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Samsung's Galaxy S9 Expected to Copy iPhone X's Animoji Feature

Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will reportedly copy one of the iPhone X's most popular new features: Animoji. Korean website ETNews claims the flagship smartphones will have a new 3D emoji function that is "more advanced" than Animoji. Like on the iPhone X, users will be able to choose from various 3D characters, including animals, that mimic facial movements as tracked by the Galaxy S9's facial recognition sensors. Samsung should reveal the name of its Animoji competitor when the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are unveiled at Mobile World Congress on February 25. Many details about the smartphones have already leaked, including entire images of the devices shared by Evan Blass, hinting at many features that can be expected. While rumors suggest the next major version of Android will include support for smartphones with a so-called notched design, like the iPhone X, it appears that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will retain slim bezels along the top and bottom of the display for the front camera, microphone, and sensors. 3D emojis will be powered by the Galaxy S9's facial recognition system, which is expected to remain less secure than Face ID on the iPhone X. Other biometric options will include a rear fingerprint sensor and an iris scanner. Samsung is rumored to release the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 on Friday, March 16, with pre-orders expected to begin about two weeks

2019 iPhones Could Have Smaller Notch as Apple 'Looking Into' Combining Face ID and Front Camera

A new report from South Korea's ETNews insinuates that iPhones may have a smaller notch in 2019 or beyond. The report, citing industry sources, claims Apple is "looking into" combining the front-facing camera and Face ID on next year's iPhones, a move that could certainly reduce the size of the TrueDepth sensor housing.According to industries, it is heard that Apple is planning to strengthen face sensing function starting from 2019 models. That is why it is planning to increase number of parts that will be used for iPhones and is looking into combination of a face recognition module with a camera module.The confusing bit is that the report mentions a singular face recognition module, whereas Face ID is powered by an infrared camera, dot projector, and flood illuminator. The report doesn't specify how Apple would manage to combine these components, so like many very-early-on rumors, this one isn't entirely clear yet. The notch is easily the most controversial attribute of the iPhone X's design. While many early adopters don't mind the small cutout at the top of the display, others have heavily criticized it, including The Outline's Joshua Topolsky.The "notch" on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd — it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screen space.Unfor

Samsung Begins Running OLED Production Lines for iPhone 8 at Full Capacity

As we enter the season of iPhone production ramp-up stories, news out of Apple's supply chain today reports that Samsung Display is gearing up to operate seven of its next-generation OLED lines at full capacity in August, all of which are dedicated to Apple and the iPhone 8. According to ETNews, the OLED ramp-up follows a series of inspections that Samsung made on each of the seven lines over the past few weeks in preparation for Apple's much-anticipated OLED-only iPhone 8. Samsung Display is the only supplier of OLED screens for the 2017 iPhone, and the manufacturer is said to see an increase from 15,000 panels per month to 105,000 panels per month following the full scale production increase. A recent concept of the OLED iPhone 8 via Max Rudberg Samsung Display crafts multiple iPhone screens out of a single of its OLED panels, so if it keeps its production lines at maximum capacity with 100 percent yield, the supplier can produce 130 million 5.8-inch OLED iPhone screens in one year. Of course, the reality is that OLED is difficult to manufacture, and industry watchers believe that the yield rate for the Samsung Display OLED iPhone 8 line will be "at least" 60 percent. Multiple reports this year have pointed towards production delays in the supply chain, potentially leading to a limited capacity iPhone 8 launch. While Samsung Display will be the sole OLED supplier for the 2017 iPhone, numerous sources have said that a new supplier -- LG Display -- will enter Apple's OLED supply chain in 2018. Apple is said to have invested $2.6 billion into LG Display to help

Samsung Planning to Build World's Largest OLED Display Factory

Samsung Display is planning to construct the world's biggest OLED display manufacturing plant, with more than 30 percent higher production capacity than the company's current biggest factory, according to Korean website ETNews. "iPhone 8" mockup designed by Benjamin Geskin for iDrop News The report, citing unnamed industry sources, suggests the tentatively named A5 factory could begin mass production in 2019, with a peak yield of between 180,000 and 270,000 display panels per month. Samsung Display has reportedly also been expanding its existing A3 plant since the second half of 2015 in order to fulfill demand for OLED displays from both its sister company Samsung Electronics and Apple. Apple is widely rumored to release its first iPhone with an OLED display, known as the "iPhone 8" for now, later this year. Reports claim Apple has ordered between 70 and 92 million OLED panels from Samsung for the device. An earlier report out of Korea claimed Apple aims to switch its entire iPhone lineup to OLED displays by

Apple's iPhone 8 Said to Feature 'Water Drop Design' in Homage to Original iPhone

Apple's upcoming 2017 iPhone will feature a design that's similar to the original iPhone, according to industry analysts who spoke to Korean site ETNews [Google Translate]. The site says the iPhone will use a "water drop design" that's an homage to the original iPhone, with a rear curve that is both gentler and rounder than existing metal case edges. Apple is said to be using a three-dimensional glass material on the back of the iPhone 8 to make it more closely resemble the deeper curves on the case of the original iPhone. It would, of course, be much larger than the first iPhone, with rumors suggesting a 5.8-inch display, and it would undoubtedly be much thinner. The "3D glass case" is said to "make curves" around the top, bottom, left, and right edges of the iPhone, moving away from the less curved, flat back design that was introduced with the iPhone 4 and has been used in every iPhone up to the iPhone 7. Apple used a curved aluminum and plastic design for the original iPhone and plastic alone for the iPhone 3G. Shape wise, the iPhone 8 is said to resemble the first iPhone, but it will use all glass, similar in design to the plastic used in the second iPhone. While an original iPhone-style curved back is rumored to be included, ETNews agrees with existing display information and suggests the OLED screen of the iPhone 8 will be "relatively flat." It will not feature a dramatically curved edge like the Samsung Galaxy line. There have been several mixed rumors about the curve of the iPhone 8's display due to difficulty interpreting details about what

Future MacBooks Said to Adopt Brighter OLED Displays That Consume Less Battery Life

Apple is looking to use OLED displays rather than current LCD technology for its future MacBook series, according to Korean website ETNews. The report, citing unnamed sources, said Apple is currently looking into ways of using OLED displays for MacBooks and testing their performance. It does not provide a timeline as to when Apple might release its first OLED-based MacBook. The switch to OLED technology could have several benefits for future MacBooks, including lower power consumption for longer battery life. OLED panels are often thinner, too, which could allow for a slimmer and lighter MacBook design. Other potential advantages of OLEDs include increased brightness, sharper colors, and faster response times compared to LCDs. The report said Apple is actively expanding uses of OLED displays for its major products, one of which is widely rumored to be the iPhone starting next year. Apple already has experience using OLED displays in limited applications, including the Apple Watch and the new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, but adapting the technology to larger screens can pose manufacturing challenges. Today's report pegged Samsung as Apple's supplier of Touch Bar panels, and that partnership could extend to MacBook displays in the future. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo yesterday said Apple will release new MacBooks in the second half of 2017. New and existing notebooks are said to receive price cuts, while adoption of Intel's Cannonlake processors if readied could allow for up to 32GB of RAM versus the max 16GB of RAM in current

Apple Partners With South Korean Company to Develop Hollow Batteries for 'Project Titan' Car Project

Last year, it was reported that Apple has poached Samsung engineers to develop battery technologies for its widely rumored electric vehicle, and now another unnamed South Korean company may be involved with the project. Korean site ETNews now reports that a small Korean battery company, which comprises 20 or so employees described as "expert technologists in batteries," has been tapped to co-develop batteries for the so-called Apple Car. Apple is planning to independently develop its own batteries for electric vehicles based on the Korean company's patented hollow battery technology, according to the report. They are described as cylindrical lithium-ion secondary batteries with a thickness of two fingers and uniquely hollow centers.Because batteries create most heat from the center due to chemical reactions, this company has created batteries where air flow and cooling are smooth in the center of batteries and this can minimize installation of separate cooling device or a device that prevents over-heating. They are also advantageous in high output. By utilizing this space, it is easy to design parallel connection, which is to expand battery capacity, in these batteries.The report does not disclose the company's name due to its recently signed non-disclosure agreement with Apple. MacRumors went searching and uncovered a European Patent Office patent application for a hollow type secondary battery filed by Korean company Orange Power. According to its website, the company has 25 employees in R&D, and 33 total, which together with the patent application suggests it

iPhone 7 May Use New Packaging Technology for Antenna Switching Module to Save Space

Rumors have suggested the iPhone 7 will be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6s, and a new report from Korean site ETNews shares some technical details on the methods Apple may use to save space internally and shave off precious fractions of a millimeter from the device's size. Apple is said to be planning to use a new fan-out packaging technology for the antenna switching module and radio frequency chip in the iPhone 7, which is a feature that allows the iPhone to switch between LTE and other antennas like GSM and CDMA. Fan-out packaging technology allows for a greater number of I/O terminals while cutting down on chip size. A mockup of what the iPhone 7 might look like Fan Out technology is a technology that increases number of I/O (Input/Output) terminals within a package by pulling out wiring of I/O terminals to outside from a semiconductor chip (Die), which is a previous step before packaging. As area of a chip had become narrower as manufacturing processes had become finer, it was difficult to increase number of I/O terminals. Because industries do not want to increase size of a chip just for I/O terminals, they have been paying attention to Fan Out Packaging technology recently. It is most cost effective from production cost perspective if number of I/O terminals increases within a package while still decreasing size of a chip.Using this packaging method, along with single-chip EMI shields, Apple will be able to fit more components into a single package while minimizing signal loss and also cutting down on the potential for interference in wireless

Apple is 'Close' to OLED Screen Deal With LG and Samsung for Future iPhones

Apple is close to signing a final agreement with LG Display and Samsung to provide OLED screens for next-generation iPhones, according to a new report from ET News [Google Translate] (via Reuters). The OLED panels are rumored to be included with iPhones starting in 2018. The two Korean companies plan to spend around $12.8 billion (15 trillion won) combined to build up OLED production capacity over the next two to three years. ET News also adds that Apple is likely to provide some funding to both LG and Samsung to help with their investments. Additionally, LG plans on converting existing LCD production lines into OLED production lines to reduce costs. Samsung, on the other hand, will produce 30 percent fewer orders than LG. Last month, Nikkei reported that Apple plans to switch iPhones over to OLED displays starting in 2018, with both LG and Samsung sharing a large portion of OLED panel production. LG was already planning capacity upgrades for high-volume OLED screen production that would be required for iPhone demand. Earlier this month, it was reported that Japan Display was also planning mass production of OLED displays for iPhones starting in 2018. OLED displays can provide sharper images and brighter colors compared to LCD displays. However, OLED displays tend to have shorter lifespans and come with higher manufacturing costs. Apple has been reportedly "consulting with display makers" on how to minimize potential

Next iPad Air May Include Upgraded A8 Processor, 8 Megapixel Camera

Displays for Apple's next-generation iPad Air are set to begin production this month, reports Korean site ETNews [Google Translation] (via AmongTech), with other major parts such as the camera module also set to enter production soon. Apple's second iPad Air is expected to continue to feature the same featherweight design introduced with the first iPad Air, using the same 9.7-inch Retina LCD with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. LG Display will begin production on the displays in June, with Samsung and Sharp ramping up production next month. Though the next-generation iPad Air will not see any design changes, it may see some hardware improvements in the form of an upgraded 8-megapixel rear camera, an improvement over the current 5-megapixel camera. It may incorporate the same 8-megapixel camera used in the iPhone 5s, which also includes a larger sensor for improved low-light performance. iOS 8 will also bring photography updates to both Apple's existing and next-generation iPad Airs, in the form of new panoramic and time-lapse modes. Along with a better camera, the iPad Air is unsurprisingly expected to include an upgraded A8 processor to improve both performance and battery life and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor first introduced with the iPhone 5s. It is unclear when Apple plans to release its second-generation iPad Air, but rumors have pointed towards a release in September or October, which would be in line with previous iPad releases. Apple's Retina iPad mini is expected to be updated at the same time, featuring many of the same improvements.

New Report Summarizes Display Rumors for Future Apple Devices

Apple is shaking up the display market with a multitude of upcoming product debuts and enhancements, according to Korean site ET News. The site summarizes several known product rumors that will impact display manufacturers, including larger iPhone and iPads, an OLED iWatch, and IGZO displays for its MacBook lineup. Multiple reports have suggested that Apple is working on both a larger iPhone and a larger iPad. ET News suggests that a larger iPhone will be at least 5 inches, in line with a September report from The Wall Street Journal indicating that Apple was experimenting with a number of screen sizes from 4.8 inches to 6 inches. Several iPad changes are in the works as well, with Apple planning to introduce a Retina iPad mini and experimenting with a larger (possibly 12.9-inch) iPad. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple is experimenting with larger screen sizes for its iPad lineup and a Retina mini has been confirmed by multiple sources. ET News further suggests that the iPad will be offered at multiple price points based on display, similar to the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a similar prediction, stating that Apple has plans to introduce a low-cost iPad mini. Rumors have previously indicated that Apple is considering a 1.5-inch OLED display for its iWatch, which will be produced by Samsung. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously stated that OLED displays were oversaturated, but Apple has hired at least one OLED expert in recent months.Apple will also adopt AM OLED which the company has shunned so far to hold