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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

What to expect from Apple’s iPhone 7 event

With a major iPhone physical redesign expected in 2017, the iPhone 7 may feature just modest changes this year. Will that be enough to keep consumers interested? Read on.

The closer you get to an Apple event, the more accurate the rumors tend to get. We’re now a few days before the event and probably have a pretty good idea what to expect — barring a few surprises — according to reports and analysts.

Let’s go over the new stuff you’re most likely to see on the next-generation iPhone at the September 7 Apple event.

Physical design: The iPhone 7 will not be a major departure from the appearance of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s and 5.5-inch 6s Plus. The expected similarity is one of the reasons that the iPhone 7 is being referred to as another interim release, rather than the full redesign typically seen every two years.

Elimination of traditional headphone jack: This expected change has gained steam this week with an apparent leak revealing new Beats headphones due to be announced at the event. Rumors suggest that Apple will debut both new wireless headphones and Beats headphones that use Lightning connectors, according to MacRumors.

Water resistance: The elimination of the headphone jack is also expected to allow improved water resistance and is a key reason for its removal.

New dual-camera: A better camera has become a de rigueur upgrade for any smartphone. In the last few months, dual-sensor cameras (aka, dual cameras) are just beginning to come into vogue on high-end phones. The larger iPhone 7 model could use a dual-camera system similar to Huawei’s P9 smartphone. The dual-cameras produce photos with more detail and perform better in low-light conditions. The camera sensors combine the two images to yield a single, merged photograph, according to a Bloomberg report.

New home button: Apple may replace the current buttons — which must be pressed down into the phone — with a flush, pressure-sensitive button.

Faster processors: It is almost certain that Apple will come out with a new generation of faster processors, most likely called the A10 processor, as follow-on to the current A9 chip.

So far, analysts are not overly impressed by the expected changes to Apple’s flagship device.

“As much as the updates are solid moves forward they sound fairly mundane,” Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm Conlumino, told FoxNews.com. “That said, there will likely be more interest in the new phone if only because consumers with iPhone 5 or 5s models who feel it is time to trade up. However, this isn’t a replacement for the demand created by a phone which represents a real step forward.”

Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at market researcher IDC, agrees. “The minor changes and the major refresh expected in 2017 are partly the reason we forecast a decline for the iPhone in 2016,” Ubrani told Foxnews.com.

IDC published a forecast on Thursday that reinforced this outlook for Apple — though the report added: “IDC does expect a rebound in 2017 and beyond as iPhones reach nearly a quarter billion units in 2020.”

And what about the most-talked-about change, the elimination of the venerable headphone jack? “Apple’s rumored decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack will dramatically improve audio quality,” Rene Oehlerking, CMO at headphone maker Jaybird, told Foxnews.com. “Replacing the 50-year-old analog technology allows you to listen to digital music in its purest form and, along with the upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 release, paves the way for a massive leap in wireless adoption.”

Other expected announcements on September 7 include a new Apple Watch with GPS, a faster processor, and better health and fitness tracking. A new iOS 10 operating system is also expected, as is the latest operating system for Macs, called macOS Sierra.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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Wildly Popular Messaging Apps Are Becoming Immersive Mobile Platforms In Their Own Right

Messaging_MAUs

BII

Messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are huge and getting bigger.BI Intelligence‘s data shows that WeChat, LINE, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are all growing their user numbers in 2014 at a quarterly rate of 15% or higher.

Like social networks before them, these apps are becoming the hubs for everything global smartphone audiences do on mobile. Messaging apps help people connect with one another, share photos, video chat, and increasingly engage in activities that earn significant revenue for the apps, including playing games, buying digital goods, and even shopping offline.

User sessions for messaging and social apps increased 203% in 2013, according to Flurry. That’s about twice as fast as the increase in sessions for all types of apps, which was 115% for the year.

A recent report from BI Intelligence takes a deep dive into the messaging wars. The report contains our exclusive estimates for monthly active users for all the top global messaging platforms — including some like Snapchat and LINE, which do not release MAU numbers. In the report, we describe the similarities and differences between 15 messaging apps and include a case study of Japan-based LINE as an example of how this category can monetize and drive hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today>>

Here are some of the top insights on the mobile messaging wars:

The report is full of charts and data that can be easily downloaded and put to use.

In full, the report:

For full access to all BI Intelligence’s charts, analysis, and daily briefings on the digital media industry, get started with a free trial.

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This Could Be The Most Detailed Look Yet At iOS 8, Apple’s Next Major iPhone Update

The next version of iOS is expected to usher in a significant overhaul to Apple’s mobile ecosystem that include new fitness-focused features, improved iCloud integration and some tweaks to Apple’s native apps.

Previous reports have provided some insight as to the types of changes we may see in iOS 8, but Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac has just shared a slew of new details.

Apple is referring to iOS 8 by the internal codename Okemo, according to Gurman. The change will largely focus on updates to existing apps rather than refreshing the software’s appearance. It could be the iOS update that brings Apple Maps up to par with Google Maps, 9to5Mac reports. The updated Apple Maps app in iOS 8 will feature clearer labeling and improved notating of bus stops and public transportation stations.

As Gurman reported in the past, the improved Apple Maps will come with support for public transportation directions and will utilize more-reliable data. It sounds as if Apple plans to address many of the primary criticisms that have plagued its transportation app since it launched with iOS 6.

 

Iphone 5 Apple Maps

REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

 

 

Apple is also reportedly considering breaking iTunes Radio off into its own separate app as part of its iOS 8 update. iTunes Radio is currently a tab in Apple’s existing iTunes app, but separating it into its own app could help it to compete with the likes of Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services.

A less noticeable but still noteworthy addition to iOS 8 could be support for voice-over-LTE-support. Gurman writes that “carrier sources” have told him the next generation of iOS will be able to process calls over the same network in which data travels. Typically, if your phone is receiving a 4G LTE signal, it will process the call over 3G. Essentially, this means call quality may improve a bit with iOS 8.

Apple may also clean up the notification center in iOS 8. Currently, the drop-down menu divides alerts into Today, All and Missed tabs. The next-generation software could streamline this into just the Today view to make for a more simple viewing experience, according to Gurman.

The company is reportedly testing a new version of CarPlay, the feature that lets you run your iPhone through your car’s dashboard, that can connect to your vehicle wirelessly. The current technology requires you to connect via a Lightning dock connector. Speed is expected to improve across the entire operating system, but Gurman specifies that Apple could be testing a system that could enable the camera to snap faster photos.

 

 

Apple is likely to debut the next major update to its iPhone software at its annual World Wide Developers Conference in June. Although WWDC is still about two months away, we’re already getting a clear picture of what to expect from iOS 8.

Previous reports have suggested the iOS 7 successor will come with a new app called Healthbook which can track your steps, count burned calories, and monitor blood sugar among other fitness-focused features. Apple is also expected to tighten iCloud integration with its OS X desktop software by releasing Text Edit and Preview apps for the iPhone. An update to the iPhone’s messaging app could also let you automatically erase message threads. The next iteration of iOS could allow apps to interact with one another, creating a tighter overall user experience. For example, you may be able to automatically share photos to your preferred social networks without having to do so manually if this feature makes it to the final build of iOS 8.

From what we’ve heard, iOS 8 isn’t shaping up to be  radical update like iOS 7, but it will bring a few new and noteworthy tweaks that could improve the experience across Apple’s native apps.  

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The Mobile Payments Rush Is On, And The Winners Will Shape The Future Of Transactions And Commerce
Tony Danova Sep. 24, 2013, 10:15 AM 693 2

PayPal is close to a deal to acquire Braintree, a company that specializes in powering mobile transactions. Meanwhile, Facebook announced that it’s pairing up with payment companies to roll out “Autofill,” which makes it easier for its users to buy things straight from their phones.

Mobile devices are edging closer to fulfilling their long-delayed promise as digital wallets, and tech and financial services players do not want to be left out.

Consumers and merchants are beginning to see the advantage of channeling offline payments through mobile devices, rather than transacting in coins and cash, credit cards — or clunky register systems.

In a new report from BI Intelligence,  we explain the main reasons why mobile payments are poised for takeoff, provide proprietary estimates for the growth and size of the mobile payments market in the years to come, and analyze the specific trends that will help shape the growth in mobile payments, including user concerns around security. We track the demographic and geographic nature of the consumers who will drive the growth, merchant-side adoption, and the mobile payments solutions that will lead the charge.

Here’s a brief overview of the current state of the mobile payments race:

Overall, we’re still in the early stages of mobile payments adoption: As of year-end 2012, only 7.9 million U.S. consumers (less than 90 percent of the total) had adopted a consumer-facing NFC-compatible system like “Google Wallet,” or apps that use QR codes or other methods to generate a payment. But, in-store mobile payments nearly quadrupled last year, card readers are building up real scale, and mobile payments as part of mobile commerce is exploding (PayPal alone processed $14 billion in mobile payments last year).
Increased smartphone penetration in major global countries will help fuel a ton of growth: In Africa, mobile payments have grown as an alternative route of channeling economic activity, since banking infrastructure is poor or nonexistent. In Asia, mobile payments have prospered as a part of a wider smartphone-centric culture that integrates handsets into many facets of everyday economic life and consumer-facing infrastructure. As smartphone penetration increases across the board, so will global mobile payments.
As will large-scale adoption of tablets and smartphones as registers on the merchant side: Many mobile payments solutions for merchants, which transform tablets and even smartphones into registers, still rely on consumer use of physical credit cards. Many mobile payments market estimates miss the fact that small businesses and enterprises are adopting mobile for point-of-sale tools. Merchant-side adoption fuels transaction value growth. The increased convenience, for merchants and consumers, of mobile payments services, which are nearing “convenience parity” with credit cards and cash.
Just how big will mobile payments become? We forecast that, by 2017, the total value of global offline transactions facilitated by mobile devices will reach about $1.5 trillion, up from $120 billion in 2012. In the U.S., transaction value will rise to $244 billion in 2017, from $15 billion last year. The number of mobile payments users globally is set to explode as well. By 2017, the total consumer user-base will climb past the 500 million mark. That will be more than a five-fold increase from the less than 75 million consumers who used mobile payments at year-end 2012.
In full, the special report:

Explains the main reasons why mobile payments are poised for takeoff,
Provides proprietary estimates for the growth and size of the mobile payments market in the years to come
Analyzes the specific trends that will help shape the growth in mobile payments, including user concerns around security, the demographic and geographic nature of the consumers who will drive the growth, merchant side adoption, and the mobile payments solutions that will lead the charge.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-primer-on-the-mobile-payments-market-2013-9#ixzz2fpI0o8qr

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If You Already Have An iPhone 5, Do Not Buy One Of Apple’s New iPhones This Year by Kevin Smith

gold-iphone-5s-4

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple Announces New iPhone 5S That’s Twice As Fast And Has A Fingerprint Sensor

By now you’ve heard that Apple unveiled its newest iPhones yesterday, the 5S and 5C.
The 5S is a faster version of the iPhone 5, which is being discontinued in favor of the colorful iPhone 5C.

If you already have an iPhone 5, you’re probably not considering an upgrade to the 5C. The 5C is essentially the same phone as the iPhone 5, but wrapped in a plastic shell.

I’ve had every iPhone that’s been released since the iPhone 3G, so my first instinct is to automatically want the 5S.

But is it worth it for most people to upgrade every year like I did?

In short, the answer is no.

Physically, the 5S looks exactly like the iPhone 5. The 5S has the same display, nearly identical design, and same screen size as the iPhone 5.

The 5S only separates itself from the 5 with a new gold color, a fingerprint sensor, a faster processor, and a better camera.

The best thing going for the 5S is its new fingerprint sensor, or “Touch ID” as Apple calls it. This new technology lets you use your fingerprint instead of a passcode to unlock your device.

Megapixel-wise the iPhone 5S’s camera is the same as the iPhone 5: 8MP. The difference is that the 5S’s has a better sensor that lets in more light. The flash also has two tones so it will give you more accurate image colors.

Sure, the new camera’s slow-motion feature sounds cool, but there are a ton of apps —Slowpro, for example— that will give you this same ability.

If you have an iPhone 5, you can still update your software to iOS 7, which will give your phone the same look as the 5S along with a ton of the new software features.

For most people, all those new features in the iPhone 5S won’t be enough to justify shelling out the cash for the upgrade. Plus, most carriers only let you upgrade your smartphone at the subsidized price every two years. That means if you have an iPhone 5 but still really want the iPhone 5S, you won’t be able to get it for $199. You’ll likely have to buy it unlocked for at least $650.

Basically, if you are an iPhone 5 owner, it really doesn’t make sense to upgrade unless you are the type of person who always has to have the latest and greatest. You should only upgrade if you have an iPhone 4S or earlier iPhone model.

Plus, there’s a lot to look forward to next year. If Apple follows its pattern, it will introduce a new iPhone with a new design in 2014. And there’s already chatter that next year’s iPhone could have a larger screen.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-5-vs-iphone-5s-2013-9#ixzz2ecgLuUIf

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Article from GigaOm.

Snapchat, the hot startup that allows you to send and receive photos or videos that sort-of-maybe disappear afterward, has raised a $13.5 million Series A funding round led by Benchmark Capital’s Mitch Lasky, putting the company’s valuation at $60 million to $70 million. The company’s growth hasn’t exactly been controversy-free, but has demonstrated the intense interest right now surrounding messaging apps that transcend the basic SMS.

The funding news was first reported by The New York Times and TechCrunch and was confirmed to us by CEO Evan Spiegel on Friday evening. Om Malik reported in December that Snapchat was getting funded by Benchmark, the firm that was also one of the early backers of Instagram.

“People are looking to communicate in a real way,” Lasky told the New York Times on decision to invest.

The Times reported that Snapchat is now seeing 60 million photos or videos sent per day. Snapchat added video to its product in December, when it was seeing 50 million photos sent per day. Facebook has since rolled out Poke, its obvious competitor to the popular startup in December, but it’s unclear that Poke has really challenged Snapchat’s dominance in the disappearing content realm.

Update: On Saturday, Lasky published a blog post explaining that he’s joined the board of Snapchat and believes the company has real staying power among mobile users:

“We believe that Snapchat can become one of the most important mobile companies in the world, and Snapchat’s initial momentum — 60 million shared “snaps” per day, over 5 billion sent through the service to date — supports that belief. Snapchat’s ramp reminded us of another mobile app Benchmark had the good fortune to back at an early stage: Instagram.”

Read more here.

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Article from GigaOm.

Skyfire, which is trying to help carriers tame their runaway mobile data growth, has raised $10 million as it looks to take its data compression service global. The new money, which comes just nine months after raising $8 million from Verizon Ventures , brings Skyfire’s total funding to $41 million and will help Skyfire expand its footprint in Europe and Asia.

New investor Panorama Capital is leading the round with participation from existing investors Verizon Ventures, Matrix Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Skyfire’s Rocket Optimizer provides carriers with a network optimization platform that can produce 60 percent average data savings for videos and 50 percent for images. The company has been deploying Optimizer on the east coast with a Tier 1 carrier, providing video optimization for tens of millions of users. Photo and other multimedia optimization is expected to be added next year, Skyfire CEO Jeff Glueck told me earlier this month.

Glueck didn’t say which US carrier is using Skyfire but it’s a good bet that it’s Verizon. He did say that the US carrier will be rolling out Optimizer across its network early next year.

The big opportunity now is to take the product that’s been tested in the US to carriers in Europe and Asia. The company plans on using its new funding to build up its presence in Eastern Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia and add to its London and Silicon Valley offices. Glueck told me recently that Skyfire works for both 3G and LTE networks and is in trials with six or seven carriers. And in a statement, he said the issue is even more pressing for European carriers, who are seeing 85 percent of their LTE network bandwidth being used up by video.

“Data deluge is crushing mobile operators, straining the user experience, and squeezing operating margins,” said Glueck in a statement. “Our new funding lets Skyfiretake our proven technology in North America to new regions on a global scale.”

Read more here.

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