Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.
At WWDC on Monday, Apple will unveil the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 10. With the conference being light on hardware, expectations are high for Apple to announce some major new features for iOS 10 on iPhone and iPad. The rumor mill is quieter than usual, so there’s definitely a bigger opportunity to be surprised with this year’s keynote.
We have some idea about what to expect but we want to hear what you want to see Apple announce next week. Join in the poll after the jump to have your say on what you want to see in iOS 10 …
Apple has released a special ‘Shot on iPhone’ TV commercial for European markets called ‘The beautiful game’. It features iPhone photography of football stadiums, goalposts and players. The ad will likely air during the UEFA European Football Championship games, which kicks off tomorrow … expand full story
Digital Music News is once again reporting that Apple is contemplating removing iTunes downloads for good, focusing solely on its Apple Music streaming service for distribution. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Apple is open to multiple scenarios depending on future market conditions, which could include ditching traditional music download model. However, it doesn’t sound like there are firm plans to do that anytime soon; Apple has already denied similar reports saying ‘It’s not true’.
More interestingly is the report’s take on Apple’s WWDC plans for iTunes. It claims that Apple will unveil a major overhaul of the iTunes app to simplify the core functions of the app (music) and better present the different music offerings Apple has, removing points of confusion about how Apple Music works alongside the iTunes Store.
In my continuing quest to find a great iPad Pro case, I’ve been testing out the new BookBook case for iPad Pro 12.9-inch ($99) … and I really like it. Don’t judge a book by its cover; the cute design hides a lot of utility. There’s a display mode for watching movies, an integrated kickstand perfect for typing and sketching as well as a fantastic Apple Pencil holder hidden in the ‘spine’. (Check the Twelve South website if sold out on Amazon.)
As the whole thing zips up, it’s one of few cases that completely protects the iPad whilst in transit. Read on for my full review of the BookBook for iPad Pro after the jump …
Update 2: Apple is reporting that the iCloud.com services have also been restored.
Update: Apple is reporting that the availability of some services has now been restored but several features of iCloud are still down and undergoing maintenance.
As noted by Apple’s system status page, a multitude of Apple services are currently experiencing instability and downtime for some users. The affected services include the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV services, iTunes In The Cloud and critical features like Find My iPhone. We have also had a few reports of Apple Music downtime, seemingly repeating the outage yesterday, but Apple’s official status report does not mention any problems with Apple Music at this time.
Apple has today launched its Back to School deals for students. Similar to last year, Apple will bundle a free pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of an eligible Apple product for college. If you buy an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro or MacBook Air, you get a free pair of Beats Solo2 wireless headphones worth $299. iPad Pro, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 buyers can get a free pair of Beats Powerbeats2 wireless headphones, worth $199 retail.
Standard Apple student education discount also applies on Mac and iPad purchases. Although this is one of the best times to buy a Mac or iPad direct from Apple Store, you may save money from buying elsewhere …
Cases claiming to be designed for the next-generation iPhones, currently being dubbed the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, have been released online today. Although the cases do not show anything drastically different to what we’ve been hearing for months, with most of the chassis mirroring the appearance of the iPhone 6s, it is interesting nonetheless to see the design formalized into cases that are apparently going to be on sale by the end of the month.
The case renders include a depiction of what the dual camera system on the 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus could look like, suggesting that it will have a binocular-esque appearance of two camera iris holes side-by-side with a sizeable gap between them. The camera flash and rear microphone are also aligned horizontally. The iPhone 7 Plus case also includes space for the 3-pin Smart Connector on the back of the device — more pictures after the break …
Update: No new Apple display at WWDC … timing unclear but integrated GPU next-gen Apple Display is still in development.
The current $999 (!) Thunderbolt Display is showing its age to put it mildly, now significantly overshadowed by Retina MacBooks and iMacs in terms of screen resolution and quality. Reaffirming earlier reports, we have heard that stock of the Thunderbolt Display at Apple Stores is quickly running out with no indications of more units on the way to replenish availability. This is often a good indicator that a refresh is imminent. We are led to believe that WWDC will be very light on new hardware. However, given the opportunity for cheers in the audience, perhaps Apple could announce the new display at the keynote with a release pencilled in for later in the year.
Independently, we have heard some rumblings about what the new display might offer. Finally bringing it up to speed with its Retina display Mac cousins, the new ‘Thunderbolt Display’ will likely feature a 5K resolution display 5120×2880 pixels. Moreover, sources indicate that Apple will take the display in a surprising direction, specifically suggesting that Apple plans to integrate a dedicated external GPU into the display itself …
Apple has quietly rolled out a change to the Apple TV App Store on tvOS in the last few days, which affects how apps are listed in the Top Charts. For the Top Charts (Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing), the Apple TV App Store will now hide listings for apps that the user has already downloaded, so the charts update dynamically per user. This means users can only browse for apps they don’t already own, removing some clutter and allowing less popular apps more opportunity to be seen. This behavior is novel and isn’t currently replicated by the iPhone and iPad App Stores.
To try this out for yourself, open the Apple TV App Store and download the #1 Top Free app. After force-quitting and re-opening the App Store (by swiping it away in the multitasking tray), the app will disappear from the charts. What was previously listed at #2 will now take the top spot (via Equinux).
An IHS Technology analyst has posted on Chinese social media that company supply chain research indicates that the iPhone 7 will feature 32 GB storage as the $199 base model, which would mean Apple would finally drop the much-loathed 16 GB SKU from its lineup with its new flagship smartphone expected in the fall. IHS has a reasonable track record of accuracy when it comes to Apple rumors, correctly predicting last year that a 4 inch iPhone would debut in 2016 based on supply chain sources … which obviously transpired into reality as the iPhone SE.
The analyst also claims that iPhone 7 will feature 2 GB of RAM, the same specification as iPhone 6s. It is unclear if the analyst is referring to the iPhone 7 as a category or the specific 4.7 inch model. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the larger 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus will be equipped with 3GB RAM to handle the processing needs demanded by the dual-camera components. The big story here though is the claim that we could finally be saying goodbye to 16 GB flagship iPhones later this year …
Following the expanded launch of Apple Pay in Singapore this week, TechCrunch spoke with Apple VP Jennifer Bailey about Apple Pay’s roadmap. The Apple executive said the company wants to bring Apple Pay to every significant market in which it operates with particular focus on rapid expansion in Europe and Asia. Apple Pay is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Singapore and Australia. Apple has already said the mobile payments service will reach Hong Kong soon …
The Financial Times is reporting that Apple considered a buyout of Time Warner late last year, with Apple executive Eddy Cue raising the idea at a meeting with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy, Olaf Olafsson. The idea of bid was very much tentative and did not enter serious negotiations involving Tim Cook, according to the report. However, Apple is still interested in acquiring media company talent and sources indicate the company is ramping spending on original content: “several hundred million dollars a year”.
Apple has long been rumored to want to launch a skinny cable subscription service for internet television, in concert with its Apple TV set top box. At Startup Fest earlier in the week, Tim Cook said he wants Apple to be a catalyst in the entertainment business.
The team behind Pixelmator has today released yet another free update to its Mac photo editor, Pixelmator version 3.5 ($29.99 in the Mac App Store). Alongside the usual round of performance improvements and bug fixes, the app includes a few handy new end-user features. There’s a smarter Auto Selection tool and a brand new Magnetic Selection tool to accurately and quickly cutout objects from a scene in a photograph. There’s also a brand new Retouch extension for the native OS X Photos app, integrating refined brush-style edits into iCloud Photo Library. Video demo after the break …
After a few months of speculation, Twitter has officially announced its plans to extend the length of tweets by no longer counting mentions and media attachments towards the 140 character limit as well as some new announcements including the ability to retweet yourself and the removal of the ‘.@’ convention to simplify the service. Twitter will roll all of these updates in the coming months.
The headline change is that Twitter handles (@mention), embedded photos, videos and other media attachments will no longer count towards the 140 character limit. This will allow users to fit more content into every tweet as metadata will not use up valuable characters.
[UPDATE: Video embedded below.]
Tim Cook featured at StartupFest this morning, in an interview with Neelie Kroes discussing Apple’s influence in startups and entrepreneurship culture. Cook covered many topics including the role of entrepreneurs and the App Store, the startup climate in Europe, economic optimism, technology in education, Apple Watch and more. We’ve included some snippets of the talk below …
In the interview, Tim Cook says Apple gives entrepreneurs the ability to sell their app instantly worldwide through the App Store. Apple provides technical and marketing assistance to clear the path so the developer can focus on their product. Most young companies should be principally focused on the product; Apple tries to help ease the frictions to fuel more entrepreneurs to do exactly that. Apple is bringing an app development center in Naples to kickstart the app economy in places it hasn’t yet been.
Via Weibo, the above image is claimed to be a real photo of an actual iPhone 7 back, not a mockup or case. Most interestingly in this picture is the new rear camera — it appears to be bevelled and protrude outwards. The camera is also aligned differently compared to current iPhones; it is positioned closer to the top-left corner. The camera hole also appears to be slightly larger than the current 12 megapixel shooter in the iPhone 6s. Unfortunately, people hoping for the camera bump to go away will be disappointed with this leak, as it suggests the bump will continue to be a part of iPhone design for at least another year.
On the positive side, the new design of the camera does suggest that substantial improvements to photo and video quality are on the cards. Whether the image truly shows an actual iPhone 7 back (not merely a dummy case) is hard to assert due to the low-resolution but the design mirrors previously-leaked schematics. The same source correctly leaked the iPhone 6 design too, adding to its legitimacy. More photos below …