Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Swatch Denies Report It Is Working With Apple on iWatch Wearable

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group today denied a recent report that it was working with Apple to develop a smartwatch product, reports Reuters. VentureBeat first reported this joint venture, citing an unnamed source with knowledge of Apple's plans.

A spokeswoman for Swatch told Reuters that the Apple rumor was "unfounded," adding that Swatch's only relationship with mobile phone manufacturers is as a supplier of integrated circuits and other electronic components. Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek reiterated in an interview with Reuters that "he was not interested in teaming up with a tech group to develop a smartwatch."

swatch-logo
The original VentureBeat rumor claimed Swatch and possibly Timex would build a smartwatch based on Apple's iWatch specifications. These third-party manufacturers would release their watches alongside Apple's own iWatch, providing "a family of smart watches to suit all tastes "from geek to chic."

This type of agreement would be unusual for Swatch, whose CEO has publicly expressed skepticism about the future success of the iWatch, saying he doesn't believe "it's the next revolution." Earlier reports also indicate that Apple is working alone on the iWatch, hiring a variety of medical, fitness and fashion experts to help develop the wearable product.

Apple is rumored to unveil its wearable device later this year with reports indicating its will be available in different materials at various price points in order to appeal to a range of consumers. The smartband may have a fitness focus with sensors that measure vitals such oxygen saturation, hydration status and heart rate. This data may then be shared with iOS 8's new Health app in order to generate a comprehensive health profile.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple Launching 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 After 4.7-Inch Version to Avoid Competition Between Two Models?

Apple will launch the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 several months after the 4.7-inch version to avoid competition between the two models, according to a new report from DigiTimes citing supply chain sources.
The different timetables have been set as Apple does not want to repeat the mistake it made in 2013 when it launched the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c simultaneously, said the sources.
Prior rumors have pointed out that production issues with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would cause Apple to delay its release a few months after 4.7-inch version, however this newest report claims that isn't the case for the launch delay. A report from Bloomberg last month suggested that Apple would be launching both versions of the iPhone 6 simultaneously, noting that the company had begun preparing the 4.7-inch model and 5.5-inch for manufacturing.

iphone_5s_6_grass
4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

Apple is expected to unveil the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 at a September event, although a report yesterday noted that the company is unsure as to whether it will show off the 5.5-inch version at the same time. The company is said to be preparing between 70 and 80 million iPhone 6 units to meet anticipated customer demand, as the larger screen could cause a massive spike in upgrades from both iPhone upgraders and those switching from Android.

In addition to a larger screen, the iPhone 6 is expected to feature a faster A8 processor, a thinner profile, an improved camera, and Apple's new iOS 8 mobile operating system.

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

Apple Working With Swatch for iWatch With Multiple Designs, Price Points?

Apple may be working with manufacturing partners like Swatch to create multiple versions of the iWatch that are available in a range of styles and price points, according to a questionable report from VentureBeat, citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans.
While most Apple-watchers and media have been laser-focused on one or two "iWatches" from Apple itself, the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics and media giant may actually be working a number of partners in the watch business.

Apple and its partners will offer a family of smartwatches to suit all tastes "from geek to chic," our source says.
VentureBeat suggests it is possible that Swatch may be involved in building one or more of Apple's smart watches, and the site's source also believes Apple may be teaming up with Timex as well. Watches from third-party manufacturers would likely accompany an iWatch of Apple's own branding, according to the source.

A possible partnership with Swatch or another watch maker would seemingly go against many of the existing iWatch rumors, which have indicated that Apple is building its own wrist worn device with multiple screen sizes up to 2.5 inches and an array of complicated health sensors.

Apple has also hired a massive team of health and fashion experts to work on the iWatch, suggesting much of the development work is in-house. Thus far, there have been few hints on what the iWatch might look like, so there is a possibility that Apple could use something of a modular design, with a screen able to integrate with bands from multiple companies.

paparazzi
The Swatch Paparazzi, a 2004 smart watch created in collaboration with Microsoft

Some reports, including a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, have indicated Apple will produce the iWatch in a variety of materials and at multiple price points to satisfy a wide range of tastes. Apple is also said to be marketing the iWatch as a fashion accessory, but thus far other reports have not pointed towards third-party design partnerships.

Tim Cook yesterday suggested partnerships are "unusual" for Apple, speaking about the company's recent decision to team up with IBM. He emphasized that Apple's IBM partnership was possible because the two companies do not compete with each other, which is not the case with Swatch.

Last year, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek also had some negative things to say about an Apple iWatch, stating "I don't believe it's the next revolution." Swatch does have some limited experience with smart watches, however, having previously teamed up with Microsoft to offer the Swatch Paparazzi smart watch.

According to Hayek, Apple and Swatch have been in contact for multiple years over materials for products and energy harvesting technology, but in March, Hayek clearly stated that Swatch was not interested in forging a partnership with a company manufacturing wearable devices, including Apple, which casts doubt on today's report.

Apple is expected to introduce the iWatch in October.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple in Talks With Credit Card Companies Over Payment Solution, Could Launch Mobile 'Wallet' This Fall

applestore.pngApple's talks with companies in the payment industry have been heating up in recent months, according to a new report from The Information. Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile payment solution as soon as this fall, allowing users to pay for physical goods with their iPhones.

Apple is currently speaking with credit card company Visa over a possible partnership, a move that would bypass third-party payment processors resulting in direct savings for retailers and customers.

Apple's payment solution is said to work with a "secured element" within the iPhone, safely storing payment credentials. This secured solution may involve the "Secure Enclave" built into Apple's A7 processor.
Apple has told some partners its system would involve a so-called secured element in the phones--a piece of hardware where sensitive information such as a phone owner's financial credentials can be stored. The company also aims to run the system without giving up any control to wireless carriers.
The Secure Enclave, which was designed for Touch ID, is a coprocessor within the A7 chip that uses a secure boot process to ensure that its separate software is both verified and signed by Apple. It functions independently even if a kernel is compromised and contains a unique ID that is inaccessible to other parts of the system, keeping all data held within safe.

Apple's interest in the mobile payment arena has been rumored for years, but gained renewed attention earlier this year when The Wall Street Journal suggested the company as working on a new mobile payment service. As previously detailed, the service is said to allow people to use their iOS devices to make purchases for physical goods in apps and on the web, as well as in retail stores.

The payment solution will most likely be built around iTunes, allowing Apple to leverage more than 800 million iTunes accounts, most with credit cards attached. It may also be tied to Touch ID, the fingerprint scanning home button built into the iPhone 5s and slated for inclusion in future iPads and iPhones.

In January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that mobile payments were "one of the thoughts" behind Touch ID. He has also said that Apple is "intrigued" with mobile payments and noted there's a "big opportunity on the platform."

Earlier this year, Apple was said to be in talks with Paypal about a possible partnership and it has also sought out senior payments industry executives to take on roles within the company.

OS X Yosemite to Launch in Late October, 12-inch Retina MacBook and 4K Desktop in the Works

Following an earlier report on the launch of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, 9to5Mac has released a second report with details on OS X Yosemite and Apple's fall Mac plans. As has been previously mentioned, OS X Yosemite will launch in October, following iOS 8's September release alongside the iPhone 6.

The final Yosemite Developer Preview is expected to be seeded to developers on September 29, with a final golden master build coming around October 10, which suggests a late-October public launch date for Yosemite.

os_x_yosemite_roundup
October will also see the potential introduction of the iWatch, as has been widely rumored, and Apple may also be planning to unveil several new products designed to promote Yosemite, including a smaller 12-inch MacBook with a high-resolution display and a new desktop computer, which may be an iMac or a standalone monitor with a 4K resolution screen.

Along with providing a few details on the desktop Retina machine, 9to5Mac's report echoes several details on the 12-inch MacBook previously shared by rumor sites, suggesting it will have a Retina display and a "thinner and slightly lighter aluminum body."
Apple believes that this new Retina MacBook will be a significant step forward in the laptop industry, and it is currently unclear if Apple will label this machine as a smaller MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air, or as an entirely new line.

While it is possible Apple will market the aforementioned 4K desktop as a "Retina" machine, the technology for true pixel-doubling of the current 27-inch iMac and Thunderbolt Display's 2560 x 1440 resolution is not ready for market.
9to5Mac's sources indicate the 12-inch Retina MacBook and the iMac are on pace to ship in late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter, but could be pushed back to early 2015, which is in line with recent rumors about the 12-inch Retina MacBook. A report has suggested the notebook's launch will be pushed back due to continued Broadwell delays.

Rumors have also long focused on a possible Retina iMac and/or a 4K display, and back in June, hints of a Retina iMac were found in the OS X Yosemite beta. Less has been said about a potential 4K display in recent months, but an update to Apple's Thunderbolt Display is long overdue.

Along with new Macs, Yosemite's introduction may also include updates to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro to improve support for video captured with 4K cameras.

Apple Planning Mid-September Event for 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, Timing of 5.5-Inch Model Unclear

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is putting the finishing touches on iOS 8 in advance of a September iPhone and iOS 8 launch event. Based on current projections, Apple is unsurprisingly tentatively planning to hold this iPhone-oriented event in mid-September. In line with previous reports, Apple is said to be aiming for a second product launch event in October for the iWatch and OS X Yosemite.

iphone_5s_6__side_grass
iPhone 5s with mockups of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models

Similar to other recent September events, Apple is reportedly planning to focus on only iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 in this year's September event. While the 4.7-inch iPhone will headline the presentation, the debut of the 5.5-inch model is still uncertain as it is further behind the 4.7-inch model in both testing and manufacturing.
These people say that the second and third weeks of September are the mostly likely weeks for the event to be held, but they add that manufacturing uncertainties could alter the event’s timeframe. A decision has not been finalized, and sources made it clear that the plans are in flux.
This information aligns with an earlier report that suggests Apple may push off the 5.5-inch model until 2015.

The report claims iOS 8 is on track for its public release this fall, with a fifth and final beta version expected on Monday, August 4, although a separate report from BGR claims a sixth beta is planned for Friday, August 15. A golden master version may debut a few weeks later at the end of August or early September. As rumored, dual-screen multi-tasking for the iPad and Maps improvements are still in the works, but these features are not expected to be available at launch and would come in a later iOS 8 update.

Following the September event, Apple also is planning a second event in October that will showcase the iWatch, Apple's entry into the wearables market. This late fall event also will be used to discuss OS X Yosemite as well as unveil new iPad models. The iPad update is expected to be a modest refresh with hardware additions such as Touch ID and a faster A8 processor.

Apple's 36% Boost in Research and Development Spending Points to Strong Product Pipeline

Apple made a significant investment into research and development this past quarter, increasing spending in the category by 36 percent over the same quarter last year, reports Financial Times. As noted by BTIG Research analyst Walt Piecyk, Apple's $1.6 billion quarterly investment represents 4 percent of sales, the highest percentage of spending in R&D since 2006, the year before Apple released the first iPhone.

This huge increase supports rumors the company is investing significantly in more than just new iPhones, iPads, and Macs for its upcoming product pipeline. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly confirmed the company is preparing to enter new product categories, with Cook saying Apple is working "really great stuff." Apple's Internet Software and Services chief Eddy Cue also enthusiastically noted that Apple's planned products for 2014 are "the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple."

iwatch-concept-nike
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton

The highlight of these new products is likely the iWatch, a fitness-oriented smartwatch rumored for release later this year. The sensor-laden wearable device is expected to sync with the iPhone including via a new Health app for iOS 8 and may monitor vital health parameters such as blood pressure, oxygen levels and hydration status. A recently awarded patent hints at some of the advanced connectivity features Apple could embed into the device in future iterations.

Over the past several years, Apple has been hiring a number of medical and wearables experts, presumably to work on the iWatch team. Apple has also been pursuing hires from the fashion industry including former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve and former sales director of luxury watch company TAG Heuer Patrick Pruniaux. New retail chief Angela Ahrendts also comes from the fashion industry, having served as CEO of Burberry.

Related roundup: iWatch

OS X Yosemite Public Beta Launches Tomorrow, July 24

In a coordinated release today, a number of publications have released official overviews of the latest OS X Yosemite beta build alongside word of Apple's plans to open up the public beta tomorrow, July 24. As noted by The Loop, the public beta of Yosemite will be the same build released to developers on Monday.
The public beta version of OS X Yosemite is the same version released to developers on Monday, so to start off, consumers and developers will be running the same software. However, the developer version of Yosemite will be updated more often over the next few months than the public beta version. This is so developers can continue to test their software with the latest operating system available. Consumers really don’t need updates that frequently.
yosemite_public_beta_machines
As far as the overviews designed to bring members of the public beta up to speed as the program launches, the general feeling is positive. Some note, however, that many of Yosemite's best features involve integration with iOS 8 and will be inaccessible during the public beta as the program covers only OS X. Here are a few snippets:

- Dana Wollman, Engadget
For anyone who thought OS X was getting stale, that it was evolving a little too gradually, you'll definitely want to check out Yosemite: It ushers in a new, iOS-inspired design, along with some new, iOS-like features. In my week of testing, I've found the updated look to be more visually pleasing than the previous version, yet still easy to navigate. The new features are generally welcome too, though some admittedly feel more granular than others.
- Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch
We’ve had some time with the pre-release build ahead of today’s launch, and our time spent with the next version of Apple’s desktop OS has proven one thing: Yosemite offers a host of great new features for users new to Mac and experienced Apple fans alike. Even the pre-launch build feels like a solid step-up from Mavericks, which bodes well for the finished result that should launch once Apple irons out the bugs and incorporates user feedback from its beta test program.
- Lauren Goode, Re/code
I like its new design, the small improvements in Safari and Messages, and what appear to be promising fixes in Mail. It has already made a better impression on me than Mavericks did right out of the gate. But it’s also still very much a work in progress.
The official launch of OS X Yosemite to the general public will come later this year, likely in the October timeframe. The public beta program is limited to the first one million users to sign up on Apple's site.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Apple Addresses iOS 'Backdoor' Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services [Updated]

apple_security_iconEarlier this week, forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski attracted attention for his disclosures of what appeared to be "backdoors" in iOS that could allow for covert data collection of users' information from their devices. While Apple issued a statement denying that anything nefarious was involved, the company has now posted a new support document (via Cabel Sasser) offering a limited description of the three services highlighted in Zdziarski's talk.
Each of these diagnostic capabilities requires the user to have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer. Any data transmitted between the iOS device and trusted computer is encrypted with keys not shared with Apple. For users who have enabled iTunes Wi-Fi Sync on a trusted computer, these services may also be accessed wirelessly by that computer.
The three processes include:

- com.apple.mobile.pcapd: Diagnostic packet capture to a trusted computer, used for diagnosing app issues and enterprise VPN connection problems.

- com.apple.mobile.file_relay: Used on internal devices and can be accessed (with user permission) by AppleCare for diagnostic purposes on the user's device.

- com.apple.mobile.house_arrest: Used by iTunes for document transfer and by Xcode during app development and testing.

Security experts will undoubtedly have additional questions about just how these services work and whether there are better and more secure ways of accomplishing the tasks they handle. At the very least, however, today's disclosure demonstrates a willingness by Apple to share information about the legitimate need for these services and should help quell unsupported speculation that Apple has worked with security agencies to implement these tools to allow for covert surveillance.

Update July 23, 9:52 AM: Zdziarski has responded [Google cache] to Apple's posting of the support document, acknowledging the disclosures but arguing that Apple is downplaying the power of these services.
I give Apple credit for acknowledging these services, and at least trying to give an answer to people who want to know why these services are there – prior to this, there was no documentation about file relay whatsoever, or its 44 data services to copy off personal data. They appear to be misleading about its capabilities, however, in downplaying them, and this concerns me. I wonder if the higher ups at Apple really are aware of how much non-diagnostic personal information it copies out, wirelessly, bypassing backup encryption. All the while that Apple is downplaying it, I suspect they’ll also quietly fix many of the issues I’ve raised in future versions. At least I hope so. It would be wildly irresponsible for Apple not to address these issues, especially now that the public knows about them.
Zdziarski also emphasizes that he has never suggested Apple is involved in a conspiracy to open up these services for surveillance - only that they could be used by those seeking to access such data.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite May Launch Separately Despite Integration Features

While iOS and Mac OS X have traditionally followed different release schedules, Apple's recently announced Continuity features suggested it was possible for Apple's two operating systems to debut at the same time. However, Apple is planning to stagger the releases of both iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, reports 9to5Mac, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans.

continuity
iOS 8 is expected to launch in September alongside the iPhone 6 while OS X Yosemite will not launch until October. Apple used the same release schedule last year, launching iOS 7 alongside the iPhone 5s in September and OS X Mavericks one month later in October.

Continuity allows users to work seamlessly between iPhone, iPad and Mac, with the ability to start emails on one device and easily finish it on another, or using Macs and iPads to answer phone calls and "green bubble" text messages. Because iOS and OS X have never been designed to work better together than with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, many saw a dual release as a good opportunity for Apple to cross-promote both its iOS devices and Macs with a stand-out new feature like Continuity.

Apple is planning on using engineering and user interface design members from the iOS team to help complete OS X Yosemite in time for a fall release, with a public beta planned as early as later this month.

Apple Facing Class Action Lawsuit From 20,000 Employees Over Alleged Labor Code Violations

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit in California over a number of alleged Labor Code violations, with the company being accused of not providing timely meal breaks, timely rest breaks, and timely final paychecks, reports TechCrunch.
Plaintiffs bring this Class Action against Defendants to recover for, among other things, failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements, and failure to pay timely wages on the end of employment, interest, attorneys' fees, penalties, costs, and expenses on behalf of themselves, the Plaintiff Class, and the Plaintiff Subclasses.
Originally filed in December of 2011 by four former Apple retail and corporate employees in San Diego, the lawsuit was certified as class action yesterday and could affect up to 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state of California.

apple_retail_employees
According to the filing, which demands a jury trial, employee complaints cover a wide range of possible labor code violations. One complaint, for example, cites employees having to work for five hours straight without a meal break, while another complaint suggests that Apple took several weeks to send out a final check to multiple employees.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages and restitution of all monies due to affected employees from unlawful business practices, along with interest, but it does not specify a damages amount.

Along with this new class action lawsuit, Apple is embroiled in a class action lawsuit with Apple retail employees who allege that Apple's bag checking policies have resulted in lost wages, a suit that also accuses Apple of violating state labor laws.

iPad Sales Total 225 Million Units Since 2010 as Apple Claims 'Significant Innovation' Coming

During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

ipad_air_family_20136
Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.

Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.

In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted "significant innovation can be brought to the iPad", stating "[Apple] plans on doing that" and that the tablet category as a whole is still "in its infancy." Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor.

The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger "iPad Pro" which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple's plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.

Related roundups: iPad Air, iPad mini

Apple Acquired 29 Companies Since Beginning of Fiscal 2014, Including Five Since April

During today's third quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 29 companies over the course of the last nine months, including five new companies after the end of the March quarter. Of the 29 companies purchased, some are known but many remain unknown.

Only two of Apple's newest acquisitions have been revealed, including LuxVue Technology in early May Spotsetter in June, leaving three unknown acquisitions. The May acquisition of Beats was not counted in the 29 company total because the deal, which was Apple's most expensive purchase to date, doesn't close until this quarter. After the Beats deal closes, the total number of acquisitions will rise to 30.

beats.png
Earlier in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform.

Many of the other acquisitions were made in 2013, and those purchases focused heavily on mapping. 2013 acquisitions included mapping companies BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company.

The technology from Apple's acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates. For example, significant mapping updates are expected sometime after the launch of iOS 8, adding transit directions and improved indoor mapping techniques.

During the company's April earnings call, Tim Cook said Apple was "on the prowl" for additional companies to acquire and in today's call, Cook said that Apple is always looking at acquisition space and doesn't let "money burn a hole in our pocket."

Apple Reports Q3 2014 Results: $7.7 Billion Profit on June Quarter Record $37.4 Billion in Revenue [Call Complete]

Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the second calendar quarter and third fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $37.4 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $35.3 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 59 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an upcoming dividend payment of $0.47 per share, payable on August 14 to shareholders of record as of August 11. The company currently holds $164.5 billion in cash and marketable securities.

linechart
Quarterly iPhone unit sales reached 35.2 million, up from 31.2 million in the year-ago quarter, and the company sold 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.4 million Macs, up from 3.8 million in the year-ago period.
“Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce.”
Apple's guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 includes expected revenue of $37-40 billion and gross margin between 37 and 38 percent.

piechart2
Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q3 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Earnings call highlights are available after the jump.

Click here to read rest of article...

Images Depict Possible iPhone 6 Lightning/Headphone Flex Cable, Rear Shell

With the 4.7-inch iPhone entering mass production this month, part leaks and rumors surrounding the device are beginning to pick up. Several different internal and external parts said to be destined for the iPhone 6 have surfaced and today, Apple.club.tw [Google Translate] has shared images depicting the flex cable for the Lightning and headphone parts along with another image of the iPhone 6 rear shell.

The flex cable said to be for the iPhone 6 includes the headphone jack on the far left, a microphone next to that, and the Lightning port located on the middle of the part. It looks very similar to the Lightning/headphone flex cable designed for the iPhone 5s, but the headphone jack has dual screw holes towards the top of the part, a variation from the iPhone 5s design.

Lightningconnectorassembly
These two holes appear to accurately line up with the dual holes in the bottom left of the rear shell of the device, suggesting the headphone jack would fit correctly into the iPhone 6 rear shell and lending credence to the authenticity of the part.

As for the rear shell, it appears very similar to previously shared images of the iPhone 6 rear shell, including a near-completed rear shell with embedded Apple logo that surfaced yesterday. Like that shell, this one features an iPad-style embedded Apple logo, clear cutouts for the camera and flash, and very prominent antenna breaks.

iphone6rearshelldiagram
Yellow circle indicates two holes that match the holes on the headphone jack of the flex cable, red circle indicates the difference in screw hole location between iPhone 5s/iPhone 6.

Some reports have speculated that the embedded Apple logo is designed to light up, but it is more likely that the embedded logo is for aesthetic and/or radio transparency purposes.

As we creep closer to the prospective September launch date of the iPhone 6, part leaks may grow even more frequent. Thus far all part leaks have centered around the 4.7-inch iPhone, and this is because it is believed to be entering mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may enter production in August or September according to rumors, which means 5.5-inch part leaks could pick up over the next month or two as well.

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

Questionable Claim of 30% Slimmer 'iPad Mini Air' Launching in Late 2014

According to a new report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple's third-generation iPad mini will be an "Air"-like model, featuring a design that shaves 30 percent off the thickness of the device. This thinness along with a powerful new A8 processor will be among the main selling points for the next generation iPad mini, claims the Asian sources (via GforGames).

ipad6
Mockups of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air from Apple.club.tw

While the sources of the rumor are given only as from the supply chain, the claim of a 30 percent thinner iPad mini seems to be an overly optimistic one. The original iPad mini measured 7.2 mm thick, and the device saw a slight increase to 7.5 mm with the move to a Retina display last year. The larger iPad Air moved in the opposite direction last year, slimming down from 9.4 mm in the fourth-generation iPad to match the Retina iPad mini at 7.5 mm.

A 30 percent reduction in thickness for the iPad mini would put it in the range of 5.25 mm, and how Apple would achieve such a reduction is unclear, especially given the increase in horsepower seen with the move to a Retina display last year. That move made the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini essentially identical with the exception of display size.

Apple is expected to release the updated iPad mini in the third quarter of 2014, likely following the iPhone 6 launch in September. Besides a possible thinner form factor and A8 processor, the next generation iPad mini also is expected to include a more durable Touch ID fingerprint sensor containing tin. Similar to the iPhone, the next generation iPad is expected to support iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party developers to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes.

Besides the iPad Air and iPad mini, Apple is rumored to be expanding its iPad lineup with a larger 12.9-inch iPad. Dubbed the "iPad Pro," the larger model may not be released until 2015, claims DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. This prediction echoes a earlier report from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo who also predicted a 2015 launch date for the oversized tablet device.

Related roundup: iPad mini

Apple Outlines Smart Wristband with Phone Connectivity and Gesture Control in New Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes a wrist-worn device containing sensors and wireless radios that allow it to communicate with other devices such as the iPhone, iPad or Mac (Via AppleInsider). It is a comprehensive patent that describes some of the core features of Apple's rumored iWatch device.

itime-patent
Front view of a device similar to a sixth-generation iPod nano docked into wristband

The invention details a modular device, identified in the patent as the "iTime", that features a wrist-worn, sensor-laden strap and potentially removable modules. The modules, such as a media player, can snap into a wristband, which contains add-ons like GPS and a Wi-Fi radio that increase the functionality of the device. The system is reminiscent of the sixth-generation iPod nano, which fits a wristband to become a wearable media player.
The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch. According to one embodiment, an electronic wristband can provide additional electrical circuitry or devices that can be made available for use as or with an electronic device. In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices. Advantageously, the electronic device can utilize the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment the capabilities of the electronic device. In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices.
itime_side
Side view showing wristband with docking connector (314)

Apple also describes a method of connecting the smartwatch to a mobile device that allows for the display of incoming calls, text messages and other alerts on the wrist-worn display. In another embodiment, the device can alert the user when it is out of range and thus at risk of being lost or stolen. The patent also contains provisions for movement-based controls of the wristwatch device.

Apple is rumored to be working on the iWatch, a smartwatch device that could debut later this year. Rumors suggests the wristband may include sensors to monitor activity levels, heart rate and other vital health functions. The device likely will share its data with iOS via the new Health app in iOS 8.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple Preparing Between 70 and 80 Million 4.7 and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Units to Meet High Consumer Demand

Apple is asking its suppliers to manufacture a massive number of 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones in anticipation of high consumer demand, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company is seeking between 70 and 80 million units combined of the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by December, its largest order to date and a major jump from last year, where it ordered between 50 and 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models.
Its forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C--which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.
With high iPhone 6 numbers, Apple is likely hoping to avoid the supply/demand crisis it saw last year with the iPhone 5s. After the iPhone 5s launched in September of 2013, Apple saw unexpectedly high demand for the flagship device, likely due to its new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The phone was in short supply for much of 2013, and Tim Cook later admitted that Apple had expected a more balanced demand between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

iphone_5s_6_grass
4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

Demand for the iPhone 6 will likely be extremely high, as it marks both a redesign and the introduction of a larger screen, a long-awaited feature that could cause a massive spike in upgrades from both iPhone upgraders and those switching from Android. According to analyst estimates, Apple could see a 15 to 20 percent jump in unit sales year over year.

Apple partners Foxconn and Pegatron are said to be hiring massive numbers of new employees to help assemble the iPhone 6, with main supplier Foxconn taking on an additional 100,000 employees and Pegatron adding 10,000.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is expected to enter production in July, while production on the 5.5-inch version will begin in August or September. At this time, it remains unclear if the two iPhone 6 models will launch simultaneously, as rumors have suggested production issues may push back the launch of the 5.5-inch iPhone to late 2014 or early 2015.

In-cell display technology for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been said to be causing significant problems and The Wall Street Journal suggests there may be additional complications if the larger device also uses a sapphire display. Apple is reportedly asking component makers to prepare enough parts for up to 120 million iPhone 6 models in order to compensate for high failure rates.

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

Apple Launches New 'The Notebook People Love' MacBook Air Ad

Apple has launched a new television ad for the MacBook Air, "Stickers," showing off an array of customizable decals placed over the Apple symbol on the back of the notebook.

Decals shown include various sunglasses, hats, and headphones, along with nods to Breaking Bad, Peanuts, Ice Age, Snow White, Pac Man, Chi the Cat, The Simpsons, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Tasmanian Devil, Hello Kitty, Catwoman, and Mickey Mouse.

There are also cameras, record players, trees, faces, cityscapes, planets, scuba divers, 8-bit games, a variety of abstract designs and patterns, and more, plus a Beats logo. The new spot ends with a side view of the MacBook Air and the tagline "The notebook people love." Apple has also posted a "Stickers" page on its website detailing some of the decals in the video.

A celebration of all the many ways people love the MacBook Air, featuring music from artist/producer, Hudson Mohawke.
Apple's MacBook Air, last refreshed in April of 2014, is known for its portability and ultrathin size, weighing in at 2.38 pounds for the 11-inch model and 2.96 pounds for the 13-inch model. The MacBook Air is also Apple's most affordable notebook, with prices beginning at $899.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Intel Launches New Core i5, i7 Haswell Processors Possibly Slated for Retina MacBook Pro Refresh

Intel yesterday launched new Haswell processors designed for high-end notebooks, which could be slated for use in an upcoming refresh of the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models.

As detailed by CPU World, Intel has released three new Core i5 chips and three new Core i7 chips that are all successors to the chips currently used in the 13 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. The new processors provide a modest 200 MHz speed boost over existing Haswell chips.

newhaswellchips
The Core i7-4770HQ chip at 2.2 GHz is a direct replacement for the Core i7-4750 used in the lower-end 2.0 GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, while the Core i7-4870HQ chip at 2.5 GHz is a direct replacement for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro's existing Core i7-4850 chip at 2.3 GHz. The Core i7-4980HQ chip at 2.8 GHz replaces the high-end build-to-order Core-i7 4960 processor at 2.6 GHz.

As for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, the Core-i5 4278U, the Core i5-4308U, and the Core i7-4578U all offer the same 200 MHz jump over the existing Core i5-4258, Core i5-4288, and Core i7-4558 used in the three processors available for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, bringing the low-end up to 2.6 GHz, the mid tier to 2.8 GHz, and the high-end build-to-order option to 3.0 GHz.

Earlier this year, an Intel roadmap revealed direct Haswell successors for the MacBook Air and the iMac, but at the time, there did not appear to be any chips available for a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro update. The chips in the roadmap designed for the MacBook Air were used in the April refresh as we expected, and the newly released chips are likely destined for an upcoming Retina MacBook Pro update.

As these chips only offer a small 200MHz boost over existing chips, the fall Retina MacBook Pro refresh that has been previously rumored is likely to be only a minor update. A major Retina MacBook Pro update is unlikely until Intel's Broadwell chips are ready in 2015.

Last week, a rumor suggested redesigned 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models were slated to enter production in August, but it is unclear what chips those machines might utilize as Intel has not yet released another set of Haswell chips suitable for a MacBook Air refresh.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro