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Bloomberg Reports Mobile Payment System/NFC Chip; Videos Surface of Forthcoming Phones

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Rumors, reports, and videos are a-poppin' as we head toward the September 9 announcement, with Bloomberg reporting that the iPhone 6 will have an NFC chip and a new mobile payment system. Plus, a new video shows an assembled 4.7-inch iPhone, and another video shows the rear shell of the forthcoming 5.5-inch iPhone. 



Apple to announce… "More"

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Apple's invitation is out, the date has been saved, and everyone is checking their upgrade eligibility. So what exactly is Apple announcing? Apple likes to use clues in their invitation. Last year, the invitation stated "This should brighten everyone's day" and included colorful circles, representative of the iPhone 5c, and a hollow circle that signaled the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.



Apple's September Event: Looking at the "Big" Picture.

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I love Apple's invite to their special media event on September 9. It is both elegant and evocative, conveying a sense of grandness and excitement. One of the first things that struck me about the image used in the invite was that it was an enlargement of Apple's logo, and how apropos consider the anticipated nature of the upcoming event.



It's Official! Apple Announces Sept 9 Event; iPhones, iWatch Expected

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Apple sent out invitations today to an event to be held September 9, as was rumored. Not only is everyone expecting Apple to announce the iPhone 6, but also, according to the well-connected website Re/code, they will be introducing a wearable device. The invitation simply gives the date and, as usual, is very cryptic, saying only "Wish we could say more." If Apple follows their typical schedule, the new iPhone 6 will go on sale September 19. The event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, which is three times larger and closer to Apple's headquarters than the usual venue at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Not only that, but according to iMore, Apple is constructing a large, three-storey building next the Flint Center in advance of the event. And everyone is tight-lipped about what purpose it will serve.

All of this is exciting — that the date is finally official, and that Apple seems to be planning something big.



Game Centered: Awesome Breaking News For Mobile eSports Enthusiasts

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week we have some awesome news on the mobile gaming front. First, popular game streaming site, Twitch TV, was bought out by Amazon. Hot on the heels of that development is news that we are going to be treated to a first of its kind, Twitch supported iOS game from mobile game developer Gameloft. Finally, if you've embraced the mobile gaming platform and are wondering when it's really going to take off as a competitive level eSport platform, take heart! Reputable research firm, Juniper, just released a report projecting absolutely amazing growth for the mobile gaming industry, and predicts that mobile games, more than ever, are the games of the future.



Bloomberg Reports 12.9-inch iPad Coming Early 2015

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Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple is already preparing to manufacture a 12.9-inch iPad that's slated to come out in early 2015. Production will begin in the first quarter. The report says that Apple has been working with their suppliers for at least a year on a range of larger touch-screen devices. This new iPad would give the line three different sizes: 7.9 inches, 9.7 inches, and 12.9 inches. 



A Sapphire-Screened Smartphone... from Somebody other than Apple

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There have been many conflicting rumors about whether the iPhone 6 will have a sapphire screen or not, but if you want a smartphone with a sapphire screen, you don't have to wait for Apple. I attended the Huawei press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and their CEO made no secret that they were trying to distinguish themselves among the Android vendors. Huawai is trying to go big in the smartphone market, and now, they have joined the sapphire craze.



Zen and the Art of Apple Watching

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"Patience, my son." That's the best advice for Apple watchers. Earlier this weekend I noticed a posting on another site raising a panic about iPhone delays due to display issues. It didn't seem worthy of coverage. Today, that same site carried a post saying not to worry and that even those delays are "baked in" and won't effect availability.



Apple to Change Its Charger?

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That charging cube we've all come to know and love might be getting some "love handles." A photo out of China shows a wider charging brick with indentations on the side to make it easier to grip. This could all be speculation, but it would make sense. Apple already has a different charging adapter for the iPad, because it uses more power, and the expectation is that the upcoming larger iPhone will use a battery that is almost 50 percent bigger than the iPhone 5s. It's understandable that it might need a more powerful charger than the current model.



Android vs. Android: Fragmentation is NOT a Figment of your Imagination

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As a developer for iOS, Mac OS, Android, Amazon Fire, Windows Phone, and even Samsung Bada, I have enough platforms to support. Apple makes it relatively easy and even though the next iPhone is likely to have a new screen resolution, it should be straightforward to accommodate. Android, however, is another story. This chart from Open Signal, via Gizmodo shows just how fragmented the Android market is.



Rumors: First Photo of 5.5-inch iPhone; 2 GB RAM in iPad Air; iWatch 512 RAM, 8 GB Storage

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While we've seen a lot of images online of parts purported to be for the 4.7-inch iPhone, there haven't been any glimpses of the 5.5-inch phone—until now. Posted on the website Evasion Jailbreak, the images show the back shell of the forthcoming 5.5-inch phone compared to a similar part from the 4.7-inch phone.



Walmart Now Offering iPhone 5c for $27 and iPhone 5s for $127

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Today Walmart began offering a dicount on the iPhone 5s and 5c, likely intended to clear out inventory in advance of the anticipated September 9 announcement of the iPhone 6.



A New Era at Microsoft

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It's a new day at Microsoft. For the first time in decades, neither Bill Gates nor Steve Balmer are involved in running the company.  While Gates left years ago to concentrate on his charitable foundation, Balmer stepped down as CEO six months ago, and this week he dropped off the Board of Directors. Instead of concentrating on charity, Balmer will use his trademark enthusiasm to cheer on his newest acquisition, the Los Angeles Clippers.



Apple News: Thanks for the Memory Boost

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I’ve written before about Apple’s likelihood of introducing a 128 GB model of the iPhone, and possibly dropping the 16 GB configuration. I’ve also written about their reduction of the price difference to double the memory of a particular configuration, at least for the iPod touch. That was long overdue. For years, Apple charged $100 to go from 16 GB to 32 GB or from 32 GB to 64 GB, despite the decrease in memory costs over time. Combined with Apple's insistence on a closed design, with no expandable storage, those pricing decisions added insult to injury.



Kickstart Your iPhone App Development with This Swift Programming class

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I just learned of (and backed) a Kickstarter campaign to learn Swift and iOS 8 programming. It's being run by a friend and colleague of mine, named Paul Solt. He's an award-winning app developer and a great instructor. I've had the opportunity to attend live training from him, and he's offered video training before, also via Kickstarter, with great success.



Game Centered: The CEO and Founder of Skillz on the Future of eSports for Mobile

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week's Game Centered takes a look at a new company in the video game industry, one with truly great potential. Skillz brings the first, for-profit gaming arena to the mobile platform. With video gaming (otherwise known as eSports) bringing in massive international audiences, and equally large profits, the competition to be a top gamer is fierce, and with millions of dollars in prizes and sponsorships on the line, eSports have become a bonafide professional-level sport.



Photos of Assembled iPhone 6 Chassis Posted; Evidence Suggests 1,472 x 828 Resolution

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For the first time, photos of an assembled iPhone 6 chassis have appeared online, giving a glimpse of what the forthcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will look like. As can be seen on MacRumors, the images purport to show the rear shell and front panel assembled, but not a working iPhone. Rumors have said the styling would have rounded edges similar to the current iPad models, and that's clearly visible in the images. They also give a good feeling for how thin the device will be. Other rumored details apparently confirmed by the images include pill-shaped volume buttons, redesigned speaker holes, a relocated power button, and an embedded Apple logo.



iPhone 6 Rumored to Have 50% Faster LTE Data Speeds

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Cult of Mac is reporting on a post on the Chinese website Geek Bar that says the iPhone 6 will come with a new version of Qualcomm's LTE chip that will allow for data speeds up to 150Mbps, compared to 100Mbps on the iPhone 5s. 



Apple's Dr. Dre Accepts ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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One of the newest Apple employees, Andre Young a.k.a. Dr. Dre, is the latest to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Apple CEO Tim Cook and VP Phil Schiller also did it, and passed the challenge on to Dre. For the uninitiated, the challenge is to donate money to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) or allow yourself to be doused by ice cold water. Of course, most challengees (especially the super wealthy and famous) are expected to do both. So far, quite a few celebrities have gotten into the act, including Bill Gates with a sophisticated contraption.



Apple's Diversification Endeavors: "We Are Making Progress" Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

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Apple is a big company, and it doesn't make haphazard decisions. It’s also fair to say that given its stature as one of the world’s top companies and leading brands, it recognizes that it wields a great deal of influence culturally, socially, and politically. So for the maker of the iPhone and iPad to put so much emphasis on matters such as employee diversity, environmentally sustainable business practices, and human rights and civil liberties, is no small matter. As Tim Cook recently said, "Inclusion and diversity have been a focus for me throughout my time at Apple, and they’re among my top priorities as CEO.” 



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