iPhone 6 finally approved for sale in China following regulatory hangups (U: Pre-orders start Oct. 10, available Oct. 17)

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Earlier this month it was discovered that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would be delayed in China due to regulatory hold ups when Chinese authorities decided that they were not pleased with the current state of security on iOS. According to Bloomberg, Apple has cleared the last hurdle and received the licenses necessary to run the device on Chinese cellular networks.

Apple reportedly agreed to make undisclosed changes to the privacy settings on the device to appease the regulators. Yesterday we reported that Apple was apparently preparing for a Chinese launch on October 10th, but that date has not yet been confirmed. Update: Apple has announced through a press release that the phones will be available for sale in China on October 17th with pre-orders starting on the 10th.

Apple also released a beta version of iOS 8.1 today, which may or may not include the updated privacy settings necessary to get approval from the Chinese government.

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Apple developing iOS 8.1, 8.2, & 8.3 in shift for 2015 launches

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Starting with iOS 5 in 2011, Apple has released a major new iOS version each fall and a notable follow-up update early in the following year. For example, iOS 6 launched in September 2012 and was updated to iOS 6.1 in January, and iOS 7, which was launched in September 2013, was updated to iOS 7.1 with CarPlay and interface improvements in March 2014. But starting with the recently released iOS 8, it appears that Apple has a different development schedule for 2015 and perhaps beyond. According to sources, Apple is already hard at work on three major follow-up versions to iOS 8: iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3.

8.2 9to5iOS 8.2 visits to 9to5Mac

We’ve confirmed that these major new versions are in development via two means. First, a developer of a major hardware-connected iOS application has shared with us their analytics, and this data indicates that all three versions are in testing by Apple employees in or around Cupertino, California. Second, and much closer to home, our own Google Analytics for 9to5Mac.com show that iOS users are visiting our website via iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3 devices. iOS 8.1 hits to 9to5Mac.com started appearing even months before iOS 8.0 launched, but 8.2 and 8.3 visits only started picking up following iOS 8’s release in mid-September.

8.3 9to5iOS 8.3 visits to 9to5Mac

While Apple works on several iOS features and enhancements over the course of several years, it typically only begins wholly testing major new releases close to the ship dates of the preceding release. Apple working on three significant follow-ups to iOS 8 is a shift from the usual development cycle, one which would normally indicate Apple to be working on just iOS 8.1 as well as iOS 9.0. It’s possible that iOS 9 is also in the works, and of course Apple is always working on nominal bug fix (x.x.1 or .2 or .3) updates, but the fact that 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 are all in simultaneous development raises some interesting possibilities:

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Apple and French fashion retailer Colette teasing one day in-store ‘experience’ on September 30th

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On its website, French fashions retailer Colette is teasing a ‘one day only experience’, taking place at its stores on September 30th. The event runs from store open to 7 pm local time (via MacGeneration). Other details are unknown.

The invite image sort of resembles the Apple Watch home screen, so maybe this is some sort of special demonstration of the upcoming product. There is a possibility that Colette will sell the device in its store when the Watch is released ‘early next year’. Although this would make sense due to the connection with fashion, it would still be weird for the company to demo the product in public when it is still many months off release.

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Consumer Reports puts ‘bendgate’ to bed, finds iPhone 6 easier to bend than Plus model

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Consumer Reports released a new video today taking on claims of overly-flexible iPhones that have appeared online recently. Apple noted that only a handful of complaints have come in and gave journalists a look at its testing procedures. Regardless of Cupertino’s claims, Consumer Reports kept its promise to conduct testing that was a bit more scientific in nature than previous YouTube videos.

To address these claims, several different phones were tested under up to 150 pounds of pressure to see when each model would stop “snapping back” to its original shape. The devices tested were the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5, HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and LG G3.

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Apps with HealthKit integration start appearing in App Store following iOS 8.0.2 fixes

After a series of botched updates, which meant HealthKit apps could not launch alongside iOS 8’s release, Apple has finally started allowing apps that integrate with the Health app into the App Store. The first of many is FitPort, which acts as a replacement dashboard for Health information, with all data being synced back into the Health database.

On opening the app, the Health permissions screen opens which asks users to individually enable access to health statistics. This allows users to be very selective about what information they share with third-party apps. Users have to explicitly enable read and write capabilities for every health data type the app wants to integrate. Just like asking for location access, this sheet is presented by the OS, meaning all apps benefit from this level of privacy.

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Apple provides a look inside its iPhone stress-testing facility following ‘bendgate’ controversy

via The Verge

via The Verge

After a few YouTube videos hit the web claiming that the iPhone 6 Plus could be easily bent out shape in a user’s pocket, Apple addressed the issue by stating that the device was designed to meet its quality requirements and that only a handful of owners had complained about any issues. To further prove its commitment to building solid devices, Apple gave journalists access to the lab where it tests the build quality of its iPhones.

In a tour of the facility guided by SVP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio, reporters were given an in-depth look at how each new generation of the iPhone is tested to ensure that it can endure all of the rigors of daily life. Each device the company makes—including its notebook computers—is put through thousands of rounds of testing that simulates everything from twisting the device to flexing the screen, or sitting on a bench with the phone in the back pocket of your skinny jeans.

Video and more photos below:

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Consumer Reports devising authoritative test for iPhone 6 bending issues

Consumer Reports LG G Flex

Not sure what to believe about recent claims that the iPhone 6 Plus has a malleability issue? Consumer Reports says it is in the process of undergoing authoritative testing to find its own answer to the question of whether or not the larger iPhone has a bending problem.

According to their post, Consumer Report will critically test the new iPhones against other popular smartphones using their “sophisticated machinery” which can apply up to 1,000 pounds of force previously used to test the LG G Flex and determine whether or not the iPhone 6 models are more likely to bend than other phones. Read more

Apple responds to iPhone 6 Bendgate controversy, says only 9 customers have complained

iPhone 6 Plus bend

Apple has officially issued a statement regarding the iPhone 6 bending controversy saying the issue is rare during real world use and that it’s only received complaints from 9 customers (via CNBC). Apple adds, according to the reports, that the “new iPhones feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations and use the strongest glass in the industry.” Apple also commented that bending is “extremely rare” during normal use and that it performs a number of strength and durability tests (as you’d expect) before it ships new devices (via WSJ):

Since going on sale Friday, Apple said only nine customers have contacted the company about a bent iPhone 6 Plus—the larger and more expensive of its two new iPhones. Apple said both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus passed a series of tests meant to check the products’ strength and durability to withstand every day, real-life use.

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Apple aware of iCloud brute-force vulnerability six months before ‘Celebgate’

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The software developer credited by Apple for discovering last year’s developer center flaw says that he informed Apple of an iCloud weakness that may have been used to obtain celebrity nudes more than six months before the photos were accessed.

The Daily Dot reports that Ibrahim Balic advised Apple in March of a Find My Phone weakness that would allow brute-force attacks on iCloud accounts. It has been suggested that this may have been one of the methods used to access the accounts – or even complete iPhone backups – of celebrities …  Read more

iPhone 6 (and 5s) found less bendy than iPhone 6 Plus

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Earlier this week it was revealed that if you bend your iPhone 6 Plus, it will bend. This shocking news took the world by storm, but left some people wondering if other phones would also flex under pressure. To answer the question, YouTuber Unbox Therapy attempted to repeat his earlier experiment with iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, HTC One M8, newest Moto X, and Nokia Lumia.

After applying roughly the same force to each of these handsets, he discovered that the iPhone 6 Plus was in fact more flexible than the rest. The Moto X ended up coming out top of the pack, with next to no flexibility at all. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was also found to be much less “bendy” than the larger model, though it did get a very small curve with enough force.

You can check out the video of all five phones being tested below:

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Poll: Does the malleability [#bendgate] of Apple’s iPhone 6/Plus concern you?

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The Internet recently exploded with reports of the iPhone 6 Plus’ bendable body. Unofficially dubbed “Bendgate” this problem seems to occur when the device is in pockets and other tight areas that apply pressure on the chassis of the iPhone 6 Plus. This is probably a small issue when you look at the big picture and ones that other metal phones including previous iPhones also experience. Over 10 million iPhones have been sold since its Sept. 19 launch, but we’ve only seen a handful of legit Bendgate issues in the wild. The question is, does this actually bother you?

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iPhone 6/Plus cameras ranked joint 1st in highly-respected DxOMark Mobile tests

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The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras have taken joint first place in the influential DxOMark Mobile ranking of smartphone cameras – three points ahead of the two Android smartphones which previously headed the list, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3.

DxO Labs tests the image quality of literally thousands of cameras from entry-level smartphones to professional DSLRs, and is considered by many in the photography field to be the definitive database. The company said that Apple has “set the gold standard for smartphone image quality” …  Read more