Epic’s ‘Live Link Face’ Leverages ARKit and iPhone’s TrueDepth Camera for Real-Time Facial Animation

Epic Games has launched a new iOS app, Live Link Face, that lets creators using the company’s Unreal Engine game engine leverage Apple’s ARKit platform and the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to capture and stream facial expressions for real-time rendering (via The Verge).



Capable of working with just a single actor at a desk or as part of a complex motion-capture stage setup, Live Link Face supports timecode syncing to ensure it stays synchronized with any other recording devices involved in the capture process.

And when used at a desk setup, Live Link Face can track head and neck rotation data in addition to facial expressions, for more realistic avatar behavior using nothing more than an ‌iPhone‌.

For more details on what Live Link Face can do, check out Epic’s blog post.

Tags: Unreal Engine, Epic Games

This article, “Epic’s ‘Live Link Face’ Leverages ARKit and iPhone’s TrueDepth Camera for Real-Time Facial Animation” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Shipments of mmWave 5G iPhones Could Be Much Weaker Than Expected This Year

The latest shipment estimates for Apple’s upcoming mmWave-enabled 5G iPhones are several million units lower than previously expected, which is intensifying competition among suppliers of AiP substrates, reports DigiTimes.

Shipments of mmWave-enabled 5G iPhones slated for launch later this year are estimated to reach only 15-20 million units in 2020 compared to a previous supply chain estimate of 30-40 million units, intensifying competition among Apple’s suppliers of FC-AiP substrates for the new phones, according to industry sources.

Apple is believed to be designing its own antenna-in-package or “AiP” module for mmWave iPhones, which use a set of 5G frequencies that promise ultra-fast speeds at short distances, making it best suited for dense urban areas. By contrast, sub-6GHz 5G is generally slower than mmWave, but the signals travel further, better serving suburban and rural areas.

According to DigiTimes, Apple’s AIP package is more cost-effective than previous designs, but some analysts believe that models with support for ultra-fast mmWave technology will likely launch after sub-6GHz models due to production challenges and the global health crisis. To counter these challenges, Apple has diversified its supply chain for the modules to minimize risk.

The upcoming mmWave 5G iPhones will adopt more cost-effective FC-AiP process, with ASE Technology to package AiP modules, the sources said. But Apple reportedly has finalized three suppliers of BT-based FC-AiP substrates, including one based in Taiwan and two in South Korea, and they will together supply 30-50 million substrates, the sources said, adding one iPhone will require 2-3 AiP modules.

Prior to the global health crisis, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was still on track to release both sub-6GHz and sub-6GHz-plus-mmWave “iPhone 12” models simultaneously in the second half of 2020, with shipments beginning in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter.

Kuo has not indicated whether those plans have since changed, but other analysts have said they believe the mmWave iPhones may not arrive this year because Apple’s custom antenna-in-package is proving to be more of a battery drain than the company would like.

Kuo has said 5G iPhone models with mmWave would be available in five markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. He also believes Apple may disable 5G functionality in countries that do not offer 5G service or have a shallow 5G penetration rate to reduce production costs.

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iOS 13 Installed on 92% of iPhones Released in Last Four Years

As Apple prepares to unveil its next-generation version of iOS, iOS 14, new iOS installation numbers indicate that iOS 13, the current update, is installed on 92 percent of all iPhones introduced in the last four years.


Seven percent of iPhones released in the last four years run iOS 12, and two percent run an earlier version of iOS.

When it comes to all iPhones, including those that were released more than four years ago, 81 percent of devices have ‌iOS 13‌ installed. 13 percent are running iOS 12, and six percent are running an earlier version of iOS.

As for the iPad, 93 percent of all iPads introduced in the last four years run iPadOS, while five percent run iOS 12 and just one percent run an earlier version of iOS.

When counting all iPads still in use, 73 percent run ‌iPadOS‌, 16 percent run iOS 12, and 11 percent run an earlier version of iOS.

Apple hasn’t released updated iOS installation numbers since January, and over the course of the last several months, many more people have upgraded to the ‌iOS 13‌ operating system.

At the end of January, ‌iOS 13‌ was installed on 77 percent of iPhones released in the last four years, and 79 percent of iPads released in the last four years.

Apple will introduce ‌iOS 14‌ on Monday, June 22 at its WWDC keynote, with the update set to be released in the fall alongside new iPhones. As work picks up on ‌iOS 14‌, Apple will focus less on ‌iOS 13‌ in order to add features and fixes to the new update.

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DigiTimes Claims 2020 iPhones Will Use Qualcomm X60 Modem, Despite Previous Rumors Agreeing on X55

Apple is widely expected to release its first 5G iPhones later this year, and multiple sources have indicated that these models will be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and the Nikkei Asian Review.


To the contrary, a paywalled snippet from DigiTimes today claims that Apple’s chipmaking partner TSMC will begin manufacturing A14 chips and Snapdragon X60 modems this month for use in upcoming iPhones slated for launch later in 2020. This is the first time that we have seen this possibility mentioned.

TSMC to start chip production for next-gen iPhones in June
TSMC will start manufacturing Apple’s custom-designed A14 SoCs and Qualcomm’s X60 5G modem chips, with both set to power the upcoming iPhones slated for launch later in 2020, using 5nm process technology in June, according to industry sources.

Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the X55. Smartphones equipped with the X60 will also be able to aggregate data from both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands simultaneously to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage.

When the X60 was introduced in February, it seemed destined for 2021 iPhones rather than 2020 ones, as Apple needs adequate time for testing and production. Qualcomm itself said that 5G smartphones featuring the X60 are expected to begin launching in early 2021, so this rumor should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism for now.

DigiTimes is a Taiwanese publication with sources within Apple’s supply chain. The website is often dismissed as being wrong, but it shares correct information from time to time. In January, for example, it claimed that Apple planned to release a backlit keyboard with scissor switch keys for the iPad Pro. Two months later, the Magic Keyboard launched.

Apple typically announces new iPhones in September, but due to the global health crisis, there is a possibility of a slight delay to the launch plans.

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Apple Suppliers Reportedly Developing OLED Displays With Low-Power LTPO Technology for 2021 iPhones

Apple’s supply chain partners are already developing OLED displays using LTPO backplane technology for 2021 iPhones, according to DigiTimes.


A paywalled preview of the report reads as follows:

iPhone OLED screens may adopt LTPO backplanes in 2021, say sources
Apple has yet to introduce its 5G iPhones for 2020, but its supply chain is already developing OLED screens using LTPO backplane technology for next year’s premium iPhone models, according industry sources.

LTPO technology would result in a more power efficient backplane, which is responsible for turning individual pixels on and off on the display. This could pave the way for longer battery life and/or new features like ProMotion or an always-on display.

While leakers Max Weinbach and Jon Prosser have claimed that ProMotion is a possibility on some 2020 iPhones, display analyst Ross Young believes that LTPO is essential if Apple plans to support ProMotion on the iPhone, as it would allow for a variable refresh as low as 1Hz when the device is inactive in order to optimize battery life.

The full report should be released by tomorrow, so we will update our coverage at that time if there are additional details.

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iOS 14 Again Said to Be Compatible With All iPhones Able to Run iOS 13

iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones and iPod touch models able to run iOS 13, according to information shared today by Israeli site The Verifier.


The compatibility data was allegedly found in a leaked version of iOS 14 and confirmed by what The Verifier says is a “trusted source from the system development process.”

iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, with a full list of models below.

  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • iPod touch (7th-generation)

The site says that this is the last version of iOS that the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and 2016 iPhone SE will support, which is no surprise as Apple often provides software updates for approximately four or five years after the release of a new device.

There is no word on which iPads will be able to run iPadOS 14, but if iPadOS 14 is compatible with all iPads able to run iPadOS 13, it will work on the iPad Air 2, 3rd-gen iPad Air, iPad mini 4 and 5, 5th, 6th, and 7th-generation iPads, and all iPad Pro models.

The Verifier doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to accurate leaks with both hits and misses, but French site iPhoneSoft.fr also previously said that iOS 14 will be compatible with all devices able to run iOS 13.

Apple will unveil iOS 14 at its all-digital WWDC event, which is set to kick off on June 22.

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Deals: Woot Discounting Refurbished iPhones in New Sale, Starting at $130 for iPhone 7

Woot today has a collection of refurbished iPhones on sale, starting at $129.99 for the 32GB iPhone 7. There are multiple colors in the sale, and you can also opt for the 128GB or 256GB iPhone 7.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

In total, there are sales on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Head to Woot to browse all of the iPhones on sale.

All of these smartphones have been refurbished and are expected to have a moderate level of wear and tear, but Woot promises that each device has been tested and will be in full working condition. Additionally, batteries are tested to function at minimum 85 percent capacity.

Lastly, Woot today also has a deal on the Retina 4K 21.5-inch iMac from 2017 (3.0 GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB) for $979.99, down from an original price of $1,299.00. Woot notes that this iMac is brand new and factory sealed, but it does not come with an Apple warranty. Instead, you’ll receive a one year iRecertify Warranty.

Keep up with all of this week’s best discounts on Apple products and related accessories in our dedicated Apple Deals roundup.

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iPhone’s HEIC Format Causing Some Students to Fail AP Exams, Here’s How to Fix It

Some high school students taking their AP exams online have run into serious trouble with the HEIC image format on the iPhone and the iPad, which does not work with the website the AP College Board uses to accept tests.


As outlined by The Verge, AP exams taken by high school students in the United States have a written component, and the exam requires students to take and upload a photo of their written responses.

Some high schoolers who used an ‌iPhone‌ to upload the photo ran into problems with the HEIC format, which would not upload and caused the students to fail the exam. There are thousands of students who will now need to retake their AP exams, and they’re unhappy that the College Board did not anticipate the error before some of the exams were conducted.

The College Board has now provided express instructions to students, letting them know to swap over to a JPEG format on their devices or to convert an HEIC image to JPEG before submitting it. Here are the College Board’s instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Camera and tap it.
  3. Tap on the Formats option.
  4. Select “Most Compatible.”

With the Most Compatible option selected, photos will always be saved as JPEGs instead of in the HEIC file format.

Alternatively, students who have already saved exam photos as HEIC can convert them to JPEGs by mailing the photos to themselves using the Mail app on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, which the College Board says is the most reliable way to ensure a file conversion.

The College Board also plans to allow some students who run into issues submitting their tests to provide the images through email, and as mentioned above, the Mail app will do image conversions automatically. This is an option only for future exams, with students who already failed still required to retake the tests.

Apple has been using the HEIC image format since the 2017 release of iOS 11 because HEIC images are smaller than JPEGs, but the HEIC format has not been widely adopted by websites and internet services. Some newer Android smartphones also use the HEIC format.

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Rob McElhenney Shares Details on Upcoming ‘Mythic Quest’ Quarantine Episode Shot on iPhones

Apple on Friday will release a special quarantine episode of “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” which the cast and crew shot using iPhones. Ahead of the premiere of the episode, show creator and star Rob McElhenney did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he shared some details on how the filming was done.


According to McElhenney, he came up with the idea for the quarantine episode three weeks ago when bored while stuck at home. He pitched the idea to his bosses at Apple, who were “immediately on board.” Apple’s Cupertino team sent 40 new iPhones and 20 sets of earbuds later that same week, and McElhenney teamed up with David Hornsby (who also stars in the show) and Megan Ganz (the show’s co-creator) to write the episode.

It took just three weeks to write the script, shoot the new episode, edit it, and get it ready to air. Despite the short filming time, the producers at Apple liked the episode so much that it’s being submitted it for Emmy consideration. “It happened very, very fast,” said McElhenney.

It was important for the episode to “feel like it was a shared experience” without recycling content. “We knew right away that we can’t just get away with doing Zoom jokes for 30 minutes,” said McElhenney. It was also important to get the episode out while it was still something that was going on in the moment, and McElhenney was surprised Apple agreed to the concept.

Honestly, I thought they were probably going to say no because it’s just technically difficult. There are a few shows that subsequently have come out. Parks and Rec had not [aired] when we conceived of this, but I found out that Mike [Schur] was doing it, and I called him and asked him a bunch of questions. I thought, “If we’re going to do it, I’d like it to look and feel as if this was a creative choice, not a choice that was created by limitation.” That’s what Apple responded to. Once I walked them through it, we shot a little test and said, “This is what it could look like and sound like and feel like.” They pulled the trigger, and we got to work.

All of the actors in the show were forced to get into the “minutia” of details they’re not normally concerned with. There were no people on hand for filming, no makeup artists, no hairstylists, no one to adjust the sound, and so on. Everyone had to consider lenses, applications, sound quality, frame rate, and other aspects of filming that actors normally don’t do.

During filming, the crew used Zoom to communicate, with five to 45 people on the call depending on the scene or situation. Each actor had three iPhones, and one iPhone was used at a time. After a scene wrapped, the phone was sterilized, packaged, put in a secure area, picked up by a courier, brought to the editorial team, sterilized again, and then footage was uploaded for the editors who were working from home. When asked why three iPhones were used, this is what McElhenney had to say:

To get [footage] through to editorial as fast as possible, because we wanted to get this episode done and out while we were still in quarantine. The way we’d do each scene is they’d take their laptop/desktop cameras that you would see normally for a teleconferencing thing and they’d put the ‌iPhone‌ directly in front of that camera, so I essentially had video village from my house. I could see what every actor’s camera is picking up and you could also see the readings for the audio. Mike, the cinematographer, could double check all the settings and make sure that everything was running at the right revolution, frame rate, etc. Then we would run the scene, and the actors would be talking to one another the same way we’re talking right now [by phone], through our AirPods.

The quarantine episode of “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” features pandemic-related plotlines such as Poppy struggling with forced solitude and C.W. struggling with teleconferencing technology, while Ian Grimm, in his lavish house, has a hard time understanding everyone else’s struggles.

There’s also a storyline about a charitable donation, which is being replicated in real life, with the show raising $600,000 to date for the global NGO Mercy Corps COVID-19 relief program. The episode will air this Friday.

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Apple’s Plan to Pay $500 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over ‘Secretly Throttling’ Older iPhones Gets Preliminary Approval

Apple in March agreed to pay $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the company of “secretly throttling” older iPhone models, and now the settlement has been preliminarily approved by a judge.


According to Law360, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in a Zoom hearing provided preliminary approval but said that he wants to extend the final approval deadlines due to the ongoing health crisis. Apple’s lawyers have been instructed to propose a new date for a settlement approval hearing that will take place sometime in December.

If the settlement is approved, it will put an end to dozens of lawsuits that were levied against Apple and ultimately consolidated into one class-action suit in May 2018. The lawsuits were filed against Apple after Apple confirmed that it introduced software to throttle the maximum performance of some older ‌iPhone‌ models with chemically aged batteries no longer capable of supporting full power to prevent these devices from shutting down unexpectedly.

Apple 2017 released iOS 10.2.1 with performance management software that had the throttling built in, but made little mention of the change in the software’s release notes. The throttling was discovered by Primate Labs founder John Poole when he noticed lower than expected benchmark scores, and there was a major public outcry after it was discovered Apple was limiting performance.

Apple apologized for its lack of communication and ultimately launched a battery repair program that dropped the price of battery replacements to $29 through the end of 2018. Because the throttling kicks in when an ‌iPhone‌ has a degraded battery, a battery replacement effectively fixes the issue.

Apple in iOS 11.3 introduced a new feature that allows users to see the current health of their batteries, and it turned off the performance management feature by default until an unexpected shutdown occurs. Though agreeing to settle the case, Apple has maintained that it did nothing wrong legally.

If approved, the settlement will provide every affected ‌iPhone‌ user in the class with $25. The amount could increase or decrease somewhat depending on legal fees and the aggregate value of the approved claims. If the payouts, attorney fees, and expenses don’t add up to at least $310 million, class members could receive up to $500 apiece until that minimum is reached.

Apple has email addresses for most class members, so attorneys for both sides believe there will be a high claims rate.

The lawsuit includes all former or current U.S. ‌iPhone‌ owners that have the ‌iPhone‌ 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE, running either iOS 10.2.1 or later or iOS 11.2 or later, and who ran these versions of iOS prior to December 21, 2017.

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