Apple acquires low-power, micro LED display maker LuxVue Technology

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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

Next iPhone reportedly sports a larger screen and sapphire crystal display

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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.

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Another report claims short supply of Retina iPad mini due to display shortages from Sharp

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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

Apple invents a flexible material to create truly seamless enclosures for MacBooks & other products

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

Display production for next iPhone reportedly to kickoff next month, led by Sharp, LG, Japan Display

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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...

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T-Mobile launches its first iPhone commercial as it officially begins selling the $99 iPhone 5

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

Apple job listing confirms Apple is investigating using flexible displays in future products

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Update: Apple appears to have removed the job listing, but we grabbed a screenshot above and below.

Apple-job-listing-flexible-displays-01We 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

More Apple patents detail completely flexible devices that change as they bend

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Update: The patent was granted on 6th January 2015 (via Apple Toolbox)

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

Intel announces 2014 Thunderbolt update with 4K support; opens door for Retina iMacs?

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

Retina iMac mockup via MacSpoilers

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.

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How the next-generation iPhone with taller display may position landscape keyboard

Earlier this week, we broke the news that Apple’s upcoming version of iOS 6 is fully scalable and aware of taller, larger iPhone displays. The display resolution of 1136 x 640, a resolution we first reported in May that Apple is testing for future iPhones, shows a seemingly perfectly tweaked version of iOS 6. As we revealed earlier, this means five rows of home screen icons and tweaked native app user-interfaces.

We have been playing around more with the iOS simulator, which we tweaked to work on different resolutions, and we noticed some additional notable UI changes for the taller resolution. As we noted several months ago, the 1136 x 640 resolution on the next-generation iPhone will mean that the display comes in just around at a 16:9 proportion, an uncommon resolution for a mobile phone. Because of this, some have wondered how certain user-interface elements would be presented.

Many interface elements that are displayed while using the iPhone in vertical orientation will remain unchanged. The most important element, perhaps, is the iPhone’s keyboard. In portrait/vertical view, the keyboard on the next-generation iPhone will likely not change.

However, in landscape, it will:

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Apple researching universal touchscreen remote with adaptable user interface for future TVs

A patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office earlier today reveals Apple is flirting with the idea of a universal touchscreen controller capable of controlling multiple devices including a “television, a video tape player, a video disk player, a stereo, a home control system, or a computer system.” The patent application is titled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control” and was filed Sept. 30, 2011.

The patent application’s background covers many of the issues with current controllers for televisions and the devices mentioned above. It noted current universal remotes are “complex to operate” and unable to adapt to incorporate every command or control functionality supported by a device or future device. It also mentions the fact that users are often “confronted with multiple” remotes, which is the classic “table full of remotes” scenario described by Steve Jobs when talking about the Apple TV at D8. The patent application explained:

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Apple exploring 3D iOS interface with motion sensing gestures

The United States Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today (via PatentlyApple) detailing new 3D GUI concepts and touch-free, motion sensing gestures that would allow you to simply wave your hand over a device equipped with proximity sensors. This follows a patent application published in July that explores similar 3D gestures and user-interfaces, and another in September detailing 3D display and imaging technology that could lead to Kinect-like gestures on future Apple products.

The image to the right (larger version is below) shows a 3D UI environment consisting of two sidewalls, a back wall, a floor, and a ceiling. As you can see, 2D objects are posted to the back and sidewalls, while 3D objects rest on the floor of the environment. The patent mentions a “snap to” feature that appears to allow objects to move from one surface to another by changing the orientation of the 3D environment. In other words, the user’s perspective of the UI, which PatentlyApple said could be imagined as the “view from an imaginary camera viewfinder,” would change when rotation of the device is detected by its gyro sensor or accelerometer:

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