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Hackers Using Law Enforcement Tools to Access iCloud Backups Unprotected by Two-Factor Authentication

icloud_icon_blueEarlier today, Apple issued a press release stating that an iCloud/Find My iPhone breach had not been responsible for the leak of several private celebrity photos over the weekend, instead pointing towards a "very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions" hackers used to gain access to celebrity accounts.

The company did not divulge specific details on how hackers accessed the iCloud accounts, leading Wired writer Andy Greenberg to investigate the methods that hackers might possibly have used to acquire the stolen media.

Greenberg visited Anon-IB, a popular anonymous image board where some of the celebrity photos first originated, and discovered that hackers openly discuss exploiting software designed for law enforcement and government officials. Called ElcomSoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB), the software in question lets hackers enter a stolen username and password to obtain a victim's full iPhone/iPad backup.
"Use the script to hack her passwd...use eppb to download the backup," wrote one anonymous user on Anon-IB explaining the process to a less-experienced hacker. "Post your wins here ;-)"
Acquiring just a user name and password allows hackers access to content on iCloud.com, but with the accompaniment of the ElcomSoft software, a complete backup can reportedly be downloaded into easy-to-access folders filled with the device's contents.

According to security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski, who spoke to Wired, metadata from some of the leaked photos is in line with the use of the ElcomSoft software and possibly the iBrute software, which exploited a vulnerability in Find My iPhone to allow hackers unlimited attempts to guess a password. Apple has, however, patched the exploit, and has suggested iBrute was not a factor in the attacks.

As noted by TechCrunch, using ElcomSoft's software to download an iPhone's backup successfully circumvents two-factor verification as the two-factor authentication system does not cover iCloud backups or Photo Stream.

Two-factor verification can make it much more difficult for hackers to acquire a user's login credentials in the first place, preventing many attacks, but an iCloud backup can be installed with just a user name and a password.

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The ElcomSoft software does not require any credentials to buy and while it costs $399, it is also available on bittorrent sites. The vulnerability in iCloud backups has been known for some time, with ElcomSoft's own CEO pointing towards the lack of two-factor authentication for iCloud backups back in May of 2013.

Apple has explored expanding two-factor authentication to some iCloud services, but an official expansion of the security feature has not yet been introduced.

Apple Discussing Mobile Payments Partnership With Nordstrom

Nordstrom may be one of Apple's first merchant partners when Apple launches its upcoming mobile payment initiative, reports Bank Innovation. Apple is said to be in talks with Nordstrom about its payments service, suggesting Nordstrom could be one of the first retailers to support payments via iPhone.
The "talks" Nordstrom and Apple have been engaged are related to payments -- but the extent of those talks is unclear. Apple was looking for a clothing brand with a large physical reach, our source said, but also with an established and high-end brand. With a strong brick-and-mortar presence, but with a focus on digital innovation as well, our source said Nordstrom was a "great" pick for Apple.
Nordstrom is a logical partner for Apple, as its retail stores already use Apple's iPhones and iPads as point-of-sale systems. According to Nordstrom employees, Apple's mobile point-of-sale systems are purchased directly from Apple and were updated to work with 'the most recent iPhones" just a few weeks ago. Bank Innovation suggests that Nordstrom's current point-of-sale systems, which are said to be the same as Apple's own in-store EasyPay systems, may possibly be compatible with Apple's upcoming mobile payment service.

Earlier this year, a report suggested Apple was speaking with several high-profile retail store chains about a mobile payment service, in order to retailer gauge interest and explore possibilities for a unified payment service, and Nordstrom may have been included in these talks.

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EasyPay mobile payments concept by Ricardo Del Toro

In addition to partnering with retailers, Apple is also said to have signed deals with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa for its mobile payments initiative, which will likely leverage technologies like NFC, Bluetooth, and iBeacons, in addition to Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint-sensing security technology.

According to reports, Apple's payments service will allow iPhone owners to use their devices to make payments both online and in retail stores. Apple is expected to announce its mobile payments initiative during its September 9 media event.

Pre-Launch Adoption of OS X Yosemite 33 Times Higher Than for Mavericks

Adoption of OS X Yosemite is steadily increasing ahead of its fall launch, due to both a system-wide redesign and the introduction of a public beta for the first time. As of August, Yosemite was installed on approximately 2.6 million machines or 3.3 percent of all Macs, according to new numbers from Net Applications (via Computerworld).

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For August, Yosemite powered 3.3% of all Macs, according to metrics vendor Net Applications. That was 33 times the user share of its predecessor, OS X Mavericks, in September 2013, one month before its official launch, and nearly one-third of Mavericks' share the following month, when it was first made available to all customers.
In June, adoption rates were at 0.9 percent, jumping up to 1.2 percent in July. The 3.3 percent number comes after the introduction of the public Yosemite beta in late July, which saw as many as 1 million registered beta program members receiving access to the software. Following the launch of the beta, Yosemite's share of global Mac traffic nearly doubled.

Though the public beta has bolstered Yosemite's adoption numbers much higher than Mavericks adoption rates during a similar time frame last year, developer interest in Yosemite has also been high. July adoption numbers from before the public beta release suggested Yosemite beta usage was four times higher than Mavericks usage last year.

Operating system usage metrics can very widely, however, as Yosemite installation numbers from GoSquared are quite a bit different. According to GoSquared, machines running OS X Yosemite have accounted for just one percent of total Mac OS traffic over the past several hours, and 0.58 percent since launch. Though GoSquared points towards lower overall adoption numbers, it does show a fairly steady increase in Yosemite usage.

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Last year, seven percent of all Mac users had installed OS X Mavericks just 24 hours after its public launch. Based on public beta numbers and high developer interest, it's likely that Yosemite Adoption will be even more rapid following its public launch. In addition to offering a revamped look, OS X Yosemite includes several features like iCloud Drive and Continuity, allowing Macs to interact with iOS devices in new ways.

OS X Yosemite is currently available only to registered developers and those who signed up for the public beta test. The operating system, which will be provided to consumers at no cost, is expected to see its public release in the fall, possibly in October.

Celebrity iCloud Accounts Compromised by Weak Passwords, Not iCloud Breach

icloud_icon_blueA breach of Apple's iCloud and Find My iPhone service was not involved in the recent hacking incident that saw the private photos and videos of several celebrities leaked onto the Internet, according to a press release just issued by Apple.

Instead, celebrity iCloud accounts were compromised by a targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security questions.
We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple's engineers to discover the source. Our customers' privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple's systems including iCloud(R) or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.
Over the weekend, hundreds of nude photos of celebrities were leaked on 4chan before spreading to multiple Internet sites, with one of the involved hackers pointing towards iCloud as the source of the material, which quickly led to accusations of a flaw in iCloud as the reason for the leak.

Apple announced plans to launch an investigation into the matter on Monday, after a tool surfaced on Github that could have potentially allowed hackers to brute force their way into accounts via a security flaw in Find My iPhone. Though this tool allowed for multiple attempts to enter a password without being locked out of an account, it appears that it was not a factor in the recent hacking of celebrity accounts due to Apple's statement that Find My iPhone was not involved.

Apple suggests that all iCloud/Apple ID users should have a strong password and enable two-step verification to avoid similar hacking attempts.

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 7

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

The update, build 14A343f, can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and through the Mac Developer Center. There's also a new version of Xcode 6, an OS X Server 4.0 Developer Preview, and an updated version of Apple Configurator 1.7.

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

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. Developer Preview 6 added several new icons, a new look for the dashboard, and new Yosemite-themed wallpapers.

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 has not received as many updates as the developer version and is on its second iteration. Apple is expected to release Yosemite to the public in the fall.

Notable changes in Developer Preview 7:

Dark Mode: Dark Mode has been tweaked slightly, and there's a new look for Spotlight when Dark Mode is enabled.

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Icons: There are new icons for Migration Assistant, Dashboard, Disk Utility, ColorSync Utility, and Keychain Access.

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System Preferences: There are several new and modified icons in System Preferences, including a new look for Language & Region and Startup Disk.

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Software Update: The "Software Update" option has been removed from the main Apple menu, with App Store now displaying available software updates.

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Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Prototype 2,915 mAh Battery for 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Once Again Shown in Photos

New photos shared by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] once again claim to show a 2,915 mAh capacity battery from the 5.5-inch model of the iPhone 6. These details follow an earlier Nowhereelse.fr report that showcased a claimed rear shell from the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model.

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The battery in these latest photos appears identical to one detailed in a leak last month from Chinese site Apple Daily, down to the March 2014 manufacturing date. The authenticity of either part is unconfirmed, but both batteries have markings similar to other Apple batteries and appear to be sized for a larger iPhone model. Both are also still from the prototype stage, with placeholder text used in several locations on the batteries.

If legitimate, this 2,915 mAh capacity is a significant jump from the 1,560 mAh battery included in the iPhone 5s and the 1,810 mAh rumored for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. It also places the iPhone 6 on par with other larger-sized phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8. A significantly larger battery for the 5.5-inch model compared to the 4.7-inch would be possible due to the much larger volume available inside the device with the larger display. That larger display may also arrive at much higher pixel count which would necessitate a larger battery to support it.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 at a press event to be held September 9 at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California. The new iPhone 6 appears set to include a rounder design, faster A8 processor, improved Touch ID sensor, near field communications (NFC) capabilities, and a new camera stabilization feature.

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

iWatch Said to Be at 'Engineering Verification Test' Stage, Components Now in Production

iwatch_concept_ifoyucouldsee Apple's iWatch has reached the "engineering verification test" (EVT) stage of development and will likely beginning shipping in 2015, according to a new report from Digitimes. While components for the device are said to be in production, sources close to the matter stated the device must also head to production verification testing (PVT) before entering mass production.

Digitimes also claims Apple is "unlikely" to unveil the iWatch during its upcoming September 9 media event, which contrasts with reports from the likes of Re/code and Bloomberg last week stating that the device would be introduced alongside the iPhone 6. A previous report suggested Apple would be debuting the device at an October event, but Re/code noted the company later ended up changing its plans.

However, an early 2015 launch for the iWatch has been suggested by a number of sources, as part leaks for the device have also been non-existent to this point. Recent rumors have suggested the device will include an array of sensors to track health and fitness-related metrics, and will be positioned as an iPhone accessory that tightly integrates with iOS 8.

Related roundup: iWatch

Elgato Unveils 'Eve' HomeKit Supported Smart Home Sensors, Hub-Less Smart Bulb

Elgato has announced its brand-new line of "Eve" connected home sensors at this year's IFA 2014 trade show in Berlin, featuring full integration with Apple's HomeKit home automation platform once iOS 8 launches.

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Elgato's line of "Eve" smart home sensors

The Eve brand features Bluetooth accessories that monitor air quality, smoke, humidity, air pressure, energy, and water consumption, with all information syncing back to an iOS app. From the app, users can see an overview of the different aspects in their home along with suggestions and tips to better improve the environment.

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Elgato's $50 "Avea" smart lightbulb

The company also announced its own $50 Avea smart lightbulb, which allows for custom profiles, colors and alarms through an iOS app. Notably, the Avea does not require a hub like the Philips line of Hue smart bulbs, and can utilize multiple bulbs to coordinate lighting patterns.

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Elgato's iOS app for its line of "Eve" smart home sensors

Elgato's Eve line of products are among the first to publicly support HomeKit, which was first announced at WWDC this past June. The platform allows home automation devices and their apps to work with Apple's first-party services like Siri and stock iOS apps using a single, secure protocol. A report from earlier this year claimed that Apple was developing its own smart home products to work with HomeKit for a release in the near future. Apple may also look to feature HomeKit integration in its highly-rumored iWatch wearable device, which is said to "make good use" of HomeKit.

Microsoft's New Cortana vs. Siri Ad Shows Off HTC One M8 for Windows, Mapping Features

Microsoft today launched a new commercial comparing its Cortana virtual assistant and the HTC One M8 for Windows to Siri and the iPhone 5s, showing a variety of hardware features and software integration that isn't possible with Apple's device.


The ad is titled "Siri vs. Cortana - Mirror Mirror" and depicts Cortana and Siri talking to each other about a number of features on the new HTC One M8 for Windows. Cortana demonstrates how it can work with a user's calendar and traffic to provide route and mapping information, while also showing off the HTC One M8's dual front-facing speakers. The commercial ends with Siri remarking that she only has one speaker and that she is "sitting on it," referring to the speaker placement on the iPhone.

The new ad follows a commercial released in July showing off Cortana's ability to perform contextually-aware tasks and poking fun at Siri's inability to do the same. Cortana was originally announced earlier this year as a part of Windows Phone 8.1, with Microsoft emphasizing the virtual assistant's ability to relate tasks to people and places. A Windows Phone manager also stated in June that Microsoft would like Cortana to be on other mobile platforms, perhaps hinting at an expansion of the assistant to iOS and Android.

Nearly Complete iPhone 6 Assembled From Parts Compared to iPhone 5s in New Video

Last week, a video from Feld & Volk depicted a nearly complete 4.7-inch iPhone 6 that was assembled from various iPhone 6 parts, giving us a clear picture of what the finished device might look like ahead of its September 9 debut.

A new video has surfaced from Russian YouTube channel Rozetked (via 9to5Mac), showing in more detail Feld & Volk's near-complete 4.7-inch iPhone 6 next to an iPhone 5s. The video shows the assembled device with a space gray rear shell paired with both black and white front plates.


In the video, the iPhone 6 is displayed next to the iPhone 5s at several different angles, showing off all of the design differences between the two phones. Aside from the iPhone 6's larger size, it is also noticeably thinner with iPad-style design elements including pill-shaped volume buttons and rounded corners.

Also shown is the device's rounded True Tone dual-LED flash, protruding camera ring, thick antenna bands, embedded Apple logo, and relocated power button, along with internal elements like the logic board.

Apple is expected to introduce both the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 devices at a September 9 media event. While rumors have suggested the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be available to ship shortly after its debut, it is less clear whether the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will also ship during the month of September or at a later date due to production issues.

The September 9 event is also expected to feature the introduction of Apple's first wearable device and it may also include the debut of Apple's rumored mobile payment service.

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

Apple 'Actively Investigating' Possible Hacking of Celebrity iCloud Accounts

icloud_icon_blueApple is investigating an alleged breach of several celebrity iCloud accounts that may have allowed hackers to access the private photos and videos of multiple well-known actresses, according to a statement an Apple spokesperson gave to Re/code.
Apple said it was "actively investigating" the violation of several of its iCloud accounts, in which revealing photos and videos of prominent Hollywood actresses were taken and posted all over the Web.

"We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris.
Over the weekend, hundreds of nude photos of celebrities were leaked on 4chan before spreading to multiple Internet sites, with one of the involved hackers pointing towards iCloud as the source of the material.

Security researchers have postulated that weak passwords and a lack of two-factor authentication may have led to the breach if iCloud is the source of the leaked images, and it's also possible that a Python script shared on Github a few days ago may have allowed hackers to exploit a vulnerability in Find My iPhone.

As described by The Next Web, the tool allowed hackers to repeatedly guess passwords without being locked out of an iCloud/Apple ID account, brute forcing their way into accounts. Though it is unclear if the tool was responsible for any hacked celebrity accounts, Apple did fix the vulnerability earlier today. Attempting to use the tool now locks an Apple ID after five attempts to guess a password.

Multiple security researchers have suggested that any iCloud attacks may have been preventable with two-factor authentication, which Apple first introduced in March of 2013. The two-step verification system adds an additional layer of protection for Apple accounts, requiring both a security code and a "trusted" device to log into an account, in addition to a password.

Possible 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell Showcased in New Video

A video showcasing what is claimed to be the rear shell of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was published today by Nowhereelse.fr. While component leaks have been abundant for the 4.7-inch version, this is one of only a few leaks for the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is rumored to be entering production in September. The site's sources also claim Apple has selected "iPhone Air" as the name for this larger iPhone version.

video-iPhone-6-Air-coque
The metal frame in this latest leak is similar in appearance to a rear shell that appeared last month. Both shells have thick antenna breaks, a rounded opening for an updated True Tone flash, a cutout for the Apple logo, a space for elongated volume buttons and a side mounted power button.


Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 at an event scheduled for September 9th at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. While it most certainly is an iPhone event, it is not known whether the company will announce both the 4.7-inch and the 5.5-inch models at this time.

If Apple introduces the 5.5-inch model on September 9th, the company may stagger the retail sales of the two phones, offering the 4.7-inch model sometime in September and waiting to ship the 5.5-inch version until the end of the year due to production issues.

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

Apple Not Expected to Ship Reversible USB-Lightning Cable or New Adapter Alongside iPhone 6

Apple will likely not be shipping a new Lighting cable or redesigned USB power adapter alongside the iPhone 6, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider). Kuo notes that he doesn't expect either accessory to receive design changes when shipped alongside the iPhone 6, noting that "cost concerns" and "limited improvements to overall user experience" are preventing Apple from making such moves.

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Moca.co's prototype USB adapter and Lightning cable based on Apple's designs

The report follows recent leaks of a revamped Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector as well as a revamped power adapter. The new USB adapter is said to be capable of powering all iPhone, iPod and iPad mini models with support for up to 2A of current, twice that of the current adapter shipping with the iPhone.

Last month, third-party vendor Moca.co stated that Apple has yet to move forward with manufacturing orders with the new cable, likely indicating that it will not ship with iPhone 6. However, the company also stated that the redesigned power adapters are in mass production, and could in fact ship with Apple's new handset.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 for the first time next Tuesday, September 9, as any new accessories will likely be announced alongside the device.

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

Apple Hires Longtime Technology Journalist Anand Lal Shimpi

After announcing his departure from AnandTech, veteran technology journalist Anand Lal Shimpi will join Apple in an undisclosed role, reports Re/code. A representative for Apple confirmed that Shimpi would be joining the company, but also declined to provide any further details.

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Image credit: Anandtech

Shimpi launched AnandTech in 1997 and established the website's reputation around in-depth analysis and reviews on a number of topics from the world of technology, including posts on Apple's line of desktops, notebooks, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and accessories.

In his farewell post on AnandTech published yesterday, Shimpi stated that he "won't stay idle forever" and added that there are "a bunch of challenges out there."

Apple Partnering With American Express on iPhone Mobile Payments Initiative [Updated]

Apple's rumored mobile payments initiative appears to be coming closer to launch, with Re/code reporting the company has reached a deal to partner with American Express.
Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system, according to sources familiar with the talks. American Express is one of several partners Apple will need to sign up before it can launch its new payments plan, which sources say it plans to announce at its September 9 product event.
Apple was previously reported to have been in negotiations with Visa over the effort, which is said to leverage the upcoming iPhone 6. Just days ago, a logic board leak revealed the near field communications (NFC) chip destined for the iPhone 6 and which will presumably play an important role in enabling the mobile payments functionality.

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EasyPay mobile payments concept by Ricardo Del Toro

With Apple's extensive database of credit card numbers linked to iTunes Store accounts and new security technology such as Touch ID built into the iPhone, the company is strongly positioned to leverage those assets for widespread adoption of mobile payments. The effort naturally requires partnerships with credit card processors and retailers, but the pieces do appear to be falling into place just ahead of next week's media event.

Update 5:19 PM: A new report from Bloomberg claims Apple will be teaming with Visa and MasterCard in addition to American Express for its mobile payments initiative, which will be unveiled at Apple's media event on September 9.

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

Apple Reportedly Weighing $400 Price Range for Upcoming Wearable Device

iwatch_concept_ifoyucouldseeIn the latest of a string a reports regarding Apple's plans for its upcoming wearable device, Re/code reports company executives have "discussed" a rough price of $400 for the device. That is merely a range, however, with cheaper models perhaps also in the works.
Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device.

Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year. Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.
The report indicates that it is unclear whether Apple will have the pricing issue settled in time for its September 9 media event where it will reportedly show off the device, popularly referred to as the iWatch. If not, the company would remain silent on pricing for the time being and announce it a later date closer to launch, which may not occur until early next year.

Rumors regarding the wearable device have been inconsistent over time, making it unclear where on the spectrum of health and fitness band to true smart watch it will fall. Apple may, however, have altered its announcement schedule in order to better position the device as an iPhone accessory rather than as a standalone product.

(Image: iWatch concept from ifyoucouldseethefuture.com)

Related roundup: iWatch

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Built From Parts Supports Theory of 1334 x 750 Display

Yesterday, we shared a video and some photos from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] apparently showing a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 built from parts actually booting to the "Connect to iTunes" recovery mode screen.

A Tweet today from developer Steven Troughton-Smith points out that the graphics shown on the display during this booting process "*seem* to confirm" John Gruber's arguments in favor of the device being equipped with a 1334 x 750 display at the same 326 pixels per inch density of previous Retina displays. More specifically, the evidence points toward an approximately 667 x 375 point display, which would presumably arrive in the form of a 2x Retina display at 1334 x 750 as Gruber suggests.

Sparked by Troughton-Smith's observation, we have independently examined photos of the booting device provided to us by Feld & Volk and come to the same conclusion.

iPhone 6 (left) and iPhone 5s (right) shown booting to recovery mode. Letterboxing on iPhone 6 visible below Lightning cable.

The method relies on the fact that the "Connect to iTunes" image does not completely fill the display on the iPhone 6, with the Lightning cable ending above the bottom edge of the screen whereas on current iPhones it extends all the way to the edge. Assuming this "letterboxing" is due to the image not being optimized for the larger iPhone 6 display, it would correspond to the image filling an area equivalent to a 4-inch screen centered on the device's 4.7-inch display.

This would account for the margin of black seen between the cable and the bottom of the display, and measuring the ratio of the space (plus a presumed equal one at the top) to the overall display size should yield an approximation of how much larger the viewable area is in points on the iPhone 6.

4.7-inch iPhone 6 display showing apparent letterboxed areas (red) with image optimized for 4-inch display (blue)
(Click for larger)

By our calculations, the border areas not covered by the image together suggest that the iPhone 6 display carries approximately 17.5% more points in the vertical dimension than a current 4-inch display. This would move the current 568-point height of the iPhone 6 (1136 pixels at 2x Retina) to 667 points (1334 pixels assuming 2x Retina) on the iPhone 6.

Assuming the aspect ratio of the screen remains the same as in the iPhone 5s, which by all indications it does, this would mean a 667 x 375 point (1334 x 750 pixels Retina) display for the iPhone 6. Performing the calculation in the horizontal dimension is more difficult due to nature of the recovery mode image, with no portion of the visible graphics extending to the side edge of the overall image to determine how much letterboxing space is on the sides.

Some observers have questioned the legitimacy of the video given the unfamiliar gear icon at initial startup and the blue iTunes logo that does not match the new red logo used on iOS 8, but Troughton-Smith notes the device is likely simply running Apple's BurnIn tool rather than full iOS 7 or 8.

This analysis obviously addresses only the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 that Feld & Volk has acquired parts for. Gruber suggests the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will likely contain a 2208 x 1242 display at a sharper 3x factor than the current 2x Retina. As pointed out by developer James Thomson and 9to5Mac, the current iOS 8 beta is indeed showing some behavior indicating a preference for displaying 3x images when available.

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

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Logic Board Equipped With Qualcomm's MDM9625 LTE Modem

Amid all of the leaks today based on photos and videos from luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page], one additional point worth mentioning is the device's LTE modem. While photos posted to reveal the existence of an NFC chip from NXP has seen identifying marks on many of the other components blurred, a portion of the text printed on the LTE modem is visible, confirming the board does indeed contain Qualcomm's MDM9625M as had been previously rumored.

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MDM9625M boxed in red

The MDM9625 is a Category 4 LTE modem, supporting speeds of up to 150 Mbps, compared to the MDM9615 Category 3 modem at up to 100 Mbps, which is found in the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. Some observers had been holding out hope that Apple might use Qualcomm's even faster MDM9635 Category 6 modem as is reportedly lined up for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Alpha handset, but with Apple's history of conservatism in choosing its cellular technology and questions about production ramp-up for the MDM9635 make it unsurprising that Apple has opted for the MDM9625.

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Likely WTR1625L boxed in red and WFR1620 boxed in blue

Part of the speed benefits of the MDM9625 and new LTE-Advanced technology compared to earlier generations of modems comes from the use of carrier aggregation to combine channels for greater bandwidth. With the MDM9625, this carrier aggregation requires a pair of companion chips, a WTR1625L transceiver chip and a WFR1620 chip. These chips appear to be located on the opposite of the iPhone 6 logic board from the LTE modem itself.

On the whole, the use of the MDM9625 in the iPhone 6 sets the stage for faster cellular data connectivity as networks are built out to support its capabilities, and Apple will likely tout some of these improvements during its media event scheduled for September 9.

(Thanks, chrmjenkins!)

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

A8 Chip From 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Appears to Carry 1 GB of RAM

Last week, a wiring schematic said to be for the iPhone 6 was initially interpreted to be referring to the device's RAM, showing the same 1 GB of memory for the A8 as found in the current A7 chip. That was quickly determined to be an incorrect interpretation of component being shown in the schematic, however, and Apple's plans for RAM in the iPhone 6 have remained uncertain.

A new photo leak from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] and Sonny Dickson showing an assembled logic board from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has revealed a number of pieces of information already, and it appears from one of the photos that the A8 chip on the board does indeed include 1 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

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As pointed out by MacRumors forum member commander.data, a silk-screened part number on the A8 reveals that the package-on-package contains Hynix RAM. Based on Hynix's part number format, the character in the eighth position reveals the amount of RAM in the package, with an "8" denoting 8 Gb (1 GB) and a "B" denoting 16 Gb (2 GB). While it is a bit difficult to read the part number clearly given the distance and angle in the photo, our staff and several posters in our forum agree that the character very much appears to be an "8", indicating 1 GB of RAM.

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

Inside Apple's PR Practices, From Media Control to Attitude Shift Under Tim Cook

In a lengthy 9 part exposé, 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman delves into the inner workings of Apple's PR team. While much of what Gurman covers is already fairly well known, his coverage provides an expansive look at the way Apple's PR team operates, from its organizational structure to its efforts to control Apple's perception through media manipulation.

Despite Apple's size and its position as one of the most profitable companies in the world, its PR team is relatively small, comprised of approximately 30 employees in Cupertino along with a few dozen scattered around the world. In Cupertino, Apple PR is divided into seven teams: Momentum, Mac, Corporate Communications, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, and Events.

Along with organizing events and controlling product placement, Apple's PR teams keep a close eye on the media, despite its apparent indifference, and take steps to correct negative perceptions when deemed necessary.
So it's a surprise that Apple actually isn't that detached from the media: it's more like a teenage girl obsessively keeping her fingers on the pulse of coverage. Members of Apple PR seek tabloid photos of celebrities holding iPhones, while others read Apple-focused blogs actively, and keep tabs on prominent Apple beat writers using anonymized social media accounts. [...]

This oversight is so important to Apple that a few times a week, top executives are sent a document detailing the company's latest press coverage. When Apple is not pleased with coverage, it sometimes works to shift the narrative, even attempting to undermine giant news organizations.
For example, Gurman claims that Apple recently attempted to discredit Reuters over a story about Apple's accessibility practices that the company was not happy with. Gurman also points Apple's penchant for discrediting competitors, pointing towards an email Apple PR sent to 9to5Mac on an anti-Android story.

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Along with giving tidbits of information to various reliable media outlets, Apple also gives review units and review guides to columnists and journalists who Gurman claims have a largely positive view of the company and its products.
Also likely contributing to which publications get early access to products is the nature of pre-coverage -- angles taken by writers during the product rumors cycle. As Brian Lam put it, "Apple can already tell what a review is going to say from [a publication's] pre-coverage, and they're not going to give you a review unit if you're not going to play ball." In other words, Apple feeds the writers who will do its bidding, and starves the ones who won't follow its messaging.
In addition to delving into details about Apple's apparent media manipulation, Gurman also covers the shift in attitude as the company has transitioned from Steve Jobs' leadership to Tim Cook's. This has included the retirement of Katie Cotton, who was reportedly seen as a "tyrant" by her employees. Cotton, who was close to Steve Jobs, apparently did not mesh well with Tim Cook's desire to portray Apple as a "friendlier" company, leading to her departure.

Apple is said to be searching for a new head of PR to replace Cotton, and in the meantime, Apple's PR teams are run by two longtime employees who report directly to Cook. Under Cook, Apple's internal policies have shifted somewhat, from his direct apology for the Apple Maps app to his efforts to discredit Yukari Iwatani Kane's anti-Apple narrative Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs.

Gurman's full examination of Apple's PR team is well worth a read and covers a large range of topics. A list of links to the 9-part series is below:

- Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets
- Introducing the Teams: How PR is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop
- Strategies: The "Art of Deep Background" and Controlling the Press
- The Departure of a "Tyrant"
- Two Heads in Place of One
- Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires
- Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer's Guides
- Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases
- A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?