Analyst rumor: iPhone 8 ‘function area’ to replace home button

While we’re still months away from finding out exactly what’s what with any new iPhone, the rumor mill is already running at full tilt. Following up on earlier reports of a 5.8-inch edgeless OLED screened device arriving as the “iPhone 8,” well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is telling investors more about what its home button-less front screen could be like.

As explained by AppleInsider and 9to5Mac, the analyst notes that this presumed OLED iPhone with its $ 1,000+ pricetag will be similar in size to the current 4.7-inch iPhone. However, instead of the home button, it will include a “function area” that can also display controls for video or games.

That would keep it matched in style with the recently-released MacBook Pros and their OLED TouchBar, and, the analyst says, reduce the screen size used for everything else to about 5.15-inches. Last year the New York Times reported that the next iPhone would ditch the home button for virtual buttons built into the screen, and this rumor explains how all that could work. Losing the home button could indicate a lack of TouchID, which could be replaced by a fingerprint reader embedded in the display itself, or other biometric technology like face recognition.

Source: Apple Insider, 9to5Mac

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Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone could cost over $1,000

To mark 10 years of metal and glass slabs, Apple is expected to debut an ultra high-end version of the iPhone alongside its next scheduled update. According to a report from Fast Company, Tim Cook and company will likely roll out three new phones this year: the incremental iPhone 7S in the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes, as well as a slightly larger, even more expensive 5.8-inch iPhone 8 with an edgeless OLED display and a few completely new features.

To really play up the 10th anniversary bit, Apple may even call the new flagship model the “iPhone X,” and the price is expected to shoot up past the $ 1,000 mark. That’s not too far-fetched by Apple’s standards, considering a maxed-out iPhone 7 Plus already costs $ 969 unlocked. We’ve heard rumors of an OLED iPhone before, but Fast Company‘s sources seem to confirm its existence. They higher-end screen alone is expected to cost Apple twice as much as the LCD displays it currently uses and with only Samsung’s OLEDs meeting Apple’s strict tolerances, the company is reportedly hogging up manufacturing capacity as well. There’s also a chance the iPhone 8/iPhone X will eliminate physical buttons entirely by incorporating the Home button into the screen itself and replacing the side buttons with touch-sensitive inlays in a metal frame with a glass back.

Probably the most interesting rumor about the next-generation iPhone, however, is Apple’s partnership with Lumentum. According to Fast Company‘s sources, Apple plans to incorporate Lumentum’s 3D-sensing technology into the flagship phone in some way — which could mean anything from better camera performance to advanced augmented reality features or even a facial recognition system that could supplement Touch ID. Of course, these features are just rumors at this point, so take them with a big lick of salt for now.

Source: Fast Company

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iPhone 7 turns around slowing sales for Apple

iPhone sales were bound to start dropping sooner or later, but today’s earnings news from Apple sees a turnaround: iPhone sales are back up after a year. In the first full quarter with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on the market, Apple sold 78.3 million smartphones. That’s up about five percent from a year ago, when the company moved 74.8 million iPhones. Historically, a new iPhone model has guaranteed that sales would be up as well — and even though the iPhone 7 is a rather iterative model, it was enough to do the trick.

As the iPhone goes, so goes Apple’s overall financial health. This quarter (the company’s first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year), revenue of $ 78.4 billion and profits of $ 18.4 billion are massive numbers and both increases on a year ago.

The Mac was another winner this quarter — but just barely. The company sold 5.37 million Macs, up a small 1.4 percent over the year-ago quarter. It’s not surprising that the first MacBook Pro refresh helped out the overall line, although it’s a pretty small bump over last year. The iPad wasn’t so lucky, with sales of 13.1 million representing yet another down quarter. That’s 19 percent less iPads than Apple sold a year ago, and we’re now looking at three full years of declining iPad sales. While Tim Cook has continued to say the product is how Apple defines the future of computing, the numbers don’t lie, and it’ll be interesting to see if he addresses the continued drop today.

Apple is continuing to decline to say how many Apple Watches it sells, so all we have to go on there is Tim Cook’s word — the CEO said that it was a record quarter for Apple Watch revenue. However, revenue in the “other products” category (which covers things like Beats, the iPod, Apple TV and accessories in addition to the Apple Watch) declined year over year, so the Watch wasn’t quite enough to make up for losses in other product categories.

The last big part of Apple’s business is is services business, which covers things like Apple Music, iCloud, the App Store and so on. It was a big winner this quarter, continuing the trend we saw in 2016. Apple says that the $ 7.17 billion in revenue from services is a record, though in terms of overall revenue it’s now just slightly behind the Mac ($ 7.24 billion) in terms of how much overall cash it pulls in.

As usual, Apple will be holding a call with CEO Tim Cook and we’ll be updating this post with anything else we learn. Elephants in the room include the iPad, when the company might get more AirPods to consumers, and what the response has been to the new MacBook Pro. We’re guessing he’s going to say that customers just love it.

Source: Apple

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Starbucks’ iPhone app lets you order by talking to it

Starbucks is continuing its efforts to stay on top of technological trends by adding new voice-ordering functions to its iOS app and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. Called “My Starbucks barista” on iOS, the service is being rolled out to select customers today as an extension of the company’s Mobile Order and Pay feature, which lets users send and pay for an order ahead of time. At the same time, the company is launching a Starbucks Reorder Skill to the Alexa platform.

My Starbucks barista was previously announced at the company’s Investor Day in December, and uses an AI-powered messaging interface like many existing chatbots. You’ll be able to speak your order, and customize your food and drink to your personal preferences, according to Starbucks. On Alexa, users will be able to re-order a standard, pre-defined order by saying, “Alexa, order my Starbucks.” They will be able to pick up their food and beverage at a pre-determined outlet.

The voice-based ordering service will be available to one thousand users at first, and the company intends to continue rolling out the feature in the US through summer this year. An Android version is also in the works, but if you don’t want to wait to use your voice to make an order, you can always dial the company’s toll-free phone number.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Starbucks

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Apple’s ‘Find My iPhone’ app will help you locate lost AirPods

When Apple announced its wireless AirPods last fall, there was some anxiety over how easy it would be to lose one of the wireless earbuds. Well, the company is looking to ease that burden a bit. As part of the upcoming iOS 10.3 update, you will be able to use the Find My iPhone app to locate a lost AirPod. Just like the app helps you find a misplaced laptop, iPad or iPhone, it will soon tell you were that earbud fell out of your pocket.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the app uses the AirPods’ wireless tech to locate them. The earbuds don’t have a GPS connection, so Apple employs the iPhone’s GPS tech. The map inside the Find My iPhone app will show you the last place the AirPods were in range of an iOS device connected to your iCloud account. If you happen to lose one out of range, the software will show you a general location of where it was last connected to one one of your gadgets. However, you will have to use your phone to employ this method.

What happens when you drop an AirPod at home and you just can’t see it? The app will also let you play a sound through the earbuds to help you locate them. Here, you have the option beaming a noise through one or both of the audio accessories. Of course, this is dependent on the fact that the AirPods haven’t run out of battery yet. iOS 10.3 was released to developers today, so it shouldn’t be long before it and its earbud-locating tool are available for everyone to use. Hey, at least it might save you $ 69 on a replacement set.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Matterport brings its Virtual Reality Spaces to the iPhone

iPhone users who love exploring the world from the comfort of their couches have a new app to download: Matterport. The Google Street View rival has brought its virtual reality tours of various real-world locations to the iPhone. Matterport originally offered 3D views of everything from popular travel destinations to celebrity homes and historic places like the very first Boeing 737. It started going into VR late last year, though, and even launched a platform called CoreVR that makes it easy for content creators to turn their Street View-like shots into virtual reality experiences.

The company has around 300,000 VR spaces, 150 of which make up a curated premium selection, that you can access through the iOS, Gear VR and Cardboard apps. It also promises to keep converting and adding the rest of its 3D spaces. Take note that the app will only work if you have an iPhone 5s or one of the device’s newer iterations, and only if it’s running iOS 9.1 and higher. In case you’re a business owner looking to show off your place place in VR, though, you’ll also need Matterport’s $ 4,500 camera in addition to a new-ish iPhone.

Source: Matterport, iTunes

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12 iPhone reviews in 3 minutes for its 10th anniversary

The iPhone turned 10 on Monday, forever changing the course of smartphone history. But even game-changing devices, like humans, have good years and bad years. Remember antenna-gate? What about all of those dongles? And that time Apple tried to make the 5c happen. We’ve rounded up all our reviews (listed below) and also summed them up in one short video. Enjoy, and prepare to feel old: Remember when copy-and-paste on iOS was a big deal? Or when we thought the iPhone’s killer app would be making phone calls? Yeah.

  • The One That Started It All: the iPhone (parts 1, 2 and 3 — hey, we had a lot to say)
  • The One With The App Store: the iPhone 3G
  • The One That Looked Like The Last One: the iPhone 3GS
  • The One You Were Holding Wrong: the iPhone 4
  • The One That Made Siri a Thing: the iPhone 4S
  • The One With a Lightning Connector: the iPhone 5
  • The One In All the Colors: the iPhone 5c
  • The One With Touch ID: the iPhone 5S
  • The Ones That Went Big-Screen: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
  • The Ones With the Pressure-Sensitive Screens: the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
  • The One Where Apple Decided People Like Small Phones After All: the iPhone SE
  • The One With No Headphone Jack: the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

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Instagram photos now look better on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

When Apple announced that it’s latest iPhone would snap brighter, more vivid pictures with its “wide color capture” feature, Instagram was quick to promise an updated app to support that expanded color gamut. Turns out, they were half right: today Instagram co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger announced that Instagram users on iPhone 7 and 7 plus can now take full advantage of their phone’s new camera — and they don’t even need to update the app.

According to a short statement on Krieger’s Twitter, Instagram’s support for wide color capture has been rolled out to almost all users, noting that the feature has slowly been trickling onto user’s phones since the app’s last update. Users of Apple Live Photos will find that those import seamlessly now too — converting into Boomerang photos via Instagram Stories. Small updates, to be sure, but a definite boon for iPhone users. After all, who doesn’t like more vivid photos?

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Twitter

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The iPhone 7 may not be selling as well as Apple hoped

Traditionally, new iPhones sell pretty well in their first few months — often outperforming the previous model’s sales during the same quarter. That might not be the case with Apple’s latest handset: according to Nikkei, sluggish sales are forcing the company to cut back production of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices. Based on data received from suppliers, Nikkei expects Apple to slow stock production by about 10 percent.

Apple saw an early sign of this reported slowdown in March, when its Q2 earnings showed that while iPhone 6S upgrades were outpacing the previous year, they still weren’t up to snuff with sales from users who upgraded to the iPhone 6 is 2014. It’s too early to say if the iPhone 7’s slower sales are enough to make it the company’s first device not to outsell the previous model, but we’ll know soon enough: Apple’s next quarterly earnings are set to drop sometime at the end of next month.

Via: AppleInsider

Source: Nikkei

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The best lenses for iPhone photography

By Erin Lodi

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After more than 16 hours of research during which we considered 70 lens attachments and tested 15 models (with hands-on shooting that included a hiking trip through the Cascade Mountains and sightseeing on a Grand Canyon road trip), we found that Moment’s Tele and Wide mobile-photography lenses are the best for avid smartphone photographers. They offer image quality as good as that of anything we tested, along with a straightforward attachment system that doesn’t lock you into using a case you don’t like (unlike most of the competition).

Who should get this

By adding extra optics directly on top of your phone’s existing camera, lens attachments allow you to appear either closer to your subject or farther away from it without reducing resolution. This mimics the effect you’d get from switching lenses on a DSLR or mirrorless camera. But because you’re putting additional lenses in front of an existing lens, many lens attachments produce photos with noticeable blurriness and color distortion around the edges of the frame. So you still have plenty of good reasons to go with an actual DSLR or mirrorless camera, especially if you plan on printing your photos. But smartphone lens kits are fun to play around with for photographers of all skill levels, and the best among them can produce surprisingly sharp images.

How we picked and tested

We considered a wide swath of iPhone lens accessories. In a clockwise spiral from top left: CamKix, iPro, Manfrotto, Moment, Ztylus, ExoLens, AGPtek, Olloclip, and Photojojo lenses. Photo: Erin Lodi

We looked for a mobile-photography lens that would fit the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus—though not every lens will work with the latter, and we’re keeping our eyes open as more become available that will.

Above all, we wanted a portable, affordable, easy-to-use lens attachment to help produce amazing photos. We focused on finding a good wide-angle option and a good telephoto option, as those are the most commonly available choices and often the most practical applications of iPhone lenses. For more details on how we picked and tested, and a note on lenses for the iPhone 7, see our full guide.

We took each lens out for some real-world testing around Seattle. Photo: Erin Lodi

For this guide, we read up on every recommended smartphone lens attachment we could find on the Internet, including considering what highly respected review sites such as The Phoblographer, CNET, Fstoppers, Cult of Mac, and Macworld had to say. We also asked friends of various levels of smartphone-photography prowess what they would want out of such an attachment.

Since 2015, we’ve conducted hands-on testing with 15 iPhone lens models. We toted these lenses around Seattle, testing them in some everyday shooting situations. We filled our backpack with them and put them to work while hiking in the Cascade Mountains. And we brought them along on an epic summer road trip to see the Grand Canyon.

Our pick

Moment’s .63x-magnification wide lens (18mm equivalent) and a 2x telephoto lens (60mm equivalent). Photo: Erin Lodi

Moment’s Tele and Wide lenses stood above the competition thanks to their impressive image quality, their simple attachment method (which works with many third-party iPhone cases), and their ease of use and portability. We tested both the .63x-magnification wide-angle lens (about 1.5 times as wide as the standard iPhone lens, an 18mm equivalent) and the 2x telephoto lens (60mm equivalent). If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, you won’t need the tele option, because your phone already has a similar built-in lens, but the Wide is still a great option.

A bayonet-style mount on a metal plate that adheres to your phone allows you to attach your Moment lenses with just a quick turn. Photo: Erin Lodi

In our tests, images came out crisp and clear, with very little distortion and no vignetting. We noted only minimal chromatic aberration (a common problem with cheaply made lenses in which colors fringe and blur, especially at high-contrast edges).

The Moment 0.63x lens is about half again as wide as an iPhone’s standard lens. Photo: Erin Lodi

Moment lenses attach to your phone via a stainless steel mounting plate that sticks to the back of your iPhone using a strong but not permanent 3M adhesive. A bayonet mounting system on the plate lets you twist the lens on. The mounting ring is small enough that you can use it through the camera opening on many slim phone cases, including our pick for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Incipio NGP, which means your favorite method of iPhone protection should work with Moment lenses. If you’re careful, the lens attachment will remain mounted until you unscrew it. But we recommend removing the lens from the mount before stowing your handset in a bag or backpack to avoid having it dislodge, and to prevent any uncovered lens surfaces from attracting dust or smudges.

Budget pick

The Aukey lens-and-case set offers great quality for its current price of $ 15, but it doesn’t hold up next to our main pick. Photo: Erin Lodi

If you’re not willing to spend almost $ 100 on a smartphone accessory, or if you just don’t think you’d use a high-quality lens attachment often enough to justify such a cost, the Aukey PL-WD03 110° Wide Angle Lens & Case Set is a bargain entry-level lens-and-case combo for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6/6s Plus. (The company has no plans for an iPhone 7 case, but this model does come with a clip mount that isn’t as secure but works on any phone.) The set’s slim black case snaps over your phone and allows you to screw on a lens attachment. The image quality was noticeably worse when we compared it closely with that of the Moment lenses, but compared with other low-cost lenses we tested, the Aukey delivered better-quality images with less distortion or vignetting.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

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