Apple Announces New iPhone 6 and Larger iPhone 6 Plus

Subject: Mobile | September 9, 2014 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: mobile gpu, mobile cpu, mobile, iphone 6 plus, iphone 6, iphone, apple, 5.5, 4.7

Today Apple finally catches up with the current smartphone industry as they announce not just a new iPhone, but two new phones - both with much larger screens.


Image credit: Apple, Inc.

In 2007 Steve Jobs proclaimed that the just-announced iPhone was five years ahead of the competition. In many ways, he was correct - though by 2012 the market had more than caught up. In fact, Apple was behind when they announced the 4-inch iPhone 5, which managed to tick the larger-screen checkbox by simply increasing the vertical resolution by 100 pixels or so. In the area of the "phablet" the iterative refresh that followed in 2013 was hardly news, and Samsung, LG, and HTC busied themselves with larger, higher-resolution offerings that made the iPhone look tiny in comparison.


Image credit: The Verge

The new iPhone 6 features a smooth (and widely leaked) design with a thin profile and rounded corners, and the expected 4.7-inch screen. However this screen is a disappointing (and very odd) 1334x750 resolution. Contrast the Nexus 5’s 4.95-inch 1080p screen, which represents what has simply become an industry standard for smartphones in the 5-inch range.

But the bigger news here (literally) is the announcement of the iPhone 6 Plus. This 5.5-inch phone has a full 1920x1080 resolution, and there are UI tweaks to iOS 8 that are only enabled on this larger version, such as an expanded landscape keyboard and horizontal home screen. The Plus also features a better camera than its 4.7-inch sibling, with optical image stabilization (OIS) implemented along with the same new image sensor.

Speaking of the image sensor, which is “all-new” according to Apple, the next-gen 8 MP iSight camera has same 1.5(micron) pixel size as before, f/2.2 aperture. True Tone flash returns, and the new camera also boasts faster “phase detection” autofocus. The image signal processor in the A8 chip is also custom designed by Apple. Another change is video slo-mo support, with up to 240fps capture.


Image credit: The Verge

The A8 itself is a second generation 64-bit chip, with 2 billion transistors on a 20nm process. This is 13% smaller than the A7, and Apple claims a 20% faster CPU, 50% faster graphics than its predecessor. Apple is also placing emphasis on sustained performance with this new chip, showcasing graphs with maintained speed within their thermal envelope during extended use. This is accompanied by the new M8 motion coprocessor, which adds new functionality for motion applications (just in time for iOS 8).


Image credit: The Verge

The screen is ion-strengthened glass (no sapphire here) with an “improved polarizer", and photo-aligned IPS LCD technology. Whatever that is. If you're interested, Sharp previously published a paper with technical details on this technology here (PDF). 


Image credit: Apple, Inc.

The phones are thin, too. The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick, and the 6 Plus is only slightly thicker at 7.1mm.

As far as wireless communication goes, these new iPhones feature 20 bands of LTE as well as VoLTE support, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. And Apple users can get ready to start waving their phone wildly at checkout as NFC payments come to the iPhone via “Apple Pay”. Some 22,000 retailers will work with it (it seems to be using conventional wireless credit card infrastructure).

The battery life should be improved with both phones compared to the current iPhone 5S, and particularly so with the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Apple is claiming up to 24 hours of 3G talk time and 12 hours of LTE browsing on the 5.5-inch phone, along with a 16 day standby.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available September 19, with the 16GB versions starting at $199 and $299 respectively with a 2-year contract. Of note, while the entry-level capacity remains at just 16GB, the next model for both phones jumps to 64GB for an additional $100 each.

Source: The Verge

Apple and IBM; together again

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2014 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: zip drive, powerpc, IBM, apple

Ah, sweet nostalgia.  It seems like only a short while ago that Apple was saved by IBM, and Motorola, granting access to the PowerPC chips which were near the top of the field back in 1991.  The Motorola 68K was falling behind the Pentium MMX chips in PCs and Apple needed some way to compete in the market and the 200-MHz 603e PowerPC was the answer.  Now history is repeating itself with a partnership between IBM and Apple to bring iPhone apps to the enterprise, with apps specifically for enterprise environments as well as updates to existing apps to make them more enterprise friendly.  Read up on your history, or refresh your memories of times gone by as well as what this partnership will bring in the future on Slashdot.


"Apple and IBM, which just announced partnership to bring iOS and cloud services to enterprises, have helped each other before. IBM played a key role in turning the Macintosh into a successful hardware platform at a point when it — and the company itself — were struggling. Nearly 25 years ago, IBM was a part of an alliance that gave Apple access to PowerPC chips for Macintosh systems that were competitive, if not better performing in some benchmarks, than the processors Intel was producing at the time for Windows PCs."

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Source: Slashdot

Get some help choosing your next mobile device

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 18, 2014 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: Transformer, tablet, laptop, Chromebook, apple

If you are overwhelmed by the choice of mobile products on the market and are looking for a little guidance this article at The Tech Report is a good resource.  Their staff have picked out what they feel are the best mobile devices from tablets to transformer pads to full sized laptops.   You can choose between several models in each category depending on your budget, as the best solutions tend to be the most expensive.  The budget models are nothing to sneer at though as even on the low end mobile devices pack a lot more power than they used to.


"Earlier this year, we revised the structure of the TR System Guide to focus exclusively on PC components. Our aim was to cover peripherals and mobile gear in separate articles. We posted our first standalone peripheral picks in April, and today, we're completing the set with our first standalone mobile staff picks."

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Apple and Google-Motorola Stop Suing Each Other

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 17, 2014 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: Lawsuit, google, apple

If we all could just get along and get back to work...

On Friday, May 16th, Apple and Google (including the remains of its Motorola Mobility division) released a joint statement marking the end of all patent litigation between the two companies. The two companies have been in legal warfare for three-and-a-half years, now. The two companies will also "work together in some areas of patent reform". It is unclear what that actually means.


This decision does not seem to affect Apple's ongoing litigation with Samsung. Those two companies are still in a famous and fierce skirmish over mankind's greatest UX innovations, like slide-to-unlock and the little bounce that happens when you scroll to the end of a list too fast. Those are, honestly, the issues that we are facing. I have a suggestion for an area to reform...

... but that has been beaten to death for years, now. It, at least, shows a willingness to cooperate going forward. It also shows a slight bit more promise for products like Ubuntu on phones, Firefox OS, and even smaller initiatives. You can say what you like about the current litigation, but closing the road for independent developers with great and innovative ideas is terrible and bad for society. Unique smartphones could be made, each with slide-to-unlock, just like unique OSes can use icons and web browsers can use tabs.

Source: Reuters

TSMC scores a big win over Samsung

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2014 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: apple, Samsung, TSMC, rumour

According to the inside information that The Inquirer acquired, the next generation of Apple's SoC will be fabbed by TSMC not Samsung.  The A8 will be a 64bit quad-core processor of unknown speed with a GPU described as a four-cluster configuration similar to the PowerVR G6430.  This is not terribly surprising considering the abusive relationship that Apple and Samsung have developed over the past few years and will certainly swell TSMC's coffers.  Even better TSMC will also pick up the manufacturing other parts of a variety of Apple devices, check the (rumoured) list out here.


"The next generation of Apple's custom system on a chip (SoC) for mobile devices will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) rather than Samsung, and so will several other chips to be used in the forthcoming iPhone 6, a report has claimed."

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Source: The Inquirer

Nobody loves the iPhone 5c

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: foxconn, apple, iphone 5c, iphone 5s

It would seem that the lower priced iPhone 5c is not very popular with Apple fans as the 5s model has sold twice as many units.  This has required some changes be made to production lines at Foxconn and Pegatron as Apple's sales estimates of the two models were way off.  Until the lines can be retooled to ramp up production of the more expensive model you can expect to wait a bit for your shiny new iThang to arrive.  DigiTimes doesn't mention what will happen to existing supplies of 5c's, they may simply age in a warehouse until someone is willing to pay full price for one.


"Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn is shutting down production of the iPhone 5c in one of its factories in order to shift production to the higher-end iPhone 5s, sources claim."

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Source: The Register

Apple Announces Updates to Macbook Pro and Mac Pro Lineups

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2013 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: xeon e5, macbook pro retina, macbook pro, Mac Pro, iris pro, iris, haswell, gt3e, firepro d500, firepro d300, crystalwell, apple

During their annual event today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple announced updates to their Mac lineups. After updating the MacBook Air with Haswell processors and teasing the new Mac Pro in June during WWDC, the rest of their offerings have seemed a little outdated.


Today, Apple started with a recap of the upgrades they have included in the next OS X release, Mavericks. Things like improved multi monitor support, and even more technical features like OpenCL support for integrated graphics and RAM compression were all talked about.


Perhaps the biggest news about OS X Mavericks is that it will be a free release to all users on 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), or 10.8 (Mountain Lion), as long as their hardware is compatible. Mavericks is available today through the Mac App store.


Read on for more information about today's event, and the new hardware announced!

Source: Apple

Apple Reports Fiscal Year 2013 Third Quarter Financial Results, Sell Record Number of iPhones

Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2013 - 06:48 AM |
Tagged: OS X, mac, iphone, financial results, apple

Apple announced its financial results for its fiscal year 2013 Q3 yesterday, and it performed well. Note that Apple’s fiscal Q3 2013 quarter ended on July 29, 2013.

Apple reported fiscal Q3 2013 revenue of $35.3 billion, and net profit of $6.9 billion. That works out to $7.47 per diluted share. During this quarter, Apple held its annual WWDC, and announced new operating systems for both its mobile and desktop products. The company sold 31.2 million iPhones (a record for Q3) 14.6 million iPads, and 3.8 million Macs. It sold slightly fewer iPads and Macs than the same quarter last year, but significantly more iPhones.

Apple Logo.jpeg

Compared to the same quarter last year, Apple increased overall revenue but saw less net profit and EPS. In fiscal Q3 2012 Apple has revenue of $35 billion, net profit of $8.8 billion, and EPS of $9.32 per diluted share. In FY Q3 2012, Apple sold 26 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, and 4 million Macs.

  FY'13 Q3 FY'12 Q3 (YoY) Future Outlook
Revenue $35.3 billion $35 billion $34 to $37 billion
Net Profit $6.9 billion $8.8 billion  
EPS $7.47 $9.32  
Gross Margin 36.9% 42.8% 36 to 37%
iPhones Sold 31.2 million 26 million  
iPads Sold 14.6 million 17 million  
Macs Sold 3.8 million 4 million  

Apple has announced, as a result of its third quarter performance, a $3.05 dividend per common stock to be paid on August 15, 2013. It had $7.8 billion cash flow in FY 2013 Q3 and returned $18.8 billion of cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.

According to Apple, the company's outlook for its fourth quarter is promising, with expected revenue between $34 billion and $37 billion with a gross margin of between 36% and 37%. Apple expects to release both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks later this year along with new products (like the new Mac Pro) this fall and next year.

Source: Apple
Manufacturer: Apple


Apple has seen a healthy boost in computer sales and adoption since the transition to Intel-based platforms in 2006, but the MacBook line has far and away been the biggest benefactor. Apple has come a long way both from an engineering standpoint and consumer satisfaction point since the long retired iBook and PowerBook lines. This is especially evident when you look at their current product lineup, and products like the 11” MacBook Air.


Even though it may not be the most popular opinion around here, I have been a Mac user since 2005 with the original Mac Mini, and I have used a MacBook as my primary computer since 2008. I switched to the 11” MacBook Air when it came out in 2011, and experienced the growing pains of using a low power platform as my main computer.

While I still have a desktop for the occasional video that I edit at home, or game I manage to find time to play, the majority of my day involves being portable. Both in class and at the office, and I quickly grew to appreciate the 11” form factor, as well as the portability it offers. However, I was quite dissatisfied with the performance and battery life that my ageing ultraportable offered. Desperate for improvements, I decided to see what two generations worth of Intel engineering afforded, and picked up the new Haswell-based 11” MacBook Air.

Since the redesign of the MacBook Air in 2010, the overall look and feel has stayed virtually the same. While the Mini DisplayPort connector on the side became a Thunderbolt connector in 2011, things are still pretty much the same.


In this way, the 2013 MacBook Air should provide no surprises. The one visual difference I can notice involves upgrading the microphone on the left side to a stereo array, causing there to be two grilles this time, instead of one. However, the faults I found in the past with the MacBook Air have nothing to do with the aesthetics or build quality of the device, so I am not too disappointed by the design stagnation.

From an industrial design perspective, everything about this notebook feels familiar to me, which is a positive. I still believe that  Apple’s trackpad implementation is the best I've used, and the backlit chiclet keyboard they have been using for years is a good compromise between thickness and key travel.

Continue reading our review of the MacBook Air 11" (2013)!!

A brief outline of what to expect from Apple in the near future

Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2013 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: apple, wwdc

If you still want more news about Apple then The Tech Report is your place to be as they've just assembled an overview of the announcements which were made at WWDC.  From OS X 10.9, also know as Mavericks to the new 2D iOS7 they have a bit of coverage on everything.   While Airport Extreme Base Stations might not be overly interesting to the PC crowd, the new Mac Pro and Macbook Air models might be as you can easily re-purpose them into very expensive Windows machines.  They've even joined the Cloud crowd, though if you really want to learn about that you should have been there.


"If there's one thing I learned from Monday's (June 10, 2013) keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, it's that demonstrations of technology are soooo much better than talking about technology. I know this because one of the main presenters, VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, told me so at least 39 times during his unveiling of OS X 10.9 Sea Lion. I can't argue with the man or his hair. Well played."

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