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Special Note: The Future of Device Geek Blog

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Dear Readers,

 

Since Device Geek Blog was started in September 2012, we have been doing our best to share the latest news and rumors for Apple’s mobile devices. Recently we have noticed that our views are declining, our bounce rate is increasing, and we believe there are two major reasons why. First, it is difficult to compete with major blogs like 9to5Mac and MacRumors who have great search engine optimization, multiple writers, large audiences, and a loyal following. We are all reporting the same news and rumors, but they are usually first to post. We also only have one writer and our posts are limited to when I have time to write. Secondly, we strictly write about Apple’s mobile devices while other blogs focus on all of Apple’s devices like their computers and other major projects. When someone is looking for rumors on the iPhone and new MacBooks, it is easier to read one website than to read several.

Due to these setbacks and our limited readers, we will be suspending our blog for the next few months as we go back to the drawing board. We plan to relaunch Device Geek Blog with a new focus soon. This blog has been around for four years and we are not ready to give it up just yet, but we need a new direction. And with this, we will unfortunately not be writing our annual Black Friday Guide.

We are very appreciative for the time you took to read our posts over the last four years and we are excited to be here for another four years, but we cannot sustain our drive in the highly competitive market of Apple blogging. Device Geek Blog needs to be updated if it will ever switch from a hobby to a full-time career. In its current state, it is just a hobby. A beautiful four-year old hobby, but now it is time to get serious. We want to be a trusted blog that posts first, that is a place for readers to come to for rich posts, and the one-stop shop for the best Apple content.

Device Geek Blog will remain online and open, however, there will be no new blog posts until we relaunch. I hope you will stick with us through these next few months as we become something better and something worth reading. Thank you again for your time. We hope to see you soon.

 

Thank you,

Kevin

Apple Releases New iPhone 7 Commercials: Balloons, Midnight, and Morning Ride

iPhone 7 commercials
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Earlier this week Apple uploaded a new commercial for the iPhone 7 to their YouTube channel. The premise of the commercial is not revealed until the end when Apple shows it was about iOS 10 and the new Messages app.

The commercial follows a red ballon that travels across land and sea to join with other colors of balloons. They collectively gather and start pouring into the apartment of someone who has an iPhone 7. The person received a handwritten heart and text with a full screen effect of balloons. It ends with the tagline “expressive messages on the iPhone 7” in reference to the new Messages app. The song playing is ‘I Will Follow You’ by Toulouse.

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iPhone 8 Rumors: All-Glass Design with Stainless Steel Frame

iPhone 8
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While many people who pre-ordered the iPhone 7 are still waiting for their phone to be shipped, the focus turns to next year’s iPhone. 2017 will be the tenth anniversary of iPhone and Apple is expected to do something big. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, the new Phone will have a complete redesign and new name.

Citing supply chain sources, Kuo wrote a new note to investors about the 2017 iPhone and its redesign. The phone is likely to be called the ‘iPhone 8’ due to its new design that is unlike the previous iPhone 6 series. It will have an all-glass casing that is more durable and scratch resistant with high gloss. It will be similar to the jet black iPhone 7 except it will not be vulnerable to micro-scratches.

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iOS 10 How-to: Open iPhone Without Pressing Home Button

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With iOS 10, Apple completely changed the lock screen to be less “slide to unlock” and more “press home to unlock.” Basically, they removed a gesture we have used for nearly ten years on the iPhone. The iPhone now unlocks with a press of the Home button. This works well on the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with a tactile Home button, but not so well on their older Touch ID phones. In the settings app, you can now restore part of the function of the lock screen to the old method.

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Testing is Underway for Apple’s Rumored Siri Smart-Home Speaker

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In late May, we reported that Apple was working on a new category of hardware with a Siri-powered smart home speaker. It would be similar to the Amazon’s Echo. According to a new report by Bloomberg, the rumored Siri-powered device is currently undergoing prototype testing.

The rumors indicated the device would have the same functions as the Echo, but be much smarter. It would be capable of controlling your home’s functions like the Home app does on the iPhone and iPad. It will also have a camera which detects who is speaking and their emotional state using facial recognition technology. The speaker will this information to select the person’s preferences like their playlists or enhance the tone of the room. Finally, it will be activated with “Hey Siri.” Hopefully Apple will enhance Siri to be similar in functionality to Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.

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Existing iPhone and iPad Lineups Updated with Better Storage and Pricing

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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.

better storage

The new iPhone lineup has doubled the amount of storage and better pricing across most of the models, via Apple.

For last year’s iPhone 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 their iPad lineup by 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, the iPad Pro has 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 to pre-order alongside the iPhone 7 tonight.




 

Apple Updates AppleCare+ Pricing, Screen Repairs Only $29

AppleCare+ Pricing
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On Wednesday, Apple announced the next-generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus but skipped over the new pricing for AppleCare+. The repair coverage now offers new prices for screen damage and regular damage instead of one price for all repairs. There is also new pricing for phones without AppleCare+.

AppleCare+ Pricing

AppleCare+ extends complimentary one-year warranty coverage to two years and adds two incidents of accidental damage coverage. Under the new pricing structure, the service fee for screen damage like cracked screens, touchscreen issues, and damage LCD’s is only $29. All other damage like non-charging batteries and broken buttons are subject to a $99 service fee. Previously phones, no matter the damage, had an $99 service fee but now Apple has broken it up depending on the phone’s issue. This is not just for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus; it extends the new prices to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.

The coverage can be purchased alongside the iPhone or it can be bought within sixty days of the original purchase date of iPhone. If bought afterwards, it requires a remote diagnostic to be run for purchases online or over the phone or a physical inspection for purchases at the Apple Retail Store.

In regards to the new pricing structure for screen damage, Apple provides a few disclaimers in their fine print. First, the iPhone cannot have any other damage, like a bent or damaged enclosure, that would prevent a screen replacement. If it does, the iPhone may cost the regular price of $99 for the screen repair. The iPhone may also be repaired on-the-spot by an iPhone technician at the Apple Retail Store or at an authorized Apple repair service. If no technician is available, the iPhone may be shipped out to another store or repair service. The phone may be repaired with new or refurbished parts that have the same performance and reliability. In addition, Apple may erase your iPhone and update it to the latest software update.

Phones that are not covered by AppleCare+ also have a new pricing structure. Screen damage on the  iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6s can be repaired for $129, and $149 on the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus. For screen damage with additional damage, or any other damage, the prices vary based on the model. The iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, and iPhone SE can be repaired for $269, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s for $299, and the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus for $329. Phones that are mailed in to Apple regardless of their AppleCare+ coverage are subject to a $6.95 shipping fee.




Sept. 7th Event: Apple Announces iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2

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Earlier today, Apple kicked off their first fall event by announcing a plethora of new products. They announced the rumored iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2.

iPhone 7

iPhone 7 event

The next-generation iPhones, called ‘iPhone 7’ and ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ were just announced. The phones looks relatively similar to the iPhone 6/6s series, but they have plenty of new features and design updates to differentiate them. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in a high-gloss jet black finish, a much darker space gray simply called black, and the normal gold, silver, and rose gold. The phone is also water resistant with IP67 protection standard.

As rumored, the iPhones have several new features related to the Home button, camera, headphone jack, and performance. The Home button mechanism has been replaced with force-sensitive pad. It works with the Taptic Engine to provide vibration feedback with quick actions, messages, notifications, and ringtones. It is also customizable with third-party apps. The front camera on both phones have been upgraded to 7MP (up from 5MP) and the rear cameras are staying at 12MP. The iPhone 7 has a single wide-angle 12MP camera that is 60% faster and 30% more energy efficient. The iPhone 7 Plus has two 12MP rear cameras with the first being the same as the iPhone 7’s camera and the second a telephoto camera.

In a controversial move, Apple has removed the headphone jack on their new iPhone. They have replaced it with stereo speakers that are located on the top and bottom of the iPhone. The phone will now use wireless via Bluetooth and Lightning for audio. In the box, there is a pair of Lightning-powered EarPods and a special adapter for Lightning to analog (AUX). Apple has also designed their own AirPods, which are a new version of their EarPods, except they are wireless.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are powered by the quad-core A10 Fusion processor with 6-core graphics. This allows the phone to be 40% faster than the iPhone 6s and three times faster than the iPhone 6. The battery life has also been improved with up to two extra hours.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649 (or $27/month) for 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 (or $32/month) for 32GB. The phones are also available in 128GB and 256GB configurations. Pre-orders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus start Friday, September 9th and the phones will be released on Friday, September 16th.

iPhone 7 event

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come in five colors: rose gold, gold, silver, black, and jet black.




 

Apple Watch Series 2

iPhone 7 event

The second-generation Apple Watch was finally announced after the first version has been available for more than a year. The new Apple Watch looks identical to the first Apple Watch, but it was completely reengineered to be waterproof. Inside the watch, there is a much slimmer and brighter display and more powerful processor. The new dual-core processor is up to 50% faster with 2x the graphics. As rumored, the watch also has a built-in GPS that will measure pace, distance, and location without the iPhone.

In addition, there is a new case material available and several new models. The Apple Watch Series 2 will come in aluminum, stainless steel, and now white ceramic. The ceramic case is four times stronger than stainless steel. Apple has also partnered with Nike to design the Apple Watch Nike+ which has exclusive bands in four colors and the Nike logo on the watch.

The Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369. Pre-orders start Friday, September 9th and the watch is released Friday, September 16th. The special Nike+ watch also starts at $369 and will be available in late October. The current Apple Watch is renamed to Apple Watch Series 1 and it has been upgraded with the new dual-core processor.

 

Other Updates

iOS 10

The next-generation software update was announced today. It comes with several features and it is available on Tuesday, September 13th.

watchOS 3

The next-generation software update for Apple Watch was announced today. It comes with several features and it is available on Tuesday, September 13th.

 

Additionally, Apple has announced that Pokemon GO is coming to the Apple Watch and Nintendo is bringing Mario to the iPhone sometime before the end of the year. We will have more in-depth posts about the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 in the next couple of days.

Expectations for Sept. 7th Special Event: new iPhones, Apple Watch 2, and More

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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.

iPhone 7

sept. 7th special event

Fully functional iPhone 7 rear shell design, credit: Sina

sept. 7th special event

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

sept. 7th special event

Apple Watch, credit: Apple

sept. 7th special event

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.




 

Software Updates

iOS 10

sept. 7th special event

All-new Music in iOS 10 from WWDC 2016

sept. 7th special event

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.

 

watchOS 3

sept. 7th special event

The Apple Watch running watchOS 3 from Apple website

sept. 7th special event

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.

 

tvOS

sept. 7th special event

The new tvOS has a Dark Mode so the background is no longer blinding you when watching TV before bed from Apple website

sept. 7th special event

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.

 

New Accessories

sept. 7th special event

The Lightning to Headphone Jack adapter to connect to the new iPhone 7, credit: Tinhte.vn

sept. 7th special event

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

sept. 7th special event

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

sept. 7th special event

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

sept. 7th special event

A collection of iPad minis from Apple website

sept. 7th special event

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

sept. 7th special event

Apple TV concept for Internet Streaming Service

sept. 7th special event

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.

 

Other Updates

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.

 

The special media event will kick off at 10am PDT, or 1pm EST, in San Fransisco and it will be live-streamed for all to watch.

Apple Regulatory Filing Shows ‘AirPods’ and Two New iPhone Models

Concept for AirPods, credit:  Miroslav Majdak
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While the best confirmation of rumors is an actual announcement by Apple, the next best thing is official paperwork filed by the company. A new document was leaked this week that shows Apple’s regulatory filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC). The document reveals new wireless headphones, two new iPhone models, and ten new Apple Watch models.

regulatory filings

Regulatory filings indicate new wireless headphones called ‘EarPods,’ two iPhone models, and ten Apple Watch models. Credit: AppleInsider

Apple filed the paperwork earlier last week, but the Russian website Mobiltelefon.ru (via AppleInsider) did not discover it until this week. The documents were filed with the EEC, which is the main regulatory body for Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. They filed for certification with wireless headphones called “AirPods,” two iPhones with model numbers A1784 and A1778, and three sets of Apple Watch models for a total of ten.

regulatory filings

Concept for AirPods, credit: Miroslav Majdak

“AirPods” is likely the name Apple has chosen for their rumored wireless EarPods. Since the iPhone 7 will not have a headphone jack, the phone will rely on Bluetooth and its Lightning port for audio. Apple is rumored to be working on two sets of headphones under their name (versus until their Beats by Dr. Dre brand). The first will connect with Bluetooth, which are likely the registered “AirPods,” while the other will connect with Lightning. Apple will include one of them in the box and list the other for sale. Rumors have gone back and forth as to which one goes where, though.

Apple has also registered two new iPhone model numbers, A1784 and A1778. These will correspond to the iPhone 7 models, with one for the iPhone 7 and the other for the iPhone 7 Plus. This confirms that only two models will be announced, not three as previously rumored. The model numbers also follow Apple’s system with “A” as their identifier and first two numbers indicating the year of announcement. While they do not correspond to the numbered year (i.e. 16 for 2016), all devices released have the same number. The iPhone SE, for example, was launched in spring 2016 and its model number starts with “A17.” Additionally, the registered numbers do not correspond to any current iPhone generation.




Finally, the document indicates three groups of Apple Watch models for a total of ten. This could correlate to the three Apple Watch versions: Sport, stainless steel, and Edition. Two of the versions will be updated with four new models, while the other version will only have two new models. Apple is likely not expanding the $10K+ Edition with four new watches, so these are meant for the Sport and stainless steel versions. The company is expected to re-introduce the first-generation Apple Watch with an improved processor and a second-generation model with a GPS, barometer, and better battery next week.