News/Rumors

Foxconn may replace workers with ‘Foxbot’ robots in iPhone 6 assembly process

At a recent shareholder meeting, president and CEO of Apple partner manufacturer Foxconn said, that Foxconn is preparing to enhance its assembly process by rolling out robots on assembly lines responsible for products like the iPhone. That means, that the iPhone 6 will be the first phone to be produced by the new machines.

According to CEO Terry Gou, the robots — called “Foxbots” — are being tested, as Foxconn plans to deploy 10,000 robots to its factories in the near future. The company will install, replacing a portion of its workers, likely including those who were responsible for Apple’s popular iPhone product. Each Foxbot is believed to assemble an average of 30,000 devices per year and costs anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to make.

Foxconn’s robot initiative has been delayed since it was first announced in 2011. According to the company, there were about 10,000 devices already in operation, a number that was expected to reach 300,000 units in 2012, then one million by 2014. The current quantity of machines being used in Foxconn’s factories is unknown.

foxconn

Despite the robots implementation, Foxconn will still use human hands for the foreseeable future. Foxconn recently went on a hiring spree in preparation for the upcoming Apple device, reportedly hiring as many as 100,000 new workers. Meanwhile, it is still unclear, how the robotics initiative on the assembly line will affect those jobs. Production of the iPhone 6 is reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of its debut around September. The new smartphone is expected to be available in two sizes of 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, and feature a thinner profile, an enhanced camera, a faster A8 processor, and more.

Apps Lists, iPad, News/Rumors

Facebook Messenger hits the iPad

Facebook on Thursday updated its Facebook Messenger application for iOS adding a new user interface optimized specifically for Apple’s iPads.

The iPad Facebook Messenger app version works much the same as the iPhone one but takes advantage of the much larger display by showing more content like message threads while in other messages. The iPad version also features the same video sharing and calling features and, of course, sticker packs.

Facebook Messenger launched on the App Store in August 2011. The all-new version 7.0 allows you to make free calls to others worldwide, send images privately, use emoticons and stickers and make use of several other standard features.

Previously, messaging option of Facebook was available only to the official Facebook for iPad app. The new version of the service comes with an improved experience for chatting via Facebook on the tablet.

Along with the universal layout, the company also promises some bug fixes and more reliable voice calling. Facebook also made several changes, allowing to more quickly determine which of their friends are currently online. That means, that the list of active Facebook friends shows up faster.

Facebook-Messenger-for-iPad

Below is the change log for Facebook Messenger 7.0:

What’s New:

  • Now available for iPad!
  • Videos you shoot in Messenger can be saved to your phone’s camera roll.
  • It’s easier to invite more of your Facebook friends to get Messenger, too.
  • Plus, other fixes to make the app more reliable.

Facebook Messenger version 7.0 is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Mac, News/Rumors

Apple introduces $50 Mac Pro security lock adapter

Apple on Tuesday introduced the first official hardware security adapter specifically designed for the late-2013 Mac Pro, providing an easy way for users to secure their desktop.  The $49 adapter attaches to the rear of the Mac Pro without need for any special tools and is compatible with most third-party Kensington locks or similar products.

The adapter latches on to the Mac Pro’s body and aluminum case, giving access to each port and the power cord while preventing the case from being opened.  Apple states, that its in-house design is completely temporary and does not modify or damage the Mac.

Here are the accessory’s highlights from Apple:

  • Enables Mac Pro (Late 2013) to be physically secured with a compatible lock (sold separately)
  • Attaches to Mac Pro without tools or enclosure modification
  • With a third-party lock attached, prevents Mac Pro from being opened, protecting internal components
  • Compatible with most standard Kensington or similar lock products

MacPro_Lock

Since the iPhone maker made up decision not to create a security mechanism or lock attachment point into the Mac Pro’s sleek chassis, third-party solutions with a more advanced setup process started hitting the Mac Pro accessory marketplace.

Apple’s $50 Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter can be purchased on the Online Apple Store, while Apple’s stores are not yet stocking the product.

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.

News/Rumors

Apple airs new ‘Parenthood’ iPhone 5s ad with focus on family

Apple on Sunday aired a a new TV ad to promote the iPhone 5s focusing on the device’s ability to help parents teach, interact and connect with their children through different apps.

The ad is entitled ‘Parenthood,’ and shows how the iPhone can be used to record home video, find a lost dog, monitor the children, and turn off the lights in the living room.  According to reports, it is not BWA’s Media Arts Lab, who is responsible for the latest run of commercials, but Apple’s own in-house ad team.

The video highlights such apps like teeth-brushing tutor MyTeeth, alphabet learning game DRAWNIMAL and pet tracker Pet Manager PRO. The company also paid attention to first party titles including FaceTime, allowing parents to connect with their kids even when you are far from home.

The ad comes ahead of HomeKit Smart Home appliance integration with iOS 8 this fall. HomeKit is expected to allow iOS devices to become a central control and monitoring hub for supported home automation hardware and software. HealthKit will serve in a similar way for fitness products, letting keep self and health data.  The new ad also shows a mother taking her child’s temperature with the Kinsa Smartphone Thermometer, while another mother uses the Nike+ Running app on a stroller-mounted iPhone.

The song features “Life of Dreams” written by singer-songwriter Julie Doiron. The commercial ends with the “You’re more powerful than you think” tagline, which was first used in April’s ‘Powerful’ 5s spot, and again this month with ‘Strength.’

Apple has also updated its iPhone website with its “Powerful” campaign webpage, where the company also added a set of links to apps and music used in the “Parenthood” ad.

News/Rumors

Apple launched cheaper iPod touch model and slashed prices on 32GB & 64GB models

According to a number of sources, Apple has launched its new entry-level 16 GB fifth-generation iPod touch, while also cutting the price on the current 32/64 GB iPod touch, offering them for $249 and $299, respectively.

The update added the 16-gigabyte iPod touch to line with its larger 32- and 64-gigabyte versions, which are all available in different colors, including black, space grey, pink, yellow, blue, and (Product)RED. All three models can be ordered on Apple’s online store and are promised to ship within 24 hours.

The new iPod touch is also offered in six different colors with a rear camera and a lower price tag of $199. The new model now offers the same features as the larger capacity iPods, although the Loop wrist strap can be purchased separately on the 16 GB model and included with 32 and 64 GB models.

iPod touch3

All three have a 4-inch Retina display, a forward facing FaceTime HD camera, and are powered by Apple’s A5 processor. They also run iOS 7 and ship with Apple’s EarPods.

iPod touch

The fifth-generation iPod touch first appeared in October of 2012 and was priced at $299, while the iPod touch lineup was last updated in June of 2013 with 16-gigabyte version available for $229 in one color.

Today iPod isn’t so popular, like it previously was. During its quarterly earnings conference calls, the company said that the iPod touch accounted for more than half of all iPod sales. Meanwhile, last quarter, Apple managed to sale just 2.7 million iPods, a number that is far from a mention from the company as it discussed its financial results.

News/Rumors

Apple iWatch fitness capabilities being tested by professional athletes

Apple has invited professional athletes from the MLB, NHL, and NBA to its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. to test the upcoming “iWatch’s” fitness capabilities in intense training environments. The source says that Apple has teamed up with  LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant, LA Kings player Dustin Brown, and several other famous professional athletes, including a player from the Boston Red Sox, on the testing project.

The athletes are said to have signed non-disclosure-agreements regarding the existence of the upcoming Apple product. Nonetheless, Bryant was spotted at Apple’s headquarters a few weeks ago and was reportedly there to meet with Apple’s design boss Jony Ive. The athletes are probably testing out the multitude of health and fitness sensors built into the device, stated to measure everything from sleep quality to heart rate to give an overall picture of health.

kobeatapple

The iWatch is believed to launch this October and will be available in a variety of sizes. According to The Reuters report, the iWatch will be provided with a 2.5-inch screen. The device will likely feature a slightly rectangular face that protrudes slightly from a band to create an arch shape around the wrist.  KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted, that Apple’s iWatch will be available at multiple price points and in different materials.

Last year, the iPhone maker hired former Nike fitness expert and FuelBand developer Jay Blahnik to reportedly work on the iWatch. According to Gurman, Blahnik joined the team that is testing the device in health and fitness environments.

Another source stated that former Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, now a vice president at Apple reporting to Tim Cook, has been working on strategies for selling fashion products in Apple’s stores, while Senior VP of Apple Retail Angela Ahrendts is preparing the device for marketing.

The iWatch is expected to enter manufacturing within the next few months, in time for an October debut.

News/Rumors

Foxconn and Pegatron hiring new workers for iPhone 6 production

According to the Monday report, iPhone manufacturing partner Foxconn will hire some 100,000 workers in order to ramp up iPhone 6 production toward July. Additionally, secondary supplier Pegatron is also boosting its workforce by 30% to support production of the next iPhone.

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported that Foxconn’s 100,000-person hiring spree will allow to boost the company’s iPhone workforce by 10 % in comparison with past production of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

In addition to the increase in recruitment, Foxconn is reportedly planning to involve two production lines in order to meet expected high demand for the upcoming device line. Foxconn is believed to be responsible for producing 70% of iPhone 6 orders, with some sources reporting the company will handle all assembly of a much-rumored 5.5-inch “phablet” version. There was also an idea of what the device will look like, including the LCD for the rumored 5.5-inch model.

foxconn

As for Pegatron, it is unclear if the share is representative of an exact iPhone 6 model or the lineup as a whole.

Foxconn and Pegatron hiring additional employees this month fits  the rumored iPhone 6 schedule, with production reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of a launch around the usual September timeframe.

According to the previous reports,two models of the iPhone 6 are expected to be available for public later this year. The smaller 4.7″ display will reportedly go on sale around September, while the larger 5.5″ version will be delayed. The next-generation smartphone will likely have a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels, NFC and wireless charging, a larger and thinner chassis, software-based image stabilization, a relocated power button and more.

News/Rumors

iWatch to come in multiple sizes with more than 10 sensors

According to the new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s upcoming entry to the smartwatch market will be accompanied by as many as ten or more sensors for collecting health data.

The device is said to be able to utilize over 10 sensors to track health and fitness and will be available in multiple screen sizes.  At WWDC earlier this month, the company introduced a new Health app, tasked to aggregate data from different wearable devices at one place. For the new projects, the iPhone maker has reportedly been hiring medical professionals.

Apple’s smartwatch is expected to launch as early as October and serve as a health-focused device. The new product will likely work with Apple’s new Health application.

According to Taiwanese contract manufacturer Quanta, the manufacture of the iWatch will begin from next month. In total,  Apple is reportedly expecting to ship 10-15 million units of the iWatch by December and potentially 65 million units in the first year.

iwatch1

Reuters also claimed that the iWatch would feature a surprisingly large 2.5 inches diagonally, and wireless charging capabilities in addition to a touch interface. Meanwhile, it is still unclear if the 2.5-inch screen will be one of the “multiple versions” of the watch that hits the market this fall. Earlier rumors had suggested that the product would be available in a 1.3 and 1.6 inch sizes to accommodate various sized wrists.

Apple has not made any major hardware announcement this year, but according to the statement of CEO Tim Cook, the company is working on “some really great stuff” including new device categories. Most of the announcements are scheduled at the end of the year and early next year.

 

News/Rumors

Kanye West: Samsung-Jay Z collaboration drove Apple to buy Beats

Kanye West praised recent deal between Apple and Beats Electronics during a recent appearance at a seminar in Cannes. The rapper also said, that a collaboration between Jay Z and Samsung last year played into Apple’s decision to buy Beats.

Samsung reportedly purchased instant cultural cachet when it worked with Jay Z last year to provide one million free copies of the Brooklyn-based rapper’s latest album to Galaxy phone buyers.

iPhone maker did almost the same, spending $3 billion for acquisition of Beats, West added. He also explained that the company has lost touch with culture since Jobs’ death in 2011 and the acquisition of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s firm is meant to regain some of that lost ground.

“The reason I said I didn’t like Samsung particularly is because throughout my entire life, because of how my parents raised me, I have to work with the No. 1. Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy and Dre would be able to connect with the No. 1 influencers.”

Beats

During his speech, West also mentioned Instagram, which he has some interest in redesigning.

“Now, you know, Instagram is nice. It’s nice looking. I’m not knocking it. But just in general, everyone spends all of their time looking at their screens or their phones. And just as a simple task, we could clean that up.” Kanye West said his official wedding photo with Kim Kardashian took four days to produce after top photographer Annie Leibovitz pulled out of their wedding one day before the big event. By the way, Kim and Kanye’s wedding photo is the most-liked image ever on Instagram, gaining more than 1.93 million likes, and more than 35,000 comments.

Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier said that acquisition of Beats Music would give the company a head start in subscription-based music streaming. Apple also reportedly spend about $500 million for Beats’ music arm.