Thursday December 12, 2013 2:40 pm PST by Juli Clover
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Thursday that it will consider banning cellular phone calls on planes if the FCC gives airlines the go-ahead to install equipment to support cellular service on flights.
According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who spoke to Politico, the department will seek to determine whether in-flight calls are fair to consumers.
"We believe USDOT's role, as part of our Aviation Consumer Protection Authority, is to determine if allowing these calls is fair to consumers. USDOT will now begin a process that will look at the possibility of banning these in-flight calls," Foxx said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. "As part of that process, USDOT will give stakeholders and the public significant opportunity to comment."
Foxx's statement was made shortly before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a proposal to invite comment on the potential change to its rules. The FCC first announced that it was considering allowing airplane passengers to use mobile phones on flights to make voice calls and use cellular data back in November.
The FCC is currently investigating the safety of allowing cell phone service on planes, and with a potential in-flight call ban from the Department of Transportation, a situation could arise where customers are permitted to use cellular data in-flight for texting and web browsing but are banned from making voice calls.
"Over the past few weeks, we have heard of concerns raised by airlines, travelers, flight attendants, members of Congress and others who are all troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cellphones in flight — and I am concerned about this possibility, as well," Foxx said in his statement. "As the FCC has said before: Their sole role on this issue is to examine the technical feasibility of the use of mobile devices in flight."
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission officially relaxed its restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices in-flight, allowing them to be used during landing and takeoff. The FCC still requires devices like the iPad and the iPhone to be placed in Airplane Mode, however, with cellular service disabled.
Thursday December 12, 2013 11:59 am PST by Jordan Golson
The five major U.S. carriers have come to an agreement with the FCC over a set of voluntary industry principles to make it easier for wireless customers to unlock their devices and switch from carrier to carrier if they wish. The CTIA -- the industry trade group representing AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon in the matter -- says it will recommend the principles be added to the group's "Consumer Code for Wireless Service" and the carriers will commit to implement them within 12 months.
- Disclosure: Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.
- Postpaid Unlocking Policy: Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.
- Prepaid Unlocking Policy: Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.
- Notice: Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers/non-former customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier's website.
- Response Time: Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request.
- Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy: Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers.
Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlock request if they have a reasonable basis to believe the request is fraudulent or the device is stolen.
In a statement issued after the agreement was announced, the CTIA noted that "unlocking devices may not necessarily mean full interoperability since devices that work on one provider’s network may not be technologically compatible with another wireless provider’s network" and that unlocking a device may enable some functionality but not necessarily all.
Early this year, the Library of Congress ruled that it was illegal for certain mobile phone owners to unlock their phones unless specifically authorized by their carrier. This past September, the Obama administration filed a petition with the FCC, asking that carriers be required to unlock mobile devices. This voluntary agreement between the FCC and carriers would appear to forestall the need for legal action by either Congress or the FCC.
Thursday December 12, 2013 11:38 am PST by Jordan Golson
The iPhone was the top-selling smartphone at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile for September, October and November of this year, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley (via AppleInsider). We previously covered Walkley's September numbers.
The iPhone 5s, which came out in the second half of September, has proved extremely popular with customers and has only recently gotten close to a supply/demand balance.
Before the iPhone 5s and 5c's release, Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Sony, and Motorola all had handsets enjoying top-three sales at at least one of America's big four carriers. Apple's September announcement pushed all but Samsung out of the picture and relegated the South Korean conglomerate's Galaxy S4 to the runner-up position across the board.
Apple has maintained a significant edge outside of the U.S. as well, even before the long-anticipated launch of the company's devices on China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier. The iPhone 5s was "by far the top selling smartphone...at most channels where the smartphone launched globally," Walkley notes.
Samsung's Galaxy S 4, the iPhone's chief competitor, now holds second place across all carriers with the iPhone 5c coming in third. Closer to the launch of the 5c and 5s, the 5c held second place at AT&T and Sprint.
Last year, the numbers were similar, although with different phone models. NPD claimed the iPhone 5 was the best-selling model of Q4 2012, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S III, and then the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 models.
Thursday December 12, 2013 10:50 am PST by Juli Clover
The Fair Labor Association has published a final status report on the working conditions at Apple supplier Foxconn, finding that Foxconn successfully reduced working hours to comply with the Fair Labor Association's standard 60 hour work week, but failed to meet the Chinese legal limit of 49 hours per week and at times, exceeded the legal limit of 36 hours of overtime per month.
Today's report follows an initial audit that took place in February of 2012 and a later agreement in March where Foxconn agreed to examine worker pay and implement stricter control over working hours while also improving working conditions.
Over the course of 2013, the Fair Labor Association visited three Foxconn facilities in Longhua, Guanlan, and Chengdu, with Foxconn providing full cooperation and unrestricted access to both facilities and workers during the verification process. Along with improving working hours, Foxconn also made moves to install additional exits and bathroom facilities.
FLA assessors verified that workers at the Longhua and Chengdu facilities worked no more than 60 hours every week between March and October; the same was true in the Guanlan facility with the exception of seven weeks during this period when working hours exceeded 60 hours. The assessment found that between March and October 2013, on average more than half of the workforce had worked beyond the Chinese legal limit of 36 overtime hours per month in all three facilities.
FLA assessors found that no interns had been engaged at any of the three facilities since the January 2013 verification visits and that the internship programs had been concluded at all three facilities. Assessors also verified that construction of additional exits and toilets was underway at the three facilities, with completion slated for the end of the year.
The Fair Labor Association expects Foxconn to continue to monitor its employee working hours to ensure compliance with the 60 hour work week while also making progress towards reaching a 49 hour work week. While the FLA will no longer be monitoring Foxconn, Apple is required to continue monitoring labor compliance, reporting back to the FLA each year.
Apple tracks working hours for its supply chain employees and also maintains a Supplier Responsibility section on its website, publishing yearly reports. The company has pledged to prevent excessive work hours, unethical hiring policies, and the hiring of underage workers at the factories that supply Apple with parts.
Throughout the year, various Apple suppliers have been continually accused of poor working conditions. In July, Pegatron was accused of having poor living conditions, and unethically holding worker pay. Pegatron was further accused of labor violations earlier this week, following the death of a fifteen-year-old factory worker in October.
Along with working with the Fair Labor Association to ensure safe working practices at factories, Apple also formed an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program in July, tasked with studying Apple policies and conducting research on labor standards in Apple's supply chain.
Apple takes violations to its policies seriously, and in January, the company dropped Pingzhou Electronics as a supplier after it was found to be hiring multiple underage workers.
Thursday December 12, 2013 7:08 am PST by Eric Slivka
Fleksy today announced that its predictive touch keyboard is now available for iOS developers to incorporate into their apps through an SDK, allowing developers to replace the default iOS keyboard with Fleksy's popular alternative keyboard.
Fleksy's keyboard includes a number of features including sophisticated prediction and autocorrection, as well as swipe-based functions such as space and delete. The Verge has more on the launch:
Bringing Fleksy to other iOS apps is not without its challenges. Unlike Android, which is open to all sorts of third-party keyboard creations, Apple gives you its keyboard and nothing else. Developers can build their own special keyboards on an app-by-app basis, though it's uncommon. Google's done that with a handful of its iOS apps, while Wolfram Alpha's special search app keyboard takes up nearly the entire screen with custom buttons. Although it was rumored Apple was considering opening up to third-party keyboard makers, ultimately it didn't. But it did throw developers a bone by simplifying its software tools, says Fleksy founder Ioannis Verdelis.
"With every new version of iOS the work required on our part to build a keyboard SDK has reduced significantly," he says. "We're [now] doing stuff on iOS that integrates the keyboard deeper than it's ever been integrated."
Fleksy's iOS SDK initiative launches today with four apps:
- BlindSquare: Combines location and FourSquare information to assist visually impaired users in their daily lives [Direct Link]
Thursday December 12, 2013 4:26 am PST by Richard Padilla
A judge representing the Seoul Central District Court in South Korea has dismissed a Samsung lawsuit stating that Apple had infringed on three of the company's patents, removing the opportunity for Samsung to receive monetary benefits and impose a sales ban on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, reports Reuters. The verdict comes after a August 2012 ruling by a South Korean court declaring that Samsung and Apple had violated each others patents, ultimately resulting in the sales ban of some older products from both companies in South Korea.
A judge at the Seoul Central District Court said Apple products such as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad2 did not violate Samsung patents on short message display methods and messaging grouping features.
The court ruled against a sale ban on the products and threw out Samsung's claim for 100 million won ($95,100) in damages.
"We are glad the Korean court joined others around the world in standing up for real innovation and rejecting Samsung's ridiculous claims," Apple Korea spokesman Steve Park said.
In the same ruling, the court also fined Samsung 25 million won (approximately $23,800) for violating the "rubber banding" patent that enables a visual effect when scrolling through a page on a touch-screen device.
Last year, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple a total of $1.05 billion after a U.S. jury found the South Korean company guilty of willfully violating multiple Apple patents. Back in March, Judge Lucy Koh struck $450 million from the $1 billion awarded to Samsung after deciding the jury may have miscalculated the damages due to a misunderstanding of patent issues.
A retrial held last month found Samsung liable for $290 million in damages. The company replying to the verdict by filing a motion to halt payment, requesting a reevaluation of the validity of No. 7,844,915 covering Apple's “pinch-to-zoom“ gestures. The motion to stay the damages however was denied, with a reevaluation of the pinch-to-zoom patent still set to take place.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 3:15 pm PST by Juli Clover
In June, Apple filed a new patent application [PDF] with the European Patent Office describing a system using an in-car accessory with an iOS device to set up geofences to activate various vehicle functions as a user approaches a vehicle.
According to the 15-claim application, which specifically describes "Accessory control with geo-fencing", the accessory (which may or may not be built-in to the car itself) would transmit a signal to a linked mobile device, allowing the device to monitor the location of a vehicle. When the mobile device (and the user) are close enough to the car, the mobile device would transmit a second signal to the accessory within the car, allowing it to trigger functions like door unlocking, defrosting, heating, trunk opening, seat warming, and more.
The first signal can identify a current or future location of the vehicle. The mobile phone can generate one or more virtual geofences based at least in part on the location of the vehicle as determined from the first signal. For example, a geofence can be defined as a circular boundary centered on the vehicle's location, the radius being equal to a pre-defined distance. The mobile phone can repeatedly estimate its own location.
Upon detecting that the mobile phone has crossed a geofence (e.g., generally or in a particular direction), the mobile phone can generate and transmit a second signal to the vehicle. The accessory can control or coordinate control of one or more vehicle functions in response to receipt of the second signal.
Apple notes that geofences can be made in shapes that parallel
Wednesday December 11, 2013 11:41 am PST by Jordan Golson
Earlier this year, Apple design chief Jony Ive and designer Marc Newson created a number of one-of-a-kind items to be sold at a Sotheby's charity auction to benefit Product (RED). Two items in particular were Apple related, a pair of solid gold Apple EarPods and a new Mac Pro with a special red finish.
According to a pair of tweets by photographer Kevin Abosch, Tony Fadell -- one of the creators of the iPod and the founder of Nest, the company behind the Nest Thermostat and Protect smoke detector -- may have purchased both the Mac Pro and the EarPods at the auction.
The Mac Pro sold for $977,000 while the solid gold EarPods sold for $461,000. Other items sold at the auction included a Steinway & Sons grand piano that sold for $1,925,000 and a magnum of Dom Perignon 1966 with a custom red label that sold for $93,750.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 11:31 am PST by Juli Clover
Google today announced that it is bringing Chrome Apps to the Mac, following a beta period that began in May. First introduced in September for Windows and Chromebook users, Chrome Apps are designed to function like native Mac apps, working offline, updating automatically, and syncing on any computer where a user is signed into Chrome.
Chrome Apps work offline, update automatically and sync to any computer where you're signed into Chrome, so you can pick up where you left off. Your Chrome Apps on Mac behave and feel just like native software. For example, you can find your Chrome Apps in the Applications folder on the Dock. Search for apps by name in the Spotlight search—just like any other Mac program that you already use.
Chrome Apps, which are separate from Chrome browser apps, are downloaded into the applications folder and work like any other Mac app. The apps have access to local storage for offline support, differentiating them from standard Chrome apps, and are able to easily sync content between multiple computers.
Chrome Apps for the Mac also work with Google's Chrome App Launcher, which will be automatically installed when any Chrome App is downloaded. The Chrome App Launcher aggregates all Chrome Apps into one convenient expandable grid on the Mac's dock.
Google has several different fully functional Chrome Apps available for download from its Chrome Web Store, including offerings like video editing app WeVideo Next and project management app Smartsheet
Wednesday December 11, 2013 10:14 am PST by Jordan Golson
Southwest Airlines is offering passengers the ability to send and receive iMessages from their iOS devices in-flight for $2 per day. In-flight Wi-Fi access for all applications is available for $8 per device per day.
It's likely that the airline is opening up iMessage related ports to users who pay the $2, while users who pay more receive access to in-flight email, social networks and the like. For a limited time, all users receive access to 13 live television channels on laptops and iOS devices for free.
Beginning today, Southwest is enabling iMessage for $2 a day!
Any Apple user that has iOS 5 or later with the iMessage feature pre-loaded on their device can take advantage of this option. Now you can stay powered up and connected to friends and family like you never left the ground.
In-flight Wi-Fi is not yet available on all Southwest flights, but the airline has a Wi-Fi finder on its website so flyers can check if their aircraft will support the service.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 9:43 am PST by Jordan Golson
PROMISE Technology is now shipping its Thunderbolt 2 RAID systems ahead of the new Mac Pro's promised December release. The arrays were first announced back in October but are now available through a number of retail channels.
The Pegasus2 line of RAID arrays allow for simultaneous transfer and display of 3D and 4K video files. They work with the new MacBook Pro with Retina display released in October, as well as the new Mac Pro when it launches later this month.
"Pegasus2 is truly one-of-a-kind, as there has never before been a storage solution that offered such an incredible combination of performance, mobility, and simplicity," said James Lee, CEO, PROMISE Technology. "We are thrilled that Pegasus2 is the first storage solution available with Thunderbolt 2 -- this further illustrates PROMISE's position as a leader in Thunderbolt technology."
The Pegasus 2 is available in 4-bay, 6-bay, and 8-bay configurations with 8TB, 12TB, 18TB, 24TB and 32TB capacities through the Apple Online Store and elsewhere. Pricing ranges from $1,499 to $4,599, though some retailers are offering modest discounts off PROMISE's MSRP.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 8:52 am PST by Eric Slivka
Following last week's addition of an iPhone 6 roundup, MacRumors today is publishing a new Apple TV roundup covering not only Apple's current set-top box and rumors for future enhancements, but also long-running rumors of a dedicated Apple television set.
While Apple has been busy increasing the amount of content available through the current Apple TV, there is still uncertainty about timing for new television-related hardware from the company. A dedicated Apple television set has been rumored for a number of years, with Steve Jobs having been quoted in his 2011 biography as saying "I finally cracked it" with regard to a television interface concept, but signs continue to suggest that release is not yet imminent.
Apple has also been rumored to be working on Kinect-like motion control for the Apple TV, and Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense, the company behind the original Microsoft Kinect motion control technology, last month has continued to fuel that speculation. But whether that technology will make its way into the next Apple TV as part of a radical revamp or if the next-generation box will primarily be an iterative update based on improved internals remains to be seen.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 7:28 am PST by Eric Slivka
Apple today added yet another set of channels to its Apple TV set-top box, including a "Watch ABC" channel to allow subscribers to certain cable services to watch content from their local ABC affiliate through Apple TV. Other additions include financial channel Bloomberg, streaming movie and TV show channel Crackle, and Korean channel KORTV.
Apple has already streamlined the process of building its current lineup of Apple TV apps— which mostly consist of streaming video content— to the point where developers can quickly and easy build apps through an easy to use SDK, much like on iOS. The team behind the development of the Bloomberg app, which consisted of two developers under Bloomberg’s head of mobile and connected devices Oke Okaro, told me that Apple’s toolkit, an SDK of sorts, has “made it quite easy to build the apps.” The team of two developers along with Okaro built the app in just five weeks. Most of that time was spent testing and optimizing the video experience.
Apple reportedly provided some input and feedback along
Wednesday December 11, 2013 6:15 am PST by Richard Padilla
Chinese labor rights group China Labor Watch (CLW) is calling for answers from primary Apple supplier Pegatron after the death of five young workers in recent months, highlighted by the passing of a fifteen year old factory worker due to pneumonia related causes in October, reports The New York Times. The laborer, Shi Zhaokun, was able to secure a job at a Pegatron factory producing the iPhone 5c by presenting a fake ID stating that he was 20, reportedly working a total of 280 hours in his only month at the company.
Apple’s supplier responsibility statement bars employees of supplier companies in China from working more than 60 hours a week; so does Chinese law. But Mr. Shi worked 79 hours in his first week, 77 in his second and 75 in his third, all apparently in violation of the law, according to documents provided by his family.
Pegatron said that the work logs the family kept are records of when the young man clocked in and out, and may not include breaks. The company said his hours did not exceed the legal limit.
A Pegatron spokeswoman said that the death of the worker was “not related to the workplace environment“, while Apple has not officially commented on the incident. In July, China Labor Group alleged numerous safety and workplace violations at Pegatron, including the unethical holding of worker pay and identification cards, as well as poor living conditions within the factory including tight living quarters and packed cafeterias. Apple replied to the allegations, confirming various labor violations and vowing to investigate the incident.
Tuesday December 10, 2013 10:53 pm PST by Jordan Golson
Wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon will not be able to continue the smartphone subsidy model that has driven widespread smartphone penetration to this point. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at an investor conference today, said the current model is not economically viable, reported CNET.
With more than 75 percent of mobile phone users owning smartphones -- and that number growing towards 90 percent -- Stephenson said carriers will "move into maintenance mode" and that "the model has to change" because carriers "can't afford to subsidize devices like that". Many higher-end smartphone power users also tend to upgrade their phones as often as possible, something that can become expensive for carriers subsidizing those purchases to the tune of hundreds of dollars per device.
Stephenson also acknowledged that breaking customers of their habit of upgrading to a new phone every 18 months to two years is not an easy task. But he said a business models focused on financing rather than providing a subsidy would be "transformative" for the industry. He said the company's new AT&T Next program, which offers no-money down and 0-percent financing, drives smartphone penetration in a way that is more sustainable over time.
"If you are a customer and you don't need to upgrade your device, you can get unlimited talk and text and access to the data network for $45 all-in," he said. "You can use your own device or finance it. I think this will be very powerful. It's where we see the market going."
As part of a larger strategy to move away from straight device subsidies, AT&T rolled
Tuesday December 10, 2013 10:58 am PST by Eric Slivka
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent describing a goggle-like video headset designed to allow users to view media while on the go but with a much larger view than on their mobile device's built-in display (via Patently Apple).
Apple's patent is a relatively straightforward one with a single independent claim outlining a headset that contains adjustable optical modules for lining up with the user's eyes, but the full description of Apple's ideas includes such topics as allowing displays for each eye to be individually focused to provide vision correction, as well as possibilities for 3-D viewing similar to Oculus Rift's virtual reality headset.
A goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user is provided. The goggle system may include an outer cover, a mid-frame, optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user. The goggle system, or head mounted display may have any suitable appearance. For example, the goggle system may resemble ski or motorcycle goggles. To enhance the user's comfort, the goggle system may include breathable components, including for example breathable foam that rests against the user's face, and may allow the user to move the display generation components for alignment with the user's eyes. In some embodiments, the goggle system may include data processing circuitry operative to adjust left and right images generated by the optical components to display 3-D media, or account for a user's eyesight
Tuesday December 10, 2013 10:13 am PST by Juli Clover
Qualcomm has announced the launch of its Gimbal proximity beacons, which are designed to work similarly to Apple's own iBeacons. Like iBeacons, Qualcomm's proximity beacons serve as physical Bluetooth access points that interact with apps on iPhones and iPads over Bluetooth LE.
Qualcomm's overall Gimbal platform is billed as a "context aware" proximity platform allowing brands to deliver information to customers based on physical location, activity, time, and personal interests.
Gimbal helps increase the relevance of content delivered to end users' devices, filtering out the irrelevant and offering more personalized experiences, thereby allowing retailers, venues, content providers and developers to send personalized high-value content to enhance their users' mobile devices.
The Gimbal beacons, which support iOS out of the box with an accompanying SDK that can be built into apps, come in two different sizes that are accurate down to one foot both indoors and outdoors. The Series 10 beacons cost as little as $5, while the larger Series 20 beacons start at $10. Individual iBeacon-compatible beacons from other companies are more expensive, at approximately $100 for three.
Apple's iBeacons, first introduced earlier this year at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, are already in use in a number of different locations.
Back in November, Shopkickteamed up with Macy's to debut the first retail-based iBeacons, allowing customers to find location-specific deals and recommendations within the app while visiting a participating Macy’s store.
Tuesday December 10, 2013 8:10 am PST by Eric Slivka
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has regularly assessed Siri's accuracy in terms of correctly interpreting and answering queries, has issued the latest version of his Siri report card, noting that Siri has continued to improve under iOS 7, particularly in terms of being able to properly interpret questions being asked.
The primary improvement between Siri in iOS 6 and iOS 7 came from its performance in noisier areas, where Siri was able to translate better through a noisy environment (94% vs. 83% correct in Aug iOS 6). Based on our testing, iOS 7 Siri's net ability to answer questions (factors in questions not correctly understood) improved to 79% from 77% in August with iOS 6.
The improvements in Siri's understanding come alongside but separate from Apple's continued efforts to reduce its reliance on Google, as evidenced by Siri's shift to emphasize Bing, Wikipedia, and WolframAlpha results. In Munster's most recent testing, only 4 percent of Siri's answers relied on Google, compared to 17 percent in August testing and 27 percent in December 2012.
Click for larger Munster also compares Siri to Google Now, finding that the two services are now essentially tied in effectiveness with a "C+" score after Siri held a substantial lead in the year-ago testing. In the latest testing, Google Now held small leads in content areas such as commerce and information, while Siri performed significantly better for operating system controls.
Tuesday December 10, 2013 6:42 am PST by Richard Padilla
Less than a week after experiencing a significant improvement in shipping times for new online orders throughout the world, the iPhone 5s has seen its availability improve once again with models now shipping "within 24 hours" in nearly all of Apple's online stores for countries around the world. The GSM-compatible SIM-free iPhone has also improved to a shipping estimate of 3-5 business days.
Following the launch of the iPhone 5s, supplies were significantly constrained, especially for silver and gold models. Shipping estimates slipped to 7 to 10 days hours after the phone was released and then slipped further to two to three weeks for an extended period of time. The rapid improvement in availability indicates that Apple is quickly reaching supply-demand balance for the iPhone 5s three months after its debut.
According to reports, Apple has significantly ramped up its iPhone 5s production over the course of the last month while cutting back on iPhone 5c production, which has resulted in improved supplies in time for the Christmas holiday.
In-store supplies of the iPhone 5s are also reported to be nearing 100% availability, with all colors and capacities of the phone available for immediate pickup at many of Apple's retail locations across the United States.
Last week, Apple also released shipping deadlines to ensure customers receive gifts by December 24. According to the guidelines, the iPhone 5s must be ordered by midnight December 18 to arrive ahead of
Tuesday December 10, 2013 6:15 am PST by Richard Padilla
Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing a manufacturing technique applied to the production of curved touch sensors to be used in existing components such as displays, touch pads, and touch mice.
The patent, which was filed in November 2010, introduces itself by describing the problem with existing touch sensor panels, stating that they are sometimes difficult to produce because of their thinness, which leads to a risk of damaging panel components. The technology in the patent however, details a curved sensor benefiting from increased strength and enhanced viewing properties without warping or deformation to the surface during initial assembly.
By depositing and patterning thin film, for example, on substrate while in a flat state, and then annealing, for example, the thin film when the substrate is joined to a forming substrate, the substrate can be curved to a desired curvature. Further, thin film can receive the benefits of the annealing process, such as increased strength and conductivity and enhanced optical properties, without undesired warping or deformation to the substrate.
In detail, the patent states that while some current electronics appear to have curved displays, the devices in question suffer from a degraded touch sensitivity because of the distance between the cover glass and the actual drive and sense electrodes in the device due to current manufacturing techniques.
Meanwhile, Apple describes its manufacturing process as allowing the thickness of a curved touch sensor panel to remain
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