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Former Apple Executives Recall Designing Touchscreen Interface of Original iPhone

26 June, by Mitchel Broussard[ —]
As we near the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone later this week, a few stories posted online have delved into the rich history of where the device started, how the original team came up with the idea for the touchscreen smartphone, and what it was like reviewing the device back in 2007.

In a new video shared by The Wall Street Journal today, three former Apple executives -- Scott Forstall, Tony Fadell and Greg Christie -- have taken a look back at the first days of designing the iPhone with Steve Jobs. Apple's former senior vice president of the iPod division, Tony Fadell, recounted a time when Jobs showed him the company's first demo for what would become the iPhone's touch-based operating system.

Image via WSJ

Jobs and the rest of the team were seeking a more elegant solution to a smartphone interface than the one they began with, which was an iPod click wheel interface, when Jobs invited Fadell into a demo room.
"Steve goes, "Come over here I need to show you something." So he walked me into the room...and it was basically like a ping pong table sized demo with a projector that was projecting a Mac interface on it. And you could use your whole hand and you could touch different things on it, like it was a big big Mac.

It was literally a ping pong sized multi-touch display. And he goes, "I think this is gonna solve our problem."
Former Apple vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, recalled a specific time in 2005 when the iPhone team was put on a deadline of two weeks to come up with a better design for the smartphone's user interface. Jobs was not satisfied at the time with early iterations of the iPhone's look, and told Forstall and the team that he'd give the project to another group at the company if they failed to deliver.


Greg Christie, former Apple vice president of human interface, said that the team's design ultimately satisfied Jobs, and led to even more work over the next two years before the iPhone's launch in 2007.
"The first time he saw it he was completely silent, he didn't say a thing. He didn't say anything, he didn't gesture, he didn't ask a question. Then he sat back and he said, "Show it to me again." And so we go through the whole thing again and Steve was pretty much blown away by the whole demonstration. It was great work.

Our reward for doing a great job on that demonstration was to, you know, kill ourselves over the next two and a half years."
In 2006, Forstall froze development across the iPhone's user interface divisions to force the team to focus on one troublesome part of the smartphone's UI: the keyboard. At the time, Forstall said it was difficult to use and that if someone tried to type out an e-mail, they'd just "give up."

Forstall explained that one of the best keyboards pitched by a developer had a few clever advantages over all the others designed by the team. Namely, it could intelligently predict words, so if a user would type "T," the keyboard would make the hit region for "H" larger -- while the actual key remained the same size -- so that common words such as "the" were easier to type.

The full ten-minute video created by The Wall Street Journal, which is called "How The iPhone Was Born: Inside Stories of Missteps and Triumphs," is well worth checking out. Other topics discussed by Forstall, Fadell, and Christie include the creation of the iPhone's visual vocabulary (like pinch to zoom and rubber banding to mark the end of a scrollable page), as well as the company's Fight Club secrecy tactics for "The Purple Project," the code name for the original iPhone's creation.


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Original iPhone's First Four Reviewers Reminisce About Getting Their Hands on It for the First Time

25 June, by Eric Slivka[ —]
With the iPhone's tenth birthday coming up this week, CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment today taking a look back at the development and launch of the original iPhone.


The segment from David Pogue includes a roundtable session with Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Steven Levy, and Ed Baig, the four journalists who received review units of the iPhone in 2007 just prior to its launch.
"After three days," said Mossberg, "I was ready to throw this thing out of the window for trying to type on glass."

"It's ten years later," said Levy, "and half the emails I get still have a little message underneath saying, 'Typed on phone, forgive typos'!"
Pogue also sits down for a brief interview with Bas Ording, one of the key Apple engineers behind the first iPhone.
Part of what made the iPhone a hit was that objects in that touchscreen world have their own physics. You can thank Bas Ording for some of it, like how lists have momentum when you flick them, or how they do a little bounce when you get to the end.

"And now, a billion people are using your idea," said Pogue.

"Is it a billion? That's a lot!" Ording laughed.

"Did anyone, at the time, on this team, have any idea how big this could be?"

"Oh, no, not at all. I didn't, for sure."
The segment doesn't break any new ground on the background of the iPhone, but it's a nice piece highlighting the milestone anniversary of the device that changed the world.
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New Apple Park Drone Video Shows Off Steve Jobs Theater as Lobby Lights Up

24 June, by Mitchel Broussard[ —]
Drone videographer Duncan Sinfield has posted a new video on his YouTube channel today, giving viewers a fresh look at Apple Park as a small number of employees begin settling into the campus and more buildings take shape. It's been nearly two years since Sinfield originally started providing monthly drone footage for what was previously referred to as "Apple Campus 2."

Now, Sinfield's late June 2017 update provides a glimpse into Apple's ongoing construction progress at Apple Park, including a noticeable progression in the number of trees and other pieces of greenery within the "spaceship" building's circular courtyard. Early on in the video, viewers can also catch a shot of the main atrium of Apple Park, with its floor-to-ceiling glass doors that originally began to take shape in November 2016.


Notably, the new drone footage provides one of the best looks yet into the Steve Jobs Theater, with Sinfield gathering footage of the campus auditorium as lights turn on inside. The lobby of the theater is visible in the video, thanks an all-glass construction that offers visitors a 360-degree view of Apple Park. On two sides of the lobby, spiraling stairs lead downward to the underground auditorium where Apple will host future events.

In last month's drone video update, provided by Matthew Roberts, the Steve Jobs Theater still had multiple window coverings and construction equipment housed inside, so Apple is making fast progress on the building. The company has yet to confirm when the auditorium will officially open, but it's expected to sometime later in the fall.


The Steve Jobs Theater is capped with the world's largest freestanding carbon-fiber roof, and sits atop a hill at one of the highest points of the 175-acre campus. When Apple announced Apple Park's official name back in February, along with the new name for the auditorium, CEO Tim Cook commemorated Jobs and the new Steve Jobs Theater by saying, "Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come."


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New iPhone 8 Glimpse Combines Leaked Parts to Show Off What Device Might Look Like at Launch

23 June, by Mitchel Broussard[ —]
Leaker Benjamin Geskin has posted a few new images and a video of what Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 might look like once it's in the hands of users later this year. Using a leaked dummy model, screen protector, and a printed picture of an iOS wallpaper, Geskin has put together the gist of what current rumors have suggested the iPhone 8 will look like once it's announced in the fall.

Geskin's images depict an iPhone 8 dummy model as we've seen previously, with a suggested 5.8-inch display area, minimal bezels, front-facing camera and sensor dip, but with an all-black frame instead of models that have previously depicted a rumored stainless steel frame. To give users a glimpse as to what the iPhone 8 display might look like when activated, Geskin then attached a picture of an iOS wallpaper to the dummy, and applied a screen protector on top.



The wallpaper Geskin used is part of a beach themed collection of images that appeared within the iOS 10.3.3 beta only for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but they have since appeared on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and new 12.9-inch iPad Pro running iOS 10.3.2.

A video shared on Geskin's Twitter account has further provided a glimpse into the iPhone 8 dummy in motion.


The iPhone 8 is predicted to to be the first major iPhone redesign since the iPhone 6 in 2014, with additional features such as wireless charging and improved waterproofing to further bolster the smartphone's position as a premium device. Alongside the iPhone 8 will be the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus," which are expected to keep the current iPhone 7 design while offering the usual iterative spec bumps like improved battery life and snappier performance.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8

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Proposed Law Against Apple's 'Walled Garden' Software Approach Sparks Fears of iPhone Ban in Italy

23 June, by Joe Rossignol[ —]
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera [Google Translate] published a headline today that translates to "the bill that could ban the iPhone in Italy."


The bill in question, Senate Act 2484, is aimed at ensuring Italians have open access to software, content, and services. The portion of the bill potentially relevant to Apple essentially says that users should have the right to download any software, whether proprietary or open source, on any platform.

An excerpt from Article Four of the loosely translated bill:
Users have the right to, in an appropriate format to the required technology platform […] use fair and non-discriminatory software, proprietary or open source […] content and services of their choice.
It's well known that iOS is a walled garden, in which apps can only be distributed through the App Store, and only if developers adhere to Apple's guidelines. The only way to download apps outside of Apple's parameters is by jailbreaking, which is in violation of Apple's end-user agreement.

Naturally, there are some concerns about how the iPhone and other devices could be affected if the bill is approved, although the prospect of any Apple product being outright banned in Italy seems highly unlikely.

The bill was introduced last year by Stefano Quintarelli, an Italian entrepreneur and member of the Scelta Civica political party in Italy. The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in July 2016, and it now must be approved by the Senate of the Republic, within Italy's parliamentary government.

(Thanks, Macitynet and iSpazio!)

Tag: Italy

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Supply Chain Evidence Mounts for Advanced 3D Sensing Abilities Coming to iPhone 8

23 June, by Mitchel Broussard[ —]
Ahead of the iPhone 8's predicted September announcement date, supply chain reports over the past few days have indicated a ramp up of 3D sensing components that are predicted to be destined for augmented reality and biometric security applications in 2017's high-end iPhone 8. In a research note by BlueFin Research Partners, "winners" for iPhone 8 component production are said to include Finisar and Lumentum for 3D sensing modules and Broadcom for wireless charging components (via Barron's).

Reports began building last week when iPhone camera component supplier Largan Precision confirmed that it will ship lenses for 3D sensing modules in the second half of 2017, while refraining from directly mentioning Apple and iPhone 8. In a recent quarterly earnings report, supplier Finisar made remarks that heavily suggested it will be "one of two or three suppliers" of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) in the iPhone 8, according to LoupVentures.

iPhone 8 rendering by Benjamin Geskin

Such technology could be implemented into the iPhone 8's rumored 3D sensing module and help "enrich the augmented reality experience" in the next-generation iPhone. Apple and CEO Tim Cook earlier this month detailed plans to back AR and its potential as an indispensable future technology with the reveal of ARKit, a developer platform that will provide the building blocks for consumer AR iPhone apps.

Likewise, Lumentum has announced that it expects to see volume shipments for its VCSEL lasers begin in the second half of 2017, timed with the annual production ramp up of iPhone manufacturing.
On last nights earnings call, Finisar management did not mention Apple by name, but they highlighted they expect to see volume VCSEL orders in their second fiscal quarter, which is the October quarter end of this calendar year. The company anticipates shipping “millions” of units during the quarter, but management also went on to say they anticipate unit shipments to be in the “10s of millions” in future quarters, which gives us further confidence 3D sensing and AR applications will be one of the focus features in the next generation of iPhones. In May of this year, Lumentum was the first VCSEL supplier to announce they anticipate volume shipments to begin in the second half of 2017.

We also want to highlight Finisar acknowledged they are shipping VCSEL lasers to multiple customers, but one customer (aka Apple) is accounting for the majority of total demand. We believe Finisar and others supplying VCSEL lasers are supply constraint and shipping everything they can manufacture. We believe Apple has secured a high percentage of all VCSEL lasers created, which we view as a large competitive advantage and will make Apple a leading AR player in the smartphone space.
LoupVentures further suggested that the significantly updated iPhone 8 will have a front-facing, low-end VCSEL laser and a rear-facing, high-end VCSEL laser, meaning that AR applications could take advantage of either camera. A long-running rumor for the iPhone 8 has been a dual-lens rear camera that could provide increased separation between the two lenses and allow for a greater difference in perspective, helping fuel better AR experiences. A front-facing dual-lens camera has been suggested as a possibility in the new iPhone as well.

In estimating the iPhone 8's cost, the site believes that Apple will add around $100 onto the cost of the smartphone specifically due to incorporating 3D sensing modules. That price comes to around $950 (with no storage tier size references), and largely falling into line with the new iPhone's predicted "premium" status.

For its part, Broadcom is said to have a predominant place in the supply chain for wireless charging components of the iPhone 8, a feature fellow supplier Wistron recently confirmed will be coming to at least one of 2017's iPhone models. iPhone 8's wireless charging is expected to be fueled by inductive technology, because long-range wireless charging for an iPhone is still expected to be years away from feasibility.

In total, reports surrounding iPhone 8 component manufacturing have been increasing recently, with Apple said to be dominating the NAND memory chip supply chain and increasing shortages for an already strained section of component supplies.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: ARKit, augmented reality

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iMac Pro May Feature Intel's Server-Grade 'Purley' Processors, ARM Coprocessor

22 June, by Joe Rossignol[ —]
Apple earlier this month unveiled the iMac Pro, a workstation-class desktop computer with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM.


Apple didn't specify exactly which processors will be included in the iMac Pro, but if the blog Pike's Universum is to be believed, it could be powered by Intel's next-generation server-grade Skylake-EX and Skylake-EP processors, which are based on a platform codenamed "Purley."

The blog, which appears to be sourcing its information from firmware files in the macOS High Sierra developer beta, said the iMac Pro will use Intel's new server-class LGA3647 socket, not its high-end, desktop-class LGA2066 socket.

If the information is accurate, it suggests the iMac Pro could have truly server-grade Xeon processors, rather than using Intel's recently announced Core-X series of Skylake and Kaby Lake chips that still use the LGA2066 socket.

The blog added that the new iMac Pro appears to be coming with a Secure Enclave, suggesting it will have an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for added security. It would also open the door to Touch ID on the iMac Pro, but Apple made no mention of the feature when introducing the computer.


Pike's Universum revealed some of the iMac Pro's tech specs in April, two months prior to it being announced, including that it would have Xeon processors, ECC RAM, faster SSD storage, AMD graphics options, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, but some of the specific details proved to be inaccurate.

Apple said the iMac Pro will be available to order in December, starting at $4,999 in the United States.

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Tag: Intel

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Upcoming Apple Store in Chicago Features MacBook Roof Design

22 June, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple is building a new flagship retail location in Chicago, which features glass walls and a thin, carbon fiber roof. Photos of the store's roof were shared today by Chicago news site DNAinfo, and as it turns out, Apple has added a white Apple logo that wasn't in the original plans, making the top of the structure look a lot like an Apple notebook.


The roof is made from a material that resembles the silver aluminum of the MacBook and MacBook Pro, with rounded edges and the same rectangular shape. When complete, it will sit atop all-glass walls, making for a unique floating MacBook-style design that's not quite like any other Apple Store.

The new store, which is located near the historic Michigan Avenue Bridge alongside the Chicago River, has been designed by longtime Apple partner Foster+Partners in homage of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style homes in Chicago.

Image via DNAinfo

Based on plans from 2015, the building spans 20,000 square feet and replaces a vacant food court. It features two floors, with a flight of stairs that go from street level to a walkway next to the north bank of the river.

There is no word yet on when the new store will be opening, but construction is nearing completion.
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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of iOS 10.3.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

22 June, by Juli Clover[ —]
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3.3 update to developers, a little over one week after seeding the third beta and more than a month after the release of iOS 10.3.2, a minor bug fix update.

Registered developers can download the fourth iOS 10.3.3 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.


No significant features or notable bug fixes were found in the first three betas, aside from new wallpapers for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, suggesting iOS 10.3.3 is an update that's minor in scale and focuses on security updates and bug fixes.

iOS 10.3.3 is likely to be one of the last updates to iOS 10 as Apple starts shifting its full focus to iOS 11. The first beta of iOS 11 was released to developers on June 5 following Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, and two betas have been seeded so far.

Update: Apple has also released the fourth beta of iOS 10.3.3 to its public beta testers.

Related Roundup: iOS 10

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Apple's Indoor Maps for Airports and Shopping Malls in iOS 11 Slowly Rolling Out

22 June, by Joe Rossignol[ —]
Apple has slowly begun enabling indoor maps for select airports and shopping malls, providing an early look at the new Apple Maps feature coming in iOS 11.


On devices running iOS 11 beta, indoor maps are available now in Apple Maps for Philadelphia International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport, and for shopping malls Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, California and Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California.

Indoor maps will provide detailed floor plans of major airports and shopping malls around the world, allowing iOS 11 users to plan ahead.

At airports, for example, Apple Maps users can tap "look inside" or simply zoom in to view terminals, boarding gates, security checkpoints, airline check-in desks, baggage claim carousels, information kiosks, restrooms, stores, restaurants, parking garages, and even escalators, elevators, and stairs.

Apple Maps users can browse by floor, or search for shops, food, drinks, or restrooms in a specific terminal. Tapping on a restaurant, for example, brings up a detailed place card with photos, hours, and additional information.


Likewise, at shopping malls, Apple Maps users can zoom in to view the exact location of stores, restaurants, restrooms, escalators, elevators, and stairs on each floor. Users can also filter stores by categories such as clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, food, and drinks, with detailed place cards for each.

Apple senior executive Craig Federighi previewed Apple Maps indoor maps at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. Skip to around the 1:07:50 mark of Apple's WWDC 2017 keynote video.


At launch, indoor maps will be limited to select airports and shopping malls, in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, and the Washington D.C. area. Apple said more locations will be added over time.

The feature is only available in iOS 11, which is currently in beta testing. The second developer beta was released on Wednesday, and a public beta will be released later this month. The software update officially launches in the fall.


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