Leaks Reveal iOS 9 New Features

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, May 23, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iOS 9.0
When iOS 8 is updated this June, it will leave an interesting legacy. It has been one of the most regularly updated, ambitious, mysterious and controversial generations in iOS history. That said Apple appears ready to move on.

Everyone has heard that iOS 9 is coming. In fact the public will get their first look at the new OS on 8 June 2015 when Apple holds its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC). So it should come as no surprise that the first two key details – a major feature and a new look – have now leaked out courtesy of the ever reliable 9to5Mac.

Welcome ‘Home’

Features first and iOS 9 will see the launch of a crucial new app called ‘Home’.

Home will begin a major Apple push into the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and act as a control hub for third party HomeKit products, much like the roles of Game Center for games and Health for Healthkit apps.

That said, the spread of Homekit products is arguably wider and more ambitious than Game Center or Health. Home devices can include everything from smart thermostats and wireless garage doors to smart keychains, coffee makers, smoke alarms, cars – in fact almost anything you consider could be made ‘smart’.

Home is also expected to incorporate Siri for voice activated control, something which could lead to user experiences straight out of classic Sci-Fi.

Perhaps more importantly though, Home will give a much needed boost to HomeKit in general. Despite being announced last year, Homekit has largely sat still since and Apple will be desperate to be at the forefront of the IoT revolution.

After all having seen Google GOOGL +0.71% splurge $3.2BN on Nest last year, founded by ‘father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell, it shows how integral IoT is in the mind of Apple’s biggest rival.

Eye Pleasing New Look

It was the iOS 7 that finally shook up the appearance of an aged iOS after six long years but it also greatly divided opinion. The iOS 9 update on the other hand looks to make a small visual tweak everyone can get behind.

9to5Mac has learnt that Apple, in a strong display of common sense, plans to change the system-wide font of iOS 8. The shift will see it ditch the skinny Helvetica Neue introduced in iOS 7 (and widely criticised for prioritising style over readability) in favour of ‘San Francisco’.

San Francisco is used on the Apple Watch and was developed by Apple “specifically for legibility”.

As simple as this shift may sound, it is actually hugely complex to implement. The change in character dimensions affects every element of the UI and creates a lot of work for third party app developers. As such 9to5Mac warns that the shift may be postponed.

Whether it makes iOS 9 or not, however, the shift does look inevitable.

9to5Mac says Apple employees have told it daily builds of OS X 10.11 and iOS 9 have used San Francisco since late March. But the biggest giveaway is already in the public eye: the new 12-inch MacBook which uses San Francisco on its keyboard.

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Apple iPhone Home Button Is Evolving

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, May 22, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iPhone Button
It has evolved into a very important part of the iPhone, but the home button is being developed not only as an option when you want to exit an app. It is also a fingerprint sensor in newer iPhones that lets users unlock phones and verify their identities.

Now, a recently published Apple patent application provides more evidence that the home button probably isn't going away anytime soon.

The patent application, published on on 14 May 2015, describes a system in which users could use the iPhone's fingerprint sensor to actually navigate their phones.

Apple highlights a few specific-use cases in the images included with the document. The idea is to expand the functionality of the home button by incorporating Touch ID into other use cases beyond verification and unlocking your phone.

For example, pressing down or holding the home button could launch the search function from the home screen. And, at the same time, the fingerprint sensor in the home button could be incorporated into games.

Imagine playing a game that requires the user to aim. Instead of pressing and dragging on the screen, they could rotate their thumb on the home button to adjust their aim, in turn preventing their fingers from obscuring what they're looking at on their screen.

Apple also mentions the idea of locking the iPhone into either portrait or landscape mode depending on which way the fingerprint is facing.

On the iPhone, users can currently hold down the home button to activate Siri, double press it to see which apps are open on their phone, press the home button to return to the home screen, or hold their finger over it to authenticate iTunes purchases. Apple has clearly already expanded the home button's functionality beyond its basic purpose, but the new patent application describes technology that would be able to read the intricate movements of the finger — not just how hard the user is pressing.

It's just a patent application, which means it's not guaranteed to ever become part of Apple's products. Still, it comes at a time when Apple has been experimenting with new ways to interact with gadgets.

The Apple Watch and new MacBook both come with a technology Apple calls Force Touch that can tell how hard the user is pressing rather than just where they're pressing. On the Apple Watch, this tech is integrated into the screen and on the new MacBook it lives in the trackpad.

That being said, Apple has patented all kinds of eccentric ideas pertaining to the iPhone's home button that probably won't become a reality. Earlier this year, an Apple patent described a home button that could pop out like a joystick to be used with mobile games.

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Apple Watch and TV Will Be Updated at WWDC 2015

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, May 21, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Apple Watch and TV
In the next WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) slated on 8-12 June 2015, Apple is expected to show off new Apple Watch features and debut its TVKit platform for Apple TV.

These would likely be introduced alongside any upcoming changes to OS X and iOS as Apple typically unveils new software features for developers to use in the coming year.

The report was revealed by the well-connected Marc Gurman of 9to5 Mac last 18 May, and quite frankly, they make sense for a few reasons.

The Apple Watch only recently debuted with Watch OS 1.0 and while it generally offers a refined take on the smartwatch, there is still room for improvement. As mentioned by several blogs, users would like to see some improvement such as, giving Siri the ability to speak back to users, faster connections between watch apps and an iPhone, and a way to choose which calendars appear on the Apple Watch.

Gurman says Apple is working on Find My Watch feature in a way that uses the watch's relative position to an iPhone.

The Health and fitness apps are also expected to mature as Gurman reports Apple wants to add blood pressure monitoring, sleep tracking in the short term and blood sugar sensors at a later date. Sleep tracking in particular may be a challenge since most Apple Watch users likely charge their device overnight.

Interestingly, Gurman thinks Apple will open up the watch's complications - small windows of information on a watchface - for widget information. He uses the example of showing the number of unread messages from Twitter as an example.

That could be useful for some apps, of course, but everyone hoped that third-party apps themselves gain new capabilities and improvements such as background refreshes.

There's been talk of new Apple TV hardware for several months - not with 4k support - but of course, without software, Apple's hobby is just another set-top box.

A new software platform for Apple TV apps called TVKit would change that, says Gurman.

TVKit will bring Siri integration and third-party apps to Apple's streaming device. Although Gurman doesn't specifically note it, it is expected that Apple's HomeKit platform to be integrated with a new Apple TV box as well, turning the device into a hub for both entertainment and home automation.

Assuming Gurman is right - and he often is when it comes to Apple's plans - these developments, along with iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, will likely be the primary focus of the WWDC keynote.

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What to Expect from iPhone 7?

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iPhone 7 Concept
The success of Apple's first phablet continue to surprise many and the company was reportedly looking to follow this up with the either the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 Plus.

Figures related to the iPhone 6 indicate that the iPhone 6 Plus perform better than was expected, and in line with these results, Apple will likely place more emphasis on the phablet-sized version of the iPhone when the range is released. So what do we know thus far about this significant mobile release? And what might Apple include in the next iPhone variant in order to tempt consumers?

Assuming that it will be iPhone 7 and not iPhone 6S, Christopher Morris of ValueWalk.Com offered a very interesting observation:

iPhone 7 Plus – Design

With Apple having made its first foray into phablets last year, many fans of the iPhone 6 Plus will be hoping for significant design changes this time round. Also, Apple generally follows a policy of refreshing its hardware designs on a biannual basis, which will mean that the iPhone 7 Plus is likely to strongly resemble last year’s model.

Apple is currently testing sapphire glass with a view to including it in future mobile devices, after it was utilized to protect the screen of the Apple Watch. But this is unlikely to come to fruition in this generation of the iPhone, as it has been reported that Apple is experiencing problems with this material shattering, and this is unlikely to be solved by the likely October release date. However, if the iPhone 7 Plus is delayed until 2016, as is widely expected, then we could see sapphire glass featuring at that time.

Series 7000 Aluminium Alloy could also be utilized in order to address bending issues from previous devices.

Possible Specs

Apple has never allowed itself to be a slave to specs, and this process will probably continue with the iPhone 7 Plus. A new processor is absolutely guaranteed in this phablet, particularly if it launches in 2016. And the most likely candidate is a new A9 chip, rumored to be 15 percent smaller, 20 percent more powerful and 35 percent more power efficient than the Apple A8 processor.

2 GB of RAM is also expected under the hood, and the device will also run iOS 9 as its operating system as a bare minimum. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that iOS 10 will have been released by the time that this phablet sees the light of day.

Apple has also been dealing with all manner of impressive camera specifications in recent months, and the iPhone 7 Plus phablet is extremely likely to benefit from such technology. Therfore, the dual-lens snapper which has been strongly linked with the iPhone series could come to fruition with the iPhone 7 Plus, and possibly even the sophisticated periscope design which has been mooted in some quarters.

Finally, Apple will definitely include the Force Touch technology which it introduced with the Apple Watch when the iPhone 7 Plus is released. There will be an increasing focus from Apple on mobile payment and Apple pay-related functionality.

Price

Some pundits have suggested that the iPhone 7 Plus will be significantly more affordable than the previous iteration of the series when it is released. But this seems pretty unlikely considering that the last generation of Apple iPhones sold incredibly well. Apple is more likely to freeze the price from the iPhone 6 range, and ensure that the iPhone 7 costs the same out of the box as the previous iteration in the series on release day.

Battery Life

One of the prominent criticisms of Apple products is that they are rather greedy with the internal battery. Thus, Apple should take measures to ensure that the battery life of the iPhone 7 Plus phablet is significantly improved over the previous release. This will be particularly important if Apple upgrades several aspects of the phablet, even though the new processor is clearly more efficient than that which was included in the iPhone 6 Plus.

More Storage

The 16 GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus would now seem to be obsolete, and it would make sense for Apple to ensure that the most affordable version of this phablet begins at 32 GB of storage. Hopefully the iOS 9 operating system will eat up less storage that iOS 8, but there will still be pressure on Apple to deliver something of substance here.
Camera

Aside from the aspects of the iPhone 7 Plus camera which were discussed previously, it has also been suggested that the protruding aspect of the iPhone 6 Plus camera was unattractive. Thus, one design alteration which Apple could consider is to ensure that the IPhone 7 Plus camera is complete within the device itself. Although concerns that the lens in the iPhone 6 Plus would scratch easily have turned out to be unfounded, this would still provide both a security and aesthetic benefit to the smartphone.

The camera in the iPhone 6 Plus was also criticized at times for its relatively poor performance in low-light conditions. This is a common issue with mobile cameras, and the iPhone 7 Plus should address this to ensure that high-quality pictures can be taken in all an environmental conditions. Possibly a superior flash could be utilized in order to deliver this.

Speakers

Apple is placing an emphasis on music again in recent months, and there are persistent rumors that it is about to ramp up its Beats music service. With this in mind, there is clearly room for improvement with the speaker system in the iPhone7 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus features a solitary speaker, eliminating the possibility of stereo sound. A second speaker should be added to the iPhone 7 Plus, and additionally the positioning of the speakers should be moved away from the base of the phone.

More Power

Above all else, Apple fans will want the iPhone 7 Plus to be a powerful performer when it is released. Quad HD, possibly even 4K resolution should be included, RAM should be doubled to 2 GB, and we should see the iPhone 7 Plus include a rapid quad-core processor for the first time.

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Apple iPad is Due for a Big Comeback

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Apple iPad
When Apple sold 26 million iPads, company officials were ecstatic. It is unthinkable to even hint that everything is not what it seems and that Apple iPad is actually in trouble.

But since then, Apple has reported five consecutive quarters of iPad sales declines. In fact, the sales slide has been accelerating recently. Last quarter of 2015, iPad unit sales and revenue declined 23 percent and 29 percent, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook has emphasized his confidence that iPad sales can recover and eventually return to long-term growth. On the company's earnings call last month, he stated:
"... I believe the iPad is an extremely good business over the long term. When precisely it begins to grow again I wouldn't want to predict, but I strongly believe that it will."
However, this doesn't mean that the iPad is not in trouble. For instance, customers are not satisfied with the screen quality of the iPad Mini Retina released in late 2013, which likely contributed to the weak demand for that model.

Other potential causes of the iPad sales slowdown include greater competition from other tablet vendors and cannibalization from "phablets" like the iPhone 6 Plus and ultra-portable laptops like the new MacBook.

Fortunately for Apple, changes and adjustments were quickly made.

There are three main developments that suggest the iPad could return to sales growth soon. First, Apple announced a partnership with IBM last summer to create more than 100 industry-specific iOS apps - primarily for the iPad. IBM will also help sell iPhones and iPads through its own sales force. This partnership could help the iPad gain traction in corporate and government settings.

The first apps from this collaboration were released in December 2014, and new ones will arrive throughout 2015. Businesses and governments both tend to have long sales cycles, so the benefits of this initiative are just starting to accrue. But iPad sales to corporate and government users will likely gain steam over the next year or two as more organizations evaluate and test the new hardware/software package.

Second - and relatedly - Apple is widely expected to release a larger 12"-13" iPad this fall. This isn't likely to sell in the same volume as Apple's traditional 9.7" iPad form factor, but it could be very helpful for business users and should be more profitable for Apple. It's possible that some businesses are holding out on iPad purchases to get this larger model.

Third, the replacement cycle could soon become a positive, rather than a negative for iPad sales. Apple has sold just under 60 million iPads in the past year, and based on Tim Cook's comments, about half of those sales have gone to new users. That means about 30 million people have upgraded their iPads in the past year.

Even if the iPad replacement cycle is four to five years (roughly in line with the PC replacement cycle), 30 million is significantly below the stable long-term replacement rate. With the popular iPad 2 having just passed its fourth birthday, more and more iPads will reach prime replacement age over the next few years. This should stimulate higher iPad replacement sales.

If Apple's next-generation iPads offer significant improvements, that will also help in a big way. As noted above, the iPad Mini Retina version released last fall was almost identical to its predecessor. The iPad Air 2 did boast improved specs, but it was a much smaller change than the previous year's leap from the iPad 4 to the iPad Air. The lack of innovative upgrades has probably contributed to weak year-to-date iPad sales.

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Is iPhone 6S An Upgrade?

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, May 18, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iPhone Upgrade
After some of the important features of the next Apple iPhone was leaked, there are some that thought it was not much compared to the present iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But there are others who believed that the iPhone 6S is more than just an incremental upgrade.

Likely to be launched in September as per Apple's usual time frame, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (assuming Apple continues with its usual naming convention) will start off by offering a Force Touch feature – which would monitor the area on which the finger touches the screen to decide how much pressure you're applying.

Apple would then tempt buyers with even more specs, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in an investors note caught by G for Games and other sources.

Apple itself has not officially named its next iPhone or stated its intentions for the device.

Apple typically rolls out a major upgrade to its iPhone lineup every other year, and then fills in the gap with a more incremental upgrade during the in-between years. When the iPhone 5 came out in 2012, it was followed by the iPhone 5S in 2013 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2015.

The "S" models usually enhance the processor and a few other components and add one or two new features but not much more. However, Apple continues to face tough competition from the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S series and Android phones in general, which often sport major upgrades on an annual basis.

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus regained lost market share and customers by offering bigger screens. But if Apple wants to continue that trend, then the iPhone 6S needs to be more than just an incremental upgrade, which could happen, according to Kuo's crystal ball.

The Force Touch is the No. 1 selling feature predicted by Kuo for the iPhone 6S. Already adopted by the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the 12-inch MacBook, this technology makes the trackpad pressure-sensitive, so it responds differently based how you press the surface.

But there's much more, says Kuo. The 6S will be equipped with Apple's A9 processor, which will provide more power and speed than the current A8 chipset used in the iPhone 6 line. Apple will bump up the RAM to 2GB from the current 1GB. The rear camera will double its megapixel count to 16 from 8.

The phone's Touch ID fingerprint sensor will also be more accurate. The body used for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will use stronger material. And the iPhone 6S will even offer the Rose Gold color option presently available for the Apple Watch.

Anything else?

CNET believes that iPhone 6S may finally offer the sapphire display that had been rumored for the iPhone 6, but only if certain production issues can be resolved.

Rumors flew last year that Apple would adopt a sapphire crystal display cover glass for the new iPhone. Sapphire is considered by some to be tougher and harder to scratch than the Gorilla Glass displays currently used for the iPhone. But sapphire crystal is difficult and expensive to cut and manufacture. Apple's sapphire supplier, GT Advanced, also went bankrupt. So the option for an iPhone with a sapphire display never happened.

This year, a sapphire screen may appear, but only on a "limited" iPhone 6s Plus edition, Kuo said, according to G for Games.

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