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The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are here

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Apple announced the latest iPhones at its press event on September 9th. The new iPhone are now available for pre-order and will be available in stores on September 25th. Keeping with the tradition of the ’S’ series, they look strikingly similar to their predecessor. Apple says that everything about them have changed. Here are the specs of the new ones:

  • The latest 64 bit A9 chip with embedded M9 co-processor chip making it even more energy efficient.
  • 12 megapixel camera with new iOS capabilities to take live photos – photos that have a small amount of video captured around them.
  • 4K video recording.
  • 5 megapixel FaceTime HD camera with the added capabilities of the screen acting as the flash.
  • Faster Touch ID sensor.
  • Always on Hey Siri.
  • Aircraft grade aluminum body.
  • 3D Touch – a pressure sensitive touchscreen that can be used to interact with the operating system in a whole new way.

Arguably the most touted feature in the new models is 3D touch. Apple is known for implementing things in the right and the most intuitive way. For years, ‘it just works’ has been their USP. While many other have already tried incorporating pressure sensitive touch and UI elements in their devices before, the reason everyone is rejoicing on iPhones offering them means that the others haven’t gotten it right yet.

3D touch enables a whole new layer of interactions with the device. With the main focus on improving the efficiency of our interaction with our devices, 3D touch enables you to peek at content (emails, messages, photos, links) by hard touching (pressing?) on it. Touching harder will open (pop) that content without the need of the previous explicit normal touch. It might sound trivial, but once you get used to it, it will become a second nature and can save a lot of taps and swipes. Another way Apple is using this technology is by offering quick actions when you 3D touch an app’s icon. This gesture opens a customizable menu giving you quick access to the features you might use more often. For example – 3D touching the camera icon may give you options to take a selfie, or record a slow motion video – something which would have otherwise taken you a few taps. It will be really interesting to see what developers are going to do with this new technology. Games are already lined up to take advantage of this.

Here is a video in the god like baritone of Sir Johny Ive explaining the 3D touch technology in the new iPhones:

And here is the new ad Apple made for the iPhone 6S:

You can pre-order the iPhones here: http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-iphone/

How to Fix no Audio Issues with FaceTime Video on iPhone 6

iphone 6 back

If you are making a FaceTime call on your brand new iPhone 6, and the other party is not able to hear you properly, it is quite likely that you have not taken the plastic wrap off the phone. The noise cancellation microphone between the camera and the flash is covered with the plastic wrap on a new iPhone 6. This causes the iPhone’s noise canceling algorithm to malfunction when you make a FaceTime call (or any call with the speakerphone on).
In order to fix this issue, just take the plastic wrap off, or, if you don’t want to take it off until you get a case (totally understandable), use a sharp pin (very carefully) to punch some holes in the plastic wrap over the microphone. This should not obstruct any audio waves from entering the microphone and the noise canceling algorithm can do its magic.

Contract Free iPhone 6 is Factory Unlocked

iphone 6

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.

Apple Launches the iPhone 6

iphone 6

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:

  • 64 bit A8 chip with M8 motion coprocessor
  • 8 megapixel iSight camera with f/2.2 aperture with an advanced auto focussing system called Focus Pixels
  • up to 60 fps 1080p video recording
  • 240 fps slow motion video recording
  • Advanced cinematic video stabilization
  • Apple Pay – Apple’s take on the mobile wallet

iphone 6 and 6 plus

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.

apple pay

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:

  • 16GB: $649
  • 64GB: $749
  • 128GB: $849

iPhone 6 plus:

  • 16GB: $749
  • 64GB: $849
  • 128GB: $949

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.

How to set the Home and Work Location in Google Now Accurately.

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.

  1. Open Google Maps on your Android or iOS device
  2. Click on the “Person” icon on the top right
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  3. You’ll be displayed a screen to enter/edit the Home and Work address
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  4. Long press the Home/Work fields to open the edit page and type in the building name or the complete address.
  5. Select the suggestion provided by Google and Voila! you have selected a Home address..

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Review: Nomad Chargekey for Lightning Devices

nomad logo

All of us have faced a situation where we ran out of battery on our iPhone and looked around for a charger and never found one. At such a time we wonder if there can be a charger that we can always have. There are the two things that we mostly never forget – our wallet and our keys. Nomad has come up with these innovative USB chargers which can fit in your wallet (the chargecard) and in your keychain (the chargekey). Nomad sent us a chargekey to review. Read on to find out how we found it.

Design

nomad chargekey

The chargekey is made of 2 hard plastic parts joined together by a flexible yet robust stem in the middle. One part has a slot which you can use to put it in the keychain. It also houses  the lightning connector which goes in your phone. The other part has a naked USB port which goes into a USB charger or your laptop’s USB port. The flexible stem in the middle makes this product really unique and awesome. The flexible stem is so robust, that no matter what way you bend it, it never snaps!

The design is minimalistic in terms of volume and weight. The chargekey weighs much less that an actual key and will not add any bulk to your keychain. The only issue one might have is with the angled lightning connector which will force you to keep your phone at an angle which is not very ideal for using it simultaneously. Unfortunately, USB port connectors are not reversible. So uou might have to use it on the USB ports to the left of the keyboard on your laptop to keep it at a usable angle.

As far as durability is concerned, this is by far the most durable iPhone charger I have seen till date.

Usage

chargekey in a keyring

I took the chargekey on a trip with me. The trip involved traveling by road and train. During the whole trip, I always had the chargekey on me to be able to charge my phone anywhere. During travel, the phone discharges much faster due to lack of signal strength. I used the chargekey on almost every leg of my journey and at various places that I stayed, and it performed pretty well everywhere.

I even used it with a USB charger on the power sockets provided in the Indian Railways train compartments with my iPhone hanging out. And the bending stem did not give up!

The chargekey is not just a charger. It is a USB 2.0 sync cable as well. Although you will most likely be using it as just a charging device. That is perfectly fine as we seldom sync our iPhones with our computers these days.

Packaging

The packaging of the product impressed me a lot. Nomad has gone really above and beyond to design a super awesome packaging for their products.

nomad packing envelope closed

The product comes in an intelligently designed envelope which is really simple to open.

nomad packing envelope opened

When you open the envelope, you will find the product glued to the envelope using a sticky gel (which does not stick to the product after its removed). You will also find ways to earn free products from them. Nomad also accepts barter as a payment mechanism. So you can actually tell them what you want to barter for any of their products and if they like it, they might make the exchange!

Conclusion

The chargekey is a super useful little tool that will surely give you your money’s worth. Its priced at $29 a piece and if you order two or more of them, you get free international shipping! I found the product to be a very robust item with an intelligent and thought through design.  I will recommend this product to anyone who faces the dire need of a charger and can’t find one in the vicinity. And at $29 a piece, it is very reasonable priced.

Official iPhone 5c and 5s prices in India

iPhone 5s    iPhone 5c

Apple has announced November 1st 2013 as the launch date for its latest iPhone 5c and 5s in India. It is no coincidence that the dates fall in the Diwali week, a time when Indians spend money to buy new stuff every year. They have also announced the official prices for the phones:

  • iPhone 5c 16GB: INR 41,900
  • iPhone 5c 32GB: INR 53,500
  • iPhone 5s 16GB: INR 53,500
  • iPhone 5s 32GB: INR 62,500
  • iPhone 5s 64GB: INR 71,500

We did expect a steep pricing of the iPhones this time given the falling rupee, however, what we do not understand is the huge difference of price with the memory bump. For all the previous iPhones, the difference between the price of 16GB and 32GB was not as much as it is this time. And with the reducing cost of memory chips, it is still unclear why Apple has increased the price difference.

Another thing to note is that the unlocked iPhone 5s is available at the same price as the iPhone 5 in the US. So it is not clear why there is such a huge difference in the price of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s in India, even after considering the import duties. Even if we convert the price of iPhone 5s 16GB ($649) to Indian Rupees, it comes out to be INR 40,000 approx. In our opinion, the taxes and other duties cannot be that much that the price has to be set at INR 53,500. 

Something to feel good about is the fact that the iPhone 5c 16GB is being sold at a lower price than the iPhone 5. Given that it is technically better than the iPhone 5, it clearly shows that making plastic shells for iPhones is a lot cheaper for Apple.

Apple will also continue selling the iPhone 4S 8GB in India at a revised price of INR 31,500. Cases for the iPhone 5S will be available for INR 3,200 and those for the iPhone 5C will be available for INR 2,300.

RCom and Airtel have announced that they will be carrying the new iPhones in India at launch. Airtel has even started pre booking of the phone (in store only).

The iPhone 5C and 5S are here

apple sept 2013 event pic

Apple launched the iPhone 5C and 5S at the relatively small press event on Tuesday 10th September 2013. Here is all you need to know about the new iPhones:

iPhone 5C

For the first time ever, Apple launched two new iPhones. The iPhone 5C (where the ‘C’ stands for color, and not ‘cheap’ that everyone was expecting) is a minor upgrade from the iPhone 5. Its specs are mostly similar with the iPhone 5 except for the following few things:

  • Better face time camera
  • Higher speed LTE support
  • Higher capacity battery
  • Available in 5 colors

iphone 5c colors

The iPhone 5C is, apparently, not the iPhone everyone was expecting. I am not sure why people expect things from Apple, given their insistence on secrecy. There were speculations that the iPhone 5C will be a cheap iPhone. And to a certain extent, they are true. If you look at the specs, you will find out that its actually better than the iPhone 5 in almost every regard (except that its a little heavy & a little bigger). And Apple is asking $99 for the 16GB model (with contract). Which is $100 cheaper than the current price of the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, its not as cheap as everyone was expecting it to be. But the other way to look at it is that its an upgrade of iPhone 5 at half the price. And with the various color choices available, it will surely be enticing for a lot of people.

The price for the unlocked 16GB model is $549 plus taxes.

iPhone 5S

The second phone (and the next flagship device) from Apple is the iPhone 5S. Continuing the tradition, iPhone 5S has upped its predecessor’s specs by leap folds. iPhone 5S is the first ever smartphone to have a 64 bit processor (A7) and operating system. This boosts up the performance of the phone to a whole new level. The phone also sports a new M7 processor which will be dedicated only for monitoring and processing the motion related data for the phone. 

iphone 5s

The big new feature in the 5S is the fingerprint sensor integrated in the home button. Touch ID, as Apple is calling it, will let you unlock your phone, buy stuff from the App Store & iTunes Store just by placing your finger on the home button. Not sure whether the support will be extended to third party apps to authenticate the user given the security concern, but Apple will need a way to figure out how to do it. And I believe that a team in Cupertino is trying to figure that out as you are reading this.

The phone also has an improved camera system with an innovative flash that has two LEDs. The camera is capable of creating a flash tone depending on the lighting condition of the scene you are capturing resulting in better quality pics with close to reality skin tones.

The iPhone 5S is priced starting at $199 for 16GB. $649 for the unlocked 16GB model.

There is no word yet on the India launch dates for these two models. However, judging by the aggressive marketing and promotion campaign Apple ran in India, we can safely assume that Apple has a very serious strategy for India. The pricing, however, is going to be a big challenge for them given the current downfall of the rupee against the dollar. It is reported that Apple is taking a hit on their margins by not increasing price of the iPhone 5 & 4S in India. I think it is critical for them to price the new iPhones in a range which is close to the current pricing of iPhone 5 & 4S. We will keep an eye on the India launch. Stay tuned for more info.

Get an Apple TV Free When You Purchase an iPhone 5 on Infibeam.com

Apple TV free with iPhone 5

Infibeam.com is offering a free Apple TV with the purchase of an iPhone 5 16 GB. This is one of the best deals on Apple hardware we have seen in India. The price of iPhone 5 on Infibeam.com is INR 45,500. The offer is strangely only applicable on the 16 GB iPhone 5 variant.

Apple TV was launched in India a couple of weeks back after the launch of iTunes store in India. It offers HD movies on rent and for purchase with free storage in the cloud at very reasonable prices. You can also use it to access your music in the cloud and watch your photo stream photos on your large screen TV. Apple TV is also an amazing AirPlay device and supports AirPlay mirroring which enables you to mirror your iPhone’s, iPad’s or your Mac’s screen on your large screen TV.

The offer is only valid till the stock lasts. So hurry up! To get this deal, click here.

Cycloramic Lets You Take Panoramic Videos by Automatically Spinning Your iPhone 5

cycloramic app logo

Cycloramic is an innovative app which lets you take handsfree panoramic videos with your iPhone 5. The app works with most iPhone models, however, with iPhone 5, it goes on a special mode where you place your iPhone 5 upright on a level, smooth surface and the app automatically spins the iPhone 5 while taking the video. All handsfree! Its an amazing feat that the developers seem to have achieved by generating custom vibration patterns fine tuned for the iPhone 5. Here is a video of the app in action:

Pretty cool eh? If you have an iPhone 5, you can grab the app from the App Store for ? 55. Please note that the automatic spin mode is only available for the iPhone 5. We hope the developers bring this mode to all the other iPhone models in the future.

[via @shantanugupta]

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