Samsung remains a key supplier for Apple’s iPhone despite patent disputes, competition

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No matter which way you cut it, it remains remarkable that Samsung continues to serve as a key component supplier to Apple for the innards of the iPhone and iPad line while also being a major competitor in the mobile phone space. In fact, to this day, it is hard to argue that there is a bigger Apple component partner than Samsung.

Just as Samsung prepares to unveil its latest flagship Galaxy S6 next week, The Korea Times reports that Apple and Samsung have struck a deal for the latter company to supply the former with at least 50% of the mobile DRAM chips used it Apple’s followup to the iPhone 6 expected later this fall. But that’s the tip o’ the iceberg as they say… Read more

On what would have been Steve’s 60th birthday, imagine an Apple where he’s still in charge

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Almost everything Apple has done since the unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs has been met with comments about what the company would or wouldn’t have done had Steve still been here – even though his marching orders for Tim Cook were to never ask what he would have done.

But things certainly would have been different. The flattened user-interface of iOS 7 versus the skeuomorphic approach of the Jobs era. Would have it have happened at all? Would he have stopped it going quite so far? Would Apple have gone in a different direction.

What about an Apple Television? Steve said years ago that he “finally cracked it,” suggesting that he had a design and user-interface he was happy with. If the hold-up now is the content, would Steve have been able to bulldoze through the necessary deals to have launched it by now … ?  Read more

Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-April

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Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too …  Read more

Apple to overhaul Genius Bar, changing appointments and using phones as pagers

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Apple will soon make a significant change to retail store Genius Bar appointments to improve the customer experience, according to several sources briefed on the upcoming shift. During the week of March 9th, Apple’s United States stores will launch a new initiative called “The new Concierge” that replaces traditional walk-in Genius Bar appointments. Currently, a customer seeking Genius Bar assistance can walk into an Apple Retail Store, explain the issue to a check-in assistant, and get a specific time to return for an appointment…

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Siri learns Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai and Turkish for iOS 8.3 beta 2

In addition to Wireless CarPlay, more diverse Emojis, and improved logging in for Google services, iOS 8.3 adds a major new feature: several new languages for Siri. Over three years following the initial Siri beta in 2011, iOS 8.3 adds support for the following languages in Siri: Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and English for India…

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Apple releases iOS 8.3 beta 2 for iPhone, iPad with new Emojis, new Apple TV beta OS

Screenshot 2015-02-23 13.04.27Two weeks following the first beta, Apple has released iOS 8.3 beta 2 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. As we reported upon the first beta, the upcoming release includes a Wireless CarPlay feature, a new Emoji picker, improved login for Google services, an updated voice for Siri, and support for Apple Pay in China. iOS 8.3 is coming later this year, and sources say that Apple will release a public beta of iOS 8.3 alongside the third beta in mid-March. Apple is also working on iOS 8.4 with a new streaming music service and iOS 9.0 with bug fixes and performance enhancements as a tentpole feature. iOS 8.2, which currently stands at beta 5, will be released in March. There won’t be additional developer betas, sources say. Apple today also released a second beta of OS X 10.10.3 with the new Photos app. We’ll keep updating this post as new features are found in the latest beta. Apple has also released a new beta OS for the Apple TV.

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Report: Apple poaching Samsung engineers w/ chip & battery expertise

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While Apple has notably been engaged in a back-and-forth poaching war with electric vehicle maker Tesla in recent months, a new report from The Korea Times claims that Apple has also been targeting “experts in next-generation technology” from Samsung Electronics. Citing an anonymous official from Samsung, the report highlights that the iPhone maker has a history of picking off chip experts from the Korean company using competitive compensation and “greater independence” as engineers. Read more

Apple announces $1.9B European plan for two of the world’s largest, clean energy data centers

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Apple has announced that it will be spending €1.7B ($1.92B) on two new European data centers, each of which will be among the largest in the world at 166,000 square metres (1.8M square feet)–three times larger than the company’s North Carolina facility.

One will be in Ireland, the other in Denmark, with each set to begin operations in 2017. Apple says that the facilities will provide online services across Europe, including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Apple Maps and Siri.

We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date.”

As with all of Apple’s data centers around the world, the new centres will be powered entirely by clean, renewable energy …  Read more

Apple Watch straps will be available to purchase separately at launch

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Despite speculation to the contrary, Apple does in fact plan to sell an array of bands as separate accessories for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. So far Apple has only shown the Watch in pre-assembled collections, which reduces their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple’s retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.

While Apple has hinted at millions of combinations of Apple Watch when considering the various watch faces and interchangeable strap combos, up until now we’ve not had confirmation that straps would be available to purchase separately alongside the Apple Watch at launch. Read more

Opinion: What we can expect from an Apple Car if it really goes on sale in 2020

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  Read more

Apple said to be considering deal with Japan Display to help finance new factory

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A new report claims that Apple is in talks with Japan Display to help finance an LCD display factory in Ishikawa next year. The exact details of the agreement are still in flux, but Apple is said to be considering an investment of somewhere around 200 billion yen (or just under $1.7 billion).

The factory would churn out the same types of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays that are currently used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Japanese news sources also say the factory could eventually be repurposed to build OLED panels like those found in the Apple Watch—and possibly in future iPhones. The factory’s output wouldn’t be exclusive to Apple’s devices, however, as the deal currently allows JDI to sell its wares to competitors.

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