Bare Logic Boards for 4.7-Inch and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Compared in New Photos

Following the publication of several photos over the weekend showing what was claimed to be the bare logic board for the upcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6, Nowherelse.fr now shares [Google Translate] a new set of photos showing the same part reportedly from the even larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model.

The photos include side-by-side comparisons of the part from both iPhone 6 models and the iPhone 5s, and while it does not appear to be confirmed which iPhone 6 logic board is for which device size, there are now clearly two distinct parts larger than the current iPhone 5s logic board.

iphone_6_47_55_5s_logic_frontLogic board fronts left to right: newly shown iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, previous iPhone 6
(Click for larger)

The component layout of the logic boards from the two iPhone 6 models appear very similar, but the board design and screw hole layout are somewhat different, particularly on the upper portion of the board including the arm extending across the top of the device above the battery. As with the first logic board, this part allegedly includes support for near field communications (NFC).

iphone_6_47_55_5s_logic_backLogic board backs left to right: newly shown iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, previous iPhone 6
(Click for larger)

While the legitimacy of the parts can not be confirmed, they do appear very similar to existing parts and exhibit complexity that would be expensive to fake. They also contain part numbers (820-3675-04 and 820-2486-09) in the pattern followed by Apple.

The iPhone 6 is expected to debut around the September timeframe, although it is unclear whether that launch will include both versions or only the 4.7-inch model. Rumors have been split on whether the 5.5-inch model will launch simultaneously or up to several months later due to production challenges.

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Retina MacBook Pro Updates Reportedly Due Tuesday, July 29

Following yesterday’s reported spotting of in-store digital signage from an Apple retail store in China showing upgraded specs for the Retina MacBook Pro, MacG.co now claims [Google Translate] the update is set to arrive tomorrow, July 29. The information comes from a reliable source who has accurately predicted MacBook Air, iMac, and iPod touch updates in recent months, although the source was off by a few days on the iPod touch update timing.

Few details on the new Retina MacBook Pros are available from the source other than that the update will include both 13-inch and 15-inch models and that only minor changes to the internal model number (J44a and J45a respectively) point to a simple speed bump.

mbp_retina_late_2014_chart
The in-store digital signage had shown details on three 15-inch MacBook Pro models, all carrying “Haswell refresh” processors clocking in at 200 MHz faster than their counterparts currently used in the Retina MacBook Pro line. Those new Haswell chips were introduced by Intel last week, and we noted at the time that the list of three dual-core and three quad-core processors appeared almost custom tailored for a Retina MacBook Pro update.

In addition to the processor upgrades, the signage also pointed to a bump in RAM for the low-end 15-inch model, moving from 8 GB to 16 GB.

While the Retina MacBook Pro upgrade appears imminent, the minor update is in large part a stopgap measure as Apple and other manufacturers await Intel’s much-delayed Broadwell family of processors. Broadwell chips appropriate for the Retina MacBook Pro may not be ready until as late as mid-2015.

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Microsoft Launches New Cortana vs. Siri Ad Showing Off Context-Aware Reminders

Microsoft today launched a new commercial comparing its new Cortana virtual assistant to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri, demonstrating how the former is able to perform contextually-aware tasks using a number of services.

Titled “Happy Anniversary”, the commercial shows Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1 running on the Nokia Lumia 635 as the narrator makes commands related around a wedding anniversary. First, the narrator asks Cortana to remind him to wish his wife a happy birthday he next time she calls, as the voice assistant schedules a reminder around the call. Meanwhile, Siri does not comply to the request.

The narrator then asks Cortana to remind him to get roses when he comes near any flower shop, while Siri once again does not comply. Finally, Cortana automatically gives a traffic reminder prompting the narrator to leave before traffic delays, as Siri finishes by saying “Now that is a smart phone.”

This is the first time that Microsoft has demonstrated its new Cortana voice assistant against Siri, however the company has used Siri’s voice to poke fun at the iPad in the past. Cortana was originally announced in April alongside Windows Phone 8.1, as Microsoft touted the virtual assistant’s ability to tie reminders and tasks around people and locations. Notably, a Windows Phone manager said last month that the company wants Cortana to be “pervasive” among mobile platforms, perhaps indicating that Microsoft could expand Cortana to iOS and Android.

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Apple Close to Acquiring Radio Streaming Service Swell for $30 Million

Apple is close to acquiring talk radio curation service Swell for about $30 million, reports Re/code. Swell’s iOS app launched last year and allows users to listen to streaming audio from iTunes, NPR, ABC, ESPN and others through a design that emphasizes simplicity.

As a part of the acquisition, Swell will shut down its iOS app this week as its CEO Ram Ramkumar and other members of its development team will join Apple. Apple will likely look to use Swell’s technology to improve its own Podcasts app, which holds a 1.5 star rating and has been widely criticized for performance issues. Users of Podcasts also experienced an outage last month, as the app constantly crashed upon opening.

swell_app Swell’s iOS app
Apple’s purchase of Swell follows the acquisition of “Pandora for Books” startup BookLamp in April for a reported sum between $10 million and $15 million, as the company also acquired Beats Electronics this past May for $3 billion. It was revealed in the company’s Q3 2014 results earnings call that it had acquired 29 companies since beginning of 2013, with 5 coming from beginning of March quarter, not including Beats.

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Chart Suggests Speed-Bumped 15-Inch Retina MacBook Pros with 16GB of RAM Standard Coming Soon

Apple may be planning to launch a slightly refreshed line of 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros complete with faster Haswell processors and 16GB of RAM standard, according to a photo said to have come from the company’s Chongqing, China store (via BBS Feng, Google Translate).

mbp_retina_late_2014_chart
The purported pricing chart shows two standard configurations priced at 14,288 yuan and 18,688 yuan, which is the same as Apple’s current pricing for its 15-inch notebook line in China. If real, this pricing chart would indicate that Apple would keep its current pricing instead of offering each new model for less as done for the MacBook Air earlier this year.

The first configuration comes with a faster Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz processor and 16GB of RAM standard compared to the current 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 and 8GB of RAM found on the current base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the second configuration features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and the same 16GB of RAM, up from the current 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Both models feature the same graphics, with the first configuration coming with Intel’s Iris Pro graphics and the second coming with both the Iris Pro and NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 750M.

A third high-end configuration priced at 23,688 yuan also appears on the chart, boasting a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of flash storage, and Intel’s Iris Pro graphics plus a NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M.

All of the processors listed on the chart correspond to Intel’s new line of Core i7 Haswell processors launched last week, perhaps indicating that an updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro line may be imminent. Apple’s line of 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros should also see an update in the near future, as Intel also launched new Core i5 Haswell processors alongside its refreshed i7 Haswell chips.

A minor refresh of the Retina MacBook Pro line was originally noted earlier this year alongside a rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook. According to the latest reports, the 12-inch Retina MacBook may be pushed back to next year because of Intel’s delayed Broadwell chips.

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Bare iPhone 6 Logic Board Surfaces, Claimed to Support NFC and 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Claimed internal components for the iPhone 6 are beginning to surface with increasing frequency as it is now likely less than two months until launch. In line with those developments, a new set of photos [Google Translate] shared by Nowhereelse.fr reveal what appears to be the bare logic board of the iPhone 6, likely the 4.7-inch model.

According to Nowehereelse.fr, the source who shared the photos of the parts claims the iPhone 6 will include support for both near field communication (NFC) and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, although neither of those claims can be confirmed from the photos themselves. NFC for the iPhone has been rumored for years, but has yet to come to fruition and rumors are once again split as to whether the iPhone 6 will include the technology. 802.11ac seems to be a natural upgrade for the iPhone now that appropriate chips are available.

iphone_6_5s_logic_boards
The logic board bears a number of similarities to corresponding parts from other iPhones, although this part includes a much longer piece extending across what would be the top of the device. Given the larger body size of the iPhone 6, however, it is unsurprising that internal components could see some changes to their design and layout.

iphone_6_logic_board_screw_holesOverlay of logic board and rear shell
Screw holes in the board also appear to line up with ones seen in recent leaks of claimed rear shell parts for the iPhone 6, indicating they are indeed likely from the same device.

iphone_6_logic_board_annotatedAnnotation of likely iPhone 6 logic board component locations
(Click for larger)

With the photos showing only the bare printed board and no chips or other components installed, it is difficult to tell much new information from the part, although the locations of some components can be identified based on their similarities to other iPhone logic boards.

The iPhone 6 is expected to see a similar launch timeframe as in recent years, with a September media event introduction followed by a launch shortly after. While the 4.7-inch model is expected to follow this timeline, an even larger 5.5-inch model is said to still be in flux and may not debut until several months later.

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