Kim Jong-Un sure looks happy with his MacBook Pro

Apple has a large number of high-profile fans, but there are always bound to be one or two less desirable (but equally famous) ones who slip through the cracks. One of these is North Korea’s super villain dictator Kim Jong-un, who apparently is quite the Apple fan — as evidenced by a recent photo posted […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


iPhone 7 Chip Manufacturer Counts Cost of Earthquake Damage

The sole company responsible for manufacturing the processor in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has reduced its shipping estimates after its facilities were damaged in an earthquake (via DigiTimes).

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) suffered the damage to its plants on February 6 when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the southern part of the country.

Initially, TSMC reported that the damage incurred would reduce the amount of chips it could ship by less than 1 percent. However, this morning the company revised that estimate and said shipment numbers could be affected over the 1 percent mark, but stopped short of giving a specific number.

Mockup of iPhone 7 case showing flush rear camera and no antenna bands across rear

Despite the earthquake, TSMC stated it is confident of hitting target revenues of $5.9-6.0 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Whether the damage will affect production of the iPhone 7 chip, which is expected to begin in June, remains unclear.

TSMC reached a deal with Apple only last week to become the sole manufacturer for the iPhone 7’s processor, partly thanks to its 10-nanometer manufacturing process. Apple used both Samsung and TSMC to manufacture the chips for the iPhone 6s, perhaps in a bid to lower risks, but the arrangement caused some controversy after benchmarks indicated performance variances between the companies’ processors.

The processor in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is likely called the A10. Both devices are expected to debut in September. Leaks of the phones’ design suggest that it may have a flush rear camera and a lack of antenna bands on its back. Other rumors indicate that the 7 Plus may feature a dual-lens camera system and that it may be waterproof and not have a headphone jack.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: TSMC, A10
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Apple to Open $25 Million Technology Development Site in India

Apple plans to open a $25 million technology development site that’ll span 250,000 square feet in Hyderabad, India, according to ZDNet. The site will open its „innovation center“ in June of this year before ramping up to full operations by the end of the year.

The new centre will be built on 250,000 square feet of land in the real estate firm Tishman Speyer’s WaveRock facility at Hyderabad’s IT corridor at a cost of $25 million (150 crore rupees). It is anticipated to create 4,500 jobs for locals. IT majors such as Infosys, Wipro, Microsoft, and Cognizant have already set up their offices in the IT corridor.

ZDNet says the development center will be used to work on maps. Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary to IT in Telangana, the state in which Hyderabad resides, told ZDNet that Apple „has not looked at cities only in India, but across many places in Europe and other parts of the world.“

Rajan notes that Apple choosing Hyderabad is a „strong endorsement of the city as a major IT hub in the country.“ Microsoft also has offices in the city and plans to expand its operations while Google has pledged to open a headquarters in Hyderabad, making it the biggest technology campus in South Asia.

In 2006, Apple opened a massive support center in Bangalore, but closed it shortly thereafter. While Apple keeps most of its design and development within the United States, it does own several research and development sites around the world, including in Israel and Ireland. In late 2014, the company announced that it would open an R&D center in Yokohama, Japan. In January, Apple announced that it would open iOS development centers in Europe, starting in Italy.

On a whole, India is becoming increasingly important to Apple’s business. Last July, the company noted that its growth in India was over 90 percent while Apple’s sales in the country topped $1 billion in a fiscal year for the first time. Tim Cook has also mentioned that Apple was interested in expanding its manufacturing base in the country. Currently, Apple is close to gaining approval to open retail stores in India.

Tags: India, development centers
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iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se to Be Available on March 18 Following March 15 Introduction

Apple is planning to begin selling the upcoming iPad Air 3 and the 4-inch iPhone 5se starting on March 18, reports 9to5Mac. The two devices will be offered in stores and online starting on Friday following their introduction at an event to be held on Tuesday, March 15.

Apple is not expected to accept pre-orders for the two devices, and the short period between announcement and launch suggests Apple expects supplies of the iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se to be plentiful. It is unusual for Apple to offer an iPhone directly after an announcement, but this is the first time the company has launched a standalone non-flagship device.

Launching the new iPhone and iPad models so soon after introduction and not offering pre-orders would be a new strategy for Apple. Apple typically releases new iPhone models one or two weeks following the introduction events and an online pre-order period.

Rumors have suggested the iPhone 5se will be similar in appearance to the iPhone 5s, but with the curved cover glass used in the iPhone 6s. It is also expected to include an upgraded A9 processor and an 8-megapixel camera similar to the camera used in the iPhone 6.

The iPad Air 3 is rumored to take on design elements from the iPad Pro, offering a four-speaker layout and a Smart Connector that would work with iPad Air accessories. Size wise, it is expected to be nearly identical to the iPad Air 2, and i may also include a rear-facing flash.

Apple’s March event is also expected to see the debut of new bands for the Apple Watch, including a Black Milanese Loop that was spotted on the Czech Republic Apple Store website in January. Software currently in testing, including iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, OS X 10.11.4, and tvOS 9.2 could be unveiled shortly after the event.

Related Roundups: iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se, iPhone 6c
Buyer’s Guide: iPad Air (Don’t Buy)
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Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL with Windows 10 Mobile is now available on T-Mobile for $139.99

T-Mobile has launched the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL with Windows 10 Mobile priced at $139.99, although the Android version of the same device is available on MetroPCS for $59.99 after mail-in rebate. Read more…

Android 6.0 Marshmallow now available for LG G4 on AT&T

The LG G4 was among the first devices to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and availability of the update continues to expand – it’s now available as a 971MB over-the-air download for the G4 on AT&T. Read more…

Russian government wants to ban Windows, get more tax dollars from Google, Apple

The Russian government wants to force US technology companies like Apple and Google to pay taxes on apps and services sold online. It also wants to ban Windows from government machines. Read more…

Apple’s Secret Virtual Reality Project: Everything We Know So Far

Apple is rumored to have a secret research unit with hundreds of employees working on augmented and virtual reality, exploring ways the emerging technologies could be used in future products. One product said to be under development is a virtual reality headset, and Apple has reportedly created several prototypes.

Read more about Apple’s AR/VR work in our full Virtual Reality Roundup.
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Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 2.1, the first major update to the watchOS 2 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2.2 has been in testing since January 11.

The third watchOS 2.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on an iPhone running the iOS 9.3 beta by going to General –> Software update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and each iPhone running iOS 9.3. watchOS 2.2 also includes a revamped look for the built-in Maps app on the Apple Watch with access to the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9 and new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.

There are were no other obvious outward-facing changes introduced in the first two watchOS 2.2 betas aside from the changes to the Maps app, but the update undoubtedly includes under-the-hood performance updates and bug fixes to address issues that have been discovered since the release of watchOS 2.1.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tag: watchOS 2.2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Wake up to the sound of music videos on your iPhone

Ringtones are passé; why not wake up to the sound of a music video in the morning? You’ll be the envy of everyone who hears your alarm go off with this neat iOS 9 feature. Here’s how to enable it. First off, you’ll need some music videos. The best way is to head into iTunes […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)