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Leaked Photos May Show Upcoming MacBook Pro's Top Case With Space for OLED Touch Panel, Four USB-C Ports

Photos have leaked depicting alleged components destined for the rumored redesigned MacBook Pro, giving us a look at the thin body of the device, the space where a rumored OLED touch panel will be positioned, and its possible ports. Shared by Cult of Mac, the photos came from an anonymous source who claimed to work for Apple's manufacturing partner in China. The images feature the body of what appears to be a MacBook Pro, which, based on size, seems to be the 13-inch model. The trackpad and the keys have not yet been put in place, but noticeably absent is a function row at the top of the keyboard, which rumors say will be replaced with an OLED touch panel. Size wise, the MacBook model in the photos appears to be slightly thinner than existing MacBook Pros, and in pictures of the sides of the device, a total of four USB-C ports are available, with two on the left side and two on the right side. A headphone jack is also included, as are thin speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard. Rumors have suggested Apple is working on completely revamped 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with a thinner and lighter form factor and a dedicated OLED display touch bar that replaces physical function keys. A dedicated Touch ID button is expected to be built into the bar, as is support for USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new MacBook Pros will feature the "most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple," with the machines set to be released during the fourth quarter of 2016. Many were hoping for a WWDC launch, which ear

Apple Restricting Use of NFC Antenna in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Apple Pay

The NFC antenna found on Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will only be used with the company's "Apple Pay" mobile payment solution and will not be available to developers for use in third-party apps, reports Cult of Mac. The confirmation comes by way of an Apple spokeswoman, who also declined to comment on future plans for the technology's use in other instances. The move is similar to the Touch ID sensor's debut on the iPhone 5s last year, as Apple restricted its use to iTunes purchases and device unlocking. However, Apple announced at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference that developers would be able to integrate Touch ID into their iOS 8 apps. It is possible that Apple will allow NFC to be used with third-party apps at some point in the future, however it appears that the company is focused on polishing the technology for use with its own services. Apple Pay will first launch in the United States next month as an update to iOS 8, and will be featured in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as the Apple Watch when it launches next year. The service will be compatible with American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards, with 220,000 U.S. retail stores listed as partners. Apple will also be launching an Apple Pay API for developers to integrate the service into their

Former Apple Engineer Recalls Steve Jobs' Great Displeasure with Multi-Button Mouse Concepts

Steve Jobs' great displeasure about the the idea of a multi-button mouse was apparently the driving force behind Apple's push to greatly innovate in the area of input devices, according to a new interview with Apple's former Senior Mechanical Engineer of Product Design Abraham Farag (via Cult of Mac). Farag, who is the current owner of product development firm Sparkfactor Design, says that he was brought onboard to Apple in 1999 to design a successor to the original Apple USB "hockey puck" mouse, which shipped with the iMac G3 in 1998 and garnered heavy criticism for its small size, short cord, and tendency to rotate in a user's hand. From left to right: Apple's USB "Hockey Puck" Mouse, Pro Mouse, Mighty Mouse, and Magic Mouse The designer said that Apple's design team had worked on five complete prototypes to show Jobs, complete with lines cut for buttons and different plastic parts. Farag noted that the team made a last-minute choice to work on one more prototype model, which resembled the Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II. However, that last prototype was not finished as Jobs entered the room to look at the group of potential mice, which led to an encounter between the CEO and the design team: “It looked like a grey blob,” Farag says. “We were going to put that model into a box so people wouldn’t see it.” However, when Jobs turned up things went awry. “Steve looked at the lineup of potential forms and made straight for the unfinished one,” Farag says. “That’s genius,” he said. “We don’t want to have any buttons.” “That’s

Apple Television Set to Include Siri and Face-Tracking iSight for FaceTime Calls?

Cult of Mac reports that it has received information from a "well-placed" source who claims to have seen a prototype of the rumored Apple television set. According to the source, the device resembles Apple's current Thunderbolt display but is "much larger" than the 27-inch model currently offered. Mockup of Apple television set based on Thunderbolt display design Among the key features reportedly included on the prototype Apple television set is a Siri-enabled iSight camera allowing users to make FaceTime video calls using the device. Addressing the fact that users are likely to sit substantially farther away from the television than they do their computers and mobile devices, the source claims that the camera will be able to automatically detect and track faces, zooming in on them for FaceTime calls even if they move about the room.The Apple HDTV makes FaceTime calls using the built-in iSight camera. The camera is sophisticated, with facial recognition and the ability to zoom into the user’s face and follow them as they walk around the room. This allows users to make video calls from the couch across the room, rather than having to stand smack in front of the TV. In addition, calls are initiated by Siri, the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant. “[Apple] used Siri to make a FaceTime call,” the source said.Apple's rumored television set is widely expected to make extensive use of Siri, a rumor that first surfaced in Jobs' authorized biography, in which he was quoted as saying that he had "finally cracked" the problem of creating an elegant interface for the device.

Former Retail Store Manager Steve Cano to Succeed Ron Johnson as Apple Retail Chief? [Updated]

Yesterday, we noted that Apple senior vice president for retail Ron Johnson had been removed from Apple's list of senior executives, in line with his previously-announced departure to become CEO of department store chain J.C. Penney. The transition occurred with no announcement from Apple regarding Johnson's successor. Steve Cano (left) and Ron Johnson (right) at 2004 grand opening of Shinsaibashi store in Osaka, Japan (Source: ifoAppleStore) Cult of Mac now reports that Steve Cano has been elevated to the position of senior vice president for retail, heading up the successful division as part of the executive leadership team.Apple’s new retail boss boss isn’t just some suit, though. He’s one of the first retail employees Apple ever hired, a California surfer dude who has climbed from the sales floor to the very top rung of Apple management. It’s a real rags-to-riches story that should be inspiration to every stressed out Apple Store sales associate or overworked Genius: your work can be noticed, and you too can go to the very top. According to our source, Apple is replacing Johnson with his long-time lieutenant, Steve Cano.According to the report, Cano began his career at Apple ten years ago as manager of the Palo Alto retail store, later moving to open the SoHo store in New York City. Consistent with previous reports of Apple looking for a candidate with international retail experience, Cano has spent the last seven years working on Apple's international retail efforts, first in Japan as manager of the Ginza store in Tokyo and then as regional director

Apple Phasing Out Magic Mouse in Favor of Magic Trackpad? [Updated: New Model?]

Cult of Mac reports that Apple is planning to discontinue its multi-touch Magic Mouse in the relatively near future, pushing users to adopt the Magic Trackpad in order to make full use of the new gestures included in OS X Lion. According to the source, who is apparently in Apple's retail arm, Apple is not replenishing inventories of the Magic Mouse at its stores as they run low.We’ve gotten word from a previously reliable source that Apple is discontinuing the Magic Mouse in favor of the Magic Trackpad. Our retail source has informed us that Magic Mouse inventory is not being replenished for Apple stores, and that Apple is finally phasing out the Magic Mouse.We find this rumor difficult to believe unless Apple is planning to introduce a new mouse capable of registering the more advanced gestures found in Lion, as significant numbers of users strongly prefer mice to trackpads for their input needs. Users could certainly turn to third-party solutions for their mice needs if Apple were to indeed move to offer only the Magic Trackpad, but it seems implausible that the company would go as far as to eliminate its packages of mouse-based systems such as the iMac. Apple has begun offering the option of either a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad as part of their iMac purchases, but we believe that many users would be unwilling to either be forced to switch to a trackpad or to have to look for a third-party mouse vendor. Apple has, however, often been ahead of the curve when it comes to discontinuing features it views as outdated, most recently with the removal of the

New Time Capsules Rather Than Apple's Servers to Act as Hub for iCloud Data Syncing?

Cult of Mac reports that it has received information indicating that revamped versions of Apple's Time Capsule wireless router/hard drive combination will serve as the hub for iCloud data syncing, with data stored directly on the device rather than on Apple's servers.Our source didn't have any information about the hardware, but detailed how the Home Folder access system works. Files saved on your computer are backed up instantly to Time Capsule, which makes them available to remote Macs and iOS devices. If you make any changes on any computer, those changes are updated through iCloud and stored on your Time Capsule. The Time Capsule archives and serves up your files even when your computers are off. When you get home and fire up your desktop computer or laptop, the files are automatically synced across your devices. This service will also allow you to upload photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to your Time Capsule. The media will be stored on the device and be made available for other devices to sync. iCloud is the "conduit" through which everything moves, the source said. "Your computer gets backed up to Time Capsule anyways," said the source. "Now it'll serve up your content when you want it, where you want it, right there on your iOS device."The source reports that this implementation of a local iCloud is "fully baked" and ready for deployment in future versions of Mac OS X and iOS, although there has been no hint of the functionality in developer seeds of Mac OS X Lion seen thus far. It is also unclear how such a system would integrate with the

NFC to Enable 'Home on iPhone' Remote Computing?

Cult of Mac claims to have some details of how Apple will take advantage of NFC (Near Field Communications) technology in their future mobile devices. Unfortunately, their source can't specify when Apple will introduce the technology, but their source confirms that Apple is working with several iPhone prototypes with NFC built in. But beyond the expected financial payment system, Cult of Mac's source indicates that the NFC may also be used as a portable login system: According to our source, who asked not to be named, when a NFC-equipped iPhone is paired with a guest machine, part of the users profile includes the apps theyve purchased through the Mac App Store. The icons for their apps appear on the remote Mac, but aren't downloaded, our source said.Users will reportedly be able to launch apps which will be downloaded on demand. Documents can then be saved and synced back to MobileMe so you can access your documents where ever you are. Once the NFC connection is broken, the apps and files are deleted from the guest computer, leaving it untouched. The system is somewhat reminiscent of the Home on iPod feature that was originally advertised for Mac OS X Panther, but pulled at the last minute. In that incarnation, your Home directory would be saved on your iPod and "When you find yourself near a Panther-equipped Mac, just plug in the iPod, log in, and you're "home," no matter where you happen to be." Cult of Mac claims that these features will be rolled into Lion, though can't be certain it when it will be deployed, if

Apple's Media Event to See Introduction of iPad 2, Cloud-Based MobileMe?

An unveiling of the second-generation iPad at Apple's media event tomorrow has been considered nearly a sure thing ever since the invitation making obvious reference to the device appeared, but what has remained unknown is what other related announcements Apple might make at the event. Cult of Mac reports that in addition to the second-generation iPad, Apple will also debut its cloud-based MobileMe service tomorrow, allowing users to upload media to Apple's servers and access them from a variety of devices. The Apple staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, said the new MobileMe service will store music, TV shows, and films that were purchased from the iTunes store. The staffer also said that there was talk inside Apple of being able to upload all your music and videos to the cloud whether it was purchased from iTunes or not. However, they couldnt confirm whether this will be rolled out or not.Apple has reportedly been working on a revamp of MobileMe said to involve some cloud-based services, with rumors indicating that at least some portions of the service may become free. Apple also recently discontinued its MobileMe retail boxes, although reports have differed as to whether the change is suggestive of an imminent transition for the service itself or simply an adjustment in the way the service is sold to consumers. The source of today's report also indicates that the iPad being introduced tomorrow should be considered more of a spec bump of the existing model than a true revamp. A more ambitious revamp is reportedly scheduled for later this year.

Apple to Focus on Streaming, Social and Geolocation Services With MobileMe Overhaul?

Cult of Mac reports that it has received information from a source regarding Apple's efforts to revamp its MobileMe service, suggesting that the company is going well beyond simple cloud-based media streaming to include social and location-based services. Among the many services Apple is working on are: - A live video-streaming service like Ustream - A location-based check-in system like Gowalla or Foursquare - A geo-tagging system codenamed "Tokens" that tags real-world locations, like Facebook Places on steroids.According to the report, the focus of the revamped MobileMe will be on a "dynamic webpage" that is constantly updated with the user's latest activity with their iOS device, from locations to photos and videos to music. "The concept is that you would have you own website that's dynamic, all based on what you are doing at that moment," said our source. "Apple thinks of it as having a webserver in your pocket... everything will be dynamically updated to MobileMe."With "Tokens", users would be able to tag GPS locations with photos, reviews, and other information that would be available to other MobileMe users visiting those locations. While Apple is not known for being on the cutting edge of social networking and its Ping component of iTunes has struggled to catch on as a music-focused network, the company has clearly shown interest in developing social features, particularly when it comes to location-based technologies. Over a year ago, the company advertised for a software engineer who could help take the iOS Maps application "to the next level", while more