Apple’s quest for ever-thinner, ever-smarter devices may produce another casualty: your iPhone’s headphone jack. A rumor at MacOtakara claims that the next iPhone might drop the 3.5mm port and use the Lightning port for audio instead. The move would let Apple slim its phone even further (reportedly, over 1mm thinner than the iPhone 6s) and take advantage of Lightning’s features, such as headphone-based DACs and app launching. You’d have to use an adapter for any conventional wired headphones, or else make the leap to Bluetooth.
You’ll want to take this rumor with a big grain of salt. MacOtakara doesn’t have the greatest track record, and a lot could change in the 10 months between now and the future iPhone’s possible launch in September next year. We’d add that such a change-up might be a little beyond the pale — only a handful of companies make Lightning-based headphones, and there’s no guarantee that others will bend over backwards to join them.
With that said, there is precedent for moves like this. A few Chinese vendors already make super-thin smartphones that drop the headphone jack in favor of USB sound. Apple would just be expanding on that concept by giving you features that aren’t possible with a simple USB audio passthrough.
Here we are. Apple, the same company that once swore off styluses, and dismissed hybrid PCs as experiments gone wrong, is now selling a laptop/tablet mashup of its own. One that accepts pen input, at that. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro went on sale last week, and though it is, in a sense, just an oversized iPad, it’s also the closest thing we’ve seen yet to a hybrid device from Apple. With the screen real estate of a laptop, and the speed of a laptop, and various keyboard accessories allowing you to type on it like a laptop, the Pro seems like it might indeed be able to replace your notebook. In fact, Tim Cook himself has suggested as much in interviews. But with a starting price of $799, it isn’t for everybody. And even then, it won’t replace your laptop so much as complement it.
Bright, pixel-dense screen
Lighter than you’d expect
Smooth, precise pen input
Surprisingly good audio
Long battery life
Expensive, especially with the accessories sold separately
Still heavy compared to other tablets
No mouse support; none of the keyboards have touchpads
Screen angle isn’t adjustable on any of the keyboards
iOS 9 doesn’t multitask as well as desktop operating systems
Nowhere to store the Pencil
The iPad Pro isn’t for everyone: It performs well, but iOS 9 isn’t as adept at multitasking as a laptop operating system, and the lack of any mouse input can get tiresome. That said, its fast performance and smooth pen input could be useful for creative pros who need a way to stay productive while on the go. The Pro won’t replace your computer, but for a certain kind of user, it could be a handy supplement.
Apple Pay has been available in locales outside of the US already, and now our neighbors to the north are getting in on the action. Cupertino’s mobile payments tech is now available in Canada, so iPhone and Apple Watch users can pay for goods with those two devices at a smattering of retail locations. There is a catch, though: Apple Pay in the land of poutine only supports American Express right now. If you have one of those cards in your physical wallet, you’ll now be able to add it to the Wallet app on your iPhone in iOS 9.1 for use at places like McDonald’s and Tim Hortons (mmm, doughnuts). Bank-issued AmEx cards won’t work right now either, just the ones issued directly from the credit card company. This means that most debit cards and bank-issued credit cards won’t be compatible as a lot of Canadian banks use Visa or MasterCard. As was the case in the States and other countries, we’d surmise you can expect the list of participating banks and cards to expand in the weeks to come.
You’re probably well aware that many mobile apps want to share your data. They need your email address to set up an account, or your location to tag your photos. However, a research team has discovered that at least some of that software is sharing more than you might be comfortable with. On average, 110 Android and iOS apps sent data to three separate internet domains. That’s not necessarily a problem by itself, but that info sometimes goes to places you’d rather not send it (say, medical search terms sent to marketers). Also, this info sometimes arrives in combinations that could be used to track your behavior, like your name and location.
The nature of that info can vary wildly depending on the platform you’re using. On iOS, you’re most likely to fork over your location (47 percent of tested apps), followed by your name (18 percent) and email address (16 percent). Android apps tend to be much chattier, however — a whopping 73 percent of titles want your email address, and 49 percent ask for your name. About 24 percent also want hardware identifiers like your IMEI number.
It’s important to stress that you’re sometimes sending this info voluntarily. Many apps explain what they’re doing, whether it’s through a text field or through permission requests. The concern is that it’s not always clear where that info is going, or what it’s being used for. While many of these uses are likely innocuous, you won’t truly know until app developers are more explicit about their data gathering habits.
Apple and GT Advanced Technologies Inc. agreed to part ways back in 2014, after the latter filed for bankruptcy. Now the two have reached a deal that will eradicate GT’s $439 million loan from Cupertino, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple originally tapped GT to make sapphire screens for its devices, but it became obvious that trouble was brewing when the iPhone 6 launched without one. It’s unclear what really happened behind the scenes, but GT accused Apple of shifting specs and requiring the company to manufacture millions of units the iPhone-maker wasn’t obligated to buy. Apple, on the other hand, said GT couldn’t meet its goals. Either way, GT ended up not having any clients that can sustain its business. Under the terms of the deal, the manufacturer will have to auction pieces of equipment, including some of its 600 sapphire-making furnaces, by November 23rd. It will then hand everything it couldn’t sell to Apple, which promised to nuke its debt completely
If there are words and phrases you type out over and over again on your phone—from your email address to “I’ll be five minutes late”—then both Android and iOS include built-in tools to help you communicate faster. Here’s how to get the shortcuts set up and burn through emails and texts messages on your smartphone.
Head into the Settings app, then tap Language & input and choose the Personal dictionary entry from the menu that appears. A list of all the words you’ve added to your personal dictionary appears on screen. Tap the plus icon (top right) to enter your word or phrase, then give it a unique shortcut code in the field underneath.
That’s just about all there is to it. Next time you’re tapping out a message, enter the shortcut code and the word or phrase appears as a suggestion on screen. If you prefer, you can make use of a third-party app to do the same job—Texpand seems to be the most useful and most recently updated option out there at the moment.
On recent versions of iOS, you can find the keyboard shortcuts feature by going to the Settings app, then tapping General and Keyboard. Select Text Replacement and you can start working on your shortcuts. As on Android, a tap on the plus icon in the top-right corner lets you create a new one.
The process is almost exactly the same as it is on Google’s mobile OS—input your word or phrase, specify a shortcut, tap Save and you’re good to go. The next time the iOS keyboard pops up on screen, you can type out your shortcut and then choose your specified word or phrase from the suggestions that appear above the keys.
At some point or another, it’s likely your iPhone will need the attention of special attention from Apple’s Genius Bar crew. And now it seems the company has apparently devised a way to fix broken iPhones faster than ever before thanks to a new repair program.
According to 9to5Mac’s well-connected Mark Gurman, Apple will introduce this week a new repair program for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s in select stores in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
Instead of repairing the broken iPhone in store, Apple will simply issue a temporary replacement as the original device is sent out to an off-site repair center.
In case the device is unable to connect to iTunes or a computer, if it won’t power on, and if it doesn’t boot up past the Apple logo, then Apple Store Genius Bar employees will simply ship the handset off to a specialized center and offer the customer a 16GB iPhone 6 model as a replacement. An automated system would tell the Genius whether the phone can be repaired in store or if it has to be sent away.
This might be a win-win situation. The user gets an entirely functional phone on a loan basis, and he or she can simply restore from an iPhone backup and use the device while the broken model is fixed. Apple, meanwhile, will be able to deal with these problems even faster and devote human resources to other customers.
The solution isn’t necessarily perfect, as it requires a second visit to the store to pick up the repaired device.
The other more obvious problem, of course, is that iPhone buyers who purchased 64GB or 128GB phone versions will have to make do with the limited storage available on the 16GB iPhone 6 and miss out on several iPhone 6s features they may have gotten used to.
On the other hand, if a device needs off-site repairs and Apple didn’t offer a replacement iPhone, the user would have no iPhone to use during repairs. Under the new program, Apple puts a fully working iPhone in your hand, letting you go about your day without the hassles of not having your most important computing device.
The program will debut as a pilot, so it won’t be available in all stores initially.
What’s interesting to note here is that Apple might have an interesting resource to use up for this particular kind of service in the form of its iPhone Upgrade Program. Apple now sells iPhones under its own trade-in and upgrade program, so the company might as well use some of the iPhone 6 units that are traded in for this iPhone loaner repair program. This, however, is just speculation at this point, as there are no official details on the matter.
I’ve had the HTC One A9 in my hands for a few days but didn’t want to give my initial thoughts until the Taiwanese smartphone maker pushed an update fix to the Android 6.0 phones yesterday.
I’ll get the obvious out of the way right off the bat: Yes, for better or worse, it looks like an iPhone 6. Sure, HTC invented the antenna strips with the M7 a few years ago and there are significant differences like the size (5-inches, halfway between the iPhone and iPhone Plus models) camera placement at the center top as opposed to corner and oval fingerprint reader instead of Apple’s circle. But the rounded edges speaker grill, colors and other design tweaks look way too much like the iPhone.
In fact, I’ve mistaken the A9 for my iPhone on a few occasions over the past few days and the A9 is black and my iPhone is white/silver! The iPhone resemblance is a big bummer because HTC has long taken pride in their distinctive, if not overly-heavy, phone designs.
Now that that’s out of the way, there are plenty of things to like about the new One A9, including the size as I mentioned before being right in between the two iPhone models. For me, 5 inch screens is the sweet spot, no question. HTC has removed most of everything else around the screen so this is really a svelte phone. The curves feel great in the hand, the buttons are placed perfectly. The power button has a distinct feel so you won’t mistakenly hit it when you are trying to turn up the volume.
Speaking of that, HTC definitely took a step back in their speaker department. Instead of the stereo front speakers that HTC pioneered (and others like Motorola took the baton from), here is a solid yet pretty standard bottom facing speaker, which is a disappointment.
Initial tests with the camera are excellent, which is great news for HTC because that’s typically an area where they’ve been lacking. Shots are instant, lighting is good and the software is fairly easy to use and understand.
The screen is probably my favorite part. a 1080P AMOLED has incredible blacks, and excellent color. It really holds its own against anything else, including again the iPhone in color reproduction.
Speed is also excellent across the board including the fingerprint sensor which is almost instant. The downside is of course Sense which makes even the Android 6.0 Marshmallow experience unfamiliar to anyone of the limited number of people who have used HTC at length. HTC will have an unlocked GPE-ish version for sale but I don’t know how much Sense will be on it. I’d reccomend that especially since they’ve promised to have a 15-day upgrade to Nexus level software guarantee.
I’ll have a lot more when I get more time on this phone but if my initial thoughts are any indication, I think this will be a popular phone – something HTC desperately needs.
GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2015, September
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2015, November
BODY Dimensions 145.8 x 70.8 x 7.3 mm (5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 in)
Weight 143 g (5.04 oz)
– Fingerprint sensor
DISPLAY Type AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.0 inches (~66.8% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~441 ppi pixel density)
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4
– HTC Sense
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617
CPU Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 405
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 200 GB
Internal 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
32 GB, 3 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Secondary 4 MP, 1080p
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jack Yes
– Dolby Audio
– Hi-Res Audio
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, apt-X
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB v2.0
FEATURES Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email
– Fast battery charging (Quick Charge 2.0, 3.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/eAAC+/WAV player
– Document viewer
– Photo/video editor
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion 2150 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 432 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 16 h (3G)
Music play Up to 60 h
MISC Colors Carbon Gray, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold, Deep Garnet
SAR EU 0.41 W/kg (head)
Facebook users on iOS have had a sneaking suspicion that the app was starting to misbehave, to the detriment of their phone’s battery life. After saying it was looking into the issue, Facebook has now confirmed the problem and pushed out an update to the iOS app to help offer some relief. Facebook engineering manager Ari Grant said as much in a post today on (where else) Facebook, saying that the company “found a few key issues and have identified additional improvements, some of which are in the version of the app that was released today.” While there’s more Facebook says it can do to lessen battery draing, updating the app today should provide some immediate relief.
So far, Facebook has identified and fixed two issues. One was what Grant called a “CPU spin” that kept the app pushing out network queries without any response; Grant compared it to a child asking “are we there yet?” repeatedly in the car, something that doesn’t do any good in getting you closer to the destination. The other problem occured when users watched a video and then left the app: sometimes an “audio session” would stay open and use background processing power even though nothing was actually playing.
Both of those issues have been corrected, and Grant was quick to point out that none of the issues Facebook identified were related to location services or the optional location history feature in the app. As for when more improvements might roll out, Facebook has kept to a pretty strict biweekly app update schedule, so hopefully things will get even better in a few more weeks.
With iOS 9, Apple introduced a handful of new multitasking features for the iPad, like the ability to run two apps side by side. Now Google’s Chrome browser is ready to take advantage of these, thanks to an refreshed version of its universal iOS application. Aside from being able to use the Split View mode mentioned earlier, Chrome on iPad also supports Slide Over, as shown above; and Picture-in-Picture, which lets you browse websites and watch a pop-up video simultaneously. That said, Split View only works on iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and the soon-to-be-released iPad Pro, but the other tidbits are compatible with any tablet running Apple’s latest mobile OS.
Update: According to Google’s Chrome blog, the iOS version has another treat for both iPhones and iPads with the addition of Autofill, just like you see on the desktop version.