A new rumor out of Apple’s supply chain in Asia suggests that the company could be returning to using ultra-thin glass-on-glass touch panels for next year’s line of iPhones, but will remain using in-cell touch panels for the “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus,” both predicted to launch this month (via DigiTimes). The sources cite Apple’s issues with production bottlenecks of the in-cell technology which prevent the company from “adding new features as well as increasing resolutions.”
Makers have already begun sending samples of fully laminated G/G technology to Apple and Corning along with Asahi Glass have also reportedly sent glass samples.
Market observers have recently noted that Apple is in discussions over whether to go back to G/G instead of in-cell technology for future iPhone devices as in-cell technology is currently struggling with various production bottlenecks that are preventing Apple from adding new features as well as increasing resolutions.
Notably, the improvement in glass-on-glass production technology could grant Apple the ability to create a bezel-free iPhone that in-cell panels currently limit. The possibility of a full 4K ultra HD screen would also be in the cards according to the sources in the company’s supply chain, again pointing to current limitations on in-cell touch panels themselves, and their production.
G/G touch panels may also help Apple develop bezel-free smartphones as in-cell touch panels reportedly are struggling with touch sensitivity on the edges. Additionally, in-cell touch panels also make it difficult for vendors to pursue higher resolutions including Ultra HD (4K) due to current bottlenecks, the observers said.
Apple used glass-on-glass touch panels in its iPhone line until the iPhone 5 came out in 2012 with in-cell panels. The new line of iPhones predicted to be announced at next week’s September 9 media event will undoubtedly continue to use in-cell panels, with stronger 7000 series aluminum shells, Force Touch, an improved 12-megapixel camera, all housed in a similar design to last year’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.
Apple updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list today with 18 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has over 450 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.
The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.
The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:
- AltaOne Federal Credit Union
- American Bank of Commerce
- Capital Bank, N.A.
- Cardinal Community Credit Union
- Del-One Federal Credit Union
- Enterprise Bank and Trust Co.
- Envision Credit Union
- First Commonwealth Bank
- First National Bank and Trust
- First South Financial Credit Union
- FirstMerit Bank
- Fort Worth City Credit Union
- Leominster Credit Union
- Magnolia Federal Credit Union
- Monticello Banking Company
- Northfield Bank
- Southern States Bank
- Spire Credit Union
Apple Pay remains limited to the United States and United Kingdom, although Apple is committed to an international rollout of the mobile payments service in additional countries such as Canada and China in the future. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Apple is planning a November launch of Apple Pay in Canada.
Intel Unveils Full Lineup of Skylake Processors for Notebooks and Desktops, Early 2016 Likely for Most Macs
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.
Intel’s new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.
CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.
Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.
Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.
Construction on Apple’s second campus in Cupertino is continuing at a steady pace, as seen in a new aerial video captured by drone pilot Duncan Sinfield and shared with MacRumors.
Shot earlier today, Sinfield’s video offers a detailed look at the progress Apple has made since he shot his last video on August 1, and it gives details on the different buildings Apple is constructing. Sinfield’s also cleverly overlaid some of Steve Jobs’ original commentary on the campus, making this video update well worth watching.
Work on the ring-shaped main building is continuing, as is construction on a multi-level underground parking structure. A secondary parking lot at the west of the campus is nearly finished, the auditorium has gained interior walls, and construction workers have also made progress on the Tantau development, housing research facilities.
When finished, the second Apple campus will feature a huge 2.8 million square foot ring-shaped main building, an underground parking lot, a 100,000 square foot fitness center, a 120,000 square foot auditorium for hosting events, and a dedicated visitor’s center complete with an observation deck, cafe, and Apple Store.
Apple continues to be on track to complete construction on the campus at the end of 2016.
LUNATIK, the company that made a name for itself a number of years ago by creating popular watch bands such as the TikTok and LYNK for the sixth-generation iPod nano, has debuted a similar offering for the 42 mm Apple Watch with its new EPIK lineup.
EPIK began as a Kickstarter project that raised over $240,000 and offered a protective anodized aluminum casing for the watch itself paired with an integrated silicone sport band or aluminum link bracelet. Intended to aid in using the Apple Watch in more rugged environments, the EPIK adds protection to the Apple Watch in the form of enclosed sides, a significantly raised bezel to protect the face from impacts, and coverings for the device’s physical features.
Following the Kickstarter campaign and an early launch of a special low-end polycarbonate version initially made available through Best Buy for $60, LUNATIK is today announcing the broad release of EPIK for all customers. Aluminum models start at $140 for either a silver or black housing paired with a black silicone band, stepping up to $150 for a black housing paired with either a black or brown leather band. At the high end are the link bracelet models, which come in silver ($200) or black ($220) housing and band combinations.
LUNATIK sent me one of the black link bracelet models for review, and I’ve spent nearly a week wearing it as my sole Apple Watch band. Overall, I found it to be an interesting addition that adds some nice protection for the Apple Watch but which has a few drawbacks.
Apple continues to recruit talent to bolster its “Project Titan” team, which is rumored to be researching an electric vehicle. Over the past several weeks, the company has hired multiple employees from Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, and other companies in the automotive and technology industries, likely to join hundreds of others already working on the so-called “Apple Car.”
Apple hired former Tesla Motors engineering manager Hal Ockerse last month to join its own software engineering team, according to his LinkedIn profile. Ockerse was employed at Tesla between July 2014 and August 2015, working on hardware architecture and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) components, including cameras, radars, LiDAR, and engine control units (ECUs).
Ockerse does not list his responsibilities at Apple, but it is likely that he is working on Apple’s car-related project. His experience prior to Tesla includes an eleven-year stint at Gentex Corporation, where as a research manager he worked on advanced driver assist solutions, a three-axis automotive electronic compass, custom designed HDR image cameras and sensors, and more.
Apple also recruited former Texas Instruments design engineer Subhagato Dutta to join its in-house technologies team in July. Dutta is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, known for its research on self-driving vehicles, and worked on an automotive algorithm and imaging algorithm development team at Texas Instruments between July 2012 and November 2013.
Yakshu Madaan joined Apple as a technical program manager in July, according to his LinkedIn profile. Madaan previously served as an operations manager at Tata Motors, the largest Indian automotive manufacturer, between July 2012 and August 2014. Madaan also designed and developed fuel injection strategies as a research assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology and UBC in early 2011.
Apple has been recruiting automotive experts since at least February for its automotive-related project, including former Tesla, Ford and GM employees, but there still remains some uncertainty as to whether Apple is working on its own vehicle or building upon its CarPlay platform for an enhanced in-car experience. As expected, the project remains highly secretive in Cupertino.
Last week, it was reported that former Tesla firmware engineer Jamie Carlson left the company to join Apple’s “Special Projects” group in August, alongside several other autonomous vehicle experts. Apple also hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group, and Paul Furgale, a researcher who specializes in autonomous vehicles, according to a report in July.
Apple is expected to provide additional details about watchOS 2 at its September 9th media event in San Francisco. Alongside that announcement, a trio of rumors hint towards Apple expanding Apple Watch sales to Austria, Denmark, India and possibly other countries later this month.
Austrian website MacMania claims that the Apple Watch will be available in Austria starting September 15, citing information it received over Facebook Messenger from a reputable source working for an undisclosed large electronics chain in the country. Apple does not have an official retail presence in Denmark.
MacMania reports the Apple Watch will launch in Austria on September 15
Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, also recently issued a press release stating that its MobilePay service will support the Apple Watch when the device launches in Denmark next month (via Rec.dk), but the bank has since backtracked and now cites “rumors” about a September launch.
Danske Bank has a large presence throughout the Nordic region of Europe, with locations in Denmark, Finland and Norway, three countries where the Apple Watch is slated to launch before the end of the year per Apple’s website. The bank also operates in Sweden, where the Apple Watch launched in July.
Indian website iGyaan claims that the Apple Watch will launch in India in September, starting at Rs. 24,999 for the entry-level Apple Watch Sport. “However we have some good news for those waiting to get their hands on the device,” the report said in late August. “It arrives in the country next month.”
The full list of countries where the Apple Watch will be “available in 2015” includes Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Apple also has an Apple Watch preview website live in Latin America, but no launch date is provided.
Apple has launched the Apple Watch in 22 countries to date in four waves:
It should be noted that all four dates listed above were Fridays, so there is a possibility that Denmark’s rumored Apple Watch launch date of Tuesday, September 15 is inaccurate. But with “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus” pre-orders expected on Friday, September 11, ahead of a Friday, September 18 launch, and watchOS 2 expected midweek, Apple could go for an unusual date.
Instagram today announced a major update to the Instagram Direct feature that it first introduced in 2013, allowing users to send threaded messages and content from their feeds through the private messaging function.
Prior to today, Instagram Direct could only be used to send a single photo privately to a friend or a group of friends, where it could be commented on away from the public eye. There was no way to share content from a user’s feed to a direct message, and there were no conversation management tools, both feature oversights that Instagram has now corrected.
Following an app update, it will be possible to share a photo in your Instagram feed privately with a group of friends, a function that Instagram believes will replace the practice of @mentioning people to draw their attention to a particular photo.
A new arrow located next to the “Like” and “Comment” icons on each photo will allow an image to be sent to a friend or a group of friends through Instagram Direct.
Instagram Direct is also gaining threaded messages, making it easier to manage conversations. It will no longer be necessary to start a new conversation each time you want to share a photo or a video.
Threaded messages make it easier to go back and forth with the people you talk to the most. Instead of creating a new conversation every time you send a photo or video, your threads are based on the people in them — and your moments flow along naturally. We’ve also added the ability to name your groups, a quick camera feature to respond with a selfie on the fly, and larger-than-life emoji for when there are just no words.
Instagram has introduced several significant changes to its service over the last few months. In addition to adding search capabilities to the web in July, the company also changed a signature feature last week, allowing users to upload portrait and landscape photos in addition to square photos.
Instagram can be downloaded from the App Store for free. The new update will be available as of today. [Direct Link]
Adonit, known for its range of styluses, today announced the Jot Dash, it’s latest stylus that aims to closely replicate a standard pen. The Jot Dash is a thin-tipped active stylus that has a plastic 1.9mm tip that offers more precision than a standard rubber-tipped stylus.
Priced at $49.99, the Jot Dash bridges the gap between Adonit’s inexpensive Jot Pro and Jot Mini and the pricier Bluetooth-connected Jot Touch and Jot Script. Like the Jot Touch and the Jot Script, it has a small battery-powered tip, but it lacks the Bluetooth connectivity that enables features like palm rejection and pressure sensitivity.
Like any active tip stylus, the Jot Dash works with all capacitive touch screen devices, including all of Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Notably, it works with the iPad Air 2, which includes a different screen technology than other older iPads.
Adonit’s goal with the Jot Dash was to imitate a standard ink pen, so the Dash is just 8.5mm in diameter (about the thickness of a BIC pen) with a lightweight, rechargeable battery and a clip. According to Adonit, the Jot Dash is its most intuitive stylus to date, because it “looks like a pen, feels like a pen, and acts like a pen.”
A quick click on the back of the Jot Dash turns it on, and once activated, it’s usable within any drawing or note taking app. The battery lasts for 14 hours, so depending on usage it will only need charging every couple of weeks, and charging is done with a magnetic USB dongle.
The Jot Dash is available in black or silver from Adonit’s website and it is priced at $49.99.
Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service today announced the ability for its users to download television shows and movies to an iPhone, iPad, or Android device (via Re/code). The service had previously supported such a feature, but it was exclusively available for Amazon’s own Fire tablets, with today marking the first expansion onto Apple’s smartphones.
The feature will let Prime users download video content for later viewing when not in direct proximity of a trustworthy Wi-Fi connection, but won’t be available for every single show and film currently offered on Amazon Prime Video. The company still claims to have “thousands” of videos ready to support the new service.
The feature isn’t available for every video Amazon streams, since Amazon needs to work out deals with individual content owners (that is – pay them more money). Amazon says it has “thousands” of titles available for download.
And it looks like those titles include a pretty diverse lineup: There are Amazon’s own home-grown shows, like “Transparent”, of course. But also offerings from CBS (“The Good Wife”), Fox (“Sons of Anarchy”), MGM (“The Hunger Games”) and Paramount (“Star Trek Into Darkness”).
Re/code reports that “in most cases,” users will have 15 to 30 days to view the content once it has been downloaded. Today’s announcement aims to bolster Amazon Prime Video — which is bundled into Amazon’s $99/year Prime service — with a feature most other streaming services have yet to support.