Thursday August 21, 2014 4:16 am PDT by Richard Padilla
New photos shared by French Apple news website iPhonote (Google Translate) claim to show a number of components for the upcoming iPad Air 2, including the device's GPS antenna, microphone, and Wi-Fi module. While previous leaks have shown off the device's front panel and rear shell, these images could be the first look at the various internal components in the iPad Air 2.
Purported iPad Air 2 GPS antenna, microphone, and WiFi module
The website also posted a variety of comparison images between each component for the iPad Air 2 and its corresponding part on the current iPad Air. While no major changes can be immediately spotted from any of the comparisons, it does appear that the next-generation iPad Air's GPS antenna is longer than its predecessor. Also shown are pictures of the iPhone 6's front panel, which appear similar to prior leaks of the component.
Wednesday August 20, 2014 11:12 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's second-generation iPad Air may get a memory upgrade, bumping it up to 2 GB of RAM instead of the 1 GB in the current-generation device, reports Taiwan's TechNews [Google Translate] (via iPhone in Canada). According to the site, the increased RAM will be limited to the iPad Air, as the second-generation Retina iPad mini is expected to continue to offer 1 GB of RAM.
Apple began offering 1 GB of RAM with the third generation iPad, keeping the same amount of memory in the fourth-generation device and the fifth-generation iPad Air. With such a long span of time between memory upgrades, customers have been wondering when Apple might opt to bump up the RAM in its tablet lineup.
iPad Air 2 mockup with Touch ID home button
Previous generations of the iPad have likely not seen a memory increase in order to keep costs low, save space, and preserve battery, but with some of the upcoming iOS 8 features, more RAM might be a necessity for smooth performance.
Apple is rumored to be working on split-screen multitasking for the iPad Air, a feature that will certainly be more memory intensive than running a single app at a time. The feature is said to allow two apps to run side-by-side on the iPad in multiple sizes, including 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4. While split-screen multitasking is likely to be available on existing devices, it may run better on Apple's upcoming iPad Air, which is also expected to gain a new A8 processor.
Thus far, rumors have suggested that split-screen multitasking will be limited to the iPad Air, though support may come to the iPhone and the Retina iPad mini at a later date. Split-screen multitasking is unlikely to be ready for iOS 8's fall debut, but it may come as part of an 8.1 update.
Previous concept for split-screen multitasking (not based on specific rumors)
TechNews also shares some information on Apple's upcoming iWatch, suggesting the device will sport 512 MB of internal memory along with 8 GB of storage, which cannot be confirmed with previous rumors as little is known about the device.
TechNews does not have much of a track record when it comes to Apple rumors, and what it has shared has seen mixed outcomes. The site accurately predicted a sapphire cover for the Touch ID home button ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5s, but it also incorrectly suggested the home button would be capacitive.
Apple is said to be planning an October event to unveil the iWatch, even though the device may not ship until late 2014 or early 2015. That October event may also include the debut of the second-generation iPad Air and the second-generation Retina iPad mini.
Wednesday August 20, 2014 8:02 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
After almost removing itself from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry two years ago, Apple is now leading the charge into the program's new Tablets/Slates category.
As of today, Apple's four iPad models account for 134 of the 135 tablets on the list, although the number of entries appear to be growing nearly by the minute. While Apple is represented by the various configurations of the iPad Air, the iPad mini, the iPad with Retina display and the iPad mini with Retina display, the sole non-iPad model currently on the list is the Dell Venue 11 Pro.
In a blog post announcing the new category earlier this week, Green Electronics Council CEO Robert Frisbee hailed the early inclusion of more than 100 tablets without mentioning that essentially all of them were Apple products.
We are pleased at Participating Manufacturers’ enthusiasm to register these new products. In less than one week more than 100 slates/tablets have been registered in EPEAT, and we expect to see many more in the weeks and months to come. These products are an exciting addition to EPEAT and an important step into reducing the environmental impacts of a major new product type. We are confident the new products are leaders in their category.
Apple has a bit of a rocky history with EPEAT, notifying the environmental assessment service in 2012 that it was withdrawing its products from the registry. At the time, Apple cited "changes in its design direction which were no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements" as the reason for this removal request.
Apple quickly reversed its decision after businesses, municipalities and other Apple customers publicly decried the withdrawal decision. EPEAT also responded with a pledge to work with Apple and possibly adapt its judging standards to be more compatible with the company's cutting edge product designs.
Apple's product lineup is now represented in several EPEAT categories, including desktops, notebooks, displays, integrated desktop computers, and tablets/slates. The company has earned a gold star rating for all of its eligible products, including its difficult-to-repair MacBook Pro with Retina display. This controversial gold rating has prompted some groups to accuse EPEAT of lowering its standards in order to include Apple on the list.
Sunday August 17, 2014 2:07 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Earlier this week, photos claiming to be of a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector surfaced. The images were said to be sourced from Apple supplier Foxconn, and were shown in a production stage. Now, frequent iOS device part leaker Sonny Dickson shares a new photo of the accessory, further indicating that a new Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector may be on the horizon:
The current Lightning cable (left) compared to new Lightning cable (right)
While the USB connector on the current Lightning cable is attached to the bottom of its metal housing, the connector of the supposedly newer cable is attached to the center. The structure of the newer cable was also spotted in previous photos, and likely indicates that this is a reversible USB connector. It is also therefore possible that the new Lightning cable could utilize USB 3.0 technology, as current Lightning cables support only USB 2.0. However, no other evidence suggests that the cable could be of the USB 3.0 variety.
Apple could start shipping new cables alongside forthcoming iOS devices starting with the iPhone 6. In addition to a reversible connector, the new Lightning cable could also feature support for high-definition audio playback on Made for iPhone accessories as rumored by Mac Otakara earlier this year. That report further claimed that Apple was preparing a new version of its In-Ear Headphones, which have not been updated since 2008.
Apple also introduced Lightning Cable MFi specifications for headphones in June, paving the way for manufacturers to create products that connect directly to iOS devices via their Lightning port rather than through a regular 3.5mm headphone jack. Those products could also see integration with revamped Lightning cables.
Apple's suppliers are gearing up to begin producing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, reports Bloomberg. Production for the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 is underway and according to the site's sources, the tablet will debut towards the end of the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. Production of the 7.9-inch Retina iPad mini 2 is also said to be beginning soon.
August production dates for both tablets are in line with rumors that have suggested the new iPads will be unveiled at a fall event (possibly October) that follows Apple's September 9 iPhone event.
iPad Air 2 Mockup
Apple's iPad Air 2 may see some manufacturing issues that restrict available supply, however, due to a new anti-reflection coating that's being added to the tablet. The coating is said to make the iPad's screen easier to read.
Output of the larger iPad may be restricted by manufacturing complications related to the use of a new anti-reflection coating, which Apple plans to add to the device to make the display easier to read, said one of the people.
According to recent rumors, the iPad Air 2 and the second-generation Retina iPad mini will both feature form factors that are largely the same as Apple's existing iPad Air and Retina mini. The iPad Air may see some minor design tweaks including a new speaker grille with a single row of larger holes and a slightly recessed set of volume buttons.
Sunday August 3, 2014 5:20 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Taiwan-based accessory maker Yi Lin Enterprises has posted new photos on Weibo showing the purported rear shell of Apple's iPad Air 2 (Google Translate, via Mac Otakara). The images show off a gold housing with a number of design changes, including a new speaker grille with larger holes and a relocated rear microphone alongside the iSight camera.
Last month, an alleged "perfect replica" of the iPad Air 2 surfaced, showing off a Touch ID home button for the device and recessed volume buttons along with the same refined speaker grille. The prototype followed the leak of a supposed front panel from the iPad Air 2 this past April, which showed an integrated display that may hint at a thinner form factor for the tablet.
Apple's iPad Air 2 is expected to launch alongside the iPad mini 3 later this year, and is expected to include a faster A8 processor in addition to the aforementioned Touch ID fingerprint sensor and refined physical features. Rumors have also suggested that Apple is working on a larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, however recent reports have indicated that plans for the tablet may be on hold for the foreseeable future.
Friday July 25, 2014 7:21 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Looking at Apple's quarterly SEC quarterly filing, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley believes Apple's revenue is poised to explode in the coming quarters. Huberty based her prediction on increases in Apple's off-balance sheet commitments, which have a historical correlation with revenue growth.
Off-balance sheet commitments are those investments in components and services that are involved in the mass production and launch of new devices. These line items include component purchases, manufacturing process equipment investments, advertising, and other services. Huberty notes that Apple's total spending in these areas has climbed 46 percent yearly and 36 percent quarterly in fiscal Q3 2014, making last quarter's jump the largest spending increase since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007.
Huberty, not surprisingly, attributes this spending increase to Apple's iPhone 6 and iWatch wearable, both of which are expected to launch later this year. These new products, along with services such as mobile payments, could accelerate growth and boost margins.
Apple has the opportunity to take share in slower growth smartphone and tablet markets with larger screens and new services. New product categories like iWatch, and services like payments could further boost growth.
Apple is rumored to be launching its next-generation iPhone 6, refreshed iPad models and a new iWatch smartwatch later this year. The company may also update its Mac hardware to coincide with the debut of OS X Yosemite.
Friday July 25, 2014 6:17 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
China media sources (via GforGames) report that mass production of Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone is underway ahead of the phone's expected fall launch. These same sources claim the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has not entered mass production, further suggesting that the launch timeframe for this larger iPhone model is still uncertain.
Besides the iPhone 6, Apple also is preparing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini for mass production starting in September. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPads, possibly alongside the iWatch, at an October event that also will likely be used to announce the public release of OS X Yosemite.
As Apple prepares to launch new iPhones and iPads later this year, the company's Asian suppliers are gearing up to boost production by as much as 85 percent by Q4 2014. Some of this increased production may be handled by Foxconn robots, "Foxbots", with the company reportedly deploying as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of up to $25,000 each.
Anticipation for Apple's fall lineup of devices is high, fueled by comments from Apple executives that suggest the company will enter new product categories with a device lineup that is the best it has had in 25 years.
Tuesday July 22, 2014 3:22 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.
Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.
In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted "significant innovation can be brought to the iPad", stating "[Apple] plans on doing that" and that the tablet category as a whole is still "in its infancy." Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor.
The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger "iPad Pro" which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple's plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.
Monday July 14, 2014 7:08 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple's iPad may be the cause of unexplained allergic rashes in children, reports The Washington Post, which cites a case study of an 11-year-old boy that was published in Pediatrics medical journal.
The Pediatrics article focuses on an 11-year-old boy who may be allergic to the nickel used in the casing of the tablet device. Following the increasing use of an iPad, the patient developed a rash that would not respond to conventional treatment.
His skin tested positive for nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals, and doctors traced it back to an iPad he had used with increasing frequency the past six months. The iPad tested positive for nickel as well, according to the report.
Doctors advised the boy to use a Smart Case that covers the entire outer surface of the tablet. Similar to other reports of electronic device-induced rashes, the boy's skin condition improved significantly when he started using a case that prevented direct contact with the device.
As noted by the Associated Press, nickel allergies in children appear to be on the rise, with 25 percent of those receiving skin tests testing positive for nickel allergies, up from 17 percent a decade ago.
This iPad isn't the only device implicated in skin rashes. Earlier this year, Fitbit voluntarily recalled its Force fitness tracker after a growing number of users developed contact dermatitis from wearing the band. The rash was originally attributed to nickel in the charging port of the band, but that metal may not be involved as many users covered the nickel-containing port with tape and continued to experience a rash.
Update 3:00 PM PT: Apple has provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal noting that its products meet strict standards set for jewelry by the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission.
"Apple's products are made from the highest quality materials and meet the same strict standards set for jewelry by both the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission and their counterparts in Europe," Apple said.
Monday June 23, 2014 6:38 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
A report from China Times (via GforGames) claims Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is expanding its 8-inch chip plant in order to produce Touch ID sensors for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. TSMC is planning to produce 120 million Touch ID units in 2014, a 233 percent year over year increase as the sensor expands beyond the flagship iPhone to other iOS devices.
In line with a previous report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, today's report claims Apple and TSMC are using tin to increase the durability of the sensor compared to the current version found in the iPhone 5s.
Supply chain sources say TSMC is scaling its mass production of new Touch ID units to begin delivery to Apple by early July, with third quarter production more than doubling over the previous quarter. A previous report had indicated that the first shipments of new Touch ID sensors began by early May, but these may still have been early batches for testing.
Similar to the iPhone's Touch ID, the iPad version will support the expanded functionality made possible by iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party apps to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes. Touch ID also is rumored to be part of a mobile payment system under development by Apple.
Recent leaks hint at how the next-generation iPad Air and iPad Mini may appear with a Touch ID module and other design refinements such as a changed speaker grille and recessed volume buttons.
Apple.club.tw shares an image of what appears to be models of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air.
The iPhone 6 models have already been covered extensively, while we got the first glimpse of the purported iPad Air 2 just last week. The iPad Air 2 model was shown to depict Touch ID, changed speaker grille, and recessed volume buttons.
The new image doesn't reveal any more details except the depiction of Touch ID on the new iPad mini. This year's iPads have been widely expected to gain Touch ID capabilities. Apple first introduced the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system with the iPhone 5S, and will be extending it to allow Apps to begin using it with iOS 8.
While Apple is widely expected to expand use of its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the iPad Air and iPad mini later this year, new photos of an alleged "perfect replica" of the second-generation iPad Air shared by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] hint that there may be a few additional changes in store for the device.
The replica, which is making the rounds in China and Japan, unsurprisingly depicts a Touch ID home button for the device, but also shows some tweaks to physical features around the edges of the device, including a new speaker grille with a single row of larger holes on each side of the Lightning port as opposed to the current double row of smaller holes on the iPad.
Another difference lies in the volume buttons which are shown slightly recessed into the edge of the case, compared to the current design that sees buttons protruding slightly from a flush holes machines in the device's shell. Nowhereelse.fr mentions that the mute switch is also missing, although there is a small hole where the feature is usually located. Unfinished protoype and mockup parts sometimes feature these pilot holes to guide machining of the final hole.
Updated iPads are expected to launch later this year, with October being Apple's usual timeframe for such launches over the past couple of years. The latter part of 2014 is expected to be a busy one for Apple, with rumors of launches for the iPhone 6, new iPads, the iWatch, and perhaps some Mac updates such as the company's rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Air.
Wednesday June 11, 2014 10:06 am PDT by Juli Clover
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.
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.
Building on the success of its wireless Stratus controller, SteelSeries today introduced the Stratus XL, a full-sized gaming controller for the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Similar to its pocket-sized counterpart, the Stratus XL connects to your iOS device wirelessly through Bluetooth instead of the Lightning port.
The Stratus XL features a larger, console controller-inspired design that provides room for two analog joysticks, a pressure-sensitive directional pad (D-pad), 4 pressure-sensitive action buttons and 4 shoulder buttons that include two trigger buttons.
"We have been working for well over a year now on perfecting the wireless controller experience for iOS devices. We have been incredibly impressed by the way the SteelSeries Stratus has been received by consumers so far and we are looking forward to introducing the Stratus XL to the iOS gaming community – who have been asking for a full-sized controller option," said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries CTO. "The Stratus XL was designed to meet their demands, delivered with the premium features and top-to-bottom quality expected from SteelSeries."
The Stratus XL will support the same iOS 7 games as the original Stratus including Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Bastion and more. The large format controller will debut later this year at a price that is yet to be announced. Customers can visit the Stratus XL product page and sign up to be notified when the product availability date and pricing are confirmed.
With the release of Xcode 6 today after Worldwide Developer Conference, developers have found an option within Xcode to size apps for devices referred to as "Resizable iPhone" and "Resizable iPad", as pointed out by Mac4Ever [Google Translate]. The option is next to other Apple devices, including iPad Air, iPhone 5s, and iPad Retina.
The options are likely to enable developers to start developing apps that fit on the rumored larger 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens of the iPhone 6 and, perhaps, the rumored 12-inch iPad Pro. Another photo of the Xcode simulator shows the difference between an app visually optimized for an older iPhone in what appears to be the resolution for one of the two iPhone 6 models.
It's not yet known what the exact resolutions are for the 4.7 and 5.5 inch iPhone 6 models or even the rumored 12-inch iPad Pro, but the "resizable" functionality would allow developers to explore building versions of their apps for larger screens that are currently available.
With both iPads still showing a standard retail price starting at $499 and $399, the new education pricing totals to a $30 discount on the iPad Air and $20 discount on the Retina iPad mini and marks the first time that Apple has included the iPad in the special program. Apple is also offering special education pricing on the first-generation iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, as well as deals on refurbished previous generation iPads.
Apple previously cut education pricing on the non-Retina 13-Inch MacBook Pro to $999 last year, and also offers discounts on the entire Mac line in its education store. The discounted education pricing is available to employees of K-12 schools as well as faculty, staff, students, and parents of students at higher education institutions.
Wednesday May 28, 2014 1:32 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple announced today that it will begin offering the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini on Japanese carrier NTT DOCOMO starting Tuesday, June 10. Both tablets will be compatible with the company's nationwide Xi LTE service, as users will be able to pre-register for both devices beginning June 2nd at local DOCOMO stores and the carrier's website.
"With the addition of iPad alongside iPhone, we now offer the complete lineup of Japan’s most popular mobile devices on the nation’s most reliable LTE network," said Kaoru Kato, President and CEO of NTT DOCOMO, INC. "We know our customers will enjoy using iPad Air and iPad mini, and anticipate that new customers will look to experience these amazing devices on our high-quality network with our new billing plan."
"We are extremely happy for iPad to join iPhone on NTT DOCOMO’s network," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "The results on iPhone have been tremendous, and we look forward to delivering iPad to NTT DOCOMO customers."
The iPad Air and Retina iPad mini were originally launched in Japan and a number of other countries last fall. The move also follows the launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on the carrier last September, marking the first time that Apple's phones were offered on DOCOMO. Since then, Apple has seen its share of the Japanese mobile phone market rise above 36%, with the iPhone accounting for more than 40% of phone sales on the carrier.
Monday May 26, 2014 7:57 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
A new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicates that Apple will include Touch ID across all new iOS devices in 2014, boosting shipments and bringing the fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The report reiterates previous claims made by Kuo last month, which noted that Apple's next-generation iPads will feature Touch ID upon their releases this fall.
Apple’s Touch ID module should see shipments soar 233% in 2014. We believe every new iOS device launched this year will be equipped with Touch ID, including 4.7” and 5.5” new iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 2 with Retina display. Considering shipments of new products and iPhone 5S sales last longer than in 2013, we forecast unit sales of the fingerprint sensor module to grow 233% to 120mn for 2014.
Kuo also notes that Apple will change its Touch ID module design to utilize tin over previously used chemicals to enhance durability. Apple is also expected to stick with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its subsidary XinTec to produce the fingerprint sensors.
Last month, it was noted that TSMC provided the first batch of fingerprint sensors for the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. A report in January noted that TSMC would begin production on the sensors sometime in the second quarter of this year with a new 12-inch fab processing method, however a report in February stated that TSMC would be using the same 8-inch fingerprint sensor processing method used for the iPhone 5s.
Improved shipments of Touch ID will also likely help launch supplies of all three devices, as low yield rates of the component was said to be a key factor contributing to the limited supplies of the iPhone 5s at its launch last September.
Sunday May 25, 2014 6:05 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple has debuted two new video ads for its "Your Verse" iPad Air campaign that showcases the tablet being used in a variety of situations. The pair of ads profile Esa-Pekka Salonen, a Finnish conductor who composes music with the iPad Air, and travel blogger Chérie King, who uses various apps to map her journeys and translate foreign languages on the fly.
Salonen's Your Verse ad displays the musician taking a simple musical concept and developing it into a full composition, using apps such as Touch Press' The Orchestra and Notion to sound out various instruments. The composer is also seen using Pianist Pro, which is shown being used before a whole orchestra plays a musical piece.
Meanwhile, King's one-minute spot shows the writer traveling to various places including Morocco and Vietnam while using the iPad Air in a number of ways. Apps such as Wordpress, Facebook, and Twitter are shown being used to record the journey, while Triposo and iTranslate are used to find popular destinations and translate foreign languages in real time, respectively.
As with the other Your Verse ads, both videos have correspondingsections on Apple's website which go into details about the stories of both individuals and how the iPad Air has helped.
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