Apple Asks TSMC to Up A13 Chip Production Due to High Demand for 11 and 11 Pro

Apple has asked Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) to increase production of the A-series chips that are used in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max due to higher-than-expected demand, reports Bloomberg.


‌iPhone 11‌ and 11 Pro demand has been outperforming Apple's expectations, and sales have been especially strong in China, a welcome change from the drop in sales that Apple saw with the 2018 iPhone models. Apple's ‌iPhone 11‌, priced starting at $700, has been a "particular driver" for the increased demand.

Apple's TSMC A13 chip orders are set to increase again in just a few months as Apple prepares to launch a new low-cost iPhone, which will be a successor to the popular ‌iPhone‌ SE.

The upcoming ‌iPhone‌, which could launch as early as March, is said to feature an affordable price tag. The device is rumored to feature a 4.7-inch display, thick top and bottom bezels with a Touch ID Home button, and a single-lens camera, but it will be equipped with the same A13 chip used in the 11 and 11 Pro.

During a recent earnings call, TSMC reported earnings above most analyst expectations and forecasted a strong quarter ahead.

Tag: TSMC

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Apple’s Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Could Launch as Early as March

Apple will start mass production on the rumored low-cost iPhone that's in the works starting in February, reports Bloomberg. The new ‌iPhone‌ could launch as soon as March after production begins.

Rumors suggest the new ‌iPhone‌ will be similar in design to an iPhone 8, offering up a 4.7-inch LCD display, thick top and bottom bezels, a Touch ID Home button instead of Face ID, and a single-lens rear camera, but it will be equipped with a modern A13 chip and 3GB RAM.

‌iPhone‌ SE and ‌iPhone 8‌

The ‌iPhone‌ will be the first truly low-cost ‌iPhone‌ Apple has introduced since the ‌iPhone‌ SE, which has led to the device being called the "iPhone SE 2" in some rumors, even though it's not expected to be as small as the original ‌iPhone‌ SE. There has been some speculation that Apple could call it the "iPhone 9," a number that was skipped with the 2017 unveiling of the ‌iPhone‌ X, but it's not clear what it will be named.

Render of what the low-cost ‌iPhone‌ could look like, via OnLeaks

Given the $399 pricing of the original ‌iPhone‌ SE, which was also positioned as a more affordable ‌iPhone‌ option, the new low-cost device could potentially be sold at the same $399 price point, making it Apple's most affordable ‌iPhone‌. The ‌iPhone 8‌ is currently the lowest priced ‌iPhone‌ Apple sells at $449.

The low-cost ‌iPhone‌ will be Apple's first ‌iPhone‌ in 2020, with additional ‌iPhone‌ models slated for release in the fall of 2020 with higher-end all-glass designs like current flagship iPhones, 5G technology, and rear 3D cameras. For full details on what to expect from the low-cost ‌iPhone‌, make sure to check out our roundup.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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EA Retiring Tetris Apps for iOS in April 2020

EA is ending support for its Tetris for iOS apps starting on April 21, 2020, the company announced today in app updates to Tetris Premium, Tetris 2011, and Tetris Blitz.


As noted on the MacRumors forums, updates to the Tetris apps say that the games are being retired, with no word on why. From the app updates:
Hello Fans, We have had an amazing journey with you so far but sadly, it is time to say goodbye. As of April 21, 2020, EA's Tetris(R) app will be retired, and will no longer be available to play. Kindly note that you will still be able to enjoy the game and use any existing in-game items until April 21, 2020. We hope you have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of this game and we appreciate your ongoing support. Thank you!
Customers who have purchased in-app items in one of EA's Tetris apps will need to use those items up before the game is retired on April 21, 2020. Though some apps remain available to play after being pulled from the App Store, it sounds like EA is removing access to the Tetris games entirely.

Tetris has been a staple iOS game since the iPhone launched, offering up well-known and well-loved block stacking puzzle gameplay. EA has offered several updates for its Tetris apps over the years, but prior to today's announcement about retirement, the apps had not seen an update since the summer of 2018.

Tags: App Store, EA

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Hands-On With Anker’s Apple-Certified iPhone Camera Flash Accessory

Anker in December debuted a new LED flash accessory that's unique because it's the first iPhone flash option that's Apple certified with Made for ‌iPhone‌ approval.

Anker started accepting pre-orders for the flash earlier this month ahead of a launch in late January, and we were able to get our hands on the LED flash to try it out.

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Priced at $50, the LED flash from Anker is designed to work with Apple's newest iPhones, which means it is compatible with the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

There have been other flash accessories on the market in the past, but these have all worked over Bluetooth. Anker's LED flash has a Lightning cable that plugs right into the Lightning port on the ‌iPhone‌, so it's perfectly synced with the rear cameras and goes off at just the right time.


Design wise, the flash is a little cube with an LED bulb at the front, a Lightning cable at the bottom, and a power button at the side. It comes equipped with a storage pouch and a little diffuser accessory to make the lighting less harsh for when you want a softer look. At the side opposite the power button, there's a tripod mount so you can mount it if desired, but holding it is an option too.

Anker's flash is equipped with a 700mAh battery, which is good for approximately 10,000 shots in flash mode or 50 minutes of light during video capture. Using the flash for video requires putting it into a flashlight mode, which can be done by pressing on the power button.


Once the battery has been exhausted, it will need to be recharged, which can be done with a 5W charger and a USB to Lightning cable. Recharging takes about 75 minutes.

Using the flash with the ‌iPhone‌ requires no setup because of the Lightning cable. Once it's plugged in, it works with the built-in Camera app of the ‌iPhone‌ when the flash is turned on, and it can also work in third-party apps.


According to Anker, the flash accessory is meant to offer 4x more light than the standard built-in flash of the ‌iPhone‌, which has always been weak and often of very little use for most images.


Anker's flash provides more even lighting throughout the image, and it provides a cooler color temperature. You can see the difference between no flash, the built-in flash, night mode, and the Anker flash accessory in the images below.


The LED flash from Anker puts out quite a bit of light, which is useful for photos and videos alike in low lighting conditions. The diffuser is a useful tool too, as seen in these comparison images.


For those who are into ‌iPhone‌ photography, Anker's little cube flash is a tool that will give you more options when capturing images and videos, and it's certainly more useful than Apple's built-in flash.

Those interested in the Anker flash can pre-order it from Amazon for $50, with orders set to ship out on January 25.


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Apple May Develop Original Podcasts Related to Apple TV+ Content

Apple is considering creating original podcasts focused on TV shows and movies from its Apple TV+ streaming service, reports Bloomberg. The podcasts would be used to promote ‌Apple TV‌+ content.

In the summer of 2019, Apple began asking podcast producers to pitch ideas for podcasts with connections to ‌Apple TV‌+ shows, and has since discussed making podcasts with the producers of some of those TV shows.


Apple's streaming TV service, which launched in November, has less content than other streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix, so podcasts could provide Apple with a way to draw in new viewers. Though Apple is new to streaming TV, some of its shows, like "The Morning Show" have already earned award nominations and wins.

‌Apple TV‌+ competitor Netflix creates podcasts that offer behind the scenes looks at TV shows, so Apple could potentially offer something similar for its own shows.

Apple's plans have not been finalized, and it's not clear when ‌Apple TV‌+ podcasts might start rolling out if Apple does indeed decide to continue on with the project.


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New York Law Enforcement Officials Operate $10 Million Lab Designed to Crack iPhones

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. built and oversees a $10 million high-tech forensics lab built expressly for the purpose for cracking iPhones, according to a new profile done by Fast Company.

The lab is equipped with "mind-bending hardware" and a team of technology experts, many of whom are ex-military. The facility itself features a radiofrequency isolation chamber that prevents iPhones being used in investigations from being accessed remotely to keep them from being wiped.


Vance's team has thousands of iPhones at the facility in various stages of being cracked. There's a supercomputer that generates 26 million random passcodes per second, a robot that can remove memory chips without using heat, and specialized tools for repairing damaged devices to make them accessible once again.

All of the iPhones are hooked up to computers that are generating passcodes in an effort to get into the iPhones, and sometimes that requires going through tens of thousands of number combinations. Those who work at the facility, including director Steven Moran, also attempt to narrow down possibilities using birthdays, significant dates, and other info that could be used in each specific case for an iPhone passcode.

Proprietary workflow software tracks all of the iPhones at the facility, including their software and their importance, for the purpose of deciding which ‌iPhone‌ to work on and which might be able to be cracked using a newly found third-party solution.

Vance has been a major critic of Apple and has called on the government to introduce anti-encryption legislation to make it easier for law enforcement officials to get into iPhones needed for criminal investigations. According to Vance, 82 percent of smartphones that come into the unit are locked, and his cybercrime lab can crack "about half."

Apple's frequent software updates continually make breaking into iPhones harder by making the process more complicated, which can make it close to impossible to breach an ‌iPhone‌ in a timely manner. "The problem with that, particularly from a law enforcement perspective, is, first of all, time matters to us," said Vance.

Vance believes that it's "not fair" that Apple and Google can prevent law enforcement officials from accessing smartphones. Vance says that law enforcement is entrusted with a responsibility to "protect the public" but Apple and Google have limited access to information "just because they say so." Vance is of the opinion that there should be a "balance" between protecting user privacy and getting justice for victims of crimes.
"That's not their call. And it's not their call because there's something bigger here at issue rather than their individual determination of where to balance privacy and public safety. What's bigger is you've got victims and you've got a law enforcement community who have strong imperatives that should be recognized and balanced equally with the subject decision-makers by the heads of Apple and Google. Today, I think it's unbalanced.
Apple's argument is that it provides ‌iPhone‌ data from iCloud without breaking into the ‌iPhone‌ itself, but Vance says that a serious criminal doesn't have an ‌iCloud‌ backup. A user can also choose what information is stored remotely, and "in many cases" smartphones do not backup between the time when a crime takes place and an ‌iPhone‌ is shut off.

Law enforcement officials can also obtain device metadata like the time and location of a phone call from SIM cards or phone carriers, but Moran says that's the difference between being able to read a letter and being limited to just the envelope the letter came in.
"Even if we are lucky enough to get into the cloud or even if we're lucky enough to get some of the metadata, we're still missing an awful lot of important information that's critical to the investigation."
Vance says that he's not "whining" about the encryption problem, but his lab is "not the answer" as most of the U.S. can't afford to do the work that the New York cyber lab does.

Fast Company's profile of Vance's cyber lab comes as Apple is gearing up for another battle with the FBI. Apple has been asked to unlock the iPhones used by Florida shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, and while Apple has provided ‌iCloud‌ data, the company will fight requests to unlock the actual devices.

For more on New York's High Technology Analysis Unit and facility, make sure to check out Fast Company's full profile.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook to Attend Davos Breakfast With Trump

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum conference and he plans to attend a breakfast with U.S. President Donald Trump, reports Bloomberg.

Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will brief Trump on a new campaign designed to highlight the multiple ways to get an education.

‌‌Tim Cook‌ and Melania and Donald Trump‌ in August 2018

Cook has attempted to have a cordial relationship with Trump, and recently took Trump to tour Apple operations in Austin, Texas, but there have been tensions between the two due to an ongoing trade dispute with China and more recently, Apple's refusal to unlock the iPhones used by Flordia shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

Ahead of the breakfast with Trump, Cook on Tuesday met with the prime ministers of Finland, Spain, and Croatia, but it's not known what was discussed.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Reminds Developers About Updates for HTML5 Apps and Changes to Kids App Categories

Apple today updated its developer news site with details about two upcoming changes that developers should be aware of.

Apple in June 2019 updated the App Store guidelines to clarify that apps that contain or run code not embedded in the binary (aka HTML5) cannot provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations. All apps must comply with these guidelines by March 3, 2020.
The ‌App Store‌ Review Guidelines are designed to help developers create apps that are secure, high-quality, reliable, and that respect user privacy. In order to ensure this, we've always specified that all apps be self-contained bundles. This means that the core features and functionality of the app must be contained within the software's binary, rather than made possible by referring users outside of the approved app -- including through the use of HTML5. Apps that dynamically provide core features and functionality with web technology like HTML5 are best delivered through Safari, rather than through the curated ‌App Store‌.
Separately, Apple also made changes to apps for children, and such apps are not allowed to transmit personally identifiable information or device information to third-parties. Apple must also require a parental gate to link out of the app.
When parents visit the Kids category on the ‌App Store‌, they expect that the apps they find are suitable for children. That's why apps published on the ‌App Store‌ must protect children's data and provide only age-appropriate content. Apps must also require a parental gate in order to link out of the app, request permissions, or present purchasing opportunities. It's critical that apps do not transmit personally identifiable information or device information to third parties, and that advertisements are human-reviewed for age appropriateness in order to be displayed.
Developers of apps for children must be in full compliance with the updated guidelines by March 3, 2020.


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Apple Card Users Can Now Export Transactions to Use in Budgeting Apps

When Apple Card launched last year, it didn't support importing transactions into various budgeting apps, which was a major negative for customers who use Quicken, YNAB, Lunch Money, Mint, and more.

As of today, though, Apple has a solution - an option to download a spreadsheet that has all ‌Apple Card‌ data, which can then be imported into many budgeting apps.


As outlined by TechCrunch, ‌Apple Card‌ users can follow these steps to access a document containing their monthly statements:

  • Open up the Wallet app.

  • Choose ‌Apple Card‌.

  • Tap the "Card Balance" option.

  • Tap on a monthly statement.

  • Tap "Export Transactions."

The option to export transactions will show up when a monthly statement is available. The ‌Apple Card‌ transactions are exported in a Share Sheet format with a CSV document, but in the future, Apple also plans to add an OFX option.

Apple's newly added feature to download transaction data in a CSV format should be a welcome change for ‌Apple Card‌ users who use budgeting services that accept imports. Some apps, like Quicken, accept imports, but may need file format conversions prior to import. Quicken does not support CSV files, for example.

Apps that require API-level integration like Plaid or Co-pilot will still be unable to download ‌Apple Card‌ content, and there's no word from Apple on when and if support will arrive.


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Apple May Release Smart Keyboard With Scissor Switches Alongside 2020 iPads

Apple may release a Smart Keyboard with a scissor switch design for its next-generation iPad or iPad Pro models, suggests Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, although full details are not available yet.

A paywalled preview of the report vaguely claims that "Apple's next-generation iPad series reportedly will feature a scissor switch keyboard," which is presumably referring to an accessory rather than a built-in hardware keyboard. The full report should be released tomorrow with more details.


In July 2019, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that iPad keyboards would stick with a rubber dome design rather than scissor switches in 2020-21, adding further uncertainty to this report.

Apple switched to a butterfly mechanism for its MacBook Pro keyboard in 2016, and after years of issues with sticky or unresponsive keys, it finally returned to a scissor switch design with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro last October. Kuo expects the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air to follow suit in 2020.

We'll update this post when the full report is released.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad Air

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