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Former Samsung Battery Exec Joins Apple as New Global Head of Battery Developments

Apple recently hired a Samsung battery executive as its new global head of battery developments, reports Bloomberg. Soonho Ahn, who previously worked for Samsung SDI, joined Apple in December.

Samsung SDI is a Samsung affiliate company that develops the lithium-on batteries used in smartphones. According to his LinkedIn profile, Ahn was Samsung's senior vice president of "next-generation batteries and materials innovation."


Before joining Apple, Ahn spent three years at Samsung leading lithium ion battery cell and pack developments. Prior to that, he worked at Next Generation Batteries R&D and LG Chem, plus he served as a professor in the energy & chemical engineering department of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea.

While Samsung is Samsung SDI's largest customer, Apple has used Samsung batteries in the past. Apple is continually working to lower its reliance on third-party companies by making device components in house, and Bloomberg believes Ahn's hiring perhaps suggests Apple is aiming to do the same thing with batteries.

Apple in 2018 was also in talks to purchase supplies of cobalt directly from miners, which would allow it to produce its own batteries.

Prior rumors have indicated Apple is working on developing its own MicroLED displays, LTE chips, and processors for its Mac lineup. Apple already makes its own A-series chips for iPhones, S-series chips for Apple Watches, and W-series chips for use in AirPods and Beats headphones.

Samsung made headlines for its batteries in 2016 after the Galaxy Note7 had to be recalled following multiple battery explosions that led to injuries and an airline ban. Samsung ultimately determined that there were multiple flaws that impacted the Note7 batteries, including a design flaw that could lead to short circuiting, missing insulation tape, and a welding defect.

It's not clear if Ahn was involved in the Samsung battery situation, but Samsung SDI was one of the Note7 battery suppliers. Since the Note7 incident, Samsung has introduced more comprehensive battery safety checks, and later Samsung devices have not had battery problems.

Tag: Samsung

iPhone SE is Again Available From Apple's Clearance Site for $249

Apple is once again offering the iPhone SE on its clearance site, making the now-discontinued device available for $249 to $299.

You can purchase the 32GB iPhone SE in Gold, Space Gray, Silver, or Rose Gold for $249, and the 128GB iPhone SE is also available for $299 in all colors.


The iPhone SE models Apple has available are discounted by $100 for 32GB of storage and $150 for 128GB of storage. The iPhones for sale are unlocked and brand new in box.

Apple originally discontinued the iPhone SE in September 2018 when the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR were announced. Apple's iPhone lineup now starts with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as its entry level devices.

The iPhone SE, first announced in March 2016, was the last 4-inch smartphone that Apple offered, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models now the smallest that Apple officially sells in retail stores.

Apple added discounted iPhone SE models to its clearance store on January 19, but available stock quickly sold out. Apple refreshed the store this afternoon to add additional supply, though what's in stock now could also potentially sell out quickly.

We don't know for sure why Apple is selling the iPhone SE again, but it's likely that Apple is clearing out remaining iPhone SE stock.

In 2018, there were rumors suggesting Apple was working on an iPhone SE 2, but in hindsight, some of the rumors were conflated with iPhone XR rumors and no second-generation 4-inch device materialized.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often provides accurate insight into Apple's plans, said in early 2018 that an iPhone SE 2 was unlikely, and other analysts have also suggested Apple no longer has plans to produce a new 4-inch model.

Hands-On With Dell's Massive 49-Inch 5K Ultrawide Display

Dell recently unveiled the first 49-inch ultrawide 5K monitor with a 32:9 aspect ratio, the result of which is a wide, immersive display with an impressive resolution.

In our latest YouTube video, we were able to go hands-on with Dell's U4919DW display, putting it through its paces to see if it's worth the $1250 asking price.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The U4919DW might look impractical at first glance, but it's essentially designed for people who like to use two 27-inch monitors side by side. It's a dual QHD display with a total resolution of 5120 x 1440 pixels and a curve that makes it a bit easier to see everything at once.

There are, of course, other ultrawide monitors with this same aspect ratio on the market, but Dell is the first company to introduce a higher resolution.

Design wise, the U4919DW looks similar to other Dell monitors, just on a larger scale. It's made from plastic, but with a clean, minimal look. Expect it to take up a ton of room on a desk, and on shallower tables, it's going to be tough to see everything at once without turning your head because the curvature is so slight.


The display is equipped with multiple ports, including two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 port, five USB-A ports, and 2 USB-A upstream ports. There's also a USB-C cable that allows the display to be used with Macs that support USB-C.

If you're using it with a device like a MacBook Pro, the display can provide up to 90W of power for charging purposes, cutting down on the number of cables you need on your desk. There's just the one USB-C port, though, so you're out of luck if you have multiple USB-C accessories.

There's a built-in KVM feature that lets you connect a keyboard and a mouse, a handy feature for switching between multiple computers connected to the display. You can connect a PC and a Mac or two Macs at the same time.


Having 49 inches of display on your desk means you can see everything all at once, which is amazing for multitasking purposes. It's excellent for everything from writing to video editing. You're not going to want to use it for serious gaming, though, because it maxes out at 60Hz and doesn't support G-Sync or Freesync.

Dell's monitor is designed to be used in landscape mode, of course, but we couldn't end this video without testing macOS's ability to take advantage of a display in portrait mode. Portrait mode isn't intended for a monitor this massive, but it's fun seeing websites like MacRumors on a display that's 48 inches tall.


All in all, if you regularly use two standard sized monitors side by side, Dell's 49-inch U4919DW display is a useful but pricey replacement. Portrait mode probably isn't the best use for it, but with the proper mounting, it's possible. Originally priced at $1,700, the display is now available from Dell for $1,250.

Tag: Dell

Apple Highlights Apple Pay Cash in New YouTube Videos

Apple today uploaded several new videos to its YouTube channel, each one designed to show off the Apple Pay Cash feature available on iOS devices.

Each 15 second video demonstrates the process of requesting and spending money using Apple Pay Cash in the Messages app, and then using the Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet to make purchases.




This isn't the first time that Apple has highlighted Apple Pay Cash, which was first introduced in iOS 11.2. The feature lets iPhone and iPad users send peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments to one another using the Messages app.

Money received via Apple Pay Cash can be used for Apple Pay payments or deposited in a bank account, similar to other mobile peer-to-peer payment services like Venmo.

Apple Pay Cash is limited to the United States at this time, but the feature has been popping up for users in countries like Canada and Australia, suggesting Apple is working on expanding it.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Target Confirms Apple Pay Rollout Won't Include REDcard

Target yesterday announced that all of its stores will begin accepting Apple Pay in the coming weeks, but it still won't be possible to add its store-branded REDcard debit or credit cards to the Apple Wallet app. REDcard is Target's loyalty program, offering an automatic five percent off most purchases everyday.


"REDcards cannot be added to Apple Pay as part of this rollout," a Target spokesperson confirmed with MacRumors today.

This means paying with a REDcard will still require inserting the physical card into the payment terminal or adding it to Target's mobile app and having the cashier scan a barcode at the checkout. The latter method requires opening the Target app and tapping on the Wallet tab to access the barcode.


Both options are less convenient than Apple Pay, which requires a quick double-click of the side button and authentication with Face ID on the iPhone X and newer, or briefly resting your finger on Touch ID on older iPhones.

Target already suggested that REDcards would not support Apple Pay on Twitter, but its "at this time" phrasing wasn't entirely clear.

Of course, Target could decide to allow REDcards to be added to the Apple Wallet app in the future. The retailer had avoided accepting Apple Pay entirely for several years until reversing course with this week's announcement, so it might be only a matter of time before it changes its mind again.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Target

Apple Continued to Spend Near-Record Amounts of Money Lobbying the Trump Administration in 2018

Apple spent $6.6 million on lobbying the U.S. government in 2018, after spending a record $7.1 million in 2017, according to disclosure forms (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) filed with the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Apple's lobbying expenses have increased significantly since the Trump administration assumed office two years ago, with the iPhone maker spending more than ever before to influence the current government on issues such as privacy, education, climate change, trade, immigration, tax reform, and patent reform.

The largest amount Apple ever spent on lobbying Obama's administration in a single year was $4.6 million in 2016, his last year in office.

Apple also lobbied the government on the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, regulation of mobile medical applications, and distribution of video programming, hinting at some of the company's upcoming products and services, such as its widely expected streaming TV service later this year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has maintained a civil relationship with Trump, but he has disagreed with some of the President's policies and actions as it relates to immigration, trade agreements with China, and beyond.

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.

Next-Gen AirPods With 'Health Monitoring' Features Said to be Coming in First Half of 2019

DigiTimes reports today that Apple will release next-generation AirPods that include "health monitoring features" in the first half of 2019.


In terms of wireless headsets, Apple is set to release AirPods 2 sometime in the first half of 2019, and the new wireless earbuds with discrete designs to carry health monitoring functions are expected to receive enthusiastic market responses.
The mention appears in an article focusing on how wearables are expected to drive market growth of rigid-flex printed circuit boards (PCBs) in 2019, but the report cites no sources for the AirPods rumor, and only mentions that Tiawan-based PCB makers Zhen Ding Tech and Flexium Interconnect supply components for Apple Watch and AirPods "at the moment."

DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans. The news site receives a flood of data from the Asian supply chain, some of which it claims pertains to prototypes or test products that never make it to market or change significantly before launch, skewing its accuracy.

With that in mind, and without corroborating sources, DigiTimes could be referring to a prediction from well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that new AirPods with a wireless charging case would debut late in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early in the first quarter of 2019. Kuo later clarified that report to say that he expects new wireless AirPods in early 2019.

Listings for New AirPods were added to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's regulatory database in November, suggesting a refreshed version of the accessory could well be coming soon. No new features are listed, but upcoming AirPods in the database do support the Bluetooth 5.0 specification, compared to Bluetooth 4.0 in the prior-generation AirPods.

Apple is also said working on third-generation AirPods that are set to be released in 2020 with a new design and perhaps improved water resistance that will allow the AirPods to hold up to "splashes of water and rain."

The AirPods aren't likely to be entirely water resistant, however, and won't be able to be submerged in liquid. These third-generation AirPods are also rumored to include noise cancellation features and increase the distance that AirPods can be listened to away from an iPhone or iPad.

Related Roundup: AirPods
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Caution)

Xiaomi Reveals Dual-Folding Flexible Phone in Teaser Video

Amidst increasing hype about foldable displays, Xiaomi has revealed that it is also working on its own flexible phone.


The Chinese mobile maker broke the news with a teaser video posted on Weibo that shows Xiaomi president and co-founder Lin Bin using what at first looks like a normal tablet device, until he folds back both sides of the display so that it resembles a distinctly phone-like form factor.

The physical power button is side-mounted on the device when in landscape orientation, which places it in a top-center location when in phone mode. In a neat touch, the size and orientation of the user interface also automatically adjusts in order to conform to the new dimensions of the display.

In a message accompanying the post, Bin wrote that the device is the result of the company overcoming technical challenges relating to folding displays, foldable hinges, flexible covers, and UI adaptation.

Bin admitted that what he hopes will become "the world's first dual-folding phone" is still just a prototype at this stage, but said that the company will consider mass producing it if the response from consumers is positive. Bin floated two possible names for the phone – the Mi Dual Flex and the Mi MIX Flex – although he said Xiaomi is open to suggestions from the public.

Last year, Samsung showed off its new Infinity Flex display technology in a device that features a 7.3-inch flexible display that can be folded in half. The company said it had developed an advanced composite polymer that's "flexible and tough" to replace the glass that's usually used as a display cover in smartphones.

Samsung is expected to formally announce its first commercially available foldable phone during its Galaxy S10 event on February 20 in San Francisco, California.

Rumors that Apple is developing an iPhone with a foldable display stretch back to December 2016, when it was reported that LG's display division would begin mass-producing foldable displays for smartphones as early as 2018. Apple was said to have chosen to work with LG Display and not Samsung out of fears that Samsung could get ahold of the sensitive tech.

LG is said to have created a dedicated task force to start developing a foldable OLED display for a future iPhone, while its siser company LG Innotek has a team developing a rigid flexible printed circuit board or (RFPCB) to go along with it.

LG has shown off several foldable display prototypes over recent years, including one that folds over like a book and a second that rolls up much like a newspaper.

Tag: Xiaomi

Apple CEO Tim Cook in Davos for World Economic Forum, Does Education-Related Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, meeting with world leaders, mingling with other CEOs of major companies, attending dinners, and doing interviews.


According to reports on Twitter, Cook met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and attended a dinner with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and more.


Cook also sat down for an education-focused interview with German site Bild, and while the original interview appears to be unavailable, Apple Must shared some details on what was discussed.

Cook's interview came on the day that Apple announced the translation of its Everyone Can Create curriculum to German, French, Spanish, and Italian on Apple Books, expanding its availability to additional countries.

According to Cook, Apple believes that "creativity is something everybody is born with," and "education is a great equalizer."
"People are not born with the same resources but many are born with incredible opportunities to learn and to move up and do incredible things in live." [..]

"I was born in a very rural lower middle class environment. I loved it and it's great for me but the thing that enabled me to do other things and to be at Apple today is education."
Cook says Apple's education-focused content like Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create is "for the people." "If it has an indirect effect on our business, that's fine," he said. "But frankly, this is from the heart."

Apple, Cook said, has created 1.5 million jobs across Europe with its iOS app economy, with the number of available app-related jobs growing each year. Cook believes that Apple's apps offer an "outstanding" educational opportunity, offering tools that can help kids learn faster when paired with great teachers.

Additional details about Cook's trip to Switzerland may come out over the course of the rest of the week, but thus far, it's not clear what else the CEO has done while in the country. The World Economic Forum lasts through Friday, January 25.

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.

Apple Extends iPod Touch Trademark to Include Gaming Devices

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month approved for publication a trademark application from Apple for the term "iPod touch" that would extend protection to cover "Hand-held units for playing electronic games; Handheld game consoles" under International Class 28 (games, toys, and sporting goods).

Apple has held a trademark for the iPod touch name since 2008 under International Class 9 (audiovisual and information technology equipment) with the following description:
Portable and handheld digital electronic devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files; computer software for use in organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio and video files on portable and handheld digital electronic devices.


As part of its justification for the new trademark application under gaming consoles, Apple submitted a screenshot of its iPod touch overview page scrolled to the "Gaming" section, with red arrows calling out the product name and the "Buy" button.

The iPod touch has of course been a handheld gaming console since its launch over a decade ago, so it's unclear why Apple has waited until now to extend its trademark coverage to include the area. It could be a purely defensive move to protect against competitors or other challenges, but given rumors last week of Apple working on a seventh-generation iPod touch some three and half years after the last update, there's naturally some speculation that there could be more to this.

We haven't heard any specific rumors about what to expect in a seventh-generation iPod touch, but we expect Apple to keep spec upgrades fairly minimal in order to maintain a low price point to appeal to customers who can't or don't want to step up to an iPhone.

Apple's new application will be published for opposition on February 19, and unless viable third-party opposition to Apple's claim appears, the company will be granted the trademark later this year.

Related Roundup: iPod touch
Buyer's Guide: iPod Touch (Caution)

Huawei Launches New 'Honor View 20' Smartphone With 'Hole-Punch' Camera Cutout

Honor, a smartphone brand owned by Huawei, today unveiled its newest device, the Honor View 20. The device launched at an event in Paris, and several tech publications were able to go hands-on with it.

A mid-range device, the Honor View 20 is the first Honor-branded smartphone that features a hole-punch notch in the display, maximizing view area with a single cutout just for the camera. This isn't the first device under the Huawei umbrella to have a hole-punch cutout - the Nova 4 also has a similar design.


The Honor View 20 is a 6.4-inch LCD display with rounded corners, the aforementioned camera cutout (which houses a 25-megapixel camera), a small bezel at the bottom of the device, and a speaker grille at the top of the casing. There's a rear-facing fingerprint sensor, a 48-megapixel rear camera paired with a second camera sensor for detecting objects in 3D, a 4,000mAh battery, and a Kirin 980 system-on-a-chip.


TechCrunch's Romain Dillet said the hole-punch cutout "definitely feels different" from an iPhone notch, but it looks weird located on the left side of the device. Still, it "looks great" when viewing photos and videos, and after just a few minutes, "you barely notice it."

"I hope more companies are going to follow this trend," writes Dillet.


CNET's Jessica Dolcourt was also able to give the new smartphone a try, calling it "visually mesmerizing." The display, according to Dolcourt, "feels as close to an edge-to-edge screen as we're likely to get right now."
You might have opinions about the hole-punch camera, just as you might have strong feelings about the notch. But it never got in my way. It either fits into an unoccupied corner of whichever app you open, or falls into the navigation bar of that app. It all depends on how the app maker laid everything out in the first place.
The Honor View 20 launches in Europe and Asia and is priced starting at 569 euros or 499 pounds for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Huawei's devices are banned in the U.S. and so the new smartphone will be difficult to obtain in countries like the United States, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.


While hole-punch camera cutouts are a growing trend, with even Samsung set to use the technology, it's not clear if it's something Apple is aiming for. Most front-facing camera setups are not as complicated as the TrueDepth camera system, which, in addition to a standard camera, incorporates a dot projector and infrared camera for facial scans.


Rumors have suggested Apple will cut down on the size of the notch in 2019, and Apple's ultimate goal is said to be an uninterrupted edge-to-edge display with no compromises like a notch, but it's not known if and when the company will reach that goal.

Tag: Huawei

Climate Change Could Lead to Greater Reliance on iPhones, Says Apple

A U.K.-based non-profit organization, CDP, recently asked major companies to provide reports on their environmental impact with details on the risks and opportunities that climate change might present.

Apple was one of the respondents, and as outlined by Bloomberg, the company believes future climate-related disasters could increase peoples' dependence on the iPhone.


According to Apple's report, of which only a portion of a statement was shared, the iPhone can work as a flashlight or a siren, provide first aid instructions, or serve as a radio. The device can be charged via hand cranks or car batteries, allowing it to work even when power is out.
"As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones,'' the company wrote. Its mobile devices "can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio; and they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks.''
Apple declined to comment on the information provided in the report, and we only have a small glimpse at the data that was included. Apple undoubtedly had additional thoughts to share on climate change, much like the other companies that participated.

Disney, for example, said it's worried about rising temperatures affecting park attendance, while Coke said potential water shortages could limit water availability for the bottling of Coke. Intel said that droughts in areas of its operation could increase operational costs, while AT&T said that frequent hurricanes and wildfires could lead to more spending on damage repair for its network.

Based on the reports submitted by each company, CDP (which used to be called the Carbon Disclosure Project) provided letter grades measuring metrics like "how aware they are about [climate change]," "how they're progressing towards targets," and "how they're managing it."

Thirty total companies in the United States received overall "A" grades when it came to environmental performance, including Apple. Apple was scored on metrics like the infrastructure in place to address climate change issues within the company, risks and opportunities related to climate change, financial planning for these risks and opportunities, emissions targets and progress made towards those targets, and more.

Apple works hard to limit its carbon footprint, and all of its facilities worldwide operate using 100 percent renewable energy. Apple is now focusing on recycling, with the aim of a closed-loop supply chain that puts an end to its need to mine the earth for rare minerals.

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.