Stock-outs could signal the death of Apple’s iPad Air 2 ahead of expected lineup refresh — Inventory of Apple’s entry-level 9.7-inch iPad continues to dry up with a trio of new models rumoured to soon launch, potentially suggesting the popular iPad Air 2 will be axed for a new model with faster processor.
Must-know Siri commands for Apple’s wireless AirPods — To keep AirPods as hassle-free – and aesthetically pleasing – as possible, Apple opted to completely replace physical controls with Siri voice commands, a first for the company. AppleInsider compiled a few key phrases new AirPods owners should know in order to get the most out of their purchase.
UK Parliament approves $1.5M plan to supply members with new iPad Air 2s, laptops — The UK’s House of Commons has decided to give each member of parliament a copy of Apple’s latest iPad Air 2, as well as a laptop, as part of a project that will cost taxpayers almost $1.49 million. iPads have already been used across the House since 2012.
iOS 8.3 allows users to turn off password requirement for free App Store downloads — Apple’s pre-release betas of iOS 8.3 include an option to disable password entry when downloading free applications from the App Store, removing a potential inconvenience for users.
Kow-towing … Chinese internet regulator gets private look at Apple Watch — Want a private, behind-closed-doors glimpse at Apple’s new smartwatch, complete with a guided tour by Tim Cook himself?
You just have to be China’s Cyberspace Administration minister. That’s the treatment Lu Wei, China’s Internet Minister, received during his recent visit to California.
Leading Android fansite recommends … Apple Inc iPad Air 2 as best tablet in holiday gift guide — Android Police named Apple’s iPad Air 2 as its top tablet pick among “Android devices” for the 2014 holiday season, calling it “reliable, predictable, and very fast.” [How ‘leading’ is an Android fan site that refers to an iPad an Android device?]
Typo avoids BlackBerry lawsuit by releasing a new iPhone 6 keyboard — The original Typo keyboard case was a dream come true for many BlackBerry users who had converted to iPhone: a case which brought the tactile keyboard of your beloved old device to the best cell phone on the market. Then BlackBerry sued, and the Typo had to sit on the shelf… until now. (The new case is pictured above.)
Transmit for iOS restricted from using iCloud Drive, forced to delete all share sheet options — In its latest puzzling App Store policy assertion, Apple has reportedly blocked Panic from adding the standard iOS Share Sheet to its Transmit file transfer app due to an unwritten policy that “forbids apps from uploading content to iCloud Drive unless the content was created in the app itself.”
Fit Brains Trainer keeps your grey matter in shape — While a lot of us are at least making the attempt to keep our bodies in shape, not so many people think about keeping their brains fit. That’s the idea behind a recent app from Rosetta Stone Canada called Fit Brains Trainer (free, with in-app purchases).
English politician caught playing Candy Crush for two hours during government meeting — Candy Crush Saga is so addictive it can keep lawmakers from doing the job taxpayers pay them to do. According to The Sun, MP Nigel Mills was rocking a long Candy Crush play session during a meeting regarding pensions and insurance – in which he asked a few pre-written questions and then played the game on his taxpayer-funded iPad for as long as two-and-a-half hours. [He’ll probably just get made Minister for IT. At least he can use his iPad.]
You won’t believe the fast fingers of this iPad and iPhone 6 Plus drummer — Faced with limitations due to his living arrangements, drummer and YouTube user Appleman has made the best of his situation, opting to use GarageBand and other apps on an iPad and iPhone 6 Plus to lay down some spectacular tracks. Especially impressive is how he uses the 6 Plus along with the iPad to expand his available repertoire of beats.
Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 ad is departure from ‘Your Verse’ campaign — Apple on Sunday released an ad (pictured above) highlighting its newly launched iPad Air 2 that, like recent commercials for iPad, chooses to demonstrate the tablet’s flexibility by showing off a variety of apps, from productivity solutions to multimedia content creation.
Analysis of Apple’s A8X SoC uncovers customised GPU, confirms 3-core architecture — Apple appears to have moved to a semi-custom design for the graphics processor in its new A8X SoC while employing an unusual triple-core CPU, according to a new analysis of the chip that powers the iPad Air 2.
Apple’s iOS 8 now on 56% of devices as adoption rate slowly picks up — Adoption numbers for Apple’s iOS 8 are leisurely plodding along, with the latest statistics showing 56% of users are now running the latest operating system nearly two months after launch.
Get motivated to get moving with Movn — A simple pedometer and Movement Goal Coach wants to help you become more active. The free app works on all iPhones and 2nd generation iPads and later and requires iOS 7.1 or later. Move tracks how long you have been active so if you did a stationary warmup before starting your walk it measures that time too.
The best third-party keyboards for iOS 8 — One long standing criticism of iOS has been its lack of support for third party keyboards, but with the introduction of iOS 8, developers are now allowed to build custom keyboards that can be used on both iPhone and iPad.
Apple’s iMessage workaround arrives too late to avoid a lawsuit — Apple finally offered an easy solution this week to people who wanted a way out of iMessage purgatory after switching from iPhone to Android, but that workaround won’t help the company in an ongoing legal dispute: U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh decided Monday that Apple must respond to a class-action suit about the iMessage foul-up in a California court.
iPad Air 2 ‘best’ —Here’s a video review if you like to see what’s being talked through about Apple’s very impressive new full-sized iPad.
Overglide is a game for your iOS notification screen — The Today pane of Apple’s Notification Center is meant to provide useful, at-a-glance information. And now you can stick a game in there for instant access (pictured above).
Monument Valley Update brings 8 new chapters to iPhone and iPad — The highly anticipated update for Monument Valley is finally available, and it brings eight new chapters to the iPhone and iPad game. The new levels, titled Forgotten Shores, include more MC Escher-like puzzles to work through with the same mysterious beauty we saw when the game was first released. The new levels will cost you $2.59 as an in-app purchase; the game costs NZ$4.99 in the App Store.
At just 6.1mm thick, it’s hard to believe a device this slim can do anything, but it’s packed with high-tech, Apple-developed goodness and a remarkable new chip.
Speeds and timings — Startup time is not such a useful test any more, since iDevices keep apps running in a sort of memory, and that can slow start-up time, but in these examples I quit everything with the double-click of the Home button trick and swiping all the app panels upwards (just threw that in there to make sure everyone actually knows this is how you really quit apps – pressing the Home button once just hides apps, it doesn’t quit them). The two iPhones have the same CPU, as do the two minis. Start-up from completely off iPhone 6 — 23.05 seconds iPad mini 2 — 26.72 seconds iPhone 6 Plus — 30.61 seconds iPad Air 2 — 31.99 seconds iPad mini 3 — 37 seconds
Geek bench 3 does a better measure, and also uses criteria that are as meaningful for other platforms, so genuine cross-device performance can be indicated.
When the iPhone 6 models arrived with their A8 CPUs, they were clocked as being quick compared to the 5’s A7: Model Single Core Multi-Core iPhone 5 16GB 1.3GHz A6, 1016MB RAM: 717—1304 iPhone 5s 64GB 1.28GHz A7 1000MB RAM: 1395—2497 iPhone 6 128GB 1.38GHz A8 988MB RAM: 1631—2925 iPhone 6 Plus 218GB 1.37GHz A8 976MB RAM: 1618—2901
But iPad Air 2 (but not the new mini 3, unfortunately) has an even more powerful chip: the A8X. That presents the fastest ever CPU in an iDevice, and in fact in tests it beats all the other tablets too, for example LaptopMag, also using Geekbench 3, clocked the iPad Air 2 notched 4,547: over 1.5X higher than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (2,776 with its ‘octa-core Exynos CPU’) and more than 1000 higher than the Tegra K1-powered Nvidia Shield Tablet (3437).
iPhone 4, by the way (in my test back then in 2010): just 378! My own Geekbench 3 score of an iPad Air 2 was confirms LaptopMag’s figure: 4549. The single-core speed was 1812, a couple of hundred above iPhone 6: only just over 11% better – but the multi-core score is almost 57% better – quite dramatic. This A8X chip is 64-bit (of course – Apple’s are still the only smartphones and tablets that are 64-bit) and has an extraordinary 3 billion transistors on it. It’s also three-core, and the Air 2 has 2GB RAM – a real advantage.
Apple reckons this puts it into the desktop computer class and … that’s actually true: I Geekbenched a new iMac in mid 2007 that only showed half that score, at 2877! A 2010 MacBook Pro 13-inch running an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU at 2.66GHz (it had one processor and two cores) was under the iPad Air 2 figure at 3963 – lots of people are still happily using this level of power on their desks.
In real use on the Air 2, your drawing programs no longer show any perceptible lag then you use your finger or a stylus to draw lines and curves, which is a boon. Games really pop, thanks to the very-high-definition screen which has an impressive brightness and viewing angle compared to the last model. Its anti-glare quality actually puts it in a better class than the Sapphire surface Apple was rumoured to be considering as a touch-surface on something smart. Movies also look sensational: airline monitors are miles behind in quality and you’ll get a far better experience loading a new Retina iPad up with some movies and watching them on long plane rides, not to mention way better audio quality and comfort. Spec-wise, it’s 9.7 inches diagonally, with 2048×1536 pixels total resolution (3,145,728 total pixels).
Apple claims the graphics in the Air 2 is a full 2.5 times faster, with wireless twice as fast. Apple also claims 10 hours battery life, apparently because the M8 motion co-processor takes the measuring overhead away from the A8X. There are five censors for the M8 to monitor, after all: gyroscope, barometer, compass, GPS and accelerometer. That takes quite a load off the A8X. Apple’s figures are all on the Apple site, of course.
Other advances and changes — the camera is better than Air 1’s, giving you a level of use and quality more like the iPhone 6s’. I still laugh when I see people shooting pictures and videos on large iPads, but if that’s you, sorry – and at least you going to get better results now. Both new models have Touch ID, and you can enter more than one print, so you’re not limiting it to one person’s use. One thing that’s missing is the Mute switch, sacrificed to help slim the device. You can achieve the same from Control Center anyway, I guess, but it’s going to take a second or two longer.
I don’t get to compare this to other tablets, because A I don’t want to use them, and B I don’t have the resources, but Macworld UK has done so, and makes the point that although Android smartphones can draw from an excellent range of apps, there’s a “lack of productivity apps optimised for tablet in the Android world”. Macworld UK has a sister publication called PC Advisor which gets to test other devices, so they get to compare. Macworld also found the iPad Air 2 beat everything else in hardware, too. It’s just faster. It’s also almost 2mm slimmer than the Nexus 9, even though the Air 2’s display is slightly bigger, although the iPad Air 2 weighs a few grams more. Design and build is rated the same – if you like or need comparos, this is a good read.
Conclusion — for serious work or serious entertainment, this new iPad is in a class of its own. It’s both staggering and impressive that something this slim can be so powerful. Apple has done it again.
What’s great — Fast, slim, powerful, gorgeous display What’s not — Er … well, it’s not cheap, but it’s a very similar in price to any competitor’s tablet that even comes close. So no worries on the price front. I’m not impressed with the new gold colour though. There’s probably a market for this, but to me it’s just tacky. Buying advice: unbeatable — If you are serious about your iPad, this is the must-buy model. But don’t bother with the 16GB, you’ll fill it in no time flat.
In-depth review: Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 — Daniel Eran Dilger finds Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 incorporate Touch ID and support for Apple Pay within apps, with the same 10 hour battery life of previous models. The full size iPad Air 2 is also now 18 percent slimmer with an improved, antireflective display and gains a faster A8X chip, faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE wireless, a barometer, and a significantly improved iSight camera.
Apple’s new iPhones outsell the Galaxy Note 4 in Samsung’s home country, Korea — Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus iPhones are outpacing the sales of the Galaxy Note 4 on Samsung’s home turf in South Korea. According to the Wall Street Journal, pre-orders for the new iPhone models reached 100,000 units on the first day, compared to 30,000 for the Note 4.
Apple Pay: the Mobile Payment Revolution — After a single use at my local grocery store, however,Jeff Gamet now has no problem saying he was wrong. “In fact, Apple made using your iPhone for credit card payments so easy I’m seeing a big problem for competitors hoping to get in on the mobile payment game, including Wal-Mart and its CurrentC system.”
Fitbit unveils new Charge, Charge HR & Surge digital fitness trackers — Fitbit on Monday offered fitness buffs three new options for wrist-worn activity trackers, introducing the Charge and Charge HR — spiritual successors to the Fitbit Force — alongside the Fitbit Surge, which the company is calling a “fitness super watch.”
Alpine launches $800 CarPlay-compatible iLX-007 in-dash receiver — Aftermarket options with support for Apple’s CarPlay continue to expand, with Alpine launching a new US$800 unit featuring a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen and support for Siri voice commands. [So over NZ1k here, I’ll bet.]
Apple’s new A8X powered iPad Air 2 smokes new Android tablets, including Nvidia’s Tegra K1 Shield Tablet [u] — New Geekbench processor benchmarks show Apple’s triple core, 64-bit A8X Application Processor is dramatically faster than the latest Android tablets, despite their additional cores and faster clock rates.
What’s Apple doing with the iPad Mini 3? To say that Apple glossed over the iPad Mini 3 last week would be putting it mildly. Apple spent just 35 seconds discussing the device because the iPad Mini 3 is essentially the same device as the iPad Mini 2, apart from Touch ID and new colour options.
Apple and GT Advanced agree to part ways — Apple and sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies have reached an agreement that severs the ties between the two companies. GT Advanced’s lawyer Luc Despins told a bankruptcy court that the two companies have agreed to an “amicable parting of the ways.”
The first Apple Pay ad (from MasterCard) aired during yesterday’s World Series game — The first nation-wide advertisement (or perhaps mention is more appropriate) for Apple Pay hit the airwaves yesterday during game one of the World Series. The ad was a MasterCard production, with a narrator stating that Apple Pay users are eligible for MasterCard’s ongoing ‘Priceless Surprises’ sweepstakes. You can see it here.
Potent converter — Calvertr (NZ$3.79) is a clever evolution of the standard calculator and conversions app. A basic calculator, it really shines is in conversion. It supports 157 different monetary systems around the world to convert, plus categories are searchable, conversion data can be shared with friends, and the app lets you share a note along with results. There are astronomical, calendar days between dates, radioactivity, ROI, fuel consumption and many more conversions from the mundane to the arcane including viscosity and torque.
Vine iOS 8 update — Vine’s last major iOS update finally let you upload clips from your Camera Roll, which was a major functional improvement. The video-sharing app, which lets you shoot six-second loops, dropped version 3.0 on our Wednesday: an iOS 8 update that takes full advantage of Apple’s new tools.
iPad mini 3 gets Touch ID for $399, first-gen iPad mini stays on sale with a price drop — Apple’s diminutive iPad will also receive an update this week, the company announced Thursday, in the form of the iPad mini 3, which features a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and new gold colour option. NZ prices (inc GST): $599 for the 16GB, $749 for the 64GB and NZ899 for the 128GB.
Apple announces 6.1mm-thin iPad Air 2 with Touch ID, anti-reflective coating, new gold colour option — Apple’s next-generation tablet became official on Thursday with the introduction of the iPad Air 2, featuring a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, new anti-reflective screen coating, and the speedy new A8X chip. Prices are NZ$749 for the 16GB, NZ$899 for the 64GB and NZ$1049 for the 128GB (all prices inc GST).
iPhone 6 largest launch ever — Tim Cook emphasised at the above launch that, taking the upcoming Chinese launch into account (with all three carriers there participating, a first), the iPhone 6 has been the largest iPhone launch ever.
Apple announces iOS 8.1 with Camera Roll, iCloud Photo Library — As part of the above October press event, Apple announced several upcoming features it is adding to iOS 8.1. The next major release of iOS 8 [which we’ll get early next week] will see the return of the popular camera roll, which was replaced in iOS 8 much to the chagrin of iOS users.
Apple announces WatchKit SDK for developers, launches in November — In preparation of the upcoming Apple Watch launch, Apple on Thursday announced a new software developers kit called WatchKit for creating apps tailored for the company’s highly anticipated wearable device.
Reddit acquires popular iOS app Alien Blue — Despite its stunning popularity and influence across the internet, Reddit has lacked an official app for actually using the service on mobile devices. It has an AMA (ask me anything) app, but nothing for everyday use. This has left users to browse the site using third party apps or their mobile web browser. Rather than developing their own app to fill this gap, Reddit has simply purchased Alien Blue, the most popular iOS client for the site.
Skype for iOS updated for optimised iPhone 6 experience — Microsoft has released a new update for Skype’s iOS app offering users with the larger iPhone 6 and 6+ an optimised user interface. In addition, the app now allows users to mark individual conversations as read/unread, disable notification sounds in “do no disturb” mode, and increased metadata in contact profiles. Here’s the company’s official summery of the update.