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Apple releases fifth betas of iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a fifth set of new 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. The betas are also accompanied by a fourth beta of Xcode 8.3. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Apple ordering 3D imaging components from STMicroelectronics for ‘future iPhone’

Apple has ordered 3D imaging technology from STMicroelectronics slated to be included in a “future iPhone,” iGeneration reports. Sources familiar with the agreement said the 3D imagers are on track to begin production at a plant in Crolles, France as part of a joint collaboration between Apple and STMicroelectronics that began in 2015. Carlo Bozotti, CEO of STMicroelectronics, told investors that the company’s recent $1 billion investment in “new products and specialized technologies” was related to “a contract recently taken [which will lead to] substantial revenues expected in the second half of 2017.” Bozotti hasn’t named Apple as its customer, but sources have confirmed that’s the case.

Report: Apple still prototyping ‘iPhone Edition’ that may launch later than September

A new set of rumors from Macotakara claim the tenth-anniversary iPhone rumored to be making its debut this year could be called the “iPhone Edition” and include a dual camera similar to the iPhone 7 Plus in a 5” device that’s the same size as an iPhone 7. The site says that multiple prototypes are still under consideration by Apple, including varieties with or without a home button and varieties with thin-film-transistor LCDs or AMOLED displays. Aluminum, glass and white ceramic are also reportedly under consideration for the chassis, leading to speculation that with so many factors still undecided production on the device might start later than usual. The new report is firm on the idea that “iPhone Edition” will feature wireless charging, but previous reports have claimed Apple is still undecided on which type of wireless charging method to use.

WikiLeaks claims the CIA has dedicated resources aimed at hacking iOS devices

The latest release from WikiLeaks claims that the CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch dedicated considerable resources to create malware intended to ” infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.” The agency allegedly obtained a number of “zero day” attack methods from fellow government agencies like the NSA and FBI, but purchased others from Baitshop and similar cyber arms contractors. While iPhones only make up around 14.5 percent of the global smartphone market, WikiLeaks suggests ” the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites” explains the government’s “disproportionate focus on iOS” as a hacking target.

‘iPhone 8’ to feature flexible printed circuit boards, Apple to move all iPhones to OLED by 2019

Samsung and Interflex are both ramping up production of flexible printed circuit boards to be use in Apple’s ‘iPhone 8’ later this year, The Korea Hearld reports. The FPCB components are used to connect the dedicated chips for components like the display and camera. Previous reports claimed the new OLED ‘iPhone 8’ will be made with a flexible display, but that the phone itself won’t be bendable or foldable because the other internal components can’t flex. While FPCBs don’t fully solve that problem, their inclusion could make the entire device less rigid than previous models.

Apple selling ‘new’ 32GB version of the iPhone 6 on select Asian carriers

Apple is resurrecting the iPhone 6 in a 32GB version in Asia, according to a new report by 9to5Mac. The 32GB gold iPhone 6 is labelled as a “2017” model, which would technically be correct as Apple never previously released a 32GB version of the iPhone 6, meaning these are new devices being manufactured specifically for specific Asian carriers as entry-level devices. According to the report, the new model is expected to launch on Taiwan Mobile on March 10, and has apparently been quietly available in China for the past few weeks. Notably, this new 2017 iPhone 6 model will only be available through select carriers, not on Apple’s online store or in its retail stores. Taiwan Mobile is currently advertising the devices as part of a special limited-edition promotion as the most inexpensive iPhone the company has ever offered — it’s basically being given away for free with a 30-month contract plan. It’s unclear if it may come to other Taiwanese carriers or remain exclusive to Taiwan Mobile; it’s presently also being sold by one carrier in China. It’s very unlikely that the “new” model will extend beyond China, however.

Report: 2017 iPhones to retain Lightning connectors but support Fast Charging via USB-C

A new research note from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors sheds some new light on a report earlier this week that Apple could be replacing Lightning connectors with USB-C on this year’s iPhone models. According to Kuo, all three iPhones that are expected to launch this year will continue to use Lightning connectors, but will support USB-C power specifications to provide faster charging, likely similar to the specifications supported by the 12.9” iPad Pro. Kuo notes that the biggest technical challenge Apple is facing “lies with ensuring product safety and stable data transmission during a fast charge” and Kuo suggests that Apple will adopt new TI and Cypress power management chips, and that the rumoured OLED version may support even faster charging thanks to a newer battery pack design. The note doesn’t appear to provide any information on what type of power adapters or cables will be included with the upcoming iPhone models. Although current iPhone models can charge from a USB-C connection — including Apple’s 29W USB-C power adapter — they will still only charge at the same 5V/2.4A rate that Apple’s 12W USB Power Adapter provides, and further Apple has continued to only include a 1A charger with the iPhone, requiring users who desire faster charging to purchase the 12W adapter separately or supply their own higher-current USB power source.

Apple releases fourth beta of tvOS 10.2 to developers

Following yesterday’s release of iOS 10.3 and watchOS 3.2 developer betas, Apple has released a fourth beta of tvOS to developers today, continuing development on a new version that will bring features such as accelerated and improved scrolling within apps that present long lists of content, as well as Mobile Device Management support for enterprise and education environments, and support for the new hardware-accelerated VideoToolbox encoding and decoding framework and Apple File System (APFS).

‘iPhone 8’ to have curved OLED screen, ditch Lightning port for USB-C across all models

This year’s ‘iPhone 8’ will include a curved OLED screen and replace the Lightning port with a USB-C connector, The Wall Street Journal reports. People familiar with the process said Apple has already ordered enough of the flexible displays to mass produce at least one iPhone model. While the display will allow for a new curved edge on the device, the iPhone itself won’t be bendable or foldable because of rigid internal components.

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3 + watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple released its fourth betas for both iOS 10.3 and watchOS 3.2 to registered developers today. iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch contains the Find My AirPods feature, among other changes, while watchOS 3.2 features the upcoming Theater Mode for Apple Watch. A new public beta for iOS 10.3 should be released in the near future.

Third-party screen repairs no longer void iPhone warranty

Third-party screen replacements no long void an iPhone warranty according to an internal memo recently issued by Apple, MacRumors reports. Until now iPhones with a non-original display weren’t eligible for any warranty repairs. Neither Apple’s standard one-year warrant nor AppleCare+ will cover issues with third-party displays or batteries, but now Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers have been instructed to offer replacements or repairs for in-warranty problems, as long as they’re not specifically issues with the new display itself. There are also a few catches — if the third-party display causes the technician to somehow break the iPhone or otherwise causes the repair process to fail, customers will be required to pay the out-of-warranty cost to replace the broken display, or even the cost of the entire device, if the damage is bad enough.

Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple has indicated that improvements made in iOS 10.2.1 have addressed most of the problems with unexpected shutdowns that some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s users were experiencing. Apple notes that approximately 50 percent of iOS devices are already using iOS 10.2.1 and that Apple has been receiving diagnostic data from users on that version revealing a reduction of over 80 percent on iPhone 6s devices, and over 70 percent on iPhone 6 devices. Apple notes that in the unlikely event users are still experiencing unexpected shutdowns, with iOS 10.2.1 the iPhone can now restart without needing to be connected to power. In its statement, Apple emphasizes that these shutdowns are not a safety issue, however the company naturally wants to mitigate the inconvenience of the issue for its users. iPhone 7 models are not affected by the issue.

Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’

A new report in Reuters discussing the state of Apple’s work on this year’s iPhone reveals that Apple may not have yet settled on a wireless charging solution for the upcoming “iPhone 8,” despite the company’s recent entry into the Wireless Power Consortium backing the Qi standard. The Reuters report cites a person with knowledge of the matter who indicates that there are presently five separate groups at Apple currently working on wireless charging technology, suggesting that each group is pursuing and testing different standards to determine which of them will be Apple’s preferred choice.

Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider

Despite claims from wireless charging startup Energous’ CEO that seemed to hint at a partnership with Apple, a research note from Cowen and Company claims Energous is unlikely to provide the wireless charging technology rumored to be coming to the “iPhone 8,” Apple Insider reports. Back in January Energous CEO Steve Rizzone claimed his company had partnered with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world,” leading to speculation that he was talking about Apple since his company had signed a big deal with Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor in December 2016.

Analyst: ‘iPhone 8’ to feature ‘revolutionary’ front-facing camera with 3D sensors

Well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple will include a “revolutionary” front-facing camera in the rumored “iPhone 8,” combining three different modules to achieve full 3D sensor capabilities. The claim comes on the heels of a report last week that Apple was considering dropping Touch ID from all 2017 iPhones in favor of a using new 3D facial recognition technology to unlock the devices. Kuo said in addition to the current front camera module, the new “iPhone 8” will include both an infrared transmitting module and an infrared receiver used in tandem to detect the depth of objects placed in front of the camera. The phone will then merge the data from the traditional 2D photo with the IR information to enable either facial or iris recognition. While the previous report claimed the 3D technology will be included in all 2017 iPhones, Kuo thinks the feature will be exclusive to the premium OLED “iPhone 8” before being rolled out to the rear cameras in future models. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a third batch of new 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.

Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE

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.

Rumor: iPhone 8 to eliminate Touch ID in favor of Facial Recognition

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 eyeing another supplier for future OLED screens

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 patents another way to scan fingerprints without Touch ID sensor

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]

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