Sep 08

The iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 may have been the headline-makers at Apple’s latest event, but the company quietly updated its iPad lineup, too.

ipadsJust like its older brother the iPhone, Apple is bumping up the minimum storage option of the iPad to 32GB, however that 32GB iPad gets to keep the price of the 16GB model — good news for those in the market for an iPad.

The biggest price cuts come with the iPad Pro, especially as we get into the higher storage options. The smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro now comes at £549 for the 32GB model, £639 for the 128GB model, and £729 for the 256GB model. The larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at £729 for the 32GB model, £819 for a 128GB model and a £909 256GB model. All Wi-fi only prices. Add £120 for Cellular options.

Of course, the iPad Pro wasn’t the only device to get a price cut. The iPad Mini 2 also got a price reduction — along with a reduction in options. Now, you can only get the iPad Mini 2 with 32GB — £239for the Wi-Fi only model, or £359 for the model with cellular support.

Next up is the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4, which are also getting a few price cuts. The Wi-Fi-only models of those iPads are now available for £379 for the 32GB version or £469 for the 128GB version — however those are your only storage options.

Sure, these may not have been the updates that some were hoping for when it came to the iPad, but it’s nice to see that even Apple’s flagship tablet is getting a price decrease — and it’s good news for those who have been waiting to buy an iPad.

The newly priced iPads are available from the Apple website starting now.

Aug 30

Apple sent out media invites yesterday for an iPhone-centric event that will be held on Wednesday, September 7 at 10:00 am at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Media invites offer up a first look at the theme of the event and feature the simple tagline: “See you on the 7th.”

sept_2016_invite

The September 2016 event is expected to see the debut of the next-generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which are rumoured to feature improved cameras, better processors, and improved water resistance, implemented through the removal of the headphone jack and the introduction of a new flush, pressure-sensitive home button. Both devices are said to look similar to the iPhone 6s, with the same general size and shape, but with relocated antenna bands that no longer span the back of the devices.

Faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds are rumoured, as is a jump in storage space with 32GB positioned as the new minimum and a 256GB option rumored at the high-end (possibly limited to iPhone 7 Plus). Display improvements first introduced in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, including the True Tone feature able to adjust the display to match ambient lighting could be offered, and the larger iPhone 7 Plus is expected to have exclusive features like 3GB RAM and a dual-lens camera for crisper, brighter images.

Apple may use the event to debut a second-generation Apple Watch, said to include better waterproofing, an improved processor, and a built-in GPS chip. Design changes are not expected for the next-generation Apple Watch, but new materials and new bands are always a possibility. Apple rotates its Apple Watch band offerings on a regular basis and we expect to see new designs this fall.

Most of Apple’s Mac lineup is due for an update, but the most highly anticipated machine, the MacBook Pro, will reportedly not be debuting at the event, coming later in the year instead. It’s not known if other Macs will see a refresh announcement at the event, but it’s unlikely, and we’re also not expecting any iPad announcements at this time.

We will, however, get an update on the prospective launch dates of iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10. We’re expecting to see iOS 10 and watchOS 3 launch shortly ahead of the release date of the next-generation iPhone (rumoured to be September 16 or September 23), while macOS Sierra could come a bit later, perhaps towards the end of the month. tvOS 10, as a new operating system, could launch alongside iOS 10 or alongside macOS Sierra.

In line with past events, the September 7 event will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, that’s 6PM London. As it has done with several past events, Apple is likely to stream the event live on its website and on the Apple TV.

Jul 09

WWDC saw a developer release of iOS 10 beta. This week beta 2 was released to developers.

So what is in iOS 10 that is new and exciting?

Apple-WWDC-2016-iOS-10

Home Screen

New update notification after new iOS install
Lock screen adds new unlocked animation
A new ‘Rest Finger to Unlock’ option in Accessibility settings
Reduce White Point percentage in Accessibility settings
Folders now show badges per apps when 3D Touched
Subtle new Siri animation
Keyboard click sound back to classic sound
Time wheels make new sound
New folder animations with more blurred folders
Auto Lock now under Display and Brightness settings
New wallpaper at bottom of list in Wallpaper settings

Apps

HomeKit app icon looks like Home app icon in Settings
Apple News can now be hidden
Mail features a new filter icon instead of funnel
App Store Split View now works on the iPad
Feedback app added
Long pressing the “All Tabs” button in Safari yields “New Tab” option
Show parked location switch in Maps app Settings
New Organ Donation changes found in Health app
Bedtime interface changes in stock Clock app
New Checklist 3D Touch Shortcut for Notes app
New Today 3D Touch icon for Health

Notification Center

Missed’ is now labeled ‘Recent’
The Weather Channel credit makes a comeback
Access widgets from Notification Center on Home screen
Third-party widgets now resize properly
New Spotlight animation
Rich notifications now available for non-3D Touch devices

Music

‘Downloaded Music’ replaced with permanent ‘Downloads’
Shuffle from Songs
Connect Posts now appear below For You content
AirPlay/Bluetooth headphones and speakers available in Now Playing
Tap Artist name to reveal artist catalog
Playlists now show in search results
Dynamic text now affects the Music app

Watch

New ‘Featured Complications’ section
Smart and Random Autofill sync options for Music
Background App Refresh toggles
Use Previous Duration option in Breathe app preferences

Messages

Delete iMessage apps
iMessage App Store
New handwriting keyboard button on iPad
New Low Quality Image Mode toggle in Settings
New Digital Touch sketch layout

Jul 07

We voted to leave. The pound falls against the dollar by 12%, more than anyone expected and is now at a 30 year low.

Guess what? The super smart team at Citigroup predict that this will hurt sales of Apple, Dell and other US tech firms that price in $.

Citigroup Global Markets analyst Jim Suva has predicted that economic uncertainty in the UK following the referendum decision to leave the EU will hurt Apple sales. Business Insider reports that Citigroup has lowered its estimates for iPhone sales across two quarters.

We are lowering our estimates for June and September quarters given potential for lower demand from macro uncertainty (Brexit related), currency volatility and lengthening replacement cycles.

The reduction isn’t a major one – just 700k down on the previous estimate – but does give some indication that the economic consequences of Brexit will extend beyond the UK.

As an indication of how other tech companies are responding, Dell has confirmed that it has raised its wholesale prices by 10% in the UK in response to a 12.4% reduction in the value of the pound against the dollar, and it’s been suggested that HP is likely to follow suit.

A spokeswoman at HP Inc said:

HP is carefully assessing the Brexit situation to better understand its business and economic impact. In the meantime, we continue to actively move forward with day-to-day operations supporting employees, customers and partners.

Apple currently appears to be adopting a wait-and-see approach, it seems likely that it too will raise its UK prices at some point.

Jun 07

 

What is WWDC 2016?

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is the company’s annual bunfight for software developers and other partners. Over the last few years it has become a much more public facing event in recent years, acting as a springboard for Apple to show off all of its latest software.

This year, expect updates on the iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS, as well as news on Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Music.

When is it?

WWDC officially lasts from Monday June 13 to Friday June 17, but most of the news will be packed into a keynote speech from Apple’s top brass on Monday at 10am Pacific time (that’s 6pm UK time). The event is being held in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, for which tickets are in high demand and priced at $1,599. Luckily, you can watch it online.

How do I watch it?

Apple will be live streaming the presentation here, or through the WWDC iOS app. If you have an Apple TV then you can watch via that.

What can I expect?

WWDC is all about software, tending to focus on new versions of iOS and Mac OS X. But as Apple’s product line-up has grown, it will have more to talk about.

This year, we can expect to hear about watchOS and tvOS, the software for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as Apple Music, Siri and possibly Apple Pay.

Apple sent out invitations to the media last week, although the notoriously cryptic clues were missing.

wwdc invite

iOS: Apple will lift the lid on iOS 10 before it is released alongside the next iPhone in September. Details are thin on the ground, but a design refresh could be announced: the last major graphical overhaul was in 2013’s iOS 7.

Notifications, which have had various changes in recent versions, could also be improved, according to Apple blog 9to5Mac. Tim Cook has also hinted that users may finally be able to delete Apple’s stock apps.

Mac OS X: Apple’s yearly updates to Mac OS X, each of which come with a California-influenced name like “Yosemite” “Mavericks” and “El Capitan”, have gradually improved integration between the computer software and iOS. This year we could see a big change, with the software finally getting Siri.

watchOS: The Apple Watch, released last year, is not quite the overwhelming success that might have been hoped for. Users have complained that apps are slow and too tethered to the iPhone. WatchOS 3 is likely to be previewed at WWDC. Although we don’t know much, stability and speed are two things that developers will want to know about.

Apple Music: Apple’s Spotify rival has more than 13 million paying subscribers less than a year after it launched, but it hasn’t been without its problems.

Users have complained of a clunky interface, not to mention having their entire music libraries deleted, and the “Connect” social network feels underused. Apple is reportedly preparing a big redesign of the software for WWDC.

Siri: As well as coming to Mac OS, Siri is also likely to get a major upgrade, becoming open to more app developers. For example, this might allow the iPhone’s voice recognition to control other music apps or messaging services, or to order an Uber.

What about hardware?

It’s pretty certain that we’re not going to see an iPhone 7 or new iPad at WWDC. In fact, reports suggest that all hardware is off the table. That’s despite it being a while since we’ve had a new MacBook Pro and emerging rumours about an Amazon Echo or the new Google home unit styled device.

Revealed next week

We will know all the answers this time next week. Stay tuned.

Mar 18

At an event scheduled for Monday Apple is expected to launch a much rumoured 4-inch diagonal iPhone.

The new iPhone will most likely feature upgraded internals, such as the camera and processor from the latest generation iPhone 6s.

The new iPhone will provide an affordable, entry-level alternative to the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7 to launch in September.

At a special event set for Monday, Apple s expected to introduce a smaller iPhone SE with a 4-inch diagonal screen. Rumours vary as to the specific specs for the new phone, but there is a broad agreement it is intended to be a more affordable iPhone that will replace the aging iPhone 5s.

Said to be called the “iPhone 5se” or simply the “iPhone SE,” the new device is modelled after the iPhone 5s. The name is meant to denote its position as a second-generation upgraded version of the iPhone 5s. Earlier rumours about the 4-inch iPhone said it could be similar to the iPhone 5c, leading the media to refer to 4-inch device as the “iPhone 6c” over the past year, but that name was later abandoned in favour of iPhone 5se or iPhone SE. iPhone 6c, iPhone 5se, and iPhone SE rumours refer to the same 4-inch device Apple is developing.

Rumours suggest the iPhone 5se will be the close in size and shape to the iPhone 5s, with the same general dimensions. It will include a display that curves slightly at the edges, but the curve is said to be less dramatic than the curved display on Apple’s newest devices.

When taking into account all of the different rumours we’ve heard, the iPhone 5se may be on par with Apple’s larger-screened devices when it comes to performance, but it’s not going to share all of the same features as Apple’s flagship devices. Internally, the iPhone 5se is likely to have the same A9 processor used in the iPhone 6s, but it may be limited to 1GB RAM and it may only come in 16 and 64GB capacities, with no 128GB option.

If this expectation proves accurate, the little iPhone will mark a dramatic shift in Apple’s product strategy. For the first time ever, Apple will have designed an all-new iPhone that is deliberately not the best it can make, but rather a lower-cost alternative to its best.

iphones iphone_screen_sizes

 

Source: MacRumors

Good, Better, Best

Alert readers, recalling the bright coloured iPhone 5c, may take issue with the last sentence above. I would contend the iPhone 5c was not really an all-new phone, but merely the internals of the iPhone 5 repackaged with a less expensive plastic case. The 5c was a half-hearted attempt at an affordable iPhone that didn’t do particularly well in the marketplace.

Rumour mills such as AppleInsider and MacRumors seem to agree the new phone will have a metal case, even if it’s not clear what the case will look like. Most concept drawings show the case as a sort of melding of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s, as shown above.

Most of the rumours have also converged to the SE having most of the features of the 6s: the Apple A9 SOC, the 12 Mpixel camera with 4K video capability, NFC and Touch ID for Apple Pay. Lacking only 3D Touch, the little iPhone is expected to be as powerful as the 6s.

This may be at odds with the expectation the phone will be priced similarly to the current iPhone 5s, which sells from £379 contract-free. If Apple really is positioning the SE as the 5s replacement, there may need to be some compromises: use of the A8 SOC rather than the A9, an 8 Mpixel camera rather than 12 Mpixel.

Even with the more premium baseline, the SE fits in with a Good, Better, Best product strategy once the iPhone 7/7 Plus is introduced in September. The iPhone 6/6 Plus will be retired, leaving the 6s/6s Plus to fill the Better slot. Apple needed something to fill the Good slot.

Why not the iPhone 6? I think because Apple realized that there was a market for the smaller 4-inch diagonal iPhone that it couldn’t fill with the 5s. Also, there wouldn’t be enough cost savings with the iPhone 6, so there would be little spread in prices among the three generations.

Big change

Most importantly, Apple is moving away from using previous generations of iPhones to fill the Good and Better slots. Most consumer product companies pursue a Good, Better, Best strategy, notably in the automotive industry. In cars, Good is entry-level and sub-compact. Good naturally tends to be smaller in order to save materials costs as well as some manufacturing cost.

This logic applies to the SE as well. The 4-inch screen from the 5s would be by far the least expensive screen since it benefits from being both smaller and the most mature from a manufacturing learning curve standpoint. A smaller screen also means a smaller battery and less powerful graphics requirement. Here, the A9 graphics is a total overkill for the SE, so we may see some modification of the GPU in the A9 for the SE, or use of a previous gen SOC. Car makers don’t put their most powerful V8 engines in subcompacts.

Designing an iPhone specifically to be low cost represents a huge break with the tradition laid down during the Jobs era of building the “best iPhone.” The often-repeated mantra “we only want to build the best iPhone” always struck me as peculiarly inconsistent. Apple didn’t shrink from offering its other products at a variety of price points and in a variety of form factors. One could see the Good, Better, Best strategy repeated in Macs and iPod, and even in iPad.

All will be revealed

On Monday we will know how accurate the rumours are and firm up the price and availability. Plus we will learn what ever else Apple plan to announce – Mini iPad Pro, new watch….

Mar 14

Apple has sent invites out for the March 21 event, where we expect the iPhone SE, the iPad Air 3 and new Apple Watch bands. ‘Let us loop you in’ to the latest rumours, and everything you need to know about the iPhone SE launch event.

apple_march_event_invitation

For those in the UK – Thats 6PM next Monday.

What to expect?

The invitation image, reproduced above, contains the cryptic phrase ‘Let us loop you in’, beneath a heavily zoomed-in view of the Apple logo picked out in what appear to be the four iPhone colours: silver, gold, Space Grey and rose gold; the jury’s out on whether this should lead us to expect new iPhones (such as the iPhone SE, most obviously), new iPads or MacBooks to become available in the iPhone colour palette, or a combination of these things. We’d be surprised if the word ‘loop’ doesn’t refer to new Apple Watch announcements, but this might just be new watch bands.

If rumours are to believed, Apple will unveil two highly anticipated new products: the iPhone 6c and iPad Air 3, along with a few new Apple Watch accessories. Here’s what we know so far.

At the end of January, rumours about a March event flooded the web after months of much quieter speculation, with the consensus suggesting that the week of 14 March was the one to mark in your diaries – more specifically, 15 March 2016. However, only weeks before the reported event was due to take place, Buzzfeed reported that the event had been pushed back by a week, and will now take place on Monday 21 March 2016.

Anonymous sources have reportedly told 9To5Mac that the iPad Air 3 is the most likely new product coming at the March event. Apple surprised us by skipping an October event this year, which traditionally sees updates to the iPad range. Instead, Apple unveiled the all-new iPad Pro and a new iPad mini 4 at its busy event in September alongside the new iPhones.

That means the iPad Air is overdue an update, so a March event to unveil the new model seems likely.

Plus, the 4in iPhone 6c, which rumours now suggest will in fact be called the iPhone SE, could make an appearance too. The fabled 4in iPhone is said to boast an iPhone 5-esque design with curved edges, and may feature Touch ID an A8 processor according to rumours.

Additionally, though, we could see the introduction of new Apple Watch bands to coincide with the original launch event, which took place in March 2015.

Apple has held other events in March over the years, including the launch of the Apple Watch and MacBook in 2015 and the launch of the iPad 3 back in 2012.

Apple will broadcast the event live on Apple.com and Apple TV.

Nov 10

Apple has confirmed that the iPad Pro will be available to order online on Wednesday 11 November. Prices start at £679, (32Gb with wi-fi) confirming that the UK pricing list we saw last week was correct. See our iPad Pro UK price section below for the numbers.

Tim Cook visited the Covent Garden Apple store and was interview by the Telegraph as he prepared to launch the iPad Pro.

Apple iPad Pro

 

“I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?”, asks Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, who has just flown into Britain for the launch of the iPad Pro. Cook, whose spotless tailored suit and red poppy belies the fact that he spent the night in a plane, is clearly in ebullient mood. Wall Street and the City are obsessed with the iPhone, the company’s dominant product, but Apple appears quietly confident that its new tablet and TV device are going to help power the company’s continuing growth.

“Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones,” Cook argues in his distinctly Southern accent (he was born in Alabama). He highlights two other markets for his 12.9 inch devices, which go on sale online on Wednesday. The first are creatives: “if you sketch then it’s unbelievable..you don’t want to use a pad anymore,” Cook says.

The second is music and movie consumers: the sound system and speakers are so powerful that the iPad appears to pulsate in one’s hands when one plays a video.

Some consumers use the iPad mini to read in bed, he says, finding it more relaxing than using a phone and the busyness that goes with it. That won’t change, he believes. “But I think it clearly created some cannibalisation – which we knew would occur – but we don’t really spend any time worrying about that, because as long as we cannibalise [ourselves], it’s fine,” Cook laughs.

“We don’t want to put the watch through the FDA process, [but] I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it” comments Tim Cook.

iPad Pro UK price

The iPad Pro will be available in just three storage configurations, confirming the pre-launch rumour that the 16GB option has been killed off. Your only options are 32GB or 128GB (if you want the Wi-Fi model) or 128GB (if you want it with cellular connectivity).

We now have official word from Apple on UK pricing for the iPad Pro. (including VAT)

  • iPad Pro Wi-Fi (32GB): £679
  • iPad Pro Wi-Fi (128GB): £799
  • iPad Pro Wi-Fi + cellular (128GB): £899

Available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey:

iPad Pro

Specs

12.9″ Retina Display

2732*20148 Pixels

A9X Apple Chip – 64 bit

M9 motion coprocessor

8MP iSign camera

10 Hour battery life

iPad Pro layout

Options

Smart Keyboard – US Price $169 – UK Price £139.00

For many, a keyboard remains a convenient way to get work done or get thoughts down. The new Smart Keyboard completely reimagines this centuries-old invention to add even more flexibility to iPad Pro. With new technologies that free you from switches, plugs and even pairing, the Smart Keyboard is the perfect blend of full-size utility and outstanding portability.

Apple Pencil – US Price $99 – UK Price £79.00

Apple Pencil expands the power of iPad Pro and opens up new creative possibilities. It’s sensitive to pressure and tilt so you can easily vary line weight, create subtle shading, and produce a wide range of artistic effects — just like with a conventional pencil, but with pixel-perfect precision.

 

Oct 15

Apple just revamped the iMac line with a new 21.5″ iMac with a 4K high deff monitor.

new apple iiMacs

The idea behind iMac has never wavered: to craft the ultimate desktop experience. The best display, paired with high-performance processors, graphics and storage — all within an incredibly thin, seamless enclosure. And that commitment continues with the all-new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display. Like the revolutionary 27-inch 5K model, it delivers such spectacular image quality that everything else around you seems to disappear. Adding up to the most immersive iMac experience yet — and another big, beautiful step forward.

The larger 27″ gets a refresh with enhanced CPU and graphics cards. Also launched are new keyboard, mouse and trackpad.

new apple input devicesUK pricing starts at £899 for 1.6GHz Intel I5 with 8GB RAM and 1TB disk: £1,049 for faster 2.8GHz Intel I5 with same storage with 1920*1080 21’5″ display. The 4K retina model starts at £1,199 with a 3.1GHz I5 and 4096 by 2304 display. The 27″ with Retina starts at £1,449.

 

Sep 29

Apple confirms that the next release of the Mac Operating System OSX – El Capitan will be available from September 30th.

“People love using their Macs, and one of the biggest reasons is the power and ease-of-use of OS X,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “El Capitan refines the Mac experience and improves performance in a lot of little ways that make a very big difference. Feedback from our OS X beta program has been incredibly positive and we think customers are going to love their Macs even more with El Capitan.”

El Capitan OSXTuesday’s press release (see below) indicates that OS X El Capitan is on schedule to meet its previously announced Sept. 30 launch date. The company did hit a last-minute snag earlier this month that delayed watchOS 2 for a few days, though iOS 9 also arrived on schedule.

El Capitan supports all Macs introduced in 2009 or later, and some models introduced in 2007 and 2008.

To hype the launch, Apple is focusing on refinements to the Mac experience, and improvements to system performance.

Specifically, refinements have been made with regards to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search. Performance improvements include also make activities like launching and switching apps, opening PDFs and accessing email faster and more responsive.

New features in El Capitan include Split View, an enhanced Mission Control, a cursor spotting feature, better fullscreen view in Mail, an improved Notes app, the ability to quickly spot and mute tabs in Safari, and other general refinements and tweaks.

With multiple monitors on a MAC Pro the Cirson Finder will be a neat feature.

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