The ‘iPhone 8’ will have to displace the iPhone 6S to become the world’s most used smartphone — According to ScientiaMobile, the upcoming iPhone 8 will have to displace the iPhone 6s to become the world’s most used smartphone. The research group’s Mobile Overview Report (MOVR) notes that the iPhone 6S was the most used smartphone model in the world despite the iPhone 7 launch in September 2016.
Despite, iPhone 7 (above) was the best selling smartphone in the first quarter according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. The research group estimates that Apple shipped 21.5 million units and captured 6% marketshare worldwide in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017.
Apple’s iOS 10, Siri & HomeKit bring accessibility to a quadriplegic man’s entire home — Todd Stabelfeldt has been paralyzed from the shoulders down since a gun accident at age 8 severed his spinal cord, leaving him confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Using iOS Switch Control, Todd has gained new abilities and independence through accessible technology. And now, using HomeKit and Siri, his entire home has become accessible.
Apple’s latest iPhone 7 Plus commercial showcases dual-lens ‘Portrait’ photo mode — Apple on Saturday published a new ad highlighting Portrait mode, an iPhone 7 Plus exclusive feature that seamlessly blends image data from the handset’s dual cameras to create artificial bokeh.
The hardware-specific function uses iPhone 7 Plus’ wide angle and telephoto lenses, complex computer vision algorithms and depth mapping to create a series of image layers. With input from the user, the mode is able to sharpen certain layers, like those with a subject, and selectively unfocus others using a custom blur technique. The result is a creamy, yet natural, scene rendition.
Apple camera lens manufacturer posts significant profit, shedding doubt on iPhone order cuts — iPhone 7 camera module manufacturer Largan Precision has posted its best financial report in 14 months, specifically citing strong orders from Apple.
Apple removes the New York Times app in China following government request — Over the holidays, Apple removed the New York Times mobile apps, both the English-language version and the Chinese-language version, from the App Store in China. The Times originally reported that its apps were removed on December 23, and Apple confirmed it on Thursday, citing a request from Chinese authorities. [Happy New Year.]
iOS 10 Adoption Hits 76% After 4 Months, Slightly Outpacing iOS 9 — iOS 10 is now installed on 76% of active iOS devices, according to new data published this week on Apple’s support website. Roughly four months after its release, iOS 10’s adoption rate is slightly faster than its predecessor, iOS 9, which hit 75% after the same period.
Instagram adds wide color gamut, Live Photos support to iOS app — Instagram has updated made good on promises to incorporate wide colour gamut support for iPhone 7 owners in a backend software update that also includes compatibility with Apple’s Live Photos.
Apple leads tablet sales, but the iPad Pro is not its best seller — Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and other tablet vendors shipped just a combined 43 million units in the third quarter of 2016, according to a new report by IDC, marking a year-over-year decline of 14.7%, and more evidence that the worldwide tablet market continues its slump. But despite Apple pushing sales for its latest high-end iPad Pro models, the earlier iPad Air and iPad mini models are Cupertino’s best-selling tablets.
Survey suggests iPhone 7 more popular than Apple’s 6s, not as big as 6 — Apple’s newly released iPhone 7 lineup is poised to outperform its predecessor, the iPhone 6s, a new survey suggests. But outdoing the blockbuster performance of the iPhone 6 series remains a tall order.
Password manager LastPass now works on all your devices for free — Password manager LastPass is taking a big leap forward for all its free users. The company announced its service is now free to use across all devices at the same time. Anyone who’s already using the free version of LastPass can download the company’s mobile apps or the browser extensions to get the service everywhere.
Instapaper makes its premium features free — A giant social network buying a popular service and then killing it is pretty common. But a giant social network buying a popular service and then making its best features totally free is almost unheard of. But just two months after Pinterest bought Instapaper, the company is doing away with the read-it-later app’s subscription costs. Its premium tier is now totally free.
CMRA adds a camera to an Apple Watch band, in a cool way — Glide has built two cameras into a Watch band, and a rechargeable battery too. Charging stand can power up an Apple Watch, too. If you’ll be away from wall outlets for a day or so, the stand doubles as a portable charger.
The first thing you notice abut the iPhone 7 is that you can easily mistake it for an iPhone 6/6s. They share a form factor, hand-feel and (very similar) weights of 143 grams or 192 grams (for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively) compared to the slightly svelter 7’s 138 grams/188. Other dimensions are the same: 138.3mmx67.1 by 7.1mm thick for the 6s/7, and 158.2×77.9 by 7.3mm thick for the 6s Plus and 7 Plus. Both have the same screen dimensions too: 4.7 inches diagonally, and 5.5 inches diagonally for the Plus.
So what’s new?Quite a lot. In fact, as soon as you click the Home button, your 7 will feel different, for it’s not a mechanical (press in and bounce back) button at all, but a pressure-sensitive solid disk that, thanks to ‘haptic feedback, feels as if it ’clicks’. This is typical of Apple – a solid button is less prone to breakdown and easier to keep waterproof, but engineers and designers clearly decided the feel of a click was important enough to retain somehow. So if you’re wondering what Apple was thinking, leaving off the headphone jack, it’s this little trembling motor that explains it, for this bigger ‘Taptic Engine’ overlaps the space where the jack entered the 6 and 6s body. (Yes, the iPhone 6s has a Taptic Engine too; it’s smaller and the new version is more advanced). also, the removal of the jack allowed for a slightly bigger battery.
For further under the hood, Apple has been very busy indeed. For a start, iPhone 7 is the first water resistant iPhone – not full-immersion proof, but rather shower proof. This will lengthen its life while removing some worry from yours.
The Taptic Engine gives feedback for far more than just that faux-click Home Button. In games, tap a blaster and feel its kick. Pistols can have rapid-fire pulses you can feel; strings you play in, say, GarageBand for iOS make the iPhone subtly thrum in your hand. My cheap and cheesy favourite is rolling the onscreen Timer or Alarm time-setting dial in the Clock app, which also triggers an audio ‘click’ to further enhance the feeling. But it also reacts to the 3D Touch feature introduced with iPhone 6s: the harder-press you can do for messages that arrive on the Lock screen to reply, for example, or the press-on attributes of Apps on the Home screen. Expect more apps to take these capabilities on board.
Sight — So at first sight, this might look the same as iPhone 6 and 6s, but it feels different in new and clever ways. It also looks different once you start experiencing this screen. On the 7, the screen is still 1334×750 pixels at the ‘Retina’ resolution of 326ppi (1920×1080 and 401ppi on the Plus) and both have the same contrast ratios of 1400:1 and 1300:1. ‘Retina Display’ means you can’t discern the actual pixels like you can with the naked eye – and believe me, if you never knew you could, look at an iPhone 3 screen or an early iPad. Ouch.
But it’s brighter: maximum brightness is 625cd/m2 compared to 500 cd/m2, and it shows a wider colour gamut. In use, this looks great – it’s slightly warmer, with intense tones and great detail.
Actually, while we’re talking about the way things look, some of the iPhone 7s do stand out at a glance from the 6 range: there are new colour options since there are two black models: the striking, glossy Jet Black (main picture, above) as well as a regular matte Black, joining the existing metallic silver, gold and pink.
Shootin’ match — So the screens are brighter, but the cameras are also higher resolution. The front-facing camera is 12 megapixels; same as for the 6s but the 6 was 8 megapixels. But in the 6s, only the 6s Plus has optical image stabilisation whereas both models of the 7 has it. Be warned that the camera is slightly closer to the outer edge, meaning the camera cut-outs in cases for the 6 range will impede the lens. But the camera is more complex too, with a six-element lens compared to 5, and this 28mm camera has a wider aperture, which means it captures images better in lower light (it’s f1.8 instead of 2.2).
The bigger 7s has two front-facing cameras: a wide-angle and a telephoto (56mm, f/2.8). Both have digital zoom up to 10 times (the 6s only goes to 5x) but the Plus has Optical Zoom up to 2x, so rather than enlarging the pixels (yes, it looks pretty awful pretty quickly) the 7 Plus actually has moving lens elements to do the first stage of the zoom at full quality, and both models have optical image stabilisation for smoother video recording, and even smoother Live Photos (I still think this is a silly gimmick, but whatever). Also, the lesser camera above the screen, for selfies, FaceTime/Skype etc is 7 megapixels as against 5 for the 6s. And don’t worry, the 7 still uses ‘Backside Illumination’, which is not for that kind of selfie: it’s a built-in digital image sensor that increases the amount of light captured to improve low-light performance. The 7 does do better in low light.
Sounds good — Another thing you’ll notice is that the 7 sounds better. The on-board (internal) speakers are louder and clearer. It also acts in stereo now, if you hold the phone in landscape mode, you should be able to hear separation between the channels since it’s using the top ear-piece speaker (for phone calls) for one channel and the bottom speaker for the other, but they’re so physically close together on iPhone 7 I could barely distinguish any difference except when I created a track in Garageband and panned it hard to one side or the other – maybe it’s more noticeable on the bigger-bodied Plus, but either way, it’s still going to be way better via earbuds or headphones. But what about the lack of headphone jack?
You have three ways to listen to music: via a pair of Lightning-compatible headphones (a pair of Lightning EarPods are included in the box), or use a pair of 3.5mm headphones with the included adapter (I find it hard to substitute my snug-fitting Apple In Ear Speakers) or wireless headphones connecting via Bluetooth – Apple’s own version of these will be available soon (left, picture from Apple Inc).
OK, some of you may be able to hear the difference between over-wire and over-the-air audio, but I sure as hell can’t, but I never have been good at hearing what those pro audio people swear is ‘better’, even when my ears were a lot younger. If I get good bass, some definition and some overtones, I’m happy. But if you’re not like me, or at least you like to think you are not like me in this regard, you’ll prefer a physical connection for your audio.
So I’m no authority here – audio sounds fine to me via my In Ear Speakers and the jack to Lightning adapter which Apple includes in the box. In fact, audio site what Hi Fi thinks this solution actually sounds better than the jack of the 6.)
Chips —iPhone 7 has the new 64-bit A10 Fusion chip with an embedded M10 motion coprocessor compared to the 6s A9 with embedded M9 motion coprocessor. This A10 is a quad-core processor with two high-performance cores with two high efficiency cores. This makes the A10 more efficient, delivering the same perceived performance as the A9 while using less power, but able to unleash high-performance cores when pushed. This low-power ability can lead to a full two hours more battery life than the iPhone 6s, and I didn’t test that with a stopwatch but I’m definitely charging it a less than I had to with my trusty old 6.
Mind you, this surprised me – startup speeds: from off to the lock screen, my iPhone 6 took 42 seconds – the iPhone 7 only 16.
Oddly, perhaps, the handy 64GB model is definitely gone from Apple’s options – you can get the 7 in 32, 128 or the pretty massive 256GB, whereas the 6s was 32GB or 128GB.
Conclusion — In use, to be brutally honest, the 7 feels like an incremental change rather than a new model. Just as the 6s is demonstrably better than the 6, this feels like, well, a ‘6ss’. It is definitely better, but it doesn’t feel like a full model change. The rumour mill says Apple will pull out the stops with the 8 (or will it be called the 10?) Since this model, should it appear in 2017 in place of a ‘7s’ will mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone’s introduction.
I’m not trying to sell it short – it’s a fine phone. If you were going to buy an iPhone tomorrow, you’d be mad to prioritise a 6s over a 7 unless that extra couple of hundred is just too hard to justify.
What’s great — Water resistance; faster; expanded, more sophisticated Haptics for better feel and response. Great cameras, beautiful screen
What’s not — I could say the lack of jack, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But it might bother you.
Needs — Developers to get on board with the possibilities of that Taptic Engine and Apple’s clever, more powerful A10 processor.
iPhone 7, 32GB, 128GB or 256GB only, starting at NZ$1199 for the 32GB 7, $1399 for the 128GB and $1599 for the 256GB. The 7 Plus is $1429 for the 32GB, $1629 for the 128GB and $1829 for the 256GB. (iPhone 6s starts at NZ$999; $1199 for the 6s Plus).
Apple has long been accused of being a ‘walled garden’. This has several meanings. For an Apple user, it means the more Apple devices you have, the better, as they all communicate with each other to make your life easier. They’re all ‘in the garden’, if you will. This metaphor does not suit, say, someone who wants an Android phone but uses a Mac. The other criticism comes from developers: Apple ‘walls off’ its apps and the OS so you have to work within this environment. You can’t modify the environment itself, only the stuff in the flowerbeds. Developers like messing with the system – this represents a type of digital freedom, sure, but it also leads to multiple versions of the system, which is what you have in the Android world. Your app may work on your phone with your OS, but it won’t necessarily continue to work once you change phons or systems. This frustration is much, much rarer in the Apple world.
But, as I sometimes tell groups a little fatuously, a walled garden is more secure (true enough: Apple’s security record remains stellar) and besides, ‘gardens are nice’.
These criticisms have resurfaced lately with iPhone 7, since the only port into the device now is an Apple-designed port, that being the Lightning connector. That means everything interpreted though this port has to be mandated and controlled by Apple, or at least fit its Lightning guidelines. As Engadget points out, to create devices for the Lightning port, accessory makers have to sign up for Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program.
However, the same can’t be said of iOS 10. iOS is now much more open than it was three years ago. IOS 7 was a huge visual overhaul, but it was nearly as locked down as the previous versions. The following year, Apple started opening things up. Now, claims Engadget (again) iOS is nearly as open as Android, at least as far as users are concerned. Look at the new Messages, for example: you can add stickers, draw on photos, send your heartbeat and even use other apps from inside iMessage.
I haven’t seen an iPhone 7 yet (anyone got one and willing to comment?).Going by the specs and reviews, it’s a brilliant iPhone in every way. But now we’re already wondering what next year will bring, with even Fortune posting a speculative piece on what Apple might offer for an iPhone. Why? Next year is the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the first iPhone, which appeared and changed everything in 2007.
iOS 10 — At first glance, the lock screen hasn’t changed much in iOS 10. But once I started poking around in the public beta, it was obvious there was more than meets the eye. Apple has made a number of additions, improvements, and changes to the iOS 10 lock screen, and some of them might be a little disorienting. Just because you can technically install and run iOS 10 on an iPhone 5 and 5c doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use all of its features. Obvious limitations like 3D Touch and Apple Pay aside, here are some of the iOS 10 features you’ll miss if you’re running the iPhone 5 or 5c.
With the launch of iOS 10, there is Voicemail Transcription[Voicemail wasn’t properly supported in NZ as a telco policy]. Apple has made one very important change that could affect the lives of millions of other people, too: users can now register to become an organ donor directly from within the Health app, at least in the US. And Apple cracking down on gif search terms in iOS 10 Messages after porn discovery.
ExoLens previews new products for the iPhone 7/7 Plus — ExoLens has announced four new products for the iPhone 7/7 Plus. The $199.99 ExoLens Pro Wide-Angle Kit (pictured) with Optics by ZEISS is a pro-level, mobile accessory lens for photographers, artists, and journalists. Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses.
iFixIt tears down the Apple Watch Series 2 — The gang at iFixIt, who tears apart tech products so you don’t have to, has completed its teardown of the Apple Watch Series 2. They say that, or the most part, the Series 2 is a typical second revision Apple device: it looks almost exactly the same on the outside, but it’s super refined and a bit easier to work with on the inside. And here’s a closer look at Apple Watch Series 2 and the long path Apple took to the world of wearables.
Instagram to take advantage of iPhone 7 Plus cameras, wide color gamut display in app update — Popular photo sharing app Instagram is developing an app update specifically designed to take advantage of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the latter of which boasts two cameras for wide angle and telephoto photography.
Apple debuts new videos promoting health, 107-second iPhone event recap — Following Apple’s iPhone event yesterday, the company released a handful of videos showcasing the keynote and upcoming products, including iPhone 7, Apple Watch and AirPods, as well as five shorts promoting healthy life choices.
Apple drops prices, bumps storage on iPad line — The iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 were in the spotlight Wednesday morning, Apple quietly lowered the prices on the iPad line while bumping up storage. The 16GB storage option is gone and a 256GB option is available … just like the iPhone 7.
Apple’s instincts about the Watch buyer mentality prove correct — In May of 2015, when the Apple Watch first shipped, a few observers opined that it would be wise to buy the cheapest possible version, the Sport Watch. That’s because Apple would, they claimed, come out with a new model in 2016 that would callously make the original painfully obsolete. That would destroy any initial investment in high end models. But it looks like Apple’s instincts, in contradiction to that notion, have proved correct.
AirPods earbuds — Apple’s new wireless (ie, cord-free) AirPods are designed to connect to the iPhone and Apple Watch over Bluetooth, to let you quickly switch between which device where they’re streaming audio. They include built-in microphones for noise reduction and phone calls. The just-announced W1 chip is the heart of AirPods. This provides better audio while managing the AirPods’ built-in optical sensor, dual accelerometers, and microphone.
AirPods sport five hours battery life between charges, and the carrying case has a built-in battery you can use to recharge and extend that to 24 hours.
Unlike many wifi earbuds, they don’t even have a cord connecting one to the other – this is wireless too. NZ prices, availability — The new Apple-designed wireless AirPods including charging case will be available for RRP NZ$269 inc.GST from Apple.com beginning in late October. All iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models will include EarPods with Lightning Connector and a Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter, also sold separately at Apple.com for RRP NZ$49 inc.GST and RRP NZ$15 inc.GST, respectively.
Pokémon GO Coming to Apple Watch — Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple Watch later this month, fixing a glaring omission in the game when it first launched on the iPhone. The Apple Watch version gives you notifications your wrist, lets you track in-game activities, and ties in with fitness tracking, too.
Nintendo’s Mario coming to the iPhone and iPad — Nintendo’s Mario character is coming to the iPhone and iPad in a new game called Mario Run. It’s coming in time for the holidays, but pricing hasn’t yet been announced. You can play the game one-handed and engage in a new battle mode called Toad Battle.
Apple announces water resistant iPhone 7 with pressure-sensing home button, dual cameras, jet black finish — The just-announced iPhone 7 series features a number of upgrades throughout, including a new jet black glossy finish option (shown above), a click-free pressure sensitive home button, and the best mobile cameras Apple has ever offered.
One model has a new glossy jet black finish, plus there is aluminium with a black logo, and gold, silver, and rose-gold finishes [‘pink’ doesn’t sound as good.] They all have subtle, integrated antennas.
The home button has been completely reengineered with a force sensitive design and new generation Taptic Engine. This features quick actions like moving widgets, messages, notifications, and ringtones and it can be programmed by third-party applications with the release of a new Taptic Engine API.
IiPhone 7 is water resistant, keeping out liquid and dust to prevent damage.
No headphone jack — As strongly rumoured, iPhone 7 has no headphone jack. It will ship with Lightning-connected EarPods in the box, as well as a Lightning-to-headphone adapter for those using preferred headphones/earbuds. Apple will sell separate AirPod Bluetooth headphones alongside the iPhone 7.
Camera — iPhone 7 has optical image stabilisation in all models with a larger f/1.8 aperture lens letting in 50% more light. There’s also a new six-element lens, and a high-speed 12-megapixel sensor that’s 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient.
The True Tone flash features four LEDS that put out 50% more light. It has a ‘flicker sensor’ that reads the flickering of artificial lighting to compensate for it in photos and videos.
The camera is powered by an Apple-designed image signal processor that detects faces and bodies, sets exposure, sets white balance, captures wide color, reduces noise, and much more.
The forward-facing [ie, Selfie] FaceTime HD camera has been upgraded too, to 7 megapixels (up from 5). It also includes new pixel technology like deep trench isolation, and can capture wide-colour-gamut images and has auto image stabilisation.
The bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus ups the ante with two 12-megapixel cameras. One has a wide-angle lens, the other is telephoto. This allows users to change the focal length of the lens, bringing optical zoom to the iPhone for the first time.
Combined with software zoom, images can be enhanced up to 10x, doubling that of the previous iPhone’s capabilities. Optical zoom maxes out at 2x. (As cribbed from Apple Insider.)
NZ prices availability (from the official Apple press release) — iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at RRP NZ$1199 inc.GST for iPhone 7 and RRP NZ $1429 inc.GST for iPhone 7 Plus, and the new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models from Apple.com, Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers.
• Customers will be able to order iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus beginning Friday, 9 September, with availability beginning Friday, 16 September, in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.
• The new Apple-designed wireless AirPods including charging case will be available for RRP NZ$269 inc.GST from Apple.com beginning in late October. All iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models will include EarPods with Lightning Connector and a Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter, also sold separately at Apple.com for RRP NZ$49 inc.GST and RRP NZ$15 inc.GST, respectively.
• Apple-designed accessories including leather and silicone cases in a range of colours will be available starting at RRP NZ$59 inc.GST and iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case will be offered in black and white for RRP NZ$169 inc.GST from Apple.com. Lightning Docks in several colour-matching metallic finishes will also be available for RRP NZ$95 inc.GST.
• Every customer who buys iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup online3, to help them customise their iPhone by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store® and more.
Tuesday Talk is a series of occasional pieces of commentary I write on quiet (Apple news-wise) New Zealand Tuesdays.
Widely tipped as the day Apple would reveal a new iPhone, the 7th September has been confirmed as an Apple Event to launch something with the tagline ‘See you on the 7th’. Which pretty much tips that it will, indeed, be called iPhone 7, anyway.
Inevitably, in these quiet weeks and days leading to Apple announcements, all the Apple commentators try to imagine what the future will bring us from Apple, and they stray to deeper, more searching questions about the whole ethos of Apple Inc and where it’s going.
Tim Cook has now been Apple CEO of five years, and the whole culture of Apple changed around him. Apple under Jobs was virtually impenetrable. Questions from journalists used to be ignored completely, or if you were lucky, you got a short corporate-speak reply that told you nothing at all, except you were chuffed someone had bothered to respond at all. Now things are more open, people are more friendly and – appear, at least – less guarded.
Steve Jobs always said Apple was about stories, not things. People didn’t buy products, they bought stories. It’s an interesting concept, and one I have come to believe in more. Humans are deeply influenced by the stories they believe in – religious, cultural, historic stories, stories of struggle, stories told by politicians. It’s stories that motivate people. Jobs was definitely on to something, and his ethos is one of the reasons Apple never used the specs of devices as the primary marketing tool. (See Apple’s education stories, for example.)
We don’t know what Apple will release on the 7th. Apple has been known to plan 25 years ahead. What we do know is what Apple spends its research money on, and a lot can be told from the sorts of companies Apple acquires: for example, Apple recently bought Turi, a machine intelligence company. Virtual and augmented reality are also well in Apple’s sights.
However, other stories threaten Apple’s these days too. The wilder environment and more open world of Android, for instance. It’s nowhere near as safe as iOS, but it’s more attractive to developers. Microsoft is taking the battle to Apple’s tablets and smaller laptops with one device: Surface Pro.
Apple needs to tell a good story on the 7th.
A clear and decisive one which includes hope.
After Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, with no product announcements, everyone’s waiting with increasing impatience for new products from Apple. Probably iPhone 7, probably MacBook Pro, which hasn’t had a real refresh for four years. Possibly Watch 2, possibly … it gets vaguer after here. The Mac Pro could do with some love too, but Apple’s unlikely to release too many things at once. I mean, it’s possible, as Apple has the resources to, crikey, build a station on the moon if it really wants to.
But that’s one thing I don’t expect to be announced.
On the boring front, iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are on the way. I’ve seen the betas of these and they offer improvements and refinements, but hardly great leaps. I mean, Siri on Mac? I don’t use Siri on iDevice. I’m sure some people do, but who are they? To me it’s a brilliant gimmick. I only ever use it when I show people. They say ‘Wow!’ too, but I really doubt they go away and use it.
iPhone 7 — The rumours about this have been all over the place. Even the leaked pictures of possible cases vary widely. You have to wonder if Apple has been adding to the confusion here. But almost certainly, the camera will be better. I say this as the camera has been improved in pretty much every prime release of iPhone, and even between some prime and ‘s’ version iPhones, this has happened.
Maybe it will get Pencil support, as why not? However, for me, the whole point of computers and devices is so I wouldn’t have to use a pen or pencil, partly because I can’t draw and partly because my handwriting is so awful, even I can’t read it. But that’s just me: plenty would find that useful, and iPad Pro certainly supports it well. But as other commentators have pointed out, next year is the 10th anniversary of iPhone, and that’s when a truly groundbreaking new iPhone could be expected, rather than this year.
iOS 10 gets rid of the swipe to unlock gesture (boy, is it hard to retrain your fingers here!). Unlocking now is a second press of the Home button. These will therefore wear out quicker, so they need some engineering anyway. Perhaps that’s why there are rumours of haptic feedback, as in the trackpad of the MacBook. Apple’s in that realm already, and is sure to expand that into other Macs, so why not?
Watch 2 — The limitations of the current, initial Apple Watch are: dependency on your iPhone to do the real processing, and general slowness and lag. It seems obvious a new version would improve on these two points as Apple’s engineers get better at smaller/faster, which has always been their forté. The promised new watchOS will place more demands on the hardware, so it will have to be better. How much better? We can’t know yet. But to me, the Watch isn’t truly useful yet, so I don’t have one. Speculation elsewhere talks about GPS radio and a built-in barometer, but I don’t know. In my experience, these ‘well-connected analysts’ are living in the same informational vacuums that we all exist in, when it comes to Apple, despite their protestations to the contrary. But I guess we’ll see.
MacBook Pro — As I’ve said before, it’s likely a new MacBook Pro will have some of the features debuted in the MacBook: a slimmer design partly thanks to a new screen hinge, a bigger high-tech trackpad, but hopefully a decent array of ports, or pro users simply won’t buy them. Along with this, better battery tech, a faster latest-gem Intel CPU, and hopefully excellent graphics cards.
And in future? Orange Peel Investment’s Scott Tzu believes in a seismic sentiment change regarding the upcoming iPhone 7. He thinks the hype surrounding the iPhone 8 will be ‘unbearable’, so Apple could “very well be sitting at all-time highs just 12 short months from now.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of others continue predicting Apple’s imminent demise.
Apple rumoured to launch ‘iPhone 7’ on week of September 12 — According to noted industry blogger Evan Blass, Apple is planning to announce its next-generation iPhone lineup at a special event scheduled for the week of September 12th, in line with its usual [US autumn] launch cycle. [In other words, this is just unoriginal guesswork.]
Liquid ingress warning in iOS 10 beta protects iPhone against water damage — A new feature discovered in Apple’s latest iOS 10 beta warns users when liquid is detected in an iPhone’s Lightning port, a handy tool for saving compatible devices from irreversible water damage.
Apple Maps mass transit information for Vancouver, San Diego goes live — Apple has now added public transit directions for Vancouver, British Columbia and San Diego, California for users of the Maps apps on iOS and OS X.
Apple’s share of the US smartphone market is creeping back up — eMarketer, a research firm, has released a report on US and UK market share for the iPhone and iPad. It shows that the iPhone’s market share is creeping back up (at least globally), while the iPad’s market share continues to decline.
Ford’s SYNC 3 expands to support Apple CarPlay — Ford is expanding its SYNC 3 connectivity platform, allowing compatibility of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto throughout its entire 2017 U.S. vehicle lineup of cars, SUVs, light trucks and electrified vehicles.
Apple’s Mac has finally joined the slowdown in desktop computer sales.While PC sales declined over the last few years, Mac sales – bizarrely – kept rising, but that’s no longer true. Apple needs to release some very good new models of Macs to gain back some ground, but even if it does, the worldwide decline in desktop sales may mitigate against Apple ever regaining the market share it developed over the last five years.
Model-wise, the MacBook Pro could do with a refresh. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the little MacBook is overpriced and underpowered, but it did debut great new tech that should be put into the MacBook Pro.
A new MacBook Pro I am happy to speculate on. Partly as I need one: my 2012 MacBook Pro is still a speed demon but its battery has dropped to 85% capacity over the years (it’s a hard worker) and, if Apple follows form, a new model with be lighter, slimmer, more powerful and better all round. I’m not sure it will have an OLED touch-bar, as some hope, partly as every rendering I’ve seen of this idea looks butt-ugly to me, and doesn’t seem to fit in with Apple’s aesthetic, but I’m happy to be swayed to the contrary. Filed Apple patents have outlined illuminated touch controls embedded within a MacBook’s chassis, while others protect rights to switchless keyboards and illuminated trackpads. We’ll see.
As for other models, it has been widely speculated that Apple may even drop the little-loved Mac mini completely (I have no opinion on this) and maybe even the Mac Pro. And that idea concerns me.
The real professional users in the Apple world are the people everyone else looks up to. If a really heavy-hitting Mac user advises you on which Mac to buy, you listen. But pros are disenchanted with the round Mac Pro as it’s hard to expand and could do with much better video cards (the PC world is way ahead of Apple here: you can get much better video cards in much cheaper PCs, and that’s actually been tempting pro users to switch to PC).The Mac Pro was a grand machine in its own right – or at least, it was on release in 2014 – but now it needs some love, sure. But deletion? The idea fills me with disquiet.
As for actual Mac sales numbers, Apple Insider has pointed out that Apple’s share of the global PC market took a hit during the challenging second quarter of this year. Apple went down to fifth place among the world’s top computer manufacturers. Analyst firm Gartner put Apple’s worldwide marketshare at 7.1% (this is a lot higher in some markets – here, Australia, the US, Germany …) during the second quarter. That means year-over-year shipments dropped by 200,000 units, down from 4.8 million in 2015. This 4.9% sales contraction may have been the worst performance put in by a top-five vendor, but it’s in line with the 5.2% decline in overall PC shipments. Some of these drops have come from price hikes against the stronger US dollar; that’s certainly the case in New Zealand.
Apple’s iPhone numbers seem solid, still, though, and an iPhone 7 will give sales a boost. I’ve mentioned before that we have a confusion of models these days, and that presents a muddy picture to consumers. Apple could wave a Jobsian clarification wand here to its benefit. I imagine the 5SE will remain in the lineup, and the 6 will disappear while the 6s drops in price, but that doesn’t help the confusion much, does it? Especially if, as one rumour claims, there will be three models of 7 …
We will know in September. Hopefully. It seems a long way away.