Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple made $29 replacement batteries available to owners of older iPhones effective starting today. The drop, announced earlier this week, was originally slated to go into effect in late January. "We expected to need more time to be ready, but we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away," said Apple in a statement provided to Axios. "Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited." Apple uses software to limit the performance of some older iPhones in order to prevent battery-related shutdowns. Replacing the original, aging battery with a new one resolves such issues and leads to better performance of the smartphone. The battery replacement service typically costs $79, but Apple has lowered the cost to $29. The program will run through December 2018 and targets the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE.
Apple today said it will significantly drop the cost of replacing iPhone batteries in order to appease customers upset about their device's performance. "We’ve been hearing feedback about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize," said Apple in a letter posted to its web site. Apple explained that it tweaked some performance parameters in older iPhones in order to prevent battery-related shutdowns. The result is sometimes-slower speeds on devices such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. Apple maintains that it took steps necessary to account for the behavior of lithium-ion batteries as they age. "We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," explained Apple. "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that." Even so, many customers felt they had been misled over the performance degradation issue, while some have filed lawsuits against Apple. In order to address customer concerns, the company is dropping the out-of-warrany cost of replacing the battery in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, or SE from $79 to $29 beginning late next month through December 2018. Further, Apple plans to issue a software update with new features that will give iPhone owners more visibility into the health of their handset's battery. Apple says this will let people see for themselves if the battery's condition is impacting the iPhone's overall performance. Replacing the battery in an older iPhone should fully mitigate the speed issue experience on some handsets. More information regarding the specifics of the replacement battery program will be available early next month.
Verizon Wireless today said customers who subscribe to its Total Mobile Protection plan can take advantage of same-day screen repairs at some 220 Verizon Stores across 34 states. Many of the company's most popular phones are eligible for same-day repairs, including the Apple iPhone SE, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus; Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S7, Note 4, and 5; and the Motorola Droid Turbo and Droid Maxx. Verizon says it will add more devices to this list over time. Customers who don't live near one of the 220 stores may be eligible for same-day repairs completed by an in-home mobile technician. The Total Mobile Protection plan costs $11 per month for smartphones and $9 per month for tablets/feature phones. Families can protect multiple lines: the first three lines are $11 each, but lines 4-10 can be added at no additional charge. Cracked screen repairs require a $79 deductible, but Verizon upped the number of yearly claims from two to three per line. All lines can take advantage of Verizon's Tech Coach for personal/technical assistance. The new Verizon Wireless Total Mobile Protection plan is available beginning today.
Apple has launched a repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus to fix what has become called touch disease. The issue, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple, leaves the display unresponsive to finger-touch input. "Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or Multi-Touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device," said Apple on its web site. "If your iPhone 6 Plus is exhibiting the symptoms noted above, is in working order, and the screen is not cracked or broken, Apple will repair your device for a service price of $149." Owners of the iPhone 6 Plus who've already paid for a screen repair to resolve this issue will be refunded the difference between the price they paid for the original service and the new $149 repair amount. Apple's carrier partners are not participating in this program, so any and all repairs need to go through Apple directly.
Olloclip's 4-in-1 lens is one of the first few accessories to work with Otterbox's new Universe modular case system. The case provides rugged protection, while the lenses let you be more creative with your Apple iPhone's camera. Here is Phonescoop's in-depth review of how these two products work together.
Dish today launched a new service called Smart Phone Repair that involves technicians making house calls. Smart Phone Repair is available to Dish and non-Dish consumers. Dish charges a $35 travel fee to send a tech, who can replace broken screens or dead batteries for the Apple iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus. Dish says techs can fix one or many phones once on site, and pricing for the repairs will be the same nationwide. Dish plans to expand the service to other handsets over time. Dish mentioned that it uses "respected third-party replacement parts," which means it does not use genuine Apple screens or batteries. Dish offers next-day appointments, available seven days a week, in all 50 states. The company is pitching the service as a more convenient way to deal with phone repairs. Pricing varies by model.
Apple will now accept damaged iPhones as trade-ins when people wish to upgrade to a new iPhone. Previously, Apple only accepted working iPhones as trade-ins, but will now take in iPhones with "damaged displays, cameras, and buttons within reason." Apple will credit people who turn in a damaged iPhone 5s with $50. The company will credit people $200 for a broken iPhone 6 and $250 for a broken iPhone 6 Plus. Phones that don't have cracked screens or broken buttons may be worth up to $350. Apple hopes the change in policy will convince people holding onto older, possibly busted devices to upgrade. The new Apple trade-in policy is available at Apple's retail stores, but not online.
Apple is facing a massive judgment in a patent complaint concerning processors found in the iPhone and iPad. A jury in Madison, Wisconsin, found Apple guilty of using a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) without permission. The patent involves increasing the efficiency of chips. The technology is found in the A7, A8, and A8x processors, which power the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, and the iPad Air 2. Apple sought to have the patent declared invalid, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's bid. WARF originally filed the lawsuit in January 2014 and just recently filed a second lawsuit concerning the A9 and A9x chips, which are in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and the forthcoming iPad Pro. Apple could be on the hook for up to $862 million. The trial is now moving to the penalty phase to determine how much Apple owes. Apple maintained its innocence.
T-Mobile said it will drop the Jump On Demand lease payment for the 16GB Apple iPhone 6s to just $5 if customers trade in an iPhone 6. Customers who trade in an iPhone 6 Plus can lease the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus for $9 per month. Without the trade-in, the lease payment is $20 per month for the 16GB 6s. T-Mobile says the out-the-door cost is $0, and the full price of the 16GB iPhone 6s totals $523.99 for customers who remain with T-Mobile for 18 months. By way of comparison, Sprint's iPhone lease program costs $15 per month with a trade-in or $22 without a trade-in. T-Mobile also said it will sell the Apple Watch Sport beginning Friday, Sept. 25, the same day the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus go on sale. T-Mobile is offering the wearable for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of about $14.50 for the 38mm Watch Sport ($349) and $17 for the 42mm Watch Sport ($399).
Apple today changed up its pricing mix for existing iPhones. The iPhone 5s drops to free with a two-year contract, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will cost $99 and $199 with a two-year contract, respectively. The space gray and silver versions of the 6 and 6 Plus are still available, but the gold options gone. The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will cost $199 and $299 with contracts, respectively. Monthly prices for financed iPhones will vary by carrier. Apple is offering its own leasing program that ranges between $32 and $45 per month.
Twitter updated its iOS application today and the chief new feature is landscape support for the iPhone 6 Plus. Owners of Apple's larger iPhone will now be able to use the app when holding their phone in either portrait or landscape orientation. Twitter is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon Wireless today marked the one-year anniversary of its XLTE service by expanding coverage to six additional markets. XLTE is now available in Marshalltown, Iowa; Madisonville and Owensboro, Ky.; Traverse City, Mich.; Meridian, Miss.; and Martinsville, Va. Verizon's XLTE coverage is available in more than 400 markets. It combines Verizon's 700MHz and AWS spectrum to boost capacity of its LTE 4G network. Verizon says it has more than 40 XLTE-capable devices, including the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6.
Apple distributed a third beta of iOS 8.4 to developers today and the pre-release operating system revealed at least one new feature. The iBooks app now supports textbooks created by Apple's iBooks Author tool. iBooks Author textbooks were initially limited to the iPad at launch, but eventually added to the OS X iBooks app last year. iOS 8.3 beta 3 marks the first time textbooks developed with Apple's iBook Author tool will be available to the iPhone. iOS 8.4 beta 3 also makes some refinements to the music player application, which is in the process of being overhauled completely. Apple is expected to say more about iOS 8.4 at its Worldwide Developer Conference slated in June.
WhatsApp is rolling out voice calling to its iPhone application beginning today. The feature launched on the Android platform last month. With the feature on board the iOS app, WhatsApp users will be able to chat with and make voice calls to their WhatsApp contacts. WhatsApp calls use your the iPhone data connection rather than voice minutes. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which has already added calling features to Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp voice calling isn't available to the iPad tablet. The update is rolling out over the next few weeks.
Sharp has engineered a 4K (Ultra HD) screen for smartphones. The prototype measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and includes 3860 x 2160 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch. By way of comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus's 5.5-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 401 pixels per inch. The prototype LCD relies on Sharp's IGZO technology, but the company is not sure if the prototype will ever be used. "Currently there are no driver ICs for small 4K panels, so the panel is not ready for mass production at this point," said Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama in an email to Computerworld. Some of today's flagship devices (LG G4, Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6) have jumped from full HD to quad HD, or 2560 x 1440 pixels. The majority of high-end phones still use full HD screens, while mid-range phones have moved to 720p screens. Entry-level phones generally offer 800 x 480 or 960 x 540 resolution displays.
Apple today made iOS 8.3 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The update adds several new features to Apple's mobile devices, including more than 300 new emoji and an updated keyboard for using the emoji to personalize messages. The update adds the ability to filter incoming messages to help sort out junk. Siri gains the ability to speak Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish in iOS 8.3, and can now initiate phone calls via the speakerphone when requested. iOS 8.3 was released as a public beta earlier this year. The update is free to download. Apple also released OS X 10.10.3, which, among other things, adds Apple's new Photos application. The Photos app on Apple's Mac computers now mirrors the version on iOS devices. Apple is offering users a handful of cloud storage options for managing images stored in Photos, which can be accessed from Macs, smartphones, and tablets. OS X 10.10.3 is also free to download from Apple.
MasterCard today announced that 25 of its financial institution partners now support Apple Pay with their credit and/or debit cards. Some of the new banks allowing Apple Pay include Centennial Bank, GTE Financial, KeyBank, Meijer Credit Union, and US Bank. People who have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus will be able to use the cards issued by these and other banks to make mobile payments at participating retailers, as well as within select applications. MasterCard also said it has updated its MasterCard Nearby application to help iPhone owners find retail establishments that accept Apple Pay. MasterCard Nearby is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Twitter today released a new application for the iPhone called Periscope. The app lets people broadcast live video to their Twitter followers. When Periscope users choose to publish live video, their followers are notified and can view the stream, comment on the video, and send feedback in the form of hearts. Periscope saves broadcasts for up to 24 hours for replay, and permits people to share live video privately if they wish. Periscope will suggest who to follow based on the user's Twitter network, as the app allows people to follow/unfollow other Periscope users at will. Users can easily act on or ignore incoming notifications when others in their network begin streaming live video. The feedback mechanism, which uses hearts, tells Periscope streamers how much love their video receives. Periscope is battling a third-party app called Meerkat, which similarly offers live video feeds via Twitter. Periscope is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Twitter didn't indicate if it will release a version for Android devices.
Opera Software today made an updated version of its Coast browser available to Apple's iOS devices, including the iPhone. The primary new feature is Opera's video boost technology, which uses Opera's Rocket Optimizer engine to smooth out video playback. Users will have to turn the feature on, which is under the Opera Turbo setting. Opera makes use of compression technologies to deliver web sites and the video contained therein faster and more efficiently to devices over mobile networks. The browser also added sharing support for Pinterest, Evernote, Pocket, and Kik. Coast 4.1 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Nokia today made its HERE Maps application available to the Apple iPhone via the iTunes App Store. Nokia has offered the same HERE Maps to Android devices since December. Nokia had made a version of HERE Maps available to the iPhone back in 2013, but pulled the app due to its poor performance. The new HERE Maps app for iOS allows users to download entire countries or regions, which makes the maps available even when the device is offline. This can help save data charges when roaming. HERE Maps for iOS devices include free, voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions. Users can plan routes via car, public transport, or foot. Nokia says maps for iOS are available for about 190 countries with turn-by-turn directions available in about 100. Transit maps are available in 950 metro areas across 50 different countries, with more being added all the time. Nokia HERE Maps is free to download.
Google today released a version of its calendar application for iOS devices. The app includes features such as Assists to help schedule regularly-occurring meetings, as well as Schedule View to make it easier to glean daily schedule details in a glance. The app integrates with Google Apps for Work, too, so companies can manage the app if need be. Google Calendar for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
GameStop today announced it will soon support Apple Pay at its 4,200 U.S. locations. Owners of the Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch can pay for video games, consoles, and other merchandise at GameStop retail stores beginning later this month. GameStop's said its Spring Mobile retail brand plans to begin accepting Apple Pay later this year. Apple recently said the number of locations accepting Apple Pay has grown to 700,000.
Google has pushed out a minor update to its Gmail application for iPhones and iPads that allows people to reply to or archive emails directly from incoming notifications on the lock screen. When pressed on the lock screen, the new reply button opens a response in the Gmail application, which reduces steps and saves time. Gmail now also allows users to share media content (photos, videos) from other apps directly to new messages in Gmail. Gmail is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
JetBlue Airways today announced that it will soon accept Apple Pay aboard its aircraft. Owners of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be able to use their smartphone to purchase goods and service, such as snack boxes, premium beverages, and a la carte food options, while on board. JetBlue said Apple Pay will reach some transcontinental flights between New York, L.A., and San Francisco by the middle of the month. JetBlue will expand Apple Pay to more routes in March, with all flights accepting Apple Pay by June.
Skype today announced version 5.9 of its app for the Apple iPhone. The updated communications app has an improved dial pad that suggests contacts as users type in order to make if faster to find people. Skype also updated the chat picker, which it says makes starting conversations with select contacts easier. Last, Skype said it is seeking people willing to test pre-release versions of its app. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to sign up for free. Skype 5.9 for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today published a version of its Chrome Remote Desktop application on the App Store for iOS devices. The app allows iPhone and iPad owners to remotely access their home computers. It requires users to download and install an extension in the Chrome browser on their PC. Together the app and the extension permit people to control their connected desktops and laptops from afar. Chrome Remote Desktop is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple has made unlocked versions of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus available on it web site. Customers can now choose to buy their iPhone without a carrier commitment. The unlocked models support GSM-based networks such as those operated by AT&T and T-Mobile. They can also be used on networks in other countries. The unlocked models cost the same as standard models. The 16GB unlocked iPhone 6 costs $649 and the 16GB unlocked iPhone 6 Plus costs $749. Consumers can opt for higher capacity models if they so wish. The unlocked models are sold without SIM cards.
ReSound is a line of proper hearing aids that connect to your iPhone or Android phone for both audio and control. They connect just like a Bluetooth headset, to enable the user to hear calls, music, and video clearly. An app also offers detailed control over the hearing aid functions. The app lets the user choose from and customize various sound profiles, and also includes a "find my hearing aid" feature to help locate a lost hearing aid. ReSound is already available for iPhone; Android support was just announced this week, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S5. Read on for more detail in our quick hands-on report.
Apple is facing a lawsuit from consumers who feel the company's mobile operating system consumes too high a percentage of the on-board memory. Specifically, the plaintiffs argue, "The discrepancy between advertised and available capacity is substantial and beyond any possible reasonable expectation. For the devices, the shortfall ranges from 18.1% to 23.1%." The lawsuit alleges that Apple hid the size of the iOS8 update from users and then "aggressively marketed" additional cloud storage to those who ran out of storage space on their mobile devices. The issue primarily impacts owners of Apple's 16GB iPhones, iPads, and iPads. The operating system leaves as little as 12.3GB available to consumers on some devices. Further, the lawsuit alleges that Apple falsely advertises the amount of storage available to its devices due to the way the company partitions the drives. Drives in Apple devices have a media partition and a root partition. The lawsuit claims the size of the root partition is unnecessarily large, leaving consumers with an even smaller portion of the drive for their media. Finally, the lawsuit also complains about the iPhone's inability to use swappable memory cards; its incompatibility with file manager programs; and its strict ties to Apple's cloud services. The lawsuit was filed in California on behalf of two Florida residents.
Opera today announced Coast 4.0, a new version of its browser for the iPhone and iPad. According to Opera, the idea behind the new browser is to make it easier for iOS device owners to find content. For example, it introduces the Discover feature, which helps users find stories and news from all over the internet. It uses Opera Turbo Compression to reduce the size of web pages as they transit networks and deliver them to devices faster. A new sharing button makes it simple to push content in the browser to social networks. Last, the app adds compatibility with iOS 8's continuity tool, which allows Coast users to browse on one device and pick up right where they left off on another device thanks to web session syncing. Opera's Coast 4.0 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today released iOS 8.1.2, a minor update to its mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. According to Apple, the release includes bug fixes and addresses a problem where ringtones purchased through the iTunes Store may have removed them from devices. The update is small, but still requires WiFi to download and install.
Facebook today detailed some updates it's made to search both on Facebook.com and within the iPhone app. Most importantly, Facebook is adding Graph Search to the iPhone mobile app, which will allow iPhone users to search for things such as "Which of my friends likes 'Homeland'?" and other natural language queries. According to Facebook, such search results are unique to each user, and will only contain items that their friends have shared with them. Facebook said it also made it easier to find old posts. Users should be able to find content (photos, videos, articles) they've already viewed faster. Facebook called today's updates a first step in improving search across its product line. The changes will reach U.S. users this week. Facebook didn't say if or when the updated search powers will reach Android or Windows Phone.
Square founder Jack Dorsey said the company will add support for Apple Pay at Square-based terminals at some point in 2015. Square makes a dongle that attaches to smartphones and tablets, as well as a tablet-based register device, in order to help small businesses use modern tools to expand their customer base. "We're not building a credit card," said Dorsey to CNN. "We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments." Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 retail locations around the U.S., and just this week became available at Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners make tap-and-go payments at compatible terminals.
Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO grocery stores, today said Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay at most of its locations across the southeast. Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and BI-LO stores are available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Bi-Lo didn't specify exactly how many stores are involved. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that is connected to a credit card for making payments at contactless terminals. Apple Pay is accepted at about 220,000 locations around the U.S.
Apple today made available iOS 8.1.1, a minor update meant to help improve the performance of the iPhone 4s and iPad 2. The update also resolves some on-going bugs for newer Phones and iPads. It is free to install.
Google today announced several new features its adding to Google Drive for iOS devices. Drive now supports extensions in iOS 8, which means users can more easily share files to and from Drive. The app can now be locked with Touch ID for security purposes. Last, Drive for iOS now allows users to save videos from Drive to their iPhone's camera role. Google Drive for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store and has even optimized for iOS 8.
U.S. Bank and M&T Bank today both added support for Apple Pay to their credit and debit cards. Customers with cards issued by U.S. Bank and M&T Bank should be able to add their cards to Apple Pay on their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Once added, they'll be able to make mobile payments at more than 220,000 retailers around the country. Apple Pay launched with dozens of banks on October 20, and will be available through more than 500 banks by the end of the year.
Twitter today pushed out an update to its Vine application for iOS devices. The app has been optimized for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens, and adds support for extensions in iOS 8. The new share extension makes it simpler to share Vines with other people and /or social networks from within the app itself, or within other apps. The app also added a button for quicker channel following. Vine for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Vine is a video-based social network that lets people record and post short clips.
Apple today revealed the iPad Air 2, and along with it a new way to handle SIM cards. According to Apple, the new Apple SIM gives iPad Air 2 owners unprecedented flexibility when it comes to choosing an LTE service provider. "Whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you — with no long-term commitment," explained Apple. "And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip." The multi-carrier SIM is compatible with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S., as well as EE in the U.K. The iPad Air 2 supports 20 different LTE bands, similar to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The carriers named by Apple have not yet discussed the particulars regarding no-contract data plans. There's no word on why Verizon Wireless isn't included in the list of U.S. carriers. It's possible that the Apple SIM will find its way to future Apple products, including its iPhones.
Apple today revealed details about iOS 8.1, an update to its smartphone and tablet platform. iOS 8.1 targets numerous bugs that have caused issues for iPhone and iPad owners since its debut, such as connectivity and crashing. As far as new features, iOS 8.1 adds support for Apple Pay and includes the public beta of iCloud Photo Library for sharing photos. The update also brings back the camera roll within the photo application. Apple said iOS 8.1 will be available for download beginning Monday, October 20.