Rumor: Apple to incorporate dual-lens system into next-gen iPhone camera

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Date: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014, 09:21
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

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Where its successor to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cameras are concerned, Apple may have just entered the megapixel arms race.

Per AppleInsider and Daring Fireball, host John Gruber revealed that “a birdie of a birdie” told him Apple is working on a two-lens system for incorporation in the next-generation iPhone.

“The specific thing I heard is that next year’s camera might be the biggest camera jump ever,” Gruber said. “I don’t even know what sense this makes, but I’ve heard that it’s some kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR quality imagery.”

The notion of using multi-lens imaging systems to make up for a smartphone’s small form factor is a relatively recent development. In March, HTC unveiled the One M8 with a so-called “Duo camera” setup, which uses a secondary imaging sensor for depth data.

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DisplayMate publishes full color accuracy shoot-out between flagship smartphones and tablets, including iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2

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Date: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014, 18:19
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News

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Dr. Raymond Soneira is psychotic.

But psychotic in a good way.

On Tuesday, Soneira released full comparison-based results as to the display color accuracy of assorted tablets and smartphones, including the iPad Air 2 and the iPhone 6 Plus, wherein he studied the science as to what you see is what you get with its colors.

The findings, which included results from tests such as Entire Color Gamut, Facial Skin Tone Colors, Organic Colors and Blue Region from Cyan to Magenta Colors, tested absolute color accuracy and pitched the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 Plus, which have been fairly lauded for their displays, to see how they fared against other devices.

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Rumor: Chipmakers gearing up production of Apple Watch components for possible early 2015 launch

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Date: Thursday, November 13th, 2014, 10:59
Category: Hardware, Rumor, wireless

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Apple may have begun ramping up production of the Apple Watch for release in the relatively near future.

Per 9to5Mac and DigiTimes, while Apple has yet to provide a specific launch date for the Apple Watch, leaving its early 2015 timeframe and internal memo revealing a spring launch after Chinese New Year as the only information to go by in terms of a release date, chipmakers in Apple’s overseas supply chain are reportedly gearing up to begin production of the Apple Watch. The report, citing industry sources, claims that between 30 to 40 million units of the upcoming wearable device have been ordered.

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Analysis of A8X chip shows eight core design, other unique features

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Date: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014, 09:33
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, Processors

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There may be more to Apple’s A8X processor than was originally thought.

Per 9to5Mac, further analysis of the processor by AnandTech showed that initial guesses as to the GPU specification of the Apple A8X chip, exclusively available in the iPad Air 2, were wrong. In fact, the chip uses a unique 8 cluster design. AnandTech describes the discovery as “even better than I thought”. Although the customizations are limited, this represents a big step for the company as it is now dabbling in both custom CPU and GPU engineering, even if the leap over generally-available components in this instance is small.

Effectively, Apple has engineered a way to stick two Imagination GX6450 PowerVR chips on the same die.

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Rumor: Apple Watch steel model to begin at $500, gold model to retail between $4,000 and $5,000

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Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 10:00
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

Apple is far from releasing its price points for its upcoming watch, but the rumors as to the cost are starting to pour in.

Per 9to5Mac, French website iGen.fr, reported on Tuesday that the steel Apple Watch will start at US$500 alongside a gold model that will retail for between US$4,000 and US$5,000. Apple previously claimed at its September event that the Apple Watch would start at US$349, but did not disclose further pricing information.

The report claims that the stainless steel Apple Watch in polished steel or black will cost US$500, while the gold Apple Watch Edition will be the more expensive version at between US$4,000 and US$5,000. That price range would be nearly half the estimated US$10,000 price that some other reports have suggested.

In terms of a launch date, the report claims that the Apple Watch will launch in time for Valentine’s Day, but that was the most specific date given. An internal memo from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was recently published in which she wrote that the Apple Watch will launch in the “Spring” following the Chinese New Year.

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Intel launches Broadwell Core M processor, chip could find its way into rumored 12-inch MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 13:30
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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Intel’s next generation of processors won’t ship until early 2015, but there’s some interesting news on the processor that could wind up in the 12-inch MacBook Pro notebook.

Per MacRumors, the company began shipping some ultra low-power Broadwell chips known as Core M a couple of months ago. These chips are designed to run at just 4.5 watts and are intended for next-generation fanless PCs and tablets, fitting perfectly with circulating rumors of a thinner, fanless 12-inch MacBook Air, potentially with a Retina display.

The first batch of Core M chips launched in early September consisted of the 5Y10/5Y10a running at a base frequency of 800 MHz with a maximum of 2 GHz turbo, along with the more powerful 5Y70 running at 1.1 GHz with a max turbo of 2.6 GHz. Intel now appears to have quietly added several new processor options to the Core M family. Internal roadmaps had targeted an early 2015 launch for these chips, but Intel’s chip database shows the new chips as having launched this quarter.

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Rumor: Apple to discontinue iPad mini in favor of larger 12-inch “iPad Pro” model

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 10:00
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

It’s just a rumor, but it’s got some decent sources behind it.

Per AppleInsider and Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, a rumor out of East Asia on Monday claims Apple is looking to wind down iPad mini production in favor of a 12-inch tablet, a response to flagging sales and growing consumer interest in larger-screened devices.

Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, the Economic Daily News reports the company is looking to discontinue iPad mini sales when the tablet lineup is refreshed next year and will instead concentrate on production of a new 12-inch format being called “iPad Pro.”

The shift in tablet strategy is said to be in reply to a shifting smartphone market, which has seen consumers gravitate toward devices with screens larger than 5 inches when measured diagonally. Apple itself has seen unexpectedly high demand for the new 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company’s first “phablet” handset.

Also cited as a catalyst for change is increasingly aggressive competition in the tablet sector, with competitors like Samsung slowly nibbling away at Apple’s dominant marketshare. For the most recent fourth fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple moved 12.3 million iPads, down 17 percent from 14.1 million year-over-year.

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Apple retail exec Ahrendts indicates “spring” launch date for Apple Watch

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 11:16
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

The latest word is that the Apple Watch will launch next spring.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, stated the device’s release timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

Up until this point, Apple has consistently said that the Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015,” without specifying a day or month. The broad window was announced at the Apple Watch’s unveil in September, is stated on Apple’s website, and was reiterated by Apple executives last month. Sources indicated in September that Apple would struggle to hit a Valentine’s Day release, which now appears to be even more unlikely. Spring begins on March 20th and lasts until June. If Apple considers late March to be “early 2015,” there may have actually been no change in plans. However, Ahrendts clearly states the launch is after the Chinese New Year (February 19th), so it appears the launch will miss Valentine’s Day regardless.

Last year, a report indicated that Apple planned to ship the wearable in fall 2014, but engineering difficulties delayed the launch to 2015. Subsequent reports confirmed that battery issues were partially to blame for Watch delays, and sources tell us that Apple is still working out kinks in the device’s battery system. Tim Cook has noted that Apple intends for the first-generation model to last all day and be charged each night. While Apple has reportedly hit that particular goal, the company is still working to speed up the amount of time it takes the inductive MagSafe charging system to fully juice up the product.

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Rumor: Apple designing larger, thinner “iPad Pro” tablet for education market

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 10:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

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The new iPads are out.

That doesn’t stop the rumor mill speculating about the next generation of the tablets.

Per AppleInsider and Macotakara, the latest rumblings surrounding the anticipated release of a larger, education-focused iPad next year suggest the device may touch down with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 in its crosshairs, sporting a super-slim form factor, enhanced audio, and a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display.

Macotakara has cited its own sources as saying that iPad maker is specifically designing the device to play into the same markets as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, but adds that the company may choose to employ a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display than the 12.9-inch option that is widely rumored and also used by the Surface Pro 3.

The overall design of the iPad Pro itself is said to largely resemble a jumbo iPad 2 with two additional speakers (and an additional microphone) located at the top of the device, which “might” make the iPad Pro “capable of supporting stereo audio.” It reportedly won’t be as thin as the 6.1mm iPad Air 2, but will still be as slim as an iPhone, measuring somewhere between the iPhone 6′s 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Pro’s 7.1mm at its thickest point.

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IHS iSuppli completes iPad Air 2 teardown, estimates slightly higher manufacturing and component costs

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 15:21
Category: Finance, Hardware, iPad

As is customary, the new iPad Air has been torn down to get an approximate fix on his much its component pieces retailed for.

The answer for the iPad Air 2 is about US$275.

Per MacRumors and Re/code, research firm IHS iSuppli has torn down the new iPad Air 2 in an attempt to estimate Apple’s component costs for the device. According to IHS iSuppli’s estimates, the 16 GB iPad Air 2 costs Apple roughly US$275 to build, just one dollar more than last year’s iPad Air.

The report unsurprisingly points out that Apple benefits from stronger profit margins as users move to higher capacity models, with Apple paying only about US$50 more for 128 GB of storage compared to the base 16 GB configuration while charging users US$200 for the upgrade. Still, Apple’s move to eliminate the 32 GB option and slide the 64 GB and 128 GB models down US$100 has slightly eroded Apple’s profit margins at the top end.

The latest report from the research firm IHS, shows that the base model of the iPad Air 2, the 16-GB Wi-Fi version, which sells for a price of US$499, costs $275 to build, exactly one dollar higher than the previous base model. The top-end model, the 128-GB LTE version costs which sells for US$829, costs US$358 to manufacture.

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