New iPhones cut out the carriers in a post-contract world

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus review: Priced at $200-$649, here are top 10 power facts.

By offering for the first time monthly installment payments on direct sales and a new lease option for US customers, Apple is moving to help break the stranglehold of mobile carriers as it launches its new iPhones on Friday.Apple Inc’s new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, priced at a starting $200 with contract in the US (a whopping amount without) , were launched just days ago and everyone wants to know how it feels.This year, Apple’s iPhone 6s has bucked that trend with not only an enormous processing power upgrade but three marquee features that provide significant value to the customer — and they’ve backed it up with a new purchasing plan that removes a lot of the reasons many people have for not upgrading every year. The program comes with US carriers largely moving away from the model in which the smartphone is offered at a subsidized price in exchange for a two-year contract, unlike most markets around the world where consumers pay upfront for a device.

We got our hands on the devices for a review and here we explain the latest features that will give you all the knowledge you need to take an informed decision whether to buy or not. In developed economies, it’s even become part of the regulation lexicon in online teaching and schools that pony up the extra cash, but it’s not as common as handheld devices. Both models will also be available on the same day from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, additional carriers and select Apple authorised re-sellers. This means the price of the iPhone — $650 and up — is no longer hidden in monthly service fees, creating a challenge for the maker of the high-end smartphone.

These models will be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK and the US. Apple is meeting the challenge head-on by offering to finance the phone for as little as $27 per month, or allow customers to lease on an annual basis to upgrade to a new phone each year.

Beginning 26 September, customers will be able to visit Apple.com to reserve their iPhone for pick-up at their local Apple Store, based on availability. By my count, there are three this year: 3D Touch, Live Photos, and upgrades to the front-facing camera. 3D Touch is a pressure-sensitive layer that’s been added to the iPhone’s display, allowing you to access shortcuts and previews when you press down on an icon or link. Although the iPhone is already among the best smartphones for everyday shots, images from previous iPhones haven’t been as sharp as what rival cameras produce. This new software brings about changes such as the addition of new watch faces, third-party app complications, new capabilities in Mail, Friends and Digital Touch and support for third party apps running natively.

The new model creates challenges for wireless carriers, which until recently have been able to maintain their customer base by reserving the top-selling phones for contracts. “They obviously will be coming to an Apple store, they won’t go to a carrier store where they might be enticed to buying a Samsung or something else,” he said. One of the best features about the new OS is that, the update requires 1.3GB of free space, which is less than a third of iOS 8’s requirement of 4.58GB. You wouldn’t know how hard to press; you’d press too hard; there’d be a lag and you’d press again, only to find that you had pressed twice, probably causing you to throw the phone across the room. The program “helps bolster share gains, increase customer stickiness to Apple and enable a more competitive pricing environment for iPhones,” said Amit Daryanani at RBC Capital Markets.

The program “seems appealing, since it provides customers unlocked phones with device protection while allowing them to upgrade annually,” says a report by the research firm Trefis. He has been using the Watch for approximately two weeks now and he believes that, “this is still a product of limited utility for most people.” The main use for the device is basically access to digital notifications which revolves around checking mail, tweets, etc. Photo: Bloomberg If you don’t press hard enough, you activate the old-fashioned “jiggle mode” whereby your apps shake, inviting you to move them around the home screen. It has the added advantage of getting pre-owned iPhones out to more customers who can’t afford a new one. “Apple can potentially leverage partners (Brightstar in the United States and Foxconn in China) to resell the one-year old iPhones in the second-hand market, which helps address price points the new iPhones cannot,” she said.

Bob O’Donnell of the research and consulting group Technalysis said Apple is seeking to spark new sales in a global smartphone market that is close to saturation, and that a better customer relationship can boost sales of other products and services. “And no carrier wants to be in a position where they have too much inventory. And if people are going to buy these phones eventually they have to hook up to a carrier.” The move by Apple has also sparked speculation that it could become its own mobile carrier, following the lead of Google Fi which connects with multiple networks around the globe. Manjoo said, “it’s too early to tell if the watch will become a hit.” The report added that the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad were all criticised for being too expensive and not very useful in their earliest days. The voice command “Hey, Siri” is now recognised without requiring the iPhones to be plugged to a power source, thanks to the new embedded M9 co-processor.

But some say it could be part of a future plan for the California giant. “A few years ago that might sound crazy to think possible but with the ongoing change in network architecture it now at least seems plausible,” Piecyk said in a research note. “On Apple’s end, it can already make phones with soft SIMs that can switch between carriers, they have storefronts and online that can deal with customers and more than 100 million Americans are already using their iPhone.” For example, press hard on the Camera app icon and you will feel a haptic feedback, followed by the appearance of a window showing options like Take Selfie or Record Video. Taken in low lighting conditions, the selfie taken by an iPhone 6 Plus (left) has more image noise artefacts and the subjects’ faces are a tad dark. These otherwise-unglamorous performance boosts don’t get the crowd on their feet at product launches, but they’re exactly what a great smartphone needs to achieve its ultimate goal, which is to get out of your way.

With prodigious speed, well-thought-out interfaces, and flawless hardware-software integration, these new iPhones provide the tool for whatever it is you’re doing and just let you do it. It’s much more frustrating when a show like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD builds up a following on free-to-air television and then makes the leap to pay TV.

Australians keen to keep following the adventures of Phil Coulson and his team are now forced to choose between signing up for Foxtel, holding out for the DVD/Blu-ray release, waiting for the show to trickle down to streaming services or simply turning to the BitTorrent channel. But having said that, you might not need a 6S if you just got a new iPhone last year, but go for the 6S over the 6 if you’re ready to upgrade from an older model. While it’s tempting (and somewhat cathartic) to shake your fist at Seven and Foxtel, depending on the nature of the deal the blame may really lie with the show’s producers – ABC Studios, Marvel Television and Joss Whedon’s Mutant Enemy Productions. Wherever the blame lies, burning your loyal viewers doesn’t seem like a smart long-term strategy at a time when traditional television is struggling to stave off disruptive new players like Netflix.

The arrival of Netflix in Australia saw some Netflix Originals taken back from Foxtel, where you’d now expect them to stay, but it seems all bets are off as TV studios scramble for viewers.

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