Rounding up a long week of ‘iPhone 6′ rumours and leaks, Japanese publication ASCII Plus has shared several new images of what it claims is a mockup of Apple’s next-generation iPad Air.
The images, first spotted by GforGames, shows the device next to a current-generation iPad Air. Perhaps the most notable difference between the two is the inclusion of a Touch ID-enabled home button on the ‘iPad Air 2′ mockup, a feature that has been widely rumoured for the device.
Three years after the debut of its Messenger app for iPhone, Facebook has finally added an iPad version, making it available on the App Store beginning today.
The iPad app contains all of the features present in the iPhone app, including stickers and voice calls, albeit with a scaled-up user interface. The app utilises a two column interface comprising the user’s chat list and messaging window side-by-side, presumably for easier navigation.
As predicted earlier, Apple has launched its annual ‘Back to School’ promotion, offering qualified educational purchasers Apple Store gift cards with every purchase of a Mac, iPad or iPhone.
As stated on Apple’s site, in order to qualify for the promotion, users must either be a college student, a student accepted to a college, a parent buying for a college student, or a faculty or staff member from any grade level.
Qualified purchasers will receive a US$100 gift card for every purchase of a Mac, and a US$50 gift card for every iPad or iPhone purchase.
As previously rumoured, Apple released the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 7.1.2, today, making it available as an over-the-air (OTA) update for iPhones and iPads.
The update contains improvements to iBeacon connectivity and stability and bug fixes for mail encryption issues and compatibility with third party accessories.
Pushing ahead with its foray into the classroom, Apple today announced several updates to its iTunes U app, including course creation and course management capabilities directly on the iPad.
Apple today announced updates to iTunes U, bringing educators and students great new tools to build and experience educational content on iPad. Beginning July 8, teachers using the free iTunes U app can create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time, and students will discover new ways to collaborate including the ability to start class discussions and ask questions right from their iPad.
According to Apple’s press release, the new version of iTunes U gives teachers and students the ability to “directly add rich content and learning materials from iWork, iBooks Author or any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad”. In addition, users can utilise the iPad’s built-in camera to take photos and videos for incorporation into any course material.
Last month, highly reliable Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo had reiterated in a research note that Apple would be incorporating Touch ID into its next-generation iPad Air and iPad Mini, claiming that shipments of the fingerprint sensor would hit 120 million units this year.
Today, Chinese media reports have corroborated Kuo’s claims, adding that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), Apple’s primary supplier of Touch ID sensors, has expanded its 8-inch chip fabrication plant to meet the increased production load (via G for Games).
Earlier today the Chinese media has reported that, last week, TSMC has expanded its 8-inch chip plant where the Touch ID sensors are and will be assembled. This isn’t the first time we learn that TSMC is invested not only in the creation of Apple’s next-gen A8 chip, but also in assembling the Touch ID modules, as back in May we’ve learned that the semiconductor manufacturer and Apple have already agreed on using the 8-inch facility for the creation of the fingerprint scanner, as opposed to a 12-inch facility.
French site Nowhereelse.fr has just posted a new of photos showcasing an alleged prototype of an “iPad Air 2″, which it claims is being auctioned by Japanese mobile site KingMobile (via Google Translate).
The most notable feature of the mock-up, which the French site claims is a “perfect replica” of Apple’s next-generation tablet, is the inclusion of a Touch ID-enabled home button. The rest of the device appears similar to the current iPad Air, but Nowhereelse does point out that the lock button on the iPad is “mysteriously” missing.
Facebook announced in a blog post today that it is rolling out “a new channel for entertainment and game discovery” on its iPad app. The channel is essentially a new sidebar that will appear on the right side of the app when the iPad is rotated to landscape mode.
In the latest update to Facebook for iPad in the US, we’re testing new ways to help people discover more timely and entertaining content on tablet. This update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that’s relevant to how people use tablets today, which is primarily to read news, watch videos and play games.
As noted by Appleinsider, Apple has filed for a new patent that appears to detail an upgraded Smart Cover with the ability to display visual notifications via illumination. These notifications would alert users to incoming messages, low battery levels or any other “operating state” of an iPad.
An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes an advanced iPad Smart Cover containing illumination and communication elements that light up to alert users to incoming messages, low battery warnings and other notifications.
Apple is describing the patent as an “integrated visual notification system in an accessory device”. According to the filing, the advanced smart cover will share the same visual design as the current smart cover, but will contain “low power illumination elements like LEDs or electroluminescent panels to provide alerts when closed”.
Apple’s next-generation iPad Air is slated to enter production this month, according to Korean news agency ETNews (via AmongTech).
Unsurprisingly, the device is said to feature a faster A8 processor (with “50% more performance than the previous A7 chip”) and a “drastically-improved” 8 mega-pixel camera. The new iPad Air will also retain the same design as the first-generation model, and will reportedly maintain the same 7.5 mm thickness.
The report, citing “industry sources”, claims that LG Display will begin initial production of displays for the device this month, with a total production of 6.2 million units scheduled for the period of June to September. Samsung and Sharp will join in when the device enters mass production next month.