Tuesday February 2, 2016 6:38 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple's next media event, where it is rumored to announce updates across three product categories, is tentatively planned for Tuesday, March 15, according to 9to5Mac. The date could change over the next six weeks.
As the scheduled event is still a month-and-a-half away, the date could conceivably still shift or turn into an online announcement. The media event would be Apple’s first since September, and much like the fall event, is planned to touch on three major product categories for the company.
Apple's new 4-inch iPhone is rumored to feature an A9 chip with M9 motion coprocessor, 1,624 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.2, Apple Pay, VoLTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and 16GB and 64GB storage models, but 3D Touch appears unlikely.
The so-called "iPhone 5se" will reportedly ship in late March or early April, and will likely replace the iPhone 5s. Apple's smartphone lineup come September is expected to be the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 5se.
Details surrounding the iPad Air 3 are less clear, but leaked designdrawings and aftermarket cases suggest the new 9.7-inch tablet could have a rear-facing LED camera flash, Smart Connector, and four speakers like the iPad Pro.
Taiwanese website DigiTimes also said the iPad Air 3 will have a high-resolution 4K display and up to 4GB of RAM, but the report is questionable due to the publication's mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans.
Last, earlier rumors suggested an "Apple Watch 2" could debut around March, but the wrist-worn device will likely only receive minor updates, including new bands and possibly a FaceTime camera, at next month's purported media event.
Update:BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski has confirmed March 15 as the date when Apple will hold its spring event to unveil a smaller iPhone, a new iPad, and new watch bands.
Sunday January 31, 2016 9:07 am PST by Eric Slivka
Last week, a design drawing surfaced claiming to show an iPad Air 3 with a few differences compared to the current iPad Air 2, most notably a stereo four-speaker design similar to the iPad Pro and an apparent LED flash located below the rear camera.
The design drawing likely came from a third-party manufacturer, and these companies apparently now feel comfortable enough to begin producing cases based on the design, as seen through Chinese site Alibaba's 1688.com business portal (via Nowhereelse.fr).
The new low-cost cases currently selling at around $3–4 each in quantities of 500 or more and even cheaper for greater quantities match the earlier design drawing, including two slots on each of the top and bottom edges to accommodate the device's speakers, and a teardrop cutout on the rear to fit the camera with an LED flash below.
At least one of the cases appears to have a cutout along the left side that matches the shape and location of the Smart Connector used to dock and power accessories such as keyboards on the iPad Pro. A Smart Connector was not observed in the design drawing from last week and does not appear to be included on the other case being offered for sale.
Other features appear identical to the iPad Air 2, including a decently large cutout high on the right edge of the device for the volume buttons, and small holes on the right edge and next to the rear camera for microphones. Additional cutouts for the headphone jack and power button on top and the Lightning port on the bottom are also present.
Apple opted not to update the iPad Air lineup last September when it debuted the iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro, and a new iPad Air 3 has been rumored for release during the first half of this year, most likely at a March media event.
Thursday January 28, 2016 4:31 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Taiwanese touch panel makers General Interface Solution and TPK will share production of a third-generation "4K" iPad Air set to debut in March, according to sources out of the China supply chain (via DigiTimes).
The same sources claim that in addition to a 4K resolution touch panel, Apple's new 9.7-inch tablet will feature up to 4GB RAM and improved battery life, and is scheduled to enter mass production in the second quarter of 2016.
The report goes on to state that both display makers expect a slight on-year increase in demand for touch panel products from Apple in the first half of 2016 due to orders of products equipped with 3D Touch. This comes despite previous rumors suggesting the iPad Air 3 will not adopt the pressure-sensitive display technology due to the production difficulties involved with scaling it up for a larger display.
Taiwan-based website DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but its sources within the upstream supply chain have proven reliable in the past. However, the term "4K" may simply refer to the new iPad Air adopting features included in the iPad Pro, which inherited the oxide thin film transistor from the 5K Retina iMac, along with a UV-based photo alignment technique that ensures uniform color and brightness in the display. It also included a variable refresh rate that preserves battery life by cutting the refresh rate in half whenever there's static content on the screen.
Based on details from leaked design drawings, the next-generation iPad Air may be set to adopt the iPad Pro's four-speaker design and gain an LED flash next to the rear-facing camera. Other updates that would make sense include a faster A9 or A9X processor, Smart Connector, and improved cameras.
Friday January 22, 2016 1:26 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple is rumored to be planning to host a March event to unveil new products, but exact details on what will be shown off at the event have been in flux. An early December rumor from 9to5Mac suggested Apple would use the event to unveil a second-generation Apple Watch, but a report from TechCrunch indicated that rumor was false - no Apple Watch 2 is in the works for an early 2016 launch.
Instead, TechCrunch shared information indicating something smaller but still watch-related could be introduced in March, perhaps a minor update to add a FaceTime camera or new bands and partnerships similar to Apple's collaboration with Hermès. In a new report on what may come out at the March event, 9to5Mac backtracks on earlier claims of an Apple Watch 2 and instead agrees with TechCrunch, pointing towards a new Apple Watch lineup with new bands but no hardware changes.
At its September 2015 event, Apple introduced its Hermès partnership and debuted new colors for several Apple Watch bands, and we may see the same kind of update at the March event. New colors for existing bands and bands in new materials may be in the works. Apple is also planning to release watchOS 2.2 at or shortly after the event.
Apple's March event may also see the debut of the rumored 4-inch iPhone, now thought to be called the "iPhone 5se" to reflect its position as a successor to the iPhone 5s. The device is said to have an iPhone 5s-style exterior with iPhone 6-style curved cover. Internally, it will feature an A8 or A9 processor, NFC support for Apple Pay, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and while it won't have 3D Touch, it will be capable of taking Live Photos.
Previous rumors have suggested we could also see the next-generation iPad Air at the March event, as it is said to be debuting in the spring of 2016.
Though no Apple Watch 2 update is planned for early 2016, a second-generation update is undoubtedly in the works. It's possible Apple could be planning to release a new Apple Watch in the fall months alongside the iPhone 7.
Apple's plans for a March event remain tentative, and should products not be ready for release, there's a possibility that it could be canceled in favor of an online-only unveiling and announcement for the 4-inch iPhone and new Apple Watch bands.
iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.
A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.
New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.
As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.
Wednesday December 30, 2015 7:42 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Apple has announced plans for in-store art workshops to give customers "at all skill levels" some hands-on time with image capturing and art-centric apps (via CNET). The classes aim to not only instruct attendees on photography techniques like long exposures and light trails, but will equip them with various iPhone and iPad accessories in attempting to introduce new and creative ways to take photos and create artwork on an Apple device.
A painting part of Apple's "Start Something New" campaign
"We'll help you try out various accessories and techniques -- like long exposure for light trails, using Time-lapse to show progression, or getting up close with nature using a macro lens," Apple said in a statement. "Then, we'll explore artistic ways to adjust and edit your photos, so you can create a work of art, find your style, or just improve your skills."
In addition to an iPhone-focused photography session, Apple Stores will offer an iPad workshop centered around drawing and painting on the tablet. The company didn't give any detail as to whether the workshops will require specific iPhone and iPad models, but there's a good chance that the improved 12-megapixel camera on the iPhone 6s and Apple Pencil support on the iPad Pro will be a big focus.
The workshops are the newest addition to Apple's "Start Something New" campaign, which it has introduced coinciding with the New Year holiday over the pastfew years. The campaign features a collection of artwork -- including paintings, photos, drawings, and even short films -- that were all created using Apple products and accessories. Apple has yet to set a start date for the in-store workshops, but promised that each Apple Store around the world would be joining in on offering the creative sessions.
Tuesday December 15, 2015 5:02 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple is working on next-generation pressure-sensing display technology that will work on screen sizes as large as the iPad Pro, reports AppleInsider citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans. The new display technology is said to be in development, but it won't be finished in time for inclusion in the third-generation iPad Air or the next-generation iPhone.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple is unable to scale existing 3D Touch technology to accommodate larger displays like the 9.7-inch panels used in the iPad Air line. The source, who has in the past provided accurate information about Apple's future plans, said the company is working on a comparable technology for integration in both iPhones and iPads, potentially offering support for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple's largest iOS device.
AppleInsider's information comes following a similar report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said the next iPad Air, set to be released in the first half of 2016, will not include 3D Touch because of production issues. Kuo also said the upcoming iPhone 7, coming in the fall of 2016, will continue to use 3D Touch technology that's similar in structure to the 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.
Positioned as one of the flagship features of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, 3D Touch adds new pressure-based gestures to iOS devices. Apple has called 3D Touch "the future of multi-touch," so it's a logical assumption that the company is working on expanding pressure sensitive touch gestures to its entire iOS lineup.
Taken in tandem, Kuo's statements along with AppleInsider's rumor suggest 3D Touch or a comparable technology will not be available on iPhones and iPads until after the fall of 2016, perhaps pointing towards a 2017 debut for the feature.
The first profile shows how iPads allow Jodie Deinhammer, a science teacher at Coppell High School in Texas, to better educate her students about the complexity of the human heart using iTunes U, digital textbooks and apps including BioDigital Human, The Human Body Lite and MotiConnect.
“The heart unit is important because kids need to know how to take care of themselves and live a healthy life. Heart disease is a huge problem, and it’s something they don’t know a lot about. […]
With the heart unit, there are lots of great visualizations I could never provide before. Now students can just click on them on iPad, and it makes the learning more concrete, so it sticks with them.”
iBooks textbooks such as Life on Earth provide Deinhammer's students with a closer look at heart anatomy and the complexities of blood flow through the heart muscle, while the iPad and other apps are also used in multiple lab activities for heart rate, histology, dissection and more.
“The iPad has afforded our students the opportunity to learn science at a deeper level. They’re able to make connections that weren’t really possible before the technology came into the classroom.”
The second profile provides a snapshot of how the Philadelphia Performing Arts, a String Theory Charter K-12 school, has used iPads to create custom learning materials and lesson plans for teachers. The school uses the iWork suite, iTunes U and other apps such as Elements 4D and Volcano 360º.
"You’ll never remember a test you took, but you will remember something you created. And you will remember the moment when a teacher says to you, ‘Wow, that’s really awesome.’ And those are the things our students get to take away with them." — Christine DiPaulo, Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology
Tuesday November 17, 2015 8:00 am PST by Juli Clover
In its latest display shoot-out, DisplayMate Technologies compared the displays of Apple's current iPad lineup: the 2015 iPad mini 4, the 2015 iPad Pro, and the 2014 iPad Air 2 to see how the three tablets measure up against each other. The iPad mini 4 came out on top in most of DisplayMate's tests, which used a variety of calibrated lab measurements and image/photo viewing tests to compare display quality.
DisplayMate called the iPad mini "unquestionably the best and most accurate LCD tablet display we've ever tested," giving it higher marks than the 2732 x 2048 resolution iPad Pro. The iPad Pro also scored well, earning all "very good" to "excellent" marks on tests, and while the iPad Air 2 did well enough to rank as a top tier display, its performance was somewhat behind the iPad mini 4 and the iPad Pro, unsurprising as it was last updated in the fall of 2014 while the mini and the Pro were both released in the fall of 2015.
All three tablets use the same IPS LCDs, but the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro have photo aligned LCDs with higher contrast ratios while the iPad mini 4 uses standard mechanical alignment. The iPad Pro also uses a metal oxide TFT backplane for better light throughput and power efficiency, a must for such a large and power hungry display.
Each of the iPads has a similar max brightness, measuring in at 415 cd/m2 (nits) for the iPad Air 2, 424 nits for the iPad Pro, and 450 nits for the iPad mini 4. On maximum contrast ratio, the difference between peak white brightness and the darkest black, all of the iPads had high True Contrast Ratios, but the iPad Pro won at this test. The iPad mini 4 had a True Contrast Ratio of 967, while the iPad Air 2 ranked at 1,064 and the iPad Pro measured in at 1,631, the highest DisplayMate has measured for an LCD tablet display.
On color gamut, the iPad mini had the most accurate score at 101 percent (100 percent is best). The iPad Air 2 had a 105 percent color gamut, while the iPad Pro had a 107 percent color gamut, with the larger two tablets displaying oversaturated blues. On color accuracy, the iPad mini also won, but the iPad Pro was a relatively close second. The iPad Air 2 earned much lower Absolute Color Accuracy marks.
The iPad mini 4 has a very impressive Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 1.9 and 4.2 JNCD - tied for first place in Absolute Color Accuracy with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The iPad Pro is somewhat less accurate, but still (just barely) Very Good, with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 2.6 and 6.6 JNCD. The iPad Air 2 has noticeably lower Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 3.9 and 8.8 JNCD, which are visually noticeable and could be unacceptable for some color critical applications (like medical imaging, high-end digital photography, product sales demonstrations, and advertising proofs, for example).
When it comes to screen reflectance, DisplayMate called all three iPads "unrivaled record holders" for performance in ambient light. The iPad mini had a 2.0 percent Reflectance, while the iPad Air 2 had 2.5 percent and the iPad Pro had 2.6 percent. A test measuring contrast in high ambient light saw the iPad mini perform best, with a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 225. Comparatively, the iPad Air 2 scored 166 and the iPad Pro scored 163.
Due to the inclusion of the metal oxide backplane in the iPad Pro, it earned the award for most power efficient. The backplane increases light throughput and the iPad Pro's display uses a lower refresh rate when there are static images on the screen.
While the iPad mini 4 is the best iPad display based on DisplayMate's test, the site calls all of the iPads in Apple's current lineup "unrivaled" when it comes to screen Reflectance, giving them an edge over competing tablets. Due to their low Reflectance, the iPads have "by far" the highest image Contrast in ambient light and the highest Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of all current tablets.
The full results of the display shoot-out, available from DisplayMate, are well worth checking out for those interested in getting an in-depth look at how the displays of the iPad mini 4, iPad Pro, and iPad Air 2 compare.
Monday November 16, 2015 5:18 am PST by Joe Rossignol
While the iPad Pro further bridges the gap between iOS and OS X, and notebooks and tablets as a whole, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told the Irish Independent that Apple is not interested in creating a "converged Mac and iPad."
“We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” said Cook. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”
Instead, Cook said Apple wants to create the best possible Mac and iPad, suggesting that both products have a strong future. The chief executive is "bullish" about the reverse of declining iPad sales in recent quarters.
“It’s true that the difference between the X86 [personal computer] and the A-series [Apple iPad architecture] is much less than it’s ever been,” says Cook. “That said, what we’ve tried to do is to recognize that people use both iOS and Mac devices. So we’ve taken certain features and made them more seamless across the devices. So with things like Handoff we just made it really simple to work on one of our products and pick it up and work on the next product.”
Last week, Cook rhetorically questioned why anyone would buy a PC anymore -- excluding the Mac, which he says is not the "same" -- and said the iPad Pro will serve as a replacement for a notebook or desktop computer for "many, many people."
"I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?" [...]
"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."
MacStories editor Federico Viticci, as someone who uses iOS as his main computing platform, felt otherwise. "I don't see myself using a Mac as my primary computer ever again," he wrote in his iPad Pro review.
Cook also provided a non-comment about Apple's rumored electric vehicle plans, emphasizing "a need for a focus on user interface."
“I don’t have anything to announce about our plans,” he says. “But I think there’s some significant changes in the automobile industry over the next several years with electrification and autonomous driving. And there’s a need for a focus on user interface. And so I think there’s a lot of changes that will go on there.”
Wednesday October 28, 2015 8:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
T-Mobile has announced that the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are now available through its JUMP! On Demand upgrade program, enabling qualified customers to purchase either tablet on an 18-month lease and upgrade to a newer tablet up to three times per year. The program breaks down the price of each iPad into equal monthly payments starting at $22/month with $0 due upfront.
iPad Air 2
16GB: $26/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $25/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $24/month, $199.99 due upfront
iPad mini 4
16GB: $22/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $21/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $19/month, $199.99 due upfront
The limited time offer is available by calling T-Mobile at 1-877-500-6055 or visiting a participating T-Mobile store in the U.S. At the end of the 18-month lease, the iPad must be returned in working order, or the customer can pay off the remaining balance to keep it. If a customer cancels wireless service during a lease, remaining payments on the iPad become due. See T-Mobile's tablet plans.
Thursday October 22, 2015 9:22 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
In a new nationwide study conducted by retailer Best Buy, the top gadgets and products planned to be gifted and asked for this holiday season were detailed in a "Top 15 Tech Gifts for 2015" list. Apple's iPad (with no specific preference given to the Air or Mini line) came out on top, with the Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones, MacBook, and smart HD TVs rounding out the top five spots.
2. Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones
4. Samsung 48” Smart 4K Ultra HD TV
5. Sharp 43” Smart HDTV with Roku
6. Microsoft Surface
7. Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II
8. Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Tracker
9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
10. Dyson V6 Absolute Bagless Cordless Vacuum
11. Vizio 43” Smart 4K Ultra HD TV
12. Apple Watch
13. SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker
14. iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robot
15. GoPro HERO4 Action Camera
Apple's products account for three of the top 15 gifts this year, with the newest device -- the Apple Watch -- also ranking the lowest of the company's devices in the twelfth spot, four places below the Fitbit Charge activity tracker. Unsurprisingly, Best Buy's study also found that those aged 18-34 placed consumer electronics highest on their wish lists, prioritizing technology over other categories like clothing, books, and jewelry.
The report also found that men are both more likely than women to want tech-related gifts for the holidays are be the ones who gift consumer electronics to friends and family more frequently. Self-gifting was also factored into the survey thanks to the highly discounted nature of holiday shopping, with 19 percent of those interested in Apple's iPad planning on buying it for themselves during the gift-giving season. Similarly, 15 percent of those who chose the MacBook said it would be a present for themselves.
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