iPhone 7 Predicted to Adopt Lightning Headphones Without Noise-Canceling Capabilities

Apple is likely to wait until 2017 and the „iPhone 7s“ to introduce noise-canceling headphones, according to a Barclays analyst report posted today. In the report, analysts Blayne Curtis and Christopher Hemmelgarn believe that 2016’s iPhone 7 will include a Lightning-equipped headphone accessory, with the „potential“ for a dynamic noise-canceling system to be introduced next year.

The analysts believe Apple will use a basic digital codec in 2016, allowing the company to introduce Lightning-connected headphones later in the year. This move will prepare Apple for the possibility of including Cirrus Logic’s (an Apple audio supplier) more advanced noise-cancellation smart codec in 2017, which requires a digital codec to be installed in the first place.

We still believe there is potential for AAPL to add ANC in the IP7S but believe AAPL is including just the digital headphone in the IP7 this year. Recent speculation surrounding the elimination of the headphone jack in the IP7 is consistent with this move as AAPL will need to provide a digital headset inbox but likely was not willing to spend the extra cost for the ANC functionality.

Rumors surrounding the exclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 began earlier in the year, although it was unclear whether the accessory would ship in the box or be sold as a separate purchase under the Beats by Dre brand. According to the analysts in today’s report, the 3.5mm headphone jack will be replaced by another speaker thanks to an additional amp also provided by Cirrus Logic.

Other rumors have suggested that Apple is preparing a Bluetooth solution for an upcoming iPhone line, similar in vein to the Bragi Dash headphones, which are finally beginning to ship out to early pre-order customers after over a year of waiting. The headphones would be completely wireless, with two separate pods that require regular charging.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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Apple’s Secret Virtual Reality Project: Everything We Know So Far

Apple is rumored to have a secret research unit with hundreds of employees working on augmented and virtual reality, exploring ways the emerging technologies could be used in future products. One product said to be under development is a virtual reality headset, and Apple has reportedly created several prototypes.

Read more about Apple’s AR/VR work in our full Virtual Reality Roundup.
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Homemade Robot Masters iPhone Game and Voice Dictation

A new video by YouTube user Junya Sakamoto posted over the weekend shows off a homemade robot, created by Sakamoto, that masters the trickiest stages of popular mobile game Puzzles and Dragons (via Kotaku). The four minute video uploaded to Sakamoto’s self-titled YouTube channel details the initial creation and design of the robot to the final, tangible realization of the iPhone game-beating device.

Puzzles and Dragons requires users to match colored orbs to defeat monsters, with patterns that get increasingly tricky the further the game progresses. Connected to a laptop, the robot analyzes and predicts the best moves possible in the current level, resulting in high-scoring combos that would be extremely difficult for the game’s players to naturally achieve.

In an earlier video (the first of only two on Sakamoto’s channel), the robot’s creator uses an attached microphone to dictate commands to the device and navigate the iPhone without touching it. Using only voice, the robot unlocks the iPhone, transcribes a note, and even plays a piano app.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Neutral)
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Apple Studying Issue With iPhone 6s & 6s Plus Not Updating Battery Percentage

Apple this week posted a new support document addressing an issue some iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users have been experiencing with the battery percentage displayed in the status bar on their displays not updating as the battery drains.

The company notes it is investigating the issue and working on a solution, although it appears to be related to time zone or clock settings. In the meantime, users experiencing the problem are advised to restart their devices and make sure the time is being automatically set in Settings.

If you change the time on your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus manually or change time zones when traveling, you might notice that the battery percentage doesn’t update. Learn what to do.

A fairly lengthy discussion thread in Apple’s discussion forums reveals a number of users running into the problem, dating back nearly to the new models’ launch last September. Many of the users experiencing the issue had been manually adjusting their phones’ clock settings in order to bypass timer-based barriers in certain games, and Apple’s suggestion about ensuring the time is being set automatically indicates the battery issue is indeed likely related to clock settings.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Neutral)
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Apple Introduces New ‘Night Shift’ Feature in iOS 9.3

Apple’s latest beta, iOS 9.3, brings quite a few changes to iOS 9, including a new „Night Shift“ feature. Night Shift is designed to cut down on the amount of blue light an iOS device is putting out during the evening hours, based on studies that have demonstrated that blue light can negatively impact sleep by altering the body’s circadian rhythm.

With Night Shift mode enabled, when the sun goes down, the iPhone’s screen will automatically change towards the warmer (yellower) colors in the spectrum, reducing blue light. In the morning, the display automatically turns to its normal temperature color, mimicking natural daylight.

Many people who use f.lux on the Mac are likely already familiar with the type of visual changes to expect with Night Shift mode. f.lux is an app that has been available for free on the Mac for several years, successfully cutting down on the amount of blue light that users see at night.

In fact, f.lux recently attempted to introduce an iOS app that featured the same functionality, but because it used private APIs, it skirted the App Store by asking users to side-load the app on their devices using Xcode, something Apple asked f.lux to put a stop to shortly after it was released.

At the time, Apple said that asking users to side-load an app violated the Developer Program Agreement, and f.lux was forced to stop providing the app to iOS users. F.lux appealed and asked Apple to allow the necessary APIs for a legitimate App Store app, but it appears Apple was working on its own in-house solution instead.

Night Shift is currently available to developers who have downloaded the iOS 9.3 beta. Today’s beta also includes several other important features, including the ability for an iPhone to connect with more than one Apple Watch and improvements to Apple News, Notes, Health, and CarPlay.

Update: The Night Shift feature appears to be limited to iOS devices that have a 64-bit processor. That includes the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad Air and later, and the iPad mini 2 and later.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
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Apple Seeds First OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan update to developers for testing purposes, just over one month after releasing the second OS X El Capitan update, OS X 10.11.2. OS X 10.11.3 is also in testing and has been provided to developers and public beta testers.

The new OS X 10.11.4 beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center.

It is not known what improvements the fourth update to OS X El Capitan will bring, but like prior updates, it’s likely to focus on security enhancements, performance improvements, and bug fixes to address issues have been discovered since the release of OS X 10.11.2 and were not able to be included in the OS X 10.11.3 beta.

We’ll update this post with any changes that are discovered in the beta.

Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan
Tag: OS X 10.11.4
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‘iPhone 6c’ Said to Have Slightly Larger Battery Than iPhone 5s and 2GB of RAM

Apple’s so-called „iPhone 6c“ will have a 1,642 mAh battery, slightly larger than the iPhone 5s battery’s 1,570 mAh capacity, according to Chinese website MyDrivers [Google Translate] (via Gadgetz Arena).

The report, citing „insider Foxconn employees,“ also corroborates multiple rumors claiming the 4-inch iPhone will feature an A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB base storage, Touch ID and the same 2.5d curved glass used on the iPhone 6 and later.

Apple’s suppliers will reportedly begin mass production of the much-rumored smartphone in January ahead of a possible March announcement and subsequent April release. At least five sources have now predicted the „iPhone 6c“ will launch in early 2016 since rumors about the device began circulating this year.

In November, often-reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara reported that Apple has developed a new 4-inch iPhone that is essentially an iPhone 5s with sixth-generation iPod touch features, including an A8 chip, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and an improved FaceTime HD camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture. The „iPhone 6c“ may also come in at least three colors and lack 3D Touch.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6c (2016)
Tag: battery life
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China Mobile Roadmap Claims New 4-Inch iPhone Coming in April 2016

Chinese cellular carrier China Mobile recently held an event discussing its upcoming plans for 2016, in which it hinted at an April 2016 release date for Apple’s rumored 4-inch iPhone, reports MyDrivers [Google Translate] (via Gadgetz Arena).

An April 2016 release date for the device is in line with previous rumors that have suggested it will launch during the first months of 2016. Apple is rumored to be holding a March event where it will introduce a second-generation Apple Watch, and it’s possible the 4-inch iPhone will also be unveiled at that time.

Today’s report from MyDrivers refers to the 4-inch iPhone as the „iPhone 7c,“ but Apple is unlikely to use that nomenclature for a device that launches ahead of the „iPhone 7,“ the name most probable for the 2016 flagship iPhone coming in September. All previous rumors have instead referred to the 4-inch iPhone as the „iPhone 6c.“

The iPhone 6c is rumored to feature an aluminum casing like the iPhone 5s, with at least two to three color options available and a 2.5D curved edge cover glass like the glass used on the iPhone 6 and later. It may also include the same A9 processor used in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, along with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6c (2016)
Tag: China Mobile
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Best Buy Offering Up to $100 Off Apple Watch Today Only in Pre-Black Friday Sale

Best Buy is hosting an early access online-only sale today that includes significant discounts on the Apple Watch and the iPad Air 2 ahead of the traditional Black Friday shopping holiday.

Customers can get $50 off the Apple Watch Sport and $100 off the stainless steel Apple Watch, dropping entry-level prices to $299 and $449, respectively. The discount applies to all Apple Watch models that Best Buy sells and is available online only.

To get the discount, enter the code AWSPORTDEAL when checking out with an Apple Watch Sport or AWDEAL when checking out with the stainless steel Apple Watch.

Best Buy is also offering up to $125 off iPad Air 2 models. The 16 and 64GB iPad Air 2 models can be purchased at a $100 discount when using the promo code IPADAIR2DEAL at checkout, while 128GB models can be purchased at a $125 discount with the promocode IPADSAVE125DEAL.

Best Buy’s Early Access sale will end on 11/24/15 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. That translates to 9:59 p.m. Pacific Time and 12:59 a.m. Eastern Time.

When Black Friday rolls around, Best Buy will be offering additional discounts on the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and a selection of MacBooks. Several other retailers are also offering similar deals, all of which can be found in our dedicated Black Friday roundup.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: Best Buy
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New 4-Inch iPhone Again Predicted to Launch in 2016

IHS Technology research director Kevin Wang, who previously said a new 4-inch iPhone would launch by the end of 2015, has now changed his prediction to mid 2016 on Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo (via GforGames), corroborating information shared by reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Wang did not provide any new details about Apple’s oft-rumored 4-inch iPhone, beyond confirming the smaller screen size, but Kuo recently said the device will „resemble an upgraded iPhone 5s,“ including a metal design with an A9 processor, and launch in the first quarter of 2016.

As there is still demand for a 4-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line. Because the iPhone 5s is more popular than the iPhone 5c, we think Apple is likely to launch an upgraded iPhone 5s. We predict Apple will mass-produce this new 4-inch iPhone in 1H16 with metal casings. In order to make the current iOS 9 or next-generation iOS 10 run smoothly, Apple may adopt an A9 chip for this new phone.

Kuo believes the so-called „iPhone 6c“ will not feature 3D Touch to differentiate it from Apple’s flagship iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Foxconn is expected to be the primary manufacturer of the 4-inch smartphone, with 20-30 million shipments projected through the end of 2016.

Given his recent track record, Wang’s new prediction should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt, but it does corroborate multiple rumors suggesting Apple will release a new 4-inch smartphone in 2016. The so-called „iPhone 6c“ was originally rumored to launch in 2015, but those plans were reportedly scrapped.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6c (2016)
Tags: IHS, Kevin Wang
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