Year old iPhone 6s destroys new Samsung Note 7 in speed test

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…

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When will the iPhone 7 be announced and released?

iPhone6s-2Up-HeroFish-PR-PRINT copyThe official announcement of a new version of iOS – iOS 10 – at WWDC 2016 can be seen as the traditional precursor to the announcement of a new iPhone, and this year is no different. It is expected that Apple will follow its yearly cycle of announcing a new iPhone model to follow closely with the release of the latest version of iOS.

It is widely accepted that Apple will release an incremental update to the iPhone this year, while keeping with its current incremental naming scheme. Unlike other years, the iPhone 7 is not expected to introduce a dramatic external design change. Instead, the iPhone 7 is presumed to largely retain the external look of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s.

Apple began releasing iPhones in the fall starting with the iPhone 4S – released on October 11 in the US in 2011. Prior to that, new iPhone hardware was released in the summer. All previous versions – with the exception of the iPhone 3G – were released in June. Starting with the 4S, September and October have been the months of choice. The iPhone 5 was released on September 21, 2012 and the iPhone 5 S followed on September 20, 2013. Following the same pattern, Apple released the iPhone 6 on September 19, 2014 and the iPhone 6s on September 25, 2015 – the latest fall release yet. With the release of iOS 10 coming “this fall,” there’s no chance that we’d see new iPhone hardware launching before that.

Fall begins on September 22nd this year, and the iPhone release should follow the change of the seasons with a release only a few days later.

But when will the actual announcement for the iPhone 7 come?

New iPhone hardware was traditionally announced at WWDC on a Monday in early June. The iPhone 4S was the first iPhone to break the WWDC announcement tradition, and so has every model that followed. It seems as if the WWDC iPhone announcement tradition is officially dead.

Once announced, a new iPhone releases an average of 31.7 days later. More recent iPhones have become available for purchase just 10-16 days after their announcement. The iPhone 7 will likely hang toward the higher end of the range.

With the exception of the iPhone 3G and 4S, each new generation of iPhone has been announced at least 1 day prior to the announcement of the previous model, generally in the second week of the month. The iPhone 7 will likely follow this trend and be announced in early September.

I’m pegging Friday, September 9th, 2016 as the day of the iPhone 7 announcement. I expect that the iPhone 7 release date is September 23, 2016 – exactly two weeks after the announcement.

Nike+ Move App Review: A good substitute for wearable fitness trackers

Nike+ Move activity reports

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.

iPhone 5s Review

Screenshot 2013-10-22 11.24.40The 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

Will Apple increase iCloud storage space?

Will iCloud get bigger?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.

Pictures of a rumored iPhone 5S surface

iphone_5s_rear
Photo courtesy of MacRumors.

Late last night some new photos of what appear to be the rumored iPhone 5S showed up online – over on MacRumors. The images purport to show a body design expectedly similar to the iPhone 5, but with an updated dual LED flash on the rear of the case.

Erica at MacRumors examined the photos and gave a great breakdown on her post. Some of her highlights include:

  • Narrow Logic Board – possibly allowing for a larger battery.
  • Unlabeled chip – maybe a new Apple A6X?
  • Slightly higher capacity battery – likely for the extra power of an upgraded chip.

Though Reuters claims that the iPhone 5S will have some sort of fingerprint technology, these updated shots provide no clues as to whether or not this might be true. I’m leaning toward it not happening. Apple hasn’t really pushed the envelope when it comes to Android-like proof-of-concept features. It’s hard to say how useful a fingerprint reader would be, and I don’t see Apple including something as “out there” as this without an incredibly good and interesting reason.

What are your thoughts? Do you see anything unexpected in those new shots? What would you like to see a fingerprint reader used for? Let us know in the comments below.