posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
The third-generation Apple Watch, set to launch this fall with LTE support for the first time, is unlikely to support phone calls, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a note shared this morning. According to Kuo, while a voice service that replaces the iPhone's calling functionality is "feasible," he believes Apple must first work on improving the "user experience of data transmission." As a result, he says the Apple Watch "probably" won't support traditional phone calls "this year." The watch could, however, support VoIP services like FaceTime and Skype, as FaceTime audio calling is already supported on current Apple Watch models.This has two benefits: (1) negotiations with mobile operators will be more simple and the chances of cooperation with mobile operators will improve; and (2) 3G connectivity can be scrapped, simplifying the antenna design and facilitating internal design. However, we think there is a chance that users may use LTE Apple Watch to access VoIP services, such as FaceTime and Skype.Kuo also says that based on a lack of internal space, the LTE Apple Watch is likely to use an eSIM instead of a physical SIM slot, with the device set up to share the same phone number with an iPhone. He warns that LTE connectivity in the Apple Watch could be limited to specific countries and markets as not all mobile operators support that particular business model. Rumors have already suggested that the major carriers in the United States, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will support and sell the upcoming LTE Apple Watch. Though Apple is currently embroiled in an ongoing patent dispute with Qualcomm, Kuo believes Apple will use Qualcomm chips in the Apple Watch because Qualcomm's technology is superior to Intel's with smaller chips that consume less power. Finally, Kuo predicts Apple has no intention of developing an Android app for the Apple Watch at this time, given that it would be difficult to have the same deep integration between Apple Watch and an Android phone that's possible with the Apple Watch and iPhone. The third-generation Apple Watch is expected to be introduced in September alongside new iPhones. LTE connectivity is expected to be the main selling point for the device, and while there were some rumors pointing towards major design changes, Kuo has previously said there will be no "obvious change" to the form factor.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4 Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the world's most popular smartphones in the second quarter, ahead of Samsung's newer Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics. Apple shipped an estimated 16.9 million iPhone 7 units and 15.1 million iPhone 7 Plus units worldwide in the quarter, which corresponds with April through June, according to the firm's latest Smartphone Model Tracker report. "iPhone 7 remains the world's most popular smartphone model overall, due to a compelling blend of user-friendly design, extensive supporting apps, and widespread retail presence for the device," said Juha Winter, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. Strategy Analytics estimates Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ shipments totaled 10.2 million and 9 million respectively in the quarter. The smartphones, released in April, were the world's third and fourth most popular during the period. "Samsung's Galaxy S8 has instantly become the world's most popular Android smartphone model, due to its attractive curved-screen design, a rich portfolio of software apps, and best-in-class retail distribution across dozens of countries," said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. Rounding off the top five was Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's budget Redmi 4A handset with an estimated 5.5 million quarterly shipments. Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones last quarter, but it doesn't break down the number on a model-by-model basis. Apple CEO Tim Cook did note the iPhone 7 remained its most popular iPhone.iPhone results were impressive, with especially strong demand at the high end of our lineup. iPhone 7 was our most popular iPhone, and sales of iPhone 7 Plus were up dramatically compared to 6s Plus in the June quarter of last year. The combined iPhone 7 and 7 Plus family was up strong double digits year over year. One decade after the initial iPhone launch, we have now passed 1.2 billion cumulative iPhones sold.Android still remains the world's most widely adopted mobile operating system by a significant margin given the hundreds of smartphone models running that platform. Android accounted for 67 percent of U.S. smartphone activations in the second quarter, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. iPhone 6s was similarly the world's most popular smartphone model last year, according to market research firm IHS Markit.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tag: Strategy Analytics Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple has earmarked $1 billion to acquire and produce original television content over the next year to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The plans could see Apple procure and produce as many as 10 television shows, according to people familiar with the matter, thanks to a budget figure that is about half of what Time Warner's HBO spent on content last year and around the same amount as Amazon spent in 2013, after it announced its own move into original programming. The budget will reportedly be controlled by Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who were hired by Apple in June from Sony to oversee content acquisition and video strategy. Apple also recently hired former WGN America President Matt Cherniss to oversee development of the company’s worldwide video unit. Cherniss previously worked with Erlicht and Van Amburg to bring the Sony shows "Underground" and "Outsiders" to WGN. Mr. Van Amburg and Mr. Erlicht have begun meeting with Hollywood agents and holding discussions about shows Apple could acquire, the people familiar said. Mr. Matt Cherniss has movie experience, having worked as a production executive at Warner Bros.WSJ notes that not only will Apple have a fight on its hands going up against rivals already heavily invested in original content, but it will also have to avoid jeopardizing its 15 percent cut of subscriptions from its App Store for services like Netflix and HBO GO. As for the cost of programming, this can vary widely, from more than $2 million an episode for a comedy to more than $5 million for a drama, while high-end shows such as "Game of Thrones" can cost over $10 million per episode to produce. For its video service to gain traction, Apple needs at least one hit, according to the people familiar with the plan who spoke to the newspaper. The company's initial video efforts include "Planet of the Apps", which was launched in June on Apple Music, and "Carpool Karaoke," which was launched last week. Apple has not revealed ratings for the shows but both have been criticized by reviewers. Apple is hoping its efforts in original programming will bolster the appeal of iTunes movie rentals and other offerings through the store. Last year, iTunes generated an estimated $4.1 billion in revenue, but its share of the movie rental-and-sales market has declined to less than 35 percent from 50 percent in 2012, according to the report.Discuss this article in our forums

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Blurred images emerged online on Wednesday morning purporting to show what looks like an Apple-made standalone display in a specially prepared testing environment. The images were posted on Chinese microblogging site Weibo and later picked up by mobile leaker Benjamin Geskin and shared on Twitter. A Google translation reveals that the original Weibo post refers to the pictures as "Apple OLED TV spy photos", and claims that the display is "about 60 inches" with a narrow frame design and a metal shell. The first two photos show a closed-circuit TV screen outputting front and rear camera angles of the alleged Apple television mounted on a rotating test bed in the center of an acoustically insulated room, with connecting cables running down a table into the floor. While the original Weibo post notes that two black spots at the bottom of the screen depict a camera, these aren't visible in the photos. A third image appears to be taken from the door shown in the previous two images, while a fourth photo, below, shows what looks like the same display from a different angle, connected by orange cables to large unidentified testing equipment. It's virtually impossible to say anything definitive about the contents of the photos, and Apple is known to regularly test devices most of which never see the light of day as consumer products. As far as Apple-branded television rumors go, these had been circulating for years before a Wall Street Journal report two years ago essentially confirmed that Apple had shelved its TV set plans back in 2014. The company reportedly spent more than a decade researching the possibility of releasing an ultra high-definition television set before deciding to cancel the project because it couldn't find untapped features that would give it an edge in the television market. Apple is rumored to be working on a fifth-generation Apple TV box that's able to stream ultra high-definition 4K video and it may well launch this year, so whether or not this could see Cupertino revive its plans for an accompanying or integrated television set remains to be seen. Discounting the "60 inches" reference in the Weibo post, this leaves the possibility of an Apple-branded external computer monitor. Apple discontinued its nearly five-year-old Thunderbolt Display in 2016, but the company is said to be working on a "pro" display to accompany a future Mac Pro machine due next year. 4K and 5K LG Displays are already available from Apple, but these don't fit with Apple's usual aesthetic and have been prone to issues. Whatever the origin of these photos, it's best to take them with a grain of salt, for now at least.Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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As the second and third "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" episodes premiere on Apple Music tonight, Apple has released a new trailer for an upcoming episode that stars Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams, the two actresses who play Sansa Stark and Arya Stark, respectively, in HBO's hit series "Game of Thrones." In a play on the popular "Game of Thrones" line "Winter is Coming," Apple's newest trailer opens with the phrase "Karaoke is Coming" before depicting Turner and Williams singing along to several popular songs. The duo also stop by an HBO escape room to surprise fans. Turner and Williams' Carpool Karaoke episode will air on Tuesday, August 22, which is next week. Apple has also shared a new trailer for an upcoming episode that will star Ariana Grande and Seth MacFarlane, also set to debut on August 22. "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" debuted last week, on August 8. The first episode starred late night TV host James Corden and Will Smith. Apple this week introduced two new episodes, the first starring Alicia Keys and John Legend and the second starring Billy Eichner and Metallica.Tag: Apple Music Discuss this article in our forums

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Former president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios Matt Cherniss has jointed Apple to help oversee the development of the company's worldwide video unit, reports Variety. Cherniss will serve under Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony executives who joined Apple earlier this year to lead Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale. Erlicht and Amburg report to senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue. Back in June, Cherniss stepped down from his role as president at WGN America and Tribune Studios after Tribune was acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Cherniss led WGN's own push into original content and away from re-runs, overseeing the launch of shows like "Salem," "Outsiders," "Underground," and "Manhattan," so he's well-positioned to help Apple make a deeper dive into original programming. With the addition of Cherniss, Apple has a solid team, as its former two hires, Erlicht and Amburg, helped produce shows like "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and "The Crown." Over the course of the last several months, Apple has been experimenting with original content as a way to promote its Apple Music service. The company has launched two shows so far, including "Planet of the Apps," a series about app developers pitching ideas to investors, and "Carpool Karaoke," a music-based show developed from the Carpool Karaoke segment on "The Late Late Show with James Corden." Apple is said to have bigger ambitions when it comes to original content, though, with rumors suggesting the company is pursuing deals with "triple-A-list" talent to create a roster of shows on par with Netflix and Amazon.Discuss this article in our forums

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As Intel prepares to unveil its 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors next week, the company has released basic information on an upcoming 10-nanometer "Ice Lake" chip, which will serve as the successor to the 14-nanometer Coffee Lake and 10-nanometer Cannon Lake chips. Details on the Ice Lake architecture, which will be made on Intel's 10nm+ process, have been shared on Intel's codename decoder. "The Ice Lake processor family is a successor to the 8th generation Intel(R) CoreTM processor family. These processors utilize Intel's industry-leading 10 nm+ process technology," reads the site. As AnandTech points out, Intel's decision to share details on Ice Lake is odd because the company has not announced or shared details on Cannon Lake, the first chips that will be built on its 10-nanometer architecture, and Intel is also referring to Ice Lake as the successor to its soon-to-be-announced 14-nanometer Coffee Lake chips, leading to confusion about its upcoming processor lineup and how Cannon Lake fits in. Intel's current Kaby Lake chips were built on a second-generation 14nm+ architecture, while Coffee Lake is a third-generation 14nm++ architecture. Both Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake are available for both desktops and laptops, but it appears the 10-nanometer Cannon Lake chips succeed Coffee Lake chips in laptops, while desktops won't see 10-nanometer architecture until the release of Ice Lake. AnandTech speculates that the chip confusion is the result of the difficulty behind developing a 10-nanometer architecture. Intel needs to perfect 10-nanometer chips for smaller processors before moving on to larger desktop processors.Simply put, the first generation of 10nm requires small processors to ensure high yields. Intel seems to be putting the smaller die sizes (i.e. anything under 15W for a laptop) into the 10nm Cannon Lake bucket, while the larger 35W+ chips will be on 14++ Coffee Lake, a tried and tested sub-node for larger CPUs. While the desktop sits on 14++ for a bit longer, it gives time for Intel to further develop their 10nm fabrication abilities, leading to their 10+ process for larger chips by working their other large chip segments (FPGA, MIC) first.Intel's 14nm++ Coffee Lake chips will be officially unveiled on August 21, and these are the chips that we are likely to see in Apple notebooks and standard iMac desktops in the coming year, but again, it's unclear how Cannon Lake fits into the lineup and whether those chips will be available for some machines in time for 2018 refreshes. As the successor to Intel's 8th-generation chips, Ice Lake is not likely to be available until late 2018 or 2019, with an exact timeline to be determined by Intel's success in improving its 10-nanometer architecture.Tag: Intel Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today updated its sales policy in Hong Kong to indicate all products purchased at Apple's online and retail stores in the country on and after August 15, 2017 cannot be returned or exchanged indefinitely. As an exception to the rule, Apple will still honor exchanges for defective products in Hong Kong at its sole discretion. Apple didn't provide a reason for the policy change, but it's likely a precautionary move ahead of new iPhone models expected in September. The same policy went into effect in Hong Kong on iPhone 7 launch day last year. Hong Kong is a hotbed for black market electronics due to the lack of import taxes and duties added to foreign goods purchased, as is the case in neighboring mainland China. Scalpers often attempt to illegally smuggle new iPhones across the border to mainland China to make significant profits. Hong Kong scalper spotted "walking strangely" across the border into mainland China in 2015 via South China Morning Post When the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launched in Hong Kong last year, for example, the smartphones hit the black market for as much as $15,000 in Hong Kong dollars, which was slightly over $1,900 in U.S. dollars. Apple's standard return policy in Hong Kong is already stricter than in some other countries. For volume purchases of four products or more, the return window is seven days, and there is a 25 percent restocking fee per unit. Apple will likely revert back to its standard return policy in Hong Kong at some point, but it didn't specify when.Tags: Hong Kong, Apple retail Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple's notebook shipments totaled an estimated 3.98 million units in the second quarter of the 2017 calendar year, representing a quarter-on-quarter increase of 17.1 percent, according to new data published by market research firm TrendForce. Apple gained ground on ASUS at fifth place in the second quarter ranking, with a 0.7 percent increase over the previous quarter to leave both companies taking a 10 percent share of the market. TrendForce highlighted Apple's decision to upgrade its 12-inch MacBook as one of the reasons behind the gains. Apple trailed closely behind ASUS at fifth place in the second-quarter ranking. The updated 12-inch MacBook helped expand MacBook shipments by 17.1 percent from the first quarter to 3.98 million units. TrendForce also anticipates a double-digit sequential growth for third-quarter MacBook shipments as Apple will focus on the MacBook Pro series during the year’s second half.Global notebook shipments in the second quarter of 2017 registered a sequential quarterly increase of 5.7 percent and a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent, totaling 39.96 million units. Sales in the U.S. and the arrival of new product models were said to be the main driving forces behind the second quarter shipments, with strong demand in the entire first half of 2017 exceeding market expectations. Tapping into back-to-school sales, HP's market share increased by 8.5 percent, allowing the company to retain first place in the global shipment ranking for the fifth consecutive quarter, while Dell posted the largest sequential increase of 21.3 percent to take third place in the ranking. Lenovo meanwhile shipped just 8.05 million units in the second quarter, representing a year-on-year drop of 2.4 percent, with slowdown in the notebook market in the Asia-Pacific region said to have had an impact on the brand's performance. Acer's aggressive expansion in the Chromebook market did little to fend off rival models in the U.S., causing its notebook shipments to drop by 3.5 percent from the first quarter to 3.22 million units, with Acer remaining in sixth place in the global ranking. TrendForce noted there are worries in the market that the strong shipment result for this year's first half reflects demand pulling ahead, so shipments in the second half might be comparatively weak. Despite that, third-quarter notebook shipments are projected to increase by another 3-5 percent versus the previous quarter. Apple updated its 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro notebooks in June, introducing faster processors and improved GPUs just eight months after the machines were last refreshed. It also introduced a new low-price 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar with a 128GB SSD. No other changes were made to the MacBook Pro. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is working on a high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro model that will include 32GB RAM, with production on this machine to begin early in the fourth quarter of 2017. Kuo claimed the MacBook Pro will be "the most significantly redesigned product this year" with desktop-class RAM to appeal to high-end users.Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, MacBook Tag: TrendForce Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now), MacBook (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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The third-generation Apple Watch, expected to be introduced alongside new iPhones this fall, does not feature an obvious change to form factor, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a new note shared with investors this afternoon, Kuo says LTE connectivity will be the main selling point of the new device. The Apple Watch will keep the same two case sizes, 38mm and 42mm, and will be available in LTE and non-LTE versions, much like the iPad. Previous rumors have suggested the major carriers in the United States will offer add-on cellular service for the new LTE Apple Watch, and the plans may work similarly to iPad data plans. Kuo believes shipments of the new Apple Watch models will reach 8 to 9 million units in the second half of 2017, with the LTE model to account for 35 to 40 percent of shipments. Overall, he forecasts 17.5 to 18 million units shipped in 2017, up 70 percent year-over-year. According to Kuo, to drive major growth, Apple needs to introduce a radical form factor change, more FDA approvals supporting medical and health applications, and 5G commercialization. Bloomberg first suggested the third-generation Apple Watch would include support for LTE in early August, allowing the wrist-worn device to be uncoupled from the iPhone for the first time. Following Bloomberg's report, Daring Fireball's John Gruber said he had heard from a "little birdie" that the third-generation Apple Watch would feature an "all-new form factor," but he warned that the information might be inaccurate. Based on Kuo's report and a lack of rumors hinting at major design changes, it appears we may not see significant design changes after all.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4 Tag: Ming-Chi Kuo Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple and Aetna are discussing ways to offer discounted Apple Watch models to millions of consumers with Aetna insurance, reports CNBC. Citing people with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says Apple and Aetna held discussions last week that included senior officials from Apple, Aetna, and several hospitals. Aetna already offers a program that provides the Apple Watch at no cost to its 50,000 employees and subsidizes the cost for some subscribers, but the insurance company is said to be negotiating with Apple to offer a free or discounted Apple Watch to all Aetna members. Apple's Myoung Cha, who has the title "special projects, health," led the discussions, said one of the people. The move by Aetna is part of its push to increase customer interest in a healthier lifestyle and a better tracking of diet, said one of the people.Aetna is said to be aiming to implement some kind of program early in 2018, and its goal seems to be an expansion of plans that were announced back in September. At that time, Aetna said it was planning to subsidize the cost of the Apple Watch for large employers and individual customers. Aetna also said it would develop several iOS health initiatives with "support" from Apple, offering "deeply integrated" health apps for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to Aetna customers. The company's plan to offer discounted or free Apple Watch models to subscribers comes as Apple is on the verge of introducing a third-generation Apple Watch. Rumors suggest the upcoming device features an LTE chip that allows it to be decoupled from the iPhone and there's also a possibility we'll see a redesign. We expect to see the third-generation Apple Watch introduced alongside new iPhones in September.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4 Tags: cnbc.com, Aetna Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the fifth beta and more than two months after introducing the new software at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference. The sixth beta of macOS High Sierra can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air using the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Today's update brings a fix for a bug that caused apps to quit unexpectedly when printing to Canon printers, and it addresses an issue that caused QuickLook to preview things to force a MacBook Pro to switch to a discrete GPU (pertains to models that have both discrete and integrated GPUs). macOS High Sierra builds on features first introduced in macOS Sierra, focusing on new storage, video, and graphics technology. It brings a new Apple File System (APFS), High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), and an updated version of Metal with support for VR and external GPUs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several apps are gaining new features in macOS High Sierra. The Photos app features a new sidebar to make it easier to access editing tools and albums, and there are new filters and editing options like Curves and Selective Color. Photos also supports external editing apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator, saving changes made in those apps back to Photos, and it interfaces with new third-party printing services. Safari is gaining speed enhancements, an option to prevent autoplay videos, and a new feature that cuts down on cross-site data tracking. Siri in macOS High Sierra has expanded music capabilities and a new, more natural voice, and Spotlight supports flight status information. There are also improvements to iCloud, FaceTime, Messages, and Notes. macOS High Sierra is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and will see a few more weeks of testing ahead of its expected fall public release. For a complete overview of changes coming in macOS High Sierra, make sure to check out our dedicated macOS High Sierra roundup.Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple today seeded the sixth beta of iOS 11 to developers for testing purposes, one week after releasing the fifth beta and more than two months after introducing the new update at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Registered developers can download the sixth beta of iOS 11 from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed. Today's beta brings a fix for an issue that caused the DirecTV app to crash on launch, but introduces a new issue that could cause Audiobus 3 to crash. Launching the App Store no longer stops other audio that's playing, several bugs with Family Sharing features have been fixed, and all phone numbers are now displayed during a multiparty conference call. There are also fixes for Notes, addressing an issue that caused the app to malfunction when restoring from a backup where the Notes app was deleted and a problem that prevented the Apple Pencil from working when an iOS device was rotated. A new known issue prevents an AT&T data plan purchased on iPad from updating the cellular data number in Settings > General > About. As for outward-facing changes, there are new icons for the App Store and Maps and the Reminders icon is now fixed with bullet points back on the left instead of the right. There's also no toggle to turn off Auto Brightness in the Display & Brightness section in this beta. Instead, the feature must be toggled off using in Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations. iOS 11 introduces several design changes, including a customizable Control Center and a new Lock screen that's been merged with the Notification Center. Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments are coming in the Messages app, which is also gaining a new App Drawer, and there's a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that's meant to help drivers stay focused on the road. Siri, Photos, the Camera app, and more are also gaining new features and refinements. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ARKit for developers will bring a range of new augmented reality apps and games to iOS devices, while a Core ML SDK has the potential to let developers build smarter apps. iOS 11 is also the biggest update ever for the iPad, with a new Dock that introduces much improved multitasking, a Files app for better managing files, improved Apple Pencil support, a revamped App Switcher, and a system-wide drag and drop feature. iOS 11 is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and will see few weeks of testing ahead of a prospective September release date alongside new iPhones. For complete details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our extensive iOS 11 roundup.Related Roundup: iOS 11 Discuss this article in our forums

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Inventec Appliances has been a rumored supplier for Apple's HomePod smart speaker since before the device was announced at WWDC in June, and now the manufacturer has indicated that supplies for HomePod might be limited at launch, in line with most Apple product launches (via Nikkei). The news came from Inventec Appliances president David Ho during a press conference today. Although his comments never specifically mentioned "HomePod," the estimated time frame given for the release of the product -- late in 2017 -- and its description as a high-profile "smart home device," suggest it to be Apple's upcoming speaker. At WWDC, Apple confirmed that the HomePod would launch sometime in December. Now, Ho has stated that the HomePod's contribution to the company's revenue for this year will be "fairly limited" -- which is expected given the device is launching so late in the year -- with optimistic improvements to profit gained from HomePod sales predicted for early 2018. One analyst speculated that the number of HomePod units shipped in December 2017 will be around 500,000. “We will finally ship the smart home device this year, but its contribution will be fairly limited and hopefully that will improve next year,” Inventec Appliances President David Ho told analysts and reporters during an earnings conference. “Inventec Appliances will likely only ship some 500,000 units of HomePod this year, and the device’s contribution to the group’s revenue will be less than 1%,” said Arthur Liao, an analyst at Taipei-based Fubon Securities. In 2018, Apple will look to open up HomePod manufacturing to more than just Inventec Appliances, according to one of Nikkei's sources, who stated that Apple is planning to add Foxconn into the HomePod supply chain next year. This will result in Inventec Appliances and Foxconn receiving a "split" of HomePod orders and boosting production for the smart home speaker, following the limited initial launch. Inventec Appliance's total smart home and connected devices shipments are expected to grow to between 70 and 75 million units by the end of 2017, but company officials didn't specifically break down the numbers related to the Apple products it makes. In addition to HomePod, Inventec Appliances also manufactures Apple's AirPods, which have been particularly difficult for many users to purchase since the wireless earphones launched last December. Earlier in August, the estimated shipping date for AirPods finally lowered to four weeks from six weeks, which had been the shipping estimate for the previous eight months.Related Roundup: HomePod Tags: Foxconn, nikkei.com Discuss this article in our forums

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Less than one month before Apple is expected to unveil its new iPhone lineup, two videos have surfaced that may show the so-called iPhone 8 passing through the production line at a factory presumably located in China. The videos surfaced on Chinese microblogging service Weibo earlier today, and were later uploaded to YouTube by Dutch blog TechTastic. Both videos are short and blurry, so it's hard to make out exactly what is being shown. The production line could simply be for the multitude of iPhone 8 dummy models that have surfaced over the past few months. Apple's contract manufacturers like Foxconn have strict security measures in place to prevent employees from bringing smartphones inside factories, so the videos could very well be completely unrelated to real iPhone 8 production. In the first clip, factory workers appear to be polishing or cleaning the rear shell of what could be the iPhone 8. At the very least, the device appears to have a vertically-aligned camera, one of the smartphone's frequently rumored features. In the second clip, just eight seconds long, dozens of potential iPhone 8 devices appear to be affixed to some kind of metal shelving rack. Given the lack of real iPhone 8 part leaks, we're still stuck firmly in iPhone silly season—including infamously low-quality videos. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will begin production verification tests for the iPhone 8 in late August, followed by mass production in mid-September, so higher-quality leaks could be on the horizon.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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Earlier this month, dummy model images began circulating on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that suggested Apple's "iPhone 8" would be available in three colors, including black, white, and an option referred to as "champagne gold" which was said to be closer to a copper color than the rose gold iPhones currently available. On Monday, mobile leaker Benjamin Geskin shared information in a Twitter post from an alleged "Foxconn insider", claiming that the internal name of the new iPhone 8 color is "Blush Gold". Foxconn's internal name of the new #iPhone8 color is "Blush Gold" (腮红金) Barcode says "Blush Gold 64GB / 128GB" pic.twitter.com/MZPTfVAr2P— Benjamin Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) August 12, 2017 In addition to the new color name, the post appears to suggest that the "Blush Gold" color will only come in 64GB and 128GB storage capacities. Currently, Apple offers the iPhone 7 in black, silver, gold, and rose gold, all in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities, and limits its jet black option to 128GB and 256GB capacities, so the idea that the company wouldn't offer the new color in a 256GB capacity seems unlikely. Last Tuesday, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said all of Apple's upcoming 2017 iPhones would be available in black, silver, and gold, but he made no specific mention of the copper-like color, which began appearing in several videos of dummy iPhone 8 models following the original Weibo post. The potential colors that the OLED iPhone will come in has become more of a talking point since references in the HomePod firmware seemingly confirmed that Apple's radical redesign would be almost bezel-free with a notch at the top for camera components. The current consensus is that such a design would look best in black, because it would offer a more seamless visual blending of the notch and bezel with the OLED display, especially when the screen is turned off. While the "Blush Gold" render above has a black front, the copper-like back has apparently divided observers, with detractors referring to it as the "Zune option", harking back to Microsoft's brown music player of old. Previously Geskin has claimed that Apple will make the OLED iPhone 8 available in four colors, with a "mirror" shade as a new option, so nothing on the subject is quite yet confirmed. While the recently released HomePod firmware appears to make no reference to iPhone 8 colors, it has provided information on a range of other details, including the general design of the new phone and advanced facial recognition features. Apple is expected to announce its new iPhone line-up next month.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
As the launch of Apple's "iPhone 8" approaches, we've seen multiple images and dummy models outlining what the device will look like, but non-functional dummy devices don't include software and don't offer a complete picture of what we can expect. Designer Maksim Petriv has mocked up several iPhone 8 images that take into account current rumors to demonstrate what iOS 11 might look like on the new device. Rumors and leaked firmware information suggest the iPhone 8 includes both a top notch that houses the front-facing camera and sensors for a facial recognition system and a function area with a virtual Home button, both of which are imagined in Petriv's images. Petriv's photos include status bar information located at the top of the device on either side of the notch, and a small Home button area at the bottom. We're not yet sure what Apple plans to do with that area of the iPhone 8, but we do know that it's resizable, can be hidden, and does not appear to include app UI elements, meaning it's simple. The renderings made by Petriv demonstrated the Lock screen and App Store, along with popular apps Netflix and Spotify. Apple's HomePod firmware has suggested the status bar information like signal strength, carrier info, and battery life will be split and displayed in the area near the sensors/camera, with Petriv also imagining three ways Apple could display status bar information. Apple's own firmware image leak points towards the third option and suggests the company will fully embrace the notch rather than hiding it through software. It's not quite clear what design solution Apple will use, but these images do give us some idea of what apps will look like on an edge-to-edge display with almost no bezels and with a cutout for the front-facing camera and sensors. Apple typically unveils new iPhones in early September, so we are just weeks away from getting our first glimpse at the iPhone 8 and its companion devices, the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus. For a deeper look at what to expect from the upcoming iPhones, make sure to check out our iPhone 8 roundup.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
With the prospective launch date of the new 2017 iPhone models just weeks away, iPhone 8 dummy models, printed mockups, and clones have been circulating regularly, giving us an idea of what to expect with Apple's radically redesigned edge-to-edge OLED iPhone is unveiled. We got our hands on one of the high-quality iPhone 8 dummy models that's been making the rounds thanks to MobileFun and Olixar, and we've done a hands-on video to give MacRumors readers a close look at the design of the device and how it measures up to existing devices. Our iPhone 8 dummy is silver, and with the glass backing, it looks almost like a liquid silver. The front features an edge-to-edge panel, and both the front and the back are encased by a stainless steel frame that matches the silver hue of the body. There are thin silver bezels at the front of the device, and there's also a "notch" that houses the speaker, front-facing camera, and sensors, with this setup being used to enable a new facial recognition feature. On one side, there's an elongated power button, while the other side houses standard volume buttons and a mute switch. At the bottom, there's a Lightning port and speaker holes, but no headphone jack. When it comes to size, the iPhone 8 is slightly larger than an iPhone 7 and much smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus, but its display size is similar to the display of the iPhone 7 Plus because it does away with all of the thick bezels. This is a dummy model so it's not a functional unit, but the smooth glass back is believed to enable an inductive charging feature that will let the iPhone 8 work with wireless charging accessories. The dummy model we have on hand is silver, but there are also dummy models available in a deep black and a sort of copper gold, and we've heard rumors suggesting the iPhone 8 (and the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus) will only launch in three shades - silver, gold, and black. We can't be 100 percent sure the dummy models we've seen are accurate representations of what we can expect when the iPhone 8 launches, but they match up with leaked factory specifications, part leaks, CAD drawings, and information culled from the HomePod firmware Apple released in late July. For that reason, we believe the dummy model in the video offers up a clear look at what Apple's iPhone 8 looks like.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple today updated its online store for refurbished products to add a selection of 13-inch 2017 MacBook Pro models equipped with a Touch Bar. This is the first time the 2017 machines have been available through the refurbished store since their June 2017 release following the Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple was offering approximately 15 models at the time this article was written, with each MacBook Pro approximately 15 to 16 percent off. A top-of-the-line 3.5GHz/16GB/1TB model that normally sells for $2,899, is available for $2,459 in the refurbished store, for example. Apple has both Silver and Space Gray models in a range of configurations, with prices as low as $1,529 for the entry-level Touch Bar machine. 15-inch MacBook Pro machines released in June of 2017 are not yet available in the refurbished store, but could be added soon. All of Apple’s refurbished products go through a rigorous refurbishment process before being offered for sale, which includes inspection, repairs, cleaning, and repackaging. Refurbished Macs come with a one-year warranty that can be extended with an AppleCare+ purchase. For more tips on purchasing a refurbished product, make sure to check out our guide.Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Chinese company Huawei will likely become the world's second largest smartphone maker in the third quarter, based on shipments from July through September, according to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. The report, citing sources from Taiwan's handset supply chain, said sales of Huawei's high-end smartphones like the P10 and Mate 9, as well as its more affordable Honor-branded models, have continued to gain momentum. Enough momentum, perhaps, to briefly overtake Apple's iPhone. Huawei shipped 38.4 million smartphones last quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Buoyed by seasonal factors, the supply chain sources believe Huawei will continue to ramp up its shipments to over 40 million units this quarter, which could eclipse iPhone shipments over the same period. Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones last quarter, but that total could drop slightly this quarter due to frequent rumors about the highly-anticipated iPhone 8, which may lead some customers to delay purchasing a new iPhone. "We do think that based on the amount of rumors, and the volume of them, that there's some pause in our current numbers," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to iPhone sales. "Where that affects us in the short term, even though we had great results, it probably bodes well later on." Apple hasn't reported lower iPhone sales in the September-ending quarter versus the June-ending quarter since 2011, however, so if customers truly are holding off, it'll be the first decline over the summer in six years. It would also be the first time that Apple drops out of the top two spots in smartphone shipments since 2011. It's quite possible, however, that Apple launches its new iPhone lineup in early September and, in line with the past five years, begins shipping the smartphones to customers by mid month. And given the current quarter doesn't end until September 30, Apple could still outpace Huawei with a few weeks of strong sales. Even if the launch is delayed, sales of the new iPhone lineup in the following quarter will almost certainly be well above Huawei's. For what it's worth, Apple probably isn't too concerned about where it ranks in smartphone shipments. First, shipments within distribution channels don't necessarily reflect sales to end customers. Second, Apple cashes in the overwhelming majority of profits in the smartphone industry. Huawei, on the other hand, will likely feel quite accomplished if it can surpass the iconic iPhone for even one quarter. The company, based in Shenzhen, China, has set a lofty goal of becoming the world's largest smartphone maker by 2021. It's been making an aggressive push into Europe and Canada, and AT&T has reportedly tentatively agreed to sell at least one flagship Huawei smartphone in the first half of next year. "Huawei is now closing in fast on Apple and Apple will be looking nervously over its shoulder in the next few quarters," said Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics. "Huawei is outperforming across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Mate 9." Huawei held just 1 percent market share in the United States as of the first quarter, according to research firm IDC.Tag: Huawei Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Yesterday, HomePod firmware revealed that the iPhone 8's facial recognition software will seemingly support Apple Pay, multiple facial profiles, and third-party apps. Now, as the uncovering of Apple secrets within HomePod firmware continues apace, developer Steven Troughton-Smith has revealed details on Twitter about the iPhone 8's virtual home button, stating that it "resizes" as needed to fit certain tasks on the smartphone. Specifically, Troughton-Smith described a "periphery" area of the system user interface that expands/minimizes and shows/hides the iPhone 8's virtual home button as it's needed. There will be tab bars that extend under this periphery area, and no evidence was discovered of an ability for this part of the UI to change color. According to Troughton-Smith, this means that the indicator Apple is building for the virtual home button area "will have to contrast well" with any background and colors displayed on the rest of the display. Proposed iPhone 8 "function area" by Ming-Chi Kuo There was also no evidence found that suggests any piece of app UI will be part of the home button area in any form, meaning Apple plans to keep the bottom home button piece of UI clean and uniform whenever it's brought up. Troughton-Smith did mention that whenever a user plays a fullscreen video, the content will hide the home button controls. We know some facts re iPhone 8 home button area:• it resizes• indicator can be hidden• no API to change color• tab bars extend under it— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) August 10, 2017 The idea of a virtual "function area" on the iPhone 8 was detailed earlier this year in a report written by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who stated the the 5.8-inch screen on the device would have a 5.15-inch usable display. The remaining area of the screen would be reserved for an area of virtual buttons, including a home button, but Kuo's report never hinted that the function area might resize or be "hidden" completely whenever the UI allows it, as Troughton-Smith has discovered. In addition, Troughton-Smith tweeted out the metrics for the upper status bar on the iPhone 8. The code further confirmed previous HomePod firmware findings that related to a "split" status bar on the device, with what's expected to be camera and sensor hardware sitting between two virtual pieces of UI. Designer Olivier Charavel has already used the metrics to create a mockup of what this status bar should look like on the real iPhone 8, including connection strength and a battery indicator. Image via @charavel Previously, Troughton-Smith said the new status bar seemed "more complex and powerful" in its design, and even said that it could be "interactive" in some way. In regards to the iPhone 8's bottom area and virtual home button findings, Troughton-Smith tweeted that, "all of these things are supported by API evidence, so this is the clearest picture of its functionality we have to work from." HomePod firmware is building up a good indicator of what we can expect from the iPhone 8 when Apple announces the device next month, including advanced facial recognition features likely replacing Touch ID completely, 4K video recording, "SmartCamera" functionality, and more.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Developers are still digging into the recently released HomePod firmware to suss out additional details on Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8," and the latest information, sourced from developer Guilherme Rambo, hints at several features we might see in the new device. According to strings of code uncovered by Rambo, the facial recognition feature coming in the iPhone 8 appears to support authentication for Apple Pay payments, seems to work with multiple faces, and may be accessible by third-party apps, much like Touch ID. A line in the code references a payment authentication error with "Pearl," Apple's internal code name for face recognition in the iPhone 8, while a string that reads "numberOfAppsUsingPearl" suggests facial recognition functionality can be accessed by third-party apps, likely as a passcode replacement. Given this information, facial recognition appears to be a full replacement for Touch ID, just as rumors have suggested. Apple's upcoming facial recognition system is said to be faster and more secure than Touch ID. It can unlock an iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, and it captures more data points than a fingerprint scan. Thanks to previous firmware leaks, we also know that it works when the iPhone is laying flat on a table and it mutes notification sounds when a face is in view. In addition to unveiling new information about facial recognition, Rambo has also found a few other interesting bits of code that may hint at additional features coming in the iPhone 8. There are references to multi biometrics, modern HDR, 1080p240 camera capture functionality for a "back" and a "front" (suggesting 240 fps video capture at 1080p, an upgrade from the current 720p limit), and mentions of "FrontPearl" and "BackPearl" camera support. "Back Pearl" pic.twitter.com/amAFPMzDw4— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 9, 2017 While the HomePod firmware has provided us with a range of details on what to expect from the iPhone 8, it's important not to read too much into ambiguous code and make too many assumptions about features that are as-of-yet unclear. "BackPearl" could suggest facial recognition for both the front and rear cameras, for example, but it could mean something else entirely. The same goes for multi-biometrics and modern HDR. Additionally, not all of the referenced features are guaranteed to make it into the iPhone 8, so take this code as a suggestion of what might be coming rather than concrete proof of a feature. Apple first released the HomePod firmware in late July, and because it was meant for employees testing the not-yet-available HomePod speaker, which runs a version of iOS, Apple did not strip out references to upcoming products and features. Images of an iPhone 8 dummy model shared by Ben Miller From the firmware, we've seen glimpses of the final design of the iPhone 8, and have found references to infrared-based facial recognition features, a split status bar, a tap to wake feature, new SmartCamera functionality, and more. Details on other upcoming products, including the HomePod itself, the Series 3 Apple Watch, and a possible 4K Apple TV have also been uncovered in the firmware.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
With the upcoming OLED "iPhone 8" bringing major design and functionality changes, its two LCD companion devices, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus haven't received much attention, despite the fact that these two iPhones are also going to see some design tweaks. YouTuber Danny Winget today shared a new video that focuses on the iPhone 7s Plus, comparing an iPhone 7s Plus dummy model to an iPhone 8 dummy model and an existing iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 7s Plus features the same silver glass backing that we've seen used in iPhone 8 dummy models, and these colors are in line with information sourced from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Apple is planning to release all three devices in just three colors - silver, gold, and black. The device also includes a shiny metal frame connecting the two glass halves. It's believed that all of the iPhones coming in 2017 use a glass casing to enable an inductive charging feature that will let them charge wirelessly, much like many current Android phones. Aside from the glass body, the iPhone 7s Plus looks quite similar to the current iPhone 7 Plus, with the same horizontal dual-lens rear camera, ports, buttons, thick front bezels, and Touch ID Home button. Antenna lines are less noticeable, however. While the iPhone 8 does not have a Home button and is rumored to have a facial recognition authentication instead of Touch ID, the iPhone 7s Plus and the iPhone 7s will retain standard Home buttons and Touch ID functionality. Size wise, the iPhone 7s Plus is the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but it’s much larger than the iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 has a display that’s around the size of the iPhone 7 Plus display, but because it does away with all of the thick bezels, its body is closer in size to the iPhone 7. All of the dummy models that are circulating are based on factory specifications, CAD drawings, and other leaks, and appear to accurately reflect what we're expecting to see when the three devices launch this fall. Dummy models are never a sure thing, but case makers often use them to design and create cases ahead of a new iPhone's launch, so a good amount of money goes into making sure the design is accurate. Based on the rumors, part leaks, and design leaks we've seen, these dummy models offer a solid look at what to expect from Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Ahead of the launch of iOS 11, developers have been tinkering with ARKit, Apple's upcoming augmented reality platform, and showcasing the myriad ways that it can be used in apps and games. The latest demo comes courtesy of Osama Abdel-Karim, who uses ARKit to virtually paint on a notepad using his fingers. According to Abdel-Karim, an iOS 11 library named Vision was used to develop the virtual drawing feature. Vision includes an object tracking feature that is able to detect the thumbnail of a finger and track its movement to enable the drawing. Abdel-Karim has outlined the steps he used to create his ARKit demo and provided the full source code for the project. When it launches this fall, ARKit is positioned to become the largest AR Platform in the world, using the camera, processors, and motion sensors in the iPhone and iPad to create some incredibly impressive augmented reality interactions. As outlined in our video covering ARKit, the feature uses technology called Visual Inertial Odometry to track the world around an iPad or iPhone, allowing a device to sense how it moves in a room. ARKit automatically analyzes a room's layout, detecting horizontal planes like tables and floors, which then allows virtual objects to be placed upon those surfaces. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The first apps and games with ARKit won't be available until iOS 11 is officially available to the public, but we've seen what ARKit can be used for, with developers demonstrating everything from live filter applications in a recreation of A-ha's Take On Me video to live measurements of furniture and room spaces. Check out all of our previous ARKit coverage below to see what else developers can do with it: - ARKit Roundup: Turn-by-Turn Directions, Precise Room Measurements, and Pac-Man - Apple's ARKit Used to Recreate Classic A-ha 'Take On Me' Video - Apple Users' Mixed Reality Future Teased in Latest ARKit Demo - Latest Apps to Showcase Apple's ARKit Include Simple Measuring Tape and Minecraft - Developers Share First Augmented Reality Creations Using Apple's ARKitTags: ARKit, augmented reality Discuss this article in our forums

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posted about 1 month ago on mac rumors
Apple supplier Lumentum has received over $200 million in bookings for the rest of the 2017 calendar year, related to components for vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL), believed to be aimed at Apple's advanced 3D sensing camera on the iPhone 8. The bookings represent a noticeable increase in revenue for the supplier, in comparison to a reported $5 million in 3D sensing revenue during its last fiscal quarter. Because of this, LoupVentures analyst Gene Munster believes that the September launch of the iPhone 8 will see an increase in the number of iPhones with advanced 3D sensors supporting augmented reality applications. Lumentum is believed to be one of around three companies supplying Apple with VCSEL components, as well as Finisar. iPhone 8 mockup by Benjamin Geskin It's predicted that most of Lumentum's $200 million VCSEL order, "if not the entire order," will be for Apple, leading to further confirmation that AR will be a "focus feature" of the iPhone 8. This "massive" uptick in production has seen Lumentum increase its VCSEL production capacity by 25 to 30 percent more than it had projected as recently as the last quarter. In the June-qtr, Lumentum recorded $5M in 3D sensing revenue, but more impressively they received over $200M in bookings in the quarter, which they believe will all be shipped by CY17. We believe the majority, if not they entire order, is all being shipped to Apple. We believe these comments further confirms 3D sensing (and in-turn AR applications) will be a focus feature in the next iPhone. In addition, Lumentum highlighted they have increased VCSEL laser capacity by 25 – 30% from what they anticipated only one quarter ago. Given the uptick in Management’s demand forecast, we believe advanced 3D sensing capabilities will be integrated in more iPhones that what most were previously expecting. Furthermore, LoupVentures believes that the iPhone launch "remains on track" for release in September, with a total 133 million units of new iPhone devices shipping in the second half of 2017. Of those, 55 million (43 percent) will have VCSEL components, related to the next-generation OLED iPhone 8 device. Next year, as more VCSEL production is added, it's predicted that as much as 85 percent of new iPhones shipped in the second half of 2018 will support 3D sensing abilities. For the other two devices coming in 2017 -- the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus" -- it's not expected that 3D sensing features supported by advanced VCSEL components will be added. The iPhone 8 will remain the central showpiece device in the new line of iPhones in 2017, particularly with the help from developers creating new experiences in apps fueled by ARKit. Recent production ramp-up stories have pegged all three new iPhones as entering volume production ahead of their launch in September. Currently, it's expected that the LCD iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will be fairly easy for customers to obtain, but the OLED iPhone 8 "could fall short of demand" and be difficult to purchase for the first few months of its availability.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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