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Prediction: iPhone 6s

iPhone 6s

It’s a little earlier than usual, but I’m calling my predictions for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6s.

Name. There has been some silliness that Apple would call this iteration of the phone iPhone 7. I don’t see why the Cupertino folks would break tradition, so I say it will be called iPhone 6s.

Force Touch. Yes. It’s on everything else (Watch, Mac, etc.).

Camera. 12 megapixel minimum on back and full HD for the front camera.

Processor and RAM. The processor will be a 64-bit A9 with better performance. The RAM will jump from 1 GB to 2 GB. The additional RAM should really make a performance difference.

Storage. Apple will drop 16 GB and offer 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB. Because 16 GB nowadays is dumb.

Design. The 6s and 6s Plus will look just like the iPhone 6 models. The hardware-based Force Touch might require a hair more depth to the phone. And Apple will make the casing from 7000 series aluminium. This will help reduce the bend-gate drama. The Rose Gold color will probably be added to the black, white, and gold colors.

Release date. Even though there are reports that the iPhone 6s is entering early production, I bet the phone will be announced and released in September 2015.

Bonus: I think the new Apple TV will also be released during September. The iPad Pro will be released in October 2015.

I think these are all safe predictions, because (truth be told) Apple is a company that usually plays it safe when it comes to product iterations.

Beware the Hidden Cost of Apple’s New MacBook

Hidden Cost of that new MacBook

The new MacBook was introduced at Apple’s March 2015 event (along with the much hyped Apple Watch), and it is undeniably beautiful. Cutting edge design and engineering make for an attractive new laptop. But cutting edge can go both ways, so be sure to consider the full impact of buying such a forward-thinking device.

Really, this warning only comes down to one issue, but it’s significant: The USB port.

Apple has implemented the new USB-C (or USB Type C) port on the new MacBook. Besides the headphone jack, there are no other ports on this laptop.

So what does this mean?

First, your full-size USB mouse, flash drive, and external hard drive will not directly connect to this laptop. You’re going to need an adapter. So the MacBook’s cost of ownership will go up just a bit.

Second, you will not be able to have any peripherals connected to the MacBook while it is charging. It’s a relatively small issue, but it will probably come up sooner or later for most owners.

So what’s the cost of those USB-C adapters?

Depending on that you need, the offerings from Apple start at $19 and go up to $79. The USB-C to USB adapter will probably be the most popular add-on item at $19. The USB-C audio visual multiport adapter is going to $79. But keep in mind that the MacBook can connect to an Apple TV via AirPlay. And at $69, the Apple TV is now less expensive than that AV adapter.

Go figure!

Handoff Problem for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

HandoffI was eager to upgrade my MacBook Air from Mavericks to Yosemite to give the Handoff feature a try. I downloaded the update and installed it.

And Handoff refused to work.

I checked all the settings. I searched the forums. I maddeningly checked the settings and forums again again. Everything was right, but nothing worked. At least not consistently.

Until I turned off Handoff in my iPhone and turned it back on. Bingo! It all came to life.

I also rebooted the iPhone (see how to do that the right way) and the MacBook. I even waited a while to test it again. No hiccups. Everything continued to work fine.

Here are the main steps:

  1. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps.
  2. Ensure Handoff is toggled on (this is the setting I turned off and back on to get everything working right).
  3. Make sure your iPhone Bluetooth is on under Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. On the Mac, go to Settings > General, then scroll down a bit and ensure that “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is checked.
  5. To be safe, reboot your Mac and iPhone (do this the right way).

I hope this helps someone else suffering the same frustration.


Buy Smart: Certified Lightning Cables Can Be Affordable

Lightning CablesWhen Apple started its “Made for i” (MFi) certification for Lightning cables, many thought it was an insidious way to get more money and raise costs for USB charge/sync cables for their iDevices. While that might be true, there are benefits to having high-quality cables for your high-cost mobile devices.

I’ve seen more than one friend ruin their iPhone and iPad with knock-off, low-cost Lighting cables. These experiences finally convinced me to toss out my cheapie cables. And thus started my pursuit of maximizing value when purchasing authentic or certified Lightning cables. And here is my advice to you:

Authentic Lightning Cables: You can find authentic Apple OEM Lightning cables on eBay. These generally come in a bag and not a retail box, but the item will be the same quality as the cable that came in your iDevice’s box. Be sure to look for a clear statement that the item is manufactured by Apple. Also be sure to buy from either a Top-Rated Seller or a seller with 98% or higher positive feedback.

Lately, I’ve been finding these authentic Apple OEM cables for less than US$10. Some are closer to $8 with free shipping.

Certified Lightning Cable: My favorite certified Lightning cable from a third party is Anker’s Lightning cable. I’ll even argue that Anker builds a better cable than Apple. They’re really that good.

I’ve found that Anker cables [Associate Link] sell for a relatively fair price on Amazon between $10 and $14 with free Prime shipping. If you’re shopping at Amazon for these, be certain to check the “Special Offers and Product Promotions” section. You might be able to save 10% or more on Anker products using codes right on the product page.

Amazon (as AmazonBasics) and Monoprice both offer their own branded certified Lightning cables, and I have every confidence these are fine products. These also come in varying lengths from 4 inches to 10 feet. I haven’t found anything but 1 meter cables from Apple and Anker.

On a Side Note

Back to Anker products, I recently replaced a cheap car charger for my iPhone. I chose an Anker 24W 2-port car charger [Associate Link], and I absolutely love this product. It was $10 with free Prime shipping from Amazon. I travel using Waze to get around Atlanta’s traffic, and the Anker charger charges my iPhone quickly without overheating it. It’s truly a terrific gadget.

Apple’s Touch ID is Finally Relevant

Apple Touch IDWith iOS 8, Apple is finally allowing third-party app developers to leverage Touch ID. This allows those apps to securely access the identity information stored in Touch ID-enabled devices. Now users of those apps can authenticate with their fingertips to gain access to information within those apps.

Touch ID first appeared in the iPhone 5s and iOS 7, but Apple chose to keep its use limited to securely accessing the phone itself. A year later, iOS 8 is much more open. And developers are free to add this powerful technology in their apps.

Now, password management apps like LastPass and 1Password can ensure that you are really you. Additionally, Apple has allowed extensions into Safari which allows these apps to more easily enter usernames and passwords automatically.

Other apps are starting to implement Touch ID for enhanced security options. Microsoft’s OneDrive was recently updated to support PIN access. Once enabled, the file storage and sharing app allows you to use Touch ID to bypass entering the PIN.

Of course, Apple Pay will use Touch ID with the new iPhone 6 phones. And that service offering might just be the killer feature of this generation’s iPhone. It facilitates credit card transactions without sharing card numbers or personally identifiable information.

Who said convenience must take a backseat to security? This sort of thoughtful approach is how technology can actually simplify life instead of just adding something else to it.


iPhone 6 Plus Really Can Bend

Bent iPhone 6 Plus

Owners of Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus are starting to complain that their expensive new mobile devices are bending. Physically warping. This seems to be occurring when the owners carry their new iPhones in their pockets.

Well, it turns out the iPhone 6 Plus can bend. The chassis seems to have a weak point that allows the device to bend when sufficient force is applied. In a YouTube post by Unbox Therapy, Lewis Hilsenteger demonstrates on camera how Apple’s king-size phone bends in real time.

Frankly, I’m surprised Apple’s engineers didn’t consider this possibility. People carry their phone in their pockets. We’ve all seen it or done it.

My suggestion for this situation and for any expensive smartphone, really, is to invest in a sturdy case. I hate hiding the beautiful iPhone as much as anyone, but the results are irrefutable: Your phone will fare better in a case. I’ve had three iPhones to date, and each has been in an OtterBox Defender case. After 18 to 24 months living in those cases, the iPhones have emerged as pristine as they looked going in. And that helps if you wish to sell your used devices.

Beware the Apple Hype

Apple Hype Cycle

Apple is about to roll out its new iPhone and maybe a few other highly anticipated gadgets. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype, especially for tech geeks. But remember, after the hype dies down, the iThing quickly becomes just another gadget.

JoyOfTech.com created an insightful graphic that shows the Apple Hype lifecycle.

Prediction for the iPhone 6

iPhone 6In my tradition of trying to keep posts short, I will make my iPhone 6 predictions brief.

  • 4.7-inch screen: Yep. It’s about time.
  • 5.5-inch screen: Probably. Not sure when it will debut.
  • iWatch: Yep. Apple will show it off on September 9, but not sure when it will hit the market.
  • 32GB Storage to Start: Nope. 16GB will still be the starting point.
  • Better Camera: Probably. Since the new design will have a 0.77mm protrusion for the camera, Apple will have to spin how the remarkable camera was worth disrupting the enclosure’s smoothness.
  • NFC: Yes. It will be in the iPhone, and half of the tech press will act like Apple invented this technology.
  • Mobile Payments: Yes. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express will support payments with TouchID for verification. It will use iPhone 6’s NFC, but there might be some capability for iPhone 5s and earlier to use some method for mobile payments. But who really knows.
  • iOS 8: This is the real news. Many of the technologies might be overdue, but the new OS will increase the usability of Apple’s mobile devices. Making TouchID functionality available to other apps should make verifying your identity very convenient.