Apple patent granted today shows dockable ‘iTime’ watch concept as well as conventional smartwatch

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A patent application filed by Apple three years ago and approved today illustrates a new twist on the iWatch concept: a sensor-packed strap acting as a dock which allows a range of interchangeable modules to be snapped into place.

9to5-image 2014-07-22 at 10.49.53 AMIt’s not anything we’re likely to see make it into production: the docking concept dates back to 2011, and was probably intended by Apple to house an iPod Nano, converting it into a smartwatch in a more sophisticated version of the watch-straps sold in Apple Stores since way back in 2010. But the patent does tell us two things …  Read more

Here’s what analysts expect Apple to announce today: revenue up 8.5 percent, earnings up 18 percent

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With Fortune having now filled in the blanks in its analyst roundup, above are the final numbers Wall Street expects Apple to announce at around 1.30pm PT/4.30pm ET this afternoon.

With all 34 analysts having revealed their predictions, the consensus view is for year-on-year revenue to have grown by 8.5 percent, with earnings up 18.1 percent …  Read more

WSJ: Apple prepares record number of 80 million 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones for production

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has told its suppliers to prepare to build a record number of next-gen iPhones. According to the Journal, Apple is looking to produce 70-80 million units by December 30th. As reported earlier this month, both the 4.7-inch and the larger 5.5-inch models of the upcoming iPhone are expected to enter mass production in the coming weeks.

This is a big jump from the previous iPhone models. Last year the company only ordered 50-60 million of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Manufacturing parter Foxconn recently hired as many as 100,000 new workers to help meet the increased demand, and even ordered a custom line of robotic equipment to facilitate the production of iPhone 6.

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Apple seeds iOS 8 beta 4 to developers with redesigned Control Center, Health improvements, more

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Apple today released iOS 8 beta 4 to developers. It is now available via Software Update in Settings for those running earlier betas of iOS 8 on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The new update likely brings further design enhancements and bug fixes. iOS 8 comes out this fall and adds new features like health tracking, improved messaging, more efficient email management, and bolstered photo editing. We’ll be updating this post (below) as we discover new changes, and you can send us what you find to tips@9to5mac.com.

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Will Apple also update the next iPads with rounded edges? (Poll)

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One of our favorite designers of Apple concepts, Martin Hajek, has put together this visual showing how a new iPad mini design might compare with the existing one if it were based on the design of the iPhone 6.

The existing design, top, has the familiar flat front and tapered, chamfered edge. The bottom one, Hajek’s concept, has the rounded edge now familiar from countless iPhone 6 renders, mockups and purported leaked parts

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Apple will beat its own top-end guidance when it announces Q3 results tomorrow, say analysts

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Fortune ran its usual poll of more than two dozen analysts, with the consensus view echoing earlier predictions that Apple will beat its revenue guidance of $36-38B by reporting $38.4B for its fiscal Q3 (calendar Q2). Gross margin is also expected to exceed Apple’s guidance of 37-38 percent, at 38.1 percent. This follows forecasts that iPhone sales would climb 15 percent year-on-year, while iPad sales will be flat.

Business Insider reports that Wall Street is once again expecting significant growth from AAPL.

46 Apple analysts rate the stock a buy, 13 call it a hold, and only 4 thinks it’s a sell. Citigroup, which was bearish on the stock, changed its analyst coverage and rated the stock a new “buy.” JMP securities upgraded the stock to outperform Monday morning. Other analysts have raised their price target …

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