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

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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.

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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.

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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.

iPhone 8 concept images imagine rumored stainless steel sides – with curved glass edges

With a succession of reports suggesting that Apple is abandoning its aluminum casing in favor of a return to a glass and stainless steel design for this year’s iPhone, a new concept image gives another take on how this might look.

KGI first reported that Apple was working on a design with glass back, with later reports from Foxconnglass suppliers – and a more recent report suggesting an iPhone 4-style flat-sided stainless steel band. When we ran a poll on this, the majority of you liked the idea, but suggested that flat sides with curved edges would be ideal, and that’s what we see in this latest concept … 

The concept by Imran Taylor has a slim stainless steel band connecting tapered glass edges at both front and rear of the phone, suggesting something that may be more comfortable to hold in the larger sizes of current iPhones.

Apple last used a flat-sided stainless steel band with glass back design in the iPhone 4s, though the iPhone SE adopts a similar shape in aluminum.

The rear of the phone shows the glass back with a vertical dual-camera arrangement that has also been suggested. It additionally shows an iPad Pro-style Smart Connector that has not been rumored.

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Additional images show the same design in gold, rose gold and silver.

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There’s also a video (with terrible soundtrack), though this combines the latest images with an older concept featuring a weird dual display that has obviously been superseded by current expectations of a Home button embedded into the display itself.

What do you think of the basic design? Would this mix of flat-sided stainless steel merging into curved glass edges meet concerns about comfort when holding the phone? As ever, let us know your views in the comments.

Wallpapers of the week: cityscape

The Wallpapers of the Week section compiles photo quality images for your favorite iOS devices. This week, a small collection of cityscapes graces the wallpaper collection.

While nature is certainly beautiful, our concrete and steel masterpieces also have a beauty of their own. Step inside for the latest wallpaper downloads.

City wallpaper

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Second-Generation Apple Pencil Rumored for March of 2017

Apple may be planning to introduce a second-generation Apple Pencil this year, according to rumors out of the Asian supply chain. The new Apple Pencil could be unveiled at an event rumored to take place in March, where it would be shown off along with the next-generation iPad Pro.

Prospective features for a second-generation Apple Pencil aren’t known, but a previous report from Bloomberg has suggested Apple is considering new iPad capabilities that would let the Apple Pencil to work in a larger range of apps, which could be introduced alongside the new accessory.

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There’s also been some speculation that Apple could build in functionality outlined in several patents, including new antenna technology and a magnet that would allow the Apple Pencil to attach to an iPad’s body when not in use.

While we don’t yet have any concrete detail on what could potentially be included in a second-generation Apple Pencil, given the major changes expected to be introduced to the iPad Pro lineup, it makes some sense for Apple to unveil an updated pencil accessory.

Rumors suggest Apple will introduce a new iPad Pro model somewhere around 10 inches with an almost bezel-free design. Though the rumored iPad will use a larger 10-inch+ display, it’s said to be the same size as the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Features like Touch IDwould reportedly be built into the display, much like the rumored iPhone 8, and it is expected to include improved display technology and an upgraded A10X processor.

iPhone 8 May Include Facial and Gesture Recognition

The next-generation iPhone 8, set to debut this September, could include facial or gesture recognition technology, according to Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri. The facial recognition capabilities could be powered by a laser sensor and an infrared sensor located near the front-facing camera.

We’ve previously heard rumors suggesting the iPhone 8 could include advanced biometric features like facial recognition or iris scanning, both from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chu Kuo and from details sourced from the Asian supply chain.

With facial recognition, Apple could replace the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone or augment its functionality with a two-factor verification system for sensitive information. In this scenario, unlocking the iPhone would require users to scan their faces, something that would increase security on iOS devices.

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Facial recognition could also power other features on the phone, like augmented reality camera functions, and while gesture recognition is a new rumor, it could allow users to control their devices with simple gestures for doing things like turning volume up or down.

Capabilities like gesture control and facial recognition are also some of the first steps towards a rich augmented reality experience, something Apple is rumored to be working on.

Arcuri also reiterates several rumors we’ve previously heard. He believes Apple will launch a total of three iPhones, the standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch models and a new higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone with an OLED display.

The 5.8-inch iPhone, he says, will feature a wraparound display and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that is located under the glass, a technology Apple has been pursuing for some time. Wireless charging, a much-rumored and highly desired feature, is also expected.

Today’s report from Timothy Arcuri covers many rumors that have been circulating for a few months, which is similar to much of the information that comes from the analyst. Cowen and Company has something of a mixed track record, but accurately predicted some iPhone 7 features.

This Macintosh-inspired $15 Apple Watch stand could be the cutest one yet

We spotted what could win the award for the cutest Apple Watch stand yet, the Elago W3. Just insert your own charging puck and slip your Watch into the slot to turn it into a miniature replica of the original Macintosh.

 

The stand emulates the general shape of the Macintosh from the side as well as the front, though it is angled back for easier Nightstand viewing.

It’s made from soft silicon, so there should be no risk of scratching the Watch and it ought to stay put well on your bedside table. I think I need one of these.

The Elago W3 stand costs $14.99 from Amazon.