Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts

Friday, 17 October 2014

Apple SIM and the death of the SIM card

iPhone 5S with SIM card tray popped out

Let’s not delude ourselves here: Apple’s iPad event was spectacularly dull. You just know it’s going to be anticlimactic when Craig Federighi forces us to sit through 30-plus minutes of iOS and OS X news before Tim Cook was allowed to unveil the — big surprise — thinner and lighter iPad Air 2, and the sniveling footnote that is the iPad Mini 3. In fact, there is one interesting feature of the new iPads — but it was relegated to a page on the Apple website, rather than shown off on-stage. It’s called the Apple SIM, and it’s the death knell of the humble — if rather annoying — SIM card.
Apple has always had it in for the SIM card. Ever since the first iPhone, which used a fiddly paperclip-actuated SIM holder, Apple has shown that it won’t be beholden to clunky, old, or slow-moving technologies that it has no direct control over. With the original iPad, Apple was the first major device maker to move to the smaller micro-SIM (3FF) standard — and in 2012, Apple forced through a new nano-SIM (4FF) and was again first to market with the iPhone 5. Even now in 2014,
GSM SIM card evolution
The evolution of the GSM SIM card. It’s hard to believe that the SIM was originally a credit card sized piece of plastic. Shown here, from left to right, are the standard SIM (1FF), mini (2FF), micro (3FF), and nano (4FF).
In each successive case, it has always been about making Apple products smaller, thinner, and lighter than the competitors. SIM cards, with their fixed dimensions and the removable tray, are a straight-up design constraint. There’s no getting around it: As it stands, you simply cannot make a device thinner than a SIM card tray, and a significant amount of design and manufacturing time has to be invested into placing the SIM slot (both on the logic board and externally on the chassis) and ensuring it’s reliable. Moving parts are thebane of industrial design.
There is an alternative to the SIM card, of course: the embedded-SIM. Rather than including a removable SIM card and tray mechanism, the manufacturer can solder a SIM card permanently onto the device. Not only does this remove the need for a SIM card tray, but it also allows for the SIM itself to be reduced to just a tiny chip on the logic board (there isn’t actually much in a SIM card, but because it has to be held by clumsy human hands they can’t be shrunk down much further than the nano form factor). Way back in 2012, when ETSI started working on embedded-SIM, Apple showed a clear interest in the new standard — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPhone 7 or iPad Air 3 debut without a discrete SIM card.
iPad Air 2, showing the new Apple SIM carrier selection screen
iPad Air 2, showing the new Apple SIM carrier selection screen
For the time being, though, Apple has the next best thing: The Apple SIM. In the US and UK, the LTE versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will come with a reprogrammable SIM card — the so-called Apple SIM — that can switch to different carriers via the Settings menu in iOS. In theory, this allows you to switch between your AT&T contract and perhaps a pre-paid T-Mobile deal, to get the best of both worlds. In the future, when the Apple SIM inevitably rolls out to the iPhone (presumably the iPhone 7) maybe you’ll be able to open up Settings and select one carrier for cheap international calls, and then switch back to your main carrier for data. And of course, when you travel, rather than having to hunt down a local SIM card, Apple SIM would let you easily use a local carrier for cheap data and calls.
Nokia with SIM card under the battery
Prior to the iPhone, it was all about removing the battery to insert the SIM card — a constraint that Apple didn’t want to adhere to
The concept of a software-programmable SIM is certainly very cool, and a whole lot more revolutionary than the new gold color option or the inclusion of last year’s Touch ID sensor.
The problem, of course, is that today’s Apple SIM is clearly just a waypoint towards a future where the SIM card is removed from the equation entirely. It might be the iPhone 6S, or maybe the iPhone 7, but eventually Apple will do away with the physical SIM card and tray, replacing it with a tiny chip on the logic board and a SIM/carrier selection screen within iOS. If Apple does it properly and includes every carrier and MVNO you might ever want to use, then we have nothing to worry about — in fact, that actually sounds like a better solution than slotting in new SIM cards.
If Apple exerts some kind of control over Apple SIM, though, or is somehow tardy or restrictive over adding carriers to the selection screen, then you might soon find yourself lamenting the death of the SIM card — for ultimately, that is what this is all about. Apple has forced the adoption of smaller and smaller SIM card standards with the success of the iPhone and iPad, and I see no reason why it would stop with the nano-SIM. If Apple kills off the SIM card, then other device makers will surely follow suit.

Apple announces new iMac and Mac Mini

The most eye catching reveal was the new iMac with Retina Display. The display features a huge 5120 x 2880 resolution that packs in 14.7 million pixels, which Apple is referring to as '5K'.

If 4K just isn't enough for you, Apple hopes that the 5K resolution of the new iMac will tempt you instead. It means you can view and edit 4K video full size whilst leaving room on the display for tools and apps.

Launched 30 years after the first Mac, Apple has crammed some impressive components into the new iMac, with a choice of a 3.5Ghz Intel Core i5 or 4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM as standard and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics card to handle the ultra high resolution.

It's shipping today with a base price of $2499. Whilst this is still a high price tag, Apple hopes that people will look at the prices of 4K TVs and decide to go with the more versatile iMac.

The Mac Mini also got an outing today with some updated features and a new more wallet-friendly price.

It now comes with fourth generation Intel Core processors that excel at graphics performance. Wireless AC Wi-Fi and two Thunderbolt 2 ports are also included. The standard model features a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive starting at a suggested retail price of $499, which is $100 cheaper than the previous version.

If you're after a more powerful machine, you can get one with a 2.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory, Intel Iris Graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive starting at a suggested retail price of $999

Like the new iMac, the Mac Mini starts shipping today.

These new products will be able to interact each other as well as the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 thanks to Apple's latest operating system, the mobile iOS 8 and OSX Yosemite, which Apple announced would be available today for absolutely free.

Getting Apple's devices to work seamlessly together has been a focus for Apple, such as using Airplay to stream media from an iPhone to an Apple TV without needing to connect to Wi-Fi, or sending and receiving texts or phonecalls from any Apple device.

Along with the announcement that OSX Yosemite will be launched today for free, the iOS 8.1 update will be available for free from October 20.

Apple iPad Mini 3 vs Apple iPad Mini 2: What's new?

We loved last year’s iPad mini, even going as far as to award it the prestigious 5-star seal of approval in our official review. So to say we’re excited about the 2014 update is an understatement.
But, what really sets the iPad mini 3 apart from its predecessor? Let’s compare the two and see what’s new.

Improved Features

Headlining the new features on the iPad mini 3 is something we were hoping would be included in the 2013 model, and that’s Touch ID. We’ve had Apple’s fingerprint scanning tech on two generations of the iPhone now and now it has finally made its way over to both the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2. There is a slight visual change with the addition of the sensor, as the classic home button has been tweaked with a sapphire glass coating and aluminium ring.
Touch ID adds in a number of handy features, aside from using it to unlock your slate, with our favourite being able to use it instead of a password in updated apps like 1Password and Scanbot.
The iPad mini 3 will also ship with iOS 8.1 out of the box, Apple’s first major update to the operating system that has caused much controversy since its release last month. Along with notable bug fixes, iOS 8 brings iCloud Photo library to everyone, but it's still in beta.
In the camera department things look very similar to last year, there's still the 5-megapixel shooter on the back, 1.2-meg Facetime HD camera up front and it'll shoot 1080p video.

Screen tech

Both previous iterations of the iPad mini have come with 7.9-inch displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the new version doesn’t change anything there. That means the iPad mini 3 boasts a resolution of 2048 x 1536, the same as the iPad mini 2 and the iPad Air.

It if it ain't broke, don't fix it

We’re yet to see a major redesign for the iPad mini, as this new model still sticks to the same blueprint as its predecessors. Actually, everything is the same - it weighs the same (331g) and has the same thickness (7.5mm), making it thicker than the full-size iPad Air 2.
Even though rumours seemed to suggest that Apple might be doing away with the rotation lock switch on the side, we’re happy to confirm that it is still sticking around.
Gold is also joining the colour options available for the iPad mini 3, giving you another choice if you’re not a fan of Space Grey or Silver. Or if you just want to match that new iPhone 6 you picked up last month.

Under the hood

Last year’s iPad mini 2 saw quite the jump from the original mini, taking the same internal specs from the iPad Air and squishing them into the much smaller form-factor. An A7 64-bit processor and 1GB RAM, along with the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB of internal storage options were the order of the day, but what’s changed this time around? Well nothing really.
Apple didn't divulge all the specs for the iPad mini 3, in-fact they barely mentioned it at, but the Apple website confirms that the iPad Mini 3 has the same A7 chip with a 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprecessor as last year's iPad Mini.
Wi-Fi has been given a boost too, to the ac standard, which should speed up all those downloads.
Apple has seemingly decided that its small slate is about as good as it can be at the minute, as the changes we've seen here are few and far between. Touch ID is nice, but is it enough to make the masses upgrade? We'll have to wait and see.

You can pick up an iPad mini 3 from £319 for 16GB, £399 for 64GB and 128GB for £479. Add £100 extra if you want to upgrade to the model with 4G internet.

Apple iPad Air 2 review: Hands-on





But as Tim Cook said, how can you improve on what people were calling the best tablet on the market? It’s not like it can get much thinner or slimmer while preserving the screen size, right?
Well, no. Wrong. The new iPad Air 2 is 18% thinner than before – almost to the point of it being worth risking it without a case, such is the impressive frame on offer here.
Well, if you're one of those that is only going to use this tablet at home, then the good news is it's the perfect thing for it.
The iPad Air 2 is very much the darling of the Apple ball, with the thinner frame dazzling in the hand, and the chamfered edges adding a new premium edge.
Sure, there's not a lot different here, but what can Apple really do? The thinness and the weight of the tablet makes it very tactile indeed, and the new camera will (unfortunately) entice a new wave of users to start using the new iPad Air as a camera.
The really cool thing about using the iPad Air 2 is the screen is enhanced on a tech level - the amount of air in between each component has been reduced to zero, according to Apple at least.
The result is richer colours and fewer reflections - and at least comparing it to the iPad mini 3, which is essentially the iPad mini 2 rebadged, it's much easier to view web pages and whizz around on the Air 2.
The other big thing that go me slightly excited, although for no reason, is the A8X processor included. I say for no reason simply because there's nothing right off the bat that really can make full use of it - but the demos we saw of real time video editing with really rather powerful effects certainly impressed.

Early verdict

The iPad Air 2 is the perfect tablet for those that have been holding on to an older device and are quietly hoping their loved one picks up on the subtle hints to buy them a new slate this Christmas.
Sure, it's not a massive upgrade on the original iPad Air, but for the swathes of people that didn't buy that model but fancy a new device, this is the perfect mix of longer battery and improved design in a class-leading tablet.

Apple iPad mini 3 review: Hands-on


Coming in at £319, it's the same price as last year's model, but where that was the iPad Air shrunken down into  more impressive frame, this time we've got, well, the same the iPad but with the ability to check it's your finger.
That means no zero-gap screen, no improved A8X chip (the mini 3 is stuck on the old A7 that debuted last year) and while the new iOS 8.1 update brings time lapse and panorama to the mix, the slow motion video is gone due to the lack of grunt.
There are some upgrades here: you can now get it in gold and the shell is slightly refined with a chamfered edge along with an improved back.
But beyond that, there's very little on show here that makes it easy to see where the extra cash is coming from, especially when last year's model is now on sale for a lower price. The TouchID extra does allow you access to more secure apps, as well as paying for goods with your digit from the sofa, but beyond that it's hard to see who would want the new model when the cheaper one is out.

Early verdict

It's hard to work out the iPad mini 3. It's a good tablet only in the sense that the last model was very good indeed. But where that stunned by shrinking down the awesome bits of the iPad Air into a tiny frame, the iPad mini 3 is just a rebadged version that brings a fingerprint scanner into your life.
The full review of the tablet might reveal some hidden treasures, but for now it's hard to see who would want the iPad mini 3 when the older version still exists on the market.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Apple Watch review: Hands-on




Well, it may not be called the iWatch, but Apple’s entry into the burgeoning wearable category – called simply “Watch” – has at last gone from rumour to reality. Unlike the many Android Wear smartwatches that have been standalone products with individual merits, such as the Moto 360’s “real” watch faces or the Samsung Gear Fit’s heart rate monitor, the break from the norm here is the sheer level of customisation offered, all in one go. Another similarity is the requirement to own an Apple phone, ideally the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus of course, and it's not clear how backwards compatible with older iPhones the Watch is.

Apple Watch: Features

With two different face sizes – 38mm and 42mm respectively – three separate collections – the entry-level Watch, the sweat-loving Watch Sport and the 18-carat-gold, bling-tastic Watch Edition – plus six different strap styles with three different fits all fighting for your attention, seeing all of them at once is a disorientating experience. Apple lined all 36 different types up in a central hub at the Cupertino reveal like a cross between Baselworld and The Usual Suspects.

Make no mistake, this will be a new range from the off when it launches early next year, not a one-off product. Whatever your choice of wear - plastic for fitness, leather for work, stainless steel for evening wear - Apple seems to have it covered. Indeed, the “Milanese loop” number is verging on smart jewellery, the design of the face as its own entity meaning you can mix and match. We can see the custom-obsessed money flying out of wallets already – the price being “from” $349 is key.

We grabbed a hands-on with the “Modern” buckle, a magnetised fixer connecting its blue, brushed leather strap. It linked easily and was a perfect fit as luck would have it without adjusting – good old predictable wrist widths. The first thing you notice is the 38mm watch’s body is surprisingly small and light, the Moto 360 – until now arguably the looker in the smartwatch department – seeming hulking and heavy by comparison. The sleek design also sits comfortably next to normal watches – it actually looked a bit like the Uniform Wares one we were wearing – with little style concession at all. This is unprecedented for a smartwatch.

Apple Watch: Display

The Flexible Retina sapphire-glass display is both clear and strong, if a bit of a fingerprint lover. However, while it is used as a touchscreen, the neat digital crown dial on the side keeps your fingers off and out of the way, the small screen not often obstructed, flicking through customisation options and zooms in and out, and also acting as a home button. It’s a really clever solution and very intuitive, allowing you to customise settings such as contextual info and colour schemes quickly.

Apple Watch: Performance 

Our hands-on involved a run-through some of the basic functionality – browsing the circular apps (you zoom in and out of them fluidly a la Google Earth), fitness monitoring (through the sensors on the reverse of the face), map finding, etc. The most impressive factor, though, was the consistent alerts, shunning loud beeps and flashing lights for a light throb to your wrist, be it for text messages, lap times or a reminder to get the shopping.

Apple Watch: Connectivity

Connectivity wise, there’s no ugly and impractical headphone ports, with all connections handled by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. We were sent hand-drawn messages wirelessly to our watch by a member of staff, the use of which were unclear of – for a product so stylish, drawing little pictures on it seems a bit Nintendo for us – but it certainly works. Charging is elegant, too, a circular MagSafe connecting to the entire bottom of the watch body, where the four sensors sit.

Apple Watch: Verdict 

Of course, this was a guided demo, and Apple was unsurprisingly keen to play up its style and connected credentials. We didn’t get much time to put the new S1 chip to the test, try Apple Pay or Siri (the latter is accessed via clicking the digital crown), see the extent to which it requires an iPhone to function (which we were told it does), or, of course, test the battery life, which Tim Cook and co stayed very quiet on indeed. The sheer lightness of the watch makes us wonder just how much stamina it’s packing, but we shall see. The headline news is this is a really good looking smartwatch that you could conceivably buy just as a watch, and that, for us, is a first. Whether smartwatches in general are a category that can prove useful enough to snare the masses, though, we're still unsure.

Apple iPhone 6 vs Apple iPhone 5s: What's changed?

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Display

First we had 3.5-inches, then the iPhone 5 gave us 4-inches, but now, finally, we have an iPhone with a 4.7-inch display. As with all iPhones since the 4, Apple has attached the Retina Display moniker to the iPhone 6 meaning pixels will, hopefully, be a complete pain to spot.
Speaking of the resolution, it is now 1334x750 (the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920x1080) which is a nice increase from the 1136x540 of the iPhone 5 and 5s. Apple says the 6 has 38% more pixels than the 5s, along with a broader angle of view.
Can it match up the 1080p displays of Android superphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or even the 2K versions on the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4? You'll have to wait for our full review to find that out. 

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Size and Build

Increasing the screen size from 4-inches to 4.7-inches clearly means the device itself is going to be quite a bit larger, but how bigger actually is it?
Well, the iPhone 5s came in at 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm, with a weight of 112g, the iPhone 6 on the other hand tips the scales at just 6.9mm thick - making it one truly thin phone.
Instead of the straight lines that made up the iPhone 5s, Apple has gone much more curvy with the 6, rounding off the sides and giving the phone a look that resembles the iPad Air and iPad Mini.
All the side mounted buttons have been given a refresh, while the on/off switch has thankfully been moved from the top to the side. The Lightning connector and headphone jack still cover the bottom.
Aluminium, as you’d probably expect is still the material of choice, though the display is now covered in strengthened glass (not sapphire though), so expect scratches to be much fewer and far between.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Features and Performance

While almost every high-end Windows 8 and Android smartphone has packed NFC for countless years now, Apple has finally decided to stick a Near Field Communications chip inside its flagship smartphone. Having NFC means the iPhone can now make use the new Apple Pay feature, which lets you add cards into the Passbook by just taking a picture of it.
iOS8 obviously will come preinstalled, with its array of features like improved notifications, extensions, the Health app and more.
Apple, as usual, hasn’t delved deep into the specs for the new iPhone 6, though we know it runs on a dual-core A8 processor, with a 64-bit architecture, and with a suspected 1GB of RAM. Apple says the CPU is 25% faster this year, with 50% faster graphics and the device should be able to run at full power throughout the charge cycle.
Apple showed off a few game demos during the presentation and we have to say the graphical detail, which is provided by the new Metal engine Apple announced at WWDC, looked pretty fantastic.
Last year’s iPhone 5s was the first Apple phone to pack a 64-bit processor, an A7, so the jump to A8 should give improved performance along with better battery management. You'll also have access to the brand new M8 coprocessor, which tracks motion and works in tandem with HealthKit in iOS8, great for keeping an eye on your daily step count.
One of the new features of the M8 is that it can tell the diffference between cycling and running, plus there's also a barometer.
The WiFi has thankfully been upgraded to 802.11ac, a feature that previously wasn't supported.
16GB, 64GB options for internal storage are available, though for the first time a 128GB choice is available for the phone. Notice no 32GB option?

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Battery

Keeping that 4.7-inch display toting iPhone juiced up is a battery that Apple claims will easily see you through the day, offering 10 hours of LTE browsing, the same as the 5s.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Camera

One of our favourite aspects of the iPhone 5s was its 8-megapixel, sapphire covered snapper that boasted an f/2.2 aperture, backside illuminated sensor and a nifty true tone flash.
It was fast, took some of the best pictures we’ve ever taken with a smartphone and had a flash that we didn’t instantly turn off and never even think about putting it back on again.
So, what improvements can we look forward with the iPhone 6? Well for one the 8-meg sensor is still here, as is the same aperture, though there is a new feature called 'focus pixels' and an improved image engine which offers advanced noise reduction and faster autofocus. Image stabilisation is also offered, though on the iPhone 6 it's only digital, but on the 6 Plus it's optical.
1080p video is supported for both 30fps and 60fps and there's an improved hyper slow-mo mode.
Up top there's a new FaceTime HD camera, with better face detection and an all new sensor that lets in 81% more light, plus the ever popular 'burst selfie' mode.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: The Verdict

While we were pretty sure we were going to see a new iPhone today, it's still good to finally be able to say it's official. it seems that Apple has finally moved the iPhone forwards for possibly the first time since the iPhone 4 gave us that first Retina Display, thanks to that bigger screen and features like NFC

Apple Mac bug a bigger threat than ‘Heartbleed’

A security flaw called Shellshock in software on Unix-based operating systems is worse than ‘Heartbleed’, the exploit that affected nearly every computer last year.
The bug could take years to fix, and there’s nothing users can do to protect themselves.
Unlike Heartbleed, which let hackers spy on computers, Shellshock gives them access to control targeted systems.
The vulnerable software is called Bash, which is used by Apple Mac computers.
It’s used to control the command prompt on many Unix-based operating systems.
Cyber security firm Rapid7 and US government-backed National Vulnerability Database have rated Shellshock 10 out of 10 in severity for its maximum impact.
However they rated it low for the complexity of exploitation because hackers only need three lines of code to break into the system.
Hackers could theoretically set specific environment variables on Bash, which would let them take control of victims’ computers.
Even worse, they could potentially use Shellshock to create worms, or attacks that would automatically replicate across machines.
“In theory, this could take the form of an infected machine scanning for other targets and propagating the attack to them,” security expert Troy Hunt told The Guardian.
“This would be by no means limited to public-facing machines either; get this behind the corporate firewall and the sky’s the limit.”
Robert Graham, a security expert and CEO of Errata Security told The Independent it will take a long time for experts to fix all affected systems.
“Years from now we’ll keep finding yet another device that’s still not been patched,” he said.
He claims to have found at least 3,000 systems vulnerable to the bug, but he has only scanned systems on port 80.
He added that a scan for embedded webservers on odd ports would give him “a couple times more results”.
Mr Graham warns that DHCP services could also be infiltrated.
Shellshock is so serious that even the US Department of Homeland Security has released a warning and issued patches to fix servers.
The exploit, which was discovered by Linux expert, St├ęphane Chazelas has gone unnoticed for at least 10 years.
Security researcher, Michal Zalewski wrote on his blog: “My take is that it's a very unusual bug in a very obscure feature of a program that researchers don't really look at, precisely because no reasonable person would expect it to fail this way. So, life goes on

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Apple's iOS 8.0.1 gets pulled after breaking TouchID and networks

Apple has pulled iOS 8.0.1 after it emerged that the update was preventing some iPhone features from working correctly.
The update was designed to provide some minor bug fixes, and largely to make sure HealthKit was working correctly.
In reality, the software Apple pushed over actually stopped the TouchID sensor from working, as well as removing cellular data networks, for a large number of users.
A Redditor (hamy89) reported an official response from Apple via online chat that read: "we have identified an issue with the new iOS 8.0.1 release and our engineering team is hard at work to correct this for all of our customers as quickly as possible."
The message continued: "We greatly apologise for the inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience. As of right now there is not ETA on the fix but we will have one shortly."
Following the (unsurprising) internet furore, Apple offered a fix that would re-install iOS 8.
"We have a workaround for you if you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and you lost cellular service and TouchID functionality today after updating to iOS 8.0.1," reads the statement.
"We are also preparing iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it's ready in the next few days."
Unfortunately, re-installing iOS 8.0 means the Health app is not working once again, so it's not short of trading one problem for another.
This fiasco follows an on-going en masse complaint over iPhone 6 Plus handsets reportedly 'bending' or 'warping' for many users under normal usage.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Apple stuffs rumours and says Beats Music isn't being binned

Late last night, TechCrunch reported that Apple was going to 'discontinue' Beats Music.
The tech site cited 'five sources' that included 'several prominent employees at Apple and Beats', revealing that the Cupertino firm was keen to shut down the streaming service.
It seems the article is only a half truth however, as Apple has now patently affirmed the contrary, with Apple's PR rep Tom Neumayr telling Recode the story is 'not true'.
Recode did, however, report that Apple might be modifying Beats Music in the form of a departure from the current branding.
TechCrunch responded to Apple's clarification, writing: "This aligns with what my sources said, which is that the Beats Music brand will be shut down, but that it's unclear what Apple wants to do in streaming music."
"It seems quite possible that te Beats Music product could be rolled into iTunes rather than being 'shuttered', but that's semantics."
It seems that the issue is the result of a confusion over the term 'shut down'. Apple says it's not going to kill of Beats Music, but it could be argued that a complete absorption into iTunes is very much the same thing.
It's also worth noting that while it's still early days in the Apple/Beats merger, Cook & Co. made no mention of the audio firm during the recent keynote, and none of the new products have shipped with Beats Music built in.
This could be a signal that Beats may in fact be undergoing a re-branding process internally, which still could result in the complete destruction of 'Beats' as we know it.

Nearly half of Apple's mobile users now have iOS 8

Apple's latest mobile operating system is now installed on 46% of devices since it began rolling out to users on the 17th October.
The new OS has yet to overtake iOS 7, which currently sits at a 49% adoption rate. There's several reasons for this.
For starters, many simply can't upgrade - iPhone 4 users for instance - as the new OS simply isn't supported on devices that old.
There's also likely a healthy contingent of Apple users who are happy to stick with iOS 7, either out of preference, or for performance reasons.
iOS 8 has been reported by many as causing a noticeable slow-down on some models, particular the iPhone 4S.
Alongside these groups, there'll also be many who simply just haven't got around to upgrading yet, or simply don't know how to.
The figures will have been especially bolstered after Apple managed to sell upwards of 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units over the launch weekend, all of which will come with iOS 8 installed as standard.
Interestingly, there's also a remaining 5% of Apple device users running operating systems before iOS 7. That's old school.
The new statistics show up on Apple's developer support page for the App Store. It's handy for devs to know how many people are using a given OS, as incentive to provide app compatibility for olders systems.
By comparison, just 24.5% of Android users are using Google's latest 4.4 KitKat operating system.

Friday, 19 September 2014

iFixit cracks open an iPhone 6 Plus to get at the massive battery inside

Need something to make today's wait for your new iPhone easier? Watching the crew at iFixit go at a brand new iPhone 6 Plus with their screwdrivers, spudgers and iSclacks probably won't help, but at least it will pass the time. They're in the middle of pulling Apple's XL-sized phone apart, and while there's not a lot new to report (it's a phone, and it has 1GB of RAM) the pics are always entertaining. The 6 Plus' 5.5-inch display also leaves room for a larger battery, and now we know that it's a 2915 mAh unit. That's about twice the size of the one in the iPhone 5s, slightly bigger than the battery in the Galaxy S 5, but smaller than the swappable 3,220mAh unit slotted inside the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Apple's new iOS 8 is now available

The iPhone 6 might still be locked up, but its new OS has well and truly debuted...
Apple's shiny new mobile operating system - iOS 8 - has gone live and is ready to download and install on iDevices everywhere.
The new UI is built for Apple's upcoming iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and, in typical Apple fashion, has landed just before the actual device launch.
There's a whole raft of new features shipping with the latest OS, with the file size weighing in at around 1.1GB.
As an aside, iPhone users will need at least 5.7GB of storage free on their devices to update over WiFi. Not cool.
First up in the addition smorgasbord is the photo improvements. The new OS brings time-lapse video recording, front-camera burst mode, smart album directories, more editing tools, and search functionality for your library.
iOS 8 also brings a quick-type keyboard, which should personalise itself to your writing style by offering smart predictive text.
There's also Health, which offers up plenty of fitness data, the ability to add a 'Medical ID' for allergies and medical conditions, and ways to share all of your health data.
The new Family Sharing will allow you to push love to your household, giving iOS 8 users the option to share iTunes (that's apps, too) and iBooks purchases with up to six of your kin.
There's plenty of other goodies too, including improvements to Siri, Safari, Maps, Mail, and the App Store, as well as the usual bug fixes you'd expect.
It's worth mentioning that the new OS is assuredly demanding on your system, and so you might find your phone running slower than usual if you're using an old model like the iPhone 4S.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The latest Samsung ad says iPhone 6 is 'imitated' Galaxy Note

Fresh out of Samsung's Apple-scorning ad department comes a new video tarring the iPhone 6 Plus as a Galaxy Note copycat.
The ad, titled 'Galaxy Note 4 - then and now', goes to great lengths to show off how the Korean firm did big screens first. 
The video begins by highlighting the early criticism of Samsung's sizeable phablet, although it comes across a bit sore.
"When the Galaxy Note launched in 2011, it was ahead of its time, and naturally when things are new and different, sometimes people aren't ready for them," explains the narrator.
"Experts saw the bigger screen are were like 'you look like you're talking into a piece of toast.' 'The note is an unwieldy beast.' Now it's not being dismissed by competitors, it's being imitated,' says Sammy, gleefully.
Samsung launched its original Galaxy Note at IFA Berlin in 2011, with the slate touting a 5.3-in screen. This was the same year Apple showed off its iPhone 4S, which offered up a much smaller 3.5-in display.
"Thing is, the Note is more than big," continues Samsung's go-to gusher. "It's about being more productive. More innovative. More fun."
The disembodied voice then shows off a selection of tweets that slam Apple's latest beefed-up blower.
"Is it just me or does the new iPhone 6 Plus look like a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (from 2012) - minus the stylus?" reads tweet #1.
Behold: Damian Holbrook - bringer of truth, spinner of wisdom, and assured sage...
"It's cute how Apple thinks their phablet is a fresh idea when Samsung has been excelling at them for years already #nextbigthing," goes tweet #2.
The video then winds down with a closing thought: "The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - the next big thing is here."
This ad joins a raft of preceding campaigns targeted at Cupertino wares, including a six-video torrent last week that hit out at the recently launched Apple products.
What's more, an ad last month, titled 'Screen Envy', teased iPhone users for lackluster screen real estate.
The video sees two friends, each armed with their respective Apple and Sammy smartphones, chatting grapevinery on the iPhone 6.
Sammy also released an ad mocking the (then upcoming) iPhone 6's rumoured screen size increase, as well as a further two ads jeering at the iPad's display quality.

Apple launches the Apple Watch

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has just announced a brand new addition to the firm's product line-up - the Apple Watch - at an exclusive Cupertino launch event. Check our Apple Watch review: Hands-on here.
"Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iphone and iPad," says Cook.
"And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people's lives. It's the most personal product we've ever made."
Cook says it's designed to work 'seamlessly withiPhone', meaning it won't be marketed as a standalone product like the Samsung Gear S, and will require an iPhone to use.
There’s also a watch crown embedded on the side of the device, which will allow wearers to operate the watch digitally, through a historically analogue input. The crown is also the home button.
The watch's apps will be laid out in a honeycomb pattern, which you can re-arrange. One of the apps featured will be customisable watch faces.
Honeycomb app interface
One face will be the 'astronomy face', which lets you do funky things like rotate the moon based on the date, and view the entire solar system including accurate planetary positioning.
Jony Ive, Apple's President of Design, says the apps 'all take advantage of the flexible retina display," and reveals the screen will be made from sapphire glass.
He also explained the the watch would offer haptic feedback, and a pressure sensitive screen that would impact user interaction depending on how hard you 'tap' or 'press'.
"Smart replies and dictation lets you quickly reply to messages," boasts Ive, commenting on microphone functionality.
The microphone is also set to work with Siri - yup, Siri on your wrist. CIA style. We likey.
You're spoiled for choice, really...
You'll be able to use the touch-screen to send animated emojis, which you can edit by dragging the face around - sort of like the Super Mario 64 start screen.
There's also built-in sensors, including a heart rate monitor (you can mail your mates your pulse rate - no joke), accelerometer, GPS, and gyroscope. The watch can also sense when you've raised your wrist, which activates the screen.
Wrist-raising will let you answer notifications - Apple says alerts will come through as vibrations that shouldn't even be noticeable by people right next to you.
The sensors will be mostly used for the health features of the watch, which Tim Cook touts as 'all day fitness' functionality.
Become a muscle-bound Greco-Roman God with the new iWatch fitness features...
It'll do the expected fitness fare like calorie tracking, goal-setting, distance logging, run-timing, and weight-measuring.
You'll also be able to control music through the watch, with Apple opting for Coldplay in its keynote example.
Apple Maps will be ship with the watch, which will offer the usual functionality like directions and location searching for things like shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels.
You'll also get the 'taptic' feedback that will guide you via directional vibrations, so you don't actually need to look at the screen to get somewhere.
Interestingly, Apple’s decided to shy away from lightning connectors or ports, with the device instead charging up its juice-box wirelessly.
Speaking of connectivity, Apple promises its Apple Watch will also work with Apple Pay, meaning you can make contactless payments courtesy of your wristwear. Nifty.
The Apple Watch was revealed to be customisable, and will ship with plenty of different coloured strap options.
Chic. Just the thing to wow all the fashionistas Apple invited to its ritzy Cupertino do...
The Apple Watch will ship as three different collections: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.
The release date is set for early 2015, and will start at $359, which equates to around £225 sterling. That puts it priced at well above competitor offerings.


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