Engineer Stories January 14, 2014

Back in November, the State of Arizona announced that Apple had chosen the city of Mesa to create a new manufacturing facility and in the process 700 new permanent manufacturing jobs. Some had speculated it could be part of CEO Tim Cook’s plan to bring manufacturing of Macs back to the US (Cook previously stated some parts will come from Arizona), but a supplier later revealed it would be providing equipment for the production of sapphire material at Apple’s new plant. Apple never confirmed what the plant would actually be used for, but we’ve discovered through a new job listing that Apple will indeed use the facility for manufacturing iPhone and iPod components. expand full story

Engineer Stories August 28, 2013

Leading up to the unveiling of a new lower-cost plastic ‘iPhone 5C’ expected at Apple’s September 10 event next month, Apple is looking to hire an “experienced plastics material engineer” to work on iPhones and iPads. The engineer would join Apple’s iPhone/iPad Materials team and must have “extensive experience in plastic material properties, part design and fabrication.” While we know the current iPhone and iPads do use some internal plastic parts, the job listing also makes mentions of aesthetic requirements as well as experience in “plastic materials and design for manufacturing in terms of geometry and cosmetic quality.” That could be a hint the position will involve more than just the design of internal plastic parts.

There have been a ton of unconfirmed leaks claiming to show the plastic lower cost iPhone’s colourful back casings, but we posted the first photos of the next gen full-sized iPad back in January showing the device will borrow its design aesthetic from the iPad mini. It would be a stretch to imagine Apple might be working on a lower-cost, plastic iPad, but it is something it prototyped early on. Apple is expected to unveil the new lower-cost plastic iPhone alongside the new iPhone 5S at its event next month. There have been some conflicting reports this morning regarding the iPads, but we’re still expecting new iPads to be announced a later event.

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

Engineer Stories March 4, 2013

We reported over the weekend that there was some confusion over exactly how Apple’s new Lightning digital AV adapter works and why it lacks the ability to carry a native 1080p signal. One theory is that Apple was using an AirPlay wireless streaming protocol, but we’ve since learned that is not the case. According to a post  that purports to be from an anonymous Apple engineer explaining how the cables function, Apple does not use Airplay protocol. It instead uses the same H.264 encoding technology as AirPlay to encode the output into the ARM SoC. From there, the data is decoded and sent over HDMI:

It’s vastly the same thing with the HDMI adapter. Lightning doesn’t have anything to do with HDMI at all. Again, it’s just a high speed serial interface. Airplay uses a bunch of hardware h264 encoding technology that we’ve already got access to, so what happens here is that we use the same hardware to encode an output stream on the fly and fire it down the Lightning cable straight into the ARM SoC the guys at Panic discovered. Airplay itself (the network protocol) is NOT involved in this process. The encoded data is transferred as packetized data across the Lightning bus, where it is decoded by the ARM SoC and pushed out over HDMI.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Apple could improve the quality with future software updates since the firmware is stored in RAM as opposed to ROM. The poster noted that Apple deemed the quality “suitably acceptable” but *will* make improvements with future iOS updates: expand full story

Engineer Stories April 17, 2012

. Engineer support (almost) never tasted so good. 

Twitter just announced a little agreement that subsequently guarantees it would never pursue other companies that poach its “pull-to-refresh” patented feature, which is duplicated across a slue of iOS and Android applications.

 

The micro blogging service unveiled the “Innovator’s Patent Agreement” today that assures the world it will not use its patents against competitors, while allowing engineers to keep control over their patents.

“The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended,” explained Twitter in a bog post.

The IPA will affect every patent issued to Twitter engineers in the past and going forward:

expand full story

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