Apple files to kick off expanded, potentially ‘jewelry’-classified sapphire production this month

Mesa-Arizona

Apple and State of Arizona filings have come to light today that indicate Apple is rapidly expanding its Mesa, Arizona operations and GT-Advanced sapphire crystal production. PTT Research Senior Analyst and GTAT investor Matt Margolis shared the new documents from his latest research with 9to5Mac. The first interesting piece of the filings is a letter from Apple’s Director of Global Trade Compliance James J. Patton from early July to the U.S Department of Commerce:

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Google Play Music for iPhone updated w/ ability to remove music on-the-go, improved playback, more

It’s been just over a month since the last big update to Google Play Music for iPhone, and today the Google Play Music team is rolling out another update with new features and improvements. The latest release brings the version number to 1.3.2.2559 for those keeping track at home, and adds a handful of new functionality like the ability to remove music from your library via the iPhone app. The update also boasts additional accessibility features which will surely be appreciated as well as fixes for issues with skipping during track playback and eliminating duplicate listings in the music library. You can see the full change log below. Read more

Q Design introduces QBracelet, a fashion accessory that charges your mobile devices

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New startup Q Designs seeks to help solve a problem that many people have: we sometimes need to power our mobile electronic devices, but we don’t want to carry external battery packs or bulky charging cases. Q Designs’ solution, the QBracelet, looks like an ordinary bracelet, but it is actually a high-tech charger that can juice up your electronic device discreetly.

The QBracelet will work with iOS and Android devices at launch. No cord is needed, since inside the bracelet’s clasp there is a lightning adapter for Apple products and a micro-USB port for Android devices.

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Calls to Apple confirm: Apple TV promotion and upcoming iTunes Festival wipe out Store stock, still available for shipping

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The Apple TV is showing up as ‘Unavailable for pickup’ at Apple Stores across the U.S., with multiple NY Apple Stores we called saying that in-store stocks had been exhausted by demand created by the promotion offering $25 iTunes credit with every purchase, along with that generated by the upcoming London iTunes festival as well as the recent Lollapalooza livestream. Apple has been promoting the music festival as a good reason to buy the box now … 

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128GB iPhone 6? Leaked schematics suggest it may happen

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GeekBar’s Weibo account just posted (via G4Games) schematics which appear to show an iPhone 6 model with 128GB of NAND Flash storage. The images, above and another below, show that Apple may finally blow out the storage on the iPhone and bring it in line with the iPad Air. It also presents the question of whether or not Apple will create another price tier or if they will remove one of the middle or bottom tiers.

The image below shows that the NAND storage in this particular schematic are provided by Toshiba and that Hynix and SanDisk are providing storage for other models which are listed at 16GB and 64GB.

Also, earlier reports have claimed that Apple might offer some premium features on the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6, which could get exclusives like more storage. We’ll find out all of the answers on 9/9.

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iMessage “being taken over by spammers,” accounts for almost a third of mobile spam

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Security company Cloudmark claims that almost a third of mobile spam messages are now being sent via iMessage thanks to the ease with which they can be sent from a Mac, reports Wired.

Thanks to one particularly aggressive campaign from a junk mailer, [iMessage spam] accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages [...]

“It’s almost like a spammer’s dream,” says Cloudmark’s Tom Landesman. “With four lines of code, using Applescripts, you can tell your Mac to send message to whoever they want.”

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Walmart temporarily cuts 16 GB iPhone 5c price to $.97, iPhone 5s now $79

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Walmart has cut the prices of both of the current iPhone models substantially in what looks like some early prep for the iPhone 6, which is expected next month. As noted by Engadget, you’ll be able to get the 16 GB model of the iPhone 5c for only $.97. No, that’s not a typo. The phone is now selling for ninety-seven cents.

The 16 GB iPhone 5s also got yet another price cut, this time down from $99 to $79. Both of these prices are only temporary and will climb back to their usual points in 90 days—unless of course a newer model comes along and knocks the retail price of these handsets down a few bucks.

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Tesla to allow iPhone to start Model S without key/fobs with v6.0 update

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Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.

Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road.  Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.

Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.

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New photos claim to show 5.5-inch ‘iPhone 6L’ shell compared to smaller model

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New photos leaked online today claim to show the body of the upcoming 5.5-inch iPhone, recently dubbed the “iPhone 6L” in another leak. The parts in the images are said to have come directly from Apple’s supply chain, though that claim is obviously quite difficult to verify. The design of the body matches up with previous leaks (more photos below the break).

Apple is reportedly working on two similar versions of the iPhone 6 for release this fall, likely following an announcement on September 9th. Each model will be larger than the current iPhone 5s, coming in at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, respectively. The device will sport a sapphire crystal display, which we’ve seen on video in recent months, though some sources claim that only the 5.5-inch variant will get that specific upgrade.

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Report claims next-gen iPad Air will double RAM amount to 2GB

iPad Air

A new report from Asian site TechNews.tw claims information from the Apply supply chain points to the next generation iPad Air doubling up on RAM from 1GB to 2GB. The additional memory would benefit system performance, especially during multitasking, when more memory-intesive tasks like browsing multiple websites in Safari and using other apps requires more RAM to function smoothly.

While most of the parts and component leaks out of the supply chain have centered around the next generation iPhone, which is expected to debut at an Apple event next month, the new report that the next generation iPad Air will double its memory follows a Bloomberg report earlier this month that new iPads with an anti-reflective coating over the display have entered production. Read more

NFL Now channel added to Apple TV w/ instant in-game highlights, live events and press conferences, more

NFL NOW APPLE TV

Earlier this month we reported that the NFL network was testing its NFL Now service as a channel on the Apple TV. The subscription sports service launch followed a few days later with apps for iPhone and iPad in tow, and today the Apple TV channel has arrived as well. While the football channel does not support viewing live games, it does feature highlight clips and other programs as part of the service. Here’s how NFL Now describes the service:

NFL Now gives you personalized access to the largest digital library of NFL content available anywhere including news, analysis and highlights, plus NFL Films archives all on your favorite devices. Some premium content requires a paid subscription.

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3D renderings compare Samsung’s iPhone-like Galaxy Alpha to the real deal

Samsung Alpha iPhone 5s render

Earlier this month Samsung announced yet another Android handset dubbed the Galaxy Alpha that many observers noted borrows design cues from the iPhone 5 first introduced by Apple nearly 2 years ago. The Galaxy Alpha does feature a metal frame with chamfered edges, but does it really favor the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s or is it more Samsung than anything else?

Designer Martin Hajek has created a new collection of 3D renderings to help visualize that comparison and answer that question showing Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha handset side-by-side with Apple’s iPhone 5s. Read more