The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced on Wednesday, but they were not the only devices with updates. Apple also refreshed their iPhone and iPad lineup with new prices and better storage capacities.
The new iPhone lineup has doubled the amount of storage and better pricing across most of the models, via Apple.
For last year’siPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple has retained all the color options but improved the price and storage capacity. The phones are now available for $100 less for retail price, or roughly $5 less per month with iPhone installments. The iPhone 6s can be purchased for $22/month and the iPhone 6s Plus for $27/month. Additionally, Apple has doubled the minimum storage capacity from 16GB to 32GB and removed the 64GB capacity. The iPhone 6s/6s Plus are still available in 128GB. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have also be removed.
Despite the newness of the iPhone SE, Apple has updated it too. The iPhone SE is still available in 16GB and 64GB, but the larger storage capacity is $50 less. The iPhone SE is now $399 and $449 for full retail price.
Apple has also refreshed theiriPad lineupby removing some storage capacities, doubling others, and offering better prices. The iPad mini 2 is now only available in 32GB and starts at the price of the previous 16GB model. The iPad mini 4 is only offered in 32GB and 128GB now and the prices are lowered to the previous 16GB and 64GB models, respectively. The iPad Air 2 has retained the same prices with twice the amount of storage.
Finally, theiPad Prohas had the greatest shakeup in the lineup with storage pricing remaining the same but lower prices. The 128GB model is now $50 less and the 256GB model is $100 less. The prices also show a more consistent lineup with each model progressing by $100 for increased storage. For example, the 9.7″ iPad Pro Wi-Fi only model starts at $599 for 32GB, $699 for 128GB, and $799 for 256GB. Previously there as a difference of $150 between each storage size.
The new storage sizes of the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2 currently have an estimate delivery window of September 16-17th.. Also the iPhone 6s with the new 32GB storage size is currently unavailable and will be able topre-orderalongside the iPhone 7 tonight.
Apple’s highly anticipated fall special event is set to start tomorrow around 10am. They will be taking the stage in San Francisco to reveal many new products. While many of the designs for their products will look familiar, they are expected to set themselves up for entire product line refreshes. Here are our expectations for their event.
Fully functional iPhone 7 rear shell design, credit: Sina
The iPhone 7 is practically guaranteed to be announced at the event on Wednesday. Rumors, leaked pictures, and specs have led us to this very moment where we know most everything about the phone. It will come in two sizes (4.7″ and 5.5″) and look similar to the iPhone 6s. The smaller 4.7″ iPhone 7 will have a single and larger rear facing camera, while the larger 5.5″ iPhone 7 Plus will have a two rear cameras. All the camera sensors will remain at 12MP, though. Both phones will have a tactile Home button that uses Force Touch to simulate the physical mechanism of a moving button. Additionally, the phones will not have the headphone jack but instead rely on Bluetooth and Lightning for audio. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will start at 32GB, be powered by the A10 processor, and have better battery capacities. In place of the headphone jack, there will be a second speaker grill which will be house an amplifier. Pre-orders are expected to begin on Friday, September 9th and the phone will either be released on Friday, September 16th or Friday, September 23rd.
Apple Watch 2
Apple Watch, credit: Apple
Leaked images and inside rumors suggest the second-generation Apple Watch will be coming at Apple’s event this week. The watch will look relatively similar to the current generation Apple Watch, except the internals will be highly upgraded. The new processor (or SoC) will be much faster and provide better battery life, the battery capacity will increase due to a thinner display, and the watch will be less dependent on the iPhone. Instead of relying on the phone to track location and speed, the watch will use the new GPS chip. It will still be dependent upon the iPhone for full functionality, though. The current Apple Watch will also be updated with the new processor and continue to be available for sale. The Apple Watch 2 is expected to be released in either September or October.
All-new Music in iOS 10 from WWDC 2016
The newest operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is also practically guaranteed to be announced. Historically, Apple announces the latest iOS at the keynote at WWDC in June and then releases it to the public in the fall. With the amount of beta versions given to developers (we are on #7 now), this shows the final version is underway and will be available to the public soon. The update brings many features to Messages; a fresh design to Music, Maps, and Photos; a new layout for widgets, the Lock screen, and Control Center; and new settings. iOS 10 will likely be released on Wednesday, September 14th.
The Apple Watch running watchOS 3 from Apple website
The third-generation operating system for the Apple Watch was announced in June at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference and is expected to come out alongside iOS 10. The update brings faster apps with Background App Refresh, new watch faces that are easier to switch, fitness for those in a wheelchair, an optimized keyboard for writing letters, and a SOS feature. The SOS feature will allow the Apple Watch to automatically call for help with local emergency services and notify friends/family that you’re in need of help. Another feature will allow you to unlock your Mac when you are in close proximity to it wearing the Apple Watch. This update will likely come out on September 14th as well.
The new tvOS has a Dark Mode so the background is no longer blinding you when watching TV before bed from Apple website
The next-generation operating system for Apple TV (4th generation) will likely be announced at tomorrow’s event. The software update brings a few features to the Apple TV like single sign-on for multiple apps that require your TV provider’s subscription credentials, a special Dark Mode (versus the current bright and all-white “Light Mode”), redesigned Music app, and more advanced search with Siri. It is expected to be released on September 14th.
The Lightning to Headphone Jack adapter to connect to the new iPhone 7, credit: Tinhte.vn
Apple is expected to reveal Lightning-powered EarPods, wireless headphones called ‘AirPods,’ and a few Lightning-powered headphones under their Beats by Dr. Dre brand. Also, there will be a new adapter for Lightning to headphone for those users who still have traditional headphones but plan to upgrade the headphone jack-less iPhone 7. These should come alongside the iPhone 7 or be available before the phone is released.
iPad Pro 2
The rumored 10.5″ iPad Pro will fit nicely between the 9.7″ (on the left) and 12.9″ (on the right), credit: Laptop Magazine
The second-generation iPad Pro is currently in development and may be announced at tomorrow’s Apple event. Unfortunately this is more want, then based on any fact. Rumors suggest an announcement in October, or more than likely, some time next year. The iPad Pro will have a faster display technology for smoother scrolling, panning and zooming. There will also be three models released all based on screen sizes: 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch with the smallest size offered as a low-cost option. The iPads will also have expanded support for the Apple Pencil.
iPad mini 5
A collection of iPad minis from Apple website
There have been no rumors for the fifth-generation iPad mini and the consensus is this tablet will be discontinued soon. It is very similar in size to the 5.5-inch iPhone Plus and lacks support for the new iPad Pro features.
Apple TV Internet Streaming Service
Apple TV concept for Internet Streaming Service
The Internet TV streaming service was expected to be announced alongside the Apple TV (4th generation) last year, but it was not ready yet. The service was rumored to be available for $30-$40 per month and come with about twenty-five channels from major networks. A year after the expected announcement date, the streaming service has not been made public and is likely a tabled idea. Perhaps we will see it in the future.
Apple may also follow their new tradition last year and jam pack all Mac updates into this special event, or have another event planned in October. Apple will announce macOS Sierra (the rebranding of OS X plus the new operating system name) alongside a refresh of their Mac lineup.
Originally launched as a Kickstarter project, the Solartab is a unique charger that uses a massive solar panel and internal battery pack to keep smartphones and tablets fully charged. It received more than 200% of its requested funding and was sent out to backers around the world a year after the project ended. The team worked diligently to finalize the design, have it assembled correctly to their specifications, and make it the best solar panel charger on the market. Two years later, the Solartab is still being used by the Kickstarter backers and others. Below I share my first thoughts as one of the original Kickstarter campaign backers.
The box comes with the Solartab and a micro-USB charger and wall adapter.
The Solartab is a unique solar panel charger with an external battery that uses either the sun’s energy or the included USB cable and adapter to store power to charge smartphones and tablets. I tested the Solartab by charging a nearly dead iPhone 5s and the phone’s battery was literally increasing by at least 1% every minute. The battery inside the solar panel charger has a capacity of 13,000 mAh, which is over seven times the battery capacity of the iPhone 6. The device has two USB ports and one micro-USB port on the outside, a button that shows the amount of power left and a white light that illuminates when the solar panels are being used. The Solartab is enclosed in a case that is very similar to Apple’s Smart Cover for iPad. It protects the solar panel against damages and scratches and allows to be placed in three directions for the best sun exposure.
The Solartab is a perfect fit for the dashboard of your car. It can take in all the sun’s rays to charge your phone while you drive.
After using my Solartab for the past few days, it has become one of my most favorite iPhone accessories. The solar charger is about the size of an iPad so it’s very portable and the cover protects the panels against damage. Recently I went on a trip with my family and I put my Solartab in the rear back window of the car. It was able to charge both my iPad and iPhone to nearly a full charge. When we stopped at a red light and were in a shadow, the battery pack inside would take over until the sun became visible again. It worked very well and intelligently switched over from solar panel to battery pack to keep my devices charging.
There are only two flaws that I have seen so far with the Solartab, but they won’t be preventing me from using mine nor will they prevent me from recommending it to others. First off, the Solartab is glued to the case so if your case gets dirty, you won’t be able to remove the Solartab to clean it. This also prevents you from switching out the color so make sure you are ready to have the same case color for life. Secondly, the USB cables slightly stick out from the ports so they don’t appear to be fully plugged in even though they are. However, these flaws are minimal and I highly recommend the Solartab if you live anywhere there is sun (so pretty much every location on Earth).
The Solartab can be purchased from our store here for a limited time price of $109 with free shipping.
On Wednesday, Apple announced this year’s edition of their Back to School promotion. With every eligible Mac, iPad, or iPhone purchase for college, Apple is giving free wireless Beats headphones. This is in addition to their education pricing which takes $200 off the price of a Mac and $20 off the price of an iPad.
Apple announces Back to School sale, via Apple
The iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Pro are eligible to purchase for the promotion and they come with Solo2 Wireless Headphones. These Beats headphones retail for $299. Although the Mac mini is listed on the sale page, it is not eligible for the free headphones.
The iPad Pro is the only eligible tablet and the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus are eligible smartphones. Each of these comes with the Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones worth $199. Apple notes in the terms and conditions that the headphones are upgradable to the Solo2 Wireless Headphones for an additional $100. The iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 2, and iPhone SE do not qualify for the promotion.
This sale is not limited to those who are enrolled in college; any “qualified” educational purchaser can receive a pair of Beats headphones when they make an eligible purchase. Qualified individuals include: K-12 employees, board members, and officers; higher education employees, students, and parents of students.
Last year Apple announced this deal in late July and it only lasted a couple of months. This year they are starting in early June and ending in early September for a total of three months. Perhaps their reasoning behind extending the deal by an extra month is due to their recent decline in sales. The deal usually ends the week before their fall special event. This year’s promotion starts on June 2 and ends on September 5.
On a side note, it is interesting that Apple is only offering wireless headphones. This could be a subtle confirmation that the iPhone 7 will not have a headphone jack.
In a recent interview on CNBC’s Mad Money, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased that the company has “great products in the pipeline” and suggested that the new “iPhones” will be a great incentive to upgrade. Cook said something similar three years ago about the “great products” that were coming in 2014. This is the year that we saw the Apple Watch, iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and iPad Air 2 announced. So what exactly are these “great products in the pipeline?” What do we expect to see for the rest of the year?
iOS 10 concept by iPhoneInformer.com
The tenth-generation operating system is all but confirmed to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) next month in California. Apple has a history of announcing software updates at this event geared towards developers so they can prepare their apps to work on the major software update when it is released in the fall. Rumors for its features have been quite absence, but we are hoping for a complete redesign and overhaul of bug fixes since it is the tenth version. Current rumors suggest that Apple will be updating their Music app with reorganized tabs, a whole new user interface, and increased functions. The Music app will have 3D Touch display shortcuts for sharing music faster and previewing songs. Apple is also working on a person-to-person payment system with Apple Pay and this may be included in the update. Other rumors have indicated an all-new Photos app and iCloud Voicemail where Siri will be able to answer phone calls and transcribe voicemails.
We also expect watchOS and tvOS updates, which are for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, respectively.
Apple Watch 2
Apple Watch 2 concept with camera by Eric Huismann.
The second-generation Apple Watch is expected to be announced and released this year, hopefully the announcement being at WWDC. We are expecting a watch that is not dependent on the iPhone for functionality, a 20% to 40% thinner design, a front camera, and models made of new materials (perhaps tungsten or platinum). Rumors have also suggested that it will have a cellular chip or a WiFi chip inside so it can be independent of the phone. If the new watch is not announced at the conference, it should come along the iPhone 7 in September.
iPhone 7 concept by Martin Hajek
The next major numbered iPhone generation is upon us this year. Historically, Apple has refreshed the design when releasing an iPhone with a new number, but this year might be different since next year is the tenth anniversary of iPhone. Unfortunately it occurs on an “S” year and previously the company has only updated the internal components and added a flagship feature. Considering the iPhone 6 when it was released in 2014, it was a complete redesign from the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6s had a similar design to the iPhone 6 but came with a 4K video camera, 3D Touch display and added waterproofness. This would mean the ninth iPhone (this year) would have a complete redesign and the tenth (next year) would only have a minor update. Apple appears to be switching these to make this year a minor update and next year a complete overhaul of design.
The current rumors suggest the iPhone 7 will be available in the same sizes as the iPhone 6s (4.7″ and 5.5″) with the larger model coming with rear dual-camera, no headphone jack, a thinner Lightning port, and potentially the same body design as the iPhone 6s. It will be powered by the A10 processor, have more RAM, and a higher storage capacity of 256GB. Next year’s iPhone, however, may be a complete redesign with a shell made mostly of glass similar to the iPhone 4.
On a side note, the name of the iPhone is also unconfirmed. A recent blueprint suggested it would be called the “iPhone Pro” or perhaps Apple would just call it “iPhone”. Apple may also release three sizes of the new phone: 4.7″, 5.5″, and 5.8″. The latter may be a part of next year’s iPhone instead.
iPad mini 5 (7.9″ iPad Pro)
iPad Pro compared to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini, by WSJ
Currently the rumors around the next-generation iPad mini is just speculation since it is likely that the table will be discontinued this year. We would like to see Apple take the iPad mini and make it part of the iPad Pro lineup. They could offer their Pro tablet lineup in 12.9″, 9.7″ and now 7.9″ display sizes. It could have four stereo speakers, a redesigned interior, a higher quality display, and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
Apple TV Streaming Service
Apple TV 4 Home screen
Apple was rumored all of last year to release an Internet streaming TV service similar to Sling alongside the 4th generation Apple TV in fall 2015. Unfortunately this did not happen because contracts were apparently not finalized. Hopefully we will see them release it this year. The Wall Street Journalreported over a year ago that the streaming service would initially be limited to twenty-five channels and be offered for $30 to $40 per month.
When Apple announced the iPhone SE and 9.7″ iPad Pro last month, we were very excited to see the new products that Apple was working on. There was one new product they made, however, we cannot seem to find it anywhere. This one product is the new wallpapers, which seem to be exclusive to the iPhone SE and iPad Pro.
We can’t seem to find this wallpaper in the Settings app, credit: Apple.com
If you look at the iPhone SE and iPad Pro on Apple’s website, you’ll see a few wallpapers, but these cannot be found anywhere in the Settings app. They were not released with the iPhones, nor did they come with iOS 9.3 or iOS 9.3.1 for that matter. If you’re interested in installing them on your device, we know where you can get them.
To install them, go to this website on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, click on your respective device, then tap and hold the picture, and tap Save Image. Go to the Photos app, tap the picture, tap the share icon (bottom left corner), and tap Use as Wallpaper.
Note: some of the pictures may not be high-quality, but the source of our report says they used the highest quality they could find.
On Monday, Apple held their first special media event of the year where they announced the 4-inch iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro and new bands for Apple Watch. The event, as stated by Tim Cook, will be one of the last special events to be held Apple’s Town Hall at their Cupertino Campus.
Apple announces the iPhone SE.
The iPhone SE is Apple’s next-generation 4-inch iPhone that replaced the iPhone 5s in their lineup. While it does have relatively the same external design as the iPhone 5s, it has very upgraded internal specifications that allow it to match the iPhone 6s in terms of performance and camera quality. With its A9 processor and M9 embedded coprocessor, 12MP rear camera, 4K video recording, Live Photos functionality and rose gold color, it is almost a miniature version of the iPhone 6s. The iPhone SE starts at $399 unsubsidized for 16GB, or free with a two-year contract. Pre-orders start Thursday, March 24th and it’s available Thursday, March 31st.
9.7″ iPad Pro
Apple announces the 9.7″ iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro, which is said to be one of Apple’s best products that customers love, received an update in terms of size. In addition to the 12.9″ model which came out last fall, there’s a new 9.7″ model that is successor to the iPad Air 2. It has a higher-quality display that is less reflective and brighter, dual stereo speakers, the A9X processor, 12MP rear (protruding camera) with 4K video recording and a new LED flash and a 5MP front camera. The smaller iPad Pro starts at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model and, like the iPhone SE, pre-orders start on March 24th and it’s released March 31st.
For the first time ever, Apple is offering the iPad Pro (both sizes) in a 256GB configuration. This significantly larger storage size is also rumored for the iPhone 7.
Apple announces new bands for Apple Watch.
While we did not see a new Apple Watch model like many news outlets predicted, we did see a whole set of new bands and the Apple Watch Sport saw a price drop. There are now twenty-two different colors of the Sport band, with yellow, royal blue and apricot (light orange) added today, and seven colors of the new Woven Nylon band. It’s available in pink, blue, royal blue, red and black. The Apple Watch Sport now starts at $299 ($50 price decrease) for the 38mm model and $349 ($50 price decrease) for the 42mm model.
Apple released new software updates for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Apple Watch today. The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch can update to iOS 9.3 which has new features like Night Shift, password-protected Notes and better personalization in News. For the Apple TV, tvOS 9.2 is available with Siri remote dictation, app folders and iCloud Photo Library. The Apple Watch can also be updated to watchOS 2.2, which comes with an enhanced Maps app and support for multiple watch pairing. With the exception of the Apple Watch, all of these updates can be downloaded through the Settings app on their respective devices. The Apple Watch update can be downloaded via the Apple Watch app on iPhone.
At the rumored special media event on March 21st, Apple is planning to release another 9.7″ iPad but it won’t be the iPad Air 3. Apparently this iPad name is retiring and they are going with “Pro” from now on. The 9.7″ iPad Pro will have the same specs as the current iPad Pro, minus the difference in display size, and have an upgraded camera system.
iPad Pro camera, credit: Apple
According to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, there are prototypes circulating around Apple of the smaller iPad Pro with a higher megapixel rear camera. The current 12.9″ iPad Pro has an 8MP rear camera and the prototypes for the 9.7″ iPad Pro have a 12MP rear camera and the ability to shoot 4K video like the iPhone 6s. The front camera will also be HD, but the post doesn’t specify which quality of HD (720p or 1080p).
The smaller iPad Pro (we are calling it the iPad Pro mini) will also have the A9X processor, quad speakers, Smart Connector and support for the Apple Pencil. The company is working on a smaller version of the Smart Keyboard which is expected to be announced with the iPad on March 21st.
Just when we thought we knew everything about Apple’s spring event…we didn’t. The iPad Air 3 won’t be called the iPad Air 3, the iPhone 5se won’t be called the iPhone 5se and now the date of the special event won’t even be held on March 15th. According to Re/Codeand BuzzFeed, the event is planned for March 21st.
Tim Cook announces iPhone 6s, credit: Gizmag
Citing sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, BuzzFeed claims that Apple has decided on March 21st as the special day where they will announce the 9.7″ iPad Pro, iPhone SE and new bands for the Apple Watch. It is unclear if the event was ever scheduled for March 15th or if it was always March 21st, but now the plans are apparently solidified. BuzzFeed notes that this is the day before Apple is to stand on trial before the government in the San Bernardino iPhone case.
This event will also be smaller as compared to other events since no revolutionary products will be unveiled. The announcement will likely be held at Apple’s Town Hall in Cupertino, CA.
As we get closer to Apple’s spring event, the rumor mill has quieted down significantly because we have a good sense of what to expect. The iPhone 5se is a hybrid of the 5s, 6 and 6s while the iPad Air 3 is a miniature iPad Pro. In addition, Apple will show off new watch band designs, like a Space Black Milanese loop, for the Apple Watch. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac says that his sources are still pointing towards Tuesday, March 15th as the announcement date and now they are saying Apple plans to release their new products a few days later on Friday, March 18th.
iPhone 6s, credit: Apple
While a quick release for the watch bands is expected, Apple typically has a small waiting period between their announcement and release for new products. They typically use this time to allow their customers to pre-order their latest devices. If they are planning to show off the iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 the same week as they become available for sale, then there won’t be any preorders. While we are unsure of Apple’s motivation for this, they likely aren’t expecting a huge rush of customers preordering/buying their devices, like we would see when a flagship iPhone is released (like the iPhone 7 in seven months.)
The iPhone 5se, as we mentioned, is a hybrid of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. It will have a 4-inch display like the iPhone 5s and the design of the iPhone 6. The phone will have a seamless transition from curved glass to a curved aluminum rear shell, antenna lines, a protruding camera and come in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold. The phone will also be powered by Apple’s A9 processor with embedded M9 co-processor, have Touch ID with a NFC chip for Apple Pay and Bluetooth 4.2. The iPhone 5se is expected to replace the iPhone 5s.
Finally, the iPad Air 3 is expected to be a miniature iPad Pro with an extra feature based on the leaked schematics we have seen. The iPad Air 3 will have four stereo speakers, a Smart Connector for Apple’s Smart Keyboard (and hopefully support for the Apple Pencil) and a rear LED flash, which would be the first for an iPad. Additionally, Apple is expected to reveal new bands for the Apple Watch. Currently more Apple Watch Sport band colors, a Space Black Milanese loop and NATO-style bands have been rumored. There may also be a new watch model announced.