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Apple Watch 2 Said to Include Thinner 'One Glass Solution' Display
The second-generation Apple Watch will feature "One Glass Solution" (OGS) display technology instead of Glass on Glass (G/G) technology, reports DigiTimes citing information obtained from Apple supplier TPK Holding.

One Glass Solution technology eliminates one of the layers of glass from a traditional G/G display that features two pieces of glass, replacing one layer with a thinner material. Making the switch from G/G, used in the current Apple Watch, to OGS could potentially allow Apple to save a small amount of internal space in the Apple Watch 2 and make slight reductions in the weight of the device.

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According to TPK Holding, production of the OGS panels for the second-generation Apple Watch has seen some unexpected technical issues, resulting in low yield rates. It is not clear if this will affect overall production of the second-generation Apple Watch.
The large loss for the second quarter was mainly because touch panel orders for iPhones continued to decrease, and Apple will change touch panel technology from G/G to OGS (one glass solution) in the new Apple Watch to be launched in the second half of 2016, TPK said. The change in touch panel technology involved unexpected technological difficulties and therefore yield rates for OGS touch panels were much lower than expected, TPK explained.
The Apple Watch 2 is rumored to feature only minor design changes with primarily under-the-hood spec improvements. Cellular connectivity, a faster processor, and an improved battery are possibilities for the device.

As for a launch date, rumors suggest we can expect to see the Apple Watch 2 in the fall of 2016. A release alongside the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is a possibility, and if Apple plans to launch the Apple Watch 2 at that time, it could debut on September 16, 2016, with pre-orders to start on September 9.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2, watchOS 3
Tag: digitimes.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Disney Officially Lays Out Plans for Cessation of 'Disney Infinity' Services
After announcing the discontinuation of the Disney Infinity franchise in May, Avalanche Studios and Disney Interactive Studios -- the game's developer and publisher, respectively -- remained relatively quiet on the specific timeline of the game's imminent demise. After the announcement, Disney still launched three new characters from Alice: Through the Looking Glass, and introduced its first play set with non-bipedal characters, based on Finding Dory.

Today, in an email sent out to fans subscribed to Disney Infinity-related news, the game's team specifically laid out the upcoming timeline of when and what features will be turned off in the coming weeks and months. A few in-game purchase options for Disney Infinity 2.0 have been turned off beginning today, in both the iOS and Apple TV versions of the game, but most of the bigger changes hit on September 30.

Disney infinity cancelled
From that date onwards, users will no longer be able to log into their accounts and play the iOS, Google Android, Amazon Android, and PC editions of any entry in the series, as they "will no longer be available on the respective app stores." This means the game will only be available to play on consoles and Steam, but even there "all online services and community features" will be down.

The end of the timeline shared by Disney Infinity comes next year, on March 3, 2017, where Apple TV and Windows 8/10 versions of both Disney Infinity 2.0 and 3.0 "will no longer be available, supported or playable." That's the termination point for any straggling servers of the game still online as well, since Avalanche Studios will also pull the plug on "all Disney Infinity online services and community features for all versions."
Since announcing that we will discontinue the production of Disney Infinity, we've been exploring timelines for the closure of the game's online versions and community features. Our goal has been to offer extended access to these services, while also providing clear communication about what you can expect.
Although Disney Infinity 3.0 launched on the fourth-generation Apple TV last fall, offering a comparable gaming experience to the console versions, Disney eventually abandoned updating the game on Apple's new set-top box, making fans wired into that version of Disney Infinity 3.0 miss important new features.

Due to the termination of development on tvOS, fans lost the chance to play with new figures that released for the toys-to-life game and weren't included as disc-locked content at launch (the basis of Infinity's gameplay loop), including Baloo from The Jungle Book and a few new Marvel superheroes. Although the Apple TV has received a handful of other, notable gaming apps, Disney and Avalanche's move made it hard to view the fourth-generation device as a true gaming platform, despite Apple's attempts to promote it as such with heavy, App Store-focused messaging.

Disney encourages fans to keep checking the game's official website for updated information on the closures of Infinity's various servers and features as the timeline progresses. There's also a Closing FAQ page on the company's website for any users who don't see answers to their questions regarding the game's discontinuation.

The Disney Infinity team also made two important notes in today's update: firstly, the console version of the game will "continue to operate as usual," even beyond March 2017, with players able to gain full access to the figures and play sets they've amassed over the past three years. Only the social and community aspects of the game will be expectedly absent. Secondly, until September 30, 2016, the game's Community Content will remain available, so players will be able to upload and download Toy Box levels until then.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: Disney Infinity
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Plans to Host Fundraiser for Hillary Clinton Next Month
Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to host a fundraiser that will benefit Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, reports BuzzFeed. Cook, along with Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, will host the event as private citizens, not as representatives of Apple.

Cook and Jackson plan to raise money for the Hillary Victory Fund, a committee that contributes to the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 38 state parties. Invites for the event, which will take place on August 24, went out this morning.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is eager to demonstrate support for Democrats and Republicans to strengthen Apple's relationship with both parties.

The Hillary fundraiser will follow a fundraiser Cook co-hosted for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in June. Cook and Ryan teamed up to host a private breakfast in Menlo Park on June 28. Money raised benefited Ryan and a fundraising committee that helps elect other House Republicans.

While Cook hosted a fundraiser for Ryan, Apple elected not to support the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland due to some of presidential nominee Donald Trump's controversial statements on the subjects of minorities, women, and immigrants.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Nobel-Winning Economist Calls Apple's Irish Tax Arrangement 'Fraud'
Joseph-StiglitzJoseph Stiglitz, an economic professor at Columbia University and 2001 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, has described Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland as "a fraud" in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV.
"Here we have the largest corporation in capitalization not only in America, but in the world, bigger than GM was at its peak, and claiming that most of its profits originate from about a few hundred people working in Ireland -- that’s a fraud,” Stiglitz said. “A tax law that encourages American firms to keep jobs abroad is wrong, and I think we can get a consensus in America to get that changed."
Under current U.S. laws, Apple is able to shift billions of dollars in profits to Ireland, where it operates multiple subsidiaries, sheltering those earnings from up to a 35 percent corporate tax rate in the United States. Ireland has a much lower corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, but Apple is believed to have a sweetheart deal with Ireland that sees it pay less than 2 percent in exchange for creating jobs in the country.

Apple has been the subject of a European Commission probe related to its Irish tax arrangements since June 2014, with the executive body investigating whether the deal constitutes illegal state aid. Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan recently said he expects a decision to be reached by September or October, and Apple could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes depending on the outcome.

Apple insists it is the largest taxpayer in the world and that it pays every cent of tax it owes under current laws. In a late 2015 interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose, Apple CEO Tim Cook described tax avoidance accusations against the company as "political crap," adding that the United States has a tax code that is "awful for America" and "made for the industrial age."

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Apple provided the following statement during its March 2016 meeting with the European Parliament's tax committee:
"Apple is the largest taxpayer in the world. In 2015 we paid 13.2 billion dollars in taxes worldwide, which is an effective tax rate of 36.4%", its representatives said when asked about the company's tax structures in Europe and the state aid investigation launched by competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. However, they were not prepared to disclose its EU and Irish tax figures. "Those are confidential. When country-by-country reporting will become mandatory, we will of course follow". Apple, like Google, pays most of its taxes in the US, where most of its employees are based and its research is done.
Apple is only one of several multinational corporations that have been scrutinized for possible corporate tax avoidance in Europe over the past few years, with others including Amazon, Google, IKEA, and McDonald's. Last year, the European Commission ordered Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to each pay up to €30 million in back taxes, after ruling that the companies benefited from illegal tax deals.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple to Debut Revamped Apple Store App With 'For You' Recommendations
applestorenewiconApple will soon introduce a redesigned version of its dedicated Apple Store app, reports Bloomberg. The new version of the app, which is used to make online purchases of Apple products, will feature custom recommendations for new products to buy based on purchase history.

Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, Bloomberg's report says Apple is likely to include a dedicated "For You" tab in the Apple Store app, mirroring the "For You" sections of the Apple Music and Apple News apps. This tab will offer up purchase suggestions "based on prior orders."

The current Apple Store app, while outfitted with general product recommendations displayed in the "Featured" tab, does not give customers personalized suggestions on what to purchase. It is not known why Apple is making the shift, but it's likely being done in an effort to introduce customers to new products they would not otherwise discover.
The shift toward using recommendations would mark a change for Apple, where privacy concerns have traditionally usurped efforts to use customer-behavior data to garner more revenue. While its music-streaming and news apps also recommend tracks and stories, they primarily do so based on interests that customers have chosen to declare. Amazon and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, meanwhile, regularly mine a user's prior tastes and purchases to generate business by recommending complementary products.
Apple plans to introduce its redesigned Apple Store app in the near future, perhaps within the next two weeks. It will be a universal app that works on both the iPhone and the iPad.


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Bluetooth Headphone Revenue Overtakes Non-Bluetooth Ahead of iPhone 7 Launch
As the launch of the iPhone 7 approaches, Bluetooth headphone purchases are on the rise, according to new data shared by NPD Group. In June, Bluetooth headphone revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time, accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the United States.

The overall headphone category saw seven percent year-over-year growth in pure dollar sales during the first half of 2016, but Bluetooth headphones saw double-digit growth during the same time period. A solid cost decrease helped spur Bluetooth headphone sales, with average selling prices down 5 percent. Nearly 30 percent of Bluetooth headphones sold during 1H 2016 were less than or equal to $50.
"Promotions and new product introductions have helped spur the growth we are seeing in Bluetooth headphones," said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. "Consumers are already embracing a wireless future and if, as rumored, the headphone jack is removed from the next iPhone, we expect this will continue to drive market share of the Bluetooth category."
Apple's Beats brand and LG dominated the Bluetooth headphone market during the first half of the year, accounting for approximately 65 percent of dollar sales. Bose, Jaybird, and Skullcandy were the other manufacturers to make it into the top five brands, in that order.

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With the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple plans to eliminate the headphone jack, requiring consumers to rely on Lightning adapters, Bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones, or headphones that include a Lightning connector. Apple's decision will undoubtedly lead to even greater Bluetooth headphone sales as the headphone jack is gradually phased out across its product line and from competing products.


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Apple's Car Project Shifts Towards Autonomous Driving System Under Mansfield's Direction
Bob Mansfield, a longtime Apple executive who previously served as Senior Vice President of Technologies, recently took over Apple's secret car project. Under his leadership, Apple's car strategy has shifted towards autonomous driving, reports Bloomberg.

Apple is not abandoning its effort to build a full Apple Car, but it is said to be focusing more heavily on creating an autonomous driving system that would perhaps allow it to partner with or purchase a car manufacturer in the future. Apple is now said to be pursuing a two-prong development approach, working both on a car and the software to power it.

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As Apple takes a renewed interested in autonomous driving systems, it has hired Dan Dodge, who ran BlackBerry's automotive software division and developed QNX, the software platform found in a wide range of in-car infotainment systems. Dodge, like other Apple car engineers and employees, reports to Mansfield, while Mansfield reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Mansfield reportedly has three distinct teams in his division: a software team led by John Wright, a sensor team led by Benjamin Lyon, and a hardware engineering team led by D.J. Novotney. Under Mansfield's direction, Apple is continuing its aggressive hiring policies, taking on former Ford employees Todd Gray and Aindrea Campbell, both of whom have experience with car body manufacturing and research.

With Mansfield at the helm, Apple may be able to get its car project back on track. Rumors have suggested that the departure of Steve Zadesky, who formerly led the project, resulted in delays, internal strife due to challenges like unattainable timelines, and organizational changes. Recent rumors suggest Apple is now aiming to launch an Apple Car in 2021 instead of 2020, but if Apple decides to go with a software-based product meant to be built into existing cars, it could potentially debut earlier.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: bloomberg.com

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Apple's 'Hard-Nosed' Negotiating Tactics Leading to Trouble in Television Market
Apple's "assertive" negotiation tactics have made it difficult for the company to establish deals with cable providers and networks, reports The Wall Street Journal, stymieing its efforts to build a more robust television platform.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple started talking with the Walt Disney Company in early 2015 about getting Disney-owned content onto its then-planned streaming television service, but Apple executives, iTunes chief Eddy Cue in particular, made demands networks were not prepared to meet.

appletvappstore
In particular, Apple wanted to freeze for several years the monthly rate per viewer it would pay to license Disney channels. TV channels usually get annual rate increases and rely on them to fuel profit growth.

Disney balked. Similar talks with media giants that included 21st Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp. also stalled.
Apple sees TV as a way to push further product growth, but persuasion tactics that have worked in the mobile phone and music industries aren't working in the television industry. Content providers are reluctant to agree to Apple's terms because it would compromise traditional revenue streams. As The Wall Street Journal points out, inking a "sweetheart" deal with Apple could lead to traditional cable distributors demanding similar deals.

Over the last several years, Apple has made several attempts to enter the television market, seeking deals with Time Warner, Comcast, and other providers, but nothing has panned out. In one instance, Apple wanted full on-demand seasons of hit shows and a recording feature that would include ad-skipping in newly aired shows, something cable executives were surprised by.
Apple sought payments of $10 a month per subscriber from the cable providers and refused to rule out seeking an even higher share of each monthly subscription in the future, according to people involved in the talks. It also wanted users to sign in with Apple IDs, even though Comcast and Time Warner Cable would handle billing and customer service.
Up until last year, Apple was still in talks for a streaming television service that would bundle several popular live channels and on-demand television at a price point of approximately $30 per month, but Apple reportedly put the project on hold after being unable to establish the necessary deals because content providers were reluctant to unbundle their channels. Cue, who leads most of the deals, is known for his "hard-nosed" negotiating style and refuses to settle for less than what Apple wants.

Instead, Apple has shifted towards positioning its Apple TV set top box and the tvOS App Store as a platform to allow networks to share their own original content. Apple is also following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon Video with original programming aimed at promoting services like Apple Music and the App Store.

Three shows are in the works: a dark semi-autobiographical drama starring Dr. Dre called "Vital Signs," a reality series that follows App Store developers called "Planet of the Apps," and a music-based reality show that's a spinoff of "Carpool Karaoke."

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

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Samsung Doubles Apple's Share of Smartphone Market as Customers Await iPhone 7
The latest data from market research firm IDC reveals that Samsung shipped nearly twice as many smartphones as Apple in the fiscal third quarter. Android-based Galaxy smartphone shipments totaled an estimated 77 million, compared to 40.4 million iPhones, during the three-month period that ended in late June. For Apple, the fiscal third quarter is seasonally its lowest of the year.

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Samsung was the most popular smartphone vendor in the quarter with a leading 22.4 percent market share, nearly double Apple's 11.8 percent market share. Samsung experienced 5.5 percent year-over-year growth on the strength of the Galaxy S7 launch in March, whereas Apple declined 15 percent compared to the year-ago quarter as customers await the iPhone 7 series in September.

One bright spot for Apple was the lower-priced iPhone SE, although the iPhone's average selling price dropped to $595 compared to $662 last year:
Apple’s second quarter saw the Cupertino-based giant ship 40.4 million iPhones, representing a 15.0% year-over-year decline from the 47.5 million units shipped last year. The new 4-inch iPhone SE proved successful in both emerging and developed markets as the new SE has captured many first-time smartphone buyers as well as Android users switching over to the Apple ecosystem. The success of the cheaper SE did, however, have an impact on the overall average selling price (ASP) for an iPhone in the quarter. The ASP for an iPhone was $595, down 10.1% from $662 one year ago. As smartphone competition continues to escalate and upgrades continue to slow, Apple will look to drive sales with a newly designed iPhone 7 combined with their upgrade program come this fall.
Apple also ceded market share to Chinese rival Huawei, which ranked third among smartphone vendors with an estimated 32.1 million shipments and 9.4 percent market share. Huawei manufactures Google's popular Nexus 6P and introduced new dual-camera P9 and P9 Plus smartphones in April, but its presence in the United States and other regions is still limited compared to China.

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Chinese rivals OPPO and Vivo rounded out the top five smartphone vendors with quarterly sales of 22.6 million and 16.4 million units respectively. OPPO in particular saw explosive 136.6 percent year-over-year growth over the three months, increasing its market share to 6.6 percent compared to 2.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. Vivo had 9.1 percent market share, an 80.2 percent year-over-year change.

Worldwide smartphone shipments totaled an estimated 343.3 million units in the quarter, an increase of only 0.3 percent from the year-ago quarter, when vendors shipped an estimated 342.4 million units. The relatively flat growth is the result of market saturation and lengthening upgrade cycles, which vendors have attempted to offset by offering incentives such as the iPhone Upgrade Program.

On Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company recently sold its 1 billionth iPhone.


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Possible iPhone 7 Lightning to 3.5 mm Adapter Surfaces in New Photos
A collection of new photos and a video showcase a Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter, which has previously been rumored as a bundled accessory for the iPhone 7 this fall as a way to assuage users of the smartphone's long-rumored removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The adapter in today's photos was reportedly obtained from a Foxconn factory in Vietnam (via Tinhte.vn) [Google Translate], and the report's author believes it could be a genuine Apple adapter.

iPhone 7 lightning to 3.5mm
As shown in the pictures shared today, the adapter's cord appears short and visually similar to that of Apple's current adapters sold on its website, including the USB-C to USB and Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet accessories. The Lightning plug does not appear to fit particularly well into its sheath, but it's unclear if it might be an incomplete part, damaged during disassembly, or simply a knockoff product.


When the Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter is plugged into a device running iOS 9 or lower, the software displays an incompatibility message to the user, but when used on devices with a beta of iOS 10 installed, the dongle appears to work "immediately" without any issues. The author also notes that if headphones are plugged into both the standard headphone jack on a current iPhone and the adapter connected to Lightning, the device gives priority to the Lightning port for audio output.

iPhone 7 lightning to 3.5mm 3
While the adapter shown today could still potentially be a third-party product, it fits with Apple's design aesthetic and its ability to function with the large number of 3.5 mm headphones already in the wild could be a better solution than a previous, sketchy rumor that hinted at Lightning-enabled EarPods coming with the iPhone 7.

Regardless of whether this leaked adapter is a genuine Apple product or not, Apple's solution will undoubtedly be sleeker than most other current third-party solutions, but many users remain opposed to the removal of the headphone jack that will cause conflicts for users looking to use wired headphones and charge their devices simultaneously.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: tinhte.vn, Lightning

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Phil Schiller Named to DNA Sequencing Company Illumina's Board of Directors
phil_schillerDNA sequencing and array-based technologies company Illumina today announced that Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller has joined its board of directors.
“Phil’s track record and global experience in bringing world-class products to market will help guide us as we continue to develop innovative new solutions for our customers,” said Francis deSouza, Illumina President and Chief Executive Officer. “His vision, integrity and passion are fully aligned with Illumina’s core values.”
Schiller has been part of Apple's senior executive team since the late Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. He has helped market several products, including the Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, Apple TV, and the Apple Watch, and he has managed the App Store across all Apple platforms since last December.

Illumina, founded in 1998, is a San Diego-based biotech company focused on genetic research solutions to fuel advancements in life science research, translational and consumer genomics, and molecular diagnostics. It ranked third on MIT Technology Review's list of the top 50 smartest companies in the world in 2016.

Schiller holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Boston College, where he graduated from in 1982.


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iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Pre-Orders Could Start September 9
Over the weekend well-known mobile phone leaker Evan Blass predicted that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus would release the week of September 12. A short time later, he predicted that it should launch on Friday, September 16. Today, Blass has followed up and reported that pre-orders would take place on Friday, September 9.

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Apple typically announces the newest iPhone a couple days before pre-orders start. With September 5 being Labor Day, it's likely Tuesday, September 6 would be the day of Apple's iPhone 7 event. The dates roughly line up with Apple's usual pattern for iPhone releases. Last year, Apple announced the iPhone on September 9, started pre-orders on September 12 and released it on September 25.

Blass is well known for leaking details and images from Android smartphones well before official confirmations. A couple days before predicting the release week of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, he revealed that the codenames for Apple's new smartphones are "Sonora" and "Dos Palos."


This year's iPhone models are not expected to feature significant design changes aside from the loss of the headphone jack. Instead, Apple is said to be introducing major new features for the 10th anniversary iPhone 8. The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is expected to get an improved camera and optical image stabilization while the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus may gain a dual-lens camera system and 3 GB of RAM.

Other rumored features for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus include a faster TSMC-made A10 processor, repositioned antenna bands, faster LTE and Wi-Fi, a slightly larger battery, and a minimum 32 GB of base storage.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Evan Blass

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Apple Has Sold 1 Billion iPhones
Apple today announced that it recently sold its one-billionth iPhone, marking a major milestone for the company. CEO Tim Cook shared the news with employees at a staff meeting this morning, as noted in a news story published by Apple.

In a statement, Cook called the iPhone one of the most successful, world-changing products in history, echoing similar sentiments from yesterday's earnings call where he said believes the iPhone is becoming a device that people can't live without.

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Tim Cook holds the billionth iPhone sold
"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," said Cook. "Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day."
Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007, and since then, the company has gone on to release nine generations, each with major improvements, revisions, and new features. While iPhone sales have been down for the last two quarters, the 1 billion milestone highlights what a successful product it is.

The iPhone has long been Apple's most important device, responsible for a majority of the revenue that the company brings in.

Next year, Apple will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and the company has something big planned. Rumors suggest the 2017 iPhone will introduce some of the most significant design changes we've seen, with an all glass body and an edge-to-edge display with an integrated camera and Touch ID sensor. Other prospective features include wireless charging, biometric additions like iris or facial scanning, and a faster A11 chip.


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Apple Partners With Parkopedia to Bring In-Depth Parking Data to Apple Maps
Parking service company Parkopedia today announced that it will begin to provide its enhanced and detailed parking information services directly within Apple Maps. With the partnership between the two companies, that means iOS users will be able to visit Apple Maps to discover more than 40 million parking spots in 75 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The integration of Parkopedia into Apple Maps actually began in March inside of the United States, but today marks the official worldwide launch of the new resource. With the parking company's "rich information," Apple Maps users will be able to search for parking garages and lots, while reading about their location, payment type, number of spaces, and more. Future updates will allow users to filter search results, in order to discover the cheapest lots first, for example.

Parkopedia Apple Maps
While reading through some Parkopedia information for a parking lot in Apple Maps, users will be able to follow a link to reserve a spot, although that process takes them out of Maps to complete the payment process on the Parkopedia website or within the company's iOS app [Direct Link]. "More detailed information" will also be available outside of Apple Maps and in Parkopedia itself, including pricing, user reviews, special offers and real-time space availability.
"We're excited to deliver detailed information on more than 40 million parking spaces in 75 countries to Apple Maps customers. This is a very important milestone for Parkopedia. Our combined footprint in the consumer and automotive space is huge and this opens the doors to delivering a world of innovative solutions," stated Parkopedia's Head of Marketing, Christina Onesirosan Martinez.
Apple Maps has been receiving steady updates to help bolster its navigation and research abilities for users visiting new cities, or simply trying to find new venues in their hometown. Among these changes coming in iOS 10 are new parked car notifications, which reminds users where they left their car -- especially when parking in large garages or lots -- with the help of a simple geo-locked icon within Apple Maps. Combined with Parkopedia's information catalog, this could help Apple get a leg up on its rivals in the GPS map app space.


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MacBook Air With USB-C Again Rumored, Launch Timeframe Unclear
Last month, Japanese blog Mac Otakara reported that Apple plans to announce new MacBook Air models featuring USB-C ports based on the Thunderbolt 3 protocol by the end of June, and begin shipping the notebooks to retailers in August. It is now seven weeks later, however, and the rumor has yet to materialize.

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But if a new report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes is to believed, Apple still has plans to release a new MacBook Air with USB-C ports after all. The report does not provide a launch timeframe for the updated notebooks, but the secondary rumor suggests Mac Otakara may have been off on timing only.
Currently, Apple has decided to adopt the USB Type-C interface for its MacBook Air, while Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are upgrading one of their notebooks' regular USB port to the Type-C. Lenovo, Acer and Dell are still evaluating the option.
DigiTimes previously reported that Apple will begin shipping new "ultra-thin" 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the second quarter, which ended in late June. The report said the new MacBooks would "share a design similar to the existing 12-inch MacBook" and be "thinner than [the] existing MacBook Air."

DigiTimes also previously reported that Apple plans to release new ultra-thin MacBooks with metal injection molded hinges in the second half of 2016. The website is not always an accurate source of Apple's upcoming product plans, but it has well-connected supply chain sources that have proven reliable at times in the past.

Apple's entire Mac lineup, beyond the 2016 12-inch MacBook, has stagnated. Apple has not released a new MacBook Air in over 500 days, beyond a minor 8GB RAM bump for 13-inch models in April. Some believe the MacBook Air's days are numbered, but perhaps the notebook will live on until Apple can sell the 12-inch MacBook from $999.

Alternatively, it is possible that DigiTimes is misinterpreting a thinner MacBook Pro with USB-C ports as a MacBook Air.

If a new MacBook Air is incoming, a late-year launch is most probable. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will launch three new MacBook models by year's end: a thin and light 13-inch MacBook in the June-September quarter, and two thinner and lighter 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models in the September-December quarter.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tags: digitimes.com, USB-C
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Don't Buy)

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Australian Banks Challenge Apple Over Mobile Payment App Restrictions
Three of Australia's biggest banks have lodged a joint application with anti-trust regulators to negotiate with Apple over gaining access to the NFC-based mobile payment hardware in its smartphones (via Reuters).

Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac have so far resisted signing deals to use the company's Apple Pay mobile payment system, because they want their customers to be able to use digital wallets they have already financed and developed.

Apple-pay-in-stores-amex
However, none of the banks want to be accused of violating anti-competition law by negotiating deals, which is where the application comes in.

If the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) lets the banks collectively negotiate with Apple under the terms of the application, it would enable them to undertake "a limited form of boycott" in which they would all agree not to negotiate with Apple individually while the talks take place.

Apple currently only allows its own mobile payment system to access the NFC-hardware in its iPhone devices, which banks argue is an anti-competitive restriction that hampers consumer choice.
"This is about providing Australians with real choice and better outcomes," said Lance Blockley, a senior advisor at Novantas who spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald on behalf of the banks.

"If successful, the application would have tremendous benefits for the entire Australian mobile payments landscape including for public transport fares, airlines, ticketing, store loyalty and rewards programs and many more applications yet to be developed."
Apple Pay launched in Australia in November, but has since been slow to roll out in the country. The delay was thought to be down to issues Apple was experiencing negotiating fees with the nation's largest banking institutes.

Three months ago it added Apple Pay support for credit and debit cards from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (aka ANZ), the only bank in Australia's "Big Four" that played no part in the latest application.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: 'We Continue to Invest a Lot in This'
Apple CEO Tim Cook today told investors that Apple is continuing to invest in augmented reality, and that the company is "high on AR in the long run." Cook's comments came after he was questioned about Pokémon Go, the hit augmented reality game developed by Niantic Labs, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company.

Cook, who continually referred to "Pokémon" as "Pokemans," said Pokémon Go is a "testament to what happens to innovative apps," giving the App Store credit for empowering developers to "press a button" and "offer a product around the world." He went on to say that augmented reality offers a great commercial opportunity and great opportunities for consumers.

Pokemon GO iOS screenshots
AR can be really great. We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We're high on AR in the long run and we think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. The number one thing is to make sure that our products work well with other developer's products like Pokémon, and that's why you see so many iPhones in the wild chasing Pokemans.
Cook went on to say that he believes augmented reality "can be huge." "We'll see whether it's the next platform," he said. "Regardless, it will be huge."

In the past, rumors have suggested Apple has a secret research team working on augmented reality and virtual reality, exploring the AR/VR field and investigating how the company could embrace augmented or virtual reality in the future.

Apple has also made a number of augmented reality acquisitions, purchasing companies like Metaio, Faceshift, and Flyby Media. How Apple might incorporate augmented reality into its products remains a mystery, but there are applications related to Maps and Photos that could be on the horizon.

Earlier this year, Cook made similar comments about virtual reality, calling it more than just a niche product. "It's really cool and it has some interesting applications," he said.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Tim Cook 'Optimistic' About iPhone 7 Sales, Sees 'Signs That are Positive'
During today's third quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors that he's "very optimistic" about prospective iPhone sales this fall, despite rumors suggesting the device will introduce only minor changes.

In response to a question about speculation that iPhone upgrade rates will be low in 2016 based on circulating rumors that the iPhone 7 will mark only a modest update to the iPhone 6s, Cook said he sees "so many signs that are positive" that point towards solid sales numbers.

iPhone 7 Space Black
A mockup of the iPhone 7
I don't want to talk about new phones that aren't announced. That aside, what we have seen -- in past tense or in current tense -- on the upgrade rate is that the iPhone upgrade rate for the iPhone 6s is similar to the iPhone 5s. [...]

The iPhone 6 was significantly higher than that and it likely accelerated upgrades that would have been in the current year ahead of those. So what the future holds, we'll see, but I'm very optimistic about the future because I see so many signs that are positive.
As for the signs in question, Cook pointed towards an install base that has gotten "incredibly large," a switcher rate that continues to grow, a smartphone penetration rate that's only at 42 percent, changes coming in iOS 10, and the growing importance of the smartphone itself as it becomes "even more instrumental and important to people's lives."

On that last point, Cook said he expects AI to play a major role in turning the iPhone into an essential device that people can't live without. "As the iPhone becomes more and more your assistant, you're not going to leave without it," he said. "I see all of those things as vectors that are incredibly positive," he continued.

According to Cook, Apple will excel at AI because of the company's focus on user experience, which will drive people to adopt Apple devices. Apple is continually working to improve its virtual assistant Siri, and Cook's comments hint at Apple's continued focus on the service.
As the smartphone itself becomes more essential to customers' day-to-day lives, we think people will put more and more focus on what they're buying. The thing Apple does best is providing a killer user experience that's integrated across the entire product line, and that becomes more important and really plays to our advantage.

I think the deployment of AI technology is something we will excel at because of our focus on user experience. So I like that.
Apple will unveil its next-generation iPhone 7 this fall, likely in September. While the device is expected to have a design similar to the design of the iPhone 6s, it will feature camera improvements, a better processor, improved water resistance, no headphone jack, and more.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7

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Apple Reports Q3 2016 Earnings of $7.8B on $42.4B in Revenue
Apple today announced financial results for the third fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter) of 2016. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $42.4 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.8 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $49.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $10.7 billion, or $1.85 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. As expected, the results represent the second consecutive year-over-year declines in quarterly revenue and iPhone sales.

Gross margin for the quarter was 38 percent compared to 39.7 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 63 percent of revenue. Apple also declared a quarterly dividend payment of $0.57 per share, payable on August 11 to shareholders of record as of August 8. The company currently holds $231.5 billion in cash and marketable securities, partially offset by $68.9 billion in long-term debt.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.37.01 PM
Apple sold 40.4 million iPhones during the quarter, down from 47.5 million a year earlier, while Mac sales were 4.25 million units, down from from 4.8 million units in the year-ago quarter. iPad sales were also down once again, falling to 9.95 million from 10.9 million.
“We are pleased to report third quarter results that reflect stronger customer demand and business performance than we anticipated at the start of the quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We had a very successful launch of iPhone SE and we’re thrilled by customers’ and developers’ response to software and services we previewed at WWDC in June.”
Apple's guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 includes expected revenue of $45.5–47.5 billion and gross margin between 37.5 and 38 percent.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.37.08 PM
Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q3 2016 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Conference Call and Q&A Highlights are available in reverse chronological order after the jump.

3:02 pm: Apple's earnings call has concluded.

3:02 pm: Cook: We think of the new Apple TV as the foundation for what we can do in the space. I don't want to be more precise than that. Don't look at what's there today and think we've done what we want to do. We've built a foundation that we think we can do something bigger off of.

3:01 pm: Question asked about Apple TV and the broader streaming TV/content ecosystem.

3:01 pm: Maestri: iPhone SE has downward impact on iPhone ASP of course. Slightly dilutes company margins, but impact is not particularly large.

2:59 pm: Maestri: iPhone SE is doing exactly what it intended. We are seeing a higher rate of new-to-iPhone customers, which is obviously very important to us, as we bring new people into the iOS ecosystem. We see a higher rate of previous iPhone owners who really prefer the 4-inch phone factor. We have not seen clear evidence of cannibalization from iPhone 6s/6s Plus. What is much more relevant to us is the opportunity to bring more people into the iOS ecosystem.

2:57 pm: Cook: R&D growth rates are still very large on a year-over-year basis. Products that are in R&D … there is quite a bit of investment in products and services that are not currently shipping or derivations of what is currently shipping. I don't want to talk about the exact split of it, but you can look at the growth rate and conclude there is a lot we're doing beyond current products.

2:56 pm: Q: From an R&D growth perspective, how much is related to existing products and services versus what is coming next?

2:55 pm: (Side note: Cook actually called them Pokémans).

2:54 pm: Cook asked about Pokémon GO, says it is a testament to what can come from innovative apps. He says that AR can be really great. Apple continues to invest a lot in AR for the long run. Great things for customers. Great commercial opportunity. The number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers' kind of products like Pokémon.

2:52 pm: Cook: Apple's revenue tends to peak following product launches in China. There's a higher high and a lower low in China compared to other markets. What we are doing is innovating like crazy and delivering our best smartphone to our customers there. If we do a really good job of that, which we will, I'm confident we will do well there.

2:51 pm: Cook: iTunes Movies and iBooks Store shutdowns in China are not a revenue-related matter, as they were earning less than $1 million in revenue when operational in China. Apple is working very closely with government agencies to make those services available in China again in the future. Apple is optimistic.
2:50 pm: Q: Tim, can you give us your perspective on getting services back up running in China and regaining market share in the country?

2:50 pm: Cook: iPhone demand is made up of upgraders, switchers, and new-to-smartphone customers. Smartphone penetration is 42% at end of quarter, quite of bit of room there. Mostly in emerging markets. Apple has had reasonable business success in emerging markets. On switcher side, we really like what we're seeing. As the iPhone becomes more essential to customers' day-to-day lives, we think people will put more and more focus on what they're buying. The thing that Apple does best is provide a killer user experience that is integrated across the line. I also think the deployment of AI technology is something we will excel at because of our focus on user experience. So, I like that. From an upgrade point of view, there are plusses and minuses as I see it. A plus is that more and more people have already joined upgrade programs. Some of these programs, such as ours, replace the smartphone every single year. Some carriers have similar programs where the iPhone is changed up every year -- some others are 18, 24, or 30 months. Today, there are obviously a lot more people on those programs than ever before. The minus side is that … the lack of a subsidy can be a shock for people, particularly in the U.S., who were used to paying $199 before and now pay full price with a reduced cost of service.

2:46 pm: Q: How is the iPhone Upgrade Program doing? Is Apple thinking about ways to sell the iPhone and more of its products on a monthly type subscription basis, perhaps in a bundled basis?

2:44 pm: Maestri answering question related to sell-through/channel inventory reductions: "Apple reduced channel inventory on not only iPhone, but many other products … Even with sell-through adjustments, guidance for Q4 is still in line with the past."

2:41 pm: Cook questioned about the future, and the iPhone 7 being only an incremental upgrade, and refuses to comment on iPhones that have not been announced. He instead reiterates about the large number of switchers and new platform updates coming in the fall like iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Cook also really likes what he has seen with the iPhone SE, says the cheaper phone is opening doors to customers Apple wasn't reaching before. Also satisfies customers who were looking for a refreshed 4-inch smartphone.

2:38 pm: Maestri talks about how Apple is dealing with a stronger U.S. dollar environment, and hedges appropriately. Apple feels that its gross margin of 37.5 to 38 percent gross margin, despite these FX headwinds, speaks favorably to the company's hard work recently.

2:37 pm: Q: Luca, as it relates to gross margin, the guidance is very similar to the past 5 years for June vs. September quarters … But there is something else/an added factor impacting the guidance?

2:35 pm: Cook: We're really proud of the developer community. Developers are earning a lot more money writing for iOS than for other platforms. We now have over 2 million apps in the App Store and we are more focused these days on discovery and other things to bring more great apps to the service. There are so many out there. Apple TV, CarPlay, HomeKit, and other services are providing users with a seamless experience.

2:34 pm: Q: I wanted to ask you about your platform strategy…

2:33 pm: Cook: We are not going to get into products or product transitions. We did see encouraging signs from last quarter, with double-digit growth in markets like Japan, Brazil, Russia, and Canada. We're also very happy with our switcher rate -- the highest ever we've ever recorded. Highest absolute number of switchers ever over the past 9 months. We think services will continue to grow very briskly.

2:32 pm: Q: What can you tell us about the timing of the new iPhone model? Where is the strength coming from in the September quarter?

2:31 pm: Cook: On the commodities side, and for the September quarter, we see NAND being pretty much in balance, while DRAM and LCDs and other commodities remain in an oversupply situation. Overall commodity prices we expect to decline.

2:30 pm: Maestri: Flat to slightly down sequentially. On the positive side, we will have leverage, as we are guiding towards a sequential increase in revenue. We expect to have a positive mix as we get into the September quarter.

2:30 pm: Q: Luca, can you talk about gross margins? Commodity pricing?

2:29 pm: Cook: We're constantly looking on the outside for great talent and great intellectual property. We have been buying companies on average every 3 to 4 weeks. We continue to do that. We think we've made some really great choices there. In terms of the investment in Didi, it was an unusual investment in that, you know, we don't have a long history of doing a lot of these, but we've done these. We invested in ARM. From a Didi point of view, we see it as (1) as great financial investment, (2) strategic things the companies can partner on over time, and (3) Apple can learn a lot more about the Chinese market through Didi.

2:28 pm: Q: Tim, can you talk about your thoughts on investments? You made the Didi investment this quarter. Acquisitions. Where are you putting your investment dollars from an acquisition/equity standpoint?

2:27 pm: Q&A session beginning.

2:26 pm: Maestri: Apple expects revenue to be between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion in Q4 2016, compared to $51.5 billion in Q4 2015.

2:25 pm: Maestri: Apple returned $13 billion to shareholders last quarter.

2:25 pm: Maestri: Apple has $231.5 billion in cash plus marketable securities. $1.4 billion decrease.

2:23 pm: Maestri: Among U.S. consumers planning to purchase a tablet in the next 6 months, 63% plan to purchase an iPad. iPad Pro is the top device that those customers intend to purchase.

2:22 pm: Maestri: We faced a very difficult quarter with Macs compared to the year-ago quarter, when we launched a new MacBook Pro and iMac.

2:20 pm: Maestri: Services now account for 11% of Apple's overall revenue, up from 8% in the year-ago period.

2:20 pm: Maestri: We set a new record for customers transacting on the iTunes Store. Average amount spent per customer was the highest ever measured.

2:19 pm: Maestri: iPhone continues to show momentum in business market. 75% of prospective corporate buyers intend to buy iPhone in September quarter.

2:19 pm: Maestri: iPhone SE rollout concurrent with iPhone channel inventory reduction resulted in lower iPhone ASP of $595. Apple expects iPhone ASP to improve in Q4 2016.

2:18 pm: Maestri: $10.6 billion cash flow. iPhone channel inventory reduced by 4 million units. Sell-through down by 8%.

2:17 pm: Apple CFO Luca Maestri is now talking.

2:17 pm: Cook says Apple has incredible products in the pipeline and is very bullish about the company's future.

2:16 pm: Cook: 3 out of 4 contactless payments made with Apple Pay. More than 11 million contactless locations/points of sale in all participating Apple Pay countries. Apple Pay is now live in 9 markets, including 6 out of Apple's top 10 markets.

2:13 pm: Cook: We have focused our AI efforts on features that best enhance the customer experience. For example, machine learning enables Siri to learn words and the intent behind them, and can then deliver smarter, more accurate responses.

2:13 pm: Cook is reflecting on new features that customers can look forward to this fall with iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10, such as improvements to Siri, Messages, and Continuity.

2:11 pm: Cook: India is one of our fastest growing markets. iPhone sales in India up 51% year-over-year in the first three quarters of this year. Cook confirms Apple's plans to open retail stores in the country in the future.

2:10 pm: Cook talks about currency headwinds affecting revenue earnings in Greater China region, such as the stronger Hong Kong dollar.

2:09 pm: Cook: iPhone install base in China has grown by 34% over the past year.

2:08 pm: Cook reflects on Apple Watch's top customer satisfaction rating among smartwatches awarded by JD Power. He does not comment on any specific sales.

2:07 pm: Cook: Our survey shows that half of iPad Pro purchasers are buying them for work. Ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users. Ultimate replacement device for customers switching from PCs.

2:07 pm: Cook: We expect our services category to be the size of a Fortune 100 company by next year.

2:06 pm: Cook: App Store revenue up 37% to an all-time high.

2:06 pm: Cook: Switchers from Android and other platforms accounted for the highest percentage of iPhone buyers than ever before.

2:05 pm: Cook: iPhone SE is popular in both developed and emerging markets. Sales to new-to-iPhone customers are greater than in previous years.

2:05 pm: Cook says iPhone SE demand outstripped supply through the entire June quarter.

2:04 pm: Apple reduced channel inventory by $3.6 billion. Sell-through was markedly greater than sell-in.

2:04 pm: Cook says that today's report reflects several encouraging signs that Apple did not expect even 90 days ago.

2:02 pm: Apple CEO Tim Cook will speak first, followed by CFO Luca Maestri.

2:02 pm: Apple's earning call is beginning.

1:47 pm: iPhone average selling price (ASP) declined to $595 from $642 last quarter, due in large part to the iPhone SE. On the flip side, iPad ASP rose to $490 from $430 due to the higher priced 9.7-inch iPad Pro compared to the previous iPad Air 2.


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iPhone 7 May Include Flush '3D Touch' Home Button
Apple's iPhone 7 may not include a physical home button, instead adopting a touch-sensitive "3D Touch" home button, reports Mac Otakara [Google Translate]. Such a home button would be flush with the body of the iPhone and would not actually depress when a finger is placed on it.

Instead, when a user presses on the home button, haptic feedback will mimic a press, much like the Force Touch trackpad on Apple's most recent MacBooks. Through haptic feedback, iPhone users will feel the sensation of pressing on a button even though there's no actual button to press.

touchid
Mac Otakara's report refers back to an April home button rumor from Stormmedia and confirms its veracity, citing unspecified supply chain sources and saying there's a "high possibility" the rumor is accurate. We've heard the same home button rumor from DigiTimes and analysts at Cowen and Company. While none of these sources have track records accurate enough to unquestioningly say the rumor is true, the fact that it's a rumor we've heard multiple times now suggests it could be accurate.

A flush home button, when combined with rumors of improved waterproofing and the removal of the headphone jack, makes some sense. Without a physical button, there would be no way for water to get into the internals of the phone around the button, and it would also potentially improve the reliability of the Touch ID system.

Based on leaked part images and dummies, the removal of the home button will not drastically change the look of the iPhone 7.

Should Apple remove the physical home button in favor of a Force Touch or 3D Touch home button in the iPhone 7, the company will be one step closer to eliminating the home button entirely, something that's rumored for the 2017 iPhone.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: macotakara.jp

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