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Apple Working to Transform HealthKit Into Diagnosis Tool Aided by New Apple Watch Apps

Apple has hired "scores of healthcare experts" in recent years to develop improved electronic health record software, with an ultimate goal of transforming HealthKit into a tool that improves diagnoses, reports Bloomberg. The system could chip away at two problems that plague the industry and have stumped other specialist firms in the field: interoperability -- allowing data to be transferred from hospital to hospital across different databases; and analysis -- making it quick and easy for physicians to extrapolate salient information from mountains of data.If the efforts are successful, HealthKit could eventually interpret health and fitness data and provide advice to patients, doctors, and others accordingly. The collection of health and fitness data will be aided by the Apple Watch, including two new apps that will help users track their sleep patterns and gauge their fitness levels by "measuring the time taken for the heart rate to fall from its peak to resting level," according to the report. "If you drive for a while and your car gets too hot, it says pull over. If you need an oil change, it says check your oil. What's the equivalent for the body?" said Apple CEO Tim Cook at Startup Fest Europe in May. "Health is a huge issue around the world and we think it's ripe for simplicity and a new view."

Apple to Release New MacBook Pro and Air as Early as October, AMD iMacs and 5K Display With LG Also in Works

Apple is planning to refresh its Mac lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as early as October, according to Bloomberg. The report also claims Apple is working on a standalone 5K display in partnership with LG Electronics, while it plans to update iMac models with an option for new graphics chips from AMD. The report reiterates that the new MacBook Pro will be thinner and include an OLED-based touchscreen strip along the top of the flatter keyboard, which will present functions that dynamically fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint.For example, if a user is on their desktop, the screen will show a virtual representation of the standard function row, which includes brightness and media controls. When in an application, the virtual row will show options specific to the task at hand, but volume controls and a switch to show the default functions will always be present.Apple has reportedly named the feature "Dynamic Function Row" internally, but its official name may differ when announced. The tweaked MacBook Air models, meanwhile, are said to include multipurpose USB-C ports, which makes the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 a possibility. No other details were shared about the planned MacBook Air and iMac refreshes. Apple's plans to work with LG on a standalone 5K display surface two months after it discontinued the five-year-old Thunderbolt Display. It remains unclear if the monitor will be based upon the Retina 5K iMac, and it is also unclear if the report's broad late

New iPad Pro With Faster Display and Wider Support for Apple Pencil to Launch Next Year

Apple is planning new hardware and software features for iPad that cater to professional users, according to Bloomberg, including a new iPad with faster display technology that allows for smoother on-screen zooming, panning, and scrolling. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said Apple will release a 10.5-inch iPad Pro model next year alongside a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a "low-cost" 9.7-inch iPad model. The fate of the iPad mini remains uncertain, but it is presumable that Apple could discontinue the 7.9-inch tablet due to its lack of Apple Pencil support and relatively close proximity in size to 5.5-inch Plus-sized iPhones. The new hardware will be completed by wider iOS support for the Apple Pencil, the report adds. Apple is reportedly planning to introduce the new software features in a subsequent iOS 10 update in the first half of 2017, but may decide to hold back on the improvements until iOS 11 is released later in the year.Apple has considered allowing users to annotate objects in many applications across the whole operating system, including in Mail, the Safari web browser, and iMessage, similar to what Samsung Electronics Co. offers on its Note smartphones, the person said. Currently, Apple only supports Pencil functionality in specifically developed apps.Apple saw its iPad revenue grow slightly for the first time in 10 quarters in July, and these improvements could help the company continue that

Apple Working on Video-Sharing Social Network App for Launch in 2017

Apple is working on its own social networking app, in the style of Facebook and Snapchat, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The company, "seeking to capitalize on the popularity of social networks," will focus on video in the new app, letting users record a video, edit it, apply a filter, add doodles, and then send it out to friends. Apple's goal is said to make the app quick and easy to use, with one-handed controls and an interactive process that includes shooting, editing, and uploading videos "in less than one minute." Apple and CEO Tim Cook are said to be looking to its services business to continue to increase profit as its hardware sales slow down amid a modest update year for its flagship iPhone line. In order to "remain relevant" on the software side of things, the company wants to aim the new app at younger users who are spending 50 minutes a day on Facebook's family of apps (including Instagram and Messenger), and 30 minutes a day on Snapchat. The growth of Apple’s hardware business is slowing and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is looking to the company’s services business, such as the App Store and iCloud storage, as a way to generate increased revenue. Apple has failed to successfully launch social-media services in the past, including an iTunes-focused social network called Ping in 2010. Now as Snapchat and Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger apps grow atop Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, Apple is seeking to create its own features to remain relevant, particularly for younger users. One of the prototype designs for the unnamed app was said

Apple Watch 2 With GPS for Improved Navigation, Fitness Tracking Coming This Fall

Apple plans to announce new Apple Watch models this fall with improved health tracking and GPS chips, according to a new Bloomberg report that confirms previous rumors we've heard about the Apple Watch 2. The upcoming Apple Watch 2 will not, however, feature cellular connectivity to make it less dependent on the iPhone, as Apple has not been able to compensate for the extra battery life that a cellular connection consumes. Apple had been in talks this year with mobile phone carriers in the U.S. and Europe to add cellular connectivity to the watch, according to people familiar with the talks. A cellular chip would have theoretically allowed the product to download sports score alerts, e-mail and mapping information while out of an iPhone's reach. During the discussions, Apple executives expressed concern that the cellular models may not be ready for release this year and that the feature may be pushed back to a later generation, according to the people. Apple warned that, even on an aggressive schedule, the earliest possible shipment time-frame for cellular models would have been this December, one of the people said.Apple is researching low-power cellular chips for future versions of the Apple Watch, but has been unable to make it work for 2016. The company's "ultimate goal" for the Apple Watch is to decouple it from the iPhone, but technology will need to improve before it is able to do so. LTE connectivity and significant Apple Watch design changes are not expected before 2017. The addition of a GPS chip, something planned for the next-generation Apple Watch,

MacBook Pro Lineup Set For 'Most Significant Overhaul in Over 4 Years'

Apple is about to unveil the most significant overhaul of its MacBook Pro lineup in over four years, according to people familiar with the matter (via Bloomberg). Today's claim appears in the second report from the news outlet this week professing insider information on Apple's upcoming product plans. Consistent with previous rumors, the article says the updated notebooks are thinner and will include a touchscreen strip along the top of the keyboard, which is expected to present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint. The new top-of-the-line MacBook Pros will be slightly thinner than the current models but are not tapered like the MacBook Air and latest 12-inch MacBook, one of the people said. The new MacBook Pros have a smaller footprint than current models and the casing has shallower curves around the edges. The pressure-sensitive trackpad is also slightly wider, the person added.More significantly perhaps, the anonymous source claims the new MacBook Pros will feature more powerful and efficient graphics processors for "expert users such as video gamers". An option for a version featuring a higher-performance graphics chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will be available, another person familiar with the matter said. It’s unclear which provider Apple will use for the main processor, but Intel Corp. has supplied this in the past. Apple is using one of AMD's "Polaris" graphics chips because the design offers the power efficiency

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to Feature Pressure-Sensitive Home Button With Haptic Feedback

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will feature a flush pressure-sensitive home button in place of the physical switch button found on previous iPhones, according to a Bloomberg report filed this morning. Citing people familiar with the matter, the news outlet said that the new models will have a pressure-sensitive button "similar to trackpads in the latest MacBook line" that will provide feedback to the user via a vibrating haptic sensation instead of a true physical click. Last month, Mac Otakara cited unspecified supply chain sources that it claimed confirmed the veracity of an April Stormmedia report suggesting the same thing. MacRumors has also heard the same rumor from DigiTimes and analysts at Cowen and Company, but Bloomberg's report today substantially increases the likelihood that the rumor is indeed accurate. In addition, the article claims that the dual cameras now widely expected on the larger iPhone 7 will produce brighter photos with more detail, "according to a person who has used a prototype version of the upcoming device". Both sensors, which each capture color differently, simultaneously take a picture, and the device produces a single, merged photograph, said the person. The dual system sharpens photos taken in low-light environments, the person said. The combination of the merged photos from the two camera sensors also allows users to zoom while retaining more clarity, the person added.Elsewhere, Bloomberg noted that the new iPhones will have no antenna bands running across the back of the handsets, and Apple will remove the headphone jack in favor

Apple's Car Project Shifts Towards Autonomous Driving System Under Mansfield's Direction

Bob Mansfield, a longtime Apple executive who previously served as Senior Vice President of Technologies, recently took over Apple's secret car project. Under his leadership, Apple's car strategy has shifted towards autonomous driving, reports Bloomberg. Apple is not abandoning its effort to build a full Apple Car, but it is said to be focusing more heavily on creating an autonomous driving system that would perhaps allow it to partner with or purchase a car manufacturer in the future. Apple is now said to be pursuing a two-prong development approach, working both on a car and the software to power it. As Apple takes a renewed interested in autonomous driving systems, it has hired Dan Dodge, who ran BlackBerry's automotive software division and developed QNX, the software platform found in a wide range of in-car infotainment systems. Dodge, like other Apple car engineers and employees, reports to Mansfield, while Mansfield reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Mansfield reportedly has three distinct teams in his division: a software team led by John Wright, a sensor team led by Benjamin Lyon, and a hardware engineering team led by D.J. Novotney. Under Mansfield's direction, Apple is continuing its aggressive hiring policies, taking on former Ford employees Todd Gray and Aindrea Campbell, both of whom have experience with car body manufacturing and research. With Mansfield at the helm, Apple may be able to get its car project back on track. Rumors have suggested that the departure of Steve Zadesky, who formerly led the project, resulted in delays, internal

iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 to Use A9 and A9X Processors

In a profile of Johny Srouji, Apple's SVP of Hardware Technologies who oversees Apple's chip development, Bloomberg quietly confirmed some key processor details about Apple's upcoming devices, the iPhone 5se and the iPad Air 3. Both products will use Apple's latest chip technologies, with the iPhone 5se adopting the A9 processor from the iPhone 6s and the iPad Air 3 adopting the A9X processor first used in the iPad Pro. Early iPhone 5se rumors were offered conflicting information on the processor that would be used, with some pointing towards the A9 and others pointing towards the previous-generation A8. Later rumors have solidified around the A9, and now we've got confirmation from a reliable source. For the iPad Air 3, while the A9X seemed like a logical choice for the tablet, there was no prior rumor suggesting it was indeed the chip Apple would be using, so Bloomberg's concrete information about the chip is worth highlighting. Bloomberg's piece also further confirms Apple's planned March event, which is rumored to be taking place mid-month, on March 15. Further rumors have suggested the two devices will be released online and in retail stores just days after their unveiling, on March 18.In March, Apple intends to announce an updated iPad and smaller-screen iPhone featuring the latest A9x and A9 chips, according to a person familiar with the plans, who wasn't authorized to comment publiclyThe iPhone 5se is Apple's 4-inch iPhone, which will be sold alongside its larger-screened flagship devices. iPhone 5se rumors suggest it will look like a cross between an

Apple Developing iPhone With Extended Range Wireless Charging for as Soon as 2017

Apple is reportedly developing a wirelessly-charged iPhone for as soon as 2017, according to Bloomberg. The company is working with its partners in both the U.S. and Asia to create the technology. Apple is exploring cutting-edge technologies that would allow iPhones and iPads to be powered from further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. The iPhone maker is looking to overcome technical barriers including loss of power over distance with a decision on implementing the technology still being assessed, they said.Current wirelessly-charged devices require users to place their phones or other devices on charging mats. In September 2012, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said that the company wasn't sure of how convenient wireless charging is as most wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into a wall. In early January, it was reported that Apple was working on wireless charging for the iPhone 7. However, that report warned that the feature could be pulled from the iPhone 7 for a future iteration of the device as Apple is working on the technology currently. Apple has held an interest in wireless charging since the first iPhone, gaining patents for wireless charging stations and wireless charging through a near field magnetic resonance, which wirelessly charges a device within a certain region. The Cupertino company has also shown an interest in WiTricity's wireless charging technology, which uses "hidden charging" technology that allows magnetic fields to wrap

Apple Working on Thinner, Brighter Displays at Secret Taiwanese Lab

Apple opened a secret laboratory in northern Taiwan earlier this year to develop thinner, lighter and brighter displays for future Apple devices, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple has also been recruiting talent from local display maker AU Optronics Corp. and Qualcomm to work at the new factory. Image via Bloomberg Apple began operating the lab this year as it aims to make products thinner, lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient. Engineers are developing more-advanced versions of the liquid-crystal displays currently used in iPhones, iPads and Mac personal computers, the people said. Apple also is keen to move to organic light-emitting diodes, which are even thinner and don’t require a backlight, they said.The facility, which was owned by Qualcomm, is still being staffed and currently has 50 employees. Apple has listed two job postings for the new Taiwan factory on its careers page. Both jobs require experience working with display technologies. Bloomberg was able to confirm that the factory is operated by Apple, noting that there was an Apple logo in the receptionist's area and that employees wore Apple ID badges. However, neither Apple nor any of the employees commented on what was being worked on inside the facility. Last week it was reported that Japan Display was planning to begin mass production of OLED displays for future iPhones in Spring 2018. The joint venture by Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba is reportedly in negotiations with Apple to secure OLED orders for future iPhones. Last month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that

3D Touch in iPhone 6s is a 'Breakthrough,' Was 'Really Hard' to Make

Apple today spent about ten minutes introducing 3D Touch as one of the headline features of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but a new Bloomberg interview with company executives Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller and Alan Dye reveals that Apple spent several years working on the challenging new display technology.“Ultimately, this is our focus,” says Ive, squeezing a new iPhone 6S. “This is what galvanizes our efforts right across the company.” And 3D Touch, he adds with emphasis, “is something we’ve been working on for a long time—multi, multi, multi years.”Schiller noted that, from an engineering standpoint, creating hardware that is capable of 3D Touch's functionality was "unbelievably hard," coming at a "tremendous amount of cost and investment in manufacturing" for Apple. For that reason, the company had to ensure it got the technology right. Accordingly, Apple set out to do just that.Working with Corning, Apple created pliable iPhone cover glass. Swipe it, and the phone works the way it always has. But press it, and 96 sensors embedded in the backlight of the retina display measure microscopic changes in the distance between themselves and the glass. Those measurements then get combined with signals from the touch sensor to make the motion of your finger sync with the image on screen. […] To make what is counterintuitive feel normal, each on-screen “peek” and “pop” is accompanied by a 10-millisecond or 15-millisecond haptic tap, little vibrations that say “good job” to your fingers when an action is complete. And, after a multi-year, tedious design

Apple Live TV Service Not Coming Until 2016

Bloomberg reports that Apple will be unable to deliver their rumored live TV-over-internet streaming service for the Apple TV until 2016. Content negotiations are reportedly stalling the launch of the service, which Apple had hoped to be ready for their rumored September 9th media event. The company wanted to introduce this year a live TV service delivered via the Internet, but is now aiming for 2016, said people familiar with Apple’s plans. Apparently, pricing of the new TV service is one of the main hurdles in the negotiations. Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to offer "a package of popular channels" for $40/month, a significant discount from the average cable bill. A new Apple TV set top box, however, is still said to be ready for release. The new Apple TV is rumored to have a touch-based remote control and full app store. Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV on September 9th

Apple Expands Seattle Presence With New Lease at Two Union Square

Apple has agreed to lease office space in the Two Union Square skyscraper in downtown Seattle, according to Bloomberg. The report claims that Apple will occupy the 44th floor and half of the 45th floor in the 56-story office building, which is a roughly 30,000-square-foot space that can house 120 to 200 employees based on standard corporate leasing ratios. Seattle has become a hotbed recently for Silicon Valley companies because of its talent pool and lower cost of living compared with the San Francisco Bay Area, with Amazon, Facebook, Google and Alibaba Group among the tech giants with offices in the region. Apple opened its first engineering office in the city last year after acquiring Union Bay Networks. Apple has hired more than 9,000 employees in the last year and now has a worldwide headcount of about 115,000, according to the report. The company's existing Seattle office focuses on core infrastructure services such as iCloud, suggesting the northwestern U.S. city could serve as a hub for its rumored high-speed content delivery network for faster cloud

Apple Starts Early Production on Next-Generation iPhones With Force Touch

Apple is starting production on its next-generation iPhones, reports Bloomberg, and the new models are equipped with Force Touch capabilities. Force Touch, first introduced with the Apple Watch, is a feature that's able to distinguish between a light tap and a harder press, enabling a range of new gestures. The two new iPhones will retain the same 4.7 and 5.5-inch display sizes, with an exterior design that's largely unchanged. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the addition of Force Touch could make the iPhone 0.2mm thicker, but it is unclear if that rumor is accurate. Apple Inc. has started early production of new iPhone models with a feature called Force Touch, which senses how hard users are pressing down on a screen, people with knowledge of the matter said. Its newest iPhones, in the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, will have a similar exterior design, the people said. Volume manufacturing is scheduled to ramp up as soon as next month, they said.Because the design of the new iPhones will remain the same, Bloomberg's sources believe final assembly will go smoothly, but caution that production volume could be impacted by the supply and yield of displays for the devices. Apple has been working to add Force Touch across its product lineup since unveiling the Apple Watch and has thus far incorporated the feature into the trackpads of the Retina MacBook and Retina MacBook Pro. Apple is expected to debut its next-generation "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" in September. Other rumors about the

Apple Rumored to Build High-Speed Network for Faster Cloud Services

Apple is building a high-speed content delivery network and plans to upgrade its data centers with more of its own equipment in an effort to better compete with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other cloud service providers, according to Bloomberg. The improved infrastructure will enable Apple to provide faster delivery of cloud-based content and services such as iCloud, iTunes and Siri. The high-speed network may be a prerequisite for Apple's much-rumored streaming music and TV services, the first of which is expected to be announced at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference today in San Francisco. Efficient content delivery will be important for both services, especially if the company plans to fulfill its ambitious goal of signing up 100 million subscribers for Apple Music. The foundation of Apple's high-speed data network will reportedly be long-haul pipes connecting the company's data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. Apple has also been planning ways to send data via fiber lines at hundreds of gigabits per second, as opposed to solely using off-the-shelf technology rented from third-party vendors, according to the report.“Apple wants to own pipes linking its four large U.S. data centers and Internet hubs in certain cities to ensure fast, reliable delivery of content and services. By adding capacity and increasing efficiency, it seeks to handle more traffic on its own, without renting as much server space from cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft, said people with knowledge of the plan, who asked not to be identified

FTC Also Investigating Apple's Upcoming Music Streaming Service

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Apple's efforts to set up deals with record labels as it prepares to launch its new music streaming service, a rebranded version of Beats Music, according to Bloomberg. This would make the FTC the third government body to look into the new music service after the U. S. Department of Justice and European Commission. The FTC's investigators, still in the early stages, of their inquiry, are asking whether Apple’s efforts will change the way music labels work with other streaming services, for example curtailing ad-supported music and pushing more songs into paid tiers of service at higher rates, according to one of the people.A couple days ago, a report emerged that Apple was utilizing its power within the music industry to push record labels to stop licensing freemium tiers offered by Spotify and other music services. The Cupertino company also reportedly offered to pay YouTube's licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its music on the website, which is a popular destination for music videos. The FTC is speaking to multiple record labels about Apple's practices. However, music-industry executives told Bloomberg that Apple has made no such demands. Similarly, the Department of Justice is also interviewing high-ranking music executives about Apple's practices. The European Commission is doing the same, concerned that Apple will use its size to force record labels to stop supporting freemium music tiers. Apple's Beats-based music streaming service will reportedly launch in June at WWDC, though

Samsung Confirmed to Produce A9 Chips for Apple's Next-Generation Devices

Samsung will provide Apple with A9 chips for its next-generation iPhone and other devices, reports Bloomberg, confirming a previous report in early February. Over the past couple of months there had been confusion and conflicting reports as to whether Samsung, Apple's longtime supplier and rival, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce the chips. Samsung will start making Apple A9 processor chips at its Giheung plant in South Korea, the people said, asking not to be identified because the contract hasn’t been discussed publicly. Additional orders will go to Samsung’s partner Globalfoundries Inc., according to another person familiar with the arrangement.In 2013, Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC in hopes of diversifying its supply chain resources and reducing its reliance on Samsung amid the two companies' ongoing legal disputes. It appears that Samsung's investment in manufacturing technologies won Apple over, with TSMC Chairman Morris Chang recently telling investors that the company would lose ground to Samsung in producing the most advanced chip technology possible in 2015, though he also noted the company would regain that advantage in 2016. Samsung is reportedly producing the chips with its advanced 14-nanometer process, which has outpaced TSMC's capabilities and results in smaller chips that consume less energy and provide more processing power. The Korean company is also said to be providing memory chips for Apple's next-generation devices. Thus far, little is known about what the next-generation iPhones or iPads

Apple Secretly Acquired Data Analytics Firm Acunu

Just a day after Apple acquired database company FoundationDB, Bloomberg reveals Apple had previously acquired U.K.-based data analytics company Acunu. The acquisition appeared to have happened in late 2013. The purchase of the Vienna, Virginia-based software maker follows a deal for closely held Acunu Ltd., a U.K.-based data analysis company, Apple said.Acunu creates technology that provides analytics on databases, and its technology can be used in conjunction with other tools, improving their performance. Bloomberg notes the company's tools work well with free Cassandra databases, which Apple runs on several thousand computers. It's likely that the Acunu acquisition will be used for iCloud and its various services, like iTunes Radio, the upcoming reimagined Beats Music streaming service and Apple's over-the-air TV service. Acunu Chief Technology Officer Tim Moreton began working in Apple's iCloud division in December 2013, and other Acunu employees made the jump to the Cupertino company in early

ResearchKit Receives Thousands of Sign-Ups Following Launch

Less than twenty-four hours after Apple unveiled ch">ResearchKit, the open source medical framework had received thousands of sign-ups, according to Bloomberg. The report claims that Stanford University researchers awoke on Tuesday morning, the day after Apple's "Spring Forward" media event, to discover that 11,000 people signed up for MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular disease app built using ResearchKit.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”ResearchKit is an open source software framework aimed at revolutionizing medical studies by making them more readily available to millions of iPhone users worldwide. When given permission, the framework uses the iPhone's various sensors to collect user data such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, information that Apple hopes will open up new possibilities for researchers. Apple will also enable users to answer surveys and input data directly from ResearchKit apps, although researchers caution that information collected from an iPhone user may be misleading due to various potential flaws. For starters, the report claims that iPhone users are more likely to have a graduate or doctoral degree than Android users, and the demographic differences can allegedly skew the results. “Just collecting lots of information about people -- who may or may not have a particular disease, and may or may not represent the typical