Apple is reportedly planning to bring its Force Touch technology to the next version of the iPhone, the Wall Street Journal says. The tech was first introduced in the Apple Watch last September, then made its way to the latest MacBook model during yesterday’s “Spring Forward” event.
Starting off the Apple Special Event today, CEO Tim Cook welcomed HBO CEO Richard Pepler on stage to announce a new content deal for the Apple TV. HBO Now, the network’s premium, Internet-based subscription service, will debut exclusively on Apple TV next month.
News of HBO and Apple being in talks to distribute the new HBO Now service first broke earlier this month after being announced last fall.
HBO Now will be available within the HBO channel for $14.99/month, no cable subscription required, and subscribers joining in April will get the first month free. HBO Now will include past and current television shows and movies. expand full story
HBO is reportedly negotiating with Apple to have the Apple TV included as a launch device when the network’s new standalone streaming service launches next month. International Business Times reports Apple has been “aggressive” in pushing to get access to the new service as HBO reportedly plans a launch by mid-April in time for the latest season of hit show Game of Thrones: expand full story
AppleInsider is reporting that it has received information about the next-generation iPhone hardware. It claims that the next iPhone, generally expected to be a ‘6s’ style device (meaning that it will feature internal changes but the external chassis will be the same as the 6), will feature 2 GB of RAM, just like the A8X in the iPad Air 2. It also says that Apple is considering inclusion of an Apple SIM as standard, just like the cellular iPads.
For some context, the iPhone first shipped with 1 GB of RAM in 2012 with the iPhone 5. This means a RAM jump is now about ‘due’, with many expecting an increase last year to help accommodate the increased asset size required by the Retina HD iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Although 9to5Mac cannot directly backup the claims, the advancements feel like an obvious progression for the device given Apple’s inclusion of 2 GB of RAM in the iPad Air 2 as well as the introduction of the Apple SIM last fall. Note also that Apple has doubled RAM every few generations of iPhone, and given that many were expecting an increase last cycle, it is not surprising to see it rumored for the ‘iPhone 6s’, which is likely to feature new and improved internals like other ‘tock’ years.
Nearly eight years have passed since Apple released the first-generation Apple TV, a product originally hyped as “something really special” but quickly demoted to a “hobby” after initial sales fizzled. The second-generation version arrived with much less fanfare in late 2010, and the modestly tweaked third-generation model got a mere five-minute launch at a March event three years ago. Since then, there’s been plenty of evidence that Apple was working on updated hardware, a major partnership with cable companies, and major new content deals, but apart from the quiet addition of new channels, nothing’s actually happened.
Since total Apple TV sales remain soft by comparison with Apple’s other product lines, next week’s fashion-focused and celebrity-packed Apple Watch special event would be a great opportunity to launch an updated Apple TV to a broader audience. The current-generation Apple TV is older than its predecessor was when Apple replaced it, and there are at least 10 software and hardware tweaks that could fundamentally improve the Apple TV experience. Here’s our list of 5 features Apple TV really needs, and 5 features it would really benefit from having…
We have received images of a white building under construction behind the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, the venue for Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event on March 9th. The tipster said that security guards are patrolling the scene, wearing ‘Apple Security’ shirts, confirming the connection between the building and Apple.
Apple built a similar external structure for the Apple Watch’s original unveiling in September, which acted as a demo hall for the products (iPhone 6 and Apple Watch) that Apple had announced at the event prior. Given the similarities, it is likely that this is the purpose of this new building as well.
It is worth noting, however, that in the past Apple has simply used side rooms inside Yerba Buena for its demo areas. Unlike the Flint Center, previous events show that there is space for indoor demos if Apple wanted to use it.
More images after the break …
A recent poll of over 3,100 9to5Mac readers indicates that most are not satisfied with current-generation iPhone battery life. Over 90% of respondents said that they want to see Apple improve iPhone battery life, versus less than 7% saying that “iPhone battery life and battery cases are good enough as-is.”
The split in responses interestingly suggests that Apple can safely stop prioritizing thinness over superior battery performance. A solid majority of over 60% of respondents said that Apple should thicken the next iPhone to improve its battery life, which is especially noteworthy given that there were other poll options. Over 31% said that Apple should achieve whatever battery improvements it can by improving the iPhone’s chips, while just under 2% said that Apple should instead focus on improving battery cases.
KGI is out with a new report today predicting both a large rise in the number of Touch ID sensors shipped this year as well as an improved version of the biometric security reader for the next version of the iPhone. “We raise our 2015F shipments of Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) module by 12.4% to 262mn sets, up 77% YoY.” As for the updated Touch ID sensor, the improved version is believed to offer more reliable reads and better security as Apple continues to push Apple Pay, it’s recently launched mobile payment service: expand full story
Passengers on select JetBlue flights will be able to purchase food and drinks using their iPhone, USA Today reports. Customers will also reportedly be able to use the payment service to upgrade to any open premium seat once the flight has started.
Payments will be handled by airline employees using iPad minis with NFC-equipped cases. Over 3,500 of these devices have been issued to JetBlue staff. The cases will also accept regular credit cards, and will serve as a full replacement for the existing in-flight payment terminals.
Apple internet services chief Eddy Cue told USA Today that the move was likely to cause other airlines to follow suit:
It’s no surprise that the three major card companies in the US have been taking advantage of being the first with Apple Pay out the door and that the majority of their latest ads and promotions have centered around the new payment service. The latest comes from American Express with a just released ad focusing on highlighting Apple Pay as “The Next Evolution of Membership.”
Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.
My next new car probably won’t have CarPlay. I’ve reached this decision in part due to automakers’ slow crawl to put CarPlay in vehicles that you can actually buy today. While 2015 may bring the feature to more vehicles on the road with more than 30 automobile brands committed to ship CarPlay in the future, we’re still not there yet and the roll out is slow.
More influential, though, is my experience using aftermarket CarPlay in my current car for several months convincing me that CarPlay’s features are not yet where they need to be. As I noted in my hands-on review last fall, CarPlay introduces a new set of problems while trying to make using your iPhone in the car safer and easier.
So if CarPlay isn’t ultimately the answer to creating a better iPhone experience on the road, then what is? I’m convinced the Apple Watch will be better suited…
Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. expand full story
Korean news site MK Business News (via Reuters) is reporting that Samsung will make 75% of the A9 chip for the next iPhone. This matches an earlier detailed prediction by KGI Research, which stated that the balance of the chips would be made by Global Foundry, and is in line with a statement by Samsung which last year confirmed it as a major supplier of the new chip.
The Samsung-fabbed chips will, says the report, be made in the USA … expand full story