HD streaming support coming to OnePlus 5T, company confirms

Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has confirmed that they’ll be pushing out an update that’ll bring HD-streaming support on their latest OnePlus 5T flagship smartphone. There was, however, no word on when the update will arrive. Over at the official OnePlus forums, users have been complaining about this for over a week now. The discussion there reveals the devices do not have DRM Widevine Level 1 certification, which is required for HD streaming. The OnePlus 5T has Widevine Level 3 certified, which only allows it to play standard definition (SD) streams. The following screenshot…

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‘Tako Bubble’ is a Great Looking Turn-Based Puzzle Platformer Coming in January

Taiwanese developer Noice2D, which is really just two people, have announced their new upcoming mobile game called Tako Bubble, and it’s looking really neat. Tako Bubble is a turn-based puzzle platformer that has you guiding an adorable octopus around numerous hazards and enemies in order to pop 3 special glittering bubbles and move on to the next level. There are 10 different types of enemies in the game each with different movement and attack patterns, so you’ll need to become familiar with them and keep that in mind while making each move otherwise you might find yourself cornered and becoming somebody’s next order of calamari. Check out the trailer for Tako Bubble.

There will be 60 levels to work your way through in Tako Bubble, and in addition to just completing each level you can also choose to seek out and collect 31 different hidden pixel art beetles throughout the game as an added goal. You’ll control your octopus using simple 1-finger 4-direction swipe controls, and if you’re anxious to try out the game ahead of its iOS release then check out the free HTML5 demo version here. That web demo features exclusive levels and it’s even playable right through your mobile device’s browser. For the real deal game, Tako Bubble is scheduled to launch on iOS and Android January 11th for free with ads and a one-time $ 1.99 IAP to remove them. Until then, check out the game’s forum thread for more.


New Evidence from Apple Supplier Reaffirms an AR Headset Is Coming

Evidence is continuing to mount that an Apple augmented reality (AR) headset is on the way, including new reports out of Apple’s supply chain.

New Information from Catcher

Taipei, Taiwan-based Catcher Technology, a device chassis maker and a long-time Apple supplier, said it will start supplying chassis for a brand new product line that’s outside of its existing three major categories (notebooks, smartphones and tablets). Catcher’s Chairman, Allen Horng, revealed the fact in a routine report of the company’s earnings and expected performance in 2018, DigiTimes reported on Wednesday.

While Catcher didn’t reveal any details about the new product line, market watchers are already speculating that it is related to augmented or virtual reality — particularly as rumors abound about Apple’s own augmented reality ambitions. Apple is one of Catcher’s biggest clients, and market insiders are already predicting that Catcher’s new products could be connected to the Cupertino-based tech giant.

Previous Catcher Reports

In a supply chain report in November, Catcher’s Horng revealed to Nikkei that the company was developing and building components for a currently unknown augmented reality device. Specifically, Horng told the publication that Catcher was already working to overcome certain obstacles and bottlenecks in the device’s development.

While Horng stopped short of naming the augmented reality device client, market watchers quickly speculated that it could be an upcoming Apple device — due to the company’s long-time partnership with Catcher.

There’s no guarantee that the unnamed product is, in fact, iGlass (aka Apple Glass). But combine the recent reports about Catcher with other rumors surrounding an upcoming Apple AR device, and there’s certainly a strong possibility that the two rumored products are one in the same.

What We Know About Apple Glass So Far

Apple, and specifically CEO Tim Cook, has been particularly outspoken about augmented reality’s future. The company’s recent unveiling of ARKit, as well as its recent patents and acquisitions, are just a few hints that Apple is taking a proactive stance toward the emergent technology.

According to a November Bloomberg report, Apple’s engineers are currently developing prototypes for an upcoming AR headset or spectacles. That includes developing a new AR-based operating system, internally dubbed “rOS,” as well as an App Store loaded with augmented reality applications. According to that report, the rOS device could be controlled through a mixture of hand and head gestures, Siri voice commands and touch controls.

Similarly, Apple supplier Quanta Computer is also rumored to have been tapped for the rOS device. Quanta Vice Chairman C.C. Leung told Nikkei that the company is working on a “significant AR device” that will be released in under two years. Like Catcher, Quanta does have other manufacturing clients, but Apple is by and far the largest and most high-profile.

In addition, Quanta recently struck a licensing deal with Israel-based AR tech company Lumus Ltd. to begin developing lenses that use Lumus’ proprietary AR display technology. According to reports, the device would be a “headset-like gadget” with a transparent display that would allow information to be overlayed over a user’s field-of-view — allowing users to interact unrestricted with their environment.

While a release timeline is still up in the air, sources indicate that Apple is likely to have the technology ready by 2019. As far as the actual device’s release, analysts have predicted that it could launch in 2019 or 2020.

iDrop News

New Evidence Hints Face ID Is Coming to All 2018 iPhones, iPads

A major supplier of TrueDepth Camera components announced the acquisition of more production resources on Thursday, suggesting that Apple could be ramping up its orders for the platform.

Finisar, Apple’s second largest supplier of vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays, purchased a new 700,000 square foot facility in Sherman, Texas, according to analyst Gene Munster of Loup Ventures. According to Munster, the new space will allow Finisar to “scale production” of their VCSEL components and expand their output for major clients like Apple.

The plant is expected to go live in the second half of 2018. Based on the plant opening timeline and several other factors, Muster theorized that Apple could be adding the VCSEL arrays across its entire lineup of iPhones next year.

VCSEL arrays, sometimes known as structured light modules, are components that are critical to Apple’s new TrueDepth Camera, as well as its Face ID and Animoji features. VCSEL arrays make up the dot projector on the advanced, 3D camera system — which also includes components like the flood illuminator and infrared camera.

Fiscally, Finisar reported that its VCSEL revenue was in the “low-single-digit millions” for the current quarter. Loup Ventures reports that that figure is expected to grow to “tens of millions” of dollars in each quarter next year, starting in January. Once the new plant and the firm’s other operations are all full capacity, Munster said revenues could hit $ 30 million — $ 10 million shy of revenues reported by Apple’s largest VCSEL supplier, Lumentum, in September 2017.

These new reports by Loup Ventures line up almost exactly with predictions made by well-connected analysts Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. Kuo forecasted last month that Apple is likely to ditch Touch ID completely next year in favor of Face ID across its entire 2018 iPhone lineup.

Munster believes that Finisar has received “final qualification” from Apple, and could start shipping larger quantities of VCSEL arrays next year. Those additional shipments will go a long way to alleviate iPhone X supply issues, but in addition, they could allow for Face ID expansion to the entire 2018 iPhone lineup.

Not only that, but the increase in VCSEL shipments could allow for TrueDepth to make its way to other iOS devices and Apple products. Kuo predicted in a separate research note that Apple could be planning on adding its TrueDepth system and Face ID to its lineup of iPad Pro devices next year. That would include a refresh of Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as well as its newer 10.5-inch iPad Pro model. On the other hand, TrueDepth might be left off of 2018’s entry-level iPad.

Kuo predicts that Apple will release three new handsets next year, including an iPhone X refresh, an iPhone X Plus with a large 6.5-inch OLED display, and a budget-conscious iPhone with a 6.1-inch LCD display.

iDrop News

YouTube’s new music streaming service coming March 2018

According to a new Bloomberg report, YouTube will launch a new music streaming service early next year. The paid service – of we have already heard – will be launched in March 2018. The report notes the service is internally named as Remix, and would offer Spotify-like on-demand streaming as well as video clips. Currently, YouTube is in talks with some of the world’s biggest record labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, and the latter is said to be already on board. Talks are also on with Merlin, a consortium of independent…

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