Apple announces iPhone 5s, 5c handsets, sets release date for September 20th

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Date: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, 12:15
Category: iPhone, News

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The iPhone you’ve been hankering for has arrived.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

During the presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller pointed out that the iPhone’s A7 chip uses desktop-class architecture, with a modern instruction set and over a billion transistors—and it’s the same size as the A6.

“iOS 7 already supports a native 64-bit kernel,” Schiller said. “All the built-in apps from Apple already have been reengineered for 64-bit, and it will be easy for third-party developers to compile their apps for the iPhone 5s as well.”

“The benefits are huge,” Schiller said. The A7 is up to twice as fast at CPU and graphics tasks, he said. The iPhone 5s offers 40 times the performance of the original iPhone—with half of that improvement just coming since the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5s and Touch ID:
The iPhone 5s also comes with a nifty new security feature: A fingerprint scanner built right into the Home button. That sensor can read fingerprints with incredible detail, and even supports multiple fingers. Support for that scanner in iOS 7 means you may never need to tap in your passcode again.

Touch ID uses your fingerprint to gain access to your phone. It does this by reading the fingerprint at an incredibly detailed level using the Touch ID sensor. Touch ID scans sub-epidermal skin layers with 360 degrees of readability—meaning you can hold your finger in any orientation.

“The sensor lives beneath the Home button on the iPhone 5s. That button is still tactile, but includes a stainless steel detection ring and the Touch ID sensor, with a laser-cut sapphire crystal on top. Touch ID is built deep into iOS 7,” Schiller said.

You can simply touch the Home button to unlock your iPhone. You can use the Touch ID to authenticate anywhere you’d otherwise need to provide your Apple ID password, too.

Touch ID also supports multiple fingerprints. So, you can unlock your iPhone with multiple fingers, or theoretically let a family member add their fingerprint to unlock your device, too.

The iPhone 5s camera:
Schiller said that the camera on the iPhone 5s is dramatically improved over its predecessor. He cited what he called “huge advancements”: There’s a new five-element, Apple-designed lens, with a larger 2.2 aperture, and a 15 percent larger active sensor area.

“The pixels on the sensor are 1.5 microns,” Schiller said, and he said that bigger pixels lead to better pictures. The camera also includes a new True Tone Flash.

The iPhone 5s camera also adds automatic image stabilization. It combines multiple photos taken simultaneously in real-time to stabilize and sharpen images. The camera includes a burst mode, too.

There’s a new video camera option, too: a Slo-Mo camera, which shoots 120 frames per second in high definition.

Other features:
There’s another completely new part in the iPhone 5s called M7: a motion co-processor. It continually measures motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, without waking the A7, which Schiller said would enable new fitness accessories and apps.

In conjunction with a new CoreMotion API, Schiller said that developers could create apps to measure and track fitness in ways that weren’t possible before.

The iPhone 5s’s battery life is equal to or greater than the iPhone 5′s, Schiller said, with 10 hours of 3G talk time or LTE browsing.

The iPhone 5s is available in 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299, or 64GB for US$399. Apple is also offering six leather cases for the iPhone 5s at US$39 each. Orders for the iPhone 5s start on September 20. The unlocked prices for the 5s are US$649 for the 16GB model, US$749 for the 32GB model, and US$849 for the 64GB model.

Though the iPhone 5 will be retired, Apple will continue to offer the iPhone 4S in a free 8GB model.

The iPhone 5c:
“The iPhone 5c is made with all the incredible technology customers have loved with the iPhone 5,” Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said.

The iPhone 5C is available in a variety of colors: blue, green, white, pink, and yellow. The fronts of the phones are black, while all the rest of the body uses the new color, including the buttons and switches.


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When you turn on the iPhone 5c, the default wallpaper is color-matched to the phone’s body. There’s also a new line of custom cases, made of a soft-feel silicon rubber with microfiber internals, and cutout patterns of circles on the bottom two-thirds of the case. “You get this amazing combination of color between the iPhone 5c and its case.”

The iPhone 5c is made of a hard-coated polycarbonate, with a steel-reinforced structure for added rigidity — doing double duty as an antenna. The phone uses the iPhone 5′s 4-inch Retina display. It’s powered by an A6 chip, and offers higher-capacity battery performance, with a larger battery than the original iPhone 5. It also offers an 8MP iSight camera.

On the front, the iPhone 5c sports a new FaceTime HD camera that Schiller said is improved from prior iterations. And the phone supports more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world, Schiller said.

The iPhone 5c costs US$99 for the 16GB model, or US$199 for the 32GB model, with a two-year contract. The cases are also available in the same six colors; they’re available for US$29 each. You may pre-order the iPhone 5c starting on September 13. The unlocked prices for this model are US$549 for the 16GB version and US$649 for the 32GB version.

Please let us know what you make of the new iPhones in the comments and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked internal document shows Vodafone Germany slimming down iPhone 4S, 5 options following next-gen iPhone release

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Date: Friday, September 6th, 2013, 07:29
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Come the next generation of iPhones, your Vodafone iPhone 5 and 4S choices in Germany could be limited to the most basic models.

Per Flo’s Weblog and MacRumors, an internal email has noted that the 32 and 64GB iPhone 5 in both black and white will be discontinued, along with the black/white 16GB iPhone 4S.

This confirms an inventory leak from Canadian carrier Telus, which also suggested that Apple would discontinue the higher end iPhone 5 models. Both carrier leaks indicate that Apple’s upcoming product lineup will consist of the flagship iPhone 5S, the low-cost iPhone “5C”, and the 16GB iPhone 5.

Apple’s iPhone lineup has been in question over the past several months, and it has been unclear whether the iPhone 5C will serve as a replacement for the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 4S. The cost of the iPhone 5C remains unknown, and speculation has suggested that the phone, which is said to use many of the same parts as the existing iPhone 5, may not be truly low-cost, necessitating the inclusion of the lower-priced iPhone 4S in the product line.

An August note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that Apple would discontinue the iPhone 5 in favor of the iPhone 5C while continuing to sell the iPhone 4S through the end of of the year, but the information from Vodafone Germany contradicts this theory.

It is unclear where the iPhone 5 will fit into Apple’s iPhone line in terms of price. Estimates have suggested that the iPhone 5C will retail for US$400 to US$500 off-contract, and it is likely that the iPhone 5 would have a similar price tag. The iPhone 4S, though, could be priced below the iPhone 5C if it remains in Apple’s product lineup.

Apple plans to unveil the iPhone 5S and 5C during a September 10 iPhone event. The phones are expected to ship to a number of countries shortly after, on September 20.

If you’re in the German marketplace and have heard anything to this extent, let us know in the comments.

Leaked internal document shows Telus’ possible discontinuation of 32GB, 64GB iPhone 5 units after September 28th

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Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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If you’re up north, here’s your moderate heart attack for the day.

Per MobileSyrup and 9to5Mac, a leaked document from Canadian carrier Telus shows that the carrier has plans to discontinue the iPhone 5 on September 28 just days after the next-generation iPhones are rumored to launch. Although it would lend weight to the theory that Apple could get rid of the iPhone 5 since the rumored iPhone 5S and especially the lower cost iPhone 5C are so close internally to the current device, the doc only shows that the 32GB and 64GB models will be discontinued, which might be a clue the 16GB iPhone 5 will stick around as an entry level model.

Keeping the 16GB iPhone 5 seems to line up with what we’ve been hearing at Verizon and adds even more weight to the theory that Apple will keep the iPhone 5 around as a lower cost option perhaps in between the 5S and the 5C in much the same way that the last-gen iPhone 4S currently occupies the US$99/plan spot in Apple’s lineup.

On the other hand, often-accurate KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this month that he thinks Apple will stop selling the iPhone 5 at the end of Q3 2013 and continuing selling the iPhone 4S until the end of the year.

Apple yesterday sent out invites to the September 10th event and is expected to start selling the iPhone 5S and 5C starting around the 20th of September.

If you’re currently a Telus subscriber and have noticed any changes up north, please let us know via the comments.

Apple confirms iPhone trade-in program at retail locations, certain Best Buy locations

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Date: Friday, August 30th, 2013, 08:52
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The rumors of an iPhone trade-in program are true.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has confirmed rumors that it has been developing an iPhone trade-in program to be based out of its retail locations, saying that that program will begin rolling out nationwide today.

Rumors of the program surfaced in June of this year when it was reported that Apple had confirmed the program’s existence, as well as its Friday launch. The program will see Apple Store customers able to trade-in an older model iPhone for store credit toward the purchase of a new model.

Notably, the program appears designed to keep current iPhone owners within the iPhone ecosystem. Reports stated that “customer[s] must leave [the] store with [a] new contract” in order to take part in the program.

Shortly after news of Apple’s confirmation broke, the Wall Street Journal reported that the highest value a customer can receive for a trade-in will be US$280.

The confirmation aligns with previous claims as to the program’s nature. Those claims had customers being given a gift card for the value of their trade-in with the requirement that that gift card be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone model.

Further, the gift card is only usable is the purchaser is eligible for a phone upgrade from their selected carrier. Any leftover value can be used for other retail store purchases.

Apple is launching the trade-in program only about a week and a half before it is expected to unveil the next iteration of its bestselling smartphone. A rumored September 10 media event may well see the introduction of both a high-end and low-end model of the new iPhone, and having a trade-in program up and running would likely help draw current iPhone owners back into Apple’s retail stores to grab the newest generation.

Prior reports had the trade-in company being run by Brightstar Corp., the same company that handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile. Previously, it was expected that Brightstar would resell the units in emerging markets, though some have since disputed such claims.

Apple is not the only firm offering discounts for iPhone trade-ins. Best Buy has its own program going on for Labor Day weekend. That program will see the electronics retailer offering 50 percent off of the on-contract price of an iPhone 5 in exchange for working iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Child Labor Watch points toward initial low-cost iPhone production at Pegatron factory

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Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 10:14
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the iPhone, but at a lower cost…and plasticky.

Per AppleInsider and China Labor Watch, a new plastic iPhone is currently being tested Apple supplier Pegatron, and will soon go into mass production and hit the market, one factory worker claims.

Details of Apple’s anticipated low-cost iPhone were revealed in a report published by China Labor Watch on Monday. A section of the report details “A day in Pegatron,” with a worker detailing their activities on July 9.

On that day, the worker’s job was “to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines.” The worker revealed that the plastic iPhone will “soon be released on the market by Apple.”

“The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important,” the worker wrote. “This makes our job more slow paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules.”

In addition, China Labor Watch’s company profile notes that Pegatron is responsible for building “low-priced plastic iPhones” for Apple, in addition to the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

The report accuses Pegatron of violating labor regulations in China, as well as international labor laws and Apple’s own standards. Specifically, Pegatron is said to have work weeks that exceed Apple’s 60-hour limit, while some employees have allegedly had their pay withheld for working short shifts.

The details also come as an image published over the weekend claimed to show the retail packaging for a product called the “iPhone 5C.” Some have speculated that the “C,” if the name is accurate, could refer to “color,” as the device is expected to come in a range of colors.

Well-connected insider Ming-Chi Kuo revealed last week that Apple is on track to launch its so-called “iPhone Lite” in early September. The device is expected to be essentially a slightly thicker iPhone 5 with a plastic body.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple advises Chinese customers to avoid counterfeits, opt for genuine Apple products after charger-related incidents

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Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013, 06:40
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News

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Sometimes it’s best to stick with the genuine article.

After a pair of iPhone-related electrocutions in China allegedly caused by unauthorized third-party chargers, Apple has added a section to its Chinese website helping users identify official iOS device chargers as well as advised users to charge its devices with genuine Apple chargers according to CNET.

The page offers a look at official charger designs for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad with Retina display, and iPad 2.

The website notes that Apple “always” puts the safety of its users first, and that products are “subject to stringent safety and reliability testing.” The official chargers that come packaged with new iPhones and iPads are also designed to meet government safety standards from around the world.

The site comes after a pair of dangerous charger-related incidents occurred in China this month. In the more serious example, a woman died while using an iPhone 5 that was plugged into the wall to charge with a non-Apple adapter.

In the second incident, a man ended up in a coma after he was accidentally electrocuted using a third-party charger with his iPhone 4. It was said that the man was using a “counterfeit” adapter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches Back to School promotion, throws in $50 and $100 iTunes gift cards

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Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, 07:49
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, retail

Never look a back to school promotion in the mouth.

Per the Mac Observer, Apple kicked off its annual Back to School deals on Tuesday for educational buyers and includes iTunes Store, App Store and iBookstore gift cards worth up to US$100 with new Mac, iPhone and iPad purchases. The special deals are available now and run through September 6, 2013.


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The offer reads as follows:
“Buy a Mac for college and get a $100 gift card to spend on apps and more — and also save with education pricing. Or buy an iPad or iPhone and get a $50 card.
Qualifying products include Macs other than the Mac mini, plus the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the iPad 2, fourth generation iPad, and iPad mini.”

Not a bad thing and where a US$50 or US$100 iTunes gift card are concerned, it’s hard to go wrong there.

Pegatron CEO: “Low-cost” iPhone may not be as cheap as expected

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:02
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, retail

The long-rumored low cost iPhone may not be as affordable as you’d like it to be.

Per the China Times and Mac Otakara, speaking at his company’s shareholders meeting on Thursday, Pegatron CEO T.H. Tung said Apple’s much rumored low cost iPhone won’t be a budget offering, seemingly confirming speculation that the handset will be sold as a higher-end middle tier device.

Tung disagreed with rumors that called Apple’s lower-end offering “cheap,” saying the “price is still high.”

The executive said products currently on the market can carry a number of names, but “cheap” is not one that should be associated with Apple’s less expensive iPhone. He went on to say that, compared to feature phones, smartphones are increasingly offering more value for the price.

The statements appear to confirm previous reports that Pegatron is handling at least a portion of the as-yet-unannounced iPhone’s manufacture. A report in May claimed Pegatron is reportedly preparing to hire some 40,000 workers sometime in the second half of 2013, adding fuel to the low-cost iPhone fire.

Analysts and media sources are divided as to which of Apple partners will be responsible for the majority of production, with some claiming Foxconn is to pull most of the burden.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in March said the two companies will nearly split manufacturing duties for the low-cost version, while Pegatron would take on a bigger share of continued iPhone 4 and 4S production.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T updates carrier settings, pushes Wireless Emergency Alerts

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Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 07:39
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software, wireless

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This was a weird thing that popped up, but it’s hard to argue with the Emergency Alert System.

Per The Mac Observer, wireless carrier AT&T began pushing an update to iPhone users over the weekend that adds support for Wireless Emergency Alerts. The WEA system sends text messages to smartphone owners alerting them to physical threats like earthquakes and tornados, man-made disasters, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential alerts.


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The update is being pushed to the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, and doesn’t require any action on the user’s part since it’s delivered over the air. Once installed, alerts will appear as special text messages and are delivered based on your location. For example, if an AMBER alert is issued for a missing child and you’re in the same city, you’ll see the notification.

The update is free, and since it’s a carrier-supplied update, it won’t appear in iOS 6′s built-in Software Update feature.

Repair costs for iPhone repairs on the rise, component prices cited

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Date: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013, 06:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Ok, now this is interesting.

An article over on MarketWatch points out that Apple’s repair costs to fix an iPhone 5 with a broken screen have jumped to US$229 – more than the US$200 price of the device with a two-year contract, and more than a third of the US$650 cost of the phone without a contract. Select Apple stores offer the option of a US$149 repair. And for those who paid US$99 for AppleCare insurance, the replacement is just US$49.

The piece then cites that the replacement components for the iPhone 5 are much more expensive than similar parts for prior models — so expensive in fact that many independent repair services cannot compete. “Due to the high cost of replacement parts, we are not yet offering iPhone 5 repairs,” according to a statement on ComputerOverhauls.com, an online repair shop. “Currently, the Apple Store is the least expensive option for repairing damaged iPhone 5s.” Other services charge as much as US$250 for the repair.

Given current numbers, nearly one-third of iPhone users damaged their devices during 2012, according to a recent study by gadget insurer SquareTrade. Repairs have cost consumers nearly US$6 billion since the iPhone was launched in 2007 and apparently iPhones get abused more than iPads, only 10% of which were damaged, per the survey.

Despite this, iCracked — an independent firm that has technicians across the U.S. — charges half as much to fix an iPhone 4S screen (US$79 to US$99) as to fix an iPhone 5 (US$169 to US$199) thanks to tight control on iPhone 5 components in the market, Forsythe says. “Market forces determine the price,” he says. “Apple sells about 300,000 iPhones a day and, as the repair market grows, prices will get lower.”

“Apple controls everything from the manufacturing to the gear for the iPhone 5,” says Jeff Haynes, editor at deal site TechBargains.com. As the iPhone 5 is larger than the 4, the cost for replacement parts rises, he says. “Apple is trying to get people to sign up for Apple Care for US$99 and to rely on their services at the Apple store,” he says, “If you don’t, that cracked screen could cost you at least US$230.”

Thanks to do-it-yourself kits, it’s possible to replace the screen on an iPhone 4 for less than a quarter of that price. Adam Carey, a New York-based mobile development consultant, bought a DIY kit on Amazon.com for US$25 and followed instructions on iFixit.com, an online repair manual. The procedure took him two hours. “It’s not like snapping on a cover,” he says. “It’s like performing surgery. You need pretty steady hands.”

If you’ve been repairing iPhones and noticed a jump in component prices, please let us know about your experience in the comments section.