Apple's latest and largest steps out from the phablet crowd
The 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 6s Plus features a lot of the same upgrades as the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s. Like that model, it is powered by either a Samsung- or TSMC-fabricated custom dual-core A9 processor that puts most quad-core and octa-core chipsets from other companies to shame. It also features the same new 7000 series anodized aluminum unibody construction and the same fundamental design language. However, there are some key differences between the two models. Let's take a closer look at the larger of the two iPhone 6s models.
Startup developed natural-language research for autos, other devices
A report from London's Financial Times indicates that Apple has bought a natural-language development startup called VocalIQ that has developed applications for in-car apps, wearables, "smarthome" devices, and other applications where a voice interface works well. The company has been working on a natural-language API for automated self-learning that would allow users to interact even more naturally with voice-powered assistive services and devices. The company had previously criticized voice systems like Siri and Cortana for their inability to learn as they interacted with users.
Says Apple Music subscriber numbers are a 'long term' issue
In an extended interview with the London Evening Standard mostly about the just-concluded Apple Music Festival, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue let slip that the company is investigating trying to "fix" the problem of international data roaming charges for iPhone users, and come up with a solution that would benefit consumers without alienating profit-oriented phone carriers. The focus of the conversation, the festival, also revealed that Apple is playing a long game with its Apple Music service.
Two different A9 suppliers means two different-sized chips, different results
The incredible popularity of Apple's iPhones means that it often has to diversify its supplier base in order to ensure that it has enough components to fulfill tens of millions of orders. For example, Apple might employ one or more display suppliers to deliver enough panels. In most cases, this will typically go unnoticed by users, even if there are inevitably minor differences in performance. Intriguingly, Chipworks has subjected some iPhone 6s models to its yearly teardown of Apple's iPhone SoC package, and determined that not only is the A9 fabricated by two suppliers (TSMC and Samsung), but that Samsung's more advanced fab process has yielded an A9 chip that is 10 percent smaller than the TSMC-fabbed A9. Based on some preliminary testing that MacNN has conducted, there is some evidence that this results in a slight performance differential between the two.
iOS update fixes minor issues, Safari 9 for Mac offers new features
[Updated with news of new iOS 9.1 beta] Ahead of the release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Apple has released its latest major Safari for Mac update, boosting the browser to version 9.0, for both Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and El Capitan (10.11) users. Safari's earlier supported versions for Mavericks and Mountain Lion are also likely to see minor updates released later for compatibility reasons. In addition, Apple on Wednesday released another minor update for iOS 9, bringing it to v9.0.2, and unveiled a third developer and public beta of iOS 9.1.
Teardown of iPhone 6s Plus estimates display is most expensive component
The materials used to manufacture the iPhone 6s Plus is said to cost less than a third of its retail price, according to an estimate by a research firm. It is believed by IHS Technology that the components and materials used in the larger of the two Apple smartphones cost $231.50, which when combined with the estimated production cost of $4.50 per device, brings the overall, manufacturing cost per smartphone to just $236.
MacNN Deals giveaway offers a 16GB iPhone 6s to one lucky winner
Do you want to join the ranks of iPhone 6s owners, including the 13 million that picked up the smartphone and the iPhone 6s Plus from the opening weekend alone, without paying a penny for the device? This is a reminder that MacNN Deals is offering you the opportunity to acquire your own iPhone 6s by taking part in its giveaway, and there are now only 22 days left to enter.
The 6s, iOS 9 and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members are still largely focused on discussing the new iPhone 6s. Along with the new iPhones, forum-goers are also discussing the new iOS 9 and what they think of the changes that have been made.
Apple to announce fiscal Q4 results on October 27 at 2pm PT
Apple will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results in a conference call with analysts on October 27 at 2PM PT (5PM ET), the company has revealed. The quarter, which ends on September 30, will include two weeks of sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, of which Apple has already announced it sold more than 13 million units on opening weekend -- an increase of 30 percent from last year's iPhone 6 introduction. Wall Street, however, sees the gain as simply the addition of mainland China to the list of countries selling the new iPhone on its debut weekend.
MacNN's managing editor is going to get the 16GB model, and here's why
I don't own this place, but I run it. It is literally my job to stay on top of things Apple, and give you the biggest news and trends driving our favorite fruit-themed computer company. I am supposed to know the ins and outs of all of the current and past Apple lineups from high-end to bottom-of-the-barrel, with in-depth assessment of the benefits and compromises of same. Despite all the sturm und drang about Apple profiteering on the backs of its users by only deigning to install a paltry 16GB in the most inexpensive models, I'm getting the lowest capacity iPhone 6s. Read on to find out why.
A look at where Apple, OS X, iOS, and even the Apple Watch are going
Episode 34 of the MacNN Podcast features both the bigger, broader, weightier discussions you've come to expect from the experienced editorial staff of MacNN, and gushing over comic books. That's how we roll with this week's big and little stories of note, ranging from the future of Apple's A-series line of ARM-based processors (will they someday run proper Macs?) to the crazy "phone wars" that have broken out over trade-ins, and installment plans, and whether they are "phone-y" savings. Ba-doom.
This is the reason the iPhone 6s battery is smaller -- is it worth it?
Apple's Taptic Engine is the unsung hero of the new iPhone 6s upgrade. A lot less "sexy" than 3D Touch, it is nonetheless likely to be a feature that you will grow to love just as much over time. Like many smartphones, Apple's iPhones in the past have used a vibrating motor, either with a rotational motor or a linear oscillating motor, for vibration effects when your iPhone is set to vibrate for calls and/or messages. The new Taptic Engine in the iPhone 6s is much more sophisticated than any vibrating motor Apple has used in an iPhone before. Not only is it an integral component of the 3D Touch experience, it provides a much more refined and capable vibration effect than ever before.
YouTube user testing shows limited water resistance for new line
A popular YouTube video producer has tested the waterproofing of the iPhone 6s series of phones. While not advertised as such, the new phones both survived an hour-long dunking in a bowl of water. Additionally, 48 hours later, both devices sunk in the shallow pool of water function near-perfectly, with a minor screen anomaly presenting itself in the iPhone 6s, but not the 6s Plus. However, a deeper dunk, made by a different tester, resulted in utter device failure.
Check-in app bases guess on Apple Store foot traffic from previous debut days
Social app Foursquare is making a prediction that Apple will sell between 13 million and 15 million iPhones over its retail opening weekend, based on historical data it has of foot traffic to Apple Stores on the day new iPhones debut, correlated with how many sales resulted. Based on users who "check in" to Foursquare at an Apple Store on the day a new iPhone debuts, the site believes Apple will handily beat both analyst's predictions as well as its own 10 million unit record from last year.
Joswiak in New York, Ahrendts in London, Wozniak in California
[Updated with Tim Cook spotting] At least three of Apple's executive team, and its co-founder, have been spotted at various Apple Stores as part of the celebrations surrounding the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus around the world on Friday. Apple's retail chief, Dame Angela Ahrendts was at the Covent Garden store in London, while CEO Tim Cook was spotted in Georgetown, and VP of iPhone Marketing Greg Joswiak appeared at the icon "glass cube" Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The day also marked the debut of new gray t-shirts for the worldwide retail team. Steve Wozniak, as is his custom, stood in line with fans in Santa Clara to get his new iPhone.
Carrier offers annual iPhone upgrade plan following T-Mobile, Sprint launches
Verizon is giving its customers a way to upgrade to the latest iPhone every year, following other recent iPhone 6s-related announcements by T-Mobile and Sprint. The carrier has revealed a plan using its existing Device Payment scheme that would let its subscribers turn in their iPhone and upgrade to the latest model, so long as they have paid off at least 50 percent of the cost of the original device before the upgrade.
Samsung-supplied 2GB RAM module discovered inside iPhone 6s
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus use smaller batteries than their predecessors, teardowns of the smartphones have revealed. A customary part of major device launches, the teardown by iFixit has discovered the battery inside the iPhone 6s is a 1,715mAh unit, slightly smaller than the 1,810mAh version used in the iPhone 6, with the addition of the new Taptic engine to the device likely to have forced Apple to reduce the physical size of the battery itself.
London Apple Store queues visited by Samsung promotional teams
The retail launch of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus has reached Europe, as its makes its way around the world. Customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France were able to pick up their new smartphones at Apple stores, carrier stores, and other authorized resellers in the last few hours, with the new iPhones now on sale on sale in the majority of the 12 launch countries, leaving Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States until last.
3D Touch on new iPhone 6s is a revelation
The wait is over, and we finally have our hands on the new iPhone 6s! Although we will follow this piece with others that delve in detail on aspects of the new technology that Apple has packed into this device, we can now report that this is easily the most exciting "s" upgrade yet. While brand new designs from Apple always add to the excitement of an iPhone launch, Apple typically only gives its iPhones an all-new physical design every two years. This plays into the hands of detractors, who like to suggest that each "s" upgrade is merely "incremental," even if in most cases, the internal components differ greatly from one generation to the consequent "s" upgrade. Our first impressions of the iPhone 6s are hugely positive, especially with regard to the new 3D Touch feature, which is unquestionably a revolution in touch input.
Early recipients of Apple's latest iPhones now get yesterday's 9.0.1 update
On Thursday, Apple made yesterday's iOS 9.0.1 update available to the lucky few who already have their iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus units, and also updated public beta testers with a second public beta of the forthcoming iOS 9.1 beta, again based on a developer release from yesterday. The 9.0.1 version notably resolves the "stuck at swipe to unlock" issue some users encountered in trying to update to iOS 9.
Trade in iPhone 6 to get iPhone 6s Plus on Sprint iPhone Forever for $5 per month
Sprint is calling out T-Mobile and it's recently-announced iPhone trade-in promotion, by offering a seemingly cheaper alternative. While T-Mobile is offering customers an iPhone 6s upgrade for as little as $5 per month when they trade in their old iPhone 6 via Jump On Demand, Sprint is providing the same thing under its iPhone Forever lease plan, but with customers able to get the smartphone for $1 per month, or $5 per month for the iPhone 6s Plus.
Bug is preventable with preference change, attacker must have physical access
A new flaw discovered in iOS 9 could -- assuming the attacker has physical access to the device -- allow someone access to a user's contacts and photos without a PIN code. The flaw takes advantage of the fact that Siri can be called up from the lock screen without unlocking the device first -- an ability that can be turned off in settings, if users are concerned about the possibility of others gaining access to the mobile device.
MacNN Deals giving an iPhone 6s to one lucky giveaway winner
If you are eagerly waiting for the release of the iPhone 6s on Friday, here's a reminder that there's a way to get hold of the latest Apple smartphone without paying for an upgrade, through our own MacNN Deals competition. You could win the iPhone 6s in our giveaway without spending a single penny, with the winner also choosing their preference of color for their shiny new mobile device.
Papal visit to New York City may interfere with iPhone 6s deliveries
Pre-orders of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in one part of the United States may be delayed because of the Pope's visit to the country. Apple has started to warn customers living in certain zip codes of New York City by email that their orders may not arrive on the day of the iPhone 6s launch on Friday, due to potential traffic issues associated with crowds attending Pope Francis' tour in the local area affecting the routes of delivery trucks.
CEO reveals iPhone trade-in offer on Twitter, launches on Friday
[Updated with new comments, details] T-Mobile is taking on Apple's new iPhone Upgrade Program by offering an extra option within its own Jump program specifically for the iPhone 6s's launch. CEO John Legere announced via a series of posts on Twitter that the carrier would be providing its customers with an iPhone 6s via its Jump On Demand upgrade scheme for either $5, $10, or $15 per month, depending on the model of phone being traded in by the subscriber.
This is the charging stand you want
No more calls: we have a winner. True, there are other excellent Apple Watch stands, and we've enthused about one, gushed about another, but the Enblue Premium One W3 (US store, Europe and rest of the world is all that and more. We've wanted to say "all that and more" for ages, and this is the first time it's both literally and figuratively true. For this is an Apple Watch stand, yes, but it's also an iPhone one -- and an iPad stand too.
iPhone 6s cases now available online and in store
An Apple Store in Sydney, Australia has already begun stocking its shelves with the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Apple-branded cases, even though the next-gen iPhones are not due to go on sale until this Friday. The Apple Store at Broadway has also removed all the older Apple OEM iPhone 6 cases from sale, which hints that the iPhone 6s may not be backwards compatible with the older iPhone 6 cases due to changes in its dimensions (it is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPhone 6, in large part due to the addition of the new 3D Touch display panel). At same time, iPhone 6 smartphones are compatible with the new iPhone 6s cases, according to the Apple website, while the older iPhone 6 cases appear to have now been deleted online as well.
Stores in some US states, China, Japan, Hong Kong sold out of first-day stock
Due to sellouts in all launch countries, Apple has halted pre-orders and in-store reservations for first-day new iPhones, and some select stores in the US and other countries in the Far East are already reporting they will have no in-store stock available for first-day walk-up sales. The first available date for the new iPhone 6s online in the US is now between October 8 and October 13, while the iPhone 6s Plus has slipped to "3-4 weeks" shipping.
Apple's source for adoption numbers straight from App Store
Apple is trumpeting the launch of iOS 9 as an amazing success. In a release this morning announcing the availability of the iPhone at retail on Friday starting at 8AM, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said that "iOS 9 is also off to an amazing start, on pace to be downloaded by more users than any other software release in Apple's history."
MacNN Deals offering a free iPhone 6s to one lucky winner
Did you tune into Apple's event last week and see the launch of the new iPhones? Did it make you want to upgrade your existing smartphone, but you can't because don't want to pay extra to do it now or you're locked into a contract? If you are the lucky winner of our latest giveaway, you can become the envy of your tech-savvy friends, as you will be getting your own iPhone 6S completely free, courtesy of our own MacNN Deals.
iOS9 discussions and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, members began to discuss what problems -- if any -- they have had with iOS 9 after Mac Elite "Cap'n Tightpants" asked if anyone has installed it yet. One forum-goer was looking for advice for a friend about how to read an OS X GUID HFS+ formatted drive on a Windows computer, and users provided some helpful tips which could prove useful to anyone else needing to do this.
Patent trial loss should have forced embargo of now obsolete smartphones
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC has ruled that Apple should have been awarded an injunction against Samsung during the second smartphone patent trial. In its ruling affirming the embargo, and pointing out errors by the lower court, the appeals court declared that "Apple does not seek to enjoin the sale of lifesaving drugs, but to prevent Samsung from profiting from the unauthorized use of infringing features in its cellphones and tablets."
Apple India pushing HQ for new iPhone to arrive early ahead of Diwali holiday
Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, when Modi is visiting the US west coast in late September. The Indian PM may be meeting with Cook to help persuade Apple to invest in building or investing in manufacturing or R&D facilities in the country, which has a large and capable pool of tech workers and is an important developing market for the iPhone maker. Cook, for his part, may also be interested in bringing directly-owned Apple Stores to the country for the first time.
From 'so what?' to 'oh wow' in 20 minutes
Should you wait a day or two before you upgrade to iOS 9? We advise it, but only because that's sensible whenever something big rolls out to so many people at once. Sometimes, it's hard to wait for the greatest from Cupertino, and that's partly why your first reaction to iOS 9 is going to be quizzical. You'll go through what is hopefully a quick upgrade process and, picking up the iPhone or iPad, may even turn it around looking for any signs of something different.
Google brings Android Wear devices to iOS, but it still needs work
Google recently made Android Wear smartwatches compatible with the Apple iPhone, and in doing so, released its Android Wear app for iOS. It's an interesting move by Google, but it is a logical decision given its extensive efforts to bring its Google services to Apple's iOS platform. We've gone hands on with the LG G Watch Urbane, which is currently the only Android Wear device on the market that is compatible with the iPhone.
Lighthearted talk covers iPhone 6s features, ethics, Jobs, alleged Apple Car
Following a jovial rampage through some NYC Apple Stores with fellow executives Eddy Cue and Greg Jozwiak in tow, Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared on Tuesday night's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with the host both wearing an Apple Watch (which notably replaced a traditional wristwatch the host wore last week) and toting a new Rose Gold iPhone 6s -- continuing Colbert's tradition of receiving such Apple gifts ahead of public release.
New iPad mini 4 uses speed-bumped A8 to make light gains on previous model
Although the iPad mini 4 was (briefly) introduced during the recent "Hey Siri" Apple event in San Francisco as a scaled down version of the iPad Air 2, specifications and testing reveal that the new device has more in common with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPad mini 4 uses the dual-core A8 chip found in Apple's current smartphones, rather than the tri-core A8X used in the iPad Air 2, but has speed-bumped the processor to provide a 20 percent improvement over its predecessor.
Voice activation, photo pre-recording stays local, not transmitted anywhere
Ahead of tonight's appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a number of appearances at Apple Stores around Manhattan, all of them unannounced, meeting customers and employees. In addition, he and the company have been doing some groundwork on promoting Apple's latest technologies, including clarifying the privacy situation regarding the optional "Hey Siri" always-on feature, or the camera recording in Live Photos, both new features coming with the latest iPhones.
So many minor predictions so right, but a few big ones totally missed
This week on the MacNN podcast we have nearly a full complement of regulars, and its nice -- Charles brought the energy, Malcolm brought the energy drinks, Mike brought the funk, and William is making us all hors d'oeuvres thanks to his App of the Week selection. We do -- unlike most other sites -- talk about what we got wrong (and what we got right) on our Apple Event predictions, but also discuss Apple TV gaming, the best installment plans for iPhones, our latest new column, and much more.
Developer discovers higher RAM specifications in Xcode device simulator
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have double the amount of RAM of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched last year, according to research by a developer. A custom utility running in the iOS simulator in Xcode 7.1 beta allegedly confirms rumors that this year's smartphone releases have 2GB of RAM each, with another test seems to suggest the new iPad Pro will have double the RAM compared to other available iPads.
Company is 'on track' to surpass iPhone 6, 6 Plus preorder record
Apple has issued a statement to the press saying that the company is "on pace" to beat last year's 10 million-unit first weekend record, adding that "customer response to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been extremely positive and preorders this weekend were very strong around the world." Pre-orders for the new iPhones opened early Saturday morning (Pacific Time), and were available in 12 countries (including China) rather than nine countries as was the case last year.
Apple naysayers need to scratch a little beneath the surface
If we are to believe some of the reports following the Apple's "Hey Siri" event, Apple would seem to have run out of ideas. Apparently the iPad Pro is a "complete rip-off" of the Microsoft Surface Pro -- as Apple is selling a first-party keyboard accessory alongside it, as well as a stylus. The iPhone 6s is only an "incremental upgrade," and the new Apple TV is also another example of Apple playing "catch-up." Further, the new Apple Watch models are apparently evidence that the Apple Watch is struggling and Apple is trying to kick start sales. Apple naysayers need to scratch a little beneath surface.
For when you can't stick a GPS on your windshield
Usually the best car mounts for holding your iPhone up as you drive along, shouting at either Google or Apple Maps, are ones that stick firm to your windshield. Not every state allows that, though, and not every driver likes it anyway, so there are alternatives -- and the OSOMount Arc 2 Extendable Arm and Dash Mount Holder is one of them.
Rose Gold color option most popular, now hard to find in most capacities
Analysts and pundits who worried that demand for a large-screen iPhone may have been sated with the release last year of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would seem to have no foundation for their concern. While no concrete numbers on pre-orders are out yet, the new Rose Gold anodized aluminum color option for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus has slipped to four to six weeks shipping time after the first day of sales, while Hong Kong completely sold out of new iPhone pre-orders on the first day.
10.11 beta impressions, iPad Pro and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, members who have installed the Mac OS 10.11 beta have started discussing what they think of this version which is likely to be the one used in the final release. The long awaited, much anticipated iPad Pro was unveiled this week, and the forums are abuzz with members voicing their opinions on the latest addition to the Apple family.
Keep your power-hungry electronics topped off on even the longest car trips
Most cars only feature one cigarette lighter (or DC port as they're called these days), which can be a bit frustrating if you're a household of multiple devices. So what are you to do if you're on a long trip with two near-dead phones? Snag the Y-Charge Quik and charge both, of course.
Carrier strengthens satisfaction guarantee, offers deal on Jump plans
T-Mobile and its colorful CEO John Legere wasted no time in jumping on Apple's bandwagon, announcing on Thursday the expected arrival of the iPhone 6s to the carrier's stable, but also surprising Twitter followers by confirming that the company will also carry the Apple Watch, though it did not announce a formal date for sales to begin for the wearable device. T-Mobile is also strengthening its customer satisfaction guarantee, and offering substantial savings on the cost of an iPhone 6s through its Jump On Demand installment-plan option.
A roundup on notable but minor details, changes, and tweaks to new gear
Following Apple's media event on Wednesday that revealed the new iPad Pro, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and new Apple TV, some details about the new hardware has emerged. While there are also new betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan released to developers and public beta testers as well, for this article we'll stick to physical changes in the new Apple products, along with a slight price increase on AppleCare + and the discontinuation of the gold options for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Put the kettle on, let's talk
You heard it here first... or possibly second... maybe third... How many articles has MacNN written about this week's Apple announcements? This isn't another one. MacNN's extra, other, second news podcast One More Thing fully accepts that you've heard the news and seen the keynote so instead this week you and we just have a chat about what we liked and what we want. Also what we didn't like and don't want, but chiefly like and want.
MFi controller is now the de facto standard third party controller for Apple TV
The today-announced Apple TV can use more than just the controller it ships with. Featured alongside the Apple TV on Apple's web page is the Steel Series Nimbus, a Bluetooth controller specifically designed with Apple's iOS ecosystem in mind, and chargeable with Apple's Lightning connector.