Benchmarks contradict Apple slowed down my iPhone claims

It’s a refrain we all hear every year around September: “I swear, whenever they release a new iPhone, Apple makes all the old ones operate worse to make you upgrade.” But thousands of performance tests conducted over the years by Futuremark users show that the conspiracy is mostly in your mind.

If you don’t know Futuremark, it’s the company behind the benchmark software 3DMark( among others ), which for years has been a standby for testing how devices from gaming PCs to telephones perform.

3DMark has the device render demanding 3D scenes that stress various regions of the hardware, and tracks how quickly it calculates, how many frames per second it renders and so on. At the end, it combines all those metrics into a single rating that’s easy to compare between devices or cards.

In the case of the iPhone( for which 3DMark is a free download if you’d like to try it ), power users and reviewers run it( and other benchmarks like it) to see whether updates or apps affect their device’s performance. Futuremark stores those ratings for comparisons like the one released today.

Futuremark’s analysts aggregated the last couple years of scores for the iPhone 5s, 6, 6s and 7, to see whether it was true that iOS releases or new iPhones tended to coincide with( or trigger) drops in performance.

It’s clear from the data that phones don’t seem to degrade in any significant way over time; some do consider performance makes with some OS versions, but others see gains. Even the 5s, quite long in the tooth at this phase, is only a tiny bit slower than it was a year and a half and two major iOS versions ago.

That said, people may still be perceiving real slowdown , nor can synthetic benchmarks reliably capture things like little postpones or input lag that add up to a slow-feeling phone without affecting its pure performance score.

One culprit could be apps themselves; one does tend to install more over hour, of course, resulting in more background processes and network calls, less free space and so on. The apps themselves may also be poorly optimized for new iOS versions when they come out, or iOS could include improvements for newer telephones that just don’t apply to older ones — so your friend’s 6s velocities up while your 6 doesn’t.( Planned obsolescence, after all, is a conspiracy we’ve all known about for decades .)

So while the performance hit may not be totally phantasmal, it seems pretty clear that Apple isn’t sabotaging your device to attain you are updating. And truly, the desire to have the latest model is something Apple users don’t need any help with.

Hopefully that puts an end to these unfounded theories … at the least, until next year.

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The iPhone X reveals why Tim Cook was so mad about Palm

At the unveiling of Apple’s new flagship smartphone yesterday, the iPhone X, CEO Tim Cook said it was something the company’s faculty had been working on for a decade.

The new premium handset with its edge-to-edge display( minus one unfortunate top notch) does away with the physical home button wholly and induces greater employ of gestures for controlling the UI.

The new interface for multitasking seems fluid and intuitive. But it also — if you’ve been smartphone watching for long enough — engenders a distinct feeling of deja vu…

Specifically it looks rather like webOS operating on the Palm Pre — a handset that was announced in 2009, after Jon Rubinstein, former SVP of Apple’s iPod division, had been lured out of retirement in Mexico by Palm: A mobile device company with a( very) long history, and enough self-perspective to realize they needed an experienced product designer to help them surf the next wave of mobility: touchscreen computing.

Rubinstein, who had left Apple in springtime 2006, clearly possessed the sought for design chops. Palm execs flew down to Mexico to woo and win their man.

By the start of 2009 Rubinstein was on stage at CES to announce the Palm Pre: A high-gloss, pebble-shaped slider smartphone which deployed multiple gestures in the UI attaining the most of a touch-sensitive region that widened below the display and onto the bezel itself.

It wasn’t only the scroll-flicks and pinch-to-zooms already on the iPhone and Android devices of the time that Palm had brought over to its next-gen smartphone hardware. It had something else up its sleeve: Its webOS UI incorporated a deck-of-cards activity interface to be the driver for low friction mobile multitasking.

Palm showed how users could easily swipe between and tap on the cards to switch apps. How the order of cards could be rearranged with a thumb press and drag. And how individual cards could be flicked off the top of the screen when the user was done with a particular app or task. Cards indicated fully active apps. It was simple and elegant.

“Now how’s that for some real newness, ” said Matias Duarte, Palm’s senior director of human interface and user experience, with a pretty sizable grin on his face as he wrapped up that part of the Pre’s CES demo.

( Duarte now works on Google’s card-like Material Design design language, which extends the card motif the company first used in Android, for Google Now, in 2012; and “hes been gone” straight from Palm to being a VP of design at Android when the feature was being developed .)

In an earnings bellow later the same month in 2009, Cook was pressed by analysts about how quickly the iPhone’s challengers appeared to be elbowing into the market — and asked how Apple would be able to sustain its leadership.

“We don’t mind competition, but if others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them, ” he responded in a comment that was picked up on and interpreted at the time as a pretty stark alerting shot across Palm’s bows.

When pressed again specifically on the Palm Pre, and how the device seemed to “directly imitate the iPhone’s innovative interface”, Cook doubled down on his implied accusation of IP theft: “We don’t want to refer to any particular companies, so that was a general statement. We like rivalry because it stimulates us better, but we will not stand for companies contravening on our IP.”

Of course this is all water under the bridge now, as Palm’s dreams of successfully surfing the smartphone wave ended in abrupt disaster — burdened by ongoing legacy software challenges, wrong-footed by carriers’ marketing decisions and ultimately saddled with an unloving acquirer in HP — and the Palm Pre had a cruelly short lifespan for such a forward-thinking device.

I remember how fresh the interface felt in 2009. How tremendously advanced vs legacy smartphone players like BlackBerry and Nokia — which, although they were still minting huge revenues back then, were also clearly failing to come to terms rapidly enough with the paradigm transformation of touchscreen mobility.

Whether the Palm Pre was genuinely ahead of its period, or whether the components of the interface had been plucked out of a carefully schemed Cupertino 10 -year roadmap will be a story for Valley historians to unpick.

But in the iPhone X it’s clear you’re looking at a little ghost of the Pre.

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Apple is looking into reports of iPhone 8 batteries swelling

Reports from a few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus buyers have suggested there could be an issue with the battery inside some of the devices swelling, causing the case of Apple’s new iPhone to split open and uncover the smartphone’s internals.

Apple has now corroborated it is looking into it, although a spokesperson declined to comment further when asked how many devices are affected.

From what we’ve heard the number of reports so far is very few.

Yesterday CNET rounded up the handful of reports that have emerged — saying there are at least six different reports in at least five countries of the iPhone 8 splitting along its seams.

Today Reuters also noted a report in Chinese country media of an iPhone purchaser claiming a freshly bought iPhone 8 Plus arrived cracked open on October 5, though apparently without any signs of scorching or an explosion.

Apple rival Samsung had big problems with smartphone batteries in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. In that instance some Note 7 batteries caught flame, and their own problems was extensive enough that it led Samsung to recall all Note 7 handsets — at great expense.

In the case of the iPhone 8 the questions appears to be limited to batteries bloating/ swelling, rather than catching flame — at the least as reported so far.

Although the phone merely went on sale on September 22 so it’s still early days for the device.

Apple did not release figures for the first weekend sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as it has in the past with new iPhones, so it’s also not yet clear how many of these handsets are in the hands of purchasers at this point.

Some analysts have suggested customers may be holding off on upgrading their iPhone to buy the top-of-the-range iPhone X, which Apple also announced at the same day, but with a later release date.

Pre-sales for the iPhone X are due to begin on October 27, with the handset slated to ship on November 3.

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Apple would like to remind the FCC that it cant activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones dont have

Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that “urged” Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. The recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were the hooking for the reasoning. The only problem? Apple hasn’t even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s.

That’s right, Pai called on Apple to activate radios that don’t even exist.

As John Gruber astutely points out, the statement has the stink of trying to switching blamed or attention off of the FCC’s own response and readiness issues. Pai has been banging the drum for months now and it’s been a talking phase of the NAB for years. When ostensibly asked for remark by Bloomberg, National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton said “The notion that Apple or anyone else would block this type of information is something that we find fairly troubling.”

Again, the radios do not exist in iPhones and haven’t for over a year now. It’s important to note here that the FCC must test all radio devices thoroughly before they are eligible for sale in the US. It is very likely that the FCC already knew that the FM radio was not present in new iPhones. It’s also worth noting that there is no regulation that says any telephone manufacturer must do this — which is why there is a shaming campaign going on relating to the Chairman of the FCC and a radio broadcasting organization to get Apple to enable radios that it does not possess so that more devices are able to obtain radio.

I ran and asked Apple about it and they said, very clearly, that iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 do not have FM radio chips in them at all. Here’s the statement.

Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern security solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information immediately from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.

I understand that’s true of the iPhone X as well, by the way.

The response from Apple came in earlier today but I still had some questions about this so I did some poking around. The chips that Apple use for its radio comms are actually fairly easy to identify once you’ve opened the occurrence. That has attained it easy for those who do teardowns to figure out what parts from Intel or Broadcom or whoever Apple is using in iPhone 8. Running purely off of that information it could be easy to assume that a certain part number is identical to other portions that are used in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

But that’s not true at all in the case of Apple. Even if a part seems to be the spitting image, for example, of a Broadcom BCM4 357, it is assuredly not. Apple does not buy off the shelf parts and never has. It works closely with manufacturers to get the exact specifications it needs based on the capabilities it wants. Even though parts may appear very, very similar to those used in other phones, they are usually not.

The FM block is simply not there in current iPhone radio chips. It may look the same but it’s not on the chip at all. Broadcom would need to re-spin the chip to add the stuff Apple would need back in. They’d also require, of course, to connect it up( which it never was even in the older phones) and build in an antenna and change its WiFi chip and add back in a headphone jack to use the headphones as an antenna.

Which brings us to a final point: Apple have in fact not had workable FM radios in iPhones in a very, very long time. Much further back than the iPhone 7. Even when the FM modules were included in the chip, “theyre not” connected, had no antennas and no supporting was built in to other radio components. Basically, Apple can’t switch on the FM radio in the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X because they don’t exist. And it can’t switch on many older FM radio chips because the iPhone’s hardware simply are not in favour of it.

We’ve reached out to the FCC to see if they’re aware of any of this. No reaction yet.

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Amazon just launched 6 new gadgets and none was over $150

In the year of the $1000 iPhone Amazon just announced a scattering of new gadgets and none cost more than $150. Essentially, Amazon said “screws the margins” and are selling everything as cheap as possible. This race to the bottom is Amazon’s standard operating procedure. The company did it with Kindles e-readers and again with Kindle Fire tablets. The company releases a proof of concept and lets the market respond. If the response is favorable, Amazon releases the Kraken on the market.

Amazon announced today the quirky Echo Buttons that cost $20 a pair, the $35 Echo Connect landline thing and a $70 Fire TV capable of 4K. And then there’s the swanky $99 cloth-covered Echo, adorable $130 Echo Spot alarm clock and the $150 Echo Plus, which athletics all the goods from the original Echo plus a smart home hub and comes with a Philips Hue bulb.

There’s even a talking Big Mouth Billy Bass. No word on its cost, though.

If that’s not cheap enough, many of the products are available through bundles that pair an Echo with a Fire TV model so owneds can experience smart home commands right out of the box.

So far the strategy worked with the Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets. In both cases, after the market liked the original model, Amazon slashed the hardware margins and flooded the market with quality hardware with MSRPs dramatically under the competitor. In this most recent example, the Echo had a commanding hold on its market much like the Kindle did years ago. Amazon, following its known strategy, only sucked much of the air out of the in-home assistant marketplace. The breadth of Amazon’s inexpensive offering is impressive.

Amazon now sells Echo products for as low as $20 and bundled a Fire TV Stick with an Echo Dot for $60. Said another way, a person could get three Fire TV Sticks and 3 Echo Dots for the price of one Apple TV 4K. If 4K is needed on the Fire TV, Amazon has a bundle for that, too, and a person could buy two bundles of Fire TV 4K and Echo Dots for $20 less than an Apple TV 4K.

At the top of the line is the $199 Echo Look and $229 Echo Show. Both were announced earlier this year but round out a huge product line. There are now 8 different types of Amazon Echos available for purchase.

This bevy of Amazon products were announced at a pivotal period. Rumor has it Google is about to announce updates to its Google Home line including an Echo Dot-like smaller Google Home. Google was already playing catch-up and now it’s virtually inconceivable Google or Apple will be able to catch Amazon.

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Apple: don’t use Face ID on an iPhone X if you’re under 13 or have a twin

Facial recognition system is 20 times more secure than Touch ID, but struggles with young users and siblings

The iPhone X might be the future of Apple’s smartphone design, but its lauded Face ID facial recognition system has an issue with people under 13: it’s much more difficult to tell them apart.

In a security guidebook published Wednesday, Apple recommends that children under the age of 13 do not utilize Face ID due to the probability of a false match being significantly higher for young children. The company said this was because” their distinct facial features may not have fully developed “.

While few young children are likely to be given a PS999 iPhone, false matches are also more likely for twins and siblings. In all those situations, the company recommends concerned users disable Face ID and use a passcode instead.

For most users- those over 13 without “evil twins”, as Apple’s head of iOS Craig Federighi describes them- the bigger fear is deliberate assaults. Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor, was famously bypassed just two days after it was launched in the iPhone 5S, utilizing a fake fingerprint placed over a real thumb.

With Face ID, Apple has implemented a secondary system that exclusively seems out for attempts to buffoon the technology. Both the authentication and spoofing defense are based on machine learning, but while the former is trained to identify individuals from their faces, the latter is used to look for telltale signs of cheating.

” An additional neural network that’s trained to spot and resist spoofing defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks ,” the company says. If a completely perfect mask is made, which fools the identification neural network, the defensive system will still notice- just like a human.

Apple is also confident that it won’t fall prey to issues of algorithmic bias that have plagued many attempts to use neural networks at scale. High-profile examples of such failures include the photo-labelling system that ltagged black people as gorillas, or the word-association model which states that men are computer programmers and women are homemakers.

Whenever its initial educate exposed a demographic shortcoming, Apple says, it” augmented such studies as needed to provide a high degree of accuracy for a diverse range of users “. Time- and millions of people around the world using the technology- will tell whether the effort ran, but the company audios confident.

One area the system will struggle with, however, is facial coverings. Apple says that” Face ID is designed to work with hats, scarves, glasses, contact lenses and many sunglasses ,” but ultimately two things dictate whether or not it has a chance of success. The first is whether the cover-ups are transparent to infrared light, and the second whether the system can see the eyes , nose and mouth. While some cloths are more transparent to infrared than they may seem, that means iPhone users who cover their faces may be forced to will vary depending on a passcode when out and about.

Separately, Apple has also confirmed that the depth-sensing technology included in the iPhone X is not allowed to be used by developers to create their own facial biometrics, a possibility which had concerned many privacy activists.

The depth sensor data is not immediately available to developers, but the camera API now allows them to receive a pixel-by-pixel measure of how far features in an image are from the lens, a system intended to be used to enable image manipulation such as Apple’s own portrait mode.

That could theoretically be used to build a standalone authentication feature, albeit one that is less precise than Apple’s own, but the company has updated its App Store policies to prevent developers from attempting to do so.” You may not attempt, facilitate, or encourage others to identify anonymous users or reconstruct user profiles based on data collected from depth and/ or facial mapping tools ,” the company’s developer guidelines now state.

iPhone X: new Apple smartphone dumps home button for all-screen design

A brief recent history of Apples product swerves

The perennial refrain of Android fans is that Apple is just adding stuff to iOS that they’ve had for years already in their mobile ecosystem. And it’s certainly true that Cupertino makes a point of “ve been waiting for” it believes a technology is properly baked and the time is juuuuust right — or at least commercially judicious — to introduce a new product or ability, one which has likely already been in widespread utilize across the mobile platform aisle.

Hence the company is often charged with being an innovation laggard. While its senior execs are always fielding questions about why such and such a product or feature isn’t in Apple’s line-up yet.

The company’s strategy for, you could say, mis managing expectation has assured it often swing from publicly rubbishing a device type or technology — to warmly espousing it some years later.( Or, well , not, in the case of Flash .)

Steve Jobs was master of this dark marketing art. You don’t usually find his more mild-mannered replacement, Tim Cook, deploying the various kinds of widened public trashtalking that Jobs indulged, raging out at this or that rival tech as ludicrous, impossible to use and horribly designed. Before performing a complete U-turn down the line.

Cook mostly limits himself to get a little bit fired up about Android security and fragmentation during keynotes. But the current Apple CEO has still presided over some major swerves in its position on tech developments — from finally inflating the screen sizing of the iPhone, in 2014, to adding and( now) extending is supportive of NFC, as well as introducing wireless charging in its newest iPhone 8/ 8 Plus and iPhone X models.

He was also at the helm when Apple outed a stylus for its iPad Pro line — braving the inexorable flak dedicated Jobs’ very public loathing for such sticks( among many jabs at styli, Jobs left us this option quote: “If you need a stylus you’ve already failed” ).

The lesson here is that Apple has always said — and will always say — whatever it needs to in public as it bides its time, continues its analysis and waits until its target mainstream market will appreciate the utility of what it’s developing. As Jobs also used to say, the things Apple selects not to do are as important to what it does include in the products.

And of course it does not always get this balancing act right. It was, after all, rather slow to increase smartphone screen sizing and move into the phablet space. Yet at the same day lots of iPhone users clearly liked the four-inch handset form factor, hence Apple subsequently re-introducing it, with the iPhone SE.

A more major misjudgment came in 2013 when it tried to offer a plastic-backed iPhone, aka the iPhone 5c. The market responded with a resounding: no thanks! — and the model was softly discontinued.( Perhaps because offering a cheaper construct material went against Apple’s grain of expanding the pool of technological inventions it offers users .)

But any statements the company attains that appear intended to rubbish rival innovations should be read as a placeholder signal which states: yes Apple is interested, yes Apple is looking, yes Apple is likely testing and prototyping; but no Apple, is not yet ready to take the plunge.

Apple did not induce the first personal computer , nor the first tablet computer , nor the first smartphone. Measuring it against what comes first is — to paraphrase Jobs — a boneheaded way of looking at the company. Rather its energy is spun up and spent on doing the hard assessment work of figuring out how to build key technological innovation accessible and usable across the broadest audience. From toddlers to senior citizens.

And the mass consumer adoption of these technologies is the real innovative heart of Apple.

So when this refining modus operandi means the company has to publicly change course and contradict something it’s said before, its execs don’t even feel the need to break a sweat. Because this is the reality of the task they’ve set themselves — to guide customers one more rung up the tech ladder.

That’s the kind of engineering business Apple is in.

OLED displays

2013, Tim Cook : “Some people use OLED showings, but the colour saturation is nasty. If you ever buy anything online and really want to know what he colour is, as many people do, you should really think twice before you depend on the colour from an OLED display.”

2017, Phil Schiller : “This is the first OLED display great enough to be in an iPhone.”

Wireless charging

2012, Phil Schiller: “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated.”

2017, Phil Schiller : “Words can’t describe just how much nicer it is to simply set it down and pick it up when you are want to charge without every having to plug in a cable again.”


2013, Craig Federighi , touting Apple AirDrop as a better alternative to NFC: “No need to stray around the room, bumping your phone …[ pantomimes bumping phones] ”

September 2014, Eddie Cue : “We’ve got a groundbreaking NFC antenna built across the top … Apple Pay is easy and secure and it’s private.”

September 2014, Tim Cook , on Apple Pay: “It is so cool! ”

2017 : Apple( quietly) expands NFC subsistence in iOS 11 beyond Apple Pay — to be allowed to to read NFC tags in the real world

Larger displays

2013, Tim Cook: “The iPhone 5 offers … a new four-inch retina display, which is the most advanced display in the industry. It also provides a larger screen sizing without sacrificing the one-handed ease of use that our clients love.”

2014, Tim Cook , introducing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: “Today we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.”

2014, Phil Schiller : “Yes, they’re bigger. They’re a lot bigger … Your photos look gorgeous and there’s more to assures on each of them.

“And when you turn them in landscape we show more as well. And we took special advantage of the iPhone 6 Plus because of all those pixels to do some new things with our apps. So, for example, the messages app now has a new horizontal two-up showing … We do everything to take advantage of these huge showings to make them more capable.”

Third party keyboard apps

2013, Tim Cook , requested information about opening up iOS keyboard for third party apps: “I think you’ll consider us open up more in future, but not to the degree that we’ll put the customer at risk of having a bad experience.”

2014, Craig Federighi , introducing the ability to install system-wide third party keyboards: “So now if you have a special keyboard you want to use you can install those on iOS, and by default those of course run inside of the most curtailed sandbox with no network access, because we want to make sure to protect your privacy. But if that keyboard requires or you want to grant it ability it can ask for access to the network to provide extended functionality. We put those controls in your hands.”

Smart speakers

May 2017, Phil Schiller on being asked about the Amazon Echo and Google Home: “My mother used to have a went on to say that if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all.

“There’s many moments where a voice deputy is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t suppose suits many situations.”

June 2017, Phil Schiller: “This is really exciting. The chance to reinvent the style we enjoy music in the home. I can’t think of anything that matters more to so many of us.”


2007, Steve chores : “Who wants a stylus? You have to get em and put em away and you lose em. Yeuck! Nobody wants a stylus.”

2015, Phil Schiller : “It’s called Apple Pencil … It’s one of the most advanced technologies we’ve ever created, in a simple, beautiful form.”

iPad Mini

2010, Steve Jobs , on 7-inch tablets needing to include “sandpaper so that your user could sand down their fingers to one-quarter of their present size”.

“There are clear limits on how you can physically place components on a touchscreen before users can not reliably tap, flick or pinch them. This is why we is considered that the 10 -inch screen size is the minimum sizing required to create great tablet apps.”

2012, Phil Schiller : “What can you do with an iPad mini that you can’t already do with the amazing Fourth Generation iPad? Well this — you can hold it in one hand.”

“This isn’t just a shrunken down iPad; it’s an entirely new design … There is nothing as amazing as this.”

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Apple: expect a radical iPhone redesign for its 10th anniversary

On 12 September Tim Cooks company will hold its first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Heres what they will( likely) talk about

Apple will hold a press event on 12 September to unveil its much foreseen new iPhones, which are expected to introduce a whole new design and define the tone for the next few years.

Unlike previous years, much is known about at the least one of the new iPhones thanks to a large software leak from Apple that disclosed several of its key details. But new smartphones are not the only new thing Apple is expected to announce, with the event taking place in the just-built Apple Park and its Steve Jobs Theatre.

Apple Park

Apple Park, the company’s new headquarters. Photo: Foster+ Partners

Known externally as Apple’s ” spaceship”, Apple Park is the firm’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California, built to house its growing workforce in a giant, four-storey ring surrounded by manicured woodland. The multi-billion-dollar building was designed by Norman Foster with Apple’s Jony Ive and is meant to be part of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ legacy.

The event will be the first time non-Apple personnel will be allowed on the grounds in any number, devoting the world a glimpse of the latest hallowed hallways of big US technology.

‘D2 2’ iPhone – iPhone 8/ Pro/ X

An icon used to display the’ D22′ iPhone found in a pre-release firmware from the Apple HomePod speaker, released to developers in July. Photo: Apple

Apple is expected to announce a new design for at the least one of its iPhones for 2017. While the details on the naming of the device codenamed “D22” are sketchy- it could be called the iPhone 8, iPhone Pro, or perhaps the iPhone X if it is named after the Apple smartphone’s 10 th anniversary- a leak from Apple of the HomePod software disclosed much about its design and features.

The biggest change is a new all-screen design, similar to that produced by Samsung for the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, and LG for the G6 and V30. Apple is expected to do away with the traditional home button on the front, with the screen extending to the edges at the top, bottom and sides of the device, with much slimmer bezels.

The top of the device is expected to have a cutout in the screen for the earpiece speaker, selfie camera and sensors, similar to that of Android-founder Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone.

Lacking a home button on the front of the iPhone also entails no Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the front. While Apple was hoping, like Samsung, to have an under-screen fingerprint scanner, neither company appears to have been able to get the technology to work for this generation. It is unlikely the iPhone 8 will have such an advancement.

Instead, Apple is expected to rely on infrared facial recognition as its primary biometric system for the iPhone 8, which will be capable of recognising a user, unlocking the device and authenticating pays. Leaks also point to the phone being able to tell when a user is looking at it and automatically silencing notifications.

Samsung’s” smart bide” system employs a front-facing camera to tell when a user is looking at their smartphone to keep the screen illuminated when actively being used but not touched.

Apple is also expected to integrate more advanced systems for its camera, including augmented reality and further enhancement of its computation photography system, which combines the images from multiple cameras on the back into one photo.

The new iPhone may also include wireless charging for the first time, a feature common on competitors from Samsung and others that allows users to charge their smartphones inductively on small plates or mats, which can be built into furniture.

iPhone 7S

Revised versions of 2016′ s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus could also be announced. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

Alongside the new iPhone 8, Apple is also expected to update its iPhone 7 line of devices, maybe called the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, in line with previous iterations of the iPhone.

These updates, if they happen, are expected be minor improvements, with some new features given by software updates.

Apple Watch

A review and revision of the Apple Watch is also expected. Photo: Issei Kato/ Reuters

Apple’s smartwatch, the Apple Watch, is also expected to receive updates. Rumours suggest that a new version of the Apple Watch could include 4G cellular connectivity, building it capable of accessing the internet without being connected to an iPhone or wifi.

The Apple Watch is the current market leader of smartwatches, which as a category is starting to eat into traditional wearables such as basic fitness trackers, according to the latest data from analysts IDC. Shipments of the Apple Watch were up nearly 50% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017 with 3.4 m divisions, devoting Apple a 13% share of the total wearables market.

4K Apple TV

Apple could release a 4K version of its Apple TV streaming box. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

According to several reports, the company has the potential to upgrade its Apple TV smart Tv box to support 4K video and HDR, the two new technologies currently permeating the television market.

The Apple TV was last updated in 2015 adding support for the App Store and a new touch-controlled remote.

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The iPhone 8 could mute notifications when youre looking at the screen

Last week, Appleaccidentally releasedan early construct of the HomePod firmware. Guilherme Rambo has been excavating around a library file to spot strings and references that hint at future products and features. In particular, he merely noticed that the next iPhone will be able to detect when youre looking at the screen so that it can stillnes your notifications.

I seemed around the HomePod firmware and received the same references to this supportsAttenuatingTonesForAttentionDetected class.

Based on previous leaks, Apple has been working on some mysterious face detecting technology. This technology codenamed Pearl ID should replace the Touch ID sensor altogether.

It seems like the next flagship iPhone is going to feature two front-facing cameras as well as an infrared sensor. This route, you could unlock your phone using your face even if youre in the dark, even if youre not seeming immediately at your phone.

Todays news is a bit surprising as it means that your iPhone is going to track your face at all periods. Thats how Apple can stillness notifications and vibrations if youre looking at your telephone because a banner should be enough.

But Apple could use face tracking for many different things. For instance, you could unlock your iPhone by i look at your notifications on the lock screen. When youre ready to unlock it, your iPhone will already know that youre looking at your telephone so it should be instantaneous.

Similarly, password managers, banking apps, file management apps and other sensitive apps have been using Touch ID as an additional security layer. If your phone is always recognizing also that youre looking at it, apps could skip this screen wholly. Or iOS could lock itself automatically if you stop looking at your phone.

Rumor has it that Apple wanted to embed the fingerprint sensor in the showing itself. But reports say that Apple couldnt render tens of millions of devices with this technology. Thats why Apple is switching things up and focusing on facial recognition.

Apple should be announcing three different iPhone models in September. The company should announce two more powerful phones that are going to look more or less like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.

But the most interesting device is a brand new super premium phone it could be called the iPhone 8, the iPhone Pro or something different. Its supposedly going to have a taller screen that is going to completely fill the front of the device, except for the speaker, camera and sensors at the top. Its going to be interesting to see how Apple is going to tweak iOS for this new device.

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Virgin Mobile goes iPhone-only, offers a year of service for $1

In attempt to woo clients away from competitors, Virgin Mobile USA today announced a deal that will see it transitioning to become an iPhone-only carrier. The company is also partnering with Apple toactivate Virgins services in Apples stores. To kick off this change, Virgin introduced a limited time promotion that will see it giving away a years worth of unlimited talk, text and data for only a dollar.

There are a few caveats to this deal, of course.

Like most carriers, unlimited data is not exactly that. Customers who use more than 23 GB of data during one billing cycle will be deprioritized, Virgin tells meaning it will throttle your bandwidth as needed, especially in places where theres a lot of congestion.

Plus, Virgins terms says it has the right to terminate your service is your off-network wandering usage outstrips either 800 voice minutes or 100 megabytes.( The schemes come with8 00 domestic voice roaming minutes and 100 MB domestic data roaming, in addition to the unlimited data, talk and text ).

Oh, and youll need to purchase an iPhone from Apple or Virgin, of course, then port your telephone number over to Virgins Inner Circle plan.

Virgin is carrying the iPhone SE, 6, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus on its website, in various configurations, at retail price, for the most part. The exceptions to that are the SE 32 GB and 128 GB model, which are discountedcompared with Apples direct cost. And the iPhone 6 32 GB is discontinued, so its also a cheaper pick.

While the$ 1 bargain sounds like its too good to be true, theres a bit of a catch with that, as well.

The deal is merely being made available until July 31 st, 2017; afterwards its a 6-month offer. In other words, this is a big carrot being dangled to attract a slew of new sign-ups at once. Virgin is essentially betting on the fact that customers will stick around when the regular scheme pricing of $50 per month( which requires AutoPay) later kicks in.

There are also some optional add-ons for international bellows, packaged into a$ 5 or $10 bundle, depending on your needs. These are focused on offering unlimited calls to select countries or landlines, limitless texts, and other reduced rates.( The full details on those are here .)

Despite these caveats( another, arguably, could be that Virgin runs on Sprints network, which has its own situated of challenges ), Virgins Inner Circle comes with a series of perks, too. These are focused on tying the carrier to the larger define of Virgin brands, like its airline, hotel chain, and wines, for example.

With Inner Circle, customers can buy a round-trip ticket to the U.K. on Virgin Atlantic and only pay fees and taxes on a second companion ticket, as well as take 20 percent off flights on Virgin America. You can get your third night free when staying at Virgin Hotels, and enjoy discounts on Virgin Wines and the Virgin Sport San Francisco Festival of Fitness in October.There will also be chances to win bucket-list experiences with Virgin Racing, Virgin Galactic and others, the company notes.

Carriers are always battling for customers and offering an ever-growing collect of outlandish promotions to win their business. Virgin Mobiles parent company Sprint, for example, just this month began offering a free year of limitless service to those who switch from another mobile operator.

While the promotion itself will eventually pass, Virgins larger business decision to stick only to iPhones is worth noting here. This is something Sprints CEO Marcelo Claure alluded to last year ,~ ATAGEND when he said that Virgin was going to be de-emphasized ahead of a forthcoming change in strategy.

Well , now its here. Before, Virgin had been an Android prepaid business sold through national retail store. Running forward, it will instead tout its contract-free, iPhone-only model.

The partnership with Apple allows Virgin Mobile to become the newest carrier to sell its service in Apples stores, and makes it the first iPhone-only carrier in the U.S.

The company believes the change may dedicate it a renewed shot at vying with its better performing challengers, like T-Mobiles MetroPCS and AT& Ts Cricket Wireless, as well as non-traditional newcomers, like Googles low-cost Project Fi.

Virgin has always appeared to shake things up and challenge the status quo in any sector we go into, told Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, in a statement. Mobile is no exception and with Virgin Mobile USA, weve now worked with Apple to create a compelling offer for our new Inner Circle plan. Simply put, when you buy an iPhone you are able to get the highest quality device and service plus access to an array of Virgin experiences and offers with our group of companies, he added.

Virgin is officially announcing the news via its Facebook Page today 😛 TAGEND

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