Apple’s quest for ever-thinner, ever-smarter devices may produce another casualty: your iPhone’s headphone jack. A rumor at MacOtakara claims that the next iPhone might drop the 3.5mm port and use the Lightning port for audio instead. The move would let Apple slim its phone even further (reportedly, over 1mm thinner than the iPhone 6s) and take advantage of Lightning’s features, such as headphone-based DACs and app launching. You’d have to use an adapter for any conventional wired headphones, or else make the leap to Bluetooth.
Source: MacOtakara (translated)
Less than a month after kicking off the Cortana for iPhone beta signups, Microsoft has started rolling out the app to people who showed interest in testing it. As TechCrunch points out, the early build is being distributed through TestFlight, a developer-focused service that lets iOS users try applications before their public release. Based on the app’s current description, Microsoft is asking testers to set a Cortana reminder on a Windows 10 PC and see how it works with an iPhone, as well as communicate with the virtual assistant and observe how she responds to queries. Back in August, Cortana also arrived on Android via public beta, so it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft officially releases it on Google and Apple’s mobile platforms.
Source: Microsoft News
Back in September, Mophie launched two brand-new battery products, the Juice Pack Reserve, a $59.95 battery case for the iPhone 6 and 6s, and the Power Reserve 1X, a small $34.95 external battery for smartphones and wearables. I have been testing both for the past two weeks in regular daily use and at a wedding, an environment that tends to be more smartphone-intensive than a typical day.
Mophie says the Juice Pack Reserve is the most compact battery case it’s ever created, adding just 0.3 inches of thickness and 75 grams of weight to the iPhone 6 or 6s. In my testing, I found that Mophie’s claim that the case is in a form factor that “you’ll barely notice” is mostly true, although with a caveat. Its soft-touch back provided a comfortable and easy-to-grasp grip despite feeling noticeably more dense. However, the case’s lower lip, where the speaker grille resides and the case plugs into the iPhone, is far more noticeable and users not accustomed to the extra length will have to spend some time acclimating to it when scrolling or typing.
The case’s extra mass was not a hindrance when attemtping to quickly capture moments at the wedding though, as it slipped in and out of tuxedo pockets fairly easily. In fact, the in-pocket feel of the case was barely noticeable in tuxedo pants, even during more intensive activites like dancing. The extra mass of the case is, however, more obvious visually. In more regular daily use, the case was even less of a hindrance.
Mophie claims the Juice Pack Reserve will provide an additional 60 percent charge to an iPhone 6 or 6s, with the latter carrying a 1,840 mAh battery. This claim was actually conservative in my testing, with an iPhone 6, as I was able to consistently get a full charge from the case. For example, I was able to go from 10 percent to 100 perfect battery in just about two hours and six minutes and then 4 percent to 93 percent in about the same time.
T-Mobile Announces ‘Un-carrier Unwrapped’ Promotion Offering Free LTE Data for All Customers for Three Months
T-Mobile today announced a new holiday promotion it’s calling “Un-carrier Unwrapped,” offering free unlimited LTE data for all of its Simple Choice customers for the next three months. All existing Simple Choice postpaid customers as of the end of the day on November 23 will get the unlimited data.
T-Mobile also plans to unveil additional “gifts” for the next month, with a new gift coming each week. The company is teasing a “special holiday gift” for Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon customers, with one gift per carrier per week.
“We’ve had a fantastic year, and we’re going to spread that T-Mobile cheer by starting with the most important people first… our existing customers! Now you get Unlimited LTE data on our blazing fast network for three full months as a gift from the Un-carrier to you,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “But that’s not all….we know that Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers need some holiday cheer, too – so we’ve got presents coming for them. Just wait!”
The unlimited data offering for Simple Choice customers will begin on December 1, 2015 and will last through March 1, 2016. Unlimited data will kick in once all existing data and Data Stash data has been used up. T-Mobile does require its Binge On video streaming service to be activated.
Unveiled earlier this month, Binge On provides T-Mobile customers with video streaming that does not eat into data plans, but it uses a data compression algorithm that streams video at a reduced 480p quality.
While Apple introduced a Split View mode in iOS 9 for iPad users to be able to use two apps side-by-side, it did not allow users to open two Safari windows side-by-side. A new app called Sidefari from developer Francisco Cantu (via MacStories) allows users to have two webpages open side-by-side to meet various browsing needs.
The app works by using Safari View Controller to open a second webpage via Split View. To activate Sidefari, all a user has to do is open the Slide Over app picker and choose Sidefari. The app also works in multiple sizes, allowing users to use Sidefari to take up either half the screen or smaller. Sidefari is only available for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro as they are the only devices that support multitasking.
More than an estimated 100 million iPhones are being used in the United States, according to new data shared by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners [PDF]. At the end of the September 2015 quarter, more than 101 million iPhones were in use, and two-thirds of those iPhones were newer iPhones that have been released in 2014 and 2015.
An estimated 58 million of the 101 million iPhones in use were the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, while four million were iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models. The iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus are the four iPhones that have larger 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens, and the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 appears to be the most popular model. CIRP’s data was gathered in September, shortly after the iPhone 6s launch. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus numbers are likely much higher now.
“The analysis shows the continued strength of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, now one year old,” said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. “We estimate a combined 60 million of these flagship phones sold in the US from the September 2014 launch through September 30, 2015. For comparison, the iPhone 5S sold about 28 million in the same period in 2013-2014. With only a weekend of availability in the quarter, we estimate 4 million of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sold in the US.”
CIRP’s data suggests that while the larger-screened iPhones make up a large chunk of the iPhones in use in the United States, iPhone adoption is slowing as the U.S. market matures. For the past eight quarters, the iPhone installed base grew an estimated average of eight percent, but the installed base grew four percent in the September 2015 quarter and six percent in the September 2014 quarter. Growth numbers were as high as 17 percent in the December 2013 quarter following the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c.
As the U.S. market becomes saturated with smartphone owners, Apple has increasingly focused its attention on luring customers from Android and other competing platforms. Apple has introduced a new “Move to iOS” Android app, an Android-switching microsite, and a trade-in program for Android users looking to switch to an iPhone.
Apple’s efforts have been successful, and in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple saw the highest rate of Android switchers it had ever measured in the fourth quarter of 2015. 30 percent of customers who were upgrading from an existing smartphone to an iPhone were former Android users.
CIRP’s numbers are extrapolated from a September 2015 survey of 500 U.S. Apple customers who purchased an Apple product in the preceding quarter. CIRP analyzes data on iPhone buyers, their new model selection, and their prior phones and compares that to iPhone sales data adjusted to the U.S. market.
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Following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift, Adele is opting to restrict her upcoming album from streaming music services. “25,” Adele’s highly anticipated album set to release tomorrow, will not be available on Apple Music, Spotify, or other Internet-based streaming music services, reports The New York Times.
Citing three sources with knowledge of the album release plans, The New York Times says Adele was involved in the decision not to share her album on streaming music services. “25” is Adele’s first album in nearly five years and has been preceded by “Hello,” a single that’s already extremely popular, so the decision to restrict the album from streaming services may make fans unhappy.
Taylor Swift was one of the first major artists to take a stand against streaming music, opting to pull her songs from services like Spotify that offered a free listening tier. According to Swift, she did so because “music should not be free” and artists should value their work. It’s likely Adele has similar motives, as restricting Swift’s latest album “1989” from music sites did not significantly impact its popularity. “1989” sold upwards of 1.2 million copies during its first week of availability, and its believed Adele’s new album could sell 2.5 million copies.
Swift initially refused to share her songs on Apple Music because Apple executives did not intend to pay artists during the Apple Music free trial period, but after the company reversed course, she too changed her mind and allowed Apple Music to stream “1989” and her other albums.
While Adele’s new music will not be available on Apple Music, customers interested in obtaining the album will be able to purchase it through iTunes.
Adele had also asked Apple to stock her new album in its retail stores, but Apple declined the offer. It’s not likely the refusal impacted Adele’s decision not to offer her music on streaming sites, and Adele and Apple have also reportedly discussed a possible $30 million tour sponsorship. The status of that potential deal is not known.
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As of today, Apple has launched an in-store pickup feature in Canada and Australia allowing customers in those countries to order and pay for devices online and pick them up in retail Apple Stores. Personal Pickup has long been available in the United States, but this is the first time it’s expanded to additional countries.
MacRumors reported on the possible expansion of Personal Pickup in early November after receiving word Apple was training retail employees in Australia, France, Canada, the UK, and other countries. While Personal Pickup has currently only expanded to Canada and Australia it may roll out to additional countries in the near future.
Personal Pickup is available for a number of Apple products, from Macs and Apple TVs to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. When an order is placed for an in-stock item for Personal Pickup, Apple employees get it ready to go and then send an email to a customer whenever it’s ready. Out of stock items are able to be shipped to a store for Personal Pickup.
This week has been big for both Australia and Canada. Along with the availability of Personal Pickup, both Canada and Australia have also gained Apple Pay through a partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is available in Canada as of today and will be available in Australia on Thursday.
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To promote the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard, several Apple executives gave interviews to a number of media outlets ahead of the release of the tablet and its accessories. Last week we shared a Jony Ive interview from The Telegraph where he spoke on the Apple Pencil, and today, Wallpaper has published a second Ive interview with even more of the design chief’s thoughts on the stylus accessory.
Speaking on the conception of the Apple Pencil, Ive said that while it was originally “fundamentally important” to develop a user interface that was based on fingers, Apple discovered there were people who would benefit from an instrument that would enable more precise interactions for drawing and writing. Ive said developing the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro in tandem was essential for a natural drawing experience.
It was important that we develop the UI based upon multi-touch, based on our fingers. The reasons are obvious. I think it is equally obvious that you’re just not as dexterous as you are with a pen or a pencil for certain things.
What we found is that there’s clearly a group of people that would value an instrument that would enable then to paint or draw in ways that you just can’t with your finger. And I suspect that this isn’t a small group of people. I don’t think it’s confined to those of us who went to art school.
Ive went on to talk about the naming of the Apple Pencil, explaining that he preferred “Pencil” to “stylus” because stylus “seems a product that’s about technology,” while Pencil “seems very analogue in its association.”
Apple has a specific role in mind for the Apple Pencil, and that is not as a finger replacement. According to Ive, the Pencil is for making marks, while the finger is to be used for other user interface interactions. Each tool has its purpose, with the Pencil serving as a “far better” way to make marks on the iPad Pro.
I think there’s a potential to confuse the role of the Pencil with the role of your finger in iOS, and I actually think it’s very clear the Pencil is for making marks, and the finger is a fundamental point of interface for everything within the operating system. And those are two very different activities with two very different goals.
So we are very clear in our own minds that this will absolutely not replace the finger as a point of interface. But it is, and I don’t think anybody would argue, a far better tool than your finger when your focus becomes exclusively making marks.
For more of Ive’s opinions on the Apple Pencil, his full interview is worth checking out over at Wallpaper. The Apple Pencil can be ordered from the online Apple Store for $99, but shipping dates range into late December. Apple retail stores have begun receiving larger Apple Pencil shipments as of today, so customers hoping for an Apple Pencil may want to seek one out in a store.
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Apple today shared five new ads for the fourth-generation Apple TV on its YouTube channel, highlighting a handful of notable and popular apps that are available for the new device. These mark some of the first Apple TV ads Apple has released since the fourth-generation Apple TV launched in late October.
Each ad is just sixteen seconds in length and depicts one of five Apple TV apps and games, including Crossy Road, Netflix, HBO NOW, Disney Infinity 3.0, and Asphalt 8. The videos show a brief glance at each app before cutting to an overall view of the new interface of the Apple TV.
The fourth-generation Apple TV features both an entirely new operating system and a full App Store for the first time, letting users access apps and games on the device. These new Apple TV ads, which will help with app discovery, will likely start showing up on TV over the course of the next few days.
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