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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, which will feature 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 second video has surfaced from Russian YouTube channel Rozetked (via 9to5Mac), depicting another near-complete 4.7-inch iPhone 6 next to an iPhone 5s. Like the iPhone 6 from Feld & Volk, the iPhone 6 depicted in the video appears to have been assembled from various iPhone parts, showing off a space gray rear shell with both a black and white front plate.


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.

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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?

iPhone 6 Built From Parts Apparently Shown Booting to 'Connect to iTunes' Screen

Following its leak of photos showing the iPhone 6 logic board that have revealed the device's NFC chip and 16 GB of storage, luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page] has now shared some photos and a video showing the device in operation and booting to a black screen requesting the user to connect the device to iTunes.


Feld & Volk says it has been able to piece together this iPhone from various components it has obtained as part of its effort to build its own luxury version of the iPhone 6 for its customers, and remarkably enough, the device is at least capable of turning on.

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While it seems surprising that a functional iPhone 6 could be built from individual components, Feld & Volk has demonstrated that it has been able to get its hands on rare parts, and thus it is possible they may have acquired everything necessary to build the device.



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

4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Logic Board Shown With 16 GB Flash Storage

Over the past several months, there have been a few rumors of Apple increasing storage capacities for the iPhone 6, perhaps doing away the 16 GB option at the low end and introducing a 128 GB model at the high end, at least for one of the two rumored models.

A set of schematics leaked in pieces over the past week and a half has included reference to various 16, 64, and 128 GB flash storage modules from several vendors for the iPhone 6, although it is unclear why there is no 32 GB option included on that list.

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A new set of photos from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] and Sonny Dickson today that revealed the NFC chip present on the logic board of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 also offers a good look at the flash storage module on this board. Based on the Toshiba part number, as seen on similar modules, the "7" indicates that this is a 16 GB module, suggesting the low-end iPhone 6 will continue to offer that amount of storage.

There are a few caveats, however, such as the possibility of this being a prototype or testing board using a 16 GB module not intended as a production option. Also, being a board for the 4.7-inch model, it is not yet known whether the rumored larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model will offer the same capacity options as the smaller model.

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

NFC Chip From NXP Confirmed for iPhone 6

With rumors claiming the iPhone 6 will include a near field communications (NFC) chip from NXP to potentially support a mobile payments initiative from Apple flying in recent days, the existence of the chip now appears to have been confirmed. Luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page], which has shared a number of claimed parts from the iPhone 6 in recent weeks, has now gotten its hands on a complete logic board for the device.

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iPhone 5s logic board (left) and 4.7-inch iPhone 6 logic board (right)

The firm has shared a few photos of the logic board with Sonny Dickson, revealing the board's NFC chip from NXP.

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Apple has confirmed that it will be holding a media event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino on September 9, and the company is naturally expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at the event with a launch coming shortly after. Apple is also said to be showing off its wearable device, commonly referred to as the iWatch, although it is unclear when that device will be available for sale.

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

Apple's Upcoming Wearable Device Not Likely to Ship Until Early 2015

iwatch_concept_setWhile Apple is expected to unveil its new wearable device, popularly referred to as the iWatch, at its media event scheduled for September 9, the device will likely not begin shipping until early next year, according to Re/code.
Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months. “It’s not shipping any time soon,” said one. So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That’s not clear, but my understanding is that we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015.
Word of a significant gap between unveiling and launch is not a surprise, considering the company's history when entering new product segments. The iPhone and iPad both launched a number of months after their unveilings. With no existing Apple product of its type to see sales plummet ahead of a launch, Apple has more flexibility to announce early and ship somewhat later.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is among those who recently reported that a 2015 launch is likely for the iWatch, also having predicted last month that production on the device would not begin until November. Part leaks for the device have also been non-existent, supporting the notion that production has not yet begun.

Apple's September 9 event is expected to focus on the iPhone 6, with the iWatch sharing the stage. Early rumors had suggested Apple was looking to show off the iWatch in October, but it may have altered its plans to better position the device as an iPhone accessory rather than a standalone product.

(Image: 2.5-inch iWatch concept by SET Solutions)

Related roundup: iWatch

Sapphire's Durability Put to the Test Head-to-Head Against Gorilla Glass

Repair experts at uBreakiFix have examined the impact resistance, scratch resistance and strength of sapphire glass in a series of tests that were published today. The tests were designed to determine whether sapphire is suitable for use as a smartphone display.

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The repair technicians conducted three different tests -- a scratch resistance comparison using a tungsten carbide drill bit, a drop test with the sapphire display of the newly released Kyocera Brigadier, and a a four-point bend test to compare the failure stress and strain of sapphire glass with that of Gorilla Glass.


The results of uBreakiFix's tests show that sapphire is significantly more scratch resistant and 25 percent stronger than Gorilla Glass, but it is much more susceptible to impacts due to its brittleness. The glass is so brittle that it shattered the first time it was dropped face down from a height of only three feet.


The technicians conclude that sapphire does not necessarily offer any advantage over Gorilla Glass, as the material's superior scratch resistance and strength is offset by its low impact resistance. Phone manufacturers that include a sapphire display may choose to employ other protective measures such as a raised bezel to help protect the phone during impact with other surfaces.

Apple is partnering with GT Advanced Technologies to produce sapphire for use in future products. The exact details on how Apple will use the material is not known, but the company is rumored to be using sapphire as a display cover in future iPhone models and possibly its iWatch wearable product.

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

More High-Quality Photos Show 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell with Colored Bands

New high-quality photos said to be of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6's rear shell have been shared by Nowhereelse.fr (Google Translate), showing us what may be a finished back from the device. Notably, this newest component appears to have its rear bands colored in to fit with the rest of the device, perhaps suggesting that the different color options of the iPhone 6 will feature a similar treatment.

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Besides its colored bands, the rear shell shown in the photos appears to be consistent with previous looks at the component, displaying a rounded chassis, embedded rear logo, and more. The shell also appears to adopt redesigned speaker holes and a rounded True Tone LED flash, which join the typical Lightning port, headphone jack, and rear camera.

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Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 at an event on September 9, where it will also likely unveil its wearable device for the first time. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will likely launch a week or so after the event, while the bigger 5.5-inch version of the device may be held back due to production issues. In addition to a larger screen, the iPhone 6 is expected to feature a faster A8 processor, a revamped camera system, iOS 8, and near field communication (NFC) technology for mobile payments.

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

Samsung Asks NYC Street-Goers to Compare Galaxy Tab S and iPad Air in New Ad

Samsung has debuted a new video on its YouTube channel comparing its new Galaxy Tab S to the iPad Air on the streets of New York City. As first spotted by iGeneration (Google Translate), the video involves a host asking street-goers to use the Galaxy Tab S, highlighting the tablet's display, weight, and camera.


When matched up side-by-side, some users claim that the Galaxy Tab S is "definitely thinner", while others express that the tablet's screen "looks brighter" when compared to the iPad Air. The host claims that the Galaxy Tab S has "one million more pixels than the iPad Air", which is presented alongside small text on the bottom noting the 4,096,000 pixels of the Galaxy Tab S compared to the iPad's 3,145,728 pixels. The video ends with a group of users choosing the Galaxy Tab S over the iPad Air, as Samsung ends the video with the tagline of "Thinner. Brighter. Lighter." before showing the tablet from its front.

Samsung launched its first round of Galaxy Tab S ads last month, which mocked the iPad's screen and lack of multitasking. The Galaxy Tab S was originally announced this past June, with Samsung touting the tablet's high resolution (2560 x 1600) Super AMOLED display, fingerprint sensor, 11-hour battery life, and multitasking capabilities.

Related roundup: iPad Air