Apple reportedly planning increased storage in next-gen iPhones, negotiating with Samsung

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The Korea Times today reports that Apple is in negotiations with Samsung to have the company supply the flash memory for the next-gen iPhone models. Currently, the flash storage is provided by Toshiba, SK hynix and SanDisk. The report also notes that Apple is looking to increase the storage capacity of its iPhone models.

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Apple Watch rollout slowed by faulty Taptic Engines, additional manufacturers considered

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The Wall Street Journal reports that the limited initial roll out of the Apple Watch was slowed by supply manufacturing issues concerning the Taptic Engine. The report claims that after mass production of the device began in February, reliability testing showed that some of the Taptic Engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings began to break down after use.

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Apple reportedly acquired search startup Ottocat in 2013 for “Explore” tab in App Store

Apple often acquires small startup companies very quietly and without any formal announcement to bolster its own services, and a new report from TechCrunch claims that the company acquired Ottocat in late-2013. Ottocat was a startup that focused on developing a system to organize and discover apps based on increasingly specific subcategories. Apple currently uses this technology to power the “Explore” tab in the App Store, as seen above.

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Bloomberg: Samsung to produce Apple’s A9 chip for next-gen iPhone

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Bloomberg reports that Samsung has signed on to provide A9 chips to Apple for the next-generation iPhone. Apple moved to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 2013 for its processors, looking to reduce its reliance on Samsung, who is a major competitor in the smartphone space and a legal foe. With that said, it was reported last September that Samsung was still supplying 40 percent of the A8 chips found in the iPhone 6 despite Apple’s attempt to part ways.

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Gartner: iPhone sees growth while Samsung continues to slow, Apple to have record Q4

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Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.

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Apple releases promised diversity data: 55% white in US, 7 out of 10 male

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Following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement last month that the company would soon begin providing diversity data, today the company is releasing its first report. While disclosing numbers on the gender and ethnicity of its employees, CEO Tim Cook has also published a letter alongside the report on the company’s website (full version below).

In the letter, Cook highlights some of the progress the company has made in recent years, but also notes that he’s “not satisfied with the numbers” and that Apple plans to do more to improve them.  Read more

‘iPhone 5S’ (plus gold model), ‘iPhone 5C’ will actually be names of next iPhones?

Apple’s next two iPhone models will be named iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, according to a report from Japan-based Macotakara. With repeated reports and rumors of the next-generation iPhone retaining the same design as the iPhone 5, the “iPhone 5S” name has long been claimed and regarded as the name of the new flagship iPhone. Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 3GS retained the designs of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G, respectively.

However, because of Apple’s surprise naming scheme for the third-generation iPad (The new iPad), an outright claim of the name “iPhone 5S” may be important to some interested in the upcoming device.

As for the “iPhone 5C,” this name gained attention when purported packaging materials for the upcoming, lower-cost, plastic iPhone surfaced in photos online. It is unclear what the “C” in “5C” could stand for, but speculation and logic points to the “C” standing for “color.” Like recent iPod touch models, this plastic iPhone is rumored to come in a series of colors…

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comScore: Apple increases lead as top smartphone vendor in US, iOS steals market share from Android

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Research firm comScore is out with its usual monthly report that ranks the top smartphone OEMs and platforms for the three-month period ending in February. Apple continues to grow its lead this month as top OEM in the U.S., jumping 3.9-percent from November to 38.9-percent of the market and increasing its lead on the second biggest OEM by subscribers, Samsung:

Samsung ranked second with 21.3 percent market share (up 1 percentage point), followed by HTC with 9.3 percent share, Motorola with 8.4 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.

Feb-Comscore-Apple-PlatformsIt’s important to point out that the shipped vs. sold argument doesn’t apply to comScore’s results, as its data comes from surveys tracking smartphone subscribers and usage and not sales or units shipped. Google grabs the spot as top smartphone platform at the end of February, but Apple continues to close the gap capturing 38.9-percent of the market (up from 35 percent) compared to Google’s 51.7-percent (down from 53.7-percent): Read more

Analyst: Apple HDTV coming this year with ‘iRing’ motion controller & ‘mini iTV’ second screen experience

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iRing concept by Victor Soto (via YankoDesign)

We’ve seen predictions for an Apple HDTV and a revamped Apple TV experience come and go over the last couple of years. Analysts have predicted several times since as far back as 2011 that we’d see Apple introduce its own full-fledged TV set by the end of the year, and the most vocal analyst, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, was still calling for a full HDTV by the end of the year with an innovative new remote control last we checked in. Today, in a note that sounds like it should have been scheduled for an April 1 release, another analyst has backed Munster’s claims that Apple will launch a full TV set (not a set-top box) in the second half of 2013.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a note to clients today, following checks with supply chain sources in Asia (via BGR), claiming Apple’s “iTV” project will launch this year in 50- to 60-inch variants and come with a ring-shaped motion controller dubbed, get this, “iRing”:

The “iTV” ecosystem represents a major innovation for the $100 billion LCD TV industry that will revolutionize the TV experience forever, in our view. First of all, we believe “iTV” will be 60-inches in size (but could also include 50-55 inch options). Secondly, we believe Apple will release a miniature device called “iRing” that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for “iTV”, enhancing the motion detection experience and negating some of the functionality found in a remote.

White continued by saying Apple will include a “mini iTV” with iTV that will allow users to have a second-screen experience on a smaller, iPad-sized display: Read more