Aside from Apple's new iPhone 6s models, the company's most anticipated product this fall is the fourth-gen Apple TV. Sporting an A8 processor, a snazzy new remote with built-in Siri functionality, and of course, support for a dedicated App Store, the upcoming Apple TV represents Apple's boldest and most intriguing play for control of the living room.
Earlier this week Apple stated that Apple Pay is off to a “great start” following its launch nearly a year ago, seeing double-digit growth in transactions every month. Now, it looks as if Apple has inked a deal that will greatly expand the presence of its mobile payments solution. Speaking at Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference today, Apple Pay head Jennifer Bailey announced that Starbucks will soon begin accepting the payment method in its 7,500 locations.
Bailey stated that Starbucks will begin testing Apple Pay in select stores this year via a pilot program before expanding it to all stores sometime in 2016. Starbucks has long supported Apple Pay in its iOS app, allowing users to choose it as a payment method when paying via the app or reloading cards, but never to pay at the register in a store. The Starbucks app accounts for 20 percent of all in-store transactions for the company.
Bailey also announced that Apple Pay will soon be supported at the fast food chain KFC and in the sit-down chain Chili’s. Apple’s Bailey noted that the KFC expansion has a special place in her heart because it was her first job.
Regarding the possibility of expanding Apple Pay to additional countries, Bailey said that Apple is working to bring the service to as many countries as possible. “We want to bring Apple Pay to as many countries as possible,” the exec stated.
Apple Pay has been expanding at a brisk pace recently. The service launched in the U.K. a few months ago, while CEO Tim Cook proclaimed that 2015 would be the “year of Apple Pay.” Some retailers, however, have questioned the uptake of the platform. For instance, Panera Bread and Firehouse both claim that Apple Pay transactions make up a low single-digit percentage of all transactions.
Filed under: Apple Pay
Facebook today issued a notable update to its Facebook Messenger iOS app today, bringing three major iOS 9 and watchOS 2 enhancements. Most importantly, today’s update includes the native Apple Watch application introduced at Apple’s September 9th event. The app has support for viewing and responding to conversations as well as sending stickers. Specific to the iPad, Facebook Messenger’s interface is now dynamic so it can support split-screen apps in the updated multitasking view. Across all iOS 9 devices, Facebook will now show conversations and contacts in the Proactive Spotlight screens.
Filed under: AAPL Company
Universal Pictures releases powerful new ‘Steve Jobs’ clip featuring Fassbender and Rogen on eve of movie’s premiere
With Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic set to hit theaters tomorrow, Universal Pictures has released what will likely be the final clip before the movie’s premiere. In the two-minute scene, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Seth Rogen) questions Michael Fassbender’s Steve Jobs about his role in the computer industry.
Woz points out that Jobs has no engineering skill or experience and that most of his greatest accomplishments were built on the work of others, including Woz himself—yet Jobs seems to get most of the credit. Jobs goes on the defensive, positioning himself as the “conductor” of an engineering orchestra.
You can see the full scene below.
Steve Jobs is already playing in select theaters and will open nationwide tonight at midnight.
Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Aaron Sorkin, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, universal pictures
After some debate over whether the difference between iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models made with Samsung or TSMC chips may impact battery life, Apple has offered its own take on the matter:
Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”
That 2-3% difference may be greater than some suspected, myself included, considering how tight battery life on iPhones can be with moderate to heavy usage. Apple’s full statement (via Ars Technica) actually addresses the type of battery tests many testers reference when measuring performance as being unrealistic:
Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life.
Still, some benchmark tests have flagged some measurable differences between iPhones made with chips from different manufactures including varying performance scores and cooling levels.
In practice, these differences are likely not noticeable in the same way as the ones between iPhone generations year-over-year, but Apple does acknowledge that the current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models aren’t totally on par with each other even if the difference is small. But the difference is apparently regardless of what chip variant you have and varies from iPhone to iPhone in general, even past generations. Apple didn’t, however, specifically address any performance differences between the chip variants being used.
Analysis from Chipworks revealed a week ago that the Samsung-made A9 chip which powers some iPhone models this year is 10% smaller than the TSMC-made version. Apple opted for a mix of suppliers for its A-series chip this year likely to ensure meeting demand.
Apple’s full statement below:
With the Apple-designed A9 chip in your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you are getting the most advanced smartphone chip in the world. Every chip we ship meets Apple’s highest standards for providing incredible performance and deliver great battery life, regardless of iPhone 6s capacity, color, or model.
Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.
Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: a9, Apple, iPhone 6s, iphone 6s plus, Samsung, TSMC
Microsoft is making a big splash with its latest gear, the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. These pricey products are designed to compete directly with Apple’s traditional hegemony on premium gadgets. But just how well do these latest offerings measure up against Apple?
Chelsey B. Coombs
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have better cameras than any of their predecessors, and early photo and video recording tests have proven that Apple is once again setting a new standard for smartphone photography.
But the new iPhones aren’t better solely when it comes to photos, because videos are vastly improved as well. One pro photographer who relies on DSLR cameras for professional shoots compared the iPhone 6s against a Nikon DSLR that costs thousands of dollars, finding – to his amazement – that the iPhone 6s shoots much better video.
AT&T was officially granted an FCC waiver this week to enable Wi-Fi calling for its customers with supported devices like iPhones running iOS 9. Wi-Fi Calling first appeared during the iOS 9 beta period and remained functional for those who enabled it previously, but AT&T stopped sign-ups for the feature once iOS 9 was publicly released due to requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission.
While AT&T has officially turned on Wi-Fi calling for its subscribers, the carrier is doubling down on its position that rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have deployed and marketed Wi-Fi calling features for a while without proper FCC approval. At issue with the FCC is how Wi-Fi calling lacks support for teletypewriter (TTY) devices. And although AT&T has been cleared to turn on Wi-Fi calling without meeting that requirement, it wants in FCC investigation into its competitors’ behavior.
AT&T’s Senior Executive VP of External and Legislative Affairs, Jim Cicconi, thanked the FCC in approving AT&T’s request for a waiver, but sharply targeted T-Mobile and Sprint for what he described as ignoring FCC rules.
Instead of initiating enforcement action against them, or at least opening an investigation, the agency has effectively invited them to now apply for similar waivers and implied that their prior flaunting of FCC rules will be ignored. This is exactly what we meant when our letter spoke of concerns about asymmetric regulation.
Carrier politics aside, iPhone users on AT&T with iOS 9 can enable Wi-Fi calling by going to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling and turning it on then following the setup process. Note that Wi-Fi calling requires an up-to-date emergency address to be on file when setting it up.
Wi-Fi calling can benefit users with cellular signal strength but good Wi-Fi connections when making phone calls and sending messages over the network.
Filed under: iOS, Tech Industry Tagged: AT&T, FCC, policy, Sprint, T-Mobile, TTY, waiver, wi-fi calling
This year’s iPhone launch week is over, so the earliest 13 million or so adopters are already playing with and forming opinions on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Past history suggests that Apple will sell over 100 million of these phones over the next year or so, which means that there are a lot of people still deciding on which model to buy.
If you’re still on the fence about buying one of Apple’s latest and greatest smartphones, there are a few important things you need to know. On the surface, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus look nearly identical to their predecessors, as we’ve come to expect with “s” models, but there’s a lot of new tech inside that makes these models different. Will any of the changes justify this purchase for you? Or will you be better off with last year’s (now cheaper) iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? Let’s find out…
If your plan was to strut around town hoping people would notice your shiny new iPhone 6s, that likely won’t be the case, since this year’s model looks just like its predecessor. There’s a small awkwardly placed “s” on the backside to remind you just in case, but if you really want people to know you’re rocking a new iPhone, your best bet is to pick up the new Rose Gold color option. If you don’t care for that new color, you can spice things up with a case or a skin to keep it minimal.
Like last year, there are two iPhone sizes available. You have the iPhone 6s with a 4.7-inch display, 1334 x 750 resolution and 326 ppi, and then there’s the iPhone 6s Plus with a 5.5-inch display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and 401 ppi. Both displays are super crispy, but that’s especially true for the iPhone 6s Plus, though you’re dealing with a much larger phone at that point.
If you’re hoping for big changes, this isn’t the year for them. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus story is really about a collection of small details and a few stand out features.
Check out our iPhone 6s and 6s Plus review video below:
Let’s start with performance — these new iPhones are crazy fast. Inside you’ll find Apple’s latest A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, which may sound like less than some other phones, but Apple’s RAM management is absolutely phenomenal. Benchmarks show very promising results and overall, performance alone may be enough incentive to upgrade if speed is what you desire. Everything is very smooth and apps run like a champ with the new processor. That said, last year’s iPhone 6 is still a fast phone, and happens to be cheaper now.
As for size, the iPhone 6s Plus is much better when it comes to playing games, watching videos, browsing the web, and pretty much anything else you’d expect out of a larger screen. Personally, I prefer the smaller form factor of the iPhone 6s, even if the battery life and resolution take hits by comparison.
While the screens on these new iPhones are the same as last year’s, the touch technology behind them is much different. This year Apple has introduced a new 3D Touch feature that will actually detect the amount of pressure applied to the screen with your finger, and trigger various actions. With 3D Touch, you can tap on the display for standard actions, but you can press into the display for more features. Think of this as three options: a tap, a soft press, and a hard press, all of which can do different things depending on the pressure applied and where the action is taking place. Recently, we put together a video rundown of the best 3D Touch features available and if you’d like to check that out, you can find it embedded below.
Not everything with 3D Touch is amazing at the moment, but I do have some favorites. For example, you can get quick access to app-specific features with a hard press on the icon, which I enjoy using with a select few apps — not many third-party apps are compatible yet, but more are rolling out each day. You also have the ability to 3D Touch the keyboard when typing. With a soft press, you can use the keyboard as a trackpad to move the cursor around the screen, and with a hard press you can easily select text from a line.
Another one of my favorite features is quickly previewing links and other items. The same rules apply here: 3D Touch on a link to open a small preview window, then you can press even harder to pop it open into full browser mode. Apple calls this Peek and Pop, and it’s quite useful in some situations. It can also be used in places like the Photos app, Calendar, Messages, Notes, basically anywhere that there’s a list style view of items.
In most cases, it’s not incredibly faster to use this feature, but it’s handy nonetheless. 3D Touch has potential for sure, but don’t let 3D Touch be the main reason you upgrade — at the moment, without mainstream app support and innovative uses, it’s not worth the hype. This will happen in time, but trust me when I say that it’s not here yet.
Well, if 3D Touch isn’t worth the upgrade, certainly the camera must be, right? The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus both feature an all new 12-megapixel still camera this time around, which also shoots up to 4K video, but you’ll only get optical image stabilization on the iPhone 6s Plus. Luckily, the iPhone 6s does utilize digital stabilization with 4K video to keep everything smooth, but it won’t work like OIS does for low light photos. The new camera also shoots higher resolution Slo-Mo video at 120 frames per second in 1080p, which is great but not a huge selling point. Photos are natural-looking and can definitely look good, especially if you’re willing to do a little editing work. Apple’s photos aren’t as sharpened or saturated as other smartphone cameras on the market, for better and for worse.
Check out our 4K video test below:
Here’s the problem: this is probably the first year where Apple’s upgraded camera didn’t whip the pants off its Android competitors. Apple’s new sensor is great, and the photos are totally nice, but in direct comparisons, they fall short of rivals such as Samsung’s Note 5 and Galaxy S6. Why? Apple’s photos are now flatter in color, so you’ll need to edit them to make them look as good as the pictures Samsung’s cameras snap without processing. You can see the differences yourself in my Galaxy S6 and Note 5 reviews. Don’t get me wrong, iPhone 6s photos and video are super crispy, but if I had to choose just one camera to bring with me, the 12-megapixel iPhone 6s camera wouldn’t beat out its top competitors in overall quality.
Check out our iPhone 6s/6s Plus camera gallery below:
On both of the devices, there’s a 5-megapixel camera above the display with 720p video recording capabilities and a flash, but it’s probably not the kind of flash you’re thinking about. Apple calls this feature Retina Flash. According to Apple, there’s a special display chip inside that helps detect the ambient light around you, then matches the tone with a flash of the display that’s three times brighter than usual. I probably won’t use it much, but it’s pretty handy when you need it.
Touch ID & Live Photos
Speaking of camera features, Apple has a new Live Photos feature which is pretty neat, but not something I’ll use often. It will allow you to take a normal photo, which can then be brought to life (with audio and 3 seconds of surrounding low-res, low-frame-rate video) by using 3D Touch. You can share these Live Photos and even set them as wallpapers, though you’ll have to 3D Touch on the lock screen to see any movement from them. It’s a cool feature for some people, just not for me really.
Touch ID improvements are also a big part of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It’s actually twice as fast over last year’s model and you can really tell the difference. Gone are the days of quickly pressing the Home button to view your notifications — it’s that fast. If I just want to check my notifications now, it’s much easier to use my knuckle to press the Home button, or simply use the Sleep/Wake button on the side of the phone. Once again, the Touch ID improvements aren’t really a reason to buy the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, but they’re nice.
If all of the reasons mentioned in the video aren’t good enough to warrant buying the new iPhone, surely battery life has improved this time around, right? Nope. It’s actually about the same as last year’s, which is cool if you think about all the extra tech packed inside, but there’s no revolutionary break-through on battery performance here. I struggle to get a full day from the iPhone 6s, while the 6s Plus definitely can last a day and then some. That would be great run time, but I’m just not a fan of how large the Plus model is. It’s not right for me.
So we’ve basically covered everything that would make the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus a worthy purchase or upgrade over its predecessor, but somehow, it doesn’t add up to enough in my book. 3D Touch is cool, the camera has been bumped up, and you definitely won’t find a pink iPhone anywhere else, but none of these reasons scream “must upgrade” to me. I’ve heard it said elsewhere that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus might be worth buying because all of their small improvements collectively make for a large year-over-year change. But after testing both phones, I’d say that the small improvements start out exciting but quickly begin to feel underwhelming. This isn’t a case of many small things adding up to one big thing, but rather, many small things feeling small.
Should you buy the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? If you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, I’d recommend sticking with it. But if you have an older iPhone or another device you’re considering upgrading, you could comfortably go with whichever iPhone 6 or 6s model appeals to you, or wait another year for the iPhone 7. Whether you go with a cheaper iPhone 6 or hold out for the iPhone 7, you won’t be missing out on much by skipping the 6s.
If you’re not familiar with my past work, I have over 1,000 review videos online, and have tested nearly every flagship smartphone across the iOS and Android ecosystems. I currently have all of this year’s flagships in my personal possession, which lets me do direct comparisons between the performance of iPhones and their rivals. For this review, I purchased iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units with my own cash for testing, so I know what it’s like to spend money on phones and need to decide whether to keep them or sell them. My feeling is that unless you’re rocking a 5s or anything lower, I’d save my money and wait. If you don’t currently have an iPhone, these are pretty nice, but so are last year’s models and they’re cheaper now, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improvements and these new devices are very fast. But unless you’re easily satisfied with incremental upgrades, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus won’t deliver the “huge” smartphone upgrade you may have been waiting for.
Filed under: Reviews Tagged: Apple, iOS 9, iPhone, iPhone 6s, iphone 6s plus, review, video