Wednesday, July 23, 2014

OS X Yosemite to Launch in Late October, 12-inch Retina MacBook and 4K Desktop in the Works

Following an earlier report on the launch of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, 9to5Mac has released a second report with details on OS X Yosemite and Apple's fall Mac plans. As has been previously mentioned, OS X Yosemite will launch in October, following iOS 8's September release alongside the iPhone 6. 

The final Yosemite Developer Preview is expected to be seeded to developers on September 29, with a final golden master build coming around October 10, which suggests a late-October public launch date for Yosemite. 
os_x_yosemite_roundupOctober will also see the potential introduction of the iWatch, as has been widely rumored, and Apple may also be planning to unveil several new products designed to promote Yosemite, including a smaller 12-inch MacBook with a high-resolution display and a new desktop computer, which may be an iMac or a standalone monitor with a 4K resolution screen. 

Along with providing a few details on the desktop Retina machine, 9to5Mac's report echoes several details on the 12-inch MacBook previously shared by rumor sites, suggesting it will have a Retina display and a "thinner and slightly lighter aluminum body."

Apple believes that this new Retina MacBook will be a significant step forward in the laptop industry, and it is currently unclear if Apple will label this machine as a smaller MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air, or as an entirely new line. 

While it is possible Apple will market the aforementioned 4K desktop as a "Retina" machine, the technology for true pixel-doubling of the current 27-inch iMac and Thunderbolt Display's 2560 x 1440 resolution is not ready for market.
9to5Mac's sources indicate the 12-inch Retina MacBook and the iMac are on pace to ship in late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter, but could be pushed back to early 2015, which is in line with recent rumors about the 12-inch Retina MacBook. A report has suggested the notebook's launch will be pushed back due to continued Broad well delays

Rumors have also long focused on a possible Retina iMac and/or a 4K display, and back in June, hints of a Retina iMac were found in the OS X Yosemite beta. Less has been said about a potential 4K display in recent months, but an update to Apple's Thunderbolt Display is long overdue. 

Along with new Macs, Yosemite's introduction may also include updates to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro to improve support for video captured with 4K cameras.

Apple Planning Mid-September Event for 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, Timing of 5.5-Inch Model Unclear


According to 9to5Mac, Apple is putting the finishing touches on iOS 8 in advance of a September iPhone and iOS 8 launch event. Based on current projections, Apple is unsurprisingly tentatively planning to hold this iPhone-oriented event in mid-September. In line with previous reports, Apple is said to be aiming for a second product launch event in October for the iWatch and OS X Yosemite.
iphone_5s_6__side_grass
iPhone 5s with mockups of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models

Similar to other recent September events, Apple is reportedly planning to focus on only iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 in this year's September event. While the 4.7-inch iPhone will headline the presentation, the debut of the 5.5-inch model is still uncertain as it is further behind the 4.7-inch model in both testing and manufacturing. 

These people say that the second and third weeks of September are the mostly likely weeks for the event to be held, but they add that manufacturing uncertainties could alter the event’s timeframe. A decision has not been finalized, and sources made it clear that the plans are in flux.
This information aligns with an earlier report that suggests Apple may push off the 5.5-inch model until 2015.  

The report claims iOS 8 is on track for its public release this fall, with a fifth and final beta version expected on Monday, August 4, although a separate report from BGR claims a sixth beta is planned for Friday, August 15. A golden master version may debut a few weeks later at the end of August or early September. As rumored, dual-screen multi-tasking for the iPad and Maps improvements are still in the works, but these features are not expected to be available at launch and would come in a later iOS 8 update. 

Following the September event, Apple also is planning a second event in October that will showcase the iWatch, Apple's entry into the wearables market. This late fall event also will be used to discuss OS X Yosemite as well as unveil new iPad models. The iPad update is expected to be a modest refresh with hardware additions such as Touch ID and a faster A8 processor.

iPad Sales Total 225 Million Units Since 2010 as Apple Claims 'Significant Innovation' Coming

During today's earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter. 
ipad_air_family_20136Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad. 

Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year. 

In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted "significant innovation can be brought to the iPad", stating "[Apple] plans on doing that" and that the tablet category as a whole is still "in its infancy." Recent reports have pointed to Apple launching updated models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini later this year, with each likely to come with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8 processor. 

The company is also rumored to be preparing a larger "iPad Pro" which is said to feature a 12.9-inch ultra high-definition display. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPad Pro in 2015, but a recent report noted that Apple's plans may be on hold for the foreseeable feature.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Questionable Claim of 30% Slimmer 'iPad Mini Air' Launching in Late 2014

According to a new report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, Apple's third-generation iPad mini will be an "Air"-like model, featuring a design that shaves 30 percent off the thickness of the device. This thinness along with a powerful new A8 processor will be among the main selling points for the next generation iPad mini, claims the Asian sources (via GforGames). 
ipad6
Mockups of the next generation iPhone, iPad Mini, and iPad Air from Apple.club.tw 

While the sources of the rumor are given only as from the supply chain, the claim of a 30 percent thinner iPad mini seems to be an overly optimistic one. The original iPad mini measured 7.2 mm thick, and the device saw a slight increase to 7.5 mm with the move to a Retina display last year. The larger iPad Air moved in the opposite direction last year, slimming down from 9.4 mm in the fourth-generation iPad to match the Retina iPad mini at 7.5 mm. 

A 30 percent reduction in thickness for the iPad mini would put it in the range of 5.25 mm, and how Apple would achieve such a reduction is unclear, especially given the increase in horsepower seen with the move to a Retina display last year. That move made the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini essentially identical with the exception of display size. 

Apple is expected to release the updated iPad mini in the third quarter of 2014, likely following the iPhone 6 launch in September. Besides a possible thinner form factor and A8 processor, the next generation iPad mini also is expected to include a more durable Touch ID fingerprint sensor containing tin. Similar to the iPhone, the next generation iPad is expected to support iOS 8's new SDK that allows third-party developers to access the fingerprint scanner for verification purposes. 

Besides the iPad Air and iPad mini, Apple is rumored to be expanding its iPad lineup with a larger 12.9-inch iPad. Dubbed the "iPad Pro," the larger model may not be released until 2015, claims DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. This prediction echoes a earlier report from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo who also predicted a 2015 launch date for the oversized tablet device. 

Apple Preparing Between 70 and 80 Million 4.7 and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Units to Meet High Consumer Demand

Apple is asking its suppliers to manufacture a massive number of 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones in anticipation of high consumer demand, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company is seeking between 70 and 80 million units combined of the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by December, its largest order to date and a major jump from last year, where it ordered between 50 and 60 million iPhone 5s and 5c models.
Its forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C--which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.
With high iPhone 6 numbers, Apple is likely hoping to avoid the supply/demand crisis it saw last year with the iPhone 5s. After the iPhone 5s launched in September of 2013, Apple saw unexpectedly high demand for the flagship device, likely due to its new Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The phone was in short supply for much of 2013, and Tim Cook later admitted that Apple had expected a more balanced demand between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. 
iphone_5s_6_grass
4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

Demand for the iPhone 6 will likely be extremely high, as it marks both a redesign and the introduction of a larger screen, a long-awaited feature that could cause a massive spike in upgrades from both iPhone upgraders and those switching from Android. According to analyst estimates, Apple could see a 15 to 20 percent jump in unit sales year over year. 

Apple partners Foxconn and Pegatron are said to be hiring massive numbers of new employees to help assemble the iPhone 6, with main supplier Foxconn taking on an additional 100,000 employees and Pegatron adding 10,000. 

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is expected to enter production in July, while production on the 5.5-inch version will begin in August or September. At this time, it remains unclear if the two iPhone 6 models will launch simultaneously, as rumors have suggested production issues may push back the launch of the 5.5-inch iPhone to late 2014 or early 2015. 

In-cell display technology for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been said to be causing significant problems and The Wall Street Journal suggests there may be additional complications if the larger device also uses a sapphire display. Apple is reportedly asking component makers to prepare enough parts for up to 120 million iPhone 6 models in order to compensate for high failure rates.