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Apple Pay with Express Transit arrives at Penn Station in New York City

 

New York’s Metro Transportation Authority continued a planned rollout of its Apple Pay Express Transit-compatible One Metro New York, or OMNY, system on Wednesday, expanding support to the busy hub at 34th St.-Penn Station.

MTA OMNY

Source: MTA

Announced in a press release, the new OMNY availability is part of the MTA’s ongoing efforts to modernize its payment network.

A total of 96 OMNY readers at 18 turnstile arrays serving the A, C, E and 1, 2, 3 subway lines now accept Apple Pay and touchless payment solutions from American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa. Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Fitbit Pay are also accepted.

With OMNY, riders simply tap their compatible contactless card or device like iPhone and Apple Watch on an active turnstile to payment point to enter subway stations or MTA-run buses. Additionally, support for Express Transit means iPhone and Apple Watch users can conduct touchless terminal transactions without unlocking or waking their device.

By the end of December, OMNY is slated to go live at 85 subway stations across NYC, all MTA-operated buses on Staten Island and two Staten Island Railway stations. A wide rollout to all subway stations and MTA buses is planned for completion by the end of 2020.

“Today is yet another momentous occasion in the continued rollout of OMNY, the MTA’s game-changing contactless fare payment system,” said Andy Byford, president, NYC Transit. “Penn Station is one of the system’s busiest subway stations and will allow hundreds of thousands of commuters the opportunity to tap and ride using a device or contactless card of their own choosing, including customers arriving on the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak, who connect with the subway system here at Penn Station. Chase, Visa and other partners have done an immense amount of work to help spread the word about OMNY and we’re thankful for their support.”

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode first debuted at a handful of NYC subway stations and buses in May. For now, OMNY offers a flat-fare, pay-per-ride option, though alternative fare products like passes are expected for availability in 2020.

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X-ray shows how the iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case camera button works

 

Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 has a slightly refined design to add the dedicated camera button, x-ray images of the case reveals, with the accessory including an extra circuit board to add extra hardware controls to the smartphone.

[via iFixit and Creative Electron]

[via iFixit and Creative Electron]

Apple launched a new set of Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max on November 20, with the accessory updated with a larger camera cutout and a new camera button while maintaining the well-known battery hump design. Chiefly, the case is to protect the iPhone while also offering up to 50% more battery life, but this generation introduces the camera button for the first time.

A series of x-rays hosted by iFixit and performed by Creative Electron shows there are a few internal changes to the Smart Battery Case to accommodate the new button, both to position it and to connect it to the iPhone.

A small circuit board is embedded inside the case between the two battery cells and the Lightning port. The board is used as the conduit for connections of other components, including the induction charging coil and the batteries via wires, while a thin flexible circuit runs to the button.

The addition of a button is an interesting choice for Apple, as previously users had the ability to use the volume buttons to trigger the shutter instead of tapping the display. However, the orientation of the camera in relation to the volume button, which would be on the bottom edge if the iPhone is held in a typical landscape fashion, makes it harder to press, and can occasionally cause unwary users to press the power button by mistake.

Aside from being ideally located for taking a photo with the right index finger firing the shutter, the new button is also slightly recessed, minimizing the chance of it being pressed while in a pocket or bag.

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Review: Apple’s iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case caters to shutterbugs

Apple has dropped its annual update to the Smart Battery Case to support the latest crop of iPhones, but this time it wasn’t just the camera cutout that changed —Apple also integrated a hardware shutter button.

Apple's updated Smart Battery Case

Apple’s updated Smart Battery Case

More battery life for your iPhone

Made from the elastomer as Apple’s silicone case, the Smart Battery Case has a soft, but grippy external texture. The inside is lined with microfiber to coddle your iPhone and prevent scratches and soften inadvertent drops.

Apple's iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case is lined with microfiber and connects via Lightning

Apple’s iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case is lined with microfiber and connects via Lightning

To adorn the case, the top, flexible portion bends backward where the iPhone can be slid into place into the hardened lower portion. At the bottom of the case is a Lightning connector that fits perfectly into the bottom of the iPhone.

This differs from some third-party battery cases such as that from Mophie that connects to your iPhone wirelessly rather than through the Lightning connector.

This is a large differentiator that many don’t realize. When a case such as the Mophie Access is turned on and starts to charge the phone, the phone thinks it is connected to stable, wall power and not a mobile case. That causes more power-intensive tasks to kick in.

With Apple developing the case, phone, and software, it is able to properly optimize all three to get the most battery life possible. When the case is connected, the phone understands that it is a battery case and not wall power so it holds off on power-intensive tasks.

That’s why Apple is able to get a good amount of battery life out of such a compact case. Apple says users should expect up to 50% longer battery life when using the Smart Battery Case with their iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. That’s excellent considering the already stellar battery life the iPhone 11 line achieves.

A Lightning port is on the bottom of the Smart Battery Case

A Lightning port is on the bottom of the Smart Battery Case

There have been a few battery cases in the past that connected over Lightning instead of just wirelessly charging the phone, but in doing so they prevent any data from working over the port due to strict MFi restrictions. Apple doesn’t have these hurdles and allows you to use the Lightning port as normal —including utilizing CarPlay or Lightning headphones.

The Apple Smart Battery Case charges also over Qi

The Apple Smart Battery Case charges also over Qi

Of course, the case can also be charged wirelessly on a Qi charging pad or fast-charged with a USB-C to Lightning cable. Battery life can be ascertained any time charging commences, or by heading into the Battery widget of Notification Center. Or, ask Siri.

New functionality

What is most notable this time around, is Apple has also added a new dedicated hardware camera button. This new button will not only launch the camera app whenever pressed but also acts as a shutter button.

The new dedicated camera button on the Smart Battery Case

The new dedicated camera button on the Smart Battery Case

In our testing, it is quite a bit faster than waking the phone and using Haptic Touch (or a swipe) to enable the camera. Precious moments saved could be crucial to catching your precious moment.

The button is well-positioned so that when the phone is held horizontally with the cameras on the top, the shutter button is just below your right index finger —as it would be on a traditional point-and-shoot camera.

Should you buy it?

iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case in black

iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case in black

This year, iPhones have the longest rated battery lives to date. This makes the prospect of a dedicated battery case a tougher sell than in years past.

That’s why Apple needed to go further with the addition of the camera button. To some, it may come off as a non-consequential addition, but for many —likely the same ones who saw the camera on the iPhone 11 line as a worthwhile reason to upgrade —it will be a well-received update.

If you find yourself regularly needing additional battery life to make it through the day or through a weekend, Apple’s own Smart Battery Case is the best available.

Pros

  • Well-optimized battery and software
  • Up to an additional 50% battery life
  • Durable design
  • Dedicated camera button
  • Strong iOS integration
  • Full Lightning port access

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Silicone is the only exterior material option
  • Limited colorways

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

You can grab the new Apple Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max now from B&H Photo in pink sand, black, or white.

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Review: Tiger & Rose wireless earbuds are super comfortable and super stylish

We got to check out some truly one-of-a-kind wireless earbuds that feature all-day battery life to see if they’re a must add to our collection.

Tiger & Rose earbuds

Tiger & Rose have created a pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds for those with a wild side. They’re panther-shaped, boast touch controls, and feature Bluetooth 5 for superior connectivity and stability. For all-day listeners, they also get an impressive 30 hours of playtime with the included charging case.

If you’re interested in finding out how they performed, here’s how we felt they held up in our time with them.

Style & features

Earbuds on box

The creators bill the Tiger & Rose earbuds as “the most stylish truly wireless earbuds,” and I’d have to agree that they’re definitely high on the list. They describe them as having a panther design, though I’d say they look startlingly similar to my college alma mater’s mascot.

Either way, the design of the Tiger & Rose earbuds is unlike anything I’ve seen, and since wearing them in public a few times, people have taken quite a bit of notice. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from people who actually did ask if they were Penn State related —which they’re not.

In terms of features, the Tiger & Rose earbuds have simple touch controls that make them convenient for times when grabbing your phone simply isn’t going to be possible.

Tapping once on the front of the earbud will play or pause your music. A double tap on the left earbud will advance to the next song, while a double tap on the right will switch to the previous one —it’s notable that this is opposite of most other earbuds. A long press will activate Siri

In the event that you get phone call, a quick tap will answer it, while a long press will send it to voicemail.

As of right now, the current model of Tiger & Rose earbuds do not feature any volume control features.

Wireless charging case

It’s also worth mentioning that the Tiger & Rose earbuds comes in a charging case that can be charged wirelessly on any QI-compatible charging mat, or via USB-C. They feature 6 hours of play-time, with the case allowing you to charge them roughly five full times, for roughly 30 hours of play time before the case will need to be recharged. Both the earbuds and the case take about an hour and a half to charge fully if completely depleted.

Comfort & wear

Silicone earhook

As far as how comfortable these earbuds are, I was actually pretty surprised. They’re light weight, which means they don’t put any undue strain on my ears, even after long wear sessions. These earbuds are actually comfortable—considerably more comfortable than several other pair that I own. They also sit securely in the ear with the added benefit of a soft, silicone ear hooks. While I haven’t taken them to the gym yet, I’d imagine that they’d manage just fine on even fairly rigorous workouts.

There is a downside, though—because these earbuds sit so far outside of the ear canal, they are extremely easy to accidentally bump. If you’ve got long hair, you’ll probably knock one out if you try to pull your hair back. If you pull on a hood or pull a shirt over your head, you’ll probably snag an earbud, which I’ve learned can be somewhat painful. Since I’ve been wearing them for a bit over a week now, I’ve trained myself to be a bit more careful, but I still do accidentally snag or bump them.

Sound & performance

I found that pairing the Tiger & Rose earbuds was easy, it’s automatic and starts from the minute you open the case. They paired easily with both my iPhone 11 and my Mac mini.

The sound quality is about what you’d expect from a pair of mid-range headphones. I wasn’t blown away by the audio quality, but it wasn’t terrible. It seems to lack bass, which gives it somewhat of a less-full sound. Fortunately, the sound is still quite clear, meaning that it worked especially well for listening to podcasts.

Overall

The Tiger & Rose earbuds is a solid set of earbuds that are remarkably comfortable to wear, though the sound quality could be a little better. Overall, I think that if you’re in the market for something like this, it’s purely to catch the attention of others.

Where to buy

While not ready for public release yet, you can pre-order your own set of Tiger & Rose earbuds from Tiger & Rose’s Indiegogo. They come in white, black, rose gold, speckled, and Tiffany Blue, feature a pre-launch price of $59 (and are expected to retail at $129,) and are expected to ship in January of 2020.

    Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
    Cons

  • Lacks considerable bass
  • Can be easily snagged/bumped

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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New Olloclip lenses and cases enhance cameras on iPhone 11, Pro, Pro Max

 

The bolt-on lens manufacturer Olloclip has released a new range of protective cases and one-piece clip lenses for Apple’s latest iPhones, bringing them a new macro feature plus extra stability.

One of the new Olloclip lenses clipped to an iPhone

One of the new Olloclip lenses clipped to an iPhone

Long-time makers of extra lenses for the Apple iPhone and other smartphones, Olloclip has now updated its range to fit the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. These lenses clip on to the phone and provided extra photography and video features such as a macro zoom for what the company describes as like using a “digital microscope.”

“With the arrival of the iPhone 11 series and Samsung’s new S series, Olloclip is proud to continue innovating exciting solutions for mobile photographers who just want to shoot on their phones,” said CEO Jim Weisz.

“Olloclip’s unique unibody clips make attachment to the phone a breeze, and our precise engineering ensures that whatever lens is being used fits perfectly every time,” he continued.

Olloclip lenses on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Olloclip lenses on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

The company is selling two new types of case for each of the 2019 model iPhones. There’s a Classic Case which is clear with a black rim, and a Charcoal one with a darker finish. Both cost $39.99 direct from the maker.

The lenses are being sold both in kit collections and individually. On their own, lenses come in one of ten types from telephoto to ultrawide, and costing from $39.99 to $119.99. Users have to also buy a clip in order to add any of the lenses to their phones, and that retails for $29.99.

One of the new Olloclip protective cases for iPhone

One of the new Olloclip protective cases for iPhone

This clip is a new design especially for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The company says that it is redesigning its clip for the iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The reworked clip will let owners use the new lenses from some time in December.

Olloclip also says that it will be offering a series of three lens kits, although currently only the ElitePack and Macro ProPack are available on its site.

The former includes the new clip plus the macro lens and telephoto one for $129. The latter, the Macro ProPack, features a choice of clip plus all five macro lenses in a custom case for $199.99.

The third option is to be an Olloclip StartPack. For $79.99, it includes the telephoto lens, a Superwide Start lens and an Ultrawide Start Lens.

Most recently, Olloclip introduced a Pro and Intro version of its clip-on lenses and AppleInsider has previously recommended Olloclip for iPhone X as the best budget lens system.

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Review: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max one month later

Apple’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max were released just over a month ago. Here’s what all three of Apple’s newest iPhones are really like after intensive, daily, real-world use.

iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max

If you go by the specifications, or by what Apple championed at the launch of the new iPhones, you’ll know one of the biggest internal changes to the new phones is meant to be their performance. Running on the A13 Bionic, it is true that on paper there are serious performance gains from the iPhone XS line of 2018 to the 2019 iPhone 11 line. All three of the new phones come with the A13 Bionic and so have the same level of performance.

For now, however, the benefits are largely unnoticeable. The iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max never really felt slow, so after spending a month with the new iPhones, we truly did not see much of a difference in our day-to-day use.

We were, though, working with the beta of iOS 13 on our iPhone XS Max so we were used to the features, and the speed, of that operating system. So our perception is that the move to the 11 line wasn’t that big a jump in performance but you may notice more depending on which phone or iOS you’re coming from.

It would have been great to visibly see tremendous performance improvements, but we’re not disappointed that we haven’t. The performance of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max is very good right now —and we will see the differences later.

That’s because Apple designs iPhones to have long lifespans. What is shipping now with an A13 Bionic processor isn’t supposed to be an overnight improvement on the last model. Instead, it’s meant to be an improvement that we feel several years down the line when features and apps get more power-intensive and exploit the A13 Bionic more.

If we can’t say that the new 2019 iPhones are dramatically faster than the 2018 ones, we can certainly say that they are going to last longer as viable, up to date phones because of this new internal improvement.

The display and Haptic Touch

All of the 2019 iPhones have dropped support for 3D Touch in favor of Haptic Touch. We talked about this a while ago, but as heavy users of the old feature, the change is still on our mind.

If you had an iPhone XR then you already know what Haptic Touch feels like, but for those coming from an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, it’s gong to feel limited in comparison. It causes us plenty of frustration each day but we know that we must get used to it as it won’t be going back.

It’s true, though, that if everyone had loved and used 3D Touch, we might still have it. So, again, you may not feel the omission quite as strongly as we do.

Haptic Touch replaces 3D Touch on the new iPhones

All
Haptic Touch replaces 3D Touch on the new iPhones

We were much more pleased with the new Super Retina XDR OLED displays found on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max though.

They looked absolutely great and as we watched movies —and Apple TV+ —we saw a big improvement on HDR or Dolby Vision content. It is bright, vivid, and at times amazingly bright. For movie and TV lovers, this is huge.

Watching John Wick in Dolby Vision on an iPhone 11 Pro

Watching John Wick in Dolby Vision on an iPhone 11 Pro

Outside of watching movies and TV, though, we otherwise didn’t notice too much of a difference in the display. It felt and looked just like it did on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

The cameras

We seem to have spent the month qualifying our first impressions. The OLED displays are great, but only when you’re watching video. The performance improvement is true, but not noticeable in regular use.

Where we were blown away —and, crucially, continue to be —was with the cameras. These new shooters were better than we expected, and we have not become inured to them with use.

An example of an ultra-wide shot on the iPhone 11 Pro

An example of an ultra-wide shot on the iPhone 11 Pro

First, that ultra-wide lens. Intellectually, we understood what it could do as soon as Apple announced it, but that’s just not the same thing as having it in your hands and using it every day.

The ultra-wide lens is incredibly useful, far more than we had expected. That is greatly to do with how well the lens works, but Apple also nailed it with how they implemented using the feature in iOS 13’s Camera app. That app gives you the ability to see what was going on outside the frame when shooting with the standard wide lens.

Consequently, we’d be going to take a picture, see the Camera app’s display of what’s outside the frame, and realise that the wider view was what we needed for this particular epic shot like the one above.

You won’t use ultra-wide for every photo you take. These shots of ours are well stylized and simply aren’t right for every situation, but enough to be regularly used by us since getting the new phones.

An example of a night mode shot from the iPhone 11 Pro

An example of a night mode shot from the iPhone 11 Pro

Night mode was also handy, and again there is a huge difference between being told what it does and getting to see it in action yourself.

We’d take pictures in low-light situations expecting a certain outcome based on our previous iPhone usage. But we’d notice the iPhone 11 taking a few moments to capture and we’d see the night mode icon. When checking the image, it would be sharp, bright, and a departure from our old iPhone XS Max.

The shots are genuinely good and quite impressive. The above shot was taken with just a small amount of hallway light and yet the dogs —even the black one —came out with a lot of detail. More images have been hitting our camera roll since the addition of night mode.

We just have to train ourselves to try to get shots that we used to assume wouldn’t be possible.

A month in

Upgrading to a new iPhone is not a casual decision, not when they are expensive devices to buy. Nonetheless, we haven’t had one second where we regretted or even questioned updating to the iPhone 11 line.

That could have been true solely for the big elements like the ultra-wide lens and the Night Mode, because those were what we noticed and kept on noticing over and over again during the past month. Yet we did also appreciate many other small details.

Placing the phone on a wireless charger is faster, for instance, which means we don’t have to stare at the plate for a few seconds to ensure it’s working.

Then the 3D audio is impressive-sounding when using iPhone’s speakers. And the feel of the matte backs on the Pro and Pro Max feels and looks much better than the glossy ones of before.

Apple says that the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are the best iPhones yet. A month in, we don’t disagree at all.

Pros:
Super Retina XDR display (on iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max) is superb for watching video
The ultra-wide lens is not a gimmick or an occasionally useful extra, it’s a boon to photography
Night Mode works tremendously and changes when we can take photos

Cons:
While the performance specifications are better, we don’t see the difference in regular use yet. That’s going to take some time but they do mean that these iPhones will last longer than last year’s.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

How to save on Apple’s iPhone 11

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Wireless carriers are offering a variety of incentives, from trade-in bonuses to deals when you switch providers. Here’s a sampling of the current iPhone 11 promotions:

iPhone 11 deals

  • eBay: iPhone 11 devices starting at $669.
  • AT&T Wireless: Get up to $700 in bill credits with trade-in on a qualifying smartphone. Port-in and new line required. $500 in bill credits when you add a line without a port-in. Unlimited plan required.
  • Verizon Wireless: Switch to Verizon Wireless and get up to $700 with trade on Unlimited plan, plus free Echo Dot and Amazon Smart Plug.
  • Sprint: Lease the new iPhone 11 for just $11 per month. Or Lease an iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max and get a second iPhone 11 on Sprint via bill credits. See site for T&C.
  • T-Mobile: Get $580 off Apple’s iPhone 11 when you switch and trade in an eligible iPhone.
  • Walmart: Save up to $100 on the iPhone 11. Offer valid only on purchase with installment plan.
  • Visible: Get up to a $200 Prepaid Mastercard Virtual Account when you buy an iPhone 11 and bring your phone number to Visible. Plus get 0% financing, no money down, no upgrade fees, and free overnight shipping for well-qualified customers.
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Here’s why your iPhone may have received strange texts last night

 

A batch of text messages sent months ago were delivered to iPhones and other mobile devices in the United States early in the morning of November 7, with the mysterious message delivery most likely linked to the rollout of the recently-launched Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, a number of US mobile users discovered they were receiving text messages at an unusual time of day. The messages, which included both texts from companies and from people the recipients know, all appear to have been originally sent around the time of Valentine’s Day in February.

The messages were not limited by mobile device producer or operating system, which effectively rules out services like Apple’s iMessage that are limited to iOS devices like the iPhone. The affected users were also not limited to a specific carrier, with customers of all the major mobile networks in the US seemingly falling victim to the problem.

The out-of-context nature of the messages led to posts on Twitter and Reddit complaining about their occurrence, reports Popular Mechanics. As the messages seemed like they were legitimately sent by the sender, this caused some confusion between the two parties, and with many not necessarily keeping messaging logs that go as far back as February, many are left without the ability to check if the messages were originally received correctly.

While there is no official statement from any of the carriers explaining why the event took place, radio station 92 Moose advises U.S. Cellular confirmed there was an issue with an update to the Cross-Carrier Messaging System. According to the representative, the glitch affected several carriers, and is unlikely to result in any more messages from Valentine’s Day reappearing.

Some customers have also reported similar responses from the support teams of other carriers via social media.

Officially announced in October, the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative is based on GSMA’s Rich Communications Service industry standard to improve messages between customers on the different carriers. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all signed up for the venture, which aims to develop and deploy the interoperable messaging service in 2020, initially to Android devices.

CCMI is expected to enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high-quality pictures and videos, as well as to help customers interact with brands and perform transactions, such as paying bills or scheduling appointments. Most importantly, it aims to create a “single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers, both in the US and globally.”

Given the large number of people who would be affected by the system’s implementation, it seems likely Apple would have to include support for it in Messages in the future.

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‘iPhone SE 2’ could sell up to 30M units in 2020, says Ming-Chi Kuo

 

Apple is set to ship between 20 million and 30 million units of the ‘iPhone SE 2’ in calendar year 2020 following its launch, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts, with the successor to the iPhone SE thought to be using a motherboard similar to the SLP version used in the iPhone 11.

The original iPhone SE

The original iPhone SE

Rumors and speculation has Apple working to produce a follow-up to the popular iPhone SE. According to a research note from TF Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the tentatively-titled ‘iPhone SE 2‘ is expected to sell about the same volumes that the iPhone SE did at its launch.

Kuo believes the ‘iPhone SE 2’ will sell at least 20 million units in its first calendar year of availability. Given the potential popularity of the device, Kuo also offers an optimistic prediction of up to 30 million units, if all goes well for Apple, though this is if Apple does indeed launch the model in the first half of the year as anticipated.

The original iPhone SE sold in the region of 30 million units in the first year of availability, putting the second-generation version slightly behind the first. However, the ‘iPhone SE 2’ also has to compete against the iPhone 11 as the cheapest model of the current generation, as well as the iPhone XS and XR from last year, as well as a relatively mature iPhone market.

According to the note seen by AppleInsider, Kuo passed comment on some of the components expected to be used in the model. Kuo is expecting the use of a ten-layer Substrate-like PCB (SLP) for the motherboard, the same technology used by the iPhone 11’s version, albeit a cheaper version. It is believed the choice of motherboard will help some existing iPhone supply chain companies, including Pending Holdings, AT&S, and Xinxing, due to the use of SLP.

Earlier notes from Kuo suggested the iPhone SE sibling will cost $399 when it ships at the end of March, with mass production expected to start in January.

The model is predicted to include the same 4.7-inch display as the iPhone 8, as well as take some of its physical design, but combine it with the A13 processor used in the iPhone 11 series, along with 3 gigabytes of application RAM. The model is also thought to use an updated antenna design that uses Liquid Crystal Polymer, but the need to keep the price down also makes Kuo believe it will continue to use Touch ID and not Face ID.

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Apple’s brawny 5G iPhone family will require larger, pricey motherboards

 

Apple’s first 5G iPhones are expected to rip movies, emails and photos down from the cloud at record speeds but that won’t come without a price — at least for Apple, where some components required to support the new spec may run a premium of up to 35%.

Sample 5G tower installed on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood

Sample 5G tower installed on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood

In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Kuo believes that the main logic-board on the 2020 iPhone 5G will have to grow by about 10% in area to accommodate the new technologies. That increase in area will come with a cost —the board fabrication and some new antenna technology will force a 35% increase in cost to build that component.

The increase in the board size is related to heat dissipation from the 5G technology, and the circuitry related to connect to the new antenna technologies for 5G. This does not mean the entire phone will cost 35% more —but the motherboard of the iPhone is a significant cost. Larger expenses are the A-series processor that will be placed on that board, and the OLED screen expected to be mounted on the device.

Suppliers expected to benefit from the larger logicboard are Avary, EMC, and AT&S. All three are existing Apple suppliers.

At present, 5G options in shipping phones are adding about an additional $400 to the price of an already expensive flagship phone, like the Galaxy S10. It isn’t presently clear what impact the new technology will have on what appears to be an iPhone redesign with escalating construction costs from other components.

Kuo has previously said that the design will include a metal frame with a “more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection molding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection molding structure.” Kuo goes on to claim the “metal frame and front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design.”

Due to the changes, Kuo believes the cost of construction will increase for the metal frame by between 50% and 60%, while the glass case cost will go up between 40% and 50%. If tempered glass is used for the grooved cover, the metal middle frame and chassis cost could go up by 25% to 35% and 20% to 30% respectively.

According to Kuo’s predictions, the new design will help improve supplier revenue and profitability, and could help increase shipments to 85 million units in 2020, 10 million more than the 75 million reckoned to happen in 2019.

Kuo also predicts the use of VCSEL rangefinders, time-of-flight sensors that offer both photo quality and augmented reality applications. There is also the suggestion of a smaller TrueDepth camera notch for the 2020 model, and a full-screen display for 2021.

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Apple’s sustainability goals continue to grow, encouraging others to follow their lead

Apple continues to strive for a 100 percent closed-loop supply chain, encourages others to produce mindfully, and strives to solidify the company as a pinnacle of environmentally-forward thinking.

Apple Park is outfitted with solar panels (Image Credit: Apple)

Apple Park is outfitted with solar panels (Image Credit: Apple)

In 2016, Apple joined a global initiative called RE100, in which they sought to shift entirely to renewable energy. In the spring of 2018, Apple announced that their data centers, retail stores, and the Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino all ran on 100 percent renewable energy.

There’s no doubt that Apple is trying to take sustainability seriously, but when you’re producing up to one billion iPhones annually —to say nothing of iPads, MacBooks, or AirPods —you’re bound to do some significant damage. In fact, nearly all of the environmental detriment that Apple causes is in manufacturing, with a distant second place going to distribution.

Landfilled Waste

In fact, in 2012, Apple sent just over 4.8 million pounds of waste to landfills. By 2015, that number rose to over 13 million pounds. In 2018, Apple had sent 36.5 million pounds —or 18,250 tons —of waste to landfills.

What’s a company like Apple to do? After all, if one is to be realistic, Apple isn’t going to produce less devices. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have some ideas, though.

In 2017, Apple had announced plans to create a fully closed-loop supply chain. This would mean that eventually, all Apple products would be made with 100 percent recycled materials.

It’s not so far fetched, as Apple has already produced 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosures for the MacBook and the Mac mini.

Recycled materials often require less processing than raw materials, meaning that they’re often significantly less damaging to the environment. Recycled materials also don’t require mining, which itself is responsible for erosion, soil and water contamination, and a host of other problems.

An ambitious goal for sure, and one made without fully knowing how it would be done. “We’re thinking about literally every single part of what we are making It’s the mother of all objectives,” Cook said in an interview with GQ. “But it’s one that we love to set.”

iPhones set to be disassembled (Image credit: Apple)

iPhones set to be disassembled (Image credit: Apple)

Of course, in order to make a product from 100% recycled materials, you’ll have to harvest the materials from somewhere. Apple has begun using recycled rare earth from an unnamed outside supplier for use in the iPhone 11‘s Taptic Engine. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of environment, policy, and social initiative, has stated that Apple is looking into how it can recover rare earth from its own products.

The act of harvesting the materials is also crucial. Liam, a robot introduced in 2016, was capable of disassembling iPhones into core components. These components could then be used in new products, such as cutting tools or solar panels.

Daisy, Apple's recycling robot (Image credit: Apple)

Daisy, Apple’s recycling robot (Image credit: Apple)

Daisy, Liam’s successor, debuted on Earth Day 2018. Daisy is capable of dismantling 200 iPhones an hour, and at the time of introduction, could disassemble nine versions of the iPhone.

This year, Apple has pushed for consumers to trade in old iPhones when purchasing a new one. Cook states that upwards of a third or more of those coming into the Apple Store to purchase a new phone were trading in an old one. It’s an attractive option for customers to get credit toward a new device, and it provides Apple with a steady stream of iPhones to disassemble and —hopefully in the future —recycle for new in-house products.

Ultimately, Apple will continue to set lofty goals for itself in terms of sustainability, though both Lisa Jackson and Tim Cook have stated Apple has a duty to encourage other companies to follow suit.

Cook suggests that there’s a chance that Apple will be able to exert some influence over third-party Apple accessories. Providing a special badge or certification for mindfully produced goods, alongside deciding what gets sold in official Apple stores, could urge more companies to follow a more sustainable route.

“We carefully decide what goes in our store,” Cook said to GQ. “That’s sort of how we would put the finger on that scale to try to motivate people to do the right thing. In a case where there’s something that is required from us, like for use of our mark and the case of the [Lightning] connector, yes, that is something we’re talking about.”

“We feel like we hopefully are part of making a whole generation of people in the manufacturing space see clean energy as something that’s very much attainable and doable,” Jackson said in an interview with Fast Company.

Image Credit: Apple

Image Credit: Apple

This is especially important when it comes to third-party companies that manufacture consumer electronics. Apple started the China Clean Energy Fund, alongside 10 suppliers in China, with hopes of supplying one gigawatt of renewable energy to Apple’s suppliers.

Many of its suppliers have decided to power their Apple operations with renewables —44 suppliers across 16 companies. Some of the suppliers have decided to switch to renewable energy for all of their work, which includes products made for other brands.

The chance to influence other companies is one that is not lost on Cook, either.

“We think that we fail if we only do it ourselves,” he said, speaking of urging other companies to follow Apple’s path. “We do it because we want to leave the place a bit better than we found it, and not just what is left when we get finished with it.”