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Twitter Explains API Changes to Employees as Limits for Third-Party Apps Go Live

Twitter's API changes went live today, disabling key features for third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific.

The new API removes timeline streaming, preventing third-party apps from refreshing timelines automatically, and it limits push notifications and other features. Twitter is also charging exorbitant fees for access to its new activity APIs, with access starting at $2,899 per month for up to 250 accounts.


All third-party Twitter apps are affected by these changes. Tapbots yesterday updated the Tweetbot for iOS app to cripple multiple features popular with Tweetbot users. Timeline streaming over Wi-Fi is no longer available, for example, which means Twitter timelines will now refresh more slowly.

Push notifications for Mentions and Direct Messages are delayed by several minutes, and push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes have been disabled entirely. The Activity and Stats tabs, which were reliant on now-deprecated activity APIs, have been removed from the app, and because the Apple Watch app was heavily dependent on Activity data, it too has been eliminated.

Similar changes were introduced in Twitterrific in July, and as of today, the Twitterrific app is no longer able to receive and display native notifications. Twitterrific's Today center widget and Apple Watch app relied on these features, and have been removed.

Twitterrific recommends Twitter users download the official Twitter app to receive their notifications, while using the Twitterrific app for everything else.

As the changes went live, Twitter today sent out a company-wide email to employees that starts out by acknowledging the huge impact that third-party Twitter clients have had on growing the Twitter service before pointing towards "technical and business constraints" that prevent it from continuing to offer the APIs necessary to keep these apps working as before.
Today, we will be publishing a blog post about our priorities for investing in Twitter client experiences. I wanted to share some insight into how we reached these decisions and how we're thinking about 3rd party clients moving forward.

First, some history: 3rd party clients have had a notable impact on the Twitter service and the products we built. Independent developers built the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native app for iPhone. These clients pioneered product features we all know and love about Twitter such as mute, the pull-to-refresh gesture, and many more.

We love that developers build experiences on our APIs to push our service, technology, and the public conversation forward. We deeply respect the time, energy, and passion they've put into building amazing things using Twitter.

However, we haven't always done a good job of being straightforward with developers about the decisions we make regarding 3rd party clients. In 2011, we told developers (in an email) not to build apps that mimic the core Twitter experience. In 2012, we announced changes to our developer policies intended to make these limitations clearer by capping the number of users allowed for a 3rd party client. And, in the years following those announcements, we've told developers repeatedly that our roadmap for our APIs does not prioritize client use cases -- even as we've continued to maintain a couple specific APIs used heavily by these clients and quietly granted user cap exceptions to the clients that needed them.

It's time to make the hard decision to end support for these legacy APIs -- acknowledging that some aspects of these apps would be degraded as a result. Today, we are facing technical and business constraints we can't ignore. The User Streams and Site Streams APIs that serve core functions of many of these clients have been in a "beta" state for more than 9 years, and are built on a technology stack we no longer support. We're not changing our rules, or setting out to "kill" 3rd party clients; but we are killing, out of operational necessity, some of the legacy APIs that power some features of those clients. In addition, it hasn't been realistic for us to invest in building a totally new service to replace all of the functionality of these APIs, which are used by less than 1% of Twitter developers.

We've heard feedback from our customers about the pain this causes. We review #BreakingMyTwitter quite often and have spoken with many of the developers of major 3rd party clients to understand their needs and concerns. We're committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps, and we're going to try to do better with communicating these changes honestly and clearly to developers.

We know we have a lot of work to do. This change is a hard, but important step forward. Thank you for working with us to get there.
Twitter has continually said that just 1 percent of Twitter developers use its now-deprecated APIs, but as these changes seem to impact most of the major Twitter clients, it's not clear how the 1 percent figure is being calculated.

As TechCrunch points out, Twitter's email insists that the APIs were "legacy technology" that needed to be eliminated for "operational necessity," but it's Twitter, not an outside force, that has refused to maintain or redevelop the APIs third-party apps are using or transition existing apps over to the new API platform.


Twitter has further explained its decision to remove the APIs in a blog post that says the "best Twitter experience" it can provide is through its own "owned and operated Twitter for iOS and Android apps, as well as desktop and mobile twitter.com."

Verizon Subscribers With Unlimited Plan Can Now Sign Up for Six Free Months of Apple Music

Verizon and Apple last week announced a partnership that provides six free months of Apple Music service to new and existing customers with a Verizon Unlimited plan, and as of today, Verizon customers can sign up for their free Apple Music subscriptions.

Verizon subscribers who have an unlimited plan can visit the Apple Music section on the Verizon website to begin the sign up process. Logging in with a Verizon subscriber account is required, and from there, customers will receive a text message with a link that needs to be opened on a mobile device.


For iPhone and Android users that already have the app installed, it will open it up with subscription options. If the app isn't already installed, the App Store or Google Play store will open with instructions to download the app.

Apple Music is available to all Verizon Unlimited subscribers, including Verizon Plan Unlimited, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited. Customers who have one of Verizon's original Unlimited plans (from earlier this year) can also sign up, and there have been some reports from Reddit users that other Verizon subscribers have been presented with the offer.


Verizon customers who already subscribe to Apple Music can activate the free trial offer, but will be prompted to cancel their existing Apple Music subscriptions through Apple to avoid double billing.


Apple Music subscribers who recently renewed will want to wait for a few weeks to activate their Verizon trials to make sure to get the full six months of free service. Annual subscribers may be able to cancel via Apple and get a prorated refund.

Each individual Verizon line is able to sign up for a free Apple Music trial, but it does not work with the family plan. Customers with an existing Apple Music family plan will need to cancel it, with each person in the family signing up for the free Verizon trial separately. The same goes for current student plans -- cancel with Apple and resubscribe through Verizon to get the free six months.

It appears the Apple Music subscriptions will be billed through Verizon following the conclusion of the six month trial rather than through iTunes like a standard Apple Music subscription.


Customers who sign up for the six month free trial and who do not want to pay for a subscription afterwards can cancel at any time, including right after signing up. Access to Apple Music remains available for the full six month period after cancelling through Verizon.

Subscriptions redeemed today will expire in February 2019.

Another Report Says Second-Generation iPhone X and iPhone X Plus Will Support Apple Pencil

Apple's second-generation iPhone X, and a widely expected 6.5-inch model dubbed the iPhone X Plus, will both be compatible with the Apple Pencil, according to Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News.

Image: EverythingApplePro on YouTube

The report, citing "industry insiders," claims that Apple Pencil support will be limited to those OLED models, meaning that Apple's upcoming lower-cost 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD will not work with the drawing tool. Taiwanese research firm TrendForce shared the same prediction earlier this week.

Apple Pencil launched in November 2015 alongside the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and it works with all other iPad Pro models released since. Last March, Apple expanded the tool's compatibility to the new sixth-generation iPad, a lower-cost, 9.7-inch model targeted at students and the classroom.

If these rumors prove to be true, this would be the first time Apple releases its own stylus for the iPhone in the device's 11-year history.

When introducing the original iPhone in 2007, Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs quipped that "nobody wants a stylus" with a smartphone, but Apple has played the semantics game in insisting that the Apple Pencil is a drawing tool. It's also been over a decade since Jobs made that comment—things change.


It's unclear if Apple will release a smaller Pencil for the iPhone, as the current version could be rather unwieldy for use with an iPhone. Apple has yet to update the Pencil's design since it first launched three years ago.

A stylus on a mobile device is nothing new, but only a handful of modern smartphones have one, including the Samsung Galaxy Note with the S Pen, which can be used to draw on the screen, handwrite notes, annotate documents, and more.

Designed to mimic the feel and sensation of using a pen or a pencil, the Apple Pencil has built-in sensors to determine orientation and angle, and to detect a range of forces for pressure-sensitive drawing and writing. On the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is sampled at 240Hz for minimal latency.

Apple is expected to unveil a trio of new iPhones at its usual September event at Steve Jobs Theater, and Apple Pencil support would surely be a headline feature if true. A new Apple Pencil altogether is certainly a possibility too.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

Apple Seeds Eighth Beta of iOS 12 to Developers After Pulling Seventh Beta Earlier This Week [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the eighth beta of an upcoming iOS 12 update to developers for testing purposes, just a few days after seeding the seventh beta and more than two months after introducing the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air after installing the proper certificate.

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iOS 12 beta 8 comes just two days after the release of iOS 12 beta 7, which Apple was ultimately forced to pull a few hours after it was released due to performance issues.

Many people who downloaded the seventh beta reported problems when launching apps, with serious delays between when an app icon was tapped and when the app opened.

Most users said that the delay disappeared after five or 10 minutes of using the iPhone, but it was a serious enough bug that Apple pulled the update until a fix was available, and some users also saw continual delays, crashes, and freezes.

Apple removed the over-the-air update first and then later also pulled the download from the Apple Developer Center. No public beta was released due to the performance issues, but now that an updated beta has launched, a public beta should be available soon.

iOS 12 beta 7 removed the Group FaceTime feature that has been present in iOS 12 since the update was first introduced in June. Apple has decided to delay Group FaceTime for now and reintroduce it in an iOS 12 update set to be released later this fall.

Group FaceTime, one of iOS 12's major new features, is designed to allow users to chat with up to 32 people at once.

Though Group FaceTime will no longer be available when iOS 12 launches, the update will bring Screen Time for monitoring time spent on iOS devices, new Animoji and Memoji, a new Effects camera in Messages and FaceTime, Siri Shortcuts, grouped notifications, and more.

Update: Apple has released a new version of iOS for its public beta testers. iOS 12 Public Beta 6 is identical to the eighth developer beta.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

Apple Expected to Release New MacBook Air at End of Third Quarter: September or October

Apple will release a new MacBook Air at the end of the third quarter, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. That lines up with either September or October, depending on how the wording is interpreted.


TrendForce also refers to a new MacBook Pro in future tense, but it is surely referring to the models released in July, when the third quarter began:
The second quarter was the transition period when Apple was preparing for the releases of the upcoming new MacBook devices for the year. TrendForce therefore expects MacBook shipments to again post a large QoQ increase in 3Q18, as Apple will be releasing a new MacBook Pro at the start of the quarter and a new MacBook Air at the end of the quarter.
The report does not provide additional details, but both Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg News reporter Mark Gurman expect Apple to release a new entry-level notebook later this year, and they are two of the more reliable sources as it relates to Apple's upcoming product plans.

TrendForce specifically says it will be a new MacBook Air, but Kuo and Gurman have not identified what branding the notebook will have.

Earlier this year, DigiTimes claimed that Apple will release the first MacBook Air with a Retina display in the second half of 2018, and noted that it will be a 13-inch model in a separate report. This week, it said Quanta will assemble new "inexpensive notebooks" from Apple in the fourth quarter.

Whether it turns out to be a MacBook, MacBook Air, or something else, Gurman expects at least one of the entry-level notebooks, if there are more than one, to have a starting price of $999 or less in the United States.

The current MacBook Air hasn't seen any substantial updates in over three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the processor on the base 13-inch model received a minor bump in clock speed, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–2015 timeframe.

Apple could announce availability of a new MacBook Air via press release at any point this fall, or save it for a September or October event. At this point, we lean towards an October release, as the September event should be busy, with a trio of new iPhones, Apple Watch Series 4 models, new AirPods, and more.

With refreshes to other Macs expected later this year, including the iMac and Mac mini, and a widely expected iPad Pro with Face ID, Apple may have enough in its pipeline for an October event, which it last held in 2016.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air

Happy 20th Launch Anniversary, iMac

On August 15, 1998, Apple officially released the first iMac, the candy-colored gumdrop-shaped iMac G3, launching a desktop machine that has continued to be updated and revised over the years.

Designed by Apple design chief Jony Ive, the iMac G3 was unique among computers at the time for its unusual shape, the use of translucent plastics that allowed the internals to be visible, and the bright colors that Apple adopted.


"This is iMac. The whole thing is translucent. You can see into it. It's so cool," said Jobs when introducing the iMac G3.

Apple's first iMac, which sold for $1,299 at launch, came equipped with a 233 - 700MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, 4GB of storage, a 15-inch CRT, a CD-ROM drive, and an ATI graphics card, components that don't sound impressive today but made for a powerful, well-rounded machine, that, in combination with the design, made the iMac a best seller.


At launch, and in the years following its release, Apple released the iMac G3 in a slew of shades that include the famous Bondi Blue, Blueberry, Grape, Graphite, Indigo, Lime, Sage, Strawberry, Ruby, Snow, Tangerine, and two patterned colors, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power.

If you live near Michigan, all 13 colors of the original iMac G3 are on display at the Henry Ford Museum in a popup collection called "Looking Through Things," which has been introduced in celebration of the iMac's anniversary.


The iMac G3 was introduced just a year after Steve Jobs returned to lead Apple, and it came at a time when the company was still struggling and trying to find its footing. By 1999, Apple saw its first quarter profits more than triple, with the jump attributed to sales of the new iMac.

Apple in May celebrated the anniversary of the debut of the iMac G3, which, while launched in August, was first introduced by Jobs in May 1998.


Since the iMac G3's 1998 debut, Apple has introduced several revisions to the desktop machine, launching design revisions in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2015.


Today, the iMac is available in 21.5 and 27-inch size options, with 4K and 5K Retina displays, respectively. Kaby Lake chips, AMD graphics, and super fast SSDs are included.


We also have an iMac Pro, a workstation class machine aimed at Apple's professional users with a unique Space Gray body, Xeon processors with up to 18 cores, Radeon Pro Vega graphics, and up to 4TB of SSD storage.


We're still expecting refreshed iMac models in 2018. There's no word on when the next design change is coming, but in 2018, Apple is expected to add 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips and other internal improvements that make a great desktop machine even better.

Related Roundup: iMac
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Don't Buy)

Kuo: Apple to Launch Apple Car in 2023 to 2025

Apple will earn its two trillion dollar market cap through its services business, an augmented reality headset, and an Apple Car, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who now works for TF International Securities and today sent out a new note for investors outlining products that he expects to see in Apple's future.

According to Kuo, Apple will launch an Apple Car sometime between 2023 and 2025, with the car set to be positioned as "the next star product." Kuo foresees the Apple Car revolutionizing the automobile market much as the iPhone did back in 2007.


Kuo believes there are "huge replacement demands" in the auto sector because it's in the process of being redefined with new technologies. Apple's technology advances, such its work in augmented reality, would redefine cars and "differentiate the Apple Car from peers’ products."

Apple, says Kuo, can do "better integration of hardware, software and services" than current competitors in the consumer electronics sector and potential competitors in the auto sector. Apple's services category will also grow significantly through its entrance into the "huge car finance market" after Apple launches the Apple Car.
We expect that Apple Car, which will likely be launched in 2023–2025, will be the next star product. The reasons for this are as follows: (1) Potentially huge replacement demands are emerging in the auto sector because it is being redefined by new technologies. The case is the same as the smartphone sector 10 years ago; (2) Apple’s leading technology advantages (e.g. AR) would redefine cars and differentiate Apple Car from peers’ products; (3) Apple’s service will grow significantly by entering the huge car finance market via Apple Car, and (4) Apple can do a better integration of hardware, software, and service than current competitors in the consumer electronics sector and potential competitors in the auto sector.
Kuo's suggestion that Apple is planning to launch a full Apple Car is interesting, because rumors have suggested that while that was Apple's initial plan, focus has since shifted to autonomous driving software for cars rather than an Apple-branded and designed vehicle.

Work on Project Titan, Apple's autonomous vehicle program, has been ongoing since 2014, but it was said to be plagued with leadership issues, internal strife, and other problems, with Apple opting to shelve the idea of a car for the foreseeable future.

Hundreds of employees were laid off and leadership was transferred to Bob Mansfield, who transitioned the team's work to an autonomous driving system that could allow Apple to partner with existing car manufacturers. Apple has been testing and developing its autonomous driving software out on the streets of Cupertino in Lexus SUVs outfitted with autonomous driving equipment since early 2017.

Some recent hirings, including that of Doug Fields, who spent five years as Tesla's lead engineer, have, however, led to speculation that Apple may be reconsidering the idea of building its own vehicle. If Kuo is correct, Apple's current autonomous software research could be built into an actual Apple-branded car at some point.

Prior to when the project was shelved, Apple was said to be developing a self-driving electric vehicle. Apple early on met with manufacturers like Magna Steyr and BMW, and explored a range of technologies, including silent motorized doors, car interiors sans steering wheel or gas pedals, augmented reality displays, an improved LIDAR sensor that protrudes less from the top of a car, and spherical wheels, but it's not clear if any of these concepts will be revisited if the car project has indeed shifted back to a full car.

Kuo did not share additional information on the Apple Car project beyond a prospective launch date, but he did also comment on the future of AR, another market where he expects Apple to see significant revenue growth in the future.

Kuo believes that Apple is planning to introduce AR glasses in 2020, expanding on its existing augmented reality market. AR, says Kuo, is the "next-generation revolutionary UI," with Apple planning to redefine the UIs of its existing products by offering an AR experience created by the augmented reality glasses that are rumored to be in the works.

Multiple past rumors have suggested Apple is experimenting with a variety of AR and VR headsets, and augmented reality smart glasses seem to be one of the most persistent rumors. The smart glasses are said to include a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a new "rOS" or reality operating system based on iOS.

Related Roundups: Apple Car, Apple VR Project

Hands-On With 6.1-Inch and 6.5-Inch 2018 iPhone Dummy Models

Before every new iPhone release, we're often inundated with rumors, part leaks, mockups, and dummy models, giving us a clear picture of what to expect when the new devices come out.

This year is no exception, and we've managed to get our hands on dummy models that are said to resemble the rumored 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones that are coming in 2018, both of which offer up a look at the sizes and designs we can expect from the 2018 iPhone lineup.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup, like the 2017 lineup, will include three phones, but the lineup's composition is unlike anything we've seen before. Apple is planning to introduce a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone that's a follow up to the iPhone X, a 6.5-inch OLED iPhone that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus," and a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone that's going to have a much lower price tag than the two OLED iPhones.

We don't have a dummy model of the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone to go along with dummy models of the upcoming 6.1 and 6.5-inch iPhones, because it's going to look identical to the existing iPhone X, so we've used a real iPhone X to compare to the two dummy models.

iPhone X (left), 6.1-inch iPhone dummy (center), 6.5-inch iPhone dummy (right)

All three of the 2018 iPhones feature an edge-to-edge display that adopts Face ID and a TrueDepth camera system, marking the official end of Touch ID for new iPhones. To house the TrueDepth camera, there will be a notch on all three iPhones, just as there was on the iPhone X.

The middle-tier 6.1-inch iPhone uses an LCD display instead of an OLED display to keep costs down, which means that the bezels of that device are slightly thicker than the bezels of the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones. The 6.1-inch iPhone dummy also features a single-lens camera, in line with rumors that Apple will stick with a single camera for cost purposes.

6.1-inch iPhone dummy model

A dual-camera setup is expected for both the second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X model and the 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus" model, and we can perhaps expect some camera improvements, as Apple typically introduces new camera features with each iPhone upgrade.

Rumors have also suggested the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will have an aluminum frame rather than the more durable stainless steel frame expected in the two more expensive devices, but other than the frame, the camera, the slightly thicker bezels, and the screen sizes, these devices are expected to be nearly identical.

6.1-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone dummy models

All will include Apple's next-generation A12 processor, according to rumors, along with faster Intel-made LTE chips. RAM could be a differentiating factor, though, with the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone offering 3GB RAM and the OLED iPhones offering 4GB RAM.

We have absolutely no idea what Apple is planning to name its next-generation iPhones given the current iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X naming scheme. Most of the possibilities sound a little off, such as "iPhone Xs" or "iPhone X Plus" or "iPhone 9" or "iPhone XI." The naming of the 2018 iPhone lineup is perhaps the biggest mystery, given the myriad rumors and part leaks we've seen so far.

iPhone X with 6.5-inch iPhone dummy model

Pricing for the 2018 iPhones could start somewhere right around $600 to $700 for the entry-level 6.1-inch LCD model, based on rumors, while the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone could cost between $800 and $900, and the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone could cost between $1,000 and $1,100.

For a complete rundown on all of the rumors we've heard about the 2018 iPhone lineup, make sure to check out our 2018 iPhone roundup.

What do you think of the iPhones Apple is planning to introduce this year? Which one will you buy? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

Inside the iPhone Repair Ecosystem: Where Do Replacement Parts Come From and Can You Trust Them?

There's a thriving market for unofficial, aftermarket iPhone parts, and in China, there are entire massive factories that are dedicated to producing these components for repair shops unable to get ahold of parts that have been produced by Apple.

The entire Apple device repair ecosystem is fascinating, complex, and oftentimes confusing to consumers given the disconnect between Apple, Apple Authorized Service Providers, third-party factories, and independent repair shops, so we thought we'd delve into the complicated world of Apple repairs.

The Aftermarket Factories


Our exploration of the repair ecosystem was inspired by a video sent to us by a trusted source that MacRumors has worked with in the past, who captured footage inside one of the many facilities in China that are dedicated to creating aftermarket iPhone parts.

This is a small scale operation where workers appear to be creating an aftermarket touch screen digitizer for the iPhone, a thin plastic component that attaches to the LCD through a flex cable and allows physical touch on the screen to be transformed into digital input, allowing the iPhone's processor to translate your touch into system commands.


In addition to producing touch screen digitizers for the iPhone, given the clean room setup, the facility pictured in the video likely also attaches them to LCDs sourced from other factories to produce a full iPhone display assembly that can then be sold to iPhone repair shops around the world.

While this is a small facility, our source tells us that the factory, which employs approximately 10 people, is able to produce up to 10,000 display components per month, with setup and equipment for a factory this size costing approximately $90,000, a minor investment for a major return.

iPhone X display assembly with touch screen digitizer visible, via iFixit

Larger factories, such as those that produce aftermarket LCDs for iPhones and other smartphones, are huge operations that can output millions of components per month. Companies like Tianma, Longteng LCD, Shenchao, and JingDongFang are well-known in the repair world for producing the aftermarket LCDs used by many repair shops. If you search for display components on auction sites like Alibaba, these are the names that pop up over and over again.

These are not small, no name factories producing LCDs - these are major operations creating components by the millions, which should give you an idea of the kind of demand there is for aftermarket components across the globe. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase the kind of equipment needed to produce aftermarket LCDs.

"It's a crazy industry that involves millions of dollars, probably into billions a year. It's just absolutely nuts," said our source.

The Demand for Aftermarket Parts


Companies that produce aftermarket LCD components are doing so because there's significant demand for these parts in repair shops around the world. Shops that are not Apple Authorized Service Providers are not able to source parts from Apple because Apple limits OEM parts to the repair shops that it partners with.

With no way to purchase components from Apple, sourcing parts from third-party suppliers is the only option for independent repair shops that want to be able to offer iPhone repairs to their customers.

There are more than 15,000 independent repair shops in the United States, all of which are sourcing components from suppliers that receive them mainly from these factories in China. In the South Bay Area alone, where Apple's Cupertino headquarters is located, there are hundreds of non-AASP locations that can fix a broken iPhone. And that's just the United States. There are thousands more independent repair shops around the world.

An independent iPhone repair shop near Cupertino, California

Aftermarket Parts Quality


When thinking of third-party components, you might assume that the parts produced in facilities like the one in the video are far inferior in quality to actual Apple components, which is also the viewpoint of the source that sent us the video.
[The Chinese factories] are basically dishing junk out into the world. Apple's own screen may fail only if you've dropped it. Won't even fail up to 5, 10 years. But the fake screens usually fail between two to three years. Usually.
That's not always entirely true, though, according to many of the repair shops that we spoke with.

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AirPods Wireless Charging Case Said to Work With Any Qi-Certified Charging Mat

At its iPhone X event last September, Apple previewed a new wireless charging case for AirPods, for use with its upcoming AirPower charging mat. The new case looks similar to the current version, which charges via Lightning cable, but it has a built-in induction coil that also enables wireless charging.


Conveniently, it appears that the AirPower won't be the only way to wirelessly charge AirPods placed in the new case.

Chinese publication Chongdiantou, citing unnamed sources within Apple's supply chain, claims that the wireless AirPods case supports the Wireless Power Consortium's universal Qi standard, implying that it will be compatible with any Qi-certified charging mat from companies beyond Apple.

This would differ from the Apple Watch, which uses a modified version of the Qi standard that only works with Apple's official magnetic charging cable and dock, and MFi-certified third-party docks with magnetic chargers. (Apple Watch Series 3 models technically work with select non-MFi chargers too.)

Chongdiantou has made headlines recently after leaking photos of what is claimed to be an engineering prototype of Apple's new 18-watt USB-C power adapter for 2018 iPhones. The website, citing unnamed industry insiders, also claimed that the AirPower should be released this September for around $149 in the United States. Overall, the publication lacks an established track record.

According to Bloomberg, Apple aims to release the AirPower by the end of September, so there's a good chance its pricing and availability will be detailed at Apple's usual iPhone event next month, which hasn't been announced yet. The wireless AirPods charging case should be released simultaneously with the AirPower.

Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller said the wireless charging case will be optional, so customers with the original AirPods will be able to purchase it separately. Pricing has not been disclosed. Apple is also expected to announce second-generation AirPods with "Hey Siri" support at its September event, but it's unclear if the wireless charging case will be standard, or also be optional for those.

AirPower can charge multiple devices at once, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3 models, and AirPods placed in the new wireless charging case. Apple said it would work to have its proprietary technology become part of the universal Qi standard supported by many companies.

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

HomePod Sales May Be Closer to 1-1.5 Million Than 3 Million Since the Speaker Launched

HomePod shipments totaled an estimated 700,000 units in the second quarter of 2018, giving Apple a roughly six percent share of the worldwide smart speaker market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.


Strategy Analytics previously estimated HomePod shipments totaled 600,000 units in the first quarter of 2018, suggesting that worldwide shipments have reached 1.3 million units since the speaker became available to order in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom in late January.

That figure is much lower than one shared by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which recently estimated Apple has sold three million HomePods in the United States alone since the speaker launched.

The significant variance in the datasets stems from the fact that Apple doesn't disclose HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Other Products" category in its earnings reports, alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod touch, and other Apple and third-party accessories.

Apple reported revenue of $3.74 billion from its "Other Products" category last quarter, up 37 percent from $2.73 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Shipments aren't sales, either, so it's impossible to know exactly how many HomePods ended up in the hands of customers.

If we had to guess, we'd say the Strategy Analytics numbers are probably more within the ballpark, as the HomePod is a niche product. The speaker is also available in just six countries, after launching in Canada, France, and Germany in June, with no indication when availability may expand to other regions.

Versus the Competition


HomePod was the world's fourth most popular smart speaker in the second quarter, behind the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Chinese company Alibaba's Tmall Genie, according to Strategy Analytics.

Amazon remained the leader in the category last quarter, with the Echo commanding an estimated 41 percent market share, while the Google Home finished runner-up with an estimated 27 percent market share, according to Strategy Analytics. Alibaba took third place with an estimated seven percent market share.


While the HomePod has made somewhat of a dent, Apple still has significant ground to make up, which is to be expected given its smart speaker launched around two to three years after its biggest competitors.

It may be tough for Apple to gain further market share unless it releases a more competitively priced model, as the HomePod at $349 is considerably more expensive than the Amazon Echo, priced from $50, and the Google Home, $129.

To that end, rumors suggest Apple may have a lower-priced HomePod or a Siri-enabled Beats speaker in its pipeline.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

2018 iPhones Could Start at $699, May Include Apple Pencil Support, 512GB Storage Option for OLED Models

Apple may introduce its upcoming 6.1-inch LCD iPhone with a starting price of around $699 to $749, according to industry analysis by TrendForce. The pricing strategy is said to be partly a response to lower than expected iPhone sales last year, and partly a result of competition from Chinese brands that have expanded their market shares with devices that offer high performance at affordable prices.

Three new iPhone models are expected to form Apple's 2018 lineup: two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches, and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three models will feature Face ID in lieu of a Home button, but TrendForce predicts the "budget" LCD device will be Apple's main device in terms of production share.

Image via TrendForce
The specs upgrades would make new iPhones more favorable in the competition with Android phones. On the other hand, the cost of this model has been approaching that of iPhone 8 Plus due to the upgrades. However, the 6.1-inch LCD model would be positioned by Apple's main product this year, with a production share of around 50% in the new iPhone series. Apple is bound to adjust the prices of this model to meet the market expectation and to further expand its market share. Considering the cost reduction of components, TrendForce estimates the starting price of this LCD version at around $699-749.
As for the new OLED models, TrendForce expects the 5.8-inch device will have a lower starting price of $899 to $949, while the current-generation iPhone X, which starts at $999, will enter its "end of life" process due to the similarity in the specs of the two models. Meanwhile, the upcoming 6.5-inch device will target the "premium business segment" with a starting price of $999.

TrendForce believes Apple could introduce a 512GB storage option for the OLED models. In addition, Apple Pencil support may feature with the new iPhones, although it's unclear whether this also relates to just the OLED models. Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously suggested that Apple Pencil support for a future iPhone is a possibility, although he doesn't believe iPhones will support Apple Pencil until 2019 at the earliest.

Apple is said to have been bargaining with its supply chain partners to reduce the cost of components, especially those which have been used in earlier generations of iPhone. That view tallies with earlier reports claiming Apple wants Samsung to reduce the price of its OLED display panels so it can cut the cost of current and future iPhone X models.

Price cuts to the display and other components would help Apple lower its bill of materials for the new models, with the savings potentially passed on to customers. For example, in line with TrendForce's prediction, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani believes the second-generation iPhone X will start at $899, down from $999.

TrendForce expects the production volume of the three new iPhones to be around 83-88 million units, potentially taking a larger share of the company's annual sales volume compared with the three models it released last year. Sales volume of iPhones in 2018 meanwhile is expected to remain flat or grow marginally by 2 to 3 percent, owing to the saturated smartphone market and the longer replacement cycle of phones globally.

TrendForce believes the two OLED models have been assembled by manufacturers since late July, while the assembly of the LCD models is scheduled for mid-September. Apple is expected to launch the trio of new iPhones in September.

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