It's been a very busy month covering the various rumors about Apple possibly preparing to finally launch their iWallet application for the iPhone 6. On Thursday we reported the buzz that's building for Apple's Wallet and on Friday we reported on the new NXP NTAG I2C NFC solution that covers not only mobile devices but also in-home automation that Apple could take advantage of. Today, Re/code has breaking news that Apple has reportedly reached an agreement with American Express for an iPhone payments system. Update #2 Nordstrom possibly in talks with Apple; Update #1 6:30 PM MST
Apple's CEO Tim Cook paid tribute to Martin Luther king's I have a dream speech on his Twitter site on Friday. The "I Have a Dream" speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, called for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.
This interesting video of a drone flying over Apple's Spaceship headquarters site that's now under construction gives you the feeling that you're getting this view from a massive swarm of killer bees. At one point in the video, you can imagine it being used in a science fiction flick about finding an abandoned ancient structure on a distant planet. You find yourself in complete awe at the very scale of this new structure from this view. One thing is for sure, the construction is moving along very quickly.
Intel is struggling with declining PC sales and is making slow progress in the mobile space while Qualcomm chips lead the industry. Intel wants to continue to turn their company around and has now hired Amir Faintuch, a senior executive at rival Qualcomm to step up efforts in mobile and Internet-connected gadgets.
EICES Research has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's use of 4G LTE in their iDevice lineup. It's a little hard to understand the case. For instance, the Via Licensing's LTE patent pool brings together the essential LTE patents of multiple innovators into a single offering. The LTE Patent License Agreement provides access to all of the patents from the participating licensors which are essential to the implementation of the 3GPP LTE standard. Why EICES Research believes that their technology is above the standard license isn't explained in the complaint before the court.
Just two days ago Re/code reporter John Paczkowski clearly stated that "Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhones we told you the company will debut on September 9th." Now, in a total turn around, Paczkowski writes, "Look Daddy! Santa Gave Me an iWatch Rain Check." He went on to say "So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That's not clear …" ah forget about it John, you're killing the joke already.
Intel Launches first 8 Core Processor for PC Gamers & Content Creators that Apple's Unlikely to Adopt
Today, Intel Corporation unveiled its first eight-core desktop processor, the Intel Core i7-5960X processor Extreme Edition, formerly code-named "Haswell-E," targeted at power users who demand the most from their PCs. Unfortunately Apple has never entertained the enthusiast market. You're either in the consumer camp or the pro camp and nothing in between. With traditional PC sales being flat at best, Apple's desktop and pro lines will meet most user needs. Yet Eurogamer framed the Intel's new Core i7-5960 processor well by stating that it delivers well over two-thirds of the performance of the Xeon processor at 40 per cent of the cost. Although we'd like to see a new entry-level Mac Pro with this new processor at a lower price point, it's likely to never happen. However, if you're one that lives in both Windows and OS X worlds, then you may want to check out Intel's new processor.
In early July we reported that Samsung's profits had plummeted 24% on slow smartphone sales. In mid-July we followed-up with a report on Samsung taking back executive bonuses for poor performance resulting in a round of infighting taking hold at the company. Today it's being reported that with Samsung's calendar year winding down on August today, shares in South Korea's biggest stock are down about 8.1% for the month, for a total decline of 16% from their June 3 highs. This is in stark contrast to Apple's stock which hit a record high on August nineteenth and has continued to climb ever since.
In July we reported on a couple of fresh iWallet rumors that had surfaced stemming from developments occurring at Visa Digital Solutions. Then yesterday we reported on the Wired based rumor claiming that Apple's iPhone 6 would include NFC technology for an iWallet application. As the saying goes, where there's smoke there's fire. Today a new report from The Financial Times is claiming that Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP to add secure short-range wireless technology into the next iPhone, enabling new pay-by-touch capabilities in the latest bid for the smartphone to replace the wallet. The Financial Times was first to report that Apple's Home Automation platform was coming and that an Apple-Beats deal was about to be announced. Does the Financial Times have it right again?
Despite Slower Smartphone Growth in Mature Markets, IDC Sees Apple's New 5.5 inch iPhone being a Market Driver
According to a new IDC report, Phablets in the 5.5" to 7" range will grow from 14% of the market to almost one third of the market by 2018. IDC acknowledges that "With the expected entry of Apple into this market segment, and the pent-up demand for a larger screen iPhone, Apple has the ability to drive replacement cycles in mature markets despite the slower growth seen in recent quarters."
Apple officially sent out invitations today for the Apple event occurring on September ninth. The venue being the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino instead of the Apple campus or Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco may be hinting that the event is going to be a milestone. After years of incremental product updates, it appears that Apple is preparing to launch some new products beyond the iPhone 6.
The news about cutting smartphone subsidies in Asia began in earnest in January 2013. It was reported back then that after Lenovo's financials were announced their CEO Yang Yuanging urged telecom operators to decrease their subsidies for iPhones and reduce "super-national treatment" for foreign mobile phone makers, including Apple and Samsung. The call for an end to subsidies began then to sweep the industry. In May of this year we posted a follow-up report about subsidies in China under review by the Government. The fear was that cutting subsidies for premium phones like the iPhone could negatively impact Apple's business model and profits. Today, it's being reported by Bloomberg that "China's state-run wireless operators are slashing subsidies they pay to make devices more affordable for consumers just as the biggest phone-makers are set to introduce upgraded products."
Today, Christina Bonnington of Wired Magazine reports that Apple's "next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it's unveiled on September 9. We're told the solution will involve NFC."
Samsung unveiled their new smartwatch today that they claimed was the first capable of making and receiving phone calls without a mobile phone nearby. Samsung has been pushing hard to develop new wearable devices as it looks to counter slowing earnings in their mobile division, which has led to weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings and internal turf wars.
On August 28, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an invention regarding flexible displays and more importantly, sidewall displays built into an iDevice like an iPhone. In this report we also link to several other patent applications of interest that includes one for intelligent scrolling on a device such as an iPad that will allow users to scroll through publications both vertically and horizontally.
Apple Invents an iPhone Dock with Lightning Connector that provides a newly Designed Breaking Strength Feature
On August 28, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an improved method of producing a lightning connector that has a newly defined breaking strength. This new feature will be able to protect the receptacle lightning connector and/or the electronic device from damage when a force is applied to the lightning connector. One of Apple's patent figures specifically presents a new docking station utilizing this new feature.
In one segment of our WWDC 2014 report we noted that Apple's press release stated that "Gaming on iOS takes a huge leap forward in iOS 8 with Metal, a new graphics technology that maximizes performance on the A7 chip. With its dramatic 10 times improvement in draw call speed, Metal enables leading game providers for the first time to bring console-class 3D games to mobile devices." In August it was reported that BioShock was coming to iOS and today it's now available on iTunes. Whether this new release will play at an elevated level using Apple's new Metal technology in iOS 8 later next month is unknown at this time.
On Aug 28, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals electronic devices such as an iWatch with wireless charging circuitry. The news of Apple's future iWatch possibly offering wireless charging first surfaced in June. According to the patent filing, Apple's future iWatch will be able to work with wireless payment system at retailers and one day even open security doors of one sort or another like a hotel room, an office door or your car door. The new wireless circuitry will also one day extend to a wide variety of devices including the MacBook Pro, iPad and beyond. Whether this patent pending wireless chagrining circuitry will make it into Apple's first wearable device expected to launch in September is unknown at this time.
According to several reports out of China late last week, a homicide case took place in Foxconn's Shenzhen Guanlan facility which makes the new iPhone 6. As we approach the iPhone 6 release date, Foxconn has implementing rigorous security inspections targeting workers who produce the iPhone 6 in order to prevent them from letting out confidential information about the new product.
Best Buy Canada has a sale on Apple's iPad Air that started last night and will last until September 4. All iPad Air models are available at $100 off which is a real incentive for students to get one now.
Apple's iBeacon Technology is being adopted by UK's IPC Media and Tesco-Owned One Stop Convenient Stores
In May we reported on Duane Reade Inc. testing out Apple's iBeacon technology for it New York drugstore and convenient store chain. Today it's being reported that IPC Media, the publisher of magazines including Chat and Woman, will next month run the first UK-wide campaign using the Bluetooth beacon technology that Apple pioneered in its stores.
As far back as May 2013 there were rumors of "Apple working on a Larger iPad for the Education Market." This same rumor resurfaced again in December 2013. Then during Apple's latest financial conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook showed that he was deadly focused on advancing the iPad and hinted that significant innovation was on the way. With so much focus on the iPad, Bloomberg has decided to resurrect the long standing rumor even though it's based on razor thin information.
At the top of the month we posted a report titled "Apple's iPad Dominance in Education is Being Challenged by new Common Core Rules, Chromebooks and Hybrid Devices." The report covered a number of school districts that were opting for iPad alternatives like hybrid notebooks so that their students could meet the needs of the Common Core rules. Today, the L.A Times is reporting that that L.A. Unified, the second largest school system in the U.S. have officially cancelled a one billion dollar contract with Apple for iPads. The Atlantic report that we referred to in our earlier report already noted that 2,100 iPads had been cancelled, so the rumblings were already beginning to occur earlier this month.
Apple was Granted 57 Patents Today Covering a Future Shopping App, Multitouch, lots of Design Patents and More
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 57 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we mainly cover Apple's possible future shopping app and briefly touch on a revised multitouch patent. We also cover several new design patents issued to Apple today. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
In August 2010 Apple applied for a trademark related to the famous Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City that's a stunning Glass Cube. While that trademark is still pending, Apple has been granted a design patent for the same structure today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It's a structure that the late CEO Steve Jobs was passionate about and was actually credited on the patent as one of the inventors/designers.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 57 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover two of Apple's latest patent wins related to liquid metal that could one day be used for future Apple devices or parts of devices relating to displays including a TV, the iWatch, iPad, Apple TV, iPod, keyboard, MacBook Pro and beyond. Although both patents are highly technical, I'm sure that there are those who will still want to investigate these patents in depth.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 57 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's invention that relates to flexible displays that may include one or more flexible layers. A display cover such as a cover glass layer may be mounted over a flexible display. The display-based speaker structures may be mounted under the flexible display. Portions of the flexible display may be used as speaker membranes for the display-based speaker structures. Apple's figure in our cover graphic is a Home Button that could disappear when not in use. When it comes to flexible displays in this invention, Apple is thinking about providing future iDevices with unique functionality rather than just standalone form factors. Apple's invention may relate to many future devices such as an iPhone iPad, wristwatch, pendant and/or other wearable or miniature devices and even the MacBook Pro.
On August 26, 2014, The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 57 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a granted patent that covers Apple's work on an e-clapperboard for the TV and Film industry. Jeff Roenning, a 13 year veteran engineer at Apple was once an assistant editor at Motion Picture Editors Guild. This granted patent was obviously inspired by his experience in that field. Although originally designed to work with an iPhone, the iPad is a much better fit for this type of work.
The Emerging Smart Clothing Market Gets a Giant Boost from Ralph Lauren's New Tech Shirt with iOS Connectivity
In April we posted a report titled "Could Apple be Eying Smart Clothing as the Next Big Thing?." In that report we discussed Apple's new fashion world star power now on hand and wondered aloud if Apple could be eyeing the smart clothing market as one of the next big things. We also covered clothing like pants that could use a future glass fiber material capable of recharging your device when it's sitting in your pocket. Today, Ralf Lauren launched a new line of sports shirts that contain a series of biometric sensors that will work with an iPhone. The technology behind the new shirts is from a Canadian Company by the name of OMsignal as seen in the video above.
The Latest 4G LTE Smartphone Market Share Stats in China illustrate Apple is in a Close three Horse Race for Leadership
In mid-July we posted a report titled "Apple's iPhone 5S Crushes Samsung's S5 Globally and Takes Third Spot in China." The statistical research results were derived from a report from Counterpoint. Late on Friday Counterpoint's latest report came to light covering new statistics from China. China remains the bright spot for the entire mobile phone value chain and crux of all the growth. More specifically, Counterpoint's report focuses on China's shift to 4G LTE and presents us with the latest stats that indicate that there's currently a close three horse race in play with Apple being one of them.
A prominent Chinese website is reporting this morning that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will have a trial production of its 16nm process ahead of schedule and also accelerate the pace of capacity building, according to the sources. The company will obtain most of Apple's orders concerning the next generation A9 processor which will become the main growth force for TSMC in the future.
The Apple M7 chip (then codename Oscar) is a motion co-processor used in Apple's iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad mini (2nd generation). Its function is designed to collect sensor data from integrated accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses and offload the collecting and processing of sensor data from the main central processing unit (CPU). It was introduced in September 2013, and is used in the iPhone 5S. Today a new rumor has surfaced claiming that the iPhone 6 will pack a more powerful updated M7 chip.
Yesterday an Apple patent filing published in Europe revealed a new multi-step process that will strengthen sapphire for future Apple devices and parts like the cover glass found in the iPhone's Home Button that protects the fingerprint scanner from scratches that could affect fingerprint verification. While our report only skims the surface of this highly technical patent application, it definitely goes to show you the lengths that team Apple will go to explore, invent a deliver cool products for the high-end of the market who appreciate original craftsmanship.
After Retooling, Apple's iPhone 6 Production is Flying as Apple Suppliers Manufactured Parts for 100 Million iPhones & More
It was just last week that we reported that Apple's iPhone 6 was now in the Product Validation Test stage prior to mass production. A reader commented on that aspect of the report by saying "…given the rumors of a September 9 unveiling, isn't it a bit late for the Product Validation Test stage?" I agreed with him because it was an oddity and today we've been given a partial answer to as to why that testing phase was so late in coming. We wrap up our report with several new supply-chain rumors that surfaced earlier today.
Apple Introduces Sensor-Assisted Location Technology that will combat the Problems associated with Urban Canyons
Earlier today we posted a report titled "Apple Advances Automatic Vehicle Location Services for Parking." It was one of three new location based patent filings revealed today by the US Patent Office. In a third filing today titled "Sensor-Assisted Location Fix," Apple describes location scenarios beyond parking and discusses location-centric problems and solutions associated with driving in urban canyons, which is a powerful image when you think of cities like New York, Hong Kong, Osaka, Beijing, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and others that have massive buildings in their downtown business cores.
On August 21, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals the addition of a new intelligent dimension to a future iOS Home Screen. Let's say that there's an app that you'll need to access quickly like an airline ticket that's currently buried in a folder on page 4 of your Home Screen. In the future, iOS will know to automatically bring that app or digital ticket up to your starting Home Page based on your proximity to the airport or concert hall so that there's no fumbling around at the gate. Although it's a simple idea, it represents the kind of convenience that we've just come to expect from Apple in making our everyday digital lives a little easier as time goes on.
In late July we posted a report titled "Apple Invents a Reversible USB Connector." Shortly thereafter a rumor of Apple preparing to launch this connector in connection with the upcoming iPhone 6 surfaced and a second rumor came to light this past Monday. I don't know about the iPhone 6, but having a reversible USB connector coming to market for Macs is a possibility over the next year. Today, The US Patent and Trademark Office published a new Apple patent filing titled "Reversible USB Connector with Compliant Member to Spread Stress and Increase Contact Normal Force."
Apple's intent to create a parking app for future iDevices began to surface with a pair of inventions (one, two) that we reported on back in 2013. Since that time there have been two follow-up patents in 2014 including this one and an important second one that we'll point to later in this report. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's third patent application of the year that relates to finding your car or any vehicle in an outside parking lot, a marina, inside a Parkade and beyond. Last Saturday we posted a report titled "Apple and Google Headed for an Indoor Location Services War" illustrating that indoor location services are going to go far beyond just parking applications. Yet for now, we have to wonder if Apple's new parking location app will make it into iOS 8 for the iPhone 6. The good news is that we'll get the answer to that question in just a few weeks' time.
In 2012 we posted a patent report titled "Apple Invents a Killer 3D Imaging Camera for iOS Devices" which was way ahead of Google's Project Tango. Interestingly Project Tango is shone to be using Apple's new technology acquired from PrimeSense. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals techniques for manipulating mobile device imagery in a 3D space on future iDevices and Macs.