A recently published Apple patent shows that the company is exploring a fingerprint scanner that can be included in a conductive bezel on a device. In the described invention, the user would swipe his or her finger over a surface of a sensor. The sensor would capture “thin strips” of a fingerprint during the swipe; the complete fingerprint would then be “assembled in software for use in authentication.”
It’s unclear which bezel the sensor would be on, and whether it would be a visible or hidden feature. There has been speculation that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner, most frequently believed to be embedded within the Home Button, but this patent suggests that other locations on the device are possible and potentially even preferable as flat, swipe-ready surfaces. It’s unknown whether the technology will make it into Apple’s next device, or future devices. [via Patently Apple]
A Pegatron executive appears to have confirmed that Apple will be producing a new, lower-cost iPhone this year, while suggesting that it will not be “cheap.” While translations of the new report from Chinese are shaky, the company’s chairman allegedly said that the “price is still high,” and apparently said that the new device will bring greater value to the smartphone marketplace. It’s unclear whether this means Apple’s new phone will cost as much as the current low-end iPhone 4, or that Pegatron and Apple are already trying to ensure the public doesn’t associate the word “cheap” with the new device. A May report noted Pegatron would be the primary assembler of Apple’s new low-cost iPhone. [via China Times]
Boris Teksler, who headed Patent Licensing and Strategy at Apple for four years, recently left the company to join Technicolor, a French media and entertainment company. Teksler notably played a large role in the company’s patent battles with Samsung, and departed while Apple and Samsung remain tangled in litigation. [via Apple Insider]
Noted within Apple’s official announcement regarding HBO GO and WatchESPN launching on Apple TV, the company has disclosed that iTunes users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes. While the numbers pale by comparison with app and song download numbers, they represent interesting milestones for video content. Apple notes that iTunes users are now purchasing more than 800,000 TV episodes and more than 350,000 movies per day. The Apple TV now offers users more than 60,000 movies and more than 230,000 TV episodes.
Apple today released Apple TV Software Update 5.3, the latest update for its second- and third-generation set-top boxes. The latest update adds support for HBO GO, WatchESPN, Sky News, Qello, and Crunchyroll for users in specific regions such as the United States. HBO GO and WatchESPN require cable subscriptions through participating providers. Qello offers both paid and free subscriptions for users to watch on-demand HD concerts and music documentaries. A free live stream of Sky News will be accessible for users in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland. Apple notes that “Crunchyroll, the leading global video service for Japanese Anime and Asian media, will allow subscribers worldwide to watch the latest HD shows one hour after they air in Japan.”
Apple has yet to update its Apple TV Software Update page with more detailed information on the release, so it is unclear yet if there are any other changes. Apple TV Software Update 5.3 is available now via the Software Update feature of the Apple TV’s Settings menu.
Apple is reportedly testing “deep LinkedIn integration” for the release of iOS 7. Similar to prior integration of Facebook and Twitter, a single sign-on system for LinkedIn accounts was found within code in the first beta of iOS 7. Apple could introduce this feature in the final release of iOS 7, but it’s also possible that it could vanish entirely after internal testing. An earlier report regarding Apple’s plans to integrate Flickr and Vimeo into iOS 7 for photo and video sharing turned out to be true. However, the rationale behind deeply integrating LinkedIn isn’t as obvious, unless it’s merely to offer users easy access to yet another social network. [via 9to5Mac]
More alleged iPhone 5S parts have leaked, as photos from Japanese part vendor Moumantai and U.S. repair shop iHeart Repair show what appear to be a display assembly and logic board for Apple’s new device. As expected, the parts look very similar to iPhone 5 parts, with generally the same proportions. However, a report notes the display assembly has both a horizontal and vertical flex cable connector, which appear to align with the logic board.
These parts differ slightly from those on the iPhone 5: the alleged 5S logic board has a somewhat more slender profile, as well as a more rounded top and bottom, which collectively could make a little extra room for a battery or other components inside a same-sized chassis. It also appears to have a spot for a larger A-series processor. [via MacRumors]
A new report confirms that the Apple TV will include support for Apple’s recently unveiled iTunes Radio service. With the initial Apple TV Software beta, released to developers alongside the iOS 7 beta, iTunes Radio appears as a standalone app with its own icon. A series of stations compiled by Apple is apparently provided, along with the ability for users to create custom stations based on an artist, genre, or song and purchase the currently playing song through iTunes. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue revealed a number of additional details about Steve Jobs and the iBooks launch today while testifying in the DOJ’s e-book pricing conspiracy case. Cue said the “page curls” idea in the iBooks app when turning a page came from Steve Jobs, who also chose Winnie the Pooh as the free book to be included with the app. According to Cue, that’s partially because Jobs liked the book, and also because it showed off “beautiful color drawings, that had never been seen before in a digital book.” Also, Jobs used Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, during the first iPad demo because the Kennedy family “meant a lot to him.” Last week, Cue revealed a number of other details about the iBooks launch, most notably that Jobs had to be convinced of the idea of an Apple e-bookstore. [via AllThingsD]
Apple has released a statement on its website, titled Apple’s Commitment to Customer Privacy. The open letter reiterates and expands upon the company’s prior denials regarding PRISM, a U.S. government program which mines servers for data. In the statement, Apple details requests it has received for customer data from law enforcement officials, noting that it has repeatedly acted to protect as much data as possible while complying with lawful requests for information. Apple also notes that many of the requests were attempts to aid consumers impacted by lost devices or people. The company also says, “Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place.”
A photo of what appears to be an iOS-specific gamepad accessory has been leaked. The controller is reportedly made by Logitech — a look at the gaming section of Logitech’s website shows the same “G” logo seen on the gamepad — and was apparently demonstrated following Apple’s WWDC keynote in San Francisco.
Apple’s recently posted guidelines for official game controller development show two types of controllers. The leaked gamepad resembles the first controller, made to fit an iPhone 5, with the control pad and buttons on each side of the inserted device. Given the similarities in shape between the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch, it’s possible that both devices could work inside this accessory. [via Kotaku]
Apple has revealed some additional details about iOS 7 on its website. Images of iOS 7 on the iPad and iPad mini were spotted on the bottom of the Apple iOS 7 features page, showing iOS 7 on the second- and fourth-generation iPad, in addition to the iPad mini. A new red icon representing Photo Booth can be seen in these photos.
Additionally, viewing Apple’s iOS7 design page using a mobile device reveals a few alternate icons. The weather icon shows the live temperature, instead of a cloud and sun, and the Passbook, Reminders, Mail, and Photos icons also have been tweaked slightly. It’s unknown whether these alternate icons were from the iOS 7 developmental stage, or if they’ll be seen in future betas. [via iGen.fr, 9to5Mac]
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue revealed Thursday that Steve Jobs “wasn’t interested” in an Apple e-bookstore at first. Cue, testifying in the DOJ’s e-book pricing conspiracy case against Apple, said Jobs “never felt that the Mac or the iPhone were ideal reading devices.” Jobs first dismissed the idea in the fall of 2009 — but as the iPad launch drew closer, Cue believed the device would be an ideal e-reader, and Jobs also became convinced. Jobs agreed to go forward with an e-bookstore in November, and Cue was tasked with getting iBooks completed for the iPad’s debut in January. [via AllThingsD]
Four key claims of Apple’s “rubber-banding” patent have been validated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple informed Judge Lucy Koh of the USPTO’s intent. In April, a “Final Office Action” ruled one of the main claims invalid; this claim had been key in Apple’s patent battles with Samsung. That claim will now receive a reexamination certificate, strengthening Apple’s case moving forward. [via FOSS Patents]
Apple’s iOS 7 is adding improved integration for Bluetooth 4 LE (low-energy) accessories. iOS devices will work with more Bluetooth 4 accessories, and include new features for time, notifications, stereo sound, keyboards and more. An ability to sense location beacons will make location awareness much more precise. It will also be possible to set up and configure Wi-Fi accessories from iOS. Bluetooth will also be linked to the Apple Notification Center Service and Preservation and Restoration service. The ANCS allows for push notifications to Bluetooth Smart accessories. The Preservation and Restoration Service can figure out why an app was terminated, or to continue running an app, whereas in iOS 6, an app would stop talking to a Bluetooth device in such situations. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is considering releasing two larger iPhones next year, according to Reuters. One phone could have a 4.7-inch screen, and the other would have a 5.7-inch screen, though Reuters’ sources are unclear as to whether either or both would actually come to market. If true, Apple would effectively be entering the “phablet” market, which has been written off by some as impractical despite growing demand. Sources also said test production for the next two iPhones — the iPhone 5S and budget iPhone — will start next month, with an eventual September launch target for both phones. Reuters suggests that the iPhone 5S will have new fingerprint technology, while Apple’s budget iPhone will come in a range of five to six colors. Additionally, Apple has discussed a price of $99 for the low-end iPhone, though it’s noted that the phone’s release “could slip to next year.”
iOS 7 users will be able to redeem iTunes gift cards using the device’s camera, thanks to an addition to the upcoming operating system’s App Store. iTunes for the Mac added the same feature last year, and it makes even more sense to bring the option to iOS devices. Additionally, the ability to read barcodes is built into iOS 7, opening up greater possibilities from third-party developers going forward. [via 9to5Mac]
Many of the new icons in Apple’s recently revealed iOS 7 were “primarily designed by members of Apple’s marketing and communications department,” according to a report. Apple Senior VP of Industrial Design Jony Ive reportedly used the print and web marketing design team to “set the look and color palette of the stock app icons.” The app design teams then designed the icons using those set palettes as a guide. Sources also said there are “inconsistencies in icon design,” and it’s been noted that iOS 7’s first beta is “mid stride” and a “work in progress,” fueling speculation that there could be a fair number of changes to the new OS by the time it’s ready for full release in the Fall. [via The Next Web]
Apple has updated its warranty policy in Belgium to comply with EU law, offering a full two-year statutory warranty, according to a Dutch Apple site (translated link). The company also similarly updated policies in France and Germany. Apple published a document in Dutch, noting the Belgian warranty changes. Previously, Apple had come under fire from a Belgian watchdog group, which filed a complaint regarding the company’s warranty practices. Apple was fined twice in Italy over similar warranty issues. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is now offering developers instructions for creating officially sanctioned game controllers. Two game controllers are illustrated — both with a d-pad, four front buttons, and shoulder buttons. One of the controllers slightly resembles a Wii U Gamepad, as an iOS device could be placed within the controller’s center. The other controller is more traditional, and similar to Xbox or PlayStation controllers, adding two analog joysticks and two extra shoulder buttons. It closely resembles the shape of Nintendo’s Wii Classic Controller.
The new Game Controller framework describes three controllers — a standard and extended version of the iOS device controller, and a controller that connects wirelessly to an iOS device or Mac. The controllers must be optional, and will connect automatically once discovered. In addition to gaming for iOS devices and Macs, expect speculation about the devices being used for the Apple TV, which could conceivably become a home gaming console of sorts with wireless accessories. [via Touch Arcade]