App Store Holiday Sales: Final Fantasy VII, Lara Croft GO, Notability and More

In time for the holiday season, a number of paid apps and games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have been discounted on the App Store this week, including Alto’s Adventure, Final Fantasy VII, Lara Croft GO, Launch Center Pro, PDF Expert 5, Scanner Pro, This War of Mine, Thomas Was Alone and more.

Apple’s annual iTunes Connect winter shutdown takes place between December 22 and December 29, during which time the following features are unavailable: new app submissions, app updates, in-app purchase submissions and TestFlight submissions for external testing. All other features, and access to iTunes Connect, remain available.

Apps on Sale

Agent A ($2.99 → 99¢)

Alto’s Adventure ($2.99 → 99¢)

Aqueduct 101 ($1.99 → Free)

Bastion ($4.99 → 99¢)

Blek ($2.99 → 99¢)

Broken Age ($4.99 → $2.99)

Civilization Revolution 2 ($9.99 → $4.99)

Clear ($4.99 → $1.99)

Day One ($4.99 → 99¢)

Deliveries ($4.99 → $2.99)

Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition ($4.99 → $2.99)

Drafts 4 ($9.99 → $4.99)

DuckTales: Remastered ($9.99 → 99¢)

Fantastical 2 ($4.99 → $2.99)

FlightTrack 5 ($4.99 → 99¢)

FINAL FANTASY VI ($15.99 → $7.99)

FINAL FANTASY VII ($15.99 → $10.99)

Grim Fandango Remastered ($4.99 → $2.99)

Heroes of Might & Magic III ($9.99 → $4.99)

Hitman GO ($4.99 → 99¢)

Hitman: Sniper ($2.99 → 99¢)

I Am Bread ($4.99 → 99¢)

Infinity Blade III ($6.99 → 99¢)

Lara Croft GO ($4.99 → $1.99)

Launch Center Pro ($4.99 → $1.99)

Leo’s Fortune ($4.99 → 99¢)

Mines of Mars ($4.99 → $1.99)

NBA 2K16 ($7.99 → $3.99)

Notability ($5.99 → 99¢)

Oceanhorn ($8.99 → $4.99)

PDF Expert 5 ($9.99 → $4.99)

Power Hover ($3.99 → $1.99)

Procreate Pocket ($2.99 → 99¢)

Rogue Star ($4.99 → 99¢)

Scanner Pro ($2.99 → 99¢)

Ski Safari 2 ($1.99 → 99¢)

Splendor ($6.99 → 99¢)

Tetrobot and Co. ($2.99 → 99¢)

Tiny Guardians ($3.99 → 99¢)

This War of Mine ($14.99 → $4.99)

Thomas Was Alone ($4.99 → 99¢)

Transistor ($9.99 → $2.99)

Trick Shot ($1.99 → 99¢)

Wizards and Wagons ($4.99 → $1.99)

XCOM: Enemy Within ($9.99 → $4.99)

Xenowerk ($1.99 → 99¢)

There are dozens of other iOS apps discounted for the holidays beyond those listed above. Keep track on our sister website AppShopper.

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App Store Holiday Sales: Final Fantasy VII, Lara Croft GO, Notability and More

Steve Jobs director: We were arrogant to release movie like we did

Danny Boyle, director of the unfortunate box office bomb Steve Jobs, has said that people involved with the movie were guilty of behaving in an “arrogant” way. Why? Not through twisting the truth, or painting an unfairly unflattering portrait of Apple’s late CEO as some have suggested — but rather opening the movie wide as […]

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


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Steve Jobs director: We were arrogant to release movie like we did

PDF Expert is the lightweight, powerful viewer your Mac needs

Readdle’s highly praised iOS app PDF Expert has landed on the Mac. Shortly after its debut, it shot straight to the number one spot for paid apps on the Mac App Store. Apple’s own Preview app works fine for simply reading through PDF files or making tiny edits, but people who work with PDF files more […]

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


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PDF Expert is the lightweight, powerful viewer your Mac needs

Over 100 Million iPhones Now in Use in U.S., Nearly Two-Thirds Are iPhone 6 or Later

More than an estimated 100 million iPhones are being used in the United States, according to new data shared by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners [PDF]. At the end of the September 2015 quarter, more than 101 million iPhones were in use, and two-thirds of those iPhones were newer iPhones that have been released in 2014 and 2015.

An estimated 58 million of the 101 million iPhones in use were the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, while four million were iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models. The iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus are the four iPhones that have larger 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens, and the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 appears to be the most popular model. CIRP’s data was gathered in September, shortly after the iPhone 6s launch. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus numbers are likely much higher now.

„The analysis shows the continued strength of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, now one year old,“ said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. „We estimate a combined 60 million of these flagship phones sold in the US from the September 2014 launch through September 30, 2015. For comparison, the iPhone 5S sold about 28 million in the same period in 2013-2014. With only a weekend of availability in the quarter, we estimate 4 million of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sold in the US.“

CIRP’s data suggests that while the larger-screened iPhones make up a large chunk of the iPhones in use in the United States, iPhone adoption is slowing as the U.S. market matures. For the past eight quarters, the iPhone installed base grew an estimated average of eight percent, but the installed base grew four percent in the September 2015 quarter and six percent in the September 2014 quarter. Growth numbers were as high as 17 percent in the December 2013 quarter following the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c.

As the U.S. market becomes saturated with smartphone owners, Apple has increasingly focused its attention on luring customers from Android and other competing platforms. Apple has introduced a new „Move to iOS“ Android app, an Android-switching microsite, and a trade-in program for Android users looking to switch to an iPhone.

Apple’s efforts have been successful, and in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple saw the highest rate of Android switchers it had ever measured in the fourth quarter of 2015. 30 percent of customers who were upgrading from an existing smartphone to an iPhone were former Android users.

CIRP’s numbers are extrapolated from a September 2015 survey of 500 U.S. Apple customers who purchased an Apple product in the preceding quarter. CIRP analyzes data on iPhone buyers, their new model selection, and their prior phones and compares that to iPhone sales data adjusted to the U.S. market.
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Over 100 Million iPhones Now in Use in U.S., Nearly Two-Thirds Are iPhone 6 or Later

Smart email app Spark coming to iPad and Mac

Readdle’s beloved Spark email app for iPhone and Apple Watch is also coming to the iPad and Mac. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that development is underway for the apps in an email to Cult of Mac. The iPad version will likely make its debut next month in December, while a Mac version is […]

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


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Smart email app Spark coming to iPad and Mac

Verizon Gets Green Light on FCC Waiver Needed for Wi-Fi Calling

Verizon Wireless is the only major carrier in the United States that has not introduced Wi-Fi calling, but it appears that could change in the near future as the FCC today approved the company’s request for an FCC waiver [PDF] that will allow it to move ahead with its plans.

Like AT&T, Verizon applied for an FCC waiver to delay implementing a teletypewriter (TTY) service for deaf and hard-of-hearing people until December 31, 2017. Verizon plans to use real-time text (RTT) as an alternative and the waiver will allow it to avoid offering a TTY service until its RTT technology is deployed and operational.

On its website, Verizon says it plans to support Wi-Fi calling „in the future,“ but has not specified when Wi-Fi calling could be implemented. When AT&T was approved for Wi-Fi calling, the feature was turned on within days of receiving the go ahead from the FCC.

Wi-Fi calling will allow Verizon customers to make phone calls over Wi-Fi in situations where their cellular signal is low, automatically transitioning between Wi-Fi and a cellular connection as needed. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all already implemented Wi-Fi calling, but Sprint and T-Mobile have done so without obtaining the necessary waivers from the FCC.

Tags: FCC, Verizon, Wi-Fi calling
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Verizon Gets Green Light on FCC Waiver Needed for Wi-Fi Calling

Rumored A10 Production Win for TSMC Could Be Tied to Device Packaging Advances

According to a recent report from Taiwan’s Commercial Times, via EE Times and a separate research report from KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, Taiwan-based TSMC may have won sole production rights on the A10 chip slated for the next-generation iPhone 7.

This is in contrast to the split production of the A9 processor between Samsung and TSMC featured in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple’s decision to revert back to TSMC as a single supplier, as was seen in A8 chip production, could be motivated by advanced device packaging techniques offered by TSMC that may not have equivalents in Samsung’s packaging offerings.

The Commercial Times report mentions TSMC’s integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging (InFO WLP) technology as one of the key inclusions in the production contract. InFO WLP is one of many competing 3D IC technologies that promise higher levels of component integration in a single package with better electrical characteristics.

Among those improvements is the possibility for higher-width memory buses that support lower-power operation necessary for mobile devices, which for consumers means better performance and efficiency. 3D IC technologies are just beginning to emerge in the consumer space, with AMD‘s use of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) in its Fiji XT line of discrete graphics cards being one of the first implementations.

According to a paper abstract from TSMC engineers, InFO WLP also allows for better thermal performance as well as superior performance for radio frequency (RF) components such as cellular modems. We reported last year about Apple hiring more engineers to potentially bring RF component development in house, so this packaging technology could serve as additional motivation to Apple for packaging in the future. Even if Samsung could offer Apple a comparable technology, the challenges of verifying a design on two new manufacturing flows may be a motivating factor for Apple to stick with one supplier for its next processor.

In the near term, the thermal advantages and potential increased memory bandwidth are the more immediate sources of improvement for Apple’s potential next chip. Many 3D IC technologies have seen slow adoption due to increased costs and processing steps, but the simpler InFO WLP technology offers an easier, cheaper entry point for Apple, which also has the luxury of uncommonly high margins on its devices.

Comparison of packaging technologies offered by TSMC

TSMC’s InFO WLP differs from many competing 3D IC solutions in that it does not require an additional silicon interposer along with the existing package substrate used for component integration. Though they do not feature active components, silicon interposers are made on silicon wafers just like the application processors featured in mobile devices, making them a costly addition to the device assembly.

InFO WLP allows multiple flip chip components to be placed side-by-side on a package substrate resembling a traditional assembly, but with the ability to interconnect to one another through the package substrate. This is in contrast to traditional methods which feature stacked packages (package on package, or PoP) interconnected with tiny wires. As mobile memory technologies advance, with LPDDR4 being the latest iteration, electrical signaling becomes an increasing technological challenge which begins to make 3D IC technologies more attractive for enhanced performance.

The list of included components would not be limited to memory, however, so future device teardowns will be interesting as mobile devices begin to include these technologies. More information on TSMC’s packaging technologies can be accessed via this PDF.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7 (2016)
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Rumored A10 Production Win for TSMC Could Be Tied to Device Packaging Advances