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
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iPhone 7 Chip Manufacturer Counts Cost of Earthquake Damage

Apple Ordered to Pay $625 Million in VirnetX Patent Dispute

Apple was today found guilty of willfully infringing on four patents in an ongoing dispute with VirnetX and has been ordered to pay $625 million in damages, reports CNBC.

The patents in question relate to virtual private networking (VPN) protocols and in today’s ruling, the jury decided that Apple’s FaceTime and iMessages service, along with the iOS devices that support those services, infringe on VirnetX’s intellectual property.

The patent dispute between Apple and VirnetX dates back to 2010, with a jury initially awarding VirnetX $368 million in 2012 after Apple was found guilty of infringing on VirnetX patents. That decision was thrown out in September of 2014 after the damages were found to have been incorrectly calculated, but a damages retrial that started last week led to the decision handed down this afternoon.

VirnetX originally requested $532 million in damages, an amount that grew to $625 million taking into account the willful infringement ruling.

Ahead of the jury’s decision, CNBC says Apple filed a request asking U.S District Judge Robert Schroeder to declare a mistrial, accusing VirnetX of misleading and confusing the jury during its closing arguments. Schroeder has not yet made a ruling on the request.

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Apple Ordered to Pay $625 Million in VirnetX Patent Dispute

Apple May Develop Original TV Shows Exclusively for iTunes and Streaming TV Service

Apple has met with TV producers and Hollywood studios about developing original TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers, according to TheStreet. The article comes by way of independent contributor Ronald Grover, a longtime entertainment business journalist who has previously covered the media and entertainment industry for Reuters and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The original content could spearhead Apple’s plans to launch its oft-rumored streaming TV service, which has reportedly been placed on hold due to the iPhone maker’s difficulties in securing content deals with owners like CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, and Viacom. The report, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, claims Apple could announce a cable-like offering alongside the iPhone 7 in September.

The Cupertino-based tech giant began sounding out Hollywood’s creative community late last year, but has yet to sign any agreements, according to two people with knowledge of the overtures. One plan is to have deals in place so Apple can announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, when it is expected to unveil its iPhone 7, said one of the people.

The original TV shows would presumably be available for rent or purchase on iTunes, and/or through a subscription-based service like Netflix that would provide on-demand access to unlimited programming for a set monthly cost. Apple’s streaming TV service has been rumored to cost between $30 and $40 per month, but that price was contingent upon a „skinny bundle“ of TV channels rather than original programming.

Apple’s discussions with Hollywood executives are being led by iTunes chief Eddy Cue, and Robert Kondrk, vice-president of iTunes content, according to the report. In a recent interview, Cue said customers should be „able to buy whatever they want, however they want,“ and he used the App Store as an example of how Apple provides users with multiple ways to purchase content.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple has shown interest in acquiring Time Warner assets, which include CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network, its Warner Bros. movies division, and more. Gaining exclusive rights to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones would certainly give Apple a head start on its streaming TV service, along with Silicon Valley and other original programming.

Netflix, which collaborates with Hollywood on exclusive TV shows like Daredevil, House of Cards, Jessica Jones, and Orange is the New Black, has proven that original programming can be highly popular among consumers. Apple adopting a similar strategy could help bolster its own streaming TV service, which may be accessible on the web and devices like the Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Tags: Eddy Cue, iTunes, thestreet.com, streaming TV service
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Apple Developing iPhone With Extended Range Wireless Charging for as Soon as 2017

Apple is reportedly developing a wirelessly-charged iPhone for as soon as 2017, according to Bloomberg. The company is working with its partners in both the U.S. and Asia to create the technology.

Apple is exploring cutting-edge technologies that would allow iPhones and iPads to be powered from further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. The iPhone maker is looking to overcome technical barriers including loss of power over distance with a decision on implementing the technology still being assessed, they said.

Current wirelessly-charged devices require users to place their phones or other devices on charging mats. In September 2012, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said that the company wasn’t sure of how convenient wireless charging is as most wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into a wall.

In early January, it was reported that Apple was working on wireless charging for the iPhone 7. However, that report warned that the feature could be pulled from the iPhone 7 for a future iteration of the device as Apple is working on the technology currently.

Apple has held an interest in wireless charging since the first iPhone, gaining patents for wireless charging stations and wireless charging through a near field magnetic resonance, which wirelessly charges a device within a certain region. The Cupertino company has also shown an interest in WiTricity’s wireless charging technology, which uses „hidden charging“ technology that allows magnetic fields to wrap around barriers. This allows users to place their charging pads wherever they want.

Last November it was reported that the iPhone 7 would see the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack for an all-in-one Lightning connector that allows users to both power their device and plug in headphones. While the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack would mean that Apple would be able to make the iPhone thinner, it would not allow users to listen to headphones and charge their phone at the same time. A proprietary wireless charging solution from Apple in future iPhones with all-in-one Lightning connectors would likely allow for that.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tags: wireless charging, bloomberg.com
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Neutral)
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Apple Developing iPhone With Extended Range Wireless Charging for as Soon as 2017

Apple Watch 2 Not Likely to See March Debut

A December rumor pointed towards a possible March 2016 event to unveil a next-generation Apple Watch, but information shared today by TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino suggests a redesigned second-generation Apple Watch will not be coming so early in the year. That conflicts with some recent rumors suggesting trial production on the Apple Watch 2 is set to begin soon.

Citing several sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Panzarino says that while new design partnerships and accessories are a possibility for March, a second-generation Apple Watch is not expected. There is, however, a potential March event in the works, but it is not clear what would be launched at that time. New Macs and the rumored 4-inch iPhone 6c are possibilities.

Several things that I’ve heard (from several sources) indicate to me that we won’t see a new hardware model of the Apple Watch in March. Design partnerships, accessories, that kind of thing maybe but not a „Watch 2.0“ with a bunch of new hardware features like a camera. I could be wrong, of course, but I’ve heard enough to put it out there.

To further back up his claims, Panzarino says supply chain checks have not indicated that production on a second-generation Apple Watch has begun and there’s been no „major action“ on the software development side that would point towards the possibility of a newly redesigned Apple Watch debuting in the next few months.

As with anything related to Apple hardware announcements, the tea leaves are hard to read and the companies plans can change (the advantage of never publicly announcing hardware). But as of now, March seems like it’s a bit too early to count on Watch 2.0.

The Apple Watch, introduced in April of 2015, is a new product category for Apple so its upgrade cycle is difficult to determine. With the iPhone, Apple introduces updates on a yearly basis, but if no second-generation Apple Watch comes out in March, it is not clear when a new version will debut. As Panzarino says, an update alongside the iPhone 7 in September is a possibility, putting the Apple Watch on an 18-month upgrade cycle.

As further evidence that an Apple Watch 2 might not come until later in 2016, we have not seen any concrete rumors about features that might included in a second-generation device and there have been no schematics or part leaks that we might expect to see just a few months ahead of the launch of an updated device.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
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Apple Watch 2 Not Likely to See March Debut

Apple Isn’t Creating Tool to Help iPhone Users Switch to Android

Over the weekend, The Telegraph published a questionable rumor suggesting Apple was planning to develop a tool to help iPhone users switch to Android to appease major European telecoms operators. Citing a „senior industry source,“ the site said Apple had agreed to create a feature that would let customers transfer contacts, music, and photos from an iPhone to an Android device.

The rumor gained enough traction to prompt Apple to step in and make a statement to Buzzfeed, clarifying that no iPhone to Android switching tool is under development.

„There is no truth to this rumor,“ Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. „We are entirely focused on switching users from Android to iPhone, and that is going great.“

As the Apple spokesperson says, Apple has been working hard to encourage Android users to switch to iPhone over the past few months, making the development of a tool to encourage the opposite nonsensical.

In September, Apple launched a „Move to iOS“ app to make it easier for Android users to switch to an iPhone, and before that, the company debuted a trade-in program that allows Android users to trade in their Android-based devices to receive a gift card towards the purchase of an iPhone.

Apple’s efforts have been successful, and Apple often shares details on the sizable number of Android users that have switched to the iPhone. During Apple’s October earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 30 percent customers who purchased an iPhone and replaced a smartphone in Q4 2015 had switched from an Android device.

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Apple Isn’t Creating Tool to Help iPhone Users Switch to Android

Glitch Caused Apple to Underestimate Apple News Traffic

Publishers who have been offering their content on Apple News have been receiving incorrect usage statistics from Apple due to an internal glitch that caused the company to miscalculate the number of people using the service, Eddy Cue told The Wall Street Journal in a statement this evening.

According to Cue, Apple has been underestimating the number of readers using the News app since it launched alongside iOS 9 in September. The problem went under the radar because Apple was busy working on improving other aspects of the service. Apple doesn’t know how exactly many people are using the News app, but the company is working to fix the problem.

„We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,“ [Cue] said. „We don’t know what the right number is,“ but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.

In October, during Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple News had approximately 40 million users, but he did not specify whether that number represented people who use the Apple News app on a regular basis or if it was a number reflecting the number of people who accessed the app at one point or another. Cue echoed that number in his comments to The Wall Street Journal, but it is not clear if that is an accurate figure given Apple’s current inability to calculate exact usage.

Despite not knowing how many people are using Apple News at the current time, Cue says that Apple News usage has „scaled very fast,“ and that the company is happy with the Apple News product’s progress thus far. After launching in the United States in September, Apple News expanded to the U.K. and Australia in October with the launch of iOS 9.1.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, accurate readership numbers are important to publishers because the figures impact advertising. Publishers who share content on Apple News are able to keep 100 percent of proceeds from ads sold on their own, or 70 percent from ads sold through the Apple iAd service. According to Cue, iAd has been popular enough with publishers that Apple will be expanding the platform with a self-service ad-buying feature in the next two months.

Apple has partnered more than a hundred publications for Apple News, including The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Slate, and more. MacRumors is also on Apple News and can be subscribed to by clicking this link on an iOS device.

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Glitch Caused Apple to Underestimate Apple News Traffic