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Elgato Unveils ‘Eve’ HomeKit Supported Smart Home Sensors, Hub-Less Smart Bulb

Elgato has announced its brand new line of “Eve” connected home sensors at this year’s IFA 2014 trade show in Berlin, which will feature full integration with Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform once iOS 8 launches.

elgato_eve_line1 Elgato’s line of “Eve” smart home sensors
The Eve brand features Bluetooth accessories that monitor air quality, smoke, humidity, air pressure, energy, and water consumption, with all information syncing back to an iOS app. From the app, users can see an overview of the different aspects in their home along with suggestions and tips to better improve the environment.

elgato_avea_2 Elgato’s $50 “Avea” smart lightbulb
The company also announced its own $50 Avea smart lightbulb, which allows for custom profiles, colors and alarms through an iOS app. Notably, the Avea does not require a hub like the Philips’ line of Hue smart bulbs, and can utilize multiple bulbs to coordinate lighting patterns.

elgato_eve_app2 Elgato’s iOS app for its line of “Eve” smart home sensors
Elgato’s Eve line of products are among the first to publicly support HomeKit, which was first announced at WWDC this past June. The platform allows home automation devices and their apps to work with Apple’s first-party services like Siri and stock iOS apps using a single, secure protocol. A report from earlier this year claimed that Apple was developing its own smart home products to work with HomeKit for a release in the near future. Apple may also look to feature HomeKit integration in its highly-rumored iWatch wearable device, which is said to “make good use” of HomeKit.

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Microsoft’s New Cortana vs. Siri Ad Shows Off HTC One M8 for Windows, Mapping Features

Microsoft today launched a new commercial comparing its Cortana virtual assistant and the HTC One M8 for Windows to Siri and the iPhone 5s, showing a variety of hardware features and software integration that isn’t possible with Apple’s device.

The ad is titled “Siri vs. Cortana – Mirror Mirror” and depicts Cortana and Siri talking to each other about a number of features on the new HTC One M8 for Windows. Cortana demonstrates how it can work with a user’s calendar and traffic to provide route and mapping information, while also showing off the HTC One M8′s dual front-facing speakers. The commercial ends with Siri remarking that she only has one speaker and that she is “sitting on it,” referring to the speaker placement on the iPhone.

The new ad follows a commercial released in July showing off Cortana’s ability to perform contextually-aware tasks and poking fun at Siri’s inability to do the same. Cortana was originally announced earlier this year as a part of Windows Phone 8.1, with Microsoft emphasizing the virtual assistant’s ability to relate tasks to people and places. A Windows Phone manager also stated in June that Microsoft would like Cortana to be on other mobile platforms, perhaps hinting at an expansion of the assistant to iOS and Android.

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Nearly Complete iPhone 6 Assembled From Parts Compared to iPhone 5s in New Video

Last week, a video from Feld & Volk depicted a nearly complete 4.7-inch iPhone 6 that was assembled from various iPhone 6 parts, giving us a clear picture of what the finished device might look like ahead of its September 9 debut.

A second video has surfaced from Russian YouTube channel Rozetked (via 9to5Mac), depicting another near-complete 4.7-inch iPhone 6 next to an iPhone 5s. Like the iPhone 6 from Feld & Volk, the iPhone 6 depicted in the video appears to have been assembled from various iPhone parts, showing off a space gray rear shell with both a black and white front plate.

In the video, the iPhone 6 is displayed next to the iPhone 5s at several different angles, showing off all of the design differences between the two phones. Aside from the iPhone 6′s larger size, it is also noticeably thinner with iPad-style design elements including pill-shaped volume buttons and rounded corners.

Also shown is the device’s rounded True Tone dual-LED flash, protruding camera ring, thick antenna bands, embedded Apple logo, and relocated power button, along with internal elements like the logic board.

Apple is expected to introduce both the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 devices at a September 9 media event. While rumors have suggested the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be available to ship shortly after its debut, it is less clear whether the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will also ship during the month of September or at a later date due to production issues.

The September 9 event is also expected to feature the introduction of Apple’s first wearable device and it may also include the debut of Apple’s rumored mobile payment service.

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Apple ‘Actively Investigating’ Hacking of Celebrity iCloud Accounts

icloud_icon_blueApple is investigating the breach of several celebrity iCloud accounts that allowed hackers to access the private photos and videos of multiple well-known actresses, according to a statement an Apple spokesperson gave to Re/code.

Apple said it was “actively investigating” the violation of several of its iCloud accounts, in which revealing photos and videos of prominent Hollywood actresses were taken and posted all over the Web.

“We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris.

Over the weekend, hundreds of nude photos of celebrities were leaked on 4chan before spreading to multiple Internet sites, with one of the involved hackers pointing towards iCloud as the source of the material.

Security researchers have postulated that weak passwords and a lack of two-factor authentication may have led to the breach, but it’s possible that a Python script shared on Github a few days ago also may have allowed hackers to exploit a vulnerability in Find My iPhone.

As described by The Next Web, the tool allowed hackers to repeatedly guess passwords without being locked out of an iCloud/Apple ID account, brute forcing their way into accounts. Though it is unclear if the tool was responsible for the hacked celebrity accounts, Apple did fix the vulnerability earlier today. Attempting to use the tool now locks an Apple ID after five attempts to guess a password.

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Possible 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell Showcased in New Video

A video showcasing what is claimed to be the rear shell of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was published today by Nowhereelse.fr. While component leaks have been abundant for the 4.7-inch version, this is one of only a few leaks for the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is rumored to be entering production in September. The site’s sources also claim Apple has selected “iPhone Air” as the name for this larger iPhone version.

video-iPhone-6-Air-coque
The metal frame in this latest leak is similar in appearance to a rear shell that appeared last month. Both shells have thick antenna breaks, a rounded opening for an updated True Tone flash, a cutout for the Apple logo, a space for elongated volume buttons and a side mounted power button.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 at an event scheduled for September 9th at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. While it most certainly is an iPhone event, it is not known whether the company will announce both the 4.7-inch and the 5.5-inch models at this time.

If Apple introduces the 5.5-inch model on September 9th, the company may stagger the retail sales of the two phones, offering the 4.7-inch model sometime in September and waiting to ship the 5.5-inch version until the end of the year due to production issues.

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Apple Not Expected to Ship Reversible USB-Lightning Cable or New Adapter Alongside iPhone 6

Apple will likely not be shipping a new Lighting cable or redesigned USB power adapter alongside the iPhone 6, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider). Kuo notes that he doesn’t expect either accessory to receive design changes when shipped alongside the iPhone 6, noting that”cost concerns” and”limited improvements to overall user experience” are preventing Apple from making such moves.

moca_cable_adapter_apple Moca.co’s prototype USB adapter and Lightning cable based on Apple’s designs
The report follows recent leaks of a revamped Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector as well as a revamped power adapter. The new USB adapter is said to be capable of powering all iPhone, iPod and iPad mini models with support for up to 2A of current, twice that of the current adapter shipping with the iPhone.

Last month, third-party vendor Moca.co stated that Apple has yet to move forward with manufacturing orders with the new cable, likely indicating that it will not ship with iPhone 6. However, the company also stated that the redesigned power adapters are in mass production, and could in fact ship with Apple’s new handset.

Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 for the first time next Tuesday, September 9, as any new accessories will likely be announced alongside the device.

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Apple Hires Longtime Technology Journalist Anand Lal Shimpi

After announcing his departure from AnandTech, veteran technology journalist Anand Lal Shimpi will join Apple in an undisclosed role, reports Re/code. A representative for Apple confirmed that Shimpi would be joining the company, but also declined to provide any further details.

anand_shimpi Image credit: Anandtech
Shimpi launched AnandTech in 1997 and established the website’s reputation around in-depth analysis and reviews on a number of topics from the world of technology, including posts on Apple’s line of desktops, notebooks, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and accessories.

In his farewell post on AnandTech published yesterday, Shimpi stated that he “won’t stay idle forever” and added that there are “a bunch of challenges out there.”

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Apple Partnering With American Express on iPhone Mobile Payments Initiative

Apple’s rumored mobile payments initiative appears to be coming closer to launch, with Re/code reporting the company has reached a deal to partner with American Express.

Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system, according to sources familiar with the talks. American Express is one of several partners Apple will need to sign up before it can launch its new payments plan, which sources say it plans to announce at its September 9 product event.

Apple was previously reported to have been in negotiations with Visa over the effort, which is said to leverage the upcoming iPhone 6. Just days ago, a logic board leak revealed the near field communications (NFC) chip destined for the iPhone 6 and which will presumably play an important role in enabling the mobile payments functionality.

easypay_conceptEasyPay mobile payments concept by Ricardo Del Toro
With Apple’s extensive database of credit card numbers linked to iTunes Store accounts and new security technology such as Touch ID built into the iPhone, the company is strongly positioned to leverage those assets for widespread adoption of mobile payments. The effort naturally requires partnerships with credit card processors and retailers, but the pieces do appear to be falling into place just ahead of next week’s media event.

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Apple Reportedly Weighing $400 Price Range for Upcoming Wearable Device

iwatch_concept_ifoyucouldseeIn the latest of a string a reports regarding Apple’s plans for its upcoming wearable device, Re/code reports company executives have “discussed” a rough price of $400 for the device. That is merely a range, however, with cheaper models perhaps also in the works.

Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device.

Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year. Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.

The report indicates that it is unclear whether Apple will have the pricing issue settled in time for its September 9 media event where it will reportedly show off the device, popularly referred to as the iWatch. If not, the company would remain silent on pricing for the time being and announce it a later date closer to launch, which may not occur until early next year.

Rumors regarding the wearable device have been inconsistent over time, making it unclear where on the spectrum of health and fitness band to true smart watch it will fall. Apple may, however, have altered its announcement schedule in order to better position the device as an iPhone accessory rather than as a standalone product.

(Image: iWatch concept from ifyoucouldseethefuture.com)

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4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Built From Parts Supports Theory of 1334 x 750 Display

Yesterday, we shared a video and some photos from Feld & Volk [Instagram page] apparently showing a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 built from parts actually booting to the “Connect to iTunes” recovery mode screen.

A Tweet today from developer Steven Troughton-Smith points out that the graphics shown on the display during this booting process “*seem* to confirm” John Gruber’s arguments in favor of the device being equipped with a 1334 x 750 display at the same 326 pixels per inch density of previous Retina displays. More specifically, the evidence points toward an approximately 667 x 375 point display, which would presumably arrive in the form of a 2x Retina display at 1334 x 750 as Gruber suggests.

Sparked by Troughton-Smith’s observation, we have independently examined photos of the booting device provided to us by Feld & Volk and come to the same conclusion.

iPhone 6 (left) and iPhone 5s (right) shown booting to recovery mode. Letterboxing on iPhone 6 visible below Lightning cable.
The method relies on the fact that the “Connect to iTunes” image does not completely fill the display on the iPhone 6, with the Lightning cable ending above the bottom edge of the screen whereas on current iPhones it extends all the way to the edge. Assuming this “letterboxing” is due to the image not being optimized for the larger iPhone 6 display, it would correspond to the image filling an area equivalent to a 4-inch screen centered on the device’s 4.7-inch display.

This would account for the margin of black seen between the cable and the bottom of the display, and measuring the ratio of the space (plus a presumed equal one at the top) to the overall display size should yield an approximation of how much larger the viewable area is in points on the iPhone 6.

4.7-inch iPhone 6 display showing apparent letterboxed areas (red) with image optimized for 4-inch display (blue)
(Click for larger)

By our calculations, the border areas not covered by the image together suggest that the iPhone 6 display carries approximately 17.5% more points in the vertical dimension than a current 4-inch display. This would move the current 568-point height of the iPhone 6 (1136 pixels at 2x Retina) to 667 points (1334 pixels assuming 2x Retina) on the iPhone 6.

Assuming the aspect ratio of the screen remains the same as in the iPhone 5s, which by all indications it does, this would mean a 667 x 375 point (1334 x 750 pixels Retina) display for the iPhone 6. Performing the calculation in the horizontal dimension is more difficult due to nature of the recovery mode image, with no portion of the visible graphics extending to the side edge of the overall image to determine how much letterboxing space is on the sides.

Some observers have questioned the legitimacy of the video given the unfamiliar gear icon at initial startup and the blue iTunes logo that does not match the new red logo used on iOS 8, but Troughton-Smith notes the device is likely simply running Apple’s BurnIn tool rather than full iOS 7 or 8.

This analysis obviously addresses only the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 that Feld & Volk has acquired parts for. Gruber suggests the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will likely contain a 2208 x 1242 display at a sharper 3x factor than the current 2x Retina. As pointed out by developer James Thomson and 9to5Mac, the current iOS 8 beta is indeed showing some behavior indicating a preference for displaying 3x images when available.

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iPhone 6 Roundup Update

Our iPhone 6 roundup has been updated with the latest information, including several details about the 4.7-inch model divined from a completed logic board, and an official September 9 unveiling date.

Check our our full roundup for details.

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