‘iPhone 7’ Waterproof Rumors Persist Amid Claims of Hidden Antenna Bands

Catcher Technology will remain the largest chassis supplier for the upcoming line of next-generation iPhones, tentatively referred to as the „iPhone 7,“ according to the China-based Commercial Times (via DigiTimes). Sources noted that Catcher’s non-Apple clients, representing about 40 percent of its overall sales, will keep it going until the majority of its output begins with the manufacturing of the iPhone 7 later in 2016. In total, Catcher Technology’s manufacturing supply is estimated to account for 30 to 35 percent of the shipment numbers for the iPhone 7.

iPhone 7 concept mock-up by designer Martin Hajek

The report also mentioned the continuing rumor that the iPhone 7 may be a completely waterproof device, building on the recent momentum that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus had this year that showed improved water resistance. The Commercial Times also spoke of „new compound materials“ that would be put in place to form a discreet housing for the iPhone 7’s antenna, suggesting the possible removal of the bands from the back of the current iPhone generation.

As a non S-generation year, the iPhone 7 is expected to be a big step-up from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, in terms of design and functionality, when it launches next year. Besides a waterproof design and now the possibility of a hidden antenna band, another rumor suggested Apple could be phasing out the 3.5mm headphone jack for an all-in-one Lightning connector port.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7 (2016)
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Tim Cook: 40 Million People are Using Apple News

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Apple News usage numbers for the first time during today’s fourth quarter earnings call, announcing the service has approximately 40 million users.

Cook did not specify whether that number represented people who use the Apple News app on a regular basis or if it simply measured the number of people who have accessed the app at one point or another, so it’s still difficult to gauge the popularity of Apple News.

Introduced alongside iOS 9, Apple News was initially restricted to the United States, but with the launch of iOS 9.1, Apple News expanded to the UK and Australia for the first time.

Apple News is an all-new app for iOS 9 that’s designed to aggregate stories from a wide range of sources into a single mobile-friendly format for the iPhone and the iPad. It’s similar in design to magazine-style news apps like Flipboard and Zite and replaces the previous Apple Newsstand app.

Apple has partnered with dozens of publications for Apple News, like The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Slate, and more. To get the latest news and rumors from MacRumors, make sure to add MacRumors to Apple News by clicking the link.

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Apple Acquires Speech Technology Startup VocalIQ

Apple has purchased VocalIQ, a startup located in the United Kingdom that has developed a natural language API to allow computers and people to have a more natural dialogue, reports Financial Times. According to VocalIQ’s website, the company has developed a self-learning dialogue API built on 10 years of natural language research, belief tracking, decision making, and message generation.

It’s not always clear how Apple uses the technology from companies that it purchases, but with this acquisition, it’s likely Apple will use the API to improve its voice-based personal assistant, Siri. Financial Times also believes Apple could use the technology for its upcoming car project, as VocalIQ specialized in in-car applications among other things.

While VocalIQ’s speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors.

In a blog earlier this year, VocalIQ described how a „conversational voice-dialog system“ in a car’s navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its „self- learning“ technology allows „real conversation between human and the internet of things“, VocalIQ wrote.

VocalIQ has criticized Siri in a past blog post, calling the virtual assistant a „toy“ unable to understand context. The difference between VocalIQ’s system and traditional speech-recognition services like Siri and Cortana is its ability to learn.

The reason for this state of affairs is that while Apple, Google and the some others have mastered how the use machine learning for speech-recognition, they are still stuck with medieval approach when it comes of conversational voice dialog. They are still using pre-programmed flow-chart based response that don’t learn.

The consumer demand for a self-learning multi-domain conversational voice system where consumers can freely talk about movies, restaurants, music, hotel bookings and the meaning of life, is huge and undeniable. The first one to meet that demand will rule the smartphone and wearables market for the next decade.

Apple confirmed its purchase of VocalIQ with its usual statement: „Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.“



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TSMC Said to Begin Exclusive Production of A10 Chip for iPhone 7 in March 2016

Less than a week after the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were announced, the overseas supply chain is reportedly already preparing for production and component certification ahead of the iPhone 7.

Taiwan-based China Times reports (via G4Games) that Apple supplier TSMC has secured exclusive orders for the A10 chip based on a 16-nanometer manufacturing process.

The report claims TSMC will begin mass production of the A10 chip in March 2016 ahead of the iPhone 7 launching in the fourth quarter.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are powered by Apple’s new A9 chip, which is believed to be manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung, while the iPad Pro features a more powerful A9X processor.

The report adds that TSMC will continue producing the A8 chip, which is used for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, sixth-generation iPod touch and the new Apple TV launching in late October.



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Russian prosecutors urged to investigate Microsoft over claims Windows 10 is ‘spying’ on users

Russia’s Prosecutor General has been asked to look into Microsoft amid claims that Windows 10 ‘illicitly’ collects user data, by a state official who says the OS is ‘effectively spying on its users’. Read more…

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Were damning anecdotes about Amazon workplace fair?

In the news business, a story that has legs stays in our heads, conversations and spins off follow-up headlines. Such was this week’s major newspaper expose describing Amazon as a hellish pressure cooker where employees cry at their desks. Not everyone agreed with The New York Times piece that drew this conclusion after interviews with […]

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