iPhone 8 does NOT exist, new Apple leak reveals

 

The iPhone 8 does not exist.

Apple will not launch a next-generation smartphone with the long-rumoured iPhone 8 branding this September, it has been claimed.

Instead, the new flagship phone will be marketed as iPhone Edition, according to a new report from reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The iPhone Edition brand would reportedly be used to signal that the smartphone is a higher-end model, similar to the top-of-the-range Apple Watch, which also carries the Edition moniker. Previous rumours suggest iPhone Edition could start at an eye-watering $1,000, roughly £820.

The latest report from Mac Otakara also claims Apple is still testing a number of different prototypes for the new flagship iPhone.

Apple iPhone 8 will debut a brand-new all-glass look, with a curved OLED display and no physical Home Button

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different display technologies and materials.Prototypes being tested in Cupertino include some iPhone Edition models with an LCD display, while others use an AMOLED panel.

Other prototypes are being passed around the Apple campus with and without physical Home Buttons, the report adds.

Apple is also believed to be experimenting with glass, aluminium and white ceramic chassis for the device.

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass bodyIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass body

In fact, the other features Apple is reportedly certain of are the new five-inch display size, wireless charging and dual camera set-up.That display size refers to the primary touchscreen area, which will be around 5.15 inches, according to the latest whispers from Cupertino.

Meanwhile, the rest of the touchscreen – which will reportedly bleed to the very edges of the phone – will be reserved for a row of virtual on-screen buttons.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the overall footprint of the smartphone will be similar to that of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, which all have a 4.7-inch LED display.

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreenDRIBBLE • ALHASAN HUSNI

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreen

Apple purportedly plans to debut an edge-to-edge display in an effort to keep the physical size of the device down, while simultaneously increasing the size of the display.Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is reportedly designing the phone so that it resembles “a single sheet of glass”.

Apple is hotly-tipped to ditch the physical Home Button from the front of the smartphone, so that it can reduce the bezels around the display.

But the dramatic changes planned for the next iPhone will not just be surface-deep.

According to a new research note from UBS, Apple has put together a team of more than 1,000 engineers working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology ready for the iPhone.

Augmented Reality sees artificial elements – like video footage, CGI animation or GPS data – placed on-top of real-world elements.

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprintIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprint

Pokémon Go is probably the best known example, which lets players use the camera to search for CGI monsters within the world around them.Apple CEO Tim Cook is very interested in AR and has spoken at length about the potential for the technology.

“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone,” Mr Cook said in an interview earlier this year.

“The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.”

According to Business Insider, Apple now “may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR”.

The same UBS research note claims Apple will include Augmented Reality technology inside its best-selling smartphone as early as the iPhone 8, or iPhone Edition.

If Apple keeps to the same schedule as previous years, the new iPhone will be launched in September.Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple will incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, usually located in physical Home Button, beneath the glass display in the next iPhone.

According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition functionality will not allow for its revolutionary all-glass design.

Instead, Mr Kuo claims, the new fingerprint sensor will require optical sensors to read the print resting on the display.

The complicated new display set-up, which presumably will still need to incorporate the pressure-sensitivity debuted with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will require a number of new, custom solutions from the panel manufacturers.

However the KGI Securities research report states that Apple has enough clout within the industry to get the system built ready for the new iPhone.

Alongside the new fingerprint recognition technology, the iPhone Edition could also see Apple introduce facial tracking sensors into its flagship smartphone, Mr Kuo has claimed.

These could be used to scan users’ faces to help verify identification.

Concept images reflect Apple's rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home ButtonREDDIT • FLOCKMANN • CONCEPTSiPHONE

Concept images reflect Apple’s rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home Button

Mr Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will “ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system” in an effort to make the iPhone even more secure.”However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution,” he writes.

Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly looking to distance itself from the curved aluminium design language it has used for the past three generations of iPhone, first introduced with iPhone 6.

With the Home Button gone, Apple can extended the display to the bottom of the phone – reducing the chunky bezels around the screen, and shrinking the overall footprint of the device.

Apple is expected to debut its new industrial design language early next year with a refresh of its iPad range.

 

Apple found guilty of Russian price-fixing

 

Russia’s competition watchdog has found that Apple fixed the prices of certain iPhone models sold in the country.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (Fas) said that Apple’s local subsidiary told 16 retailers to maintain the recommended prices of phones in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 families.

Non-compliance with the pricing guidelines may have led to the termination of contracts, it found.

Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.

At the time of the investigation, Apple denied that it controlled its products’ pricing, telling Reuters that resellers “set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world”.

The regulator said Apple had now ended its price-fixing practices but has not said whether the company faces a fine.

The FAS claimed that Apple Rus monitored the retail prices for the iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.iphone 6s Plus out of box

“In the case of the establishment of ‘inappropriate’ prices, the Russian subsidiary of Apple sent emails to resellers asking them to change,” the watchdog said.

The deputy head of the FAS, Andrey Tsarikovsky, added that “Apple actively co-operated” with the investigation and that the company had “adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law”.

That included training employees in the “anti-monopoly legislation norms” in Russia.

In May, the FAS found that Google used its dominant position to force its own apps and services on users and fined it £5m ($6m).

And, in November, the regulator opened an investigation into whether Microsoft abused its position in the security market with Windows 10, following a complaint from Moscow-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky.

 

A win for Apple in Beijing as court overturns iPhone patent ruling

 

Apple has bigger fish frying in the world of intellectual property. But it must be a relief that an IP court in Beijing has handed the smartphone pioneers a win. On Friday, the courts overturned a May 2016 ruling that said Apple had violated design patents of a small, and now defunct, Chinese company called Shenzhen Baili.

The disputes were over the exterior design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, which Shenzhen Baili claimed were a copy of their 100C smartphones, curved corners and all. The company “barely existed” at the time it filed the suit. And its 100C smartphones were impossible to find.

Initially, Apple was handed an injunction to stop selling its iPhone 6 line in Beijing, but it quickly filed an administrative appeal and was permitted to sell the phones there again until further review by the court. Damage was likely minimal. Apple was switching up  to iPhone 7 when this IP drama first arose, as TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez noted at the time.

Since the Friday decision, iin press interviews, Shenzhen Baili’s legal team has said it plans to appeal. Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Apple has lost market share in China in recent years to up and coming device makers from Xiaomi to BBK Electronics’ brands Oppo and Vivo more recently. However, it has remained the most profitable player in the market. Specifically, as the Motley Fool reports, “In 2016, Apple captured an incredible 79% of global smartphone industry profits with just 14.5% market share.”

The latest IP decision indicates that China courts will not always rule in favor of home town businesses, at least. Another ruling had raised concerns over protectionist precedents.

Last spring, a court allowed leather goods makers Xintong Tiandi to continue making bags using the “iphone” and “IPHONE” trademarks in China. Xintong Tiandi had registered to use the brand name in 2007, while Apple’s smartphones did not go on sale in China until 2009. Apple hadn’t registered the brand specifically to cover leather goods.

 

Apple Makes an Uncharacteristic Move

 

Apple decided to let reporters in on a secret this week: a new Mac Pro is coming sometime next year. ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES

Apple is famously tight-lipped between product announcements, preferring to let fans merely speculate about what’s to come.

The company made an exception Monday, when its marketing chief Phil Schiller invited a group of reporters to the hallowed grounds where the company develops Mac prototypes.

The conversation focused on the Mac Pro, according to Tech Crunch, which attended the meeting. The current version of the computer, casually known as the trash can for its cylindrical shape, hasn’t been a particularly strong seller. Apple loyalists have questioned whether the company was going to abandon the professional market altogether.Apple decided to let reporters in on a secret this week: a new Mac Pro is coming sometime next year.

“We are in the process of what we call completely rethinking the Mac Pro,” Schiller said. That means a new Pro and a new external display — just not in 2017. Apple last updated the Mac Pro in 2013. The new machine, though, won’t have a touch screen, as Microsoft’s pro computer, the Surface Studio, does.

Apple also said that it would be coming out with new iMacs later this year that would have better specs — presumably making them more appealing to customers who use a lot of professional apps.

Is this a signal that Apple will be more forthcoming in the future? Probably not. While the company pointed out that its Mac business is close to having the revenue of a Fortune 100 company, desktops just don’t move the needle much in this iPhone world. We expect Apple to stay quiet on the big stuff.

Big Picture: Apple offered a rare view into its upcoming Mac plans.

 

Apple Malware Appears to Be Skyrocketing

 

If you’re a Mac user, you might want to look out for an increase of unwanted advertisements popping out from your web browsers.

Security firm McAfee released a report this week that showed a big jump in 2016 regarding malware hitting the Mac operating system. The McAfee report said there were 460,000 malware instances affecting the Mac OS in the fourth quarter of 2016, an over 700% jump from the previous year during the same quarter.

McAfee’s new report confirms similar research by other cybersecurity firms in recent years that show an increased prevalence of malware affecting Apple computers. Essentially, as more people buy Apple (AAPL, -0.19%) computers, there are more possibilities for malware to infect the machines.Image result for Apple Malware Appears to Be Skyrocketing

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But while an over 700% surge in malware may sound frightening, it should be noted that “the big increase in Mac OS malware was due to adware bundling,” the report’s authors wrote. Adware refers to software that automatically displays online advertisements to users when they surf the web.

Adware, while annoying and obtrusive to some users, is considered by security researchers to be relatively harmless compared to the kinds of computer viruses that can help criminals hack into people’s machines.

One way people can protect themselves from accidentally downloading adware is by only downloading apps from Apple’s approved online store instead of installing software from less reliable sources.

In January, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes said that it discovered a new type of malware that could freeze Apple computers.

Apple/Disney merger: Rumours swell over possible mega-deal

 

Disney and Apple — two of the largest companies on Earth — could be planning a merger, according to analysts.

A speculative analysis by RBC Capital Markets claims Apple could potentially put together $200 billion-plus to take over Disney resulting in $1 trillion “tech/media juggernaut like no other.”

“Recently, investors have increased their expectations that Apple could seriously consider acquiring Disney,” RBC analysts wrote in a note to investors.

“The resultant company would be massive, with enough cash and balance sheet capacity to change the nature of the hardware, service, and content industries. If there’s a deal out there that would strike fear in the hearts of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, this could be it.”

According to Variety, the analysts claim an Apple-Disney company would create an instant competitor for Netflix built around Disney content, while their theme parks would benefit from Apple technology.

“Content is a major focus for Apple, target size is not an issue, and Disney offers an avenue to diversify away from hardware without diluting the strong Apple brand,” the note continues.

One of the many caveats is that, for Apple to bring the $230 million they have overseas back to the US to spend in Disney, they could have huge tax bill. However, CEO Tim Cook has previously spoken about being ‘optimistic’ new laws would lead to tax breaks.

It should be duly noted that RBC’s research is based predominantly on speculation and nattering investors rather than hard evidence.

There have been discussions surrounding an Apple-Disney merger for years, mainly spurred on after Disney CEO Bob Iger became an Apple board member in 2011.

If a deal does come through, Apple would also acquire Disney’s other recent purchases, including both LucasFilm and Marvel Studios. Perhaps Tony Stark would be sponsored by Apple and Luke Skywalker will get an iPhone?

 

Red iPhone 7 goes on sale in India, receives price cut as well

 

The (Product) Red edition of the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has been launched in India. The models, which were unveiled and launched in the US last month, are now available for purchase in India through Amazon.Image result for Red iPhone 7

Interestingly, the retailer is already offering discounts on these variants. While the red iPhone 7 is currently going for INR 66,000 (around $1,025), the Plus variant is listed for INR 78,000 (around $1,210) – an INR 4,000 (around $60) price cut for each.

Retailer Infibeam will start selling/shipping the models tomorrow. For more information, head to the Source links below.

 

Apple’s Clips app is iMovie for the next generation

 

When I opened up Apple’s new Clips app yesterday, as I’ve been doing for the past few days, I was greeted with the same photo-capture screen that’s prioritized in all the social “story” apps. Take a picture! Capture video! Share! Share everything! they scream at you. I added some text overlays and emoji, and fumbled my way through Live Titles, the feature that’s distinctive to Apple Clips. And eventually, I shared my Clips. But it took a while. Because Clips take a while.

After Apple first announced its Clips video-making app a couple weeks ago, a lot of people — including me — wondered whether this was the company’s attempt to grab some of the attention that’s been siphoned by social apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. After using the new Clips app for the past five days, it’s become clear to me that this is not Apple’s attempt at a “social” app, at least, not in the way that social networks work.

Instead, it’s a video-making app that borrows some features from other apps. It’s an app that requires some thought and a little more work than a Snap or tweet or ‘gram does. These days, it’s possible to use those apps in public and with friends in a way that doesn’t feel terribly rude, whether it’s because everyone else is doing it or because the point is to share something quick and raw. With Clips, prepare to spend at least a few minutes making something share-worthy.

But that’s not a bad thing: it’s a distinctly Apple-like approach to mobile video. Parts of the app are also fun to use. There’s at least one element of the app that feels like it could use a whole redesign, and the question still remains as to whether this app is one that iPhone (and iPad) users will feel compelled to use before they use their favorite social apps. But overall, this is a kind of next-generation iMovie that I’m willing to bet a healthy portion of Apple’s user base will be happy to use.

If you ever said, “I wish iMovie was less about dissolves and transitions and more about adding cool filters and text,” then you are in luck.

Clips is free to download, and it’s available on iOS only. I wrote previously about its core features, but to summarize: you can shoot new photos or videos from within the app, or you can pull from your existing iPhone library. From there, you can add text, filters, overlays, emoji, and something Apple is calling “posters,” which are opaque transition cards. You can also add music, pulling either from your iTunes library or a selection of other instrumental music tracks curated just for the Clips app.

Clips are created in a square format, and are added to a basic timeline at the bottom of the screen. You can add individual video clips up to 30 minutes long to this timeline; and the total run time of a finished Clips video can be as long as 60 minutes. It’s also created and shared in 1080p HD, if your source video is HD. This is the kind of stuff that makes it much more of a video creation app than a Snapchat competitor.

And then there’s Live Titles. Live Titles is the app’s big differentiator, and utilizes voice recognition technology in a way that’s both clever and confusing. Rather than punch in text or scribble it on the phone’s touchscreen display, with Clips you’re supposed to narrate your thoughts out loud. You can opt to have those words included as audio, text, or both. This option was partly driven by the way people are watching video online now — text only, no audio — which makes sense. Unfortunately, the way the feature is designed doesn’t make as much sense.

After selecting a Live Titles style, you’re then supposed to hold down the record button and speak. If you want to mute your voice in a video, you have to tap a mic button. This isn’t exactly intuitive; most times you’re tapping a microphone icon to start recording your voice. While you’re speaking, the text doesn’t appear on the Clip; it’s processed after the fact. If you want to undo Live Titles, you don’t unselect the Live Titles icon; you have to go into the Live Titles options and select “None.”

You also just can’t simply type in text to start from Live Titles; you have to go to the Overlays tab for that. So yeah, it’s complicated.

Considering that Apple plans to include a Help section in the app when it goes live, I’m guessing I’m not the only person who has given early feedback that it’s the most confusing part of the app. It’s a cool concept, but I really hope Apple considers seriously simplifying this.

Despite that, making Clips is easy, especially if you ignore Live Titles. I’ve made Clips videos of my cat (of course), a bowl of pho, a recent vacation, and California-esque things I’ve done in a single day. The comic filter is cool, and it renders the effect on photos and videos as you’re capturing them, not after the fact. Individually, the features are reminiscent of the features in other apps — sepia-toned filters, location and time stamps — but combined, it all feels distinctly Apple. Example: one of the text overlays is a familiar blue iMessage bubble.

When you tap the share button — assuming you want to share your Clips when you’re done, unless you just like to make videos to look at all by yourself, which is possible — all of the usual suspects are there, from Vimeo to Facebook to YouTube to Mail. And iMessage is supposed to be slightly optimized for this. The app will use facial recognition technology to determine who is in your clips videos and prioritize those contacts in the share function; although, I haven’t tested that much, since I was using the app in advance of its official release and couldn’t share the videos to all of my contacts.

So while Clips isn’t Apple’s answer to Snapchat, or Instagram, or Facebook Stories, or Prisma, or the ill-fated Qwiki, there is still an element that’s inherently shareable. Which is to say, after making Clips this week, I actually wanted to share them. In a way, Apple has again renounced the responsibility of being a social network while also encouraging a kind of network-exclusive interaction. Just like the blue bubbles of iMessage will give you away, so will some of the features of this app.

Just don’t try to make a fancy Clips video to share while you’re out in social settings. It takes too darn long, at least at first.

 

Apple And Amazon Make Strange Bedfellows In The Chip Business

Toshiba is up almost 11% in two days on chatter that there are bids as high as 3 trillion yen for its chip subsidiary.

The latest buzz being reported by Japanese daily, Mainichi, is that Foxconn is looking to also get the backing of Amazon and Dell, in addition to Apple, in its effort to win the approval of the Japanese government to take over Toshiba’s foundry business.

According to Mainichi, Foxconn is planning to ask Amazon and Dell to take a 10% each stake in the unit, while Apple will take a 20% share, with the rest going to Foxconn assumedly.

With Apple locked in a major dispute with Qualcomm, one of its chip suppliers that happened to report its March quarter earnings yesterday, an investment in Toshiba flash memory unit would go a long way in helping Apple gain further leverage versus Qualcomm.

 

Here is what Qualcomm said about its dispute with Apple last night on the conference call:

“In Q2, Apple (AAPL) interfered with the license agreements between Qualcomm and the Apple suppliers by actively inducing them to underpay the royalties they owed to Qualcomm for sales during the December quarter. Apple withheld payments to their suppliers for sales in the December quarter in an amount equal to what Apple claims Qualcomm owes to Apple under a separate cooperation agreement between the companies… Apple suppliers then underpaid royalties to Qualcomm in the same amount. In the aggregate, this amount is approximately $1B. Most of Apple’s suppliers have already reported the royalties they owe to Qualcomm for sales to Apple during the March quarter and they are obligated to pay the full amount of those royalties to us. While we would expect Apple suppliers to pay the royalties they owe us under their license agreements, it is possible that Apple will continue to interfere with the Apple suppliers license agreements, leading those suppliers to breach their contracts with Qualcomm by underpaying some or all of what they owe us. We expect to have more visibility into this in the coming weeks. Given this uncertainty, our Q3 guidance assumes a range of possible payments from the Apple suppliers but does not reflect a scenario that Apple suppliers pay nothing to us for March quarter sales.” 

The last line states that Qualcomm expects to get paid at least partially on the $1B that Apple has held back from its suppliers who, in turn, did not pay Qualcomm.

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2017 Midas: Newcomers and Returnees

Launch Gallery

This matter will not get resolved quickly, however an investment in Toshiba’s chip-making business could possibly bring Qualcomm to lower its royalty rates and requirements going forward. That would benefit not just Apple but most of its supply chain as well.

Qualcomm management did state on the conference call, “We expect to continue to be an important supplier to Apple now and into the future.”

That could change pretty quickly if Apple, Foxconn and company are successful in their bid for Toshiba’s chip business.

If Apple and Amazon, as partners with Foxconn and Dell in Toshiba’s flash memory business, do end up as owners of the unit, it will be a partnership that will catch most by surprise.

Think about it, a Taiwan based company (Foxconn) partnering with 3 of America’s best known companies, Apple, Amazon and Dell, to buy out a Japanese conglomerate’s chip making unit.

The words, “we are living increasingly interconnected lives on a global basis” couldn’t ring more true.

For Apple, the move couldn’t be more timely given its dispute with Qualcomm and the leverage alone it would gain versus the latter could be well worth the price of admission to become a co-owner of Toshiba’s chip manufacturing operations.

Strange bedfellows completely notwithstanding.

(Long aapl, amzn, options on both)

Follow me on twitter @jsomaney, find my other Forbes posts & articles from other platforms at jaysomaney.com where you can get my real-time opinion on the stock markets live daily.

 

Apple appears to be interested in the satellite internet business

 

Apple looks like it’s staffing up an internal hardware team responsible for satellite internet delivery, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company just hired Alphabet’s John Fenwick, who was Google’s head of spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, Fenwick’s colleague and head of satellite engineering, to be part of a new team under Dropcam co-founder Greg Duffy. Apple hired Duffy, who himself left Alphabet in 2015 shortly after Nest acquired Dropcam, earlier this year for an undisclosed position.

It’s unclear what exactly Duffy’s unit is working on, but Fenwick and Trela’s expertise in the satellite business seems to suggest the company is looking into internet delivery. Fenwick was the co-founder of SkyBox Imaging, a satellite company Google acquired in 2014 and later sold to competitor Planet Labs back in February of this year. Another big name in the satellite business, Greg Wyler, left Google back in 2014 to work with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and Google ultimately invested $1 billion alongside Fidelity in the space transportation company it appears in lieu of building out its own division.

So it’s clear the general winding down of satellite work at Google has pushed some of its in-house talent to competitors, but Apple is still a peculiar pick given its nonexistent track record in the satellite space. Both Facebook and Alphabet are the biggest players in the tech industry when it comes to delivering internet over the air, with Facebook working on solar-powered drones and Alphabet having shifted its resources from satellites and drones of its own to its hot-air balloon project Loon and Google Fiber unit.

But telecom consultant Tim Farrar wrote last month that Apple is funding a Boeing effort to deliver internet using a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites. Duffy’s role at Apple working under Dan Riccio, who oversees Apple’s consumer hardware teams, also suggests Apple could be building some of this tech itself, according to Bloomberg. While what the iPhone maker is up to is all very murky right now, it’s clear CEO Tim Cook has gotten serious about looking beyond smartphones and other consumer electronics and into more forward-looking industries like satellite internet and self-driving cars.