FaceTime November 25

AAPL: 118.03

Stock Chart

Not too long after the first rumors surfaced, Apple has given its usual non-confirmation that it has acquired Faceshift, the company behind the technology Star Wars used to animate the faces of CGI characters. It’s not an obvious fit for Apple, so what could be the thinking behind the purchase?

Like Apple’s patents, it is sometimes easy, I think, to read too much into some of the company’s acquisitions. Sure, it doesn’t go around acquiring companies randomly, but it may not always be after the complete package. It may well be that there is some small element of the company’s technology that Apple wants, or it may be an acquihire – where it’s the engineers rather than the specific tech the company wants.

But in this particular case, there is reason to suspect that Apple does have an interest in the broad brush-strokes of what Faceshift does …  expand full story

FaceTime November 10

AAPL: 116.77

Stock Chart

In a wide-ranging interview with the Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted that the company may launch more health-focused products in future – but will keep those separate from the Apple Watch. The reason, he says, is that the FDA approval needed for full-on health devices would slow down the pace of innovation of the Watch.

Cook hints that Apple may have more plans for the health sphere, in a revelation which will intrigue Wall Street, but he doesn’t want the watch itself to become a regulated, government-licensed health product. “We don’t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.” 

This represents a significant change from expectations …

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FaceTime November 2

AAPL: 121.18

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Apple and government officials have been publicly sparring over how to handle privacy and encryption for months, and new rules expected to be proposed in the UK on Wednesday might make Apple’s position much harder to maintain.

The issue boils down to Apple allowing iPhone users to encrypt data behind a password — encryption that Apple can’t break through — and government officials wanting access in instances where de-encrypting smartphones could help law enforcement and security efforts. Services like iMessage and FaceTime are also encrypted end-to-end.

Now The Telegraph reports that the Investigatory Powers Bill being introduced on Wednesday will likely require Apple and other companies to hold a key to encrypted smartphones and services, giving access to government agencies when a warrant is issued. expand full story


FaceTime September 8

AAPL: 112.31

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FaceTime September 2

AAPL: 112.34

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Starting with the iPhone 3GS, every new iPhone has started with 16GB of storage as a base model — a capacity that has come under increasing fire as both videos and apps have grown in size. Despite new capabilities and the presence of 4K video recording in the new iPhones, sources say that the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will retain the same storage tiers as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. On-contract pricing will also be the same as the 2014 models: $199, $299, and $399 for the iPhone 6S, versus $299, $399, and $499 for the iPhone 6S Plus. We previously posted images of pre-production next-generation iPhone components that indicated that the 16GB option could remain.

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FaceTime August 26

AAPL: 109.69

Stock Chart

Apple has called the iPhone “the world’s most popular camera,” a title originally earned by aggregating all iPhones together for counting purposes. But while the exact sales numbers for each iPhone model are difficult to quantify, there’s no question that Apple has already sold over 750 million iPhones, and well over 100 million iPhone 6 devices. Those are huge numbers, and well beyond the typical sales of individual point-and-shoot cameras.

Few people appreciate that growing iPhone demand has created an unusual challenge for Apple: reliably sourcing the tens of millions of parts needed to meet first month demand for tens of millions of iPhones. To that end, Apple’s camera maker Sony had to upgrade its manufacturing plants twice this year to produce more of the CMOS image sensors needed for smartphones including the iPhone. Even with a partner as large as Sony, however, iPhone-specific engineering requirements and the risk inherent in brand new technologies have led Apple to hold off on using the latest and greatest camera innovations in its devices. Instead, iPhones go with thin, lower-resolution sensors that offer great overall image quality for their size, and never eclipse rivals on raw specs.

So what can we realistically expect from the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus cameras next month? Here are my educated guesses…

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