May 26

A trio of new rumors from a handful of Asian sources have popped up over the holiday and today, each predicting a different facet of the upcoming ‘iPhone 6S‘. While these are still just very unverified whispers at the moment, odds are that at least one of these will end up coming at least partially true.

Here’s a roundup of the latest iPhone rumors, in no particular order:

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April 15

In a new report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, the usually accurate analyst estimates that global pre-orders for the Apple Watch will top 2.3 million units through May. A report earlier this week claimed that Apple Watch first day pre-orders were at almost 1 million units…

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In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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April 2

Bloomberg reports that Samsung has signed on to provide A9 chips to Apple for the next-generation iPhone. Apple moved to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 2013 for its processors, looking to reduce its reliance on Samsung, who is a major competitor in the smartphone space and a legal foe. With that said, it was reported last September that Samsung was still supplying 40 percent of the A8 chips found in the iPhone 6 despite Apple’s attempt to part ways.

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March 23

Apple has allegedly slashed its initial order of Apple Watches in half, cutting the number of units from around 3 million to just 1.5 million, a new report out of Taiwan claims. As has previously been the case with Apple device launches, supplies of the new wearable are expected to be constrained due to manufacturing difficulties.

The problem seems to stem from Apple’s decision to switch to a new type of display for the watch. Those new AMOLED panels are being manufactured by LG, but the company is having trouble producing enough to keep up with demand. LG was originally expected to produce 5 million panels per month.

But maybe Apple isn’t cutting its supply. Maybe something else is afoot…

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February 23

As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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February 4

February 3

January 26

Korean news site MK Business News (via Reuters) is reporting that Samsung will make 75% of the A9 chip for the next iPhone. This matches an earlier detailed prediction by KGI Research, which stated that the balance of the chips would be made by Global Foundry, and is in line with a statement by Samsung which last year confirmed it as a major supplier of the new chip.

The Samsung-fabbed chips will, says the report, be made in the USA …  expand full story

January 16

As we reported earlier this week, often reliable KGI is predicting that Apple will bring its in-house designed A-series processor to an entry-level Mac sometime in 2016 with TSMC and Samsung expected to fab the potential A9X and A10X chips, respectively. As the move to put non-Intel chips in the Mac lineup would be a departure for the company, CNBC asked Intel CEO Brian Krzanich about the chip-maker’s business plans with Apple… expand full story

January 14

keyboardsilver-copy

Is an A-series chip destined for a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air?

A KGI report predicts that Apple will begin using its own processors for Macs “in the next 1-2 years,” with a specific prediction of a Samsung-fabbed A10X chip powering at least one Mac made in 2016. The wording appears to suggest an entry-level machine–possibly a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air.

Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP [Application Processor] in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.

With performance between an Atom and Core i3, the chip would not be suitable for mid- to high-end Macs.

An accompanying table (below) shows an A10X chip made with a 10-nanometer process to be made by Samsung at some point during 2016 …

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December 12, 2014

Production by Samsung of the A9 chip destined for next year’s iPhones and iPads is underway, according to a report in Korea’s Electronic Times.

According to industry insiders on December 11, Samsung Electronics began production of Apple’s A9 in the Austin plant in the US using the 14nm FinFET technology. Samsung has production lines capable of FinFET process production in Austin, US and Giheung, Korea, but began to produce A9 only in Austin as it is in the initial stage.

It had been reported back in July that Samsung had received some orders for the chips, which the company effectively confirmed in October when the president of the company’s chip-making division said that profits would improve once it began supplying its latest-generation chips to Apple …

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November 19, 2014

In the aftermath of GT Advanced filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the sapphire maker reached a $439 million settlement with Apple in which the supplier will repay the iPhone maker up to $290,000 per furnace sold. GT Advanced creditors aren’t happy with the proposed settlement, however, arguing that the sapphire company may have received too little in the deal. expand full story

November 17, 2014

Korea Times is claiming that a deal has been struck with Apple for Samsung to supply 80% of the chips for next year’s iPhones and iPads, with TSMC picking up the balance of orders.

Samsung Electronics agreed with Apple to produce application processors (APs) from next year for iPhones and iPads, sources said Monday.

The agreement means Samsung will become a primary supplier of APs to Apple, pushing its chief Taiwanese rival TSMC back to second place. From 2016, the company will supply 80 percent of APs used in Apple devices, and TSMC the remainder.

The paper suggests that Samsung will split production of the A9 chip across its Korean and Texas plants, partnering with New York-based GlobalFoundries for additional capacity …
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October 11, 2014

Ahead of next Thursday’s Apple event, new images purportedly showing parts for the new, full-sized iPad have emerged. Photos re-published by blog apple.club.tw show a full logic board for the new iPad Air as well as parts for the new Home button, glass screen cover, and audio control components. At first glance, the new iPad Air logic board does not reveal too much new, but adjusting the colors of the image shows a fairly unexpected addition: an A8X system-on-a-chip:

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October 2, 2014

At a press conference, ZDNet says that Samsung president of the company’s semiconductor arm is looking forward to reversing its profit forecasts when it starts producing chips for Apple using its next-generation technology.

Kim Ki-nam, president of the Korean electronic giant’s semiconductor business and head of System LSI business, told reporters at Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul that once the company begins to supply Apple with chips using its latest technology, profits “will improve positively”.

Samsung is expected to start producing application processors (APs) for clients such as Apple, Qualcomm, and AMD, using its 14-nanometre process around the end of the year.

Effectively, Samsung has all but confirmed that it is signed up to manufacture Apple’s next-generation SoC for iPhones and iPads, likely named ‘A9′, probably using a 14 nanometer process. The current A8 chip is produced using 20 nanometer fabrication, with most orders being taken by TSMC.

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July 10, 2014

July 1, 2014

May 12, 2014

The court battles between the two companies doesn’t seem to have harmed Samsung’s position as a key supplier of components to Apple. DisplaySearch figures show that Apple switched from LG to Samsung as the primary supplier of its display panels for iPad Air and iPad with Retina display last quarter, reports CNET.

Samsung Display reclaimed its position as the top iPad display panel supplier, shipping 5.2 million units of 9.7-inch panels with a resolution of 2,048×1,536, accounting for 62 percent of total shipments of that display size and resolution […]

LG Display […] saw its share of that display size/resolution plunge to 38 percent in the first quarter from about 61 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 …

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February 17, 2014

Image via iFixit

Two new reports out today are offering a bit of early insight into what to expect from Apple’s next A-series SoC, or system on a chip, that powers its iPhone and iPad devices.

The first tidbit from Fudzilla says Apple will once again rely on Qualcomm for LTE chips in the next round of iOS devices rather than an A8 chip with LTE integrated. So what does this mean? It’s probably safe to assume Apple will save a SoC which includes the LTE modem in a future iteration.

Generally, the fewer chips required in a mobile device, the better optimized for battery life the device is. Apple, of course, must strive to engineer battery life parity, if not improvements, as our devices get more powerful each generation.

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