Some iPhone X units suffer from crackling speakers at high volume

The iPhone X appears to have multiple teething troubles, albeit ones that aren’t necessarily common. Some users on Reddit, MacRumors and Twitter report that the new handset’s top speaker is crackling at higher volume levels. The severity varies, but it happens regardless of what you’re playing and persists with replacement units. It doesn’t appear to affect most units, but it’s common enough that it’s not necessarily an isolated issue.

We’ve asked Apple for comment and will keep you updated. Apple support reps are already collecting diagnostic info, so they’re at least investigating the reports.

It’s difficult to pin down a cause at this stage. Although the differing levels of the problem suggest the crackling could be a hardware issue, this comes mere weeks after Apple fixed a software flaw that produced crackles on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. If it’s a related issue, the company could theoretically push out a patch that addresses the problem without replacements. Either way, this and other problems are a reminder that cutting-edge phones can have their share of early glitches — it can take time before manufacturers iron out the kinks.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Reddit

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The iPhone 10 years in: Everything that’s changed from 2007 to 2017

Few times of the year are as thrilling for gadget buffs as an Apple launch event, and tomorrow the company is expected to pull back the curtain on a trio of new iPhones. While some incredibly specific leaks this weekend might have spoiled the surprise, there’s no denying just how important the iPhone is to Apple’s business; Apple is the most valuable company in the world thanks mostly to this product line. With new iPhones upon us, we thought we’d take a look back at Apple’s history in smartphones to remind ourselves how they’ve matured into the market-leading machines they are now.

iPhone (2007)

Smartphones have essentially looked like glass-and-metal slabs for years now, so it’s easy to forget how distinct the original iPhone looked. Remember, 2007 was the year the BlackBerry Curve debuted to rave reviews, and people were thrilled about the dual-sliding powerhouse that was Nokia’s N95. Suffice to say, the iPhone was nothing like them. It was a device with a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, a rounded aluminum body, a plastic butt and very few actual buttons to speak of. At the time, you could pick up a model with either 4GB or 8GB of internal storage for $ 499 and $ 599, respectively. Considering most phones in the US were sold on-contract, the iPhones were much more expensive than its competitors, and Apple later tried to address this by dropping the 4GB model altogether and making the 8GB model $ 399.

Apple’s engineering prowess meant the phone was as well-built a smartphone as you could get at the time, and that aesthetic would soon drive other OEMs to embrace multi-touch displays. Still, some of the original iPhone’s design and engineering features were pretty questionable. Remember the recessed headphone jack? The one that required people to use an adapter with existing headphones they liked, or use the lousy pack-in earbuds? Yeah, not great. What’s more, the cellular radio inside the phone only supported Cingular’s EDGE data network, and not its newer, faster 3G network. Steve Jobs defended the decision by claiming that those early 3G-capable chipsets were bigger, with a tendency to drain a phone’s battery.

Where the iPhone really shined was its software. Even in its infancy, iOS felt remarkably different from any other smartphone OS. Its early, WebKit-based browser was a joy to use compared to the alternatives found on other devices, and the way the phone allowed for multi-touch gestures effectively changed the way people expected to interact with their smartphones. That’s not to say the software was perfect: It couldn’t connect to most corporate email servers, which meant business users got burned. And that seemingly lovely virtual keyboard? You had to make sure you didn’t accidentally type too fast because it could only recognize one finger tap at a time. The iPhone didn’t have the ability to send rich MMS messages either, so sending pictures to friends only ever worked through email, or unofficial apps available to jailbroken iPhones.

The original iPhone remains an icon in the annals of computing history, but there was much more to come.

iPhone 3G (2008)

After the first iPhone launched, Apple pursued progress on two fronts: It had to build a second-gen phone, and also make sure people could get more done with it. In March 2008, nine months after the first iPhone went on sale, Apple released a software development kit, while a prominent Silicon Valley VC firm announced a $ 100 million fund to help spur iPhone software development. Four months after that, the iPhone 3G debuted with iOS 2.0 and the App Store, which only contained around 500 apps at launch. While users were pleased with the prospect of squeezing new features out of their new phones, one of the most notable changes about this new phone was how it looked.

With the 3G, Apple ditched its original, mostly aluminum chassis in favor of glossy polycarbonate. The 3G was available in black and white, and both versions could be had with either 8GB or 16GB of storage. While that change in materials was meant to improve signal strength and reception, the polycarbonate shells were prone to cracking, particularly around the 30-pin dock connector. The iPhone 3G’s modified curvature was more comfortable to hold, but it also meant all those docks that came with the original iPhone were essentially junk. Otherwise, the phone’s key features, including its screen and camera, remained the same.

Apple gave the phone its name for a reason, though: The addition of a 3G radio meant AT&T customers could finally use the carrier’s higher-speed data network. This paved the way for snappier browsing, not to mention the ability to talk and browse at the same time. The 3G also included a GPS radio, though it was still fairly limited; while it could locate you with help from a cell tower triangulation scheme, it would be a while before the first apps with true turn-by-turn navigation appeared.

Although Apple and its carrier partner sold the original iPhones at full price, the 3G was the first to be sold with contract subsidies — remember the days when signing two years of your life away meant hefty discounts? In this case, the 8GB 3G sold for $ 199 and the 16GB model went for $ 299, both dramatic drops that helped spur mass iPhone adoption.


iPhone 1st-gen iPhone 3G
Pricing $ 499, $ 599 (on contract) $ 199, $ 299 (on contract)
Dimensions 115 x 61 x 11.6mm (4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches) 115 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48 inches)
Weight 135g (4.8 ounces) 133g (4.7 ounces)
Screen size 3.5 inches (88.9mm) 3.5 inches (88.9mm)
Screen resolution 480 x 320 (163ppi) 480 x 320 (163ppi)
Screen type 18-bit LCD 18-bit LCD
Battery 1,400 mAh 1,150 mAh
Storage 4 / 8GB (16GB released 2008) 8 / 16GB
Rear camera 2MP 2MP
Front-facing cam None None
Video capture None None
GPS None Yes
NFC None None
Bluetooth v2.0 v2.0
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 900, 1800, 1900 GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 850, 1900, 2100
SoC Apple APL0098 Apple APL0098
CPU 412MHz 412MHz
GPU PowerVR MBX Lite 3D PowerVR MBX Lite 3D
RAM 128MB 128MB
WiFi 802.11b/g 802.11b/g
Operating system iPhone OS 1.0 iPhone OS 2.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector

iPhone 3GS (2009)

One year later and the iPhone 3G was back, more or less. Apple announced the new iPhone 3GS in June 2009, where marPhil Schiller casually mentioned the “S” stood for “speed” — he wasn’t kidding, either. The iPhone’s fundamental performance hadn’t changed in two years, so when the 3GS showed up with an updated processor and double the RAM of its predecessors, it ran roughly twice as fast. That improved performance was great to have, but it didn’t change the fact that the iPhone 3GS looked exactly like its predecessor. As you might’ve guessed from the name, this is the phone that inaugurated Apple’s “tick-tock” update schedule. ne year you’d get new features wrapped in a new design; the next, a phone with the same phone with the same body but with better performance.

Performance isn’t the only improvement, though. Among the biggest additions were an improved 3-megapixel camera with autofocus that could finally shoot video, and, err, a compass. Software additions like VoiceOver (which read on-screen elements as you dragged your finger over them) helped make the iPhone a more suitable device for the visually impaired, but the rest of the improvements were modest. Consider the 3GS’s 3.5-inch screen: It ran at the same resolution, but Apple fitted it with an oleophobic coating to help prevent the display from getting too smudgy. Bluetooth performance also improved slightly, and the battery got a minor bump in capacity to help the phone cruise on 3G networks for a little longer. There’s no doubting that the 3GS was a solid phone for the times, but since many purchased the iPhone 3G with a two-year contract, the 3GS could be easily skipped.


iPhone 3G iPhone 3GS
Pricing $ 199, $ 299 (on contract) $ 199, $ 299 (new customers on contract)
$ 599, $ 699 (existing customers on contract)
Dimensions 115 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48 inches) 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48 inches)
Weight 133g (4.7 ounces) 135g (4.8 ounces)
Screen size 3.5 inches (88.9mm) 3.5 inches (88.9mm)
Screen resolution 480 x 320 (163ppi) 480 x 320 (163ppi)
Screen type 18-bit LCD 24-bit LCD
Battery 1,150 mAh 1,220 mAh
Storage 8 / 16GB 16 / 32GB (8GB released 2010)
Rear camera 2MP 3MP
Front-facing cam None None
Video capture None VGA (640 x 480) at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes
NFC None None
Bluetooth v2.0 v2.1
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 850, 1900, 2100
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 850, 1900, 2100
SoC Apple APL0098 Apple APL0298
CPU 412MHz 600MHz
GPU PowerVR MBX Lite 3D PowerVR SGX535
RAM 128MB 256MB
WiFi 802.11b/g 802.11b/g
Operating system iPhone OS 2.0 iPhone OS 3.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector

iPhone 4 (2010)

While the iPhone 3GS was busy racking up sales, Apple was working on a radical iPhone redesign behind closed doors. Then some guy lost a prototype in a bar, and the internet exploded as the leak of a lifetime gave us our first look at Apple’s vision. Up until 2010, iPhones were known for their contoured plastic shells, but no more. The iPhone 4 was covered with flat glass on both the front and back, separated by a stainless steel band that ran around the phone and acted as its antenna. The aesthetic was a stunning departure from earlier iPhones, but Apple’s design had a serious flaw: Holding the phone just right (or wrong) would cause cellular coverage to plummet. Welcome to Antennagate.

Apple remedied the issue by offering free bumpers and cases to iPhone 4 owners, but critics had a field day with the company’s massive blunder. Though Antennagate’s cultural pervasiveness was difficult to avoid (“you’re holding it wrong” became a catchphrase unto itself) the iPhone 4 still offered several major improvements to the long-standing iPhone formula. In fact, the most important was impossible to miss: Though Steve Jobs might have overstated exactly how crisp it was, the iPhone 4’s 960 x 540 Retina display was essentially unmatched in clarity. It didn’t just blow away older iPhones, the screen blew away all other phones, period.

To this point, iPhones never had particularly great cameras, but the iPhone 4’s 5-megapixel rear shooter was the best Apple had made to date (it helped that our prayers for a LED flash were answered). Apple also saw fit to include the iPhone’s first front-facing camera, a must for vain selfies and the new FaceTime feature built into iOS 4.

The new A4 chipset (the first mobile processor Apple designed itself) with 512MB of RAM was another huge step over its predecessor, and this jump in performance was absolutely necessary. The launch of iOS 4 also meant the introduction of true multitasking on an iPhone; even after all these years, it’s still surprising that it took Apple as long as it did to cook up a solution that worked. A quick double-tap of the home button would bring up your running apps, and that was that. The updated iOS also added folders for better app management and finally let people leave audio running the background while they used other apps. While the iPhone 4 was the most powerful smartphone Apple had built up to that date, it almost paradoxically had better battery life than before thanks to a more capacious cell stuck inside.

Other new inclusions were more subtle, like a second microphone for improved noise cancellation and a gyroscope that allowed for (among other things) more precise motion controls in games and apps. Apple stuck with the standard 8GB, 16GB and 32GB storage variants, and they only came in black at first; it took time for Apple to ensure the white finish offered enough UV protection, so white iPhone 4s weren’t available until April 2011. Color choices may have been limited, but at least carrier choice wasn’t. After years of AT&T exclusivity, the 4 was the first iPhone available on a carrier other than AT&T — in this case, Verizon.


iPhone 3GS iPhone 4
Pricing $ 199, $ 299 (new customers on contract)
$ 599, $ 699 (existing customers on contract)
$ 199, $ 299 (on contract)
$ 599, $ 699 (off contract)
Dimensions 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm (4.55 x 2.44 x 0.48 inches) 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm (4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches)
Weight 135g (4.8 ounces) 137g (4.8 ounces)
Screen size 3.5 inches (88.9mm) 3.5 inches (88.9mm)
Screen resolution 480 x 320 (163ppi) 960 x 640 (326ppi)
Screen type 24-bit LCD Retina IPS LCD
Battery 1,220 mAh 1,420 mAh
Storage 16 / 32GB (8GB released 2010) 16 / 32GB (8GB released 2011)
Rear camera 3MP 5MP
Front-facing cam None 0.3MP
Video capture VGA (640 x 480) at 30fps 720p at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes
NFC None None
Bluetooth v2.1 v2.1
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 850, 1900, 2100
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 800, 850, 900, 1900, 2100
SoC Apple APL0298 Apple A4
CPU 600MHz 800MHz
GPU PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR SGX535
RAM 256MB 512MB
WiFi 802.11b/g 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
Operating system iPhone OS 3.0 iOS 4
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector


iPhone 4s (2011)

Apple’s press fete for the iPhone 4S was unlike any other — for one, it was the first hosted by then-new CEO Tim Cook, a supply chain whiz picked by Jobs to take over. (Jobs, sadly, died the day after the announcement.) It was also one of the first iPhone announcements that really seemed to disappoint some, thanks to endless rumors about a thinner, redesigned iPhone 5 coming in 2011. While that sleeker, slimmer iPhone was still a year off, the iPhone 4S offered up plenty of helpful and notable updates.

The iPhone 4’s A4 chipset gave way to the dual-core A5 (first used in the iPad 2), which kept the same 512MB of RAM but still made for a nearly two-fold improvement in general performance. Meanwhile, the rear camera was bumped to eight megapixels and gained the ability to record 1080p video. To help store those larger files, Apple introduced a new 64GB storage tier alongside the standard 16GB and 32GB options. And while Apple recycled the iPhone 4’s design, it used the CDMA version of the device as a template for the 4S; its improved antenna setup eliminated lingering Antennagate concerns.

The iPhone 4S launched with iOS 5 on board, making it the first new iPhone to pack support for Apple’s new iCloud storage system and iMessage’s now-ubiquitous blue bubbles. We can’t talk about the 4S without talking about Siri, though. Originally a voice assistant app spun out from research at SRI International, Siri came to the iPhone 4S by way of a multimillion dollar acquisition before its creators could build versions of the app for rival platforms. At launch, users could ask it to make calls, create reminders, interact with calendars and more, all with conversational language instead of specific commands. Siri felt novel and capable in ways other apps at the time didn’t, but it would take time before Apple’s first digital assistant became more than just an interesting gimmick.


iPhone 4 iPhone 4S
Pricing $ 199, $ 299 (on contract)
$ 599, $ 699 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm (4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches) 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm (4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches)
Weight 137g (4.8 ounces) 140g (4.9 ounces)
Screen size 3.5 inches (88.9mm) 3.5 inches (88.9mm)
Screen resolution 960 x 640 (326ppi) 960 x 640 (326ppi)
Screen type Retina IPS LCD Retina IPS LCD
Battery 1,420 mAh 1,430mAh
Storage 16 / 32GB (8GB released 2011) 16 / 32 / 64GB (8GB released 2012)
Rear camera 5MP 8MP, f/2.4
Front-facing cam 0.3MP 0.3MP
Video capture 720p at 30fps 1080p
GPS Yes Yes
NFC None None
Bluetooth v2.1 v4.0
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 800, 850, 900, 1900, 2100
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA: 800, 850, 900, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A: 800, 1900
SoC Apple A4 Apple A5
CPU 800MHz 1 GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR SGX543MP2
RAM 512MB 512MB
WiFi 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
Operating system iOS 4 iOS 5
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector

iPhone 5 (2012)

When the iPhone 5 was revealed in 2012, people got the design overhaul they were waiting for. Apple traded stainless steel for aluminum and shaved nearly two millimeters off the existing iPhone 4S design. The end result: the thinnest, sleekest and arguably most beautiful iPhone to date. More importantly, Apple finally saw fit to pack a taller, 4-inch Retina display into the iPhone 5, a move meant to counter the rapidly growing screens found in popular Android devices. Building a bigger, thinner iPhone came at a cost, though: Apple ditched its classic, 30-pin connector in favor of the reversible Lightning connector. The decision meant generations of existing iPhone docks and accessories became obsolete almost instantly, but the world eventually moved on.

Also new to the iPhone 5 was Apple’s dual-core A6 chipset and 1GB of RAM — double the amount of memory found in the iPhone 4 and 4S. As usual, the new phone generally exhibited performance that was around twice as fast as the previous model, and in certain benchmarks, we saw even bigger performance gains. The iPhone 5’s camera didn’t change dramatically along the way, but its 8-megapixel sensor was swathed in sapphire crystal rather than glass for extra protection. Thanks to the A6’s increased horsepower, the camera was noticeably quicker too — photo capture speeds were faster than in earlier iPhones. And speaking of speed, Apple built an LTE radio into the iPhone 5, making it the first to support the next generation of high-speed wireless data networks.

The iPhone 5 was a big step forward in terms of design, but changes on the software side weren’t as dramatic. iOS 6 officially went live just days before the iPhone 5 went on sale, making the 5 the first new iPhone to support digital tickets in Passbook and the new, oft-maligned Apple Maps. A handy Do Not Disturb mode was also added to the fold, as well as the ability to make FaceTime calls over cellular connections and native Facebook integration. All told, it felt like Apple was going back and ticking software feature requests off a checklist, but that makes sense — the company was working on a big redesign behind the scenes.


iPhone 4S iPhone 5
Pricing $ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm (4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches) 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches)
Weight 140g (4.9 ounces) 112g (3.95 ounces)
Screen size 3.5 inches (88.9mm) 4 inches (101.6mm)
Screen resolution 960 x 640 (326ppi) 1,136 x 640 (326ppi)
Screen type Retina IPS LCD Retina IPS LCD
Battery 1,430mAh 1,440mAh
Storage 16 / 32 / 64GB (8GB released 2012) 16 / 32 / 64GB
Rear camera 8MP, f/2.4 8MP iSight, f/2.4
Front-facing cam 0.3MP 1.2MP
Video capture 1080p 1080p at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes
NFC None None
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.0
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 800, 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA: 800, 850, 900, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A: 800, 1900
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
LTE: 1, 3, 13, 25
SoC Apple A5 Apple A6
CPU 1 GHz 1.3 GHz dual-core
GPU PowerVR SGX543MP2 PowerVR SGX543MP3
RAM 512MB 1GB
WiFi 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating system iOS 5 iOS 6
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, 30-pin connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector


iPhone 5s (2013)

As usual, Apple largely left the iPhone 5’s design alone when it built the iPhone 5s in 2013. Its home button looked a little different though — it lost the trademark squircle and gained a shiny metal ring instead. That signified the inclusion of Touch ID, Apple’s first fingerprint sensor, for unlocking the phone and authenticating iTunes purchases. Oh, and it was hard to miss the new gold and slate gray color options, the first changes to Apple’s hardware palette since white iPhones hit the scene years earlier.

The rest of the 5s’s hardware changes are harder to see: The faster A7 chipset inside was the first 64-bit sliver of silicon in an Apple smartphone, and next to it was a new motion coprocessor called the M7 to help manage data from the phone’s myriad sensors. The 8-megapixel camera was updated with larger pixels and a larger aperture, too, though people were more likely to notice how the camera could record video slow-motion footage at up to 120 frames per second.

The iPhone 5s’s software, meanwhile, looked hardly anything like the versions that came before it. iOS 7 traded Apple’s classic skeuomorphic design elements for a flatter, cleaner aesthetic that persists to this day. Beyond that, iOS 7 saw the addition quick settings shortcuts in the Control Center, as well as a revamped Notification Center and AirDrop for rapidly off-loading files from iOS devices.

iPhone 5c (2013)

When Apple launched the iPhone 5c alongside the 5s, it effectively drove a nail into the iPhone 5’s coffin. Reports suggested that Apple whipped up this model to keep costs down — the colorful polycarbonate bodies were less expensive to manufacture at scale than carefully chamfered aluminum.

Aside from this major cosmetic change, the 5c is essentially the same phone as the standard 5, from the A6 chipset to the screen. The camera assembly was tweaked somewhat and the 5c supported more LTE bands, but the real reasons to own this phone were its modest price tag and its five color options. Popular perception of the 5c was that it was a flop, but it went on to sell more than 24 million units in its time on the market. It wasn’t quite the loser people expected, and it’s not hard to see how the 5c influenced devices like the iPhone SE.


iPhone 5 iPhone 5S iPhone 5C
Pricing $ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 99, $ 199 (on contract)
$ 549, $ 649 (off contract)
Dimensions 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches) 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches) 124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97mm (4.9 x 2.33 x 0.35 inches)
Weight 112g (3.95 ounces) 112g (3.95 ounces) 132g (4.66 ounces)
Screen size 4 inches (101.6mm) 4 inches (101.6mm) 4 inches (101.6mm)
Screen resolution 1,136 x 640 (326ppi) 1,136 x 640 (326ppi) 1,136 x 640 (326ppi)
Screen type Retina IPS LCD Retina IPS LCD Retina IPS LCD
Battery 1,440mAh 1,560mAh 1,510mAh
Storage 16 / 32 / 64GB 16 / 32 / 64GB 16 / 32GB (8GB released 2014)
Rear camera 8MP iSight, f/2.4 8MP iSight, f/2.2 8MP iSight, f/2.4
Front-facing cam 1.2MP 1.2MP 1.2MP
Video capture 1080p at 30fps 1080p at 30fps 1080p at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes Yes
NFC None None None
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.0 v4.0
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
LTE: 1, 3, 13, 25
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25
(bands vary by model)
SoC Apple A6 Apple A7 Apple A6
CPU 1.3 GHz dual-core 1.3 GHz dual-core 1.3 GHz dual-core
GPU PowerVR SGX543MP3 PowerVR G6430 PowerVR SGX543MP3
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating system iOS 6 iOS 7 iOS 7
Ports

iPhone 6/Plus (2014)

Beset by the popularity of big Android phones, Apple launched two new, larger iPhones in September 2014: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The former featured a 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750 resolution, while the super-sized Plus model instead used a 5.5-inch screen running at 1080p. Apple aficionados had long suspected the company would split its most important product line up like this, and many welcomed the seemingly overdue change. Unsurprisingly, the smaller of the two iPhones was easier to hold and use for long periods of time — the larger Plus model could be difficult to grip compared to its big-screened contemporaries.

The design modifications didn’t end there, either. If the iPhone 5-series looked like sleek slabs, the 6 and 6 Plus were rounder and friendlier in a way that evoked Apple’s first phones. Since both devices were notably longer than the iPhones that came before them, Apple moved the power button to the devices’ right edges for easier access and trimmed a few fractions of a millimeter to make both versions of the iPhone 6 slimmer than the iPhone 5s. Apple’s focus on crafting trim bodies took its toll, though: Both versions of the phone were supposedly susceptible to bending under pressure. Apple only received a handful of reports about bent units in the wild, but no matter: Bendgate became a thing regardless.

Inside, both devices were nearly identical. Each sported improved A8 chipsets and 1GB of RAM, and Apple chose this year to drop the 32GB storage option in favor of a more spacious mid-range choice. While the most basic iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still came with 16GB of storage, customers could step into 64GB and 128GB for $ 100 and $ 200 extra, respectively. Naturally, both phones shipped with iOS 8, which added third-party keyboard support, cross-platform features like Continuity and a handful of new health-focused features. With so much crossover when it came to performance and software, most would-be iPhone owners made their choice based on size.

Of course, that isn’t to say that size is the only area where these phones differed. Both phones packed updated 8-megapixel rear cameras, but only the Plus’s shooter came with optical image stabilization (another first for iPhones). And while both phones used what Apple called “Retina HD” displays, the higher pixel density found on the bigger display meant text and images appeared crisper.


iPhone 5S iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus
Pricing $ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 299, $ 399, $ 499 (on contract)
$ 749, $ 849, $ 949 (off-contract)
Dimensions 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches) 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 112g (3.95 ounces) 129g (4.55 ounces) 192g (6.77 ounces)
Screen size 4 inches (101.6mm) 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution 1,136 x 640 (326ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type Retina IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD
Battery 1,560mAh 1,810mAh 2,750mAh
Storage 16 / 32/ 64GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB
Rear camera 8MP iSight, f/2.2 8MP iSight, f/2.2 12MP iSight, f/2.2
Front-facing cam 1.2MP 1.2MP, f/2.2 5MP FaceTime HD, f/2.2
Video capture 1080p at 30fps 1080p 4K at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes Yes
NFC None Yes Yes
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.0 v4.2
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
SoC Apple A7 Apple A8 Apple A9
CPU 1.3 GHz dual-core 1.4 GHz dual-core 1.8GHz dual-core
GPU PowerVR G6430 PowerVR GX6450 PowerVR GT7600
RAM 1GB 1GB 2GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Operating system iOS 7 iOS 8 iOS 9
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector


iPhone 6s/Plus (2015)

By the time the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus rolled around in 2015, Apple’s tick-tock update cadence was well understood. It was no surprise, then, that both would use the improved A9 chipset with 2GB of RAM and look exactly like the models that came before them. Thankfully, Apple didn’t just carry over the original iPhone 6 and 6 Plus bodies — the 6s and 6s Plus were reinforced to prevent the possibility of bending under pressure (it definitely didn’t need another Bendgate-level debacle to deal with). This was also the year Apple added rose gold to its list of standard phone finishes, and we haven’t been able to escape it since.

Apple also ditched its stockpile of 8-megapixel sensors and instead built 12-megapixel cameras into the 6s and 6s Plus. The added resolution was a welcome touch, and so was the ability to record video in 4K — after all, Android phones had been able to shoot at this super-high quality for some time. Also new to the photographic fold: Live Photos, which sprung to life as you swiped through your camera roll. The marquee feature this time was 3D Touch, which took advantage of the 6s’s new pressure-sensitive screens to offer users shortcuts and context with a forceful press. In its early days, the feature didn’t always feel that useful, but seeing a company implement a novel new way for us to interact with our smartphones without too many hiccups was impressive nonetheless.

As was often the case with S-series iPhones, software provided much of the excitement. The 6s and 6s Plus shipped with iOS 9 onboard, and with it came a smarter, more contextually aware version of Siri and a whole new portal for Apple’s News. Search was dramatically improved too, as it could peer directly into apps installed on the 6s and 6s Plus, and Apple’s Maps finally started to understand how the subway worked. While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were huge sellers, the 6s and 6s Plus were proof that biennial refreshes didn’t need to be dull.

iPhone SE (2015)

Apple faced a bit of a conundrum after launching two bigger smartphones — what would it do for people who still liked compact devices? The answer was straightforward: The company essentially took the guts of the iPhone 6s and squeezed them into an iPhone 5s’s body.

That didn’t sound like it would work very well, but to our surprise, the iPhone SE was a remarkably capable little machine for small phone fans. The A9 provided excellent performance, and battery life was generally impressive, but our biggest gripe had to do with the limited storage options available at launch. Originally, Apple produced the SEs with either 16 or 64GB of internal storage; It has since shifted to selling 32GB and 128GB models instead.


iPhone 6 iPhone 6S iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6S Plus
Pricing $ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 299, $ 399, $ 499 (on contract)
$ 749, $ 849, $ 949 (off contract)
$ 299, $ 399, $ 499 (on contract)
$ 749, $ 849, $ 949 (off contract)
Dimensions 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches) 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches) 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 129g (4.55 ounces) 143g (5.04 ounces) 172g (6.07 ounces) 192g (6.77 ounces)
Screen size 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution 1,334 x 750 (326ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD
Battery 1,810mAh 1,715mAh 2,750mAh 2,750mAh
Storage 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB
Rear camera 8MP iSight, f/2.2 12MP iSight, f/2.2 8MP iSight, f/2.2 8MP iSight, f/2.2
Front camera 1.2MP, f/2.2 5MP FaceTime HD, f/2.2 1.2MP, f/2.2 5MP FaceTime HD, f/2.2
Video capture 1080p 4K at 30fps 1080p 4K at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.2 v4.0 v4.2
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
SoC Apple A8 Apple A9 Apple A8 Apple A9
CPU 1.4 GHz dual-core 1.8GHz dual-core 1.4 GHz dual-core 1.8GHz dual-core
GPU PowerVR GX6450 PowerVR GT7600 PowerVR GX6450 PowerVR GT7600
RAM 1GB 2GB 1GB 2GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Operating system iOS 8 iOS 9 iOS 8 iOS 9
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector

iPhone 7/Plus (2016)

Well, this was unexpected. Up until 2016, Apple had only ever kept the same design for two generations of smartphones. With the launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple once again kept the iPhone 6’s design language alive, albeit with several few tweaks.

Where to start? Well, neither version of the 7 featured a headphone jack, a move Apple’s Phil Schiller hilariously chalked up to “courage” during the company’s press conference. The physical home button was also replaced with a capacitive button that haptically vibrated when pressed. IP67 water and dust resistance was added, too — a first for iPhones, though Android devices had touted superior water resistance for years. Oh, and Apple added a Product (RED) model and a glossy, Jet Black finish option to its roster. That’s a lot of updates, and that doesn’t even factor in the changes in performance. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus used Apple’s A10 Fusion chipset, a quad-core affair paired with either 2 or 3GB of RAM.

As always, the 7 and 7 Plus were more alike than not, and the most notable difference between the two was in their cameras. The 7 got a perfectly respectable 12-megapixel rear camera with a quad-LED flash and optical image stabilization — quite an upgrade over the prior year’s shooter. The 7 Plus, meanwhile, was fitted with a more impressive dual-camera array that allowed users to optically zoom in and out and add bokeh to the background of a photo in a Portrait Mode released later. This, along with a bigger battery and the inclusion of a little extra RAM, made the larger iPhone a more compelling option than it had ever been before.


iPhone 6S iPhone 7 iPhone 6S Plus iPhone 7 Plus
Pricing $ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 199, $ 299, $ 399 (on contract)
$ 649, $ 749, $ 849 (off contract)
$ 299, $ 399, $ 499 (on contract)
$ 749, $ 849, $ 949 (off contract)
$ 299, $ 399, $ 499 (on contract)
$ 749, $ 849, $ 949 (off contract)
Dimensions 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches) 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 143g (5.04 ounces) 138g (4.87 ounces) 192g (6.77 ounces) 188g (6.63 ounces)
Screen size 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution 1,334 x 750 (326ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD Retina HD, IPS LCD
Battery 1,715mAh 1,960mAh 2,750mAh 2,900mAh
Storage 16 / 64 / 128GB 32 / 128 / 256GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 32 / 128 / 256GB
Rear camera 12MP iSight, f/2.2 12MP, f/1.8 12MP iSight, f/2.2, 1.22µm pixel size Dual cameras, 12MP, f/1.8 and f/2.8
Front camera 5MP, f/2.2 7MP, f/2.2 5MP, f/2.2 7MP, f/2.2
Video capture 4K at 30fps 4K at 30fps 4K at 30fps 4K at 30fps
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth v4.2 v4.2 v4.2 v4.2
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
​​​​​​​(bands vary by model)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
TD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41
TD-SCDMA: 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
​​​​​​​(bands vary by model)
SoC Apple A9 Apple A10 Fusion Apple A9 Apple A10 Fusion
CPU 1.8GHz dual-core 2.34GHz quad-core 1.8GHz dual-core 2.34GHz quad-core
GPU PowerVR GT7600 PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus PowerVR GT7600 PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB 2GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Dual band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Operating system iOS 9 iOS 10 iOS 9 iOS 10
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector Lightning connector 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector Lightning connector

Image credits: Justin14 (iPhone 3G render); Apple.

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The next iPhone creates animated emoji from your facial expressions

You may already know that the next iPhone will use face detection for all kinds of clever tricks, but here’s one you probably weren’t expecting: customized emoji. The 9to5Mac crew has discovered that leaked “gold master” iOS 11 firmware includes references to ‘Animoji,’ or 3D emoji that you create using your facial expressions and voice. Pick one of the familiar non-human faces in the emoji library and it’ll map your eye, mouth and cheek expressions to that character — you can make a robot smile or have a dog raise its eyebrows. Even the poo emoji can be animated. This comes across as a gimmick (we can see many people dropping this once the novelty wears off), but it shows what’s possible now that Apple has face tracking at its disposal. And there’s more to the leak than just emoji.

The scoop also offers more clues as to what the next iPhone can do. The camera will be more powerful, for one thing: in a confirmation of previous leaks, you can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, and slow-motion 240FPS video at 1080p. It’ll also have an adaptive True Tone display like on the iPad Pro. The face-based authentication system appears to be relatively advanced, as you have to pivot your head in a circle to make sure it can recognize you from a wide range of angles. And if there was any doubt that the home button is going away, Apple just removed it: apps on the next iPhone have a line at the bottom indicating that gestures are available.

A separate code search by Steve Troughton-Smith may have also revealed the finished name. The brand new, all-screen iPhone appears to be called iPhone X. The revamped versions of the classic design, in turn, would be called the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Yes, Apple may be skipping the “S” naming scheme for the first time since it was instituted back in 2009 with the iPhone 3GS.

There are also mentions of dual-camera iPhone owners getting a Portrait Lighting mode that could alter the perceived lighting of a shot. You could add a stage lighting effect, or add the soft tones of natural lighting to a harshly-lit picture.

Other hints? We’ve already seen references to the LTE Apple Watch, but there’s also evidence of updated AirPods. The only conspicuous change entails moving the charging light to the outside of the case (no more flipping the lid), but we wouldn’t rule out under-the-hood revisions. The one sure thing is that Apple will have a lot to talk about during its September 12th event.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: 9to5Mac (1), (2), S. Troughton-Smith (Twitter)

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Apple removes apps from Iran following US sanctions

Apple has been cracking down on Iranian apps over the last few weeks, removing those that offer food delivery, shopping and ride-hailing services, among others from its App Stores. Due to US sanctions on Iran, companies like Apple are limited in the sorts of business they can do in the country, which is why the iPhone isn’t legally sold in Iran and why there’s no Iranian App Store.

Earlier this year, when Apple told Iranian developers to take down payment options in their apps in order to make sure no Iranian money fell into Apple’s hands, most Iranian apps switched over to an Iran-based online payment system. But developers of apps like Iran’s Uber-like Snapp, which was taken down this week, were recently sent a message from Apple saying, “Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries.”

Some developers have taken to Twitter to respond to removals, with one creating the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps. Google hasn’t begun to take down Iranian apps from its Play store. In regards to Apple, Iran’s telecommunications minister said on Twitter that the country would “legally pursue the omission of apps.”

Source: New York Times

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Now Windows 10’s ‘Continue on PC’ feature works from your iPhone

A couple of days ago Microsoft enabled a feature that lets Android users easily use the share button to push a web page from their cell phone to a Windows 10 PC. Now, it’s released an app to manage the same feature on iOS-powered devices. It’s available to users in the “Fast” ring of its Insiders preview program, who will need the latest build released for their PCs. Cross-device web browsing is one of the many features coming in the Fall Creators Update, and every new feature being beta tested means its release date keeps creeping closer.


Source: iTunes, Windows Experience Blog

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What to expect from Apple at WWDC 2017

As a rule, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is predictable: New versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS are the stars of the show, and anything else is gravy. WWDC 2017, however, is shaping up to be different. Although there hasn’t been much talk about what the new software will entail, the rumor mill has kicked into high gear with word of new Macs, new iPads and even a smart speaker. All told, operating systems may actually be the least exciting part of Apple’s keynote. But which products are likely to steal the spotlight, and which ones are just wishful thinking? That’s what we’re here to sort out.

A Siri speaker in your living room

APPLE-DEVELOPERS/

Here’s something you haven’t seen in a while: the prospect of Apple introducing a completely new device at its developer conference. Rumors are swirling of that the company will unveil a Siri-controlled speaker at WWDC, overshadowing virtually anything else Apple would otherwise discuss at the keynote. It might not ship until sometime later in the year (likely to give developers time to support it), but production may have already started.

As you might expect, the speaker would represent Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It would likely handle many of the tasks that Siri already does on your iPhone, such as checking the weather, playing music and controlling HomeKit gear — you just wouldn’t have to pick up a gadget to listen to songs or turn on your lights. The speaker could be particularly important if you want to control your household when you’re away because you currently need to use an Apple TV or iPad as a hub to control your HomeKit-compatible devices remotely.

There hasn’t been much discussion of the speaker’s design, but Bloomberg believes it would stand out from the pack by focusing on audio quality. You’d enjoy louder, crisper sound than what you typically get from rivals like Echo or Home. It might also incorporate virtual surround sound that would provide a more immersive experience. There has even been talk of Apple including ambient noise sensors to adjust the volume when you’re talking, but it’s not clear that this feature made the cut before production began.

New MacBooks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A speaker might not be the only hardware introduced on stage. Apple is rumored to be updating its laptop line at WWDC, possibly in an attempt to underscore its renewed support for the Mac. The most credible rumors, again from Bloomberg, suggest that these would mostly be under-the-hood updates. Both the MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook would jump to seventh-generation Intel Core (aka Kaby Lake) processors that promise both faster performance and longer battery life. They might support more memory, too. Customers have complained that the MacBook Pro’s maximum 16GB of RAM isn’t enough to handle heavy workloads, and there have been hints that the laptop will support as much as 32GB with its next refresh. The more diminutive MacBook might also support as much as 16GB, although that’s clearly not as vital an upgrade given that it’s only designed for basic tasks.

There’s some tangible evidence to back up these claims. Apple recently delayed shipping times for 15-inch MacBook Pro orders, pushing their delivery to the day after the WWDC keynote. The Cupertino firm frequently stalls orders like this when it’s clearing out inventory for an outgoing device, so that’s as strong a sign as any that something is afoot.

Don’t get your hopes up for a MacBook Air update, though. Although the same Bloomberg rumor had Apple considering an Air refresh, neither the filings nor other clues point to an imminent upgrade. If there is one, we’d expect it to fly under the radar. This would be a maintenance update that does just enough to keep Apple’s most affordable system relevant in 2017 — hardly something you’d want to crow about in a keynote. You might see a switch to seventh-gen Core processors but not much more than that.

A 10.5-inch iPad

While Apple’s mainstream iPad just received an update in March, the iPad Pro is more than a little overdue. Neither Pro model has been touched for more than a year, and they’re based on a design that hasn’t changed much since the original iPad Air in 2013. Where’s a truly new iPad, one that pushes the concept forward? Thankfully, it sounds like you might get it at WWDC — there’s mounting buzz that an update is right around the corner.

If you believe Bloomberg, it’s the long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro that many expect to replace the 9.7-inch edition. This would be more than just an upsized version of the slate you see today. Slimmer bezels would give it a footprint roughly comparable to its smaller sibling, so you wouldn’t have to give up portability for the sake of a larger screen. The 10.5-inch tablet is likely to pack a faster processor (a souped-up version of the iPhone 7’s chip, possibly called the “A10X”), and it might have a higher-resolution display to match. One IHS Markit analyst believes it could have a 2,224 x 1,668 LCD that slots in neatly between existing 9.7-inch iPads (2,048 x 1,536) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2,732 x 2,048).

There isn’t much else to know about the specs at this point, but we have found a few clues. Case leaks from Twitter’s @ShaiMizrachi point to a familiar layout for the 10.5-inch iPad, including the stereo speakers you’ve seen on all Pro models so far. Also, Consomac has found Eurasian Economic Commission filings for four previously unknown iPad models split into two families. It’s easy to guess that these may be WiFi and cellular versions of both the 10.5-inch Pro and another iPad, possibly a refreshed 12.9-inch model.

Just don’t expect the iPad mini to get any attention at the same time. Apple only recently doubled the storage for the iPad mini 4, so it’s doubtful that you’ll see a more substantial upgrade a few months later. In fact, a BGR rumor claims that Apple might drop the mini in the long run. This tiniest of iPads reportedly doesn’t sell well compared to its larger counterparts, and the iPhone 7 Plus is close enough for some buyers. Bigger iPads are the future, and WWDC could reflect that.

Software: iOS, macOS and Siri’s future

Apple’s software plans would normally take center stage in one of our WWDC previews. This is a developer conference, after all. But thus far, there have been precious few credible hints as to what Apple will announce. This isn’t to say that this year’s updates will be low-key — it’s just that Apple may be keeping a lid on secrets this year.

In a Bloomberg interview, Apple’s Jimmy Iovine mentioned that iOS 11 would include a new Music app that does a better job with videos. Projects like Carpool Karaoke might fit better into the app, something that’ll help Apple push more exclusive video content going forward. Also, there are longstanding rumors of improved iPad support across all of iOS. You could use the Pencil to annotate all kinds of content, such as websites or email messages. This certainly makes sense if there’s a 10.5-inch iPad in the works, since Apple has been keen to demonstrate that iPads can serve as PC replacements.

When it comes to the Mac, there’s even less to say — we’re practically limited to speculation. One theory is plausible, though: Given that Apple File System launched on mobile devices with iOS 10.3, it stands to reason that macOS is next in line. If so, you could expect speedier, more secure storage that’s better-optimized for Macs with solid-state drives.

We haven’t heard anything about new versions of watchOS or tvOS, so any big features will come as surprises.

Instead, the greater focus might be on a common thread for all of Apple’s software: AI. It’s no secret that Apple has been making heavy investments in AI, and WWDC could be an ideal venue to showcase improvements, whether they apply to Siri or individual apps. Some of Apple’s acquisitions may indicate what’s on deck. Turi, for example, helps detect patterns and personalize content. Siri might be better at understanding your requests by recognizing what you tend to look for while iOS might be more proactive when suggesting photos or music.

Improvements to Siri could be particularly crucial this year. If there really is a Siri speaker, its success could hinge on high-quality AI; it has to answer common requests as well as an Echo or Home. And few would doubt that rivals like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana have distinct advantages over Siri on any device, such as Google’s access to its powerful search engine. Although we wouldn’t expect a total revolution in Siri’s abilities, it probably can’t remain as-is for much longer.

Wildcards: Mac Pros and iMacs

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad

You can never completely rule out surprises at Apple events, even if WWDC’s focus limits the kind of introductions you’re likely to see. And there are certainly a few candidates this year.

One such possibility is a very early preview of the redesigned Mac Pro. Apple revealed the current workstation’s design at WWDC 2013, months ahead of its release, and it wouldn’t be shocking if there were a repeat showing as the company reassures developers worried about the fate of pro Mac desktops. But the new Mac Pro is still a long ways away (it’s not expected until sometime in 2018), and there may not be much point to showing it off if Apple isn’t ready to provide the finished specs.

Augmented reality might also show up, since Apple has been very open about its interest in AR technology. With that said, there aren’t any believable rumors of Apple having something it can show at WWDC. We’ve heard that it could be testing AR glasses, but they might not ship until 2018, if not later. At best, you’ll get a sneak peek.

If there’s a relatively realistic wild card, it might be the pro iMacs that Apple confirmed back in April. The company was only willing to commit to a “later in 2017” release at the time, but some of the hardware needed to make this all-in-one is available now. Notice how Intel’s new Core i9 chips have the abundance of cores that pros crave? No, they’re not Xeons, but they could easily fit the bill if you need to compile code or edit 4K videos. It may just be a matter of whether or not Apple is willing and able to use these parts quickly. We wouldn’t be surprised if these high-performance iMacs weren’t unveiled until the fall.

Image credits: Reuters/Stephen Lam; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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LG G6’s dual cameras are good, but far from perfect

Dual cameras are now the standard option when it comes to flagship phones and LG has already put the setup to work in previous models. With the G6, the company opted for two 13-megapixel Sony cameras instead of one larger and one smaller like it did with the modular G5. The combination of the dual lenses, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon zoom technology and LG’s existing camera features help the G6 make a compelling case, especially in terms of imagery.

Sure, the main attraction on the G6 may be its unique 18:9 display, but the dual cameras and the ability to transition smoothly between regular and wide-angle shots is also a big selling point. As a refresher, the phone’s rear-facing cameras can capture 71-degree field of view photos while employing optical stabilization and f/1.8 aperture. Those wide-angle images bump to 125-degree field of view — an increase that works best when capturing things like landmarks and landscapes. The front-facing camera also features a similar wide-angle option capable of 100-degree field of view shots. For all three sensors, LG chose a 1.12um pixel size, the same used on both the G4 and G5.

While we’ve seen them before, LG brought back handy photography tools inside the stock camera app. These include a Food Mode with it’s own white balance slider so you can ensure that your colors are accurate. There are also skin tone, lighting and filters for the front-facing 5-megapixel f/2.2 camera to help you fine-tune those selfies. Meanwhile, a new app just for Square photos lends a hand to Instagramers for previews, compositions and collages. It’s useful, but we’re not convinced it will become a staple just yet.

In good lighting and outdoors during the day, the G6 performs on par with some of the best phone cameras we’ve seen. Overall, colors really pop and the images are crisp and clean. Performance does suffer in low-light situations, though, as the photos are noticeably grainy outside at night or in other environments where lighting isn’t stellar. Even though we were already familiar with the selfie features, those software tools help the front-facing camera capture images of your face that also crisp and feature vibrant colors.

One place LG where has improved camera performance from its previous phones is the transition between regular and wide-angle shots. There used to be a bit of a stutter when you switched back and forth, but that change is much smoother now. While the G6 doesn’t pack a Snapdragon 835, LG did work with Qualcomm to bring the chip’s camera zoom transition feature to the new flagship. It certainly makes a difference, and the switch between views doesn’t have a noticeable stutter like it does on the iPhone 7 Plus and other devices.

To take advantage of that extra screen real estate, LG has added a handy photo gallery along the side of the camera UI. It offers easy access to your last few shots and if you used a setting like Food Mode, the photo will be labeled with a tiny icon to remind you. Unfortunately, the G6 we tested wasn’t running final software, so tapping on that in-camera gallery sometimes caused the app to crash. That’s the only big issue we experienced and it’s one the company will likely remedy before final devices launch.

The LG G6’s dual cameras make a great first impression. Of course, we’ll need to spend more than a few hours with the handset before we can make a final call, but we’re planning to do just that during our full review. You can bet we’ll put the dual cameras through their paces in a full day’s worth of capturing photos in the near future.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from MWC 2017.

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Google Pixel tools help you switch from an iPhone

We’ve seen many attempts at helping you switch from one smartphone platform to another, but Google is kicking things up a notch with its Pixel smartphones. The lineup will include software to bring over contacts, media and messages from other phones, including iPhones. It’ll even bring over your iMessages, in case you’re worried that all those blue chat bubbles will disappear while moving to Android. To that end, Google bundles an adapter to help iPhone owners make the leap. These tools aren’t that necessary if you store a lot of your data in the cloud, but it’s evident that Google wants to remove as many pain points as possible — it wants Pixel to appeal to everyone.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Google’s fall event.

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Recommended Reading: Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong


How Snowden escaped
Theresa Tedesco,
National Post

For two weeks in 2013, the most wanted man in the world hid from authorities. National Post has the story of how refugees helped hide Edward Snowden in the slums of Hong Kong before his eventual escape. This account of those events hasn’t been told until now.

Inside iPhone 7: Why Apple killed the headphone jack
John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

At this point you’ve probably read a truckload of hot takes on why Apple ditched that 3.5mm port. This BuzzFeed piece is among the best at offering a more thorough perspective on the “courageous” move.

‘Atlanta’s’ magic is in the details
Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic

Donald Glover’s new show debuted this week and the early reviews are very positive. The Atlantic has a look at why it’s so good and why you should be watching the new FX series.

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What we expect from Apple’s big iPhone event

Apple is holding a big press event next week, and it’s a pretty safe assumption at this point that we’re getting a new iPhone. We’re not expecting a radical reimagining of the device, but there might be a few surprises here (like no headphone jack!) to keep people on their toes. Will we see a new Apple Watch? Maybe. New MacBook Pros? Probably not. A play to repay $ 14.5 billion in back taxes? Keep dreaming. Watch the video above for all the latest on the Apple rumor mill.

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