posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Following in the footsteps of T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T today announced plans to debut a new unlimited data plan that's available to all of its postpaid customers. The unlimited plan will be available starting tomorrow. AT&T previously offered an unlimited data plan, but it was limited to customers who were also DirecTV or U-Verse customers. According to AT&T, the new plan will provide unlimited talk, text, and data on four lines for $180, which is more expensive than T-Mobile's ONE data plan for four customers and on par with Verizon's pricing, also at $180 for four lines. A single line is priced at $100. AT&T is including unlimited calls from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico and unlimited texts to more than 120 countries around the world. Customers are also able to talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges."We're offering unlimited entertainment on the nation's best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love," said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group.AT&T's $180 price point is after a $40 credit for the fourth smartphone line, which will start after two billing periods. Prior to then, customers will need to pay $220 per month for the plan. The company's fine print says that AT&T "may slow speeds" during periods of network congestion for customers who consume more than 22GB of data, which is not a surprise as T-Mobile and Verizon's plans contain similar caveats. The unlimited plan also includes the Stream Saver feature, which downgrades video to 480p. Stream Saver is enabled by default, but can be turned off online. With AT&T now offering an unlimited plan for all of its customers, all of the major carriers in the United States have unlimited data plans available, which is impressive because for the last several years, carriers like AT&T and Verizon have been heavily focused on eliminating their unlimited customers. Sprint and T-Mobile have offered unlimited data plans since August, and T-Mobile's growing popularity and regular feature additions at an affordable price appears to have inspired AT&T and Verizon to re-adopt unlimited plans. Verizon announced its unlimited plan earlier this week with inclusions like 10GB of tethering data and HD video streaming, spurring T-Mobile to implement similar changes. With T-Mobile's new tethering offerings and higher-quality video streaming, it continues to offer the best value at $70 per month for a single subscriber (Verizon's plan is $80). Sprint's plan is priced at $55 per month, but its coverage can't compete with T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, and AT&T's plan is the most expensive of the four at $100 for a single line. Tag: AT&T Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple's widely expected 5.8-inch iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display will feature a front-facing 3D laser scanner for facial recognition, corroborating previous rumors, according to JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall. Hall said the scanner will replace Touch ID on the so-called iPhone 8, as Apple plans to remove the Home button to allow for the edge-to-edge display. His research note claims the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus could also have a 3D laser scanner based on increased volume of the module within Apple's supply chain. The scanner is said to add $10 to $15 per module to the iPhone 8's bill of materials, which coupled with the OLED display, glass casing, and other increased production costs, could make its retail price up to $100 more expensive than it would be without those features, if Apple looks to maintain a similar profit margin. The increased costs are in line with a recent report claiming the iPhone 8 could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States. Hall believes the switch to facial recognition will help alleviate consumer frustration when Touch ID does not work under wet conditions. He added that facial recognition will potentially be more secure than Touch ID, which could increase Apple Pay adoption among banks and merchants. The research note said the 3D laser scanner could eventually be used for other purposes, such as augmented reality, but likely not until 2018 at the earliest.One obvious and potentially most compelling use would be AR/VR experiences in which the user’s hands and other real world objects are being scanned and integrated into a field of view provided by the iPhone mounted into a Google Daydream-like headset. This would open up many interesting entertainment and gaming experiences not available today and might give Apple something extra in an AR/VR accessory compared to Google and others.He also believes that Apple is likely to eventually open up a 3D scanning API to developers, who could use it to do "everything from determining your shoe size for online orders to helping make sure you are properly fitted on your bike." Hall expects a strong iPhone 8 replacement cycle later this year, and he said an announcement about the product is possible as early as WWDC 2017, which kicks off June 5. Apple has not made any iPhone hardware announcements at WWDC since 2010, so treat this claim with a proverbial grain of salt for now.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: JPMorgan Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today shared two new videos on its YouTube channel, again designed to promote the Portrait Mode feature that's unique to the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus. Both videos are 15 seconds in length and show the Portrait Mode in action, with an explanation on how it blurs out the background for better portrait shots of people. Portrait Mode, introduced in iOS 10.1, uses a shallow depth-of-field effect to make portrait photos "pop," mimicking the results that can normally only be obtained with a high-end DSLR and a telephoto lens. Portrait Mode uses the 56mm lens included in the iPhone 7 Plus, with Apple's image signal processor working to scan a scene to recognize people and other objects to separate the foreground from the background for the blurring effect. Today's ads follow two similar ads that were released earlier this week, also designed to show off Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tag: Apple ads Discuss this article in our forums

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai has advocated for the activation of FM radio receivers built into nearly every smartphone, as part of opening remarks he made at the Future of Radio and Audio Symposium in Washington D.C. today. Many smartphones sold today, including iPhones, have an FM receiver built into the LTE modem that would allow people to listen to FM radio over the air; however, many carriers and phone makers have not enabled the functionality, forcing users to use an app to stream FM radio over Wi-Fi or cellular data. Pai cited a NAB study that found only 44% of the top-selling smartphones in the United States had activated FM receivers as of last year. The vast majority—94%—of the non-activated smartphones are iPhones, according to the study. "We could be doing a lot better," said Pai, who was appointed as FCC chairman last month. "It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman." The activation of FM receivers in iPhones would have several benefits, including battery life savings, less data usage, and most importantly, the ability to receive emergency alerts over radio without service. "You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone," added Pai. "The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal. The FCC has an expert advisory panel on public safety issues that has also advocated enabling FM radio chips on smartphones." Pai said that while he will keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM receivers in smartphones, he is a believer in free markets and the rule of law, and he thereby cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips, nor does he believe the FCC has the power to issue said mandate. In 2015, an online campaign was launched to "free radio" on smartphones. It calls for U.S. carriers to activate the FM radio receivers in smartphones. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile now support the functionality, or will soon, on all or select Android-based smartphones. The campaign extends to Canada. Apple's stance on the activation of FM receivers in iPhones, and whether it could do so with a simple iOS update, is uncertain. Some have said that iPhones would need another antenna, which may not fit, for proper FM signal reception. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Tag: FCC Discuss this article in our forums

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Another rumor of Apple's interest in acquiring a company involved in film and television has come to light today, with Financial Times reporting that the Cupertino company was in talks to acquire production company Imagine Entertainment, co-founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The deal is said to have gotten "serious enough" to include Apple CEO Tim Cook and senior vice president Eddy Cue, but discussions ultimately "fizzled out" for unknown reasons. Those knowledgable about the deal said that possibilities ranged from a "first look" distribution strategy granted to Apple for movies and television shows released by Imagine all the way to an investment or even an outright purchase by Apple. Imagine is a company behind a number of well-known films, including all three entries in The Da Vinci Code series, Apollo 13, and the upcoming adaptation of The Dark Tower. Some of its production in the TV space includes shows like Empire, 24, and Parenthood. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment According to Financial Times, Apple's current approach to original video content "has many in Hollywood scratching their heads." This approach has many in Hollywood scratching their heads. Apple’s rounds of meetings with various entertainment industry players suggest it has not yet decided what its strategy should be. The iPhone maker has been stalking Hollywood for more than a year, talking to leading industry players while it tries to formulate a cogent video strategy. It has considered a range of acquisitions and targets including, most recently, Imagine Entertainment, the Hollywood production company owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, according to several people briefed on the discussions. Imagine is said to have recently faced the end of a long-term production and distribution deal with Universal Pictures, which is when Apple is believed to have considered entering into a first look deal with the company. The new Imagine rumor marks another bump in the road for Apple's trip around Hollywood, following reports that the company considered buying Time Warner last year. Later in the year, people familiar with Apple's acquisition strategy said it was "not interested" in acquiring Time Warner at the time. Today's news follows a Bloomberg report from yesterday that underscored Apple's "arrogance" in mergers and acquisitions, where it's reported to use shrewd business tactics and non-traditional strategies in its attempts to acquire new companies. These tactics work mostly for Apple's smaller acquisitions, according to some analysts, but impede its success at acquiring larger companies, although it is unclear how seriously Apple has pursued any such large targets.Tags: ft.com, Imagine Enterainment Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today announced that WWDC 2017 will take place on Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. WWDC is returning to San Jose for the first time since 2002. The conference had been held in San Francisco since 2003. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller told The Loop that downtown San Jose is a "great environment for developers" and closer to Apple's headquarters in nearby Cupertino.Schiller said that downtown San Jose is going to provide a great environment for developers attending the conference. Of course, San Jose has the added benefit of being close to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, which should make logistics much easier for the company, especially when it comes to getting engineers on site.Tickets will cost $1,599. Registration opens Monday, March 27 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The opportunity to buy tickets to WWDC 2017 will be offered by random selection. Those that plan on registering must be a member of the Apple Developer Program as of February 16 at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. WWDC, or the Worldwide Developers Conference, is where Apple unveils the latest versions of its software platforms, which this year is likely to include iOS 11, macOS 10.13, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4. The opening keynote has sometimes included other big announcements, such as new Macs and iCloud.Tag: WWDC 2017 Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple is currently testing a new, fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming Ultra HD 4K video, according to a report released on Thursday. The new Apple TV is internally codenamed "J105" and is able to output content in more vivid colors, according to Bloomberg. The fifth-gen device may release as soon as this year, with Apple's recent hiring of former Amazon Fire TV unit chief Timothy D. Twerdhal said to indicate a renewed focus on the set-top box. Twerdhal's arrival comes as the company tests a new, fifth-generation Apple TV that it may release as soon as this year. Internally codenamed "J105," the new box will be capable of streaming ultra-high-definition 4K and more vivid colors, according to people familiar with the plans.Details on Apple's intentions for its set-top box have been scant in recent months, with the last rumor that it was readying a new model appearing as far back as December 2015. Today's new disclosure appears as part of an investigation into Apple's apparent inability to keep pace with rivals like Amazon and Roku in the TV streaming market. According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple engineers have been forced to compromise "time and again" on Steve Jobs' original vision of revolutionizing the living room. Originally, the Apple TV was meant to replace the ungainly set-top boxes supplied by cable companies and allow owners to stream live television, but Apple's failure to secure deals with the major cable channels left Cupertino unable to push ahead with its TV plans. According to the report, that left the Apple TV team debating other options, such as including a game controller with the fourth-gen model to better compete with Microsoft's Xbox and the Sony PlayStation, but that ultimately fell through because of cost concerns. Apple also reportedly passed on including a more expensive 4K-capable chip in the fourth-gen Apple TV because it would be forced to accept lower margins. This left the set-top box more akin to a "giant iPhone", consisting of a cluster of apps and an App Store. "That's not what I signed up for," says one of the people, who requested anonymity to talk freely about internal company matters. "I signed up for revolutionary. We got evolutionary." Apple has never revealed how many Apple TVs it has sold, although Apple CFO Luca Maestri recently admitted that sales had decreased year-over-year during the 2016 holiday period, while market research suggests the fourth-generation Apple TV has been losing market share to cheaper Amazon and Roku boxes since its launch in the fall of 2015. Steve Jobs' ambitions in the TV space has become almost legendary since his passing, but little has been achieved by Apple to realize his vision, which originally included an Apple-branded television set. Jobs previewed the first Apple TV in 2006, when the device was only able to stream iTunes video from a Mac to a TV. When he stepped down from his position as Apple CEO on August 24, 2011 due to illness, he intended to work on an Apple television that would re-invent living room entertainment. After Jobs' death, Apple tried to gain a stronger foothold in this regard, but the company failed to secure the cable channel deals that would allow it to create the full integrated television programming experience and TV set that Jobs envisioned, and since that time it has relied on the fourth-generation Apple TV, with App Store and Siri integration, as a makeweight solution. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly asserted in the past that "the future of TV is apps", but such a vision is difficult to realize in the context of a fully unified user experience. Apple TV users still have to buy individual TV episodes via the iTunes Store, pay extra for services such as Hulu, and download apps linked to specific channels, after which they must log in with their existing cable subscriptions. According to the Bloomberg report, by all accounts, Apple's efforts to position the Apple TV as a streaming and distribution platform for other content providers have failed. Whether or not a 4K-capable device can bring about a resurgence in its ambitions for the living room remains to be seen. You can read the full Bloomberg report here.Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Tag: Apple TV 5 Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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Yahoo has issued a new warning to account holders about malicious hacks linked to a third data breach that the company disclosed late last year. The warning relates to more recent malicious activity targeting accounts between 2015 and 2016, most likely perpetrated by a "state actor", according to Yahoo. Specifically, the hacks are said to have been achieved by using "forged" cookies – the text-based keys that give web users access to username and password information without having to re-enter it – created by software stolen from within Yahoo's internal systems. A message was sent to affected Yahoo users on Wednesday, warning them of the unauthorized access to their account, but Yahoo did not reveal how many people were notified. Hopefully the cookie was forged by a state known for such delicacies. #yahoo #security #baking pic.twitter.com/7gCeEd3Y51— Joshua B. Plotkin (@jplotkin) February 15, 2017 "Outside forensic experts have been investigating the creation of forged cookies that could have enabled an intruder to access our users' accounts without a password," a Yahoo spokesperson told Associated Press. "The investigation has identified user accounts for which we believe forged cookies were taken or used. Yahoo is in the process of notifying all potentially affected account holders."Yahoo's announcement came just hours after reports that Verizon was close to a renegotiated deal to buy Yahoo's core assets at a lower price. Last year, Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo’s core business for $4.83 billion, but on Wednesday Bloomberg reported that the renegotiated deal would slash about $250 million off that price because of the security breaches that were revealed after the initial deal was agreed.  Back in September, Yahoo revealed that hackers had stolen the personal data of "at least" 500 million users, but by December, the internet company admitted that over one billion Yahoo user accounts had been compromised in a separate hack dating back to August 2013. Information stolen included names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, security questions and answers. The internet company is currently under investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission over its failure to disclose its massive data breaches sooner.Tag: Yahoo Discuss this article in our forums

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The upcoming 2017 iPhone will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable screen space according to new predictions shared by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo believes the iPhone 8 will use a 5.8-inch OLED display panel, but that some space will be reserved for virtual buttons. As has been rumored, the display is said to take up the entire front panel of the iPhone, effectively eliminating bezels, which means Apple will eliminate both the current Home button and the current Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology used in iPhones. Size wise, Kuo says the OLED iPhone will have measurements similar to the 4.7-inch iPhone, allowing for one-handed operation. Such a size is possible with a 5.8-inch panel because there will be no extra space outside of the display, as can be seen in the mockup below. It will feature a display similar in size to the 5.5-inch iPhone, but in a 4.7-inch package. Alongside the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone, Kuo continues to believe Apple will also offer standard 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch LCD iPhones, but it is not yet clear what features those devices will adopt. In previous research notes, Kuo has said they will include glass bodies and wireless charging, but he has not gone into detail on other potential features. He does, however, say that the OLED iPhone will be "the only bright spot" in the 2017 iPhone lineup, suggesting only minor improvements for the other two rumored devices. Because the OLED iPhone will eliminate the Home button, it is expected to adopt "other biometric technologies," which other rumors suggest could include things like iris or facial recognition. Battery life may also be another major change in the OLED iPhone, with Apple expected to introduce a stacked logic board design to support bigger batteries and longer battery life. In today's report, Kuo says the iPhone 8, though similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, will feature a battery capacity similar to the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. With the radical design changes, battery improvements, and the new biometric features, Kuo expects the OLED iPhone to cost in excess of $1,000, a pricing rumor that was also shared by Fast Company last week. Kuo does not expect the high price point to significantly impact sales due the "innovative user experience" offered by the device. He believes Apple will ship 100 million iPhones during the second half of 2017, with 60 percent of those to consist of the higher-end OLED iPhone.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: Ming-Chi Kuo Discuss this article in our forums

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Both Amazon and Google are working on turning their popular AI-based speaker products into replacements for a home telephone, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Amazon Echo and/or the Google Home could be used to make and receive phone calls, with the two companies planning to add the updated functionality as soon as this year. Smart home products like the Amazon Echo have become a staple in the lives of many people and the ability to make phone calls directly from the device would be a valuable addition. Google and Amazon are said to be working to overcome concerns about privacy, telecom regulations, and emergency services, plus the "inherent awkwardness" of making phone conversations via a speaker. The two companies are worried consumers won't want to speak on a device that is able to record conversations. Both the Echo and the Home continuously record audio to enable AI responses. One source that spoke to The Wall Street Journal said that Amazon would only collect metadata from phone calls rather than conversations themselves, and while it's unclear what Google would retain, a Home-based call service would likely resemble Google Voice, which does not record phone calls.Amazon is considering multiple options for how the phone feature could work, the people said. The Echo could get its own phone number. Call forwarding could enable calls to that number to be answered remotely on a cellphone, and vice versa. Another option is to sync a user's existing phone number and contacts with the Echo. Incoming calls would ring on the user's cellphone. Amazon and Google could develop the calling tool themselves, or they could allow external providers such as Skype or Vonage onto their platforms.The news is of interest to Apple followers because Apple is also rumored to be working on a connected smart home device that would compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. It's reasonable to assume that when and if Apple releases its rumored home hub, it would be on par with already existing products. If the Amazon Echo and Google Home are set to gain calling capabilities, we can perhaps expect the same thing from an Apple product. Rumors thus far suggest Apple's smart home device will be powered by Siri, Apple's voice-based personal assistant that's already built into iPhones and Macs. It would reportedly be used to control HomeKit-enabled accessories while also offering "advanced microphone and speaker technology." The device, in addition to serving as a hub for smart products, would also be able to respond to typical Siri questions and do things like play music, answer queries, and more. The device is said to be in the prototype testing phase of development, without an official finalized plan for release. Apple could still decide not to move forward with the project should the testing phase not pan out.Tags: Google, Amazon, Amazon Echo, Google Home Discuss this article in our forums

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Nearly ten years after Apple launched the iPhone, which completely upended the smartphone industry, the device has effectively helped to wipe out one of its major predecessors: the BlackBerry. BlackBerry has at last fallen to a rounded 0.0% share among smartphone operating systems, including iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile, following an over seven year decline from its peak market share of approximately 20% in 2009, according to the latest quarterly data from research firm Gartner. The demise of the smartphone that was once the poster child of Canadian innovation has been a long one in the making, but one that was inevitable now that BlackBerry has shifted its focus to software and sold the global rights to future BlackBerry-branded smartphones to Chinese company TCL Communication. BlackBerry actually continued to grow for around two years after the iPhone launched in June 2007, taking market share away from then-leader Nokia. BlackBerry's market share among all smartphone operating systems was 9.6% in 2007, 16.6% in 2008, and 19.9% in 2009, according to Gartner. Then, the decline started. By 2011, the surging popularity of iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones led iOS and Android to leapfrog BlackBerry and Nokia to form a duopoly in the smartphone market that exists to this day. iOS and Android combined for a record 99.6% market share last quarter, according to Gartner. Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q16 (Gartner) Windows 10 Mobile was the only other platform to make any sort of dent last quarter, recording an insignificant 0.3% market share, according to Gartner. Windows 10 Mobile fell from 1.1% in the year-ago quarter. A group of unnamed "other" operating systems captured the remaining 0.1% share. iOS adoption is still low compared to Android, with the platforms capturing 17.9% and 81.7% worldwide market share respectively in the fourth quarter. iPhones mainly target the premium smartphone market, however, while there are Android-based smartphones at all price points sold by dozens of brands. What's next for BlackBerry? In addition to focusing on software, the company is also doing self-driving vehicle research, while its rumored "Mercury" smartphone by TCL will be unveiled on February 25 at Mobile World Congress.Tags: Gartner, BlackBerry Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple recently filed a patent application containing drawings of a Smart Keyboard with "Share" and "Emoji" keys, and a key that can be used to both search and invoke Siri, suggesting it may be exploring a new version of the iPad Pro accessory to be sold alongside next-generation models. The drawings show that pressing the "Share" key would bring up a share sheet on the iPad Pro with options to share through apps such as Facebook, Mail, and Messages. There is no description of how the "Emoji" key would function, but pressing it would presumably bring up the on-screen Emoji keyboard on the iPad Pro. The current Smart Keyboard already has a globe key in the bottom left corner that can bring up the on-screen Emoji keyboard, but this key is not visualized in the patent drawings. There is a non-existent "Fn" key in its place. The third key, labeled with a magnifying glass, would serve multiple purposes. A single press, for example, could bring up a search field for searching within apps. A double press could bring up shortcuts for Messages, Photos, Calendar, Camera, Notes, Settings, and other apps. Long-pressing the key would invoke Siri. Since this is not a design patent, Apple's drawings are not entirely accurate, but rather just basic visualizations. The "Share" key is located where the right-side Command and Option keys would normally be, for example, while the "Emoji" key is included in lieu of Caps Lock, which is an essential key. Nevertheless, we roughed up a quick mockup of what the new Smart Keyboard could look like based on the same layout of the new keys as Apple's drawings. Apple is rumored to launch a trio of new iPads as early as March, but possibly not until later this year, including an all-new 10-inch range iPad Pro with an edge-to-edge display. The other models are expected to be updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models with faster A10X processors. A so-called "Smart Keyboard 2" could accompany the new iPads and perhaps the so-called "Apple Pencil 2" rumored to launch this year. The current Smart Keyboard was released in November 2015 and costs $149 and $169 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro respectively. International versions such as British English, Dutch, Korean, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, French, and Arabic were released in August 2016.Tags: patent, Smart Keyboard Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple is in discussions with China's BOE Technology Group to supply OLED screens for the 2018 iPhone, reports Bloomberg. The Cupertino company is looking for ways to shore up its OLED supplies as the iPhone transitions from LCD to OLED displays. Apple has been testing BOE's OLED displays for months, according to Bloomberg, but it isn't yet sure whether to add the company as a supplier. BOE is one of China's largest display makers, recently spending about $14.5 billion on two AMOLED factories. Talks are too early to allow BOE to contribute displays for Apple's 2017 OLED-based iPhone, known as the iPhone 8, but BOE is hoping to contribute to the 2018 iPhone supply. If Apple and BOE agree to a deal, the Chinese manufacturer will become Apple's first OLED supplier outside of South Korea and Japan. In November, it was reported that Apple's OLED suppliers, which include Samsung, LG, Sharp and Japan Display, would not be able to meet demand for the 2017 iPhone. The worldwide shortage of OLED displays is thought to be one of the reasons why Apple is limiting the feature to the high-end device, while the regular iPhone 7s and 7s Plus are said to feature LCD displays. One of BOE's new factories will open this summer while another will open a couple years later. When they're up to full capacity, BOE says they'll be able to produce 1.6 million square-meters of flexible glass substrates (surfaces that displays are carved out of) a month. Samsung will exclusively produce OLED displays for iPhones in 2017, with Apple opening up to LG, Sharp and Japan Display in 2018.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: bloomberg.com, OLED, BOE, 2018 iPhone Discuss this article in our forums

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The LEGO Batman Movie, released last Friday, features the voice of Apple's personal assistant Siri as Batman's personal computer. Batman's computer works in much the same way as Siri, responding to his voice requests whenever he says "Hey 'puter." As it turns out, there's a secret tie-in hidden in the iPhone, too. Whenever you say "Hey 'puter" (or "Hey Computer") to Siri, she responds to you as if you're LEGO Batman. "I am at your service, Lego Batman sir," and "Welcome home, sir. I have your rom coms queued up, sorted by decade," are just two of the multiple humorous phrases Siri shares whenever the personal assistant hears "Hey 'puter." Apple updates Siri on a regular basis, and this isn't the first time the personal assistant has gained humorous responses ahead of an upcoming event, but it may be the first serious movie tie-in. Siri was previously updated in August 2016 to offer funny responses to questions about Pokémon Go, and again in September to respond to questions ahead of the iPhone 7's debut. In addition to the Siri easter egg, there's also a free iOS app that accompanies The LEGO Batman Movie, which was released back in January.Tag: Siri Discuss this article in our forums

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Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway nearly quadrupled its stake in Apple stock to 57,359,652 shares last quarter, according to an SEC filing disclosed today. Its stake in Apple was worth nearly $6.7 billion as of December 31, and over $7.7 billion today if the shares are still held. Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a nearly $1 billion stake in Apple last May, which led the iPhone maker's stock to soar 9% once the investment became public knowledge. Apple stock has been on the rise since then, closing at an all-time high of $135.02 today just nine months after setting a 52-week low of $89.47 in May 2016. Apple and Berkshire Hathaway are the world's most and fourth-most valuable companies respectively based on their market capitalizations.Tags: AAPL, Berkshire Hathaway Discuss this article in our forums

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We may have seven months to go before the unveiling of the iPhone 8, but thanks to its radical design changes, we're already getting non-stop rumors. The latest info suggests it'll include inductive wireless charging, iris scanning or facial recognition, and, most importantly, way better battery life. We might also see a total of three iPhones in 2017 -- the rumored iPhone 8 with radical design changes and two other iPhones with more incremental updates. Make sure to check out our full iPhone 8 roundup -- it's got everything we know about Apple's game-changing 2017 device.

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It's been five months since Apple launched a new line of band options for the Apple Watch alongside the Apple Watch Series 2 and iPhone 7 last September. Now, Apple.com has a few notable stock shortages of Series 2 bundles and -- to a lesser extent -- single band options for the Apple Watch, likely indicating an incoming spring collection of Apple Watch bands. New Apple Watch hardware is expected for later in 2017. The same shortage phenomenon occurred last summer, ahead of the new bands that launched in September. While hardware updates have been less frequent, Apple has kept new band lineups on a seasonal release cycle approximately every six months, solidifying the Apple Watch as an ever-changing fashion accessory in the company's eye. Since the original Apple Watch launched, there have been four seasonal collections: Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, and Fall 2016. New bands potentially arriving in the next few weeks would mark the first band collection of 2017. Tracked on the U.S. Apple.com store, the largest shortages for Apple Watch Series 2 bundles are mainly for models with Woven Nylon bands. Of the six Series 2 models that include Woven Nylon bands, five have models that are listed as "Sold Out" on Apple.com and in the Apple Store iOS app. Conversely, all aluminum Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 models with Sport Bands were available to buy at the time of writing. Out-of-Stock Apple Watch Bundles Apple Watch with Aluminum Case - 38mm Silver Aluminum Case with Pearl Woven Nylon - 38mm Gold Aluminum Case with Yellow/Light Gray Woven Nylon - 42mm Gold Aluminum Case with Toasted Coffee/Caramel Woven Nylon - 42mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Space Orange/Anthracite Woven Nylon - 38mm and 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Woven Nylon Apple Watch with Stainless Steel Case - 38mm and 42mm Stainless Steel Case with Saddle Brown Classic Buckle - 38mm Stainless Steel Case with Midnight Blue Modern Buckle (all band sizes) - 42mm Stainless Steel Case with Midnight Blue Leather Loop (both band sizes) - 38mm Stainless Steel Case with Link Bracelet - 38mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Link Bracelet The only in-stock Woven Nylon model is the Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Light Pink/Midnight Blue Woven Nylon, and a couple of Stainless Steel bundles are also readily available to purchase, including the basic White Sport Band, Black Sport Band, and Milanese Loop options. Every model of the Apple Watch + Nike is in stock, while every Hermès model is in stock save two: Stainless Steel Case with Rose Jaipur Epsom Leather Single Tour and Stainless Steel Case with Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour Deployment Buckle. Out-of-stock Apple Watch Bands are far less numerous than they were last summer, ahead of the Series 2's introduction in the fall. In June, MacRumors reported upwards of 35 different Apple Watch bands marked as "Sold Out" on Apple.com; today, just five bands are unavailable. In both 38mm and 42mm Classic Buckle, the Sea Blue, Midnight Blue, and Red colorways are sold out, while in the 38mm Modern Buckle, the Midnight Blue and Black options are currently unavailable. That leaves a plethora of other Apple Watch bands on the store for users to purchase, including every Sport Band and Woven Nylon Band. Some bands available have lengthy shipping estimates, like the Midnight Blue Leather Loop's 6-8 week delivery window, but most will arrive in the mail with Apple's usual 1 day speedy delivery, and up to 2 days for free shipping. Apple Watch stock shortages aren't terribly uncommon, with some bundles and bands occasionally selling out months ahead of a refresh, but given Apple's commitment to timely band releases and the number of models currently out of stock it's likely that the company will introduce a similar refresh of Apple Watch bundles and bands in the coming weeks. The Spring 2017 collection could also see the launch of an all-new band material, similar to the debut of Woven Nylon a year ago next month, although no specific rumors about new materials have surfaced. A full hardware refresh isn't expected until later in the year, perhaps alongside the iPhone 8 in the fall, but it's not yet clear if it will mark the Apple Watch's first major design overhaul or another evolution of the basic design profile that debuted in 2015. Rumors have suggested the third-generation Apple Watch will put a focus on improving battery life and performance and may not feature other major changes.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Tag: Apple Watch bands Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple shares traded above $134.54 today, eclipsing a previous all-time intraday high set in April 2015. Apple's market value has now surpassed $700 billion, making it the world's most valuable company by a sizeable margin. Google parent company Alphabet is second largest with a market cap of around $575 billion, followed by Microsoft at around $500 billion and Berkshire Hathaway at around $412 billion. The milestone comes just one day after Apple's stock recorded its highest closing price ever of $133.29 on Monday. Following Apple's first annual revenue decline since 2001, its stock been steadily rising over the past four months, buoyed by record-breaking earnings results at the end of January. When adjusted for a 7-for-1 split in June 2014, Apple's stock is trading at roughly $941, approaching the $1,000 milestone that was considered wishful thinking when some analysts predicted it years ago. Apple is also slowly but surely on track to become the world's first trillion dollar company. Apple analysts Brian White of Drexel Hamilton and Steven Milunovich of UBS, and former analyst turned venture capitalist Gene Munster, are among a larger group of observers who believe Apple's stock remains undervalued and is likely to rise. AAPL is up over 50% compared to its 52-week low of $89.47 in May 2016.Tag: AAPL Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
The Iconfactory has launched a Kickstarter campaign called "Project Phoenix" in an effort to raise at least $75,000 to reboot Twitterrific for Mac. Twitterrific for Mac was the very first Twitter client, but The Iconfactory admitted it has fallen out of date after its team made the tough decision to focus exclusively on development of Twitterrific for iOS since 2013. Now, it wants the Apple community to help rebuild the Mac version from the ground up.After much consideration, we decided that the best way forward was to go back to the beginning. Rather than bending the long-neglected Twitterrific for Mac into a new shape, we will borrow what we can from iOS and use it to build a modern new macOS app. To achieve such a large undertaking in a reasonable timeframe, we’ll start small: Our goal is to deliver a minimal Twitter client much like the original Twitterrific for Mac, but with a feature set that fits how we use Twitter in 2017 instead of how we thought we wanted to use it back in 2007.The Iconfactory said its plan is to build a minimal product within 6 or 7 months that includes the following functionality: • Unified home timeline • Multiple account support • Composing, replying, and quoting tweets • Muffles and mutes • Streaming • Themes • Delete and edit your own tweets • Sync timeline position with iOS • VoiceOver Accessibility • Keyboard control • Attaching images to tweets • Timeline search (text filter/find) • Open links to other tweets, profiles and media in your browser In the long run, the developers said they would like to bring Twitterrific for Mac to feature-parity with the iOS version. The Iconfactory said if it raises over $100,000, it will follow up with another major version that includes features such as direct messaging, built-in Twitter search, and a built-in quick media viewer. At $125,000, it promises to continue adding features such as simple list management and geolocation. The fundraising goals may seem significant, but Twitter enforced significant changes to its API and tokenization in 2012 that made it harder for third-party Twitter clients to be functional and profitable. There are multiple pledge levels available on Kickstarter, starting at $15, that will all include a copy of Twitterrific for Mac, which The Iconfactory estimates will be ready by August. Rewards available include Twitterrific t-shirts, stickers, and vinyl collectibles, plus access to beta versions, depending on the amount pledged. The new Twitterrific for Mac will be distributed outside of the Mac App Store for macOS 10.12.3 and later. As with all Kickstarter projects, there are risks to consider before making a pledge. The Iconfactory notes that Twitter could further restrict its API or enforce other limitations that impede its ability to deliver. The Twitterrific for Mac team will include engineers Sean Heber and Craig Hockenberry and designers Gedeon Maheux and Anthony Piraino.Tags: Kickstarter, Twitteriffic Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple's next-generation smartphone lineup this year will include a 4.7-inch iPhone with aluminum casing, 5.5-inch iPhone of an unspecified material, and all-new 5.8-inch iPhone with glass casing reinforced by a stainless steel frame, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes, which keeps tabs on Apple's supply chain. The report, citing "sources from the upstream supply chain," claims the 5.8-inch model is expected to adopt an OLED display, and for that reason the smartphone is estimated to cost upwards of $1,000. DisplayMate Technologies outlined the several advantages of OLED display technology when it tested Samsung's Galaxy S7 last year. Namely, the displays are typically brighter and more power efficient than LCDs with better color accuracy, faster response times, wider viewing angles, and improved image sharpness. The trio of unreleased smartphones have commonly been referred to as the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone 8, with the high-end model sometimes called the "iPhone X" instead in line with the smartphone's tenth anniversary this year. The smartphones are expected to launch in September per usual. While it is widely believed that Apple will release three new iPhone models this year, rumors surrounding the lineup have so far lacked consensus. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities and Japanese website Nikkei, for example, have both said that all three models will feature glass casing. Japanese website Mac Otakara, however, said the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models will retain an aluminum design like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with only internal changes, including the addition of a faster A11 chip. Today's report echoes that at least the 4.7-inch model would indeed have an aluminum design. The rumors suggest two possible scenarios: Scenario A: Apple releases a completely overhauled glass-backed iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display and wireless charging at the high end of its 2017 smartphone lineup, while making only incremental upgrades to its traditional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones with aluminum designs and LCD displays. Scenario B: Apple adds glass casing and wireless charging to all three iPhones, which could make an edge-to-edge OLED display and longer battery life the unique selling points of the high-end model. This would mark the end of the iPhone's aluminum design that has remained largely the same since the iPhone 6 in 2014. Other rumored features for this year's iPhone lineup, some of which may be exclusive to the high-end model, include the removal of the Home button, iris or facial recognition, 3D camera features, improved IP68-rated water resistance, increased storage space, and new Taptic Engine and 3D Touch modules. Apple is expected to begin production of the new iPhones next quarter, at which point rumors should start to become clearer.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: digitimes.com Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet Services, spoke at Code Conference tonight alongside Planet of the Apps producer Ben Silverman to preview the show and debut the first trailer from the program. Cue and Silverman also teased several unique aspects of the show, including a dedicated app that allows you to watch the show in a non-linear format. The format of the show is similar to that of fellow talent-based reality shows The Voice and Shark Tank. Aspiring app developers descend down an escalator while pitching four judges on their idea. By the time they get to the bottom, the judges must swipe left or right to demonstrate whether they're interested. If multiple judges swipe right on a contestant, the contestant gets to choose who they want to pair with. Once paired, the developer goes through an incubator period, getting advise from developers at big companies like Uber, until it's ready enough to pitch to Lightspeed Venture Partners for funding. Silverman and Cue say that the show will debut a new episode every week starting in the Spring, rather than dumping the entire season on a single date, as Netflix tends to do. The show will also have a dedicated app that'll allow viewers to watch the show in a non-linear format. Within the app, people will have the opportunity to pause the linear version of the show to access unused footage of specific developers. Apple wasn't the first choice for the show, according to Silverman. The project was initially shopped around to the big networks. The show drew major interest, but Will.I.Am brought up the show to Jimmy Iovine while at a meeting with Apple in Los Angeles. Apple was interested, and Silverman and the rest of the producers slowed down the process with the networks to give Apple a chance at securing it for Apple Music. When asked why a TV show about apps is debuting on Apple Music, Cue says that he believes video could a differentiator for the service. "We think we have an opportunity to do something unique with Apple Music and shows," Cue said. "The things we're doing aren't being done by anyone else. If we wanted to do something everyone else was doing, we might be better off buying something or whatever." He later clarified that shows on Apple Music don't have to be about music, similar to how MTV programming isn't always about music. Cue says Apple is just starting out with original content, but that it wants to do more. When asked whether it could see itself becoming Netflix, Cue said Apple wants to see where it can go with its own strategy. Cue later emphasized that Apple doesn't just want to buy shows, denying that Apple was ever interested in purchasing The Grand Tour. Instead, Apple only wants to make shows that are unique and "create culture." Silverman says that Apple's influence is the only reason he thinks Planet of the Apps could work, pointing out that developers and stars, like judges Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow, might not have signed onto the show if Apple had not been producing the show. Planet of the Apps will not have ads. Cue says he's unsure if future Apple productions will have ads, but that he doesn't know of many people who actually watch ads when they're watching programming. Cue says a lot of people either watch shows on streaming services or purchase or rent them from places like iTunes, bypassing the ads of regular TV. Cue also talked about the future of TV. When asked what the big roadblock for Apple was when it was planning its rumored TV service, Cue said discoverability and the complexity of the TV industry. Cue said the TV app is one way to help customers find the content they want to watch without jumping into various services. Cue also says industries are reticent to change, and that people in the industry aren't yet moving in the same direction, making it difficult for Apple to put what it wants to do together. However, Cue says Apple is not interested in pursuing a skinny bundle. In 2015, the CEOs of Time Warner and CBS said Apple was working on a "forward-thinking" streaming service.Tags: Eddy Cue, Apple Music, Planet of the Apps Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Over the weekend, Verizon announced a new unlimited data plan for $80 per month, designed to rival T-Mobile's ONE data plan that provides unlimited data for $70 per month. To set itself apart from T-Mobile, Verizon promised 10GB of tethering data per month and full HD video streaming, two offers that have spurred T-Mobile to offer matching benefits. As of this afternoon, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has announced that T-Mobile ONE subscribers will be able to stream HD video and will get 10GB of high-speed data at no extra charge. Legere has also announced a promotion that will see T-Mobile offering customers two lines with unlimited data for $100 per month, a $20 discount off of the standard $120 price point and $40 cheaper than two lines on Verizon's new unlimited plan. 6/ Starting Fri, #TMobileONE price includes HD video & 10GB high-speed 📱hotspot data –all at no extra charge. AND taxes & fees are included!— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 13, 2017 Prior to Verizon's announcement, the T-Mobile ONE plan offered unlimited hotspot data that was limited to 2G speeds, with an option to pay for 5GB of data for an additional $15 per month. As for video, the ONE plan originally limited subscribers to 480p "optimized" video provided for free through its Binge On program, but users will now be able to stream Binge On content in a higher resolution by default. T-Mobile has not given specific details on the new resolution that'll be available to ONE subscribers, but "HD" likely equates to 720p. The addition of 10GB LTE tethering data and better quality video streaming is a huge win for T-Mobile customers, and the new additions once again make T-Mobile the more attractive carrier, with the company offering better features for consumers at a lower price. With Verizon now offering an unlimited data plan, all four of the major carriers in the United States have unlimited data offerings, a major change from a few years ago when AT&T and Verizon eliminated unlimited data. T-Mobile's "Un-carrier" initiatives over the past few years have sparked some major changes to the mobile wireless market, resulting in significant competition that's brought positive changes for subscribers. For a single person, T-Mobile's ONE plan is priced at $70 per month, while Verizon charges $65 plus a $20 device fee. Sprint charges $55 per month for a single subscriber, and AT&T's unlimited plan is only available to AT&T U-verse or DirecTV subscribers. The new T-Mobile ONE benefits will be available to T-Mobile subscribers starting on Friday, February 17.Tag: T-Mobile Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple's stock set a new all-time high closing price of $133.29 today, eclipsing a previous record of $133 set on February 23, 2015. The stock still remains around $1 off its true all-time high of $134.54 set on April 28, 2015. Apple's stock has been steadily rising over the past four months, particularly since the company reported record-breaking earnings results, including revenue of $78.4 billion and net quarterly profit of $17.9 billion, in late January. The stock rose over $7 in a single day following the January 31 results. Apple analyst Brian White of investment firm Drexel Hamilton has persistently said AAPL remains "one of the most underappreciated stocks in the world," and his target price for the stock is $185. Steven Milunovich of UBS and some other analysts have also said the stock is undervalued in recent weeks. Apple's stock has rebounded significantly since dropping to a 52-week low of $89.47 last May. The price was likely impacted by Apple's comparably lackluster 2016, which marked the company's first year-over-year decline in annual revenue since 2001 after 51 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted sales growth. Apple is the world's most valuable company with a market capitalization approaching $700 billion.Tag: AAPL Discuss this article in our forums

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Around the time former Apple CEO Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company considered building an "Apple Cafe," a fanciful, futuristic cybercafe where people could gather to eat, do business, and use Apple computers. The idea was created in partnership with Mega Bytes, with Apple planning to license its name and brand. Former Disney Imagineer and Landmark Entertainment Group founder Tony Christopher was tasked with coming up with a design for the concept, and in a new interview with Fast Company, he shared images of what the cafe might have looked like and the story behind its conceptualization. Jobs was reportedly involved in the design process, choosing Christopher's team because of their work creating unique retail spaces. Jobs wanted a way for Apple to connect to customers, which led to the idea of a cafe equipped with Apple products. A computer was at every table, where people could do things like order food, watch movies, surf the web, design web pages, and play video games. A predecessor to the Apple retail stores we know today, the cafe was also meant to sell Apple products to consumers. The images don't resemble the clean, simple design of Apple Stores today, but the central idea - connecting with customers - inspired both the cafe and Apple's eventual line of retail stores. The interior design was very high tech, and we worked on it for about six months. I think we were trying to create sort of a modern-but-futuristic look, which is different than the immersive theme park stuff we do: castles and dinosaurs. I remember the designers we put on it were the high-tech, future-thinking guys. We understood that we were dealing with a computer, which was a future technology not a historic technology, and the Apple Cafe had to reflect that.Apple's original plan was to build a flagship Apple Cafe in Los Angeles and then expand them around the world. Apple was far enough along in the design process that there was a website promoting the Apple Cafe, and planned openings in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, and Sydney, but the stores never materialized. While Christopher says the idea was sidelined in favor of Jobs' plan for an "Apple Store," press information released by Apple at the time said Apple's business partners had pulled back. From 1997:"We think it's a great project, and we'd like to move forward," said a spokeswoman for Landmark Entertainment, which was to design the cafes. Spokespeople for Mega Bytes International, a U.K-based real estate company, could not be reached for comment. The Apple spokeswoman said the concept of launching the cafes remains a possibility down the road. "If somebody approaches us again, we'll be happy to consider it," she said. "It just didn't work out with this group in particular."The first Apple Store eventually opened in 2001 under the leadership of Ron Johnson. Over the last 16 years, Apple Stores have expanded to more than 20 countries, with Apple operating 491 stores around the world.Related Roundup: Apple Stores Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple this morning shared two new iPhone ads on its YouTube channel, focused on highlighting the Portrait Mode feature available on the iPhone 7 Plus. Each 15 second ad explains how Portrait Mode works through blurring the background of a photograph to make a subject stand out. The ads include examples of images taken with Portrait Mode compared to images taken without Portrait Mode to make the differences clear. The first ad features a dog in front of trees and the second features a child in a creek. Introduced in iOS 10.1, Portrait mode uses a shallow depth of field to make portrait photos "pop," mimicking a high-end DSLR. The feature takes advantage of the 56mm telephoto lens included in the iPhone 7 Plus, using Apple's image signal processor to scan a scene and machine learning techniques to recognize people and other objects meant to be in the foreground. A depth map of the image from the two cameras in the iPhone is used to keep people in focus while applying an artistic blur to the background, resulting in an image that's normally not possible on a smartphone. The two new ads follow a revamped "Shot on iPhone" ad campaign that Apple recently launched, which highlights a series of photographs all taken on a single night to promote the camera features in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.Tag: Apple ads Discuss this article in our forums

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