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Apple Suppliers 'Scrambling' to Produce Enough iPhone 6 Displays After Issues With New Backlight

Apple's supply chain is scrambling to get enough displays ready for the iPhone 6 ahead of its launch next month, reports Reuters.

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Front panel said to be from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6

The report notes that production issues were made prevalent when the backlight film for the device's display panel had to be redesigned, halting production for two months:
Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July. One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.
After the backlight film component was revised, Apple reportedly rejected it and went back to add the second layer to the panel causing a delay. As it stands, production of the display has resumed as suppliers are attempting to work quickly to make up for lost time before the device's launch.

Concerns over the iPhone 6's backlight design surfaced last month from supply chain, which also suggested that Apple's desire to use only one backlight film to minimize the size of the handset would cause production delays. Current generation iPhone displays are supplied by Minebea and use two layers in order to improve readability in these backlit displays.

In a single layer setup for the device's display, one layer has to be of a very high quality to take the place of the standard second layer. To meet the demand for the part, Apple had allegedly gone to OMRON and Radian to add them as suppliers alongside Minebea, however the outcome of that effort is not known. Previous reports of production issues surrounding the iPhone 6 had pinpointed challenges with the device's in-cell touch panel and metal casings.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, with a launch for the 4.7-inch version likely come a week later. It is unclear if the 5.5-inch version will ship at the same time, as Apple is also said to be experiencing other production issues with the larger device. Both models of the iPhone 6 will likely feature a thinner, rounded chassis and incorporate a new A8 processor, a refined camera, and iOS 8.

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

iPhone 6 Information Leak Sourced from Foxconn Details Dimensions of 4.7-Inch and 5.5-Inch Versions

French Apple website IGen.fr (Google Translate) has shared a variety of new details about Apple's upcoming iPhone 6, including dimensions for each model, info about the protruding camera ring on the rear of both devices, and more. The photos appear to be of internal information residing in a Foxconn factory, as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and 4.7-inch iPhone 6 carry code names of N56 and N61, respectively.

The information states that the final version of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will measure 158 mm long, 78 mm wide, and 7.1 mm thick (7.7 with the protruding camera), weighing 184.6 grams, or 6.5 ounces. Also spotted is information for a first prototype, which retained the same length and width but was 7.0 mm thick and weighed 168.5 grams, or 5.9 ounces.

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Supposed measurements of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6

Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is said to measure at 138 mm long, 66 mm wide, and 6.9 mm thick, as the weight of the device is not listed. For comparison, the iPhone 5s measures 123x58 mm and is 7.6 mm thick.

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A comparison of both the 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch model, as well as the iPhone 5s

A source close to the production of the 5.5-inch version claims that it will feature a battery with a large capacity, possibly 2915 mAh. That number comes from a in line with a component leak spotted earlier this month. The source did not specify whether the larger device was equipped with a sapphire display, however Apple reportedly shipped 28 containers of displays to Foxconn from the United States. It is possible that those containers could have come from GT Advanced Technologies, which Apple partnered with to produce sapphire displays at a factory in Arizona. However, no additional evidence suggests that is the case.

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A schematic showing the protruding camera on each iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s

Specifics around the protruding camera ring on both devices are also seen in the photos, as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will have an external camera ring that protrudes at 0.67-0.77 millimeters while the ring on the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will protrude at 0.77 mm. Both protruding camera rings appear to be similar to the one on the fifth-generation iPod touch, although it is unknown at this time what specific purpose they serve. The schematic of the protruding camera ring on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was spotted a few days ago, however that was originally interpreted to be for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Finally, the source notes that the iPhone 6 features a well cut-out logo on its rear, which is said to be made from a very durable material and lines up with previous leaks. The device's rear bands sighted in previous leaks are also said to be featured on the iPhone 6, and will act as refined antennas. Apple was also said to be working to feature a 2.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 6, however the company scrapped it to avoid complaints about compatibility issues with existing audio accessories.

Certification tests for both models were said to take place last week, with mass production reportedly beginning this week. Apple is said to have ordered 40 million 4.7-inch units of the iPhone 6 for the rest of 2014, and is aiming for a 100 million devices by the end of this year. It was also stated that the launch 5.5-inch version may be delayed until a later time, although both are scheduled to be introduced at the same time.

Apple will reveal the iPhone 6 at a media event on Tuesday, September 9. In addition to a refined design as mentioned above, both models of the device will feature a faster A8 processor, an improved camera, and more.

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

Apple in Talks With Insurance Companies Over HealthKit Partnership

In addition to seeking partnerships with several different hospitals and health institutions for its HealthKit initiative, Apple is also speaking with major U.S. insurance companies like UnitedHealth and Humana.

In a report on rising medical costs and partnerships between insurance providers, corporate employers, and fitness device makers, Bloomberg suggests that Apple has spoken with insurance companies about HealthKit, but no specifics on the conversation were provided.

The focus of the piece, highlighting the insurance perks that companies can offer to employees with healthy habits, implies that Apple may be exploring partnerships that would possibly allow its collected data to be shared with insurance companies and other medical providers.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the new national health-care law, companies can spend as much as 30 percent of annual insurance premiums on rewards for healthy behavior.

Technology companies are taking note. Apple Inc., which has new health-tracking software called HealthKit that will be released this year and is said to be developing its own wearable device, has talked with UnitedHealth, the biggest U.S. insurer, and Humana, about its health initiatives, executives at the insurance providers said. The companies wouldn't provide specifics about the conversations. Apple declined to comment.
An example of a partnership between a fitness company, an insurance provider, and a corporation is the agreement between Fitbit and oil company BP. As explained by Bloomberg, BP gave employees the option to wear a Fitbit fitness tracking device to earn points resulting in cheaper health insurance.

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Apple's Health app

It is unclear if Apple is in talks about similar programs, but the company has been exploring many different options for its HealthKit initiative. First introduced during WWDC, HealthKit is a set of APIs designed to be incorporated into apps and hardware devices, collecting and aggregating a wealth of health and fitness data into one convenient location.

HealthKit pairs with the newly introduced Health app, which provides an interface for users to view all of this health data. Apple has already announced several partners it is working with on HealthKit, including Nike, the Mayo Clinic, and Epic Systems, a company that deals with electronic health records.

A recent report from Reuters has also suggested Apple is in talks with multiple health providers at Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Allscripts, with the company pushing HealthKit and its Health app as an all-in-one patient data resource for medical professionals.

The Health app, built into iOS 8, will be available to the general public as of next month, and the first fitness and health apps and devices will likely introduce support for HealthKit shortly after iOS 8 debuts. The Health app is also said to be heavily tied to Apple's own upcoming wearable, which may measure several different health-related metrics including fitness levels and sleep quality.

Apple Job Postings Point Towards Continued Work on Voice Over LTE

Several new job listings suggest Apple is continuing to work on building support for Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) into its line of mobile devices. VoLTE is designed to allow carriers to send voice calls over LTE networks, right alongside data. On the consumer end, this results in higher quality voice calls and faster call connection times.

Subscribers on CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon) will further benefit from VoLTE, as it allows the simultaneous use of data and voice, something that's not currently possible.

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First discovered by LightReading (via Gigaom) job openings at Apple include Cellular Systems Protocol Engineer and Senior Baseband Audio Engineer. The protocol engineer position requires hands-on experience with VoLTE, among other wireless technologies, while the senior position also asks for experience with the VoLTE specification. Several additional positions also ask for experience with Session Initiation Protocol, which is essential for creating a connection between devices and LTE networks.
The company is currently advertising for a cellular systems protocol engineer, calling for experience with "VoLTE" and "IMS." Other positions are calling for experience with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) protocol. [...]

Apple is also looking for a senior baseband engineer to work on "cutting-edge" audio for its devices, which will include the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) speech compression codec, which is part of the VoLTE specification. The engineer will help to "implement, port, and deploy AMR-WB, AMR-NB, CELP, EVRC-B, EVRC, EVS Vocoders, and Jitter Buffers on Mobile devices," according to the ad.
VoLTE is in the early stages of a rollout, with a full implementation hinging on support from both carriers and device makers. In the U.S., carriers have already begun exploring and investing in VoLTE technology. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless announced plans to roll out Voice Over LTE in 2014, promising "an HD Voice experience."

AT&T and T-Mobile have also announced support for VoLTE on a limited number of devices and in a limited number of markets, also promising higher quality calls. VoLTE is also picking up steam in other countries around the world, with several global carriers now offering support for the technology.

While Apple is posting new job listings related to VoLTE, it is likely the company has been working on the technology for some time, in response to a carrier shift towards VoLTE. Previous reports from 9to5Mac have suggested that Apple may enable support for VoLTE alongside the launch of iOS 8, with support built into the iPhone 6.

Because the Qualcomm LTE chips used in Apple devices since the iPhone 5 natively support voice, it is also possible that existing devices, in addition to the iPhone 6, will be able to offer support for VoLTE following a software update. It does, however, remain unclear if this is a feature that will roll out immediately with the launch of iOS 8 or in a future iOS 8 update in late 2014 or early 2015.

Apple Releases Second OS X Yosemite Public Beta, iTunes 12 Update

Apple today released the second Yosemite public beta for beta testers, following the release of the sixth Developer Preview earlier this week. Apple has also released a new version of iTunes 12 for Yosemite.

The software update, build 14A329r, can be downloaded through the software update function of the Mac App Store.

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It's likely the new public beta bundles the content introduced in the last several developer updates, including multiple design changes added with DP 6. The last beta included new wallpapers, a new System Preferences design, a translucent dashboard, several icon updates, and more.

Apple is expected to release OS X Yosemite to the general public later this year, possibly following an October event that may also introduce both the iWatch and new iPads.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Lawyers Researching Possible Class Action Lawsuit Over 2011 MacBook Pro Graphics Issues

Back in January, we profiled growing concerns from owners of 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models over failing graphics chips and system crashes. While Apple has assisted some customers with logic board replacements, the issues have been known to reoccur after servicing and some users have been faced with expensive repair bills to address the problem.

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With a Facebook group exceeding 2,200 members and a change.org petition requesting a more substantial response from Apple having surpassed 10,000 signatures, the issue appears to be a fairly widespread one, and now lawyers are getting involved in the situation.

Attorneys from Washington, DC-based Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP have addressed the Facebook group, launching a survey to gather information from affected MacBook Pro owners as the firm considers a possible class action lawsuit.
Alerted to the pervasive failures concerning the 2011 MBP GPU’s, we commenced an investigation leading us to your community.

Your posts are a great source of information, but to determine if any legal claims may exist, we need your help. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below.
The firm touts its experience with lawsuits against other technology companies including topics such as Google Buzz privacy issues, Lenovo IdeaPad hardware problems, and more. While it is not certain that a class action suit will be filed against Apple, it's clear the issue is a substantial one.

The discrete graphics chips used in the affected machines are from AMD, and Apple previously launched a replacement program for AMD graphics cards used in 27-inch iMacs from a similar time period. While the graphics chips used in the two machines are different, the iMac repair program indicates that Apple would be willing to launch a similar program for the MacBook Pro if it is able to diagnose the issue and be convinced the problem requires such a program. Typically such programs provide for free repairs and reimbursement for those who had previously paid for repairs to fix the issue.

Apple Reveals Furthers Details on Reversible USB Cable With Flexible Internal Connector

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published another Apple patent application that describes a reversible USB connector with a "double orientation design." (Via AppleInsider) Today's patent application, filed in February and titled "Reversible USB Connector with Compliant Member to Spread Stress and Increase Contact Normal Force," differs slightly from a separate application made a few weeks earlier by highlighting a key design detail that adds flexibility to the USB connector contacts.

According to the patent description, the USB connector would feature a flexible tongue allowing it to bend to fit an existing USB port regardless of the insertion orientation. This flexible plug connector was mentioned briefly in the January patent, but Apple has expanded upon this idea in this latest patent application to address various types of support elements that would minimize stress on the flexible portion of the tongue while still ensuring strong contact between the connector and a USB port.
As mentioned previously, some plug connectors of the present invention may include structural support elements made from materials chosen to allow plug connector tongues to deflect. Connector 1610 may also include a structural support element, e.g., a structural support 1635. Structural support 1635 may provide flexure to PCB 1632 to reduce stress and fatigue on PCB 1632 and allow tongue 1630, along with PCB 1632, to deflect toward and away from first or second inner surfaces 1620a, 1620b during insertion/extraction events. In order to provide this flexure, structural support 1635 may be made from an elastomer that deforms in response to stress, e.g., a mating event, but holds tongue 1630 centrally located between first and second inner surfaces 1620a, 1620b otherwise.
As shown in the patent drawings, Apple's solution allows the contact portion of the tongue to be thicker and sturdier, while positioning it on a thinner, flexible "stalk". This stalk will deflect in either direction in order to provide room for mating with existing USB ports while maintaining a strong connection with the contacts.

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Apple's proposed USB connector with tongue showing durable contact portion (1939) on a thin, flexible stalk

This flexible tongue provides a distinct advantage over current solutions from competing products, which typically use a rigid tongue that has been slimmed down to fit existing USB ports. Though these cables can be inserted in either orientation, the very thin tongue is susceptible to breakage. With Apple's proposed solution, the contact portion of the tongue can be thicker and more durable, with the flexible portion of the tongue minimizing the possibility of breakage and providing room for the thicker tongue to still fit in either orientation.

Recently leaked photos and videos suggest Apple may be working on a new Lightning cable with this reversible USB connector. These cables may ship with future iOS devices and also may contain other features such as support for high-definition audio playback on Made For iPhone (MFi) audio accessories.

Leaked Schematics Suggest 128 GB Storage Option for iPhone 6

Leaked schematics from phone repair company GeekBar (via G 4 Games) suggest Apple may be preparing to release a 128 GB iPhone 6 model. An accompanying part supply list contains entries for NAND flash modules from Toshiba and Hynix in capacities of 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. The 32 GB storage option is notably absent from the list, although the reason for its exclusion is unknown.

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Previous rumors have suggested Apple has been working on a 128 GB iPhone model, with one rumor claiming the higher capacity module would debut in the 5.5-inch model only. The same leak also predicted Apple would drop the 16 GB option, introducing a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model with two storage options (32 and 64 GB) and a 5.5-inch model with three storage capacities (32, 64 and 128 GB).

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This new parts list from GeekBar appears to refute that claim, opening the door for Apple to add the 128 GB model as a fourth storage option for consumers. Apple launched its first 128 GB iOS device in early 2013 with a mid-cycle upgrade to the fourth-generation iPad. The option expanded across the iPad lineup with the October 2013 introduction of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, which also are available in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB capacities. The 128 GB option has, however, yet to make its way into the smaller iPhone and iPod touch form factors.

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

New Photos Claim to Show Various Internal Parts from iPad Air 2

New photos shared by French Apple news website iPhonote (Google Translate) claim to show a number of components for the upcoming iPad Air 2, including the device's GPS antenna, microphone, and Wi-Fi module. While previous leaks have shown off the device's front panel and rear shell, these images could be the first look at the various internal components in the iPad Air 2.

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Purported iPad Air 2 GPS antenna, microphone, and WiFi module

The website also posted a variety of comparison images between each component for the iPad Air 2 and its corresponding part on the current iPad Air. While no major changes can be immediately spotted from any of the comparisons, it does appear that the next-generation iPad Air's GPS antenna is longer than its predecessor. Also shown are pictures of the iPhone 6's front panel, which appear similar to prior leaks of the component.

Apple is expected to announce the iPad Air 2 alongside the next-generation Retina iPad mini at an event this fall. A report from Re/code claimed that Apple would be unveiling the iWatch at an October event, which may also include the introduction of both new iPads. The iPad Air 2 may feature a thinner design thanks to an integrated display, anti-reflective coating, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a faster A8 processor, and 2 GB of RAM.

Related roundup: iPad Air

New Research Claims iMessage Accounts for 30% of Mobile Spam Messages

iMessage is responsible for more than 30% of all spam messages on mobile devices, according to research done by security expert Tom Landesman and anti-spam company Cloudmark (via Wired). The researcher notes that there are multiple reasons as to why the platform has become a prime choice for spammers, stating that iMessage's reach across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac along with its accessibility have made it easy to target users:
That fusion of the desktop and mobile world makes it particularly easy for scammers to write a Mac OS script that can send messages to all types of devices just as fast as Apple will allow. “It’s almost like a spammer’s dream,” says Landesman. “With four lines of code, using Apple scripts, you can tell your Mac machine to send message to whoever they want.”
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With iMessage, spammers can send unwanted messages to a user's associated emails and phone numbers if enabled. The ability for the desktop Messages client to verify numbers with the iMessage network has also made sending spam to confirmed users easier, along with the fact that signing up for the service can be done with just an email. The researcher further notes that iMessage's read receipts feature (which can be turned off) allows spammers to better generate a list of verified users to spam based on activity.

Apple has made a few moves to combat spam in iMessage over the past year, adding a rate-limit for sent messages after some iOS developers experienced a denial-of-service prank, and adding a spam reporting tool. However, that tool remains a bit complicated to use, as it requires users to send Apple an email containing the screenshot of the spam message, the email or phone number it was received from, and the date and time.

Photo of Possible 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell Surfaces

While we've seen dozens of part leaks for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, parts for the rumored 5.5-inch version of the device have thus far been scarce, possibly due to the fact that the larger iPhone 6 is said to have entered production later than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Photos depicting what might be the rear shell of the larger device have finally surfaced, however, and have been shared by Evasi0nJailbreak.com. According to the site, the photos have been sourced from "deep within Apple's supply chain in China," and may be only a prototype of the final rear shell.

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Outside of 5.5-inch iPhone 6 rear shell compared to inside of 4.7-inch rear shell

That said, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 rear shell images, which are compared in the photos to the rear shell of a 4.7-inch iPhone, do resemble early images of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 rear shell, depicting thick antenna breaks, a rounded True Tone flash, a cutout for an embedded Apple logo, the camera, and the microphone.

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Inside of 5.5-inch iPhone 6 rear shell compared to outside of 4.7-inch rear shell

More convincingly, the screw holes on the rear shell image accurately match up with the screw holes on an earlier leaked image of a logic board said to be for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, so this may be our first look at a true 5.5-inch iPhone 6 rear shell.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, but it is unclear whether the company will show off both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models at the same time. If the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 does make an appearance at the event, it may not ship to customers until several months after the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 ships due to production delays.

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

Second-Generation iPad Air May Get Memory Boost to 2 GB

Apple's second-generation iPad Air may get a memory upgrade, bumping it up to 2 GB of RAM instead of the 1 GB in the current-generation device, reports Taiwan's TechNews [Google Translate] (via iPhone in Canada). According to the site, the increased RAM will be limited to the iPad Air, as the second-generation Retina iPad mini is expected to continue to offer 1 GB of RAM.

Apple began offering 1 GB of RAM with the third generation iPad, keeping the same amount of memory in the fourth-generation device and the fifth-generation iPad Air. With such a long span of time between memory upgrades, customers have been wondering when Apple might opt to bump up the RAM in its tablet lineup.

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iPad Air 2 mockup with Touch ID home button

Previous generations of the iPad have likely not seen a memory increase in order to keep costs low, save space, and preserve battery, but with some of the upcoming iOS 8 features, more RAM might be a necessity for smooth performance.

Apple is rumored to be working on split-screen multitasking for the iPad Air, a feature that will certainly be more memory intensive than running a single app at a time. The feature is said to allow two apps to run side-by-side on the iPad in multiple sizes, including 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4. While split-screen multitasking is likely to be available on existing devices, it may run better on Apple's upcoming iPad Air, which is also expected to gain a new A8 processor.

Thus far, rumors have suggested that split-screen multitasking will be limited to the iPad Air, though support may come to the iPhone and the Retina iPad mini at a later date. Split-screen multitasking is unlikely to be ready for iOS 8's fall debut, but it may come as part of an 8.1 update.

Previous concept for split-screen multitasking (not based on specific rumors)

TechNews also shares some information on Apple's upcoming iWatch, suggesting the device will sport 512 MB of internal memory along with 8 GB of storage, which cannot be confirmed with previous rumors as little is known about the device.

TechNews does not have much of a track record when it comes to Apple rumors, and what it has shared has seen mixed outcomes. The site accurately predicted a sapphire cover for the Touch ID home button ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5s, but it also incorrectly suggested the home button would be capacitive.

Apple is said to be planning an October event to unveil the iWatch, even though the device may not ship until late 2014 or early 2015. That October event may also include the debut of the second-generation iPad Air and the second-generation Retina iPad mini.

Related roundup: iPad Air

'NFL Now' Launches on Apple TV With Breaking Football News and Highlights

The National Football League earlier this month officially launched its NFL Now service, its next-generation video streaming service that provides access to the largest digital library of NFL videos available online. The video content can be viewed on the iPhone, iPad, Mac (via a web browser) and other connected devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and as of today, the Apple TV channel that was leaked earlier in the month.

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The NFL Now service delivers historic videos, breaking news, game highlights and original programming from the NFL Now studios. Personalization is a key feature -- allowing users to follow their favorite players and teams, with up to 4,800 minutes of team coverage being pushed across their screens each week. The service also will provide live video coverage of important press events and other important moments from the NFL. It will not live stream NFL games that are in progress. Customers who want to watch games as they are happening must download the NFL Mobile app [Direct Link].

NFL Now is available in two tiers, with the free NFL Now service providing access to the core news and video content. Football fans who want even more content and personalization can subscribe to the $1.99 monthly NFL Now Plus service, which offers instant in-game highlights, access to NFL Films videos and the ability to create custom video streams featuring their favorite teams or players.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can download the NFL Now app [Direct Link] from the iOS App Store for free. Mac users can get their fill of NFL coverage via the NFL Now website, while Apple TV channels can access the new channel directly from the main screen on their set-top boxes.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Apple Dominates New EPEAT Tablet Registry After Nearly Withdrawing From Environmental List in 2012

ipad_air_family_20136After almost removing itself from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry two years ago, Apple is now leading the charge into the program's new Tablets/Slates category.

As of today, Apple's four iPad models account for 134 of the 135 tablets on the list, although the number of entries appear to be growing nearly by the minute. While Apple is represented by the various configurations of the iPad Air, the iPad mini, the iPad with Retina display and the iPad mini with Retina display, the sole non-iPad model currently on the list is the Dell Venue 11 Pro.

In a blog post announcing the new category earlier this week, Green Electronics Council CEO Robert Frisbee hailed the early inclusion of more than 100 tablets without mentioning that essentially all of them were Apple products.
We are pleased at Participating Manufacturers’ enthusiasm to register these new products. In less than one week more than 100 slates/tablets have been registered in EPEAT, and we expect to see many more in the weeks and months to come. These products are an exciting addition to EPEAT and an important step into reducing the environmental impacts of a major new product type. We are confident the new products are leaders in their category.
Apple has a bit of a rocky history with EPEAT, notifying the environmental assessment service in 2012 that it was withdrawing its products from the registry. At the time, Apple cited "changes in its design direction which were no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements" as the reason for this removal request.

Apple quickly reversed its decision after businesses, municipalities and other Apple customers publicly decried the withdrawal decision. EPEAT also responded with a pledge to work with Apple and possibly adapt its judging standards to be more compatible with the company's cutting edge product designs.

Apple's product lineup is now represented in several EPEAT categories, including desktops, notebooks, displays, integrated desktop computers, and tablets/slates. The company has earned a gold star rating for all of its eligible products, including its difficult-to-repair MacBook Pro with Retina display. This controversial gold rating has prompted some groups to accuse EPEAT of lowering its standards in order to include Apple on the list.

Related roundups: iPad Air, iPad mini

Alleged Schematic Shows Protruding Camera Ring on 4.7-Inch iPhone 6

Throughout the past few months, a number of design drawings, physical mockups, and component leaks have hinted at a protruding camera ring camera on the iPhone 6. Initial rumors indicated that the physical feature would be exclusive to the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6, however recent photos of the 4.7-inch version's rear shell may indicate that it will also include a protruding camera ring.

Now, an alleged schematic shared by Apple.club.tw (Google Translate, via G for Games) once again shows a protruding camera ring on the back of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, which is measured at 0.67-0.77 millimeters. The website also claims that the phone will be 7 millimeters thick, which lines up with the most recent leak showing off the device's rear shell and front panel for the first time.

protruding_ring_schematic
Additionally, it is claimed that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has been given a codename of N56, while the 5.5-inch version is known as N61. This is in line with the code names of prior iPhones, as the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 was known as N92. However, no additional evidence suggests that N56 and N61 are the exact code names of both iPhone 6 models.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 on September 9, with a launch for the 4.7-inch version likely coming about a week or so after. It is possible that the 5.5-inch model may launch alongside its smaller counterpart, however production issues may push back its release until late next year or 2015.

Both models of the iPhone 6 will likely incorporate a faster A8 processor, a thinner, rounded chassis, and iOS 8. The camera on the iPhone 6 will also be improved, featuring a unified, round dual-LED "True Tone" flash and some form of image stabilization.

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

Apple Reportedly Building 'World's Largest' Apple Store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Last week, Apple posted retail job listings for a future retail store to be located in the United Arab Emirates, hinting that the company will soon open its first store in the Middle East. Now, Middle East website EDGARDaily.com reports that the store will be located at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, and will be Apple's biggest retail location to date.

Dubai's Mall of the Emirates
Our undisclosed source said that the store – which will be the biggest Apple has ever built – was originally planned to replace the current cinema complex. The timing of the recent job adverts suggest the store could have a planned opening for the first quarter of 2015.
Dubai's Mall of the Emirates originally opened in September 2005 and boasts more than 700 stores and services over 2.4 million square feet, making it a desirable location for Apple to open a store. In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted visiting the country, posing for photos at Apple resellers and meeting with UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While the purpose of his visit was unknown, it is likely that Cook may have been meeting with officials to discuss growth opportunities for Apple in the region.

MacRumors did receive a tip last year claiming that Apple was planning to open its biggest retail store in the world, however that source claimed that it would be located at The Galleria in Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi. Based on hiring schedules, it is possible that the Apple Store at the Mall of the Emirates could open in February 2015.

Parallels Desktop 10 with OS X Yosemite and iCloud Drive Support Launches for Existing Customers

Parallels today announced the launch of Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac, the latest version of the company's software for running alternate operating systems like Windows in virtual environments on the Mac. The new version is available today as an upgrade for existing customers, and it will launch on August 26 for new customers.


Parallels Desktop 10 offers a bevy of new features and enhancements, including OS X Yosemite support, iCloud Drive and iPhoto Library support and battery life and performance speed optimizations. The main new features of Desktop 10 include:
- Mac OS X Yosemite integration, iPhone calling integration, iCloud Drive and iPhoto Library support
- Now with one click users can select from a number of choices to optimize their virtual machine based on what their primary usage is: productivity, games, design or development.
- The new Parallels Control Center is a one-stop-shop for managing Parallels Desktop; it allows users to manage all their virtual machines and configuration settings from a single place.
- Users can share files, text or web pages from Windows using Internet accounts configured on their Mac such as Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr; or send them via email, AirDrop and Messages.
- Users can drag and drop files to Mac OS X virtual machines.
- Users can now open Windows documents up to 48 percent faster.
- Battery life is now extended by up to 30 percent, giving people additional work time when they need it most.
Upgrade pricing for users of Parallels Desktop 8 or 9 is $49.99, while standard retail pricing is set at $79.99 for regular users and $39.99 for students. Parallels Desktop 10 customers also receive a free three-month subscription to Parallels Access that allows Windows and Mac users to use their machines from their iPads.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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