Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Amazon reportedly announcing first smartphone in June, will feature glasses-free 3D

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is planning to announce its first entry to the smartphone market in June. The possibility of an Amazon phone has been a long-running rumor, but recently sources claimed that the company had partnered with HTC to finally produce the device.

Following the launch of the Fire TV earlier this month, the Amazon phone will mark the second of Apple’s product categories the online retailer hopes to invade in 2014. With its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon has been attempting to position itself to compete with the iPad for a few years.

The Amazon device will reportedly feature a display capable of creating 3D images without the need for glasses, according to the WSJ report:

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HTC unveils new One (M8) with dual-LED flash, Sense 6 software, Gunmetal design

HTC has just announced its 2014 flagship in New York. Dubbed the new HTC One (M8), the device is just as all the leaks have depicted it over the past few months. Most notably, HTC is touting the device’s high-quality metal construction, which it describes “like a premium watch.” (Remember when Jobs described the iPhone 4 as a “a beautiful old Leica camera”?) The device is  available in a new Gunmetal Gray Hairline Finish that makes it look significantly more high-end than its predecessor. Taking a page out of Apple’s book, the device features a dual LED flash on the back, much like the iPhone 5s.

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Should Apple open the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? [Poll]


With Touch ID in the iPhone 5s, Apple wasn’t the first to integrate a fingerprint sensor in a smartphone, but it certainly popularized the feature as other manufacturers race to build similar technology into their next-gen iPhone competitors. HTC is packing in fingerprint sensors in its latest flagship devices and Samsung announced its new Galaxy S5 earlier this week with finger scanning as one of the standout upgrades. The verdict is still out on how Samsung’s tech compares to Touch ID, but it is interesting to see how others are using fingerprint sensors while Apple keeps it closed to developers and offers very limited applications. With Samsung letting app developers access the new S5′s fingerprint scanner for mobile payments and more right out of the gate, should Apple open the fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? Read more

Speculation and circumstantial evidence points toward possibility of Apple using solar in upcoming products

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

Image: 1iphone5wallpaper.com

There has long been speculation about Apple incorporating a solar panel into its products, both for environmental reasons and to boost battery-life. There have been Mobile-Solar Apple Jobs that have vanished after discovery, tons of patents, trial rumors and of course the Solar effort/expertise on Apple’s Data Centers and new Campus 2 building. This week, Seeking Alpha has a highly speculative piece by Matt Margolis suggesting that the evidence may be mounting for the iPhone 6 being the product Apple uses to bring the Solar idea to market.

Before we get too far into the speculation, it is worthwhile to note that the surface area of an iPhone would hardly be enough to keep a charge let alone recharge a phone even with the most efficient solar technology in labs today. However, all of the evidence weighed together might make you forget all of that ‘science’…

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iOS market share continues to fall, but Apple unlikely to be worried

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The headline news in the latest IDC stats might look like bad news for Apple: iOS Q3 market share dropped from 14.4 percent last year to 12.9 percent this year. But it’s a number that is unlikely to lead to too many sleepless nights in Cupertino, for four reasons.

First, Apple isn’t competing with most of the Android market, which spans all price-points, only the top end of it. Samsung has been struggling to make money from its flagship handsets, with most of its profits coming from low-end models, while HTC has been in all kinds of trouble. Looking at Apple’s market share in the smartphone market as a whole is the most academic of exercises.

Second, while market share is down, shipments are up: from 26.9M in Q3 last year to 33.8M in the same quarter this year.

Third, for most of Q3 savvy iPhone buyers were holding fire, waiting for the new models Apple launched almost at the end of that quarter. The iPhone 5s and 5c between them notched up a record 9M sales in just the opening weekend. Q4 is where it’s really at …  Read more