Apple TV dominates streaming, but it makes people sad

A new study puts Apple TV at the top of the streaming-box charts, but it’s faring less well in public perception on social media. Adobe draws data for its quarterly survey, Digital Video Benchmark, from hundreds of apps and billions of online views. And the second chunk of 2015 had some surprises. You can check […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Early tests show iPhone 6s is nearly two times faster than rest of the industry

The iPhone 6s is so fast, not only does it destroy the iPhone 6 in speed tests, it tops the iPad Air 2 and every other Android device on the market, according to some initial benchmarks. Apple’s engineers managed to make some huge GPU improvements on the iPhone 6s thanks to new process technology that […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Inside iOS 9: Under-the-Hood Improvements for Battery Life, Security, and More

In iOS 9, some of the best features are the ones that aren’t readily visible. iOS 9 has several under-the-hood updates that boost battery life, improve security, and cut down on the amount of storage space iOS updates and apps use on iPhones and iPads.

Even disregarding all of the consumer facing features, these quiet improvements make the upgrade to iOS 9 from iOS 8 or iOS 7 well worth it on all supported devices: the iPhone 4s and up, the iPad 2 and up, and all iPad mini models.

Battery Life

With operating system optimizations, Apple is able to eke out an additional hour of battery life on iPhones under normal usage conditions. One of these improvements, for example, pertains to the iPhone’s ambient light and proximity sensor. When the iPhone is placed facedown, it now detects that the screen isn’t visible, so an incoming notification does not light up the screen.

There’s also a new Low Power Mode on the iPhone that can add another three hours of battery life by cutting down on battery-draining features. Low Power Mode turns off automatic Mail fetch, disables background app refresh, disables motion effects, and disables animated wallpapers.

Low Power mode also throttles the performance of the iPhone so it drains less power. Benchmark testing suggests Low Power mode reduces an iPhone’s performance by about 40 percent to cut down on power usage.

Security

iOS 9 prompts users to create 6-digit passcodes instead of 4-digit passcodes for additional security. It’s still possible to create a 4-digit passcode, but Apple recommends a 6-digit code because it adds one million possible combinations instead of 10,000, making a passcode harder to crack. Two-factor authentication support is also enhanced in iOS 9.

Installation Size

With iOS 9, Apple’s cut way down on the installation size, so far less free space is required to download the new update. While iOS required 4.58 GB of space to install, iOS 9 requires only 1.3 GB of space to install, making it more accessible to users who have 16 GB iOS devices.

For devices that still don’t have enough space to install the iOS 9 update, Apple has a new auto app delete/reinstall feature. When attempting to install iOS 9 on a device with insufficient space, there’s a popup that offers to temporarily delete some apps in order to make room for the update. Apps that are deleted are then reinstalled and replaced after the operating system update is completed.

App Thinning

Apps from third-party developers also require less installation space thanks to a feature called App Thinning. With App Thinning, apps can be optimized for specific devices, allowing them to take up less space on iOS devices.

An app for the iPhone doesn’t need all of the iPad assets, so those won’t be downloaded. That means faster installs, faster launch times, and more storage space left for other apps and content.

App Thinning also includes on-demand resources like image and sound files, which can be downloaded only when needed. The imagery for later levels in a game, for example, might not be downloaded until it’s necessary.

Metal

Apps in iOS 9 take advantage of Metal, making more efficient use of the CPU and GPU for faster scrolling, smoother animations, and better performance. Email, messages, web pages, and PDFs all render faster.



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Windows 10 vs. 8.1 vs. 7 Performance Tested, Benchmarked

Microsoft’s latest OS gets the benchmark treatment against Windows 8.1 and the beloved Windows 7. Benchmarks include boot up/shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and more. Read more…

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iOS Proves Much More Popular Than Android for Black Friday Shopping

Though Apple’s iOS market share numbers have fallen behind Android in the past year, the platform still leads for Black Friday shopping.

According to research from IBM Benchmark, iOS users spent an average of $127.92 per order on Black Friday, versus an average of $105.20 per order for Android users.

Further, purchases from iOS devices accounted for 18.1 percent of all online sales tracked, while Android only represented 3.5 percent.

The data comes from millions of sales from 800 different U.S. retail websites tracked in IBM’s Holiday Benchmark Report.

Separately, a report from Branding Brand (via TechCrunch) found that iOS made up two-thirds of mobile site visits to 152 smartphone-optimized websites.

According Branding Brand, iOS sent 66.62% of mobile site visits on Black Friday, while Android sent just 32.97% of the 9.3 million total visits accounted for across the sample 152 smartphone-optimized websites. These visits produced 174,111 orders, with a $93.20 average order value – an increase of 22.08% in average order value over Black Friday 2012.

Black Friday kicks off the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season, continuing today with Cyber Monday.




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Intel’s Iris Graphics Boost 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro GPU Performance by 50% or More

Apple’s new 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro has seen some impressive performance gains with its new Intel Iris integrated graphics, according to several benchmarking tests performed by Macworld. The site compared both the entry-level and high-end versions of the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro to an early 2013 Ivy Bridge model, which utilizes Intel’s older HD 4000 graphics.

In the Cinebench r15 OpenGL test and the Unigine Valley Benchmark, the new Retina MacBook Pros saw frame rate improvements of 45 to 50 percent, and in the Unigine Heaven Benchmark, gains were even more impressive, at 65 percent.

The GPU gains are in line with performance estimates provided by Intel in May, which suggested Iris graphics offered double or triple the performance of the Ivy Bridge Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Macworld also did several CPU benchmarks, finding an eight percent improvement with MathematicaMark 8 and a five percent gain with Cinebench CPU on the higher-end Retina MacBook Pro. The lower-end model saw just a one percent improvement on both tests over its Ivy Bridge predecessor. These improvements mirror early Geekbench results published earlier this week, which saw minor speed enhancements with the Haswell processors.

Finally, Macworld took a look at the PCIe-based flash storage that was included with the newest Retina MacBook Pros, finding that the higher-end Haswell model with 256 GB of flash storage was 33 percent faster than the older Ivy Bridge model when copying 6 GB of files from one folder to another. The lower-end Retina MacBook Pro didn’t fare quite as well, seeing no speed gains.

To triple-check our findings, we ran Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test on all three 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros and found that the 500GB flash storage in new 2.6GHz model was more than twice as fast in the write test as the 120GB flash storage in the new 2.4GHz system, 710 MBps versus 315.9 MBps.

The read speeds were closer, with the new 2.4GHz’s flash storage reading at 700 MBps and the new 2.6GHz reading at 733.9 MBps. The early 2013 2.6GHz Retina system had a write speed of 393.1 MBps, faster than the new 2.4GHz model, and a read speed of 451 MBps, significantly slower than the new low-end model.

Apple’s newest Haswell-based 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros debuted on Tuesday and are currently available from both the online Apple Store and retail locations. Apple offers three different models, at varying price points that start at $1,299.




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Early Graphics Benchmarks Show Significant Boost for iPhone 5s

Following yesterday’s introduction of the iPhone 5s, a new GFXbench result showing partial graphic benchmarking results has appeared revealing significant improvements compared to the iPhone 5 on the Egypt HD 2.5 test (via @nerdtalker and @anexanhume).

A comparison between the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 on the Egypt benchmark show a significant increase in frame rate for the iPhone 5s, with the offscreen 1080p score moving from 29.8 fps to 56.0 fps and the onscreen score improving from 41.1 fps to 53.0 fps.

Comparison of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 graphics benchmarks for Egypt HD 2.5 test
Certainly there are some caveats associated with the benchmark given that it includes only a single test and a need for developers to optimize their apps for the new 64-bit A7 architecture with support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 in the iPhone 5s will undoubtedly yield differing levels of improvement in real-world situations. Still, based on this single snapshot it appears the graphics performance will indeed see a significant improvement in the new device.




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