Tag Archives: iphone

Apple to build US plant and manufacture sapphire glass

Some great news for the American tech industry and job market has surfaced recently. Apple is in the process of building a manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona that will provide an estimated 2000 employment opportunities.

The plant is expected to employ approximately 1300 workers throughout the construction process and an additional 700 once it’s completely in operation. And it’s not just a positive development for the local job market, either. It’s also good for the environment. Apple’s new facility will run on 100% renewable energy from day one of operations. What’s more, Apple is apparently also building a solar power grid that will accompany the facility and fuel the work done within it.

The Mesa plant will reportedly be manufacturing Sapphire Glass components, which Apple uses to protect cameras on iPhones and iPads. This marvelous material is renowned for its superior durability and scratch resistance. It’s also, of course, the stuff that goes into the home buttons on the new iPhone 5s, which is equipped with fingerprint-reading Touch ID. With iPhone 5s sales booming, and putting the company far ahead of their competitors once again, manufacturing in Arizona is guaranteed to be on a massive scale.

Sapphire Boule
Sapphire Boule / GT Advanced Technologies

While solid reports to date have only indicated the plant will product these components, other industry insiders and Apple fans have guessed that the Arizona facility will also be the production home for the fabled iWatch, which would likely also use Sapphire Glass. Whether or not that is the case is yet to be seen. However, regardless of what the plant is used for, it is likely to contribute to the economy in Mesa for years to come. Such a large investment by Apple signals long-term growth and career opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Announcements about the Arizona production facility are welcome news to many who have been wondering about Apple’s position on maintaining American jobs. Last December, CEO Tim Cook famously announced the company’s intention to invest $100 million in American-based facilities. However, until news of the Arizona plant surfaced, the company’s only gesture since the announcement was to set up a Mac Pro production facility in Texas.

The Texas plant was initially seen as a token gesture by many critics who felt that Apple wasn’t serious about keeping jobs in the USA. The company, of course, is well known for contracting exclusively to third parties overseas for the manufacturing needs. However, by bringing another, larger sector of their business to America, Apple has made a statement that they are serious about making good on Tim Cook’s promise. Furthermore, by making the decision to stick with completely renewable energy for the new facility, they have also made it well known that they are considerate of the environmental impact.

Millions of consumers, in the USA and across the globe, eagerly await the latest Apple news and products. By bringing more jobs to America and putting in the effort to “think green” the company is likely to win over even more supporters.

Recent death by iPhone incidents cause panic

Apple fans worldwide were recently stunned to hear the news of reported “death by iPhone” cases in China. Several media outlets have stated that in mid-July a young Chinese woman died after receiving a severe electric shock. The cause? She answered a telephone call on her iPhone while it was charging. Not long after, a man in China received a serious shock in a similar situation. Although he hasn’t succumbed to his injuries, he reportedly remains in a coma in hospital.

But while some early reports indicated that iPhone 5s were to blame in both cases, it now appears that the tragic incidents were not caused by the smartphones themselves. Rather, it was discovered that both the man and the woman were using bargain priced, third party iPhone chargers, and the issues stemmed from them.

For those who have misplaced their iPhone charger plug, or prefer to keep one at home and one in the office, authorized replacements can be purchased from the company or other reliable sources for approximately $20.00. However, many iPhone users balk at the price and instead opt for the deal, a knockoff version that looks identical and only costs around $2.00. At such a deep discount, it’s a tempting idea. But is getting a bargain really worth it when it’s a significant safety risk?

Knockoff chargers often use low cost supplies, and fail to meet the standards for adequate isolation of both electrical input and output. They don’t have the same overrides that prevent short circuits in cases of overheating or power surges. Furthermore, they aren’t subjected to the same stringent safety regulations as brand name chargers, so potential problems often aren’t discovered until they arise.

These recent cases of “death by iPhone” have smartphone users around the globe concerned that they could suffer the same fate, but it seems that similar tragedies can be easily avoided. While it’s hard to spend $20.00 on something that looks exactly the same as another item for $2.00, what matters is what’s under the surface. In this case, the internal components are key, and buying a licensed charger is definitely worth the extra money when your personal safety is truly at risk.

Apple has been made aware of these unfortunate incidents and to err on the safe side is investigating them thoroughly. In the meantime, they have also posted a warning message on the official Chinese version of their website, discouraging customers from using the popular cheap chargers and warning them of potential perils.

So before you panic over rumors online about iPhones electrocuting people and killing them, it’s essential to take a closer look at these situations and identify the true root of the problem. And if you’re one of the many people who has decided to save a few dollars by picking up a cheap iPhone charger at the mall, now is a great time to send it to your nearest electronics recycling center and treat yourself to a charger that is safe to use with your phone.

5 things to know for Apple’s September 10th Event

The invitations have been received, and their colorful presentation and playful opening statement, “this should brighten everyone’s day” have the tech world buzzing. Is it possible that Apple’s choice of design and phrasing is a hint that they’ll be confirming rumors of the cheaper iPhone 5c, available in multiple colors, at their September 10th event? In just a day, we’ll know for sure.

As usual with all things Apple, there have been countless rumors circulating since the last batch of products was released about what the next models will be. So, what can we expect on the 10th? Here are five important things to know about Apple’s next event.

1. Expect surprises. While much of the leaked information and predictions from credible sources about upcoming iPhones and other new Apple products will likely prove to be true, it’s not unrealistic to assume that Apple has some unexpected news to share as well. It could be different iPhone specs than what we’re expecting, or an entirely new product or feature altogether. As Apple has been criticized recently for no longer being as innovative as they once were, the September 10th event is a prime opportunity for them to wow us once again and prove doubters wrong.

2. Surprises or not, the new iPhone will be the primary focus. So much of Apple’s media attention recently has been centered on the rumored iPhone 5s and 5c, and September 10th will be the day all is revealed. Features to expect include new internal components such as a robust, proprietary A7 chip. Some sources are even hinting that fingerprint scanning may be utilized on the new iPhones. At present, the technology will primarily be for unlocking the phone, but offers the capability to be used as a biometric scanner or to make secure online payments in the future.

3. Extensive information about iOS 7 will be provided. The first major mobile operating system update from Apple in a while, it is rumored to completely upgrade the user interface, predict app usage in order to preserve battery life, do automatic updates in the background, give all apps the ability to multitask and provide a useful new “iOS control panel” for tweaking settings.

4. iTunes Radio will be promoted. Given the neat features that come with this addition to the music management program, it’s somewhat surprising it hasn’t received more buzz. Launching soon in the USA and then in other countries worldwide, it offers streaming radio similar to services like SoundCloud, with a choice of 200 different genre-based radio stations. What sets it apart is its ability to bring together all the stations you’re likely to enjoy, based on your listening preferences and the type of music you tend to purchase. The more you listen, the more personalized your stations will become. Though it will be overshadowed by the new iPhone announcements, iTunes Radio is really a neat offering by Apple.

5. iPads won’t receive as much attention. While it’s not sensible to rule out any tablet-related news, it’s unlikely that the iPad and iPad Mini will be touched on in a significant way during the September 10th event. With new versions of the iPad being offered in fairly quick succession over the last few years, they have received a lot of coverage. While still an incredibly popular and important device, they will take a backseat to the iPhone and other announcements this fall.

Top 5 Features of iOS 7

The latest Apple operating system is due to be released shortly, and like everything Mac, iOS 7 is generating a lot of buzz. Compared to previous updates, there are some substantial additions and changes. Apple has promised it’s their most advanced mobile operating system yet, that will make usage “easier, faster and more enjoyable.” The top 5 updates we’re excited about are:

Apple - Updated built-in apps
Apple – Updated Built-in Apps

1. Upgraded pre-loaded apps:

While the Apple store offers lots of alternatives to the standard apps, the iPhone’s default apps will get a makeover with iOS 7.

The weather app is now reportedly similar to Yahoo! Weather and has beautiful graphics that capitalize on the crisp retina display.

The calendar has a cleaner interface and allows users to swipe and zoom through their schedule.

Safari comes with new 3D tabs, enhanced bookmarking capabilities and Twitter integration. And perhaps best of all, the Mail app now includes better photo sharing capabilities, so you’ll no longer be limited to emailing four pictures at a time through the photos app.


Apple - Updated Siri App
Apple – Updated Siri App

2. Significant upgrades to Siri:

The integrated virtual assistant now comes with the ability to choose between male and female voices and interact in other languages, such as French and German. It also has enhanced voice control features so you can speak up to change the brightness of your display or enable and disable Wi-Fi. You can even ask to have Twitter and Wikipedia entries read to you!


Apple - Updated security
Apple – Updated Security

3. Better Security:

Smartphones are a common target for thieves, with iPhones being among the favorites to steal. To protect against theft, Apple has included a new security feature, called Activation Lock, with iOS 7. In the unfortunate event your iPhone is stolen, unless the thief can enter your iCloud user name and password he won’t be able to reactivate your phone. That’ll give you time to back up your data to iCloud, attempt to locate your phone through the GPS-enabled Find My Phone app and rest assured that at least a giant bill isn’t being accumulated with your service provider.


Apple - New iTunes Radio
Apple – New iTunes Radio

4. iTunes Radio:

Previously known as iRadio, the streaming music service is similar to Pandora and lets listeners access inbuilt stations. The service has smart features such as the ability to learn which songs you like and which you don’t. And because it works in conjunction with iTunes, if you hear a song you like you can purchase it.


Apple - Home Screen Transparency
Apple – Home Screen Transparency

5. Home screen Transparency:

iOS 7 has been designed to track motion, making it possible to view what’s behind your app icons. What does this mean for you? When you’re viewing your apps, your wallpaper will still be visible. While not a significant chance with regard to functionality, it is the newest feature of the iPhone and makes for a cleaner, simplistic look.

While other operating system updates have come and gone without generating significant buzz, iOS 7 will have more impact on users. In addition to our top five favorites, it boasts a host of other features, too, with yet more rumored to surface by the release date. Overall, this significant update will make for a cleaner look and even more user-friendly experiences certain to please Apple fans.

Larger iPhone screen rumors continue

If there’s anything we can count on in life, it’s iPhone rumors. They’re becoming the new “death and taxes.” It seems that the moment Apple launches their latest smartphone, stories about what the next one will feature immediately begin to surface.

While each impending iPhone release many of the same stories, such as fingerprint technology, new ones get added to the mix all the time. And despite the many tales circulating about new smartphone developments, there’s no rumor more buzz-worthy at the moment than the possibility of iPhones with different screen sizes being produced.

Taking cues from their major competitors, including Samsung, it is possible that Apple may be venturing into “phablet” territory. Phablets, of course, are those giant devices that are bigger than the average smartphone yet still smaller than a tablet. Samsung already established itself as a producer of phablets well over two years ago, with the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 and 5-inch Galaxy S4 being their most current models.

However, research shows that consumers want to have their cake and eat it too; they want an iPhone, but they also want a phablet. If the rumors are true, those of us who are loyal to “Team Apple” but still crave a larger smartphone just might be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Screen size changes are just one of many differences in Apple products in the post-Jobs era. Steve Jobs memorably claimed the traditional 3.5-inch iPhone screen was “the perfect size for consumers” being easy to grip while still large enough to feature a decently sized and high-quality display. After his passing, however, Apple launched the iPhone 5 with a slightly larger, 4-inch screen. Despite this growth, it still remains one of the smaller smartphones on the market at present.

While specifications of Apple products always change right up until the last moment, and prototypes are constantly altered, the rumor that’s sticking is that the computing giant will launch both 4.7 inch and 5.7-inch iPhone models next year. 4.7 inches, of course, is in line with the standard size of Android phones, while 5.7 inches would outdo even the chunky Samsung Note.

But besides being bigger, what other changes could larger iPhone screens bring? Some people in the know claim the next generation iPhone, currently referred to as either the 5s or the 6, could improve on retina display technology and come equipped with a beefed-up, 12-megapixel camera. At the same time, it has also been stated that a larger screen may possibly translate to decreased brightness, resolution quality and battery life.

With all indications being that the new iPhone is unlikely to be released until at least October, all we can do is speculate and wait. Are you giving much merit to the rumors about bigger iPhones? Would an Apple phablet essentially be an iPad mini with a phone? And are you keen to see Apple compete with other phablet manufacturers, or are you happy with the current 3.5-inch iPhone 4s and 4-inch iPhone 5?