This year, Apple is selling a contract free iPhone 6 from day 1 of its launch in the US. This contract free iPhone comes bundled with a T mobile sim card which is creating a lot of confusion about whether the phone will be locked to the T mobile network. Apple support executives are further adding to the confusion by saying that only T mobile customer care can confirm this. And T mobile reps say that one has to get unlock codes from them to unlock the any phone on their network, however, they are not 100% sure about the iPhone 6.
I bought a contract free T mobile iPhone 6 on launch day and have tested it on Straighttalk wireless in the US. Well, technically its the AT&T network as I have an AT&T compatible sim from Straighttalk. The contract free (T mobile) iPhone 6 works perfectly fine out of the box on the AT&T network. So if you are looking for a factory unlocked iPhone 6, go for the contract free T mobile version from the Apple online store or the Apple retail store. We are still not sure if the contract free ones being sold at the T mobile stores are unlocked or not. They should ideally be unlocked too, given that you are paying full non-subsidized price for them. However, to be safer, if you want an unlocked iPhone 6, get the contract free T mobile version from the Apple online store or the Apple retain store.
In addition to launching the iPhone 6, Apple also introduced its brand new product line – the Apple Watch.
The Apple watch is a wearable device which comes in 2 sizes – 38mm and 42mm. The crown, or as apple calls it – digital crown, is the new way of interacting with the watch without blocking the screen. The watch also offers a touch screen – so don’t worry, you are covered there. The touch screen is an advanced capacitive & resistive screen which can differentiate between a tap and a press. So you can use different modes for different actions.
In addition to offering various watch faces, the watch will be capable of making and receiving phone calls, Sending and receiving text messages & providing some Siri functions. Apple has also built in an intelligent algorithm that can figure out the message context and give you pre-populated replies to tap onto instead of having to type them in – which is really cool.
The watch also features something called as Digital Touch which allows you to communicate with your selective friends in weird new ways. You can read more about them here.
The watch is also an always on fitness monitor with various sensors on the back that monitor your heartbeat. Coupled with the inbuilt accelerometer and GPS and WiFi from an iPhone, it can record various types of physical activity data that you can use to track your fitness activities. There are various fitness apps that will be available on the watch for all kinds of users.
The watch will also be able to give you a tactile feedback similar to a tap on your wrist. And there can be different types of taps for different types of notifications. This is going to be great as we definitely need some filtering when notifications are coming to our wrists.
In addition to the above features, the watch will also support the Apple Pay features and you can do merchant transactions by brining your watch closer to the mobile enabled merchant terminals.
The Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 at a starting price of $349. At this entry price, it is certainly going to be a premium product, however, it does look like the first smart watch which seems to have understood the concept of how smart watches should work. In Tim Cook’s words – we have not shrunk an iPhone into a watch. This is really important as no one wants to interact with their watches (or fitness trackers) the way they interact with their phones. A new, innovative way to interact with such devices was needed and the digital crown coupled with the advanced touchscreen seems to be the right way to do it.
Apple launched the next generation of iPhone(s) today at their press event in Cupertino. The event was held at the Flint Center where Steve Jobs revealed the Macintosh 30 years back. There were two new iPhones reveled – The iPhone 6 with a 4.7 inch display and the iPhone 6 plus with a 5.5 inch display.
Both the phones feature:
The biggest visible differences are the large screen sizes and the overall thinner & sleeker body design. There are no chamfered edges this time. The screen just blends in to the aluminum body of the phone and a first glance will remind you of the very first iPhone the company revealed back in 2007.
The iPhone 6 plus is going to be the flagship device with the massive screen offering 1920×1080 pixels and a much longer battery life thanks to the bigger size. It also features optical image stabilization (which is far better) as opposed to only digital image stabilization in the iPhone 6.
Both the phones have the required hardware to enable Apple Pay which is Apple’s effort to simplify the payment process – both online and at merchant outlets. The phones will work with the credit card saved on file in your iTunes account out of the box. You can also add your other cards by just capturing a photo with your phone’s camera.
The phone does not store the credit card number or any security code. Instead, it only stores a unique device account number on a secure elements chip inside the phone. None of this info is stored on Apple’s servers. Even when you do a transaction, the credit card number is not sent to the merchant. Everything is done using the device account number and a unique transaction code generated in real time.
In order to pay at a terminal supporting mobile payments, you don’t need to open an app or even wake your phone. Just bring your phone close to the terminal and the passbook with your credit cards will pop up. All transactions will require your fingerprint using the touch ID sensor on the phone’s home button, so only you can authorize a payment.
iPhone 6 & 6 plus will be available on September 19th with pre orders starting on September 12th. The contract free prices will be as follows:
iPhone 6 plus:
Thats right No 32GB version this time. You get 64GB for the price you paid for 32GB in the previous versions.
Apple says that the new iPhones will be launched in 115 countries by the end of 2014. No word or pricing info for Indian market yet. Stay tuned.
Google Maps allows us to select a Home and Work location for quick use to determine Directions and for use in Google Now too .
Here’s how to set the location.
PickParcel.com is a new startup which lets you schedule pick up from your home for a shipment you want to send across India. They also offer discounted rates from major courier services in India. The process is simple – You specify where you want to ship from, where you want to ship to and the weight of the parcel. Pickparcel will display various available rates from major courier services which service that sector. They divide the rates into sections based on shipping speeds. From here, you can make a choice and fill in the remaining details & schedule a free pickup of the shipment from your home/office.
The concept is not new and there have been sites which have offered this service in the past. Most courier companies are beginning to offer scheduling of home pick up through their websites. However, it is very difficult to compare the rates from different vendors for various shipping speeds. This is where pickparcel offers the most value to consumers. The business model probably relies on having bulk shipment deals set up with the courier companies with considerably lower rates than a standard shipment from the outlet. Even after including their profit margin, if pickparcel is able to offer home pick up at no additional cost, it should have a sustainable business model.
Mega online retailer Flipkart has launched an Android tablet in India. Launched under the Flipkart owned Digiflip Pro brand, the XT712 tablet, priced at INR 9,999 comes in two colors – black & white and offers comparable specs to tablets fro HP, Lenovo & Samsung. Here is a quick list of the tablet’s configuration:
Flipkart is offering the following offers in order to promote the tablet’s sale in India:
The tablet seems like a good alternative to people looking for an affordable stock Android tablet. However, be aware that this tablet comes with Android Jellybean 4.2.2 which is super outdated (introduced in Feb 2013). Furthermore, the discount offers seem to have a big catch and might not be useful for most customers.
Premium on call cab service Uber has launched its (relatively) cheaper service Uber X in 3 cities in India. The service is available in New Delhi, Bangalore & Hyderabad and offers a cheaper alternative with the same benefits that the Uber black service offers. The only noticeable difference is the type of car that you will ride in. While Uber black offers a premium fleet of cars, Uber X uses economy to premium economy cars. Here is the rate for Uber X in India:
start with this fare
time taken in minutes
|Minimum Fare||INR 150|
And here are some sample fares:
|Safdarjung Enclave to Khan Market||INR 181 – 213|
|Vasant Vihar to Cyber City||INR 343 – 395|
|Airport Terminal 3 to New Friends Colony||INR 531 – 612|
*Actual fares may vary due to traffic, weather, and other factors.
As you can see, Uber X is considerable cheaper than Uber black and should be a nice option for a more broader target audience. In order to book an Uber, you will need the Uber app.
[via Uber Blog]
NextBigWhat is reporting that IRCTC seem to have improved its site’s performance making it usable during peak ticketing hours. They seem to have added servers and/or optimized the site’s software performance in order to give a smoother ticketing experience to users during peak hours.
The site seems to have gone lightweight in UI design thereby reducing the load times of the web pages. Given that the site is a transactional site which needs to be secure & efficient enough to handle millions of hits during peak hours, any optimization & hardware upgrade needs to be thoroughly tested before deployment. IRCTC made an announcement about this improvement last year.
This change should help a lot of users to book tickets (relatively) faster during peak hours.