As discovered by AppleInsider, Apple appears to be using an eBay storefront to help move inventory of factory-refurbished, unlocked, GSM iPhone 5 models with a one-year warranty. AppleInsider refers to it as a "secret" outlet, since there's no indication that it's an official Apple store.
Everyone seems to have an iPhone 6 front panel these days, and the latest sport is seeing if you can damage it. A recent video (embedded below) posted by a Hong Kong website tried burning it, breaking it, pounding a nail through it, and more. Nothing would mar the surface. Until they finally ran over it with a 1.6-ton car. Again, there's no way of knowing whether Apple is actually going to use sapphire crystal for the front panel of the iPhone 6. But if they do, it's going to be awesome. And the evidence continues to mount.
On Thursday 9To5Mac passed along a prognostication from market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that the iWatch will be available in November. Kuo has been relatively accurate in the past, so his investor reports have credibility. He had originally predicted that it would appear in late September, but has pushed back the date, saying that this first-generation product requires complex hardware and software engineering. Kuo also said in his report that he expected the iWatch to feature a flexible AMOLED display, sapphire-coated display cover, higher waterproof standards, and new system-on-a-chip components.
If for some reason the iPhone 6 doesn't have a sapphire crystal front panel, there will be a lot of disappointment. The buildup of rumors has been tremendous. It's almost as if Apple's main competitor isn't other smartphones but rather the expectations that build up surrounding the rumors. In any case, whatever Apple announces, it's clear they're focusing on sapphire crystal in a big way, as evidenced by their increased procurement of the material and, most recently, by some patent applications that have been filed.
It's a known fact that Apple has invested heavily in sapphire crystal and plans to increasingly use it in their products. This material is virtually impossible to scratch. And for months there have been rumors that the front panel of the iPhone 6 will be made of sapphire crystal or will have a sapphire crystal laminate. And now Sonny Dickson, who in the past has been the first to score leaked parts for forthcoming iPhones and iPads, has allegedly gotten his hands on iPhone 6 front panels straight off the assembly line. Video blogger Marques Brownlee got a front panel from Dickson and has uploaded a video to YouTube showing just how indestructible sapphire crystal can be. He tries hard to scratch it with keys and a knife point. He stabs the panel. He puts his shoe on it and tries to break it. As the embedded video below shows, nothing he can do has the slightest effect. No marks whatsoever, other than fingerprints.
Blogs are reporting the news published by a Chinese technology website that the forthcoming iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display will have a battery capacity between 1,800 and 1,900 mAh, compared to 1,570 for the current iPhone 5s. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is expected to have a 2,500 mAh battery. Does this mean that the new phones will have a much longer battery life? Not necessarily. A larger capacity battery will be needed to power the larger screen of the forthcoming phones.
A new video posted by the Chinese website ifanr gives perhaps the clearest look so far at how the size of the forthcoming iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display compares to the 4-inch display of the iPhone 5s. The video claims to show an actual front panel of the iPhone 6, and puts it beside a front panel of an iPhone 5s. It also shows how the new phone will fit in one's hand compared to the 5s. See the embedded video below.
Case manufacturers use mockups in order to make cases and have them ready when new iPhones become available. Those mockups are dummy iPhones based on the specs of the actual device. Which means they can give a sense for what the new iPhones will look like. According to AppleInsider, over the weekend, Sonny Dickson, who has in the past been the first to post leaked photos of new iOS devices, posted to Twitter photos of mockups for the expected 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones. This is yet one more bit of evidence that larger phones are coming, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 expected to be announced in September. The mockups show styling continuity with the iPad Air and iPad mini, with the same sort of rounded edges. The similar shape of the two mockups suggests that the new larger phones will share the same aspect ratio—which would be expected from Apple, as they typically try to make it easy for developers to port their apps to differently sized models.
An interesting article on 9To5Mac outlines how many of the new features in iOS 8 are well suited to the small display of an iWatch or other wearable device that Apple is expected to announce in October. The article says that the small app-associated widgets that developers will be able to create for the new Notification Center are just the sort of applets that would work well on an iWatch. The app could push the same content to both the Notification Center widget and to the wearable. In addition, the quick interactive notifications in iOS 8, without your having to go to the respective app, is just the sort of feature you'd expect in an iWatch. When a text message arrives, you'd like to be able to respond right from your wrist. And features such as QuickType and audio and voice messaging will make quick responses easy.
Skype for iPhone 5.0 (free) was released Wednesday, and according to the Skype website, it has a new look and much faster speed. New features include the ability to send messages to people who are offline. The redesign gives in an appearance smilar to that on Windows Phone and Android devices. The app has been rewritten from the ground up. Here's how Skype describes this new version: