The specs of almost all the new Apple products seem to be in line with the leaks and speculations that were circulating in the online world.
At its annual event,Aplle announced their product line up as well as upgrades to several existing products.
Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
Apple has unveiled two new devices, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus which have a new display technology called 3D Touch or Force Touch display technology. This enables the display to differentiate between a light and a hard touch to initiate a particular action like opening music or a messenger app. Apple Watch was the first device to use this technology.
This year Apple has given its new iPhones a major upgrade in camera department as compared to all its previous models. Both 6S and 6S Plus have 12 megapixel rear camera that can also record videos in 4K resolution, a feature that has been available on iPhones since last year. On the front, they have a 5 megapixel camera.
Both the phones have a new 64-bit A9 chipset that is claimed to be 70 per cent faster at carrying out processes and a new graphic processor that is said to be 90 per cent faster as compared to that of iPhone 6. They will run on iOS 9,Apple’s latest version of operating system it will be released on September 16 as a free download to users of existing Apple devices. Similar to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the two new smartphones unveiled also have the same screen size and resolution. Apple iPhone 6S has a 4.7-inch HD screen while 6S Plus has a 5.5-inch Full HD screen.
Apple said the locked versions of iPhone 6s and 6S Plus will cost the same as their predecessors and will be available in three variants. The 16, 64 and 128GB variants of iPhone 6S will cost $199, $299 and $399 on contract respectively, while the same storage variants of iPhone 6S Plus Plus have been priced at $299, $399 and $499 respectively.
The unlocked iPhone 6S Plus will cost $649, $749 and $849 for the 16, 32, and 64GB variants respectively. Similarly, the iPhone 6S Plus unlocked models will cost $749, $849 and $949 for the three storage options.
The new iPhones will go on sale from September 12; one can pre-order it from September 12 in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan. It is expected that both the new iPhones will be made available in India by Diwali time though we don’t have a confirmation for the same.
At the event, Apple also announced that ICloud will now be cheaper, priced at 99 cents per month for 50GB of cloud storage. For 200GB and 1TB of cloud storage, users will have to shell out $2.99 and $9.99, respectively.
To cheer up the enterprise customers, Apple has unveiled iPad Pro tablet that has a 12.9 inch screen and is powered by the new A9X chip from Apple which the company claims improves the performance by 1.8 times over the existing second-generation 64-bit A8X chip that runs iPad Air 2..
As far as retail customers are concerned, Apple has not disappointed them either.Apple‘s new iPad mini 4 has also been unveiled at the event with a price tag of is priced at $399.
Pen and Accessory
Apple has also launched a stylus dubbed Apple Pencil. It has been priced at $99. It can be used along with iPad. Along with that company has also launched a Smart Keyboard which can fold up to become the iPad Pro cover.
After announcing OS X El Capitan, Apple has taken the wraps off iOS 9 at the ongoing WWDC 2015. As is the case with OS X, iOS 9 too focuses on improved user experience, performance and security.
Apple has again kicked off things with some numbers. It claims that 83 percent of all active iPhone users are on iOS 8, which is stupendous considering only about 12 percent of Android installed base in on Lollipop. Federighi starts with Siri, and with iOS 9, Apple wants to bring intelligence (read Siri) throughout the OS. Apple says Siri serves over a billion requests a week and is 40 percent more accurate than last year.
As expected, Apple has now also announced Proactive Assistant, which is Apple’s take on Google Now. Just like Google personal assistant, Proactive Assistant would give you a heads up about your calendar entries and advise you when to leave to make an appointment. Furthermore, it also gets a Truecaller-like feature, which would search your mails and suggest IDs for unknown numbers. Notice how it doesn’t crowdsource numbers or upload your phonebook for other users to get IDs of unknown callers.
While Proactive Assistant may seem inspired by Google Now, Apple couldn’t help but take a jab at Google. It says all the information for Proactive Assistant stays on the device and is anonymous. It is not associated with the Apple ID and is completely anonymous.
Other new features include, the ability to pull down the Spotlight shade, it will suggest you things to do or contacts you might want to reach out to depending on your calendar. The new OS also brings deep linking API, which will allow it to see data stored behind the apps that the user has installed on the iPhone and bring it up when the user searches for anything. If you get a mail with a calendar invite, it will automatically get added to your calendar. It could be a good thing or a nightmare, depending on how many mails you get.
Apple just announced the most unlikely update – Notes. It gets a new checklist feature, you can add photos to any note and even draw inside of one. Users will also be able to add links from the share sheet.
Also in line with earlier reports, Apple announced a major update for its Maps. It has taken another jab at Google Maps, by saying that they get about five billion user requests per week, and as per usage is 3.5 times higher on iOS than the next leading mapping app.
As for features, Apple Maps now gets Transit Direction. As the name suggests, it lets users navigate bus routes, subways, trains, and to the airport using the app. The feature will be introduced in select cities that include Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC among others.
The Cupertino-based giant has also launched a new app on iOS 9 called “News.” Users pick a selection of publications and topics and curate news is provided on the app. Users can also bookmark articles to read later. The app will be intially rolled out in the US, the UK and Australia.
In line with earlier reports, iOS 9 also brings in an improved keyboard. After adding word suggestions last year, this year the keyboard for iPads get shortcuts to cut copy paste, attachments, etc. You can also put two fingers down on the keyboard and it becomes a trackpad to move the cursor around. The Shift key too has been fixed, and rather than just the change in color, it will now be much easier to decipher when the Shift Key is pressed.
iPads are also getting the ability to multitask. In other words, users will be able to use multiple apps simultaneously by splitting the screen. Double tap on the home button to show the new task switcher, and simply sliding over from the side brings up another app. Both the apps are active at the same time, and you can scroll them at the same time too. There is also a new picture-in-picture mode. So if you are watching a video, but need to switch apps, the video will continue playing in a small window at one of the corners of the tablet.
The split-screen mode is however only available on the iPad Air 2, while SlideOver and PiP will be available on iPad Air and up, Mini 2 and up.
As for battery performance, in case you are running low on juice, there is a new “low power mode.” This mode boosts the battery life of your iOS device by up to three hours.
Also in line with earlier reports, Apple has significantly reduced the size of iOS 9. Where the iOS 8 update last year weighed 4.6GB, this year’s operating system update only weighs 1.8GB. Developer beta of iOS 9 will be launched today, followed by public beta next month, and the final version later this year. The latest operating system will be available on iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPod touch 5th generation.
The Apple Watch is finally here. Months after unveiling its first wearable, the Cupertino-based company at its Spring Forward event launched the Watch and revealed the pricing of all its different tiers. The Watch comes with a number of features and will be available for sale in nine countries starting April 10, and as per reports it will reach India only in June.
The Watch brings with it a number of features including a convenient payment system with a tap on your wrist, as well as hotel and car key replacements. Here are the most important features you will get with the Apple watch.
The digital crown
One of the most interesting features on the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. At this point, we have already seen a plenty of smartwatches, and most of them require — including and especially the Android Wear timepieces — to scroll and use the tiny screen to get most of the things done, which many find counterproductive. Apple is trying to address that with Digital Crown in the Watch. It is a knob on the watch’s right side which acts like a home button. Pressing on it returns you to the main screen and scrolling it lets you zoom into apps and explore through options in the interface
Fitness and health tracking
Besides being a companion gadget, Apple’s focus has been largely on fitness as far as the Watch is concerned. It comes with many sensors, offering a range of capabilities that are designed to work with apps to deliver health related features. There’s an Activity app which gleans information such as the wearer’s movement in the day and notifies them if he/she has been sitting for too long. To make things rewarding, the Watch gives away badges to give you a sense of achievement and progress towards the goal.
There is also a Workout app which gives athletes detailed information, such as time spent, calories burnt, pace and speed, and provides precise feedback.
Actionable Notifications and Glances
The Watch will deliver alerts in the form of Actionable Notifications and Glances. This will help users know what important things are going on without looking at their phone. Actionable Notifications will let users react to the alerts. Glances will pop up relevant information like heartbeat, weather, and appointments among others with just one swipe from the bottom of the display.
At the event, Apple even showcased a feature called ‘Digital Touch,’ which is essentially a platform for Watch users to communicate with each other right from the wearable. The USP is that instead of typing out long messages you can simply communicate through taps and doodles. You can tap the screen and the person you want to communicate with will be notified via a vibration. You can also sketch something on the screen or share your heartbeat with another person.
Tim Cook revealed a new feature on the Apple Watch, which lets you receive calls. You will not only be notified about an incoming call, but with the in-built speaker and microphone you will be able to receive calls too. Cook was pretty pleased about this feature saying, “I have been wanting to do this since I was five years old.”
Much like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch also uses the voice assistant service Siri to take voice input. The voice assistant feature makes the Watch even more useful, as it is able to dish out to our requests without the need to take out the phone. Users will be able to just say “Hey Siri” to trigger the voice assistant.
Promise to bring full-fledged apps
Apple announced that at some point “later this year,” the Watch will be able to support full-fledged apps. This is an interesting announcement and it addresses the flak many experts have had made in the past, which is that the Watch is only good for beaming content from the iPhone and can do nothing much without it.
The company also assured that in addition to its homegrown apps including Calendar, Music, Alarm, Weather, Stocks, Photos and Settings app, users will be able to download a number of other third-party apps in the months to come. These apps include Instagram, Uber, Nike+ Running, Shazam, Twitter, and WeChat among others.
At the sidelines of the iPhone 6 event last year, Apple announced Apple Pay, a new mode of payment with which the company wants to replace your credit cards. It is a secure payment system that works with iPhone 5 and later as well as the Apple Watch and requires users to tap on the screen to initiate and complete the transaction. On the Watch, the wearer will hear a beep and feel “a gentle pulse” confirming that the transaction has been completed. The only catch — Apple Pay is limited to few markets.
Hotel and Car Key Replacement
Apple also showcased a bunch of apps on the Apple Watch including Starwood Hotels’ preferred Guests app. The app not only allows users to see their reservation information, but also use the Watch as a room key and tap on it to open the door. While we assume this feature will only be available at select hotels, it is only a matter of time before more of them follow the suit.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that the Watch will also be able to unlock car doors with a tap on its screen. We however have to wait to see how it is implemented.
Gone are the days when you had to carry your tickets, or at least pull out your phone at the check-in counter to get clearance in airport. Thanks to Passbook on the Apple Watch, you can quickly pull up your plane tickets right on your Watch.
Google Android Browser and Apple iOS Safari Browser Vulnerable To a Decade Old ‘Freak’ Security Flow
Researchers have discovered a decade old security flaw called ‘Freak’ that affects Android and iOS devices. According to reports Google and Apple have been developing fixes for the security threat which rotationally leaves millions of devices vulnerable to hackers. Apple has confirmed that it will be releasing the fix next week, but Google has not given a release timeframe.
Researchers stated that the encryption flaw left users of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Android browsers vulnerable to hackers for more than a decade. The security flaw was blamed on a former US policy that banned US companies from exporting the strongest encryption standards available. The policies were abandoned in the late 1990s, but it was already a part of software used widely around the world.
The flaw could allow cyber criminals to sneak on communications of users accessing Apple’s Safari browser or Google’s Android browser. Users of the browsers were vulnerable to having their electronic communications intercepted when visiting any of hundreds of thousands of websites, including NSA.gov, Whitehouse.gov and FBI.gov.
“The vulnerability allows attackers to intercept HTTPS connections between vulnerable clients and servers and force them to use ‘export-grade’ cryptography, which can then be decrypted or altered. There are several posts that discuss the attack in detail: Matt Green, The Washington Post, and Ed Felten,” explain researchers.
“A connection is vulnerable if the server accepts RSA_EXPORT cipher suites and the client either offers an RSA_EXPORT suite or is using a version of OpenSSL that is vulnerable to CVE-2015-0204. Vulnerable clients include many Google and Apple devices (which use unpatched OpenSSL), a large number of embedded systems, and many other software products that use TLS behind the scenes without disabling the vulnerable cryptographic suites.”
According to the researchers there has been no evidence that hackers had exploited the vulnerability. Researchers have alerted affected government and commercial websites so that they could take corrective measures before the vulnerability was publicized. According to reports FBI.gov and Whitehouse.gov have been repaired, but NSA.gov still remains vulnerable.
Google may finally have beaten Apple in one of the key areas of mobile operating systems, the app store. According to a report by analytics service appFigures, Google Play finally has more apps than Apple’s App Store. The service looked at three app stores – the Play Store, the Apple App Store and the Amazon Appstore. The report said that last year, the number of apps in Google Play grew by over 50%.
The report noted, “In 2014, the number of apps distributed through Google Play has doubled.” The company also posted a graph, showing Google’s number of apps at just over 1,250k, while Apple came in at just below the same number. That said, all three of the stores made a huge jump from around 750k in the year before.
The difference though is that in 2013, the graph was tipped in favour of Apple, with Google coming just behind it.
The respective app stores play a big role in Android and iOS’ popularity over its competitors. In fact, Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS has its biggest achilles heel in the fact that it doesn’t have enough ‘big-name’ apps in the Windows Store. Also, while the Google Play and iTunes Store are core apps in Android and iOS devices, Amazon’s Appstore is preinstalled only on BlackBerry phones, while it is also available for Android devices.