The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.
At issue is new technology that Apple, Google Inc. and others have put in place recently to make their devices more secure. The companies say their aim is to satisfy consumer demands to protect private data.
But law-enforcement officials see it as a move in the wrong direction. The new encryption will make it much harder for the police, even with a court order, to look into a phone for messages, photos, appointments or contact lists, they say. Even Apple itself, if served with a court order, won’t have the key to decipher information encrypted on its iPhones.
The meeting last month ended in a standoff. Apple executives thought the dead-child scenario was inflammatory. They told the government officials law enforcement could obtain the same kind of information elsewhere, including from operators of telecommunications networks and from backup computers and other phones, according to the people who attended.
Technology companies are pushing back more against government requests for cooperation and beefing up their use of encryption. On Tuesday, WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc., said it is now encrypting texts sent from one Android phone to another, and it won’t be able to decrypt the contents for law enforcement.
AT&T Inc. on Monday challenged the legal framework investigators have long used to collect call logs and location information about suspects.
In a filing to a federal appeals court in Atlanta, AT&T said it receives an “enormous volume” of government requests for information about customers, and argued Supreme Court decisions from the 1970s “apply poorly” to modern communications. The company urged the courts to provide new, clear rules on what data the government can take without a probable cause warrant.
Relations between the federal government and Silicon Valley have soured since revelations about government surveillance by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden —and the criticism of some technology companies that followed.
The new security measures threaten to alter the government’s post 9/11 efforts to intercept terrorists and other suspected law breakers. Last month, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said new Apple and Google encryption schemes would “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”
Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ, Britain’s version of the NSA, wrote in the Financial Times earlier this month that U.S. technology companies “have become the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us.”
As recently as 2012, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was on a first-name basis with then-NSA head Keith Alexander, published emails indicate. He and other Google executives participated in classified cybersecurity briefings on hacking threats facing the U.S.
In March, Mr. Schmidt declined a personal request by President Barack Obama for technical staffers from Google and the government to discuss what the NSA does and doesn’t do, according to two people familiar with the exchange.
At a public hearing in October, Mr. Schmidt said NSA snooping would wind up “breaking the Internet.”
Tech companies say concerns that they too easily turn over data to the U.S. government are costing them business overseas.
The dispute resembles the so-called Cypto Wars of the early 1990s, when the Clinton Administration sought to regulate certain encryption schemes like weapons and require that they include a key that could be unlocked by law enforcement. Tech firms resisted, arguing that people should be able to encrypt their information to safeguard it.
A federal appeals court mostly ended the dispute in 1999, when it ruled computer code, including encryption schemes, is protected speech under the First Amendment.
Over time, Washington and Silicon Valley repaired relations. Tech companies generally responded to government requests for data following the 9/11 attacks.
Then came Mr. Snowden’s revelations, beginning in June 2013. The former NSA contractor released documents showing the NSA scanned Internet traffic extensively, suggesting tech companies were complicit in the snooping. Other documents revealed that the NSA had intercepted traffic between Google’s overseas data centers, infuriating Google executives.
In June 2013, Mr. Snowden provided reporters with documents describing a government program called Prism, which gathered huge amounts of data from tech companies. At first, tech-company executives said they hadn’t previously heard of Prism and denied participating. In fact, Prism was an NSA code word for data collection authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Tech companies routinely complied with such requests.
More than a year later, tech executives say consumers still mistrust them, and they need to take steps to demonstrate their independence from the government.
Customer trust is a big issue at Apple. The company generates 62% of its revenue outside the U.S., where it says encryption is even more important to customers concerned about snooping by their governments.
These days, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook stresses the company’s distance from the government.
“Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it,” he said at The Wall Street Journal’s global technology conference in October. “It’s not for me to do that.”
In early September, Apple said the encryption on its latest iPhone software would prevent anyone other than the user from accessing user data stored on the phone when it is locked. Until then, Apple had helped police agencies—with a warrant—pull data off a phone. The process wasn’t quick. Investigators had to send the device to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, and backlogs occurred.
Apple has long encrypted customer communications through its iMessage and FaceTime services, introduced early this decade. That decision prompted separate complaints from law enforcement.
Shortly after Apple’s announcement, Google said it had adopted a similar encryption scheme on phones using the newest version of its Android operating system, which was released in October.
The announcements set off alarm bells at the FBI, the Justice Department, and other law-enforcement agencies. Officials feared that other companies would follow suit, making even more communications paths difficult to investigate.
Since the Snowden revelations, Google, Facebook Inc. and YahooInc. had begun scrambling information transmitted between their overseas data centers to block NSA spies from listening in. Microsoft Corp. fought a government request for information about users of its Ireland data center, arguing the government had no jurisdiction outside the U.S.
Twitter Inc. this fall sued the government, arguing a recent settlement between the Justice Department and other tech firms restricts what it can say about government data requests.
Soon after Apple’s announcement, the FBI requested a meeting. The task of speaking for the government at the Oct. 1 meeting fell to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, the Justice Department’s second-ranking official. Mr. Cole had previously brokered the settlement about disclosures of government data requests. Apple was represented by General Counsel Bruce Sewell and two other employees, according to people who were there. The following account of what happened at the meeting is based on recollections of those people.
In his fourth-floor conference room, Mr. Cole told the Apple officials they were marketing to criminals.
At one point, he read aloud from a printout of Apple’s announcement, quoting a section in which the company said that under the new system Apple couldn’t cooperate with a court order to retrieve data from a phone even if it wanted to.
Mr. Cole offered the Apple team a gruesome prediction: At some future date, a child will die, and police will say they would have been able to rescue the child, or capture the killer, if only they could have looked inside a certain phone.
His statements reflected concern within the FBI that a careful criminal can shield much activity from police surveillance by minimizing use of cellphone towers and not backing up data.
The Apple representatives viewed Mr. Cole’s suggestion as inflammatory and inaccurate. Police have other ways to get information, they said, including call logs and location information from cellphone carriers. In addition, many users store copies of a phone’s data elsewhere.
During the hourlong meeting, Mr. Sewell said Apple wasn’t marketing to criminals, but to ordinary consumers who store growing amounts of data about themselves on smartphones and are increasingly suspicious of tech companies. Many of those customers are outside the U.S., the Apple representatives said, where phone users want to shield information from governments that are less respectful of individual rights.
If the government wants more information from Apple, the company representatives said, it should change the law to require all companies that handle communications to provide a means for law enforcement to access the communications.
Mr. Cole predicted that would happen, after the death of a child or similar event.
More than once, Mr. Cole suggested there had to be a technical solution—a way to design a phone so that police, with a court order, can access information, without compromising security.
“We can’t create a key that only the good guys can use,” Mr. Sewell responded.
After the meeting, Mr. Cole told colleagues he didn’t expect Apple to back down.
The two sides agreed to a follow-up meeting between technical experts from Apple and the Justice Department. At that meeting, Apple laid out ways in which the government could still collect information about specific phones. But its representatives acknowledged that under the new system, there will be more information on the phones that can be hidden from investigators, even with a warrant.
Later in October, Mr. Comey, the FBI director, criticized the new Apple and Google encryption schemes in a speech, saying the pendulum had swung too far toward protecting privacy, at the expense of law enforcement.
At Apple, Mr. Cook believes consumers will push the pendulum further toward protecting privacy. At the Journal conference, he made a prediction: Consumers will appreciate efforts to protect their privacy once “something major happens.”
“When that happens everybody wakes up and says, ‘Oh my God,’ and they make a change,” he said. “What that event is, I don’t know, but I’m pretty convinced that it’s going to happen.”
During discussions inside the White House, some officials disagreed with Mr. Comey’s approach, according to people familiar with those talks. They had urged the FBI not to speak out publicly, arguing the best chance at a policy change was through quiet negotiations, these people said. Obama administration officials say they plan to keep talking with the tech companies about the issues.
In the debate over phones, government officials repeatedly cite kidnapping or child-abuse cases, in an effort to make law enforcement the focus of the debate, rather than national security. Terror suspects with better-protected data are a serious concern, officials say, but they believe catching criminals is a better public argument to make.
In his October speech, the FBI’s Mr. Comey cited the case of a murdered boy, whom he didn’t name, as one example where data taken from a phone was critical to solving a crime.
That boy, it later emerged, was 12-year-old Justin Bloxom, who was murdered in 2010 in Mansfield, La. His mother, Amy Fletcher, says she has no doubt that phone evidence was critical in convicting his killer. “Everything that was done was done through texts from a damn cellphone,” she says.
Investigators quickly focused on Brian Horn, a cabdriver and convicted sex offender. Mr. Horn’s cellphone was recovered by investigators and sent to the FBI for analysis. The texts showed Mr. Horn lured the boy into his cab by pretending to be a 15-year-old girl looking for sex.
Mr. Horn’s lawyer, Daryl Gold, calls the phone “a crucial piece of evidence.” Before investigators recovered it, he said, “They had a totally circumstantial case.” Mr. Horn was convicted and sentenced to death. He is appealing.
Write to Devlin Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org, Danny Yadron at email@example.com and Daisuke Wakabayashi at Daisuke.Wakabayashi@wsj.com
It’s safe to say that Apple didn’t buy Beats primarily for its overpriced and overrated headphones. Instead, it’s more likely that Apple bought Beats because many of its executives — most notably Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor — all have extensive connections and influence in the music industry. With these influential music industry figures on board, argues Neil Cybart, Apple can create a music streaming service around Beats Music that will offer artists significantly more value than what they’re getting from Spotify.
Taking a look at some of the recent tension that’s come up between artists and streaming services, such as the major dustup between Spotify and Taylor Swift, Cybart imagines Apple developing a music streaming service that offers artists much more control over their product than anything else on the market today.
What does this entail? Cybart imagines the following features: “Music is free, but delivered via a platform where artists rely on software to monetize the brand (image and personality) through merchandising, advertisements, sponsorships; Artists have access to information on their fans; Artists can set up their own tours including ticket sales, booking venues, and even PR circuits through third-party apps; New talent can transition from discovery to monetization quickly without many barriers; The definition of ‘music artist’ becomes boarder to emphasize a wider range of content creators.”
So in other words, the streaming service would be just one tiny part of what Beats Music would offer. The real meat of it is that it would serve as a hub for artists to manage their entire careers and not just music sales.
The whole essay is worth reading and can be found at the source link below.
Read more: http://bgr.com/2014/11/13/apple-beats-music-vs-spotify/#ixzz3J4ClicKX
Ever since the debut of the iPad nearly five years ago, pundits have been talking about the possibility of a post-PC professional existence. But I’m actually living it; I haven’t touched a personal computer in six months and I’m more productive than ever.
If you could peek over my shoulder at the device I’m writing this column on, you might call me a liar. By all appearances, my notebook computer, with its 13-inch screen, trackpad and keyboard, is a PC.
And yet Gartner, the most influential company charged with determining what is and is not a personal computer, has declared that my Samsung ElectronicsChromebook 2 isn’t a PC. Gartner doesn’t include sales of Chromebooks in its quarterly tally of how many PCs are sold.
“We define a PC as a device which is capable for both content consumption and creation, regardless of form factor,” says Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner’s lead PC analyst.
I guess I’m not a content creator.
Chromebooks, in case you haven’t touched one—and market research indicates that you haven’t—are Google ’s answer to Windows and Mac computers. Gadget reviewers who use Chromebooks only when they are paid to often describe them as more limited than a typical PC. But people who use Chromebooks regularly are more likely to observe that they can do pretty much everything that the average PC user needs.
To be fair to Gartner, many Chromebooks, including my own, have the same innards as smartphones so, at least on paper, they seem underpowered. Samsung’s Chromebook 2 has the same processor, amount of memory and even number of screen pixels as Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5. The only reason the Chromebook 2 works as a PC is that Google’s Chrome operating system is incredibly lightweight—smaller and less taxing on hardware.
I don’t mean to shill for Chromebooks. It’s just that Google is in the vanguard of creating PCs that function like smartphones: light, portable, always on, always connected and relying on the cloud to do their heavy lifting. It’s pretty obvious that in the not too distant future, Apple and Microsoft are going to free their fans from the PC in the same way.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said that he does 80% of his work on an iPad. I bet it would be 100% if the iPad possessed the characteristics that allow you to create content rather than just consume it: true multitasking and fast switching between applications, plus a bigger screen. But there’s evidence that a larger, so-called iPad Pro is coming. And I bet that Apple eventually will give us a version of its mobile operating system that makes iPads true replacements for notebooks, even those made by Apple.
Then there’s Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which is a full PC in tablet form, one of the many two-in-one notebooks that PC makers have been rolling out lately. From the processing power these hybrid devices pack to their snap-on keyboards, they are clearly designed to get real work done.
Yet were I a Surface Pro user, I still wouldn’t be using a PC, according to IDC, Gartner’s leading competitor for tallying how many PCs are sold each year. But Gartner does consider the Surface Pro a PC. According to Jay Chou, IDC’s senior analyst in charge of tracking PCs, the firm doesn’t consider anything with a detachable keyboard a PC. His firm does consider Chromebooks to be PCs, even though the Surface Pro 3 is far more powerful than most Chromebooks.
That Gartner and IDC can’t even agree on the definition of a PC speaks volumes about the strange times in which we live. Is a smartphone stretched into the shape of a laptop a PC? No, says Gartner. What about a PC crammed into the shape of a tablet? Nope, counters IDC.
These delineations are ridiculous from the perspective of the end user. That’s because most of us are entertaining ourselves and getting work done in the one place absolutely all of these devices can access—the cloud.
I store and edit all my photos in the cloud, which also is where all my media are streamed from. Unless you’re editing video, building 3-D models, playing elaborate games or dependent on legacy Windows applications that your company hasn’t moved to the cloud, you don’t strictly need a PC anymore.
At this point in history, booting up a full-fledged PC operating system to write an email is like using a nuclear sub to go on a weekend fishing trip. And a good Chromebook can be had for $300. Personally, I’d rather spend my technology budget on the one thing I truly can’t do without—my smartphone. Surveys indicate that in this respect, I’m typical of every generation to follow the baby boomers.
In short, I’m done with PCs—at least as they are conventionally defined. And I think the majority of long-suffering PC users would be too if they weren’t so accustomed to thinking of computers in the same way they have for decades. Building new technology is easy compared with changing the habits of those who use it.
—Follow Christopher Mims on Twitter @Mims and write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl Icahn, owner of $5.3 billion worth of Apple (AAPL) stock, doesn’t think people are excited enough about Apple. In an open letter to Chief Executive Tim Cook, the activist investor says the company’s shares should be worth $203, or about double the $100.80 closing price on Wednesday, Oct. 8.
The letter is full of flattery and optimistic predictions for Apple’s current and rumored product lines. All this is preface to Icahn’s main point: Apple should purchase more of its own stock, building on the buybacks it began earlier this yearafter similar pressure from Icahn. Here’s what he thinks is in store for the company:
• The iPhone will take market share from Android. In part, according to Icahn, that’s because Apple makes the better phone. But he also believes Apple’s other products and services are making it harder to resist buying a whole range of Apple-branded electronics. Google (GOOG) can’t match because it doesn’t control everything and relies on advertising, which means privacy will always be a problem.
• The iPad will recover from its current slump. Apple will increase iPad sales by 8 percent each of the next two years while also increasing the average price, according to Icahn’s forecast. The bigger iPads mean that Apple can start luring people who would have bought cheap laptops, and the partnership with IBM (IBM)will help get more corporate buyers.
• Apple will begin selling a television in fiscal 2016. That’s right around the time people will be looking to upgrade their HD televisions to higher-resolution 4K models. Icahn thinks Apple will be in a position to sell 12 million TV sets in its first year, increasing to 25 million the following year, with an average price of $1,500.
• Twenty million people will buy Apple watches in fiscal 2015. And Icahn expects the company to sell 72.5 million watches by 2017, with an average price of $450.
• Apple Pay could bring in $2.5 billion in revenue by 2017. Icahn thinks the company can reach 30 percent of all credit and debit card spending. If that sounds like a lot of revenue from retail transactions, consider that it’s less than 60 percent of what the company made from iPods last year.
Icahn, who owns 0.9 percent of Apple’s stock, says the company needs to snap up its own shares before mutual funds realize they’re missing out. “We are simply asking you to help us convince the board to repurchase a lot more, and sooner,” he writes in the letter to Cook. “We feel compelled to do so because we forecast such impressive earnings growth over the next few years, and therefore we believe Apple is dramatically undervalued in today’s market, and the more shares repurchased now, the more each remaining shareholder will benefit from that earnings growth.”
It’s the second week in September and that means one thing – a huge Apple event. A number of new products are expected. The question is whether they’ll live up to all the hype. It’s also a big week for some big consumer brands like Barnes & Noble, Campbell Soup, and Lululemon, which will announce earnings. With that said, here’s what you need to know to prepare for the week ahead.
1. Once again, it’s all about Apple
The time has come for the unveiling of Apple’s new products on Tuesday including an expected iPhone 6 and an iWatch smartwatch. There’s been gallons of ink (real and digital) already spilled by the media speculating about what will be announced. Tune into Fortune for a live-blog of the event starting just before 1 pm EST). The wild card is Apple CEO Tim Cook will mention the latest wrinkle: The nude celebrity photo hackings into Apple’s iCloud service.
2. But don’t forget about TechCrunch
Amid all the attention on the Apple event, it’d be a mistake to forget about TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco running Monday through Wednesday. The annual conference features speakers including Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who was featured in a June Fortune cover story, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the always irascible Mark Cuban.
3. Expect a reports round-up, too
It’s time once more for retail sales numbers – in this case for the month of August. The data will be available at 8:30am EST on Friday. Expect those numbers to be a mixed bag, with some stores reporting declines, but others getting a back-to-school lift. But retail sales and consumer spending overall have been suffering, according to Fortune. Other numbers to be released next week? The weekly jobless claims numbers on Thursday at 8:30am EST, while the NFIB’s small business survey comes out at 7:30am EST on Tuesday.
4. Prepare to read up on retail earnings galore
And speaking about retail, Barnes & Noble comes out with its earnings report on Tuesday before the market opens. It’ll be the bookseller’s first quarter results for the 2015 fiscal year. The book retailer is finishing up plans announced back in June to split its retail and Nook units into two public companies in a bid to bolster the e-reader business. That’s expected to be completed by March, according to The Wall Street Journal. Also important: Men’s Warehouse on Wednesday, and Lululemon Athletica on Thursday.
5. Food, glorious, food earnings
Retail aside, it’s a relatively tasty week for food earnings. Campbell Soup will announce its results on Monday before the market opens. Another earnings report to be served up: Krispy Kreme on Tuesday, after the close. The doughnut company made a mark last year for baking up a business turnaround. There’s also Darden Restaurants reporting of Friday in its first full quarter after selling off Red Lobster.
Authored by Benjamin Snyder via fortune.com.
Apple has confirmed that it is holding a press event on Sept. 9, most likely to unveil new products. The company is widely expected to debut a new version of the iPhone, and the company will reportedly offer at least one model with a larger 5.5-inch screen.
Reports also indicate that Apple may show off the long-awaited iWatch, a wearable device that would likely run on iOS.
The event will take place in the company’s hometown of Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
When Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO on August 24, 2011, the company’s future was anything but certain. The tech giant had become the most valuable company in the world just weeks before, thanks to a decade’s worth of wildly successful new products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The disruptive devices were credited almost exclusively to Jobs’ genius, and consumers as well as Wall Street analysts wondered whether Tim Cook, his soft-spoken successor, could guide Apple even higher.
Fast forward three years and Cook has proved his doubters wrong. This week, he got quite the anniversary gift when Apple’s stock reached an all-time high, largely because of strong recent earnings reports and anticipation of the iPhone 6, rumored to be announced this fall. Apple’s new share price high is a sign investors are buying into Cook’s vision for the companys’ future, which looks different from Jobs’s.
Here’s a look at four ways Apple has changed during the Era of Cook.
Only Cook Could Go to China Jobs famously never visited China during his tenure as Apple CEO—that was Cook’s job, who served as the company’s chief operating officer before Jobs stepped down. As CEO, Cook has taken a more hands-on approach in the world’s most populous country, visiting China multiple times to meet with government officials and survey Apple’s factories there. Even more important than the trips is the deal Cook inked last year with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, to carry the iPhone. His focus on the country has paid off handsomely. China is now Apple’s fastest-growing sales market by far, generating $5.9 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter.
“There is no doubt [Cook] recognizes the fact that China will become Apple’s number one market,” Thomas Husson, an analyst at Forrester, said in an email to TIME.
Goosing Apple’s Stock Through Share Buybacks
Investors have long clamored for Apple to make better use of its massive $160 billion cash hoard. Jobs ignored a suggestion by Warren Buffet to launch a share buyback program, but Cook has launched a massive share repurchase plan to reclaim $90 billion in company stock. Such programs make investors happy by putting cash in their pockets, while also improving a company’s financial optics by boosting its earnings per share. The share repurchase plan, which was expanded earlier this year, has helped Apple stock rally in recent months after tumbling from an all-time high in September 2012. In fact, the company’s 25% gain in stock price since purchasing $18 billion of its shares in the first quarter of the year was the best return ever following a share buyback, according to Bloomberg.
Diversifying Apple’s Core Products Part of Apple’s financial success stems from the fact that it manufactures a relatively small slate of products that sell on a massive scale. Cook has deviated somewhat from this strategy by introducing variants on the iPad (the iPad Mini) and the iPhone (the iPhone 5c) that serve as smaller cheaper alternatives to Apple’s flagship devices. Apple doesn’t break out the sales of individual products within the iPad and iPhone lines, but according to mobile marketing firm Fiksu, the iPad Mini was the second most-used iPad as of April. More impressive than the sales is the fact that Cook has been able to keep Apple’s margins impressively high while adding new production costs.
“Jobs did a lot of the heavy lifting developing home run products such as the iPad and iPhone,” says Bill Kreher, an equity analyst at Edward Jones. “Cook has been able to extend the reach of those products, improving profitability.”
Increasing Apple’s Acquisitions and Partnerships Apple made few acquisitions in the Jobs era, and they were generally small. Cook, on the other hand, has bought up 23 companies since taking the reins, according to Crunchbase. No buyout caused more waves than Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, which was either a smart acqui-hire of Beats’ music and marketing maestros or proof that Apple has lost its creative spark, depending on your perspective. The purchase mainly showed that Cook isn’t afraid to seek help from outside his Cupertino headquarters. For more evidence, consider Apple’s recently announced partnership with former nemesis IBM to bring a suite of enterprise apps to iOS.
Make no mistake—investors are still clamoring for Cook to release a new product disruptive as the iPhone or the iPad. Rumors persist that Apple will eventually launch an iWatch, or perhaps a pay-TV service to compete with cable. For now, though, with iPhone sales climbing ever higher and investors’ pockets being lined through a share buyback, Wall Street seems content with Apple’s trajectory.
“You have Steve Jobs, who was the innovator, the visionary, says Kreher, “and you have Tim Cook, who is a good steward of the business and is an excellent executor.”
Authored by Victor Luckerson via time.com.
There may very well be a day when Apple executives set up an iPhone X rumour publication that consists of nothing but endless, daily, rumours of the next iPhone. They can call it the iPhone Bugle, or iPhone X Times. Just so long as ‘iPhone’ is in the title, Jimmy Tan has a grainy-picture gallery, and there’s a ‘Leaker Wars’ section where leakers accuse each other of leaking fake pictures of dummy models.
That would save us all a lot of time.
Until then, people like myself will have to diligently wade through the iPhone rumour sludge to present you, the eager public, with something to look forward to.
This year’s rumour-mill feels like it has been in overdrive for the last seven months. We’ve seen rumours ranging from haptic feedback on the iPhone 6, to wireless charging, to automatic location-based unlocking. Some likely, some rumour-mill fairytales. Here, I’ll rundown the most believable rumours reported so far. And be sure to check back here for updates as and when they come in.
The biggest and most likely rumour is that Apple is going to increase the size of the screen, possibly with two versions of the iPhone 6 on the way. We’ve seen dummy shots of both 4.7 and 5.5-inch versions, with the 5.5-inch device potentially scheduled for a 2015 launch because of production problems, according to Mac Rumours.
However Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is ramping up production and hiring new staff for a double launch later this year.
Dummy models from show off the different versions
Reports suggest that both handsets will have a resolution of 1704 x 906, which would give the 4.7-inch model a pixel density of 416 and the 5.5-inch version a pixel density of 365.
The new iPhone screen should be made of tougher stuff, too, with a sapphire glass display according to a South China Morning Post article in February this year. Tech blogger Marques Borwnlee uploaded a video last week testing an apparent iPhone 6 sapphire screen by vigorously rubbing it with sandpaper. The video shows that the new display fares a lot better after a sandpaper attack than its predecessor, the iPhone 5.
However The Guardian reported that the new display could be a blend of sapphire and glass, which explains why its possible for it to be scratched, despite reports that will be “unscratchable”. Professor Neil Alford, who was consulted by Apple about sapphire screens 18 months ago explained:
“Apple has patents for both sapphire lamination – taking two different cuts of sapphire to induce strain and increase its resilience – and for fusing quartz or silica (glass) to sapphire.”
Apple also submitted a patent for a wraparound display at the end of last year, citing different shapes outside of the standard rectangular phone. Although this may come too soon for the iPhone 6, especially given how many casing leaks there have been that show no space for a flexible display.
Processor, power and memory
It’s pretty likely that Apple will opt for a more powerful and efficient A8 processor, which should improve battery life. LaptopMag reported that it will include a 20 nanometer quad-core 64-bit A8 processor, although Chinese sitecnBeta.com suggests that the iPhone 6 will once again feature a 2GHz (or higher) dual-core processor.
There seems to be a consensus that there will be a big shift in available memory on the new iPhone, with the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions boasting 64GBs and 128GBs of space respectively.
The battery is likely to get a 15% increase in power with its new 1800mAh battery for the 4.7-inch model and the 5.5-inch getting a 2500 mAh battery, which gives it a huge 50% increase in battery life over the 5S. There’s also the improved chipset that should improve efficiency and reduce battery drain.
However, if reports of a QHD screen are correct, the same as the one in the LG G3, then any battery increases will be negligible given how much power a super-HD screen requires.
Leaked images of the iPhone 6 rear panel earlier this year show that Apple’s new handset could be the slimmest one yet. The leaked images show a cut out of the Apple logo on the back panel, which could indicate a reserved NFC or wireless charging being embedded into the logo. Photos from French blog nowhereelse.frrevealed similar images, which I wrote about a couple of months back.
Leaked shots of the iPhone 6 rear casing.
Naturally, with larger screens comes a larger body, and, according to an Amazon leak, the iPhone 6 will feature dimensions of 130 x 65 x 7mm and weighing in at 113g. Dummy photos emerged in May from Italian blog Macitynet.it, which compared the thickness of a round-edged iPhone 6 dummy unit and the iPhone 5 – showing a small change in thickness.
Perhaps one of the most credible design leaks was Jimmy Lin’s photo of himself holding up an iPhone 5 and an apparent iPhone 6. He pulled a similar stunt last year, just as the iPhone 5 was about to be launched which proved accurate.
Sonny Dickson also unveiled photos of a similar looking dummy, and YouTube techblog TechSmartt examined the 5.5 and 4.7-inch mockups in detail.
PCAdvisor speculates that the iPhone 6 could come with an automatic unlock feature, similar the Android L feature that Google demoed at its I/O in June. To do so, there would have to be a connecting device that prompts it to unlock, an iWatch perhaps?
Apple’s recent patent application also alludes to location based security, which means that your iPhone will detect when you’re at home or the office and not require a passcode. It reads: “The security level and/or other device behaviour, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device.”
It continues: “In one example, a passcode is not required when the mobile device detects a current location corresponding to the user’s home. In another example, a simple passcode is used when the mobile device detects a location corresponding to the user’s office desk, but a longer or more complex alphanumeric passcode is used at other locations within the office, such as the cafeteria or conference rooms.”
The iPhone 6 camera is likely to see an improvement in the new device. Chinese website IT168 speculates that the iPhone 6 will come with a 10-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture and improved filter. A rumour on Weibo also reported that the iPhone 6 may use Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), which should prevent images from blurring. If so, it looks as if Apple may be taking a page out of HTC’s book and not going with a high pixel count camera, but focussing on image enhancements and features instead.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that there’s a good chance Apple will include NFC in the new device, possibly in the cut out Apple logo on the rear panel. Although Apple has shied away from NFC, and many predicted that it will launch its own version, Kuo thinks that Cupertino tech giant will have to fall in line and adopt the technology.
Apple also recently announced a partnership with China UnionPay to add its banking service to Passbook, which means users will be able to make payments on China Union Pay’s NFC enabled QuickPass machines.
The iPhone 6 will likely ship with iOS 8, which means that it could ship with a rumoured health app that monitors your vital statistics that pull data from a variety of built-in sensors on the iPhone 6.
As mentioned earlier, Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that Foxconn has confirmed that it is hiring an extra 100,000 workers to gear up for mass production of the iPhone 6. The report says that production for the 4.7-inch model will begin at the end of the July and the 5.5-inch version in the “first two weeks of August” – suggesting that larger iPhone may not be delayed until 2015 but will arrive with its little brother in September / October.
Authored by Jay McGregor via forbes.com.
Tim Cook has steered Apple through three years of increased competition from rivals since he took the helm as the tech giant's CEO.
When visionary founder Steve Jobs chose Cook as his successor, he offered two pieces of advice: Not to think of what he (Jobs) would do and to “do what’s right.”
In the past few months, Cook has shown the breadth of his vision for Apple by taking charge on two vastly different deals.
He helped make Dr. Dre the self-proclaimed “first billionaire in hip hop” with the $3 billion acquisition of Beats -- a company known best for their premium line of headphones.
Cook unveiled another deal Tuesday when he announced Apple would team up with IBM, a former rival, to sell more iPads and iPhones to corporate customers.
"I think that from a high level Cook is willing to work with people where Steve Jobs was not willing to work with people," Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, told ABC News. "He clearly believes more in cooperation versus competition."
Patrick Moorhead, principal technology analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told ABC News that the diversity of the deals show Cook is "positioning himself as a unique leader."
"He seems to embrace things that a previous Apple wouldn’t do before," Moorhead said.
That means working with IBM -- the original Big Brother company that Apple poked fun at in the groundbreaking "1984" TV commercial.
While 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies use iOS devices, according to Cook, the IBM partnership will allow Apple a way of bringing its products to corporate customers who may be using other devices, while integrating IBM's data and analytics.
The companies will also collaborate on a "MobileFirst" platform of industry-specific business apps, including retail, healthcare, banking, travel, transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others.
According to Apple, enterprise solutions will begin rolling out this fall and into 2015.
"It is big in that Apple has historically put no effort into enterprise," Munster said of the partnership. But "if you look at the impact of the numbers, it's a little bit more of a gray area."
Under Cook’s stewardship, Moorhead said he expects to see even more partnerships and acquisitions in the future, cementing not just a new era at Apple, but Cook’s legacy as a leader who can "think different."
"I would expect more partnerships, more acquisitions, more collaboration," Moorhead said.
Authored by Alyssa Newcomb via abcnews.go.com.