Siri, are you scanning me? Apple’s answer to Echo could include camera – CNET

A new report claims that Apple’s rumored competitor to the Amazon Echo connected speaker might be launched in the form of a revamped Apple TV box.

Apple TV

The Information first reported the rumors of Apple developing a Siri-powered device similar to the Amazon Echo. However, a new report from Venture Beat claims that Apple’s efforts may take on the form of an already familiar product:

The company will build on its enhancements to the Apple TV announced last year, which brought the Siri virtual assistant to the set-top box. A new version of the Apple TV will solve problems with the existing box and remote control, a source familiar with the matter claims. They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything,” the source told VentureBeat.

Venture Beat also echoed rumors that Apple will release a software development kit (SDK) that will allow third-party apps to access Siri.

New software brings 3D Touch to any smartphone

ForcePhone makes Androids pressure-sensitive.

You don’t need a pressure-sensitive display or fancy sensors to take advantage of the 3D Touch features on the iPhone 6s. Engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a way to bring 3D Touch to any smartphone using incredibly clever software.

Pressure-sensitive displays haven’t really taken off like many of us (including me) thought they would. I’m a huge fan of 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s, and I didn’t think it would take long for the likes of Samsung to copy it. But very few are showing an interest.

That could be because pressure-sensitive displays aren’t easy to build. Apple says it took years to perfect the 3D Touch display, and that engineering the hardware behind it is incredibly difficult. That’s probably why it’s yet to make its way to the iPad.

It may also be one of the reasons why Apple’s rivals aren’t scrambling to copy 3D Touch, but thanks to some clever software, special hardware may not be necessary.

ForcePhone, a technology developed by the University of Michigan, can allow any smartphone to detect pressure applied to its display, and even to its sides. It does this by using the built-in microphone and speaker in exciting new ways.

ForcePhone can be installed on any smartphone, according to its creators, and a demo version will be available in June. It will likely be need to baked into an operating system to provide the same features 3D Touch does on iPhone, but it will be interesting to see where this goes

Insane mod turns your Raspberry Pi into a tiny Apple III


You can pick up some pretty snazzy cases for your Raspberry Pi, but none of them beat this insane Apple III mod. Built using drawings of the real thing and a 3D printer, it looks almost identical to Apple’s machine, only smaller.


The Apple III made its debut way back in May 1980 with a 2MHz Synertek processor and 128KB of RAM. Its launch was plagued by stability issues that meant over 14,000 units had to be recalled, and just four years later, the machine was discontinued.

Apple sold less than 75,000 units during that time, so it’s incredibly difficult to find an Apple III today. But if you have fond memories of the machine, you can build a tiny replica that will lovingly house your Raspberry Pi.

Charles Mangin shows us how in the YouTube video below. He starts by drawing things up in iDraw, then made 3D models in Autodesk 123D. The model was then send to a 3D printer to be created before the paint and finishing touches were applied.

This obviously isn’t the easy Raspberry Pi case mod, but for long-time Apple fans, it has to be the coolest. You’re certainly not going to bump into anyone else whose Pi looks as good as this.

Apple iPhone 7 Leaks: 2 Conflicting Reports Question Final Smartphone Form

Apple iPhone 7 Leaks: 2 Conflicting Reports Question Final Smartphone Form

As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tries in vain to keep its activities private behind closed doors of its top secret lab, another report has now surfaced about the upcoming iPhone 7. The tech giant is expected to launch its next-gen smartphone in fall, in line with its years-old tradition. An unusual leak now shows some changes in the device that weren’t previously known or even rumored.

An Italian manufacturer of iPhone accessories showed a possible design for the iPhone 7 chassis, via the French language newspaper NowhereElse. The case maker’s design indicates that the next iPhone would house four speakers, rather than two, as well as a novel layout for the main or rear camera and flash, in addition to the larger hole for a bigger aperture. There are two speaker grilles at the bottom of the case and two similar grilles at the top; the latter part is what’s innovative here.

This report isn’t in line with the previous reports on the iPhone 7 suggesting an identical design to the latest high-end iPhone 6s models. The latest report shows the relocation of the flash, which no one saw coming up until now; the larger camera hole, however, has been discussed in previous leaks. The case doesn’t possess a hole for the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack that many rumors suggested was going away; the iPhone 7 will rely on wireless Bluetooth earphones and the new Lightning port connector for audio output.

The iPhone 7 case seems to be made for the 4.7-inch version shown in the image, while the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus is expected to house dual camera-lens technology — something completely novel in the iPhone series. The rumored dual camera would combine images from independent sensors, through advanced software techniques, to produce better results. While the dual camera upgrade seems more interesting, the larger aperture in the iPhone 7 models would represent a considerable upgrade for both devices from their predecessors. The dual camera is likely planned for the larger smartphone due to the abundance of physical space to integrate the necessary components.

While the credibility of this leak can be questioned, as it doesn’t fit in with previous rumors, it could be true. Although stereo speakers coming to the iPhone 7’s bottom side had been speculated upon previously, four speakers sound excessive for a smartphone; the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices have four speakers each to yield better output, but the innovation seems better for tablets theoretically.

Keeping the quad-speaker theory aside, another image has surfaced from Weibo that depicts a different camera design for the iPhone 7; the photo looks more credible than that of a case or a mockup. The next Apple smartphone will apparently have a new rear camera that would protrude outward and be located closer to the corner. The camera hole seems to be a bit larger than that of the current iPhone 6s model. In both reports, the only overlapping information is that the iPhone 7 will see a change in its camera design and technology with enhanced photo and video quality results.

The image from Weibo also shows a redesign of antennae lines on the iPhone 7 body’s rear end. In place of two rectangles traced around the rear end of the device, several leaks have recently shown the antennae lines located at the very edges. This design looks neater than the excessive horizontal strips observed in the iPhone 6 and 6s models. It also shows screen cable and related components that can be distinguished from the parts in the iPhone 6s.

Ming-Chi Kuo, the high-profile Apple expert from KGI Securities, recently published a report about the upcoming iPhones. He said that while the company will overhaul the iPhone in 2017 fall with an all-glass body by replacing the physical home button with a digital one, the high-end iPhone of 2016 won’t see too many changes relative to its predecessors. Meanwhile, there have been reports of the next iPhone being made completely waterproof and dustproof.

Additionally, the 2016 September iPhone refresh will focus more on internal upgrades such as CPU, graphics performance, and camera. Neither of the reports from the Italian case maker and Weibo depicts a substantial change in the device’s chassis; instead, they focus on its camera and speakers.

As demand for iPhones slows down, the next-gen iPhone in September will be expected to come up with something out-of-the-box to reignite the widespread anticipation for the product that drives most of Apple’s business. For the March quarter, the company reported its first year-over-year (YoY) drop in iPhone sales and its first YoY revenue decline in 13 years. The iPhone maker must have a trick or two up its sleeve or it can kiss its iPhone business goodbye.

New iPhone 7 schematic images show dual-camera exclusive to Plus model, no Smart Connector

Over the weekend we saw a trio of iPhone 7 leaks showing the redesigned antenna lines, dual-camera module, speaker grilles, and a new 256GB storage chip. Now, HDBlog has uncovered a new set of images from Chinese web forum Baidu claiming to show schematics for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The images show the dual-camera being exclusive to the larger model, while Smart Connector holes are nowhere to be seen.


The images show molds of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7  Plus next to one another. As you can see in the images, the dual-camera set up that has been previously reported on appears to be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus. The 4.7-inch model, however, will still likely see camera upgrades thanks to a larger camera module.

Furthermore, holes for the Smart Connector are nowhere to be found on the larger iPhone 7 Plus. In the past, we’ve seen claimed images of the device with Smart Connector holes. A report from last week out of Japan claimed that the iPhone 7 didn’t support the Smart Connector like previously rumored either, as did a report from earlier this month. While it’s possible that the Smart Connector holes could be added at a later date, it’s looking more and more likely that the initial reports that claimed the iPhone 7 Plus would support the feature were inaccurate.

This weekend a new component leak showed the dual-camera module for the iPhone 7 Plus, as well as a new 256GB storage option. That report suggested that the storage lineup would be 16GB/64GB/128GB for the Plus model this year. Additionally, another leak showed a total of four speaker grilles, much like the recent iPad Pro models. Finally, a set of images this weekend claimed to show the iPhone 7’s redesigned antenna lines, screen cables, and a protruding camera.

While discussing rumors is fun, Apple is expected to officially announce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this fall. We’ll likely see software updates unveiled at next month’s WWDC, but iOS hardware announcements are generally saved for the fall. So until then, settle in for a few more months of rumors.

Wallpapers of the week: Satellite imagery

WLPPR satellite image wallpaper splash

Natural beauty is a thing to behold. In this week’s post, we highlight satellite images of Earth. Gathering photos from NASA, ESA, and EROSC, the images are perfectly formatted for iPhone and a great addition for your Lock or Home screen.

These images were taken from the WLPPR app, which hosts a vast collection of similar photographs, all gathered from our solar system. Step inside for an immediate download.

Satellite wallpapers

Colorful Naukluft iPhone Wallpaper WLPPR

Download above, “Colorful Naukluft:” iPhone

According to the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, in the following image, white clouds cast ebony shadows on Rub’ al Khali, or Empty Quarter, between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Rub’ al Khali is the largest desert of its type in the world.

Empty Quarter iPhone Wallpaper WLPPR

Download above, “Empty Quarter:” iPhone

According to NASA, astronaut Kjell Lindgren took the following photograph on November 11, 2015 while visiting the International Space Station. The image location is in Oman, approximately 20km to the west-northwest of Hamra Al Drooa.

Fingerprints of Water on the Sand iPhone Wallpaper WLPPR

Download above, “Fingerprints of Water on the Sand:” iPhone

According to NASA, astronaut Jeff Williams took the following image of the Australian coast on March 29, 2016, from the International Space Station.

Earth Art in Northwestern Australia iPhone Wallpaper WLPPR

Download above, “Earth Art in Northwestern Australia:” iPhone

WLPPR re-post

Satellite images wallpaper splash

Apple releases iTunes 12.4 with interface and navigation changes

In addition to releasing software updates across iOS, Mac, and watchOS, Apple today has released an update to iTunes. The update brings iTunes to version 12.4 and includes the design tweaks that were initially rumored earlier this month.

iTunes 12.4 introduces a variety of interface tweaks that Apple says make it easier to navigate the app and switch between different kinds of content. First off, there’s a new media picker that allows users to quickly switch between Music, Movies, TV shows, and more.

Perhaps most notably, there’s a persistent sidebar reminiscent of the old days of iTunes. This interface tweak makes it easier to switch between different categories of content, such as recently added, artists, albums, songs, and genres, Apple says.

The new sidebar also makes it easier to build and adjust Playlists, allowing you to easily drag and drop songs into Playlists. You can also edit the sidebar to show only your preferred views.

As expected, the Menus interface has also been simplified. You can use the View menu to customize your Library or to act on specific items now.

A refreshed version of iTunes has been in the pipeline since Eddy Cue teased it in February of this year, and while this isn’t the major overhaul many people have been hoping for, it’s better than nothing.

You can update to the latest version of iTunes by selecting the “Check for updates” option in the Menu bar. At this point it’s unclear if the update fixes the bug that was causing personal music files to be deleted.

Now enjoy all of your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more in a simpler design.

Navigation. Now you can use Back and Forward buttons as you navigate between your Library, Apple Music, iTunes Store, and more.

Media Picker. Easily switch between Music, Movies, TV shows and more–and Edit to choose just the items you want.

Library and Playlists. Use Sidebar to view your Library in new ways. Drag and drop songs to easily add them to Playlists. And Edit Sidebar to show only your favorite views.

Menus. Menus in iTunes are now simpler and easier to use. Use the View menu to customize your Library or try context menus to act on specific items.

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