Apple’s first major update for the Apple Watch arrived fashionably late today after being pulled last week due to a critical bug. watchOS 2 was slated to launch September 16 with iOS 9, but the release was delayed to fix a major bug that discovered at the last minute. Apple Watch owners can now download […]
While Apple didn’t discuss AppleCare+ pricing as it unveiled the new iPhone 6s and 6 Plus today at its „Hey Siri“ event, the Cupertino company did unveil new pricing for the service on its website. AppleCare+ for both devices is $129.99 while its service fee is $99.99.
This is an increase from the pricing for iPhone 6 and earlier models, which are priced at $99.99 for AppleCare+ and $79.99 for the service fee. It’s likely the increased prices are due to the new technology in the new devices, which includes a larger Taptic Engine and the brand new 3D Touch, which Apple is billing as the next generation of Multi-Touch display.
Earlier today, Apple also announced the iPhone Upgrade Program, which allows those who sign up to trade-in their current iPhone for a new model after 12 monthly installments are made. The program includes AppleCare+ with each iPhone, which might lure some away from carriers’ contract-free pricing toward Apple’s alternative. iPhone Upgrade Program pricing starts at $32.41 a month for the 16 GB iPhone 6s and goes up to $44.91 a month for the 128 GB iPhone 6s Plus.
Last month, rumors and photos of a battery that looked very similar to an iPhone battery suggested that the iPhone 6s’ battery capacity would be lower than the iPhone 6’s. Today at Apple’s „Hey Siri“ event, a video that showed off 3D Touch revealed the iPhone 6’s battery capacity.
In the video the iPhone 6s is dismantled and viewers can see that the battery is marked „1715 mAh“. This confirms previous rumors, which have said that the iPhone 6s’ battery capacity would be down to 1715 mAh from the iPhone 6’s 1810 mAh.
Rumors also indicated that the iPhone 6s Plus would see its capacity drop down to 2750 mAh from the iPhone 6 Plus’ 2910 mAh. While the iPhone 6s Plus’ true battery capacity is currently unconfirmed, confirmation of a lower capacity will likely come in the next few weeks as the device is subject to teardowns and technical breakdowns.
It’s likely the smaller battery size is due to multiple factors. Despite the smaller battery capacity, Apple’s stated battery life for the iPhone 6s remains the same as for the iPhone 6, indicating battery efficiency has been improved in the new model. Additionally, the new Taptic Engine takes up a significant amount of space that had previously been devoted to battery, meaning the Cupertino company had to cut down the battery size to compensate. Thanks Brandon!
Apple today seeded the fifth watchOS 2 beta to developers for testing purposes, more than two weeks after seeding the fourth watchOS 2 beta and nearly two months after announcing the new operating system update at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.
watchOS 2 requires the iOS 9 beta to be installed and can be downloaded over-the-air using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update. Caution should be used when installing this beta, as downgrading the software on the Apple Watch is not possible without help from Apple [PDF].
watchOS 2 is the first major update to watchOS, the software that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2 introduces several new features that developers can use to improve their Apple Watch apps, including native apps that run on the watch itself instead of the iPhone. The software also allows developers to access the Taptic Engine and other sensors like the heart rate monitor, the microphone, and the accelerometer for the first time.
With the new tools for developers, Apple Watch apps will be more complex and full-featured. Other features in watchOS 2 include new watch faces (photo albums and time-lapse), third-party Complications, Time Travel, and a Nightstand mode that’s activated when the watch is charging, displaying the time.
watchOS 2 is currently only available to registered developers who have also installed iOS 9 on their iPhones. Apple plans to release the software to the public in the fall.
Apple is preparing to offer an in-store pickup option for the Apple Watch in the United States and other launch countries, listing the option as „available soon“ on the Apple Online Store and Apple Store app. The new option remains grayed out on Apple’s website and app, making it unavailable to select, and Apple’s Reserve and Pickup system for the Apple Watch has yet to go live.
To date, Apple Watch orders have been taken exclusively online and shipped via UPS or other couriers to residential or business addresses, but soon customers will gain the option of ordering online and visiting a local Apple retail location for in-store pickup. Customers will be required to present a valid government-issued photo ID upon pickup, and must match the name on the reservation to pick up the product.
Apple originally planned to offer in-store pickup of the Apple Watch as early as April 24, although later decided to take orders exclusively online and ship to home, possibly due to limited supply resulting from faulty Taptic Engines. When in-store pickup for the Apple Watch becomes available, customers will be able to select a nearby Apple Store location of their choice to pick up the product.
Less than a week after the release of the Apple Watch, a few issues with the wrist-worn device have been spotted by early adopters. The first issue involves full sleeve tattoos interfering with the Apple Watch’s heart rare sensor and skin contact registration, while MacRumors forum member Smickers has shared a new video that shows an Apple Watch with a nonfunctioning band locking mechanism.
„So, I took off my jacket Sunday and out of the sleeve comes my SS Apple Watch and drops on the floor and slides for a bit before stopping. Turns out the locking mechanism wasn’t locking the strap,“ writes MacRumors forum member Smickers. „On closer inspection it requires a number of tries, pulling and pushing the strap to get it to lock. It’s just the top strap. One scratched casing, with the glass fine.“
The user claims that after he contacted Apple on Monday to have the Apple Watch replaced through AppleCare, the company requested that he ship the device to Ireland for inspection by an engineering team. Three days later, he allegedly received confirmation from Apple that the Apple Watch was indeed faulty, and the company will be expediting him a brand new device in sealed retail packaging within 24 hours.
Fortunately, this issue does not appear widespread and is only affecting a limited number of users. „I had this same problem when I first received my SS Apple Watch with Milanese Loop,“ said MacRumors forum member Ryxmd. „I had it on my wrist and noticed that the top strap had some movement. I took off the watch and tried to get it to lock in. After 3-4 tries, it finally locked into place.“
It is largely unsurprising that the first-generation Apple Watch has a few isolated issues that Apple will inevitably fix, especially given that the wrist-worn device is Apple’s first new product category since 2010. Yesterday, it was reported that defective Taptic Engines from one of Apple’s suppliers has contributed to Apple Watch supply constraints, but fortunately no faulty devices were shipped to customers.
The Apple Watch has been available in extremely limited quantities since pre-orders for the device launched on April 10, and a new report from The Wall Street Journal sheds some light on why supplies have been low. A key component of the Apple Watch, the Taptic Engine, was made by two separate suppliers, and the devices created by one of Apple’s suppliers was „found to be defective.“
After mass production began in February, reliability testing revealed that some taptic engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., of Shenzhen, China, started to break down over time, the people familiar with the matter said. One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.
Apple was unable to use the Taptic Engines from the supplier in Shenzhen, China, but a those produced by a second supplier in Japan did not have the same issue. The majority of Taptic Engine production is now being done in Japan, but with a single supplier making the component, it takes time for production to ramp up.
To resolve some of the supply constraints on the Apple Watch, Apple is said to be planning to add Foxconn as a second assembler of the Apple Watch, alongside Quanta Computer. Foxconn may begin manufacturing the Apple Watch in late 2015 at the earliest, so according to The Wall Street Journal, it may take several months for Apple Watch supplies to improve significantly.