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Hyundai bringing CarPlay to 2015 Sonata

Hyundai announced it is bringing Apple CarPlay functionality to its 2015 Sonata, making the Sonata one of the first vehicles to feature CarPlay. The functionality “will be available on 2015 Sonatas equipped with navigation later in the 2015 model year.”

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While the 2015 Sonata will be released early this summer, the wording of the release makes it seem as if CarPlay functionality won’t be available immediately in the first batch of vehicles. CarPlay will eventually be available in 2015 Sonatas equipped with Hyundai’s eight-inch touchscreen navigation systems.

Apple agrees to anti-theft smartphone measures

Apple and a number of other smartphone makers have agreed to a voluntary commitment to include anti-theft technology on phones starting next year, Re/Code reports. Other smartphone makers, including Google, HTC, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung have all agreed to make such a commitment, and the five largest U.S. cellular carriers are also on board. All those involved have agreed devices sold after July 2015 must have the ability to have data wiped remotely and be rendered inoperable at a user’s request. Recovered devices could then later be restored. Apple is ahead of the game, as Activation Lock in iOS 7 already lets users prevent reactivation of a stolen or lost device.

8GB iPhone 5c launches in more European countries

Apple has made the 8GB iPhone 5c available in a number of European countries today. The low-capacity iPhone is now on sale in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. In each country, the 8GB 5c is roughly $50 cheaper than the 16GB 5c. The 8GB 5c is still unavailable in the U.S. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: The 8GB iPhone 5c is also now available in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. [via MacRumors]

iPhone 6 metal mockups spotted at electronics show

A few metal mockups of the alleged iPhone 6 — said to be used to make cases for the upcoming device — were spotted at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Macotakara reports. The pictured mockups do seem to somewhat resemble what’s been indicated for the expected upcoming 4.7” iPhone 6.

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However, it’s notable that the FaceTime camera position on the mockup appears to be lower and closer to the screen than on the alleged front panel leak from earlier today, casting doubts upon recent pictures. The report notes there wasn’t “much confidence” about the mockup unit.

Alpine Electronics announces aftermarket CarPlay products

Alpine Electronics officially announced today it will offer aftermarket products compatible with Apple CarPlay. A Monday report noted Alpine would sell such a system, and today Alpine confirmed the existence of upcoming products. The Alpine system will be an in-dash touch screen that incorporates CarPlay using a Lightning connector.

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Alpine said the CarPlay-compatible products will be available in the U.S. and Europe “later in 2014.” Models and pricing won’t be announced until the time of launch. The news comes on the same day Pioneer announced it will be incorporating CarPlay into some of its own existing in-dash systems.

Pioneer officially announces aftermarket CarPlay access

Pioneer officially announced today it will be releasing an aftermarket system for Apple CarPlay, as was previously reported. The company will make CarPlay accessible through a firmware update to its existing NEX in-dash multimedia receivers, which range in price from $700 to $1,400.

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Pioneer says CarPlay compatibility will be available “in early summer 2014.” To access CarPlay, users must plug a Lightning-to-USB cable into the multimedia receiver, connecting their iPhone 5 or later running iOS 7.1.

Alleged iPhone 6 front panel, batteries leaked

A picture of the alleged iPhone 6 front panel was posted on Weibo. The alleged white front panel is shown next to an iPhone 5s. Indeed, it looks like a larger iPhone screen, and would belong to the rumored 4.7” model iPhone.

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Additionally, a shot of alleged iPhone 6 batteries has also been leaked. The picture shows five batteries in a tray, but doesn’t offer further context. [via iPhon.fr, nowhereelse.fr]

Windows Phone 8.1 supports Passbook passes

According to a post on WPCentral.com, Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8.1 software allows Apple Passbook passes to be used natively. When a user chooses to download a Passbook pass, it will be downloaded to the Microsoft Wallet application, and can be used as if it were on an iPhone or iPod touch. It’s unclear what specific Passbook features are supported, or if Apple will put a stop to the process.

Alpine to release aftermarket CarPlay system

Alpine Electronics will sell a standalone console featuring Apple’s CarPlay system this fall, Nikkei Asian Review reports. It will be the first aftermarket CarPlay product. The system will be available first in the U.S. and Europe and will “likely cost around $500 to $700.” It’s noted that the screen will “likely” be seven inches, and connect to an iPhone 5 or later with a wire. Previously, it’s been reported that other manufacturers — Pioneer and Mercedes — have been working on their own aftermarket CarPlay solutions, but Alpine’s system is the first with a reported release date and price.

iOS 8: Healthbook as aggregator, faster camera speed

Apple’s planned Healthbook app in iOS 8 is described as “an application that aggregates health and fitness data from various applications and hardware accessories” in a new 9to5Mac article. The feature, which mainly summarizes much of what’s already been reported about iOS 8, alludes to Healthbook being a sort of base app for other possible health-related applications. Additionally, the article notes Apple is working to speed up the time required to take a photo with the new iPhone’s hardware components, and pushing to further improve overall speed in iOS 8.

Apple internal slides reveal need for larger, cheaper phones

Internal Apple slides revealed by Samsung in the latest patent battle between the companies illustrate Apple’s need to create larger and cheaper smartphones. The slides from an April 2013 meeting, posted by Re/Code, show that while the iPhone growth rate is slowing, there’s still demand and growth for cheaper and larger phones.

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One slide, titled “Consumers want what we don’t have,” shows all of the market growth coming from smartphones either priced at $300 or cheaper, or phones more expensive than $300 with a screen larger than 4”. Apple is rumored to be developing two new iPhones with displays larger than 4.7”.

Update: The same Re/Code article contains internal Samsung documents showing the company regarded Apple’s iPhone as its top rival. One slide noted that “everything must be in context of beating Apple,” and the “threat from Apple is extremely real and urgent.”

Apple granted patent for camera lens mount

A new Apple patent for bayonet attachment mechanisms may signal the company’s interest in using an attachable camera lens system in its iOS devices. The patent describes a system that would use a bayonet mount integrated into the camera of an electronic device — lenses could be swapped in and out of the mount.

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Patently Apple notes how quickly the patent was approved — the patent application was only published weeks ago — speculating that Apple may be looking to use the feature in the near future. An alleged leaked picture of the iPhone 6 shows the device with a protruding camera lens, but it’s unclear if any sort of mount system is included. Images in the patent document depict the fifth-generation iPod touch. [via Apple Insider]

iPhone 6 with 4.7” screen in fall, 5.5” model delayed?

Apple suppliers will start mass producing displays for the next iPhone “as early as May” for the next iPhone’s release this fall, Reuters reports. It’s reported that a 4.7” screen is “likely” to be produced first, but the rumored 5.5” version of the new iPhone could be delayed. According to a source, difficulties with in-cell production technology in the larger version of the phone prompted Apple to start mass production of the 4.7” version on its own. The 5.5” version of the new phone could enter production “several months later,” with a film sensor being used instead of in-cell technology.

Alleged iPhone 6 leaked pics show protruding camera

Alleged photos of the iPhone 6 have surfaced on Weibo. The pictures show a large phone that appears to have a metal frame in the middle, capped off on each end by D-shaped pieces with rounded edges. A protruding rear camera with a smaller, circular flash than the iPhone 5s can be spotted in the shots.

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Another photo reveals a computer rendering that appears to match recently seen drawings; the design is in some ways similar to the fifth-generation iPod touch, but with iPhone-like antenna compartments. The veracity of these photos — including any identification of which new alleged iPhone 6 model this may be — is unclear. [via G 4 Games]

Report: New hi-res iPhones ‘as early as September’

Apple’s new iPhone will arrive in two screen sizes “as early as September,” Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reports. The report claims mass production of LCD panels will start next quarter, noting the resolution of the handset “is expected to be significantly higher than that of current models.”  As previously reported, Nikkei claims the new iPhone will allegedly come in two screen sizes — 4.7” and 5.5”. Another report claimed the two screen sizes could be 4.7” and an even larger 5.7”.

Apple patent may hint at sapphire touchscreens

A newly published patent application further hints at the possibility of sapphire displays in Apple products. The application for “oleophobic coating on sapphire” reveals a component that would feature a surface coating and transition layer on top of a sapphire glass base layer, which may be “a window for a portable electronic device.”

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A described method would allow fingerprint-repelling oleophobic coating to be used on top of the sapphire glass. It’s been reported that Apple’s new Arizona sapphire plant has the capacity for mass production, with some speculating new iPhone displays could be made of sapphire.[via AppleInsider]

Apple engineer shares details on iPhone creation

Apple senior software engineer Greg Christie has revealed a number of details about the birth of the iPhone to the Wall Street Journal. Christie and his team were struggling with the original iPhone’s software when Apple co-founder and then-CEO Steve Jobs told the group it had two weeks to figure it out, or it would lose the project to another team. Needless to say, the “shockingly small” team pulled through, creating features such as slide to unlock and placing calls from the phone’s address book. Christie was made available ahead of next Monday’s latest patent trial between Apple and Samsung — one patent Apple claims Samsung infringed upon is the slide to unlock feature. Among other details included in the article is a photo revealing a messy system used by Apple to test early iPhone software.

Report: Apple sells 500 millionth iPhone

Apple has likely sold its 500 millionth iPhone during the past few weeks, Forbes estimates. There has yet to be an official announcement from Apple regarding the milestone; the company sometimes heralds large-scale sales in press releases, and at other times waits to mention them during media events.

Forbes notes that the most recent 100 million iPhones sold took “between two to six weeks less” than the previous 100 million. Apple sold 51 million iPhones alone in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, and added 1 million new users on China Mobile’s network in February following the Chinese carrier’s launch of the device.

Apple ‘related’ search spotted in App Store

Apple is apparently testing a new feature in the App Store that offers users related term suggestions when doing a search. A number of reports have noted the new feature, though it appears it was first spotted by developer Olga Osadcha. Osadcha found the feature while using iOS 7.1.

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It’s noted that not everyone is seeing the new feature as of yet — iLounge’s editors have yet to see the function pop up when using our devices. It’s possible that Apple is rolling out the feature gradually.

Golden State first NBA team to use iBeacons

The Golden State Warriors are the first NBA team to roll out iBeacons in their home arena, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. Oracle Arena in Oakland uses iBeacons to push seat upgrades, as fans with the team’s smartphone app — and cheaper seats — are prompted to upgrade when in the arena. The article notes issues with the plan, including a lack of extra tickets, and an estimate that the majority of users don’t leave Bluetooth LE on regularly, preventing them from receiving the notifications. A January report noted that 20 MLB teams plan on having iBeacons installed in their parks by Opening Day later this month.

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