Apple has just been granted a patent for a smartwatch-type device that features augmented strap capabilities, support for arm and wrist gestures, and multiple advanced sensors. Oh, and one patent illustration called it the iTime.
Published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on 22 July, Apple's latest patent is for a "wrist-worn electronic device". The patent has several illustrations, and at least one of them showed the word "iTime" written on the wearable's curved display. Due to a 2013 trademark, many rumours have claimed Apple is working on a gadget called the iWatch.
While it's diffcult to speculate if Apple will use iTime over its iWatch trademark, the patent did confirm that the company has been developing or at least thinking about a wristworn gadget that could be coupled with both iOS devices and Macs. In fact, much of the patent described how the iTime can connect to Apple devices to access information and receive alerts.
The patent also showed how the smartwatch is rather thin and that the gadget's touchscreen module can be removed from the strap and used separately. The iTime could also feature “additional circuitry”, making it capable of doubling as a heart rate monitor, accelerometer for motion tracking, or GPS. It can even recognise arm movements instead of just taps.
“For example, the gesture might be a horizontal movement for one user input option (e.g., decline incoming call), and might be a vertical movement for another user input option (e.g., accept incoming call),” Apple described in the patent filing, though it also said taps, bounces, and shakes are supported command gestures.
Of course the newly-granted patent didn't provide any firm details about when we could finally see Apple's smartwach, wrist wearable, or whatever you want to call it. The company might unveil it this autumn however, alongside the next iPhone. But that's just speculation.
Apple plans to release its next operating system, OS X Yosemite, this October. There could also be an appearance of a new 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and 4K desktop Mac.
According to sources of 9to5mac, Apple is currently finishing work on its next-generation of computers.
The MacBook Air should be a smaller 12-inch model, which may mean the 11-inch and 13-inch choices are ditched for this one size. In which case a Retina Display will be a welcome upgrade to the line. This may even be a middle ground between the Macbook Pro and Air meaning there is only one option – though we doubt that.
The desktop is also getting a resolution bump all the way up to 4K. Whether that's on iMac or Thunderbolt Displays isn't clear at this stage. But it will be Apple's first foray into 4K, potentially signalling it's move to create a high resolution Apple Television.
The higher resolution screens seem likely as Apple prepares to release OS X Yosemite which is made for high quality displays. It features more colourful icons, thinner text and sharper windows corners.
The unnamed source said: "Those interface elements appear especially optimized on higher-resolution screens, so it makes sense for us to debut new Retina Macs around the time of Yosemite’s release."
Apple has a new feature that promises to not only save you money but also make it easier for your family to share everything, from apps to music.
The feature is called Family Sharing, and it works across both iOS devices and Macs. Although it's not available for consumers just yet, if you've downloaded and tried out the OS X Yosemite beta it will have cropped up, and it is something that is going to become more important in the future, especially if you plan to use the new handoff and continuity features in Yosemite.
Currently if you own more than one iOS device in your household the chances are you've got them all signed into the same iCloud account so you can share your apps, music and movies between devices without having to buy them over and over again for difference devices.
In a future Apple world of iOS 8 and Yosemite that approach is going to get confusing, after all you don't want all your iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches all ringing when you get a call.
Realising this, Apple has introduced Family Share allowing you to get all the benefits of content sharing that you've managed to achieve now, but with the knowledge that you have different devices with different names or accounts associated with them.
Apple introduced Family Sharing at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on 2 June 2014 and put simply, it has been designed to allow up to six people to share data as well as purchases from iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and the App Store.
So, if you buy an app and download it on your iPad or Mac, for instance, your children and spouse will be able to download and enjoy that same app on their Apple devices at no extra cost. Family Sharing also includes ways to approve kids' spending.
Watch the WWDC keynote video below for more information. The segment about Family Sharing starts at 1:11:29.
Family Sharing will launch when the updates for iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite roll out. Consumers can expect the feature to arrive this autumn, though Apple has not announced a release date yet. Developers will get early access to Family Sharing through the iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite betas this summer. If you've downloaded the Yosemite Beta you should be able to access the feature at least for the Mac, but not for your iPhone or iPad as iOS 8 isn't out (yes you could in theory get it all connected up and sorted if you've got iOS beta running on your iOS device, but for the sake of this article we are presuming you haven't).
There are still some elements of Family Sharing that are to be confirmed, mainly because the feature is not yet available for consumers, but we've seen in Yosemite that you need to choose a leader and they then have control over adding more accounts and devices.
There should be settings inside your device to let you create a family unit and add another five family members. Your loved ones will receive invitations on their devices. They have to accept the invites to become a part of your Family Sharing Group.
You can accept a Family Sharing invitation from any compatible iOS device or Mac where you are signed into iCloud. During the setup process, family members could also just enter their Apple ID or password to altogether avoid sending and accepting invitations.
And finally, you can be in just one family group at a time. You're also only allowed to switch to a different family group twice per year.
Don't worry there is also an option for setting up a child under the age of 13.
All content purchases are billed directly to whoever set up the Family Sharing Group, unless someone in your family wants to use their own gift or store credit. The person who setup the Family Sharing Group is known as an organiser.
To download already-purchased content, simply visit the Purchased section in the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and the App Store. Select the family member whose collection you'd like to browse, and then download away. Keep in mind family members can choose to hide some of their individual purchases.
If Family Sharing should ever be disabled by the organiser, each member of the family can still keep the content purchased by another member in their family group. Apple said in-app purchases from an app originally purchased by someone else must be re-bought however.
With Family Sharing, you can share several things with each member of your family. You'll also be able to auto-configure other apps and features for your entire family, such as Find My Friends and Find My Devices.
Apart from purchased content (which includes music, movies, TV shows, ebooks, apps, games, etc), you can share things like location, photo streams, calendars, and reminder lists.
Family Sharing gives you immediate access to paid apps already purchased by members of your family. You can download your own copy of these apps directly to your Apple device without having to ask for or share Apple IDs and passwords.
Note: You can only share apps that offer support for Family Sharing. Apple has already begun asking developers to switch on the feature through their iTunes Connect developer portal, so many popular apps should allow Family Sharing by the time Apple launches the feature in autumn.
Because Family Sharing uses location data, it is able to integrate with Find My Friends and Find My Devices.
Find My Friends is an app from Apple that offers a map and real-time data about the location of your friends and family, as long as they approve. Family Sharing will automatically share the location of each member in your Family Sharing Group, though you will still be able to hide your location if you want.
Find My Devices is an app from Apple that offers ways to find or wipe clean your lost Apple devices. Family Sharing automatically uses Find My Devices, and it can help parents keep track of and locate their kids' misplaced devices.
Family Sharing automatically sets up a family photo stream. You can use this stream to share photos, videos, and even comments with your Family Sharing Group.
Similar to the shared photo stream in Family Sharing, you can also have a shared calendar. It lets everyone add events and set up reminders. They will appear on everyone’s devices at the exact time or place you choose.
Family Sharing will support parental controls. It allows parents to approve purchases and downloads initiated by children via an "Ask to buy" option.
If your kid tries to buy a $49.99 app, for instance, you will get a notification about that attempt on your own device. You must give permission through this notification before your child can actually purchase anything from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and the App Store.
Ask to Buy is enabled by default for children under 13. That said, children under 13 can participate in Family Sharing and even have their own Apple ID (though a parent must create it on the child’s behalf).
Parents will also be able to limit the content their children can access via the Restrictions setting on an iOS device or Parental Controls on OS X and iTunes.
According to Apple, Family Sharing requires iCloud. The feature will also only work with the following software and operating systems: iOS 8, Mac OS X Yosemite, Find My Friends 3.0, Find My iPhone 3.1, and iCloud for Windows 4.0.
Ahead of autumn product launches, Apple has once again reported third-quarter earnings. The results aren't too much different from what analysts had expected.
Apple reported earnings of $1.28 per share, on revenue of $37.4 billion. Although net profits fell to $7.4 billion, revenue figures hit the company's own forecast of somewhere between $36 billion and $38 billion.
Wall Street had forecasted $1.23 a share, on $37.99 billion in revenue. Keep in mind that Apple's stock split took hold in June, and that's why it had $7.47 per share (on $35.3 billion) in the year-ago quarter.
As for device sales, Apple said it sold 35.2 million iPhones. That's 4 million more units sold when compared to the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 13.27 million iPads (a dip from from 14.6 million last year), and 4.4 million Macs during the quarter.
Apple typically has a lull when it comes to Q3 revenues, mostly because consumers are waiting for new product models - mostly notably the iPhone - that hystorically launch in Q4. Revenue and sales are often higher in both the first and fourth quarters.
Tim Cook, chief executive officer at Apple, said in a press relase however that Apple had a record June quarter fueled by "strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem."
In his earnings statement, Cook also looked forward: “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce," he added.
Check out Apple's live-streamed conference call at 2 PM PST. Cook and other Apple executives will probably talk more about what's next for the company, without giving away too many details of course.
Apple's share price has dropped below $94 in after-hours trading.
A recent report has revealed that the iPhone 6 battery will be thinner than the iPhone 5S meaning the phone overall should also be slimmer.
The report has come from hit-and-miss source DigiTimes, but we've heard lots of rumours about Apple thinning down its iPhone 6 so we're inclined to believe this one.
The iPhone 6 battery is reportedly only 2mm thin making it a millimeter thinner than the current iPhone 5S whose battery comes in at 3mm.
Despite slimming down the battery it still has a similar capacity to the current version, claims the report. Previous reports suggest that by using the latest sapphire glass and in-cell touch display, the screen will be thinner also.
This attempt to thin down the device is also proving to be a challenge which is part of the reason that the rumoured iPhone Air, at 5.5-inches, won't be available until 2015.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 and iPhone Air from September time when the iPhone 6, at least, should be available.
This report from DigiTimes is very similar to a report from the Commercial Times which was released last April. Both publications are Taiwan based in China, where a large proportion of Apple's manufacturing takes place.