Samsung will provide bulk of Apple’s A9 chips for iPhone 6s

Apple has been trying to wean itself from being dependent on Samsung’s smartphone components for years, but breaking up is proving nearly impossible to do. According to a report from Recode, Apple is turning back to Samsung to make the…Read more ›



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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Equipped With Two Accelerometers for Power Management, Improved User Experience

Apple has opted to equip the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with two separate accelerometers, as discovered in Chipworks’ comprehensive iPhone 6 and 6 Plus teardown. There’s a three-axis Bosch BMA280 accelerometer and what Chipworks believes is a MPU-6700 six-axis accelerometer from InvenSense.

According to Chipworks, Apple may have decided to incorporate two accelerometers into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to both minimize power consumption and „improve the overall user experience.“

The InvenSense accelerometer has a range of functions, allowing it to operate in several different modes, but it can draw more power than the Bosch accelerometer due to its higher sensitivity. The maximum sensitivity of the InvenSense is at 16684 LSB/g, much higher than the Bosch’s 4096.

The InvenSense device can operate as a six axis inertial sensor, or as either a three-axis gyroscope or a three-axis accelerometer. It is rated to consume 3.4 mA in the six-axis mode, 3.2 mA in the gyroscope mode and 450 µA in the accelerometer normal mode. By contrast, the Bosch device operates as a 3-axis accelerometer only and it consumes 130 µA of current in the accelerometer normal mode. Both devices offer two low power levels of operation for the accelerometer function. The InvenSense device actually consumes less current in its lowest power mode, with a 1 Hz update rate.

The main benefit of the InvenSense is full six-axis integration of the data by the on-chip digital motion processor (DMP). This will provide a direct benefit for gaming and other applications that need sophisticated inertial sensing capabilities. In addition the InvenSense provides significantly higher sensitivity than the Bosch device. The price however, is higher power consumption.

The Bosch accelerometer is able to operate at a lower power than the InvenSense and it has a „much faster“ cold start up time, at 3ms compared to 30ms, allowing it to be used when complete six-axis integration is unnecessary. Chipworks speculates that it may be used for tasks where higher sensitivity is unneeded, perhaps for rotating the screen from landscape to portrait mode or for pedometer functionality.

According to Chipworks, the inclusion of two accelerometers in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is an example of Apple’s „elegant engineering.“ A single InvenSense accelerometer would have enabled the device to work perfectly well, but the addition of the Bosch accelerometer allows for lower power consumption in the appropriate situations.




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Witness the evolution of iPhone in one hypnotizing GIF

You could read about the evolution of the iPhone in one of our features, looks at a spec chart, or learn about it an infographic, But none of those is nearly as fun as seeing the original iPhone morph into…Read more ›



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Is Apple ashamed of the iPhone 6′s protruding camera lens?

The iPhone 6 is the first iPhone with a camera lens that instead of being flush with the back of the devices slightly protrudes instead. It was a necessary design trade-off, allowing Jony Ive’s team of designers to cram the…Read more ›



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Older iPhone 5 and iPad 2 Models Still Lead Apple’s iOS Device Lineups in Usage [iOS Blog]

As Apple prepares to launch its new iPhone 6, the iPhone 5 remains the company’s most popular model in use, claims Localytics in a report that examines both mobile and web app analytics data from over 100 million iOS devices for the month of August 2014. According to the report, the iPhone 5 has 27 percent market share, edging out the year-old iPhone 5s, which has 25 percent. The now free on contract iPhone 4S rounds out the top three with 21 percent of the iPhone market.

With a new iPhone 6 on the horizon, these iPhone numbers will undoubtedly shift as owners upgrade their phones. The biggest change will likely be in the iPhone 5, which will lose market share as customers take advantage of upgrade offers.

The iPhone 5, launched in 2012, is Apple’s most popular phone with a 27% share, but only leads its successor, the 5s, by a small (2%) margin. This is likely because most iPhones come with a cheaper price if the consumer locks into a two-year contract, putting the average consumer on a two-year upgrade cycle. With the new iPhones expected to be available for purchase later this month, the iPhone 6 will likely eat into the iPhone 5’s market share.

While consumers tend to upgrade their iPhone on a regular basis, the latest Localytics data suggests the iPad has a longer lifespan. Though it is more than three years old, the iPad 2 remains the most popular iPad model in the company’s lineup with 29 percent market share. Though it is heavily advertised and has received rave reviews, the current iPad Air occupies fifth place with 13 percent market share, beating only the original iPad.

In the past couple of years, Apple has launched the iPhone in September and the iPad in October, but one recent rumor claimed the company may unveil both devices during its press event tomorrow. But while numerous have pointed toward introduction for both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6, along with the iWatch, new iPads are less certain.




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Apple Partnering With American Express on iPhone Mobile Payments Initiative

Apple’s rumored mobile payments initiative appears to be coming closer to launch, with Re/code reporting the company has reached a deal to partner with American Express.

Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system, according to sources familiar with the talks. American Express is one of several partners Apple will need to sign up before it can launch its new payments plan, which sources say it plans to announce at its September 9 product event.

Apple was previously reported to have been in negotiations with Visa over the effort, which is said to leverage the upcoming iPhone 6. Just days ago, a logic board leak revealed the near field communications (NFC) chip destined for the iPhone 6 and which will presumably play an important role in enabling the mobile payments functionality.

EasyPay mobile payments concept by Ricardo Del Toro
With Apple’s extensive database of credit card numbers linked to iTunes Store accounts and new security technology such as Touch ID built into the iPhone, the company is strongly positioned to leverage those assets for widespread adoption of mobile payments. The effort naturally requires partnerships with credit card processors and retailers, but the pieces do appear to be falling into place just ahead of next week’s media event.




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iPhone 6 Camera May Feature Electronic Image Stabilization, Bigger Pixel Size

Apple may be planning to use electronic image stabilization instead of optical image stabilization in the iPhone 6, according to new details shared on Weibo [Google Translate] by ESM China analyst Sun Chang Xu (via GforGames). Xu suggests that the iPhone 6’s camera will also boast a larger pixel size of 1.75 um compared to the 1.5 um pixel size of the iPhone 5s’ camera, which would result in a higher picture quality as more light can be taken in.

While previous reports have indicated that Apple is looking to integrate optical image stabilization into the iPhone 6, adding an electronic image stabilization system would allow for the device to have a slimmer camera that does not protrude out of its body. To this point, a number of alleged iPhone 6 images, including renders posted by Japanese magazine MacFan last month, have depicted the iPhone 6 with a protruding camera.

Xu also previously reported on her Weibo account that the iPhone 6 will add pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors, and that the iWatch will utilize optical sensors to measure heart rate and oxygen levels.

Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6 this fall in two different sizes of 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. The smaller 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 will likely ship first, while the larger 5.5-inch version is estimated to ship later due to challenges with the device’s display technology and battery life.

In addition to a larger display and an improved camera, both models of the iPhone 6 are expected to include a thinner, bezel-free design, faster A8 processor, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The device will also likely debut with Apple’s iOS 8 mobile operating system, which will feature improvements to Maps, Siri, and iCloud in addition to a new „Healthbook“ app. Apple is also said to be negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.




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Apple Explores Adding a Lens Mounting System to the iPhone

Apple’s granted patents and patent applications over the last couple of months have revealed a significant interest in camera lens systems that attach to the iPhone’s existing camera, enhancing its photo taking capabilities much like third-party lens attachment solutions from companies like Olloclip.

In a newly published patent application (via Patently Apple), Apple explores a bayonet lens attachment mechanism to fix a separate lens to an iPhone. Bayonet is a type of pin-based of lens mount that is designed to precisely align the mechanical and electrical features between a lens and a body in a traditional camera, preventing the components from rotating.

According to Apple, this attachment method is superior to other solutions such as a separate case that lenses can be mounted to or a magnetic attachment system that may not be strong enough to keep a lens attached while in motion. Apple describes both a case and a magnetic mount as „undesirable“ and „unsightly.“

Detachable lenses from third-party manufacturer Olloclip
The application explains in detail how a lens can be mounted to an iPhone or other device through a bayonet attachment, with the iPhone or other device possessing a cavity that the can attach to a lens and the bayonets being located around the aperture of the lens. It also describes quick release methods, should a device with a lens attached by dropped or otherwise damaged.

Attachment mechanisms are provided. The attachment mechanisms may be configured to couple accessory devices, such as lens devices to an electronic device. For example, a lens may be coupled to the exterior of an electronic device with first and second attachment mechanisms.

While there are a range of third-party add-on lenses for the iPhone and the iPad, none of the available solutions are able to use an attachment method as Apple describes due to the fact that such a system would have to be manufactured directly into the iPhone. Instead, they use magnets, cases, or other less than ideal attachment solutions that would be unable to compete with a native solution from Apple, should the company choose to pursue camera enhancements in the form of lens attachments.

A drawing of Apple’s lens attachment method
Apple has also explored other attachment methods in recent years, including a magnetic lens attachment system that was detailed in a patent granted in January and a similar lens attachment system that worked with a removable back panel used to swap in different lenses, unveiled in 2012.




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Jailbreak Tweak ‘AppLocker’ Locks Individual Apps With Touch ID [iOS Blog]

Following the December release of the evasi0n jailbreak for iOS 7 devices, several new jailbreak tweaks for the iPhone 5s are in the works, including a newly updated version of AppLocker that is designed to take advantage of the Touch ID sensor of the iPhone 5s.

AppLocker is a tweak that has existed for some time, allowing users to lock individual apps with a password. With iOS 7 and an iPhone 5s, AppLocker is able to lock and unlock apps using Touch ID’s fingerprint recognition capabilities. iDownloadBlog has a detailed video of the tweak in use:

AppLocker is only able to access fingerprints that have been entered into the iPhone 5s via the Touch ID menu in the Settings app, and different fingerprints are not distinguished by the system, so there is little setup needed to install the tweak. As demonstrated in the video, app unlocking works as seamlessly as standard device unlocking with Touch ID.

At the current point in time, Touch ID on non-jailbroken devices is limited to unlocking the phone and making purchases in the App Store. It is likely that Apple will expand the use of Touch ID in the future, but it remains unknown whether Apple has plans to release a Touch ID API that would allow the functionality to be built into individual apps as in the AppLocker jailbreak tweak.

The security implications of the Touch ID-supported AppLocker tweak are unknown, as Apple has said that all Touch ID data (in the form of a mathematical representation of a fingerprint) is stored in a „Secure Enclave“ inside the A7 processor that is walled off from the rest of iOS and unavailable to iOS or other apps.

According to the developer of the tweak, who spoke to Cult of Mac, AppLocker is not accessing Touch ID data, but rather confirming that a finger is authenticated. „All I am doing is asking iOS, ‘Hey, is this finger authenticated?’ and I get either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No,'“ he said.

The Touch ID functionality in AppLocker 2.2 is currently available for download on jailbroken devices via the ModMyi repo. The update is free for current AppLocker users and $0.99 for new purchasers.




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Apple Releases First iPhone 5s Television Ad

Apple premiered a new ad during NFL games this afternoon, showcasing the new gold iPhone 5s. The ad, which features the song „Ooh La La“ by Goldfrapp [iTunes] and no dialogue, depicts golden liquid metal morphing into the iPhone 5s.

Earlier this week, Apple launched the first magazine ads for the iPhone 5s, also featuring the gold model.

The new ad is very similar to the Plastic Perfected spot for the iPhone 5c that debuted in September.

Apple has been heavily advertising the iPhone 5c on television in recent weeks, but we have seen relatively little about the 5s, likely because of tight supplies.

(Thanks to The Verge for the video)




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