Tags iPhone 3GS

Opinion: No, Force Touch isn’t going to be iPhone 6S’s signature feature


Every time Apple is expected to release an S-series iPhone — the 3GS, the 4S, the 5s, and now the 6S — pundits rush to discount the value of each anticipated new feature, claiming that it won’t be enough to boost iPhone sales. Yet historically, every prediction of iPhone sales peaks or declines has been wrong: each iPhone, whether a big “tick” or small “tock” on Apple’s upgrade schedule, has outsold its predecessors. Even without form factor or screen changes, speed sold the iPhone 3GS, Siri boosted the 4S, and Touch ID and camera improvements helped the 5s. (In S years, improved distribution, new color options, and price and capacity tweaks have made a big difference, too.)

This week, analysts and pundits have co-opted my colleague Mark Gurman’s scoop that Force Touch on the iPhone 6S will be used for shortcuts across iOS, suggesting that Force Touch isn’t going to be exciting enough to make people upgrade. That’s true, but also so obvious as to be ridiculous: Apple certainly won’t pitch a pressure-sensitive screen as the iPhone 6S’s marquee new feature. Force Touch debuted in the Apple Watch, but it’s not even mentioned on the first Apple Watch page on Apple.com, instead showing up in the fifth paragraph of the “Technology” page. It’s similarly found only paragraphs down on the page of the 12″ MacBook where it made its Mac debut.

With the notable exception of the iPad mini 3, Apple never releases new devices with only one new feature to hook customers. Even a month before it’s announced, it’s a virtual certainty that the iPhone 6S will arrive with camera improvements and faster processors, most likely a new color option, and Force Touch as one of many small but nice additions. So long as Apple gets distribution and international pricing right, the iPhone 6S is going to do just fine…

Apple has been focusing a lot of 2015’s iPhone advertising on camera performance for a reason. Even with lower megapixel counts and without optical zoom versus dedicated point-and-shoot cameras, every new iPhone takes a bigger bite out of the large camera market by annually improving photo and video quality. The better Apple gets at marketing iPhones as a viable alternative to $200-$400 standalone cameras, the less an iPhone’s price difference matters versus an otherwise similar-looking Android phone.

The other key focuses of Apple’s “if it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” campaign have been broad app support, reliability, and customer satisfaction. Here, you’re seeing Apple performing a pre-iPhone 6S branding exercise, building trust and admiration for the existing iPhone product line. Most smartphone buyers wait several years to buy new phones. When they make a switch, Apple wants the latest iPhone to be widely understood as the industry’s gold standard, and thus the preferred choice of both past and new customers.

Both the ads and past Apple history strongly suggest that the signature features of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will, like prior iPhones, be camera and performance improvements. To any claim that iPhone cameras are already “great enough,” I’d suggest that there’s plenty of room for meaningful improvements. If Apple merely bumped both iPhone 6S cameras’ pixel counts for still images, iPhones could offer more detailed iSight photos, markedly better crops akin to optical zoom, and radically better selfies. On the video side, 4K video support would kill any chance that iPhone owners would purchase standalone 4K camcorders.

Annual CPU and GPU performance improvements are obvious and inevitable at this point, but they can also be powerful reasons to upgrade if demonstrated properly. Showing off a couple of console-quality games running on an iPhone’s new graphics processor would drop jaws. And no one will complain when the A9 offers improved battery life, either.

Force Touch is a comparatively small element in Apple’s strategy. Unless Apple has some smart Force Touch shortcuts in the offing (say, Force Touch Phone or FaceTime to call your favorite person, Force Touch Maps to get instant guidance back home, or Force Touch Music to start playing your favorite playlist), the feature may not be super exciting at first. But over time, pressure sensitivity may enable easier signatures or handwriting on iPhone (and iPad) screens — the new iOS 9 Notes app may well have been built for this. And don’t write off the potential of well-implemented haptic feedback to improve the way your fingers feel when interacting with Apple’s devices, either.

So don’t expect Force Touch to be a signature feature of the iPhone 6S. It’s just one of fifty little tweaks that the new iPhones will use to make their overall user experience better in ways that may or may not be completely obvious to users. There will be bigger hardware improvements, and as with earlier iPhone S-models, they’ll certainly be enough to bring millions of customers to the Apple Store come September.

More From This Author

Check out more of my editorials, How-To guides, and reviews for 9to5Mac here! I’ve covered a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users.

Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices, Opinion Tagged: Apple watch, force touch, iPhone, IPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5s, iphone 6s, iphone 6s plus, MacBook, Upgrade

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Jeremy Horwitz

August 11th



Apple launches iPhone and iPad trade-in program in China Apple Stores

Screenshot 2015-04-01 08.36.37

Apple today officially launched a version of its Apple Store iPhone trade-in program for China, as noted on the individual store pages for China’s Apple Retail Stores. As is the case in the United States and several other countries with Apple Stores, the program allows a user to bring in an older iPhone model and trade in that device for gift card credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone; the program will most likely not allow a customer to trade in an iPhone toward the purchase of an Apple Watch. But as contrasted with the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, the new China program is limited to iPhones and iPads, and will not support non-Apple smartphones.

While Apple is partnered with BrightStar in many countries to recycle traded-in iPhones, Apple will sell the phones returned in China to Foxconn, which will in turn repair and flip the phones on secondary markets. In the United States, iPhone customers have numerous trade-in options, including Amazon’s ship-free, instant-quote trade-in system, and Gazelle’s aggressive cell phone trade-in program.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Angela Ahrendts, Apple Store, Apple watch, Brightstar, china, Foxconn, iPad, iPhone, IPhone 3G, IPhone 3GS, iphone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, Refurbished, retail stores, Reuse and Recycle, trade-in

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Mark Gurman

April 1st



New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.48.37 PM

A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.

The company was already planning the iPhone 4S (referred to as the “‘plus’ iPhone 4″) as well as the redesigned iPhone 5 at the time, and apparently had models of the iPhone 5 case ready to display. The email also indicates that Apple was already working on an LTE model for launch in 2012—a goal they hit with the iPhone 5.

The email also indicates a need for a low-cost iPhone based on the iPod touch to replace the 3GS as the low-end model. Eventually it seems this plan was scrapped, as the 3GS managed to stick around for quite a while.

 2011 Strategy:
- “plus” iPhone 4 with better antenna, processor, camera & software to stay ahead of competitors until mid 2012
- have LTE version in mid-2012
- create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS
- Business & competitive update
- show Droid and RIM ads
- Verizon iPhone
- schedule, marketing, …
- iPhone 5 hardware
- H4 performance
- new antenna design, etc
- new camera
- schedule
- cost goal
- show model (and/or renderings) – Jony

Perhaps even more interesting is the iOS strategy section, in which Jobs points out areas that Android has surpassed iOS and how the company plans to catch up (or, in the case of Siri, “leapfrog them”). Also interesting: Apple apparently settled on the name “Siri” for its virtual assistant before it named the iPhone 4S—notice how Jobs referred to the device as a “‘plus’ iPhone 4″ above.

There are also references to iDisk and MobileMe throughout. This is especially interesting because these services were ended in favor of iCloud in 2011. (“Durango” and “Telluride” below are codenames for iOS builds.)

- Strategy: catch up to Android where we are behind (notifications, tethering, speech, …) and leapfrog them (Siri, …)
- Timeline of iOS releases from first until Telluride, including Verizon
- Jasper tent poles
- Durango tent poles (without MobileMe)
- Telluride tent poles (with “catch up” and “leapfrog” notations on each one)

Speaking of MobileMe, there’s an entire section of the email dedicated to that service and its future. In that section, Jobs refers to Google as being “way ahead” in terms of cloud contacts, email, and calendars. Jobs sought to rectify that disparity and add new MobileMe features to help “make [the] Apple ecosystem even more sticky” so that customers would have a harder time leaving.

- tie all of our products together
- make Apple ecosystem even more sticky
- Free MobileMe for iPhone 4, iPad and new iPod touch
- Jasper
- Sign up with Apple ID, Find My iPhone
- Durango
- Find My Friends, Calendar, Contacts, Bookmarks, Photo Stream
- April
- iWork cloud storage
- Telluride
– cloud storage for third party apps
– iOS backup
– new iDisk for Mac

As you can above, Apple’s plans for what we now know as iCloud were originally slated for release as an updated version of MobileMe. There were plans to add third-party cloud storage, iOS backup support, Photo Stream, Find My Friends, and all of the other iCloud features we’ve gotten used to since the service launched. Like iCloud, the revamped MobileMe was also going to be available for free to all new customers.

The eighth point of the email deals with the future of the Apple TV. Jobs points out that new content from sources such as NBC and HBO are needed, and suggests that TV subscriptions could be the future. Overall, however, Apple just wants to keep itself in the living room market.

You can read the entire email below:

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: AirPlay, Android, Apple TV, Calendars, contacts, email, Google, HBO, holy war, icloud, iOS, IPhone 3GS, iphone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, IPod Touch, iWork, michael tchao, MobileMe, NBC, Phil Schiller, Siri, Steve Jobs

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Mike Beasley

April 5th



Conan Screwed Up His iOS 7 Upgrade By Trying to Do It on an iPhone 3GS

Conan Screwed Up His iOS 7 Upgrade By Trying to Do It on an iPhone 3GS

When iOS 7 launched, Conan showed us all how to go about installing it. But as one eagle-eyed viewer has since pointed out, he screwed up big time—by trying to install the OS on an iPhone 3GS, which doesn’t even support it.

Read more…


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Jamie Condliffe

October 15th


How will AAPL stock price react to iPhone 5S/5C launch? Let’s look at history

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Ben Lovejoy

September 9th



How will AAPL stock price react to iPhone 5S/5C launch? Let’s look at history

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Ben Lovejoy

September 9th



Apple’s iPhone ‘Reuse and Recycle’ trade-in program detailed, begins rolling out August 30th

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Mark Gurman

August 27th



Here’s what iOS 7 looks like on iPad and iPad mini [Official]


No surprises or shockers here but we had missed this image which was hiding on the bottom of the Apple iOS 7 page but was spotted by iGen.

We’d heard even before the keynote that Apple was behind in releasing iOS 7 for iPad and as such initial iOS 7 betas are only for iPhones and iPod touches.

Notably, you may notice the red icon, which isn’t present on the iPhone or iPod touch, presumably for Photo Booth.

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9to5 Staff

June 14th



Can Apple get away with another “S” iPhone?


There have been many rumors this year about what upgrades Apple will include in its anticipated annual iPhone refresh. Most agree Apple will move to release two iPhones, but there is some debate about what those phones will be.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a low-cost iPhone that will do away with the current iPhone design and instead use a new plastic case with a curved back similar to previous iPods. Despite being a less expensive device, that could make things even trickier for Apple to impress with an iPhone 5S upgrade that is largely expected to retain the “old” design of the currently shipping iPhone 5. The devices from competitors are making things even more difficult for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade. Rumors of a 4.8-inch iPhone prototype that recently surfaced don’t seem likely for the next iPhone, but that hasn’t stopped mainstream media and analysts from reporting that Apple is losing out on iPhone sales as consumers opt for larger screen devices. However, that might now be the case, at least not in the United States, with Strategy Analytics and NPD estimating Apple beat Samsung to become the No.1 phone vendor in Q4 2012. Will consumers want or expect a larger screen on the next iPhone, or will Apple’s usual minor refresh suffice?

What did past S upgrades have?

Looking at past “S” iPhones, Apple typically includes a few major upgrades: a faster processor, improved camera, and new software features that usually take advantage of the faster CPU. The iPhone 3GS included a better 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and video recording, as well as a faster processor and new apps like voice control, a built-in compass, and VoiceOver. The iPhone 4S included a new dual-core A5 chip, an updated 8-megapixel camera and, on the app side, Siri. This is a good way to gauge the most likely new features of the iPhone 5S, but will just an “S” upgrade be enough to combat the increasingly enticing 5-inch Android-powered competition? Historically, Apple has kept the same physical design as the previous generation iPhone when introducing an “S” upgrade. However, one way Apple could change that pattern is with the introduction of multiple colors for the iPhone as it has done with iPod products.

Anostyle-iPhone5-pinkColors- We’ve heard predictions for a long time that Apple could introduce iPhones in colors other than black and white, and analysts have recently predicted it is coming with the iPhone 5S. Apple already has its new line of aluminum iPod touch in multiple colors, and it would certainly be one of the standout features to attract users if the 5S is lacking an innovative new software feature like Siri on the 4S. The image to the right comes from AnoStyle—a company that’s getting a lot of attention for its anodization process that permanently changes the color of iPhones. AnoStyle’s $249 price tag has been a hurdle for some, but there is certainly a demand for iPhones in multiple colors (as witnessed with Apple’s iPod lineups).

Software features- One way Apple could make the 5S upgrade an attractive offering is by including software features exclusive to the device. Apple has done this in the past. For example, making voice control and video recording features exclusive to the iPhone 3GS, as well as Siri on the iPhone 4S. iOS 7 is coming at some point in the second half of this year, and, on top of the usual long list of new features, most are hoping it includes a redesign of some of Apple’s aging stock apps. However, which of those features could Apple make exclusive to the iPhone 5S? Apps and features that might require upgraded hardware, such as a fingerprint sensor, NFC, and a faster CPU, are likely candidates.

Siri-Offline-Not-Available-01Offline Siri- One big feature Apple could introduce that would take advantage of the expected faster CPU is an offline mode for Siri. Apple’s still in beta service and currently requires users to connect to Apple’s servers to do tasks. This has been a frustration for users who just want to use dictation, control music, launch apps, or place calls without an Internet connection. Apple could take advantage of a faster CPU to bring some of the processing for certain Siri and dictation features locally to the device to allow for offline use. Many users have noticed some of these features, such as offline dictation, are already available on Android devices. Offline mode could also increase response time for Siri—something that’s noticeably behind Google’s Now service.

NFC- Some analysts said Apple would finally include an NFC chip in the iPhone 5S. It’s certainly not the first time we’ve heard rumors of NFC, as Apple seemed to be toying with the idea in the past, but Android manufacturers are increasingly highlighting NFC-based payments, content sharing, and wireless charging as flagship features of most high-end Android devices. If Apple brought NFC capabilities to PassBook, and possibly even decided to process payments with the hundreds of millions of credit cards connected to iTunes accounts, it could have a serious Google Wallet competitor.

Validity-Fingerprint-sensorFingerprint sensor- Apple last year acquired Authentec, a company that owns patents related to fingerprint sensors and related technology, so it’s only natural that we heard rumors of the iPhone 5S potentially including a fingerprint sensor. There have been some Android devices to add fingerprint sensors for security features, like the Motorola Atrix, so an iPhone with a fingerprint sensor and apps that go beyond simply unlocking the device could definitely be the 5S’s big exclusive feature. At CES 2013, we saw a company called Validity that showed off its under-glass fingerprint sensors for smartphones on Android devices (as pictured above). The technology worked well. It can be implemented into buttons as well as under glass, and it could serve as an authentication solution for payments, etc.

BlackBerry-FaceRewindCamera-Another obvious upgrade Apple will likely make in its 5S upgrade is the camera. Earlier reports claimed Apple would bump up the current 8-megapixel camera in the iPhone 5 to one of Sony’s 13-megapixel camera sensors and include a larger, improved rear flash. With many of the new high-end Android devices packing in 12- and 13-megapixel cameras, any camera upgrades will probably be a big focus for Apple when it announces the 5S. I’d also expect new software camera features to appear. Android 4.2 introduced an impressive 360-degree Photos Sphere feature, and BlackBerry showed off the rewind technology it grabbed from Scalado in addition to Instagram-like filters for the BB10 launch earlier this week. Apple’s panorama mode and camera app isn’t exactly looking as impressive as it did when iOS 6 launched last year. Another possibility for the camera, even though it’s a long shot, is a dedicated hardware shutter button. While the volume button lets you snap a photo when the camera app is open, it would be much quicker to be able to instantly snap a photo with a press of a button from anywhere. Although not likely based on past patterns, Apple could bump up the specs on the 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera to support 1080p video recording. This would also be ideal for FaceTime over cellular.

Memory- An upgrade in storage wouldn’t be that surprising given Apple has used past S upgrades to do the same. The 3GS replaced 8GB and 16GB models with 16GB and 32GB, while the 4S was accompanied by the introduction of a 64GB model. With Apple’s recently announced 128GB iPad, it wouldn’t be too shocking if the next-generation iPhone got the same upgrade.

When will it launch? Again, if Apple sticks to the same schedule as release cycles in recent years, we’d likely see the iPhone 5S in the fall. Apple has moved its iPhone releases to fall with the 4S in October 2011 and iPhone 5 in September 2012. However, there are rumors this year of a possible spring/early summer refresh. Several analysts claimed Apple would begin production of the 5S in March for a June or July launch. In theory, that would make room for a major refresh in October or September—roughly a year after the iPhone 5. That would of course mean Apple would break tradition and move to a bi-yearly release cycle, but it still doesn’t account for the rumored low-cost iPhone. If Apple does launch a new iPhone in spring, it could also mean that the launch of the device on T-Mobile becomes a major part of the announcement.

If history is any indication, a fall release seems likely for the iPhone 5S. If Apple sticks to its previous release patterns, the current iPhone 5 would see a price drop. It could also be modified slightly, if rumors of a low-cost iPhone are true. In other words, the current iPhone 5 would become Apple’s lower priced iPhone, while the iPhone 5S would get the $199 entry pricing like every new iPhone before it. This would be the obvious scenario if Apple doesn’t decide to make any major changes to its release cycles. The question is: What will Apple have to include in the device to impress consumers with another “S” iPhone?

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Jordan Kahn

February 1st



AT&T adds Locker app to growing market of cloud storage services

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AT&T just announced its version of Dropbox, Google Drive, Cloud Drive, etc., with the introduction of AT&T Locker for iOS.

The cloud storage app, as one might assume, essentially allows folks to automatically sync and save photos, videos, and other data to the cloud, and it offers 5 GB of free storage to new users. The content is accessible via the mobile app or on a computer through Locker’s website.

AT&T is just getting around to lifting the cloak off its new service, but the app has already been available on the App Store for six days. A list of key features, according to the app’s description:

  • Photos and videos can be automatically uploaded to your AT&T Locker from your phone
  • Easily access your photos, videos and documents from your phone and computer
  • Easy to share to email, Facebook and Twitter
  • Your content is secure and backed up in the cloud
  • Store your favorite memories in a safe and convenient place
  • Store music from your computer to your AT&T Locker

AT&T offers upgrades to 30GB for $3.99 per month or 100GB for $9.99 per month. The free iOS app is available for the iPhone 3GS or higher. It is worth noting the Android version of Locker launched in September.

Check it out: AT&T Locker by AT&T Services

The full press release is below.

Related articles

AT&T Launches Cloud-Based Photo and Video Sharing App

AT&T Locker Offers Five Gigabytes of Free Storage

DALLAS, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Never lose a photo again – AT&T Locker, a free and easy-to-use photo and video sharing service for AT&T* customers, is now available in the App Store.  AT&T Locker users get 5 GB of storage for free – enough for up to 5,000 average sized photos.

AT&T Locker provides users the ability to upload images and video to secure online storage and quickly share on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or e-mail.  Users can create and customize albums for photos and video on the device or online from a laptop or home computer.  Customers can also store music and other files in their AT&T Locker storage. The app is compatible back to iPhone 3GS.

Users can make sure they never lose a photo again with Easy Upload feature, which allows you to automatically upload the photos on your device to the AT&T Cloud. With AT&T Locker, users can choose to upload new photos and video via Wi-Fi, wireless or both. Customers can manage those photos and share them through the app on the smartphone or on the AT&T Locker web page.  AT&T plans to incorporate additional features in future versions of AT&T Locker.


“Customers use smartphones to capture special moments in their lives.  That’s why we designed AT&T Locker to help you store those memories,” said Mark Collins, senior vice president, Data and Voice Products, AT&T Mobility. “With Easy Upload, every photo and video is uploaded directly to AT&T’s cloud, which can be accessed safely and securely anytime from a customer’s smartphone or the Web.”

For more information, visit www.att.com/locker.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

AT&T Locker

Requires compatible iPhone 3GS or higher or Android 2.1 or higher smartphone, or internet access from computer.  You must enable the Easy Upload feature in order for your content to be automatically uploaded to the AT&T cloud. Download and usage from wireless device may consume data. Service intended for US based customers only. For terms, see att.com/wirelesslegal.


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Elyse Betters

November 1st


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