September should be fun. We'll get new iPhones, new iOS software, and the new iTunes Radio service. According to an article on Ad Age Digital, things are all set for the launch of iTunes Radio next month, with Apple having signed advertising deals with McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and others. The article says the streaming music service, which will be similar to Pandora, will have an audio ad every 15 minutes and a video ad every hour.
Any comparison of iPhone and Android is bound to generate heat, but I thought David Pogue's smackdown between Siri and Android voice recognition was informative. The bottom line: the iPhone is better for dictation and for voice control of apps. But Android blows Siri away when it comes to web searches.
Siri's dictation gets the edge because it understands a variety of formatting controls, such as "all caps," and all punctuation, such as "dash" and "ellipsis." Android just understands basic punctuation such as "comma," "period," and "exclamation point." Android, however, can do dictation even if you're not online whereas Siri requires an Internet connection. And Android transcribes as you talk, whereas Siri waits until you pause.
We keep hearing rumors that Apple's next iPhone, expected to be announced Sept. 10, will have a fingerprint sensor. The rumors say it will be a convex home button covered with super-hard sapphire crystal. The presence of related code found by developers in iOS 7 support these rumors. So assuming all this is true, what's the point? Security, of course. A helpful post on Macworld explains that passwords are fairly weak security, especially since so many people still do dumb things like use "password" as their password. Even two-factor authentication, in which a code is sent via SMS, still doesn't guarantee that the person with phone in hand is the rightful owner.
Apple's stock has really been jumping up the past week. After having dropped below 400, it's now well over 500 and heading up. Excitement is building, thanks to rumors of a Sept. 10 launch event for the new iPhones. Yet more photos of a champagne-colored iPhone 5S have appeared, seemingly confirming that Apple will be expanding its palette of colors, not only for the polycarbonate low-cost iPhone 5C but also for the iPhone 5S.
Big questions remain, though: how much will Apple charge for the low-cost iPhone, and will it discontinue all earlier low-end models in favor of the iPhone 5C? An interesting post today on AppleInsider says that Apple will drop the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, but retain the iPhone 4S as its low-end device. The iPhone 5C will be its mid-range phone.
It's just over three weeks until the rumored Sept. 10 introduction of the iPhone 5S, and the rumors are coming hot and heavy. The latest rumors, reported in an article on CNET, say the new phone may also come in a gold or champagne color. Plus, it may follow the precedent of the iPad 4 and offer an option of 128GB of storage. Also, this new baby is rumored to be even faster, thanks to a new A7 chip. A post on AppleInsider suggests this new chip will boost performance by 20 percent and that it may use a 64-bit architecture.
The Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher is finally hitting the big screen this Friday, with a new trailer available (see below) and reviews starting to appear. Titled Jobs, the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern and written by Matthew Whitely, it also features Josh Gad (Steve Wozniak), Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine. According to the synopsis, "jOBS plunges into the depths of his character, creating an intense dialogue-driven story that is as much a sweeping epic as it is an immensely personal portrait of Steve Jobs' life." It covers Jobs's life from 1971 to 2000.
Apple is currently offering a special movie promotion in the iTunes Store that lets you buy 25 bundles of movies for low prices, most of which are HD. For example, you can get the entire series of 10 HD Star Trek movies for $49.99. They even offer the entire Harry Potter series of 10 movies for $9.99. But when I tried to buy it, I got a message saying the item was being revised. Other series include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ($9.99), The Bourne Collection ($29.99 for HD version), The Matrix Trilogy ($9.99), and The Godfather Trilogy ($19.99).
All Things D broke the news over the weekend that Apple will be holding an event Sept. 10 to introduce the new iPhone. Nothing's official of course, but All Things D has a reputation for having solid inside information. It's not known exactly what Apple will introduce, but the evidence suggests Apple will announce the iPhone 5S and an iPhone 5C. Many parts and photos of the latter have been leaked, so the details of this phone seem fairly clear. The most intriguing photo, which accompanies this post, shows a carton of iPhone 5Cs in their boxes, which are clearly labeled iPhone 5C. I suspect that the "C" stands for color, since leaked photos have shown that the phone will come in multiple colors.
All the evidence continues to point toward Apple's rumored low-cost iPhone and an updated 5th-generation iPad that's thinner and lighter being on track for an early September launch. However, according to AppleInsider, the iPhone 5S is much more challenging to manufacture, and production problems with various components could push back its availability to late September. And even then, supplies would be constrained but would gradually increase through October and November. A separate post on AppleInsider about the forthcoming iPad mini says the expected model with Retina display could be delayed until next March or April. It would launch alongside a second new version that would be somewhat lower-priced than the current iPad mini and without a Retina display.
Apple is always experimenting with prototypes, so a report in today's Wall Street Journal doesn't necessarily mean we'll see these devices. But the details are fun to contemplate: they say Apple is testing an iPhone with a screen larger than 4 inches and an iPad with a screen that's nearly 13 inches. The article doesn't say what size iPhone screen Apple is considering, but an artist's rendering by Marco Arment on AppleInsider shows what a 5-inch iPhone might look like (second from right).