Amid rumors that Apple is working on extended range wireless charging capabilities for future iPhones, there has been some speculation that Apple has partnered with Energous to implement the technology. Energous is the company behind WattUp, an emerging wireless charging technology that uses radio frequencies to charge devices from up to 15 feet away.
Though there’s no concrete proof of a relationship between Energous and Apple, a new research report from Louis Basenese of Disruptive Tech Research highlights a large pool of circumstantial evidence pointing towards a potential partnership, so it’s worth taking a look at Energous’s technology, both in that context and as an example of the wireless charging techniques that are currently being pursued by tech companies.
Basenese posits Apple is working with a partner rather than developing an in-house solution due to the small number of patents the company has filed surrounding wireless charging — just five, with none filed since 2013. As evidence that partner is Energous, he points towards their common manufacturing partners (TSMC and Foxconn), their membership in ANSI working towards standards for wireless power transfer compliance testing, and most notably, the fact that Energous’s RF-based wireless charging system is the only long-distance solution nearly ready to launch.
In early 2015, Energous also inked a deal with an unnamed consumer electronics company, positioned as one of the top five companies in the world. Names weren’t mentioned, but that’s a short list — Apple, Samsung, HP, Microsoft, and Hitachi. Basenese believes Apple is the likeliest partner by process of elimination.
From that list, we can easily eliminate HP and Hitachi, as they don’t make phones. Since Samsung makes its own chips and WATT is working with TSM, we can cross it off the list, leaving only Apple and Microsoft. In reality, though, Microsoft is an also-ran in the mobile phone market and rumored to be exiting it. So we’re left with one company. Of course, the identity will remain a mystery, as AAPL’s notorious about insisting on secrecy with partners and employees.
Wireless charging capabilities have been implemented into several smartphones, including those from Apple’s direct competitors, but Apple executives have downplayed wireless charging in the past due to its dependence on built-in chips, mats, and close proximity. In a 2012 interview, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said it wasn’t clear “how much convenience” magnetic induction and resonance wireless charging systems offered because they still need to be plugged into the wall.
The latest data from Mixpanel shows that approximately 32.22% of active iPhone users still have a 4-inch screen. That is the same screen size as the so-called “iPhone 5se” that Apple is expected to announce at its rumored March 15 event.
Apple has released three iPhone models with 4-inch screens since 2013, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s, and some customers still feel these smartphones have the best screen size for pocketability and one-handed usage.
Apple’s newest 4-inch smartphone, the iPhone 5s, represented just under 20 percent of current iPhones in use, trailed by the iPhone 5 at 7.53 percent and the plastic-backed iPhone 5c at 5.66 percent. The numbers fluctuate slightly in real time.
In the company’s latest earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 60 percent of older-generation iPhone users have yet to upgrade to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 6s Plus.
Right now, customers that want a 4-inch iPhone have to settle for the over two-year-old iPhone 5s’s outdated tech specs, and the smartphone also lacks many new features such as Apple Pay, 3D Touch, and Live Photos.
For that reason, the “iPhone 5se” with a rumored 4-inch screen, Apple’s newest A9 chip, Live Photos, and purported price of around $500 may prove to be a more popular option among prospective iPhone buyers.
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Instagram has begun testing multiple account support on iOS, suggesting the feature could be coming to all Instagram iOS users in the near future. Starting today, some Instagram users began noticing an option to log into more than one account in the Instagram app, but multi-account support is limited to a small number of users at this time.
Instagram users who have access to the multiple accounts feature will see the option to add additional accounts in the Settings menu through a new “Add Account” heading. Once a second or third account is added, switching between them can be done with just a couple of taps. With multiple accounts logged in, notifications for Likes and Comments will also have a header to let you know which account is receiving the alert.
Multi-user support has been a highly desired feature on Instagram for several years. The first hint of support came in late 2015, when Instagram began testing the feature on Android. It is not clear when multiple account support will see a wider release for iOS users as Instagram has not yet made an official announcement.
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Apple today added 20 new Flyover locations to Apple Maps on Mac and iOS, highlighting landmarks and features across several countries including France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the UK, South Africa, and the United States.
For those unfamiliar with the Flyover feature in Apple Maps, it lets users see photo-realistic 3D videos of select locations, with tools for zooming, panning, and rotating to get a closer look at notable landmarks and points of interest. Some of the locations listed may have previously been available as Flyover destinations, but were just added to Apple’s list of Flyover locations.
The full list of new Flyover locations is available below:
- Adelaide, Australia
- Amiens, France
- La Rochelle, France
- Nantes, France
- Toulouse, France
- Berne, Switzerland
- Bremen, Germany
- Columbus, Ohio
- Louisville, Kentucky
- South Bend, Indiana
- Springfield, Missouri
- Tucson, Arizona
- Dresden, Germany
- Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Middlesbrough, UK
- Salzburg, Austria
- Taormina, Italy
- Toyoma, Japan
- Virgin Islands
Flyover was first introduced in 2012, but over the last four years, Apple has steadily added new Flyover locations to the Maps app. In 2015, Apple updated some major Flyover locations with real-time animated landmarks, making the Flyover experience even more immersive. Many Flyover locations have an additional City Tour feature that walks users through different landmarks in each city.
Along with new Flyover locations, the Maps app has been updated in Taiwan and Finland. In Taiwan, iOS users now have access to traffic information, and in Finland, the Nearby feature introduced in iOS 9 is now active, allowing users to get information on local businesses located near them.
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SwiftKey, the company behind the popular third-party SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS and Android devices, is being acquired by Microsoft, reports Financial Times. Microsoft is said to be purchasing SwiftKey for $250 million in a deal that will be announced imminently.
The SwiftKey keyboard has been available on Android devices since 2010, expanding to iOS in January of 2014 through the SwiftKey notes app. When Apple included support for third-party keyboards in iOS 8, SwiftKey was one of the first companies to produce a keyboard replacement app.
SwiftKey’s keyboard is notable for its word prediction tools, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning to make custom word predictions based on what a user has previously written. Microsoft will likely use SwiftKey’s technology to bolster its own AI-based products, including its Word Flow keyboard and virtual assistant Cortana.
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The iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 rumors are piling up, and it looks like we won’t have to wait long to get the official details. Both BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski and 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, both of whom have solid track records when it comes to rumors, report that Apple’s next event will take place on March 15th. The agenda for the soiree is said to include that long-rumored 4-inch iPhone and the new iPad Air that we got a look at yesterday. What’s more, an Apple Watch software update should be discussed at the event alongside a collection of new bands. We’ll know soon if the date is solid, as the official invites should be out sometime this month.
Apple’s next media event, where it is rumored to announce updates across three product categories, is tentatively planned for Tuesday, March 15, according to 9to5Mac. The date could change over the next six weeks.
As the scheduled event is still a month-and-a-half away, the date could conceivably still shift or turn into an online announcement. The media event would be Apple’s first since September, and much like the fall event, is planned to touch on three major product categories for the company.
At the media event, its first since September, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives are expected to introduce the new 4-inch “iPhone 5se” and iPad Air 3, alongside minor Apple Watch updates, including new bands.
Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone is rumored to feature an A9 chip with M9 motion coprocessor, 1,624 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.2, Apple Pay, VoLTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and 16GB and 64GB storage models, but 3D Touch appears unlikely.
The so-called “iPhone 5se” will reportedly ship in late March or early April, and will likely replace the iPhone 5s. Apple’s smartphone lineup come September is expected to be the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 5se.
Details surrounding the iPad Air 3 are less clear, but leaked design drawings and aftermarket cases suggest the new 9.7-inch tablet could have a rear-facing LED camera flash, Smart Connector, and four speakers like the iPad Pro.
Taiwanese website DigiTimes also said the iPad Air 3 will have a high-resolution 4K display and up to 4GB of RAM, but the report is questionable due to the publication’s mixed track record at reporting on Apple’s upcoming product plans.
Last, earlier rumors suggested an “Apple Watch 2” could debut around March, but the wrist-worn device will likely only receive minor updates, including new bands and possibly a FaceTime camera, at next month’s purported media event.
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It’s February, which means we’re likely just one and a half months away from the next Apple launch event — one where we can expect a 4-inch
“iPhone 6c” “iPhone 5se” and an “iPad Air 3.” So what’s new? Well, today we received an image that’s allegedly a simple dimensional drawing of the aforementioned tablet. While we’d usually dismiss such leaks, we’re siding with our reliable source on this one. Unsurprisingly, the next iPad will apparently pack a couple of features introduced by the iPad Pro: quad speakers for some nice audio boost, and a Smart Connector on the side for its very own “smart” accessories. This goes well with the earlier Pencil support rumor. What does surprise us is the extra hole below the camera, which suggests the iPad will finally be getting an LED flash. Hooray for tablet photographers!
Alas, as with all things in life, there is a slight trade-off with these extra goodies. If the dimensions listed here are to be trusted, then it appears that the iPad Air 3 will be 0.05 mm thicker and 0.1 mm wider than its predecessor. If you recall, there were similar marginal differences between the iPhone 6s models and their iPhone 6 counterparts. Existing soft cases for the iPad Air 2 will probably fit the new tablet just fine, but hard cases may scratch the body over time — as is the result of forcing some iPhone 6 cases onto the iPhone 6s. Besides, it’s not like you’ll want to cover up the LED flash nor the two extra speakers, anyway (nor the Smart Connector, if you’re picking up a smaller Smart Keyboard for this new iPad).
We tried squeezing more info out of our contact but that’s all we got for now, so stay tuned for an update or hold out for the supposed launch in mid-March.
Apple wants you to be able to charge your iPhones and iPads even from afar, and it’s developing the wireless technology to make that a reality, according to Bloomberg. Cupertino is reportedly working with partners both in the US and in Asia to conjure up a way to beam power to its devices from “further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones.” Apple’s charging dock can power its smartwatch even when it’s millimeters away, but we’re guessing the company’s aiming for something that works from a greater distance.
Now the problem with this kind of technology is, the farther you are, the less efficient it is and the longer the charging time becomes. Bloomberg says the iPhone-maker is currently finding a way to prevent power loss caused by the distance between a mobile device and its charging apparatus. Apple isn’t the only one attempting to make charging easier for everyone, though: the WPC, for one, is improving the Qi wireless standard so that it can charge devices from a short distance.
Assuming Apple succeeds in solving the power loss problem (and this report is indeed true), its new charging technology could be out as soon as 2017. We hope the company makes it backwards compatible if and when it does come out, so we can finally toss our shoddy charging cables.
[Image credit: Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr]
Well, here’s an interesting development. Some iPad Pro users have noticed that, with the latest version of iOS 9, their monstrous tablet is able to push firmware updates to a connected accessory. Many customers were experiencing lag and other niggles with Logitech’s Create Keyboard Case, but found they could fix the problem by updating their slate to the second beta of iOS 9.3. As German developer Stefan Wolfrum notes, when the keyboard is attached through the Smart Connector an intriguing “Accessory Update” option appears on-screen. Within less than a minute, the update is completed and the problems are seemingly resolved.
It’s the first time we can recall an iOS device updating an accessory’s firmware in this way. The mystery, at least for now, are the requirements for such an exchange. Is it dependent on the Smart Connector, the new version of iOS, or both? If it does require Apple’s fancy new port, that means the useful feature is restricted to the iPad Pro for now. Given at least one new iPad is expected in March, however, it might not be long before we see the capability in another, smaller and cheaper iOS device.
— Stefan Wolfrum ☺ (@metawops) January 27, 2016
Via: Cult of Mac
Source: Stefan Wolfrum (Twitter)