Last week, YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on what is claimed to be a sapphire glass panel from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6. The initial video (found here) put the panel through a variety of torture tests including, knives, keys, and even a flexibility test to show off the panel’s durability. While there were no scientific tests performed to prove the front glass is actually sapphire, the result of each test was very impressive. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough…
With a long list of leaks in recent months showing mock ups of the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones expected for release this fall, today we get a look at what is reportedly our first at the flexibility of the iPhone 6’s new sapphire cover glass. There’s not much information surrounding this leak or confirmation that what we’re looking at is the real deal, but the sapphire material is indeed something Apple has ramped up production of in recent months at its new Arizona plant. Read more
GT Advanced Technology has given an update on the status of its contract to supply Apple with sapphire displays for the upcoming iPhone 6 displays. According to the information provided with the company’s Q1 2014 financial report, Apple has already made three of four payments to GT Advanced for the sapphire, and GT notes that so far it is on track to meet demand.
Apple struck a deal with GTA last year to manufacture the sapphire displays that are expected to appear in the next-generation iPhone at a new plant in Mesa, Arizona. Earlier this year the plant was outfitted with enough sapphire crystal furnaces to create an estimated 100-200 million displays. At the end of April, Apple started sending its first shipments of sapphire to China, where the new iPhone models will be manufactured. These displays are expected to make their debut in the fall of this year along with two new iPhone models, each sporting a different size sapphire screen.
Update: Apple confirmed the purchase with its usual boilerplate statement to TechCrunch: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Apple has acquired LuxVue Technology, a company that develops low-power, microLED-based display technology for consumer tech products, according to a report from TechCrunch.
LuxVue had managed to remain fairly quiet over the past few years, and what we know is that the company develops low-power, micro-LED-based displays for consumer electronics. We’ve heard Apple acquired the company to add to their hardware innovations area.
Apple has not yet confirmed the purchase, but TechCrunch adds that it’s “heard Apple acquired the company to add to their hardware innovations area.” Read more
Apple is preparing to release not one, but two new versions of the iPhone in September, according to the South China Morning Post. Each version will ship with a larger display than the iPhone 5s, coming in at a whopping 4.7″ and 5.5″, respectively. The displays are said to have a pixel density of 441ppi, much higher than the current 326ppi found in the iPhone 5 and later.
The report also states that both displays will be made from sapphire crystal, which fits with recent reports that Apple is planning to have its latest sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ operational in February for a “critical” product component. The displays will also be flat, not curved, the Post says.
Following several reports this month and hints from Tim Cook that Retina iPad mini stock could be in short supply when the device launches next month, the hit and miss DigiTimes reports today that the shortages are due to limited supply of displays from Apple’s supplier Sharp. Specifically, the report claims that Sharp’s “Oxide TFT process is seeing low yield rates” leading to a less than ideal supply of 7.9-inch Retina panels. Sharp accounts for around 40% of the displays for iPad mini with Retina display production, while LG Display is providing the other approximately 60%, according to the report: Read more
The US Patent & Trademark Office today published a new Apple patent application (via PatentlyApple) that details a flexible material that could be used as a hinge to create a seamless enclosure for devices like the MacBook, for example. Apple details a technical process of using specialized machinery to laser cut “flex apertures” and interlocking features in a rigid material to allow it to bend and function as a hinge. On top of creating a seamless enclosure, Apple claims the process would allow it to reduce the size of devices that are often increased due to traditional hinge solutions. Imagine if the enclosure of a MacBook didn’t include that black plastic hinge and instead appeared to be a seamless piece of aluminium connecting the display to the bottom half of the unibody.
While MacBooks might seem like the obvious application for Apple’s invention, it also notes the usual list of devices that could potentially use the technology including everything from smartphones to televisions and game consoles. The patent also shows the material being used on headphone cables to allow a flexible connection from the cable to the earbud to prevent damage, and on what appears to be an iPad Smart Cover-like accessory: Read more
According to a report from Nikkan, production of displays for Apple’s next iPhone will begin in June. The new screens will be sourced from Sharp, LG, and Japan Display, the same trio that have supplied screens for the iPhone 5.
Sharp also begin in June the mass production of the next model for the liquid crystal panel of the (multi-function mobile phone) smartphone that Apple is planning on. Appears to have embarked on production readiness of consecutive holidays from May Kameyama Plant No. 1 of Apple smartphones LCD dedicated plagued by sluggish occupancy rate since the beginning of the year in (Kameyama, Mie Prefecture).
Today’s report reasserts previous claims that the next revision to the iPhone will carry a design akin to that of the iPhone 5. Like past iPhone updates that do not include external hardware revisions, it is likely that the new iPhone will feature an improved camera and task processing systems...
We can’t say we didn’t know it was coming. T-Mobile already started accepting preorders for the iPhone 5 back on April 5, and today marks the first day of official availability for the iPhone on the carrier’s revamped “Un-carrier”, no-contract, unlimited voice and data plans.
To accompany the launch, T-Mobile is also kicking off its first iPhone ad campaign today that begins with the first TV spot above (via TMO News). Of course the ad not so surprisingly focuses on its new carrier approach more so than the device itself:
“It’s the phone that’s revolutionizing phones, make sure its running on the carrier that’s revolutionizing wireless… Only T-Mobile lets your iPhone 5 be as great as an iPhone 5.”
Earlier this month T-Mobile started rolling out a carrier update for existing unlocked iPhones on its network that brings LTE support, improved battery life, visual voicemail support and more. It also started a campaign offering users trade-in value for their old devices to make the switch to T-Mobile.
The iPhone 5 is available to purchase for $99 down with a $20 per month financing plan through T-Mobile’s website and brick-and-mortar stores. As noted by TMONews, the carrier has also started setting up its in-store displays and advertising for the iPhone (Gallery below): Read more
Update: Apple appears to have removed the job listing, but we grabbed a screenshot above and below.
We know that Apple has been investigating various methods of incorporating flexible displays in its mobile devices thanks to a handful of patents and patent applications published over the last year. Flexible display rumors have picked up steam even more since rumors of an iWatch from Apple, and just today we came across two new Apple patent applications detailing flexible devices that could change states as a user bends or twists the device. We all know Apple patent applications have never been a good indication of future product releases, but now Apple has came right out and stated in a job listing that it is indeed considering flexible displays.
Apple Inc. is looking for a Display Specialist to lead the investigation on emerging display technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display to improve overall display optical performance.
The job listing seeking a Sr. Optical Engineer was posted earlier this month and looks for a display expert to investigate “high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display.” Specifically, Apple is requesting someone to “Analyze the trade-offs between design, process, optical performance, and implementation feasibility,” hinting that the company is considering introducing new, advanced display technology in the future: Read more
These are certainly not the first flexible display related patent applications that we’ve seen from Apple. A few different Apple patent applications have received attention in recent months, including one for a slap wrist-style bracelet with a flexible display, and others for curved and flexible displays in various iOS device-like form factors. Today we’ve come across a couple of recently published Apple patent applications filed as early as September of last year that further show Apple’s work with flexible displays (via UnwiredView).
The first patent application, titled “Flexible Electronic Devices” is pretty straight forward: Apple is interested in methods of providing not only flexible displays but also flexible components like batteries, circuit boards, and the housing of the device itself. Apple describes a device that could respond accordingly depending on how a user was manipulating the flexible display. The patent applications provides examples such as the device shutting off and entering standby mode when folded, or a user answering a call or changing volume: Read more
Today, Intel announced a new version of its Thunderbolt technology that will ship with devices in 2014. The new Thunderbolt technology supports up to 20Gbps throughput, which is up from the 10 Gbps supported by the current version of Thunderbolt.
Notably, the new technology supports 4K resolutions, which could open the door for even higher-resolution Mac displays. Perhaps, this is the technology that Apple needs to work with in order to begin a Retina display rollout for its all-in-one desktop computer, the iMac, or even Mac Pro compatible Thunderbolt displays.