• Apple Re-Launches iPhone 6 Model in Gold 32 GB for Asian Customers

    Posted on March 6th, 2017 Yuson Zou | No comments

    Apple’s iPhone 6 dates back to 2014. When iPhone 6 debuted, there were three models available: 16/64/128 GB. Apple did not launch the iPhone 6 in a 32 GB SKU before. But now Apple is re-launching the iPhone 6 in a 32 GB gold configuration.

    Although the 32 GB iPhone 6 is released, it is not sold at retail stores or on its website where Apple continues to sell the iPhone SE as its low-end option. Compared with iPhone 6, iPhone SE has better internal components but does not have a larger screen. Instead, the gold 32 GB iPhone 6 is going on sale at select carriers in Asia as a low-end model. The device is going to be launched on Taiwan Mobile on March 10 and has been available in China since late February.

    Unlike Apple’s quietness, Taiwan Mobile is pushing the ‘new’ iPhone as a special limited-edition promotion. It is advertising it as the cheapest iPhone ever to be offered on its network and is already accepting pre-orders. The carrier is selling the device for ‘free’ with a NT$1,399/month contract plan (about $45 USD) that lasts for 30 months.

    It isn’t clear if the 32 GB iPhone 6 will also be available for buying on other carriers in Taiwan or if it really is exclusive to Taiwan Mobile. It appears to be on sale at just one online carrier in China.

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  • Acoustic Imaging Technology Reported to Replace Touch ID in Future iPhone Models

    Posted on February 24th, 2017 Echo Brown | No comments

    In its filing for “Acoustic imaging system architecture,” Apple proposes a method by which a conventional capacitive fingerprint sensor like Touch ID might be replaced by an array of acoustic transducers laid out beneath a device display or its protective housing.

    As described in some embodiments, the transducers in a first mode generate acoustic waves, or pulses, capable of propagating through a variety of substrates, including an iPhone’s coverglass. Operation, or driving, of the transducers is managed by a controller.


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    The same transducer hardware then enters a second sensing mode to monitor reflections, attenuations, and diffractions to the acoustic waves caused by a foreign object in contact with the input-responsive substrate. Resulting scan data in the form of electrical signals is read by an onboard image resolver, which creates an approximated two-dimensional map.

    Applied to biometric recognition solutions, Apple’s acoustic imaging system might be configured to read a user’s fingerprint. According to the filing, ridges in a finger pad introduce an acoustic impedance mismatch that causes the mechanical waves generated by a transducer to reflect or diffract in a known manner.

    Like other biometric security solutions, the digital maps obtained by an acoustic imaging system are ultimately compared against a database of known assets to authenticate a user.

    Thanks to its design, the acoustic system can be installed practically anywhere in a device chassis, including directly under a display. Other potential points of integration include a screen’s perimeter or bezel, around buttons and in non-input areas of a housing, like a rear chassis. The latter coupling method would allow an example system to sample a user’s entire handprint.

    Indeed, in some cases the system might be configured to scan for particular body parts like a user’s ear or a skin pattern in order to determine how the device is being held. Depending on the implementation, an acoustic imaging system might also serve as a robust replacement for other legacy components like an iPhone’s proximity sensors.



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    The patent application goes on to cover system details like ideal materials, transducer placement, controllers, drive chips, component layouts and more.

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  • Apple is Reportedly Adding Wireless Charging to iPhone 8

    Posted on February 12th, 2017 Henry | No comments

    There’s been rumors over the past few months that the iPhone 8 would be featuring wireless charging and a recent report further confirms it.

    According to KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, all three models of iPhone 8 will have wireless charging built-in.

    Apple is expected to release 3 different models of iPhone 8. There would be a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model just like with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but it’s said that Apple’s adding a new 5.8-inch model to the iPhone product line with an OLED display.

    To put wireless charging into iPhone’s body, some engineering changes are needed. Apple is said to said to use a new 3D Touch module with “additional graphite sheet lamination,” which can prevent the device from overheating, as glass casing and wireless charging are” unfavorable to thermal system operation,” Kuo says.


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    Here’s one part of Kuo’s report, via MacRumors:

    “While we don’t expect general users to notice any difference, lamination of an additional graphite sheet is needed for better thermal control and, thus, steady operation; this is because FPCB is replaced with film, which is more sensitive to temperature change of the 3D touch sensor in OLED iPhone.

    Currently we still don’t have much information about how Apple will implement the wireless charging feature. An old report from the beginning of last year claimed that Apple was working with partners in the States and Asia to develop a new wireless charging method that could be deployed on its devices within the upcoming year. If Apple succeeds in that, this year would be a great time point to push it to the market.

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  • YouTube Debuts iPhone Livestreams for Over 10,000 Subscribers

    Posted on February 8th, 2017 Echo Brown | No comments

    Google’s YouTube on Tuesday launched live streaming via its iPhone and iPad app, bringing the feature out of beta as it attempts to compete with similar streaming options available from Facebook and Twitter.

    While the general public “will have it soon,” mobile YouTube streaming is currently available only to people with over 10,000 subscribers, the company said. Though it didn’t explain why, this is presumably to manage bandwidth and/or iron out any final issues.

    Streaming is accessible by launching the app and tapping the capture button, which will present the option to record or go live.

    Like regular videos, streams can be searched for, and may pop up in recommendations and playlists. One difference is the presence of live comments, which will appear on top of videos much like Twitter’s Periscope.

    To allow streamers to generate more cash, YouTube is also launching “Super Chat,” which will let people pay to have a comment highlighted in colors, as well as pinned to the top of a chat window for up to five hours, determined by how much someone is willing to pay and how long the stream lasts. Because of the potential for abuse, paid comments are being moderated like regular chat messages.


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    YouTube first began testing live streaming with a handful of producers in June 2016. The company has since made various adjustments, for instance improving streaming quality and slowing down live chat. Early streamers potentially faced as many as 2,000 messages per second.

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  • Facebook to Build Friend Lists with the ‘Discover People’ Feature on iPhone & iPad

    Posted on February 4th, 2017 Echo Brown | No comments

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  • Apple Expected to Use Advanced Biometric Security Tech to Replace Touch ID

    Posted on January 22nd, 2017 Echo Brown | No comments

    According to report, Apple is developing advanced biometric security technologies, including facial recognition and optical fingerprint sensing designs, to replace the vaunted Touch ID module implemented for all iPhone and iPad models since the release of iPhone 5s.

    Introduced with iPhone 5s, Touch ID is a capacitive type fingerprint sensing module based on technology acquired through Apple’s purchase of biometric security specialist AuthenTec in 2012. Initial iterations of the system, built into iPhone and iPad home buttons, incorporated a 500ppi sensor capable of scanning sub-dermal layers of skin to obtain a three-dimensional map of a fingerprint.

    A capacitive solution, Touch ID sends a small electrical charge through a user’s finger by way of a stainless steel metal ring. While the fingerprint sensing module is an “under glass” design, the ring must be accessible to the user at all times, making the solution unsuitable for inclusion in devices with full-face screens.

    Moving forward, Kuo predicts Apple will turn to optical type fingerprint sensing technology capable of accepting readings through OLED panels without need for capacitive charge components. These “under panel” systems allow for a completely uniform screen surface, an aesthetic toward which the smartphone industry is trending.

    Apple has been working on fingerprint sensors that work through displays, as evidenced by recent patent filings. The IP, as well as the current state of the art, suggests optical fingerprint modules are most likely to see inclusion under flexible OLED panels as compared to rigid OLED or TFT-LCD screens.

    Flexible OLED displays feature less signal interference, lower pixel densities and thinner form factor than competing technologies, Kuo notes. As optical fingerprint sensor development is still in its infancy, however, OLED display manufacturers are under increased pressure to provide customized designs capable of incorporating the tech.

    While the barriers to entry are high, companies like Apple and Samsung are among the few that have the bargaining power to implement such designs, Kuo says.

    As for alternative bio-recognition technologies, Kuo believes Apple is looking to completely replace fingerprint sensors with facial or iris recognition systems. Of the two, the analyst predicts facial recognition to win out, citing a growing stack of patent filings for such solutions, many of which AppleInsider uncovered over the past few years (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The company is also rumored to have eye scanning technology in development, but Kuo sees Apple leaning toward facial recognition for both hardware security and mobile transaction authentication services.

    Being a hands-off, no-touch security solution, facial recognition is preferable to technology that requires user interaction, like fingerprint sensors. However, Kuo points out that certain barriers stand in the way of implementation, such as software design, hardware component development and the creation of a verification database, among other backend bottlenecks.

    Considering the onerous task of deploying a standalone face-scanning solution, Kuo suggests Apple might first deploy a hybrid two-step bio-recognition system that requires a user verify their identity with both a fingerprint and facial scan.

    It is unclear when Apple might first integrate facial recognition hardware in its expansive product lineup, but optical fingerprint modules are ripe for inclusion in an OLED iPhone rumored to launch later this year. According to recent rumblings, Apple’s first OLED iPhone model will sport a stainless steel “glass sandwich” design and incorporate advanced features like wireless charging. Kuo himself added to the “iPhone 8” rumor pile this week, saying Apple is primed to transition to next-generation 3D Touch tech with the forthcoming handset.

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  • Cortana Is On its Way to Android Lockscreen

    Posted on January 18th, 2017 Henry | No comments

    Cortana will soon be updated to be on the lockscreen on Android smartphones, according to MsPoweruser. Microsoft recently released a new update for Cortana for iOS and Android, which has a totally redisigned user interface.

    According to MsPoweruser, the new version of Cortana would provide users with the option to enable Cortana on the lockscreen inside of the setup menu. “After that, a simple Cortana logo will show up near the bottom of your lock screen and you can swipe the logo left or right to open up the Cortana panel,” the website explained.

    When you go to the splash screen, there would be information provided to you from Cortana, including things like the weather, upcoming appointments and other data that comes from the information you’ve provided in the Cortana Notebook on your phone or PC.

    Microsoft has been planning to bring Cortana everywhere and this is just a small part of the plan. What we are really expecting from Microsoft is what Cortana can do around the house because currently the similiar home assistants we can think of are Google Home and Amazon Echo. But it’s good to know that Microsoft has a good start bringing Cortana to more places.

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  • Apple’s Planning to Increase App Price in Selected Markets

    Posted on January 17th, 2017 Henry | No comments

    According to BBC this week, Apple is planning to increase the prices of apps and in-app purchases in specific markets, including India, the UK and Turkey.

    “Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency eschange rates, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business,” Apple explained. “These factors vary from region to region and over time.”

    The raise of price was the response to a weakening pound sterling against the US dollar following Brexit. In response to that move, some tech companies had chosen to raise the price of their products. One Plus 3, for instance, had its price increased shortly after launch.

    Similar pricing policy with U.S.

    Assume that users are paying $0.99 for an app in the U.S., usually they would be paying $ 79p in the UK, but now with the new pricing method, they would probably be paying 99p. BBC also said that Apple has allowed publishers to adjust the pricing to a lower level to help compensate the changes.

    Developers who spoke to the BBC suggested that they are probably not going to change the pricing of apps as it would mean more money out of their pocket. This is just a balancing of the system.

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