Analyst rumor: iPhone 8 ‘function area’ to replace home button

While we’re still months away from finding out exactly what’s what with any new iPhone, the rumor mill is already running at full tilt. Following up on earlier reports of a 5.8-inch edgeless OLED screened device arriving as the “iPhone 8,” well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is telling investors more about what its home button-less front screen could be like.The analyst notes that this presumed OLED iPhone with its $1,000+ pricetag will be similar in size to the current 4.7-inch iPhone. However, instead of the home button, it will include a “function area” that can also display controls for video or games.

That would keep it matched in style with the recently-released MacBook Pros and their OLED TouchBar, and, the analyst says, reduce the screen size used for everything else to about 5.15-inches. Last year the New York Times reported that the next iPhone would ditch the home button for virtual buttons built into the screen, and this rumor explains how all that could work. Losing the home button could indicate a lack of TouchID, which could be replaced by a fingerprint reader embedded in the display itself, or other biometric technology like face recognition.

Minimalist ice landscape wallpapers

While the southern states are experiencing unusually warm winter months, the north is still getting slammed by snow storms. Whether you are wishing for snow, wishing you weren’t shoveling snow, or just wishing to enjoy the beauty of a white washed landscape, these minimalist icy wallpapers will promote the season.

Part of our Wallpapers of the Week section, this new cold collection is perfect for a Lock or Home screen.

Ice landscapes

Download: Apple WatchiPhoneiPad5K desktop

 

Hands-on with Elago’s $15 Macintosh-inspired W3 Apple Watch Stand

Since the Apple Watch was first unveiled, accessory makers flooded the market with third-party add-ons. From watch bands to docks, the options are nearly endless, yet Elago has managed to standout from the competition with its W3 Stand that looks like a vintage Macintosh 128K.

By leveraging Nightstand Mode on your Apple Watch, Elago is bringing back memories of the iconic Mac. And at $15, it’s affordable too…

Design

I’m just going to get right to it, for an Apple aficionado, this is about as good as it gets. Elago has done an excellent job of blending throwback design cues with modern day functionality.

The W3 is made from scratch-free silicone which provides an extra smooth texture which is ideal for docking your Apple Watch at the end of the day. This is a wise choice on Elago’s part, as the display slides between two pieces of material but the glass is not threatened to be damaged.

The vintage looks are spot-on. There is a small diskette drive on the front and Nighstand Mode’s green coloring matches the 1984 look perfectly. Elago offers both white and black versions of the W3 dock, so you can mix as needed. The white version certainly matches the vintage look and feel but its counterpart certainly looks sleek on a nightstand, as well.

Video

Roundup: A Look at Various iPhone 8 Concepts and Mockups – Mac Rumors

With rumors suggesting the 2017 iPhone 8 is going to introduce some of the most radical design changes we’ve seen to the iPhone since 2014, a number of artists have been making conceptual mockups based on current rumors floating around.

Many of the mockups imagine fanciful ideas that Apple is unlikely to implement, but they also adopt the edge-to-edge display with built-in Home button, OLED screen, wireless charging, and glass body ideas that are being bandied about, giving an interesting look at how iPhone 8 rumors are being interpreted.

The first conceptual design was created by Thadeu Brandão and has been getting a lot of attention over the last couple of days. The mockup features an iPhone with a larger edge-to-edge display, dual cameras, and a glass front and back surrounded by an aluminum frame, and a physical home button built into the screen at the bottom of the device, which we are not expecting for the iPhone 8.

It has an Android-style home bar or “Touch Bar” with controls that change contextually based on the app, an inclusion that is not rumored for the device at this time. Brandão has also shared several iPhone 8 mockups on his website, showing off his design in more detail.


A concept created by Veniamin Geskin and Ran Avni imagines several iterations of the iPhone 8, with a display that extends to the edges of the screen but leaves top and bottom bezels, and another that curves down the edges of the device. Apple Watch-style inductive charging is pictured, as is a variation with a top bezel and no bottom bezel.

An iPhone 8 concept created by iDrop News is fairly true to the rumors we’ve heard so far, featuring an ultra thin device with a bezel-free OLED display, an all-white glass body, no Home button, and iris scanning technology.


Imran Taylor’s iPhone 8 mockup, created alongside ConceptsiPhone, imagines a ceramic body (unlikely due to cost), a 5.8-inch curved OLED display, a touch sensitive lower bezel, and wireless charging through a Smart Connector. It includes thick bezels at the top and bottom along with a Touch ID Home button, two features that don’t quite align with the rumors we’re hearing right now.

Swiss site Handy Abovergleich imagines a bubbly iPhone 8 with more rounded edges and a glass body sandwiched between an aluminum frame. A Touch ID Home button is under the display and is accompanied by an Android-style home bar, an iris scanner is built in, and Apple Pencil support is included. It also features USB-C instead of Lightning, a change Apple probably isn’t going to make.


The last concept comes from designer Moe Slah, and has an interesting look at how some apps could potentially look on a device that has an edge-to-edge display.

Apple is expected to introduce the redesigned iPhone 8 in September, its usual timeframe for introducing new devices. Up to three models may debut, including the flagship ~5-inch OLED device with an edge-to-edge display that’s pictured in all of the mockups and standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch models that may have a design closer to the iPhone 7.

iPhone 7 Plus is Most Popular ‘Plus’ Model Apple Has Released

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, released in September of 2016 alongside the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone 7, is the most popular “Plus” model Apple has released, outselling the 2014 iPhone 6 Plus and the 2015 iPhone 6s Plus.

Apple’s Plus lineup has always had differentiating factors compared to the smaller iPhones Apple offers, but in the iPhone 7 Plus, the dual camera appears to have been particularly popular with customers. The iPhone 7 Plus features both a standard wide-angle lens and a 56mm telephoto lens, which can be used to improve photos.

iphone-7-plus-colors
It also features a “Portrait” mode that’s used with the 56mm lens to create high-quality DSLR-style images with blurred backgrounds to highlight subjects, a unique function that may have drawn more interest.

Customers may also be getting used to the larger form factor in general. In 2014, with the switch to the 4.7 and 5.5-inch sizes, going from the 4-inch iPhone 5 line to the 5.5-inch size was a huge jump, but with two years to adjust to the new display sizes, it’s not such a leap.

Cook said that Apple had underestimated demand for the iPhone 7 Plus, leading to supply and demand issues with the device that impacted sales. Despite that, Apple saw record iPhone sales during the quarter, selling a total of 78.3 million iPhones.

Wallpapers of the week: the Vellum starter pack

The Wallpapers of the Week section strives to bring photo quality images to your devices, week-over-week. Many times, the post includes a curated section of images bounced around the Internet. However, sometimes things are a bit more strategic and come from a tip, thanks to our readers.

Vellum wallpapers

DownloadiPhone

DownloadiPhone

DownloadiPhone

DownloadiPhone

 

iPhone 8 May Use Apple’s In-House Inductive Wireless Charging Rather Than Technology From Energous – Mac Rumors

Over the course of the last year, there has been ongoing speculation that wireless charging company Energous has inked a deal with Apple and could potentially provide wireless charging technology for the upcoming iPhone 8.

While Energous CEO Steve Rizzone has continually hinted that his company has established an agreement with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world,” leading people to believe the partner is Apple, a new investor’s note from Copperfield Research outlines why Apple has no plans to use Energous’ WattUp radio frequency-based wireless charging solution.

Copperfield Research examined multiple inductive charging patent applications filed by Apple starting in 2013, which now number more than a dozen, suggesting the patents are a clear indication of Apple’s desire to pursue its own in-house inductive charging solutions for future products. Inductive charging, widely used today, relies on magnetic coils to provide power rather than radio waves.

inductivechargingpatent

An image from an Apple patent covering inductive charging

The patents by themselves are not a clear indication of Apple’s plans, but in one patent filed in 2011, Apple makes its feelings on radio frequency-based charging clear, calling it “very inefficient,” “not practical,” and potentially hazardous. In the interest of full disclosure, however, the patent was filed before any prospective relationship with Energous.

However, this type of radiative transfer is very inefficient because only a tiny portion of the supplied or radiated power, namely, that portion in the direction of, and overlapping with, the receiver is picked up. The vast majority of the power is radiated away in all the other directions and lost in free space. Such inefficient power transfer may be acceptable for data transmission, but is not practical for transferring useful amounts of electrical energy for the purpose of doing work, such as for charging electrical devices. […]

In addition, such schemes may pose hazards to objects or people that cross or intersect the beam when modest to high amounts of power are being transmitted.

Furthermore, Copperfield Research suggests both rumored design decisions and recent news that Apple has partnered with Lite-On Semiconductor for wireless charging bridge rectifiers are indications of Apple’s plan to use inductive charging.

Bridge rectifiers, explains Copperfield Research, are used to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), a component needed for inductive charging and one that would not be necessary should Apple be relying on an all-in-one module from Energous.

Apple’s rumored decision to use a glass body also reportedly points towards inductive charging. A glass body would not be required for RF-based wireless charging technology, but is needed for an inductive charging solution.

Adding further credence to Apple’s inductive charging roadmap are the consistent leaks from Asian sources that the next iPhone will feature glass casing. Inductive charging does not penetrate aluminum cases effectively, which is the material for the current iPhone casing. One reason Samsung adopted plastic material for its cases is to improve the performance of wireless charging.

A major misperception among tech blogs and WATT investors is that Apple’s switch to a glass casing somehow confirms the inclusion of WATT’s charging technology. This is ridiculous. The efficacy of RF wireless charging (WATT’s technology) is not affected by aluminum or plastic cases.

Many of Apple’s inductive charging patents outline the improvements Apple has made in the field over the course of the last few years and give hints as to how wireless charging could work if Apple is indeed developing an in-house inductive charging solution for the iPhone 8.

Patents point towards multiple objects that could provide power, such as a table top with a charging coil built in, a desktop charging station, or even a desktop or notebook computer, which could be used to provide power to an iPhone or iPad. Devices could even share power between one another, suggesting a fully charged iPad could charge an iPhone, or vice versa.

inductivechargingpatent2

An image from an Apple patent covering inductive charging

Copperfield Research does believe that Apple had a partnership with Energous that gave the Cupertino-based company a way to research radio frequency-based charging without shelling out cash, but concludes that there is an “overwhelmingly conclusive mosaic” suggesting Apple will use in-house inductive charging for the iPhone 8.

Copperfield Research is made up of an anonymous group of researchers that have shorted Watt’s stock and may not be entirely impartial, but the evidence they have presented makes a compelling argument for the use of an in-house inductive charging solution rather than a partnership with Energous.

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