Apple to Attend CES 2020 in Rare Official Appearance

Apple will make a rare official appearance at next week's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where its HomeKit smart home system will take the limelight, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


With Amazon and Google expected to roll out new software capabilities for their internet-connected products and voice-activated smart platforms, Apple's own smart home system will also be on show.
Apple's ‌HomeKit‌, a system for controlling devices in the home, will also be on display. Some companies will show off new gadgets for the home that work with Siri, Apple's digital assistant.
According to the report, the company isn't expected to release any new hardware at the trade show, but Apple executive Jane Horvath is scheduled to speak on a consumer privacy panel on January 7.

Ahead of last year's CES, Apple put up a giant sign in Las Vegas touting the security of its devices, and in 2018 some Apple employees reportedly met with potential augmented-reality glasses suppliers there, but otherwise it has traditionally chosen to stay away. Apple's presence at CES 2020 is the first time in decades that the company has attended in an official capacity.


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Report: Apple Has ‘Secret Team’ Working on Satellites to Beam Data Directly to iPhones

Apple has a dedicated research team looking into new ways to beam data like internet connectivity directly to iPhones and other devices, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker has about a dozen engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries working on the project with the goal of deploying their results within five years, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal company efforts. Work on the project is still early and could be abandoned, the people said, and a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized.
According to the report, Apple's main aim is to beam data to a user's ‌iPhone‌, potentially reducing the dependence on wireless carriers, or for linking devices together without a traditional network, thereby mitigating coverage issues. Apple could also be exploring satellites for more precise location tracking for its devices, enabling improved maps and new features.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly made the project a company priority, and Apple is said to be ramping up hiring, with new software and hardware experts being added to the team. The company has also hired additional executives from the aerospace and wireless data delivery fields, and is seeking engineers with experience in designing components for communications equipment. Apple is said to be hoping for the initiative to produce results within five years.

Back in 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple had hired John Fenwick and Michael Trela, two Google executives who led the search giant's satellite and spacecraft operations. At the time, what the two would be doing at Apple was unclear, but Bloomberg now reports that Fenwick and Trela is leading the team dedicated to satellites and related wireless technology.

According to the report, the team has recently added people from the wireless industry, including engineer Matt Ettus, one of the foremost names in wireless technologies, Ashley Moore Williams, a longtime executive from Aerospace Corp. who focused on communication satellites, and Daniel Ellis, a former Netflix executive who helped oversee the company’s Content Delivery Network. Ellis is said to have experience in building networks that can beam content and information on a global scale.

What remains unclear is whether Apple plans to develop its own satellite systems or make use of ground-based technology that could receive data from existing satellites and send it to mobile devices. Efforts by the likes of Facebook and Amazon to deploy satellites are a long way from becoming reality, but Apple could potentially look to existing satellite makers like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing to provide the necessary hardware in the sky.


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Apple Reportedly Overhauling Its Software Development Process Following Buggy Release of iOS 13

Apple is overhauling the way it develops and tests iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS in hopes that the new approach will improve the quality of each software platform over the long term, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


The report claims the new strategy is already being applied to development of iOS 14 ahead of its release next year. The shift comes after the buggy release of iOS 13, which has already received eight updates with bug fixes and delayed features in the last two months, which is more than usual over that time.

The new process will see Apple implement "flags," allowing the company's software engineers to selectively enable or disable unfinished or buggy features in an isolated way to ensure that overall stability is not jeopardized. Flags are already commonly used by other tech companies like Google and Microsoft.

Apple has also considered delaying some iOS 14 features until 2021, according to the report, as part of its efforts to ensure the update is more stable. Apple is believed to have taken a similar approach with iOS 12, delaying some features until ‌iOS 13‌, which contributed to iOS 12 being a rather stable update.

The changes were reportedly announced at a recent meeting with employees led by Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.

In the meantime, Apple continues to test iOS 13.3, with a third beta released this week.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

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Bloomberg: Apple Considering Bundling Apple Music, TV+, and News+ as Early as 2020

Apple is considering bundling its subscription services as early as 2020, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, according to Bloomberg.


The report indicates that Apple has included a provision in its contract with Apple News+ publishers that permits Apple to bundle News+ with its other services if it desires. The monthly price of the bundle would be lower than the cost of paying for each service separately in a bid to attract more subscribers.

Apple is already experimenting with at least one services bundle. Last month, the company began offering free access to Apple TV+ to students who subscribe to Apple Music. The offer is available for a limited time only.

The report goes on to cite "some media executives" who said the amount of money they have received from Apple News+ so far has been less than expected. On the other hand, some executives are pleased with the service so far, including Los Angeles Times executive editor Norm Pearlstine.


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New AR Sensor Coming to 2020 iPad Pro and iPhone Models, AR/VR Headset as Soon as 2021

Following a report from The Information this morning summarizing a recent internal Apple meeting that pegged the release of Apple's augmented reality headsets for the 2022–23 timeframe rather than the more aggressive 2020 window that has previously been rumored, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has shared additional information on the company's AR roadmap that will initially focus on the iPad and iPhone before the glasses come to fruition.

"Apple Glasses" concept

Gurman says Apple is working on "a range of augmented and virtual-reality devices" based around a new 3D sensor system, which will arrive first on a new iPad Pro slated for release in the first half of next year, and followed by the 2020 iPhones later in the year.
A new ‌iPad Pro‌ for release as early as the first half of 2020 will feature a new module with two camera sensors, up from one on the current model, and a small hole for the 3-D system, letting people create three-dimensional reconstructions of rooms, objects and people. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also plans to add the sensor to new high-end iPhones later in 2020, along with 5G networking capabilities, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.
Moving beyond existing devices, Apple is said to be targeting 2021 or 2022 for the release of a combination VR and AR headset focused on "gaming, watching video and virtual meetings." A lighter weight set of AR glasses could follow as soon as 2023.

The 3D sensor system to be used in the upcoming is said to be a more advanced version of the current Face ID sensor, and Apple's engineering teams are working on creating linkages to the new "rOS" operating system for these headsets that will let them work with existing iOS devices.

For more on Apple's AR/VR project, check out the full report over at bloomberg.com.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Bloomberg: Apple Increasing Hiring for Team Working on New HomeKit Devices Beyond HomePod

Apple is ramping up hiring for a team working on new HomeKit-based devices and software, having posted at least 15 openings for engineering positions on the team in the last month, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.


The report claims the efforts are headed by Andreas Gal, the former CTO of Mozilla who joined Apple last year following the iPhone maker's acquisition of Silk Labs, an artificial intelligence startup that had created a privacy-focused security camera and smart home hub system.

Details are vague, but one possibility is said to be new smart home devices beyond the HomePod speaker. Apple is also said to have explored creating a wide range of smart home accessories, such as modules for opening and closing windows, cabinets, and doors, but those efforts were reportedly put on hold.


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Bloomberg: Apple Targets 2020 for Release of AR Headset, Apple Watch Sleep Tracking, and ARM-Based Macs

Apple has targeted a 2020 release for its augmented reality headset, although the timeframe could be pushed back if the product needs more development, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

Google Glasses

The report claims the glasses are expected to wirelessly pair with an iPhone to display information such as messages, emails, and maps over the wearer's field of vision. It would also be possible to play games on the headset, with Apple reportedly considering having an App Store for the headset.

Apple has a few other releases planned for later in 2020, the report adds, including Apple Watch models with sleep tracking and Macs with custom Apple-designed processors that are expected to be ARM-based.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, Apple Glasses
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Bloomberg: 2019 iPhones Will Have Centered Apple Logo on Back

2019 iPhones will feature a centered Apple logo on the back of the devices, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

The centered logo will help users know where to place their Apple Watch or AirPods case to charge on the back of the upcoming iPhones, which are widely expected to have a new Qi-based device-to-device charging feature, similar to Wireless PowerShare on Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphones.

Wireless PowerShare on Samsung's Galaxy S10

In late July, an alleged Foxconn worker claimed that there will be no "iPhone" branding on the back of the iPhone 11 models, and this certainly seems more likely in light of this centered Apple logo rumor.

Taking both rumors into account, concept designer Ben Geskin has mocked up how the iPhone 11 models should look:


Gurman also reiterated that iPhone 11 models will have more shatter-resistant glass and improved water resistance, the iPhone XR will come in a new green color, and that this year's Apple Watch refresh will be relatively minor, with a focus on new ceramic and titanium casing finishes and watchOS 6.

We're just three days away from Apple's event at Steve Jobs Theater, which kicks off Tuesday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple will be live streaming the event via its website, the Apple Events app on Apple TV, and YouTube. MacRumors will have full coverage of the announcements as they unfold — stay tuned!

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Bloomberg: Apple Planning iPhone With Both Face ID and Touch ID Under Display by 2021

Apple is developing an in-display fingerprint scanner for future iPhones, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu.


The report claims Apple is considering including the in-display scanner in a 2020 iPhone if testing is successful, but adds there is a possibility the tech will not be ready until 2021. This lines up with a prediction from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects an iPhone with both Face ID and in-display Touch ID in 2021.

The upcoming fingerprint reader would be embedded in the display, enabling users to unlock the iPhone by placing a finger almost anywhere on the screen, and it would complement rather than replace the existing Face ID system. This would give users the convenience of two biometric authentication options.

Face ID and Touch ID each have their weaknesses, such as Face ID not working well when an iPhone is laying flat on a table, or Touch ID not playing friendly with wet fingers. With both systems, users would have the best of both worlds, using the authentication option that is better in a given situation.

Several major Android smartphone makers have adopted in-screen fingerprint scanners over the past few years, including Samsung.

Apple is also working on its first low-cost iPhone since the iPhone SE, which could launch as early as the first half of 2020, according to Bloomberg. As Nikkei reported earlier this week, the device is said to look similar to the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button.

The iPhone 8 currently retails for $599 and up, while the iPhone SE started at $399, but was later discounted to $349.


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2019 iPhones Said to Have Improved Shatter Resistance, Multi-Angle Face ID That Works Flat on Tables

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu have shared expectations for Apple's fall product lineup and beyond, revealing new details plus existing rumors about upcoming iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod, and AirPods models.


Starting with the iPhone, the report claims the widely rumored triple-lens rear camera system on the higher-end models will enable a larger field of view for capturing ultra-wide-angle photos and videos, in addition to improving low-light photos. New editing tools while recording video are also expected.

The high-end iPhones will look nearly identical to the current models from the front, but at least some colors on the back will have a new matte finish, according to the report. Interestingly, he adds that the new iPhones should better withstand drops due to an unspecified "new shatter-resistance technology."

The report claims a new multi-angle Face ID sensor that captures a wider field of view will enable users to unlock the next iPhones more easily, even when the devices are laying flat on a table for example.

Other features outlined for 2019 iPhones include "dramatically enhanced" water resistance and faster A13 processors with a new co-processor known internally as "AMX" or "matrix." As for the next iPhone XR, the report corroborates rumors of it gaining a dual-lens rear camera and a new green color option.

As for the iPad, the report claims both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be refreshed in 2019 with improved cameras and faster processors. The report also backs the rumor of a 10.2-inch iPad launching later this year.

Turning to the Apple Watch, this year's changes are said to be "more muted," revolving around watchOS 6 and new case finishes. Last week, iHelpBR's Filipe Espósito discovered new titanium and ceramic 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch models based on hidden assets in the watchOS 6 beta.

The report concludes that Apple plans to launch a new 16-inch MacBook Pro with slim bezels later this year, as well as new AirPods with water resistance and noise cancelation and a cheaper HomePod with reduced tweeters as early as 2020.


Tuesday, September 10 is the widely predicted date of Apple's traditional iPhone event, just under three weeks away.


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