The new Apple iPhones survive a dunking test

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

3D Touch Is Apple’s New Secret Weapon.

Every year, the inevitable release of Apple’s new iPhone, usually sometime in September, is always a big event. Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus hit stores around the world on Friday, kicking off what is expected to be a record weekend of sales as customers scrambled to buy Apple Inc’s marquee product in pink for the first time. Equally as inevitable are the rash of boring reviews stating the same thing over and over. “The best iPhone yet,” “Like the old iPhone but better!” So on and so on. Eager buyers – joined by at least one robot – flocked to Apple stores from Sydney to New York and San Francisco, itching to get their hands on new models boasting an improved camera and a screen feature Apple calls ‘3D Touch’, which performs different functions depending on how hard a user presses. “It’s very intuitive.

Since we’ve never really been Apple’s best buds, we’ve only just received our first new iPhones just like everyone else in the world, so we’re going to spend the next week tearing into the iPhones’ newest features—from all the big stuff paraded on stage earlier this month to the small tweaks tucked in darker corners. Imagine snapping a shot of your kid blowing out birthday candles – and getting video showing the flame going out as everyone sings ”Happy Birthday.” Yes, sound is included. I’m really excited to see what developers do with it,” Leah Bentley, a 22-year-old software developer from Emeryville, California, said inside Apple’s San Francisco store after purchasing her phone. For all the sophisticated technology packed into the new iPhones, customers interviewed by Reuters were most excited by a more low-tech feature: the ‘rose gold’ finish, a new shade that Apple introduced with the current phone.

The iPhone has never historically had problems grabbing the longing attention of soon-to-be owners thanks in part to its primarily aluminum design, and like all s-series iPhones before it, it looks much like last year’s model, exactly in fact, minus a millimeter or a gram here and there. The novel hue – essentially sparkling pink – accounted for more than a third of early in-store sales, according to FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives, citing conversations with buyers. One store at least was buzzing, as Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook made a surprise visit to company’s store in Georgetown, Washington, to raucous cheers from employees and shoppers. Analysts expect 12 million to 13 million phones to fly off the shelves in the first weekend, up from more than 10 million last year when the launch of the hugely successful iPhone 6 was delayed in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. There were exceptions, but even after the iPhone launched competitors couldn’t keep up and had to release resistive screen phones until they could join in the multi-touch game.

Apple, whose shares were largely unchanged on Friday, has said pre-orders suggested sales were on pace to beat last year’s first-weekend performance. So all attention turns toward the iPhone innards and iOS 9, which comes with a portfolio of newness meant to entice you from whatever pocket computer your wielding to the new iPhone 6s. It usually announces first weekend sales on the following Monday. “I obviously have my work and other things to attend to and can’t spend two days lining up so my boss at work suggested I take one of the robots down and use it to stand in my place,” she said, via an iPad mounted on top of the wheeled robot.

I’m mostly an Android user, but I’ve always appreciated the high-level of spit shine that Apple applies to smartphones, making them easily accessible for everyone. Apple has said just a fraction of its customers have upgraded to the iPhone 6 – analysts estimate less than 30 percent – suggesting there is room to grow. For the following year’s model, designated with an “s” tacked on to the number, the Cupertino, California-based company makes more subtle improvements. Still, Apple has only about 16 percent of the global smartphone market compared to 81 percent for devices running Google Inc’s Android system, according to tech research firm IDC’s projections for this year.

Widgets (a relatively recent addition to iOS compared to Android) are all relegated to a drop down menu, and as a whole, the operating system just has limited optimization options where Android has legion. More important than customer appetite for upgrades is sales outside the United States, particularly in China, said Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. There is a clear reason Apple abandoned the moniker of “Force Touch:” what their experience offers has less to do with force and a lot more to do with a three dimensional experience. 3D Touch isn’t an incremental update. It is a real tool and you can be sure that, by CES time, manufacturers from Samsung to Xaomi will be offering stuff called Push Touch, Deep Finger, and Insert UI for their phones.

The new models reached stores Friday in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, the UK, Canada, the US and Puerto Rico. They will go on sale in more than 130 countries by year-end, according to Apple. “I never had an iPhone before,” said the 38-year-old truck driver from Corona, Queens. “I see all my friends playing with their iPhones and new devices, and I said, ‘You know what, maybe it’s time for me to upgrade,”’ said Gonzalez, who has been using an HTC handset.

Shares of audio chipmaker Cirrus Logic Inc jumped 15 percent after iFixit’s tear-down revealed that Apple had used its chips, as it did in previous iPhones. The added Proactive feature, which intelligently suggests apps, contacts, news, and all sorts of stuff, is one example of Apple opening up just a little bit.

Stores in China — Apple’s largest market outside the US — drew faithful buyers like Wu Kai, who picked up two phones from a packed Apple outlet at Beijing’s Xidan Joycity mall. “Apple products are becoming family members,” the 17-year-old student said, explaining how he and his parents rely on every Apple product from the Mac Pro to the iPad. “It’s just good product that’s shaping our everyday life.” Cook has said he expects the world’s second-largest economy to eventually become Apple’s largest market. Lackluster offerings this year from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will help Apple stand out in the marketplace, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. Greater China accounted for 27 per cent of revenue in the June quarter, more than all of Europe, and remains a swing factor for the company’s iPhone-reliant earnings. But non of them have released anything that intrinsically changes how we, as humans, interact with the slabs of glass and metal we hold in our pockets at all times. Freelance technology journalist Lindsay Handmer, 32, waited for 18 days in front of the shop to be the first, showering at a local gym and using the toilets at a McDonald’s.

For example, instead of thinking “Open Instagram,” I’m already remembering some of the actions enabled by 3D Touch’s hard press, like “Direct,” “Search,” “View Activity” or “New Post.” I’m noticeably getting things done quicker. Of all of the other improvements in these new phones, 3D Touch is the most compelling and it is the one so subtle that Apple itself didn’t really talk it up during the keynote or briefings. “By the way,” they seemed to say. “You can now stick your finger through the phone. The stock through Thursday was down 14 per cent from its high in February, in part because of concerns that the device can’t sustain its run of unprecedented growth. Learning all the apps that work well with 3D Touch will require trial and error, and while many apps don’t use the feature yet, most likely will eventually.

Apple last week predicted it would top last year’s opening-weekend sales record of 10 million units, although that figure is boosted by availability this year in China, which wasn’t part of the initial roll-out last year. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library service might free up some storage on your phone, but you might be better off buying a phone with more storage to begin with.

For example, I’m intrigued by Live Photos, which are are animated for a brief second before showing off the actual shot you took. (HTC and Nokia have been toying with this general concept for years.) The iPhone 6s’ 4K video might also set me clamoring to the Apple Store, but I still feel there aren’t very many ways to actually play 4K content. A better gauge for how the device is selling will come in January, when the company reports sales for the holiday quarter. “The biggest area of interest for investors is the December quarter.

Apple also introduced a programme for paying in instalments of at least $37 (Dh136) a month, similar to plans offered by wireless companies including AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

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