Switch to AT&T and get $650 per line, second phone free

AT&T wants you! So much so that the carrier is currently offering $650 per line when you switch from Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon and bring your number with you. What’s more, if you buy one of the latest devices, you’ll get a second handset free. Beginning today, if you switch to AT&T and buy a smartphone […]

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


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Japan Display’s Upcoming Touch Screens Feature Slimmer Bezels, Wet Finger Support

Apple supplier Japan Display revealed some details on its second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ LCD modules over the holidays, providing us with a look at some of the ways the display industry is advancing. Japan Display’s „Pixel Eyes“ modules incorporate touch functionality into the display, and in the second-generation model, there are some exciting improvements.

Using a new sensor structure and new materials, Japan Display has managed to decrease the thickness of the bezel, going from 0.8mm to 0.5mm. A deeper black level is available, and the display can accept input with a stylus as narrow as 1mm for finer detail when drawing or writing.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature in the LCD module is its ability to operate with wet fingers. Many current smartphone screens are unable to work accurately under water and when fingers are wet as water is capacitive and confuses the built-in touch sensors.

iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch, for example, don’t respond well to touch with wet fingers or when placed in water, so technology like this could be essential if Apple wants to have a functional display in a device advertised as „waterproof.“ Some iPhone 7 rumors have indicated the next-generation iPhone could be a waterproof device.

In a report earlier this week, The Motley Fool highlighted Japan Display’s second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ technology and the possibility it could be included in the iPhone 7. Volume shipments on the displays will begin during the current quarter, making them available for possible inclusion in the iPhone 7 when Apple begins ramping up production during the summer months.

While Japan Display is one of Apple’s suppliers, it is not entirely clear if Japan Display screens are used in the iPhone and if the second-generation Pixel Eyes display technology will be used in future products. There have been rumors suggesting Apple and Japan Display have partnered up for a $1.7 billion display plant to produce screens for iPhones in 2016, so it’s not out of the question that we’ll see Japan Display screens in the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7s.

Regardless of whether Japan Display’s technology ends up in the iPhone, the advancements made by the company serve as an interesting glimpse at features that could be adopted more widely by the display industry in the future, eventually making their way into Apple’s devices.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Japan Display Inc
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AT&T Expands ‘Buy One Get One Free’ iPhone Deal to New Customers

AT&T has announced that its „Buy One Get One Free“ promotion for iPhones and select other smartphones is now available again for both new and existing customers.

The limited time offer requires both smartphones to be purchased on AT&T Next with a qualifying plan. The first device can be a new line or an upgrade, while the second device must be a new line and purchased on AT&T Next 24.

After three bill cycles or less, AT&T said customers will start to receive up to $650 in bill credits spread out over 30 monthly payments. The first payment will be a lump sum of any AT&T Next payments to that date. Tax is still due on both smartphones, which must be from the same manufacturer, upon purchase.

Last month, T-Mobile announced a similar „BOGO“ promotion that offers qualifying Simple Choice customers half off all iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, or any iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with the purchase of another iPhone of equal or greater value. The savings are applied instantly at the point of sale.

Tag: AT&T
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Apple Seeds Third Beta of iOS 9.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second iOS 9.3 beta and two months after the public release of iOS 9.2. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11.

The third iOS 9.3 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the iOS section of the Apple Developer Center.

As a major .1 update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new features. There’s a Night Shift mode to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPad or iPhone display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum, and there are several features designed to improve the iPad for Education program, such as multi-user login.

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Multiple apps and features are also seeing updates in iOS 9.3. Apple News includes more personalized recommendations, faster updates, a landscape view on the iPhone, and support for in-line video, while Health includes a new Apple Watch-style „Activity“ view and Notes has an option to password protect individual entries.

Apple Music for CarPlay offers „New“ and „For You“ sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps offers more information about what’s close by. Paired with watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 is able to support multiple Apple Watches, and for iPhone 6s users, there are new Quick Actions for Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store.

The second iOS 9.3 beta added a Control Center toggle for the Night Shift feature, and new additions in the third iOS 9.3 beta will be listed below.

What’s new in iOS 9.3 beta 3:

Verizon Wi-Fi calling – The third beta of iOS 9.3 adds Wi-Fi calling for Verizon users, allowing them to place calls over a wireless connection when cellular connectivity is poor.

T-Mobile bug fix – Today’s beta includes a carrier update for T-Mobile users, fixing a bug that prevented apps from loading over a cellular connection.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
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Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 2.1, the first major update to the watchOS 2 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2.2 has been in testing since January 11.

The third watchOS 2.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on an iPhone running the iOS 9.3 beta by going to General –> Software update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and each iPhone running iOS 9.3. watchOS 2.2 also includes a revamped look for the built-in Maps app on the Apple Watch with access to the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9 and new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.

There are were no other obvious outward-facing changes introduced in the first two watchOS 2.2 betas aside from the changes to the Maps app, but the update undoubtedly includes under-the-hood performance updates and bug fixes to address issues that have been discovered since the release of watchOS 2.1.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tag: watchOS 2.2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Where is Apple’s 5K Thunderbolt Display?

It is approaching five years since Apple began shipping the Thunderbolt Display in September 2011, leading many to wonder when the monitor will receive a long-anticipated update, if ever.

Apple could have refreshed the Thunderbolt Display with USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 and a tapered iMac-style design as early as 2013, but it has chosen not to do that. The company continues to sell the 2011 27″ model with USB 2.0 and first-generation Thunderbolt ports for $999.

So, what has been the holdup? The answer likely lies in supply chain considerations and connectivity.

4K Thunderbolt Display

Many have been long hoping that Apple would release a 4K Thunderbolt Display, considering that the latest Macs, and most models refreshed since late 2013, can be used with at least one 4K display.

But, typically, standalone Apple displays have shared the same screens as iMacs. Since Apple skipped over a 4K 27″ iMac, Apple would have to source a separate screen to release a 4K Thunderbolt Display, and the product may be too niche for that to be worthwhile.

Meanwhile, with Thunderbolt 3 rolling out this year, it seems unlikely that Apple will bother with a refreshed non-4K Thunderbolt Display in the interim. So, as time goes on, the more likely possibility is that Apple will eventually release a much improved 5K Thunderbolt Display.

5K Thunderbolt Display

5K displays have an incredible 14.7 million pixels, resulting in sharper and crisper images, but they remain expensive. 5K models from Dell and HP retail for between $1,649 and $1,999, while Apple’s all-in-one 5K iMac starts at $1,799, but cannot be used in target display mode.

Apple already sells a 27″ Retina 5K iMac, and its screen could be the basis for a corresponding 5K Thunderbolt Display. The display could share the same 5,120×2,880 resolution, USB Type-C ports for connecting Thunderbolt 3 peripherals and possibly an ultra-thin design like the newest iMacs. But no current Macs could drive such a 5K display over a single cable.

Apple won’t release the first Macs with Intel’s new Skylake chips and Thunderbolt 3 support until later in 2016, and only those models will be able to drive a 5K display at 60Hz over one cable. While that makes a 5K Thunderbolt Display a possibility in 2016, Apple has good reason to wait until at least 2017.

Intel’s Skylake processors, launching in early 2016, and Kaby Lake processors, expected to launch in the first half of 2017, will not be able to drive a 5K Thunderbolt Display over Single-Stream Transport (SST). The underlying issue is that both processor lineups lack support for DisplayPort 1.3. Instead, the display would sync two channels over Multi-Stream Transport (MST), which can cause some performance issues. That means Apple may wait until at least Cannon Lake chipset (which promise SST 5K support) in the second half of 2017, before releasing a 5K Thunderbolt Display.

Because external displays are a relatively small market for Apple, it’s possible Apple never plans to introduce an updated Thunderbolt Display. If a new model is in the company’s plans, Apple will likely wait to introduce a 5K display until 2017 when most Macs can easily support it in order to maximize supply chain efficiency.

If you are interested in exploring third-party 4K displays, read our 4K and 5K Display Buyer’s Guide for Macs.

Related Roundup: Thunderbolt Display
Tag: Thunderbolt Display
Buyer’s Guide: Displays (Don’t Buy)
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Apple Music Now Has Over 10 Million Subscribers After Just 6 Months

Apple Music has surpassed 10 million subscribers across iOS, Mac, PC, Android and Apple TV in just six months, a milestone that took its largest rival Spotify around six years to accomplish, Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Apple Music, which launched in over 100 countries on June 30, 2015, has cemented its position as the world’s second largest streaming music service behind Spotify, which last announced reaching over 20 million paying subscribers and more than 75 million active users three weeks before Apple’s streaming service became available.

Spotify was an early entrant in the streaming music market when it launched in Europe in October 2008. The service did not expand to the U.S. until July 2011 due to lengthy negotiations with major record label companies, and it has since launched in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify also offers a free ad-supported tier with limited features on desktop and mobile.

Music industry analyst Mark Mulligan predicted last month that Apple Music would have 8 million subscribers by the end of 2015, and he expects the service to reach 20 million total users by the end of this year. At that pace, Apple Music could top Spotify as the largest streaming music service by number of subscribers in 2017, assuming that Spotify maintains around its current rate of growth.

Apple has reportedly internally set a goal of reaching 100 million Apple Music subscribers. Tim Cook confirmed 6.5 million paid subscribers last October.

Update: Spotify told Business Insider that it experienced its fastest subscriber growth ever in the second half of 2015, but did not provide an updated subscriber total.

Tags: Spotify, Apple Music
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Apple acquisition rumors sends GoPro stock soaring

Rumors that Apple might acquire portable camera maker GoPro caused a 16 percent increase on the latter company’s stock price yesterday — after GoPro shares had fallen 45 percent in the past few months. While Apple (of course) hasn’t commented on a possible acquisition, a number of Apple analysts have — with FBR’s Dan Ives yesterday arguing that, “We […]

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


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Here’s how Mac and iOS absolutely dominated the enterprise in 2015

Apple didn’t just see a standard year-over-year improvement in the enterprise market in 2015. iPhones, iPads and Macs all saw significant growth and adoption rates over the competition. JAMF Software published its annual survey for 2015 that reveals trends about Apple products and their role in the enterprise. The findings are excellent news for the folks […]

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


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El Capitan 10.11.2 update improves Mac stability and security

Apple has dropped a big new update on Mac users today with the release of OS X El Capitan 10.11.2. This is the second big update for El Capitan since the desktop operating system was made public two months ago. OS X 10.11.2 brings with it a number of stability and security improvements for Mac, […]

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


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