The unveiling of the iPhone 6 is nearly upon us, and while we can be pretty sure the new device (or one of the devices at least) will be much larger, we won’t know about any other features until Apple reveals them next week.
The original iPhone was so revolutionary that the world expects Apple to produce something amazing with each new iteration, which is, of course, an unrealistic expectation. However, the firm has introduced plenty of innovative features to its smartphone over the years, including the App Store, Siri, and Touch ID.
Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.
Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?
Since a cache of nude photos of celebrities appeared online, Apple has remained fairly tight-lipped about what may or may not have happened. Right from the start rumors were flying around that Apple's iCloud service may have been comprised or that Find My iPhone may have been to blame. The company said that it was "actively investigating" the suggestions but then things went quiet again. The FBI became involved, but it has been a frustrating 48 hours for anyone trying to find out what happened. Now Apple has issued a statement making it clear that a security attack did indeed take place.
Entitled Update to Celebrity Photo Investigation the statement reads:
A week ago I wrote about my feelings of ennui towards the iPhone 6, asserting that there was just nothing to get excited about. Some people agreed, but many didn't -- it was to be expected really. What was particularly interesting was not just the discussion that started here in the comments on BetaNews but also that the article spread further afield. It was picked up by Macworld whose resident columnist The Macalope, er, disagreed with what I had to say. You'll notice that I've provided a link to the Macworld article which, despite quoting 46 percent of my post, The Macalope failed to do initially.
If you take the time to read the Macworld article you'd be forgiven for thinking that I was hurt at having my work pulled apart. Not a bit of it. No, I'm not concerned about being criticized. I've been writing for approaching 15 years now, and I know I'm going to piss people off from time to time. That's not to say that this is necessarily my intention -- in addition to news, I like to share my opinion and there will, of course, be some collateral damage that follows. Despite The Macalope's suggestions to the contrary, this was not designed to be a "link-baity" piece. Like Joe Wilcox, I've written about the importance of writing for the reader rather than writing for Google, and this is an ideology I firmly subscribe to.
It may have been something of an unknown quantity for years now. Just why was a particular app denied entry to the App Store? Now Apple -- the company so famed for its secrecy -- has finally laid its cards on the table and revealed the most common reasons apps are rejected. Taking a snapshot from the last week of August, the new Common App Rejections page on Apple's Developer site details the top ten problems that prevent apps from making their way to the App Store. Accounting for more than a quarter of rejections (14 and 8 percent respectively) are apps that do not have enough information and those that exhibit bugs.
Six percent of rejected apps fell foul of terms in the Developer Program License Agreement -- although no further breakdown is given -- and the same percentage of titles were given the thumbs down for not meeting Apple's exacting standards. "Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected". Apps that are either misleading or similar to other apps, and those with inappropriate names and artwork were also stopped in their tracks, each accounting for 5 percent of vetoed apps.
I charge my iPhone 5s every night -- it's pretty much a standard routine. Although people moan about the iPhone's battery life, I have no complaints. In fact my old Samsung Galaxy S III needed charging more regularly. But every so often a little extra battery boost is required, which is fine if I'm at home, but less convenient when I'm out and about (and I have no interest in being a wall hugger). This is where an external battery pack can come in handy.
Lumsing's PBJ-6200 Power Bank has already proven to be a life saver in the couple of weeks I've had it. The device is roughly the same dimensions as my phone -- 4.88x 2.64 x 0.51 inches (124 x 67 x13 mm) -- and has a 6,000mAh capacity, which is enough to charge my iPhone about three times (a Galaxy S4 twice, or an iPad mini once).
What do you want to see most on the new iPhone 6 (if you care about Apple's upcoming device, that is)?
That was the question posed by Usell.com in a poll of a thousand mobile owners across the US, and the resoundingly top response was the much talked-about sapphire screen. 45 percent of respondents said they wanted a super-tough sapphire display, with 50 percent of Android and iPhone users saying they would ditch their current smartphone for the iPhone 6 if it came with such a screen.
So the Apple media invites are out, and I am laughing my ass off at how effectively the company manipulates the Fourth and Fifth Estates and how willing are the lemmings to be led. (I got no invite, by the way, and didn't expect one.)
So what? We've got the same venue where Steve Jobs unveiled the Mac in 1984. Thirty-year anniversary. Check. The hall is considerably larger than the two others more typically used. Check. Add them together and you have a writ-storm of speculation -- and soon purported, unconfirmed leaks -- about something really big coming on September 9th.
Let's cut to the chase. No, they shouldn't. The iPhone used to be exciting and interesting. It used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives. This is not to say that the popularity of the device in itself makes it less appealing, but it certainly seems to have made Apple lazy. Innovation has gone out of the window. We've had the same design for the handset for what seems like an eternity. It looks as though there might be something of a change in style this time around, but is this really enough to make the iPhone exciting -- or even interesting -- once again?
By far the biggest problem with the iPhone is the lack of choice. While Android users (and even Windows Phone fans) have a huge number of handsets to choose from, the same cannot be said of those sucking on Apple's teat. Things did improve slightly when the 2013 iPhones were released, but you're still stuck, essentially, with two phones to choose from -- the really expensive over-hyped one, or the pale imitation wannabe version. Some choice. To be clear… I've been an iPhone owner. It's a functional phone, but Christ it's dull.
In California, a bill has been passed that will require smartphone manufacturers to include a kill switch in their handsets. The bill states that "any smartphone, as defined, that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, include a technological solution at the time of sale, which may consist of software, hardware, or both software and hardware, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render inoperable the essential features, as defined, of the smartphone to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user". It's a lengthy description, but it means the kill switch that many people have been asking for for so long is becoming a reality in another state.
This is not the first time a kill switch bill has been passed -- Minnesota did something similar back in May. The SB 926, Leno Smartphones bill in California is rather more far-reaching and comes partly in response to the statistic that between 30 and 40 percent of robberies in major US cities are smartphone robberies. Once activated, the kill switch will prevent a phone from being registered on a wireless network, and cannot be bypassed even with a hard reset. In the event of theft, a user will also be able to remotely wipe their device to protect any private information they may have stored on it.
Think about wearable tech and your mind probably jumps to watches first. V.BTTN is a little different. It's a programmable button that links smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth and it can then be used to trigger all manner of events. Looking for a remote shutter trigger for your smartphone? V.BTTN can do that for you. Need a remote control to start and stop recording? Got that covered too. The device comes from VSN Mobil and is available now for $59.99. It's one of those pieces of hardware billed as having virtually limitless possibilities, but this is one instance where the claim is justified.
What the button does depends entirely on the app you decide to link it to. It's slightly more advanced than just "hit the button" -- there are short and long press options, as well as gesture support thanks to a built-in accelerometer. As standard, V.BTTN is just a button. You can stick it in your pocket or bag and carry it around with you if you like, but there are also a number of accessories.
It's a simple question, with no apparent simple answer. A Nielsen report has shed some light on the matter, revealing that Android smartphone and iPhone users, on average, use 26.8 apps per month. But, without knowing the context, it is impossible to accurately determine what it actually translates into.
If that's 26.8 apps out of 30, the usage rate is close to 100 percent, but if it's 26.8 apps out of 100, the usage rate is close to 30 percent. A new infographic, courtesy of Yahoo Aviate and Yahoo Labs, adds some much-needed context into the picture, but does it offer an accurate answer to that question?
Microsoft, it is time to reconsider your Windows Phone plans. The tiled smartphone operating system's market share came in at a tiny 2.7 percent in Q2 2014, dropping from the 3.8 percent it claimed in the same period of last year. As a result, Windows Phone saw a 28.94 percent decrease year-over-year in market share, caused by low shipments of only 8.0 million units in the second quarter of the year, 0.9 million units less than in Q2 2013 when its shipments were at the 8.9 million units mark.
The data is from a new report issued by research firm Strategy Analytics, which adds "Windows Phone continued to struggle in the United States and China", the first two largest smartphone markets worldwide. There, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech places the platform at 3.8 percent and 0.9 percent market share, respectively. That is lower than in other markets such as Australia, where Windows Phone was able to reach 5.3 percent market in Q2 2014, as well as some parts of Europe.
The competition is heating up in the smartphone space, as, in Q3 2014, a dozen vendors have what it takes to shake up the top five smartphone makers list, according to a new report from research firm IDC. Judging by the standing from Q2 2014, the likely players in danger of losing their spots are Huawei, Lenovo and LG.
Samsung and Apple continue to be in a position of strength, with the two being responsible for 25.2 percent (74.3 million) and 11.9 percent (35.1 million), respectively, of the 295.3 million smartphones shipped in the quarter that ended June 30. That said, both lost market share compared to Q2 2013, when they claimed 32.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, thanks to shipments of 77.3 million and 31.2 million units, respectively.
It's the question I keep asking, wondering whether to blame the device or my daughter. Last night, she texted: "My screen cracked again. I'm so sorry". That's the third shattered iPhone 5s since May; two 5ers busted before that. Clearly, she's fumble fingers, but something just doesn't seem right. The college student sticks the damn device in a protective case. Did Apple put pretty design before damage durability?
I spent several hours searching for smartphone breakage data today -- on the web and contacting several sources compiling stats. Strangely, the most compelling comparisons are years old. For example, in late 2010, SquareTrade reported that iPhone 4 accidents exceeded the 3GS and devices from competing smartphone manufacturers. In a 2012 survey of 2,000 iPhone users, 30 percent had damaged their device in the previous 12 months.