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iPhones Expected to Have OLED Displays Starting in 2018

Apple plans to switch to OLED displays for iPhones starting in 2018, according to Japanese website Nikkei. The report claims Apple has notified its suppliers about its future plans, with LG Display already planning capacity upgrades for high-volume OLED display production.

LG Display and Samsung Electronics will likely share a large portion of the OLED panel production for future iPhones, according to the report. Apple's shift to OLED displays could have "major implications" for Apple's current LCD display suppliers Sharp and Japan Display, the latter of which relies on Apple for 30% of its business.
Samsung Electronics is currently the only company that can reliably mass-produce OLED smartphone screens. LG Display has a track record for producing OLEDs for television screens. Given this, the two companies will likely supply a large portion of Apple's displays. […]

Apple's shift to OLED displays will have major implications for two Japanese suppliers -- Sharp, which is scrambling to rebuild its faltering operations, and Japan Display, which relies on the computing giant for 30% of its business.
Due to the high volume of iPhones that Apple ships, and the technical challenges of producing OLED displays, the report claims the company will likely continue to sell iPhones with LCD screens alongside models with new OLED displays.

Samsung's popular Galaxy-branded smartphones are equipped with AMOLED displays, as is the Apple Watch, but iPhones have always had LCD displays since the original model launched over eight years ago.

OLED displays can provide sharper images and brighter colors compared to LCD displays, but OLED displays generally have a shorter lifespan and higher manufacturing costs. Apple has reportedly been "consulting with display makers" about OLED technology to eliminate potential drawbacks.
OLEDs are known for offering sharper images and colors than the conventional liquid crystal displays used in cellphones since the 1990s, as well as for their power-saving capacity. The screens can also be bent and rounded to a certain degree, giving companies greater flexibility when designing devices.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently noted that Apple is unlikely to adopt AMOLED displays for iPhones for at least three years, claiming that its main supplier Foxconn is preparing to invest in advanced TFT-LCD production lines in China for mass production in 2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tags: Samsung, OLED, LG Display
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

Target's Black Friday Early Access Sale Now Live With Discounts on Apple Watch, iPad

Target is hosting a one-day Early Access sale ahead of the Black Friday shopping holiday, making some of its most appealing Black Friday deals available early. Deals are available in Target retail stores and online on Wednesday, November 25.

Like Best Buy, Target is one of the retailers offering deals on the Apple Watch. As of today, when purchasing one of the 20 Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport models Target offers, customers can get a free $100 Target gift card. Pricing on the Apple Watch at Target starts at $349 for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport.

With the purchase of an original iPad Air, Target is offering customers a $100 Target gift card. Target carries several original iPad Air models, with prices that start at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version.

The iPad mini 2, priced starting at $269 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only version, is also available with a free $80 Target gift card with purchase. On Thursday and Friday, Target will have similar deals on the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4, Apple's more recent tablets.

Beats Solo2 headphones (wired version) are available for $96.99, which is a discount of $103 and one of the best deals that will be available this holiday season.

Starting later this afternoon and tomorrow, dozens of other retailers will be offering Black Friday deals with discounts on a wide range of Apple products. Make sure to check out our dedicated Black Friday roundup to find the best deals that will be available this week.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: Target

Black Friday App Deals Include Pixelmator, Linky, Lost Within and More

Just ahead of Thanksgiving and the busy Black Friday shopping holiday in the U.S., some app developers have discounted their iOS and Mac apps for a limited time.

Black Friday App Store
We have been tracking App Store price drops on our sister website AppShopper and found early deals on popular apps Pixelmator, Linky, Lost Within and more.

Pixelmator-iconPixelmator for iOS [Direct Link] has been discounted from $4.99 to $1.99, which is 60% off and the image editing app's lowest price since it went on sale for 99 cents in July 2015.
Pixelmator is a powerful, full-featured, layer-based image editor that lets you touch up and enhance images, sketch and paint, as well as create advanced image compositions on iPad and iPhone alike.
Pixelmator for Mac [Direct Link] is also on sale for $14.99, which is 50% off its regular price of $29.99. The OS X image editing app last went on sale for $14.99 in April 2015.
Pixelmator takes full advantage of the latest Mac technologies, giving you speedy, powerful tools that let you touch up and enhance images, draw or paint, apply dazzling effects, or create advanced compositions amazingly simple. Once your images are ready, access them anywhere with iCloud, send them to iPhoto or Aperture, email, print, share, or save them to popular image formats–all right from Pixelmator.
LinkyLinky for iOS [Direct Link] is on sale for 50% off during Black Friday week, lowering the app's price to $1.99 from $3.99. The popular link, text and sharing app was last discounted to $1.99 in November 2014.
Linky lets you easily share webpage links, images and text extracts to Twitter, Facebook and from your iPhone and iPad.

Write your post, choose which preferred social networks and Linky will do the rest! You can connect Linky to Twitter, Facebook (Profiles and Pages) and
Lost-Within-iconAmazon Game Studios has discounted Lost Within for iOS [Direct Link] to $1.99, which is over 70% off its regular $6.99 price and the app's lowest price ever.

The high-rated iPhone and iPad survival game, an Editors' Choice on the App Store, last went on sale for $2.99 in October 2015. Read our Lost Within review on TouchArcade.
From the developer of Prey -- Survive a haunted asylum and its monstrous Inhabitants. Confront a legendary killer who prowls the abandoned wards. Scavenge and create makeshift weapons or conserve your resources and employ stealth tactics to sneak past the lurking horrors. When all else fails, run for your life or find a place to hide. To escape, you must uncover the asylum's dark mystery: the shattering secret that led to its condemnation. There are many doors, but there is only one way out.

Todo-iconTodo for iOS [Direct Link] is on sale for 99 cents, down from $4.99. The popular to-do list and task management app was last discounted to $1.99 in October 2015, but 99 cents is the app's lowest price ever.
Todo - The ORIGINAL To-Do and Task List is the world's first, and one of the most popular, powerful, and award-winning to-do list and task manager iOS apps ever—now on Apple Watch! Todo is used by millions of individuals, families and teams for GETTING THINGS DONE.
Also on Sale

- Door Kickers: $4.99 → $1.99
- AG Drive: $3.99 → $1.99
- The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition (iPhone): $4.99 → Free
- The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition (iPad): $6.99 → Free

Though not an App Store deal, four developers have teamed up to offer a bundle of movie-related apps, which is available at a discount for Black Friday. The Blockbuster Kit includes Boom 2, Beamer 3, Waltr, and Elmedia Player Pro for $24.95. A description of the included apps is below.

- Boom 2 - World’s most advanced app for sound boosting.
- Beamer 3 - The first and the easiest way to stream any movie to Apple TV.
- WALTR - World’s fastest way to get any movie into your iPhone & iPad.
- Elmedia Player PRO - One of the best ways to watch movies on your Mac.

Follow our Black Friday roundup to keep track of the best deals on Apple products and accessories.

Apple Shares 'Someday At Christmas' Ad With Stevie Wonder and Andra Day

A day before Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States, Apple this morning shared a new Christmas-themed ad for 2015, featuring a handful of Apple products and starring artists Stevie Wonder and Andra Day. The 90-second ad centers on Stevie Wonder and his family preparing for the upcoming holiday season with the help of a few Apple devices.

The artist uses a handful of Apple products and applications -- like a MacBook and GarageBand -- to put together the holiday-themed song "Someday at Christmas" along with Andra Day and some younger members of his family. Of course, a handful of other Apple devices, including the Apple Watch, can be spotted in the ad.

Tag: Apple ads

T-Mobile Offers Sprint Customers $200 Credit Per Line to Switch

sprinttmobileT-Mobile has announced a second "Un-carrier Unwrapped" promotion that offers Sprint customers a $200 bill credit for each line switched to a T-Mobile Simple Choice postpaid plan starting Thursday, November 26.

The offer is valid for Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile postpaid and prepaid customers, with no device trade-in required for the bill credit.

Sprint customers can still take advantage of T-Mobile's Carrier Freedom offer, which provides up to $650 towards a balance owing or to pay off early termination fees (ETFs) with an eligible device trade-in.
Just switch any Sprint number – including postpaid, prepaid, Boost and Virgin Mobile – over to a T-Mobile Simple Choice postpaid plan starting this Thursday, November 26 and you’ll automatically get a $200 credit on your bill. That’s $200 multiplied by as many lines as you switch. For a family of four, that could mean $800 extra, and for a business with 10 employees, we’re talking about a $2,000 credit!
This limited time offer is part of T-Mobile's monthlong "Un-carrier Unwrapped" holiday promotion that began with three months of free unlimited LTE data for all Simple Choice postpaid customers earlier this week.

T-Mobile plans to unveil additional "gifts" over the next month, with a new gift coming at least once per week. T-Mobile CEO John Legere confirmed on Twitter that gifts are coming soon for AT&T and Verizon customers.

Confirmed: Apple Acquired Real-Time Motion Capture Firm Faceshift

Earlier this year, MacRumors uncovered some evidence suggesting Zurich-based real-time motion capture firm Faceshift was acquired by Apple, and as of today, that acquisition has been confirmed by Apple in a statement given to TechCrunch.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Prior to being acquired by Apple, Faceshift worked with game and animation studios on technology designed to quickly and accurately capture facial expressions using 3D sensors, including Faceshift Studio software with plugins for Maya and Unity. The company was also working toward consumer-facing software like a Skype plugin that would support real-time avatars for video chat.

Based on Swiss company registry filings discovered by MacRumors, Faceshift was acquired by Apple in mid-August. Several Faceshift employees have now joined Apple and are working out of the company's European offices. Apple is also hiring additional employees to work on related technology in Switzerland, including a senior software engineer that would focus on "cutting-edge imaging algorithms for both mobile and desktop photographic applications."

Faceshift launched in 2011 out of the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and in mid-2013, the company expanded and brought on industry veteran Doug Griffin, formerly of Industrial Light & Magic and Electronic Arts, to head up a San Francisco office. Faceshift has demonstrated its motion capture technology multiple times in the past few years, most recently demoing it at GDC 2015.

It is not clear what Apple will use Faceshift's Technology for, but there are a wide range of possible use cases. Faceshift's real-time motion capture work in the gaming and chat arena could be used for things like real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats, but there are also more serious applications such as biometrics for unlocking devices or authorizing payments through facial recognition techniques.

Tag: Faceshift

Best Buy Offering Up to $100 Off Apple Watch Today Only in Pre-Black Friday Sale

Best Buy is hosting an early access online-only sale today that includes significant discounts on the Apple Watch and the iPad Air 2 ahead of the traditional Black Friday shopping holiday.

Customers can get $50 off the Apple Watch Sport and $100 off the stainless steel Apple Watch, dropping entry-level prices to $299 and $449, respectively. The discount applies to all Apple Watch models that Best Buy sells and is available online only.

To get the discount, enter the code AWSPORTDEAL when checking out with an Apple Watch Sport or AWDEAL when checking out with the stainless steel Apple Watch.

Best Buy is also offering up to $125 off iPad Air 2 models. The 16 and 64GB iPad Air 2 models can be purchased at a $100 discount when using the promo code IPADAIR2DEAL at checkout, while 128GB models can be purchased at a $125 discount with the promocode IPADSAVE125DEAL.

Best Buy's Early Access sale will end on 11/24/15 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. That translates to 9:59 p.m. Pacific Time and 12:59 a.m. Eastern Time.

When Black Friday rolls around, Best Buy will be offering additional discounts on the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and a selection of MacBooks. Several other retailers are also offering similar deals, all of which can be found in our dedicated Black Friday roundup.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: Best Buy

Teardown Shows Off the Guts of the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard

Following teardowns of the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro itself, iFixit today completed a disassembly of Apple's new first party Smart Keyboard accessory. The teardown of the keyboard doesn't provide much in the way of surprising internal revelations, but does give those interested a closer look at the accessory's conductive fabric, dome switches underneath the keys, and underlying circuit board powering the device.

smart keyboard teardown
iFixit first noted the "high tech fabric" lining the outside of the Smart Keyboard, guessing that the fabric could be nylon due to its tactile similarities to a windbreaker. Once peeled back, the stripped away fabric reveals a row of dome switches beneath, along with a stiffening weight placed in the spacebar for a more reliable return each time a user hits the rectangular key.

Once the Smart Keyboard is cracked open, iFixit discovered the circuit board at the center of the device, but with no added flourishes like LEDs, batteries, or cooling fans due to the accessory's slim size. Once the keyboard frame was pulled away, the site noticed "intestinal squiggles" lining the plastic casing that direct toward small vents on the topside of the keyboard, most likely used to release air pressure each time a key is pressed, according to iFixit.

smart keyboard teardown 2
Lastly the teardown revealed the "brains of the operation" in the form of an ARM-based microcontroller from STMicroelectronics, along with a final layer of three fabric strips at the base of the keyboard. Made of Apple's "conductive fabric" that connects the accessory's smart connector (where the iPad Pro is placed) with the actual keyboard, the fabric allows for a "two-way flow of power and data" that should be able to withstand a lifetime of unfolding the Smart Keyboard.

smart keyboard teardown 3
Overall, iFixit gave the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard a repairability score of 0 out of 10, meaning once it was torn down the accessory is impossible to repair. The site noted that while the Apple-made accessory is quite durable, it must be damaged to gain entry and none of its internal components can be removed and replaced without causing fatal harm to the device.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tags: iFixit, teardown
Buyer's Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)

2017 Mirage Will Be First Mitsubishi Vehicle in U.S. to Support CarPlay

Mitsubishi has announced that the 2017 Mirage will feature both CarPlay and Android Auto, becoming the first Mitsubishi vehicle in the U.S. to support Apple's in-dash system. The new subcompact hatchback, introduced at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, is positioned as Mitsubishi's entry-level vehicle in its current lineup.

Mitsubishi's 2017 Mirage GT

Mitsubishi also unveiled its 2016 Outlander Sport with a 6.1" in-dash touchscreen, but the crossover still uses the Japanese carmaker's proprietary audio system. Mitsubishi plans to expand CarPlay to future vehicles in multiple markets, but the carmaker's popular Lancer and Outlander models remain without CarPlay in the U.S.

Mitsubishi joins several other CarPlay partners, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Honda, Porsche and Volkswagen. Apple says several other automakers are committed to the platform, including BMW, Dodge, Ford, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota, but few have disclosed their plans.

CarPlay in Mitsubishi's 2017 Mirage GT

Mitsubishi's 2016 Pajero also features CarPlay in Australia and select European markets.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: Android Auto

Apple Pay Expected to Launch in China by February 2016

Apple-Pay-250x434 (1) copyApple plans to launch Apple Pay in mainland China before the weeklong Spring Festival starting February 8, 2016, also known as the Chinese New Year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report claims Apple recently reached deals with China's big four state-run banks to launch Apple Pay, but the iPhone maker could still face regulatory hurdles in the country.

China's big four state-run commercial banks include the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China.

Alipay and Tenpay are currently the two largest electronic payment platforms in China, with nearly 64% combined market share, according to the report, citing research firm Analysys.

China's only interbank network UnionPay holds a monopoly on the country's credit and debit card processing, effectively blocking MasterCard and Visa. The state-run organization does offer some credit cards affiliated with American Express, MasterCard or Visa for use abroad.
One Chinese developer who has seen the latest beta version of Apple’s mobile-operating system said logos for China’s UnionPay can be found within the package. China UnionPay Co. press officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada last week in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain in 2016.

China has also been an oft-rumored candidate for Apple Pay. Apple CEO Tim Cook told Chinese news agency Xinhua in May that Apple "very much want to get Apple Pay in China," adding that he is "very bullish on Apple Pay in China."

Apple has registered an entity in the Shanghai free-trade zone to prepare for the launch of Apple Pay in China, the WSJ previously reported. Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. was registered on June 10, per the Shanghai government's company registry.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: China

New Apple TV Billboards Start Popping Up in U.S. Cities

Apple has launched (via AppleInsider) a brand new outdoor ad campaign for the Apple TV a week after debuting its first TV commercials for the new set-top box. The new ads feature a variation of the SMPTE color bars, a television test pattern, as a backdrop to the simple Apple TV logo.

Image via SMPTE Connect

The color bars are also featured in the TV ads, dispersing in different ways as the ad showcases its apps or games. Thus far, the billboards have been spotted in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

The ads appear to have gone up in the last 24 hours, with Instagram user Courtney Cerruti noting that she saw workers tugging the image into place and that they went up "in unison." Additionally, every current picture of the new billboards have appeared within the last 11 hours or so. The ads also come in different formats, with some ads in a vertical orientation on buildings and others in a more traditional horizontal format.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tags: Ads, advertising
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

T-Mobile Announces 'Un-carrier Unwrapped' Promotion Offering Free LTE Data for All Customers for Three Months

T-Mobile today announced a new holiday promotion it's calling "Un-carrier Unwrapped," offering free unlimited LTE data for all of its Simple Choice customers for the next three months. All existing Simple Choice postpaid customers as of the end of the day on November 23 will get the unlimited data.

T-Mobile also plans to unveil additional "gifts" for the next month, with a new gift coming each week. The company is teasing a "special holiday gift" for Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon customers, with one gift per carrier per week.

"We've had a fantastic year, and we're going to spread that T-Mobile cheer by starting with the most important people first... our existing customers! Now you get Unlimited LTE data on our blazing fast network for three full months as a gift from the Un-carrier to you," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. "But that's not all....we know that Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers need some holiday cheer, too - so we've got presents coming for them. Just wait!"
The unlimited data offering for Simple Choice customers will begin on December 1, 2015 and will last through March 1, 2016. Unlimited data will kick in once all existing data and Data Stash data has been used up. T-Mobile does require its Binge On video streaming service to be activated.

Unveiled earlier this month, Binge On provides T-Mobile customers with video streaming that does not eat into data plans, but it uses a data compression algorithm that streams video at a reduced 480p quality.

T-Mobile is also offering Black Friday deals on Samsung smartphones and discounting the UE Boom Bluetooth speaker by $100, dropping the price to $99.