The 4-inch iPhone strikes back, and no Android maker is paying attention

Ming-Chi Kuo has been right in the past on his predictions several times, so when he tells us a new 4-inch iPhone is coming, we should believe him. The move is pretty smart for Apple, that will solve several problems at the same time:

  • There will be a solid iPhone 5s refresh: according to his report, “we estimate 15-17mn 4-inch iPhones will be shipped in 2015. We estimate the new 4-inch model will account for 8-9% of total iPhone shipments in 2016F
  • Emerging markets: I wouldn’t say the $400-500 price range is affordable, and emerging markets have expressed their desire for big iPhones (China is a good example).
  • Apple Pay for all: 3D Touch won’t be part of this model, but according to Kuo we’ll have the Apple A9 chip, 2.5D cover glass with curved edges like on the iPhone 6s, and Touch ID & NFC for Apple Pay, which by the way, hasn’t be the star of the show at Black Friday. The cameras aren’t improved from the 5S, but maybe iOS and the post-processing software will help on this. I wonder what will happen with the battery.
  • Metal or plastic?: Kuo predicts the design will be similar to the one on the iPhone 5s, but we know what happened with the iPhone 5C. Plastic could be again an option for Apple, and that could explain a reduced price. The current iPhone 5s is $449-4999 (16GB-32GB model), so I expect the price to be the same (no 3D Touch, no camera improvements, old design). If they use plastic, though, the price should be $399, but Apple is clear on its price tags strategy. Even on that case I suspect not many will protest if they maintain those prices.

Anyway, the move is, as I said, smart. No one in exploring 4-inch high end smartphones anymore in the Android camp, and although we’ve got some nice alternatives (Sony Z5 Compact is $506 at Amazon) the rest of the crowd is using that ‘bigger is better‘ motto.

Not for everyone. And Android smartphone makers should get the hint here. Btw: my guess for the name of Apple’s new baby? iPhone 6c 😉

Update (12/05/2015): Gene Munster seems to disagree with the new 4-inch iPhone potential.

Samsungate coming

Owners say that TSMC A9 SoC delivers two hours more battery life than Samsung’s A9.

Problems coming for Apple. This doesn’t make much sense: TSMC chips are made with 16nm vs Samsung’s 14nm. That would benefit the latter in efficiency and raw power but the tests show exaclty the opposite.

I wonder if this is some kind of weird support for the chips at the kernel level in iOS 9. Let’s see what Apple has to say (and do) in this regard.

Source: iPhone 6S battery life may vary, depending on which A9 chip is inside | Ars Technica UK

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus sales: the unfair but inevitable comparison

Two reasons why Apple can talk about a new record:

  1. The new iPhones were available in China from day one
  2. Two weeks for preorders this year instead of the classical one week.

That could be good arguments, but comparisons are useless and unfair, as almost anytime one tries to do them. The 13 million of iPhones sold during their first weekend (10 million for the iPhone 6/Plus last year) is an astounding number.

I wonder how many of those were rose gold.

iPhone 6s reviews: size matters. More than anything else.

The reviews are coming. Nilay Patel calls the iPhone 6S Plus the best phone in the market –he’s not alone– , but he adds: “Note that I said the 6S Plus, not the 6S.

The main camera is “not so much intensely better than you’ll notice a difference if you’re just sharing them on Facebook“, and the front camera that matters more according to him (excuse me?).

On 3D Touch, “there aren’t a ton of rules for how anyone should use it outside of the peek and pop and quick action APIs” so he expect developers get the real sense of it.

I’m not sold to 3D Touch -let’s see if it really saves times and makes everything more convenient as it seems- and the camera isn’t that gorgeous (it was already great  anyway), so as Patel says, don’t upgrade from the iPhone 6/Plus.

If you’ve got an older model, though, the update makes sense for iOS lovers. But not for the camera or the 3D Touch technology.

It’s because the size. 

That’s the only compelling reason to jump to the new iPhones. It was the reason too for the previous models, so no big news here.

Update: Take a look at John Gruber’s review of the iPhone 6s. It’s really good. Honest, consistent.

Source: iPhone 6S review | The Verge

Why 2GB, Apple?

A popular request for Apple users has come to life. According to Xcode, the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have 2GB of RAM, while the iPad Pro has 4 GB.

I wonder what’s the reason behind the growth in RAM memory. Cost is probably not an issue (maybe the 1GB chips were obsolete?), but iOS didn’t seem to worry about managing just 1GB of RAM. In fact, most Android users wouldn’t understand (and would envy) how a phone with this small memory could offer such experiencies.

I’m pretty sure the new voice activation and the multitasking capabilities are partly responsible (3D Touch is guilty too), but I guess they just want to give headroom for future enhancements in the OS. Anyway, a really welcome upgrade for spec-hungry people.

Now you’ll be able to open a lot more of tabs in Safari withouth them reloading over and over again. Wonderful.

Source: Xcode confirms 2 GB RAM for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, 4 GB RAM for iPad Pro | 9to5Mac

Spec comparison is no longer (very) useful

This kind of article is pretty useless. Specs are only a (small) part of the package nowadays. Hardware has become a commodity. It’s the result of the combination of hardware and software that makes the difference.

Oh, and design. I almost forgot.

Source: The iPhone 6s Plus vs. the competition: Big is beautiful

The unimaginative Apple in four paragraphs

No big surprises in the Apple event this morning, with little to tell about the products besides what was told following the rumors. Few updates on the Apple Watch: the discourse was 50% about apps and 50% about straps. The money is currently on the latter (that’s pretty clear from that time devoted to design and fashion), but watchOS could really make a difference if apps really take advantage of certain features that give the Apple Watch independence from the phone.

The iPad Pro seems to be the swan song for Apple tablets: an iOSified version of the Surface Pro 3 that is too big to work as a tablet all the time and that in my opinion can not replace a Macbook Air or even a Macbook for productivity. It’s a cool product on paper, but I can’t understand what user would prefer that over a laptop for any serious productivity content -except drawing- or over a smaller tablet (or phablet) for mobile content consumption. I’m going to spend the same 5 seconds they’ve spent for the iPad mini 4 launch to say this: last year hardware at this year prices. Same (even worse) happened with the mini 3.

The Apple TV has had a solid upgrade, probably the most interesting of all. New interface, Siri integration, and above all, apps and games. Good evolution of a device that could really hit it off in the market. The touch panel on the remote seems interesting too. The best of the show.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are logical upgrades of last years models. We’ll have to see the camera, but also battery life (no data/specs on that). Force Touch 3D Touch seems a neat idea but we’ll see if it really delivers in real life. The starting 16 GB models are a joke for a device that can record 4K video and that will be used to capture and consume more and more data. iCloud doesn’t solve this (well, it does for Apple, you pay an extra).

 

iPhone 6S/Plus will still start at 16GB, even if they now can record 4K video

Apple pricing strategy was disappointing last year: starting with a 16GB model allows them to 1) get higher profit margins and also 2) tempt/force people to avoid the 16GB and get the more expensive 64GB model.

The story is about to repeat itself next week: according to trusted sources, the new iPhones will also start with 16GB configuration, even with a camera that will reportedly be able to record 4K video.

Good luck storing that on your 16GB iPhone 6S, pal. Fortunately, we all have 5GB of free storage on iCloud. You can pay if you want more (20GB  for $0.99/month), so, basically, problem solved.

For Apple. Not for you.

Source: Apple Event: New Apple Watch bands, 16GB iPhones confirmed with 7000 series aluminum | 9to5Mac

Force Touch on iPhone 6S revealed: expect shortcuts, faster actions across iOS | 9to5Mac

Apple, who never implemented the right clic mecanism on their desktop computers, now introduces it in their smartphones. Force Touch will allow to access to several options more quickly.

Instead of opening up a large window of extra controls that did not fit on the screen, as is done on the Apple Watch, Force Touch on the iPhone is designed to skip existing lists of options or button presses

It seems to be a great idea: considering the screen as a big button can really give users new chances to improve their experience with the OS. I see this coming to competitors as well.

Source: Force Touch on iPhone 6S revealed: expect shortcuts, faster actions across iOS | 9to5Mac