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Apple to add 3X Retina Display support to iPhone 6?

Apple may be adding support for a “triple-resolution” Retina Display into iOS 8 according to a new discovery by iOS Developer James Thomson. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Thomson indicated that he had discovered a bug in iOS 8 beta 5 that loads a 3X asset instead of a 2X asset, and further explained that this only happens specifically with 3X assets and not other resolutions like 4X, suggesting this indicates a deliberate decision in the iOS 8 code, rather than a matter of simply selecting the highest-resolution asset available.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac originally reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 screen resolution for the iPhone 6 that would be achieved by tripling each pixel from a “base resolution” of 568 x 320. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber added his speculation earlier this week suggesting different screen resolutions may be used and that the higher resolution would only apply to the larger 5.5” iPhone 6 in order to maintain a proper Retina Display pixel density. It still remains unclear what hardware Apple may ultimately intend to use this on, since although the iPhone 6 is scheduled for release next month, it is expected that new iPad models will also be appearing during the iOS 8 lifecycle, including a rumoured 12.9” iPad which may also require a higher pixel density for the larger display.

iPhone 6 logic board leak shows NFC, A8 chips

Another new report has surfaced adding more weight to rumors that the upcoming iPhone 6 will include NFC support. Field & Volk has released photos to Sonny Dickson alleged to be of the iPhone 6 logic board, which appear to show NFC chips along an Apple A8 chip, which will reportedly be a 2GHz dual-core CPU. A report from Wired earlier this week indicated that Apple plans to include an NFC-based mobile payment system, which seems to have been further confirmed by this morning’s Financial Times report that Dutch chipmaker NXP will be supplying Apple with the necessary NFC hardware.

Report: Dutch chipmaker NXP to provide iPhone 6 NFC chips

Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP to enable NFC in the iPhone 6, according to the Financial Times. NXP will provide Apple with the NFC chips, enabling the company to use near field communication for its rumored upcoming mobile payment system. A Thursday report also claimed we would see NFC in the new iPhone to be used for mobile payments. As noted before, NFC has been rumored in iPhones for years — but the frequency of these reports, just weeks before the debut of the new devices, strongly suggests NFC is indeed on its way this time around.

Report: iPhone 6 to feature NFC mobile payments

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will come with its own mobile payment system, and the solution will use NFC, Wired reports. Use of near field communication has been rumored in the iPhone for years — speculation began around the time of the iPhone 4 in 2010, and every iPhone since has been accompanied by an NFC report that never came true. Talk about the use of NFC in the iPhone has heated up again in recent weeks, though considering the device’s history, there have been plenty of reasons to remain skeptical. However, with Apple’s known interest in mobile payments — and the apparent upcoming introduction of such a service — perhaps the time has finally come for iPhone NFC. There’s also been discussion about Apple using its iBeacon platform for mobile payments; it’s possible that iBeacon could still be involved in some way.

iPhone 6 parts leak reveals front panel variation

A new group of alleged iPhone 6 parts have been posted on Chinese parts site ElekWorld, with a heretofore unseen front panel variation included among the pictures. While a picture of a completed front panel assembly for the 4.7” iPhone 6 looks similar to what’s been seen before, a separate picture of the front panel doesn’t match — it shows an extra sensor near the FaceTime camera. If this part is real, it’s possible that small dot could be a security light that notifies a user when the camera is on, as seen on Apple’s Macs. Many of the other pictures in the leak have been seen previously, though the apparent circular True Tone flash for the 5.5” iPhone 6 is also included.

Apple launches iPhone 5 battery replacement program

Apple has launched a new program to replace “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 units that “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.” Replacements will be made free of charge. The affected devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013, and are only within a limited range of serial numbers. A serial number checker on Apple’s webpage for the program lets users see if their devices are eligible. The replacement process has already started in the U.S. and China, with a launch in other countries on Friday, August 29.

Alleged Foxconn leak reveals iPhone 6 dimensions

An alleged leak from a Foxconn factory has seemingly revealed the dimensions of both new iPhone 6 models. The information, posted by iGen.fr, suggests that the 5.5” iPhone 6 will be approximately 158 mm (6.2”) long, 78 mm (3.1”) wide, and 7.1 mm (.28”) thick — 7.77 mm (.31”) thick at the protruding camera lens. It appears the device may weigh about 6.5 ounces. Meanwhile, the 4.7” model checks in at 138 mm (5.4”) long, 67 mm (2.6”) wide, 6.9 mm (.27”) thick, and 7.67 mm (.3”) thick at the camera — closely matching measurements we’ve seen in a prior report. The weight of the 4.7” model was not included in the screen shots. Additionally, the report claims that the larger model will indeed house a 2915 mAh battery, as was reported previously.

Reuters: Backlight redesign disrupted iPhone 6 production

Apple suppliers are “scrambling” to complete screens for the iPhone 6 after a component redesign caused a production setback, Reuters reports. A backlight had to be redesigned after Apple’s initial attempt at including a single layer of backlight film — as opposed to the typical two layers of film — was deemed to not be bright enough. According to the report, the backlight had to be redesigned with the extra layer. Suppliers are working to make up for the lost time, and it’s unclear if the delay could limit the supply of iPhone 6 units at launch, sources said. Last-minute changes to the thickness of a large component such as the screen might explain the need for other thick components, such as a camera module, to protrude. Apple declined comment.

Alleged rear shell for 5.5” iPhone 6 leaked

While we’ve seen plenty of alleged leaked parts for the 4.7” iPhone 6, there’s been relatively few leaks for the 5.5” iPhone 6. A new leak posted at evasi0njailbreak.com claims to show the rear shell of the 5.5” iPhone 6 compared to the 4.7” model. The images are said to have come from “deep within Apple’s supply chain in China,” and they could be prototype parts. Unsurprisingly, the 5.5” iPhone 6 shell just appears to be a larger version of the 4.7” model, with no major noticeable differences other than size.

New iPhone 6 schematic leak shows protruding camera lens

A new schematic alleged to represent the 4.7” iPhone 6 again shows a protruding camera lens on the device, as has been suggested by a number of earlier leaks. The schematic, posted by Taiwan’s Apple Club, shows the camera protruding 0.67mm to 0.77mm past the shell. However, the schematic’s reference to “proto” likely means these are changing measurements from iPhone prototypes, and subject to further change—the protrusion could be different in the final model. Apple introduced a protruding lens cover in the fifth-generation iPod touch, but has not as yet repeated the design element in other iOS devices. [via G 4 Games]

Mercedes, Volvo delay CarPlay support until 2015

Mercedes-Benz and Volvo won’t be offering Apple’s CarPlay until 2015, 9to5Mac reports. Both carmakers were previously said to include the functionality in car models by the end of this year. While Volvo’s upcoming new XC90 will be able to use the feature, the functionality won’t be included until 2015. Hyundai has yet to incorporate CarPlay into its 2015 Sonata, but a spokesperson said the functionality will indeed be included by the end of 2014.

iOS 8 beta suggests 1472x828 resolution, more icons for iPhone 6 Home Screen?

An iOS 8 preference list file has been found with an iPhone resolution of 736x414, reports 9to5Mac, which would translate to a Retina “2X” screen resolution of 1472x828. At a 4.7” screen size, this would be around 359 pixels per inch (PPI), versus a 307 PPI resolution for 5.5” — the latter just enough pixel density to qualify as a Retina display. If displayed on a 4” screen, this would equal 422 PPI. Previously, 9to5Mac reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 resolution for the next-generation iPhone, which we noted at the time oddly fell just shy of the “full HD” 1920x1080 resolution found in virtually all HDTVs and many competing smartphones. It’s possible that either or both reports are wrong, however, the 736x414 resolution comes directly from Apple’s latest Xcode 6 SDK betas for iOS 8.

If the new numbers are accurate, it suggests that Apple — rather than merely tripling every pixel from 320x568 as was previously suggested, increasing the level of detail while keeping the same balance of on-screen elements — may instead be adding 94 pixels of width and 168 pixels of height to the existing iPhone UI. Conceivably, that resolution could enable one additional column and one or two additional rows of Home Screen icons, adding 11-16 more icons to the Home Screen for a total of 35-40. It might also mean additional coding work for game developers, as on-screen art would need to be manually adjusted to fill the extra pixels. 9to5Mac reports, though, that the preference list file suggests the resolution will display the same number of icons—20—as on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s.

Report: Apple releases iOS 8 beta 6 to testing partners

Apple has released the sixth beta of iOS 8 to its testing partners, including cellular wireless providers, according to BGR. This beta has not gone out to the standard broad array of developers, reportedly since the sixth beta has arrived too close to iOS 8’s anticipated Gold Master release in September. The report also claims this carrier build has already been rejected as a potentially final version due to an issue with using YouTube in Safari. A number of fixes can be seen in the beta’s release notes, for resolving issues with Continuity, Mail, Messages, Photos, Push Notifications, and more.

Sprint announces Family Share Pack data plans

Sprint has announced its new Family Share Pack, a shared data plan that offers double the quantity of data as its competitors for similar rates. The included charts note the pricing breakdowns and carrier comparisons; Sprint notably bills the data as “high-speed,” though its cellular network has been criticized for offering sub-par performance in much of the United States.

Coming off its failed merger with T-Mobile, Sprint is doing away with its highly advertised “Framily Plans,” replacing them with the new Family Share Pack plans. In addition to the new data prices, for a limited time Sprint is offering up to $350 to buy out the contracts of customers switching from other carriers, via Visa Prepaid Card. The Family Share Pack will be available starting on Friday, August 22.

Report: 5.5” iPhone 6 to use 2915 mAh battery

A series of new photos of the alleged 5.5” iPhone 6 show a 2915 mAh battery, which would be a considerable upgrade over the iPhone 5s battery and the anticipated battery in the smaller, 4.7” iPhone 6—around twice the capacity of prior iPhone batteries. The new photos were posted by Apple Daily. According to leaked photos, the smaller 4.7” iPhone 6 may have a 1810 mAh battery, versus the 1560 mAh cell in the iPhone 5s. Even taking into account the additional power needed for the larger display, the 5.5” iPhone 6 could have significantly better overall battery life than the 4.7” model if these specs are true.

Apple to debut reversible USB Lightning cable?

A few allegedly leaked photos of reversible USB cables have popped up in recent days, with reports claiming that Apple’s new Lightning to USB cables could include the feature. The most recent photo comes from Sonny Dickson, who has leaked real Apple parts in the past, depicting a USB connector that would work with any standard Type A USB port, but could be inserted upside down or right-side up. It’s notable that Apple has filed a recently-revealed patent for a reversible USB connector, discussing a “tongue” with contacts on its top and bottom, potentially capable of determining which side’s contacts are being used and deactivating the other side’s contacts. [via 9to5Mac]

WSJ: Apple mulls sapphire for premium iPhones, iWatch

Less than a month from its expected iPhone launch event, Apple is considering using sapphire screens in the more expensive models of its upcoming iPhone and iWatch, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report notes that the first sapphire displays for those devices are “expected to roll off production lines this month.” It’s also reported that the company will use sapphire in more expensive models of the two new iPhones, “if it can get enough of the material.” The report suggests that sapphire-equipped iPhones would likely carry a higher price tag than the lower-end versions of the same models.

Although the report isn’t entirely implausible, rumors of material differentiations in Apple devices have rarely proved accurate in the past, though the company has sometimes restricted base models to one or fewer colors than higher-end models, and one iPod—the third-generation iPod shuffle—was briefly offered in a premium stainless steel version alongside aluminum models. With the new iPhone launch seemingly so close, last-minute changes to major components would be somewhat hard to swallow, unless production is running significantly behind schedule.

Report: Apple meets with Thai officials regarding iPhone 6 announcement

Thai officials revealed on Wednesday that Apple received approval to sell two new iPhone models in the country, and a new report notes that a seemingly displeased Apple has met with those officials about the disclosure. The translated report, from Thai Rath, also makes a point to note that the new devices may or may not be called “iPhone 6,” leaving some doubt into what the names of the new devices will actually be; “iPhone Air” has previously been floated as a possible alternative. Though Apple may be upset, it doesn’t seem the disclosure will likely affect the sale of the new phones in Thailand. The report suggests the phone could launch in Thailand in early October, after first hitting the market in late September. [via MacRumors]

Apple bans benzene, n-hexane in iPhone, iPad assembly

Apple has banned the use of two chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in final assembly of its iPhones and iPads, the Associated Press reports. The company has drawn criticism in the past for using both potentially hazardous chemicals — workers reported n-hexane-related sicknesses in 2010, and by 2011, workers at an Apple manufacturing partner wrote a letter regarding their concerns and health issues due to n-hexane exposure. Though Apple claims an investigation at 22 factories revealed no evidence that either chemical endangered workers, the company is requiring all factories to test substances for the two chemicals on top of the general ban. “This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.” Apple also released a new message from Jackson on the company’s decision to ban the two controversial chemicals.

New iPhone 6 leaks show tapered front panel, more

More new photos of the alleged 4.7” iPhone 6 have been released by Feld & Volk. A closeup of the front panel reveals greater detail about the phone’s design, showing curved, tapered edges that should meet the rounded edges of the rear shell. Like the iPhone 5 and 5s, the power button has a metallic finish, which the volume and mute switches will apparently continue to have as well. The mute switch has changed internally, using rocker-style side pins rather than a sliding mechanism. Additional photos show components under the front panel, and a metal SIM card tray. [via MacRumors]

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