6-7 #Future : TSMC has reportedly initiated preparatory work for 2nm trial production; Xiaomi is allegedly working on a clamshell foldable phone; The authorized distributor for vivo in Poland is pulling out of the country; etc.

Cybersecurity experts at Dr. Web have discovered a new strain of spyware, dubbed “SpinOk,” in more than 100 Android apps. The spyware, which is disguised as an advertising software development kit (SDK), has been downloaded over 400M times from the Google Play Store. Once installed, SpinOk can steal sensitive information from Android devices. The stolen data is then sent to a remote server controlled by the hackers who created the malware. SpinOk is able to evade detection by tricking app developers into incorporating it into their apps. The malware appears to be legitimate, as it offers users mini-games and daily rewards to keep users engaged in the app. Beneath this harmless facade, SpinOK runs a series of malicious activities in the background.  (GizChina, Hindustan Times)

Apple has announced iOS 17, which features personalized contact posters with photos, Memojis, and eye-catching typography that appear during calls and in the updated address book. A new Live Voicemail feature brings live-transcription in real-time, allowing old-school call screening. Users can now pick up the phone mid-voicemail and transcription is handled-on device. Messages now offers improved search features, an arrow to jump to the first unread message in a conversation, easier inline replies with a swipe gesture, inline location sharing, and a new Stickers experience. iMessage apps and the camera have now been moved to a new plus button.(MacRumors, Apple.com, GSM Arena)

Samsung Electronics Egypt will establish a new mobile phone factory on an area of 6,000 square meters in Beni Suef, according to a statement by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The project’s construction works are planned to commence in 4Q23r. The latest Samsung mobile phones will be locally manufactured at the new factory to meet the demand of the company’s demand in the Egyptian market. (Gizmo China, Zawya)

The authorized distributor for vivo in Poland is pulling out of the country. According to vivo, continuous market analysis and selection of the appropriate business strategy in consultation with local representatives is crucial for the vivo brand. Their authorized distributor of the brand in Poland has decided to stop operating. Despite this, vivo’s customers can still rely on vivo’s robust products, comprehensive customer support and uninterrupted software updates. For now, vivo.com/pl is still up and running and retailers continue to sell its phones.(GSM Arena, GSM Online)

Apple has announced iPadOS 17, bringing several new features to iPads, including updates to widgets and the Lock Screen that bring more parity with iPhones. iPadOS 17 includes improvements across the Notes, Messages, FaceTime, and Safari apps. In the Messages app, for example, there is a new consolidated sticker drawer that brings all of a user’s stickers into one place, including Live Stickers, emoji stickers, and third-party sticker packs. ‌iPad‌ users can also create their own stickers from photos.(MacRumors, Apple.com, GSM Arena)

Apple Vision Pro is announced, priced at USD3,499. It is billed as the first ever “spatial computer”. It is running an entirely new operating system too, dubbed visionOS. The headset’s “display system” packs 23 million pixels (“more than a 4K TV for each eye”) across 2 micro OLED screens. The Vision Pro is powered by a custom dual-core version of Apple’s M2 chipset, aided by a brand new R1 chip that processes input from 12 cameras, 5 sensors, and 6 mics to ensure that content always appears right before our eyes. The R1 streams new images to the displays within 12ms, which is apparently 8 times faster than the blink of an eye.(MacRumors, GSM Arena, Apple.com)

Apple has acquired Mira, a Los Angeles-based AR startup that makes headsets for other companies and the US military. Mira’s military contracts include a small agreement with the US Air Force and a USD702,351 agreement with the Navy. The Air Force contract is for military pilots at Travis Air Force Base to use the startup’s Prism Pro headset for displaying things like heads-up equipment instructions.(CN Beta, The Verge, Reuters, TechCrunch)

Xiaomi Car has announced a number of adjustments to its senior management team. Huang Zhenyu, the Vice President of the Automotive Division, will now also serve as the General Manager of the Auto Supply Chain Department, reporting to the CEO of the Automotive Division, Lei Jun. Huang Zhenyu is a senior executive poached by Xiaomi from the auto parts industry.(Gizmo China, Pandaily, 36Kr)

According to Boston Consulting Group, quality consumption is gaining momentum in China. Chinese consumers still show a willingness to “pay a premium for higher quality” across most consumer categories. (BCG report)

The semiconductor etching equipment market was valued at USD11.3B in 2022 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2023 to 2031 to reach USD 21.7B by 2031. Extensive demand for plasma-based atomic layer etching techniques presents significant business opportunities for companies in the market. Rapid incorporation of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) in the automotive, medical, electronic, communication, and defense industries is bolstering the applications of semiconductor etching equipment. Steady rate of adoption of high-performance chip in compact electronic devices in consumer and industrial applications is likely to fuel market development. Continuous advancement in etching techniques is poised to boost production of semiconductor micro devices. Introduction of atomic layer etching as an advanced technique is an instance which has positively influenced the market dynamics. (Laoyaoba, iFeng, Silicon Semiconductor, Globe Newswire)

Apple has unveiled the M2 Ultra chip alongside the new Mac Studio and Mac Pro. It is built from 2 ‌M2‌ Max chips connected through “UltraFusion”, which is what Apple calls its custom-built packaging technology. The new ‌M2‌ Ultra chip has a 24-Core CPU that consists of 16 high-performance cores and 8 high-efficiency cores. This nets the chip 20% faster performance than the M1 Ultra. Users can configure the GPU with 60 or 76 next-generation cores, which is up to 12 more cores compared to the GPU of the ‌M1 Ultra‌.(MacRumors, Apple.com, Engadget)

According to Counterpoint Research, in 1Q23, MediaTek emerged as the dominant force in the smartphone processor market, although it experienced a decline compared to the previous quarter. MediaTek secured a 31% market share in the smartphone AP market during 1Q23. However, the company witnessed a decline in both quantities and market share compared to the previous quarter. The decline can be attributed to inventory adjustments and weak demand, resulting in a projected decline of over 5% in LTE SoC shipments and less than 5% growth in 5G SoC shipments for Q2 2023. Analysts anticipate a rebound for MediaTek in 2H23 as inventory levels stabilize. Qualcomm, a prominent player in the AP market, captured a 28% market share in 1Q23. Its shipments are expected to remain flat in 2Q23 due to inventory reductions, which are anticipated to normalize in the coming quarters. (Gizmo China, IT Home)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is making significant strides in its efforts to sprint towards the next generation of process technology. TSMC has reportedly initiated preparatory work for 2nm trial production and plans to incorporate an advanced AI system to enhance energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and accelerate trial production efficiency. Industry insiders anticipate that major players such as Apple and Nvidia will be among the first customers after TSMC achieves 2nm mass production, solidifying their lead over competitors like Samsung and Intel.(Gizmo China, IT Home, MoneyDJ, UDN, Inside.com, LTN)

Xiaomi is allegedly working on a clamshell foldable phone, which will be “extremely light and thin”. This would be the company’s first clamshell foldable design. (Weibo, Android Authority)

According to SWS Research, in 2022, the new production factories will be the NAND Flash production line of Samsung P3 factory, the Fab 7 factory of Kioxia / Western Digital, and the second phase of Yangtze Memory Technology Corp (YMTC). New capacity in the storage industry in the future: Samsung’s P4 factory has already started construction and is expected to start production in 1H24. The P4 factory is also planning to build a NAND Flash production line first. The DRAM production line of the P3 factory is expected to start production in 3Q23. After SK Hynix acquired Intel’s Dalian factory in 2020, another factory will be built in Dalian in May 2022, and the M17 factory has begun planning. Micron plans to build 2 factories in the United States, one of which is a DRAM factory, which is expected to achieve mass production in 2025. YMTC will complete the first phase of production capacity of 100,000 pieces/month in 2020, and the second phase will start construction in 2020, with a planned production capacity of 200,000 pieces/month. (SWS Research report)

City University of Hong Kong has recently invented a novel, wireless, skin-interfaced olfactory feedback system that can release various odours with miniaturised odour generators (OGs). The base version of the experimental setup incorporates two small devices known as odor generators (OGs). These are both mounted on a single piece of lightweight flexible substrate material, which is temporarily adhered to the skin above the user’s upper lip. Each OG contains a differently scented paraffin wax, along with a thermal actuator. When wirelessly activated by an accompanying VR system, the actuator in one or both of the OGs heats the wax and causes it to melt (slightly), thus releasing its odor. When the actuator is shut off, the wax cools and returns to its solid state, in which it produces little if any scent. In a more complex version of the system, a total of nine OGs – each one of a different odor – are incorporated into a flexible face mask. These can be activated in hundreds of different combinations and ratios, producing a wide variety of scents. (CN Beta, New Atlas, City University of Hong Kong)

Apple has announced a new biometrics system called Optic ID, which uses unique iris patterns, for Apple Vision Pro. The Apple Vision Pro headset will authenticate users with an iris scan. According to Apple, Optic ID works by analyzing a user’s iris through LED light exposure and then comparing it with an enrolled Optic ID stored on the device’s Secure Enclave. Optic ID will be used for everything from unlocking Vision Pro to using Apple Pay in user’s own headspace. As with every Apple security feature, the company is stating Optic ID “never leaves your device”, and the information is completely encrypted. (The Verge, Apple Insider, 9to5Mac)

Chinese unicorn Greater Bay Technology, a subsidiary of China’s state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), claims to have the solution for what is arguably one of the biggest drawbacks of EV batteries – loss of range in cold weather. Greater Bay Technology says its new Phoenix cell is made with superconducting materials and contains thermal management technology that can heat the battery back from -4F to 77F in five minutes. That allows the lithium ion battery to operate as normal and charge within six minutes in all weather conditions, according to Huang Xiangdong, Greater Bay’s co-founder and chairman.(Engadget, Bloomberg, Mining, InsideEVs, Xinhuanet, iFeng, Sina, PC Auto)

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