iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple reportedly incorporating NFC technology into iPhone 6

Apple is reportedly planning to incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in its next-generation iPhone handsets, according to a report from BrightWire citing sources familiar with the matter. According to the rumors, the company has also struck a deal with China UnionPay to integrate the banking services into Passbook and elsewhere.

BrightWire explains:

“Apple is likely to incorporate a Near Field Communication (NFC) payment function in the next generation iPhone and has reached an agreement with China UnionPay on a mobile payment service, according to a source close to the matter.”

Additionally, the both companies will also cooperate to develop a new mobile payment solution that can be used for purchases in Apple Stores.

According to the company’s head of marketing Phil Schiller, NFC was “not the solution to any current problem.” But a reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated early this year that iPhone maker would integrate NFC chips into its new devices alongside a set of other features.

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In addition to NFC integration, Apple is reportedly searching for plans to find a mobile payment solution, with Touch ID as a foundation for payment service. The company is also rumored to offer a combination of existing Touch ID fingerprint scanner and NFC technology for the home button. The matter is Apple has recently registered a new patent describing such a system.

Apple is believed to unveil bigger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone devices to the market later this year. Both should feature a thinner profile, a faster A8 processor, and an improved camera in the form of image stabilization.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Mobile phone newcomer FreedomPop to sell first Apple devices

FreedomPop, an upstart mobile carrier, announced it will start offering the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 on its free wireless plan giving 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MBs of data per month.

FreedomPop was previously known as the carrier offering free and cheap data plans on Sprint’s network and its plan was only available to select Android devices after launching last year with an outdated HTC device. Additionally, the company is launching a new iOS app that provides iPhone users with free voice, text, and voice mail on any carrier.

“With the launch of its new iOS app, FreedomPop allows any iPhone user stuck in an existing contract to save hundreds of dollars per year by downgrading their voice plans and leveraging FreedomPop’s free voice and text service directly from their existing phone.”

The app is currently available only for US users and provides with a free phone number.

FreedomPop-l

“This is going to be a big step for us,” said FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols.

Of course, the most significant part of the announcement is that FreedomPop will be selling the iPhone 5 directly to customers for just $349 on one of its free no-contract plans. It won’t be available for the iPhone 4, but it will support the smartphone for those who wish to bring their own Sprint-compatible iPhone and supports routing your old number over to the service.

FreedomPop reported it has signed up hundreds of thousands of new customers since adding mobile phone service last October.

In addition to the iPhone, FreedomPop also aims to add the LTE-capable Galaxy SIII and Galaxy S4, for under $200 and for under $300, respectively.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Rumor: Alleged images of iPhone 6 manufacturing molds and schematics

A pack of photos posted on the Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo on Sunday allegedly reveals detailed schematics, CAD renderings and physical manufacturing molds for Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

The images are reported to come from a factory belonging to Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, as the first batch of photos shows very detailed drawings of the chassis for a smartphone-type device, while the second set images is stated to be of the Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

While the molds, as seen on the photos, seem to be designed for a new device, there is no confirmation that these will be used for the next-generation smartphone. The company is rumored to be working on two various models of the iPhone 6 with different screen sizes.

If the modes are truly designed for the next iPhone, they could be for the 4.7″ or 5.5″ versions.

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According to the recent reports, the smaller 4.7 inch version is set to ship in the third quarter of 2014, while the larger one may appear later this year or early next year due to production issues.

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Another photo of purported iPhone 6, reveals technical schematics of the device, showing its thin chassis design with a tapered design.

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The overall look of the smartphone appears to be consistent with the iPhone range, with a display cutout surrounded by thin bezels and larger top and bottom areas for functional components like a Touch ID-equipped home button and FaceTime camera.

Apple is expected to ship the iPhone 6 later this year, whith both models equipped with a thinner design, new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, 1GB of RAM, and an improved camera with optical image stabilization.

Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Mac, News/Rumors

Apple to roll out multiple products in 2014, including iWatch, ‘iPhone 6,’ 12″ MacBook and low-cost iMac

Apple is preparing to release multiple new products in Q3 2014,  including the much rumored iWatch, redesigned “iPhone 6,” a 12-inch MacBook Air and a low-cost iMac.

According to the KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who often provides reliable information, the only thing we can expect to see in the first half of the year is a small iMac update. Starting at the end of the third quarter and continuing into the beginning of the fourth, the company will start introducing a number of upgraded and new devices.

“We believe the rumored iWatch will be Apple’s most important product this year, carrying much more weight than iPhone 6,” Kuo writes, adding, “as market feedback for the product should reveal whether Apple still has the ability to continue making game-changing products with Tim Cook at the helm.”

Such products, like an upgraded Apple TV set-top box is set to appear somewhat later, including the rumored 12-inch ultra slim MacBook and upgraded Retina MacBook Pros. The fourth quarter will bring the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is also rumored to be delayed due to issues with in-cell display technology.

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Here is an overview of all of Kuo’s predictions for this year:

iWatch

The iWatch is believed to be available in two sizes: 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch and equipped with flexible, sapphire-covered AMOLED displays. Additionally, the product will feature biometric recognition, an NFC chip, wireless charging, a 200-250 mAh battery, and get a slim and light design. The iWatch may also be offered at multiple price points, with the most expensive version costing upwards of $1,000.

iPhone 6

The device will come in two sizes: 4.7 and 5.5-inches, with resolutions of 1334×750 (326ppi) and 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), respectively. Both models will be provided an A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, optical image stabilization, and Touch ID. Both smartphones will have up to 20% narrower bezels than and measure between 6.5-7mm thick.

iPads

Both the second generation iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display may come with an A8 chip and Touch ID. The analyst also says that the new Air could also receive a bump in iSight camera quality thanks to a new 8MP sensor, and launch earlier than October.

Macs

An updated iMac, equipped with a new processor is believed to be the first product launch of the year. The company could also reveal a new lower-priced model, which would help boost slipping iMac shipments. In addition, a new MacBook model could be expected in the near future: a 12-inch MacBook Air with a higher resolution display.

KGI is usually pretty reliable on the product details in reports like this, though the timing is sometimes less accurate.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Fingerprint scanners: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S Touch ID

Following the debut of the iPhone 5s and its Touch ID fingerprint scanner in October last year,  Samsung followed with its own version of a fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S5, which is scheduled to be released on April 11.

A new YouTube clip from Tanner Marsh offers a comparison of Touch ID on iPhone 5s with the fingerprint scanner of the upcoming Galaxy S5, showing the process of setting up fingerprint recognition on both products and comparing and contrasting some of the available functionality.

Both systems are embedded in the home button and both serve as an easier way to secure a device, but that’s the only similarity.

While Apple’s Touch ID utilizes a round home button that captures a motionless fingerprint, Samsung’s sensor requires a swiping motion to scan the finger from base to tip using a rectangular home button.  As mentioned in the video, the method used by Samsung may inhibits one-handed operation and owners with smaller fingers can be limited to the digits they can register due to the sensor’s size.

Both devices have not only pros, but cons as well. While Samsung’s fingerprint sensor faces a number of issues, Apple’s Touch ID suffers from its own problems, such as “fade,” or the increasingly erratic performance of the fingerprint sensor over time. The updated version of its iOS helped to solve the issue, bringing several improvements to Touch ID’s fingerprint recognition capabilities.

As for speed, both devices work pretty fast.

Notably, that in addition to unlocking the device, the S5′s scanner can also authorize PayPal payments and be accessed by 3rd party developers. Apple also has plans to include payments with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner, but has yet to do so.

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 6 displays go into mass production in May, 5.5″ model delayed

According to a new report from Reuters, Apple is preparing to begin mass production of the 4.7-inch display to be used in the iPhone 6 this May.

Previous reports indicated that the iPhone 6 would go on sale in two various sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Citing supply chain sources, the report also says that the much rumored 5.5-inch model of the device could be delayed due to difficulties with in-cell production technology, and is probably to commence a few months after the initial production of the 4.7-inch displays.

To push production forward, the company could initially fall back on older thin film technology for the 5.5-inch display, then switch to in-cell at a later date, sources said.

The both new iPhone versions were expected to use in-cell touchscreens, a technology that slims down the overall thickness of a smartphone’s touch panel by incorporating capacitive touch sensors into the LCD array. The company first applied the tech in 2012 with the iPhone 5.iphoneplus-130205

A last week report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei stated that the iPhone 6 could be presented “as early as September”, and will be available in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes. However, according to the claim from UBS analyst Steve Milunovich, the 4.7-inch version of the new device might be the only model to appear later this year, with a timeframe for the larger 5.5-inch version unclear.

In addition to a larger display, Apple’s next-generation iPhone will likely come with a durable, sapphire screen, and a thinner, bezel-free design in addition to expected camera and processor upgrades.

Along with the reported bump in screen size, there are still tons of rumors surrounding Apple’s next flagship handset.

Accessories, News/Rumors

BlackBerry wins injunction, banning iPhone keyboard

A U.S. district court judge last week granted BlackBerry a preliminary injunction against the Typo iPhone keyboard case for infringing on certain patents, effectively banning sales of the Ryan Seacrest-backed device.

The smartphone maker sued over the design of the case earlier this year, stating that it infringed on a number of the company’s patents and its “iconic” keyboard design. The case is designed to add a BlackBerry-like keyboard to the iPhone 5 and 5s. The case features a built-in battery, and a physical, backlit keyboard that looks almost identical to those used in BB products.

According to the initial press release, “BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”typo-iphone-keyboard

The Typo team commented on the following :

“We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research.  The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.  We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January.”

The injunction doesn’t allow the sale of the Typo, as the case maker could not prove that its product didn’t infringe on BB’s patents.

“BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted,” BlackBerry stated. “This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology.”

Meanwhile, Typo said, that the company would continue to develop and sell innovative products “that busy people can’t live without.”

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 6 reportedly coming as early as September, likely in 4.7-5.5-inch sizes

Apple is reportedly working on two variants of the so-called iPhone 6 with significantly larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. According to a new report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, the company’s iPhone 6 is expected to launch “as early as September”.

“Manufacturers have apparently begun making such components as fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers.

Mass production of LCD panels will start as early as the April-June quarter at Sharp’s Kameyama factory, Japan Display’s Mobara plant, and at other facilities, according to sources. LG Electronics will supply panels as well. The new handset’s display resolution is expected to be significantly higher than that of current models.”

A lot of the information, provided in the report, matches up with previous rumors. According to  Macotakara last fall, iPhone 6 will get display panels, manufactured by LG Display and will have a resolution of 1920×1080 and a ppi of 440. Earlier this month, a popular supply chain insider Sonny Dickson shared the similar expectations.iPhone-6-concept-ConceptsPhone-004

There is still too little known about Apple’s new device, however, it’s believed to receive a slimmer and refreshed design and an A8 processor. The new handset is also rumored to come with an 8MP rear camera, 2GB of RAM and more.

Apps Lists, iPad, iPhone, News/Rumors

Microsoft makes Office Mobile for iPhone free for everyone

Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its much-rumored office for iPad suite, which means a $99 subscription to the Office 365 service for most of its functions.

“Indeed, Microsoft does offer Office 365 subscriptions within the just-released Word for iPad and the other Office apps and, yes, it is paying the 30 percent cut, Apple confirmed to Re/code. Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.
Apple has taken a hard line with all manner of publishers that want to sell things, even subscriptions that go well beyond the iPad content — if anything is sold in the app, they have to use Apple’s method and hand over 30 percent.”

In Twitter, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, that the company is glad to have Office for iPad in the App Store, with Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, responding that Microsoft was “excited to bring the magic of Office to iPad customers”.iPad

Microsoft Office for iPad is available as a free download from the App Store, with Office 365 Home Premium available for $10/month or $100/year good for five tablets and five computers, with an Office 365 Personal subscription good for one computer and one tablet coming later this year for $7/month or $70/year.

While most media attention was paid to Microsoft’s Office for iPad debut, the company also presented an update for its Office Mobile app version for iPhone, making the software free for home use.Office_Mobile

The change was announced in a post over at the Office blog: “With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go.”

The new version of Office Mobile for iPhone also brings several bug fixes and stability improvements.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Сapture your memories with Instagram and Fotobit frames

Are you a digital photography enthusiast who love using Instagram to capture your memories? Well, there’s nothing better than the nostalgic feeling you get when reliving a memory through a photo. Fotobit is an amazing creation! It is a modular photo framing system that allows you to easily install multiple frames simply by mounting a base frame to then create custom configurations.

Fotobit frames are equipped with an durable clip system and can be used in limitless possibilities and combinations. It is you, who use imagination to create unique patterns, breathe life into your room and share your beautiful masterpieces with friends and family.

“Traditional photo frames made the task too daunting, so that’s when I came up with Fotobit, which I hope inspires people to get photos out of their phone and onto their walls,”-says Alan Yeung, Fotobit co-founder.4

Lightweight photo frames hold 4” x 4” prints protected by a clear acrylic window. You can start your exposition with a single photo frame mounted to the wall and then attach to it more ones, to get small or large-scale photo compositions. It is easy to arrange and rearrange your frames, grouping your images by event or themes.5

Fotobit itself is a 4.25 x 4.25-inch frame designed for wall-mounting your Instagrams. The frames consist of several components: the front, the back, a matt and a clear acrylic window.6

Fotobit was designed and developed with the award winning product design team at CRISP^YHKG in Orange County, California. Their frames have been tested for durability and each clip can withstand a weight load of over 30 pounds.

It’s also $40 for a three pack, which includes nails, frame clips, bubble level, optional white matting, optional double stick foam Pads.

According to the developers, they have already reached the stage where they can make Fotobit a retail product for everyone to enjoy. And if they meet their initial goal of $16,000, final retail products can be shipped as early as late May/early June 2014.