Monday, August 31, 2015
In just about nine days from now, Apple will be holding their September media event. Scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 1:00pm eastern (10:00am pacific), Apple will be introducing what it has in store of us in the run up to this year's holiday shopping season.
It's a pretty safe bet to expect the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus to be introduced at this event. The same goes for iOS 9. I expect both of the iPhones and iOS 9 to arrive in our hands no later than Sept. 25. (Betting money is by Sept. 18.)
I like to have a little bit of delighted surprise when I watch the Apple keynote addresses so I really try to avoid all of the leaks in the month running up to the event. So without getting into any leak rumors, here's what I'm hoping to see on Sept. 9.
iPhone 6 Remixed
It's virtually impossible to open a browser to a tech blog and not be assaulted by the screaming "The Latest Leaked iPhone 6S Thingamabob Will..." headlines, but I do think the next iPhone will have a Force Touch display. The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros have Force Touch track pads. The Apple Watch has a Force Touch display. It's only natural to assume that it will be in the next flagship iPhone. I'd take this upgrade even if the phone will get slightly thicker.
I would also like to see an upgrade to the camera. With the iPhone being such a popular point-and-shoot camera, it's time to upgrade that 8MP iSight camera.
Make it thicker. If the iPhone camera lens protrudes, now is the time to add thickness and level everything out on the back again. If the phone gets thicker from the inclusion of a Force Touch screen, then there should be space for the entire camera assembly to be contained inside the case. Oh, and make the battery slightly thicker.
I also expect the A9 processor to be a thing, but since this is an "S" year, I think the processor, camera and display to be the hardware upgrades.
The public betas being what they are, available to the public, they really aren't too ultra-secret any more. I expect ad blockers to be big. I'm hoping to just have more control over what ad networks are able to glean about me from scanning my device after running some sketchy ad code when I visit my favorite blogs and websites. Many people will likely go with a default option and just block all ads entirely.
I'm also looking forward to the end of Newsstand to make it's exit with iOS 9. It was a great idea back in the spring of 2010 when the band new iPad first appeared with the $1.00/wk The Daily newspaper. But now, with apps getting all the love, Newsstand seems almost forgotten. On my iPad, you will find three lonely icons for the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and Forbes. I'd love to have those apps in a standard app folder on my iPad.
Lastly, I'm hoping for some more control over music with explicit lyrics to be added either to the Music app or to the iTunes control panel. If these options exist today, I sure has heck can't find them.
And speaking of searching, being able to search for preferences in the Settings application is a big win in my book.
There's been a lot to do about Apple TV rumors this past weekend of which I won't get into here. For me, I'm looking to upgrade my two third generation Apple TVs to a new version that has some kind of wireless headphone support.
I'd also like to see some improvements to HomeKit that will get me excited enough to go out and buy some "smart plugs" for my "dumb" lamps around the house. I really see a refreshed Apple TV being the hub for all of my in-home Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets. And I want to play with some new toys this winter.
I was lucky enough to get my Apple Watch on launch day. I've worn it every day since then. Now that all my debit and credit cards now fully support Apple Pay. it's super easy to buy things with my Watch. I'm looking forward to seeing the loyalty card support found in iOS 9 make the jump to watchOS 2.
I'm also looking forward to the new apps that developers will cook up for us with the new version of WarchKit. I think with native apps running on the Watch, some of the lag-tastic delays we've seen with the "projected" Watch apps will go away.
So this is what I'm hoping for come Sept. 9. I think that the release of Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and any new iPad devices will be held of an October event. This September will be all about the iPhone, iOS and Watch OS.
[Apple Sept. 9 invitation art via VersedTech.com...]
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Analyst firm Parks Associates has released a new report (available for purchase) titled “The Streaming Media Device Landscape”. According to the paper’s abstract, the Apple TV has now slipped down to 17% behind the Roku, and Google’s Chromcast.
This really shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone. The Apple TV 3 was introduced in March 2012 and has remained essentially unchanged aside from a minor specs bump to add support for 1080p video in March 2013.
Since then, there really hasn’t been a compelling reasons to purchase one over the Ruko or the wickedly inexpensive Google Chromecast stick. To be honest, I really like the Ruko feature that allows you to listen to your video over the wireless remote with a pair of headphones. I almost purchased one for my bedroom over the Apple TV just so I don’t wake my sleeping wife. In the end, the stickiness of Apple’s ecosystem won out as I have tons of content that I’ve purchased from the iTunes Store since it’s launch back in the early 2000’s.
Home automation with HomeKit, apps, games, or whatever Apple has planned for the rumored refresh coming this fall will be a welcomed update by many Apple fans. My kids can’t wait for the new Apple TV to drop just so they can get my two Apple TV 3 boxes. For me, I’d just love to have the ability to stream the audio over Bluetooth to my wireless Beats earbuds.
You can read the full Parks Associates abstract on their website.
Did I mention all of those devices run the less secure and less frequently updated Google Android OS?
Like I would ever give up my iPhones for an Android device. Least of all a Samsung Android device.
The program works like this:
- You go to the promo site.
- Pick out the new Galaxy phone you want
- Take a 30-day test drive (after handing over your credit card information)
- Buy the phone or send it back.
So, here's the kicker. The site went live late last week. When I visited the site on Sunday morning, I was greeted by a message at the bottom of the page that reads:
"Thank you for your interest. Due to the overwhelming demand, we are temporarily out of test drive phones. Please keep checking back for available phones."
Huh. I thought that Samsung was having a hard time selling Galaxy phones after Apple launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ last September. You'd think that Samsung would have piles and piles of Galaxy phones in warehouses all over the place after reports from earlier this month that price cuts are going into effect.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge+ go on sale in the US on September 21.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Today, Apple released iOS 8.4.1 for all current model iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
Apple's release notes for iOS 8.4.1 appear below.
This release includes improvements and fixes to Apple Music.
- Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library
- Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only
- Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren’t any playlists to choose from
- Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices
- Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect
- Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn’t work as expected while listening to Beats 1
For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:
The iOS 8.4.1 release is available now as an over the air (OTA) update from your devices. Just go to:
Settings > General > Software Update to begin the install.