iOS 9 Files Hint at Front-Facing Camera Improvements With 1080p Video Support and Flash

Code hidden within iOS 9 files hints at upcoming iPhone improvements, suggesting Apple could potentially be planning to introduce a front-facing camera with flash support, the ability to capture 1080p video, and several rear-facing camera capabilities, like Panorama and Slo-Mo modes.

„CAMCaptureCapabilities“ files in iOS 9 discovered by developer Hamza Sood have file names like „[CAMCaptureCapabilities isFront1080p120Supported],“ which seems to refer to the front-facing camera on the iPhone. At the current time, the front-facing „FaceTime“ camera is able to capture 1.2-megapixel photos and record 720p HD video.

There’s no indication that these particular file names reflect Apple’s upcoming plans for the front-facing camera, but it’s possible that these are improvements we may see in the future. The front-facing camera has always lagged behind the rear-facing camera in order to save space, but with the increasing popularity of „selfies,“ Apple may choose to introduce some major upgrades to the front-facing camera in the future.

Rumors have suggested that the rear-facing camera will be gaining some major improvements with the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, so it’s a reasonable assumption that the front-facing camera may also see improvements at the same time. There have been hints suggesting the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus could see the biggest camera jump Apple’s ever introduced, adopting near-DSLR image quality.

Apple did recently acquire a company that specializes in dual-sensor cameras that produce better images and are capable of capturing 3D imagery, but it is not known if that technology will make it into the new iPhones. Apple is expected to introduce the two new devices in the fall, perhaps in mid-September, based on past release timelines.





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Last chance to get the Pay What You Want: Front End Developer Bundle [Deals]

Professional front end web development is important today and it’ll be even more important in the future. That’s why Cult of Mac Deals is pleased to offer the Pay What You Want: Front End Developer Bundle, 7 elite web design courses…Read more ›



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Hands-On With Olloclip’s New 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus [iOS Blog]

Back in October, Olloclip announced a new 4-in-1 Photo Lens designed to fit the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus. While it was available for pre-order at the time, the new lens has now begun shipping out to customers and will arrive in stores shortly, ahead of the Black Friday shopping holiday.

Like its previous products, Olloclip’s 4-in-1 Photo Lens adds four lens attachments to the iPhone’s camera, offering two lenses that extend the field of view – wide angle and fisheye – and two that capture up-close macro shots.

The new Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens is the company’s most unique product offering to date, as it is the first Olloclip lens that is able to work with both the front and rear-facing cameras. Previous Olloclip lenses designed for earlier iPhones were only functional with the rear camera or front camera, but with the growing focus on selfies, Olloclip opted to make its new product more versatile.

What’s in the Box

Included in the box is one Olloclip 4-in1 Photo Lens attachment with fisheye, wide-angle, 10x macro, and 15x macro lenses, plus accessories like three interchangeable carrying clips, lens caps, a carrying pouch, two removable inserts to fit either the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus, and a lanyard for carrying the 4-in-1 Photo Lens when not in use.

Design

While the body of the lens attachment is made of plastic, the lenses themselves are high quality and constructed from aluminum and glass. The 4-in-1 Photo Lens uses a dual lens design, with one lens that fits over the rear camera and one that fits over the front camera. As with all Olloclip lenses, the new 4-in-1 Photo Lens can only be used with a bare iPhone as it cannot fit over a case.

There are two separate plastic inserts, one for the iPhone 6 and one for the iPhone 6 Plus. The Olloclip comes with the iPhone 6 insert installed, so iPhone 6 Plus users will need to slide out the existing plastic insert to attach the one designed for the iPhone 6 Plus. The 4-in-1 Photo Lens needs two separate inserts to ensure a good fit, as the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick while the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1mm thick.

Once the insert is installed, attaching the lens to an iPhone is simple and quick, with Olloclip’s instructions directing users to slide the attachment over the protruding rear-facing camera. The lens slides on easily over the protruding lens of the iPhone and locks into place due to cutouts in the plastic.

On the iPhone 6, when the rear-facing lens is installed over the rear camera, the front-facing lens covers the front camera as well, allowing the Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens to be used in either direction. On the iPhone 6 Plus, the sizing is somewhat different, so switching between the front-facing and rear-facing Olloclip lenses requires some slight repositioning of the accessory.

The 4-in-1 Photo Lens must be tilted to the left slightly to accurately fit over the front-facing camera iPhone 6 Plus camera, and tilted back to the right to fit over the rear-facing camera. Because of the need to reposition, it can sometimes take a few seconds of adjusting get a solid fit that will result in clear images.

Lenses

Olloclip’s 4-in-1 Photo Lens comes with a fisheye lens for creating wide-angle fisheye photos, a wide-angle lens that extends the field of view for capturing landscapes, and two macro lenses at 10x and 15x.

Because of its dual-camera design, the Photo Lens has a 10x macro lens at one end and a 15x macro lens at the other end, which are converted into a wide-angle and fisheye lenses, respectively, when additional lens attachments are screwed on.

Like all of Olloclip’s products, each of the four lenses produces crisp photos that are as clear as the photos that come from the standard iPhone camera. The 10x and 15x macro lenses are useful for taking ultra close shots of small objects, with the 15x version naturally producing more magnification. The two macro lenses are really only useful on the rear-facing camera, however, as the lens needs to be very close to the subject to capture a clear image.

The wide-angle lens and the fisheye lens can be used with both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras, and when used on the front-facing camera for selfies, both greatly extend the field of view to allow more of a subject’s surroundings into the image. The fisheye produces the standard fisheye distortion making it useful for stylized images, while the wide-angle simply extends the field of view. Capturing a group photo with the front-facing camera is much easier with the Olloclip attached, for example.

On the rear-facing cameras, the two lenses function in the same way, extending the field of view of the existing iPhone camera. The wide-angle lens can allow the iPhone to capture much more of a landscape, while the fisheye offers a complete 180 degree field of view.

Image Examples

Raspberry macro at 10x on left, at 15x on right

Field of view without wide-angle lens on left, with wide-angle lens on right

Fisheye lens, indoor on left, outdoor on right

Accessories

In addition to allowing the accessory to fit over both the front and rear cameras of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the new Olloclip’s lengthwise design also improves its portability. Olloclip ships the accessory with three carrying clips, which let the 4-in-1 Photo Lens to be attached to a lanyard, a set of keys, a backpack, and more whenever it’s not in use.

The carrying clips snap right into the 4-in-1 Photo Lens, and when capturing a photo, it’s a simple process to snap out the carrying clip and attach it to the iPhone. There are also two lens caps to keep the lenses from being scratched, and a small pouch available for storage when using macro capabilities.

How to Buy

The Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens can be purchased from the Olloclip website for $79.99. It’s available in several color combinations, including Silver/Black, Gold/White, Red/Black, Space Gray/Black, and Silver/White.




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Some iPhone 6 Plus Owners Accidentally Bending Their iPhones in Pockets

As highlighted in a few reports shared in the MacRumors forums, a small but growing number of iPhone 6 Plus owners have reportedly bent their phones after carrying the devices in their pockets just days after launch. In one instance, a new iPhone 6 Plus was bent during a day of dancing, dining, and driving to a wedding.

Photo by hanzoh

Yesterday, I left at 10am with the iPhone in my left FRONT pocket of my suit pants. I drove 4 hours to a wedding, which also involved a lot of sitting during dinner etc but also 2-3 hours of dancing. I left at 2am and went to bed, driving home 4 hours back.

So in total, the 6 Plus was about 18 hours in my pocket while sitting mostly.

As I lay it on the coffee table and sat down on the couch to relax from the drive (yes, sitting again ), I saw the reflection of the window in the iPhones slightly distorted.

This potential for bending is of course not unique to the iPhone 6 Plus, with reports of bent iPhone 5 and 5s handsets surfacing in the past few years. As iPhones get thinner and larger, however, storage of the handset in a pocket becomes riskier. Unlike smaller phones that can slide out of the way, pressure points from sitting or bending now have greater potential to cause the longer iPhone to flex in a way that will damage the device.

Photo by DevinPitcher
To prevent bending, iPhone 6 Plus owners may want to remove their iPhones from their pockets before sitting or bending. If a pocket is unavoidable, then customers may want to place their device in a roomier pocket that allows the device to slide out the way. A rigid case may also provide protection from flexing or bending, as well damage from dropping the device.




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iPhone 6 Front Panel, Power Button, and Mute Switch Shown in High-Quality Photos

Following previous photo sets showing an unfinished 4.7-inch iPhone 6 rear shell and assorted other parts in recent weeks, luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page] has shared another set of high-quality photos showing parts from the device. While many of the parts have already been seen, this new set provides our best look yet at some of those, as well as a few new ones.

One photo shows the inside of the front panel and display assembly, with some of the components near the top pulled apart to give a good look at how the digitizer/LCD flex cables and earpiece come together with room for the front camera and proximity/ambient light sensors all packed into one small area of the device.

Several other photos also highlight how the edges of the front panel taper. Those tapered edges should sit essentially flush with the edges of the rounded rear shell, providing for a sleek, nearly seamless look and feel for the iPhone 6.

Also shown are extreme closeups of the power button and mute switch. The silver metal finish of the power button can be easily seen, and Feld & Volk says the volume buttons will be of very similar design and finish. The design of the mute switch is very different from that seen in other recent iPhones, as the new switch appears to pivot slightly on a pair of internal pins while switches on other recent iPhone models have been of a flat slider type. The design change may be due to the iPhone 6 having rounded sides as opposed to the flat sides seen since the iPhone 4.

iPhone 6 power button
iPhone 6 mute switch
Finally, the set includes a high-quality photo of the SIM card tray, again showing the silver metal finish of the part.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at a media event on September 9. The device is expected to come in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes, although it is unclear whether they will launch simultaneously or not. The first wave of launches is likely to come a week or two after the event.




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Possible 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Front Panel Compared to iPhone 5s

As we creep closer to the fall release date of the iPhone 6, component leaks are becoming more frequent. While we originally saw the alleged front panel of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 back in April, 9to5Mac has shared additional photos of the component.

Depicted in both black and white, the front panel in the photos features a slight gloss and somewhat tapered edges, lending credence to both rumors and mockups that have suggested the iPhone 6 will have rounded iPod touch-style corners.

The two front panels in the photos appear to have varying locations for the device’s front camera, and it is unknown why there is a difference between the parts. The white front panel camera hole appears to be centered above the earpiece as it is in the iPhone 5s, with a sensor to the left, but the black front panel’s front-facing camera hole is to the left of the earpiece as it was in the iPhone 4.

The front panel was also compared to the front panel of the iPhone 5s, showing the size differences between the two devices.

In addition to these photos of the 4.7-inch iPhone’s front panel, we have also seen images that depict manufacturing molds, backlight panels, and rear shells, but the latter component may not be from the actual iPhone 6 as a new rumor from Japanese site Nikkei has suggested the finished device may not have the thick antenna breaks that have been depicted on mockups thus far.

Though only the 4.7-inch iPhone front panel has been seen, Apple is expected to be releasing the iPhone 6 in a larger 5.5-inch size as well. It is unknown at this point if the larger iPhone 6 will be released at the same time, as there have been some conflicting reports on its potential launch due to production issues. The most recent rumors indicate a simultaneous release, however.

Both versions of Apple’s iPhone 6 are expected to be thinner and lighter than the existing iPhone 5s, with an A8 processor and various camera improvements. Rumors have suggested the larger iPhone will be positioned as the premium version, offering features like optical image stabilization, a higher storage capacity, and a $100 price increase over the 4.7-inch version.




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First Leaked Display Part from the 5.5-Inch iPhone 6

The first alleged parts from the larger 5.5″ iPhone 6 have been shared by 9to5Mac. The image shows the front and back of an LCD backlight panel that measures ~14 centimeters or ~5.5 inches diagonally.

The site claims this represents a part for the 5.5″ iPhone 6 which has been rumored to be launching later this year. Apple is also expected to produce a 4.7″ model as well.

We’ve already seen some possible part leaks for the 4.7″ model, but this is the first part leak for the 5.5″ model. Reports had originally suggested the 5.5″ model would be released after the initial 4.7″ iPhone launch. More recently, however, we’ve heard that Apple may have solved whatever production challenges they ran into with the 5.5″ model.

Possible parts for the 4.7″ iPhone 6 model that have leaked include the front panel, batteries, rear shell and chassis molds. Meanwhile, the same LCD backlight for the 4.7″ model was photographed in May. For comparison:

Alleged 4.7″ iPhone LCD backlight
The 4.7″ and 5.5″ backlights share a similar design with each other and with the iPhone 5S LCD backlight. The data connector between the 4.7″ and 5.5″ models do seem different, however.




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Nokia Refocusing on HERE Maps Integration for iOS and Android [iOS Blog]

A pair of LinkedIn job listings spotted by Nokia Power User is being interpreted as a sign that Nokia’s HERE mapping and location services may be returning to iOS, but Nokia’s Pino Bonetti points out that the company is simply focused on delivering SDK tools to allow third-party developers to incorporate HERE maps into their apps.

Hi guys, just to clarify, a mobile SDK is not an app. We are providing tools to our partners so that they can build apps with our maps. We already announced this on our blog (HERE Three Sixty) and you can already see some action: Amazon is using our maps in their Kindle Fire, Deutsche Telekom is using our maps for their Arrival Control app on iOS and Android.

With Microsoft having closed its purchase of Nokia’s devices unit late last month, a scaled-down Nokia will need to focus on other areas where it holds a leadership advantage, and HERE is one way Nokia can leverage its NAVTEQ mapping expertise.

As for a standalone HERE app for iOS, it does not appear that Nokia has any public plans to return to the platform. Nokia’s HERE Maps app was previously available to iOS owners, but the app was pulled by Nokia last December due to compatibility problems with iOS 7. The company put the blame for the removal on Apple, claiming that changes in iOS 7 „harm the user experience.“

Nokia’s previous version of HERE Maps for iOS
The job listings seek experienced developers to work on the company’s mobile engineering team as they assist in the building of „advanced location-based services applications for the Android and iOS platforms.“

As an Android / iOS developer you will be a key member of our growing mobile engineering team, developing industry-leading mobile SDKs / applications. This is an experienced position that requires fluency in the latest Java capabilities and improvements in the Android and iOS SDK. The ideal candidate is motivated to explore and deliver the best possible solutions to our customers.

Formerly known as Nokia Maps and Ovi Maps, the HERE service uses the Nokia-owned NAVTEQ mapping database to provide navigation services, transit maps and points-of-interest information. Nokia HERE is one of three business units remaining after Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile devices and services business.

HERE is attempting to gain traction in a crowded iOS marketplace dominated by rival Google Maps, iOS Maps and other third-party apps from Navigon and TomTom. After a rocky start in iOS 6 and some improvements and visual changes in iOS 7, Apple is rumored to be bolstering its Maps application in iOS 8 with new transit information, expanded points of interest, and improved cartography.




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Apple Maintains Narrowing Lead in Tablet Market Share [iOS Blog]

Research firm IDC today published its tablet shipments estimates for the first calendar quarter of 2014, with Apple holding onto its lead in tablet market share. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, the iPad accounts for approximately one third of all global tablets shipped in the first three months of 2014.

Worldwide tablet shipments in 1Q14 in millions of units (Source: IDC)
On a vendor basis, Apple remains the number one manufacturer, but its dominance is starting to slip. iPad shipments declined both quarterly and yearly, causing Apple to lose some ground to rival Samsung, which saw increases in both units shipped and market share.

Apple maintained its lead in the worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 market, shipping 16.4 million units. That’s down from 26.0 million units in the previous quarter and well below its total of 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2013. Despite the contraction, the company saw its share of the market slip only modestly to 32.5%, down from the previous quarter’s share of 33.2%. Samsung once again grew its worldwide share, increasing from 17.2% last quarter to 22.3% this quarter. Samsung continues to work aggressively with carriers to drive tablet shipments through attractively priced smartphone bundles. Rounding out the top five were ASUS (5%), Lenovo (4.1%), and Amazon (1.9%).

Apple’s iPad shipments (red) and share of worldwide tablet shipments (blue) for 2Q11–1Q14 (Source: IDC)
On a platform basis, Android is the leader with a two-thirds share of the market, followed by iOS. Windows market share remains small, but is growing due to popularity of inexpensive, hybrid notebook tablets like the ASUS Transformer T100.

When analyzing these numbers, it is important to note that IDC tracks shipments instead of sales, making it impossible to know how many shipped devices were actually purchased by consumers and how many remain on retail shelves. IDC’s figures also are estimates, as most companies do not release their exact tablet shipment data. Research firms like IDC must rely on supply chain data and calculations from information that is made public by manufacturers to build their estimates.




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