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Apple marks time with iPhone 6s, 6s Plus

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With the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus yesterday, Apple sent a message that it is comfortable with becoming predictable.

Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus was, above all, predictable. Most predictably, they were called “the most advanced iPhones ever”. The phrasing is characteristic of the Tim Cook era at Apple, with each new handset couched in similar terms. Of course, no one would have expected the new iPhones to be less advanced than previous models.

The new devices introduce 3D Touch, which senses force to enable new ways to access features and interact with content. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus feature Retina HD displays  and 7000 series aluminium, the alloy used in the aerospace industry, in metallic finishes that now include rose gold.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also introduce what Apple says is a new approach to photography called Live Photos, bringing still images to life by capturing a moment in motion. It is not very different, however, from features introduced by Samsung, Sony, LG and Huawei in recent years.

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Apple does claim line honours for its own A9 chip, though, which it calls “the most advanced chip ever in a smartphone, delivering faster performance and great battery life”.

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything — 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminium, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12-megapixel iSight and 5-megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and Wi-Fi. Customers are going to love them.”

Despite all these improvements, it is clear that Apple has become comfortable with being predictable, and is in fact marking time between it’s two-yearly release of redesigned phones.

Apple provided the following information on the new phones:

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus introduce new ways to navigate and experience iPhone by sensing pressure to enable new gestures — Peek and Pop — so you can dip in and out of content without losing your place. Press lightly to Peek at a photo, email, web page or other content, and press a little deeper to Pop into the content itself. With Quick Actions, 3D Touch provides shortcuts to the things you do most, so you can send a message or take a selfie with just a simple press from the Home screen.

The world’s most popular camera is even better in the new iPhones with new ways to capture and relive unforgettable moments. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus introduce Live Photos, which go beyond snapshots to capture moments in motion. Live Photos are beautiful 12-megapixel photos that, with just a press, reveal the moments immediately before and after the shot was taken, so you can enjoy a living memory rather than an instant frozen in time.

High-definition video improves with support for 4K — with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, delivering over 8 million pixels — and the expansion of optical image stabilisation to video on iPhone 6s Plus, for taking beautiful videos in lower light. After capturing 4K video, you can edit on your Mac, PC, iPad and with the latest version of iMovie on iPhone, you can even edit two simultaneous streams.

Additional camera advancements include:

• a new state-of-the-art 12-megapixel sensor with advanced pixel technology and Apple-designed image signal processor, for truer colours and sharper, more detailed photos; and

• a new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera and Retina Flash, which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone lighting, for wonderfully bright selfies in low light.

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Advanced Technology

A9, Apple’s third-generation 64-bit chip powers these innovations with 70 percent faster CPU and 90 percent faster GPU performance than the A8, all with gains in energy efficiency for great battery life. The A9 chip and iOS 9 are architected together for optimal performance where it matters most, in real world usage. M9, Apple’s next-generation motion coprocessor, is embedded into A9, allowing more features to run all the time at lower power, including “Hey Siri,” without iPhone needing to be plugged in.

With advanced wireless technologies including faster Wi-Fi and LTE Advanced, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users can browse, download and stream content even faster.¹ The new iPhones also support up to 23 LTE bands — the most in any smartphone — for better worldwide roaming.

iOS 9, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, brings more intelligence to iPhone with proactive assistance, powerful search and improved Siri features, all while protecting users’ privacy. Built-in apps become more powerful with a redesigned Notes app, detailed transit information in Maps, and an all-new News app for the best news reading experience on any mobile device.² The foundation of iOS is even stronger with software updates that require less space to install and advanced security features to further protect your devices.

Pricing & Availability

• iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in gold, silver, space grey and the new rose gold metallic finishes. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. The new iPhones will be available with a range of financing plans and payment options from Apple.com, through select carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers.

• Both models will be available in the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the US beginning Friday, September 25, with pre-orders beginning Saturday, September 12.

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Apple buys Shazam, plans to make it ad-free

Apple has announced it has completed its acquisition of Shazam, one of the world’s most popular music apps, with hundreds of millions of users.

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Apple has announced it has completed its acquisition of Shazam, one of the world’s most popular music apps, with hundreds of millions of users.

“Apple and Shazam have a long history together. Shazam was one of the first apps available when we launched the App Store and has become a favorite app for music fans everywhere,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music. “With a shared love of music and innovation, we are thrilled to bring our teams together to provide users even more great ways to discover, experience and enjoy music.”

Shazam lets users identify songs simply by listening to the music playing around them. The app will soon offer its experience ad-free for all users so everyone can enjoy the best of Shazam without interruption.

Shazam has been downloaded over 1 billion times around the world, and users identify songs using the Shazam app over 20 million times each day. With pioneering innovation in music identification, Shazam helps people discover, interact with and share video, audio or printed content across devices and mediums — and allows music fans to follow their favorite artists and share in the thrill of discovery.

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Cars will run on Android

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Google have announced a technology partnership to embed the Android operating system in vehicles sold by the world’s leading automotive alliance, providing intelligent infotainment and customer focused-applications across multiple models and brands, scheduled to start in 2021. 

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Under the technology partnership, vehicles sold by the Alliance members in many markets will utilize Android, the world’s most popular operating system, and will provide turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps, access to a rich ecosystem of automotive apps on the Google Play Store and have the ability to answer calls and texts, control media, find information, and manage vehicle functions with voice using the built in Google Assistant.

The Alliance, whose member companies last year sold 10.6 million vehicles in 200 markets, will integrate Google applications and services into infotainment and cloud-based systems to enhance the experience for customers of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors brands. While a range of Alliance vehicles will share the Android platform, each brand will have flexibility to create a unique customer interface and specific features on top of the common Android platform.

The infotainment partnership forms part of Alliance moves to equip more vehicles with connectivity and cloud-based services as part of its Alliance 2022 mid-term plan. Today’s announcement, coinciding with the first anniversary of the mid-term plan, symbolizes the Alliance focus on next generation technology. Under the plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is targeting increased sales of more than 14 million units a year by the end of 2022.

The plan also involves the launch of 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles, new autonomous-driving technologies and the ongoing rollout of the Alliance Intelligent Cloud.

The Alliance Intelligent Cloud will provide next-generation infotainment systems with secure connectivity by offering a platform to integrate data management, infotainment systems and to facilitate over-the- air upgrades and remote diagnostics in Alliance member-company vehicles.

By combining the latest technologies from the Alliance and Google, the Alliance member companies’ vehicles will have one of the most intelligent infotainment systems in the market.

Drivers and passengers will be able to leverage Google and Android’s capabilities to access an ecosystem that includes thousands of existing applications and an ever-expanding array of new apps. This integration, combined with the broad knowledge and a vibrant community of developers, will enable easy in-vehicle access to popular applications. The system will also be compatible with devices running other operating systems, such as Apple iOS.

Hadi Zablit, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said, “Our partnership with Google will offer owners of our vehicles rich user experiences that are currently available only outside the vehicle or, to a limited extent, by connecting an Android device to supported vehicles. We are building powerful connected and seamless on-board / off-board experiences into our vehicles in addition to the features of Google applications and services that many users are accustomed to, including Google Maps, the Google Assistant and the Google Play Store.”

Kal Mos, Global Vice President of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, added, “With the integration of the Android platform into our infotainment systems, we are adding a new level of intelligence to our connected vehicles. In the future, the Google Assistant, which employs Google’s leading AI technology, can become the main way customers interact with their vehicles, hands-free. With Google Maps and the Google Assistant embedded in Alliance infotainment systems, our customers will have some of the most advanced AI based applications at their fingertips. And with invehicle access to the Google Play Store, our customers will enjoy an open and secure ecosystem of Android apps engineered for vehicles.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms & Ecosystems at Google, said, “Google and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi share a common vision of delivering an intelligent, safe and seamless incar experience with apps and services that are familiar, upgradable and connected. We’re thrilled to partner with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to bring the Google Assistant, Google Maps, and other popular apps via the Play Store and Android to drivers and passengers around the world.”

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