Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Eadicicco’


Apple’s new iPhone update is making the home screen obsolete for me

Apple’s next big software update for iPhones and iPads, iOS 9, is officially launching later today.

Don’t expect a redesign or flashy new features — iOS 9 is about improving the overall software experience on your iPhone.

So that means making Apple’s apps more useful, extending battery life, refining performance and stability, and most importantly: making it easier than ever to find apps and information on your iPhone.

After using an early version of iOS 9, there’s one thing I’ve noticed above anything else — I barely ever navigate to the home screen.

That’s because the new Siri Suggestions screen in iOS 9 has almost everything I need. And the improved search functionality in iOS 9 makes it easy to pull up other bits of information you may need from time to time.

Siri Suggestions is a new feature in iOS 9 that “predicts” who you want to talk to, which apps you want to use, and more. You can access it by swiping to the left of the home screen in iOS 9.

A hub for the apps you use the most

Siri Suggestions is essentially a screen that shows you the apps you used most recently and the people you’ve texted or called most recently. This screen also includes news headlines, suggestions for places to visit nearby, and iOS 9’s revamped search engine.

If you’re like me, and you tend to use the same apps repeatedly throughout the day, you can easily get by without having to look at your home screen.

The apps I store on my home screen usually appear in Siri’s list of options anyway, so over the past day I’ve been gravitating more toward the Suggestions screen since it gives me more information than my home screen does.

If I’m looking up directions, or places to grab coffee nearby, I can access all of that from the Suggestions screen without even having to launch an app.

When you click a link from the Siri Suggestions page or choose an app from that page, there’s also a button that takes you right back to the Suggestions screen. So you don’t even have to hit the home button to exit an app if you opened that app from the Suggestions page.

iOS9Suggestions.PNGLisa Eadicicco

Search and Siri take care of the rest

It’s unrealistic to think you won’t need to use an app that doesn’t appear in Siri’s suggestions. But with the new Search in iOS 9, you’ll find almost anything instantly.

Apple has updated the Search bar so that it’s capable of pulling up apps on your phone, apps in the App Store, content within third-party apps as well as Apple apps, text messages and emails on your phone, contacts stored on your phone, and more.

It can also handle queries without having to launch a web browser, just like Google Now.

Want to know how many ounces are in a gram? You can find that information just by typing it in the Search bar or asking Siri. In the past, the Search engine on your iPhone would provide a web link that you’d have to follow to find the answer.

iOS9Conversion.PNGLisa Eadicicco

The big win for search, though, will be the fact that you can search content within apps in iOS 9. It means you’ll be able to track down really specific bits of information stored on your phone without having to remember which app they’re stored in.

This will only be useful if a lot of third-party developers choose to incorporate this within their apps. But if it works well, it could be a game changer for the iPhone. Apple’s Craig Federighi showed this off on stage by searching for “potato,” which pulled up potato recipes from the third-party recipe app Yummly.

This feature isn’t working in the public beta — or rather, it only works when you type in the word “potato.” I tried typing in other foods such as chicken, avocado, and bacon, and it didn’t pull results from Yummly like I expected. And even when I typed “potato,” it pulled up recipes Yummly’s website rather than the app. That’s likely because the software isn’t finalized yet — I’m expecting this feature to work much better when the final version launches in the fall.

iOS9SearchPotato.PNGLisa Eadicicco

I’ve also noticed that after canceling a search, it takes a little while for the screen to snap back to the Suggestions page. This is also probably because it’s an early version of the software that’s not meant for widespread release yet, so we’ll get a better idea of how it really works in the fall.

Catching up to Android

This combination of showing your recently used apps/contacts with the powerful search in iOS 9 make it incredibly easy to find what you need without going to the home screen.

Apple is catching up to Android in this regard, since Google Now has been able to offer contextual information for quite some time now.

But the home screen is still relevant in Android because you can customize it with whatever you want — whether it’s widgets, the Google Now search bar, sports scores, etc. With iOS, the home screen seems less valuable now that the Siri Suggestions page exists because it only includes apps you use the most.

iOS 9 gives us a more productive iPhone

It’s clear that Siri Suggestions and the revamped search in iOS 9 are designed to help you find information more quickly. But there are other additions that contribute to this as well.

Siri can also search for photos based on time and location, which means you won’t have to scroll through hundreds of photos to find those pictures from your vacation two years ago. There’s a new app switcher that makes it easy to flip between your recently used apps quicker. If you have an iPad Air 2, you can view more than one app at a time without having to exit one app and switch to another. There’s a new power saving mode that Apple says can add up to three hours of extra battery life to your iPhone.

Those are just a few of the subtle yet useful features you’ll find sprinkled throughout iOS 9. If one thing is clear, it’s that Apple focused on making your iPhone and iPad more productive with its latest software update. With iOS 9, you’ll find yourself going to the home screen less often, charging your phone less often, jumping between apps less often, digging through the settings menu less often, and sifting through your massive photo library less often. That’s because Siri, search, and other small tweaks make it easier to find what you need faster.

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Apple is about to hold the biggest event it’s had in years — here’s what to expect

tim cookMarcio Jose Sanchez/APApple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Watch , which he is wearing on his wrist, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

On Sept. 9, Apple is holding an event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, where it will presumably unveil its new flagship iPhone as it has done in years past.

It’s an announcement we’ve been expecting for months; Apple has held press events to introduce its newest smartphone to the world every September since 2012.

But what makes this event different is that analysts and industry watchers are expecting the company to talk about more than just its new iPhones and the updated software that’s launching for it soon.

Next week, there’s a chance we’ll hear about a handful of new devices that give us an idea of what Apple’s product road map will look like for the rest of the year.

Some of these will likely be incremental updates to Apple’s existing products, while others will represent new categories for the company. Apple teased its event with an invitation that reads, “Hey Siri, give us a hint,” hinting that its virtual voice-activated assistant will play a big role in what we’re going to see on stage.

Based on media reports and predictions from analysts, here’s a look at what to expect.

The new iPhone

iPhone6Sand6Unbox TherapyA reportedly leaked photo of the new iPhone 6s’ shell alongside the current iPhone (not affiliated with Apple).

Apple’s new iPhone will undoubtedly be the headlining announcement at this event. The company is said to be announcing two new iPhones on Wednesday, which may be called the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. The 6S will likely have a 4.7-inch screen while the 6S Plus will probably be larger at 5.5 inches like the iPhone 6 Plus.

A pressure sensitive screen

The biggest improvement will be the addition of Force Touch to the iPhone’s screen. This is Apple’s pressure sensitivity technology that the company debuted in the Apple Watch and its new MacBooks. It’s probably going to work differently in the iPhone, as 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman recently reported.

Force Touch on the iPhone will be more about shortcuts since its screen is much larger than that of the Apple Watch. Some analysts have expressed skepticism on whether or not Force Touch will be enough of a draw to motivate consumers to upgrade.

A new camera

The other big addition that’s supposedly coming to the new iPhone is a much better camera. The main camera is expected to come with a 12-megapixel sensor and a five element lens, which we reported last month. A 12-megapixel camera would be a big jump from the current iPhone’s 8-megapixel camera.

It essentially means the next iPhone will come with a sensor that’s capable of taking in more light, which means image quality will get better. Reports have also said the new iPhone will be capable of shooting 4K video.The front-facing camera is getting some improvements too. It’ll have a 5-megapixel sensor rather than a 1.2-megapixel sensor, according to the usually accurate KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and it’ll likely have a flash.

Other stuff

Other general additions we may see in the new iPhone include a faster processor and a new rose gold color option. Apple is also said to be using the same aluminum it uses for the Apple Watch Sport for the casing of its next iPhone, which will make it more durable.

Apple will also probably talk about when its next major software update for the iPhone will be released. Apple unveiled iOS 9 in June, but it usually waits until it reveals the new iPhone to say exactly when the update will launch.

A refreshed Apple TV

AppleTVJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple hasn’t updated the Apple TV in years, but it sounds like the company is going to announce a new model next week. The most important changes will reportedly include a new design, faster components, a revamped remote control that includes a touch pad as well as physical buttons, heavy Siri integration, its own App Store, and support for gaming.

The software is said to look a lot like iOS 9, which means navigating the Apple TV will feel a bit more like using your iPhone. Gurman notes that Siri will be the primary way you interact with the Apple TV. There will reportedly be a button on the new Apple TV remote that launches a microphone for voice commands.

There’s also some speculation that the new Apple TV will have a passive listening feature similar to the Amazon Echo, as Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster points out. This means you might be able to activate Siri to execute a command by simply saying “Hey Siri” rather than pressing a button.

Based on reports, it sounds like Apple is going to position its new set-top box as a multimedia entertainment center for your living room rather than as just a streaming device. For instance, one report from Gurman says Apple is going to make sure the box is compatible with Bluetooth gaming controllers. This hints that you’ll be able to download games directly from an app store onto the streaming set-top box.

The Apple TV’s new capabilities will come at a price. The new device is reportedly going to cost $149, compared to the current model’s $69 price.

Siri will be a focus point

wwdc ios 9 siri suggestionsScreenshot

As the event’s invitation suggests, we’re probably going to be hearing a lot about Siri at Apple’s event. Siri is expected to be a big part of the Apple TV. Munster, for instance, thinks that you may be able to use it to control any device you have in your home that are running on Apple’s HomeKit framework.

Beyond the new Apple TV, Apple has made it clear that Siri is a big part of the iPhone’s future as well. One of the most notable additions to come with iOS 9, for instance, is Apple’s new version of Siri, which can offer up suggestions about who you want to contact, places nearby that you might want to visit, and more.

We’re bound to hear more about how Siri ties into Apple’s products in new ways at the event.

Apple’s super-sized iPad and a new iPad mini

iPadPro12Martin HajekA concept of what the new iPad Pro could look like (not affiliated with Apple)

Here’s one way Apple’s September event may be different than those in years past: the company may introduce new iPads. Usually, Apple holds a second event in October to take the wraps off its new tablets, but Gurman reports that it’s going to happen in September this year.

Specifically, Apple will reportedly unveil its much-rumored iPad Pro and a new version of the iPad mini. The iPad Pro is expected to be Apple’s biggest iPad yet — reports have suggested that it will come with a 12.9-inch screen with Force Touch compared to the current iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. Apple seems to be tackling the enterprise and productivity-focused crowd, as Gurman reports that Apple is making its own stylus and keyboard for it too.

Although Steve Jobs famously hated the idea of using a stylus with a tablet, Apple has tested multiple prototypes for a stylus designed to work with the iPad, as we reported last month. Apple has also been testing its larger iPad since as far back as 2012, we also reported in July.

If Apple does unveil a larger iPad, we can probably expect to see some of Apple’s enterprise partners on stage to showcase how its apps will work on the larger tablet.

The new iPad mini, comparatively, is expected to have a thinner design than the current model and updated internal components.

Some Apple Watch updates

Apple WatchBusiness Insider / Matt Johnston

We probably won’t see a new Apple Watch model just yet, but Gurman reports that we’ll see new watch bands for the current watch. These will probably include sports bands in new colors, and possibly a new gold casing for the Sport model.

Apple will also likely talk more about its new Apple Watch software: watchOS 2. It brings significant improvements to the watch, including the ability to run apps natively on the device itself. Apple has previously said that the update will launch in the fall, but hasn’t said exactly when. We’re expecting to hear an official launch date at the event.

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Apple has already started making the iPhone 7, report says

Apple has started producing units of its next iPhone, which is rumored to be called the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

The new report notes that Apple has started production early. It also further indicates that Apple’s next iPhone will have a Force Touch display, which is a technology that Apple debuted with the Apple Watch and its new MacBook.

Apple’s Force Touch screen is pressure sensitive, which means that it can also tell how hard you’re pressing in addition to being able to detect where you’re tapping and swiping.

This triggers different features on the device. For example, pressing hard on the Apple Watch’s display pulls up the option to change its watch face.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple’s next iPhone would have a Force Touch screen. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an excellent track record when it comes to making predictions around new Apple products, has said in the past that a Force Touch display would be the iPhone 7’s flagship feature.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, who has also proven to be reliable in the past when it comes to Apple rumors, reported in May that Force Touch is coming to the next iPhone. Bloomberg also says it was reported in 2013 that Apple has been making pressure-sensitive displays for the iPhone.

Bloomberg also reiterates some rumors we’ve heard about Apple’s next iPhone so far — namely that it will come in 4.7- and 5.5-inch size options again and that its design isn’t expected to change very much compared to the iPhone 6.

Other than Force Touch, Apple is expected to make some major improvements to the iPhone’s camera by upping the sensor to 12 megapixels rather than eight, previous reports have indicated.

If Apple has already started producing units of its next iPhone, it could mean the company is on track for a September launch. For the past several years, Apple has unveiled its new iPhone in September and its new iPads in October. We’ll have to wait until the fall to see exactly what Apple has in store.

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Everything we know about Apple’s next big iPhone update, iOS 9

iphone 6 and 6 plusJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Next week, Apple will tell us about its next big update for the iPhone and iPad.

Every year at its Worldwide Developer Conference, the company reveals all of the new features its planning to bring to iOS in the fall.

Although Apple hasn’t confirmed anything just yet, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman has spoken to several people familiar with the company’s plans for iOS 9. Here are the biggest additions we’re expecting to see based on his reports.

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21 things you didn’t know your iPhone could do

iphone 6 and 6 plusJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

We’re nearly attached to our iPhones — we use them all day everyday, but you may be surprised to learn there are still a handful of things it can do that you probably didn’t know about.

Some of these features are buried in the Settings menu while others are hidden in plain sight.

(Note: Some of these features may only be available in iOS 8 and higher)

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