Tuesday August 26, 2014 12:02 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is planning to launch its much-rumored 12.9-inch iPad in early 2015, reports Bloomberg. Hints of the tablet, which has been dubbed the "iPad Pro" in rumors, first appeared in mid-2013, with a prospective 2014 launch date. Recent rumors, however, suggested plans for the tablet had been put on hold.
Mockup of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air
The new iPad will have a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public. Apple currently produces iPads with 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch displays. The Cupertino, California-based company has been working with suppliers for at least a year to develop a new range of larger touch-screen devices, said the people.
According to rumors, the larger 12.9-inch iPad will include a high pixel density with a display that nears ultra high-definition quality. It will likely adopt many of the design elements offered in the current iPad Air and iPad mini, like an ultrathin chassis and narrow side bezels.
Bloomberg suggests that the larger tablet is an effort to "shake up the iPad line" as sales of the iPad have been on the decline for the past two quarters. The larger tablets may appeal heavily to businesses, a market that Apple is also aiming for with its recent IBM partnership.
Along with a larger "iPad Pro" Apple is also working on a second-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, both of which are expected to include upgraded processors and support for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Tuesday August 26, 2014 8:06 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Los Angeles school district superintendent John Deasy halted the district's iPad contract with Apple in mid-rollout, reports the LA Times. The $1-billion multi-year contract would supply LAUSD students with iPads that were pre-loaded with curriculum from Pearson.
The contract was administered in phases with an initial $30-million investment to equip a pilot group of students with iPads. Additional payments totaling almost $1 billion would expand the project to additional students and build out the wireless infrastructure to support tablet usage at the district's schools. Each phase was subject to approval with the option of canceling the project if it no longer met the district's needs.
Deasy's suspension follows criticism of the project rollout and its bidding process, which some claim was modified to favor Apple and Pearson. While issues with securing the iPads surfaced shortly after rollout, the contractual complaints were detailed in a district technology committee draft report that was obtained recently by the LA Times.
Among the findings was that the initial rules for winning the contract appeared to be tailored to the products of the eventual winners — Apple and Pearson — rather than to demonstrated district needs. The report found that key changes to the bidding rules were made after most of the competition had been eliminated under the original specifications.
In addition, the report said that past comments or associations with vendors, including Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated.
While Deasy responds to these criticisms, the technology program at LAUSD is moving forward with other devices and alternative curriculum being adopted by schools in the district. The district is expected to purchase up to 18,000 laptops with Apple and Pearson invited to bid on this new contract.
Monday August 25, 2014 7:37 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
According to Taiwan's Economic Daily News [Google Translate, via Digitimes], Apple's reported current A-series chip partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is ahead of schedule with its next-generation 16nm process for chip production. The Chinese-language report claims TSMC will begin 16nm volume production in Q1 2015, a full quarter earlier than its originally projected Q2 2015 start. This advancement may pave the way for TSMC to supply Apple with the future A9 processor that would be used in the late 2015 iPhone.
TSMC is reportedly installing this 16mm capability in its manufacturing plants with the potential for a monthly output of 50,000 wafers. This capability positions TSMC favorably against Samsung as the two companies vie to supply Apple with processors for both its current and future iPhone and iPad models.
Reports from last year suggested Samsung, GlobalFoundries and TSMC would share production of Apple's A9 processor in 2015. Samsung is expected to handle the lion's share of the production, providing up to 40% of Apple's processor supply, although TSMC may be looking to alter that balance with its accelerated work. GlobalFoundries, TSMC and possibly even Intel may be used to complement Samsung's production to provide the remaining chip inventory necessary to meet Apple's demand.
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.
MacRumors attracts a broad audience
of both consumers and professionals interested in
the latest technologies and products. We also boast an active community focused on
purchasing decisions and technical aspects of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac platforms.