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Apple Invests $330 Million into Micro-LED Factory

The information has been circulating the industry about Apple and its plans to integrate Micro-LED technology into its products for some time now. Micro-LED is a new display technology that allows for much better characteristics of panels like higher brightness, fuller color gamut, and higher dynamic range. The technology also offers a higher refreshing rate, wider viewing angles, and lower power consumption. Being that Micro-LED display is physically thinner, it will allow for more portable devices and it will leave more room for other components.

According to the report from CENS, a Taiwanese media, Apple is investing $330 million into a new Micro-LED factory for Apple devices. A future factory located in Taiwan is seeing major investments from the company. Being that Apple plans to use Micro-LED displays in its future products like iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, it is expected to see this move from them. However, Apple isn't doing it alone. They have partnered with Epistar, Taiwan's biggest LED producer and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics. These two are experienced makers of panels so they should help Apple successfully launch and operate manufacturing facilities.
Micro-LED Technology

SteelSeries Launches Apple Exclusive Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller

SteelSeries, the worldwide leader in gaming and esports peripherals, today announces the Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller for Apple devices. The Nimbus+ builds on the wildly popular original Nimbus controller, adding a bevy of new features, including clickable joysticks, new Hall effect triggers, and a new 50-hour battery. Purchase of Nimbus+ also includes the new Nimbus+ iPhone Mount which allows users to attach their iPhone directly onto the controller, allowing them to play games more comfortably.

Designed specifically for gaming on Apple devices, the Nimbus+ brings console-quality game controls to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV. With an ergonomic design, ultra-responsive triggers and buttons, and a range of Apple connectivity options, Nimbus+ is the best solution to help bring gaming on Apple devices to the next level.

Intel "Tiger Lake-U" Processor with Relatively High Clock Speed Spotted

An unnamed Intel "Tiger Lake-U" quad-core processor was spotted on Futuremark database by _rogame, featuring 2.80 GHz nominal clock-speeds. Barring the 28 W i7-1068NG7 and i5-1038NG7, which are exclusive for MacBooks and aren't considered U-segment, all current-gen "Ice Lake" client chips have their nominal clock speeds ranging between 1.00 to 1.30 GHz. Given this, 2.80 GHz would qualify as a big jump for a U-segment "Tiger Lake" chip. We know from a separate report that "Tiger Lake" could also offer Turbo Boost frequencies as high as 4.70 GHz for the top Core i7-1185G7 part, a similar jump from the 3.90 GHz max boost of the current-gen i7-1065G7, all while retaining a 15 W nameplate TDP.

The Futuremark database listing only mentions nominal clock of 2.80 GHz, and the CPU core configuration of 4-core/8-thread. The hardcoded CPU name string of this prototype specifies "Tiger Lake U," confirming this is a 15 W part, and not a 28 W part that will be gobbled down by Apple. Intel's newfound clock-speed headroom could be attributed to the company's refined 10 nm+ silicon fabrication node. "Tiger Lake" combines "Willow Cove" CPU cores with an iGPU based on the company's ambitious new Xe graphics architecture, marking its commercial debut. "Tiger Lake" is expected to launch around September-October, 2020.

Intel Apparently Reserving 28 W Ice Lake Mobile Chips for Apple, Removes Entries from ARK

The idea of an ARK is to preserve that which enters it; however, the legend on the basis of arks and their concept must've slipped Intel's internal memos. The company has de-listed a previously detailed Ice Lake mobile CPU from its database - the Core i7-1068G7 - which was a 28 W part available for system integrators to build machines around. That part was special, because it was - then - the only 28 W part listed for mobile Ice Lake, with the rest of the CPU lineup having configurable TDPs between 12 W and 25 W - thus having a lesser maximum theoretical performance due to reduced TDP.

In its stead, Intel has entered a new, Core i7-1068NG7 (yes, the same naming with an extra N), which places this as an Apple-exclusive CPU, according to the folks over at Notebookcheck. Besides this entry, Intel has also listed the i5-1038NG7, which also features a 28 W TDP that's higher than the other available CPUs for other system integrators. If this is true, then Intel is reserving its cream-of-the-crop CPUs for Apple. Since the California-based company wouldn't be using parts with worse thermal and power consumption figures than what's available for others, the only answer to how these products came to being is that they are binned CPUs with better than average characteristics. Intel could be doing this to keep Apple happy even as the California-based company is well on its way to eschew its dependence on x86 with a fully internally-developed ARM CPU.

TSMC 5 nm Customers Listed, Intel Rumored to be One of Them

TSMC is working hard to bring a new 5 nm (N5 and N5+) despite all the hiccups the company may have had due to the COVID-19 pandemic happening. However, it seems like nothing can stop TSMC, and plenty of companies have already reserved some capacity for their chips. With mass production supposed to start in Q3 of this year, 5 nm node should become one of the major nodes over time for TSMC, with predictions that it will account for 10% of all capacity for 2020. Thanks to the report of ChinaTimes, we have a list of new clients for the TSMC 5 nm node, with some very interesting names like Intel appearing on the list.

Apple and Huawei/HiSilicon will be the biggest customers for the node this year with A14 and Kirin 1000 chips being made for N5 node, with Apple ordering the A15 chips and Huawei readying the Kirin 1100 5G chip for the next generation N5+. From there, AMD will join the 5 nm party for Zen 4 processors and RDNA 3 graphics cards. NVIDIA has also reserved some capacity for its Hopper architecture, which is expected to be a consumer-oriented option, unlike Ampere. And perhaps the most interesting entry to the list is Intel Xe graphics cards. The list shows that Intel might use the N5 process form TSMC so it can ensure the best possible performance for its future cards, in case it has some issues manufacturing its own nodes, just like it did with 10 nm.
TSMC 5 nm customers

NVIDIA Underestimated AMD's Efficiency Gains from Tapping into TSMC 7nm: Report

A DigiTimes premium report, interpreted by Chiakokhua, aka Retired Engineer, chronicling NVIDIA's move to contract TSMC for 7 nm and 5 nm EUV nodes for GPU manufacturing, made a startling revelation about NVIDIA's recent foundry diversification moves. Back in July 2019, a leading Korean publication confirmed NVIDIA's decision to contract Samsung for its next-generation GPU manufacturing. This was a week before AMD announced its first new-generation 7 nm products built for the TSMC N7 node, "Navi" and "Zen 2." The DigiTimes report reveals that NVIDIA underestimated the efficiency gains AMD would yield from TSMC N7.

With NVIDIA's bonhomie with Samsung underway, and Apple transitioning to TSMC N5, AMD moved in to quickly grab 7 nm-class foundry allocation and gained prominence with the Taiwanese foundry. The report also calls out a possible strategic error on NVIDIA's part. Upon realizing the efficiency gains AMD managed, NVIDIA decided to bet on TSMC again (apparently without withdrawing from its partnership with Samsung), only to find that AMD had secured a big chunk of its nodal allocation needed to support its growth in the x86 processor and discrete GPU markets. NVIDIA has hence decided to leapfrog AMD by adapting its next-generation graphics architectures to TSMC's EUV nodes, namely the N7+ and N5. The report also speaks of NVIDIA using its Samsung foundry allocation as a bargaining chip in price negotiations with TSMC, but with limited success as TSMC established its 7 nm-class industry leadership. As it stands now, NVIDIA may manufacture its 7 nm-class and 5 nm-class GPUs on both TSMC and Samsung.

Apple WWDC 2020 Keynote To Be Held Digitally on June 22

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually, beginning June 22, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers. The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground. Now in its 31st year, WWDC20 will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers around the world to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, and to learn from Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We can't wait to meet online in June with the global developer community and share with them all of the new tools we've been working on to help them create even more incredible apps and services. We look forward to sharing more details about WWDC20 with everyone as we get closer to this exciting event."

Apple Updates 13-Inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard, Double the Storage, and Faster Performance

Apple today updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook and doubled the storage across all standard configurations, delivering even more value to the most popular MacBook Pro. The new lineup also offers 10th-generation processors for up to 80 percent faster graphics performance and makes 16 GB of faster 3733 MHz memory standard on select configurations. With powerful quad-core processors, the brilliant 13-inch Retina display, Touch Bar and Touch ID, immersive stereo speakers, all-day battery life, and the power of macOS, all in an incredibly portable design, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available to order today, starting at $1,299, and $1,199 for education.

"Whether you're a college student, a developer, or a creative pro, the 13-inch MacBook Pro delivers powerful performance, a stunning Retina display, and all-day battery life in our most portable pro notebook. Today we're adding the new Magic Keyboard, doubling the standard storage, and boosting performance, making the 13-inch MacBook Pro an even better value for our customers," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. "With these updates, our entire notebook lineup features the Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook, offers twice the standard storage than before, and delivers even more performance."

Apple Rumored to Launch New Mac in 2021 with 5 nm A14 SoC, x86 no More

In a recent report by Bloomberg it was revealed that Apple is planning to start selling Mac computers featuring their upcoming in-house A14 ARM chip which will power the next generation iPhone & iPad in 2021. According to sources familiar with the matter Apple is developing three new processors based on the A14 to power some 2021 Mac products, these chips will be manufactured on TSMCs 5 nm process. One of these new processors is expected to be more powerful then the iPhone version.

This marks a significant move for Apple as they shift from x86 to in-house ARM designs across their entire product lineup, we have an editorial on the rise of ARM here. This development is part of Apple's plan to increase control over their products in an attempt to fully unify the Apple ecosystem and reduce reliance on Intel who has struggled to offer significant performance increases in recent years, this will come as a major blow to Intel who benefited greatly from Apple's demand. Apple will need to adapt MacOS for an ARM based design and ensure their is compatibility for third party x86 applications. The first processor is expected to feature 8 "Firestorm" cores and at least four energy-efficient "Icestorm" cores, Apple is also exploring options for up to 12 core processors based on the same design for use in future Macs.

Apple's A12Z SoC Features the Same A12X Silicon

With an introduction of new iPad Pro tablets, Apple has brought another new silicon to its offerings in the form of A12Z SoC. Following the previous king in tablet space, the A12X SoC, Apple has decided to update its silicon and now there is another, more advanced stepping in form of an A12Z SoC. Thanks to the report from TechInsights, their analysis has shown that the new SoC used in Apple's devices is pretty much the same compared to the A12X SoC of last year, except the GPU used. Namely, the configuration of A12X is translated into the A12Z - there are four Apple Vortex and four Apple Tempest cores for the CPU. There is a 128-bit memory bus designed for LPDDR4X memory, the same as the A12X.

What is different, however, is the GPU cluster configuration. In A12X there was a cluster filled with 7 working and one disabled A12-gen GPU core. In A12Z SoC all of the 8 GPUs present are enabled and working, and they are also of the same A12 generation. The new SoC is even built using the same N7 7 nm manufacturing process from TSMC. While we don't know the silicon stepping revision of the A12Z, there aren't any new features besides the additional GPU core.
Apple A12Z Bionic

Huawei Moves 14 nm Silicon Orders from TSMC to SMIC

Huawei's subsidiary, HiSilicon, which designs the processors used in Huawei's smartphones and telecommunications equipment, has reportedly moved its silicon orders from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), according to DigiTimes. Why Huawei decided to do is move all of the 14 nm orders from Taiwanese foundry to China's largest silicon manufacturing fab, is to give itself peace of mind if the plan of the US Government goes through to stop TSMC from supplying Huawei. At least for the mid-tier chips built using 14 nm node, Huawei would gain some peace as a Chinese fab is a safer choice given the current political situation.

When it comes to the high-end SoCs built on 7 nm, and 5 nm in the future, it is is still uncertain how will Huawei behave in this situation, meaning that if US cuts off TSMC's supply to Huawei, they will be forced to use SMIC's 7 nm-class N+1 node instead of anything from TSMC. Another option would be Samsung, but it is a question will Huawei put itself in risk to be dependant on another foreign company. The lack of 14 nm orders from Huawei will not be reflecting much on TSMC, because whenever someone decides to cut orders, another company takes up the manufacturing capactiy. For example, when Huawei cut its 5 nm orders, Apple absorbed by ordering more capacity. When Huawei also cut 7 nm orders, AMD and other big customers decided to order more, making the situation feel like there is a real fight for TSMC's capacity.
Silicon Wafer

x86 Lacks Innovation, Arm is Catching up. Enough to Replace the Giant?

Intel's x86 processor architecture has been the dominant CPU instruction set for many decades, since IBM decided to put the Intel 8086 microprocessor into its first Personal Computer. Later, in 2006, Apple decided to replace their PowerPC based processors in Macintosh computers with Intel chips, too. This was the time when x86 became the only option for the masses to use and develop all their software on. While mobile phones and embedded devices are mostly Arm today, it is clear that x86 is still the dominant ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) for desktop computers today, with both Intel and AMD producing processors for it. Those processors are going inside millions of PCs that are used every day. Today I would like to share my thoughts on the demise of the x86 platform and how it might vanish in favor of the RISC-based Arm architecture.

Both AMD and Intel as producer, and millions of companies as consumer, have invested heavily in the x86 architecture, so why would x86 ever go extinct if "it just works"? The answer is that it doesn't just work.

Apple ARM Based MacBooks and iMacs to come in 2021

Apple has been working on replacing Intel CPUs in its lineup of products for a while now, and the first batch of products to feature the new Arm-based CPUs should be coming soon. Having a completely custom CPU inside it's MacBook or an iMac device will allow Apple to overtake control of the performance and security of those devices, just like they did with their iPhone models. Apple has proved that its custom-built CPUs based on Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) can be very powerful and match Intel's best offerings, all while being much more efficient with a TDP of only a few Watts.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has started an "aggressive processor replacement strategy", which should give some results by the end of 2020, around Q4, or the beginning of 2021 when the first quarter arrives. According to Kuo, the approach of doing in-house design will result in not only tighter control of the system, but rather a financial benefit, as the custom processor will be 40% to 60% cheaper compared to current Intel CPU prices.
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro

OWC Unveils the Newest Iteration of its Wildly Popular Mercury Elite Pro External Storage Solution

OWC a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world's most respected providers of hard drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions and performance upgrade kits, today announced the latest edition of its legendary Mercury Elite Pro external storage system for Mac, PC, Linux machines, Smart TVs, and PS4 and Xbox consoles. The 3.5-inch USB 3.2 5 Gb/s hard drive system is a modern day workhorse, delivering real-world performance up to 283 MB/s and capacities up to 16 TB to keep pace with the demands of everything from video editing projects, critical business data, and irreplaceable personal content to expanding PS4/Xbox One game storage and enjoying music/video content via a Smart TV.

The Essential External Storage Solution for Everyone
The Mercury Elite Pro kicked off OWC's rich, storied history of storage solution innovations nearly 20 years ago, and it has successfully stood the test of time by continuing to offer an incomparable blend of performance, quality, and value in a single HDD storage solution.
OWC Mercury Elite Pro OWC Mercury Elite Pro

TSMC N5P 5nm Node Offers 84-87% Transistor Density Gain Over Current 7nm Node

A WikiChip analysis of TSMC's next-generation 5 nanometer N5P silicon fabrication node estimates a massive 84-87% increase in transistor densities on offer compared to the company's first commercial 7 nm-class node, the N7 (7 nm DUV). The report estimates an 87% transistor-density increase, even though TSMC's own figure is slightly modest, at 84%. TSMC N5P node is expected to commence production later this year. Its precursor, TSMC N5, began risk production earlier this year, with production on the node commencing in April or May, unless derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The N5P node provides transistor densities of an estimated 171.3 million transistors per mm² die area, compared to 91.2 mTr/mm² of N7. Apple is expected to be the node's biggest customer in 2020, with the company building its A14-series SoC on it.

Apple Unveils new iPad Pro with Breakthrough LiDAR Scanner

Apple today announced its most advanced iPad Pro. Now with the A12Z Bionic chip, iPad Pro is faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops. The new iPad Pro adds an Ultra Wide camera, studio-quality mics and a breakthrough LiDAR Scanner that delivers cutting-edge depth-sensing capabilities, opening up more pro workflows and supporting pro photo and video apps. The LiDAR Scanner, along with pro cameras, motion sensors, pro performance, pro audio, the stunning Liquid Retina display and powerful apps, extends the lead of iPad Pro as the world's best device for augmented reality (AR). The new iPad Pro is available to order starting today on apple.com.

With iPadOS 13.4, Apple brings trackpad support to iPad, giving customers an all-new way to interact with their iPad. Rather than copying the experience from macOS, trackpad support has been completely reimagined for iPad. As users move their finger across the trackpad, the pointer elegantly transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad make it fast and easy to navigate the entire system without users ever lifting their hand.
Apple iPad Pro Apple iPad Pro

Apple Announces the 2020 MacBook Air

Apple today updated MacBook Air, the world's most loved notebook, with faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, twice the storage and a new lower price of $999, and $899 for education. The new MacBook Air delivers up to two times faster CPU performance and up to 80 percent faster graphics performance, letting customers breeze through daily activities and play more games. Now starting with 256 GB of storage, MacBook Air allows customers to store even more movies, photos and files. With its brilliant 13-inch Retina display for vivid images and sharp text, Touch ID for easy login and secure online purchases, spacious trackpad, and all-day battery life combined with the power of macOS Catalina, it's the best MacBook Air ever made.

"From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air. Today we're giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, a new lower price of $999 and an even lower price of $899 for education," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. "With its stunning, thin and light design, brilliant Retina display, all-day battery life and the power and ease-of-use of macOS, MacBook Air is the world's best consumer notebook."

Apple Moves its WWDC Event Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Now in its 31st year, WWDC 2020 will take on an entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike. The online event will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and engage with Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead."
apple wwdc

Get POWERED Up with Logitech's Family of Wireless Chargers

Today Logitech unveils a line of beautifully-crafted wireless chargers to make your charging experience simple and effortless. Introducing the Logitech POWERED family of wireless chargers - Logitech POWERED 3-in-1 Dock, Logitech POWERED Stand and Logitech POWERED Pad. These wireless chargers are designed to be simple, reliable and look great in any room, whether it be your bedroom, kitchen, office or living room.
logitech qi wireless charger

TSMC to Kickstart 5 nm Volume Production in April, Production Capacity Already Fully Booked

TSMC will be doing good on their previous expectations for a H2 2020 ramp-up for high volume production (HVM) on their 5 nm manufacturing process. The new 5 nm fabrication process is an Extreme Ultraviolet lithography (EUV) one, with up to 14 layers being etchable onto the silicon wafers, as opposed to five and six, respectively, for TSMC's N7+ and N6 processes.

Volume production will start with Apple's A14 SoC, meant to be driving next-generation iPhones that should hit shelves by September this year (should the COVID-19 pandemic let it be so). Apple is using two thirds of TSMC's capacity for 5 nm as is with this SoC; it's currently unclear which client (or clients) are getting the leftover one third capacity. TSMC announced back in December that they were seeing yields upwards of 80% in 5 nm EUV fabrication, so now it's "just" a matter of monetizing the process until their 3 nm iteration comes online, expectedly, in 2022.

Apple Agrees to Front $500M to Settle iPhone Slowdown Class-Action Lawsuit

Apple late last week agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing it of slowing down iPhones without the knowledge or consent of users, motivating them to upgrade their devices or batteries. The settlement amount is marked at USD $500 million or $25 per member of the class (which could be adjusted depending on how many iPhones from the class are found eligible). The lawsuit is being heard by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, and its settlement offer by Apple is subject to his approval.

In the settlement offer papers by Apple, the company reportedly denies wrongdoing, and seeks to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation. Eligible members of the class are U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017. Initial outcry after discovery of Apple's secret CPU throttling cause the company to apologize for the practice, promise transparency in the future, and introduce the "Battery Health" feature in iOS that informs users of the decay of their device's lithium ion battery (ability to hold charge), and give performance throttling control to end-users.

Apple to Launch Arm-Powered MacBook in the next 18 Months

Apple is currently designing a custom series of CPUs, for its Macbook laptop lineup, based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture. Having designed some of the most powerful mobile processors that are inside the iPhone series of devices, Apple is preparing to make a jump to an even more powerful device lineup by bringing custom CPUs for MacBook. Tired of the speed by which Intel replaces and upgrades its Core lineup of CPUs, Apple decided to take the matter in its own hands and rumors about the switch to a custom solution have been going on for a while. However, we now have some information about when to expect the first wave of Arm-powered Macs.

According to the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is a well-known insider in the Apple industry, we can expect the first wave of the Arm-powered Macbook in the next 18 months, precisely in the first half of 2021. Supposedly, the first chips for these new Macs are going to be manufactured on a 5 nm manufacturing process, possibly over at TSMC since Apple had a long-lasting history of manufacturing its chips at TSMC foundries. In the meantime, we can expect to see Apple providing developers with tools to transition their x86-64 software to the new Arm ISA. Without a software ecosystem, the hardware platform is essentially worthless. And Apple knows this. We will see how they plan to play it and will report as soon as there is more information.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Apple Finally Buying AMD CPUs? Pointers to Ryzens Found in MacOS Beta

Since its switch to the x86 machine architecture from PowerPC in the mid-2000s, Apple has been consistent with Intel as its sole supplier of CPUs for its Macbooks, iMac desktops, and Mac Pro workstations. The company's relationship with rival AMD has been limited to sourcing discrete GPUs. If pieces of code from a MacOS beta is anything to go buy, Apple could bite the AMD bullet very soon. References to several AMD processors were found in MacOS 10.15.4 Beta 1. These include the company's "Picasso," "Renoir," and "Van Gogh" APUs.

It's very likely that with increasing CPU IPC and energy-efficiency, Apple is finally seeing the value in single-chip solutions from AMD that have a good enough combination of CPU and iGPUs. The 7 nm "Renoir" silicon in particular could change the mobile and desktop computing segments, thanks to its 8-core "Zen 2" CPU, and a "Vega" based iGPU that's highly capable in non-gaming and light-gaming tasks. AMD's proprietary SmartShift feature could also be leveraged, which dynamically switches between the iGPU and an AMD discrete GPU.

The Case is Patent: Apple, Broadcom Ordered to Pay $1.1 billion to CalTech

There is a lot to say regarding patent applications and their defense, and the devious ways these can be used as a way to both stifle innovation, competition, and to leech other companies' funds with what is usually described as "patent troll" behavior. Being a seat of technological innovation, The California Institute of Technology (CalTech) registers patents as results of their attachés' work - some of these see the light of day as actual products, but more often than not, the patent rights are used as a way for the institute to receive funds from those that would license their intellectual property.

After entering a legal battle with Apple and Broadcom back in 2016, CalTech has now had its accusation of patent infringement against both companies come to a close, with the jury deciding in favor of the university. The accusation was of both companies deploying WiFi chips which were based on Caltech's patent designs - WiFi chips that were then shipped within millions of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. As a result, both Apple and Broadcom were ordered to pay a total of $1.1 billion in compensation, with Apple taking the brunt of the decision ($837.8 million) and Broadcom coming in with a thinner slice at $270.2.
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