Apps Lists, News/Rumors

New iPhone 7 video gives comparison with iPhone 6s

A new video and photos posted to Chinese microblogging site Weibo give a deeper comparison of a purported iPhone 7 unit against Apple’s current flagship iPhone 6s. 

The clip demostrates an iPhone 7 casing (4.7 inch model) that features a larger camera opening on the backside, updated antenna lines, missing headphone jack in lieu of an additional speaker grille. 

In addition, the new camera component is embedded into the metal body with a curved smooth edge. It is also set closer to the corner of the smartphone, while iPhone 6s’s camera is positioned horizontally. The size of the camera hole is also about 25% larger, suggesting that significant upgrades to camera quality are in the cards.

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Besides, the iPhone 7 is expected to come with a new A10 processor and may be given 3GB RAM, up from 2GB in the previous device. Internal storage is also expected to see a boost, with the entry-level devices believed to begin at 32GB instead of 16GB. 

The device comparison allows to suggest that the iPhone 7 will retain the dimensions of the iPhone 6s. 

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Not demonstrated in the clip is the iPhone 7 Plus, which is believed to come with a dual-lens camera with a wider camera cutout. Meantime, the absence of the headphone jack in both devices is also expected to enhance their water resistance.

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If the Cupertino company follows its usual release schedule, the iPhone 7 will likely debut in September.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple posted developer casting call for ‘Planet of the Apps’ TV show

Apple has posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, the unscripted reality series about apps and developers.

The show is currently being co-produced with Propagate, a company reponsible for such projects likeThe Biggest Loser, and Howard T. Owens of MasterChef Junior fame.

The casting call is looking for developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York and Los Angeles to participate. Developers working on an iOS, macOS, tvOS or watchOS app can apply via the show’s website through August 26.

Executive producers will.i.am, Ben Silverman, and Howard Owens are teaming up for an unscripted series about the world of apps and the talented people that drive its innovation. They’re looking for developers with the vision to shape the future, solve real problems, and inspire change within our daily lives. “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated,” says Silverman.”

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Developers who make it to the final round of the show will also meet with venture capitalists who will be investing up to $10 million. In addition, products featured in the show will also be granted prime placement in the App Store.

Filming will take place in Los Angeles in late 2016 and early 2017. 

 

News/Rumors

Profile details work of blind Apple engineer

A new profile published yesterday details the experiences and work of Jordyn Castor, a blind Apple engineer.

Jordyn Castor, a 22-year-old, is currently working on technologies like VoiceOver with company’s accessibility design and quality team.

Castor has been blind since birth. She attended Michigan State University and first was given an internship at Apple after speaking to representatives at a job fair.

Castor told Apple reps how impressed she was by the iPad she received as a gift for her 17th birthday.

“Everything just worked and was accessible just right out of the box,” Castor tells Mashable. “That was something I had never experienced before.”

That internship turned into her current full-time position.

Castor revealed that she works using a combination of alphabetic and Nemeth (mathematical) Braille, and actually prefers Braille when reading meeting agendas as well, since she can “see” the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In addition, Jordyn uses VoiceOver alone to navigate devices.

Several her previous works include adding accessibility support for Swift Playgrounds, Apple’s iPad-based code learning app.

The Cupertino company has been praised for its accessibility efforts in the past. The National Federation of the Blind said two years ago that “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company.”

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple gives away popular drawing app ‘Procreate Pocket’ through Apple Store app

Apple made popular drawing and sketching app Procreate Pocket available for free  for a limited time from the Apple Store app for iOS.

The sketching app is a “must-have” for artists and for ordinary enthusiasts, as it offers a wide range of painting, sketching, and drawing tools for making art on the iPhone. 

Procreate lets you generate high-caliber artwork at a blistering pace using  robust layers system, stunning filters, and thousands of importable brushes. A must have for serious artists and enthusiasts alike.”

Users of the iPhone 6s can also enjoy the app’s 3D Touch pressure sensitivity. Procreate Pocket can also be used with an Apple Watch for selecting brushes and tools, picking from color swatches and executing general app commands. The app includes 12 brush types and allows users to download and import additional tools. Like the iPad app, Procreate Pocket records a clip of an artist’s creative process in 1080p. The results then can be shared via iCloud Drive, AirDrop and AirPrint in .procreate, PSD, JPG and 24-bit PNG formats.

If you want to doanload Procreate for free, make sure you have the Apple Store app on your device.  Then, scroll to the bottom of the “Featured” tab and tap on the small banner that says “Download Procreate free.” 

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The deal ends on July 28th.

Apple started giving away paid software through the Apple Store app in 2013. Earlier this year, the company offered popular journaling app Day One 2 for free. Prior to that, Apple gave away the puzzle-based game Rules! for free in the Apple Store app.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Chinese company claims Apple copied its design for iPhone 6

A Chinese intellectual property bureau required Apple to stop the sales of its popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, after finding out that the Cupertino company infringed the patent right of a little-known local device maker.

Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that Apple and its Chinese distributor Zhongfu Telecom infringed the patent of Shenzhen-based Baili, which is suing the iPhone maker for copying the exterior design of its 100C device.

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have minor differences from Baili’s 100C. The differences are so tiny that the average customer could not notice. So, this case falls into the patent rights protection category,” the ruling reads.

Apple didn’t comment on the matter, but  according to some reports, the Cupertino company has already filed a lawsuit calling for the ruling to be annulled. Bird and Bird partner and IP specialist Ted Chwu noted that Apple has some legal options open to it.

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Apple has a problematic relationship with the Chinese government. In April, Chinese authorities abruptly closed Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movie just six months after they started in the country. There were no comments on the ban from authorities. In addition, this year the company lost exclusive rights to the “iPhone” name, and in 2012 it was required to pay out $60 million to settle a dispute over the “iPad” trademark.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Pokémon GO may come to iOS in July

Pokémon Go — the crazy, augmented reality Pokémon title for iOS/Android built by the team behind Ingress, will be available this July.

Nintendo announced the release window during its second-day E3 live stream, but didn’t provide a specific release date. 

Nintendo has also mentioned a piece of hardware that will allow users to play the game without using their smartphones. This device will connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth and will run $35. 

The Pokémon Company, and Niantic Labs, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto demonstrated the Pokémon GO Plus device, which is a Bluetooth wearable accessory that will let users receive alerts for nearby Pokémon without the need to check their iPhones constantly. 

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During the presentation, Miyamoto said that the GO Plus device will hit the market by the end of July, meaning players will need to launch the game during that same timeframe.

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Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokemon Company also confirmed that players won’t be able to trade Pokemon at launch, but the feature will be added sometime in the future.

Pokémon GO is currently in an ongoing Beta stage for the past few months or so in the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

In the game, you can take the role of a trainer and travel to different places to capture pokémon and battle at gyms, which are located at notable landmarks.The gyms will be controlled by one of three groups, the Red, Blue, or Yellow team. Players can control gyms by battling their own pokémon, and joining others in the real world increases your chances to win. The game features hundreds of Pokémon to discover through exploring and evolution. 

iPhone, News/Rumors

Bluetooth 5 with 4x speed and better range to be announced on June 16

Bluetooth Special Interest Group has revealed that its next generation of Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth 5, will be officially announced on June 16.

Executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Mark Powell, shared the news in a published message sent to UK health and monitoring company Blue Maestro. The SIG, which works with such giants like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft, will officially lift the lid on Bluetooth 5 on June 16th in London.

Bluetooth 5 is promised to be an important upgrade over the current version of the wireless standard, offering double the range and quadruple the speed of the current low-energy wireless protocol.

Bluetooth 5  is expected to add “significantly more capacity” for advertising transmissions and provide significant new functionality for connectionless services like location-relevant information and navigation.

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There are no details on if the new Bluetooth will come to existing devices as a firmware update or need new hardware. Earlier, Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 items were not upgradeable to newer versions of the standard, but Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be upgraded to Bluetooth 4.1 via software patches. 

Last year, the Cupertino company quietly added Bluetooth 4.2 support to such devices like  iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2, offering 2.5x faster speeds and up to ten times higher data capacity to the devices.

News/Rumors

Apple hiring wireless power engineers from uBeam

Multiple reports indicate that Apple has hired two engineers with an expertise in wireless charging from uBeam.

A report from The Verge reveals that the iPhone maker has recently hired Jonathan Bolus and Andrew Joyce, two engineers who formerly worked at uBeam, a startup that specializes in wireless charging technology.

UBeam is developing wireless energy from ultrasound, using high-frequency sound to power devices. The company’s technology utilizes a high frequency transmitter that emits inaudible ultrasonic sound through the air. The highly focused beam then targets receivers actively requesting power.

“Like a microphone, the receiver picks up the sound and converts it into usable electrical energy using our proprietary energy-harvesting technology,” says uBeam.

However, the company has recently been the subject of controversy as one former engineer criticized its technology in a blog post, noting it doesn’t work as promised.

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Earlier this year Bloomberg reported that Apple was planning to add wireless charging to the new iPhone it releases in 2017. The Cupertino company desires to implement a much more advanced technology that could allow users to walk around a room and have their device charging the entire time.

Apple isn’t a newcomer to wireless charging and has filed patents in the past, according to which, phones would be charged wirelessly up to three feet.

News/Rumors

Apple invests $1B in Chinese ride sharing service Didi Chuxing

Apple is investing $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing.

The step is a strategic investment that will help the Cupertino company better understand the Chinese market, CEO Tim Cook said to Reuters.

“We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market,” Cook said. “Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital over time as well.”

Didi currently provides different transportation services in the country, including taxi and private car hailing, designated drivers and peer-to-peer products like ride-sharing. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal revealed the Chinese company was planning to raise a total of $1 billion from investors in a bid to compete against global ride sharing technology powerhouse Uber.

Didi currently controls China, facilitating more than 11 million rides each day. The firm rely on apps as a key mode of connecting passengers with drivers.

“That is what we do today in the car business, so we will have to see what the future holds,” Apple’s CEO, referring to Apple’s CarPlay infotainment platform.

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Didi Chuxing claimed that the investment by Apple is the single largest investment it has ever got. The firm also added that it now holds more than 87 percent of the private ride-hailing market in China.

Apple is rumored to be developing  an electric car under its Project Titan initiative. The iPbone maker is also working to revitalize itself in China.

News/Rumors

Foxconn reportedly deals to open $10 billion iPhone manufacturing plant in India

According to a new report from The Economic Times of India, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is close to signing a deal with the Indian government to open an iPhone manufacturing plant in the country.

Foxconn is reportedly interested in 1,200 acres of land in Maharashtra, India. The manufacturing plant built on this land plot will reportedly focus mainly on iPhone manufacturing and would cost $10 billion.

Foxconn is reportedly planning to open 10 to 12 manufacturing plants in India by 2020. The firm previously manufactured Nokia products in India, but stopped production after losing Nokia as a client in 2014.

The iPhone maker has also been working to open Apple Stores in India, a step that would help to increase brand visibility and provide buyers first-party purchasing and service options.

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India has been very strict when foreign firms want to open retail stores in the country, but the government has been loosing up on those regulations over the past year. Apple has reportedly been given approval to open retail stores in the country thanks to its “cutting edge technology,” although the government did reject its plan to sell used devices.

Additionally, Apple is also planning to open a development center in Hyderabad, India. Work is expected to involve 150 employees, although 4,500 people will be employed during the construction process.