iPhone 7 Predicted to Adopt Lightning Headphones Without Noise-Canceling Capabilities

Apple is likely to wait until 2017 and the „iPhone 7s“ to introduce noise-canceling headphones, according to a Barclays analyst report posted today. In the report, analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn believe that 2016’s iPhone 7 will include a Lightning-equipped headphone accessory, with the „potential“ for a dynamic noise-canceling system to be introduced next year.

The analysts believe Apple will use a basic digital codec in 2016, allowing the company to introduce Lightning-connected headphones later in the year. This move will prepare Apple for the possibility of including Cirrus Logic’s (an Apple audio supplier) more advanced noise-cancellation smart codec in 2017, which requires a digital codec to be installed in the first place.

We still believe there is potential for AAPL to add ANC in the IP7S but believe AAPL is including just the digital headphone in the IP7 this year. Recent speculation surrounding the elimination of the headphone jack in the IP7 is consistent with this move as AAPL will need to provide a digital headset inbox but likely was not willing to spend the extra cost for the ANC functionality.

Rumors surrounding the exclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 began earlier in the year, although it was unclear whether the accessory would ship in the box or be sold as a separate purchase under the Beats by Dre brand. According to the analysts in today’s report, the 3.5mm headphone jack will be replaced by another speaker thanks to an additional amp also provided by Cirrus Logic.

Other rumors have suggested that Apple is preparing a Bluetooth solution for an upcoming iPhone line, similar in vein to the Bragi Dash headphones, which are finally beginning to ship out to early pre-order customers after over a year of waiting. The headphones would be completely wireless, with two separate pods that require regular charging.

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iPhone 7 Predicted to Adopt Lightning Headphones Without Noise-Canceling Capabilities

AT&T to Begin Testing 5G, 10-100 Times Faster Than 4G LTE

AT&T has announced that it will begin trialing 5G wireless technologies this year, including lab tests in the second quarter and outdoor tests over the summer. The carrier anticipates 5G speeds to be 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections, with reduced latency.

Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds. Customers will also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency, for example, is how long it takes after you press play on a video app for the video to start streaming on your device. We expect 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.

Worldwide standards are still lacking for 5G technologies, but the 3GPP group aims to complete the first phase of that process in 2018. The widespread rollout of AT&T’s 5G network will likely take until 2020, but the carrier plans to provide wireless connectivity to fixed locations in Austin before the end of this year. The carrier joins Verizon, who will also be field testing 5G solutions this year.

AT&T’s 5G network will be based on technologies such as millimeter waves, network function virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN). The carrier has already migrated 14 million wireless customers to its virtualized network, and it says millions more will be added this year. AT&T plans to virtualize 75% of its network over the next four years in the lead up to 5G.

It remains too early to predict Apple’s roadmap for 5G connectivity. Apple was quick to support LTE-Advanced, a faster standard of 4G LTE, on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus or later, but 3G and LTE wireless technologies were both available for years before Apple adopted them. Based on AT&T’s and 3GPP’s timelines, a 5G iPhone may not be released for at least three to four years.

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain

Apple Pay is now available at more than 2 million retail locations, with merchants such as Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain set to accept the system in stores imminently, reports The Business Times.

Online clothing retailer Zappos.com also added Apple Pay to its iPhone and iPad apps on Tuesday, following a number of requests from customers to use the feature.

The announcement by Apple comes alongside news that the mobile payment service exceeded the company’s goal to make it available at 1.5 million locations by the end of 2015. In-app purchases using the service also more than doubled in the last six months of 2015 compared with the first half, says the company.

Despite the upbeat announcement, Apple still has work to convince U.S. customers to use Apple Pay at retail stores. According to a survey by consumer researcher Pymnts and InfoScout, 16.6 percent of people who own newer iPhones tried Apple Pay in October, an increase from 9 percent in November 2014.

Apple Pay is set to expand to China early this year, making it the fifth country to adopt the payments service since its U.S. launch in October 2014. The service expanded to the United Kingdom in July 2015, followed by Australia and Canada last November in partnership with American Express. Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain are also expected to gain support later this year.

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain

Sony’s Dual Camera to See Inclusion in Devices From ‘Major Smartphone Players’

Sony, the manufacturer behind many of the camera sensors used in Apple’s iOS devices, recently confirmed that its dual-lens camera platform will be featured in devices from „major smartphone players“ in 2016. The information was shared by Sony CFO Kenchiro Yoshida during the company’s recent Q3 2015 earnings call and was highlighted by Xperiablog.

Sony’s camera technology is used by a wide range of smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, and Yoshida declined to name specific companies that would take advantage of Sony’s dual-lens camera platform. Dual-lens technology has previously been used in smartphones such as the HTC M8, but it may soon become a more popular option following rumors that Apple plans to incorporate a dual-lens system into its iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone 7 mockup with dual-lens camera system (Image: Computer Bild)

Apple is said to be planning to use dual-lens technology it acquired from Israeli camera company LinX in the iPhone 7 Plus, but Apple may still be incorporating Sony sensor components into its camera module. Apple is also said to be testing dual-lens camera samples from a range of manufacturers in Taiwan, Japan, and China.

According to Yoshida, dual-lens camera systems will be coming from multiple major smartphone manufacturers this year, but because of slowdowns in the high-end smartphone market could impact production, 2017 will be the year when the dual lens camera platform really takes off.

Well, for next year, our so-called dual lens – dual camera platform will be launched by, we believe, from major smartphone players. However, as I said previously, recently, our smartphone market is growing and particularly, our high-end smartphone market is now slowing down. So, that may impact the demand or production schedule of dual camera smartphones by the major smartphone manufacturers. So, we believe the real start, the takeoff of smartphone with dual lens camera will be in the year of 2017.“

Rumors have suggested Apple is planning to incorporate a dual lens camera system into the iPhone 7 Plus to differentiate it from the iPhone 7, which will continue to offer a more traditional single-lens camera. Should Apple follow through with its plans, its first dual-lens system will debut towards the end of 2016, likely in September.

The launch of the iPhone 7 is still multiple months away, but details about the new device have been steadily trickling out. Yesterday, MacRumors shared information on the device’s design, which is expected to be similar to the iPhone 6s design but with a flush rear camera and no antenna bands across the back. Other rumors suggest it will have improved water resistance and no headphone jack.

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Sony’s Dual Camera to See Inclusion in Devices From ‘Major Smartphone Players’

WhatsApp will ditch its $1 per year subscription fee

WhatsApp will ditch the service’s annual subscription fees, after founder Jan Koum admitted that the $1 per year payment concept “doesn’t work that well.” As a result of ditching the payment model, Koum explained that WhatsApp will be looking at new ways that businesses can use the service to connect with individual users, although it’s […]

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


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WhatsApp will ditch its $1 per year subscription fee

Kate Winslet bags Critics’ Circle award for Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs may have proved divisive among critics and an epic flop at the box office, but that’s not stopping it from cleaning up on the awards circuit. The latest prize the Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle movie picked up was a Supporting Actress of the Year award for Kate Winslet at this weekend’s Critics’ Circle Film […]

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


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Kate Winslet bags Critics’ Circle award for Steve Jobs

Apple’s India enterprise boss quits to sell Android phones

Apple’s enterprise mobility head for the India region has quit to set up a new Indian smartphone company, selling Android devices. Sharad Mehrotra joined Apple in October 2007, the year that Apple launched the iPhone. Since then he has worked to build Apple’s brand in India, which the company has been particularly keen on pushing […]

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Apple’s India enterprise boss quits to sell Android phones

Gogoro electric scooter could roll into U.S. faster than expected

LAS VEGAS — The makers of Gogoro, the electric smart scooter that wowed CES last year, have two unassuming tools for gaining traction beyond their launch city of Taipei. The first is a charger for their 20-pound battery packs; the second is a website that lets wannabe owners nominate their hometowns to become Gogoro hubs. […]

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Gogoro electric scooter could roll into U.S. faster than expected

Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple’s best and worst of 2015, must-have apps, and more

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We take a look at them all from 2015 in this end-of-year issue of the delightful and informative Cult of Mac Magazine. We’ve got Apple’s best and worst wins and fails of the year, the must-have apps on Apple TV, Mac, iOS, and […]

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Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple’s best and worst of 2015, must-have apps, and more