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Apple reportedly halves iPhone X production after disappointing holiday sales

Starting at $999, the iPhone X is Apple’s most advanced model to date, but it’s apparently not selling well enough to keep manufacturing at current rates. Nikkei reports that Apple is cutting iPhone X production in half due to slower-than-expected sales in the U.S., Europe, and China. Notably, production is being ramped down on the device after it’s been on the market less than three months.

According to the report, Apple is cutting its iPhone X production targets from 40 million units in the quarter to around 20 million units, as inventories have swelled. Nikkei notes that the cuts will “have a domino effect on manufacturers” supplying parts for the iPhone X, with a likely impact totaling billions of dollars.

One possible casualty for both Apple and other manufacturers is a slowdown in their expected shifts from LED to OLED screens. Well-sourced analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has forecast that Apple will release a larger OLED version of the iPhone X and a mid-range LED model later this year.

Rumors of iPhone X production cuts have been swirling for a month thanks to a post-Christmas report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, which claimed that Apple’s initial manufacturing target of 50 million units had been cut to 30 million units. Apple did not comment on that report, and its shares dropped; they’ve fallen around 2% today and are near a three-month low. Over the past week, further rumors have suggested that the iPhone X will be discontinued after only a year on the market, causing some prospective customers to question its future.

Historically, Apple has refused to provide specific sales figures for individual iPhone models, saying that it wanted to keep competitors from targeting particularly popular devices. But reputable reports of large supply chain cuts can provide some insight into sales trends, as can major changes in the average selling price of iPhone devices. Apple’s quarterly earnings release on February 1 will provide further insight into the iPhone X’s impact on overall iPhone sales.

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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