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Apple Offering Some Developers Second Chance to Buy Unclaimed WWDC Tickets
Apple is offering some developers a chance to buy unclaimed WWDC tickets, according to a report from 9to5Mac and several Twitter users. Apple has emailed certain developers to offer them WWDC tickets, giving them 24 hours to pay the $1,599 ticket fee.

This year, because of nearly immediate ticket sellouts in past years, Apple decided to offer WWDC tickets to registered, paid iOS and Mac developers through a lottery system. Developers who won the ticket lottery had until April 14 to complete their purchases.

wwdc-2014-logo
Now Apple is reportedly reaching out to developers who didn’t win the lottery and offering them a chance to buy unclaimed tickets. Some developers are starting to get phone calls from the company informing them that they have been randomly selected to buy one of the tickets that winners failed to claim before the 14th.
It is unknown how many WWDC tickets went unclaimed by lottery winners, nor how the company is choosing developers to receive a second chance at tickets.

The annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be held from June 2-6 at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco


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Apple's Shazam Partnership Could Boost Advertising Efforts
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Apple has plans to integrate song identification features into iOS 8 through a partnership with audio discovery platform Shazam, but as suggested by media professor Aram Sinnreich, Apple's ambitions may go beyond simple music recognition capabilities.

Speaking with Computerworld, Sinnreich, a media professor at Rutgers University, points out that Apple could use Shazam's audio recognition abilities to gather information on the media that iPhone and iPad users are consuming, including music, television shows, movies, and more, for targeted advertisements.

shazam
While Shazam is known for identifying songs that are playing on the radio or through other sources, the service is also capable of identifying and tagging television shows and advertisements. Shazam works by analyzing captured sound and comparing its acoustic fingerprint to an audio database, which began including television content in 2012.

Shazam's technology could, of course, be used to deliver music and television information to consumers, providing identification along with additional content like news, facts, and iTunes purchase links, but at the same time, Apple could also use it to gather information on consumer preferences each time a song, television show, or advertisement is "tagged" or identified by a user, allowing the company to use those preferences to deliver more targeted ad suggestions across iOS.
Sinnreich pointed out that Shazam has been indexing advertisements broadcast on television, as well as the pre-show ads shown in movie theaters, and in some cases, has stuck deals with advertisers to provide metrics of those who "tag" an ad. In some cases, tagging an ad presents the consumer with additional information, or even a special offer.
Currently, the existing Shazam app is able to run in the background of iOS, continually cataloging and identifying all of the music, television shows, and TV ads that a user watches. Apple could potentially integrate the feature in the same way into iOS 8, allowing it to run in the background to continually listen for various audio content.


This functionality would allow Apple to know what a user prefers to watch and listen to. For example, if someone was watching Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, Apple's media recognition capabilities could theoretically automatically identify what's being watched, cataloging it for future use in advertisements. Sinnreich likens this functionality to an audio QR code.
"Apple could do whatever a QR code is used for now, but sonically," said Sinnreich of the audio fingerprinting technology. "Someone tags a commercial, and that's entered into a database, effectively targeting [that consumer] for further ads," he said.
While Sinnreich's theory is mere speculation at this point, it does fit in with Apple's current advertising methods, which the company says include "exceptional targeting." Apple has been working to expand its iAd platform in recent months, moving beyond app advertisements to encompass iTunes Radio ads as well. Further improving its targeting methods could entice major advertisers, which has been the company's goal -- recently, Apple made it simpler for advertisers large and small to sign up for the platform, eliminating the need for a developer account.

Apple's audio recognition capabilities are said to be coming alongside iOS 8, which is expected to make its debut during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The operating system will likely be released to the public later in the year, in September or October.


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Alleged iPad Air 2 Front Panel with Integrated Display Shown in New Photos
Following the leak of an alleged iPhone 6 front panel earlier this week, the iPad is now getting its turn with a pair of photos showing what is said to be a front panel for the next-generation iPad Air, shared by Dutch site One More Thing [Google Translate]. Notably, the part appears to include an integrated display in contrast to the separate panel and display parts used on the current model. A move to an integrated front panel/display would reduce overall thickness, potentially allowing Apple to further slim down the iPad Air or make room for other components such as a slightly larger battery.

ipad_air_2_panel_back
MacRumors spoke with iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens, who noted that the assembly could indeed be legitimate and use a manufacturing process similar to that seen on the Retina MacBook Pro. The move to an integrated panel/display would increase repair costs, but ease of repair has not been a particularly major focus for Apple and the company already uses an integrated display on the iPhone.

ipad_air_2_panel_front
The next-generation iPad Air is expected to launch later this year, with notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicting that upgraded iPad Air and Retina iPad mini models will debut in the third quarter of this year and adopt the Touch ID system introduced on the iPhone 5s last year.

(Thanks, Rogier!)


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Analysts Predict Q2 2014 Decline in iPad Sales, Slight Increase in iPhone Sales
Sales of Apple's iPad and iPhone remained strong during the holiday season with record quarterly sales reported in Q1 2014. Analyst predictions for Apple's second quarter of its fiscal year suggest iPhone sales may rise slightly, while iPad sales may decline slightly, reports Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog.

ipad-sales-quarterly
The consensus estimate from 21 Wall Street professionals and 13 amateur analysts predict iPad sales of 19.3 million, a 0.7 percent decline in Q2 2014. This is a significant change from Q2 2013, which saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase.
The consensus estimate, at 19.3 million, would represent a 0.7% decline, with the pros slightly more optimistic (at 19.4 million) than the amateurs (19.2 million). Dragging down the amateur numbers is the 15 million estimate submitted by the Braeburn Group's Matt Lew. Tugging in the other direction is Horace Dediu's 21.8 million. One represents a year-over-year decline of 23%, the other an increase of 12%.
This dip in sales may only be temporary as Apple is expected to launch updated models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display later this year, and may launch a larger-screen iPad Pro sometime in future after production issues are solved.

Apple will announce its earnings for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2014 on Wednesday, April 23. The earnings release is posted just after 4:30 PM ET following the close of regular stock trading, and the conference call is scheduled to follow at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.


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New iPhone 6 Renderings Based on Recent Info Show Design Changes
After showing off a concept for a sapphire-glass backed “iPhone Air” earlier this month, French Apple website Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] and graphic designer Martin Hajek have teamed up once again to create a set renders for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and accompanying cases in a variety of colors, which are based on leaked schematics posted by Japanese magazine MacFan and the dimensions of an alleged case that surfaced earlier this week.

iphone_6_hajek4_1
The renderings depict the iPhone 6 as a thin device with rounded corners, with the power button located along the upper right side of the device and rectangular volume controls similar to that of the fifth-generation iPod touch. The case rendered to compliment the phone also contains cutouts for each new design change, along with holes for the camera, flash, and Apple logo on the rear.

iphone_6_hajek4_3
Notably, a bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is also rendered alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 4-inch iPhone 5s, retaining the same design properties as the 4.7-inch version. Apple is expected to launch both sizes of the iPhone 6 in the near future, however reports have indicated the 4.7-inch version will launch first this fall as the company will likely delay the launch of the 5.5-inch version due to production issues.

iphone_6_hajek4_2
Along with a larger display, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner design, new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an upgraded camera in the form of optical image stabilization. Apple is also reportedly negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.



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FaceTime Not Working for Many iOS 6 Users
Apple's FaceTime appears to be malfunctioning for iPhone and iPad users with devices running iOS 6, according to multiple tips received by MacRumors as well as a MacRumorsforum post and a thread on the Apple Support Communities.

It appears that users who are running iOS 6 are unable to place or receive FaceTime calls, with reports of problems dating back to yesterday. Devices running iOS 7 appear to be functioning as normal, and Apple's System Status page is not reporting any outages.

facetime
One user mentioned being able to FaceTime with a device running iOS 6.1.6, while a device with iOS 6.0.1 was not able to access the service. Another has reported that Mac users running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion may also be experiencing problems with FaceTime.

Users who have had issues have contacted Apple Support and several Apple representatives have recommended an update to iOS 7 to fix the problem. It is likely the iOS 6 FaceTime outage is only temporary, however, and will presumably not necessitate an update to iOS 7.


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Angela Ahrendts May Delay Apple Start Until Mid-Year
angela_ahrendts_bwBurberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts resigned last October from the British luxury fashion house to join Apple as the head of its retail division. According to The Guardian, Ahrendts is free to leave Burberry this month, having fulfilled her six-month notice period, but her actual exit date is not yet known.

Ahrendts may be staying longer at Burberry to help smooth the transition over to her successor Christopher Bailey, who is currently serving as the company's chief creative officer. Money also may be a factor in Ahrendts leaving as she is slated to receive a two million pound bonus in June for her recent performance as Burberry CEO.
"It's a big sum of money. In some ways it would be good to see the business moving on after six months of handover time. You want to see clarity," said Rahul Sharma, an analyst at Neev Capital.

But he said investors were also likely to feel reassured by Ahrendt's presence ahead of some big moves for Burberry and continuing concerns about Bailey's ability to combine his creative role with that of a chief executive.

"That is a big concern in the back of investors' minds and Ahrendt's presence delays that point of judgment," he said.
Another factor may be Ahrendts' critical role in Burberry's revamped Japanese business strategy, which involves severing long-term apparel licensing agreements in 2015 and creating its own distribution system in the important Asian market. Burberry is expected to confirm this plan as part of the company's annual report next month.

Ahrendts will join Apple as the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, a position that has seen significant turnover in the past several years. In 2011, Ron Johnson left Apple for J.C. Penney, after building up Apple's retail presence during his 11-year tenure. Johnson was replaced by Dixons CEO John Browett, who served less than a year at Apple.


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How Apple Could Make the Move to 4.7" iPhone Displays
Amidst the flurry of iPhone 6 rumors coming from KGI Securities' report last week, Ming-Chi Kuo presented the first possible screen resolution for Apple's 4.7" iPhone 6. Kuo lists it as a 1334x750 Retina display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Historically, Apple has been very cautious with resolution changes in their iOS devices. The original iPhone was launched with a 320x480 resolution. Eventually, Apple moved to 640x960 Retina display, doubling the linear resolution in each dimension. That allowed existing apps to simply be pixel-doubled to fill the entire screen. Developers could then take their time to update their apps to fully support the higher resolution display. When Apple moved from 3.5" to 4" screens in the iPhone 5, they simply added vertical resolution. This allowed existing apps to run in a letterboxed format with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

iphone-screen-sizes
Relative iPhone display sizes by Redtech

Right before the 4" iPhone releases, Apple began encouraging developers to use AutoLayout in designing their apps:
Auto Layout is a system that lets you lay out your app’s user interface by creating a mathematical description of the relationships between the elements. You define these relationships in terms of constraints either on individual elements, or between sets of elements. Using Auto Layout, you can create a dynamic and versatile interface that responds appropriately to changes in screen size, device orientation, and localization.
AutoLayout paves the way for apps to more easily adapt to changes in display sizes and resolution in the future.

If Apple were to adopt a 1334x750 4.7" display as predicted by Kuo, it would preserve the same pixel density (326 ppi) as the iPhone 5s. That means that all existing user interface elements, such as icons, would be the same size but would allow for more screen space.

Our designer found that using the exact same icons and spacing them out to fill the screen, 1334x750 pixels allows Apple to fit exactly one extra row of icons onto the iPhone home screen. This mockup shows the relative size of the 4.7" iPhone screen and how much extra room there would be using the exact same icons as on the current iPhone:

iphone5s-64" home screen (left) vs 4.7" home screen (right)


Meanwhile, existing unoptimized apps could function in a "letterbox" style with black borders for unused screen space. TheVergeforum user Pi is exactly 3 created a mockup showing this exact scenario. This image shows how an "unoptimized" app would appear (left) compared to one that has been optimized for the 4.7" display (right):

settingsMockup by Pi is exactly 3

Given Apple's past reluctance to blur or break existing apps, it seems that this resolution choice could provide Apple and developers a reasonable upgrade path for a larger factor iPhone. Apple has acknowledged that customers want larger iPhones and all iPhone 6 rumors are pointing to a larger iPhone device this year.


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Apple to Honor Earth Day 2014 at Retail Stores, Main Campus
Apple will be celebrating Earth Day 2014 next Tuesday, April 22 throughout its various retail locations and at its main campus, reports9to5Mac.

apple_100_renewable
The company will color its logos in green for the occasion, as employees will wear special shirts with an event planned at Apple's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. Apple last celebrated Earth Day in 2006 by holding a free computer takeback program in honor of the event.

Apple has remained active in its environment efforts throughout the past few years, which include powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy, expanding its recycling program, and reporting on its carbon footprint. Last May, Apple also hired former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to lead the company's environmental responsibility efforts.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace also featured Apple as a "green energy innovator" in its latest report earlier this month, praising the company for its commitment to renewable energy after taking issues with previous efforts.


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Apple Working With Shazam on Song Identification Capabilities for iOS 8
Apple is working on a song identification feature as a new addition to iOS 8, reports Bloomberg. The company has plans to partner with music discovery service Shazam to offer users a way to discover a song that is playing on the radio or from another source, such as a TV, using a small music clip.
The company is planning to unveil a song-discovery feature in an update of its iOS mobile software that will let users identify a song and its artist using an iPhone or iPad, said two people with knowledge of the product, who asked not to be identified because the feature isn't public. Apple is partnering with Shazam Entertainment Ltd., whose technology can quickly spot what's playing by collecting sound from a phone's microphone and matching it against a song database.
Along with Shazam, several other apps, including SoundHound, offer music and media identification capabilities. The apps use the iPhone's microphone to listen to short sound clips, matching songs against a database and providing additional information like lyrics and purchase links.

shazam
The existing Shazam for iOS app

Shazam is also capable of recognizing television shows and other media, so it is possible Apple's iOS identification feature could offer similar capabilities. According to Bloomberg, the feature will be directly integrated into iOS and will not need to be downloaded as a standalone app. It will function with Siri, allowing users to ask what song is playing.
The song-identification feature will be integrated into the mobile software in the same way that Twitter's service is currently incorporated, meaning consumers don’t need to separately download it. Among the ways it can be used will be through Apple's voice-activated search feature, Siri. An iPhone user will be able to say something like "what song is playing," to find out the tune’s details, one person said.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple has plans to revamp its iTunes music store in order to boost flagging digital music sales. The company is said to be considering iTunes for Android and an on-demand streaming music service similar to Spotify. A song identification feature could be released as part of the same iTunes overhaul, and it's also possible that high resolution song downloads are in the works.

Apple traditionally previews its operating system updates during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference and iOS 8 is expected to make its initial debut on June 2, during the 2014 conference.


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Yahoo Wants to Be Apple’s Default iOS Search Engine
YahooYahoo is working on two internal projects to optimize its mobile search and monetization in order to convince Apple to make Yahoo the default search engine on iOS reports Re/code.

The WSJreported last year that Apple and Yahoo had been in discussions of how to integrate Yahoo's services more prominently in iOS, beyond powering the Weather and Stocks apps.

The report says Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is preparing detailed presentations to present to Apple executives showing what its new mobile search product could look like. There are a pair of internal projects, code-named "Fast Break" and "Curveball", that are part of Yahoo's redesign of its mobile search engine.
That has not happened as yet officially — it’s just the big honking goal of the Yahoo effort, said sources. Still, several said Mayer has already buttonholed a few Apple executives on the topic, including its powerful SVP of design Jony Ive, who knows the former Google exec well.

“This is the aim of the whole effort here, to grab the pole position in iOS search,” said one person working on the effort. “It will take more than pretty pictures though to convince Apple to give up Google, given its focus on consumer experience being top-notch. But Marissa wants it very badly.”
Currently, Yahoo and Microsoft are in the midst of a 10-year search and advertising partnership, something Mayer is trying to get out of. At the same time, Microsoft's Bing provides the backend for Apple's Siri web search feature. Google is the default search engine in the Safari iOS browser, with Yahoo and Bing available as user-selectable options. Apple already replaced Google's Maps app with its own mapping application as default.

According to the Re/code report, a new and expanded agreement between Apple and Yahoo is not imminent -- Apple has yet to be pitched on the new products. Instead, it's part of a longer term play to bring the two companies closer together.


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Google's 'Project Tango' Smartphone Uses Apple's PrimeSense Technology
Earlier this year, Google unveiled "Project Tango," an experimental smartphone that incorporates 3D sensors to allow users to map indoor and outdoor environments.

Reports suggested that the smartphone's 3D capabilities were powered by the Movidius Myriad 1 3D-sensing chip, but as it turns out, Project Tango is also powered by Apple technology. Alongside two Myriad 1 vision co-processors, Project Tango utilizes a PrimeSense Capri PS1200 3D imaging system-on-a-chip [PDF], technology that Apple acquired when it purchased PrimeSense late last year.

primesensecaprips1200
The unexpected PrimeSense chip was discovered in a teardown of the Project Tango smartphone by iFixit that was posted this morning.
This appears to be PrimeSense's new Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

Just last year, Apple bought PrimeSense, manufacturer of the Kinect's 3D vision hardware. Speculators assumed we would be seeing this hot new hardware in an upcoming iOS device, with intent of mapping 3D spaces. Looks like Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own tech?
Google's Project Tango smartphone is one of the first mobile devices to use the diminutive Capri 3D sensor and it offers a glimpse at what Apple could possibly do with the technology in the future.

Project Tango is essentially a mapping tool, capturing the world around each user to provide directions, dimensions, and environmental maps. Google also has plans to use the technology to create immersive augmented reality games and apps that merge the digital world with the real world.

According to iFixit, Project Tango works very similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, which also used technology developed by PrimeSense. Tango displays a bright grid of dots that are captured by IR sensors to build a depth map.

tango
Along with the Capri 3D chip and the Myriad vision co-processors, Project Tango incorporates four separate cameras to capture its environment. Amazon is said to be working on a similar device that incorporates multiple cameras for 3D mapping and with Google and Amazon both working on 3D projects, it is reasonable to assume that Apple is also experimenting with the technology.

There have been no hints that Apple intends to incorporate PrimeSense technology in the upcoming iPhone 6, but motion control capabilities similar to the Kinect have been rumored for the next-generation Apple TV set-top box, so the first Apple device to use PrimeSense technology may very well be the Apple TV. Project Tango proves that PrimeSense's 3D chips are ready for mobile devices and it is likely that the company is continuing development on its Capri chips, improving the technology for possible inclusion in future iPads and iPhones.



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Hyundai Bringing CarPlay to 2015 Sonata Models Later This Year
Hyundai today announced that it will bring Apple's CarPlay technology to its Sonata automobile lineup starting next year. This introduction makes Hyundai the first volume automobile manufacturer to bring CarPlay to the market and leaves Honda as the only one of five brands featured by Apple as launching CarPlay support in 2014 yet to make a specific announcement.

hyundai_carplay
The first Hyundai automobiles to offer the voice-driven system will be the company's popular Sonata line. Models that are equipped with the CarPlay-compatible navigation systems will debut later in the 2015 model year.
Hyundai’s latest Audio Video Navigation (AVN) systems are already recognized for their beautiful, yet intuitive interface and advanced feature set. Our engineers took advantage of the vivid eight-inch touchscreen to integrate CarPlay for an experience that iPhone users will instantly recognize.
CarPlay allows an iPhone to integrate into the car's infotainment system, providing Siri voice-controlled access to messaging, voice calls, Maps and music. The technology initially debuted as a factory-installed option in new 2014 luxury models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and will be available as an aftermarket add-on via Pioneer and Alpine-branded receivers.


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Another Alleged iPhone 6 Case Surfaces with Cutouts for Moved Power Button, New Volume Controls
New photos showing what appears to be another case for Apple's larger-screen iPhone 6 have been posted by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate]. While details about the case's exact length are unknown, the images are said to have come from a Chinese accessory maker and show a case designed for the next-generation iPhone, similar to cases pictured last week and those on display at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair yesterday.

iphone_6_silicon_1
The case feature slightly rounded edges, similar to the design of the iPhone 5c and consistent with design drawings said to be for the iPhone 6. Like other cases and in line with a claim from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the case also includes a hole for a button along the upper right side of the device, which may be the new location of the power button. Rectangular volume control buttons similar to the fifth-generation iPod Touch are also notably present.

iphone_6_silicon_2_annotated
Rectangular volume (1) and right side power (2) cutouts (Annotated by Nowhereelse.fr)

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to launch in two sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is reportedly on track for a release this fall. Apple is said to have been running into production issues with the 5.5-inch version, with that model likely seeing a release later this year or early next year.

Along with a larger screen, Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner profile, upgraded A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an improved camera featuring optical image stabilization. A report earlier this week from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also claimed that Apple is negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.


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Apple and Other Smartphone Makers Back Global Anti-Theft Measures
Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have announced a voluntary agreement to include anti-theft technology on all smartphones beginning next year, according to a report by Re/code.

The pledge has device makers agreeing that all devices going on sale after July of 2015 will have capabilities to remotely wipe data and to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner's permission.

ios7_activation_lock
A number of state and local lawmakers praised the agreement, though it was panned as inadequate by California state Sen. Mark Leno, who has proposed a mandatory kill-switch law.

“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Leno said in a statement. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”
The senator pointed out that all smartphones must have similar kill switch features, or violent street crime and thefts will continue to occur as at least some of the device thefts will still be profitable.

A federal bill introduced earlier this year would mandate the inclusion of such a smartphone "kill switch" after California introduced a similar bill.

It is likely that Apple's Activation Lock, introduced alongside iOS 7, satisfies the requirements of the agreement already. Activation Lock effectively disables a stolen smartphone by preventing it from being wiped and reactivated without an Apple ID and password. Apple's Find My iPhone also allows for devices to be remotely wiped and locked.


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iPhone 6 Mockups and Case Designs on Display at Hong Kong Electronics Fair
As we progress further into 2014, iPhone 6 rumors have begun to pick up, with case designs, schematics, molds, and alleged iPhone parts surfacing over the past few weeks to give hints at what Apple's larger iPhone might look like.

Today Japanese site Mac Otakara [Google Translation] (via 9to5Mac) has shared some additional images of iPhone 6 mockups and accessories being displayed in several different booths at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

One image shows a physical iPhone 6 mockup that has allegedly been used to create cases for the next version of the iPhone next to an iPhone case made using the dummy version.

iphone6dummy
While few details can be gleaned from the model, it does appear to be larger in size with rectangular volume buttons and a sleep/wake power button on the right hand side of the device, which is in line with some previous rumors. It also possesses a round camera flash, as was described in schematics that leaked in March.

iphone6dummy2
The site has also published a video displaying some lightning cables aimed at the iPhone 6 as well as a close-up look at the iPhone 6 mockup.


It is unclear whether the mockups and the cases are representative of the actual iPhone 6, but thus far, the iPhone 6 leaks coming out of Asia have all shared many of the same design similarities outlined above.

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks we have seen so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is said to be in production for a September or October release. The 5.5 version has seen some production delays, which could see it being released later in 2014 or in early 2015.

In addition to two display sizes, the iPhone 6 is expected to include an upgraded A8 processor, camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization, slimmer bezels, a thinner chassis, and Touch ID support.


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Microsoft Launches 'Office 365 Personal' Plan for One Mac and One iPad at $69/Year
Microsoft today started selling its Office 365 Personal subscription, a less expensive version of Office 365 that targets individual users. The cloud-based subscription service provides access to online versions of Microsoft's Office productivity suite, online storage in OneDrive and a block of Skype calling minutes.

office-365-personalb
The new personal option allows subscribers to connect one PC or Mac desktop computer and one tablet, including the iPad, to the online service. It will cost $69 per year or $6.99 per month. Customers who require more connections can sign up for the Office 365 Home plan, which is geared towards families with support for up to five desktops and five tablets.

The new Office 365 Personal plan is available for purchase at Office365.com. It also is available at Microsoft Stores and through Microsoft’s online and retail partners. Microsoft also offers Office 365 business plans, which are priced by the number of users and are designed for real-time, online collaboration using the Office 365 suite.


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Amazon's Smartphone with 3D Capabilities Revealed in New Photos
Recent reports suggest Amazon may be preparing a smartphone with 3D capabilities to compete with Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy handsets. New details from BGR and TechCrunch shed some light on this 3D feature and possibly provide us with our first look at the phone, which is partially hidden inside a case.

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According to BGR, multiple sources claim the phone will include a 4.7-inch display with 720p resolution, which is lower than the 1080p HD display in Samsung's flagship Galaxy S5 and less than the projected 1334x750 display that Apple may use in the iPhone 6. Under the hood, the Amazon phone is predicted to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM.

The biggest differentiator between Amazon's smartphone and those from Apple and Samsung is a 3D feature, which allegedly uses up to 4 cameras and additional sensors embedded in the phone. Amazon may use the 3D technology to showcase its own products, allowing users to explore a three-dimensional product images, claims BGR.
Another smart use for the phone’s 3D effects is across Amazon’s various stores, such as its book store, music store and the main Amazon digital market. By shifting the position of the phone, users are able to see three-dimensional product images at different angles to reveal surfaces that cannot be seen in 2D photos.
The 3D capability of the phone may also provide a parallax effect, similar to that in iOS 7. Amazon's implementation in its FireOS may be greatly exaggerated as compared to Apple's version and supposedly is limited to only a few key gestures, reports TechCrunch.
According to our source, the flagship device, Duke, is powered by a heavily modified version of Android. It’s FireOS with extreme 3D parallax effects, similar to those found on iOS but greatly exaggerated. The screen itself is not 3D, but rather simulates a 3D effect.

By way of four corner-mounted, front-facing cameras, a user can tilt the smartphone left or right to browse and access hidden side panels. We’re told that the 3D feature is very limited out of the box. At launch, there will be just a couple of added gestures built into the operating system that utilize this system.
Rumors point to a possible announcement in the coming months with a target launch date of late September, but this may be subject to change. Amazon allegedly is showcasing the device to key developers as it tries to build third-party support for the platform before it is launched.


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Pioneer Brings Apple CarPlay to Existing In-Dash Receivers
In line with earlier reports, Pioneer today announced it is bringing Apple's CarPlay technology to its existing product line. CarPlay will be added to the company's five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers via a firmware update that will be made available in early summer 2014.
“Pioneer’s years of expertise integrating smartphone connectivity into the automotive environment has provided us the opportunity to be among the first to offer CarPlay to drivers,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “By providing an aftermarket option, Pioneer’s 2014 in-dash multimedia systems give many iPhone owners the ability to add CarPlay to their current vehicles.”
Pioneer in-dash multimedia systems compatible with Apple's CarPlay include the $1400 AVIC-8000NEX, the $1200 AVIC-7000NEX, the $900 AVIC-6000NEX, the $750 AVIC-5000NEX and the $700 AVH-4000NEX. These receivers are available from authorized Pioneer dealers such as Best Buy, Crutchfield and Car Toys.

carplay_3
Introduced earlier this year, CarPlay is an iOS-driven system that allows an iPhone to tie into the in-dash display of a car, providing Siri-controlled voice access to features like Maps, phone, messages and music. The technology initially debuted as a factory-installed feature in new 2014 models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

CarPlay can be added to existing systems as the technology works in conjunction with BlackBerry’s QNX Car Platform, which powers many existing in-car infotainment systems. Beside Pioneer, car audio manufacturer Alpine may begin selling its own aftermarket in-dash entertainment systems that will support Apple's CarPlay feature. Alpine's CarPlay receivers are expected to debut this fall in Europe and the U.S. with a base price of $500 to $700.


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Alleged iPhone 6 Batteries Photographed in Production Tray
French site Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translation] has shared a photo of what are claimed to be batteries for the iPhone 6 spotted in a production tray. While the validity of the image cannot be confirmed, the batteries do appear to share similar physical characteristics with other iPhone batteries.

iphone_6_batteries_tray
As the report notes, however, the positioning of the iPhone 6's battery appears to be modified as a metallic section present on current batteries appears to be now integrated along the side. This would indicate a potentially new form factor for the iPhone 6.

A report last month indicated that Apple would begin producing all iPhone batteries on automated production lines starting later this year, allowing the company to shift its supply chain resources towards production efforts on other parts. If real, this new image would indicate that Apple has stepped up its battery production efforts ahead of the iPhone 6's launch.

The leak follows a number of others in recent weeks, including an image from earlier this morning that allegedly depicted the front panel of the iPhone 6 as well as severalphotos that showed manufacturing molds hinting at a larger-screen iPhone.

Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled this fall and has been rumored to launch in sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. Various reports have noted that the 4.7 inch version will ship first, while the 5.5 inch version will ship sometime afterward due to production challenges.

Both models of the next-generation iPhone are also rumored to include a new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an enhanced camera with optical image stabilization. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also noted yesterday that Apple is negotiating with wireless carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.


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Photo of Alleged Front Panel from Larger-Screen iPhone 6 Surfaces [Updated]
An alleged photo of what appears to be a front panel from Apple's larger-screen iPhone 6 has surfaced on Chinese microblogging site Weibo (via iPhone.fr, Google Translation).

iphone_6_front_panel_weibo
The image appears to show an individual in a factory-type setting holding up an iPhone 5s next to a much larger front panel that contains similar characteristics, including cutouts for a front-facing camera, ambient light sensor, ear speaker, and home button. However, the front panel also features a notably thinner bezel, which is consistent with previous rumors about the iPhone 6's slimmer design.

While the validity of the image cannot be confirmed, the leak is the latest among a number of others recently. This past weekend, several photos reportedly showed the details on manufacturing molds for the iPhone 6, which was followed by a photo yesterday that hinted at a 4.7-inch display.

Last month, Japanese magazine MacFanpublished alleged design drawings of what appeared to be 4.7-inch and 5.6-inch iPhone 6 models, with a photo showing cases for the larger iPhone surfacing shortly afterward.

Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6 later this year, which may ship in two different sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Recent reports have indicated that the smaller 4.7 inch version will ship first in the fall, while the larger version may ship later this year or in early 2015 due to manufacturing challenges.

Along with a larger screen, both models of the next-generation iPhone are rumored to include a new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an upgraded camera featuring optical image stabilization. A report yesterday from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also stated that Apple is negotiating with wireless carriers to raise the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.

Update 8:07 AM: A second comparison photo has also been discovered on Weibo, showing the iPhone 6 panel next to an iPhone 5 or 5s that is turned on. The image is of relatively low quality, but does offer a fairly straight-on view that shows the larger iPhone accommodating a screen of approximately 4.7 inches.

iphone_6_front_panel_comp


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LG Again Rumored to be Sole Supplier of Flexible Displays for iWatch
LG will be the sole supplier for flexible displays to be used in the iWatch as Apple looks to launch the device later this year in two sizes, according to a report from Korea's Naver [Google Translate, via GforGames].

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iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton, based on the Nike FuelBand

The report notes that Apple is targeting to sell 9 million iWatch units by the end of the year with LG's collaboration, as the device itself will be released in September. The report also claimed that the iWatch will come in two different sizes of 1.3 inches and 1.5 inches, which falls in line with previous reports about the smartwatch.

In February, a report from Korean publication Digital Daily shared similar details, noting also that LG would be the sole supplier of the panels for the iWatch, and that the Korean company would start mass production of the flexible displays starting in July 2014. Apple was rumored to have selected LG's panels because they were thin, light and provided adequate brightness with minimal power consumption; characteristics that the company is said to have been pursuing for the device's display.

In addition to being released in two separate sizes and featuring a flexible display, the iWatch is also rumored to come with a multitude of biometric sensors and include integration with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In a research note last week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi also estimated that Apple will release the iWatch at multiple price points and in a variety of materials, with the highest-end selling for thousands of dollars.

Apple is expected to reveal the iWatch later this year alongside iOS 8 and the iPhone 6.


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Windows Phone 8.1 Adds Support for Apple's Passbook Passes
passbook-heroMicrosoft has added support for Apple's Passbook passes in Windows Phone 8.1, which was released today as a developer preview. Microsoft announced this latest version of Windows Phone earlier this month and equipped the mobile OS with digital assistant and Siri competitor, Cortana.

As noticed by Tom Warren of The Verge and reported by iMore, Microsoft has created a method that takes the data from a Passbook file and converts it into a card that is imported into Microsoft Wallet.
Passbook passes are just collection of data that get rendered into a card and displayed in Apple's Passbook app. Think of the Passbook files like the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript data that makes up a webpage, and the Passbook app like the browser that renders the actual page. It looks like Windows Phone 8 is taking the same data and rendering a similar card out of it, and then pushing that card to Microsoft Wallet.
It is not known whether Microsoft's system is operating independently of Apple or if the Redmond company has an agreement to convert the data to its own wallet. The service may not support iOS-specific features like Passbook updates and notifications, but the importing of data is apparently accurate.

Passbook debuted in 2012 and was one of the major new apps bundled in iOS 6. The digital wallet permitted companies to store tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, gift cards and more in a centralized location on a user's iPhone and iPod touch. Apple has continued to update the service, allowing third-party apps to create Passbook passes and adding support for gift cards.


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New Photo of Alleged iPhone 6 Manufacturing Mold Hints at 4.7-Inch Display
Over the weekend, several photos surfaced reportedly showing details on manufacturing molds for the iPhone 6. While the manufacturing mold photos left it unclear as to the size of the device body it would yield, a new photo shared by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] shows a nearly identical mold with an iPhone 4s placed next to it for comparison. Calculations based on the comparison suggest that the mold could in fact yield a device with a display of roughly 4.7 inches, in line with the rumored size for the smaller of the two iPhone 6 models.

iphone_6_mold_comp_1
One source of uncertainty lies in the shape of the mold, which is tapered. But Nowhereelse.fr believes that there are additional pieces yet to be attached to the bottom of the mold, pieces which would result in the iPhone's body being formed at the wider portion of the mold depression.
Some of the holes that were drilled into the block in fact serve to fix the inserts which will form a crude which is then machined housing (finishes) using a CNC milling machine. Thus, and assuming that my theory is correct, the dimensions of the box will be determined by the widest part and not the bottom of the mold.

In this assumption, I started to resize the photo to scale against me in reference to the size of the iPhone 4s. I then measured the dimensions of the widest part of the mold which is approximately 138mm long by 64mm wide.
By superimposing and resizing an iPhone 5s image into the mold and aligning it with the wider portion of the depression, Nowhereelse.fr determines that the device's screen would be roughly 12 centimeters or 4.7 inches diagonally.

iphone_6_mold_comp_2
iPhone 5s superimposed and resized to 4.7-inch display (Source: Nowehereelse.fr)

Apple's iPhone 6 is expected to launch later this year, with the 4.7-inch model perhaps preceding an even larger 5.5-inch model by a few months. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek today reported that Apple is negotiating with carriers for a $100 price increase on the iPhone 6 as the device gets larger and the company packs more technology into it.


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Apple Reportedly Negotiating with Carriers for $100 Price Increase on iPhone 6
Apple is negotiating with wireless carriers to raise the price of the iPhone 6 by $100, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek (Via StreetInsider). Carriers initially are refusing to negotiate on the iPhone's $199 base price, but they may not be able to resist as the iPhone 6 is shaping up to be 2014's blockbuster handset.
"The possibility may at first seem far-fetched in light of investor concerns regarding possible carrier subsidy and handset price cuts due to smartphone saturation and lack of differentiation," Misek comments. "But we think this general lack of differentiation could be the reason why Apple may be able to get a price increase. Carriers realize that the iPhone 6 will likely be the only headline-worthy high-end phone launched this year and that they will lose subs if they do not offer it."
iphone6Apple is expected to ship the iPhone 6 later this year, with rumors suggesting the phone will be available with a 4.7-inch touchscreen display at first. A larger 5.5-inch version may follow at the end of this year or early next year.

Along with a larger display, the next-generation iPhone may include a thinner design, Apple's new A8 processor, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, 1GB of RAM, and an improved camera with optical image stabilization. The iPhone 6 is expected to run iOS 8, which may feature a new Healthbook app, improved Maps and a possible Siri API.


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