Monday, 4 July 2016

Businessman Sued Apple for $10bn over Stealing a Smartphone Idea

A $10bn lawsuit was filed against the iPhone maker, where Thomas Ross claimed that Apple’s mobile devices infringe his 1992 invention of an Electronic Reading Device. Ross admits that he knows he is fighting a goliath, but believes he has a strong case.

Thomas Ross claims that he worked on the invention for more than a year, drawing on his experience as a software consultant. His efforts resulted in 3 hand-sketched technical drawings of the Electronic Reading Device and filing a patent in 1992.

The invention was conceived as a reading and writing device, with a back-lit screen, able to store media on the device and on remote servers. Ross, who now works as a manager at a law firm, filed a patent 4 years before the Palm Pilot launched and 15 years before the first iPhone. The Electronic Reading Device was conceived to allow one to read stories, view images and watch video on a flat touchscreen, having communication functions like a phone and a modem, and would come with rounded edges in various sizes.

Aside from the 3 hand-scribbled images of the Electronic Reading Device, the inventor also created a flowchart illustrating how media could be requested and downloaded from a remote server along with a description of the purpose, look and feel of the device. However, that invention has never been taken further than the design stage due to the lack of funds. Back in 1992, the inventor failed to pay the required fees and had his patent application declared abandoned 3 years later by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Instead of using patent law, he now sues Apple with copyright law.

A year ago, Ross’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to Apple, requesting them to stop distributing the infringing products. Apple responded that the claims “have no merit” and pointed out that Ross was not able to show any evidence that Apple had accessed the patent applications. However, this response didn’t deter Ross, who filed the lawsuit with the US district court, seeking $10bn in damages and demanding Apple to forfeit the patents derived from his designs.

Industry experts call it just a nuisance case filed by an individual hoping to make some money out of it, who doesn’t even have a US patent and just pulled a $10bn number out of nowhere.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Game of Thrones: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching Season 6

A spoiler-free refresher on where we left off.

It’s been a long time since we visited the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens, and more. Though speculation about what might happen next year is sky high, many have stayed out of the guessing game. For those who prefer to be surprised by what’s in store for Season 6, this should serve as a handy refresher of where we left off with your favorite characters. So enjoy catching up before we fully dive back in on Sunday.

When last we saw the Lord Commander he was bleeding out into the snow in the courtyard of Castle Black. This is as much as book readers know, too. (Though, sure, they have their theories.) Kit Harington says he won’t return for Season 6, but there’s no escaping Jon Snow on the posters and in the trailers for the upcoming year, so he’ll at least continue to be important. Also worth remembering that Melisandre conveniently arrived at the Wall just before the Night’s Watch turned on Jon. She may not always be right (R.I.P. Shireen), but she does have powers (R.I.P. Renly).

As we said, Melisandre has just arrived at the Wall after torching Shireen and then watching Stannis lose very badly to the Bolton army. (R.I.P. Stannis) This shakes her faith because she believed he was the one true king and the mythical hero Azor Ahai reborn. If Stannis isn’t the real savior, then she did all those awful things (R.I.P. Shireen, Renly) for nothing. Meanwhile, Davos knows his king (Stannis) and his favorite (Shireen) are dead, but he doesn’t know how they died. So we’ll see if there’s fallout for Melisandre when he discovers she torched his best friend and reading tutor, and how he plans to avenge Stannis’s death.

Having just lopped off Stannis’s head (sorry, Baratheon truthers, it’s true), Brienne is somewhere in the wintry woods outside of Winterfell. So that puts her close to Ramsay, Sansa, Theon, and we presume Pod. Where did Pod go, anyway? He was last seen luring Brienne away from the window with news of Stannis just before Sansa put her candle out. Anyway, with or without her squire, Brienne is on the snowy ground up North.

Nearby, in Winterfell, Sansa and Theon just bumped off Ramsay’s favorite sex partner (the sadistic Myranda) and took a leap of faith off the high Winterfell wall into what we hope was a very soft snowbank. Sansa is an important bargaining chip to the Boltons. As a living breathing Stark she gives their claim on Winterfell legitimacy. So Ramsay and his father Roose are going to be none too pleased if Sansa either breaks her neck in that fall or manages to escape into the frosty woods. And, as we know, Ramsay is very fond of hunting girls in the woods. It’s also good to remember that Roose’s wife, Walda, is newly pregnant, so Ramsay’s shaky claim to the Bolton name could be made even shakier by a rival heir. He needs that Stark girl.

It’s also good to remember (and easy to forget!) that Sansa isn’t the only Stark tromping around in the snow. In Season 3, Rickon, Osha, and Shaggydog took off for House Umber. If they made it safely, they’re at Last Hearth, which is approximately halfway between Sansa and Theon in Winterfell and Jon at the Wall. There’s also the matter of Bran Stark. When last we left him in Season 4, he, Meera, and Hodor (R.I.P. Jojen) were taking up residency with the mystical Three-Eyed Raven and the Children of the Forest way North of the Wall. Will any of these wandering Starks meet up with each other this season? If they did, it would be the first time since Season 3 a Stark laid eyes on another Stark. (Unless you count Bran seeing, but not speaking to, Jon Snow in Season 4.)

We can wrap up the Northern crew with Sam and Gilly who had the good sense to get away from the Wall and its rapey occupants as fast as their cart could carry them. They’re headed to Oldtown, where Sam hopes to crack the mystery of how to defeat the White Walkers. We know Jon Snow’s sword works, but what else? Sam doesn’t know that about the mutiny or Jon’s death, so he has that revelation ahead of him. Also, can someone please explain why Gilly’s baby is still an infant (she gave birth early in Season 3) when everyone else has aged several years?

Across the narrow sea in Braavos, Arya was struggling through the worst internship ever at the House of Black and White. She broke the rules of her internship in order to carry out her own personal act of vengeance on Ser Meryn Trant. (He killed her fencing master, you see.) As punishment (?), training (?), a combination of the two (?), Jaqen H’ghar made her blind. Worst. Internship. Ever.

Having fled a terribly violent uprising in Meereen, Dany is now in the middle of nowhere with her biggest dragon, Drogon. As Drogon was napping, Dany went exploring and found herself surrounded by a Dothraki horde. (Drogon must have taken her pretty far.) Dany dropped her ring in the grass, so, if she gets taken by these new horse lords, it’s possible Jorah and Daario (hot on her trail) could help her out. That is if Jorah’s greyscale doesn’t get the best of him.

With Jorah and Daario gone, it’s up to Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei to hold down the fort in Meereen. It looks like they might have some help from Varys. He showed up right at the end of Season 5 to make the whole miserable rioting city a lot more fabulous. It’s worth remembering that Tyrion et al haven’t fixed their Meereenese problem. Drogon may have flambĂ©ed a few, but the golden-masked Sons of the Harpy are still out there.

While we’re on the subject of fabulous Lannisters, Cersei just completed a harrowing Walk of Shame, which does not exactly clear her of her association with the Sparrows. It got her out of her cell, but she’s still in trouble for her sins. Will she choose trial by combat and this new hulking knight as her champion? Not even book readers know. But we know from the glint in her eye and her blood-soaked backstory that the Queen Regent isn’t likely to take this treatment lying down. (Margaery and her brother Loras are taking their punishment lying down. For the time being, they’re still both locked away in cells.)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

iPhone 7: All the rumors about the specs, design and features of Apple's 2016 iPhone

Announcement and release dates
According to Apple's traditional cadence, iPhone models always debut in the fall. That changed on March 21, with the introduction of the iPhone SE, a new model that combines the look of the iPhone 5S with the soul of the iPhone 6S.
That noted, the iPhone SE is a relatively minor, mid-cycle update that brings nothing new to the table in terms of design, features, or specs. Given this, there remains a pervasive expectation that we'll see the next major iPhone update, right on schedule, in the fall of 2016.

For the past several years, Apple's iPhone updates have followed a predictable cycle: major design changes in even-numbered years, followed by "under the hood" tech upgrades that keep the same basic physical chassis in odd-numbered "S phone" years. For 2016, then, a total redesign is a near certainty -- possibly with some dramatic innovations.

Amid rumors that the company has developed multiple iPhone 7 prototypes, Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac reports that Apple is experimenting with three different handset designs including a "completely new, thinner look," and a "backup" design that's similar to the iPhone 6S. More recently, MacRumors has suggested that the iPhone 7 will have a design that's "very similar" to that of the iPhone 6 and 6S, though without the antenna bands that run across the current generation. And we still expect the company to release two versions of the phone -- ostensibly, a standard-sized, 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and larger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
Given the regularity with which folks drop phones in toilets and other bodies of water, could Apple develop a water-resistant or waterproof chassis? (By the way, here's what to do when it inevitably happens to you.) Other manufacturers have already gone there, of course: Samsung with the Galaxy S5, Sony with its Z5 Premium and Motorola with its entry-level Moto G. Still, the fact that Samsung did not make the Galaxy S6 waterproof suggests that it's not a critical feature for most consumers.

That noted, Business Insider reports that Apple has filed for a new waterproofing-related patent. Titled "Electronic Device with Hidden Connector," the application suggests that ports could be covered with a "self-healing elastomer." According to the patent description, iPhone ports equipped with this technology would be covered with membranes, which could be penetrated by a headphone or USB connector, for example, and which would seal back up once the connector is withdrawn.

Building on this narrative, 9to5Mac has reported that Apple is developing a new set of Bluetooth earphones that could be introduced simultaneously with the iPhone 7. The fruit of the company's acquisition of Beats Electronics, the new earphones, potentially called "AirPods," are rumored to be completely wireless, similar to the Motorola Hint.
One of the more interesting iPhone 7 predictions involves a move away from the physical home button. As CNET reported earlier, recent iPhone innovations -- specifically the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch screen and increasing always-on hands-free functionality of Siri -- have diminished the need for it, and that a buttonless iPhone would be a natural move for a company with such a strong preference for clean lines as well as simple design. That would also allow the large top and bottom bezels to shrink, effectively allowing Apple to squeeze a larger screen into the same size body. The trick, of course, would be keeping the all-important Touch ID fingerprint sensor somehow integrated into the device.

Note that the melodramatic iPhone 7 "leaked concept" video in circulation on social media has been flagged as a fake. The video shows a cleansuit-clad employee, ostensibly of Foxconn, one of Apple's longtime suppliers, handling a home button-less iPhone 7 until, offscreen, someone shouts, "Hey!". Nice try, folks.

Though security hasn't often been a major focus of the iPhone rumor mill, the biggest Apple story of 2016 involved Apple's battle with the FBI over just that. The Financial Times reported that Apple is working on ways to encrypt data stored via its iCloud service, which could further frustrate law enforcement agencies in investigations. And according to the New York Times, Apple engineers are now working on new security measures to prevent iPhone-hacking.

One hopes that this development will bring security closer to the fore for both smartphone consumers and manufacturers. If nothing else, it's an issue with all kinds of interesting ramifications for issues ranging from the iPhone's user interface to its privacy settings.

There is a particularly durable rumor about a sapphire display, which would offer a higher degree of scratch and shatter-resistance than the current models' Gorilla Glass. In fact, the higher-end Apple Watch models have sapphire displays -- as well as OLED technology that provides best-in-class black levels, contrast and colors on a growing assortment of smartphones (including the Samsung Galaxy S7).
In fact, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities predicts that Apple may revamp its lineup of iPhones next year to include a new curved display. The new iPhone screen will be based on active matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, which offer several advantages over the LCD (liquid crystal display) screens currently used in iPhones. OLED displays are thinner, lighter and more flexible than LCDs. They're also more power efficient, giving you more bang out of a single battery charge. Earlier reports predicted that Apple would switch to OLED displays in 2018. Either way, this will likely debut on whatever model succeeds the iPhone 7.

One of the most most widely speculated upon topics to date involves the connectivity standards the iPhone 7 will support. Rumor has it that Apple may potentially omit the 3.5mm headphone jack, a standard on every preceding iPhone, in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector. This would accommodate a thinner chassis -- perhaps shaving off as much as one millimeter. And there is fact to support this thesis: Philips showed off Lightning-only headphones earlier in 2015, though they apparently have yet to be released.

According to Barclays analysts, however, as reported by AppleInsider, the iPhone 7 will indeed omit a 3.5mm headphone jack. But, in its traditional place will be a second speaker, powered by an amp manufactured by Cirrus Logic. The analysts also countered recent rumors suggesting that the iPhone 7 would have dynamic noise cancellation, suggesting that it will use a digital codec instead.

How about swapping out Lightning for USB Type-C? Despite its growing ubiquity as the standard for other smartphones, tablets and PCs, it feels unlikely. Yes, Apple made USB-C the only connector in its 2015 MacBook revamp, but the company has elsewhere doubled-down on Lightning in the past year, adding it to new Mac accessories, Beats speakers, the iPad Pro's Pencil accessory and the new iPhone Smart Battery Case.

The iPhones equipped with A9 processors -- the SE, 6S and 6S Plus -- are all red-hot performers, showing off the improved speed of their 64-bit dual-core processors. And as each successive iPhone generation is expected to deliver improved speed, we expect to see an A10 chip powering the iPhone 7. Likewise, just as the 6S and 6S Plus (and SE) got a bump in RAM from 1GB to 2GB, it's not unreasonable to expect to see an iPhone 7 that comes equipped with 4GB of RAM.
In 2014, Apple doubled the top two tiers of the iPhone from 32GB and 64GB to 64GB and 128GB, but kept pricing the same. (The entry-level model remained at 16GB.) The company kept the same capacities for its 2015 line and 2016's SE model. Will it finally offer 32GB on the baseline model? Anything's possible, but getting customers to pay up for the 64GB model may be too much of a profit incentive to give up.

Related to the waterproofing rumors summarized above, the Commercial Times (via DigiTimes), reports that the iPhone 7 will contain "new compound materials" that will help hide the antenna, which is currently housed in bands on the back of the phone.

According to multiple sources, including a CLSA Securities analyst, Intel will provide 30 to 40 percent of the iPhone 7's modem supply -- specifically, the Intel 7360 LTE, which supports 450 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload speeds.

Another story that has surfaced involves the possibility of the iPhone 7 -- or perhaps the subsequent generation -- supporting wireless charging. One potential narrative has Apple narrowing connectivity to a single Lightning port, making it impossible to charge the phone and use wired headphones simultaneously. Hence: wireless charging. Mmmm...we'll see.

Many sources reported that there would be a significant step up in quality with the iPhone 6S's camera; a 10-megapixel camera and a two-lens DSLR-style camera were presented as two distinct possibilities. And though the 6S upped the standard iPhone's game with a much improved front-facing camera, only the 6S Plus features optical image stability capabilities that deliver higher quality photos and video in low light environments.

In mid-March 2016, Taiwanese site posted what it says are images of a dual-camera module that it says will be included on the iPhone 7 Plus. Since then, sources have reported that the dual lens array will be available only on the 5.5-inch Plus version and not the base iPhone 7 model.

There might also be technology leveraging Apple's 2015 acquisition of Israeli technology company LinX Imaging, which has developed smaller sensors that can deliver DSLR-quality images with optical zoom and improved performance in darker environments.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Vulnerability in iPhone 6S Allows Access to Contacts and Photos

A security bug in iPhone 6S and 6S Plus can allow anyone bypass the phone lock and access personal data without the passcode. The flaw was discovered by Jose Rodriguez, who also discovered a similar security flaw in 2015. This bug needs Siri to execute, but unlike many other iPhone hacks, this one is quite easy.

You just need to fire up Siri from the phone lockscreen and ask it to search Twitter for any email address. When at least one is found, you can 3D Touch the email address, which brings up a menu offering to create a new contact or add to an existing one. In other words, this action gives the attacker access to all the contacts. Moreover, the Contacts app usually has a permission to access the photo library, which means that the attacker can also browse user’s photos by pretending to make an attempt to add a photo to the contact. Needless to say, the access is granted without unlocking the iPhone.
Is there any way to protect yourself from having your private data accessed with the lockscreen bypass? Yes, there is. You can simply deny Siri and the Contacts app access to your photo library within the Privacy settings. In the meantime, preventing access to contacts through the bug is a bit more complicated: you need to disable Siri while the device is locked both in the Touch ID and Passcode settings.
Security experts remind that the bypass flaw only affects Apple devices with 3D Touch screens. In the meantime, the timing of the flaw coincides with the FBI’s battles with the manufacturer to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5C. The FBI has yet to divulge how it unlocked the device and whether it used a security flaw to bypass the passcode. A few days ago, the agency promised US local and state law enforcement to help them unlock Apple mobile devices in criminal cases.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

How to Prevent Government Agencies from Tracking Your Torrenting

The final version of the proposed “three strikes” anti-piracy code for Australian internet service providers (ISPs) has been published recently. Under the Copyright Notice Scheme code (PDF), residential Internet users that are found pirating content will be subject to a series of "escalating" warning notices from rights holders, sent via ISPs. The notices will warn users that they are infringing copyright, and that they will face legal action if they get three strikes recorded against their IP address -- that is, if they receive an Education, Warning and Final notice -- within a 12 month period. If a user gets three warning letters, or "strikes", in a 12-month period, ISPs will help copyright owners identify them for potential legal action after a hearing in a prescribed court. Up to 200,000 notices can be processed and sent each year. An industry code has to be in place by January 1

Over the past few months, thousands of Canadians have received ‘Piracy Notices’ in their mailbox asking for cash settlements. The new law aims to reduce piracy in Canada, but it seems Canadians are not ready to give up on their habits. After paying no attention to hundreds of notices from anti-piracy group named Rightscorp, the users are now sued over sharing the 20+ year-old music albums.

French government agencies sent out over 5 million warnings to alleged pirates. 169 Internet users were referred to the public prosecutor in the first half of 2015, which is 4 times for than in the same period last year

Such regimes are used in many countries and are commonly known as “three-strikes”. However, they are promoted as educational in nature, because suspected pirates just receive notifications of breach, which are meant to discourage further infringing behavior.

To prevent their IP-addresses from being visible to the rest of the Internet, millions of people have signed up to a VPN service. Using a VPN allows users to use the Internet anonymously and prevent your ISP from tracking your online activity. The best VPN services don’t log any traffic nor session data of any kind. Besides, 100% anonymous VPN should accept payments via anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin.

Recently, a part of ExtraTorrent community launched a VPN called by Trust.Zone VPN for safe torrenting. This is a bit experimental project. But it cares about safety of ET members and every downloader. Trust.Zone VPN prevents your ISP from sending Copyright Infringement Notices by hiding your real location and your real IP address.

What's a VPN?

It's a tool that hides your IP address and your identity, it encrypts traffic and has no logging, so, your IP address will never be revealed and you will be 100% anonymous while torrenting. Government or your ISP can't track your activity. With a VPN, you are free to download any files you need without any risk.

Trust.Zone has founded by the part of ExtraTorrent community. The tool is free to use first 5 days of usage. If test period ends, unfortunately, the service asks for the money from you but..... our partners tried to make it as CHEAP as possible, you can catch Winter SALE offer specially for ExtraTorrent Fans for only $2.99/mo (click here) - it's the cheapest price among all popular VPN providers.

Friday, 4 December 2015

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 7: BIG Changes Are Coming To 2016's iPhone

We gaze into our crystal ball to see how the 2015 and 2016 iPhones will differ, as we look at the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7.

There's something very funny about reporting tech news, something that's become a bit of an in-joke amongst us journos. Whenever something rumour based or speculative is posted there are always those who say "this is nothing but rumours and speculation, it could be wrong, it's not factual..." and so on, but the truth is this complaining doesn't reflect the majority opinion. It can't possibly, because the fact of the matter is that forthcoming  and rumoured devices generate so much more interest than handsets that have been released. Like any website we look at Google's analytics for traffic and, get this, as soon as a new phone like the iPhone or Nexus launches the number of people looking at content and searching for content related to those devices NOSEDIVES - but before that, all the while the phone is merely a rumour, it SKYROCKETS. People, readers, you lot, love a rumour. That's the fact of the matter, you love anticipating a new phone that isn't out yet - the next best thing - so much more than something that is launched and has become a reality. You love a tease. Don't even try to deny it!

So with that in mind we're quite happy to write about things that haven't been launched yet and give you your fix!

Today we are comparing the current-gen iPhone 6s (the one released in September 2015) with 2016's as-yet unnanounced iPhone 7. (The image above is an awesome mockup by of what the iPhone 7 could look like, by the way).

This is worth a look because of a few other factors. First being how unnervingly thorough, far-reaching and accurate the modern rumour mill is - nothing escapes its tendrils and already we're getting plenty of juicy information about next year's iPhone 7, much of it from repeatedly proven reliable sources.  On top of that, although the iPhone 6s has just come out Apple has likely been at work on the next iPhone–the iPhone 7–for at least a few years now. And because of  the way Apple’s iPhone product cycles work, it’s relatively easy to predict what a major new iPhone design will feature. You see, Apple historically has released iPhone upgrades on a “tick-tock” basis. Every tick is a major new form-factor upgrade and every tock retains the old form factor but usually introduces a new feature.

Examples of “tick” releases are the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus). These iPhones all featured radical form-factor redesigns over the previous iPhone. The iPhone 4 had the first Retina display and glass and aluminum body. The iPhone 5 had the 4-inch screen. The iPhone 6 had the 4.7-inch screen and so on. Examples of “tock” releases are the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6s. In each case each of these phones retained the same form-factor of its predecessor but added new usability features. The iPhone 4s added Siri; the iPhone 5s added the Touch ID and M7 motion coprocessor; and the iPhone 6s added the 3D Touch display.

"The big worry is that as the iPhone 7 is said to be so slim," reports Expert Reviews, "it means that there's less room inside for battery, which again will have an impact on battery life. I think it's a little early to start panicking yet, as reduced battery life is not a certainty and there are a few tricks that Apple might have up its sleeve. For starters, the new A10 chip will, no doubt, be more energy efficient than the A9 SoC in the iPhone 6S. It will probably be built using a smaller fabrication process, which will also mean that it takes up less room in the case, leaving more room for a bigger battery. Next, Apple will most likely work on making iOS 10 more energy efficient, again helping boost battery power."

Word on the street suggests we will probably see three iPhone 7 handsets in 2016. Apple is apparently keen to rekindle its iPhone Xc range and will utilise the iPhone 5s as the reference model for the iPhone 7c, meaning it will support TouchID among other things. This isn’t the first chatter we’ve heard about the iPhone 7c, either. Earlier in the year multiple sources began claiming Apple would release another iPhone C handset in 2016 in order to further bolster its strangle hold one the mobile space where it currently commands around 90-odd % of all profits.

A new report from TrendForce claims the iPhone 7 will be water-proof, a feature many Android handsets have had for YEARS. Beyond this the company reckons Apple will radically alter the design and finish of the handset and also include more RAM, perhaps as much as 3GB, as well as a third handset called the iPhone 7c.

“Apple will release the upgraded 4-inch iPhone C series in the second quarter of 2016,” said the report. “The next iPhone (currently dubbed “iPhone 7”) will be introduced in the second half of next year. The major selling points of the next iPhone will be the 3GB memory upgrade for the 5.5-inch model and waterproof feature. Based on TrendForce’s estimation, about 260 million iPhones will be shipped in 2016, representing an annual growth of 12.5% and a market share of 18.5%. With the smartphone market becoming less profitable, iPhone will still have the highest margin next year compared with products from rival vendors.”

It added: “Samsung’s shipments are anticipated to drop 4% annually to 310 million due to Chinese competitors undercutting its prices. Apple is anticipated to significantly narrow its market share gap with Samsung next year as well. TrendForce analysis indicates that Samsung will hold 22% of the global smartphone market in 2016, a decline from 2015. Wu added that Samsung’s flagship devices for this year have hit the ceiling in specs, so the South Korean powerhouse will be straining to bring hardware innovations to its next smartphone release.”

“KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,” reports Apple Insider, “whose predictions have in the past been accurate, said he expects Apple's upcoming 4-inch iPhone to be functionally similar to a buffed iPhone 5s, the last iPhone model to sport a 4-inch display. Kuo says demand is still present for a smaller Apple handset, and the company plans to capitalize come next year. Mass production will likely start sometime in the first half of 2016, suggesting a potential product launch alongside next year's ‘iPhone 7’ lineup.”

Speaking of the iPhone 6s -- this year’s model saw a raft of major improvements in several key areas, though most notably imaging and processing power. Beyond this we saw more RAM included, 2GB to be specific, as well as slightly thicker chassis overall, owing to the inclusion of 3D Touch technology in the display panel. So while it might look A LOT like last year’s model it will function quite a bit differently.

Sales have been INSANE, too:

Apple announced it sold more than 13 million new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, a new record, just three days after launch. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in more than 40 additional countries beginning October 9 including Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Taiwan. The new iPhones will be available in over 130 countries by the end of the year.

This is a HUGE figure and, importantly, it is quite a bit more than Apple shifted last year which, again, is pretty significant for a release many consider to be minor or incremental. China helped in a big way this year, having access to the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at the same time as other markets around the world. Apple confirmed 13 million sales during the first few weeks but that figure is expected to grow rapidly in the coming weeks and months.

“Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9.”

But those iPhone 6s sales could pale in comparison to the next iPhone 7. So without further ado, let's gaze into our crystal ball to see what each phone will be like, starting with the specs:

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Major Specs
Current iPhone 6s

Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch 3D Touch, max res of 1920x1080
Design: It looks exactly the same as the iPhone 6 (rounded corners, aluminum body)
Storage: 16, 64, and 128GB
CPU and RAM: A9 processor, 2GB RAM
Front Camera: 5MP
Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording
Likely iPhone 7

Display: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch 3D Touch, but likely with a QHD display of 2560 x 1440 resolution
Design: Completely new design. Thinner body and bezel.
Storage: 32, 64, and 128GB
CPU and RAM: A10 processor, 3GB RAM
Front Camera: 5MP with wide angle lens
Rear Camera: 12MP, 4K video recording, optical image stabilization.
The important thing to remember with iPhone upgrades is that the tock “S” cycle upgrade primarily see internal enhancements and the tick prime upgrades see body design changes. That’s why the iPhone 6s had more radical internal changes from the iPhone 6 than the iPhone 6s will to the iPhone 7. The iPhone 6s got the A9 processor and FINALLY 2GB of RAM. That means that the iPhone 7 will almost certainly have an A10 chipset and 3GB of RAM. Traditionally Apple has kept the amount of RAM the same for more than one year, but by the time the iPhone 7 ships in autumn 2016, most Android phones will have 4GB RAM minimum. Apple will need to keep up, if not match it.

As for storage options, with the iPhone 7 we finally expect Apple to drop the 16GB entry level option for a 32GB entry level model. Needless to say, dropping the 16GB storage model is long overdue. No one, NO ONE should buy a 16GB smartphone. You’ll fill it all up with large 12MP photos in the first month you own it.

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Design
The iPhone 6s looks exactly as the iPhone 6 does, just a bit thicker. But if that iPhone 6s design is looking a bit stale to you, then you are going to love the iPhone 7. It will feature a radically different design. What to expect? A thinner body is guaranteed. KGI Securities superstar analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an excellent track record with predicting iPhone specs, says the iPhone 7 will be Apple’s thinnest yet–approaching the thinness of the iPod touch (which is really, really thin) Kuo expects the iPhone 7 to be between 6.0mm and 6.5mm thin (the iPod touch is 6.1mm thin).

Apple is now busy testing out designs and features for the iPhone 7; handsets are developed way in advance of release and this is why we get some many leaks. And according to information leaked on Weibo by a reliable tipster Apple is testing out five iPhone 7 prototypes. The news was picked up by G For Games, another reliable source, which reports that Apple is testing out a bunch of different features for next year’s iPhones.

Apple is currently experimenting with at least five different iPhone 7 models, each with its own unique hardware characteristics. By the sound of it Apple is trying to figure out which technologieswould go best in the upcoming model, all the while keeping an eye on the performance of its suppliers,” said the report. “Reportedly, some of the technologies that can be found in these prototypes include a USB Type-C connector compatible with headsets, wireless charging technology, multi-Force Touch, dual camera configurations, and fingerprint recognition technology embedded within the display.”

Apple is also said to be experimenting with AMOLED displays but this new display technology isn’t expected to appear inside commercial iPhones until at least 2018.

The USB Type-C rumour is very interesting, however, as it ties in nicely with yesterday’s report about Apple ditching 3.5mm jack support on the iPhone 7 in favour of something more proprietary. Is it possible Apple could switch out its lightening port connector for USB Type-C? Sure, it’s possible. But it just doesn’t seem very likely given the company’s track record. Still, there are PLENTY of benefits to using USB Type-C, so perhaps Apple is turning over a new leaf?

There’s also strong hints that Apple is working on doing away with the physical home button and embedding a virtual home button and Touch ID in the screen itself, but that might not come until the iPhone 8. Apple has filed patents for such a in-screen home button, but the company files patents for everything–99% of which never make it into a shipping product. Also, Digitimes is reporting that Apple has placed LCD display driver orders with touchscreen supplier Synaptics for its next iPhone. It would not need these LCD display drivers if its own work on integrated Touch ID and displays were moving along at pace.

One aspect of the new iPhone 7’s potential design could cause some users some issues, however, as multiple sources are now claiming Apple is looking to do away with traditional headphones, meaning no 3.5mm jack-support on the iPhone 7. It will be replaced by a lightning port, apparently, and this of course means you’ll have to buy and adaptor in order to make your old headphones work with the iPhone 7.

Why is Apple doing this? Apparently it is ALL about design. Apple wants to make the iPhone 7 1mm thinner than the iPhone 6s and in order to do this it needs to ditch the traditional 3.5mm jack port. Fortunately, Apple’s lightning connector is EXACTLY the right size and, fortunately again, Apple has no issues selling you a $15 convertor to access it.

Sounds crazy, right? But remember: Apple did exactly the same thing with CD drives and USB ports on its MacBooks, so, yeah… you’ve been WARNED.

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Waterproofing
Earlier this autumn the internet freaked out when videos surfaced of the iPhone 6s surviving 30 minutes underwater. It turns out Apple secretly added new adhesive strips inside the iPhone 6s to block any moisture getting in. Now a Chinese Mac blog is claiming that this was just a dry run (get the pun) for Apple, and that the iPhone 7 will officially be certified as waterproof.

In addition to waterproofing by using internal gaskets, another Chinese site is claiming Apple will ditch the aluminum casing of the iPhone 6s for an all new plastic material on the iPhone 7 to make sure the device is fully waterproof. We don’t see Apple’s iPhone 7 being a plastic phone, but only time will tell.

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: LTE chipset
Right now the iPhone 6s uses an LTE chipset from Qualcomm, but recent rumors point to Intel working on an iPhone-compatible LTE chipset for the iPhone 7. If this is true users won’t likely notice much of a difference. Instead, Apple would use the Intel LTE chip so it can drive component costs down.

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Display
The iPhone 6s gained the 3D Touch display that the Apple Watch has (there, it is called the Force Touch display)–of course the iPhone 7 will adopt this 3D Touch display as well. But we also expect the iPhone 7 to get a higher resolution display, specifically a QHD one with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, as many Android handsets have. By autumn of 2016 anything less that 2560x1440 will be the equivalent of what standard definition is today.

Apple could also make subtle upgrades to the 3D Touch display in the iPhone 7–for example, making it sensitive to more than two types of pressure inputs, but other than that we don’t expect the 3D Touch display to change much.

Also, it is unlikely that the iPhone 7 will adopt an AMOLED display, which is found in Samsung phones and the Apple Watch, according to Kuo. In a recent investors note he stated:

"Based on recent comments by Minebea, one of the main iPhone backlight unit suppliers, we believe AMOLED will not penetrate iPhone for the next three years. Moreover, Hon Hai is preparing to invest in Gen-6 LTPS TFT-LCD production lines in Zhengzhou, China for mass production in 2018, suggesting the iPhone line will likely stick with TFT-LCD technology in 2018 and thereafter. […]

Minebea, major BLU supplier of iPhone, stated to investors on November 5 that it does not foresee risk of TFT-LCD share loss to AMOLED in high-end smartphone market in next three years & guides growth in TFT-LCD going forward. As Apple and Samsung are the only two brands that currently offer premium smartphones, we think Minebea’s statements imply it does not expect iPhone to adopt AMOLED in the coming three years, given that Samsung’s models are already being equipped with it."

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: Camera
Internally the iPhone 6s gained a huge camera upgrade with its 12MP rear camera (up from the 8MP camera in the iPhone 6) and its 5MP front FaceTime camera (up for 1.8 MP in the iPhone 6). But going to the iPhone 7 we expect the camera upgrade to be less pronounced. Apple will probably keep to a 12MP rear camera but add optical image stabilization across the line (right now only the “Plus” models feature it). The iPhone 7 will also probably retain the same FaceTime camera.

The iPhone 6s also gained 4k video recording on the rear camera–something we don’t see changing or expanding on for the iPhone 7. However, it’s possible the front FaceTime camera could gain 4k video recording in the iPhone 7.

iPhone 6s vs Likely iPhone 7: A new 4-inch iPhone?
One final prediction according to Kou is that Apple will launch a new 4-inch iPhone alongside the iPhone 7 in 2016. Kou states:

"As there is still demand for a 4-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line. Because the iPhone 5s is more popular than the iPhone 5c, we think Apple is likely to launch an upgraded iPhone 5s. We predict Apple will mass-produce this new 4-inch iPhone in 1H16 with metal casings. In order to make the current iOS 9 or next-generation iOS 10 run smoothly, Apple may adopt an A9 chip for this new phone."

Whether or not this new 4-inch iPhone is an updated iPhone 5 or a rebranded iPhone 7c – the iPhone 6s could see significant competition from iPhones on all sizes of the display spectrum.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Raspberry Pi Zero: The $5 computer has arrived

The Raspberry Pi Zero has the same computing capabilities as the original Raspberry Pi, minus some of the ports.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hit rock bottom. After years of working to lower the cost of hobbyist and educational computing, founder Eben Upton says it can go no further: at just $5 its latest creation is as cheap is it can make a computer.

The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero follows on from the wildly successful Raspberry Pi A, B and 2 computers, which cost $20 to $35.

But despite the staggeringly low price, it still has many of the same features, and runs about 40 percent faster than the Raspberry Pi 1.

At the heart of its 65 x 30 millimeter circuit board is a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, the same as in the Raspberry Pi 1, with a 1GHz ARM11 core. The board holds 512MB of RAM, and the operating system is loaded from micro-SD card.

There's a mini-HDMI socket for 1080p video output, and micro-USB sockets for data and power.

The board is as expandable as its predecessors: Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself.

In comparison, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has additional memory, a quad-core processor, audio in/out, three additional USB ports, and direct connections for a camera and a display.