Apple iPhone 8
Apple has made a public beta available of iOS 13, the next major version of the software that powers iPhones. Major new features include swipe gesture typing, a new version of CarPlay, Dark Mode, richer Maps content, a new Shortcuts app, audio sharing, and smarter AR. Also, apps load faster and Siri has a more natural-sounding voice that's easier to understand. The beta software is available today for users who opt in to Apple's beta testing program. The final version is expected this fall.
Do you ever wish your iPhone had a notification light? Do you use the LED flash to notify you of incoming calls, but wish it weren't blindingly bright? Iconcase is an attractive new case for iPhones that adds a large notification light to the back. The newest model charges by sipping a little juice whenever the iPhone is wirelessly charging through the case, so you never have to worry about charging it. It communicates with the iPhone via standards built in to Bluetooth LE, so you only need to pair it; no special app or setting is required. The standard model includes one light-up icon for incoming calls and second for messages. The company is also working on a range of cases with fixed full-color designs that light up, and a skull design with eyes that light up red. The company says they are close to a deal to sell the cases through Apple's online store in the US. Pricing has yet to be determined, but is expected to be roughly $50. Read on for our hands-on impressions and photos.
People who purchased an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X may see their phone's performance slow down thanks to new software. Apple distributed iOS 12.1 earlier this week and with it new tools for managing battery life and performance. People who own these phones can use the system settings to choose top optimize speed or battery life. In December 2017, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones in order to prevent them from shutting down. The issue pertained to how lithium ion batteries lose capacity over time. Apple placed a priority on keeping the phone up and running over raw speed. Apple later introduced software allowing customers to choose between the two. This same software is now on the 2017 batch of iPhones from Apple. "Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design," said Apple on its support page. Apple had initially implied that its 2017 iPhones wouldn't need this software.
Apple has launched a repair program to fix defective logic boards in the iPhone 8. The company says a small number of faulty units were sold between September 2017 and March 2018 in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, and the U.S. People who own an iPhone 8 can enter their serial number to see if it qualifies for a fix. The issue, accord to Apple, led to screen freezes, random restarts, and defective startups. The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are not affected. People with an eligible iPhone 8 can drop it off at an Apple Store, mail it in, or bring it to an authorized repair shop. Apple suggests people backup their phone before bringing it in. The program will be available for up to three years from the iPhone 8's September 2017 launch.
Sprint announced a new promotion today that sees the monthly lease price of an Apple iPhone 8 drop to just $8 per month. Sprint says this deal is only available online and via telesales from July 31 through August 9. Sprint says the promo is open to new customers and existing customers who add a new line of service. Sprint has a similar deal for the Galaxy S9, which has a monthly lease price of $9. Typical lease prices for these phones range between $27 and $35 per month.
Apple has distributed iOS 11.3.1 to iPhones and iPads in order to solve a problem with third-party displays. In some instances, screens of the iPhone 8 repaired with non-Apple displays became unresponsive to the touch. iOS 11.3.1 takes care of that issue. The update also, according to Apple, improves the security of all iPhones and iPads. iOS 11.3.1 is free to download.
Apple today revealed a new color option for the iPhone 8: (Product) Red. The red iPhone 8 carries over all the same features and functions from the older color variants of the iPhone. The only difference is the color, which features a red chassis and a black glass front. Earlier (Product) Red iPhones have featured a white glass front. Apple says the new (Product) Red iPhone 8 will be available for order starting April 10 and it will be available in stores starting April 13. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (Product) Red Special Edition will be available in 64 GB and 256 GB models starting at a retail price of $699. T-Mobile said customers can take advantage of a buy-one, get-one deal with the red iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. Customers who finance one (Product) Red iPhone 8 on an equipment installment plan can get up to $700 towards a second.
T-Mobile has a new promotion targeting Apple products. First, T-Mobile is offering a $200 rebate to those who purchase an iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, or 7 Plus. The rebate is being offered in addition to the value of a trade-in. People who trade a device in at T-Mobile stores will be given instant credit for the trade, though T-Mobile will accept trades sent via mail. Further, T-Mobile is offering a buy-one, get-one deal on iPhones. Customers who buy two iPhones and port-in or activate a new line of service on at least one device can receive the second device for free (via monthly bill credits). Customers will have to pay tax on purchases at the point of sale. People who cancel service will be responsible for paying the balance of any devices on their account. Last, T-Mobile is offering a deal on the Apple Watch 3. Those who buy one Apple Watch 3 can snag a second for half price ($215). These promotions kick off on February 23 and will be available for a limited time.
Apple today made a new beta version of iOS 11.3 available to developers. iOS 11.3 Beta 3 tweaks performance and includes the battery health meter for certain devices. The tool is meant to help people balance battery life and speed/performance of older iPhones. The public version of iOS 11.3 will likely be released later this week. Apple said the final version of iOS 11.3 will be available to all consumers this spring. Earlier this week, the company released iOS 11.2.6 to resolve several bugs.
Apple says it has a patch in the works that will counter a bug causing iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and even Macs to crash. The bug occurs when people receive a message with certain Indian language characters in apps including iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. According to The Verge, Apple will push the patch "soon." This means the bug will be fixed through a minor update (iOS 11.2.x) rather than the larger iOS 11.3 update expected later this spring. Apple also plans to issue patches for macOS and watchOS to resolve the issue on those devices.
Google today updated Google Maps for iOS devices with new real-time tools to make finding information on the go even quicker. iPhone owners can now swipe up when using Google Maps to open three tabs: explore, driving, and transit. These tabs contain information about nearby restaurants, real-time traffic conditions, and train/bus schedules. These features have been available to Google Maps for Android since last year. Google Maps for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon Wireless said customers can save big on select iPhones with a new offer that kicks off January 29. New and existing customers who add a new line of Verizon Unlimited service will be able to buy the iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, or iPhone X and get a $699 discount off a second iPhone 8, 8+, or X. In order to qualify for the offer, both devices will need to be purchased on a monthly installment plan. The promo also requires a trade-in, the value of which can be put toward the purchase price of the new iPhones. Verizon will provide the $699 discount on the second iPhone via monthly bill credits over the course of 24 months. This Verizon deal is similar to one it rolled out for Android handsets earlier this month. Verizon said this iPhone promo will only be available for a limited time.
Apple today made iOS 11.3 Beta One available to registered developers. iOS 11.3 adds a host of significant new features to iPhones and iPads, including control over the battery, new animoji, business chat, health records, Apple Music videos, and improved augmented reality. Apple released iOS 11.2.5 to the general public earlier this week. Apple typically tests five to six betas, distributed every other week, before finalizing iOS releases. iOS 11.3 isn’t expected to reach most users until later this spring.
Powermat, a member of the Power Matters Alliance using the AirFuel standard, has also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the group that supports the Qi wireless charging standard. Powermat became a member of the WPC this week, where it will contribute its technology to improve and advanced inductive wireless charging for both PMA and Qi devices. The PMA and WPC competed for years to bring wireless charging to the masses, each with its own charging tech The WPC, however, scored a major victory last year when Apple picked the Qi for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. "Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market and the recently launched Apple iPhone lineup is evidence of this success," said Elad Dubzinski, Powermat CEO. "Powermat will share technology innovation to further unlock wireless charging potential, and will expedite the growth of the wireless charging infrastructure, bringing wireless charging to wherever users need it." More than 360 companies already back the Qi standard. Powermat plans to make gear that supports both PMA and Qi. The company is already working with Starbucks to upgrade the many PMA-powered wireless charging stations in some U.S. Starbucks locations with support for Qi.
T-Mobile today announced a new buy-one, get-one promotion for select iPhones. People who purchase an Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus can earn a second iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus (up to $700) for free. The devices must be purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device over a period of 24 months until it is paid off. Further, T-Mobile is offering up to $300 off the iPhone X when people trade in a recent iPhone. The $300 rebate is applied via monthly payment credits over 24 months (~$12/mo) when the iPhone X is purchased on an equipment installment plan. These deals kick off Thursday, December 21. T-Mobile is already offering BOGO deals on select LG and Samsung smartphones.
Verizon Wireless plans to let holiday shoppers score a smartphone for free with an upcoming buy-one, get-one deal. Beginning Friday, December 15, customers who buy an Apple iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, or a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ can get a second device for free. Both devices will need to be purchased on a payment plan and at least one must be a new line of service. The second phone must be from the same manufacturer and be of equal or lesser value. The cost of the second device will be reimbursed monthly over a 24-month period. Verizon says the offer is valid for existing customer upgrades, as well as those who switch to Verizon. The buy-one, get-one deal will be available for a limited time.
U.S. Cellular today announced a holiday offering that will provide customers with a free flagship smartphone. The company will give customers a free Samsung Galaxy S8, iPhone 8, LG G6, or Motorola Moto Z Force when they sign up for an unlimited plan between November 22 and November 27. Customers will need to trade-in a recent flagship, such as the Galaxy S6, iPhone 6, or V20, to score the free phone. The free handset will be comped through monthly rebates over a period of 30 months. Customers who don't have a device to trade in can get a reduced-cost flagship for a monthly payment of just $10 in addition to the unlimited plan. U.S. Cellular's unlimited plan costs $70 for a single line, though multi-line discounts are available. U.S. Cellular offers up to 22 GB of high-speed data per billing cycle. Customers who exceed that limit will see speeds reduced to 2G for the remained of the month. The company is also offering discounts on Google Home, LG Tones, and Parrot Drones during its holiday sale. Last, customers who refer a family member or friend who signs up for service can score a $50 reward.
Apple today made iOS 11.1.1 available to iPhone owners. The minor release primarily resolves a keyboard-based autocorrect bug that impacted the ability to type the letter "I", which was often replaced with an odd character. The software update also fixes a bug that cause "Hey Siri" to stop working. iOS 11.1.1 is free to download over the air.
Apple today released iOS 11.2 Beta 2 to public testers, one day after releasing the developer variant. Of note, iOS 11.2 Beta 2 introduces the Apple Pay Cash tool that Apple announced earlier this year. Though the service is in beta form, iPhone owners can use Apple Pay Cash to send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be send from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. Apple Pay Cash shows up as a button within Apple's messaging application, though users can also request money from friends and family. Apple does not charge fees to use Apple Pay Cash, though it is instituting a virtual tool called the Apple Pay Cash card. Funds sent to people land in the Apple Pay Cash card, which can be used immediately to fund Apple Pay-based transactions or send cash to others. It means people have instant access to the money, rather than be forced to endure a minimum transfer window or waiting period. The public beta of iOS 11.2 is free to download for those enrolled in the program. Apple hasn't said when iOS 11.2 might reach all users.
Apple today released the final version of iOS 11.1 to the public. The minor operating system update has been in beta testing with developers for more than a month. The most significant addition to iOS 11.1 is that of Unicode 10, which includes dozens of new emoji. Moreover, the Apple keyboard now generates multiple emoji options when typing keywords that support emoji. iOS 11.1 also resurrects the 3D Touch App switcher for certain iPhones. On the security front, iOS 11.1 includes a patch for the KRACK WiFi exploit that recently came to light. The improved operating system further offers a number of under-the-hood bug fixes and performance adjustments. iOS 11.1 is free to download over the air. Apple also released watchOS 4.1, which brings LTE-based Apple Music streaming to the Apple Watch Series 3. The watchOS update also includes a new Beats 1 radio application, WiFi toggle, and Unicode 10. WatchOS 4.1 is free to download through the associated iPhone app.
Apple confirmed that it has acquired PowerbyProxi, a New Zealand-based company that designs and sells wireless charging products for both consumers and businesses. Apple did not provide terms of the deal. Wireless charging appears for the first time the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple adopted the Qi wireless charging standard for its new iPhones. These latest iPhones can use existing Qi-based wireless charging pads, though Apple will release its own charging pad early next year. Apple didn't say why it bought PowerbyProxi, but clearly it can use the company's expertise to create more charging pad accessories for iPhones and other products.
Apple says it is taking a close look at an issue impacting the iPhone 8 battery. According to a half dozen reports, the iPhone 8 battery sometimes swells during charging to the point of damaging the phone. Several iPhone 8 owners have posted photos of their devices, which have burst open due to the swollen battery. Apple issued a brief statement saying, "We are aware and looking into it." The number of affected iPhones appears to be very small and there have been no reports of fires or burns.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai today suggested that Apple enable the FM radio chips found inside iPhones. The FM radios are there, but Apple has left them inert. "It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first," said Pai. The remarks follow a series of devastating storms that have wrecked portions of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. FM radios provide access to information that may not otherwise be available thanks to potentially downed or spotty wireless service. Many other phone makers have already enabled the FM radios within their devices. Apple, however, says its newest iPhones don’t include such radios. “iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products,” explained Apple in a statement emailed to media. “Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts.” Apple did not say if it can enable FM radios in older iPhones.
Apple has released iOS 11.0.1 a week after that platform's first public debut in a move to stamp out early bugs. The new operating system is rife with small glitches and Apple says this release helps smooth some of them over on the iPhone and iPad. According to Ars Technica, one of the most significant bugs repaired in the patch impacted email syncing from certain Microsoft Exchange-based email services. iOS 11.0.1 is free to download from Apple.
Apple today made it possible for iPhone owners to download larger applications via their cellular connections. "We’ve increased the cellular download limit from 100 MB to 150 MB," said Apple to developers, "letting customers download more apps from the App Store over their cellular network." Apple has slowly increased the size limit over the years to account for both the increase in app sizes and the improvement in network speeds. It's not uncommon to encounter apps that are larger than 100 MB. iPhone owners will have to find WiFi to download apps larger than 150 MB.
Apple today reiterated that iOS 11 will reach iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch beginning September 19. Not all the new features will be available at launch, however, with Apple Pay on deck for later this year. According to Apple, the peer-to-peer mobile payment function is "coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4." Once installed, Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money from friends and family quickly, easily, and securely. Payments will work through the Messages app and/or Siri. The money is funneled into the Apple Pay Cash card, which is found in Apple Wallet. The funds can be used instantly to pay for goods and services through any credit or debit card stored in Apple Wallet. Apple has held back other features in previous iOS launches so the news that Apple Pay will arrive later than iOS 11 itself isn't uncommon.
Powermat, which has deployed PMA-compliant wireless chargers at thousands of Starbucks locations around the U.S., plans to update its charging pads to support the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 from Apple. At the moment, there are two competing wireless charging standards, PMA and Qi. Handsets from Samsung and others typically support PMA, though some (Galaxy S8, Note8) support both PMA and Qi. Apple's new iPhones support only the Qi standard, which makes them incompatible with the wireless chargers at Starbucks. Speaking to Slashgear, Powermat CTO Itay Sherman explained that its Starbucks charging pads are connected to its cloud. This gives Powermat the ability to update them when necessary. "If there's a new standard, a new variant of the standard — you have PMA, you have Qi, you have Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charging — we can download new software to our points and support them," said Sherman to Slashgear. "The biggest difference between PMA and Qi is the communication protocols. We designed a controller which is software programable so we can integrate new communication protocols on this platform." Further, Powermat "designed the magnetic part to be as generic as possible to cover all standards if possible." Sherman did not say how quickly it will be able to update its Starbucks Powermat chargers with support for Qi, and conceded it will rely in part on the individual venues in question. This upgrade will not impact stand-alone, consumer Powermat chargers, which will remain limited to the PMA standard.
Apple today debuted new pricing for AppleCare+ alongside the iPhone X. Adding AppleCare+ to the new device costs $199, a significant jump from the $129 Apple has charged in the past for the same protection. AppleCare+ extends warranty and support coverage for up to two years from the date of purchase. With AppleCare+, replacing a damaged screen will cost $29, while repairing any other type of damage will carry a fee of $99. AppleCare+ also gives iPhone X owners 24/7 access to Apple experts via chat or phone. The iPhone X costs $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,149 for the 256 GB model. AppleCare+ for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus costs $129.
Apple today revealed the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, a refresh of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It trades the metal rear panel for glass with a matching aluminum frame. Apple says the glass is infused with metal, making it strong. The phones are waterproof. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus carry over the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays of last y pa's models, but add Apple's True Tone technology. The phones rely on the new Apple A11 Bionic processor with six cores. It contains two high-performance cores and four high efficiency cores for battery battery life. The A11 includes Apple's first custom-designed GPU. The phone includes a new image signal processor to handle quicker autofocus in low light while also reducing noise. The new iPhones have a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range. The 8 Plus has two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.8 (telephoto). The 8 Plus includes a new feature called Portrait Lighting. It dynamically adjusts the lighting on peoples' faces as you take their picture. A new video encoder can shoot at faster frame rates, including 1080p HD at 240fps for slow motion. The phones will support augmented reality via Apple's ARKit. Apple said the phones support Bluetooth 5.0 and LTE-Advanced cellular features, as well as Qi wireless charging thanks to the glass rear panel. The phones carry over features such a Touch ID, water resistance. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes in silver, gray, and gold. They will come in 64 GB and 256 GB options. The iPhone 8 costs $699 and the 8 Plus costs $799. They will be available for pre-order starting September 15 and will go on sale September 22.