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Anticipation of iOS7

Published on September 8, 2013 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, News

It looks like Apple’s newest version of its popular mobile operating system is ready to face the public, possibly being unveiled at the media event planned for September 10th.  Currently, almost all iPhones and iPads are operating on iOS 6, the last version to be offered from the tech giant.  Users are looking forward to the release of the new system because it means faster processing and new features to play with.

Usage Varies by Device Type

Chitika, an ad network, has recently posted its findings regarding iOS distribution among current iPhone and iPad devices.  They found that iOS 6 is currently installed on approximately 92% of iPhones, with iPads lagging slightly behind at 82%.  The older version of the system, iOS 5, barely accounts for any usage.  It is currently being used on about 13% of iPads, but a paltry 5% for iPhones.  The differential could be due to iOS 6 being a bit more “mobile friendly” than iOS 5 and therefore better for iPhones but not so much better for iPads.

Chitika analyzed data collected on iOS-based ad impressions during the period of August 15 through August 21.  The company states that it analyzed data from “tens of millions” of these impressions in order to have a solid basis for its numbers.  These numbers are pretty much what was expected by Apple ahead of its iOS 7 debut but slightly lower than the numbers found in and identical study carried out in June.  The drop is generally thought to be due to iOS 7 Beta making an impact with developers.

Anticipation Runs High for iOS 7

The next generation of iPhones, being unveiled September 10th, will be pre-loaded with the new iOS 7.  Apple followers also expect the new operating system to be released for use on iPhone 4, 4S and 5 devices at the same time that iOS 7 is unveiled on the next-gen handsets.  This will cause major changes in the distribution of operating systems on the company’s devices as occurred last year when iOS 6 was released.

As previously reported here, iOS 7 is looking at some small changes that make a big difference.  Many users are anticipating the release just so they can get their hands on the new updated features.  Folders, Safari, lock screen accessibility updates and other small tweaks in the system promise to deliver a more user-friendly iOS.  While some fans are disappointed that Siri doesn’t get an update, they are more than happy to explore the differences offered by the new iOS version.

 

 

 
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Amazon’s Free Smartphone?

Published on September 8, 2013 by in Apple, News

Amazon may be in the process of figuring out how to offer their smartphones in a way that could make other smartphone providers (like Apple and Samsung) curl up their toes.  The wildly popular online marketplace is rumored to be making preparations to offer their highly-anticipated smartphone to consumers for a very reasonable price – free!  Amazon has designs on grabbing a valid share of the growing market for smartphones by undercutting the giants in the field.

Forcing Competition

Whether Amazon will actually offer its new smartphone for free remains to be seen.  However, should the company succeed in luring consumers away from other smartphone makers by doing so, it could very well change the whole game in the smartphone field.  If Amazon offers a free device and draws market share from the likes of Apple and Samsung, it would make those companies reevaluate their own pricing structure for their offerings.  Those larger companies might even have to take the drastic action of reducing their process across the board or offering devices for free in order to compete with the online retailer.

Rumors and Speculation

It’s not clear exactly how Amazon would recoup its costs on such a project, but as always, there is ample speculation running rampant online.  Sources close to Amazon have confirmed that the company is considering offering its smartphone for free, but there are also murmurs that the online retailer could require consumers who take them up on the offer to enroll in (and pay for) a loyalty program like Amazon Prime.  The sources have said that Amazon wants to be able to provide free smartphones even for consumers who do not sign up for a wireless contract.  Most wireless providers will provide deeply discounted or free devices when a consumer signs up for a one- or two-year contract when the purchase is made.  The whole point of Amazon’s “free smartphone” plan is to make such restrictions less prohibitive for those who cannot or choose not to sign up for a long-term service contract.  The company has reportedly been in talks with various wireless carriers in an effort to discern which ones might be willing to get the Amazon smartphone into their lineup.

Planning for the Future

While Amazon has not yet tossed its hat into the smartphone ring, it’s highly likely that they will announce their intention to do so at some point in the near future.  With Apple getting ready to roll out the next generation of iPhones and Samsung having just unveiled the Galaxy Note 3, a nudge from Amazon that causes the companies to rethink their price points could prove to be a nightmare in both the near- and long-term outlooks of both tech giants.

No part of the plan is currently carved in stone, but Amazon’s smartphone would probably appear on the Amazon.com site and be offered directly to consumers.  The company still has lots of logistics to work out before they could even begin to offer their version of a smartphone device.  Financial considerations for manufacturers are still being hammered out and the device may or may not be available anytime soon.  There is a lot of speculation among tech bloggers that Amazon even having such a strategy is indicative of how the online retailer plans to get into the smartphone market, and that they are more than willing to undercut the other guys to start making a mark in the field of smartphone devices.

 

 

 
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Another Day, Another Leak about iPhone 5S

Published on September 6, 2013 by in Apple, News, Rumors

Another Day, Another Leak about iPhone 5S

We’ve seen lots of leaks regarding Apple’s upcoming media event, where the company is expected to introduce the next generation of its flagship handset, the iPhone.  The latest leak purportedly shows a detailed view of the biometric scanner that may be employed in the iPhone 5S.  The photos show a component that will sit under the Home key of the handset.  It is widely believed to be a fingerprint scanner that will add an additional security layer to the device.

The high-resolution photos popped up online today, published by Australian teen, Sonny Dickson.  The images show hardware with a circular area that would incorporate the actual scanning mechanism within its center.  Lower-quality images were floating around at the beginning of the week, and while the earlier images cannot be matched 100% due to the difference in quality, they do appear to be of the same component.  These new images show the part in much better detail.

Leaked photos from August showed a definite change around the Home button of the purported iPhone 5S and rumors of other internal design changes have been flying through the online grapevine.  This makes sense, as a fingerprint scanner would be much more complex than the traditional Home button mechanism.

Developers who have been working with the Beta version of iOS 7 have found evidence for a “Biometric Kit” within the code, giving credence to speculation that the next generation of iPhones will employ some form for biometric scanning.  Also within the code was a description of an image showing someone being “recognized” by the device after placing their thumb on the Home button.

Rumors of biometric scanning have been circulating since Apple acquired AuthenTec last year.  AuthenTec had been developing semiconductor-based sensors that could detect the ridges and valleys inherent in a fingerprint in enough detail to be used as a security device.  The company had already developed much of the needed technology and had constructed a very small device for biometric identification when Apple acquired them for around $350 million.

With the September 10th media event just around the corner, speculation about Apple’s plans and new devices seems to grow as each day passes.  Today was no different, and I’m sure tomorrow has more tidbits in store.  Stay tuned for the latest news from Apple and keep up on all the latest on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Siri, iOS and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Unpacked Episode 2 Showcases Next-Generation Galaxy Offerings

Published on September 4, 2013 by in Apple, News

Unpacked Episode 2 Showcases Next-Generation Galaxy Offerings

Following weeks of hype over Samsung’s anticipated Unpacked Episode 2, the tech giant unveiled the next generation of Galaxy devices: the Galaxy Note 3 (a phablet) and the Galaxy Gear, the company’s third foray into the smart watch arena.  While the main part of the event took place in Berlin, Samsung also took great pains to promote the new devices in the States with a concurrent event in New York City’s Times Square.  The NYC media blitz event offered a live musical performance and streaming video of the keynote presentation occurring in Berlin.  Attendees were also offered a chance to be among the first to get their hands on the latest offerings from the company.  The NYC event drew a good-sized crowd and those who stayed for the show were given blue and white Galaxy-themed baseball caps.

 

Experience Center

An “Experience Center” was set up in Times Square in an effort to promote the new Galaxy devices that were being introduced across the globe in Berlin.  Swedish duo Icona Pop performed live on the stage to entertain the crowd waiting to see the live feed of the main event in Germany.  The Experience Center featured a huge setup for the live feed, a curtained platform and an area for sound mixing.  The crowd was advised to stick around after the live feed for a “big surprise.”

 

 

Show and Tell

After the feed ended, dozens of blue-capped attendees were queued up to see what kind of surprise Samsung had in store.  The curtained platform was uncovered, revealing multiple tables with both the Galaxy Gear and the Note 3 placed on them.  Small groups of people were allowed to gather around the tables, where they played with both devices for about five minutes per group.  Each table had several of each of the devices; each Note 3 paired with one of the Galaxy Gear smart watches.  Employees hovered nearby to answer questions, provide information about functions and capabilities and keep an eye on the valuable devices.  Attendees seemed impressed with the new devices and capabilities, especially the updated S-pen and the connectivity exhibited by the Galaxy Gear.  Notably absent from the event was the new generation of the Galaxy Tab which was also announced during Unpacked Episode 2.

 

Ahead of Apple

Apple is expected to introduce its next generation of iPhones in just about a week, meaning that Samsung has gotten ahead of its rival, at least as far as releasing new devices first.  Apple is not put off at all by Samsung’s preemptive jump into the market, and is hyping its September 10th event every bit as exhaustively as Samsung hyped its Unpacked Episode 2.  We’ll see what Apple has to offer at next week’s event, but for now, Samsung is basking in the buzz created by its new offerings.

 

 

 
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Apple Invites Press for September Media Event

Published on September 3, 2013 by in Apple, iPhone, News

Apple Invites Press for September Media Event

A week ahead of Apple’s anticipated September 10th media event, the company sent out invitations today to assorted press outlets.  In the invitation, the technology giant promised to “brighten everyone’s day,” a possible allusion to its expected introduction of the many-hued iPhone 5C.  The date and time of the event are now fixed: September 10, 2013 at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern).  The invitation indicates that the event will take place in Cupertino, Ca. at the corporate headquarters for Apple.

The invitation makes no specific mention of unveiling the next generation of iPhones.  However, it has been commonly speculated among Apple followers for some time now that the event will see the introduction of two new iPhones, the 5S and the 5C.  Leaked photos have been popping up all over the internet purporting to show the iPhone 5S in a new shade (champagne) and a polycarbonate-cased, lower-cost iPhone 5C.  It is generally believed that the 5C will be released in a variety of colors including yellow, red, green, blue, white and others.

While there could be some surprises at the event, Apple followers believe they know what to expect.  Alongside the two new iPhone models, a new version of Apple’s mobile operating system will probably also be brought out at the event.  The new beta version of the system, iOS 7, is in the hands of developers right now.

Features of the iPhone 5S

Several changes are expected in the iPhone 5S.  A fingerprint scanner is one of the largest and most visible changes, and has been rumored since Apple acquired AuthenTec last year.  AuthenTec is a security firm specializing in biometrics.  Its purchase was a strong signal to Apple enthusiasts that some type of biometric security would be included in the new generation of iPhones.  Leaked photos have convinced avid followers that the scanner will exist on the Home button.  A biometric security device would make obsolete passwords and lock codes, giving Apple a very good competitive edge that other tech giants will not likely be able to emulate for some time.

It is widely believed that Apple will introduce an A7 chip with the 5S.  The A7 chip is expected to be 31% faster and 20% more efficient than the A6 that is in the iPhone 5.  There may also be a dedicated chip for motion-tracking purposes.  This would enable a whole new range of interaction for the user.

The iPhone 5S may also see some other improvements, including a dual LED flash for the camera, camera upgrades and the possibility of 128 gigabyte storage capability.  It will likely be offered not only in black and white, but also in a new shade as well.  Leaked photos have shown a possible champagne color for the 5S.

Bright Day

September 10th will arrive and all of this speculation will either be borne out, or found to be completely off track.  Apple enthusiasts all over the web have been very good at figuring out what Apple is up to, and I think they’ll probably be validated in their efforts yet again.  No matter what happens, Apple is planning to brighten our day with their announcements.  We’ll keep you updated on all the latest news as we edge ever closer to the much-ballyhooed event.

 

 
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