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2018 OLED IPHONE ‘X PLUS’ AND 6.1-INCH LCD MODEL: KEY (LIKELY) DIFFERENCES

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Japan Display’s 6-inch ‘Full Active’ LCD.

Apple will likely reveal at least three new iPhones this fall. Here’s key technology that is expected for the two entirely new models.

Namely, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone and the 6.5-inch OLED “iPhone X Plus.”

Display tech:

The cheaper 6.1-inch iPhon will use LCD technology from suppliers like Japan Display Inc. (JDI) — to date a major LCD source for Apple.

Last year, JDI announced “Full Active” LCD tech in a 6-inch size that allows for nearly bezel-free (borderless) displays. Here’s what JDI said:

This newly-designed LCD module structure will allow the size of a smartphone device to be nearly the same as the display size. It is expected that these features will contribute to create entirely new smartphone designs.

–”Japan Display Inc. Announces Mass Production of ‘Full Active‘”

Persistent rumors from reliable sources point to Apple readying a 6.1-inch bezel-free LCD iPhone (with a notch at the top). So, at the very least, JDI’s tech — if it’s feasible for mass production — would be a good match.

The 6.5-inch OLED “iPhone X Plus” will get the latest and greatest OLED display tech, almost certainly from Samsung.* Apple is trying to find other OLED suppliers like LG Display — and even JDI.  But it’s not clear if LG Display is able to produce in the volume and quality that Apple demands and JDI “has been unable to mass produce OLED displays” according to Nikkei. (Though JDI has plans for mass production of smartphone OLED displays in 2019.)

Reports say the 6.5-inch iPhone will have a 1,242-by-2,688, 455 pixels-per-inch (PPI) display while other supply-chain chatter says it’s closer to 500 PPI. By comparison, Samsung’s 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 8 has a 6.3-inch OLED at 2,960-by-1,440, which is a 521 PPI.

The Galaxy Note 8 reference is important because Apple’s OLED display, as stated above, will likely come from Samsung. The Galaxy Note 8′s display is a nearly bezel-less, edge-to-edge OLED.

Credit: wylsa.com

iPhone X (L), 6.1-inch LCD, and 6.5-inch OLED.

Size:

Both phones will continue the design ethos begun with the iPhone X: that is, a large-screen edge-to-edge phone that is not much bigger than existing models.

Japanese site Mac Otakara said in May that the 6.5-inch iPhone will be similar in size to (i.e., not much bigger than) the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. That’s possible because the 6.5-inch iPhone’s front is entirely screen, so there’s no wasted bezel space (which is substantial on the iPhone 8 Plus).

The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone falls between the updated 5.8-inch iPhone X and 6.5-inch iPhone, based on the render above (courtesy of wylsa.com). But it won’t have the bells and whistles of the OLED iPhones (more on that below).

The edge-to-edge display also means the end of the home button.

Credit: Apple

iPhone 8 Plus: lots of unused bezel space.

Price:

RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said in a research note that the next iPhone X will be priced at $899 and the iPhone X Plus at $999 — the latter the same as the current iPhone X. And the 6.1-inch mid-range iPhone (LCD) would slot in at $799. That’s just speculation of course. The 6.1-inch model could be a little cheaper and the high-end 6.5-inch more pricey.

Apple will keep the 6.1-inch iPhone relatively inexpensive by stripping it of features such as wireless charging and sophisticated rear cameras (i.e., opting for a single-lens camera).

Of course, the less-costly LCD tech will keep the price down too. Interestingly, a recent Wall Street Journal article said that “one hardware engineer at Apple said the company has yet to find a clear advantage for OLEDs over LCDs.”

—-

*In displays, Apple is playing catch up to Samsung. The South Korean electronics company to date has had a stranglehold on smartphone OLED displays. So, it’s been leading the way with the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 Plus, which have large 6.3- and 6.2-inch OLED displays respectively.  But the dynamics are changing. LG Display is getting ready to step up production of smartphone OLED displays (and will likely be a future Apple supplier) and other manufacturers, such as Japan Display, may also become OLED suppliers.

Credit: Samsung

Samsung leads the way with large OLED display phones.

 

 

 

 

Source: Forbes

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Mobile Phones

THE APPLE WATCH STOLE THE SHOW FROM THIS YEAR’S NEW IPHONES

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The most exciting announcement from Apple’s annual iPhone event on Tuesday was not a set of three new smartphones, but a smartwatch. The Apple Watch Series 4 — with its rounded corners, larger display, and built-in EKG scanner — became undoubtedly the most sought-after gadget in the aftermath of Apple’s fall hardware refresh. While many people have bemoaned having to choose between the iPhone XS and XR, or are simply forgoing a mobile upgrade entirely, the Series 4 stood out for how simple of a purchase it is for those who’ve been sitting on the sidelines of the wearable market.

For those like me who’ve had an older Apple Watch Series 0 or 1, it’s a no-brainer, and it was what I was most excited about when I decided to stay up on Thursday night to claim a midnight order. The disparity is best illustrated by the fact that, after less than half a day of orders, every single tier of iPhone XS available right now has a September 28th to October 5th shipping window. Nearly every model of the Apple Watch Series 4, on the other hand, won’t ship until October 12th to October 19th.

There’s a number of reasons why the Apple Watch is outshining the iPhone these days. The first and most obvious is that the iPhone has become boring, trapped by the diminishing returns Apple can wring out of the device year after year. It would seem, 11 years after the introduction of the first iPhone, that Apple’s marquee product has simply lost a majority of its luster. There are only so many upgrades and standout features you can add to a mobile product before its incremental changes are overshadowed by how much it costs.

Simply take a look back at the last four years of iPhones. In 2014, Apple introduced the Plus version of the iPhone when it released the iPhone 6, which helped cement the trend of ever-larger displays that Samsung and other Asian manufacturers had first promoted. In 2015, the phone was paired with the Apple Watch for the first time, giving diehard fans a better reason to incorporate more Apple hardware and software into their lives. The year after, the company removed the headphone jack and released the AirPods, kicking off a debate about how and when to force consumers and the industry toward a wireless vision for the future. Last year, we got the iPhone X. With its signature notch, bezel-less display, and FaceID, it became an industry trendsetter and facilitated a more interesting debate about smartphone design than we’ve enjoyed in years.

This year, which is admittedly an S upgrade year and so understandably less exciting, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of room for the iPhone to grow. That leads to the second most obvious reason why it’s become harder to care about the iPhone: price. As the iPhone has stagnated in terms of new features, Apple has increased the average cost of its flagship device by more than $300, from around $775 to $1,100.

The company figured out last year with the iPhone X that customers would be willing to pay not for meaningful new features, but for design and aesthetic improvements. So it began using higher-quality materials, like OLED displays and glass back plates, and increasing the available storage tiers. This year, you can get an iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage for $1,449, making it the most expensive iPhone ever made, just like the X was before it.

working out supply chain and manufacturing kinks.) There is an argument to make that the XR is the more interesting, mass market-friendly, and potentially successful phone of the three, but we won’t know that until later this year.

As it stands today, Apple’s flagship phone is the least exciting device it’s put out in a long time, and it’s easy to see why it’s being outshined by the Apple Watch. What started as an underdog product arriving late to the wearable scene, the Apple Watch has since become not only the world’s best-selling wearable, but the world’s best-selling watch, period.

Apple has achieved that by consistently improving its hardware and software with each new annual iteration. Just like the early days of the iPhone, each new Apple Watch adds something exciting and legitimately impressive, from the water-resistance of the Series 2 to the cellular connectivity of the Series 3. Now, with the Series 4, Apple has added a built-in EKG scanner and the first hardware design overhaul the watch has had since its inception.

There will be a time when the Apple Watch, like the iPhone, becomes a stagnant product that simply becomes more exorbitant and expensive. Ironically, Apple’s very first Apple Watch contained a line of now-discontinued models as expensive as $17,000. So there’s quite a lot of room for the company to grow its smartwatch brand and expand it back into the luxury market. But until then, we can expect quite a few more years of novel innovations and design overhauls.

Perhaps Apple overcomes engineering and design hurdles to create a round-shaped Apple Watch. Maybe the company figures out how to extend the battery life by more than 24 hours. There’s myriad ways the Apple Watch can improve and reach a more mass-market audience. But one thing is for sure right now: with the Series 4 out in the wild, it’s probably a more invigorating time to be developing the next Apple Watch than the next iPhone, and customers seem to be responding visibly to that shift.

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Mobile Phones

APPLE’S AIRPOWER WIRELESS CHARGING MAT REPORTEDLY PLAGUED BY OVERHEATING ISSUES

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Overheating, communication, and interference issues are still plaguing the development of Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad, according to a pair of reports citing multiple sources close to the matter. The issues contributed to the AirPower’s absence at last week’s iPhone announcement.

AirPower was first teased over a year ago at the same event that Apple used to announce the iPhone X, the company’s first handset to support wireless charging. AirPower was to be the firm’s debut wireless charger, capable of charging your AirPods (with compatible case), Apple Watch, and iPhone simultaneously. The consensus seems to be that Apple has bitten off much more than it can chew with the ambitious device.

Writing on Daring Fireball, John Gruber points the blame squarely at the AirPower mat’s multi-coil design, which is allegedly causing the device to overheat. These overheating rumors have been around since June, and it seems Apple is still struggling to find a solution.

Sonny Dickson corroborates these rumors and offers further details on the scale of the issues. As well as getting too hot to effectively charge the devices, the AirPower mat is also allegedly struggling to communicate with them, meaning it doesn’t know the charge levels of the devices that it’s filling with power.

Finally, attempting to charge multiple devices simultaneously has also lead to interference issues cropping up between them, according to Dickson.

Neither Gruber nor Dickson commit to saying whether the device has been delayed or cancelled entirely, but both agree that the situation isn’t great for Apple. “Well and truly fucked,” is how Gruber puts it, while “doomed to failure” is how Dickson describes the broad feeling at the company.

What’s certain is that with all mention of the ill-fated device now scrubbed from Apple’s website we probably shouldn’t expect AirPower to return any time soon (at least not in this form, Dickson suggests we might see the name re-applied to an all-new product at a later date).

AirPower has always been an ambitious piece of engineering. While normal wireless chargers contain just a single coil designed to charge a single device at a time, Apple’s first foray into the area reportedly contains between 16 and 24 overlapping coils of different sizes designed to charge multiple devices simultaneously. All of which adds up to a very ‘Apple’ device, wherein the company takes a pre-existing technology and gives it enough usability improvements to leapfrog the competition.

At least it would have been, had a working AirPower mat shipped on time.

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Hardwares

SAMSUNG’S POWERFUL GALAXY S10 WILL DEFEAT APPLE’S SHINY NEW IPHONES

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With modern production and design schedules, the geekerati already know what Apple is preparing for the iPhone XS launch. We also know what Samsung is cooking up for the Galaxy S10’s launch in early 2019. It’s clear that the Galaxy S10 has the specifications to beat the iPhone.

For me there are three key areas where the Galaxy S10 can not only compete against the iPhone, but comfortably come out on top.

The first is, curiously, reliability. Although Samsung has had one rather high-profile smartphone failure in recent memory (the tightly packed battery of the Note 7), it took visible action both immediately, during the investigations, and when reporting the fixes to the hardware. Compare that to Apple’s own battery problems, the reluctance to admit to the problem, and the painful way Tim Cook and his team was dragged towards an acceptable outcome for consumers.

Now consider that the portfolios of the iPhone 6, the iPhone 7, and the iPhone 8 have all exhibited major flaws stemming from the hardware design of the smartphones. While past performance is no guide to future stability, consumers are more adept at recognising patterns. The reliability of the Galaxy range in the mainstream media is streets ahead of the iPhone.

Second is the flexibility. While most users will take their smartphone out of the box and never think again about the specifications, those looking for the biggest and best are going to see the Galaxy S10 outpacing the iPhone XS. More on board storage, more memory, more processing power on tap, it’s all on Samsung’s side.

And if Apple does move to 512 GB of storage on its smartphones, Samsung has the advantage of the second move – which will allow it to match the on board storage and then leverage the microSD card for even more capacity.

Finally, Samsung has managed to maintain its lead in the camera stakes over man-years over Apple. There’s going to be an obvious comparison with the number of lens each phone in the respective portfolios will sport, but I’m expecting the South Korean expertise in the post-capture image processing, alongside the variable aperture lenses, to hand the visual victory to the Galaxy.

 

DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, shows off two new Galaxy smartphones. (AP Photo/Manu Fernadez)

Much like politics, each camp has the diehards that will never move – lifelong affiliations to iOS or Android run as deep as Republican or Democratic affiliation – so the real fight is over the platform switchers who can navigate between the walled gardens of the two ecosystems. This is where details like image quality, hardware specifications, and reliability can contribute.

It’s also where perceptions can sway opinions. With Apple looking to label the latest iPhone handsets as incremental ’S’ updates the attraction of the iPhone XS family is going to be dulled compared to the ‘all-new’ tenth-anniversary Galaxy S10 marketing juggernaut.

Both handsets will make their supporters swoon, but the Galaxy S10 has the advantage in gathering the undecided middle ground.

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