#SquareCMD Episode Fifty Six: iOS 6 Siri

By brolloh Siri was the star of the iPhone 4S launch and it’s only improved under iOS 6. Siri provides a much deeper experience than previously, some new services even offer the user an ‘app-like’ level of information.
One such service is cinema times at a cinema in your locality, or a specific cinema of your choice.
As always the joy of Siri is it’s conversational style, so no specific commands like other SquareCMD episodes. To find film times at a specific cinema ask Siri something like:
“Show me film times at Cineworld Eastbourne”
for your current locality try:
“Show me film times at the nearest cinema”

Tap on a film to get a plot rundown and the chance to watch a trailer:

Delve even further by tapping on the Rotten Tomatoes review score along the right, you’ll gain access to all of the reviews available for the film, amazing!

More soon!

The post #SquareCMD Episode Fifty Six: iOS 6 Siri appeared first on SQUARE.

Source: SquareCMD


iOS 6 Available to Download

By Alex Brooks Apple’s Maps on iOS 6 | Image courtesy of Apple
Apple has today made the next major update to iOS available to download. iOS 6 which is available for the iPhone 5, 4, 4S, 3GS, iPad 3, 2, and the iPod touch 4th and 5th generation comes just two days ahead of the official release of the iPhone 5. Apple has been testing iOS 6 with developers since after the WWDC 2012 keynote back in June.
iOS 6 is said to pack upwards of 200 hundred new features but as ever Apple has some headline features that make iOS 6 a real update for iPhone and iPad users. iOS 6 shares the same design aesthetics as all previous iOS versions with only minor UI changes here and there. The lack of live updating information on the home screen of iOS is becoming a glaring omission as Android and Windows Phone operating systems continue to offer more and more information at a glance.

As this is not a review (you’re all going to try it anyway so why review it?) I’ll just recap some of Apple’s headline features.
First up is deep Facebook integration which goes hand in hand with Apple’s upcoming 10.8.2 update to Mountain Lion which will see contacts, calendars and notifications more integrated. On iOS 6 the same is true with built in ability to upload photo and video to Facebook from the iOS Photos app , syncing of the Facebook address book to iOS and the same with calendars.
In iOS 6 Apple also expanded previously explored features such a smarter Siri which is now available on iPad that has the ability to check up on sports teams, book restaurants and open apps. Also expanded is Photo Stream which previously just held the recently taken photos from the Camera roll but it is now possible to share these Photo Streams with friends and family so that photos can be shared across many devices but also commented on and liked.
iOS 6 also comes with subtle changes and refinements to apps that have been relatively unchanged since the early days of iOS. The Phone app for example has had some minor UI changes and now the ability to reject an incoming call and immediately reply with a pre-defined text message or to set a reminder to call the person back. Mail also gets some changes with a VIP inbox, and pull to refresh and the ability to insert photos or video from a context menu right in a message. Safari also gets a dose of changes with iCloud tabs synced across all iOS 6 and Mountain Lion devices, full screen landscape mode on the iPhone and now Apple’s Reading List is offline.
iOS 6 and Passbook on Black iPhone 5 | Image courtesy of Apple
Apple also packed some innovation into iOS 6, the most obvious and useful to most will be the new Do Not Disturb mode which allows the silencing of all notifications (including noises or the screen waking up) between set hours or there’s a toggle switch in Settings to switch it on anytime.
Apple has also been touting Passbook heavily which is effectively Apple’s current software solution to NFC. Passbook is basically a repository for all the apps that currently have scannable codes in them such as a Starbucks card to pay for coffee but Apple has taken it further by encouraging airlines to jump on board with scannable boarding passes that change and notify if the gate changes and once in the airport are easily accessible from the lock screen.
One of the most controversial changes comes in the form of Apple’s new Maps which replaces Google Maps as the default on the iPhone. Building on top of years of work Apple is finally deploying its own mapping to all iOS devices with iOS 6 with potentially frustrating effect as the maps pale in comparison to those from Google. Users will also discover that Apple has removed the YouTube app as part of the ongoing separation between Apple and Google.

Source: World of Apple


The iPhone 3GS

By Alex Brooks iPhone 3GS in 2009 running iOS 4 | Image courtesy of Apple
Before and immediately after the release of iOS 6 it seemed like everybody was lamenting on the reasons as to why Apple had decided to continue supporting the iPhone 3GS with iOS 6. That is to say that Apple had made a conscious decision to support a device that does not have a retina display and was released in June 2009 a full three years before iOS 6 arrived on the scene.

Many believed up until this week that Apple had decided to keep iOS 6 support on the 3GS because it would continue manufacturing that device and keep it at the ultra low end of the iPhone pricing spectrum. A view that I also shared.
However we can see from the evidence this week that the iPhone 3GS is gone, Apple has halted manufacturing, halted shipments and the first iPhone with a retina display the iPhone 4 will replace it at the bottom end. That alone is an amazing sentence, a device that only two years ago was absolutely ground breaking is now available for free or very low cost to consumers.
So the question remains: why did Apple go to, what we assume was, a fair amount of effort to support an ageing device no longer being sold?
The answer is: because Apple could, because it wanted to and because it is to the benefit of existing customers.
As to why the original iPad is excluded from the mix remains a mystery.

Source: World of Apple


Apple Announces iPhone 5, Available Sept 21

By Alex Brooks iPhone 5 with new EarPods | Image courtesy of Apple
Apple today announced an unsurprising update to the iPhone. The iPhone 5 as Apple is calling it includes very few surprises following a remarkably detailed series of leaks several months ahead of today’s announcement.
Unlike the iPhone 4S before it the iPhone has had a makeover. The new anodised aluminium body is 18 percent thinner than the 4S and 20 percent lighter. The new carefully manufactured enclosure also returns the prize of the thinnest smartphone in the world back to Apple with the new iPhone 5 measuring just 7.6mm.

The headline feature of the iPhone 5 is the new 4-inch display which increases the physical resolution to 1136 x 640, that’s enough room for an extra row of icons. Apple has already adjusted all of its apps to work with the new screen resolution but third-party apps that are yet to take advantage of the changes will not be stretched but simply centred onto the screen with black bars around them. The new display which features in-cell touch touch technology is also thinner and has 44% more colour saturation.
Also included in the iPhone is the same super fast LTE cellular connectivity that came to the iPad earlier this year. Unlike the iPad the iPhone 5 is compatible with far more networks worldwide but in a similar vein to the iPad Apple has managed to engineer a fantastic LTE chipset giving the iPhone excellent battery life. Apple quotes 8 hour browsing time on LTE, the same as it does on 3G.
Also helping along battery life, apart from a physically larger battery is Apple’s new A6 system-on-chip. Featuring a dual-core ARM Cortex A15 the new chip will be noticeably faster than the iPhone 4S. Apple claims the new A6 SoC brings 2x the CPU and 2x the GPU performance. Another great update to the iPhone 5 is that WiFi a/b/g/n are now supported as well as 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, perfect for house holds that previously had dual networks.
Another heavily touted feature of the iPhone 5 which was largely left unrevealed ahead of release is the new front and rear cameras. The rear camera remains at 8MP but has brand new optics and is 25 percent smaller. The new iSight camera in iPhone 5 features a sapphire crystal lens cover. Hardware aside Apple is showing its software prowess again, the iPhone 5 camera includes face detection of up to 10 faces, panorama capture and the ability to take still photos whilst recording 1080p video. Image capture is also significantly faster allowing for rapid snapping.
iOS 6 and Passbook on Black iPhone 5 | Image courtesy of Apple
Maybe the most frustrating change comes in the form of the new Lightning connection on the bottom of the iPhone. Sitting next the headphone jack the new 8-pin connector replaces the near-decade old Dock connector. Touted as a good change by Apple because it is smaller, more durable and can be inserted either way the connector is bound to cause frustrations. Apple is selling an adapter for a whopping $30 which even comes with the caveat “Some 30-pin accessories are not supported.”
Apple’s new iPhone is available to pre-order on Friday September 14 in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK with a release the following Friday, September 21.
Another 22 countries will follow on September 28, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Apple also gave an extensive demo of iOS 6 which the company first showed off at WWDC in June. With very few changes it’s not entirely worth recapping the major features. However Apple did demo the new panorama feature which will also be available on the iPhone 4S, Apple has also made efforts to improve its mapping service but it’s unclear how extensive those efforts have been.
iOS 6 will be available to download for iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch on Wednesday September 19.

Source: World of Apple


iTunes and iPods Get Revamp

By Alex Brooks iPod touch (6th gen) | Image courtesy of Apple
Sharing the stage with the iPhone 5 Apple’s iPods and iTunes were updated in front of the world’s media today. Starting with iTunes Apple’s Eddy Cue announced a whole new version of iTunes on the desktop, version 11, with a major redesign (see it up close). Joswiak also explained how over 60% of music bought off the iTunes store is done through iOS devices so kicked off his section of today’s keynote by announcing a redesign of the iTunes store on iOS.
The changes to the desktop iTunes app are deeper than just the iTunes store which has also had a redesign. iTunes 11, set to land in late-October is much simpler to use and includes iCloud integration for seamless syncing of content between all devices, iCloud also remembers where you are in your favourite movies or TV shows no matter which device you’re viewing on. The new library view makes it easier to view your music, TV shows and movies, allowing you to click on the category of content you want to browse and that’s all you will see. The expandable album view allows you to see track listings for an individual album, while letting you continue to browse your music library. The new search feature searches across your entire iTunes library, including music, movies and TV shows.
Revamped iTunes Store on MacBook Pro (with Retina display), iPad and iPhone 5 | Image courtesy of Apple
One feature I’m personally keen on is called Up Next and is a new way to see what songs are coming up and queue songs or albums you want to hear next.
Apple also took the opportunity to show off the impressive statistics attached to the almost decade old iTunes store. The iTunes store includes 26 million songs, over 700,000 apps, over 190,000 TV episodes and over 45,000 films and is available in 63 countries around the world.
Apple also refreshed some of its iPod lineup in preparation for the upcoming Christmas shopping season. Both the iPod nano and iPod touch got major updates whilst the iPod shuffle got minor colour changes and the iPod classic remained untouched as with previous years.
The new iPod nano features a 2.5-inch multi-touch display, a small home button, navigation buttons on the side for quick track changing and Bluetooth for wireless transmission of music. The iPod nano is now just 5mm thin and available only in 16GB size in six different colours.
iPod nano is available in October for $149.
iPod nano (7th gen) | Image courtesy of Apple
The iPod touch also got a major revamp. Following in the steps of the iPhone 5 the new touch has a 4-inch retina display and a a 5MP camera with autofocus, support for 1080p video recording with video image stabilisation, face detection and an LED flash, and the new panorama mode. Every new iPod touch comes with a colour-matched iPod touch loop, a clever and convenient wrist strap a perfect accessory for kids.
The new iPod touch is just 6mm thin and weighs 88 grams. Inside Apple has managed to pack in last years A5 SoC but the graphics capabilities of this chip were enough for Apple to spend a considerable portion of the keynote showing off how good a gaming device the iPod touch is.
iPod touch is available in October in five colours in 32GB and 64GB capacities for $299 (£249) and $399 (£329) respectively.

Source: World of Apple


Ahead of Apple’s iPhone Event

By Alex Brooks Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco adorned ahead of Apple’s September 12 Event | Image from Ekkapong T
Today is the day, the venue is set, the press are descending on San Francisco, and the rumour mill is firing on all cylinders but something isn’t right. There’s a sense of disappointment, confusion, despair in the Apple community—in fact even outside of it. The subject is, “if this is the next iPhone, then what’s so special?”
It is this subject that I’ve been throwing around in my head for some weeks now. The rumours are about as set in stone as they can get although they remain rumours; we know what the—potentially named—iPhone 5 will look like, what features it has, what accessories it comes with and possibly whether iPods will be refreshed alongside it (I suspect quietly).

So what’s the headline feature of the new iPhone? Well arguably it’ll be the larger display but that’s the most talked about and discussed feature ahead of the release. This whole situation is very similar to what happened in 2010 with the infamous iPhone 4 left in the bar situation, as I recall Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 by saying “stop me if you’ve already seen this”. Then again he also introduced it as the fourth generation iPhone and touted it’s over 100 new hardware features of which only 8 were discussed.
So how does Tim Cook get up on stage and attempt to wow a world when despite outlining that he would “double down” on product leaks he has seemingly failed. Well the first start would be to not necessarily assume that we know the whole picture, there are clearly some surprises left such what Apple plans to do with the iPhone’s camera and possibly more interesting what it’ll do with software and the camera (think panoramas).
What we can safely say is that Apple loves a strict focus during its events. The theme of today’s event is clearly the iPhone (and only the iPhone) but with largely revealed hardware will Apple try and shed the limelight over another aspect. Rumours have pointed towards a strong focus on Passbook and its early large adoption and possibly major changes to AirPlay which could include direct peer-to-peer streaming between devices.
Whilst the whole premise of disappointment ahead of an event is based on speculation and conjecture one thing we can be assured is that Apple doesn’t corral the press when it doesn’t intend to impress.
Today’s Apple event will kick off today at the following times:
10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
1:00PM – Eastern
2:00PM – Rio de Janeiro
6:00PM – London
7:00PM – Paris
9:00PM – Moscow
2:00AM – Tokyo (Thursday 13th)
3:00AM – Sydney (Thursday 13th)
5:00AM – Auckland (Thursday 13th)

World of Apple will not liveblog the event but some live coverage can be found on the Twitter account or the following sites:
The Loop
The Next Web
The Verge
Ars Technica

World of Apple will offer news and detailed analysis following the completion of the event.

Source: World of Apple


The Next iPhone

By Alex Brooks iPhone lineup including mockup of sixth-generation
It gets to to a certain point in the Apple calendar when the questions, speculation and excitement over a new iPhone tends to become deafening. If you hadn’t noticed we’re firmly in that part of the year but for all the right reasons. It’s less that two weeks until Apple CEO Tim Cook will take to the stage on September 12 and present to the world the new iPhone.

You’ll note a trend in my thinking right from the start and that is how I intend to refer to the latest iPhone from Apple. Unlike most who are running with the iPhone 5 label I’ve instead decided to run with the camp that believe that the sixth generation of the iPhone will simply go by the name iPhone and under Apple’s marketing umbrella as ‘the new iPhone’.
There’s no real need to outline arguments for this, over the past 18 months Apple has been firmly bitten by the damage of the mainstream media and the iPhone 5 name. I could count on fingers and toes the number of people who have told me that the iPhone 4S (the fifth iPhone) “was no iPhone 5″. To solve this problem Apple has demonstrated that it is keen to drop numbering and has done so for the iPad and I have no doubt will do so this month with the iPhone.
Thankfully for the casual Apple observers looking for an “iPhone 5″ they won’t be disappointed this year. No matter what changes under the surface the average consumer clambers for the latest and greatest, especially when it comes to gadgets, and for those who can’t tell the different between an A4 or an A5 or a slightly modified antenna design it all comes down to external appearance. This year’s iPhone will change in appearance and will represent a major leap forward.
Apple is nothing if not a predictable and when it comes to the design of the iPhone the pattern has been clear. Ignoring the anomaly of the original iPhone we can see that Apple enjoys releasing a new look, newly engineered device and then iterating it with an improved model the following year. There may be marginal design changes and sometimes major engineering changes but the package as a whole is an improvement upon the one that came before it. The iPhone 4S was an iteration of the iPhone 4 which leaves us this year with an iPhone with a new look, new innards and new thinking.
But that’s enough of the philosophy what we’re all here for is the run down on what’s going to be in the new iPhone. Apple announced iOS 6 back in June at WWDC so from a software standpoint the majority of major features are covered so I’m going to look at this from a hardware point of view.
A Larger Display
The headline feature of the new iPhone will be a new larger display. It’s not uncommon to see people lugging around a smartphone with a 4- or 5-inch display these days and this has been the trend now for around 15 months. It’s difficult to say whether Apple has been feeling the pressure from these smartphone models but whatever the decision process the new iPhone will feature a marginally larger display. Unlike other manufacturers Apple has instead opted to keep the width of the device identical to that of the iPhone 4/4S and instead increase the height.
Mockup of sixth-generation iPhone in landscape mode
The new iPhone will include a 4.065-inch display up from the current 3.5-inch and will be close to a 16:9 ratio. The screen height will go from just over 3-inches to a little over 3.5 inches. The general consensus is that the 1136 x 640 pixel display, representing an 18% increase in pixels, will be able to show an additional row of icons on the home screen and although no sources have confirmed so it would be logical for apps not ready for the change in screen size to simply be “letterboxed”.
The Exterior
Visually the changes to the screen will be the most obvious difference but there are a large number of external changes that will come with the new iPhone. Changes caused by the change in display will see the top and bottom areas of the front of the iPhone be squished a little with even the home button being reduced marginally in size.
Take a look at the bottom of edge of the iPhone and the next major change will become obvious. First the headphone jack has been moved from the top to the bottom, a decision likely made due to the lack of space up the top end of the phone. The new iPhone will also come with the first redesign to the Dock connector since 2003 when it debuted with the third-generation iPod. The iconic 19-pin thin connector is being replaced with a 9-pin considerably smaller connector. Apart from the benefit of being smaller the new Dock connector is said to be able to be inserted in any direction and may even feature a snap to place feature similar to that of the MagSafe. This space saving with the smaller Dock connector leaves room for the headphone jack and also a larger speaker and more prominent grill.
Bottom view of mockup of sixth-generation iPhone | Image courtesy of The Verge
Taking a look at the back there’s also a major change here. Apple has made a departure away from the gorilla glass back of the iPhone 4 and 4S and instead there is now a brushed aluminium back with a glass header and footer for antenna signal. The changes at the back are actually indicative of a major change in the way in which the iPhone is being manufactured and a departure from the heralded and problematic antenna design of the iPhone 4. In the current iPhone model the antenna band around the outside is key to holding the front and back pieces together, the new iPhone is instead made from a “unibody” (for lack of a better word) rear and the front glass panel is attached to it.
This unibody enclosure with glass ends is just one of the ways in which Apple will make the next iPhone even thinner than the current design. Estimates suggest that the new iPhone will be under 8mm in thickness (compared to 9.3mm for the iPhone 4S) primarily helped along by the unibody enclosure, thinner battery but also the inclusion of in-cell technology in the display. The current iPhone display uses on-cell touch technology which means the display unit is a sandwich design with the touch panel sitting atop the colour filters. With in-cell technology the touch sensors are placed inside the colour filters reducing the thickness of the display unit.
Photo of sixth-generation iPhone rear enclosure
The Silicon
Inside the new iPhone there are also big changes but not major. Much like Apple’s industrial design which cycles every two years the same goes for Apple’s choice of System on Chip (SoC) – that is the package of CPU, GPU and memory. Inside the iPhone 4S is the A4 SoC fabricated by Samsung but it’s not as simple as suspecting that Apple will put the “A6″ inside the new iPhone. Traditionally Apple blazes the path with the iPad, so in early 2011 the iPad 2 included the A5 and then later that year so did the iPhone 4S. But the new iPad (iPad 3) released earlier this year includes the A5X, a modification upon the original A5 which includes a quad-core GPU to push all those pixels on the iPad’s Retina display. The new iPhone doesn’t need that much GPU grunt.
It’s simply not possible to accurately speculate Apple’s move here but a betting man would suggest that Apple will give the new iPhone a SoC chip with a dual-core Cortex A9 processor and a PowerVR SGX 543MP2 GPU with 1GB of RAM all on a 32nm process. It’s this 32nm process that will give battery life benefits and Apple has been testing the 32nm yield with the modified A5 that live inside the 2012 iPad 2 and third-generation Apple TV.
Battery Life
Battery life is another subject up for debate, clearly the methods to increase battery life are to make the battery larger, adjust the chemistry and make other components more energy efficient. With regard to these points Apple is clearly making efforts to shrink other components in the iPhone, possibly to increase the size of the battery. Apple may make use of chemistry changes that Motorola made last year which could see the voltage of the battery increase and finally by making use of 32nm process chips and the latest cellular chips and an improved WiFi stack will create a more energy efficient device.
Cellular connectivity is another area where Apple is going to be touting the new iPhone, with the iPad getting LTE connectivity earlier this year it’s a given that the iPhone will follow suit. Pegged to bring LTE connectivity to the iPhone is Qualcomm’s MDM9x15 (most like MDM9615) which also packs TD-SCDMA support. This world mode cellular chip includes more LTE bands than the chip inside the iPad 3 bringing compatibility to more markets but it’s up to Apple which ones.
Mockup of sixth-generation iPhone with iPhone 4S | Image courtesy of The Verge
The Cameras
The cameras on the new iPhone are one area where the supply chain leaks have failed to come up good. We’ve seen camera modules but it’s almost impossible to tell what kind of sensor, optics, lens are in such a package. The camera in the iPhone 4S was a huge leap from the iPhone 4 with Apple focusing a lot of hardware and software engineering on improving the quality. It’s possible that Apple has done as much as it can do hardware wise, especially considering the thinner enclosure. I would personally expect the camera to stay at 8 megapixels but there might be some optic and sensor tweaks to increase light throughput and sensitivity. The big change will likely be the front facing camera which could take a leaf out of the Mac’s book and jump up to HD quality.
Then there is the perplexing subject of Apple’s relationship with NFC. If this roundup of rumours, knowledge and speculation was being written ahead of the release of the iPhone 4 or even 4S I would have told you that NFC was coming (I probably did). I wouldn’t have been wrong in that assumption, even those with an ear to the ground at Apple have before indicated that NFC is coming to the iPhone. But as AnandTech points out the design of the new iPhone is not conducive to NFC and the ever wise Dalrymple confirms it so.
It’s a bizarre and frustrating move to say the least. Clearly Apple doesn’t believe in the technology as a whole. Before I might have argued that it was the age and price of NFC creating a barrier but that can no longer be the case as my wallet is breaking at the seams with NFC capable credit cards and travel cards. Apple’s solution, whether it is temporary or not is a software one in the form of Passbook but that’s not going to stop the hunger for NFC on the iPhone.
Coming when?
We’ve seen a disturbingly large amount about the new iPhone. The fact is that when you’re trying to manufacturer tens of millions of iPhones across a vast supply chain it is impossible to keep the ship water tight. However don’t be surprised if Apple manages to surprise us anyway.
The new iPhone will be announced on September 12 with a release speculated to be September 21. It is unknown how many countries that initial release will be in or whether they will be pre-order only.

Source: World of Apple