, with support for up to 10 lines (including a waived $15/month device fee). That equates to 40GB of shared data for 10 lines, up from the 1GB per line Sprint originally offered under its Framily plans.

sprintplans
The Sprint Family Share Pack, offering double the high-speed shareable data for smartphones, basic phones, tablets and mobile broadband devices, will be available starting Aug. 22. For example you can get four lines and 20GB of data for $160 compared to 10GB of data for the same price from AT&T or Verizon.

But wait, there's more. To kick off Sprint's "new day for data" campaign, Sprint is offering a limited-time promotion for the Sprint Family Share Pack: For a family with up to 10 lines, get 20GB of Shared Data and Unlimited Talk & Text for only $100 a month through 2015 – and, as an added bonus, customers will get an additional 2GB per line for up to 10 lines. For a family of four, that's a savings of $60 per month better than AT&T’s and Verizon’s current pricing through 2015; double the data of Verizon; and more than double the high-speed data of AT&T and T-Mobile.
To further sweeten the deal and attract new users, Sprint is offering up to $350 (via Visa Prepaid Card) to cover early termination fees for users switching from other carriers. Sprint's device fees are still applicable, requiring both Easy Pay users and those who sign up for subsidized phones to pay device fees in the range of $15 to $25 (minus the $15 discount).

While the promotional $100/month price is only for new customers, existing Sprint subscribers can get 20GB of shared data for up to 10 lines for $160 per month. Current subscribers cannot, however, get the 2GB of bonus data being offered to new customers. A full breakdown on pricing:

sprintbreakdown
Sprint's website also promises to bring more "great announcements" in the near future. Sprint's new CEO, Marcelo Claure, has pledged to bring more disruptive pricing to Sprint following its failed merger with T-Mobile.

Sprint's new plan will be available beginning on Friday, August 22.

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6

Apple today released a new version of OS X Yosemite to developers, two weeks after releasing the fifth Developer Preview and more than two months after unveiling the new desktop operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The update, build 14A3429f, can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and through the Mac Developer Center. Apple has also released a Dictation Language update and Xcode 6 beta 6, though it appears the Xcode 6 software has been temporarily removed from the Developer Center.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.02.26 PM
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.

Over the course of the beta testing period, each Developer Preview has added new features and refined the look and performance of OS X Yosemite. DP 4, for example, added a revamped version of iTunes with a streamlined design and support for Family Sharing, while an earlier beta introduced a new Dark Mode.

Today's Developer Preview is limited to registered developers, but in late July, Apple made a version of OS X Yosemite available to the public as part of a wide-ranging beta test. The pre-release version of Yosemite available to those participating in the public beta program is not expected to receive as many updates as the developer version.

Notable changes in DP 6:

Settings - The System Preferences menu has a new look with new icons.

settings
Battery icon - There's a new battery icon.
batteryicon
Wallpapers - Developer Preview 6 introduces new Yosemite-themed wallpapers.

wallpaper

Do Not Disturb - The "Do Not Disturb" button in the Notification Center has returned in Yosemite DP 6. It was missing from previous betas.

donotdisturb
Dashboard - The Dashboard in Yosemite is now translucent.

yosemitedashboard
Icon updates - There are new hard drive icons in DP 6. There are also new icons for Font Book, Mission Control, Notes, Terminal, and Script Editor.

harddriveicons

fontbookmissioncontrol
Messages Screen Sharing - A feature that allows users to share their screen using Messages was activated in DP 6. Screen sharing requires only an iMessage/Apple ID account and does not require users to have an AIM account as it did previously.

Update 6:00 PM PT: A new version of Xcode 6 beta 6 is available for download after being pulled from the Developer Center earlier today.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Rumored NFC Chip for iPhone 6 Highlighted in Claimed Schematic

Rumors of near field communications (NFC) support for the iPhone surface nearly every year, and this year's iPhone 6 rumors are no different, with reports split on whether the device will include the short-range communications technology frequently used for mobile payments. A couple of new reports do, however, come down on the side of NFC being included in the iPhone 6.

The first mention came in a separate leak showing a purported battery from Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 late last week. That report from Taiwanese newspaper Apple Daily also mentioned in passing that the iPhone 6 will include a PN65V NFC chip from NXP, but offered no specific evidence in support of the claim.

nxp_pn65_nexus_7
NXP PN65 NFC chip from Nexus 7 (Source: iFixit)

But now Chinese repair firm GeekBar has shared what is said to be a wiring schematic for just such a chip to be included on the iPhone 6. NXP has been the rumored partner for NFC in the iPhone 6, and the company's PN65 NFC package is used in a number of Android mobile devices.

pn65v_schematic
Claimed iPhone 6 schematic for NXP PN65V NFC chip

While GeekBar's interpretation of such schematics is questionable given a leak earlier today in which it claimed the iPhone 6 will contain only 1 GB of RAM as the schematic appears to be addressing NAND flash rather than DRAM, the appearance of a PN65V chip on the schematics seems straightforward if they are indeed legitimate.

Apple has been rumored for some time to be working on a mobile payments system, with a launch coming perhaps as soon as this year in partnership with Visa. Details on the system are unclear, but Apple has reportedly been taking a "go-slow" approach for a number of years as it has tried to figure out the best way to deploy such a system without simply competing with existing providers "all fighting over their piece of the pie."

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

Apple's Rumored Reversible USB Connector Supported by Patent Filing, but Likely to Face Challenge

Several leaked photos in recent days have suggested Apple may be looking to move to a reversible USB connector for its next-generation Lightning cables, making it easier for users to plug the cables into their computers, chargers, and other equipment with standard USB ports.

As noted by Patently Apple late last week, the idea is actually supported by an Apple patent application filed in January 2014 covering just such a design. The application was published just a few weeks ago and cites as priority a provisional patent application filed by Apple in January 2013.

Apple isn't the only company with this technology, however, so it is unclear exactly how this situation will play out given that Apple's patent application was only assigned to an examiner ten days ago. A California company by the name of UltraTek already holds a patent for the reversible connector and is selling cables through major online retailers.

FLipper-FRONT-L
UltraTek first filed a patent application for its "User-Friendly USB Connector" technology in 2009 and was awarded the patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010. In the patent, the company describes a cable with two sets of conductive contact pins that allow it to be inserted into a USB port in either orientation.
A new user-friendly USB (Universal Serial Bus) male connector is physically and functionally compatible to the existing and future USB female connectors. Unlike the conventional keyed, polarized and position dependent USB male connector. The new user-friendly USB male connector provides spare connections, eliminates potential connector damage and allows normal and opposite insertions to the USB female connectors.
More than just a patent, UltraTek is marketing its reversible cable under the brand name, Flipper, with distribution through TrippLite. Different configurations of the reversible USB cables can be purchased through retailers such as Newegg, TigerDirect and others for less than $10.


Given its resources, Apple would undoubtedly be able to overcome the existing patent protection on the concept of reversible USB connectors, either through licensing/purchasing the existing patent or finding a way to work around it. The existing patent is, however, rather broad in describing the concept of a reversible "Type A" USB connector of the sort apparently being considered by Apple.

Alleged Schematic Shows iPhone 6 Coming with 1GB of RAM [Updated]

Apple's forthcoming iPhone 6 may sport 1 GB of RAM, according to a leaked schematic shared by Chinese Apple repair firm GeekBar (Google Translate, via G for Games). The chart is said to come from an internal supply chain source, however it is unknown if the schematic is intended for the 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch iPhone 6.
iphone6_1gbram_schematic2
If the chart is indeed legitimate, the iPhone 6 would join the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c in sporting 1 GB of RAM. That amount of RAM would also be below competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, which both feature 2 GB of RAM. It is important to note that Apple has never emphasized the amount of RAM in the iPhone, instead choosing to focus on optimizing the user experience through tight software and hardware integration.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, with a launch for the 4.7-inch version likely coming around a week later. It is possible that the 5.5-inch version may also be launched at the same time, however reported production issues with the larger device may cause Apple to delay its launch until later this year or early next year. Both models of the iPhone 6 are expected to feature a thinner, curved design and come with a faster A8 chip, a new camera with stabilization, and iOS 8.

Update 7:19 AM: As noted in our forums, the schematic's references DDR and NAND suggests that it more likely refers to some aspect of the device's flash memory rather than DRAM included within the A8 chip.

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

Another Image of New Lightning Cable with Reversible USB Connector Surfaces

Earlier this week, photos claiming to be of a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector surfaced. The images were said to be sourced from Apple supplier Foxconn, and were shown in a production stage. Now, frequent iOS device part leaker Sonny Dickson shares a new photo of the accessory, further indicating that a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector may be on the horizon:

new_lightning_cable_sd
The current Lightning cable (left) compared to new Lightning cable (right)

While the USB connector on the current Lightning cable is attached to the bottom of its metal housing, the connector of the supposedly newer cable is attached to the center. The structure of the newer cable was also spotted in previous photos, and likely indicates that this is a reversible USB connector. It is also therefore possible that the new Lightning cable could utilize USB 3.0 technology, as current Lightning cables support only USB 2.0. However, no other evidence suggests that the cable could be of the USB 3.0 variety.

Apple could start shipping new cables alongside forthcoming iOS devices starting with the iPhone 6. In addition to a reversible connector, the new Lightning cable could also feature support for high-definition audio playback on Made for iPhone accessories as rumored by Mac Otakara earlier this year. That report further claimed that Apple was preparing a new version of its In-Ear Headphones, which have not been updated since 2008.

Apple also introduced Lightning Cable MFi specifications for headphones in June, paving the way for manufacturers to create products that connect directly to iOS devices via their Lightning port rather than through a regular 3.5mm headphone jack. Those products could also see integration with revamped Lightning cables.

More Photos Point Toward 1,810 mAh Battery for 4.7-Inch iPhone 6

Last month, a photo surfaced showing what looked very much in line with Apple's usual iPhone battery design but with a capacity of 1,810 mAh, higher than the 1,560 mAh battery found in the iPhone 5s. Speculation naturally pointed toward the new battery being for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, with a number of observers being disappointed in the modest capacity increase considering the larger display slated for the device.

Just last week, an analyst report claimed the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will actually include a 2,100 mAh battery, giving hope to those looking for a more substantial increase but lacking any evidence to support the claim.

New photos shared by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] now provide additional support for the original 1,810 mAh claim. The photos offer a good look at the batteries, which appear to contain the full set of regulatory and specification text as well as an Apple logo, with one photo showing the batteries in trays for shipment.

iphone_6_battery_june_1810
(Click for larger)

The one battery shown in closeup does include a manufacturing date of June, making it several months old, while the original leaked battery had a more recent manufacturing date of July. Still, the growing evidence for the 1,810 mAh battery suggests the analyst claim of a 2,100 mAh battery may indeed be incorrect.

These new photos of the rumored 4.7-inch iPhone 6 battery come just after other photos surfaced from a different source allegedly showing the battery for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6. That battery checks in with a capacity of 2,915 mAh, potentially offering a significant increase in battery life depending on how much more power the device draws than its smaller sibling.

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

Apparent Photo of 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Battery Reveals 2,915 mAh Capacity

A purported photo of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6's battery on Chinese site Apple Daily [Google Translate] (via Macotakara) alleges that the larger new iPhone could have a capacity of 2,915 mAh. The photo shows the battery carrying an Apple part number of 616-0675 and that it runs at 4.35 volts, although no model number is shown.

420_ab78de6b90b79b8ac05515f9f24013b4
While it's difficult to confirm the authenticity of the battery, it does appear to have markings similar to other Apple batteries and looks to have the necessary proportions to fit the 5.5-inch iPhone.

Reports have claimed that the final battery capacity for the 4.7-inch model would be 2,100 mAh, so a battery capacity of 2,915 mAh would make sense for a phone less than an inch bigger. It would also put the 5.5-inch iPhone 6's battery closer to the specs of the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5's 2,800 mAh battery.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 at an event on Tuesday, September 9, with the 4.7-inch model likely launching soon after introduction. The event may also introduce the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, but the model could only be released months later as Apple is having some production issues with the device.

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

Apple Adds Beats Music to App Store List of 'Apps Made by Apple'

Following Apple's official acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, the Beats Music iOS app has been added to Apple's App Store listing of "Apps Made by Apple," giving the app high-profile placement to encourage downloads.

This section of the iTunes Store, which also houses Apple-designed apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, and more, can be found in the Quick Links section of the iOS App Store and the desktop iTunes Store.

appsmadebyapple
The addition of Beats Music to the Apps Made by Apple list follows its inclusion in the list of apps recommended to new iOS users, another move that will undoubtedly result in a high number of Beats Music app downloads. According to Appshopper, Beats Music's popularity has soared in recent weeks. It is currently ranked fourth in music and number 23 in overall free apps.

As of May, Beats Music had garnered 250,000 subscribers, a number that has likely grown significantly with the app's prominent placement in the App Store and Apple's high-profile acquisition of the company. In contrast, Apple's iTunes Store has sold 35 billion songs and its existing streaming radio service, iTunes Radio, has more than 40 million listeners.

Unlike many of the other apps listed in the Apps Made by Apple section, Beats Music is not free. While the app can be downloaded at no cost, it requires a monthly subscription priced at $9.99. Unlike several competing streaming music services, Beats Music does not offer a free ad-supported listening.

According to rumors, Apple has plans to keep the Beats Music service as a standalone entity, separate from its own iTunes and iTunes Radio offerings.

(Thanks, William!)

Apple Working to Remedy Labor Violations Found at Quanta Factories

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) today published a new report examining two factories operated by Apple-supplier Quanta Computer, finding several code violations related to working hours, recruitment policies, compensation, health and safety, and more in August of 2013 [PDF] (via TechCrunch).

Factories examined included a Quanta facility in Shanghai and one in Changshu. Quanta is a long-time Apple partner that manufactures Apple's MacBook Air and much of the rest of the company's Mac lineup.

Violations were found in both locations, with some of the more egregious issues including verbal abuse by supervisors, a hiring fee charged to workers by a broker or labor dispatch agent and long working hours. According to the report, 62 percent of workers in Changshu received no rest day for much of Q4 2012, working as many as 16 days in a row.

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Overall score summary of management functions at Changshu

Many workers were also underpaid for sick leave and may have been uncompensated for up to an hour of work each day, based on clock in and clock out times. Some workers were forced into joining the All China Federation of Trade Unions, and there were several safety violations.

Both of the factories fell short of the local requirements for indoor air quality, and neither had easy access to a shower/eyewash station in case of emergency. There was no active worker participation in the Employee Health and Safety committees, and flammable and toxic substances were stored improperly at Shanghai while chemicals at Changshu were not properly monitored.

The Fair Labor Association provided a number of recommendations to improve conditions at the factory, and according to the report, Apple is using the recommendations to work with Quanta to fix each code violation. Apple released a statement on the FLA's Quanta inspection, stating that it has worked closely with Quanta to bring improvements to working conditions.
Our suppliers must live up to the toughest standards in the industry if they want to keep doing business with Apple, which is the first and only technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association. We are committed to providing safe and fair working conditions for everyone in our supply chain.

Last year we conducted 451 comprehensive, in-person audits deep into our supply chain so we could uncover problems and work with our suppliers to fix them. We track and report the weekly working hours for more than 1 million workers, and our 18-month Apple Supplier EHS Academy training program is raising the bar for environment, health and safety management in the industry.

The Quanta facilities inspected by the FLA last year were included in our 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, which we released in February. Our own experts have audited these sites 16 times, most recently last month.

In the year since the FLA’s visit, we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple. Apple conducted four follow-up inspections on top of the annual audits of both facilities, to ensure the needed corrections are in place.

This year, through the end of July, Quanta has averaged 86 percent compliance with our 60-hour workweek. Excessive overtime is not in anyone’s best interest, and we will continue to work closely with Quanta and our other suppliers to prevent it.
Apple initially signed up for factory assessments by the Fair Labor Association back in 2012, following a rash of worker suicides at Foxconn, the factory responsible for assembling many of Apple's mobile devices. The FLA has since helped to improve working conditions in several of Apple's factories, with Apple aiming to bring all workplace compliance standards in line with the FLA's guidelines.

Apple also maintains a Supplier Responsibility team that audits supply chain facilities to ensure compliance with Apple's strict code of conduct preventing underage labor and providing safe, comfortable living conditions for workers. An additional Supplier Responsiblity academic board also evaluates Apple's labor policies and practices and researches labor standards within the supply chain to create ethical working conditions wherever Apple products are produced.

Apple Adds Five Vice Presidents, Including Two Women, to 'Apple Leadership' Press Page

Apple today updated its Apple Leadership press page to add the bios of five vice presidents, including Paul Deneve, Lisa Jackson, Joel Podolny, Johny Srouji, and Denise Young Smith.

The inclusion of several vice presidents on the executive team is a new move for the company, as the page previously only listed the company's lineup of senior vice presidents.

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Since taking over as CEO, Tim Cook has aimed to share the spotlight with his employees, letting company leaders like Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, and Jony Ive take part in press interviews and lead Apple events. The addition of five new VPs to the press roster suggests Cook and the team at Apple are more open than ever, recognizing the efforts of an even larger number of key employees.

Of the new executives joining the page, Paul Deneve and Lisa Jackson are relatively new hires, joining Apple in 2013. Deneve oversees special projects, while Jackson has a public-facing job overseeing Apple's environmental efforts. Joel Podolny, dean of Apple University and Denise Young Smith, who oversees Apple's human resources, were promoted to their roles early in 2014. The remaining VP, Johny Srouji, oversees hardware technologies, a role he has held for just over a year.

The new additions to the executive press page also spotlight two additional women who hold important leadership roles at Apple, bringing the total number of females on the page to three, with Angela Ahrendts. Apple has faced criticism for its lack of female leadership in the past, which Cook has been aiming to remedy. According to diversity numbers released earlier this week, 72 percent of Apple employees in leadership roles are male.

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Earphones Filled With Health and Fitness Sensors Ready to Flood the Wearables Market

As Apple moves closer to launching its rumored health and fitness oriented iWatch, there has been significant focus on the types of sensors Apple might be looking to deploy. Among the intriguing options have been sensor-equipped earphones, which Apple has filed patent applications on in the past and which saw renewed attention following the posting of an unfounded rumor about EarPods with embedded biometric sensors earlier this year.

Earphones with health and fitness sensors do continue to be a topic of interest, and other manufacturers are preparing to bring their own products to the wearables market later this year. One biometric headphone attracting attention is a new offering from Intel and SMS Audio, which has musician 50 Cent as a co-founder (via Re/Code).

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The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones include heart rate monitoring powered by Intel technology and feature SMS Audio's high-quality sound, comfort and fashion. The ear buds will use a combination of sensors, including an optical light sensor, to measure both resting and active heart rates. Powered by the smartphone's audio jack, the headphones will share their data with a variety of third-party apps, with RunKeeper integration available at launch.

Intel and SMS Audio may be among the biggest names entering the sensor headphone market, but they are not alone. Earlier this year, LG released its own Bluetooth-connected, heart-rate-measuring earphones with mixed reviews. Hitting the market later this year are wireless Smart Earphones from FreeWavz, which monitors heart rate and other key fitness metrics. The Kickstarter-backed product reached its funding goal earlier this month and has a target ship date of October 2014.

Beyond the ultimately false rumor of EarPods with biometric sensors and Apple's patent applications dating back a number of years, the company also recently hired former MIT researcher Eric Winokur as a Sensing Hardware engineer. Winokur is known for his work on wearable medical devices, including ear-worn sensors for cardiovascular monitoring. It is not known, however, whether Winokur is continuing his work on ear-worn sensors at Apple or if he is contributing more broadly to the biometrics team working on the iWatch.