Production of next year’s A9 chip reportedly underway, Samsung may take 100% of orders

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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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Protesters stage brief but noisy demonstration at Apple Campus in support of contract workers

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Around 100 protesters organized by the United Service Workers West union and the Rev. Jesse Jackson yesterday staged a “brief but lively” demonstration at the Apple Campus, calling on the company to create better pay and conditions for low-paid contract workers.

Jesse Jackson last month wrote to Tim Cook urging the company to create “world-class working conditions” for contractors like security guards, who are not entitled to the same job security and perks as direct employees. He requested a meeting with Cook, which took place a few days ago …

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Twelve South launches BookBook for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

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Apple accessory maker Twelve South has debuted an updated version of its popular BookBook iPhone case for the latest models of the iconic smartphone. The new BookBook for iPhone 6 (and iPhone 6 Plus) is available now from the company’s website.

The BookBook combines a protective smartphone cover with a hand-distressed leather wallet for storing your cash, credit cards, and IDs, and puts it all inside a case designed to look like a book.

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More leaked Sony emails reveal possible locations for Steve Jobs biopic

Michael Fassbender will reportedly play Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic

Michael Fassbender will reportedly play Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic

While we’ve already learned some interesting details about the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic from the recently leaked Sony Pictures files, it seems there’s still more to be gleaned from the company’s documents. As the Verge notes today, new emails have revealed the possible settings for the film, which include “two auditoriums, a restaurant, and a garage.”

Those locations were included in an email sent from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who, along with director Danny Boyle, will be taking the film to Universal Pictures for production after working with Sony on it for several years.

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Canadian watchdog looking into Apple’s carrier deals for possible anticompetitive behavior

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Apple’s Canadian mobile carrier contracts are being evaluated by the country’s Competition Bureau after accusations of anticompetitive behavior from unnamed source, Reuters reported today.

The anonymous accuser claims that the agreements with Canada’s cellular carriers contain anticompetitive language. There’s currently no evidence to support those claims, but the Competition Bureau is still in the process of acquiring a court order for documents that could back them up.

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Apple fast tracks CarPlay hardware development w/ official MFi specs for head units

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Apple’s new CarPlay iOS feature has recently arrived through a limited number of in-dash vehicle entertainment systems and aftermarket products, but Apple has now introduced official guidelines for companies building CarPlay hardware through its Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program, according to sources.  Read more

LifeProof Fre case for iPhone 6 — Waterproof, strong, and thinner than ever

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LifeProof pioneered the waterproof, shockproof iPhone case in 2011 when the original LifeProof protected the iPhone 4/s from dropping it on the ground, smothering it in ketchup, mustard, and dirt only to successfully rinse it off in a fish tank. We were had then and watched as the company grew into an iPhone case powerhouse which drew copycats and eventually an acquisition by OtterBox last year.

I’ve had LifeProof’s new Fre iPhone 6 case since it debuted last month and have put it through all kinds of torture tests, most notably my three-year-old who likes to watch Ben and Holly in the bath tub and six-year-old who sees no problem sled riding and skiing with a smartphone (Read: GPS tracking device).

The bottom line?  It continues to protect from everything. Lots of drops, dirt, water, snow. Pretty much anything… Read more

Apple reverses decision on rejecting iCloud Drive feature in Panic’s Transmit app

app store hero flat modern

In the latest instance of Apple reversing controversial app rejection decisions, Panic says it received the green light to resubmit a version of its Transmit app with the ability to send files to other services including iCloud Drive once again. The news comes after Apple requested Panic remove the feature from the app to prevent it being pulled from the App Store. Read more

Google iOS app updated w/ Material Design, Street View integration, more

Google is rolling out a completely redesigned version of its iPhone and iPad app with its Material Design look and feel right down to the app icon.

The latest version of the search app now presents a bottom navigation bar (which can slide out of view) that presents a persistent Google button for searching for new information. The navigation bar also offers a button for quickly accessing recent search pages, something that feels similar to multitasking between apps on Android.

Also notable as part of the redesign is the optimization searching for photos has received. In the latest version of Google’s iOS app, image results now take on a full-screen, mosaic look for presenting larger results. The update also packs in deep Google Maps integration for location searches including support for Google Street View right in the app for iPhone users. You can read the full change log below: Read more

Review: ScreenGuardz Pure protects the iPad Air / 2 with beautiful glass, but is it worth $60?

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If your iPad isn’t inside a case, one accidental drop is enough to shatter its screen or dent its body. That’s why roughly 80% of iPhone users use cases, and one of two good reasons (besides adding a stand) that many iPad users do the same. But the iPad Air 2 is changing things — it’s so thin that even Apple’s own Smart Case feels overly bulky, making more minimalist protective solutions highly appealing. If you could shave millimeters off of your encased iPad’s thickness, would you pay $60 just for a screen protector? That’s the question presented by BodyGuardz’ ScreenGuardz Pure, which invisibly covers the iPad Air or iPad Air 2 screen with a thin but strong layer of glass. Carrying a $60 MSRP through BodyGuardz, it’s currently on sale for only $50 through Amazon. Read more