Apple is planning to forge ahead with its plans to manufacture iPhone units in India, beginning with the iPhone SE, according to a new report in India’s Economic Times. Citing sources familiar with the company’s plans, the report indicates that Apple will initially assemble 300,000 - 400,000 units of the iPhone SE model at a plant in Karnataka being set up by Wistron, a company that Apple has contracted with for its manufacturing plans in India. Apple is expected to move ahead with its manufacturing plans without waiting for the concessions it has been requesting from the Indian government, with a source suggesting that Apple wants to “experience manufacturing in India.” A senior government official told the Economic Times that this is merely a small venture to get started, and that the concessions Apple is requesting from the country are “for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India.” A source in the contract manufacturing industry indicated that Wistron is ready to begin assembling the iPhones as early as April.
Apple may be planning to phase out Touch ID in favour of a new facial recognition technology, according to a new research note by JPMorgan analyst Rob Hall, reported by MacRumors. Hall indicates that the rumoured 5.8-inch iPhone with edge-to-edge OLED display would phase out Touch ID due to Apple’s removal of the home button to accommodate the new display, replacing it instead with a front-facing 3D laser scanner. His research note also suggests that the volume of the module being produced within Apple’s supply chain suggests that it won’t be exclusive to the higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone either, claiming that the lower-end “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” models could also include the technology. The additional costs of the 3D laser scanner would be yet another component that could cause the new high-end iPhone to have a starting price tag of over $1,000.
Apple is currently in discussions with Chinese technology company BOE to begin supplying OLED screens for the iPhone as early as 2018, Bloomberg reports. Apple has currently contracted with Samsung to provide 160 million OLED displays for its 2017 iPhones, but people familiar with the discussions said Apple is considering adding BOE to its list of suppliers moving forward to offset the chances of experiencing an OLED display shortfall. BOE is building new OLED plants in China in anticipation of ramping up production in the hopes of becoming Apple’s first display provider outside of Japan and South Korea. LG is also set to begin supplying foldable OLED screens to Apple starting in 2018.
Apple has been granted a patent for a new type of fingerprint reading technology that doesn’t require a dedicated scanning sensor. The patent was originally filed by LuxVue before that company was bought by Apple in 2014. The design uses a combination of micro-LED light and infrared diodes to detect a pattern, making it possible to scan a fingerprint without the use of the capacitive metal ring in Apple’s current Touch ID sensor. The improvement could allow Apple to finally get rid of the dedicated home button and increase the iPhone’s screen size while still allowing the device to be unlocked with a fingerprint. The technology could also lead to other new features for the iPhone’s display, such as the ability to partially dim the screen depending on the available light, or even to dim certain areas of the screen to tackle glare. [via Apple Insider]
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims a new 4.7” OLED iPhone will feature a more expensive stacked logic board to accommodate a larger battery. Kuo said the phone would be able to pack the battery life of a 5.5” iPhone into a device roughly the same size as the current 4.7” model. With a number of seemingly conflicting reports emerging now with regards to how many iPhone models Apple will release this year, it’s unclear if there would be only one 4.7” iPhone and 5.5” iPhone, a 4.7” OLED iPhone in addition to two LCD base models, or two versions of both form factors — a 4.7” LCD iPhone, a 5.5” LCD iPhone, a 4.7” OLED iPhone, and a 5.5” OLED iPhone, all with differentiating features and names. And that doesn’t even factor in the rumored 5.8” high-end iPhone. Some of these possibilities seem highly unlikely to us, but this is just where the rumor mill appears to be at right now. Whichever direction Apple chooses to go, Kuo said the increased battery size combine with new OLED screen technology will greatly improve the battery life of the next iPhone. [via MacRumors]
Samsung has inked a new deal with Apple to supply the company with 60 million OLED displays for the next iPhone, The Korea Herald reports. The new deal comes after last year’s announcement that Samsung would be making 100 million OLED screens for Apple, bringing the new total to 160 million. Apple sells an estimated 200 million iPhones a year, but it’s still unclear whether the OLED screens will be used in all of Apple’s 2017 iPhones or just in the expected “iPhone X” premium model. Samsung is currently the only supplier able to ship OLED displays in time for the iPhone’s likely September release, since LG’s reported deal to provide Apple with foldable OLED displays wouldn’t go into effect until 2018.
Citing sources in Taiwan, Macotakara claims only one of the three iPhone models expected to be released this year will have a glass back and be equipped for wireless charging. While it’s possible that the feature will be included to differentiate the “iPhone 8” (or “iPhone X”) from the other models, early reports that Foxconn was having trouble delivering working charging modules could point to a need for Apple to scale back its plans due to the limited supply. The report also suggests that Apple won’t be providing the Lightining-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter that came with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus or a Lightning-to-USB-C cable that would make the phone compatible with the current line of MacBook Pros without buying the cable or using a dongle. Those wanting to make use of the wireless charging features in the “iPhone 8” would have to buy that charger separately as well.
A new report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple’s rumored 2017 flagship iPhone, now being referred to by many as the “iPhone X,” will face increased heat dissipation issues, AppleInsider reports. With the new high-end iPhone expected to incorporate wireless charging and a glass external casing — both factors that will generate and retain heat inside the device — Kuo expects that Apple will be adding a graphite sheet inside the iPhone to help dissipate heat. According to Kuo, Apple plans to switch to a new 3D Touch film sensor that will be more heat-sensitive. Kuo indicates that this addition should be enough to prevent any issues with malfunctions or performance due to overheating, such as that users “won’t notice a difference.”
A new report in Fast Company is fueling rumors that Apple is working on a special 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone that is “expected to be the ultimate iPhone” with a price tag that will be “very likely north of $1,000,” according to a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans. The report notes that the most expensive iPhone right now — the 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus — already sells for $969, and expects that the “iPhone 8” will be “packed with many more features,” including a new OLED display that the report’s source says will likely cost Apple twice as much as the LCD displays currently being used. The report also suggests that upgraded memory could significantly increase the price of the new premium 5.8-inch iPhone model that could be named the “iPhone 8” or the “iPhone X.”
Apple has released a new batch of second betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.
A new class action lawsuit has been filed in California, accusing Apple of deliberately “breaking” FaceTime for iOS 6 users in order to force them to upgrade to iOS 7, thereby violating California’s unfair competition laws, AppleInsider reports. Citing documents disclosed in the VirnetX patent lawsuit, the class-action filing alleges that Apple secretly took this step in order to reduce high monthly data relay charges it was incurring from Akamai as a result of the “relay method” being used at the time to handle some FaceTime calls between iOS devices, which transmitted FaceTime data through Akamai’s servers — a relay service which Apple was paying for based on usage.
IBM and United Airlines have announced a new collaboration to develop a new suite of iOS business applications to help drive the airline’s digital transformation, as part of IBM’s MobileFirst partnership with Apple. United Airlines currently has more than 50,000 iOS devices being used by its front-line employees, and this new collaboration will see IBM developing a set of both market-ready and custom iOS apps for improving a number of aspects of United Airlines’ customer-facing operations, such as providing flight attendants and gate personnel readily available access to customer travel data at their fingertips without being tied to a fixed workstation or podium position.
The European Commission has announced that negotiators have come to a deal that will put an end to wireless roaming charges in European Union member countries as of June 15, 2017. Representatives of the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission have agreed on how wholesale roaming markets will be regulated such that Europeans will be able to travel within the EU without incurring any additional charges for roaming to different countries, effectively creating a “roam-like-at-home” system where travelers will be able to place calls, send text messages, and use data on their mobile devices anywhere in the EU at the same prices they pay in their home country. Regulators also agreed to wholesale caps on rates for voice calls and text messages, as well as a staged reduction over the next five years for wholesale data charges; these new wholesale caps represent the maximum charges that customers will pay while roaming if they exceed their contract limits.
Apple’s sudden removal of the Activation Lock status checker from its website could have been in response to its use in hacking locked iOS devices, MacRumors speculated in a new report. A video posted by REWA Technology illustrates a process for finding valid serial numbers using the Activation Lock status checker and using those numbers to unlock an iPhone or iPad. Apple hasn’t confirmed any reason for shutting down the website, but since September, some users trying to activate new or restored iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus models have reported finding their phones locked to another Apple ID, and only Apple has been able to fix the problem. The full video of the hacking method used can be seen below, but without the steady supply of valid serial numbers previously available from Apple’s website, the process is now useless.
Apple has deleted the Activation Lock checker from its website, effectively removing one method which helps customers verify that used products haven’t been stolen. First spotted by 9to5Mac, the change is also reflected in Apple’s Find My iPhone support documentation, which used to recommend running the serial number of a device though the ‘Check Activation Lock Status’ page on iCloud before buying it. Now the page that once hosted the verification tool ends in a 404 error.
Following yesterday’s release of iOS 10.2.1 and tvOS 10.1.1, Apple has rolled out its first betas of iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2. Featuring a build number of 14E5230e, the iOS 10.3 beta adds Location and Play Sound for AirPods as part of the Find My iPhone feature, allowing users to initiate a high volume sound emission from AirPods to aid in locating them, although there is no mention in the release notes of the “theater mode” that was rumored to be included in iOS 10.3. The release notes for iOS 10.3 beta 1 also mention that new SiriKit car commands are in development — although the notes do not expand on the feature — and that the emergency SOS feature remains supported only in India. Enhancements to WebKit will allow web developers to create alternative page styles that respect the “Reduce Motion” setting on iOS devices.
The release notes for tvOS 10.2 beta 1 note that the update now adds accelerated scrolling support for UIKit and TVMLKit apps that will allow users to scroll through large views of content much more quickly using large swipes of the Siri Remote, as well as an index that can be accessed by swiping on the far right side of the Siri Remote. Device Enrollment and Mobile Device Management support has also been expanded for provisioning Apple TVs in enterprise and education environments.
Apple released iOS 10.2.1 to the public today. The update for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch offers bug fixes and performance improvements — a minor update, all things considered. We’ll let you know of any particularly notable improvements or surprising new features. iOS 10.2.1 is rolling out now, so it should be available shortly if you don’t see it yet. As always, it can be downloaded through iTunes, or over-the-air in Settings > General > Software Update.
KGI: 3D Touch upgrade coming in new iPhone, Touch ID and facial recognition upgrades in future model
Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors to expect Apple to make big changes in order to make the new OLED displays work in the company’s next iPhone. Kuo expects to see a redesigned 3D Touch system since the existing pressure sensors would be incompatible with a flexible display panel, with the company switching to a “film sensor” that is more sensitive to the amount of pressure being applied to the screen. He also claims the company is developing a new optical fingerprint scanner to replace the current Touch ID sensor.
A new report from The Korea Herald claims that Apple is planning to add the highest possible level of dust and water resistance to next year’s iPhone. Citing “multiple sources,” the report indicates that the “iPhone 8” will feature an IP68 rating similar to Samsung’s current Galaxy S7, allowing it to handle submersion in about 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone 7 was certified with an IP67 rating, which makes it certified for only about 3 feet of water for the same amount of time, by comparison. The report notes that, according to an industry source, the higher rating will be one of the “drastic upgrades marking the 10th anniversary of the iPhone this year.”
Apple quietly released a fourth beta of iOS 10.2.1 to registered developers late in the day on Thursday. The new beta features a build number of 14D27 and eliminates virtually all of the “known issues” in the release notes, suggesting that a public release is imminent. The single listed issue remaining simply notes that the Emergency SOS feature which debuted in iOS 10.2 continues to only be supported in India, which appears to be a test area that Apple is using for the new feature. watchOS 3.1.3 and tvOS 10.1.1 have not received new beta updates, and there also still appears to be no sign of the iOS 10.3 beta that was rumored to appear this week.