Day: February 13, 2014
The dust on the Apple’s latest iPhones had barely settled when we started hearing about the next-gen version, supposedly called the iPhone 6. As the year 2014 flagged off, the rumours started getting stronger about the various features we can expect. From iOS 8 and Healthbook to newer battery technology and iWatch compatibility, the rumour mill has been working overtime churning out tidbits about Apple’s next generation iPhone. Needless to say, we are pretty excited to see what the iPhone 6 brings to the table. Let’s take a quick look at what we know so far.
The rumours around the alleged iPhone 6 kick started with analysts predicting a 4.8-inch display for the next-gen Apple device, backed by revelations from component suppliers. After reportedly testing sizes starting at 4 inches and going up to a massive 6 inches, Apple is believed to have zeroed on a 4.8-inch display size. It should be noted that Apple has been loyal to the 3.5-inch display since the first iPhone was launched way back in 2007. We saw a slightly larger display of 4 inches in the iPhone 5. If Apple opts for 4.8-inch display, it will be the largest display thus far.
Sapphire crystal display protection
A recent report revealed that Apple’s sapphire crystal manufacturing unit in Arizona could go live as soon as next month. It is highly speculated that February kick-off is a hint that the next-gen iPhone will have a sapphire crystal display, followed by other iDevices. Sapphire displays would mean more durable iPhones that have a longer shelf life. Apple has also applied for a patent for off-screen gestures using pressure sensitivity, where too a sapphire crystal display makes most sense. Late last year, there were reports that GT Advanced Technologies had inked a deal with Apple for sapphire crystal.
iOS 8 is expected to debut with the iPhone 6 and word is Apple is betting big on health and fitness tracking features, and will come integrated with the Healthbook app. Reports also claim that iOS 8 wouldn’t be much different from iOS7 in terms of the UI and only has minor changes. This may not surprise many, as Apple redesigned iOS greatly for version 7.0.
Heathbook and iWatch
The fitness-focussed iOS 8 is rumoured to include a dedicated app called Healthbook as a one-stop solution for all things fitness related. The app is said to be visually similar to Passbook and could work in tandem with the rumoured iWatch. In fact, the iWatch is cited as the reason for a sudden interest in health tracking apps within Apple. The Healthbook app could reportedly monitor users’ vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, hydration levels, and also glucose levels. The iWatch could reportedly collect data gathered by the Healthbook app from the various sensors in the iPhone. This is probably the reason why Apple has integrated the M7 motion co-processor in the A7 chipset. There is also the possibility of integrating iWatch with Apple Maps for location tracking and navigation.
Two iPhones and a summer launch
Apple is likely to launch two new versions of the iPhone in 2014, with both allegedly sporting 4.8-inch displays. So, it could launch a successor to the iPhone 5s, and a slightly “cheaper” successor to the iPhone 5c. Both models are believed to come with metal casings and the plastic exterior used in iPhone 5c won’t be returning. Rumours also claim summer 2014 launch for the iPhones. However, it is quite unlikely, since that is usually reserved for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.
8MP camera with improved OIS
Supply chain chatter suggests that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will not feature the previously rumoured 13-megapixel or 16-megapixel camera. Instead, the company will rope in an 8MP snapper, just like the iPhone 5s, but with some functional improvements including in the optical image stabilization (OIS) module.
Interchangeable camera lens
Apple has got patents for interchangeable mobile camera lenses. The patent is touted to result into an official accessory from Apple, perhaps a case. The patent mentions a camera add-on that connects using a physical locking mechanism like a DSLR lens, as well as a magnetic component for quicker attachment.
Apple reportedly has more than 200 patents for stylus. The iPen patent allows determining the orientation of the stylus through a sensor which is fitted in the stylus as well as the slate.
That’s what we have heard about the iPhone, but Apple is also working on the iWatch, which is said to feature innovative battery charging methods namely. Could some of these make their way to the iPhone? We surely hope so, but for now we have only speculation to go by. As we get closer to the announcement date later this year, we will get a better idea of what Apple has planned for the next-gen iPhone, whatever it is called.
It’s just February and the dust has barely settled on the iPhone 5s and 5c launch, but it’s already time for news of the iPhone 6 to emerge. It looks like we’ve received what could be the first sneak peek into what the new iPhone will look like.
The leak could be considered the real deal as it comes from none other than prolific Apple tipster Sonny Dickson. He had earlier tweeted component pictures – including fingerprint sensor – of the iPhone 5c and the iPad mini with Retina display. The new pictures of the alleged iPhone 6 show a sleek grey casing that appears to be similar to the iPod touch.
The leaked device also appears to have a larger flash than what we’ve seen in the iPhone 5s. However, one can’t be sure if the device is the next-generation iPhone or iPod. The Verge, however, reports that the pictures originated from tweets by someone called @mornray886.
The anonymous tipster has tweeted full images of the alleged iPhone 6 parts. A glance at these photos and one can clearly see a larger display without any bezel on the side. In fact, the bezel on the upper and lower side of the display also seems to have narrowed.
Rumours of the iPhone 6 started surfacing late last year, not too long after the last variants of iPhones were launched. One consistent rumour has been its large screen, possibly 4.8-inch. It is also believed that Apple will employ a Sapphire crystal display, manufactured at its Arizona plant. The device will run on the rumoured iOS 8 and work in tandem with the alleged iWatch.
Here’s everything we know about the iPhone 6, so far.
Upcoming Windows Phones For 2014 Could Support Android Apps, Report Claims Microsoft Is Already Thinking About It
If you are looking for decent upcoming Windows Phones in 2014, then you may be among the few who are not very fond of browsing hundreds of thousands of applications from your mobile’s Windows Store. However, it appears Microsoft will be doing something radical that could change the texture of the competition.
For many years, Windows Phone OS has struggled against perennial favorites iOS and Android due to its slow adoption of the latest applications. Now, Microsoft is allegedly thinking of allowing Android apps to run on its mobile platform.
According to a report by The Verge, the Redmond giant is already working on it and the project is in its early stages. This rumor certainly sounds promising for Windows Phone, but what could this mean?
This just means Microsoft has given up on the Store competition against Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. In this attempt to even the competition, more people will be able to pick Windows Phone devices as an option over their Android-powered counterparts.
Of course, this project will also enable Windows Phone owners to install Android apps with ease, and if Microsoft is able to get the job done, it may be on its way to a true rennaisance of sorts.
Proposed Deal Would Combine No. 1 and No. 2 Cable Operators
Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. speaks during a news conference on June 11, 2013. Bloomberg News
Comcast Corp. CMCSA +0.44% has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable TWC +0.30% for $45 billion in stock, in a deal that would combine the nation’s two biggest cable operators, according to people familiar with the situation.
The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which will be announced Thursday morning, one of the people said.
With the proposed deal, Comcast almost certainly ends an eight-month takeover battle for TWC waged by fourth-largest cable operator Charter Communications Inc. CHTR -0.24% and its biggest shareholder, Liberty Media Corp. LMCA +0.87% , whose chairman is cable pioneer John Malone.
By negotiating the deal, Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts ensures his dominance of the U.S. cable industry will be maintained. But the transaction would face lengthy regulatory review.
Charter’s pursuit of TWC, which began after Liberty bought a 27% stake in Charter about a year ago, had raised the possibility that Mr. Malone would emerge as a rival to Mr. Roberts. Mr. Malone once led the U.S. cable industry but sold his previous cable firm, Tele-Communications Inc., to AT&T in 1999.
A coaxial cable is displayed in front of a Time Warner Cable helmet in Manhattan Beach, California. Bloomberg
In the deal, Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive $158.82 a share in stock for their shares, about $23 a share above where TWC has been trading. Time Warner Cable shareholders will own about 23% of the combined entity. Charter has made three offers, the most recent of which was valued at $132.50, all of which were rejected by TWC as too low. Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Rob Marcus had said TWC wanted $160 a share.
News of the deal comes just a couple of days after Charter ratcheted up the pressure on TWC by nominating a group of 13 people as candidates for TWC’s board, ahead of this spring’s annual meeting.
In a statement late Wednesday, Charter said it “has always maintained that our greatest opportunity to create value for our shareholders is by executing our current business plan, and that we will continue to be disciplined in this and any other M & A activity we pursue.”
Time Warner Cable had long seen Comcast as a preferred partner. Last year, Time Warner Cable approached Comcast about a deal, hoping to ward off Charter. The two companies had talks off and on. But until a week ago there were signs that Comcast was leaning toward striking a deal with Charter instead.
Comcast and Charter were in talks about a deal where it would endorse Charter’s bid in exchange for an agreement where it would buy some East Coast Time Warner Cable systems from Charter if it were successful in buying TWC.
But last Tuesday Comcast and Time Warner Cable re-initiated talks, when Mr. Roberts reached out to Time Warner Cable’s Mr. Marcus, one of the people said. Comcast was very uncomfortable with the idea of a proxy fight that Charter was gearing up to wage, another of the people said.
Time Warner Cable, in turn, was uncomfortable with the amount of debt Charter would have layered onto the company had it succeeded in buying it, one of the people said. Combined with Comcast, Time Warner Cable would have much more conservative leverage ratios than it would have, had Charter succeeded.
Comcast approached Time Warner Cable last week with an offer to buy the entire company at about $150 a share, a person familiar with the matter said. As the offer was much closer to the $160 a share TWC was looking for, it sparked the renewed talks. Comcast’s Mr. Roberts at times negotiated with top Time Warner Cable brass including Mr. Marcus and Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson on the phone from Sochi, where Mr. Roberts has been visiting for the Winter Olympics.
On Wednesday evening, Time Warner Cable’s board met around 5 p.m. to discuss the deal, around the same time Comcast’s board was meeting. By about 8 p.m., the boards had approved the deal.
The deal faces high regulatory barriers. Comcast not only serves more pay TV customers than any other company in the U.S., nearly 22 million video subscribers, but it also owns the entertainment company NBCUniversal, parent of the NBC broadcast network and several big cable channels as well as Universal film studio. Time Warner Cable serves about 11 million video subscribers. Comcast is prepared to divest three million subscribers, the people said. Those divestitures will keep its ownership of the pay TV market below 30%, the people said.
Comcast hopes to convince regulators that because cable companies don’t compete, their deal should go through.
Any bid for Time Warner Cable would have to be approved by both the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, which hasn’t been shy about bringing antitrust enforcement actions against would-be mergers that it believes will harm competition. Last year, the department’s antitrust chief, Bill Baer, challenged major mergers in the beer and airline industries, though both cases ultimately settled and the deals were allowed to proceed after the companies made several concessions.
However, recent events may give Comcast a better shot at securing regulatory approval.
Purchasing Time Warner would give Comcast roughly a third of the national cable market, raising concerns over whether the combined company would have too much leverage over content providers in negotiations. However, the deal may benefit from the perception of some regulators that cable is a natural monopoly whose primary competition comes from satellite providers and telephone companies like Verizon and AT&T. The FCC previously tried to impose a 30% horizontal ownership cap on the cable industry, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out that limit in 2009.
Since then the commission approved Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal, giving it a strong foothold in the content industry and control over one of the four broadcast networks. Comcast agreed to a wide range of conditions as part of that deal, including a promise not to discriminate against third-party content traveling over its networks for seven years. Having recently lost a court challenge to its Open Internet rules, the FCC could force Comcast to agree to extend its net neutrality agreement as part of any review.
—Gautham Nagesh and Brent Kendall contributed to this article.