Apple may introduce long-range wireless charging in next year’s iPhone and iPad

apple, iphone, rumor, patent, wireless charging, long-range wireless charging

While there are quite a few smartphones available today that support wireless charging, such as the Galaxy S6, Apple has never embraced the technology in the same way its competitors have. But, according to a report from Bloomberg, this might change next year. Citing ‘people familiar with the matter,’ the report states that Apple may introduce ‘cutting edge’ wireless technology to its mobile devices in 2017, and it’ll work over a “long range,” so there’ll be no need for a charging mat or plate.

Being able to wirelessly charge a device without it requiring physical contact with a charging surface would no doubt increase its appeal to consumers. But Apple still needs to get past some technical issues, such as the potential loss of power over distances. The report did add that the decision on implementing the technology is still being assessed.

Apple does use a form of Qi wireless charging in the Apple Watch, but it requires the device to be placed on a magnetic charging surface. Qi technology can transmit power over a distance, although it is limited to around 4cm (1.6 inches).

Apple has filed a number of patents related to wireless charging technology, but a large number of companies file design patents that never end up becoming actual products. However, considering that this is Apple’s take on an existing technology, rather than one it came up with itself, there’s more likelihood of it becoming a reality.

If the report proves to be true, the feature could help Apple increase its iPhone growth next year, which has stagnated recently.

Apple records whopping quarterly profit of $18.4 billion

apple, iphone, ipad, ios, profit, financials, mac

Apple’s financial results for the first quarter of their fiscal 2016, which ended on December 26, 2015, have revealed the company amassed $75.9 billion in revenue for profits of $18.4 billion. The amount of profit Apple generated during this quarter is particularly staggering: it’s the largest ever by a single publicly-traded company.

While Apple recorded good financial figures, the company saw essentially no growth in iPhone sales compared to the same quarter last year. Over the past three months, Apple managed to sell 74.8 million smartphones, compared to 74.5 million at the end of 2014. Regardless of no growth, it is still a astonishing figure.

iPad sales continue to decline despite the launch of the iPad Pro, recording 16.1 million sales in the past quarter compared to 21.4 million the previous year. Mac sales were down slightly, coming in at 5.3 million sales compared to 5.7 million the same quarter last year.

Apple’s revenue and profit managed to grow slightly relative to the same period last year despite declines in sales of several key products. This can mostly be attributed to increased revenue for Apple’s services and “other products,” which includes the Apple Watch, new Apple TV, as well as Apple Music.

News isn’t as good for the upcoming quarter. Apple expects revenues to fall in the $50-53 billion range, which, while still a huge figure for any company, would be a decline compared to the $58 billion the company made in the same quarter last year.

Apple expected to unveil trio of new devices at March 15 media event

apple, ipad, smartwatch, apple watch, iphone 6c, apple a9, ipad air 3, second gen apple watch, iphone 5se

Apple’s next media event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 15, according to sources as reported by 9to5Mac. Being six weeks out, the date could very well change or Apple may turn it into an online announcement although the latter seems unlikely given the trio of devices we’re expecting to see.

The general consensus is that Apple is planning to unveil a new, smaller iPhone at the event. This 4-inch handset is said to be the spiritual successor of the iPhone 5c and will be called either the iPhone 5se or the iPhone 6c (neither name seems all that appealing but I digress).

Regardless of the name, the smaller iPhone is expected to be powered by an A9 chip with modern cameras and a 64GB storage option.

The iPad Air 3, meanwhile, will be the first update to the Air line since October 2014. As we reported last week, the new 9.7-inch slate will likely adopt the iPad Pro’s four-speaker audio system and a Smart Connector which suggests a Smart Keyboard accessory could also be in the works. We’ve also seen rumored leaked sketches that suggest the new iPad will have a rear LED flash, a first for an iPad.

Not a whole lot is known about the second-generation Apple Watch although it’s almost a given that we’ll see a new collection of bands on offer as well as updated software.

Apple Stores to let users trade in their broken iPhone for a new one

apple, iphone, trade-in, iphone 6, iphone 5s, iphone 6 plus, apple retail store

Apple is set to launch a new iPhone upgrade program at their retail stores that allows customers to trade in their old, broken iPhones for credit towards a brand new handset, according to the latest report from 9to5Mac.

It has been possible to trade in your old iPhone for credit towards a new one at Apple Stores for a while now, but the policy has stipulated that the phone you’re trading in must be in working condition. That’s set to change this week, though, with Apple to begin accepting trade-ins of phones with broken screens, cameras or buttons “within reason”.

The trade-in program will only apply to iPhone 5s and iPhone 6/6 Plus models, as it’s designed to encourage users to upgrade to the latest iPhone. Trading in a broken 5s will reportedly net you $50, while broken 6 and 6 Plus units will give you $200 and $250 of credit respectively. This credit can go towards the purchase of a new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus.

Apple will also begin offering screen protector applications at Apple Stores starting today, something that the company previously prohibited as it didn’t believe employees would do a good job applying them. If you purchase a screen protector in store, the Apple Store will use a specialized installation machine from Belkin to apply the protector perfectly.

And in the event that the machine doesn’t apply the screen protector perfectly, the Store will give you a free replacement and attempt the installation again. Unfortuntely Apple Stores don’t sell high-quality screen protectors like Phantom Glass, but the plastic ones available should do a decent enough job.

Tim Cook says Apple will appeal judge’s order to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

fbi, government, tim cook, encryption, passwords, backdoor, san bernardino shootings, all writs act, auto-delete

One day after a judge ordered Apple to help the FBI access the locked iPhone that was owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, CEO Tim Cook has spoken out against the decision, confirming that the company will appeal the order.

Judge Sheri Pym said in a ruling that Apple must give “reasonable technical assistance” to investigators attempting to unlock the data on the iPhone 5c. Authorities want Apple to create software that will circumvent the device’s security system, including a feature that erases all data on the iPhone if the passcode is entered incorrectly ten times.

“What the court is essentially ordering Apple to do is custom-build malware to undermine its own product’s security features, and then cryptographically sign that software so the iPhone will trust it as coming from Apple,” wrote Kevin S. Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute in an emailed statement toPCWorld.

The auto-delete feature has to be activated by the user, but authorities can’t tell if the function has been enabled in this case.

As prosecutors don’t know the passcode, they can’t access Farook’s work-issued iPhone. “Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily,” the prosecutors said.

Apple chief Tim Cook said in a letter to customers that, despite the order, the company won’t be building a backdoor to the iPhone.

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

Cook went on to warn of the implications of the government’s demands.

The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

The December 2 shooting, perpetrated by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, resulted in 14 deaths and 22 serious injuries at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. It reignited the debate over tech firms weakening their products’ encryption or providing backdoors so authorities can monitor suspects.

Last year, Apple said it would not perform data extractions in response to government search warrants on devices running iOS 8 and later because it could not access the data without the user’s passcode, which it does not possess. Apple added that it has never worked with any government to create a backdoor in any of its products or services, and it never will.

Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone will likely ditch the ‘5’ and arrive as the iPhone SE

Apple is widely expected to release a smaller 4-inch iPhone as early as next month. It is believed that the handset, often dubbed the iPhone 5se, will essentially be a clone of the iPhone 5s Apple released in 2013 but with modern (faster) internal hardware.

Sources reportedly familiar with the matter are now telling 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman that Apple has decided to drop the “5” from the handset’s name and focus on the special edition moniker, thus calling the device the iPhone SE.

If true, it would be the first iPhone since the original to arrive without a number in its name.

From a marketing standpoint, it actually makes a lot of sense for Apple to ditch the digit with this phone. Launching a “new” iPhone followed by the number five when the latest models carry the “6” suffix implies that it’s a technological step backwards (which is technically somewhat true). Those in tech circles would likely know better but the average consumer that doesn’t lust over hardware like the rest of us would almost certainly be left scratching their heads.

The new iPhone SE is expected to replace the existing 5s in Apple’s lineup and assume the same price point. The handset will probably be powered by Apple’s A9 SoC alongside an M9 chip and feature an 8-megapixel rear camera, NFC for Apple Pay, Live Photo capabilities and the company’s latest Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular hardware.

These are the most liked / least liked tech CEOs

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be experiencing pushback in some regions as he tries to connect the rest of the world to the Internet but in the US, he’s still garnering plenty of “likes.”

In a recent Morning Consult poll, 48 percent of registered voters said they view the Facebook boss favorably. Roughly four in 10 respondents (39 percent) said they had a favorable opinion of Apple chief Tim Cook although those results may be skewed a bit in the wake of Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption.

The publication said most of the other respondents either didn’t have an opinion of Cook or didn’t know who he was. Apparently the latter scenario is rather common as 31 percent of people didn’t know who Zuckerberg was while 59 percent had never heard of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Ironically enough, Zuckerberg is also the least liked tech CEO as 21 percent of those polled said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. That’s only slightly worse than Cook as 17 percent viewed him unfavorably. As far as ratios go, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick didn’t do so hot as only 16 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of him versus 19 percent that didn’t (the other 65 percent either didn’t have an opinion or didn’t know who he was).

The poll was conducted on February 24-25 among 1,935 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Apple plans Siri for Mac as tentpole feature for this fall’s OS X 10.12 launch

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Apple has reportedly been testing Siri for Mac since at least 2012, but even though the digital assistant has already made its way from the iPhone to the Apple Watch and Apple TV, it’s been notably absent from OS X. According to 9to5Mac’S Mark Gurman, that will change this year when the company launches OS X 10.2 in the Fall.

Gurman says Siri for Mac almost ready to go and will be announced as a “tentpole” feature for the next major update to OS X, which is expected to be previewed in June at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The digital assistant will reportedly be summoned in a handful of ways: through a Siri icon in the top right corner of the Mac’s menu bar, using a keyboard shortcut, or with the “hey Siri” voice prompt when your computer is plugged into a power outlet. Of course if you’re down with the idea of another device “always listening” to you in your home there will be an option to disable the feature.

Beyond Siri 9to5Mac reports OS X will receive minor user-interface tweaks across core system application windows, along with performance-focused improvement. If the company stick to its usual release schedule we can expect OS X 10.12 to launch around September or October, around the same time the next major update to iOS is due.