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.