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  1. Time has published an article written by Apple CEO Tim Cook arguing in favor of stronger U.S. privacy laws. The article was published under the headline “You Deserve Privacy Online. Here's How You Could Actually Get It.” Much of the article rehashes what Cook has said before, which can be summarized by what he believes are the four basic privacy rights: “First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why. Third, the right to access. Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data. And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.” A new proposal regarding the regulation of data brokers is a bit more novel. These companies violate all of those principles by gathering as much information as possible, in secret, with no guarantee of its security. And most people can’t do a single thing about it. This setup isn't just invasive; it's dangerous. Just consider the Equifax hack, or this Motherboard report about how easy data brokers make it to buy personal information, or any of the other examples of just how much data is traded without true oversight. Here’s what Cook wants to do about that: “We believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all.” Those protections would be in addition to stronger federal laws regarding consumer privacy, too, and not just for data brokers. They get their data from somewhere, and that list of sources includes tech companies. Which is where Apple’s self interest comes in. Many tech companies make their money by selling information about their users. That's why so many services are free—the monetization occurs behind the scenes with data sharing deals or advertising platforms. See: Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Apple makes its money by selling devices. That affords it the opportunity to limit data collection and, naturally, use privacy as a marketing tool. It sees demand for non-invasive tech and it’s more than happy to meet that demand with its products. Stricter privacy laws wouldn't be a win for Apple because of Cook’s personal beliefs. They’d be a win for Apple because so much of its competition relies on for-profit surveillance to survive. So you have to consider that when executives back policy, even if it may benefit many people. Source
  2. The AchieVer

    iPhone 11 Could Feature Wi-Fi 6 Support

    Apple’s 2019 iPhone may not feature significant upgrades in terms of design, but the real magic could happen under the hood if all the recent rumors are anything to be believed. Most recently, Barclays analysts projected that the next iPhone family could come with support for Wi-Fi 6, thus providing faster wireless connectivity by using the latest generation technology. Wi-Fi 6 (ax) was announced in late 2018, and it is expected that the standard would be adopted by devices launching this year, including flagship products from Apple and Samsung. As far as the South Korean firm goes, for instance, the analysts believe the Galaxy series could use it too, so we expect both the Galaxy S10 launching next month and the Galaxy Note 10 due in the summer to include support for the tech. Needless to say, iPhones coming with Wi-Fi 6 tech is just a guess for now, and confirmation would only be offered in September when the new models are projected to be unveiled.5G support on new iPhones?A report that made the rounds earlier this week indicated that the 2019 iPhone project is already in an advanced stage and Apple is no longer expected to make any significant changes. The new generation is likely to include three different models, all of them based on the existing versions. There will be a successor to each 2018 iPhone, with the 2019 iPhone XR to use a dual-camera system. The iPhone XS Max will also be upgraded to three cameras on the back. One particular question that isn’t yet answered concerns the 5G support. While reports that made the rounds in late 2018 indicated that Apple could wait until 2020 to bring this feature to its devices, more recently it has been speculated that the company is already in talks with Samsung and MediaTek over 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones. The two could join Intel into providing new iPhones with 5G capabilities, though for now, it’s not exactly clear if the talks are on the table for the 2019 products or the ones coming next year. Source
  3. Apple considered Samsung, MediaTek 5G modems for 2019 iPhones Apple said to have held talks with Samsung Electronics and MediaTek Inc. along with existing vendor Intel Corp to supply 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive’s testimony at a trial between Qualcomm Inc and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Apple, between 2011 and 2016, relied on Qualcomm as the sole supplier of chips which helped iPhones connect to wireless networks. However, in 2016 the company split its business Intel and Qualcomm, and in 2018, it completely moved to Intel for its newest iPhones. Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified to the court that Apple has also considered MediaTek and Samsung to supply the chips for 5G. The FTC is suing Qualcomm alleging the company engaged in anti-competitive patent licensing practices to preserve a dominant position in the premium modem chip market. On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has long sought multiple suppliers for modem chips but signed an agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively supply the chips as the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license costs in exchange for exclusivity. The company in 2013 has stopped its work with Intel to start supplying modems for iPad Mini 2 because Apple would lose its rebates by using Intel’s chips, rendering Intel’s products “economically unattractive” overall. Late that year, Apple’s cost negotiations with Qualcomm did not go as Apple hoped, hence the company kicked off “Project Antique” to secure a second modem supplier, Blevins testified. By 2016 and 2017, Apple introduced Intel’s modems in some of its iPhones but also still used Qualcomm chips. Apple’s lawsuit against Qualcomm was filed in early 2017 and this caused their business relationship to change. “The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to (Intel) but we don’t want to be a single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix,” Blevins said. He also testified Apple considered making Intel the sole supplier of modems for the Apple Watch, which added 4G connectivity in 2017 using Qualcomm chips. Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019. Source
  4. (Reuters) - Apple Inc held talks with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and MediaTek Inc along with existing vendor Intel Corp to supply 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive’s testimony at a trial between Qualcomm Inc and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Friday. Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based Qualcomm as the sole supplier of such chips, which help iPhones connect to wireless networks. Starting in 2016, Apple split the business between Intel and Qualcomm, but in 2018, Apple moved solely to Intel for its newest phones. But Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified on Friday that Apple has also considered MediaTek and Samsung, one of its largest rivals in the smart phone market, to supply the chips for the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G. Those networks are expected to start rolling out this year and provide faster data speeds than current 4G networks. The FTC is suing Qualcomm alleging the chip supplier engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices to preserve a dominant position in the premium modem chip market. On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has long sought multiple suppliers for modem chips but signed an agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively supply the chips because the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license costs in exchange for exclusivity. In 2013, Apple broke off work with Intel to start supplying modems for the iPad Mini 2 because Apple would lose its rebates by using Intel’s chips, rendering Intel’s products “economically unattractive” overall. Later that year after cost negotiations with Qualcomm did not go as Apple hoped, Apple kicked off “Project Antique” to secure a second modem supplier, Blevins testified. By 2016 and 2017, Apple introduced Intel’s modems in some of its iPhones but also still used Qualcomm chips. But Apple’s lawsuit against Qualcomm filed in early 2017 caused their business relationship to change “in a very profound and negative manner,” leading to using only Intel’s modems for the phones released last year. “The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to (Intel) but we don’t want to be single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix,” Blevins said. Blevins also testified Apple considered making Intel the sole supplier of modems for the Apple Watch, which added 4G connectivity in 2017 using Qualcomm chips. Blevins said that talking with Samsung, whose Galaxy and Note devices compete against the iPhone, is “not an ideal environment” for Apple, but that Samsung is currently the largest component supplier to Apple. Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019. Citing sources, Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would not release such a phone until 2020. Source
  5. After losing ground in the smartphone market due to the slower demand for the iPhone, Apple is now declining in the PC market as well, with MacBook sales dropping no less than 3.8% in Q4 2018. Data provided by Gartner for the quarter indicates that worldwide PC shipments went down 4.3% to 68.6 million units. Lenovo remained the leading company with 16.6 million units sold and a 24.2% market share, followed by HP with 15.3 million units and 22.4% share. Dell is third with 10.9 million units sold and 15.9% share, while Apple is only fourth, and far behind the top three, with just 4.9 million units shipped during the quarter and a share of just 7.2%, more than half of Dell. What’s worse for Apple is that sales declined from 5.1 million units in the same quarter of the year before, while in the United States, MacBook shipments dropped from 1.8 million to 1.76 million units.New MacBook not making any differenceGartner says that most of the manufacturers experienced a decline caused by a shortage of CPUs. The demand existed, the market research firm says, only that the said shortage “affected vendors’ ability to fulfill demand created by business PC upgrades.” It’s now expected that most companies would recover in 2019 once the shortage of processors is resolved, though it remains to be seen to what degree each company benefits from the demand for upgrades. Gartner explains that the growth the PC market experienced in 2018 was mostly the result of Windows 10 upgrades, which convinced more customers to purchase new hardware. “The majority of the PC shipment decline in 2018 was due to weak consumer PC shipments. Consumer shipments accounted for approximately 40 percent of PC shipments in 2018 compared with representing 49 percent of shipments in 2014,” Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner, said. “The market stabilization in 2018 was attributed to consistent business PC growth, driven by Windows 10 upgrade.” Apple’s decline, however, comes at a time when the company introduced new models in November, so it’s surprising that not even refreshed products manage to increase sales. Source
  6. New cameras to compete with Android handsets Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Apple is reportedly planning to release three new iPhones later this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will introduce a successor to the iPhone XR with an LCD display, alongside two other handsets. The high-end 2019 iPhone. presumably the largest of the three, is also rumored to include a triple camera system at the rear, in an effort that’s clearly designed to compete with the latest crop of Android handsets that include multiple cameras. Renders of a triple camera iPhone leaked last week, with OnLeaks claiming Apple will introduce such a system later this year. It’s not clear what an additional camera at the rear of an iPhone will enable, but the rumors have emerged after reports that Sony is boosting its 3D camera output for chips that will power rear-facing 3D cameras on smartphones in 2019. View image on Twitter Apple is also reportedly considering going OLED-only for its 2020 iPhone models, according to the WSJ. Such a move would likely raise the overall selling price of Apple’s iPhones next year, amidst concerns over iPhone sales in China and other developing markets. Apple recently warned it could miss $9 billion in iPhone sales in the recent quarter due to weaker demand. source
  7. Apple's worldwide Mac shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new preliminary PC shipping estimates shared this afternoon by Gartner. During the quarter, Apple shipped an estimated 4.9 million Macs, down from 5.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple's share of the market grew, however, from 7.1 percent in 3Q18 to 7.2 percent. Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units) Apple continues to maintain its position as the number four PC vendor in the world, behind Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but ahead of Asus and Acer. Lenovo was the top PC vendor with 16.6 million shipments and 24.2 percent market share, followed by HP with 15.4 million shipments and 22.4 percent market share, with Dell coming in at number three with 11 million shipments and 15.9 percent market share. Asus trailed Apple with 4.2 million shipments and 6.1 percent market share, as did Acer with 3.9 million shipments and 5.6 percent market share. Apple's Market Share Trend: 1Q06-4Q18 (Gartner) Apple's dipping Mac sales followed a trend that affected many PC vendors, with overall worldwide PC shipments dropping to 68.6 million, a 4.3 percent drop from the 71.7 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017. Apple also saw a small decline in the number of Macs shipped in the United States. Apple shipped 1.76 million Macs during the quarter, down from 1.8 million in the year-ago quarter, for a 2.1 percent drop in growth and 12.4 percent market share (up from 12.1 percent) Gartner's Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q18 (Thousands of Units) HP was the number one PC vendor in the U.S. with 4.7 million PCs shipped, followed by Dell and Lenovo. Microsoft and Acer both trailed Apple. According to Gartner, overall worldwide PC sales were impacted by a shortage of CPUs and political and economic uncertainties in some countries, including the U.S. "Political and economic uncertainties in some countries dampened PC demand," Ms. Kitagawa said. "There was even uncertainty in the U.S. -- where the overall economy has been strong -- among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season. Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs." For all of 2018, Gartner estimates that Apple sold a total of 18 million Macs, down from close to 19 million in 2017. Apple's shipments fell five percent year-over-year, and its total market share for 2018 dropped from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent. Gartner's Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2018 (Thousands of Units) DC also released its own shipment estimates this afternoon, noting a similar decline in sales for Apple. IDC also ranks Apple as the number four PC vendor in the world with global shipments that reached 4.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. IDC's data suggests Apple's Mac shipments were down 3.8 percent, with market share remaining steady. Like Gartner, IDC estimates Apple sold 18 million Macs in 2018, down from 19 million in 2017. It's important to note that data from Gartner and IDC is estimated and while not usually far off from Apple's sales, not entirely accurate, either. While we've been able to check estimated data when Apple provides its quarterly earnings releases with actual Mac sales information, there will be no way to do so going forward. Apple no longer plans to break out unit sales for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, so determining the exact number of Mac sales will not be possible going forward. Though sales were down during the holiday quarter, Apple could see some pickup in the future thanks to the October release of the new MacBook Air, a more affordable alternative to the MacBook Pro. The newly refreshed model features a Retina display, Thunderbolt 3 support, up to 16GB of RAM, a T2 chip, a new butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad, and other features. Source
  8. Data provided by Mixpanel shows that iPhone XS Max is the most popular 2018 iPhone, with its adoption rate exceeding the one of both iPhone XS and iPhone XR. The January 10 numbers show that iPhone XS Max has a share of 3.36%, while iPhone XS is the runner-up with 2.97%, while iPhone XR is third with 2.74%. The data only concerns iPhones launched in 2018, right now, iPhone X is the leading model with 11.30%. Very important to note is that the numbers vary a lot from one day to another, but every time, the iPhone XS Max remains the leading 2018 model. On January 9, it was the top choice with 3.70%, followed by iPhone XR with 3.08%. iPhone XS was only third with 2.90%. Certainly, these figures are fairly surprising, especially because one of the main complaints these days is that 2018 iPhones are too expensive.iPhone XS Max, the most expensive 2018 iPhoneHowever, iPhone XS Max is the most expensive of them all, with the top-of-the-range model reaching $1,450 in the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month that the weaker demand for the new iPhones is mostly a result of the growing tension between the United States and China on import taxes. Cook also blamed the battery replacement program that came to an end on December 31, explaining that with a new battery, some existing iPhone owners delay the upgrade to a new iPhone. While Cook suggested that pricing isn’t an issue, Apple today offered Chinese vendors a price cut for all 2017 and 2018 iPhone models in an attempt to counter the declining sales. It’s not yet clear if similar discounts would expand to other markets, so for now, iPhones remain just as expensive as before for most customers across the world. Source
  9. (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc has responded to comments made by Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook in an interview, in which he said there had been no recent settlement talks between the iPhone maker and chip supplier in their global legal battle, calling Cook’s remarks “misleading.” Apple on Wednesday said it stood by Cook’s comments. The two companies are disputing comments their respective CEOs have made over settlement talks. Apple’s chief on Tuesday said any talks ended in September 2018. Qualcomm’s Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf in November made comments about the supplier’s efforts to resolve the dispute. But Qualcomm on Tuesday said Cook had miscast Mollenkopf’s remarks, which did not mention a settlement and which Qualcomm maintains are accurate. The war of words is unlikely to play a major role in the outcome of the legal fight between the two firms. But it signals the high stakes and deeply entrenched positions of each side, with Apple arguing in court that Qualcomm charges an unfair “tax” on its phones while Qualcomm fights to protect a patent licensing model it argues has helped bring connectivity to billions of new users through wireless networks. In a television interview on CNBC earlier on Tuesday, Cook responded to a question from host Jim Cramer about whether Apple would settle with Qualcomm after Qualcomm had announced legal victories against Apple in patent cases in China and Germany. “Look, the truth is, we haven’t been in any settlement discussions with them since the third calendar quarter of last year. That is the truth. So I’m not sure where that thinking is coming from,” Cook said. Cook’s comments contrasted with those Mollenkopf made in November on CNBC. “We do talk as companies, and I think what you’re seeing, really, are activities consistent, really, with the fourth quarter of the game, and not the first quarter,” Mollenkopf told CNBC then. “We always talk about - and I’ve been very consistent that this second half of (2018) and into (2019), is when we’re really on the doorstep of finding a resolution.” In a statement, Qualcomm said the company stands by Mollenkopf’s remarks. “We have been consistent for the last 18 months in making clear that we have, at various times, been in discussions with Apple about a possible resolution to our licensing dispute,” a Qualcomm spokesperson said in a statement. “We have also stated clearly on several occasions that we believe it will be resolved, one way or the other, in the near future, either through a settlement or court decisions.” Apple on Wednesday said Cook’s comments were accurate. “Qualcomm is desperate to obfuscate the tales it has been telling its investors. Their accusations are a red herring,” Apple said in a statement to Reuters. Apple has accused Qualcomm of engaging in illegal patent licensing practices to preserve a dominant market position in so-called modem chips, which help mobile phones connect to wireless data networks. Qualcomm has argued that its practices followed decades-long tech industry norms and that Apple has not compensated it fairly for its intellectual property. The primary case in Apple and Qualcomm’s legal battle goes to trial in April. Source
  10. Apple reportedly hires Facebook critic in privacy role Sandy Parakilas, who worked at Facebook before opposing its use of personal data, ‘to work on data protection’ Apple has reportedly hired a former Facebook employee who blew the whistle on Facebook’s data-sharing policies exposed during the Cambridge Analyticascandal. Sandy Parakilas, a product manager at Facebook in 2011 and 2012, once gave evidence to the Commons about privacy abuses at Facebook and has been outspoken about the reportedly lax approach to data protection he witnessed at the social network during his time there. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in March 2018, Parakilas told the Guardian it had been “painful watching” the company grapple with the fallout because he knew “they could have prevented it” Now, the Financial Times reports, Parakilas has been hired to work as a product manager on the privacy team at Apple. The paper says Parakilas’ job will involve working to ensure that future products minimise data collection and protect privacy. Parakilas had spent the last year working as the chief strategy officer of the San Francisco-based Center for Humane technology, a not-for-profit organisation set up by former Silicon Valley workers to push for “safer, healthier tech”. Parakilas told the Guardian at the time that he had warned senior executives that it risked a major breach. “My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data,” he said. Parakilas also gave evidence to the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which in 2018 investigated the abuses at Facebook as part of its inquiry into fake news. He told the inquiry that Facebook had given the impression that it feared it would be liable if it investigated a suspected breach and found policies or laws had been broken. Instead, he suggested, it did not investigate because it felt that if it did not know of breaches it could claim it was just a platform so not liable. In competition against rivals such as Facebook and Google, Apple has been pushing its privacy practices as a strength, culminating this week in adverts at the Las Vegas-based Consumer Electronics Show bearing the slogan: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” Unlike Google, Apple is not exhibiting at the show. Apple declined to comment. Parakilas did not respond to a request for comment from the Financial Times. Source
  11. iPhone sales aren’t going as strong as Apple anticipated, and earlier today, it was reported that the company turned to yet another production cut to align inventory with demand worldwide. And despite the iPhone clearly declining, Apple CEO Tim Cook says there’s no reason to worry, explaining that those who criticize the company do the same thing every once in a while. “In terms of the naysayer, I've heard this over and over again,” Cook told Jim Cramer in an interview on CNBC. “I've heard it in 2001, I've heard it in 2005, in '7, in '8, in '10, in '12 and '13. You can probably find the same quotes from the same people over and over again.”iPhone XR particularly successfulCook goes on to explain that the Apple ecosystem is “probably underappreciated” and adds there’s no reason to be concerned because in the long term not much is going to change for the company. “I'm never surprised by the market, to be honest with you, because I think the market is quite emotional in the short term. We sort of look through all of that. We think about the long term. And so when I look at the long-term health of the company, it has never been better. The product pipeline has never been better. The ecosystem has never been stronger. The services are on a tear,” he said. Tim Cook has also praised the 2018 iPhone lineup, reiterating that the iPhone XR is rather successful, being the most popular model every day since its launch. Apple earlier this month adjusted its earnings guidance, explaining that sales are expected to decline due to two different factors, namely the growing tension between China and the US on import fees and the battery replacement program for the iPhone. Cook says he expects the talks between China and the United States to come to a conclusion soon, meaning iPhone sales could once again go up in this particular market. Source
  12. (Reuters) - Apple Inc , which slashed its quarterly sales forecast last week, has reduced planned production for its three new iPhone models by about 10 percent for the January-March quarter, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Wednesday. That rare forecast cut exposed weakening iPhone demand in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, where a slowing economy has also been buffeted by a trade war with the United States. Many analysts and consumers have said the new iPhones are overpriced. Apple asked its suppliers late last month to produce fewer-than-planned units of its XS, XS Max and XR models, the Nikkei reported, citing sources with knowledge of the request. The request was made before Apple announced its forecast cut, the Nikkei said. The bleaker sales outlook, which Apple attributed to weak China demand, triggered a broad sell-off in global stock markets. Market research firm Canalys estimates shipments fell 12 percent in China last year and expects smartphone shipments in 2019 to dip another 3 percent, to below 400 million for the first time since 2014. Overall planned production volume of both old and new iPhones is likely to be cut to a range of 40 million to 43 million units for January-March period, from an earlier projection of 47 million to 48 million units, the Nikkei reported, citing one source familiar with the situation. Apple did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. The report comes after chip suppliers Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Skyworks Solutions Inc ) flagged weak first-quarter chip demand for smartphones. Samsung surprised the market on Tuesday with an estimated 29 percent drop in quarterly profit, blaming weak chip demand in a rare commentary issued to “ease confusion” among investors already fretting about a global tech slowdown. Apple’s iPhone suppliers include Taiwanese assemblers Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn) (2317.TW) and Pegatron Corp (4938.TW). Pegatron declined to comment on the report when contacted by Reuters, while Foxconn did not reply to a request for comment. There was little reaction to the report among shares of major Apple suppliers, as the market has already digested production cuts after the iPhone maker’s forecast cut, analysts said. Shares of Foxconn, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer, closed up 1.6 percent, while Pegatron closed up 1.3 percent. Apple shares were up 1.3 percent at $152.70 in early trading on Wednesday. Among iPhone component suppliers in Asia, South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd closed up 0.5 percent, while Japan Display Inc was flat. “The Street is already well aware of a soft March guide so this latest report is not a new worry, as investors are starting to look ahead 6-9 months down the road for Apple and gauge how the company emerges from this dark chapter of soft demand,” Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, said. Source
  13. The 2018 iPhone generation landed on the market only a few months ago, but Apple is already planning in advance, and according to one leakster, some pretty big changes are prepared for 2020. Twitter user Ice Universe, who has until now provided several accurate scoops on unreleased mobile products, says that Apple may launch an iPhone with a hole in its display in 2020, technically embracing the same solution that others are working on right now, including rival Samsung. Apple adopting this design idea is both good news and bad news. First of all, it shows that sooner or later, Apple may give up on the notch and focus on features that are more important for users. For instance, drilling holes in the display would basically kill off the notch because the front-facing parts, like the 3D sensing cameras, can just be embedded into the glass. Additionally, it also allows for other technology to make its way to the iPhone, like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and it helps the company improve the available screen estate without design gimmicks like a notch.One more notched iPhoneOn the other hand, Apple doing this next year means we’ll have to stick with a notch for at least one more generation. The cited source claims there’s a good chance Apple would launch the 2019 iPhone with a notch, though some upgrades are prepared this time too, including a possible return of Touch ID. The notch has become a love it or hate it kind of thing, and it has actually generated mixed reactions from customers across the world. However, it has also evolved to be a trend that others are embracing too, including brands like Huawei and Motorola. For now, it’s still recommended to receive these rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially because anything can change overnight if Apple wants it. The 2020 iPhone is likely still on the drawing board, so it could take a while until the first accurate leaks make the rounds. Source
  14. While the current iPhone generation isn’t selling exactly like hot cakes, Apple is already hard at work to get the 2019 lineup ready for launch, and according to an analyst, the company has prepared several major changes that would make its devices more appealing. One of them is the addition of USB Type-C connector, Jean Baptiste Su, Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, and this would technically represent the end of the Lightning port on the iPhone. With USB Type-C, Apple would finally make the switch to this more common port that’s already adopted en-masse by the rest of the phone manufacturers and provide the convenience of carrying just one cable for several devices and purposes. Cupertino hasn’t dropped any hint that it’s considering such a move for the iPhone, but the company did ditch the Lightning port on the iPad Pro in 2018, so going for USB Type-C this year is indeed possible.Touch ID comes backAt the same time, the analyst says Apple is considering bringing back Touch ID and embedding it into the screen. Again, this is something that totally makes sense, especially as the other companies are doing it. Huawei offers such a mix of facial recognition and fingerprint sensors embedded into the screen, and Samsung will very likely adopt the latter on the upcoming Galaxy S10 launching next month. The 2019 iPhone will also come with a smaller notch, as Apple wants to improve the screen estate, and 3D sensing cameras could be added on the back of the iPhone too. This is possible thanks to new sensors from Sony, though for now there’s no confirmation that the upgrade is on the table for the 2019 upgrade. Of course, it’s recommended to take all these rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I think everyone agrees that given how current iPhones are selling these days, Apple has no other option than to come with something big this year to remain relevant in the smartphone biz. Source
  15. Apple’s problems worldwide have substantially affected the company’s market cap, and following the revised revenue guidance in early January, it has become the fourth most valuable firm in the US. After previously becoming the first company worth $1 trillion, Apple declined significantly in the last couple of months, particularly due to slow iPhone sales and legal problems that eventually led to an injunction on iPhone sales in Germany and China. On Friday, Apple recovered 3.9 percent to be worth $700.9 billion, but still remaining the fourth in the charts in a top concerning US companies. Google’s parent company Alphabet was placed third with $748 billion, while Microsoft and Amazon remained number one and number two thanks to 4.65 percent and 5.01 percent hikes. Microsoft has a market cap of $782.4 billion, while Amazon is pretty close with $770.6 billion. Apple’s decline Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that one of the reasons the iPhone isn’t selling as well as anticipated is the trade tension between China and the United States. “What I believe to be the case is the trade tensions between the United States and China put additional pressure on their economy. We saw, as the quarter went on, things like traffic in our retail stores, traffic in our channel partner stores going down, the reports of the smartphone industry contracting,” he said. On the other hand, the United States President Donald Trump says Apple has “gone up hundreds of percent since I’m president,” adding that the company is “going to be fine.” “Don’t forget this, Apple makes their product in China, I told Tim Cook who is a friend of mine who I like a lot, make your product in the United States, build those beautiful plants that go on for miles it seems. Build those plants in the United States, I like that even better,” Trump said. Analysts forecast a bigger drop in terms of Apple revenues in the coming quarters, especially as sales after the holiday season are projected to decline. source
  16. A new voice phishing scam is going after iPhone users in a clever new way: by making calls seem like they are coming directly from Apple Support. Brian Krebs reported today that a user, Jody Westby, got a call from Apple Support asking for her to call back. The contact information that came along with the number appeared to be Apple Inc.’s in the identity screen for the call. When she called the 866 number, however, something was clearly amiss. KrebsOnSecurity called the number that the scam message asked Westby to contact (866-277-7794). An automated system answered and said I’d reached Apple Support, and that my expected wait time was about one minute and 30 seconds. About a minute later, a man with an Indian accent answered and inquired as to the reason for my call. Playing the part of someone who had received the scam call, I told him I’d been alerted about a breach at Apple and that I needed to call this number. After asking me to hold for a brief moment, our call was disconnected. No doubt this is just another scheme to separate the unwary from their personal and financial details, and to extract some kind of payment (for supposed tech support services or some such). But it is remarkable that Apple’s own devices (or AT&T, which sold her the phone) can’t tell the difference between a call from Apple and someone trying to spoof Apple. The exploit is unique because it allows callers to masquerade as other callers essentially by polluting search results with junk information that makes one number look like the contact number for a real company. The number Westby was told to call is a known phishing source. Remember: If anyone calls you claiming that your computer is broken they are most probably lying. After all, support people will never be proactive when it comes to problems with your computers, only reactive (if that). Source
  17. China, battery replacement and fewer carrier subsidies blamed Apple isn't selling as many iPhones as it had previously forecast, according to revised first quarter projections, and it's a big enough shortfall to lower its revenue estimates by billions of dollars. The company lowered its guidance by $9 billion (about £$7.14b, AU$12.9b), going from a projected high of $93 billion (about £74b, AU$133b) to a new estimate of $84 billion (about £67b, AU$120b). The blame? "Lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China," according to a letter by Apple CEO Tim Cook. He cited the slowing of the Chinese economy and US-China trade tensions. Apple stock was briefly halted and the share price fell over 10 points in after hours trading. If there's any good news, it's that Cook noted that categories outside of the iPhone, including Mac, iPad wearables and services, actually grew by 19%. Other reason for iPhone weakness It's not all China. Other factors for weak iPhone performance include the strength of the US dollar and Apple's temporarily price cut for its replacement battery service in older iPhones. That deal ended on December 31. Cook also cited the fact that there are fewer carrier subsidies in a CNBC interview. In the US, for example, a new iPhone isn't $199 on contract anymore. That changed a while ago, but it's just hitting some new upgraders for the first time. "There aren't as many subsidies as their used to be from a carrier point of view," said Cook. "That didn't all happen yesterday, but if you were out of the market for two to three years and you come back, it looks like that to you." The next official Apple earning conference call is expected to happen toward the end of this month, on Tuesday, January 29. We'll have the final numbers and more words from Cook and company then. Source
  18. Alright, so the update to iOS 12.1.2 broke cellular data connectivity on various iPhone models around the globe. But those affected can still get their daily Twitter fix via Wi-Fi, right? Uh, not so fast. According to Forbes, it appears that the iOS 12.1.2 update also prevents several iPhone users from connecting to a Wi-Fi signal. One Twitter user had a workaround for the loss of Wi-Fi connectivity. He says that disabling Wi-Fi calling and changing the settings from voice and data to data only might help. If your iPhone has lost Wi-Fi connectivity, it doesn't hurt to give this a try. You might recall that one of the reasons why Apple rushed out iOS 12.1.2 was to exterminate a bug that prevented iPhone users in Turkey from connecting to cellular data (the other reason had to do with the Chinese sales ban). Ironically, the update spread the problem in Turkey to iPhone users throughout the world, broke Wi-Fi connectivity for some, and certain iPhone owners now have seen their expensive handset turn into a paperweight. More bad new for some iPhone users who installed iOS 12.1.2 There is potentially some good or bad news on the way. Apple is beta testing iOS 12.1.3, but iPhone owners might be a little worried about what the next iOS update will do to their phone. Source
  19. While 2018 was a year of iterative updates, Apple, Google and Microsoft all released some of their best products yet, even if they weren’t as innovative as some would like. While many flagships went without any upgrades – we didn’t even see a new MacBook or Surface Book – devices like the MacBook Air and Surface Laptop 2 saw significant upgrades which impacted the user experience. However, 2019 should see the big three push their hardware further than before – especially as 7nm and 10nm AMD and Intel processors become mainstream. So, what can we expect to see from Apple, Google and Microsoft throughout the next year? Apple in 2019 Apple’s release schedule in 2018 was all over the place. After the insanely powerful iMac Pro dropped in December 2017, we got an iPad aimed at students in March, followed by a lot of nothing. We were left waiting for WWDC 2018 for new MacBooks, but that show came and went without any new hardware. It wasn’t until the new MacBook Prolaunched, totally under the radar in July, that we started seeing new hardware. We’re not sure Apple is going to follow the same kind of release schedule in 2019, but now that it became the world’s first trillion-dollar valuation company this past year, we figure Apple can basically do whatever it wants. New Mac Pro. We’ve been anticipating the new Mac Pro for a while now, but we know its coming, and we know it’s coming in 2019. The only thing we don’t know is when in 2019 we’ll see the new Mac Pro. Apple has come out and said that the computer will be modular and upgradeable, and if the iMac Pro was any indication, we might be seeing an extremely powerful Mac – we just want to know whether it’ll look like a trash can again. New MacBooks. When it comes to Apple’s 2019 lineup of MacBooks, we’re not quite sure what’s going to happen. We’ll see a new MacBook Pro, that’s a given – Apple hasn’t missed an annual upgrade for its flagship professional laptop to date. However, beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Apple skipped the 12-inch MacBook for the new MacBook Air this year, though that laptop has more in common with the now-defunct MacBook Pro without Touch Bar. Regardless, expect to see new Intel silicon inside these laptops – Apple’s in-house computer processors are still years away. iPhone XI. Another year, another iPhone. Apple releasing a new iPhone is inevitable, and the rumors are already starting to roll out. It might be thinner and lighter than ever before, thanks to a new touch-integrated OLED display,and Apple might even include its own modem, making it an almost all-Apple device. Also, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple take another three-pronged strategy with its iPhone models this year, with two high-end models and an entry-level version alongside them. Finally, don’t expect to see a 5G iPhone in 2019: Apple will surely sit on that for a while longer. New iPads. Apple knocked it out of the park with the iPad Pro – it can outpower many full-blown laptops, on top of the fantastic new design. With the next non-pro iPad, we can see Apple bringing over the same bezel-less design as well as FaceID, like it did with the iPhone XR. We’ve also seen rumors of a new iPad Mini arriving in 2019. We fully expect to see more drastic software improvements than hardware, as iOS needs some serious work to both remain competitive in the phones space and improve productivity for its ‘Pro’ tablets. Google in 2019 Even if we didn’t get the Pixelbook 2, Google still had an exciting year, with products like the Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel Slate. Google also doubled down on its Home line of smart speakers and smart-home technology – something we’re sure we’ll see more of in 2019. However, with an arguably poor outing this year, we wonder whether Google will continue making tablets – or at the very least go back to the drawing board. Also, we’ve seen very little from Google in the home entertainment department in 2018, so perhaps we’ll revisit that in 2019. Pixelbook 2. We wanted to see the next Pixelbook in 2018 – the original is by far one of the best Chromebooks we’ve ever used. However, Google had other plans, instead releasing the Google Pixel Slate: a sort of half-tablet half-Chromebook hybrid. While we’re sure the Google Pixel Slate will have its niche, we hope Google will launch a true Pixelbook 2 with 8th-generation Core processors. The Pixel Slate doesn’t set as strong of a standard for other Chrome devices as Pixelbook did, simply put. Google Pixel 4. The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL are awesome – everything from the camera to the hardware makes either two of the best phones you can buy today. Of course, we’re sure that Google is brewing the follow-ups as we speak. What’s to come in that? Rumors are nowhere to be found yet, but we’d anticipate Google doubling down on its incredibly useful camera and machine learning software, because that’s what’s selling the Pixel 3 phones more than anything. Mid-range Pixel phones. Google has made plenty of flagship phones in its time, but we’ve seen new Pixel devices hinted at in the latest ARCore update. These rumored devices are code-named Bonito and Sargo, and just like all other Pixel phones, are named after fish. We’d love to see new Pixel phones that almost anyone can afford – especially if Google keeps that camera software intact. All in all, this would be an incredibly smart move for Google. Microsoft in 2019 When it comes to hardware, it’s hard to predict what Microsoft is going to do in 2019, as its release schedule is all over the place. However, you can bet that you’ll see new Surface devices along with Windows 10updates. We might even see the next Xbox creep out of the woodwork Surface Book 3. The Surface Book 2 is still one of the best laptops on the market, even if it launched way back in October 2017. This year, however, we should see the Surface Book 3 launch, packed with Intel 9th-generation processors and Nvidia Turing graphics. If Microsoft could provide the Surface Book 3 with a 4K display and a black color option, that’d just be gravy. Surface Pro 7. We’re putting our money on another Surface Pro launching next year, but hopefully with more drastic improvements. Microsoft followed the Surface Pro 2017 with the Surface Pro 6 this year, packing 8th-generation processors and some snazzy new color options … but that’s it, really. We’d love to see a Surface Pro 7 with even smaller bezels and USB-C connectivity for 2019. Surface Phone. It seems like we’ve been waiting for the Surface Phone for ages, but we feel like 2019 might be the year we finally see it. The latest rumors about the Surface Phone, code-named Andromeda, point to it being a foldable smartphone, which would make it prime competition for Samsung’s similar device, also likely launching in 2019. source
  20. A report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that in the 30 days after the iPhone XR was released, 16 percent of U.S. iPhone buyers upgraded from Android phones. The report comes after speculation that demand for the iPhone is weakening as suppliers have cut their outlook and Apple announced that it will no longer disclose unit sales. The most affordable new model, the iPhone XR, made up 32 percent of iPhone sales in the U.S. in the 30 days after its release, the report found. VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images Apple chief design officer Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook inspect iPhone XR. Apple's latest iPhone models are attracting more Android users to the brand than in previous years, a new report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found. Signs have pointed to relatively weak demand overall for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, like lowered guidance by some of Apple's key suppliers and the company's announcement that it will no longer disclose unit sales for the iPhone. The report found that 16 percent of iPhone buyers upgraded from an Android phone in the 30-day period after the launch of the iPhone XR. After the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were released in September 2017, 12 percent of iPhone buyers upgraded from an Android phone, and when the iPhone X was released in November 2017, that number was 11 percent. "It appears that iPhone XR did serve to attract current Android users," Mike Levin, CIRP co-founder and partner, said in a statement in a press release. "Of course, Apple doesn't just state plainly its launch strategy. But, based on the pricing and features, we can infer that Apple positioned the iPhone XR to appeal to potential operating systems switchers from Android." CIRP's report found that nearly a third of iPhone buyers in the U.S. flocked to its cheapest new model, the XR, which starts at $749. In the 30 days after its launch in October 2018, CIRP found that XR sales made up 32 percent of total iPhone sales in the U.S. During the same 30-day period after the XR release, sales for the the iPhone XS and XS Max accounted for 35 percent of U.S. iPhone sales combined. In an interview with CNET last month, Apple's vice president of product marketing, Greg Joswiak, said the iPhone XR had "been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available." This share of XR sales tracks with that of previous models in their first month on the market, CIRP said, acknowledging that it can't make an exact comparison since this year Apple launched its more cheaper model second, diverting from previous launch strategies. Source
  21. The AchieVer

    Hey Siri, are you there?

    For years I thought Apple was forging its own path in the smart home, that there was a purpose behind its slow-boil approach to working with smart-home partners and integrating Siri voice control features -- that at some point the company's strategy would make sense. Sure, to some extent it does make sense. If you're an Apple loyalist, the pathway is clear: You probably already have Apple Music, you're likely going to buy a HomePod smart speaker and you'll look for lights, locks, thermostats and other smart home gadgets that work with Apple HomeKit. You'll overlook Apple's other limitations because the platform works well enough. And who knows what potential innovations await with the hiring of Google alum John Giannandrea, now Apple's chief of machine learning and AI strategy. But there are some serious, lingering limitations with HomeKit, Siri and Apple's overall approach to smart home hardware that should have been addressed by now. Alexa and Google Assistant continue to move forward while Apple's platform lags far behind. Let's take a look at the current state of the Apple smart home and discuss what we'd like to see from it next year. Siri runs the smart home with these Apple HomeKit gadgets 34 PHOTOS More Apple hardware The HomePod is Apple's only piece of smart home hardware to date, introduced in early 2018. (You can make a case for the Apple TV counting as well since it works with Airplay 2, but it's more smart-home-adjacent than smart-home-exclusive.) Fortunately, the HomePod is a great speaker, delivering excellent sound quality in a relatively compact package. Pair two HomePods together for stereo sound in the same room -- or put them in different rooms to enable multiroom audio (these come via Airplay 2). It's a solid device. But Amazon and Google have many more smart speaker options. There's even a limited selection of third-party devices that work with Alexa and Google Assistant. The Facebook Portal and Portal Plus work with Alexa and so does the Sonos One. Google Assistant is built into the JBL Link View and the Lenovo Smart Display, among others. At $349 each, the HomePod smart speaker is pricey. Where's the more affordable HomePod? Rumors of a "HomePod Mini" have been discussed for months, but we have yet to see it. There's no Siri-enabled HomeKit smart display, either. New HomePod features and improvements to Siri Both stereo pairing and multiroom audio were added to the HomePod in May, a few months after the smart speaker's initial product launch. A few other HomePod updates have trickled in, including calling, searching for a song by its lyrics and setting multiple timers. The additions have helped keep Siri and the HomePod somewhat competitive, but Apple's voice assistant still struggles to keep up with Alexa and Google Assistant. Amazon and Google have made significant progress with natural language, making Alexa and Google Assistant conversational. Use the Google Assistant on the Google Home Hub to cook a meal and it will walk you through the steps, tutorial-style. Amazon smart speakers now offer a "whisper mode" -- it sounds kind of creepy, but it means you can use your Alexa speaker during your kid's nap time. These nuances make Alexa and Google Assistant more appealing and more natural to use in a variety of scenarios. Apple just isn't there Support for third-party devices Apple has make some strides as far as opening up its platform. Manufacturers no longer need to stick an MFi hardware chip in every HomeKit-enabled device like they used to. Apple has also announced a software developer kit making it easier for developers to partner with Apple on HomeKit projects. At the same time, Apple lags way behind Amazon and Google Assistant when it comes to third-party smart-home partners. It has more than it used to, but it's nowhere near catching up with Amazon, which reached 50,000 Alexa skills back in September according to Voicebot.AI. An open platform I know, I know. Apple and "open platform" don't necessarily go together, but there are just two things I want to see from Apple that would make a big difference in the smart home: Make an Android version of the Home app Add support for Spotify and other third-party music streaming services to HomePod Apple's Home app is where you go on your iOS phone or tablet to add and make adjustments to your HomeKit, Siri-enabled smart devices. It's a decent enough app and Apple added it to MacOS Mojave in 2018, so you can view, manage and control your smart home products straight from your Mac. The HomePod currently only works natively with Apple Music. You can use Airplay 2 to play audio from third parties on the HomePod, but they don't work seamlessly via Siri. Apple should make the HomePod compatible with Spotify at the very least. Amazon now works with Apple Music, as well as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and SiriusXM. The outlook Given the success of Alexa and Google Assistant, why isn't Apple doing more with Siri, HomeKit and the HomePod? There are so many different things they could address to stay more competitive. Where's the HomePod that's actually affordable? Why isn't there an Apple smart display? When will Siri be able to answer more questions (and better)? The list goes on and on. source
  22. Apple's getting more government requests for data. The tech company is making it easier to see where and what kind of data is being demanded. On Thursday, Apple released its biannual transparency report, which details how frequently governments and private parties request customer data. With more than 1.3 billion devices active around the world, governments are increasingly looking to Apple and its technology to gain information about users. Those requests have been rising over the years, and the first half of 2018 was no different. Globally, Apple received 32,342 device requests, with 42 percent of them coming from Germany. Apple noted the "high volume of device requests [in Germany was] predominantly due to stolen devices investigations." The US had the second-highest number of requests, at 4,570. In the July to December 2017 period, Apple received 29,718 device requests. Apple sought to make its reporting process simpler to understand with its new Transparency site. In the past, Apple would release a brief report with a limited amount of data, including the number of device requests received in each country and the number of device requests for which data was provided. The interactive site lets users toggle between countries and time periods to see how the requests have changed. It's similar to the display rivals, such as Microsoft, offer when it comes to transparency reports. Apple has long helped law enforcement agencies pull data from locked iPhones. But its willingness to help has changed over the past few years as the number of requests increase and as the government faces backlash over its surveillance tactics. Apple fought a very public battle against the FBI in 2016, and it has taken a strong stance in favor of protecting customer privacy. Apple declined to comment beyond its report. National security letters Apple also offered more detail in the number of national security letter requests it receives. Previously, it simply provided the number it received and grouped it together with requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It now plans to separate the two. Apple also will disclose the number of FISA requests that involved content such as stored photos, email, iOS device backups, contacts and calendars, as well as the number that involved non-content data, such as subscriber or transactional information and connection logs. The latest report doesn't include the number of FISA requests because of a legally required six-month reporting delay. In its last report, Apple said it received 16,000 to 16,249 national security letter and FISA requests from July to December 2017. In the first half of 2018, it received 0 to 499 national security letter requests. Apple now provides the national security letter data in less granular numbers, though. In the past, it would detail the requests in bands of 250. Now it's reporting in bands of 500. National security letters are issued by the FBI and don't require a judge's sign-off. Critics of national security letters, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, say they "allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens' private communications and Internet activity without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review." Companies that receive national security letters are subject to gag orders, which means they can't even disclose they've received such orders -- unless the letters become declassified. source
  23. Only a week after a Chinese court banned the import and sale of older iPhone models due to a Qualcomm injunction, the same fate has befallen the iPhone 7and iPhone 8 in Germany. Qualcomm’s ongoing feud with Apple is wide-ranging in its nature and has raged on for over two years, but recent complaints are in relation to the tech giant allegedly stealing the chipset manufacturer’s intellectual property. Apple is working on an appeal to the German court’s decision but, in the meantime, has suspended sales of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 from all 15 of the company's stores in the country. They can be sold by third-party retailers, however, and all other models are unaffected. Qualcomm alleges Apple shared modem secrets with Intel The Chinese ban was in relation to photo editing and touchscreen multi-tasking patents but, because Apple responded quickly and removed the offending features from iOS, sales of the older devices were subsequently resumed. source In the case of the German ban, however, it is the iPhone’s power saving functionality that is in violation, so it’s unclear whether Apple will be able to fix the issue with a software or firmware update in order to continue sales of the units. Considering this is the second country in as many weeks to enact Qualcomm's injunction wishes, it's possible we'll see Apple's older handsets pulled from shelves in other regions in the coming months.
  24. What has happened to AirPower? We investigate the Apple AirPower release date and ask what's happened to Apple's powermat. Apple said its wireless charger would launch in 2018, but with all mention removed from its website, and 2018 at a close will AirPower ever see the light of day? By Lewis Painter | 17 Dec 18 When Apple announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X back in September 2017, the company also revealed that it was developing its own AirPower wireless charging pad on which it will be possible to charge three Apple devices at once: iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple said its wireless charger would launch in 2018, but now the company has removed all mention from its website, and as 2018 drawers to a close it is looking unlikely that AirPower will ever see the light of day... There was no mention of the product at Apple's 12 September event, a full year after the first unveiling. And after the 30 October event, we're still none the wiser about the launch date of AirPower. Furthermore, Apple has removed all mention of AirPower from its website - although it is referenced in material that ships with the new phones. The company has made no official comment, but the product's future is looking decidedly shaky. In this article we round up the rumours about AirPower's release date, price, specs and features. But if you're interested in alternatives that are available now, we've rounded up the best wireless chargers. AirPower release date When Apple announced its AirPower wireless charging mat on 12 September 2017 the company confirmed that AirPower wouldn't be released until 2018: "Look for the AirPower charger next year," said Phil Schiller. However, it's now more than a year later and the company is yet to provide a concrete release date, which is both surprising and a little worrying. We doubt that when Apple announced the AirPower back in 2017 it expected not to be selling it a whole year later, but it seems that practical issues with the new wireless charger are the cause of these delays. The eagle-eyed will have noticed that the AirPower was mentioned on iPhone XR and XS materials, which might hint at a launch soon. But we have to say that we're not optimistic given that all mention of AirPower has been pulled from the Apple website. The one thing that leaves us some hope is the fact that there is known to be an AirPods update in the works which will see those headphones gain a case suited to wireless charging. And with that update being delayed until 2019, we think that the AirPower is likely to launch alongside, our best bet: March 2019. Read all about the next Apple Event here. AirPower price Wondering how much AirPower will cost (if and when it does launch)? Apple has made no statements about AirPower's price, but we can make an educated guess. Apple doesn't tend to sell 'cheap' products. Some people talk about the 'Apple tax' it adds to its products, but others would suggest you pay extra for the extensive research and development costs (we discuss the technical advances of AirPower below), and Apple's high standards. Either way, you can expect a premium price tag. There have been some predictions. Polish retailer X-Kom shows the AirPower priced at 999 Złotych - that's about £211 or $294. However, the price might not be as high as that: in November 2017 Polish blog ThinkApple indicated that many products that cost 999 Złotych on the Polish site are priced at $199 in the US. Those are high prices for a wireless charger, and hopefully AirPower won't cost that much. In August 2018, Chinese title Chongdiantou claimed its sources told it that the AirPower would be released this September for around 1,000 Chinese yuan, which is approximately $145/£114. That's still quite a high price - but this is Apple. And of course they got the launch date wrong, which puts a cloud over the other prediction. The AppleToolBox report mentioned below suggested the AirPower could cost $99/£99. Why is AirPower delayed? When Apple announced AirPower back in 2017 the small print of some marketing materials relating to AirPower availability used the phrase "early 2018", but nothing was announced at the event on 27 March 2018. Nor was there a peep about AirPower at WWDC 2018 on 4 June, or on 12 September during the iPhone and Apple Watch event. It's been a series of disappointments. Apparently Apple planned a June launch, but this was stymied by "a series of technical hurdles" and "supply-chain challenges", according to a Bloomberg source. According to AppleToolBox sources in April 2018, Apple has delayed the AirPower due to difficulties producing the product and concerns over AirPods support. But Apple's biggest issue, they said, was the Apple Watch. This has always included Qi charging, but changes to the design of the Series 3 made it incompatible with most non-Apple chargers: it has a convex back and chargers are usually flat. This design means third-party chargers weren't able to create the connection required to charge - and the same problem exists for the Apple Watch 3 on the AirPower. Apparently Apple had not solved this problem as of April 2018, and for all we know may still not have managed to do so. The other issue flagged by AppleToolBox was the fact that charging AirPods requires an additional purchase of a $69 case. Apparently there have been disagreements at Apple as to whether people would pay for a case to enable them to charge their AirPods on an already expensive charger. The Bloomberg report claims AirPower is delayed because the engineering team has encountered a number of challenges including ensuring the charger doesn't overheat. Another issue outlined in that report is related to the placement of sensors on the pad. The AirPower will be the first wireless charger to charge three devices at a time. It's thought that it is because Apple wants users to be able to place the three devices anywhere on the pad that the design is proving difficult. Random placement means that the mat requires multiple charging sensors - and not just multiple versions of the same sensor as each type of device requires different sized charging components, suggests Bloomberg's source (from an Apple partner that manufacturers third-party wireless chargers). AirPower is not the first product from Apple whose launch has been delayed. We have seen delays for HomePod and AirPods, and AirPlay 2 which become available almost a year after first being announced. Some might think that Apple was wrong to announce AirPower so early, but in these areas, where it is necessary to get FCC ratification the company often does reveal its plans early (as it did with the original iPhone). One Reddit post claims that AirPower hasn't been approved by the FCC. AirPower design and build In terms of design, Apple's AirPower wireless charger doesn't look that different to the plethora of wireless chargers already available. Based on the video showcase at Apple's September 2017 keynote, we know that the AirPower is a white mat large enough to accompany three devices (iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods) at the same time, with a single power lead connected to the wireless charger. While wireless charging is provided, the wireless charger itself still needs to be plugged in - something that may sound obvious to some, but it's worth pointing out for those new to the world of wireless charging. AirPower features and spec So, what makes Apple's AirPower wireless charger better than anything else on the market? First up it's built on the Qi wireless charging standard, although we're not sure at this time whether the AirPower will be compatible with any Qi-enabled device. Apple has filed a patent for a wireless charging device that could give us an insight to some other features it could offer, via AppleWorldToday (January 2018). The patent suggests that the device could also transmit wireless power signals to a wireless power receiving electronic device, which could pave the way for true wireless charging - as in charging over the air, rather than via conduction when placed on a mat. However, this technology may be a little further down the road. For now it seems that the AirPower will be the first wireless charger capable of charging three device at once, and it doesn't matter where on the surface each device is laid - it should still receive the charge. AirPower is expected to have the ability to intelligently manage the charging system by allowing all compatible devices to 'communicate' between each other. This Bloomberg report (June 2018) claims that AirPower will include a custom Apple chip running iOS that will conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. "The system has a great interface. They intelligently work together and communicate with each other to manage the charging through one more efficient charging system. This is not possible with current standards but our team knows how to do this," Tim Cook said on stage at the event. That means that if you're charging both your AirPods and iPhone 8 on the AirPower, the devices should communicate with each other and 'decide' how much power each device requires. The current charge of all devices on the AirPower mat will also be displayed on the iPhone 8/X if it's also on charge, another feature not offered by other wireless chargers. Another way that Apple may be solving the issue of being able to place a device anywhere on the mat, is by embedding a lot of coils on the inside. According to Chongdiantou's sources, AirPower will feature 22 wireless charging coils, each of these will supply power independently. AirPower device compatibility Will existing iOS device be compatible with AirPower? Unless you've got yourself an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X (or newer) you won't be able to charge your iPhone using AirPower. It's a similar story with the AirPods - despite Apple showcasing wireless charging on AirPods at the announcement, existing AirPod cases aren't Qi-enabled. The Qi-enabled AirPods case is expected to be made available alongside the release of AirPower, in September, read about the new AirPods here. We're not so sure about the Apple Watch, though. AirPower is confirmed as being compatible with the Apple Watch Series 3, but whether previous generations are compatible is yet to be seen. A report has appeared in Japanese website Macotakara suggesting that AirPower will detect the Apple Watch Series 3 by "special radio waves" a function "available only to Apple". This is the only way it's possible to charge the Watch Series 3, because of its Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable, according to the Japanese site. Older Watches use wireless charging based on the Qi standard, but require MFi-based authentication. It's possible that Apple will offer this in its own wireless charging mat, but only time will tell. Don't be disheartened, though - there are ways of getting wireless charging on older iPhones, it just isn't built in. However, while AirPower is 'delayed' (if indeed it is) other companies are getting in on the action. A Chinese company has already started selling an AirPower knockoff: there was a brief moment when it looked like the AirPower had arrived, but it turned out to be a fake. That 'AirPower' was spotted at an outlet at Vienna airport where it was being sold for $200. This Chinese AirPower knock off has also been seen on eBay and Aliexpress, according to Apple Insider. When the AirPower launches it is likely that it will only be available in Apple Stores, at Apple's online store, and at registered Apple resellers such as John Lewis, Currys PC World, and Argos (see more Apple resellers here). Not at airport kiosks. This wasn't the first example of a Chinese company using the AirPower name. Back in January 2018, a video appeared on YouTube showing how a Chinese company had started producing an AirPower mini. Like Apple's AirPower, this AirPower can charge an Apple watch and iPhone X simultaneously. It will cost $15. It is likely that Apple will not be happy about the use of the AirPower brand, and it's very unlikely that the charger will be accredited as MFi (Made for iPhone) by Apple. source
  25. Apple is planning to launch over-the-ear headphones in 2019 - combining HomePod and AirPods technology in high-end cans. Read all about Apple's plans here: Apple is planning to launch its own brand of over-the-ear headphones to join the in-ear AirPods. In this article we look at the rumours and clarifications of Apple's plans below, including the expected price, release date and name for the new headgear. We've also got some brilliant-looking concept illustrations. Apple expanding its audio lineup The rumour first came from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who issued a research note in February 2018 saying: "Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest." Then Apple's interest in developing the product was confirmed by Bloomberg sources in March 2018. The 'people familiar with the product's development' claimed that Apple "plans to launch the headphones as early as the end of this year [2018], but has faced development challenges that might push back the release." A second Bloomberg report in June 2018 confirmed that this release date has indeed been pushed back to 2019. Apple had initially intended to introduce the new over-ear headphones by the end of 2018, but has "faced development challenges" according to Bloomberg sources. According to Kuo, these "high-end over-ear headphones" will make Apple's "acoustic accessory lineup more complete". Apple's decision to launch more headphones, despite owning Beats, will build on its 'Pod lineup that includes EarPods, AirPods, HomePod and the iPod. In it's March report, Bloomberg noted that the addition to Apple's wearables and accessories segment - a category that includes AirPods, Beats headphones, the Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPad accessories - makes sense as during their February 2018 financial results call the company revealed that they saw a surge of 70 percent in wearable product sales in 2017. While the new Apple headphones could cannibalise sales of Apple-owned Beats headphones, Bloomberg doesn't think that Apple will stop producing Beats headphones. "Given the strength of the Beats headphone name, the company will likely keep that brand while developing a different new one for the new headphones," suggests Bloomberg. What will Apple's headphones be called? We don't know what these new over-ear headphones will be called. Apple calls the in-ear headphones AirPod, so the headphones could have the prefix Air, although it is just as likely that they will use the Pod name, like the EarPods, AirPods, HomePod, and originally the iPod. We like the names StudioPods, SoundPods, or AudioPods. Release date According to Kuo's initial predictions in February 2018, shipments of the new over-ear headphones were set to begin in the fourth quarter of Apple's financial year 2018. But Apple didn't mention any headphone news at its September 2018 iPhone XS event or its October 2018 event for the iPad Pro among other new products. According to Bloomberg sources in June 2018 the release date has now been set back to 2019 due to "development challenges". New AirPods are expected to launch around the same time - also delayed from a planned 2018 launch, according to the Bloomberg sources. Even in March 2018, Bloomberg's sources had suggested that the launch may be delayed as Apple has "faced development challenges that might push back the release." In fact, it is possible that Apple may scrap the project altogether. Apparently, the company has already tested multiple designs and has been working on the headphones "on and off" for the past year. Price Kuo claimed that Apple's new over-ear headphones will cost more than AirPods. Bloomberg expects that the headphones will target the high-end of the market, as is the case with the £319/$349 HomePod speaker. That title notes that the HomePod is priced higher than its competition (in most cases) and they expect that the new headphones will be priced in a similarly high bracket, especially because the new headphones are likely to be costly to produce - as is the case with the AirPods and the HomePod. Apparently, the HomePod costs about £154/$216 to produce. The new over-ear headphones are likely to rival headsets from the likes of Bose as well as Apple's own Beats by Dre brand (which Apple bought, along with Beats Radio, for $3bn in 2014). Features We don't know much about the new headphones, but the following features seem likely: Noise-cancelling capabilities Wireless pairing functionality like the AirPods Wireless charging Other than that, according to Kuo, Apple will be working with Primax and SZS on the project. Taipei based Primax is known for making camera modules for mobile devices, including the iPhone, but also makes wireless speaker components. According to Kuo, "SZS is likely to use MIM [Metal Injection Molding] technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier." Looking at Beats range of Wireless over-ear headphones could give an insight as to what to expect from Apple's over-ear Pods. For example, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless feature Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling and the Apple W1 chip. Responsive noise blocking pinpoints and blocks external sounds. The Beats Studio 3 Wireless responds automatically to individual fit and music playback. Soft cushions offer "advanced venting and signature ergonomic pivoting for a customised, flexible fit". Real-time audio calibration constantly optimises sound output to ensure clarity, range, emotion and a premium listening experience. The Studio 3s come in grey, rose, black, white, blue and red. They cost £299.95 or $349. (You can buy them here). Concept designs We mocked up our own StudioPod design based on a pair of Beats headphones. However, there are designers out there with much better illustration and Photoshop skills than us, and Curved.de has posted some great concept illustrations: Meanwhile, someone at The Apple Post has come up with this possible design. SOURCE