Apple today unofficially announced the reveal date for the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2, sending out press invites for a September 7, 2016 event at the Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. (via MacRumors).
Apple will be livestreaming the iPhone 7 event, available on iOS, OS X, Windows 10, and Apple TV devices.
A video posted Saturday by PhoneBuff shows the real-world speed differences between Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 7 device and the (nearly) year old iPhone 6s. The difference is striking.
As John Gruber points out, it is difficult to tell whether or not the big difference in speed is due to the Operating Systems or hardware present in these devices.
There is another factor to consider, however…
At WWDC this year Apple teased us with a preview of their dramatically redesigned 10th major update to iOS, iOS 10. Earlier I explored historical data to determine that the iPhone 7 would likely come out on Friday, September 23rd, 2016, and I use the same logic to figure out when we’ll see the release of iOS 10.
Apple is fairly consistent with the release cycles for their products and software. iOS releases have seen some changes, as has the iPhone, but after compiling all of the data I believe I have nailed down the actual release date for iOS 10.
With the exception of iOS 5, Apple has released new versions of iOS an average of 101 days after announcing them to the world. That date is usually 2 days prior to the release of new iPhone hardware. iPhone OS 1, 2, and iOS 5 are notable exceptions – launching alongside a new iPhone. Additionally, iOS 9 launched to the public a full 9 days prior to the release of the iPhone 6s.
Since I previously determined that the iPhone 7 will go on sale on September 23rd, it’s easy to guesstimate that iOS 10 will launch nine days prior, on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016. This should mirror the release of iOS 9, signaling Apple’s interest in getting iOS releases out to the public earlier and often. An earlier release date than most previous years, coupled with the ongoing iOS 10 public beta, allows Apple to identify and correct any major flaws in iOS 10 prior to the launch of the iPhone 7.
Now we just get to wait and see!
Nike’s latest entry into the Nike+ family brings the Nike+ Move app for iPhone. Taking advantage of the iPhone 5s’s new M7 motion coprocessor, Nike+ Move will track your movement throughout the day and award you with NikeFuel based on your activity. There is no traditional step tracker. Your movement is displayed on a time-based graph that updates throughout the day and is overlaid on your graph from yesterday for a quick comparison.
Move also breaks down the type of activity you participated in for the current day and itemizes your NikeFuel earning for running, walking, and “other movement.” If you grant Move access to Location Services, it will also show where your activity occurred throughout the day and display NikeFuel earnings and time spent moving in each location. Separately, a long-term bar graph displays your activity for at least two weeks. The M7 in the iPhone does not store data for more than 7 days, and the Nike+ Move app has not been out long enough to test the history beyond that.
Nike did build in some social features to Move that utilizes Game Center and Location Services to compare your activity to your friends and others in your geographical area (categorized by your nearest major city). The Game Center integration is extremely poor at best and should have been left out until complete. I could not find a way to find any friends using the app, which probably just means that none are using Move. A tantalizing “Add Friends” button is there, but tapping it takes you to a Mail pop-over where you can email your friends and ask them to connect with you – completely foregoing the Game Center friends list that Nike touts as a feature.
Nike+ Move is a fairly simple motion tracker than can substitute for a physical fitness tracker if you don’t already own a Fitbit or Nike FuelBand. Accuracy is hard to gauge since it is quantified in proprietary NikeFuel points that seem to have no discernible reason for when you get rewarded. My activity graphs from wearing a Fitbit while keeping my iPhone with me at the same time result in nearly identical activity graphs, so Move seems accurate enough.
This latest (and arguably greatest) app to make use of the iPhone 5s’s M7 motion coprocessor is definitely a strong contender in the space and likely won’t be overshadowed soon. Once Nike better integrates the Game Center experience, Nike+ Move should dominate the M7-based motion tracking space. Move sports a beautiful simple interface and is incredibly easy to use – two things sorely lacking in the first M7 motion tracker, Argus. If you already own a wearable fitness tracker, it’s best to stick with that though. I notice that I wear my Fitbit Flex much more often than I have my iPhone on me, and my activity reports reflect this activity tracking gap. Nike’s goal is to use the Move app as gateway to the Nike+ ecosystem, hoping to tempt users to upgrade by purchasing a new FuelBand. I have to admit that I now kind of want one.
You can download Nike+ Move for iPhone now, free on the App Store.
One of the most anticipated new features of OS X Mavericks is the iCloud Keychain. This resurrected and upgraded feature again allows you to sync your Keychain between Macs, and brings iOS into the Keychain syncing family. Additionally, Safari will now suggest passwords for you while creating new logins or even changing existing passwords. Prior to release, we speculated that this might be the next 1Password killer. Does it live up to the hype? Read more to find out. Continue reading
The best iPhone just got better.
The old is new again
Every other year, Apple refreshes the iPhone lineup with either an entirely new phone or an “s” update. This year was the latter’s turn, and we got the biggest “s” update ever seen. With the iPhone 5s (the first “s” update to be officially stylized with a lowercase “s”), Apple changed the game and introduced a radical new feature that literally changes the way we use our phones every day – fingerprint authentication technology called Touch ID.
Beyond the updated Touch ID-compatible home button, the iPhone 5s is virtually identical to last year’s iPhone 5 model. We get the same high quality aluminum metal frame in roughly the same colors as last time – with a flashy addition. Sticking with their love for the basics, Apple offers the iPhone 5s in black (sorry, Space Gray), white (Silver), and the newcomer: Gold. Yes; Apple went there.
Internally, the iPhone 5s is almost like a brand new phone. The Apple-designed A6 of the iPhone 5 was replaced with a zippy 64-bit A7 – a first for any smartphone. The new 64-bit A7 advertises processor and graphical performance that’s up to twice as fast as the A6 in the iPhone 5. An exciting brand new chip also makes its debut: M7, the motion coprocessor. Think FitBit or Nike FuelBand in your pocket.
Though Apple skipped adding 5G Wi-Fi (802.11a/c) to the 5s, the iPhone 5s finally unites the major cellular GSM, CDMA, and LTE bands under one universal radio. You still have to select which carrier you use when purchasing the 5s, but these new bands available on each model greatly improve the ability to roam around the world. Truly a welcome addition for travelers. Prior to this merger, AT&T users were (surprisingly) kind of screwed when it came to LTE access outside of the US. The Verizon model had an LTE radio capable of connecting to many times more foreign networks than those using the AT&T model. That’s no longer the case.
Keep reading for our breakdown of all of the new features of the iPhone 5s. Continue reading
Apple’s iCloud service has been taking off in terms of active users – there’s now over 300 million of them – but the space that Apple’s cloud service offers pales in comparison to the space cloud services offered by Google and others provide. While iCloud’s storage plans are fairly reasonably priced, backups from multiple iOS devices owned by a user can quickly chew through the free 5GB provided – and even the additional 10GB for $20 a year. 15GB for $20 a year may sound like plenty but with ever increasing camera quality on the iPhone, potential increases in physical storage on your iDevice, and more graphics-intensive apps hitting the App Store, many users may see their free storage used up pretty quickly.
As a comparison, Google’s cloud service offers 15GB of storage free (shared across all services – like Gmail, Drive, etc.) and 100GB for just $4.99 a month ($59.88 a year). You can even get up to 16TB of storage from Google, for $799 per month. Wow! Amazon offers 5GB of storage free through their Cloud Drive, and an additional 15GB for $10 a year – half the price of iCloud – up to 200GB for $100 a year. Dropbox gives a paltry 2GB for free, and will bump that up to 100GB for $9.99 per month (or $100 a year). iCloud caps out at 55GB for $100 a year.
It’s been a while since Apple has changed up physical storage space on the iPhone and iPad. We first saw the availability of 16, 32, and 64GB models with the release of the iPhone 4S. It’s been the same for the last two models. Could Apple increase the storage space in the iPhone 5S? It wouldn’t be unheard of for an ‘S’ release to give us a storage bump. If Apple does increase iPhone storage space soon, it would make iCloud’s storage limits seem even tighter.
To be fair, none of the services besides iCloud offer device backups – which is a huge staple of iCloud. Since the introduction of iCloud device backups, I haven’t synced my iPhone or iPad to my computer at all. It appears that Apple’s premium pricing for iCloud is supported by the range of features that iCloud offers over these other services. Being able to create and save files on your Mac and see them pop up in an app on your iPhone is great. There’s no software to install or syncing to set up. It couldn’t be simpler.
Apple is working hard to expand iCloud storage. They opened their first new datacenter in North Carolina in 2012, and are already in the process of expanding it. A new datacenter in Reno, Nevada, is also under development – along with another in Prineville, Oregon. These massive datacenters will greatly expand the storage capability of Apple’s already strong iCloud service.
It would not be surprising to see a boost in iCloud storage as we see storage space in future iOS devices increase. More surprising would be to see iPhone and iPad physical storage go up without an accompanying boost to iCloud as well. Will we see these increases with the release of the iPhone 5S this fall? We’ll just have to wait and see.