Apple iPhone X
Apple this week said it will improve the tools parents can use to control how much time their children spend on iPhones and iPads. The move is a response to investor criticism that suggested screen time is highly damaging to kids. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust," said Apple in a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal. "We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids." Apple already provides a series of parental controls for iPhone and iPad use, such as moderating what content is accessible by children and what apps are downloaded. Apple did not specifically state what new features it plans to introduce.
Apple today released iOS 11.2.2 in order to patch several significant security problems. Specifically, iOS 11.2.2 includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of the Spectre vulnerability discovered earlier this month. Apple recommends all iPhone and iPad owners install the update as soon as possible. Apple issued a similar update to its macOS desktop software.
Powermat, a member of the Power Matters Alliance using the AirFuel standard, has also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the group that supports the Qi wireless charging standard. Powermat became a member of the WPC this week, where it will contribute its technology to improve and advanced inductive wireless charging for both PMA and Qi devices. The PMA and WPC competed for years to bring wireless charging to the masses, each with its own charging tech The WPC, however, scored a major victory last year when Apple picked the Qi for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. "Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market and the recently launched Apple iPhone lineup is evidence of this success," said Elad Dubzinski, Powermat CEO. "Powermat will share technology innovation to further unlock wireless charging potential, and will expedite the growth of the wireless charging infrastructure, bringing wireless charging to wherever users need it." More than 360 companies already back the Qi standard. Powermat plans to make gear that supports both PMA and Qi. The company is already working with Starbucks to upgrade the many PMA-powered wireless charging stations in some U.S. Starbucks locations with support for Qi.
The last twelve months have given us some of the most compelling smartphones ever made. New screen shapes, advanced cameras, and waterproof bodies have improved the everyday experience of those willing to fork over lots of cash for high-end handsets. Here are our picks for the top five flagship smartphones of 2017.
Microsoft today updated its Pix camera application or iOS devices and added several new and fun tools. First up is a function called Photosynth, which lets iPhone owners create much wider and taller panorama photos. It provides faster and smoother capture, and uses Pix's auto-enhancement capabilities to improve white balance, tone, and focus in real time. Microsoft ways the tool borrows code from its old stand-alone Photosynth app. The second tool is called Pix Comix and will automatically create comic book-style collages from video clips. Microsoft says its algorithms can identify and assemble the most interesting frames in any given video to paste together a comic strip. Pix Comix specifically seeks out three frames that offer sharp focus, open eyes, and interesting composition. People can then add speech bubbles, as well as rotate and arrange the comic strip to suit their preferences. Microsoft Pix for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
T-Mobile today announced a new buy-one, get-one promotion for select iPhones. People who purchase an Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus can earn a second iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus (up to $700) for free. The devices must be purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device over a period of 24 months until it is paid off. Further, T-Mobile is offering up to $300 off the iPhone X when people trade in a recent iPhone. The $300 rebate is applied via monthly payment credits over 24 months (~$12/mo) when the iPhone X is purchased on an equipment installment plan. These deals kick off Thursday, December 21. T-Mobile is already offering BOGO deals on select LG and Samsung smartphones.
Apple recently improved the selection of indoor airport maps in Apple Maps with an expansion to 30 new structures. Apple worked with each individual airport and the associated airlines in order to provide the most accurate data possible, including directions to gates, details about food courts and other amenities, and the ability to jump between floors/levels. A button tagged "look inside" clues users it to the availability of indoor maps at the supported airports. According to TechCrunch, Apple relies on WiFi inside each airport to help triangulate the user's iPhone and accuracy is to within a few meters. The new indoor maps are available at major airports including Amsterdam Schiphol, Baltimore/Washington International, Berlin Tegel, Chicago O’Hare and Midway, Denver, Detroit, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas McCarran, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Nashville, New York JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver. Apple plans to add more airports over time.
Apple today made iOS 11.2.1 available to the iPhone and iPad in order to resolve performance issues. Specifically, the update tackles a problem that could disable remote access to shared users of the Home application. The update is rather lightweight at about 69 MB and it can be downloaded and installed over the air.
Apple today said it plans to invest $390 million in Finisar, the Texas-based supplier of its VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) wafers. Apple uses the VCSEL technology in the iPhone X to power Face ID, Animoji, and portrait photography in the TrueDepth camera. VCSELs are also found in the AirPods headphones for sensing proximity. The investment will allow Finisar to re-open a plant and employ 500 new engineers and technicians. Apple says 100% of the VCSELs it plans to purchase will be made in Texas. The plant, expected to be producing by mid-2018, will be powered entirely be renewable sources. The investment comes from a $1 billion fund Apple set aside to foster innovation and high-skilled jobs in the U.S. Earlier this year, Apple agreed to invest $200 million in Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass.
Apple today distributed watchOS 4.2 to the Apple Watch. In addition to several bug fixes, the updated software adds support for Apple Pay Cash to Apple's wearable. Apple Pay Cash lets people send money directly to one another through Apple's messaging application. The idea is to make it easy for people to pay or repay one another directly. Apple recently added support for Apple Pay Cash to the iPhone via iOS 11.2.
Apple is now directly selling a version of its iPhone X in the U.S. without a SIM for any specific U.S. carrier. The phone is unlocked and will work with any U.S. carrier, although the same is true of the Verizon model Apple has been selling before today.
Few phones are pricier than Apple's $999 iPhone X. Protecting it with a case is the wise move to prevent heart (and glass!) break. We tried out a variety of options from Apple, Case-Mate, Catalyst, and Urban Armor Gear, to help you find the best fit for your needs.
Apple today released iOS 11.2 to the public. The main feature introduced in iOS 11.2 is Apple Pay Cash, which lets iPhone owners send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be sent from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. iOS 11.2 also introduces faster wireless charging for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Last, this update fixes several bugs, including one that causes iOS devices to crash beginning December 2. iOS 11.2 is free to download and install. Apple recommends all users install it at their earliest convenience.
Qualcomm this week filed yet more lawsuits against Apple over alleged patent infringement. Three new lawsuits say Apple's iPhones violate some 16 additional Qualcomm patents. The company says the Intel modem used in some iPhones is infringing on its intellectual property. In addition to the lawsuits, Qualcomm asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate its latest claims. The ITC has the power to ban companies from importing goods into the country. Apple sued Qualcomm earlier this week, suggesting that Qualcomm was infringing on several the iPhone-maker's patents. The two companies have traded lawsuits for the past year over patent licensing fees and other patent-related matters. Lawsuits such as these are often used as bargaining chips in financial discussions. Apple did not comment on the most recent legal filings.
Google today delivered updates to its Google Maps and Google Home applications for the iPhone X. Both apps have been adjusted to account for the iPhone X's taller screen aspect ratio. The updated apps also resolve some bugs and other performance issues. Google has now updated the majority of its core apps for the iPhone X, save for Gmail. Google Maps and Google Home are free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google has updated its core productivity apps for iOS 11 and the iPhone X. On the iOS 11 front, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides specifically gain support for drag-and-drop behaviors of the iPad. Users can select content in one app and drag it to another. This is particularly helpful when moving complicated items such as tables or graphs between documents. On the iPhone X, the apps gain support for the extended screen aspect ratio. Google has updated many of its apps for the iPhone X, including Chrome, Google Search, Google Assistant, Google Drive, and Google Photos. The two notable exceptions are Gmail and Google Maps, which have yet to be optimized for the newest iPhone.
Apple today released iOS 11.1.2 for the iPhone and iPad. This minor release primarily fixes bugs. Specifically, it resolves an issue where the iPhone X screen might temporarily freeze up or become unresponsive to touch input after a rapid decrease in temperature. It also addresses an issue that might result in blurry Live Photos captured with the iPhone X. The small update is free to download and install over the air.
T-Mobile today revealed a holiday promotion that can net people a free flagship smartphone. Customers who purchase one new phone at full price will be able to snag a second for free, through monthly rebates. Handsets that qualify for the promotion include the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Note8, and S8 Active, and the LG G6, V20, V30, and V30+. The first phone will need to be financed through T-Mobile's equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will then make the monthly payments on the second device over a 24-month period. T-Mobile said customers interested in the iPhone X can score up to $300 in rebates with an eligible trade-in, though there's no BOGO deal for the iPhone. The promotion kicks off November 17.
Apple has made iOS 11.2 beta 3 available to both developers and public testers of its mobile device platform. The main feature of iOS 11.2 appears to be the addition of Apple Pay Cash, which allows iPhone owners to pay one another directly via the iOS messaging application. iOS 11.2 beta 3 cleans up the code a bit. For example a bug impacting calculator operation has been swept under the rug, and several animations found in the calculator have been removed entirely. The update adds a warning screen that explains to end users the difference between disabling Bluetooth or WiFi via the Control Center versus doing the same thing from the Settings menu. The former puts the radios to sleep, while the latter turns them off entirely. iOS 11.2 beta 3 shows off new camera emoji and animations for Live Photos, as well as a way to see "now playing" content in the Control Center when using the iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV. New Live wallpapers on are deck, too. iOS 11.2 beta 3 is free for registered developers and beta testers to download and use.
Apple today released an updated version of its Clips video application with new and fun tools to improve both the experience of using the app and the end results. The most exciting addition is Selfie Scenes, which takes advantage of the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X to place the user inside a 360-degree, animated scene when recording selfies. The app includes 10 scenes created by Apple, such as landscapes, paintings, and spaceships from "Star Wars." iPhone X owners can put themselves in a scene and then pan around, viewing and recording themselves within the landscape. All users will be able to take advantage of new artistic effects that can turn photos or videos into watercolors, oil paintings, sketches, and other art styles in real-time. Clips gains access to more sticker and poster content from Disney, including "Star Wars" characters and Disney favorites such as Mickey Mouse. More than 20 new soundtracks can be used to accompany Clips recordings. Apple redesigned the user interface for Clips with streamlined controls that make it easier to find and use filters, labels, stickers, and emoji. Buttons have new labels, too, and a full-screen browser lets people see their entire project while editing and creating. Last, Clips gains support for iCloud. iPhone and iPad owners can store, access, and edit their Clips projects from any device, which is automatically saved to iCloud. Clips is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 11.1.1 available to iPhone owners. The minor release primarily resolves a keyboard-based autocorrect bug that impacted the ability to type the letter "I", which was often replaced with an odd character. The software update also fixes a bug that cause "Hey Siri" to stop working. iOS 11.1.1 is free to download over the air.
Apple today released iOS 11.2 Beta 2 to public testers, one day after releasing the developer variant. Of note, iOS 11.2 Beta 2 introduces the Apple Pay Cash tool that Apple announced earlier this year. Though the service is in beta form, iPhone owners can use Apple Pay Cash to send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be send from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. Apple Pay Cash shows up as a button within Apple's messaging application, though users can also request money from friends and family. Apple does not charge fees to use Apple Pay Cash, though it is instituting a virtual tool called the Apple Pay Cash card. Funds sent to people land in the Apple Pay Cash card, which can be used immediately to fund Apple Pay-based transactions or send cash to others. It means people have instant access to the money, rather than be forced to endure a minimum transfer window or waiting period. The public beta of iOS 11.2 is free to download for those enrolled in the program. Apple hasn't said when iOS 11.2 might reach all users.
Apple today released the final version of iOS 11.1 to the public. The minor operating system update has been in beta testing with developers for more than a month. The most significant addition to iOS 11.1 is that of Unicode 10, which includes dozens of new emoji. Moreover, the Apple keyboard now generates multiple emoji options when typing keywords that support emoji. iOS 11.1 also resurrects the 3D Touch App switcher for certain iPhones. On the security front, iOS 11.1 includes a patch for the KRACK WiFi exploit that recently came to light. The improved operating system further offers a number of under-the-hood bug fixes and performance adjustments. iOS 11.1 is free to download over the air. Apple also released watchOS 4.1, which brings LTE-based Apple Music streaming to the Apple Watch Series 3. The watchOS update also includes a new Beats 1 radio application, WiFi toggle, and Unicode 10. WatchOS 4.1 is free to download through the associated iPhone app.
Virgin Mobile USA today said it will offer customers the Apple iPhone X starting November 10. The company will accept preorders beginning November 3, which happens to be the same day the handset reaches Apple retail stores and those of Virgin's owner, Sprint. Virgin did not reveal pricing details for the iPhone X, but it will likely charge customers the full retail price of $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,049 for the 256 GB model. iPhone X owners on Virgin Mobile can get unlimited talk, text and data at up to 4G LTE speeds for just $50 per month.
Apple confirmed that it has acquired PowerbyProxi, a New Zealand-based company that designs and sells wireless charging products for both consumers and businesses. Apple did not provide terms of the deal. Wireless charging appears for the first time the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple adopted the Qi wireless charging standard for its new iPhones. These latest iPhones can use existing Qi-based wireless charging pads, though Apple will release its own charging pad early next year. Apple didn't say why it bought PowerbyProxi, but clearly it can use the company's expertise to create more charging pad accessories for iPhones and other products.
Apple today shared a number of details concerning the iPhone X launch, which will officially get under way October 27. First, Apple says Apple Stores will stock the device for launch-day purchases. "Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early," said Apple. That means those who don't preorder the phone may be able to pick it up at their local Apple Store, which will open at 8a.m. local time on Friday, November 3. Numerous reports have suggested launch day stock of the phone may be severely limited. Preorders for the iPhone X begin at 12:01a.m. PDT on October 27. Apple suggests people take advantage of the Apple Store mobile application to complete their preorder. People who are members of the iPhone Upgrade Program can check to see if they’re eligible to upgrade and get a head start on their iPhone X upgrade between now and 4p.m. PDT on Thursday, October 26. Apple will accept trade-ins. Eligible smartphones will be accepted for up to $375 in credit towards the cost of a new iPhone X. The iPhone X will be available in silver and space gray in 64 GB ($999) and 256 GB ($1,149) variants. People interested in buying the device through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program can score the phone and AppleCare+ starting at $49.91 per month. Last, Apple said a number of accessories will be available for the iPhone X on launch day, including silicon and leather cases, and Lightning Docks. The iPhone X sports a new design when compared to the iPhone 6, 7, and 8. It has a 2:1 display that measures 5.8 inches across the diagonal. It includes wireless charging, dual cameras, and Face ID, Apple's new facial recognition security feature.
Apple this week provided more detail concerning some of the behaviors of its forthcoming Face ID tech on the iPhone X and Safari in iOS 11. Concerning the former, Apple executive Craig Federighi explained to Techcrunch that "[Apple does] not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data." Instead, all the data created by the dot projector is processed locally on the A11 bionic chip. Critically, the feature needs to see the user's eyes, nose, and mouth. Face ID will work with most sunglasses, though certain IR coatings can scramble Face ID. "If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work," explained Federighi. "But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well." This means Face ID may not work with some masks required at work, or some religious head coverings. The feature works from multiple angles and distances, but it absolutely requires user attention: the owner must be looking at the iPhone X in order for Face ID to work. This means people can't unlock others' phones when they are sleeping. Last, people will be able to instantly disable Face ID by simultaneously squeezing the buttons on either side of the phone. Doing so will switch to the passcode backup. There are instances that will require a passcode, such as when the phone has been rebooted, if Face ID has not be used in 48 hours, or if there have been five failed attempts at Face ID. Concerning Safari, Apple recently took heat from advertisers because iOS 11 blocks intelligent cookies that track users across the web. The advertising groups in question maintain that this practice is vital for providing timely and relevant advertising. Apple thinks different. "Apple believes that people have a right to privacy ... and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy," said the company in a statement provided to The Loop. "Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private." Apple further explained that Intelligent Tracking Prevention does not get in the way of ads that are served normally on the web. It can be disabled in Safari's settings if people wish.
Powermat, which has deployed PMA-compliant wireless chargers at thousands of Starbucks locations around the U.S., plans to update its charging pads to support the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 from Apple. At the moment, there are two competing wireless charging standards, PMA and Qi. Handsets from Samsung and others typically support PMA, though some (Galaxy S8, Note8) support both PMA and Qi. Apple's new iPhones support only the Qi standard, which makes them incompatible with the wireless chargers at Starbucks. Speaking to Slashgear, Powermat CTO Itay Sherman explained that its Starbucks charging pads are connected to its cloud. This gives Powermat the ability to update them when necessary. "If there's a new standard, a new variant of the standard — you have PMA, you have Qi, you have Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charging — we can download new software to our points and support them," said Sherman to Slashgear. "The biggest difference between PMA and Qi is the communication protocols. We designed a controller which is software programable so we can integrate new communication protocols on this platform." Further, Powermat "designed the magnetic part to be as generic as possible to cover all standards if possible." Sherman did not say how quickly it will be able to update its Starbucks Powermat chargers with support for Qi, and conceded it will rely in part on the individual venues in question. This upgrade will not impact stand-alone, consumer Powermat chargers, which will remain limited to the PMA standard.
Apple today debuted new pricing for AppleCare+ alongside the iPhone X. Adding AppleCare+ to the new device costs $199, a significant jump from the $129 Apple has charged in the past for the same protection. AppleCare+ extends warranty and support coverage for up to two years from the date of purchase. With AppleCare+, replacing a damaged screen will cost $29, while repairing any other type of damage will carry a fee of $99. AppleCare+ also gives iPhone X owners 24/7 access to Apple experts via chat or phone. The iPhone X costs $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,149 for the 256 GB model. AppleCare+ for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus costs $129.
Apple today announced the iPhone X (iPhone 10), a more advanced smartphone that serves as the company's flagship device. It boasts an edge-to-edge display with glass on the front and back surfaces. It has a stainless steel frame holding the glass panels together. Like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone X is water and dust resistant. It includes what Apple calls the Super Retina display. It is 5.8 inches across the diagonal with 2,465 by 1,135 pixels and it relies on OLED technology rather than LCD. It gets rid if the home button that has adorned the front of iPhones for 10 years. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen calls up the home screen, as well as the app switcher. The side button now activates Siri. It uses Face ID for unlocking the handset, based on facial recognition. It relies on the A11 Bionic chip and specialized hardware to create machine learning algorithms. The neural engine has its own dual-core design and can conduct 600 billion operations per second to assess the user's identity. Apple says Face ID requires user attention to unlock the phone, and it can't be fooled by photographs. It works with Apple Pay and apps, and can adapt to your face as it changes over time. The bar at the top of the screen includes an infrared camera, user-facing camera, flood illuminator, dot projector, earpiece, and proximity sensors. Apple created what it calls Animojis, which are animated emojis that rely on your own facial expressions to create movement in the movement. Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X has a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range with two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.4 (telephoto). It has optical image stabilization to create sharp focus and a quad-LED flash. It comes with the Portrait Lighting feature of the iPhone 8 Plus, as well, and can shoot 4K video at high frame rates. The iPhone X has a more advanced selfie camera. Apple claims the new handset offers two more hours of battery life, on average, than the iPhone 7. It supports Qi wireless charging, LTE-A, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, and GPS. The iPhone X comes in black and silver. It will come in 64 GB and 256 GB variants. It will be available for pre-order October 27, and will ship November 3. It starts at $999.