The Tech News Blog

July 22, 2014

Apple Going Big With New iPhone Orders

iPhone 5S and 5C Apple is feeling super confident about its new phablet-sized iPhones.

The Cupertino tech giant has asked its suppliers to manufacture between 70 and 80 million of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets by Dec. 30, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. That's Apple's biggest initial iPhone production run, surpassing the 50 million to 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models it ordered last year, the report notes.

Apple's two main iPhone makers — Foxconn and Pegatron Corp — plan to start mass producing the 4.7-inch model in August while Foxconn parent Hon Hai will exclusively begin making the 5.5-inch handset in September. To get ready, Foxconn and Pegatron have been on a "hiring binge" in China, with Foxconn hiring workers by the hundreds every day.

The Journal report also backs up previous rumors that the new iPhones will feature all-metal cases, like the iPhone 5s, and come in several different colors. At 4.7 and 5.5 inches, the new devices dwarf the current 4-inch Retina display iPhone 5s.

The new iPhones are expected to make their debut this fall, but there were recently reports about production issues surrounding the phablet-sized device could delay its launch until November. Of course, there were similar rumors about the iPad mini with Retina display, but those were largely inaccurate.

Another iPhone rumor, meanwhile, says that the handsets will sport super-durable sapphire crystal displays, which are practically indestructible. In addition, word has it that the Apple logo on the back of the phones will light up for notifications, meaning you'll be able to put the handset face down and still be alerted to an incoming message.

July 21, 2014

Rumor: Notifications to Light Up Apple Logo on iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Glowing Apple Logo Rumor If the latest rumors are true, iPhone 6 users will have no excuse for missing a text message.

Word has it that the Apple logo on the back of the phone will light up for notifications on the next version of Apple's smartphone. This means you'll be able to put the handset face down and still be alerted to an incoming message.

The rumor has been circulating for some time, but new photos obtained by uSwitch with the help of notorious Apple leaker Sonny Dickson offer even more evidence that Apple may be going for the glow with its next iPhone. The site compared the rear housing of the alleged iPhone 6 with earlier-generation iPhone shells to reach its conclusion.

"Rear housings for previous iPhones were aperture-free solid blocks that featured the Apple logo embossed on the exterior of the handset," the site notes. "However … this time the logo is part of a plastic panel that's inserted in a recessed part of the interior of the rear housing and peeks through the hole. Tellingly, the plastic part looks to have been made thin enough that light can easily shine through to alert you to updates and other important messages."

Savvy iPhone users may know that you can already use the flash on the back of your phone as a notification light for text messages and other alerts. To enable this feature head over to Settings > General > Accessibility, and switch on the option "LED Flash for Alerts."

Meanwhile on the iPhone front, Apple is widely expected to unveil two new smartphones this fall: a 4.7-inch handset, and a 5.5-inch model, though the larger handset may be delayed due to production issues. The handsets will likely sport super-durable sapphire crystal displays, which are practically indestructible.

July 17, 2014

Apple Rolls Out iTunes Pass Payment System

iTunes Pass Apple iOS users in the U.S. and a handful of other countries now have access to Apple's new iTunes Pass feature, which first debuted in Japan.

Customers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, and the U.K. can now use the Passbook-based service to refill iTunes account balances at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores.

To get started, visit the iTunes Store on your iDevice, then scroll down to the "Redeem" button and follow the on-screen instructions.

With iTunes Pass—not to be confused with the short-lived music subscription service—accessible via Passbook, it's easy to personally deposit money into a digital account, instead of fumbling with a credit card number or scanning gift cards.

July 17, 2014

iPhone 5s Sales Best Newer Galaxy S5

iPhone 5S Eight months after its launch, Apple's iPhone 5s is still the most popular smartphone in the world, beating out the newer Samsung Galaxy S5, according to new data from Counterpoint Research.

The market research firm's survey of 35 countries, released this week, reveals that the iPhone 5s was the best-selling smartphone in May, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 , which came out less than three month ago, took second place. In fact, Samsung's latest flagship is "still a quite distant number two in terms of (sell through) unit sales," Counterpoint said.

Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S4 came in third place and its Note 3 came in fourth, beating out the iPhone 5c, which came in at No. 5 for the month.

July 14, 2014

Rumors Tip Delay on 5.5-Inch iPhone 6

iPhone Air Concept Those holding their breath for the still-unconfirmed 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may want to let the air out: Reported production issues surrounding the phablet-sized device could delay its launch until November.

Rumors suggest Cupertino will unveil two new smartphones this fall: a 4.7-inch handset, and its larger sibling. But bottlenecks on the 5.5-inch assembly line mean the phone might not hit shelves until a couple of months later.

As quoted by Apple Insider, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the issues may be related to the new in-cell touch panels, which struggle with touch sensitivity on larger screens.

Kuo also cited concerns over the scratch-resistant sapphire glass display, which he doesn't expect will "easily pass the drop test near term." That same display panel technology was put to the test recently, with knives, keys, and deep pressure applied without any adverse results. Only when someone drove a car over the screen did it break.

And while Kuo predicted the "most conservative scenario," in which Apple holds the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 for a 2015 launch, these delays are unlikely to hamper the expected autumn release of Cupertino's 4.7-inch device.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Of course, as PCMag mobile analyst Sascha Segan warned earlier this year, it's best to take this type of gossip with a grain of salt.

Rumors about iDevice production delays are nothing new. Prior to the launch of the iPad mini with Retina display, there were reports that display shortages would push the device's launch until 2014, or limit its 2013 availability. Instead the device arrived in late October 2013 and wait times were nothing too dramatic.

July 8, 2014

Report: Apple Drops Google Maps From ‘Find My iPhone’

apple Maps If you're in the unlucky position to have to use Apple's Find My iPhone service, you'll now need to rely on Cupertino's own mapping technology instead of Google Maps.

Apple has begun swapping out Google Maps in favor of its own mapping technology in the Find My iPhone Web app on, Apple-focused blog 9to5Mac first reported on Tuesday. That's right – your reunion with your phone is dependent on the mapping tool that has irked users, been mocked on Tumblr, and been made fun of on late-night TV.

At this point, Apple Maps are live on the beta site, and some users are also seeing it on the main iCloud site. Others are still seeing Google Maps, meaning Apple is either testing its Maps with the feature, or slowly rolling out the change.

The switch comes nearly two years after Apple first replaced Google Maps with its own less-than-perfect Maps app in iOS 6. Find My iPhone was one of the only Apple products still using Google Maps; Apple still uses Google Maps on its website for retail store listings.

July 8, 2014

Video Leak Tips Rugged iPhone 6 Display

iPhone 6 display stress test - scratch If a new video is any indication, Apple's upcoming iPhone 6 will be a good option for accident-prone smartphone owners.

YouTube user Marques Brownlee on Monday posted a video (below) showing off what he claims is an "actual, straight off the assembly line" iPhone 6 front display panel made of super-durable sapphire crystal. After turning it over a few times in his hand and showing it from multiple angles, Brownlee highlights the durability of the component by putting it through multiple stress tests, including some serious bending and scratching.

iPhone 6 display stress test - bendIn the video, Brownlee attempts to scratch the screen with a knife and keys, applying deep pressure as he scrapes and drags the tools against the panel. Through it all, the display holds up perfectly. He then breaks out the knife again and begins stabbing the component, again to no avail.

July 3, 2014

Apple Releases Mac Pro Security Lock… Just No Cable

Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter

The Mac Pro is a pretty device. It's a speedy device. It's, above all else, a costly device. Starting at a mere $2,999 for the "barebones" quad-core, dual-GPU, the svelte, circular, 9.9-by-6.6 inch device looks great sitting on the desktop.

To the more nefarious types out there, it could also look great sitting in their backpacks as they casually stroll (or run) away from your home or office workstation. Suffice to say, it's probably a lot easier to stuff the 11-pound Mac Pro into a bag and haul it off than it is to, say, grab an iMac and casually walk away as if nothing's going on.

To solve the issue of Mac Pro thefts — a statistic, we confess, hasn't exactly been published, but clearly it's something that Apple has had on its mind — Apple is now selling a brand-new lock device. At $49, the "Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter" beats the price of some of the competing locking devices that have sprung up since the Mac Pro's launch last December.

Sort of. For, in Apple's genius, the company is only selling the bracket that one adheres to the Mac Pro , which a person could then attach to a security cable. Apple is not selling the cable itself, which is why competing products like Maclocks' Security Bracket appear a wee bit more expensive on paper ($70) — you're getting the bracket and the cable in that setup.

July 1, 2014

Apple Offers Gift Cards in Back-to-School Deal

Apple Back to School Though many schools have only just recessed for the summer, Apple is already gearing up for the back-to-school season with a new offer for those who pick up a Mac, iPhone, or iPad for the fall.

Those who purchase a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or Mac Pro are eligible to receive a $100 gift card via email. Those who purchase an iPhone or iPad can get a $50 gift card.

The deal applies to the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s, as well as the iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPad mini with Retina display. Those who get an iPhone free through their carrier are not eligible for the $50 gift card, Apple said.

Additional savings on Mac and iPad are offered via Apple's education pricing. Get up to $200 off new Mac, and up to $30 on a new iPad.

June 28, 2014

Report: Apple Replacing Aperture With Photos App

Apple Photos App iPhoto, it seems, has lost an "i." Or perhaps Apple has lost its eye for iPhoto, as The Loop is reporting that Apple's brand-new Photos application — shown off for the first time at June's Worldwide Developers Conference — is going to replace iPhoto and Apple's professional photography application, Aperture.

Apple is mum on the details of just what might happen to iPhoto, but it has provided a statement about the soon-to-be demise of Aperture.

"With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS," Apple told The Loop.

This migration will allow those clinging to iPhoto to transition their galleries and images over to the Photos application — keeping their data intact, of course. That includes albums, folders, captions, and edits applied to all photos. However, Apple's move doesn't give any suggestions as to what might happen to the iPhotos app on iOS. It's thought that Apple will phase that out as well at some point, but it remains to be seen just when, or how, that might happen.