At long last, it's the official launch day for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which means that the rumors for Apple's next batch of phones should start popping up in, oh, a week. In the meantime, we've got some news on how the phone doesn't bend and shoots great videos (yay) and how you'll need a subscription to use Microsoft Office on the upcoming iPad Pro (boo). Oh, and Aaron Sorkin really doesn't like what Apple CEO Tim Cook said about the movie he wrote the screenplay for.
New Video Shows iPhone 6s Plus Strongly Resistant to Bending
All right, let's get this one out of the way — no, the iPhone 6s Plus doesn't bend as "easily" as the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple used stronger 7000 series aluminum and strengthened the weaker points of the shell, which means that we likely won't see another "Bendgate" this year.
The video that started it all last year came from Unbox Therapy, but today's video comes from FoneFox (also on YouTube), where they subjected the iPhone 6s Plus to the same bend-the-device-over-your-thumbs test from last year.
Not only did the latest phone survive what seems to be the same force, the narrator also shows that the phone actually sprang back in place after enduring the punishment. FoneFox did, in fact, get the iPhone 6s Plus to bend, but only by bringing in a second person. FoneFox readily admitted, though, that the device is unlikely to see this kind of force in your pocket.
Last month Unbox Therapy itself managed to get its hands on one of the shells for the then-unreleased iPhone 6s, but even without the internal components installed, its findings mirrored those of FoneFox.
Filmmakers Shoot Short Documentary Entirely on iPhone 6s Plus
If you're more interested in what the iPhone 6s Plus' 4K-capable camera actually does, check out the video below. It's a short documentary called "The Painter of Jalouzi," and it was shot entirely on an iPhone 6s Plus. And the results are astounding.
Filmmakers David Darg and Bryn Mooser shot the documentary for Ryot.org, and they had this to say:
"In a relatively short amount of time, we went from terrible pixelated phone photos, to this, which is just as good as cameras that cost tens of thousands of dollars," Darg said. "When we heard the new iPhone would shoot in 4K, we thought about what we could shoot that would really demonstrate the power of the resolution. Jalouzi is so visually impacting. The mountainside is full of detail and color, so it's the ultimate test of a camera's ability. Plus, we’ve been wanting to tell the story for a long time."
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin Has Harsh Words for Tim Cook
Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs film has already received numerous accolades ahead of its October 23 wide release date, but Apple CEO Yim Cook lightly criticized the film (and others) as "opportunistic" during his recent interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the film's award-winning writer Aaron Sorkin doesn't exactly agree with that, to put it lightly.
"Nobody did this movie to get rich," Sorkin said, afterwards noting that Cook should see the movie before making any judgements. But it gets even more harsh than that.
"Third," Sorkin said, "if you've got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you've got a lot of nerve calling someone 'opportunistic.'"
Yowza. Cook has got to see that as a heavy blow, especially considering all the measures Apple has taken to improve lives at the factories where many of its parts are made (and those of its competitors) since he assumed leadership. Cook, who has made it his mission to make Apple a "force for good," may have a hard time letting such a comment roll off his back. Still, Sorkin is right about one thing — Cook acknowledged in his Colbert interview that he hadn't actually seen any of the new films.
On the other hand, Cook has read the Walter Isaacson biography on which Sorkin's screenplay is based, and in an interview with Fast Company Cook branded it a "tremendous disservice" to Jobs and that "The person I read about there was somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time."
Microsoft Office for iPad Pro to Require Subscription
Microsoft won a lot of goodwill from the Apple community recently when it announced that Office apps for the iPad and iPhone were now free for both viewing and editing, but as Ars Technica reports, it seems that won't be the case for the upcoming iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch screen is just too big, claims the Redmond, Washington giant.
The company means that literally. Microsoft has a 10.1-inch screen size limit for access to the free viewing and editing features, which wasn't a problem for the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9-inch iPad mini. To enjoy the iPad Pro's big picture, unfortunately, you're going to need to purchase an Office 365 subscription.
If you're still interested after that, Microsoft offers Office 365 Personal for one person for $69.99 a year or $6.99 per month, and then there's its five-person Office 365 Home plan for $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month. Both services allow access to Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access for PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
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Right out the gate the moment Apple started letting ad blockers work with Safari in iOS 9, they were there in the App Store. And now they're on a discount, because life moves pretty fast in this mobile age. So let's see what other tasty treats are having their prices cut down to a much more appetizing size, shall we?
It's that time of year again — the time when thousands of people worldwide brave the cold or heat and camp outside of Apple Stores for the new iPhones. And this time, someone's even sent a robot of sorts in her place. Elsewhere, a National Geographic photographer shows what the iPhone 6s Plus can do when he takes it on assignment instead of his usual photography equipment.
People (and Robots) Already Lining Up for Tomorrow's iPhone Launch
The Apple retail experience has changed a lot in the last few years, but for better or worse, people still camp out in lines by the dozen at various stores in order to be the first to get their hands on the new iPhones. This year, though, the biggest lines appear to be overseas.
So far the most notable sitter can be found at the flagship Apple Store in Sydney, Australia. According to Mashable, media agency executive Lucy Kelly of the Atomic 212 has set up a telepresence robot at the fourth spot in line that takes her place while she's free to attend to her duties at work. The contraption is essentially an iPad attached to an Segway-type device, and Kelly apparently even hopes that she'll be able to buy the iPod with the device without any real human interaction.
According to Kelly, the other people waiting in line aren't too bothered by it.
"Everyone thinks it is pretty cool," Kelly said. "They were happy to let a robot go ahead."
So far, the biggest lines appear to be in Germany, where the Munich store has installed temporary rows for those waiting to purchase their phones (via Martin Gollwitzer and Lana Lee). In Hamburg (via Daniel Knott) the crowd of waiting customers is so thick that they're taking up almost the entire sidewalk.
While comparatively tame, things are still getting a little crazy over here in the States. In Little Rock, Arkansas, for instance, a Twitter user named Stephen has set up his Xbox One in front of the local Apple Store, where he's been playing the game Destiny since Monday (and, oddly, even getting uncut pizza from Domino's).
National Geographic Photog Uses iPhone 6s Plus Instead of Traditional Equipment
It's true that good photography ultimately comes from the photographer, not his or her equipment, but it's hard to argue that good equipment doesn't help make that vision all the more beautiful. As for National Geographic photographer Mark Leong, he's finding that the new iPhone 6s Plus is doing a great job of replacing his former heavy, clunky equipment.
Leong's most recent assignment sent him to Sanjiang in China, where he revisited sites from the 1989 trip that led to his becoming a professional photographer. The difference is that he was only allowed to take an iPhone 6s Plus this time, but with the help of a tripod and Cogitap's Slow Shutter Cam app, that didn't prove a problem (particularly with the camera's new 12 megapixel sensor).
In fact, he found that not having to lug along all that extra equipment "incredibly liberating." Back in the '80s, Leong carried eight pounds of Kodak film with him, along with two Nikon cameras and three lenses. You can check out the results from Leong's impressive journey over at National Geographic.
This really useful weather forecast utility sits in the menu bar, giving you an at-a-glance idea of the weather, unless you open it up for more detail. By default, what you get in the menu bar is the temperature and an icon showing you the prevailing weather type (sunshine, clouds, rain and so on), though you can customize this. Click this icon, though, and you open a full five-day forecast.
The next eight hours are shown in detail, with graphs covering temperature, chance of rain or heaviness of rain. The five days after that have icons and a bit of detail for each, along with high and low temperatures. It’s really well designed, accurate thanks to its use of the excellent Forecast.io system, and useful — pretty much the OS X version of Mac|Life-favorite iOS/Watch weather app Dark Sky. Lots about it can be personalized too — from new locations to get info on, to different iconography options and temperature scale customization.
The bottom line. It’s not the cheapest option, but this is a great-looking, useful, and customizable OS X weather utility.
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This week for our last Deals Column at MacLife.com we've got a few MacBook Pros at some of the lowest prices we've seen that particular laptop, so you know things are off to a good start for the week when you're getting that kind of discount. Grab the goods we have on offer while the getting's good, folks.
It's a happy day for one lucky teen in Massachusetts — not only was his life probably saved by his Apple Watch's heart monitor, but he also now has an amazing offer from Apple CEO Tim Cook. Elsewhere, the pope's visit to New York City and Philadelphia may force some iPhone preorder customers to wait an extra day for their devices, and Apple has already released a patch for the infant iOS 9.
Apple Releases Bug-Fixing Patch for iOS 9
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have yet to officially hit shelves, but Apple has already released a new patch for iOS 9 that fixes several bugs. It's officially called iOS 9.0.1, and you can download it through your iPhone or iPad as an over-the-air update via the Settings app.
Apple's official announcement of the patch focuses on four key issues. As of the new update, users should no longer have problems completing the setup assistant while downloading iOS 9, and they should no longer have to worry about alarms and timers failing to play.
In addition, pausing videos in Safari and Photos should no longer cause the paused frame to look distorted, and users with a custom APN setup should no longer lose cellular data.
On the whole, those are some pretty significant bugs, so it's probably a good idea to download the patch soon if you already have iOS 9 installed. And if all goes well, those are four fewer headaches that the Cupertino company has to worry about when their next big release hits in a couple of days.
Tim Cook Offers iPhone, Internship to Teen Saved By Apple Watch Heart Monitor
The Apple Watch may not focus on health to the extent that the earliest rumors claimed it would, but the features that it does have are already saving lives and leading to happy endings. Take the case of 17-year-old Paul Houle of Massachusetts, who noticed last week that his Apple Watch was telling him that his heart rate was still 145 two hours after football practice. The readings promoted Houle to visit the hospital, where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a muscle-injury condition that releases a harmful toxin into the heart, liver, and kidneys.
"At the hospital, they told me that if I had gone to practice the next day that I would have lost all control of my muscles, and there was a good chance I would have fallen down on the field and died right there," Houle told Cape Cod.com on Friday. "I'm very grateful for that heart rate monitor."
Apple CEO Tim Cook learned about the incident over the weekend, and as CBS Local in San Francisco reports, he personally called Houle and told him that he's offering him one of the brand new iPhones and (much, much better) a summer internship to Apple next year.
Not too shabby, especially considering that Business Insider reported earlier this year that Apple interns make around $6,700 per month along with the potential for overtime pay.
Pope's Visit May Delay Preorder Pickups in NYC, Philly
Of all the things that could delay an iPhone launch, the pope probably seems relatively low on the list. But that's just what Apple believes several zip codes in Philadelphia and New York City will be facing on Thursday and Friday when the pontiff visits the cities. In anticipation of the related delays, Apple is sending out messages to pre-order customers who might be affected.
One of the first to share the message was Gawker writer Sam Biddle, who showed in a tweet that his iPhone may not be ready for pickup on Friday on account of "traffic restrictions." (Biddle didn't seem too bothered by the announcement, as his accompanying commentary read "LOL COOL :)".) Apple told Biddle and other users that it would make Saturday deliveries if their phones weren't ready for pickup by September 25.
If you happen to live in New York City or Philadelphia, here is a list of the affected zip codes:
New York City: 10001, 10007, 10017, 10021, 10022, 10023, 10029
If you find that writing or drawing your plans out by hand helps you to get them in order, you’re far from alone. But storing things digitally does tend to make them easier to find and sort. Carbo bridges the gap between these two, letting you take (or import) photos of drawings on paper or whiteboard, then digitizing them. It clears out things like the paper, leaving you with only the information itself. It’s not the first app to try something like this, but its results are among the most impressive we’ve seen.
Snap a photo and it will detect the lines, which you can then imediately make stronger or softer — our writing came out very weak at first, but tweaking the slider made it clear. Once you’ve grabbed the image, you can tag it, to make it easy to search for things relating to a certain project or topic, and you can store it locally or in the cloud to access from anywhere — all really easy.
In this core functionality, Carbo is very strong. Where it falls short is in the details of the other things you might want to do with your notes. There’s no handwriting support for adding to them within the app, nor is there OCR for extracting what they say to a text-editing app easily. You can export images to another app that will let you do these, but seeing as Carbo’s subtitle is “Handwriting in the Digital Age” we kind of expected it to step up itself.
You do have some editing options, including the ability to highlight portions of the notes, then tweak only the selected lines, making them thicker or thinner, moving and resizing them, or deleting them completely. Getting used to how the highlighting works can take a little while, but it’s potentially quite powerful.
Exporting is strangely hidden away too — you can’t do it from the main menu, and it’s not a direct option when viewing a note – you have to tap the palette icon, where you can apply some styles to your note before export. Again, nice, but inessential, and kind of just...in the way.
The bottom line. Its tech is great, but it could be much more useful.
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If you can't stop refreshing the UPS website in anticipation of your shiny new iPhone 6s moving closer to home, our Tuesday edition of Apple Daily will point you in the direction of some early reviews to keep your mind occupied for a little bit. We've also got a first look at what's powering the new Apple TV, along with official word from Apple on that XcodeGhost iOS malware that recently affected Chinese App Store customers.
Early iPhone 6s Reviews Published, Apple Has "Done It Again"
Apple's latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models are winging their way around the globe and across the country to land on the doorsteps of preorder and retail customers this Friday, September 25, but those hankering for some independent criticism on the new smartphones won't have to travel very far to find them right now.
Naturally, our first stop is techradar, where the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have already been lovingly detailed, each with a four-star rating hailing 3D Touch, the "bright, vibrant display" and "fuss-free camera," while noting the battery life falls a bit short, Live Photos don't always work, and there's still room for improvement even after the release of iOS 9.
Next, MacRumors has assembled highlights of other key reviews from tech websites such as The Verge, Mashable, and TechCrunch, and the mid-cycle refresh appears to be worthy of consideration — especially for those interested in the new 3D Touch technology or the expanded capabilities of the dual cameras.
The Verge wasted no time exclaiming that Apple has "done it again" and referring to the iPhone 6s "the best smartphone out there, period," praising Apple for managing to "do new things better, apply them broadly, and make them seem natural" in reference to the new 3D Touch feature. Mashable also gushed over the iPhone 6s Plus hardware, calling it a "performance beast" whose 12-megapixel camera easily bests both last year's iPhone 6 Plus as well as its closest rival, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.
TechCrunch also summed up the iPhone 6s camera as "truly great" while noting the second-generation Touch ID sensor is "so fast that you can no longer tap the home button to wake your screen, because it will unlock instantly." Last but not least, Apple's new 4K video recording and Live Photos feature was also singled out for particular praise in this first round of embargoed reviews.
iFixit Nabs New Apple TV, Promptly Tears It Apart
Last week, a select number of developers began receiving fourth-generation Apple TV units following a lottery to determine who would receive the brand-new hardware before its public release next month. Apparently, one of those developers have handed the unit over to the folks at iFixit, who summarily began tearing it down to see what makes it — and the accompanying Siri-powered remote — tick.
Not surprisingly, the little black box is powered by a dual-core, 64-bit A8 chip with 2GB of SDRAM that retains the aging 10/100 Ethernet port found on earlier models. Perhaps contributing to the slightly taller dimensions, the latest Apple TV includes a larger heat sink than previous models, while the Siri Remote features a Broadcom-manufactured touch screen controller also used in iPhone 5s and iPad Air devices.
On a positive note, iFixit has awarded the fourth-gen Apple TV a repairability score of eight out of 10, suggesting that users won't have a very difficult time trying to fix the media streaming box should anything go wrong with it in the future. Apple TV is scheduled to begin shipping sometime in late October.
Apple Posts XcodeGhost Q&A for Developers
Over the weekend, Apple removed dozens of apps from the Chinese App Store, all of which were infected with a new form of iOS malware dubbed "XcodeGhost." Apparently, the afflicted developers used a counterfeit version of the developer tool Xcode hosted on third-party servers to compile these apps, but has since acted quickly with instructions on how to fix the problem, which does not affect apps compiled with the official Xcode versions found on the Mac App Store and Apple's own website.
Earlier today, Apple posted a question-and-answer page in both Chinese and English to address any further concerns about the XcodeGhost malware, noting there is no evidence to suggest any malicious intent thus far, nor has any "personally identifiable customer data" been impacted.
Apple plans to list the top 25 most popular apps affected by Xcode Ghost, and will be notifying customers who have downloaded one or more of these apps. Once developers submit an update for the issue, customers will then be able to apply it to the copy on their device. Finally, it's important to note this issue only affected Chinese customers — those in other regions were not impacted.
Boom 2 is an application that intercepts your system audio and modifies it to squeeze more gain and clarity out of whatever sound you are playing. The idea is to make movies, music, conversations, or YouTube playback louder and clearer without having to add external speakers. If you do plug in external speakers, the application adapts itself to those as well.
Boom 2 uses audio processing to achieve its aims: the same kind of processors that musicians might use in Logic or GarageBand, only here they’re mostly hidden from view. There’s a volume slider that shows the normal maximum volume and then the amount by which you can boost it, and an equalizer section complete with presets for different kinds of music or different uses. Each band can be adjusted and you can save your own presets. There are also effects, which include the ability to add “ambience” or “fidelity.” The EQ section also lets you fine-tune any particular movie or radio stream to get better bass or clearer vocals.
Boom 2 works in real time, but there’s also a section that lets you process batches of files using the current boost settings. You can use various audio and video file formats and it works by analyzing and processing the audio in the files then re-saving them. Whether you’d want to permanently re-process movies and music using the conversion option is maybe less clear — we probably wouldn’t. This is perhaps better for old recordings you have digitized as it basically provides you with the same set of tools you’d get in an audio wave processor, albeit with more basic controls.
The bottom line. A good way to boost and fine-tune your Mac’s audio output for music and movies.
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In case you missed it, Apple released watchOS 2 to the masses earlier today, no doubt making Apple Watch owners everywhere quite happy. But the iPhone maker didn't stop there — our Monday edition of Apple Daily has the story on the latest Apple Car rumors (along with a potential release date), what to expect from Friday's iPhone 6s launch, and a public beta for the first OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 update.
watchOS 2 Is Here
After being delayed last week to an undetermined time, watchOS 2 — the updated operating system for Apple Watch — was released by Apple earlier today. You can get it now by going to the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone (make sure it's been updated to iOS 9), then selecting General, then Software Update, then Download and Install.
watchOS 2 includes many new features, such as third-party complications, the ability to run native apps, Time Travel mode to easily see your schedule, a nightstand mode, and new watch faces.
Apple Eyeing 2019 Launch for Rumored Automobile
MacRumors today reported the so-called Apple Car has supposedly achieved "committed project" status inside of Cupertino headquarters, with 2019 pegged as a prospective release date. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has ramped up the number of employees working on the project in order to hit that target date.
"The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California," the report elaborated. "Leaders of the project, code-named Titan, have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said."
Of note, the report claims Apple's car may not be autonomous (or self-driving) after all, but such functionality could arrive at a later date.
iPhone 6s Models Sold Out Online, Apple Details Friday Launch
Apple issued a press release Monday morning to remind everyone the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are arriving in retail stores this Friday, September 25 at 8AM local time. The announcement confirmed "stores will have the new iPhones available for walk-in customers who are encouraged to arrive early," adding in a footnote that reservations will be required in four tax-free US states — Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Oregon — as well as China, Hong Kong, and Japan, presumably to keep scalpers at bay.
Those hoping to saunter in and grab an iPhone 6s on Friday will apparently have no choice now: 9to5Mac today reported that preorders for both new models are completely sold out worldwide from Apple's online store, with the earliest delivery date now estimated for September 29. That's still a big improvement over last year's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch, but Apple had a little more lead time with the new models, presumably to build up additional inventory for the masses later this week.
Apple Releases First Public Beta of OS X El Capitan 10.11.1
In addition to releasing watch OS 2 on Monday, Apple has also issued the first public beta of OS X El Capitan 10.11.1, a maintenance update for the company's new Mac operating system arriving next Wednesday, September 30.
According to AppleInsider, the beta build which is already in the hands of developers offers "support for new emoji characters and improved overall system stability," suggesting Apple could schedule a public release soon after the debut of OS X El Capitan 10.11 itself.