iPhone, News/Rumors

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts 5.5-inch iPhone 6 delay

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has previously given accurate Apple product information, has issued a note on Sunday, saying that while Apple’s 4.7-inch “iPhone 6″ is still believed to debut this fall, the larger 5.5-inch model could see a serious delay in the release.

According to the analyst, the company is already suffering from production bottlenecks on the 4.7-inch model related to the new technology for the product’s in-cell touch panel, and color irregularity on the redesigned “iPhone 6″ metal casing. The 5.5-inch model will also face these issues.

“These problems will likely be even more complicated with a larger size,” Kuo said. “In addition, from a technical perspective, we don’t expect sapphire cover, used for the first time on the 5.5-inch model, will easily pass the drop test near term. We are conservative about 5.5-inch iPhone launching by end-2014. Even if the product is launched in 2014, it is likely to take place after mid-4Q14, which is later than the September-October of consensus, with shipments being lower than consensus of 15- 20mn units.”

iPhone6

In addition to the aforementioned problems, the device’s sapphire display may not be firm enough in drop tests to go to market yet. Kuo also predicts that when the larger model finally ships, fewer than 15-20 million units will be available.

The analyst believes that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may not go on sales by the end of 2014, or may debut after October in very limited quantities. In addition to delay, he says, that the prices of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will drop alongside the launch of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

According to the early rumors, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was facing production issues related to the device’s display and battery life. However, later reports noted that both models would enter production and launch at the same time.

Apple is believed to announce and launch the iPhone 6 in September. The device is expected to include a thinner profile and a faster A8 processor.

Accessories, News/Rumors

MySelfie-selfie remote control from Kingmax

KINGMAX, well-known for manufacturing flash cards, has launched a new accessory for people who like selfies. The new device, dubbed MySelfie is a kind of remote taking control of your smartphone camera.

MySelfie measures 60 x 26.4 x 7 mm and weighs just 11 grams. It is equipped with two buttons: power one and camera shutter button.

The new device uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your iPhone that is as far as 10 meters at most. Once connected the only thing you have to do is press the button on MySelfie. The device doesn’t require additional software.

MySelfie is powered by a regular CR2032 lithium-ion battery. According to the manufacturer, the device will work without charging during a year, if you take up to 10 selfies per day.

MySelfie will be available in several color options: white, black and yellow.

MySelfie-2

The new device is completely compatible with smartphones that run iOS and Android. The official release date and the price of the product are still unknown.

MySelfie is believed to give a free hand in taking selfies.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

HealthKit supports some Bluetooth products natively

Apple’s HealthKit is said to promise an all-in-one location for health and fitness-related iOS accessories and their companion information.  In addition to this ability, the platform can reportedly also support some medical Bluetooth accessories natively, making it possible to skip developing apps for iOS and focus on their hardware. That means, that HealthKit can automatically connect to and control the device itself. The products that will be built-in and supported natively by HealthKit include heart rate and blood pressure monitors, glucose sensors, and health thermometers.

Bluetooth medical products can be detected by HealthKit and all the data will be collected and synced by the new Health app without the user having to do anything in a third-party app, providing with an easy way to find health information in a single place. Additionally, device makers won’t have to spend resources and time making an app rather than focus on their hardware.

Apple is using official standard specs for Bluetooth LE devices from Bluetooth.org, allowing iOS 8 to automatically establish a connection with the devices without the developers thinking about anything related to software.

ios8healthapp

Previously these manufacturers were required to spend time and money creating companion apps for their devices that handle the pairing and collection of data. It will also be helpful to app developers, who allow users to connect to products from third-party companies.

iPhone maker is also prompting and giving manufacturers the ability to create other types of accessories that don’t fall under the natively supported devices above, but those will need an iOS app to implement the HealthKit API.

 

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Smart lighter “Quitbit” helps you quit smoking

There are already plenty of devices that track your steps, weight and calories, but the latest gadget is tasked to track how often you spark up. Quitbit is a smart lighter created to help rein in smoking addiction by monitoring how often you light up.

The five-member founding team, standing behind this project, launched it through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and has already raised $36 000.

“The first idea was a package for cigarettes and each time you removed a cigarette it would track it, but we quickly iterated because we realized the lighter would be the easiest way,” Quitbit founder said. “It’s the way with the least friction for someone who wants to reduce their smoking, because it doesn’t require a new device. We just replace your lighter with our lighter, and then you get all the benefits of being more mindful of your smoking habits.”

According to developers, it takes about 1.5 seconds to light a cigarette and every time the device is used, it records the number of cigarettes smoker has had and how long it’s been since they last lit up. This information can be viewed on a special display and aims to motivate smokers to give away the habit through the monitoring of incremental change.

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A companion smartphone app available in the AppStore allows to do even more. With its help, users can have data tracked over longer periods of time. It also offers to set goals, share successes with an online community and even track how much money smokers have saved from cutting back. The lighter collects smoking data and sends it to the companion Android or iOS smartphone app via built-in Bluetooth 4.0.

Quitbit lights cigarettes using a heating element, similar to car lighters, and the electronics count each cigarette that is lit. The company claims each charge should be enough for around a week of use.  The device itself measures 67 x 43 x 10 mm and weighs 72 g.

The product is seeking $50,000 in funding pledges. The company hopes to begin selling the device next year for about $149.

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.