Apple's next-generation iPhone will take a few design cues from the Apple Watch, not only gaining the new Force Touch input method, but also utilizing the company's custom Series 7000 aluminum for a casing that will be up to 60 percent harder than the iPhone 6.
Information on the materials that will be used to build Apple's so-called "iPhone 6s" was detailed by well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, in a research note summarized by Macotakara.
According to Kuo, the next iPhone will be slightly wider and taller by about 0.15 millimeters, while it will be thicker by 0.2 millimeters — changes that could be due to the new Force Touch display expected in the device. For perspective, the current iPhone 6 measures 6.9 millimeters thick, while the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1 millimeters.
AppleInsider's own sources confirmed in February that Apple plans on bringing its new Force Touch input method to the "iPhone 6s" this year, affirming earlier rumblings. Force Touch debuted in April on the Apple Watch and the company's latest MacBooks, allowing users to press harder on a display or trackpad to gain new contextual options.
Kuo said in April that he expects Force Touch on the "iPhone 6s" to bring about the most significant change to date for the iOS user interface. At the time, he said he believed Apple will implement Force Touch on the next iPhone by using capacitive technology.
As for the 7000 Series aluminum, Apple introduced it in the Apple Watch, touting that it had created an entirely new alloy that's 60 percent stronger than most aluminum, while just one-third the density of stainless steel.
Along with a revised casing material, Kuo also believes the colors on the next iPhone will be slightly tweaked, with the current gold model to become closer to yellow gold, while space gray will become darker than on the current iPhone 6.
Finally, Kuo is also said to have again reiterated that Apple plans to introduce a rose gold colored iPhone this year. The insider first revealed that information in May, but it remains unclear whether Apple plans to introduce simply a rose gold color, or release a premium iPhone made of actual 18-karat gold.
Apple first introduced the "gold" color with the iPhone 5s beginning in 2013. However, iPhone models to date have not been made of actual gold, unlike the luxury Apple Watch Edition which is made of 18-karat gold and starts at $10,000.
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A legal blog caused a bit of a stir on Thursday when it proposed Apple, along with other tech companies fielding communications services protected by strong encryption methods, might be held liable of providing material support to a suspected terrorist.
In the second installment of a thought piece about end-to-end encryption and its effect on national security, Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes and co-author Zoe Bedell hypothesize a situation in which Apple is called upon to provide decrypted communications data as part of a legal law enforcement process.
Since Apple does not, and on devices running iOS 8 cannot, readily hand over decrypted user data, a terrorist might leverage the company's messaging products to hide their agenda from government security agencies. And to deadly effect.
As The Intercept reported, the hypotheticals just made the ongoing government surveillance versus consumer protection battle "uglier."
Wittes and Bedell lay out a worst case scenario in which an American operative is recruited by ISIS via Twitter, then switches communication methods to Apple's encrypted platform. The person might already be subject to constant monitoring from the FBI, for example, but would "go dark" once they committed to iOS. Certain information slips through, like location information and metadata, but surveillance is blind for all intents and purposes, the authors propose. The asset is subsequently activated and Americans die.
Under the civil remedies provision of the Antiterrorism Act (18 U.S. Code §2333), victims of international terrorism can sue, Lawfare explains, adding that an act violating criminal law is required to meet section definitions. Courts have found material support crimes satisfy this criteria. Because Apple was previously warned of potential threats to national security, specifically the danger of loss of life, it could be found to have provided material support to the theoretical terrorist.
The authors point out that Apple would most likely be open liability under §2333 for violating 18 USC §2339A, which makes it a crime to "provide material support or resources ... knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out" a terrorist attack or other listed criminal activity. Communications equipment is specifically mentioned in the statute.
Ultimately, it falls to the court to decide liability, willing or otherwise. Wittes and Bedell compare Apple's theoretical contribution to that of Arab Bank's monetary support of Hamas, a known terrorist organization. The judge in that case moved the question of criminality to Hamas, the group receiving assistance, not Arab Bank.
"The question for the jury was thus whether the bank was secondarily, rather than primarily, liable for the injuries," Wittes and Bedell write. "The issue was not whether Arab Bank was trying to intimidate civilians or threaten governments. It was whether Hamas was trying to do this, and whether Arab Bank was knowingly helping Hamas."
... [Read More]
It was learned in May that IBM plans to deploy some 50,000 MacBooks to employees by the end of 2015, but a newly leaked video suggests the company could see adoption numbers between 150,000 to 200,000 units.
In an internal company video procured by MacRumors, IBM chief information officer Jeff Smith tells the story of a recent meeting with his counterpart at Apple Niall O'Connor about working together on a corporate device buying initiative. The clip suggests IBM is looking to make a drastic change to its company-issued workstation program, one that will largely rely on Apple's MacBook lineup.
From Smith's retelling:
We've got to find a way to make the overall cost the same or lower than PCs to make that happen. Would you be interested in helping me do that because you guys know these devices. And he said, "Nah Jeff, we'd never do that, very secretive, we never allow anyone in. You know, we just don't do that."
And I said, "Well who's your largest corporate customer?" And he said, "Well, that customer has got about 25,000 MacBooks a year." And I said, "Well we could be 150 to 200,000." And he goes, "Jeff, that's a great idea. We're gonna come here, you know, next week, you bring your whole team." And that's exactly what happened.
Smith does not present a rollout timeline in the clip, but uptake could be rapid considering an upgrade program is already in place to swap out old employee workstations with MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs or PCs. In May, a leaked internal memo revealed IBM estimates it will hand out some 50,000 MacBooks by the end of 2015, a number that would make it the world's largest Mac-supporting company.
Smith goes on to note IBM vice president Fletcher Previn told Apple CEO Tim Cook that he estimates about 50 to 75 percent of employees will switch from Lenovo machines to Mac as part of the initiative. Cook reportedly fired back, "Well what about the other third?"
"Of course [Cook] would like to have 100 percent," Smith said.
Apple and IBM surprised tech pundits last year by announcing a partnership in enterprise solutions dubbed "IBM MobileFirst for iOS," an initiative incorporating custom software and analytics services with iOS hardware.
The companies in June revealed work on an experimental educational product called the Student Achievement App, which looks to provide teachers with real-time student data analytics. A prototype version of the service is slated for completion soon, with pilot programs scheduled to roll out at four schools in 2016.
It would be easy to think that Apple’s sapphire iPhone dreams went down the pan when GT Advanced Technologies went bust, but Apple’s nothing if not persistent.
Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple describing a new method for manufacturing sapphire displays by irradiating the sapphire crystal and then using a laser and “second gas medium” to slice it into the super-thin sheets Apple requires.
Apple’s gas-assisted laser-cutting patent will let it create the sapphire displays it needs
As Apple’s application explains, sapphire crystal is paradoxically both incredibly hard and very brittle. The sapphire itself rates 9.0 on the Mohs scale, which means that it is capable of scratching almost all other minerals – including physical cutting tools.
However, it is also delicate in the sense that small defects in the surface or edge of a sapphire substrate can result in “dramatic strength reductions.”
To solve this, Apple’s efficient laser-cutting patent application would save wear and tear on physical sapphire cutting tools, while also lowering the number of defects made. This in turn would have a positive impact on the all-important yield, necessary to churn out tens of millions of devices.
True, Apple could use this technology for focusing on smaller sapphire components like camera lens covers and Apple Watch displays, but the patent application specifically mentions “mobile phone” as a desired category. All of the diagrams (such as the one above) also show iPhone-size displays being cut.
Now Apple just needs to work out where it’ll get the massive sapphire quantities it needs for its devices.
This stylus would add new meaning to the word touchscreen
Steve Jobs was famously opposed to including a stylus with the iPad, but even he might have changed his mind had he caught a glimpse of the futuristic texture-sensing input device Apple just patented.
According to a pair of patent applications published today, Apple is working on stylus with in-built camera which would allow it to detect the surface over which it is passed and reproduce these textures for the user – even down to replicating the feel of different fabrics.
Haptic feedback works by modulating the friction forces between a user’s finger and the source of the haptic feedback by modifying the level of voltage. Although it has been investigated by various researchers for at least 50 years, it is only in recent years when we have started to see advanced haptics live up to their potential, with groups like Disney Research investigating the the possibilities of the technology for large table-top tablet displays in its theme parks.
Many tech companies have been working on incorporating haptics into their devices, but the kind of fine-grain technology Apple is discussing here is unlike anything I’m aware of in a present-day stylus.
As Apple points out, the tech would have applications which go way beyond simple gimmicks. For instance, a visually impaired person could use a stylus like this to be able to feel an image on-screen, much like Braille is used to read text. Given how much work Apple has done for accessibility in the past, this would seem like a natural move for the company to make.
Another possibility would be in the gaming arena, which is a source of profitability for many companies working to create mobile devices.
It should be noted that Apple has been looking into haptics at least as far back as 2011, meaning that this might not be a technology we see roll out any time soon.
Then again, with Apple under pressure to reinvent the iPad after yet another quarter of falling sales and market share, this would certainly be the kind of thing that would get me to put down my money.
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